The Emporia Police Department has received what they are calling a "Credible Threat" of violence at this year's Virgninia Peanut Festival. The EPD, assisted by other law enforcement agencies, will have multiple tents and an increased presence. Festival attendees are asked to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. If you see something, say something.

Current Weather Conditions

 
Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

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September 2018

Walter Glenn Rainey

Walter Glenn Rainey, Sr., 78, passed away on Thursday, September 13, 2018 after a brief illness at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, NC. He was preceded in death by his parents, Almeda and Leonard Rainey, brothers, Bart and James and a niece, Beth Allen.

Walter is survived by his wife, Brenda; son, Glenn Rainey and wife, Tina; brother, Marion; step-daughter, Kellie Kirby and step-son, Wayne Smith and a number of beloved nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Walter was a veteran of the Virginia Army National Guard and worked in auto sales until his retirement. He loved the outdoors and greatly enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Services and interment will be private.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at ww.owenfh.com.

How Social Security Defines Disability

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

Disability affects millions of Americans, in one form or another. Social Security is here to help you and your family, but there are strict criteria for meeting the definition of disability. The definition of disability under Social Security is also different than it is for other programs. We do not pay benefits for partial or short-term disability.

We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You can’t do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

This is a strict definition of disability.

Social Security is also required by law to review the current medical condition of all people receiving disability benefits to make sure they continue to have a qualifying disability. Generally, if someone’s health hasn’t improved, or if their disability still keeps them from working, they will continue to receive benefits.

To help us make our decision, we’ll first gather new information about a benefit recipient’s medical condition. We’ll ask their doctors, hospitals, and other medical sources for their medical records. We’ll ask them how their medical condition limits their activities, what their medical tests show, and what medical treatments they have been given. If we need more information, we’ll ask them to go for an examination or test for which we’ll pay.

Social Security is a support system for people who cannot work because of a disability. You can learn more about Social Security disability at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityand also by accessing our starter kits and checklists at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/disability.

IALR NAMED AS PROGRAM MANAGER OF VINEYARD GRANT PROGRAM, ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

~Cost-share program addresses grape shortage, encourages growth of Virginia wine industry~

Amy Turner of IALR, Program Manager of TRRC’s SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program(DANVILLE, Va.) – The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has been named by Virginia’s Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) as the new program manager of the SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program, first launched in 2016, and is currently accepting new applications for grant awards. Through the cost-share program, IALR will work with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, TRRC and the Virginia Vineyards Association to increase vineyard acreage and address the shortage of Virginia-grown grapes.

“We are excited to step into this new role with the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, and look forward to supporting vineyard acreage expansion efforts as well as growth of the Virginia wine industry,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. “As we strive to be a regional catalyst for economic transformation, agritourism and business development are important components of the process. IALR is excited to offer leadership throughout 34 counties in Southern and Southwest Virginia.”

This grant program, in place through Jan. 12, 2020, is designed to support Virginia’s wine industry and agritourism by providing growers incentive to expand vineyard acreage. A cost-share award of up to $3,000 per acre is available for qualified vineyard growers—reimbursing 33 percent of eligible expenditures. Vineyards with up to nine acres may receive a maximum award of up to $15,000, and those with ten or more acres may receive a maximum award of up to $20,000. Funding is awarded through a competitive process and may be sought by qualified existing growers who wish to expand their current acreage and by new growers developing their first vineyard. To be considered for the program, new growers must establish at least three acres of new vines, and existing growers must be willing to plant a minimum of one new acre. Eligible cost-share items include, but are not limited to, grapevines, hardware for trellis systems, fencing and irrigation systems.

To learn more about eligibility requirements, including a detailed map of eligible counties, growers may visit TRRCgrape.com or contact Program Manager Amy Turner at amy.turner@ialr.org or (434) 766-6788. Turner also will assist growers with the application process, which is currently open. Vineyard grower workshops and grant program interest meetings are being planned and will be announced on TRRCgrape.com.

The SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program was developed with an overall goal of increasing production of wine grapes in Southern and Southwest Virginia. In order for wines to be marketed as Virginia wines, they must contain at least 75 percent of Virginia-grown grapes. While the number of wineries in Virginia has been increasing, the pace of vineyard expansion has lagged, resulting in acute grape shortages and the slowing of Virginia wine production. In 2015, the Virginia Wineries Association, Virginia Wine, Virginia Vineyards Association and Virginia Wine Council partnered on a strategic plan to address the issue.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, conference center services and economic development efforts. The Institute’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville.

Pictured above is Amy Turner of IALR, Program Manager of TRRC’s SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program

Shirley Pearson

Shirley Pearson, surrounded by family and friends, died September 17, 2018 at Beason Place in Greensboro, N.C.   Shirley was born in 1932 in Emporia, Va.  She lived there all of her life except the last three years when she moved to Greensboro to be near her daughter.

Shirley graduated from Greensville County High School.  Much of her adult life, over 30 years, she and her husband owned and operated a family style restaurant.

Shirley is survived by her daughter, Bonnie Pearson of Greensboro. She was preceded in death by her parents, Gertrude and Billy Bowen, brother William and her husband T.J. Pearson.

Shirley loved to play bingo and acquired the nickname of BINGO by her fellow residents at Heritage Greens Assisted Living.

Funeral Services will be held Friday, September 21, 2018 at Echols Funeral Home Chapel and followed by interment at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 10:00 A. M. until time of the service.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

"Good Ole Grandma"

Has anyone asked Grandma
well you all know that you should
yes if anyone will help you
you know that Grandma would.
 
Yes Grandmas they are everywhere
to guide us through each day
if they are ever needed
they are only a step away.
 
You sometimes wonder who’s in charge
of the house that you live in
well if you bet on Grandma
you most likely will win.
 
Now Grandmas give out lots of love
but they like some in return
yes if you don’t do your part
in a short time you will learn.
 
They say Grandmas don’t have favorites
so they will treat all just the same
yet Grandma will work around this
and give each one her special time.
 
Now hos come Grandmas still awake
when we have all gone to bed
it proves the fact she in is charge
just like before I said!
 
                    Roy E. Schepp

Panther Prep Advising Day Coming to SVCC Campuses and Other Locations

Panther Prep Advising Day, a semi-annual event sponsored by Southside Virignia Community College, is happening again on Tuesday, October 2, 1018 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The event offers students and prospective college students a chance to sign up for Spring classes,  meet with advisors and other college staff, learn about offerings at the college and relax with some food and entertainment. 

Panther Prep Day will be held on the Christanna Campus in Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill. 

