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2017-2-14

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Career Opportunity

Residential Counselors

(Youth Service Workers)

 

Job#: 2017-10

If you are interested in making a positive impact on the lives of Virginia’s youth, then we want you to become part of our Team!  Rural Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility located in Jarratt, Virginia seeks positive role models to work directly with adolescent boys and girls in a psychiatric residential treatment program.  The Youth Service Worker is responsible for role-modeling healthy behavior, teaching life skills, administering a trauma informed behavioral support program, and leading youth in and participating in social, cultural, and recreational activities.  This position supervises youth in the residential unit and on off-campus activities and appointments.

Must possess the availability to work weekends, evenings, holidays, and nights.  Supreme flexibility required. 

Seeking candidates with Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology, Sociology or other Human Services field.   Experience will be considered in lieu of a degree.

Compensation package includes 401(k) retirement plan & employer sponsored health, dental, vision & life insurance.  JBHS is a Drug Free Workplace.  Successful applicants must pass a pre-employment drug screen and criminal background screening.  EOE.  Positions opened until filled.

E-mail cover letter and resume to:

Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services
Attn: Chris Thompson
Job # 2017-10
E-mail:careers@jacksonfeild.org

This Paid Political Advertisement does not represent an endorsement by Emporia News. Emporia News does not endorse candidates for any political office.

"Happy Valentine's Day"

The time has come again my dear
To show in some fine way
The love that I have for you
Each and every day.
 
Now you won't tell me what you want
Or what last year I did get
Yes so now I'm in a guessing mode
And haven't thought of it yet.
 
Well I could get  your favorite candy
Or a dozen roses shure would do
Yet I think that I'll get one of both
For I have such love for you
 
I hope your day will be delightful
And to my question don't decline
Yes sweetheart please say you'll always be
My very special Valentine.
 
Roy E. Schepp

VCU Health CMH’s Pharmacy Connection Program a Valuable Community Resource

Melissa Morris, Medication Assistance Caseworker for VCU Health CMH’s Pharmacy Connection program.

South Hill—Since 2003, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has offered a program that assists qualified individuals in obtaining their prescribed medications.

Some of these individuals are uninsured. However, more and more patients are finding that their medications are not covered by their insurance or Medicare Part D plan, and the cost of paying out of pocket for these medications is often more than patients can afford.

VCU Health CMH’s Pharmacy Connection program works to help these patients. Staff members serve as advocates who use special software to identify manufacturer-sponsored prescription assistance programs. These advocates meet with the patient to obtain information, then handle all paperwork involved in the application process, from completing forms and obtaining physician signatures to submitting the applications to the appropriate manufacturer. If approved, the patient will be qualified for a one-year enrollment and receive medications at no cost.

In instances where the prescribed brand-name medication is unavailable via an assistance program, Pharmacy Connection caseworkers work with the patients to help them obtain generic medications, often at reduced cost.

There is even an option for patients to receive assistance in obtaining hearing aids.

Melissa Morris, Medication Assistance Caseworker, states “There are many cases in our community where people are still struggling to obtain their needed medications, often delaying the filling of a prescription because of rent costs, the need for groceries, or the cost of transportation. That’s why our program is such a wonderful community benefit – we strive to help these patients stay healthy, and get them back to work and back to their lives.

VCU Health CMH offers the Pharmacy Connection program at no charge, and is partially funded by the RxRelief Virginia grant from the Virginia Health Care Foundation. Qualifications for enrollment in prescription assistance programs are manufacturer specific, and are generally income-based for uninsured and underinsured patients.

Individuals who are interested in this program or who would like more information are encouraged to speak with a VCU Health CMH Pharmacy Connection staff member by contacting (434) 774-2584.

Addition of senior environmental specialist brings expertise to B&B

B&B Consultants, Inc., a locally owned and operated firm that makes its home in offices across southern Virginia, is no stranger to growth and expansion. Most recently, B&B is pleased to announce the addition of Alexis E. Jones, M.S., LPSS, AOSE to the company’s roster of talented professionals.

Jones, a resident of Emporia, brings to B&B more than 12 years of experience as a licensed professional soil scientist with extensive environmental expertise. She joins the already robust, multi-discipline firm specializing in civil engineering, water and wastewater engineering and laboratory services, structural engineering, site development, environmental studies/remediation, surveying, construction administration, and inspections.

