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May 2019

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2019 SVCC Diesel Tech Graduates

Southside Virginia Community College's Diesel Technician program celebrated graduates for 2019 recently   They are Front L-R:  Alex Payne (DE Student Powhatan), Paul Elliott (S. Prince George), Cody Lynn (Crewe), Corey Taylor (Charlotte CH), Antonion Uribe (Lawrenceville), Wilson Treese (McKenney) Bryan Lewis (Instructor)

Back L-R:  Billy McGraw (Instructor) Russell Hicks (Instructor), Tyler Pattison (Chesterfield), Malik Gentry (Roseland), Tyler Foore (Amelia Courthouse), Ethan Eggleston (S. Chesterfield) and Jacob Guill (Red Oak)

Southside Virginia Community College Truck Driver Training Graduates from Pickett Park on April 18, 2019

Front: L-R: Zachary Phillips (Kenbridge), Shaun Bragg (Warrenton, NC), Grego Coleman (Chesterfield), Juan Garcia (Alberta), A J Spino (Ebony) Bobby Doyon (instructor)

Back L-R:  Reggie White (Instructor), Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Zach Williams (Clarksville), Tom Jones (Crewe), Jonathon Folz (Rice), Mike Turner (South Hill) Duncan Quicke TDTS Coorinator, Nikki Weaver , ATA Road Team Captain and Driver for Fed Ex Freight.

As Hospitals Monitor Drugs, Opioid Deaths See Decline

By Katja Timm, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Virginia hospitals are monitoring painkiller prescriptions more closely and taking other steps to curb the opioid epidemic, and the efforts may be paying off: Drug overdoses in Virginia have dropped for the first time in six years.

In 2016, the opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency in Virginia. Fatal opioid overdoses increased steadily from 572 in 2012 to 1,230 in 2017. Last year, however, the number of deaths dipped, to 1,213, according to preliminary statistics released this week by the Virginia Department of Health.

The decrease coincided with data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing a decline in overall prescriptions of opioids — and with moves by Virginia officials and physicians to apply more scrutiny before issuing such prescriptions.

Dr. Charles Frazier, senior vice president at Riverside Health System in Newport News, said his medical practice and others across Virginia are prescribing narcotics in a more controlled and efficient way.

Frazier was involved in the creation of Virginia’s Emergency Department Care Coordination program.

Established by the General Assembly in 2017, the EDCC’s purpose is to “provide a single, statewide technology solution that connects all hospital emergency departments in the Commonwealth” for the purpose of extending and improving patient care, according to ConnectVirginia, a statewide health information exchange.

“The purpose of the EDCC is to integrate alerts,” Frazier said. “It shows us alerts of whether or not they (patients) have been in other emergency departments, information on how they were treated, with the idea being if a patient came in: Who is their primary care doctor? Who can we connect them to?”

Frazier said that in the program’s first phase, all hospitals in Virginia were required to submit a year or two of historical patient visit data to the EDCC information exchange by June 2017.

“The system is set up to alert emergency department providers and staff if the patient is a frequent emergency department patient, and also if they have been aggressive or abusive to staff,” Frazier said.

Frazier said that most of the time, the system is used to direct patients to proper care.

“I think part of the problem is if people have a hard time with transportation, they go to the ER for basic health care,” Frazier said. “If you go to the emergency room for a sore throat, for example, that can be expensive.”

The second phase of the EDCC, which was implemented last July, involves notifying primary care doctors if their patient is in the emergency department. If the system can identify a patient’s primary care doctor, it will send an alert.

“One thing we are starting to see are health systems collaborate on patients,” Frazier said. “There was a patient at Bon Secours who kept going to various emergency departments around Richmond — VCU, St. Francis, and others. With the EDCC program, they could see where they had been to, and the health systems worked together, along with the insurance company, to help the patient get the primary care they needed.”

Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program

Gov. Ralph Northam, a physician himself, helped create the EDCC. He also has been an advocate for the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.

Under that program, Frazier explained, “Every time a pharmacy prescribes a controlled substance, they need to submit the information to the state — the duration, the dosage — and the system tracks how many times and how many providers have prescribed to the patient.”

Virginia Board of Medicine regulations require seeing chronic pain patients every 90 days and conducting drug screens to make sure patients are taking their medications and not taking illicit substances. Regulations also require prescribing an opioid antidote in certain high-risk situations.

“If you’re treating someone with higher dosages, the regulations outline preventative measures for overdose,” Frazier said.

Opioid overdose fatalities decline

Health officials’ concerns about opioids have grown as fatal overdoses spiked over the past decade. Preliminary numbers show that 1,484 people died from drug overdoses in Virginia in 2018. That is more deaths than from guns (1,036) and traffic accidents (958).

The total number of overdose fatalities was down slightly from 1,536 in 2017.

The vast majority of drug overdose deaths involve opioids. Of the 1,230 opioid-related fatalities last year, about 460 involved prescription medications and the rest involved heroin and/or fentanyl.

The number of prescription opioid deaths dropped from 507 in 2017 to 457 last year. On the other hand, deaths from heroin and/or fentanyl jumped from 940 to 977.

‘These numbers should give us some optimism’

In a press release, Attorney General Mark Herring thanked “advocates, families, doctors, recovery communities, elected officials, public health professionals and others who have helped reduce Virginia’s number of fatal drug overdoses for the first time in six years.”

Herring has been a strong advocate for fighting the opioid epidemic. He has taken a range of actions — from pushing to expand the Prescription Monitoring Program, to producing a documentary titled “Heroin: The Hardest Hit,” to suing Purdue Pharma, the creator of Oxycontin, on grounds that it helped create and prolong the opioid epidemic in Virginia.

“We should be heartened and hopeful to see that overdose deaths seem to have plateaued and may be starting to decline, but nearly 1,500 overdose deaths, mostly from opioids, is still a staggering number that shows this epidemic is far from over,” Herring said.

“But these numbers should give us some optimism that Virginia’s comprehensive approach — emphasizing treatment, education, and prevention, along with smart enforcement — can produce results and save lives.”

New controls on opioid prescriptions

Frazier said the biggest impact on the opioid epidemic might stem from rules imposed last year by the Virginia Board of Medicine.

“Across the state,” Frazier said, “we’ve seen a decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions and the duration of treatment for acute pain — a tremendous difference.”

Frazier said opioids sometimes are appropriate and sometimes aren’t.

“There are people who break their leg and need it for a few days, but for people who have chronic pain, they may require ongoing opioids for a long time,” he said. “While we first try non-opioid therapies, the reality is sometimes opioids are the most effective treatment for chronic pain.”

Patients can self-administer pain relief

When opioids are appropriate for treatment, health care professionals want to ensure that patients can receive their medication safely and easily. Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center Hospitals have a specific technique allowing patients to self-administer drugs.

Samantha Morris, a care partner at the center’s Emergency Department, said narcotics can be administered directly to a patient, by the patient, with the press of a button. This involves a device called a patient-controlled analgesia pump.