If you have question, email them to student.services@southside.edu

AG HERRING URGES CONSUMERS TO BEWARE OF FRAUD AND SCAMS FOLLOWING HURRICANE FLORENCE

~ Urges awareness of common post-disaster frauds and scams involving door to door sales of services, home repair or debris removal following significant flooding and tornadoes ~

RICHMOND (September 18, 2018) – As Virginia begins to recover from significant flooding, storms and tornadoes caused by Hurricane Florence, Attorney General Mark R. Herring today encouraged Virginians to know their rights as consumers and to be on the lookout for common frauds and schemes that take advantage of people affected by natural disasters. Specifically, the Office of the Attorney General alerted Virginians to scams involving door to door canvassing, charitable contribution solicitations, home repair proposals, and tree cleanup and removal. Attorney General Herring previously warned Virginians to be cautious when donating money to assist hurricane victims in their recovery efforts. 
 
“This hurricane has had a significant impact on families across Virginia and we want to make sure that folks do not also become victims of scams during this time,” said Attorney General Herring. “Unfortunately, those affected by natural disasters are often the target of frauds, scams, and other illegal practices as they try to clean up and move forward. I urge all Virginians to familiarize themselves with fraudulent behavior that follows storms like Hurricane Florence. Be wary of any red flags that you may notice, resist pressures to make any quick decisions, and do not hesitate to call my office if you think you may have been a victim of fraudulent or illegal business practices.”
 
Consumers can contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section at 1(800) 552-9963 and can file a complaint online. Consumers are encouraged to keep and provide copies of as much documentation as possible.
 
HOME REPAIRS, DEBRIS REMOVAL, OR CLEANUP
Home repair companies will arrive at disaster sites in response to the high demand for their services resulting from widespread property damage. Often disreputable companies hoping to make easy money are among them. They may require you to pay them before doing the work, do a shoddy job, or add extra costs throughout the job. To avoid being taken advantage of in this way, follow these tips:
  • Work with contractors you know or local firms with roots in the community. 
  • Ask people you trust for contractor referrals.
  • Ask the contractor for references and check them.
  • Verify the contractor’s license status and check on any complaints with the Board for Contractors at http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/ or call (804) 367-8511.
  • Get written estimates from several firms.
  • Do not do business without a written contract. Be sure that all guarantees, promises, and details are in writing. 
  • Do not pay large sums in advance and never make final payment until all work is completed to your satisfaction. 
  • Be extra cautious when a contractor comes to your door soliciting your business, offers you discounts for finding other customers, or "just happens to have" materials left over from a previous job.

 
DOOR TO DOOR SOLICITATIONS
In addition to home repair services, door-to-door solicitors may offer a variety of products for use after the disaster, as well as services like tree or debris cleanup. Some door-to-door solicitors are not legitimate. Remember these tips when someone comes to your door to sell you something:
  • High pressure sales tactics are often a part of fraudulent activity. Do not be hurried or intimidated. The salesperson is at your door uninvited and remains there only at your courtesy.
  • Be extra cautious about letting someone into your home. Never let anyone into your home without first asking for identification.
  • Under Virginia law, you have three days to cancel sales made at your home if the product or service costs $25 or more.
  • Your right of cancellation may be waived by you in an emergency. Be very cautious about signing a document that waives your right to cancel the sale. Read anything you are asked to sign very carefully.
  • If you decide to purchase from or use the services of a door-to-door solicitor, get all information and promises in writing; but remember, without a bricks and mortar business location, it is easy for these individuals to relocate and make it impossible for you to find them should legal recourse become necessary.



 

Virginia’s Community Colleges expand FastForward workforce training in rapidly growing solar energy, heavy construction sectors

RICHMOND—Virginia’s Community Colleges today announced a $4 million economic investment over the next two years to support curriculum development and FastForward workforce training in the rapidly growing fields of utility-scale solar energy and heavy construction. Select community colleges will develop programs that can be expanded across the commonwealth as the demand grows for skilled workers in these fields.
 
VIRGINIA SOLAR WORKFORCE INITIATIVE
 
Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will receive funds to work with businesses in the energy industry to develop and deploy the Virginia Solar Workforce Initiative, a first-in-the-state curriculum and training program for the utility-scale solar industry. The need for utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, who earn an average starting salary of $42,000-50,000, is emerging in Virginia, and the U.S. Department of Energy reports the solar energy sector is poised for robust growth.
 
“The Virginia Solar Workforce Initiative is an exceptional example of a public-private partnership,” said Dr. Al Roberts, president of Southside Virginia Community College. “These jobs represent an excellent opportunity for Virginians to be a part of this dynamic, high-growth industry, and we’re excited to partner with industry leaders in the utility-scale solar field, the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, to create this program.”
 
VCCS HEAVY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMS
 
The new grants also will increase access to FastForward training for workers in the heavy construction industry.  Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC), Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), and Germanna Community College (GCC) will team up to develop a curriculum and statewide training capabilities for courses that support Virginia’s development sector.
In partnership with the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA) and the Virginia Asphalt Association (VAA), the colleges will establish online access to training programs in the principles and practices of road building and other major infrastructure projects. 
 
“The expanded initiative provides an opportunity to truly create a pipeline of current and future employees who will reap the rewards of a well-paid and rewarding career pathway,” said Ken Garrison, Executive Director of the Heavy Construction Contractors Association. “We have worked collaboratively with LFCC to build the pilot program and our firms benefited from hiring the graduates.”
 
“We look forward to working in partnership with our sister colleges to scale and expand the program in order to serve more employers and give access to more job seekers to obtain these high demand industry credentials,” said Kimberly Blosser, president of LFCC.
 
The average starting salary in Virginia for heavy equipment operators is $43,000 a year. 
 
Since July of 2016, Virginians who trained in FastForward programs at community colleges have earned more than 11,000 valuable industry recognized workforce credentials. FastForward training programs are specifically geared toward the needs of local businesses and offer students affordable access to new careers in weeks or months instead of semesters and years.
 
“FastForward is benefitting both the individuals who earn credentials in high demand fields and the businesses that are eager to hire skilled employees,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “These strategic investments will bolster those talent pipelines feeding these emerging industries and prepare even more people for these good-paying careers.”
 
Find out more about FastForward at www.fastforwardva.org.

AG HERRING WARNS VIRGINIANS TO BE CAUTIOUS WHEN DONATING TO ASSIST VICTIMS OF HURRICANE FLORENCE

~ Solicitations from fake charities are more common following natural disasters ~

RICHMOND (September 17, 2018) - As the East Coast begins to recover from Hurricane Florence, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging Virginians to exercise caution as they consider donating money to assist victims in their recovery. Sadly, scammers often use natural disasters such as hurricanes to set up fake charities where the money collected is pocketed by the scammer. As crowdfunding becomes more popular, it is especially important to research a crowdfunding page to make sure it is legitimate before donating.
 