“We are extremely pleased to bring Alexis on board with B&B,” said B&B CEO/Managing Partner Sam Carroll, P.E., who oversees operations in the company’s South Hill office. “We have worked on numerous projects where Alexis was a part of the overall project team, so we knew her capabilities and talent. Now we are fortunate to have her on our team at B&B.”

Jones has extensive experience in wetlands delineations and wetlands permitting approval through the VDEQ and USACE.  In addition, she has a large knowledge base in environmental regulations and has extensive experience working with clients/contractors to ensure environmental site compliance.

Her work will include providing turn-key environmental services to assist you in obtaining and managing construction site permits, as well as maintaining permit compliance for construction projects and sites.

 “Alexis will have a presence in our projects throughout the areas we serve, not just in South Hill or South Boston,” said B&B President/Managing Partner Jimmy Epps, P.E., who oversees operations in the South Boston office. “Much like everyone on our team, Alexis will be accessible, physically present and connected with our clients. She understands the company and the high level of service we provide for all levels of customers.”

Jones, who grew up in rural Minnesota, says the timing felt right for her to join B&B and – having worked with B&B on numerous projects for the past 8 years – she already had a good relationship with the company and liked the company structure.

“To join a well-respected firm in this area, and to join this team of professionals, is very exciting for me. Through joining the B&B team, I hope to provide the company, our clients, and our community with my continued commitment to the environment, as well as lending my professional expertise to aid in the development of our area,” Jones said. “I know the importance of investing in the communities in which you live and it is always my goal to do the same, whether through my job, my family or my community participation.”

Jones is a married mother of three. She serves as president of the Parent Teacher Organization at her children’s school and she is a Greensville County School Board member. She is also a board member for the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists.

Since its inception, B&B Consultants, Inc. has seen continuous growth which is attributed to the firm’s commitment to responsive and responsible client interaction and professional service. Through innovative project delivery and an unwavering commitment to excellence, B&B is focused on meeting client expectations and delivering comprehensive solutions for all customers.

Senate approval sends ‘Tebow Bill’ to McAuliffe

By Nick Versaw, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Senate narrowly approved a bill Monday that would allow home-schooled students across the commonwealth to play high school sports.

HB 1578, commonly known as the “Tebow Bill,” would eliminate a statewide ban prohibiting home-schooled students from participating in high school athletics and other interscholastic activities.

The Senate voted 22-18 in favor of the measure. Democratic Sen. Lynwood Lewis of Accomac joined the 21 Republican senators in voting for the bill, which had been approved by the House last month.

The bill, introduced by Del. Rob Bell, R-Charlottesville, will be sent to Gov. Terry McAuliffe for his signature. Sam Coleman, an aide to the Democratic governor, said McAuliffe plans to veto the legislation.

The bill is nicknamed for former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who was allowed to play football for a high school in Florida while he was being home-schooled. Bell has introduced similar legislation each year since 2005.

In 2015 and 2016, Bell’s bills were passed by the General Assembly only to be vetoed by McAuliffe. The legislation’s supporters were unable to override the vetoes.

Opponents of HB 1578 say home-schoolers don’t have to meet the same academic standards as public-school students, so it would not be right to let them play alongside regular students in high school sports.

McAuliffe cited that rationale when he vetoed Bell’s legislation last spring.

“Opening participation in those competitions to individuals who are not required to satisfy the same criteria upends Virginia’s extracurricular framework and codifies academic inequality in interscholastic competition,” the governor wrote in his veto message.

Bell counters that this is not the case with his newest iteration of the bill.

Under the legislation, any student who wants to participate in a local high school’s athletic programs would have to pass standardized tests and demonstrate “evidence of progress” in their academic curriculum for at least two years. Bell said the students also would have to meet the same immunization standards as their public-school counterparts.

Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, argues that, in his experience, it wouldn’t be fair to students who already participate in their high school’s athletic programs.

“I played high school athletics,” Petersen said. “I know a little bit about it. I know you have to have a certain GPA to play on Friday nights. I know you had to basically comply with classroom conduct rules in order to play, and I think those are good rules. They’re good rules for kids, and that’s what this is about.”