“Fentanyl is usually what I see being prescribed the most, and that one is usually administered through a PCA pump,” Morris said. “It delivers some form of narcotic, usually fentanyl, and the patient presses a button to administer themselves a dose every five to ten minutes, depending on the drug.”

The amount of time a dosage from the PCA pump can be administered is based on the strength of the drug prescribed.

“I see patients mostly in the burn victim unit because they’re in a lot of pain,” Morris said.

Morris said she sees patients come in for opioid-related incidents all the time.

“It’s really difficult, because if a patient is addicted to any kind of substances, whether it’s amphetamines or any kind of narcotic to begin with, we can’t administer pain management, because it’s not going to affect the same pathway.”

SVCC Dual Enrollment Students Collaborate with Microsoft and Schneider Electric

Those who worked on the prototype insulator project are(Left to Right)Desmyn Owens, Tiffany Broadnax-Bacon, Jordan Wesson, Bryana Murphy, Philip Poole,  Ayanna Coleman, Ronnie Boyter, John Mize, Kiman McCarthy, Seita McCarthy, Justin Stansell, Vincent Brown and Scott Edmonds.

Southside Virginia Community College’s dual enrollment program is taking the student learning experience to the next level. Over the past few months,the students have been collaborating with Schneider Electric and Microsoft to rapid prototype an insulator for a DC terminal block. For these Park View High School students, this involvement has been an invaluable real-world experience.

The proposed project idea started when John Mize, Electrical Maintenance Lead for Schneider Electric, a facility management company for Microsoft, could not find an electrical cover for a high voltage electrical junction box at the Boydton datacenter. When nothing fit the specifications, he recommended working with SVCC to 3D print the part. Philip Poole, Schneider’s Critical Facility Manager drafted the design parameters and Justin Stansell, an electrical engineer for Microsoft, worked to ensure all electrical insulating properties were achieved.

The next step was involving the Advanced Manufacturing dual-enrollment students who attend class at SVCC at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center (LCAKC) in South Hill. 

Vincent Brown, Professor of Industrial Technologies, presented the challenge to the students.

“Simply put, I asked each student to see how they would write the code for the program and how they would solve this problem” stated Brown.

Each one quickly analyzed and researched how they would design a 3D printed electric cover. Utilizing the Autodesk Inventor program, each student inputted their design. Once this task was complete, the parts were sent to one of the 3D printers housed at the LCAKC.

Students and brothers, Kimani and Seita McCarthy, each described how they tackled the challenge.

“I measured the gap holes and then factored in an extra ½ inch gap, but this left a large gap, which was a safety issue” added Kimani.

“My approach was similar” quotes Seita, “but my overall design had to be tweaked to fit properly.”

Ronnie Boyter, and Brianna Murphy, each contributed but stressed the importance of measuring for accuracy after printing. Our main goal was to make sure our designs were safe, precise and ergonomically compliant for Schneider, they said.  

In a classroom setting producing a realistic workforce project is difficult, but when you have the opportunity to work directly with local companies the classroom training morphs into vibrant work experience. Once the fabricated prototypes were tested and modifications made, the part was approved for installation.

Recently, the students met with  Mize, Poole, and  Stansell, and explained their design methodology. As Stansell listened, he encouraged the teams to learn from each other’s design and collaborate to enhance the overall design.

Both Kimani and Seita have been accepted at Virginia Tech and will pursue degrees in engineering. Murphy has been accepted to Longwood where she is pursuing a Science degree. Boyter plans on attending SVCC in the fall to complete his degree in Industrial Maintenance. This is just a sampling of the outstanding young minds learning and growing with SVCC.

Brown, explains, “The graduates from Southside Virginia’s dual enrollment program, walk away prepared to enter the workforce or to attend four-year university. Many of the former students are now employed with Dominion Energy, Army Corp of Engineers, NASA, Newport News, MC Dean, and Rolls Royce and many local industries.  It’s exciting to be a part of a program that has such a positive impact on the lives of students .”

 “Over the course of a year, we start with students who are unsure of what direction or career path they want to pursue, but after exposure to our programs, teachers and training facility, they finish with a clear picture of the direction they want to follow,” said Tiffany Broadnax-Bacon, LCAK Center Director.

One of the goals of SVCC is to prepare students for the local workforce.  With small classroom sizes and dedicated teachers, these goals are being met. Whether you call it career, vocational, or workforce training, these dual enrollment students are immersed in technologies of the future. And that is Real World!

GOD’S GOUDA: Sisters in Albemarle County Make Cheese

The 13 Sisters of Our Lady of the Angel Monastery squeeze water from the gouda cheese before weighing Thursday morning on March 21, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia. Thursday is cheese making day at the monastery and cheese process takes about 6-8 hours from start to finish.

By: Erin Edgerton

The 13 Sisters of Our Lady of the Angel Monastery believe God has a plan for everyone. When Sister Barbara Smickel arrived on the newly purchased 507-acre farm in central Virginia in 1987, she was surprised to find an abandoned cheese barn filled with ready-to-use machinery. Without much hesitation, Smickel and the others realized God’s plan.

The first rounds of cheese made by the Sisters were in 1990.  Their semi-soft, mild Dutch-style Gouda comes in 2-pound wheels. The Sisters use it to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tucked in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, down a lengthy stretch off Route 250, over a bridge, through the woods and at the end of a gravel road sits Our Lady of the Angels Monastery perched on the hillside. This is where the Sisters live a self-sustained lifestyle filled with prayer, devotion and cheese making.

Their day starts around 3 a.m. with a morning prayer. By 7 a.m., Sister Myriam Saint-Vilus leaves mass early to turn on the autoclave. The windows of the cheese room grow foggy as the room heats up to a proper cheese-mixing temperature. By 9 a.m., Sister Maria Gonzalo forms ovals around steel presses, and by 11 a.m., the machines cut the sheets of cheese mixture into cubes. Sister Jacqueline Melendez takes the cubes and squeezes them into molds. They work in shifts and wear scrubs and rain boots in the barn — it’s a full-day affair.

“This work is good,” Sister Eve Marie Aragona said. “It becomes sort of mindless and allows us to work for God in ways similar to prayer and our studies.”

The sisters prepare the patio with candles and a fire for Easter service Saturday evening April 20, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia. Once the guests arrive this begins their procession into the church for Easter mass.

    

Left: Sister Maria Gonzalo, Sister Barbara Smickel and Sister Myriam Saint-Vilus practice lyrics for their Palm Sunday Mass April 12, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia. The three have been practicing all week making sure they hit every note correctly and on key. “This is will be the last night we run it, I promise,” said Smickel. Right: The wash room sits foggy on cheese making days. The cheese making process requires a moist environment.