“The images we are seeing out of the areas hit by Hurricane Florence are heartbreaking, and it is the first instinct of Virginians to help victims during this time of need,” said Attorney General Herring. “Folks must be smart and cautious when donating to hurricane focused charities because the sad truth is there are immoral people out there who will take advantage of a natural disaster to line their own pockets. I would encourage everyone to do their research before donating money to any charity that claims to help victims of this storm.”
 
Prior to making any contributions, Attorney General Herring encourages potential donors to take some common-sense precautions. While there are many legitimate organizations that provide relief to disaster victims, there are also many con artists that will use the phone, e-mail, U.S. Mail, the internet, or personal contact to try to separate you from your money. Always follow these tips when considering a charitable donation:
 
  • On crowdfunding sites:
  • Check the creator or page owner's credentials and try to confirm its authenticity and seriousness.
  • Look for indicators of endorsement or legitimacy that the page is actually collecting donations for a particular victim or organization. Some sites offer verification and transparency measures for campaigns. Look for those markers of authenticity, and check out the site's fraud protection measures.
  • Be cautious, and if you feel uneasy, contribute to a more established charity in the community.
  • Be wary of charities that spring up overnight in connection with a current event or natural disaster. They may make a compelling case for you to make a donation but even if they are legitimate, they may not have the infrastructure or experience to get your donation to the affected area or people.
  • Only give to charities and fundraisers you can confirm are reliable and legitimate. Scrutinize charities with consumer advocates or friends and find out how much of your donation will go to the charity's programs and services.
  • Beware of "copy-cat" names that sound like reputable charities. Some scammers use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations.
  • Be especially cautious if you do not initiate the contact with the charity.
  • Do not be pressured into giving. Legitimate organizations will not expect you to contribute immediately.
  • Ask for written information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number. Legitimate organizations will give you materials about the charity's mission, how your donation will be used, and proof that your contribution is tax-deductible. Just because a "charity" has a tax identification number does not mean your contribution is tax-deductible.
  • Avoid cash donations. Make checks payable to the charitable organization and not to an individual collecting a donation. For security and tax record purposes, you may wish to pay by credit card.
  • If contributing over the Internet, be sure the web site you are visiting belongs to the charity to which you want to donate. See if other legitimate web sites will link to that web site. Make sure the web site is secure and offers protection of your credit card number
  • If a charity is soliciting contributions in Virginia, verify its registration with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs ("OCRP") at (804) 786-1343, or by searching OCRP's Charitable Organization Database online: http://cos.va-vdacs.com/cgi-bin/char_search.cgi
  • While a legitimate charity should be registered with OCRP to solicit contributions in Virginia, registration alone does not mean that the organization will be effective in aiding victims of a particular natural disaster.

 

Who to Contact

You can report charitable solicitation fraud to the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs and the Office of the Attorney General at the following addresses and telephone numbers:
 
OFFICE OF CHARITABLE AND REGULATORY PROGRAMS
P.O. Box 1163
Richmond, Virginia 23218
(804) 786-1343
(804) 225-2666 (fax)

 
OCRP administers the provisions of the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions ("VSOC") law, Virginia Code §§ 57-48 through 57-69, and registers charitable organizations soliciting in Virginia. OCRP investigates complaints where there is an alleged violation of the VSOC law by a charitable organization or its professional fundraiser while soliciting contributions in Virginia. If it has reason to believe violations have occurred, OCRP can make an investigative referral to the Attorney General's Office and/or other agencies for a possible law enforcement action.
 
Here is a link to OCRP's Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/cscomplaint.pdf

  
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Consumer Protection Section
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(800) 552-9963 (if calling from Virginia)
(804) 786-2042 (phone) (if calling from Richmond area)
(804) 225-4378 (fax)
 
The Virginia Attorney General has authority under state and federal consumer protection statutes to investigate and prosecute charitable solicitation and other consumer fraud and misrepresentation. If an action is brought, the Attorney General can seek injunctive relief to halt fraudulent or deceptive conduct in Virginia and obtain restitution for injured consumers. 
 
Here is a link to the Attorney General's Consumer Complaint Form: http://www.ag.virginia.gov/consumercomplaintform/form/start

 

COLLEGE DAY AND FOUR YEAR COLLEGE TOUR SET FOR OCTOBER 3

Area eleventh and twelfth-grade high school students and their parents are invited to attend “College Day” at Southside Virginia Community College’s Christanna Campus in Alberta on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  This is the Regional College Day program for Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and parts of Lunenburg and Nottoway counties.  Second-year students and graduates of two-year college degree programs are also urged to attend.  Over 40 colleges, universities and special schools will be represented.

Institutions that should be represented include Averett University, Barton College, Bluefield College, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, Bryant and Stratton-Richmond, Campbell University, Chowan University, Christopher Newport University, College of William and Mary, Concord University, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory and Henry College, Ferrum College, George Mason University,  Hampden-Sydney College, Hampton University, James Madison University, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Johnson & Wales University, Liberty University,   Mary Baldwin College, Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Wesleyan College,  Old Dominion University, Old Dominion University On Line, Pfeiffer University, Radford University,  Regent University, Shenandoah University, Southside College of Health Sciences, Southside Virginia Community College, The Apprentice School, University of Mary Washington, Sweet Briar College, University of Lynchburg, University of Virginia, University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, Virginia Wesleyan College and Winson-Salem State University.  Also attending will be a representative for the Virginia Tobacco Region Scholarship.  For more information about “College Day” contact the Admissions Office at SVCC’s Christanna Campus at 434-949-1014.

AG HERRING WARNS OF SCAMMERS POSING AS DISASTER OFFICIALS DURING HURRICANE FLORENCE

~ Scammers in Hampton Roads are seeking personal information under the guise of reimbursement for evacuation expenses ~

RICHMOND (September 14, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today is warning Virginians, particularly those who live in the Hampton Roads region, of scammers who are posing as disaster relief officials calling for personal information under the guise of reimbursement for evacuation expenses. Now that Governor Northam has lifted the mandatory evacuation order, Virginians are returning to their homes and could be more susceptible to scams like this one. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a disaster official and they ask for your personal information, it is a scam and you should hang up the phone.
 
“It is a shame that there are people out there who take advantage of a natural disaster and try to scam victims,” said Attorney General Herring. “Folks have begun to return home now that the Governor has lifted the evacuation order, making them potential targets for scammers offering to reimburse them for evacuation expenses. This is why it is so important that all Virginians know the signs of a scam and never give their personal information to someone they do not know. If something seems fishy that means it probably is.”
 