Bell’s bill also states that each local school district would get to decide for itself whether to allow home-schoolers to participate in high school sports. Districts that consider such a policy as unfair would not be forced to allow home-schoolers to participate.

Petersen argued that this caveat would create more problems than it would help solve.

“The bottom line is, once Virginia High School League changes its policy, every school division is going to have to match up with it, because nobody is going to want to compete with half a loaf,” he said. “I’ve got some coaches in the audience that are here for state-winning championship teams, and I know what they would say, not on the merits of the bill, but simply that everyone has to play by the same set of rules.”

“You can’t have one set of rules down-state, one set of rules in Northern Virginia and one set of rules in Hampton Roads,” Petersen added. “The bottom line is, if we’re going to have this, it’s got to be a state-wide policy. It can’t be halfway.”

Bell argued his bill would simply allow home-schooled students who might not fit the typical public-school mold the same freedoms as all other students.

“If you are a parent and your kid doesn’t fit into the public-school curriculum right now, you can go private or you can go home-schooling, except many places, including a county I represent, have very limited private school options,” Bell said. “Yet we’re forcing parents to say, ‘You can have football, or you can have the education that you want.’”

How they voted

Here is how the Senate voted Monday on HB 1578 (“Students who receive home instruction; participation in interscholastic programs (Tebow Bill)”).

Floor 02/13/2017 Senate: Passed Senate: (22-Y 18-N)

YEAS – Black, Carrico, Chafin, Chase, Cosgrove, DeSteph, Dunnavant, Hanger, Lewis, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Peake, Reeves, Ruff, Stanley, Stuart, Sturtevant, Suetterlein, Vogel, Wagner – 22.

NAYS – Barker, Dance, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Mason, McClellan, McPike, Petersen, Saslaw, Spruill, Surovell, Wexton – 18.

Bill lets domestic violence victims carry concealed guns

By Nick Versaw, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Victims of domestic violence would get early access to concealed handgun permits under a bill approved Monday by the state Senate.

HB 1852 would allow those with protective orders to carry a concealed handgun after they apply for a permit. It was introduced by a Republican coalition of delegates including Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah County, Nick Freitas of Culpeper, Rick Morris of Suffolk, Ron Villanueva of Virginia Beach and Michael Webert of Fauquier County.

The bill was passed by the Senate Monday on a 27-13 vote after approval by the House of Delegates on Feb. 3. It will now be sent to Gov. Terry McAuliffe to seek the governor’s signature. McAuliffe vetoed similar legislation last year and plans to do the same with this iteration, according to Sam Coleman, an aide.

Under current Virginia law, it is illegal to carry concealed handguns until a permit is granted – a process that can take up to 45 days after the application is filed. Gilbert said that, for the victims of abuse, that time can be the difference between life and death.

To address the issue, the bill would allow those with protective orders to carry a concealed handgun for up to 45 days without a permit as long as they have applied for one. Gilbert said this would give victims of abuse a means to defend themselves from their attackers.

“The essence of this is that we want to empower people, especially women, who find themselves in a position where they are in fear of their lives, to be able to protect themselves in a manner that they see fit,” he said.

Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, argued the bill would lead to unintended circumstances that could put victims in even greater danger.

“We already have a victim who’s vulnerable and very concerned and anxious, and we’re going to allow this person to bypass whatever requirements we might have for concealed handgun permits – one of which is training – to go ahead and get the gun,” she said.

“We should base public policy on evidence-based research. Folks who have studied this issue, folks who have advocated for the rights of women, folks who have spent many years evaluating domestic violence situations tell us that it is not wise to interject more firearms into a situation that is already volatile,” Favola added. “In fact, when a firearm exists in a situation of domestic violence, it’s actually the woman who is five times more likely to die.”

Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Winchester, argued this bill would not introduce a firearm into a situation where it wouldn’t have already existed, but that it would instead give victims greater freedom to protect themselves by carrying concealed.

“I would just like to point out that in this circumstance, a victim can already open carry if they are lawfully allowed,” she said. “In this case, this would simply allow them, in that window of time where they are most vulnerable, to conceal carry. I just want to make that point because I think sometimes people overlook that piece of this, and I think that’s an important measure.”

How they voted

Here is how the Senate voted Monday on HB 1852 (“Concealed handguns; protective orders”).