    

Left: Sister Maria Gonzalo stirs the cheese Thursday morning on March 21, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia. Thursday is cheese-making day at the monastery and the sisters take turns coming down to the barn in shifts. The cheese is stirred in 20 minute increments, “We always say the secret ingredient is love and prayer. You get out what you put it,” Gonzalo said. Right: Sister Maria Gonzalo checks on the empty milk tank before delivery March 4, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia. "We get our milk delivered regularly and locally. We like to know where everything is coming from and exactly what gets put in," Gonzalo said.

     

Left:  Sister Maria Gonzalo opens the curtains to the milk room at the cheese barn. Thursday’s are cheese days and the sisters arrive in shifts down at the barn starting around 7 a.m. Right:  Batch 830 waits in the chilling room to be packaged and sold. The cheese barn has 3 chilling rooms and during the holidays all three can be packed.

    

Left:  Sister Eve Marie Aragona takes a break to call up to the church. Eve Marie prefers working in the cheese barn alone, “I do not really need to this about what I am doing, it is easy, peaceful work,” Aragona said. Right: Sister Jacqueline Melendez mediates during evening vespers March 30, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia.

    

Left: Sister Myriam Saint-Vilus unwraps gouda cheese in the monastery’s kitchen for Sunday’s spaghetti night March 11, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia. The sisters use their cheese for almost every meal and it never goes to waste. “How can you get sick of something that you are proud of? We know how it is made and what is in it,” said Saint-Vilus. Right:  Sister Claire Boudrau dishes out spaghetti sauce before supper. The sisters eat family style because it is another way to emphasize community and sharing of blessings. Their Gouda cheese is also served on the table.

The sisters and guests stand in silence as they light candles Saturday evening April 20, 2019 in Crozet, Virginia. This ends their procession into the church for Easter mass.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING URGES FCC TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST ROBOCALLS AND SPOOFING

~ Coalition of 42 attorneys general press FCC to act further to reduce spoofed calls and texts ~

RICHMOND (May 6, 2019) – Today, Attorney General Mark R. Herring joined 41 other attorneys general in calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take further action to stop the growing proliferation of illegal robocalls and spoofing. In formal legal comments, the attorneys general urged the FCC to adopt its proposed rules on enforcement against caller ID spoofing on calls to the United States originating from overseas, while also addressing spoofing in text messaging and alternative voice services. These provisions are included in the FCC's appropriations authorization bill also known as the RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018.

The number of spoofed calls and the consumer financial losses tied to these scams have increased by nearly 50 percent in recent years. 

“Robocalls and spoof phone calls are not only annoying but they are also potentially dangerous and could scam Virginians out of hundreds or thousands of dollars,” said Attorney General Herring. “As Attorney General, it is my job to protect Virginia consumers, which is why I have joined my colleagues today to call on the FCC to take further actions against these obnoxious and illegal scam calls.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Virginia was the 7th highest state in the nation for Do Not Call Registry complaints with 181,936 complaints in 2018. Additionally, Virginians made more than 118,000 complaints to the FTC about robocalls alone.

Americans received almost 18 billion scam robocalls in 2018 and overall, robocalls increased in the U.S. by 57 percent from 2017 to 2018. The FCC reports that imposter scams have reportedly cost consumers $488 million just in 2018.

Joining Attorney General Herring in sending the comments to the FCC were the attorneys general from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

“Wake Up Call”

Yesterday I passed a large vacant lot
though I can’t tell you where
you see if the city finds out about this
they’ll want to put a hotel there.
 
Now we’ve already the accommodations
for the tired tourist trade at night
worn down from listening to the whistle blow
and trips to the park to fly their kite.
 
Just drive around our city
and see the presence of decay
they’re opening up small stores everywhere
but few of them will stay.
 
The most won’t show a profit
for the rent is much too high
perhaps the need to compromise
or the willingness to try.
 
The signs all tell the story
and are in our tourist view
for sale, for rent and moving
plus going out of business too.
 
Now some time ago I mentioned
about my friends, Billy Bob and Sally
they stayed one night; then told their friends don’t stop
for they have no bowling alley.

 

 
                         - Roy E. Schepp

Soybean Growers Have Opportunity to Request a Referendum for Soybean Promotion, Research, and Information Program

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces that soybean producers may request a referendum to determine whether producers want the Secretary to conduct a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order), as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act). Participation in the request for referendum is voluntary.  Producers should participate only if they wish to request a referendum on the program.

If at least 10 percent, not to exceed ⅕ of producers from any 1 State, of the 515,008 eligible producers determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) participate in the request for referendum, a referendum will be held within 1 year from that determination. If results of the request for referendum indicate that a referendum is not supported, a referendum will not be conducted. The results of the request for referendum will be published in a notice in the Federal Register.

To Request Referendum:

Soybean producers may request a referendum during the 4-week period beginning May 6, 2019 and ending May 31, 2019.

To be eligible to participate in the request for referendum, producers must certify that they or the producer entity they are authorized to represent paid an assessment at any time between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2018.

Form LS-51-1, Soybean Promotion and Research Order Request for Referendum, can be obtained from May 6, 2019, to May 31, 2019, by mail, FAX, or in person from Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Offices, or can be downloaded from https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research- promotion/soybean. Completed forms and supporting documentation must be returned to the appropriate FSA County Office:

By FAX or in person no later than COB on May 31, 2019.

By mail postmarked by midnight on May 31, 2019 and must be received in the FSA County Office by COB on June 6, 2019.

Contact

Kenneth R. Payne, Director
Research and Promotion Division
Livestock and Poultry Program
AMS, USDA
Room 2610-S, STOP 0251
1400 Independence Avenue SW.
Washington, DC 20250-0251
Telephone:  (202) 720-1118
FAX:  (202) 720-1125
E-mail: kenneth.payne@usda.gov

 

Rick Pinkston, Field Operations Staff
FSA, USDA

 

Telephone:  (202) 720-1857

 

FAX:  (202) 720-1096

 

E-mail:  rick.pinkston@wdc.usda.gov

 

USDA Extends Deadline to May 17 for Producers to Certify 2018 Crop Production for Market Facilitation Program Payments

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2019 – USDA extended the deadline to May 17 from May 1 for agricultural producers to certify 2018 crop production for payments through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which helps producers who have been significantly affected by foreign tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional exports. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) extended the deadline because heavy rainfall and snowfall have delayed harvests in many parts of the country, preventing producers from certifying production.

Payments will be issued only if eligible producers certify before the updated May 17 deadline.

The MFP provides payments to producers of corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, dairy, hogs, fresh sweet cherries and shelled almonds. FSA will issue payments based on the producer’s certified total production of the MFP commodity multiplied by the MFP rate for that specific commodity.

“Trade issues, coupled with low commodity prices and recovery from natural disasters, have definitely impacted the bottom line for many agricultural producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “The MFP payments provide short-term relief from retaliatory tariffs to supplement the traditional farm safety net, helping agricultural producers through these difficult times. Weather conditions this fall, winter and early spring have blocked many producers from completing harvest of their crops, and we want to make sure producers who want to finalize their MFP application have an opportunity.”

Producers can certify production by contacting their local FSA office or through farmers.gov.

