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2017-4-26

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will meet on Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.  The public is welcome to attend.

Emporia Clinic to Offer Free Medical, Dental, and Vision Care

Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps of Virginia (RAM Virginia) will hold a free medical clinic at Greensville High School, 403 Harding St., Emporia, on June 24 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and June 25 from 6 a.m. to noon. All RAM Virginia health services are free to the patients.

Free transportation to and from the clinic will be provided:

Services include: dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, eye exams, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglass production, women's health exams, medical exams, health resources. All services are delivered on a first-come, first-served basis. Patients will receive an entry number based on when they arrive. Entry numbers will be assigned, starting at 6 a.m. Patients are welcome to arrive early and line up, but they will be outdoors, and no one from RAM is scheduled to arrive before 6 a.m.

All providers are certified medical professionals, including but not limited to: dentists, dental hygienists, ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, nurse practitioners, physicians, and physician assistants. Medical professionals are encouraged to register for the event at https://ramusa.org/volunteer/.

Patients should bring any prescribed medications they currently take for consultation with our health care providers.  Please continue to take any current medications as prescribed while attending this event.  For any questions about the event, please contact Elise M. Brown, volunteer with RAM Virginia, at (301) 641-0083, elise@enroll-virginia.com.

About Remote Area Medical: Remote Area Medical, volunteer medical relief corps that provides free health care, dental care, eye care, veterinary services, and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the United States and around al (RAM) is a non-profit the world. RAM was founded in 1985 by Stan Brock, who worked as an assistant to Marlin Perkins on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. The group's work was originally confined to Third World countries, but later shifted towards the US. In 2016, RAM Volunteers delivered free health care to 30,963 people in the US (over 5,000 of whom received care in Virginia). 

Remote Area Medical of Virginia: Remote Area Medical (RAM) of Virginia is a non-profit healthcare organization bringing all-volunteer free short term clinics in Virginia to those needing dental, vision and medical care.  Since its founding on the steps of the state’s Capitol Building in 2014, RAM Virginia has established new clinics in Lee County, Smyth County, and Warsaw, Virginia, and overseen the established clinics at Wise, Virginia (17 yrs), Grundy, Virginia (15 yrs), and Buena Vista, Virginia.  Headed by its President, Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss, Optometrist, the affiliate works to expand quality medical, dental, and vision clinics throughout Virginia. This is done in an effort to alleviate the growing need for affordable healthcare for thousands of underserved Virginians. To find out more about RAM of Virginia, visit www.ramusa.org/virginia or find us on Facebook at Remote Area Medical of Virginia. 

KAINE & WARNER TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION COMMEMORATING TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF VIRGINIA TECH TRAGEDY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark R. Warner will introduce a Senate resolution commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which claimed 32 lives and injured 17 others. The resolution honors the victims, offers condolences to their families, and recognizes the resilience of the Virginia Tech community in the decade following the tragedy. Kaine was serving as Governor of Virginia when the tragedy occurred.

“As I told members of the Blacksburg community on April 16th this year, ten years later I continue to be in awe of the strength of these families and the entire Virginia Tech community, “said Kaine. “Virginia Tech has set a powerful example of resilience in the face of tragedy, and this resolution recognizes that perseverance and honors the 32 beautiful lives that were lost that day and the 17 individuals who were injured.”

“On that dark day ten years ago and every day since, these families and the survivors have shown incredible courage in the wake of almost unbearable pain and loss,”said Warner. “This resolution remembers those lives lost and recognizes how, in many ways, the huge Virginia Tech community has grown stronger and even closer in the decade since the tragedy.”

Kaine and Warner have long supported improving mental health policy and passing commonsense measures to curb gun violence, including requiring background record checks prior to gun purchases and improving the number and accuracy of records submitted to the national background check system. Last month, Kaine co-sponsored the CDC Research on Firearms Safety or Gun Violence Prevention Act, a bill that would lift the de facto twenty-year ban on research into firearms safety and gun violence prevention at the CDC. 