Floor: 02/13/17 Senate: Passed Senate with substitute (27-Y 13-N)

YEAS – Black, Carrico, Chafin, Chase, Cosgrove, Dance, DeSteph, Dunnavant, Edwards, Hanger, Lewis, McDougle, McPike, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Peake, Petersen, Reeves, Ruff, Saslaw, Stanley, Stuart, Sturtevant, Suetterlein, Vogel, Wagner – 27.

NAYS – Barker, Deeds, Ebbin, Favola, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Mason, McClellan, Spruill, Surovell, Wexton – 13.

Is it gerrymandering – or Democratic clustering?

By Maura Mazurowski and Mary Lee Clark, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – David Toscano, the minority leader in the Virginia House, did the math and didn’t like the results.

“All five statewide offices are held by Democrats, and the presidency has been won by Democrats in Virginia for the last three cycles,” he said. “Yet 66 percent of the House of Delegates are Republicans.”

The Democrats do better in the Virginia Senate, where they are outnumbered just 21-19 by Republicans. Almost as lopsided as the state House of Delegates is Virginia’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representative: It has seven Republicans and four Democrats.

Toscano and other Democrats blame that imbalance on gerrymandering – the drawing of political districts to favor the party in power.

“We face a real uphill struggle, and it shows in the legislation that is getting defeated as well as the legislation that they are getting passed,” Toscano said.

Last week, for example, the General Assembly marked “crossover day” – the deadline for bills to pass their chamber of origin or be declared dead for the legislative session. Of bills sponsored by Republican delegates, 59 percent have won House approval and are still alive, according to a Capital News Service analysis of data from the Legislative Information Service. Of bills sponsored by Democratic delegates, just 25 percent survived crossover.

However, many legislators dispute the notion that unfair redistricting practices have disadvantaged Democrats and ensured Republican legislative dominance.

“It has nothing to do with gerrymandering. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Jeff Ryer, communications director for the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus. He said the Republican majority in the General Assembly simply reflects where people live: Republicans tend to live in rural areas while Democrats tend to cluster in more densely populated areas, such as Tidewater and Northern Virginia.

Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, agrees. In an op-edthis month in the Richmond-Times Dispatch, he discussed what Democrats see as evidence of manipulated districts: “A state in which Republicans have lost seven statewide races in a row has a majority Republican congressional delegation and legislature.”

McDougle wrote, “That is not the result of gerrymandering, but an easy to understand consequence of Democrat voters living in communities surrounded by other Democrat voters.” In other words, he explained, “Democrat voters often reside in clusters, living in localities that vote overwhelmingly for Democrat candidates.”

Last fall’s presidential election was a case in point, McDougle said. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won only 40 of Virginia’s 133 localities. But by winning the most populous localities, often by “staggeringly large” margins, Clinton captured the statewide vote over Republican Donald Trump.

However, Bill Oglesby, an assistant professor in VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, says gerrymandering explains why Democrats have so little power in the General Assembly.

“Even a conservative editorial page like the Richmond-Times Dispatch has said in a state that votes blue statewide on a consistent basis, there’s no justification for having two-thirds of the House be Republican,” said Oglesby, who recently directed and produced a PBS documentary titled “GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy on Its Head.”

John Aughenbaugh, a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said both Democrats and Republicans have used gerrymandering, depending on which party is in the majority when political lines are redrawn every 10 years.

“In Virginia, like a majority of the states in the country, the state legislature controls the redistricting process after every census is taken,” Aughenbaugh said. “It puts a heavy premium on which political party is actually in control of the General Assembly after the census results come out.”

When the Democrats controlled the General Assembly, they drew the lines to benefit their party, Aughenbaugh said. He said no one is innocent, but it is a problem that must be fixed.

“Most political scientists would like to see greater competitive races, whether we are talking about state legislative seats or House of Representatives,” Aughenbaugh said. “We would like to see greater competition.”

The lack of competition is evident in statistics compiled by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. When the 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates were up for election two years ago, 61 of the races were uncontested – with just one name on the ballot.

Despite being in the minority in the House and Senate, Democratic legislators have an ace up their sleeve. They can play it when Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoes legislation, as he has done to 71 Republican-supported bills since taking office in 2014.

Republicans need a two-thirds majority in both chambers – 67 votes in the House and 27 in the Senate – to override a veto. They’ve never been able to muster that. As a result, not one of McAuliffe’s vetoes has been overturned.