About the Market Facilitation Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue launched the trade mitigation program to assist farmers suffering from damage because of unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. FSA implemented MFP in September 2018 as a relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American farmers compete globally. To date, more than $8.3 billion has been paid to nearly 600,000 applicants.

The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and is administered by FSA.

New Civil War Museum Sheds Light on Untold Stories

 

By Arianna Coghill, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — If asked who was involved in the Civil War, most Americans would list the usual suspects: Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Stonewall Jackson.

But what about Elizabeth Van Lew, a Richmond abolitionist who worked as a spy for the Union army? Or Dr. Mary Walker, who received the Medal of Honor for treating prisoners of war on both sides? What roles did indigenous tribes and immigrants play during the war?

The American Civil War Museum, which holds its grand opening Saturday, aims to tell these stories and more through multimedia, artifacts and personal narratives.

As museum staffers have been setting up exhibits, they “are seeing artifacts being displayed in new ways and telling new stories,” said Stephanie Arduini, the museum’s director of education and programs.

Arduini said the 29,000-square-foot museum contains more than 500 artifacts. For example, visitors will be able to see the Confederate flag that Abraham Lincoln gave to his son, Tad, after the war ended — as well as a Native American moccasin that was sent to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Museum officials said every creative choice associated with the project was deliberate, from the location of the artifacts near each other to the location of the museum itself.

The museum, at 500 Tredegar St., was built at a cost of $25 million on the grounds of the Tredegar Iron Works, which was the largest of its kind in the South and provided artillery for the Confederate States Army. The back wall of the main lobby is an authentic ruin of the ironworks’ central foundry.

“It’s a blend of historic architecture and the new, modern building that’s placed like an exhibit case over the ruins,” Arduini explained. “It’s a nice symbolic contrast of how we approached the stories of the war in terms of looking at the past but placing them in the context of the present.”

The museum, which will be open daily, merges collections from the former Museum of the Confederacy and the former American Civil War Center at Tredegar.

Walking into the pre-gallery space, museum visitors are bombarded with history. The space features large, colorized photos of both famous individuals and relatively unknown players in the Civil War.

If You Go

Location:500 Tredegar St., along the James River near Belle Isle

Hours:Beginning Saturday, the museum will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Admission:$15 for adults; less for seniors, retired military, teachers, students and children

For more information: The museum’s website is https://acwm.org, and the phone number is 804-649-1861.

Photos of Harriet Tubman are featured alongside Phoebe Pember, a Jewish nurse of the Civil War.

“We really wanted people to focus on the faces of the war,” Arduini said.

Solid Light, a company based in Louisville, Kentucky, designed the museum’s exhibits. Its goal was to tell the stories in a high-impact, visual way that would resonate with the audience.

The exhibits include interactive maps to highlight specific battle locations and personal stories of people who experienced them.

Ultimately, the goal of the museum is to move away from the classic narrative of the Civil War and to paint a more complete picture of the events that took place, officials said.

“Traditionally, the story of the Civil War focuses on battles and military strategy. Working closely with CEO Christy Coleman, we designed exhibits to create a more inclusive and authentic experience true to history and the people of the time,” said Cynthia Torp, the owner of Solid Light.

Arduini said museum officials wanted the facility to have a contemporary feel and aesthetic.

“We wanted it to feel vibrant and relevant, like something you’d expect at a museum about something that’s still shaping our lives — because this is still shaping our lives, even though it happened over a 150 years ago,” Arduini said.

Jackson-Feild’s Bible School Benefits Others

Several times a year, Jackson-Feild holds a voluntary Bible School for interested boys and girls. Led by Jackson-Feild’s chaplain The Rev. Dr. Robin Moore, an average of 39 residents and staff participated in the most recent daily Bible School activities.

With the theme “Sharing God,” a key component was for residents to witness and experience how everyone can be in service to others.  Each Bible School session includes a service project in which children do something for others in the community.  In this session, they made 48 pairs of “Silly Socks” for residents of Emporia Manor, a local assisted living facility. Starting with a pair of plain white socks, and an array of paint, the participants decorated the socks with their own unique designs.

Give a kid puffy paints, a pair of socks, and a little time, and something magical happens.  While some children worked individually, others worked in teams. The children’s creativity came alive through their designs, and the men and women of Emporia Manor will surely enjoy keeping their feet warm with a pair of happy “Silly Socks.”

Making Life A Little Sweeter For Area Kids Fighting Cancer with Anthem LemonAid: July 19-21

Anthem LemonAid Registration is Open!

 May 1, 2019, Richmond, VA, - Every week, another child is diagnosed with cancer in Central Virginia. Last year, Madison Martin was one of them. In September, she began treatment for germinoma, a rare form of cancer most commonly found in the brain, at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR).

Madison Martin, age 9. Treated for cancer at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

Since then Madison’s journey has included three spinal taps, a brain biopsy, 40 overnight hospital stays, four rounds of chemotherapy and 20 radiation treatments. Throughout it all, the smile of this spunky 9-year-old continues to light up a room. Earlier this month, Madison and her family received the long-awaited news from doctors that she is “cancer free.” Now she has her sights set on "having a big cancer-free party," returning to the soccer and softball fields and of course, setting up an Anthem LemonAid stand this summer.

Sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Anthem LemonAid is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ signature summer event and has been helping kids with cancer since 2001. Participants distribute cups of lemonade in exchange for donations and 100% of funds raised benefit the Hematology and Oncology Clinic at CHoR. It’s free to participate in the event and supplies are provided. Every registered participant receives lemonade mix, cups, a pitcher, a banner, stickers and sunglasses. Stands can be set up at an available retail site or at a place of participants’ choosing. 

The event is great for families, businesses and community groups.

Along with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, other event sponsors include The Goddard School, Virginia Credit Union, RVA Primrose Schools, Call Federal Credit Union, Express Employment Professionals, Walmart, Kroger, Sweet Frog and Chick Fil-A. Great gratitude goes out to these partners who contribute to the success of Anthem LemonAid year after year.

To register for Anthem LemonAid or to learn more about the event, please visit www.AnthemLemonAid.com or call 804-228-5934.

Tags: 

Marie Doyle Bowen

November 4, 1930-April 29, 2019

Visitation Services

Saturday, May 4, 2019, 3 P.M. to 4 P.M.

Independence United Methodist Church
4438 Independence Church Rd
Emporia, VA 23847
 

Saturday, May 4, 2019, 4 P.M.

Independence United Methodist Church
4438 Independence Church Rd

Emporia, VA 23847

Mrs. Marie Doyle Bowen of Emporia VA, passed away on April 29, 2019 at the age of 88. Mrs. Bowen was born on November 4, 1930 in Greensville County, VA. She was a retired operator for Weldon Mills.

