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Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

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The Heavy Hauls for the Greensville County Power Station starting Sunday (1/22/2017)  will have a severe impact on traffic. The moves are scheduled for Sunday (1/22/17), Tuesday (1/24/17), and Thursday (1/26/17). Due to the size of the moves, Ext. 11 will be closed as well as the I-95 overpass while they are moving over I-95. Please plan accordingly, this will impact some business at the time of normal shift changes. All moves are weather permitting.

A female, tri-colored hound dog. was found on US Highway 58 on Sunday, January 22, 2017.  She has a black back, brown face and white chest. Call 757-262-8694.

Emma Ruth Brewer

Emma Ruth Brewer, 81, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, January 22, 2017. She was preceded in death by a sister, Edna Delatte and Ernest “Buck” Beatty. Mrs. Brewer is survived by her husband, Willie J. Brewer; three daughters, Sherry High of Greensboro, NC, Teresa Brewer and Billie Jo Brewer, both of Emporia; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; two sisters, Lois Mizell and Joyce Tomlin and a number of nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. Interment will follow at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Crater Community Hospice, 3916 South Crater Rd, Petersburg, Virginia 23805 or to The Alzheimer’s Association, 4600 Cox Rd, # 130, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

It’s a Job to Live on $7.25 an Hour

By Haley Winn, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Athena Jones is the first person her clients see at the start of the day. She gets them out of bed, changes their clothes and makes them breakfast. Her workday consists of providing emotional and physical support, assisting clients with bathing and bathroom visits, and helping them be as independent as possible.

As a home-care worker, this is Jones’ job. She does it for minimum wage – $7.25 an hour.

An advocate for people who struggle to live on minimum wage, Jones traveled from Portsmouth to Richmond this week to speak to legislators about bills to raise the state minimum wage above the federally mandated rate. She said a raise would help her save money and give back to her community.

Jones said she can’t make ends meet on her salary as a home-care worker, so she has taken on a second job as a community organizer. When she is not caring for her clients, she is helping Portsmouth residents register to vote or solve neighborhood problems.

People at the bottom of the pay scale, Jones said, must make choices that others don’t – like deciding between paying the electricity bill and requesting an extension on their gas bill.

A single woman in her 40s, Jones lives a frugal lifestyle. She doesn’t have a car, and vacations aren’t a luxury she can afford. (She has gone 10 years without one.) Her biggest expenses are utilities and medical bills – expenses that she said keep her from “exhaling financially.”

Jones said living on minimum wage is like having a “cloud of need” hovering overhead, and it never seems to go away.

Others may argue that people living on minimum wage “need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” Jones said. But she added: “What if there isn’t a bootstrap? What if there aren’t shoes? Then what are you supposed to do?”

David Broder, president of the Virginia 512 local of the Service Employees International Union, supports workers like Jones.

“Raising the minimum wage means Virginia families will have more money to grow the economy and help their kids have a better future,” Broder said. “No one who works full time should be forced to live in poverty because of low wages. As states and localities across the country raise the minimum wage for millions of Americans, it’s past time that Virginia did the same.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 29 stateshave raised their minimum wage above $7.25 per hour. Some members of the General Assembly want Virginia to join the list.

Three bills before the House of Delegates would boost the minimum wage in Virginia. They are:

  • HB 2309, sponsored by Del. Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church. It would raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour this July and eventually to $15 per hour by 2019.
  • HB 1444, sponsored by Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, and 18 other Democrats. It would increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour this July 1 and then gradually to $15 per hour by 2021.
  • HB 1771, sponsored by Del. Kenneth Plum, D-Reston, and 17 other Democrats. It would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2018. Under the legislation, beginning in 2020, Virginia’s minimum wage would be adjusted every two years to reflect increases in the consumer price index.

Those bills face an uphill battle. The Senate already has killed two bills aimed at raising the minimum wage.

Opponents of boosting the minimum wage fear that such laws will put a burden on businesses, prompting employers to lay off workers and raise prices. Indeed, that is what business representatives told the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday before the panel spiked legislation to increase the minimum wage in Virginia.

“Raising the minimum wage does not solve the problem – it only creates new problems,” said Ryan Dunn, a representative of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “There is no silver bullet for poverty.”

For years, academic researchers have debated whether boosting the minimum wage would hurt the economy.

In a 2014 book, Dale Belman of Michigan State University and Paul Wolfson of Dartmouth College concluded that a “moderate” increase in the minimum wage “has little or no effect on employment and hours.” They were unable to conclude if that holds true for a large increase in the minimum wage.

Several researchers compared states that raised the minimum wage with bordering states where the minimum wage stayed the same. In a seminal paperreleased in the 1990s, Princeton economists Alan Kreuger and David Card found that raising the minimum wage did not cause a loss of jobs in fast-food restaurants but the prices of meals increased.

In 2013, David Neumark of the University of California and William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Board published a paperfor the National Bureau of Economic Research challenging previous research methods. They said their evidence “still shows that minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others.” An increase could help families get out of poverty but could cause other families to fall into poverty, Neumark and Wascher wrote.

While academics and legislators debate the issue, Jones continues doing her job. She said she has been a home-care worker for 12 years and takes great satisfaction in helping her home-bound clients live as independently as possible.