Phishing scams typically involve scammers posing as legitimate organizations, in this case either the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) or FEMA, demanding that victims turn over their personal information so it can be used to commit fraud and identity theft. Never let a “disaster official” or “disaster worker” into your home without first asking for the person’s identification and checking it out. Some con artists pose as government officials and claim that a “processing fee” must be paid to secure disaster relief payments or loans. Other con artists pretend to be safety inspectors and require that expensive or unnecessary repairs be done immediately. Attorney General Herring would like you to keep the following scam guidelines in mind:
 
  • Phishing emails typically contain misspellings and poor grammar, and demand that you “act immediately.”
  • Most legitimate companies do not ask for personal information over email or by unsolicited phone call. Should you have a question about your status or account with an institution, call the company directly from a number off their real website. 
  • Do not click on links in suspected emails or use numbers contained in them.   
  • Never reply to a suspicious email or provide personal information to an unsolicited phone call.
  • Report the email to the purported institution or appropriate law enforcement agency.
  • Use strong passwords for your email, computer, and financial accounts, including variations of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols of at least 8 characters.
  • Install anti-virus programs on your computer and scan files and emails regularly.
  • Check for regular updates to your operating system.
  • Install and activate a software and hardware firewall on your computer.
  • Backup all of your data regularly using an external hard drive.
 
If you feel you have been a victim of one of these phishing scams, please contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section: www.ag.virginia.gov or call 1-800-552-9963 in Virginia or (804) 786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area. You can also contact VDEM atwww.vaemergency.gov, (804) 897-6500, or pio@vdem.virginia.gov.

 

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56th Annual Virginia Peanut Festival is Next Weekend

This 56th annual event presented by the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce features various festival activities Thursday - Saturday in Veterans Memorial Park and a carnival with rides, games and favorite fair food Thursday - Sunday at the Old Elementary School site.

The peanut harvest celebration starts with the annual Kick-Off Kook-Off Food Tasting Competition on Thursday. Festival highlights include live music, arts and crafts, the annual Car & Truck Show, a peanut farm tour, farm animal petting zoo, Civil War re-enactors, educational exhibits, antique tractor displays and a variety of festival food. The annual parade will roll at 11 am on Saturday, with a fireworks display at night.

Festival and carnival admission and parking are free. Call 866-666-3247 for ride prices and specials, or visit DreamlandAmusements.com.

Midway hours are 5-10 pm Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday, noon - 11 pm Saturday, and noon - 5 pm Sunday. Festival hours are 4:30-9:30 pm Thursday, 4:30-11 pm Friday, and 9:30 am - 11 pm Saturday. Visit EmporiaGreensvilleChamber.com for event updates.

IT’S RAINING DOGS AT THIS YEAR'S PEANUT FESTIVAL

This adorable doggie quilt is one of the many quilts that will be on display at the free Quilt Show at the Richardson Memorial Library during the Peanut Festival.

There will be dogs on display at the Meherrin Piecemakers’ Quilt Show during the Virginia Peanut Festival.  This is one of the many whimsical quilts that will be displayed at the Richardson Memorial Library on Saturday, September 22, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  While at the Peanut Festival, take a break to cool off and see the many creations the quilters have crafted.  Quilters will be on hand to answer questions about they many styles and techniques on display at the free event.

The Quilt Guild meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Main Street Baptist Church in Emporia at 7:00 p.m.   The guild welcomes individuals of all skill levels to join.  Beginners and experienced quilters alike will learn new techniques and ways of expressing their love of this craft. The guild also supports the community by making quilts for oncology patients, donating to a local Food Bank, and donating to victims of domestic violence.  For more information, contact guild president, Marcia Headley at (434) 658-1555.

BA STUDENT OF THE MONTH FOR SEPTEMBER 2018 JONATHAN DAVIS PAUL

Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Jonathan Davis Paul has been selected September 2018 Student of the month.  Jonathan, a senior, is the son of John and Tonya Paul (Class of 1991) of Emporia.  His sister, Sydney, is a freshman at Brunswick Academy. He is the grandson of Wanda Proctor of Emporia and Ronald and Virginia Paul of Henrico, NC.

Jonathan is in the Brunswick Academy Honors Program, which is the most rigorous and challenging program of study. This year he has been taking dual-enrollment classes at Southside Virginia Community College, as well as his upper-school classes at Brunswick Academy. He has consistently made the Honor Roll throughout his years at the academy.

Regarding academics, he is a member of the National Honor Society and has been a member of Brunswick Academy’s Honor Council, Student Council Organization, the Junior Classical League (Latin Club) and has attended Model General Assembly in Richmond. He has also competed against other schools in our conference as a member of Brunswick Academy’s Scholastic Bowl team (quiz bowl competition).  Jonathan was Chief Marshall at the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2018.

This past summer, Jonathan was selected to attend Boys’ State held at Radford University. The week long program, which is hosted by the American Legion, helps to cultivate leadership skills and develop pride in American citizenships to all of its participants. Over 600 boys attended this session where they were able to learn more about Virginia government.  Jonathan ran for a seat in the House of Delegates and won and was able to write and present a couple of bills.

He is a member of Main Street United Methodist Church in Emporia, where he serves as a scripture reader. Since the 7th grade, he has been a member of Main Street’s Youth Group.  Jonathan has participated in 6 week long mission trips where they travel to different states and perform a variety of tasks including much need home repairs, serving meals to the homeless, as well as completing the renovation of a camp cabin on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

From the time Jonathan was 7 years old, scouting has been an important part of his life. He became a boy scout in Troop 232 of Purdy in 2012 where he logged more than 70 nights camping, has been on numerous hikes including a portion of the Appalachian Trail and a 5 day 35 mile hike through the mountains of New Mexico. Jonathan completed his Eagle Service project in 2016 by planning, organizing and installing a 30’ flagpole with an American Flag at the Greensville Manor Nursing Home. He became an Eagle Scout on November 16, 2016.

Throughout his years of attending Brunswick Academy, Jonathan has participated in athletics at the Junior Varsity and Varsity levels. He has played football for 6 years, earning the sportsmanship award his Junior year and is currently serving as one of the team captains. He has been on the baseball team for 4 years, earning the Most Improved Award his Freshman year and receiving the Coach’s award his Sophomore year. He has also played Soccer and ran with the Cross Country team.

Jonathan’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, kayaking and beekeeping.

He is in the process of applying to the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington and Lee University and North Carolina State University. He plans to study either chemical or electrical engineering.