But Democrats’ ultimate goal is to change the way political districts are drawn.

At the start of the legislative session, legislators – including some Republicans – introduced 13 bills and proposed constitutional amendments intended to take the politics out of redistricting. All of the proposals originating in the House died in the House Privileges and Elections Committee.

But three redistricting proposals won approval in the Senate and have been sent to the House for consideration:

  • SJ 290 is a proposed constitutional amendment that states, “No electoral district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or other individual or entity.” It is sponsored by Sens. Jill Vogel, R-Winchester, and Janet Howell, D-Reston.
  • SJ 231, another constitutional amendment, would create an independent commission to redraw legislative and congressional districts after each census. It is sponsored by a group of Republicans and Democrats.
  • SB 846, sponsored by Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, would require Virginia to use an independent commission if a court declares a legislative or congressional district unlawful or unconstitutional.

All of those measures have been assigned to the House Privileges and Elections Committee, the House graveyard for its own bills that would have changed redistricting.

Republicans divided on redistricting reform

By Megan Schiffres, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Redistricting reform has Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly divided.

Three redistricting reform proposals that passed the Senate are scheduled to come before the House Elections Subcommittee on Tuesday morning. The measures – SJ 290, SJ 231 and SB 846– gained bipartisan support and passed the Senate with overwhelming majorities last week.

Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Fauquier, who is running for lieutenant governor, co-sponsored SJ 290, a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit electoral districts from being drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator or individual. She held a press conference Monday with OneVirginia2021, a non-profit organization that advocates for nonpartisan redistricting.

Vogel said the biggest obstacle to redistricting reform has been lack of public information.

“Once folks truly start to appreciate that perhaps it isn’t them who are selecting their legislators but in fact the legislators who are selecting them, that actually really makes people stop and take a second look,” Vogel said.

Vogel herself represents seven different localities, including slivers of Culpeper County and Stafford County that were added to her district as a result of the 2011 redistricting. She says gerrymandering undermines the ability of legislators to serve their constituents.

“That was deliberately drawn that way, and that doesn’t mean that I’m less engaged, but certainly it dilutes my ability to have an impact,” Vogel said.

District lines in Virginia are redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census and are constitutionally required to be composed of “contiguous and compact territory” and to represent the population of the district. Critics of the system have argued that the process is used for political gain and has been corrupted by partisanship.

“Gerrymandering is simply rigging the outcome of an election before the very first vote is cast. Rather than stuffing the ballot box, incumbents are stuffing their districts,” said Chuck McPhillips, a Republican lawyer and Tidewater regional co-chairman of OneVirginia2021.

So far this session, the House has defeated eight redistricting reform bills, most of which were proposed by Democrats. The debate over redistricting comes just a week after the House Privileges and Elections Committee was booed by the audience for refusing to reconsider five redistricting proposals that one of its subcommittees had killed.

“The House has taken a much more aggressive posture than the Senate has vis-a-vis their willingness to entertain these bills, and in my view, I think a fair and open hearing is critical,” Vogel said.

SJ 231, proposed by Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, would establish a seven-member bipartisan commission composed of both party leaders and independent public officials to redraw congressional and General Assembly district boundaries after each decennial census. SB 846, which was proposed by Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, would establish an Interim Redistricting Commission to assume control of redistricting if any state or federal court declared the districts drawn by lawmakers to be unconstitutional.

At least one member of the Elections Subcommittee said he is skeptical about having a special commission redraw political lines.

“I don’t think it is wise to hand over constitutional obligations and duties of elected people to unelected people,” said Del. Buddy Fowler, R-Glenn Allen.

Two of the bills before the House are constitutional amendments, and if passed would alter Article 2 Section 6 of the Virginia Constitution. The executive director of OneVirginia2021, Brian Cannon, criticized House Republicans for assigning these bills to the Elections Subcommittee instead of the Constitutional Subcommittee. He believes the proposed amendments would have a better chance of passing in the Constitutional Subcommittee.

“They’re very deliberate about exactly what they’re doing here,” Cannon said.

Chris West, policy communications director for House Speaker William Howell, said the constitutional amendments were moved to the Elections Subcommittee to “show the wide support that the Republican caucus has against redistricting reform.”

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