“God allowed me to be born into this profession, and I would have it no other way,” she said. “I could be president of the United States, and I would still want to be a home-care worker.”

Bill Would Outlaw Tethering Dogs, Other Pets

By Ashley Luck, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Citing unpredictable and sometimes extreme weather conditions throughout the year in Virginia, Del. John J. Bell, D-Chantilly, has filed a bill that would prohibit the outdoor tethering of companion animals.

Tethering would be allowed only if the owner of the animal is outside and within sight of the pet, the bill says.

Bell said his wife, Margaret, works to rescue and foster mistreated dogs, and that motivated him to introduce House Bill 1802.

“My wife does animal rescue,” Bell said. “She’s fostered over 50 dogs over the last seven or eight years.

“We’ve seen many instances where animals were tethered for long periods of time in either extreme hot and cold weather. They were unattended and no one was around.

“In fact, we fostered one this year that the authorities had to take, where it was part of a court case. The animal was almost at death’s door. I feel that tethering for extended periods of time, particularly in harsh weather conditions, is cruel to the animal and should not be done,” Bell said.

An owner who violates the measure could be found guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $250. A second offense would be a Class 3 misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500.

Bell’s legislation would amend section 3.2-6503 of the Code of Virginia, in relation to the care of companion animals. The code says owners must provide adequate feed, water, properly cleaned shelter, adequate space for the type of animal and veterinary care when needed.

The provisions of HB 1802 also would apply to public or private animal shelters, dealers, pet shops, exhibitors, kennels, groomers and boarding establishments.

Most localities in Virginia do not have restrictions on the tethering of animals. The city of Richmond and a few others have prohibited it.

Robin Robertson Starr, CEO of the Richmond SPCA, said the tethering of dogs is a big problem in Virginia.

“It is a terrible thing for the dog and it causes dogs to become aggressive and territorial and thereby to become a risk to human safety,” Starr said.

“Leaving dogs outside is a tragedy. Dogs are highly social animals with an affinity for quality time to interact with and love their human family members. They should not be exposed for long periods of time to the elements outside, either in the cold of winter or the heat of summer.

“They should be living with us in the house and should go outside for limited periods of time in the company of their humans to get exercise and to relieve themselves, but otherwise should be kept indoors.”

HB 1802 has been assigned to the Agriculture Subcommitteeof the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. The subcommittee is scheduled to hear the bill when it meets at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the seventh-floor west conference room of the General Assembly Building, 201 N. Ninth St., Richmond.

Lawmakers Aim to Increase Access to Opiate Antagonist

Narcan_Product_Image_2

By Taylor Knight, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia lawmakers are attempting to tackle the state’s opioid epidemic with a slew of bills that aim to widen the availability of the opiate overdose medication naloxone.

“We are facing a crisis in Virginia and in the nation, losing more people to opioid overdose than to car crashes,” said Rep. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax.

She is sponsoring HB 1449, which“will allow individuals trained and authorized by the Department of Behavioral Health, in coordination with the Board of Pharmacy, to go into the community with the life-saving antidote naloxone so they can get to the people who are most at risk,” Boysko said.

Her bill is one of five pieces of legislation this session that seek to make naloxone more available to the public.

A standing order for the drug was issued by State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine in November, making naloxone available to any Virginian at pharmacies across the state without a prescription. The price is $120 before insurance.

“Pharmacies may now dispense naloxone without a prescription, but logistical, financial and stigma-related reasons keep some of the most at-risk individuals from getting it there, and many pharmacies do not carry it,” said Rep. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton. He has introduced HB 1453, a bill nearly identical to Boysko’s.

Even when naloxone is available at a pharmacy, some people will buy the drug without knowing how to properly administer it, rendering the drug ineffective. Programs such as REVIVE!, offered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, teach citizens how to use naloxone, but they are not allowed to distribute the drug to participating students once the class is over.

Some people may worry that the widened availability of naloxone would encourage opiate users to continue using illegal drugs without fear of death. However, the Behavioral Health Department’s website says the drug is “not a safety net that allows individuals with opioid-use disorder to continue or increase use” because naloxone induces the recipient into withdrawal, which the site says is “extremely unpleasant.”

Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 1031, which would add employees of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and the medical examiner’s office to the list of people allowed to obtain and administer the opioid antagonist. That bill is awaiting action in the House of Delegates.

Boysko said she is optimistic that her bill will be among the legislation passed involving naloxone.

“I look forward to seeing it pass along with the other legislative efforts so that we can help people get onto the road to recovery,” Boysko said.

Bartenders May Help Prevent Sexual Assaults

By Mary Lee Clark, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia bars might be stepping up their game in combating sexual assault under legislation making its way through the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 1150, proposed by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, would encourage bartenders and other employees who “otherwise sell, serve, or dispense alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption” to undergo “bar bystander training.”

On Friday, the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services unanimously approved the bill. It now goes to the full Senate.

Bar bystander training would inform employees how to recognize and intervene in situations that might lead to sexual assault. The bill says bar employees should be taught “intervention strategies to prevent such situations from culminating in sexual assault.”