She is preceded in death by her mother and father, Mattie Pair and Younger Doyle, her husband, Johnny Pascal Bowen, brothers, Willie “Baw” Doyle, Elwood Doyle, Jerry Doyle, Jimmy Doyle, and sisters, Mabel Boykin and Elaine Gregory. She is survived by her son, Gary P. Bowen (Lynette) of Bonita Springs, FL, her daughter, Nancy B. Pernell of Emporia, VA, sister, Ann Anglin of Emporia, VA, grandchildren, John Pernell of Charlottesville, VA, and Mathew Pernell of Emporia VA, and several nieces and nephews, along with special friends and caregivers, Rachael Allen and Ella B. Powell.

A visitation will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Independence United Methodist Church from 3 P.M. to 4 P.M. A funeral service will follow the visitation starting at 4 P.M. with Rev. Jeaux Simmons officiating. Interment will be held at the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Independence United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund or Emporia-Greensville Vol. Rescue Squad.

 

 

Online condolences may be made to www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Graduate to deliver SVCC Address May 11

Stephen Franklin has accomplished much in his life and graduation speaker will be added to his resume on May 11, 2019 as he delivers the graduate address at Southside Virginia Community College in Keysville at 9:30 a.m. 

Franklin will graduate from SVCC as a nursing student along with more than 1,200 other eligible students from the Class of 2019.  A native of  Bossier City, Louisiana,  he is an Armed Forces Veteran with over a decade of experience in Navy Special Operations as a Search and Rescue Swimmer/Aircrewman.

He is a proud husband to wife, Celena, and father of two beautiful girls (Ava and Adelyn). He is a volunteer youth Soccer and Volleyball Coach in Halifax County and a member of the American Legion. He has an Associate’s Degree (RN) in Business Management and after completion of the SVCC Associate Degree Nursing Program plans to work in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine while continuing pursuit of advanced nursing education.

Jones Awarded Scholorship

Summer Dawn Jones senior at Greensville County High School and Southside Virginia Community College was selected to receive a scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00 from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.

She will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall to study nursing.

She is the daughter of Melissa and Paul Wozniak.

Could Hemp Join Tobacco as Big Cash Crop in Virginia?

By Daniel Berti and Andrew Gionfriddo, Capital News Service

JARRATT, Va. — At first glance, it looks like a stoner’s paradise: acres of plants that resemble marijuana. But this crop is hemp, a relative of cannabis that has commercial uses ranging from textiles and animal feed to health products.

Officials at the Southern Virginia Hemp Co., as well as other farmers and processors of the plant, say hemp could be a big boost to the state’s agricultural sector as demand for tobacco wanes. And it just got much easier to grow hemp in the commonwealth.

Lawmakers have amended the state’s hemp laws to match the rules in the 2018 federal farm bill passed by Congress. Virginia farmers can now grow hemp for producing cannabidiol, or CBD, a naturally occurring chemical that some say has mental and physical health benefits.

CBD products have become popular over the past few years, with some industry analysts predicting the CBD industry will be worth $22 billion by 2022. Until now, only researchers at Virginia universities could grow hemp for making CBD.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has seen a surge in grower and processor applications since Congress passed the farm bill in December. The agency expects the number of applicants to increase even more now that Virginia has amended its hemp laws to match the federal laws.

“VDACS was not issuing registrations to processor applicants who indicated that their sole goal was to sell a hemp-derived CBD to the public,” said Erin Williams, a spokesperson for the agency. “With the 2019 amendment, I think it will clear up the gray area.”

As of Tuesday, the department had issued 629 grower registrations and 92 processor registrations. So far, Virginia hemp growers are planning to cultivate over 2,000 acres of hemp this year.

In Southside Virginia, where tobacco growers have been hit hard by declining sales and tariffs on their products, farmers are increasingly turning to hemp as a potential cash crop that can be grown in addition to tobacco. Southside Virginia has more registered hemp growers than any other region in the state.

“There’s significant interest in Southside Virginia, particularly among tobacco growers who are looking to add a crop to what they’re doing,” Williams said.

For years, several other states have allowed farmers to grow hemp for the manufacture of CBD products. But Virginia farmers were barred from doing so until lawmakers approved House Bill 1839 in February.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill into law on March 21. Thanks to an emergency clause, it took effect immediately.

The legislation comes on the heels of the 2018 federal farm bill, which established a regulatory framework for the commercial production of hemp. HB 1839 conforms Virginia’s hemp laws to match the provisions of the federal bill.

The Southern Virginia Hemp Co., a farm in the town of Jarratt straddling Greenville and Sussex counties, is expanding its operations to meet the demand for CBD products. The company plans to grow between 75 and 150 acres of hemp this year and aims to hire 40 additional employees to work on the farm this summer.

Wayne Grizzard, owner of the Southern Virginia Hemp Co. and Virginia Homegrown Botanicals, said the new laws could have a positive impact for farmers across the commonwealth, especially for tobacco farmers who have been hit hard by tobacco tariffs levied against the United States by China.

“One of my partner’s farms was for tobacco. He lost all three contracts this year because of the tariffs,” Grizzard said. “Some of the farmers have been forced to grow hemp because they don’t have anything to replace it.”

Since colonial times, Virginia farmers — even George Washington — have planted hemp, using the fiber to make rope and other goods. Historian estimate that by the mid-18th century, Virginia had 12,000 acres cultivated for hemp. Marijuana and hemp were both banned in the 1930s under the Marihuana Tax Act, however. (And yes, that is how the law spelled marijuana.)

Now, Grizzard, once a vegetable farmer, has converted his entire farm to hemp.

“When we first started growing, everybody kind of turned their nose up because it’s cannabis,” Grizzard said. “Once they started realizing that everybody’s getting into it and there’s money involved, they started singing a different tune.”

Until now, Virginia’s hemp industry has failed to keep pace with neighboring Kentucky and North Carolina. Both states have been eyeing hemp as an economic driver for several years.

In 2019, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture approved 1,035 applications to cultivate up to 42,086 acres of industrial hemp, as well as 2.9 million square feet of greenhouse space for hemp cultivation.

North Carolina has 634 licensed farmers growing hemp on about 8,000 acres and 3.4 million square feet of greenhouse space.

Grizzard said the next step for hemp in Virginia is still up in the air. He said the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “because the USDA has taken over all states’ hemp programs.”

“As long we’re there to fight, battle and voice our opinions as farmers and business owners, we need to stick together and figure out what we need,” he said.

Grizzard and other farmers are concerned about regulations that could stifle their production and overall business model.

“They could come up with some crazy laws that go against everything we’re doing,” he said. “You never know — there’s always that chance.”

One of the Southern Virginia Hemp Co.’s most popular products is hemp extract oil — cannabidiol. CBD by itself does not cause a “high,” but it has gained popularity as a treatment for a wide range of ailments.

According to Peter Grinspoon, contributing editor of Harvard Health Publishing, CBD has been used to treat chronic pain as well as some diseases that more familiar medicines have failed to help or significantly alleviate.

“CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome,” Grinspoon wrote in a blog post last year.

“CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.”