Lisa Schaffner of UNOS, Visits Crater Community Hospice as Their September Coffee Chat Speaker

PETERSBURG - Lisa Schaffner of UNOS, Visits Crater Community Hospice as Their September Coffee Chat Speaker. Special Thanks to Lisa Schaffner of UNOS, The United Network of Organ Sharing, for her heartfelt and passionate presentation at our September Coffee Chat. We had a large group of community members present for Lisa's presentation; she had us laughing one minute and in tears the next with her amazing stories of hope, life and giving. UNOS is truly making a difference in our community and throughout the nation, Matching Organs. Saving Lives. For more information please visit their website www.unos.org The Crater Community Hospice Coffee Chat Educational Series is held the first Thursday of each month from 9:00-10:00 am in our Petersburg office at 3916 S. Crater Road Petersburg, VA 23805. Please join us! Our programs are always free of charge and open to the community. For more information visit the Events page on our website at www.cratercommunityhospice.org.

Virginia Delegation Calls on President Trump to Issue Federal Emergency Declaration Ahead of Hurricane Florence

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, along with U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman (VA-01), Scott Taylor (VA-02), Bobby Scott (VA-03), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Tom Garrett (VA-05), Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Dave Brat (VA-07), Don Beyer (VA-08), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Barbara Comstock (VA-10), and Gerry Connolly (VA-11), called on President Donald Trump to issue a federal emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Florence, a tropical storm which was recently upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make landfall somewhere on the southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast Thursday night. Virginia’s congressional delegation wrote to the President in support of a request from Gov. Ralph Northam in advance of the storm’s potentially devastating effects on the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“The health and well-being of my constituents is my top concern, which is why I joined the entire congressional delegation of Virginia to call on President Trump to give full consideration to Governor Northam’s request to issue a federal emergency,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “If this storm continues as predicted, making federal resources available will help us achieve a speedy recovery.”

“A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full availability of federal resources to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence. Thank you for your consideration of Governor Northam’s request. We look forward to working with you, FEMA, and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia has the resources available to ensure the safety of our constituents,” wrote the Virginia Congressional Delegation.

On September 8, 2018, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Florence, which is projected to have a significant impact on the Commonwealth in the coming days. It is increasingly likely that Virginia will face damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and potentially life-threating storm surge flooding. Many localities have already ordered mandatory evacuations to prevent potential physical harm or loss of life.

The full text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Mr. President:

We write today to express our support for Governor Ralph S. Northam’s request for a federal emergency declaration in advance of Hurricane Florence’s potentially devastating effects on the Commonwealth of Virginia.

As you may know, on September 8, 2018 Governor Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Florence, which is projected to have a significant impact on the Commonwealth in the coming days. It is increasingly likely that Virginia will face damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and potentially life-threating storm surge flooding due to Hurricane Florence. Many localities have already ordered mandatory evacuations to prevent potential physical harm or loss of life.

Governor Northam’s emergency declaration ensures a fully coordinated state response to support local recovery efforts. The Commonwealth has activated the Virginia Evacuation Coordination Team for Operational Response to assess the storm’s potential effects and the Virginia Emergency Operations Center is already coordinating the state’s response with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full availability of federal resources to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence.

Thank you for your consideration of Governor Northam’s request. We look forward to working with you, FEMA, and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia has the resources available to ensure the safety of our constituents.

 

 

Edith Ferguson Harrell

Edith Ferguson Harrell 91 “and a half” passed away peacefully at home on Friday morning September 7th surrounded by family.  Survived by her two daughters Rita Robinson Rowell (husband James Rongers) and Kathy Robinson Drummond, grandchildren; Betsy Rowell Mathews, Kimberly Rowell Borkat, Christopher Harris, Derick Fisch, Brad Drummond, great grandchildren; Nick and Emily Mathews, Michael, Brandon, and Bailey Borkat, Autumn and Reagon Fisch, several nephews, her faithful furbaby Andy, and special friend and caregiver Tim Hobbs. She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Milton “Lightening” Harrell.  As a long time Emporia resident and member of Forrest Hill Baptist Church, Edith lived in Brink for the last 50+ years and retired from Emporia Garment factory.  Better known as “Billie” to friends and family, she travelled frequently to visit her five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and her large extended family.

One of four daughters to Winfrey Wayland and Lacy Wyche Thompson Ferguson of Emporia, Billie was a vital member of her community, a devoted daughter, loving mother and proud grandmother. On September 22nd, her family would be honored if you would join them to celebrate a life well lived at Echols Funeral Home in Emporia, VA.  Visitation will be from 1:30-2:30 and memorial service at 3:00.  A processional to Forest Hill Baptist Church, Skippers VA for a brief graveside remembrance before refreshments in the fellowship hall.  

David Meade Fuller Jr.

David Meade Fuller Jr., 71, died Saturday, September 8, 2018.

David was the son of the late David Meade Fuller and Eddie Viola Householder Fuller.  After earning a degree in criminal justice, he worked as a police officer for the City of Emporia and as a Greensville County deputy sheriff.  As a graduate of the sniper school at Quantico, he taught marksmanship in the Department of Corrections where he retired as a Captain and was a member of the PERT team. Also an avid hunter, he taught marksmanship for many years as a volunteer with 4-H. David was a loyal member and Deacon of Victory Fellowship.

David is survived by his loving wife of 40 years Bonnie Fuller, children; David Fuller III and his wife Jackie, Julia Caish and her husband Brian, Victor Fuller and his wife Jennifer, grandchildren; Dakota Lawson and wife Briana, Megan Fuller, Haley Hitt, Trevor and Joshua Caish, and Riley, Meade, and Morgan Fuller.

Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. at Victory Fellowship with Rev. Bradley Barbour officiating. Burial will follow in the Field Family Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Echols Funeral Home Tuesday, September 11, 2018 from 6:30 until 8:30 P.M.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

Virginians Should Prepare Now for Hurricane Florence Impacts

Please note that while the projected path of Hurricane Florence has changed, the path is still probable. Our area could still be impacted with several inches of rain and wind gusts in the 40 mph range.

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Donates School Supplies to Brunswick County Public Schools

 

Dr. Jerry Congleton, BCPS Assistant Superintendent; Rebecca Parrish, SVRMC HR Director; Dr. Kristy Somerville-Midgette, BCPS Division Superintendent (From left to right)

Emporia, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) staff turned denim into donations during the Back-to-School Supply Drive. Over the summer months, SVRMC employees donated money and school supplies in order to wear jeans on Fridays. “It was an easy and fun way for our team to be able to help students in our community,” explained Rebecca Parrish, SVRMC HR Director.

Earlier this week, more than $400 in supplies were delivered to Brunswick County Public Schools (BCPS). “Thank you to Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center for the generous donation of school supplies,” said Kristy N. Somerville-Midgette, BCPS Division Superintendent, “Our faculty, staff, and students are appreciative of your generosity!”