“Studies have been done that actually show that in areas where they have this bar bystander training, they have had an 11 percent lower rate of sexual assault and victimization,” Favola said.

The training would be optional.

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control already offers online training such as Responsible Sellers & Servers (RSVP), which advises employees to follow state laws and how to deal with intoxicated customers.

Favola also suggested signs be posted to let customers know which bars have trained employees.

According to a report on alcohol and sexual assault by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately one-half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who have been drinking alcohol. And more than one-half of sexual assault victims reported that they were drinking alcohol at the time of the assault.

Many bars have created their own policies to combat sexual assault. Most notably, the Iberian Rooster in St. Petersburg, Florida, posted signs in the women’s restroom that instructed women to order an “angel shot” if they needed to discreetly notify the staff about an uncomfortable date.

Other bars have followed that lead and posted similar signs.

Treat, Don’t Jail Drug Users, Poll Says

By Jessica Samuels, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Most Virginians agree that people who use heroin or abuse prescription drugs should receive treatment, not jail time, according to a statewide poll.

More than six out of 10 respondents believe heroin users should be offered treatment instead of being arrested and charged with a crime, the 2017 Public Policy Poll by Virginia Commonwealth University found. Seven out of 10 felt the same way about prescription drug abusers.

Citizens surveyed also voiced support for treatment programs instead of incarceration for nonviolent offenders who suffer from mental illness. The poll said 88 percent of respondents said mentally ill nonviolent offenders should be required to participate in community-based treatment programs instead of incarcerated. That feeling was shared by Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, said the survey “demonstrates support for the governor’s initiatives with regard to mental health and combating the opioid epidemic.”

“Virginians view opioid abusers and those experiencing lack of treatment for mental illness as an increasingly difficult issue plaguing communities and that treatment options should be available for these users,” Moran said.

The poll was conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Officials released the results at a news conference this week.

The survey involved telephone interviews in December with a representative sample of 1,000 adults across Virginia. The poll had a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

Besides asking about addiction and mental health issues, the survey also asked about police community relations. About three-quarters of poll respondents believe police in their community treat people fairly, do a good job handling race relations and use the appropriate amount of force in dealing with suspects.

“Public perceptions of police in our community are key to the maintenance of public safety,” said Robyn McDougle, faculty director of the Office of Public Policy Outreach and associate professor of criminal justice at the Wilder School.

“As many communities around the country are addressing dismal community police relations, Virginians’ perceptions of police are very favorable, which is a testament to the continual training and outreach that our police departments have done and continue to do around the commonwealth.”

Citizens are not as confident in the ability of public safety agencies to respond to acts of terrorism in Virginia, the survey found. Almost three of every four respondents indicated they were concerned about that.

“Terrorist attacks around the world are becoming regularly reported news events, and the commonwealth’s proximity to the nation’s capital has kept concerns regarding personal safety at the forefront of our citizens’ thoughts. Recent poll responses highlight the need for continual community conversations and preparations,” McDougle said.

The complete poll results are available at http://news.vcu.edu/pdfs/Public-Safety-Poll.pdf

Senate Panel Rejects Plastic Bag Tax

By Megan Schiffres, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The Senate Finance Committee has killed a bill to impose a 5-cent tax on disposable plastic bags that stores give their customers. But the proposal’s sponsor says he isn’t giving up.

The tax would have applied to grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which encompasses most of Virginia. As an incentive to collect the tax, the bill would have allowed retailers to keep 1 cent of the 5-cent levy.

Revenue from the plastic bag tax – estimated at as much as $18 million a year – would have been used to support the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, which works to reduce pollution in the bay and the region’s streams, creeks and rivers.

The bill (SB 925) was introduced by Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, who says that despite its defeat, he will continue to fight for a tax on plastic bags.

“We need to limit the amount of trash that goes into the bay, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to tax goods like plastic bags which are frankly unnecessary and create an environmental hazard,” Petersen said.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is the largest estuary in the United States and contains more than 100,000 rivers and streams that filter in from six states.

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment were impairing the bay’s water quality. The EPA told the states whose waters empty into the Chesapeake to limit the pollution entering the bay and associated waterways.

The greatest source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is not plastic bags, but agricultural runoff, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. However, plastic bags are destructive to the bay and the environment overall because they kill wildlife, clog landfills and are not biodegradable. The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington-based environmental research group, says Americans throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags every year.

In Virginia, all land from the Washington suburbs to Virginia Beach drains unto the Chesapeake Bay. Only the southernmost localities and far Southwest Virginia aren’t part of the watershed.

“It’s our environmental legacy here in Virginia,” Petersen said. “The bay is what makes Virginia the unique place it is to live.”

Previous attempts to tax plastic bags in Virginia also have died in committee in the General Assembly.

Several other state and local governments have enacted laws dealing with the issue. For example, Hawaii and California have banned plastic bags, and the District of Columbia has imposed a 5-cent tax on each bag issued to store customers.

The plastic bag tax was opposed by the retail merchant lobby, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Petersen said.

Nile Abouzaki manages a family-owned business in Richmond called Shawarma Shack. He says a tax on plastic bags may be well intentioned but would be a burden on small businesses.

“We already have plenty of taxes in Richmond, especially the meals taxes that are somewhat overboard compared to other cities,” Abouzaki said.