As Grinspoon notes, a lot of the support for CBD comes from testimonials and anecdotal evidence. There has been a lack of formal medical research because CBD supplements are not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

CDB is the second most active ingredient in cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the principal psychoactive constituent. Hemp also contains a small amount of THC — but not enough to produce a “high.”

Marketing CBD could just be scratching the surface in regard to medicinal components of the hemp plant.

Now that derivatives of hemp are legal, other cannabinoids besides CBD can be extracted from the plant as long they remain below the 0.3% THC threshold, Grizzard said. These other chemical extracts include cannabigerol, cannabinol and cannabichromene.

“Every single plant we grow has a different profile. They all have different cannabinoids in them,” Grizzard said.

“Some of them are higher in CBD; some have high CBG, CBN, CBC. There are a lot of different chemicals in that plant. There’s a lot of unknown of what these chemicals do for people.”

The Southern Virginia Hemp Co. hopes to find whether different cannabinoids help with specific ailments. Whether a flash in the pan or the sign of a new wave of medicine, CBD and hemp products have gained popularity over the past couple of years.

“It’s the doctors, the pharmacists, the physical therapists — they’re giving recommendations to people to take this stuff,” Grizzard said. “It’s not me.”

Hate Crimes in Virginia Jump Almost by Half

By Jayla Marie McNeill and Ben Burstein, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Virginia recorded more than 200 hate crimes in 2017 — up nearly 50% from the previous year, according to the latest data from the Virginia State Police.

That surge, along with the neo-Nazi rally that left a counterprotester dead in Charlottesville two years ago, prompted state Attorney General Mark Herring to propose legislation to address the problem. However, all of the bills died in this year’s General Assembly.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

According to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 7,175 hate crimes were reported across the U.S. in 2017. About 60% of those crimes were related to race, 21% to religion and 16% to sexual orientation.

In Virginia, hate crimes jumped from 137 in 2016 to 202 the following year, according to the Virginia State Police. Virginia had more hate crimes in 2017 than during any year since 2008.

Of the 202 hate crimes committed in 2017:

§  89 (44%) were racially motivated

§  44 (22%) were religiously motivated

§  38 (19%) were related to sexual orientation,

§  20 (10%) were related to ethnicity

§  11 (5%) were motivated by bias against disability

Herring has been concerned about the issue for several years. In 2016, he launched his “No Hate VA” initiative, which included creating a website and holding discussion groups across the state to address the rise in hate crimes.

“I’m putting these ideas forward and convening these roundtables because it’s time for action,” Herring stated in a press release.

“I will do everything I can and work with anyone who wants to ensure that all Virginians are protected from hate and violence, no matter what they look like, how they worship, where they come from, or who they love.”

In August 2017, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville turned deadly after James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counterdemonstrators, injuring dozens of people and killing Heather Heyer. Herring then amped up his fight against hate crimes and white supremacist groups.

In 2018 and again this year, Herring called on the General Assembly to pass laws dealing with hate crimes. His 2019 legislative agendaincluded:

§  Updating Virginia’s definition of “hate crime” by adding gender and sexual orientation.

§  Allowing the attorney general to prosecute hate crimes across multiple jurisdictions.

§  Prohibiting paramilitary activity such as “drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm or explosive or incendiary device.”

§  Banning firearms from public events.

§  Banning firearms from individuals who have been convicted of a hate crime.

Virginia defines a hate crime as “any legal act directed against any persons or property because of those persons’ race, religion or national origin.”

Unlike the federal definition, Virginia’s definition of a hate crime does not include gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. (In its annual statistics, the Virginia State Police categorize offenses according to the federal definition.)

Legislation to expand Virginia’s definition of a hate crime was carried by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington. SB 1375 was killed in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on an 8-6 party-line vote, with Republicans voting against the bill.

Democratic Sens. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth and Creigh Deeds of Bath County sponsored the legislation to prohibit paramilitary activity.SB 1210 sought to charge individuals with a Class 5 felony if “a person is guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity if such person assembles with another person with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm or explosive or incendiary device or any components or combination thereof.”

The bill cleared the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on a 7-6 vote but died in the Senate Finance Committee.

In all, 10 bills before the General Assembly this year attempted to address hate crimes. Seven of the bills were defeated in the House of Delegates and three in the Senate.

For example, two identical bills were introduced to let local governments prohibit firearms at public events: HB 1956 by Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, and SB 1473 by Deeds. Both measures aimed to authorize “any locality by ordinance to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components or any combination thereof in a public space during a permitted event or an event that would otherwise require a permit.”

Both bills died in their chamber of origin.

Despite the lack of legislative action, advocacy groups across Virginia are working to help victims of hate crimes. Assistance ranges from counseling to lawyer referrals.

Herring’s “No Hate VA” includes resources for victims of hate crimes as well as advice on how to report a crime.

The website encourages victims to immediately report hate crimes to the police and to their local FBI office. The FBI has an online form at https://tips.fbi.gov

A Run-in with Hate: One Man’s Story

What started as a normal evening hanging out with friends took a quick turn for Richmond resident Phillip Sampson. As Sampson was walking down the street with a friend, a stranger approached. Sampson, who describes himself as having an outgoing personality, went to greet the passerby with a friendly “Hello!”

Before the words came out, Sampson was struck across the chest with a fist to his shoulder, knocking him back, while slurs were shouted at him.

“Expletives start flying out, and he starts cursing at me and yelling, and I’m like ‘what is going on?’” Sampson said.

The individual, who Sampson later found out is his friend’s brother, continued to yell at him and his friend before trying to break into the friend’s car. Still in shock over the situation, Sampson went to sit in his car and wait for the police to arrive.

Sampson identifies as gay and believes that was the motive behind the incidents. Having never been in this type of situation before, he was relieved when police arrived within minutes.

He said the two officers who arrived handled the situation professionally and took time to make sure he was OK. After telling the police what happened, Sampson said he was surprised by the compassion and genuine concern expressed by the officers.

“They walked me through what my options were and provided contact information so that I could reach out if I needed anything,” Sampson said.

He considers himself lucky that he was not seriously hurt but feels others in similar situations might not be as fortunate.

Sampson said that he did not need to utilize any victim resources, but he is glad to know that they are available to others.

“I was happy to see what was available to me had I needed them,” he said. “It’s comforting to know that there is help out there for those who really need it.”

White Supremacy Movements Spark Rise In Religion-based Hate

By Saffeya Ahmed, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Vandals spray-painted 19 swastikas on the walls of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia last October. A young woman leaving a mosque with her friends in Sterling, Virginia, after nightly prayers in the summer of 2017 was raped and killed. Someone scrawled “F*** God & Allah” across a Farmville mosque in October 2017. Later that year, a Fairfax teacher pulled off a Muslim student’s hijab in front of her class.

“These events aren’t isolated,” said Samuel J. West, a doctoral student of social psychology and neuroscience at Virginia Commonwealth University. “They’re happening in conjunction with a well-documented rise of activity of the white power movement and white supremacist organizations.”