This is the second year SVRMC employees have donated to the school supply drive. In 2017, donations were given to Greensville County Public Schools. In 2018, team members have generously given more than $2,000 to local charities and organizations including the Food Pantry at Main Street Baptist Church, the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Program and the Emporia/Greensville Relay for Life.

 

AUTHORS’ NIGHT AT BRUNSWICK COUNTY LIBRARY - Part Three

The Brunswick County Library will host Authors' Night, Monday, September 17, 5:30-7:30 PM. Seven Virginia authors will be on hand to talk about their work and to autograph copies of their books. Authors attending this year’s event will include: Valerie Burke, Lisa Clary, Catina Macklin, Joey and Vicky Powell, Teresa Stith, and Ronald Thornhill.

Joey and Vicky Powell are the authors of Wilber’s Story, a picture book that teaches children valuable life lessons. Vicky, a native of New York, and Joey, a native of Freeman, Virginia, married in 2001. The characters of the Crabapple Tree series are inspired by the short stories, plays, and puppet shows developed for church programs that the couple writes and performs together.

Teresa Stith, a Lawrenceville resident, is the author of A Faith That Works: Moving from Seeing to Believing. At an early age, Teresa was met with grave challenges beyond her control. Her book is the story of how she moved forward through failed relationships, loneliness, depression, rejection, and suicidal thoughts, towards freedom in Christ.

Dr. Ronald Thornhill, a native of Richmond, Virginia, is the author of Menspiration: Motivating & Inspiring Men to Conquer Life’s Mountains. Dr. Thornhill is the senior pastor at the Tabernacle of Zion Church in Lawrenceville, and the Dean of Students and Athletic Director at Brunswick High School. In his book, he seeks to provide workable solutions for how men can regain their inspiration and motivation in life.

For profiles of Valerie Burke, Lisa Clary, and Catina Macklin, please search Author's Night at Brunswick County Library in the box below.

Please join us for Authors’ Night 2018 at the Brunswick County Library on Monday, September 17th.  During this special event, table space and seating for the public may be limited. Refreshments will be served. The Brunswick County Library is part of the Meherrin Regional Library System. For more information please call the library at 434-848-2418 or visit www.meherrinlib.org.

SBA Announces Decrease in Surety Bond Guarantee Fees

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Small Business Administration announces the first fee decrease in Surety Bond Guarantees in 12 years. The fee decrease will be in effect for guaranteed bonds approved during fiscal year 2019, taking effect October 1, 2018 and ending September 30, 2019.

The Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) program is reducing the Surety fee from 26 percent to 20 percent of the bond premium charged to the small businesses and reducing its contractor fee from $7.29 per thousand dollars of the contract amount to $6.00 per thousand dollars of the contract amount.

“Reducing the SBG program fees will not only directly help small businesses, but also will incentivize surety companies and their agents to increase support for small businesses in the marketplace,” said Peter C. Gibbs, Acting Director of the Office of Surety Guarantees.

Under its SBG program, the SBA guarantees bid, payment and performance bonds for small and emerging contractors who cannot obtain surety bonds through regular commercial channels.  SBA guarantees contracts up to $10 million, including the streamlined QuickApp application for those up to $400,000.

“This is great news for America’s entrepreneurs,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian. “Incentivizing sureties to provide bonding for small contractors improves access to contracts, which are often make-or-break opportunities in the life of a business.”

Currently, there are 34 participating sureties and over 350 active agents in the SBG program.  On average, completed surety bond applications are reviewed and processed in less than two days.
The program is currently outperforming its previous year results yielding 27,000 jobs supported, 3,000 final bonds, and $1.7 billion in final bond contract amounts in fiscal year 2018.

For more information about this decrease or further assistance, contact Jermanne Perry, Senior Management Analyst, Office of Surety Guarantees, (202) 401-8275; jermanne.perry@sba.gov, or your local SBA District Office.

Dr. Ramesh Seeras Joins VCU Health CMH

 

South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Dr. Ramesh Seeras to our family of health care providers.  Dr. Seeras specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN).

Dr. Seeras is a Board-Certified OB/GYN who has devoted his career to providing the best and most complete OB/GYN care for his patients for more than 23 years. He earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and completed his residency training  in obstetrics and gynecology also at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Dr. Seeras comes to South Hill from Illinois, where he has been in private practice since 1998 and served as Chief of the Department of OB/GYN at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois.  He has served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of OB/GYN at the University of Illinois in Chicago since 1995.  He is skilled in minimally invasive surgery including outpatient hysterectomy, pelvic prolapse and abnormal bleeding problems.  He also provides complete care for pregnant women including high risk prenatal care and delivery.

Dr. Seeras is currently working at CMH Women’s Health Services located inside the new C.A.R.E. Building, 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.  He is accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 584-2273 (CARE).

Dr. Seeras joins Dr. Cynthia Austin, OB/GYN, Dr. Reinertson OB/GYN  and Terry Wooten, Certified Nurse-Midwife, to provide a complete range of personalized and preventive gynecologic care to women at every stage of life.  To view a full list of services visit:  VCU-CMH.org

During U.S. Open, McEachin, Kaine, Capito, Warner, Scott Commemorate Arthur Ashe on 50th Anniversary of Historic Win

WASHINGTON – Congressmen A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Bobby Scott (VA-03) and U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, Shelley Moore Capito, and Mark Warner announced their plans introduce bicameral resolutions to commemorate Arthur Ashe, a Richmond, VA native, on the 50th anniversary of his historic win at the 1968 U.S. Open Tennis Championship. The resolution honors Ashe’s humanitarian contributions to civil rights, education, the movement against apartheid in South Africa, and HIV/AIDS awareness. The 2018 U.S. Open Tennis Championship is currently underway.

“I am so proud to introduce a House Resolution honoring the life, legacy, and leadership of the great Arthur Ashe,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Ashe’s contributions to American history continue to make his fellow Richmonders proud – just as we were on the historic day 50 years ago.”

“Virginians will always be proud of what Arthur Ashe accomplished on and off the court,” Kaine said. “He set an example of how to be a leader, and 50 years after his historic win, he deserves this recognition.”

“As an avid tennis player, I’ve always been a fan of Arthur Ashe. Not only was he an incredible athlete, but he was also a great humanitarian and an advocate for many important causes. He built his legacy both on the court and through the many other efforts he championed around the world, and I’m excited to sponsor this resolution honoring that legacy,” Capito said.