Sara Vaughan, general manager of the Virginia Book Company and daughter of the owner, says businesses should decide for themselves whether to be environmentally conscious.

“I think it is up to businesses to be eco-friendly and not get taxed because we have a hard time as it is,” Vaughan said. “But I think we definitely need to be part of the solution as opposed to just sending a bunch of plastic bags out into the environment.”

The Senate Finance Committee considered Petersen’s bill on Wednesday. The panel voted 10-4 along party lines that SB 925 be “passed by indefinitely,” meaning it is dead for this legislative session. All of the Republicans on the committee supported the motion to kill the measure; all of the Democrats opposed it.

According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, the proposed tax on plastic bags would cost state government about $110,000 to implement and enforce the first year, but it could generate between $14 million and $18 million annually for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan.

The tax would not have applied to:

  • Durable plastic bags with handles that were designed to be reused
  • Plastic bags used to carry ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, leftover restaurant food, newspapers or dry cleaning
  • Bags used to carry alcoholic beverages or prescription drugs
  • Bags sold in packages for use as garbage, pet-waste and leaf-removal bags

Virginians Join Women’s March in D.C.

<Women's March on Washington

By Jessica Nolte, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON – People from across Virginia rallied in Washington on Saturday morning before joining women from around country in sending a message to President Donald Trump.

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” the march’s mission stated.

Protesters from Virginia started gathering at the Carousel in the National Mall around 7 a.m. Many donned purple #Virginia4ALL hats and carried protest signs. Stair Calhoun, the Northern Virginia coordinator for the march, said nearly 1,500 hats and 5,000 campaign buttons were distributed before the rally.

“Yesterday we had a little party here in D.C.,” U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., told the gathering.

Then he and the crowd booed.

“Today, we have a bigger party,” he said as the crowd whistled and cheered with approval.

Connolly said that while Trump may be president, he doesn’t speak for everyone. The day of the rally marked the beginning of what he called a “four-year fight.” Connolly said that he would do his part in Congress but that he expected members of the audience to do their part beyond marching.

“This is our America, too, and we’re going to stick up for it,” Connolly said.

State Del. Mark Levine, a Democrat from Alexandria, said that on Inauguration Day, he savored the last remaining hours of Barack Obama’s presidency. Levine said that when he stepped outside the Virginia General Assembly at noon, he heard the church bells ringing and noticed it was raining.

“My first thought was God is crying,” Levine said. “But I thought about it some more and realized the rain was a wake-up call.”

He said he had never imagined Trump would be president. He knew Hillary Clinton and had eagerly awaited her presidency.

“I said, ‘America is never going to elect this joker,’” Levine said. “And in a way, I was right because 3 million more Americans chose Hillary Clinton.”

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. was greeted with loud cheers and calls of support from members of the audience when he addressed the crowd.

He quoted St. Augustine – that Hope has two daughters, and they are Anger and Courage.

“Today we are angry,” Beyer said. “We’ve just inaugurated a man who shows profound disrespect for women.”

Beyer said that while the crowd was angry, they also had courage because of their decision to join the march. He said they would continue to fight and never surrender.

“How do we show courage? By doing all the little things well,” Beyer said. “We take care of our families. We do our jobs well. We build our communities. We take care of the sick, the poor and those in trouble.”

He then told the crowd they should maintain their courage by getting involved with their local government and staying electorally engaged until they can vote Trump out of office in 2020.

Virginia rally organizers were expecting over 120 buses and over 7,500 people from Virginia, Calhoun said. She had three private buses of her own coming from Annandale, including a bus from her yoga studio.

Calhoun said she had 20 people staying at her home for the march and knew of another woman from Virginia who had 25 people from Vermont staying in her basement.

Eileen Denne of Alexandria attended the Virginia rally and Women’s March on Washington with two friends from Cleveland who were staying with her.

“We are all mothers of daughters,” Sheila Lodwick said of the trio. “It’s important for us to march for them and their futures.”

Emily Patton, Virginia’s outreach chair for the Women’s March, echoed that message in addressing the crowd: “Today is your day – one of activism. We will prevail.”

Bills Would Help, Hurt Undocumented Immigrants

By Rodrigo Arriaza. Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Three bills that would help undocumented immigrants, and one that would hurt them, have been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly as state legislators tackle an issue that loomed large during the presidential election.

HB 1857 would protect in-state tuition for undocumented students, while HB 2001 seeks to root out such students from Virginia’s public colleges and universities. HB 1682 would allow undocumented immigrants to get temporary driver’s licenses, as long as they are paying taxes and have auto insurance. Finally, HB 1779 would expand the state’s definition of a hate crime to violence based on someone’s immigration status.

The flurry of legislation comes at a time when civil rights groups say there has been an increase in assaults and abuse against undocumented immigrants. They see a correlation between the hostile climate and the rhetoric of President Trump.

“This has happened at a higher rate since Trump got elected,” Rodrigo Velasquez, field coordinator for the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network, said as he participated in the Virginia Day of Student Resistance on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Even today, we had a rally with New Virginia Majority. And as the students were rallying, some of the people at the General Assembly were wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and chanting, ‘Build the wall, build the wall,’” Velasquez said.