In Virginia, hate crimes include illegal, criminal or violent acts committed against a person or property on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity. But often, such offenses are not classified as hate crimes. Because it’s hard to assess intent, it’s rare to be charged with a hate crime.

“The bar is pretty high for that conviction of ‘hate crime,’” said West, whose research focuses on the development of aggressive behavior across populations. “You not only have to be proven guilty of intent, but you also have to be proven of a specific kind of intent … not only are you the one who attacked them, you attacked them because they’re queer or black or Muslim.”

Tangible forms of intent for religiously based hate crimes can be anything from social media posts expressing hatred for the specific targeted group to verbal slurs yelled when committing the hate crime.

But if intent can’t be proved, offenses that may involve bias aren’t considered hate crimes. A case in point: In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 2015, three Muslims were shot dead by a white man in their apartment over an argument about a parking spot in the complex. The case was classified as a parking dispute.

West said classifying acts like the Chapel Hill shooting as a parking dispute are a reflection of the nation’s judiciary system.

“The U.S. legal system is absolutely created by white men,” West said. “And it certainly makes sense that it would favor them, especially in these cases.”

Because of how hard it is to prove intent, several episodes of religiously motivated violence are often labeled “bias incidents” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group that collects data on religiously motivated hate actions and crimes.

“Not only are incidents like those increasing, but the violent nature of those incidents is also increasing,” said Zainab Arain, CAIR research and advocacy manager.

In its 2018 Civil Rights Report, CAIR found nearly 2,600 anti-Muslim-based bias incidents in 2017 — a 17% increase from the previous year. Almost half of those took place within the first three months of the year.

That rise parallels a 23% national increase in religiously motivated hate crimes against any religious group — the second-highest number of hate crimes based on religion. The highest number of religiously motivated hate crimes was recorded in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks.

Virginia State Police recorded 44 religion-based hate crimes in 2017, the latest year for which data are available. That was almost double the 23 religion-based hate crime the previous year.

Of the 44 offenses in 2017, half were anti-Jewish, and eight were classified as anti-Muslim. White men were the largest group of offenders for all hate crimes in Virginia.

Arain said the number of hate crimes is likely higher than what reports show for two reasons: underreporting due to fear of retaliation and inaccuracy of FBI data.

“The FBI does collect it only from law enforcement agencies, and law enforcement agencies are not required to report it to the FBI,” Arain said. “Many law enforcement agencies don’t event collect hate crime data in their own municipalities.”

As hate crimes and bias incidents on the basis of religion sharply increase, Arain said, a few factors are at play.

“This across-the-board rise in nativist movements is playing a role in increasing religious discrimination and religious-based hate crimes,” she said, mentioning a slew of nativist campaigns around the world, including the Chinese cleansing of Uighur Muslims.

When it comes to the U.S., Arain said she considers President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” She said his election has contributed to rising hate.

“That emboldens people who share the same beliefs or ideas and have similar biases and prejudices to act out on their ideas and commit and perpetrate these hate crimes targeting various religious minorities,” she said.

In conjunction with rising hate-fueled violence, domestic hate groups have also increased. There are more than 1,000 hate groups in the U.S. — the most the nation has seen more than in two decades — according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Thirty-nine of those groups call Virginia home.

West called these groups “terrorist organizations.”

Hate crimes and acts of terror do overlap. There is, however, one characteristic that separates the two.

“A hate crime doesn’t have to be politically motivated,” said David Webber, assistant professor in VCU’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. “But an act of terrorism does.”

While there isn’t a standard definition of “terrorism,” the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines it as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Recent incidents like the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the church bombings in Sri Lanka are classified as acts of terror since they were fueled by political motives.

Hate crimes are also punishable by law, while domestic acts of terror are not. International acts of terror in the U.S. or by U.S. citizens, however, are punishable under U.S. law — for example, pledging allegiance to ISIS or al-Shabaab.

Webber referenced the car attack at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville as an example of domestic terrorism labeled and punished as a different crime. An avowed neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of murder for driving into a group of counterprotesters and killing Heather Heyer.

“When he used his car to kill that person in Charlottesville, he was never charged with an act of terrorism,” Webber said. “Even though by a definition of terrorism, he was involved in an act of political violence for political reasons, and he killed someone for it. We call that an act of terrorism.”

But since acts of domestic terrorism aren’t punishable by law in the U.S., Webber said, Fields was charged with a hate crime. On March 27, Fields pleaded guilty to 29 counts of hate crimes — one resulting in Heyer’s death and 28 in connection with injuries to other people.

Both hate crimes and acts of terror are forms of aggression. But aggression is not always expressed as physical violence.

“There are many forms of aggression,” said West, a doctoral student who researches the topic. “You’ve got your run-of-the-mill physical violence, your verbal aggression … then you get into ‘mark your territory’ with things like instrumental violence or relational violence.”

Simple examples of instrumental violence on the basis of religion would be vandalizing the side of a mosque or defacing a Jewish cemetery.

“Most people are not very violent and don’t really like to be unless someone has provoked them or attacked them or offended them in some way,” West said. “That phenomena (of violence and aggression) is one that is so inconsistent with much of human nature.”

But there are reasons why people are drawn to acting out aggressively.

Webber, who researches violent extremism, identifies three key factors why individuals are drawn toward extreme violence and hate-fueled aggression: needs, narratives and networks — “the three N’s” as he calls them.

“People become extremists because they’re striving to fulfill an important psychological need that is universal for all of us,” he said. “The need to feel significant, to feel like you’re valued, to feel like you’re respected.”

Webber said people drawn to extreme violence — whether it be a hate crime, terrorist attack or another form — see an aspect of “heroism” in their actions. This is amplified by the ease of creating communities through social media, he said.

“You used to have to meet with people secretly, talk to them or they have to find a poster on the street,” Webber said. “Now, they can log online and see everything. It expands your reach, the potential recruitment pool that you have. You can put information up and people can read it instantly. And you can draw people into a cause really quickly.”

Recruitment for hate groups outside of social media still exists. White supremacist propaganda — in the form of leaflets handed out on college campuses, flyers, rallies and other events — increased 182% in 2018, according to research conducted by the Anti-Defamation League.

Adding to the hate targeted at specific religious groups is how news outlets portray members of these communities.

“A large contributing factor is likely the negative coverage in the media of certain religious groups,” said Raha Batts, imam of Masjid Ash-Shura in Norfolk, Virginia.

Batts said Western media outlets portray Islam as a “religion of terror.”

West said media bias likely plays a significant role in the dehumanizing of certain outgroups.

“Individuals of different races are treated much differently by the news media,” he said. “A more heinous crime could be committed by a white person, and those [news] articles often are quick to refer to mental illness as being the primary motivation or a primary factor at play.”

But if the perpetrators of violence are non-white, the media raise the specter of terrorism and ties to extremist groups, West said.

Batts is no stranger to bias incidents. A few years ago, he and his family stayed in a hotel in Norfolk before moving to the area permanently. After checking into the hotel, his wife passed a group of men who Batts said had been drinking outside of the building.