“Although most remember Arthur Ashe as a fierce competitor on the tennis court, he was also an activist and an incredible force for racial and social justice,” said Warner. “This much deserved tribute honors him for using his platform to be a champion for all.”

“This bicameral resolution will further solidify the legacy of Arthur Ashe by honoring his legacy both on and off the court. As Virginians and Americans, we are inspired by his achievements,” said Scott.

Arthur Ashe was the first African-American man to win the singles title at the U.S. Open and to be ranked number one in the world. Click here for full text of the resolution.

Rev. James Carey Retires from Jackson-Feild

 

Rev. James Carey retired from the Gwaltney School and Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Service after teaching history and government for thirteen years. His passion for history was infectious and helped countless students achieve their educational goals.

Rev. Carey served as a mentor and strong role model for his students. He demonstrated why history is important and is a key component in becoming an informed citizen.

He served in the United States Army and in Vietnam for a year.

He and his wife are active in the community. Rev. Carey pastors a local church and served as our unofficial school chaplain pronouncing the benediction for countless school activities and ceremonies.

Rev. Carey was honored at a special ceremony to thank him for his service and to recognize him for efforts to educate children with mental health disorders which requires inordinate patience and understanding. He was given a gift and a clock to commemorate his service to Jackson-Feild.

Virginia Department of Agriculture Joins Over 60 Groups to Support Farm Bill Cuba Provision

~ The amendment would allow U.S. farmers to expand agricultural exports to Cuba by removing restrictions on private financing ~

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services joined a bipartisan group of over 60 agriculture associations, businesses, and elected officials across 17 states in urging House and Senate Agriculture Committees to include a provision in the 2018 farm bill that the Congressional Budget Office determined would save $690 million over 10 years. The suggested amendment, adapted from the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (H.R. 525), would expand agricultural trade with Cuba by removing restrictions on private financing for U.S. food exports. The letter also urges lawmakers to preserve a Senate provision that allows farmers to use federal market promotion funds in Cuba. 

"We urge you to support American agriculture by advancing legislation that will make Cuba a viable market for our products,” the groups said. “Net farm income in 2018 has hit a 12-year low, falling further than during the Great Recession of last decade. This economic strain is felt by everyone in the industry, particularly the thousands of small, family-owned farms in the American heartland. Given this year’s 6.7 percent market decline, we cannot overstate the importance of trade and opening new international markets.” 

According to Cuba Trade Magazine, Virginia's exports to Cuba could reach $63 million per year if trade restrictions were lifted. Many of Virginia’s top agricultural products, such as soybeans, corn, and poultry, are staple imports for Cuba. Currently, U.S. sales of agricultural products to Cuba are limited to cash transactions, causing Cuba to primarily turn to Europe, Latin America, and Asia for nearly $2 billion per year in agricultural imports. Cuba imports roughly 80% of its food and has a population of 11 million, plus an influx of 3-5 million tourists annually. U.S. agriculture groups want to reclaim some of that market share.

“Our current Cuba trade financing laws deny our farmers access to a market valued at over $1 billion per year. I appreciate Senator Boozman and Senator Heitkamp’s work to include Cuba Agricultural trade language in the Senate version of the Farm Bill and I look forward to working to replace the current cash-for-crop requirements,” said Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-1), the lead sponsor of the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act and a participant in the farm bill conference committee.

“Today farm country is filled with uncertainty. Passing a Farm Bill is paramount, but in doing so we must look ahead and support mutually beneficial economic opportunities, like those in Cuba,” said Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS-1), a cosponsor of H.R. 525. “While we are renegotiating our trade deals, we have a $2 billion market untouched right under our nose.”

“Our farmers don't want handouts. They know if they can compete with the rest of the world they can win,” said James Williams, President of Engage Cuba. “There is no reason why the Cuban people shouldn’t be eating American rice and dairy instead of importing it from Vietnam and New Zealand."

The Senate’s version of the farm bill already includes an amendment by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) which would allow U.S. agricultural producers to spend U.S. Department of Agriculture market promotion funds on marketing to Cuba. 

“The United States has just five percent of the world’s population, which means 95 percent of consumers live outside our borders. If we aren’t constantly working to open markets and reach new customers, American farmers and workers won’t be competitive on the global stage. That’s why it’s so important for U.S. farmers and ranchers to gain access to markets like Cuba, where there is demand for American agricultural products,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

“My bipartisan amendment would give USDA the ability to build reliable trade partnerships between U.S. producers and Cuban buyers, strengthening our ag economy and finally removing outdated barriers to selling our products to consumers in a nation that sits just off our coastline. It would also help boost North Dakota’s farmers during a time of serious uncertainty from the administration’s trade policies,” she said. 

To become law, both provisions must be approved by the bicameral conference committee, which convened officially for the first time on Wednesday.

More information on Cuba's agriculture import market and federal legislation is available here. Find the full text of the letter here and below.

Dear Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson,

Thank you for the progress you have made toward passing the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

On behalf of the undersigned businesses and associations, we applaud the Senate’s inclusion of Senator Heitkamp’s amendment to allow farmers the ability to use USDA market promotion dollars in Cuba. We urge you to support American agriculture by advancing legislation that will make Cuba a viable market for our products.

Net farm income in 2018 has hit a 12-year low, falling further than during the Great Recession of last decade. This economic strain is felt by everyone in the industry, particularly the thousands of small, family-owned farms in the American heartland. Given this year’s 6.7 percent market decline, we cannot overstate the importance of trade and opening new international markets.

Your support in removing outdated financing barriers on agricultural sales to our island neighbor could significantly strengthen an industry that supports 17 million jobs across the United States, while providing the Cuban people with high-quality, American-grown food. Cuba imports nearly 80 percent of its food to feed a population of 11 million people and upwards of 3 million tourists annually. This requires about $1.8 billion in annual agriculture imports, the majority of which come from the European Union, Latin America, and Vietnam. Hardworking U.S. farmers can and should be Cuba’s number one supplier of commodities like rice, poultry, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn.

Senator Heitkamp’s amendment is part of the Agricultural Export Expansion Act/Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (S.275/HR.525) which would allow U.S. farmers to expand agricultural exports to Cuba by removing restrictions on private financing on food exports to the island. We also support this larger legislative effort, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would save $690 million over 10 years.

It is imperative that U.S. agribusiness find ways to offset recent losses caused by falling domestic demand, higher prices, and uncertainty in formerly reliable trade relationships. As a broad cross-section of rural America, we urge you to help American farmers and our associated industries by preserving Senator Heitkamp’s amendment in the Agricultural Improvement Act.

We thank you for your hard work and for the progress that both chambers have made in this legislative session, and we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to sign this legislation into law.