“So it’s obviously targeted, and it has a specific intent. But until now, it hasn’t been a categorical hate crime where the targeting of someone based on their immigration status would have a more severe penalty.”

HB 1779, sponsored by Del. Kenneth R. Plum, D-Reston, would change that. It would label violent acts against undocumented immigrants as hate crimes, which would carry a stiffer penalty. The bill would recognize someone’s status as an undocumented immigrant as a legitimate basis for being a victim of hate crimes involving assault, battery or trespass with the purpose of damaging property.

HB 1682, sponsored by Delegate Robert S. Bloxom, Jr., R-Mappsville, would grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants living in Virginia. The bill would allow undocumented immigrants to receive temporary licenses for one year, as long as the applicant “has established residency in the Commonwealth, has filed an income tax return with the Commonwealth, has registered with the Department of Homeland Security” and can provide proof of a car insurance policy.

Velasquez said the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has studied the impact of such policies in other states. He said DMV found that “road safety actually increased when folks have driver’s licenses, and that they actually stick around in instances of accidents.”

Without a legal way to drive in Virginia, undocumented workers often flee the scene of an accident because they fear getting detained and deported, Velasquez said.

In states where undocumented immigrants can obtain driver’s licenses, they “actually stayed at the scenes of accidents to make sure that they do all the proper reporting and filing with the insurance companies,” Velasquez said.

HB 1682 may have an uncertain fate in the General Assembly. On Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Committee voted 7-6 to kill a similar bill (SB 1345). It would have allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for a “driver privilege card.”

In addition, two House bills would affect undocumented students attending the state’s institutions of higher education.

HB 1857 would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition in Virginia. The bill seeks to help immigrants who have been protected from deportation by President Obama’s 2012 executive order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. President Trump has said he will revoke DACA during his first 100 days in office.

The affected students are often called DREAMers, after a proposed federal law that would have given them legal residency.

Under Obama’s DACA order, DREAMers qualify for in-state tuition. HB 1857, sponsored by Del. Alfonso H. Lopez, D-Arlington, would ensure that continues if Trump overturns DACA. Otherwise, undocumented students attending college would have to pay international student rates, which are often two to three times as much as in-state tuition.

While Lopez has filed a bill that would assist undocumented students, Del. Charles R. Poindexter, R-Glade Hill, is sponsoring a measure that targets them. HB 2001 would allow federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to enter public college campuses and require schools to help identify and apprehend DREAMers.

Poindexter’s bill would undercut efforts by students around the state to establish “sanctuary campuses.” Since Trump’s election, student organizations have urged college administrators to declare their campuses as sanctuaries for DREAMers. This means that the school’s faculty would work to protect such students and would refuse to provide sensitive information about them to ICE.

Committees in the House of Delegates will consider the bills during the coming week.

McAuliffe Vows to Veto Anti-Abortion Bills

By Jessica Nolte and Megan Schiffres, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe spoke Thursday in support of legislation proposed by members of the Women’s Health Care Caucus and vowed to veto bills he believes would endanger women’s reproductive rights.

McAuliffe said legislators should learn from controversies in North Carolina following the passage of what he called “socially divisive bills.” McAuliffe said he told the General Assembly not to send him these types of bills because they have no chance of becoming law.

“I have sent a strong message already. They have an abortion bill, a 20-week abortion bill, that was signed on by, I think, eight members of the General Assembly. I have made it very clear I will veto it. That bill has zero chance of becoming law in the commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe also criticized the “Day of Tears” resolution, passed by the House on Wednesday, to make the anniversary of Roe v. Wade a day of mourning in Virginia.

The governor said the resolution signals that Virginia is not open or welcoming. He said it alienates women and sends a message around the United States that Virginia does not treat women with respect. The Day of Tears resolution is not a law so it cannot be vetoed by the governor.

Members of the Women’s Health Care Caucus thanked the governor and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a fellow Democrat, for their continued support of women’s health care rights.

Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, recalled when Republican legislators proposed a bill requiring women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound exam before having an abortion. Favola said it was Northam, a physician, who gave senators a health lesson and helped show that the bill met the state’s definition of rape.

“It sure is terrific to have a wall in the governor’s mansion, but we can’t be sure that’s going to continue so we have to do everything we can now,” said Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax.

The Virginia General Assembly has proposed more than 75 restrictions on women’s reproductive health care since 2010, said Democratic Del. Jennifer Boysko, who represents Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

“Laws that restrict a woman’s access to abortion harm the very women they claim to help,” Boysko said.

Safe and legal abortions are vital to comprehensive reproductive health care for women and must be protected, Boysko said.

“Virginia laws restricting access to abortion create sharp disparities in access to care that are troubling, reminiscent of the time before Roe v. Wade,” Boysko said. “A time when access depended on a woman’s economic status, her race, where she lives or her ability to travel to another state.”

The caucus has proposed several bills to protect women’s reproductive health, including:

  • HB 1563, which would remove classifications that require facilities that perform at least five first-trimester abortions a month to comply with minimum standards for hospitals.
  • HB 2186, which would ensure that women have a fundamental right to a lawful abortion and that no statute or regulation would prohibit an abortion prior to the fetus’ viability or to protect the health or life of the woman.
  • HB 2267, which would require health benefit plans to cover up to a 12-month supply of hormonal contraceptives to be dispensed at one time.