“One of them was terribly angry at just the sight of my wife,” Batts said. His wife dresses in niqab, a full-length veil that covers her face. “He began acting kind of erratic. He had a beer bottle, and he slammed the beer bottle on the ground.”

The other men stopped him from approaching his wife, Batts said. But she felt the hostility.

“They were military guys, and they served in Afghanistan together,” Batts said. “This particular person, he had a problem with Muslims.”

Batts said negative media coverage played a role in the bias incident he and his wife experienced.

“I spoke to the young man for some time,” Batts said. “Just explained to him that we’re not terrorists, we’re not anti-America. We’re not your enemy.”

Other faith leaders have recognized the spike in hate crimes and acts of terror against their communities.

“Hate crimes have always committed against us; it’s just a fact of being a Jew,” said Rabbi David Spinrad of the Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia. “It’s not a new phenomenon.”

Nearly 60% of hate crimes perpetrated across the U.S. in 2017 were anti-Jewish, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. Between 2016 and 2017, anti-Jewish hate crimes rose by 57%.

On Saturday, authorities said, a man with an assault rifle opened fire in a synagogue in a suburb of San Diego, California, killing one person and wounding three. The man has also been charged with arson at a nearby mosque.

Spinrad said interfaith dialogue and solidarity is the best combatant to rising hate.

“This is big — this has so much momentum,” Spinrad said. “The importance of the relationship of American Jews and American Muslims … I can’t overstate that it is huge. They’re coming for you, and they’re coming for me.”

Amid negative news coverage of the Muslim community, Batts echoed Spinrad’s thoughts on interfaith dialogue and building community.

“It’s our job,” Batts said. “We can coexist with one another, and we can work together. There will be certain things that you believe that I don’t necessarily believe. But we can still be good to one another, we can still be kind to one another. We all have the same goals in mind.”

Community College Philanthropists Honored with 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

Joining Microsoft representative, Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager, at the Leadership in Philanthropy Luncheon were (left to right), Kelly Arnold, SVCC Apprenticeship Coordinator, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, Dr. Glenn DuBois, VCCS Chancellor, Mr. Putorek, Jeanette Putorek and Dr. Chad Patton, SVCC Dean of Career & Occupational Technology.

Richmond – The Virginia Community College System and Chancellor Glenn DuBois has presented Microsoft represented by Anthony Putorek, Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager,  of Boydton, Virginia, with the 14th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. Microsoft was nominated for the award by Southside Virginia Community College.

Mr. Putorek was recognized along with two dozen other individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia for their exceptional support of Virginia’s Community Colleges. The awards were presented at a luncheon sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education in Richmond on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019. As part of the award, each college will be given funds for the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship, to be named in honor of the college’s 2019 Chancellor’s Award recipient.

Now in its 14th year, the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy recognizes outstanding leaders who have helped support Virginia’s Community Colleges and their respective foundations. This year, among those to be honored are four members of VCCS faculty, all of whom have made contributions that have helped their colleges and their students grow. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $18 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Microsoft’s corporate mission is to empower every person and organization to achieve more.  SVCC is a direct benefactor of the company’s efforts through a partnership that includes the donation of data center equipment, the establishment of a scholarship program, and ongoing externships for students.

According to SVCC president Dr. Al Roberts, “This relationship with Microsoft has become a driving force for SVCC’s fastest growing information technology program.  Microsoft’s generosity extends beyond hardware and financial donations to include personal interest in student success.  The company’s employees tutor, coach, advise, and mentor, fulfilling their mission in our community.”

 

 

Donald Graham, keynote speaker and Chairman of the Board at Graham Holdings Company and Co-Founder of TheDream.US, spoke about the importance of Virginia’s Community Colleges and the ways that the philanthropists have contributed to the Commonwealth.

“We are in this room today to tell you, whether you work for one of the colleges or have given to one of the colleges, that what you are doing is absolutely right,” Graham said during his remarks. “I am so proud of this crowd for what you’re doing, and I hope you are proud of yourselves and your fellow donors and of the leaders and teachers at the community colleges you serve.

Recipients of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy:

 

  • BLUE RIDGE: Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth D. Bowman
  • CENTRAL VIRGINIA: Donna Schewel Clark Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
  • DABNEY S. LANCASTER: Stephen and Donna Vaughn
  • DANVILLE: Danville Kiwanis Club Foundation, Lions Club of Danville Foundation
  • EASTERN SHORE: Tom and Page Young*
  • GERMANNA: Mary Jane Pitts O’Neill
  • J SARGEANT REYNOLDS: Mitchell F. Haddon and Sabine Neumann
  • JOHN TYLER: Amsted Industries
  • LORD FAIRFAX: The Jenkins Family – Russell, Elta Rae, Rodney and Karen
  • MOUNTAIN EMPIRE: Ralph T. and Shirley M. Fisher
  • NEW RIVER: Dr. and Mrs. Lee Wheeler
  • NORTHERN VIRGINIA: Dr. Glenn Fatzinger
  • PATRICK HENRY: The Harvest Foundation
  • PAUL D CAMP: Charles R. Henderson, Jr., Bank of America Foundation     
  • PIEDMONT: H. Gordon* and Mary Beth Smyth
  • RAPPAHANNOCK: Rick and Sue Farmar
  • SOUTHSIDE VA: Microsoft                               
  • SOUTHWEST VA: Mary W. Lawson
  • THOMAS NELSON: Newport News Shipbuilding
  • TIDEWATER: Stanley Black & Decker
  • VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS: David and Schéry Collins
  • VIRGINIA WESTERN: Maury and Shiela Strauss Family
  • WYTHEVILLE:  Floyd and Hilda Jonas
  • VFCCE: The Petters Family Foundation

 

*honored posthumously

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Stories on Emporianews.com are be searchable, using the box above. All new stories will be tagged with the date (format YYYY-M-D or 2013-1-1) and the names of persons, places, institutions, etc. mentioned in the article. This database feature will make it easier for those people wishing to find and re-read an article.  For anyone wishing to view previous day's pages, you may click on the "Previous Day's Pages" link in the menu at the top of the page, or search by date (YYYY-M-D format) using the box above.

Comment Policy:  When an article or poll is open for comments feel free to leave one.  Please remember to be respectful when you comment (no foul or hateful language, no racial slurs, etc) and keep our comments safe for work and children. Comments are moderated and comments that contain explicit or hateful words will be deleted.  IP addresses are tracked for comments. 

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and is provided as a community service by the Advertisers and Sponsors.
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Submit Your Story!

Emporia News welcomes your submissions!  You may submit articles, announcements, school or sports information using the submission forms found here, or via e-mail on news@emporianews.com.  Currently, photos and advertisements will still be accepted only via e-mail, but if you have photos to go along with your submission, you will receive instructions via e-mail. If you have events to be listed on the Community Calendar, submit them here.

Contact us at news@emporianews.com
 
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