Sincerely the undersigned organizations,

 
Hon. Gerald Dial, Alabama Senate (AL)
Grey Redditt, President, Society Mobile-La Habana (AL)
Agricultural Council of Arkansas (AR)
Independent Professional Seed Association (AR)
Bradley Mannis, Mannco Fertilizer (AR)
Producers Rice Mill, Inc (AR)
Mark Isbell, Rice Farmer (AR)
Winrock International (AR)
Maria Garcia Berry, CRL Associates (CO)
Elaine Berman, Metro State University of Denver (CO)
Oswald Family Ranch on Rush Creek (CO)
Stephen Berman, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado School of Public Health (CO)
Center for Democracy in the Americas (DC)
Engage Cuba (DC)
Latin America Working Group (LAWG) (DC)
Washington Office on Latin America (DC)
Cuba Educational Travel (FL)
Jorge Pedraza, LSB Industries (FL)
Iowa Corn Growers Association (IA)
Dimy Doresca, University of Iowa (IA)
Hon. Matt Erpelding, Assistant Minority Leader, Idaho House of Representatives (ID)
Brian Linin, Former Chairman, Kansas Wheat Commission (KS)
KC SmartPort (KS)
Kansas Soybean Association (KS)
Jonathan Blue, Blue Equity (KY)
Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc. (KY)
Kentucky Poultry Association (KY)
At the Threshold, LTD (LA)
Kevin Berken, Chairman, Louisiana Rice Promotion Council (LA)
Cuba Trade and Travel (LA)
Haynie & Associates (LA)
International Cuba Society (LA)
Kennedy Rice (LA)
CHS Inc. (MN)
Minnesota Grain and Feed Association (MN)
Mississippi Poultry Association (MS)
Rio Grande Foundation (NM)
Vicki Huddleston, U.S. Ambassador, Retired (NM)
Hon. Scott Schertzer, Mayor, City of Marion (OH)
Ohio Corn & Wheat (OH)
Toledo Sister Cities International (OH)
Judy Wojanis, Chippy LLC (PA)
Hon. Michael Diven, Former Member, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (PA)
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PA)
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PA)
Donna Oberlander, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (PA)
Pamela A. DeLissio, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (PA)
Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce (PA)
Deno De Ciantis, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
Hon. Jim Ferlo, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
Lisa Valenti, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
Ronald Jardini, Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership (PA)
Hon. Joe Scarnati, President Pro Tempore, Pennsylvania Senate (PA)
Hon. Stacy Widelitz, Vice-Mayor, City of Oak Hill (TN)
City of Houston (TX)
Texas Poultry Association (TX)
Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group (TX)
The Chevalier Law Firm (TX)
Glaize Apples (VA)
Van Wood, Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VA)

Southside Virginia Community College Donates Bikes to Lawrenceville

Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) recently donated some bicycles to the Lawrenceville Police Department(LPD) for use in their patrols.  The college used the bikes for awhile but saw a need at a local department and decided to donate them.  LPD Chief Everett Gibson said his department has three officers, plus himself,  certified through the International Police Mountain Bike Association to patrol with bikes and others will train as well.  The bikes will be used to patrol events and throughout the town.  The college also donated a Firearms Training Simulator to the Emporia Police Department.  Shown at the donation are(Left to Right) LPD Assistant Chief J.T. Stith, Chief Everette Gibson and Dr. Alfonzo Seward, SVCC Administration of Justice Associate Professor. 

Welding Class Beginning Oct. 8

Welders are in demand and Southside Virginia Community College is offering training through its Welding Skills Certification Program.  The class begins Monday,  October 8, 2018 at Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia, Virginia. The class will run through January 16, 2019 and meet four days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. 

The class utilizes the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).  Financial Aid may be available through FastForward and those completing the course receive credentials. 

Don’t miss this great opportunity to better your future job skills.  Call 434 634 9358 or email Erica.andrews@southside.edu

Free Quilt Show During Peanut Festival

Emporia quilters prepare to display their quilts at a free Quilt Show at the Richardson Memorial Library during the Peanut Festival.

The Meherrin Piecemakers' Quilt Guild is preparing to display quilts in a free Quilt Show at the Richardson Memorial Library on Saturday, September 22, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in conjunction with the Virginia Peanut Festival.  There will be variety of quilting techniques on display including, pieced and appliquéd bed quilts, wall hangings and other interesting and colorful handmade items.

The Quilt Guild meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Main Street Baptist Church in Emporia at 7:00 p.m.   The guild welcomes individuals of all skill levels to join.  Beginners and experienced quilters alike will learn new techniques and ways of expressing their love of this craft. The guild also supports the community by making quilts for oncology patients, donating to a local Food Bank, and donating to victims of domestic violence.  For more information, contact guild president, Marcia Headley at (434) 658-1555.

TRAFFIC FATALITIES ON VIRGINIA HIGHWAYS MORE THAN DOUBLE DURING LABOR DAY WEEKEND COMPARED TO 2017

Every hour approximately 11 motorists cited for seat belt violations

RICHMOND – Traffic deaths in Virginia reached a three-year high during the 2018 Labor Day weekend. According to preliminary reports, a dozen individuals were killed in 11 fatal crashes during the four-day statistical counting period (12:01 a.m. Aug. 31, 2018 – 12 a.m. Sept. 3, 2018), which marks the highest number of crashes recorded since 2015 when 16 fatalities occurred over the holiday weekend. In 2017, there were five traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways.

This year’s 11 holiday fatal crashes took place in the counties of Carroll, Culpeper, Fairfax, Page, Prince William, Smyth, Tazewell and York and the cities of Lawrenceville, Newport News and Norfolk. These crashes claimed the lives of three motorcyclists, a motorcycle passenger and three pedestrians. Of the remaining five crashes, two involved individuals who were not wearing a seat belt.

“For most, Labor Day marks the close of summer, the last neighborhood cookout and the start of a new school year, but for 12 families – the families of those who experienced the loss of a loved one this weekend – this holiday is forever changed, ” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “It’s nothing short of alarming to have a 140 percent increase in fatalities compared to last year. What’s more surprising is that many of the crashes we see on Virginia’s highways could be prevented if we all do our part toward safety. That means buckling up, never driving impaired and always keeping our focus on the road.”

Once again this year, Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), which is a state-sponsored, national traffic safety initiative intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt through increased law enforcement visibility and traffic enforcement during major holidays.

During the 2018 Labor Day weekend, Virginia State Police troopers cited 8,427 speeders and 2,050 reckless drivers. They also issued citations for 1,024 occupant restraint violations, including 227 to adult motorists who failed to secure a juvenile passenger in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt. In addition, 72 drunk drivers were arrested and charged with DUI.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

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