Republicans are pursuing measures reflecting their pro-life stance. The House is considering a bill (HB 1473) that generally would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks. The 20-week cutoff was chosen because that’s approximately when a fetus begins to feel pain, said Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock.

“I know that there’s always an attempt to frame this as purely a women’s health issue, but for those of us who are adamantly pro-life, this is also a baby’s health issue,” Gilbert said.

The bill provides exceptions only for a medical condition that could cause death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment, not including psychological or emotional conditions.

When asked about the bills supported by the Women’s Health Care Caucus, Jeff Ryer, spokesperson for the Senate Republican Caucus, said that he could not comment without knowing the specifics of the legislation.

“All that being said, generally speaking the 21 members of the Senate Republican Caucus are pro-life and vote accordingly,” Ryer said.

HALIFAX STREET (ROUTE 610) BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT BEGINS

Construction underway

EMPORIA– A project to demolish, remove and replace the existing Halifax Street Bridge on Route 610 is under construction. Contract crews for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will demolish then replace the bridge and rebuild the approach roadway to tie into the new bridge. The new bridge will be 36 feet long and 32 feet wide. All construction work is dependent upon weather conditions. 

Halifax Street (Route 610/3807) is closed to thru traffic in both the northbound and southbound directions. Motorists are advised to follow the signed detours in place. 

S.T. Wooten Corporation was awarded the $660,000 contract for the new bridge replacement on November 8, 2016. The project will continue over the next 5 months, with completion scheduled for June 2017.

Businesses and homeowners will always have access at all times. To learn more, please visit http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/hamptonroads/halifax_st_bridge.asp.

Motorists are encouraged to visit www.va511.org, call 511, listen to Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) 1680 AM or call the Traffic Information Line at 757-361-3016 for current traffic and travel information. 

Robert William Little, Jr.

Robert William Little, Jr., 94, of Emporia passed away on January 19, 2017.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert William Little, Sr. and Virginia Grizzard Little; first wife, June Beach Little and their children, Todd Wingood Little and John Oscar Little; second wife, Mary Watkins Morgan Little and sister, Mattie Todd Berger. He is survived by his children, Robert William Little, III, Irene Beach Little and Mildred Little Lankford; sister, Katherine Little Sanders; 5 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. He was a lifetime member of Main Street United Methodist Church. A memorial service will be held 3pm, Tuesday, at Main Street United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Main Street United Methodist Church. Condolences may be sent to www. Echolsfuneralhome.com

Groups Criticize Panel For Not Hiking Minimum Wage

By Jesse Adcock, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Advocacy groups for low-paid workers blasted a Virginia Senate committee for killing two bills that would have raised the minimum wage incrementally over the next three years.

“It is a sad day when politicians prioritize corporate profits over hardworking Virginia families,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia and a member of the Women’s Equality Coalition. “$7.25 is not enough to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head at the same time, and no one who works a full-time job should be living in poverty.”

Supporters of the legislation had hoped Virginia would become the 30th state with a minimum wage above the federally mandated minimum of $7.25 an hour. But on Monday, Republicans on the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted to kill the two proposals:

·         SB 785, proposed by Sen. David Marsden, D-Burke, would have raised the minimum wage to $8 an hour on July 1, to $9 an hour in 2018, to $10.10 an hour in 2019, and finally to $11.25 an hour in 2020. The bill died on an 11-3 vote.

·         SB 978, proposed by Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, would have raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour on July 1, to $13 an hour in 2018, and ultimately to $15 an hour in 2019. The committee voted 11-2, with one abstention, against the proposal.

“Had we indexed the minimum wage for inflation 40 years ago, it would be $11,” Marsden said. “People are really falling behind.”

He said that by raising the minimum wage in yearly increments, his bill could have been repealed if evidence showed it was hurting the state’s economy. Marsden added that by raising the minimum wage, consumers could reclaim lost buying power that had been lost to inflation during the previous decades.

Representatives from the Catholic Conference, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, workers’ unions and minimum wage employees themselves came to speak in support of the bill.

“We continue to walk beside and around these people always telling them to ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps,’” said Athena Jones, who came from Portsmouth representing home care workers. “But(we) have never given them shoes in the first place.”

Representatives of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the chambers of commerce for Prince William County, Roanoke and the Richmond area opposed the bill.

“Raising the minimum wage does not solve the problem – it only creates new problems,” said Ryan Dunn, a representative from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “There is no silver bullet for poverty.”

Dunn said that should SB 785 pass, between 10,000 and 31,000 minimum wage jobs would be lost.

Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw of Fairfax pointed out that number of jobs lost would represent a tiny slice of the state population.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the more than 4 million working Virginians in 2015, 50,000 of them earned exactly $7.25 per hour, while 69,000 earned less, because of exceptions to the federal law. (Employees under 20 years old in their first 90 consecutive days of employment, workers who make tips and apprentices can all legally be paid less than the minimum wage.)

“How many of your members pay $7.25?” Saslaw asked the business representatives. “If your business plan requires you to pay $7.25, you don’t have much of a business plan.”

“Some of us have a view that the system does work,” said Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Mechanicsville. “We have a good system in place.”

The committee voted to “pass by indefinitely” both bills, which means they will not be considered further in this session.

Afterward, Julie Emery, executive director of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table and a member of the Women’s Equality Coalition, said she was disappointed by the panel’s actions.

“Yet again, the politicians in Richmond have refused to give the working people of Virginia a raise. This despite the fact that polls show Virginians overwhelmingly favor increasing the minimum wage,” Emery said.

Three bills pending in the House of Delegates, all filed by Democrats, also seek to raise the minimum wage. They are HB 1444, proposed by Del. Sam Rasoul of Roanoke; HB 1771, by Del. Kenneth Plum of Reston; and HB 2309, by Del. Marcus Simon of Falls Church. Those bills have been referred to a subcommittee of the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

USDA Farm Service Agency Offers Text Alerts to Greensville County Producers

Subscribers Can Receive Important Program Reminders and Updates

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Melvin E. Hill, Jr. in Greensville County announced that farmers and ranchers in Virginia now can receive notifications from their FSA county office through text messages on their cell phone.

"In addition to the free FSA GovDelivery email news, customers now can choose to receive text message alerts from their county office," said Hill. "These text messages inform producers of important program deadlines, reporting requirements, outreach events, and updates.”

Whether producers are in the field, on a tractor or even on horseback, this service will enable FSA customers and stakeholders to receive notifications while on the go.

Producers can text VAGreensville to FSANOW (372-669) to subscribe to text message alerts from Greensville County. Standard text messaging rates apply. Contact your wireless carrier for details associated with your particular data plan. Participants may unsubscribe at any time.

To receive GovDelivery email notifications, subscribe online at www.fsa.usda.gov/subscribeor contact the Greensville County FSA office for subscription assistance.  Producers can establish subscriber preferences by choosing to receive federal farm program information by topic, by state or by county. Producers can select as many subscriber options as they want, which allows producers who farm in multiple counties or across state lines to receive updates from each county in which they operate or have an interest.

According to Hill, GovDelivery is a one-stop shop for the most up-to-date USDA program information.

Please contact your local FSA office at 434-634-2462 Ext. 2 if you have questions regarding FSA’s electronic news service or new text message option.

USDA works to strengthen and support American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials. Since 2009, USDA has provided $5.6 billion in disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; expanded risk management tools with products like Whole Farm Revenue Protection; and helped farm businesses grow with $36 billion in farm credit. The Department has engaged its resources to support a strong next generation of farmers and ranchers by improving access to land and capital; building new markets and market opportunities; and extending new conservation opportunities. USDA has developed new markets for rural-made products, including more than 2,700 biobased products through USDA's BioPreferred program; and invested $64 billion in infrastructure and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.

Clarksville Community Players to hold Audtions for Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Clarksville, VA—The Clarksville Community Players and Director Georgene Glasscock are holding auditions for the upcoming spring musical production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Auditions will be held at the Fine Arts Center on Sunday, January 22 and Monday, January 23, 2017 at 6:30pm.  Sunday night will be singing and dance auditions and Monday night will be cold reads from the script.  Anyone interested in being a part of the ensemble will only need to come Sunday night but those desiring a named role should come both nights.

All roles are open and auditions are open to everyone.  Auditions will consist of both cold reading from the script and all actors, including those auditioning for ensemble, should also be prepared to sing a song from the show itself for the character for which they are auditioning.  There will be no accompanist at this audition, so please bring a device that plays digital or cd accompaniment if needed.  There will be a system set up to play music cds and an adapter for apple and android devices.  Please dress comfortably for movement/dance exercises.

Besides a cast and crew of 40+ people both onstage and off, Mrs. Glasscock needs and will specifically be looking for actors for the following lead roles:

Belle (acting age 18-  30s)  is the original fairy tale heroine – kind, gentle, and beautiful.  This role requires a very strong singer who portrays innocence, passion and courage in her singing and speaking voice with Mezzo- Soprano range.

Beast (acting age 20s- 30s)  - There is anger and menace in The Beast's appearance and behavior, but increasingly we see his soft and endearing side as he interacts with Belle.  The role requires a very strong singer, and the actor must have a strong speaking voice and stage presence with Baritone range.

Gaston (acting age 20s-40s) -   Gaston is the absolute antithesis of The Beast. Although he is physically handsome, he is shallow, completely self centered, not very bright, and thrives on attention.  The role requires a strong singer and character actor who moves well with Baritone range.

Le Fou (acting age 16-30s) - is Gaston's dim-witted, servile sidekick. He goes to extraordinary lengths and suffers repeated humiliation in his efforts to please his master. The actor must be comfortable with physical comedy, and the role requires strong character acting. Baritone: Audition Songs: Gaston

Maurice (acting age 40s-70s) – is Belle's somewhat scatter brained father.  Maurice is a Baritone vocal range and he and Belle sing the lovely duet No Matter What.

Lumiere (acting age 16-60s) -  Lumiere is the French butler who was transformed into a Candelabra. He  speaks with a French accent. This role requires strong character acting and a Baritone vocal range that is best displayed in the song Be Our Guest.

Cogsworth (acting age 16-60s) - Cogsworth is a tightly wound, enchanted mantle clock and the head of the Beast's household. He speaks with a British accent and is a Baritone vocal range.

Mrs Potts (acting age 20s- 60s) - is a warm-hearted, maternal enchanted teapot. She sings the title song Beauty and the Beast in a Mezzo-Soprano vocal range.

Chip (acting age 8-12) - is an inquisitive little teacup who is the son of Mrs. Potts and who sings in a soprano voice.

Babette (acting age 18-30s)  -  is a saucy, enchanted feather duster, and the object of Lumiere's affections as she dances a tango with Lumiere during Be Our Guest. This character speaks with a French accent.

Madame De La Grande Bouche (acting age 20s-70s)  -  is a former opera diva turned enchanted wardrobe. She is very melodramatic and requires strong character acting and a strong Soprano voice.

Monsieur D'arque (acting age 30s-70s)  -  is the creepy, scheming proprietor of the local insane asylum, The Maison De Lune. He will also be an ensemble member and a Tenor voice.

The 3 Silly Girls (acting age 16-30s)  -  are three pretty young maids who swoon over Gaston. They are also in the ensemble as dancers.

Ensemble - Townspeople, Enchanted objects, wolves, Gargoyles, Beggar Woman, Enchantress, Cronies, and should come prepared to sing any song that best shows off your vocal range.

Performance Dates of Disney's Beauty and the Beast will be May 20, 21, 26-28, 2017.  Before auditioning please be sure you are available for all performances.

For more information please contact Director Georgene Glasscock at 434-738-3364 or visit clarksvilleplayers.webs.com

"How Much Does a Snowman Weigh?"

Now I am sure that it will vary
In its size and shame and all
Yet id seems that so very little
Caused my large gazebo to fall.
 
Yes it busted the canvas and supports
Almost halfway to the ground
Now I didn't see or hear it
But this is what I found.
 
Well I should have taken it down I guess
Yet I really didn't know
You see in this particular area
It's not noted for deep snow.
 
its a lesson that i learned
And for now I've just despair
Yes every time I go outside
That mess is hanging there.
 
Now it's just material and no one got hurt
It's a blessing that I see
Yet i wonder how many in this wide world
Are just as smart as me!
 
-Roy E. Schepp

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT-Heavy Hauls to Start

On the night of December 5, 2016, the Greensville County Power Station will reach a milestone as it begins moving large components of critical equipment from the Toll Brothers rail siding off Hwy 301 to the project site along Rogers Road, Emporia, VA.

The hauling activity to be carried out by specialty contractors has been coordinated with VDOT, DMV, Virginia State Police, Emergency Services and the local authorities.  The movement of this equipment will happen overnight to minimize disruption to normal traffic.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • There will be haul activity for an estimated 42 nights beginning in December.
  • Haul activity will occur during 11:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m., Monday- Thursday (The entire trip takes approximately 1.5 hours from Toll Brothers, Industrial Park, Emporia, VA to the Project site.)  No movements will be made during expected holiday traffic.
  • The route starts at Toll Brothers, goes south on Hwy 301, to Hwy 58 West, to the new Radium Road, to Rogers Road, to the project site.
  • Travelers on this route traveling overnight may experience some delay.  State Police will escort the haul and provide traffic control and detour information as needed.
  • Estimated haul windows (excludes Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Holidays):
  • December 5 – January 23
  • February 6 - February 16
  • February 23 - March 1
  • April 3, April 13, April 20
  • May 1, May 15
  • June 1, June 15, June 29
  • July 10

Library wants Yearbooks

The Meherrin Regional Library System is seeking donations of local school yearbooks to include in a yearbook digitization project. Working with the Library of Virginia, MRLS is looking to the public to donate yearbooks especially from the years 1977 and before. Local public and private schools of Brunswick and Greensville counties may be included in the project. Donations are needed before October 26th and may be dropped off at the Brunswick County Library, Lawrenceville or the Richardson Memorial Library, Emporia. The books will be used for digitization and then added to the library’s permanent reference collection. For more information or questions call 434-848-2418 ext. 301 or 434-634-2539.

VDOT URGES MOTORISTS TO OBEY ROUTE 301 BRIDGE TRAFFIC AND DETOUR SIGNS

Virginia State Police to begin enforcement for reckless driving.

GREENSVILLE COUNTY – Safety is the biggest priority for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the Hampton Roads District is urging motorists to obey all traffic and detour signs posted around the Route 301 Southbound Bridge Replacement Project in Greensville County.  Recently, drivers have been observed traveling the wrong way over the Route 301 Northbound Bridge to avoid the construction detour, resulting in several near-collisions.

Beginning today, January 4, 2016, Virginia State Police will step up enforcement near the bridge and issue reckless driving citations to motorists exhibiting dangerous driving patterns.  Drivers traveling southbound will use I-95 as the detour around the bridge closure.

The Route 301 Bridge Replacement Project is currently on schedule for completion in summer 2017.  The old bridge has been demolished, and crews are currently working on building the new bridge approaches.   For more information, please visit VDOT’s project website:

http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/hamptonroads/rte_301_bridge.asp

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