Earlier today, the Senate unanimously passed Sens. Kaine and Warner’s resolution recognizing the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy. 

VA MEMBERS URGE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT MINERS BEFORE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS EXPIRE

~ An estimated 10,000 retired coal miners in Virginia are at risk of losing health and retirement benefits in the coming years ~

WASHINGTON – In a letter today, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Gerry Connolly, A. Donald McEachin, and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (all D-VA) urged Congressional leaders to take action to protect retired coal miners who risk losing their healthcare benefits as part of negotiations to keep the government funded before the end of the week. Last year, Congress reached a deal to extend government funding and retired miners’ health care benefits until April 28th. In March, retired coal miners and their families began receiving letters notifying them of the impending termination of their health care coverage. 

“This nation was built on the backs of our workers. Let us not forsake them. We implore you to immediately pass a permanent health care fix for the miners and commit to working with us to finding and passing a solution for the imperiled 1974 Pension Fund,” the members wrote.

Retired miners are facing uncertainty because the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan is severely underfunded, still reeling from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and a series of bankruptcies in the coal industry.

The Virginia Congressional members pressed for the inclusion in negotiations of the Miners Protection Act, bipartisan legislation which would transfer federal funds to shore up the underfunded health insurance and pension plan.

“Anything less is merely an extension of the ongoing uncertainty and agony that these men and women have been carrying for years. Anything less is an unacceptable and tragic failure of this body to keep its word to the men and women who powered our nation to prosperity at the risk of their own health and lives,” the members added.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

April 25, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell                              
Senate Majority Leader                                               
The Capitol S-230                                                       
Washington, DC 20510                                              

The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader
The Capitol S-221
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan                                          
Speaker of the House of Representatives                   
The Capitol H-232                                                      
Washington, DC 20515                                              

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi  
House Minority Leader
The Capitol H-204
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi,

As you know, at the expiration of the current continuing resolution, 22,600 of our nation’s retired coal miners will lose their healthcare benefits.  In March, these miners received letters notifying them of this impending termination and, sadly, it is not the first such letter they have received.  

Virginia is home to nearly 10,000 UMWA beneficiaries whose benefits are at risk in the coming years, many of whom will soon suffer the anguish and fear that comes with the loss of these life-saving benefits. 

While the continuing resolution included a four-month extension of benefits, it did so using remaining funds in the existing Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association (VEBA) plans.  The “extension” was essentially a transfer of funds already belonging to these miners.  In fact, it shortened the timeline for 6,500 of these miners who would have otherwise received healthcare benefits through July.  Additionally, the pension fund that these miners and their widows rely on for life’s basic necessities will reach the point of no return this year if Congress does not act to shore it up.

This bill is simple – it is the continuation of a longstanding commitment by our government to lifetime health and retirement benefits for our miners.  The Krug-Lewis Agreement was signed in 1946 at the White House in front of President Truman by UMWA president John L. Lewis and Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug.  While the agreement itself was not drafted in perpetuity, Congress essentially codified the promises made in that agreement by subsequently passing the Coal Act. 

The Coal Act and its 2006 amendments re-committed the government to the health and retirement security of our nation’s miners and their families.  In fact, prior to passage of the 1992 Coal Act, the Dole Commission (appointed by President George H.W. Bush) issued a report stating that, “The UMWA Health and Retirement Funds is as much a creature of government as it is of collective bargaining. There is a line running from the original Boone Report to the present system. In a way, the original Krug-Lewis agreement predisposed, if not predetermined, the system that evolved.” 

The Miners Protection Act is a responsible, bipartisan solution to an immediate problem that is fully offset and has gone through regular order.  As Congress considers a continuing resolution to keep the government running, we fully expect that such a vehicle will include the permanent health care fix for our nation’s retired miners as promised at the end of 2016 and proposed in the Miner’s Protection Act.

Anything less is merely an extension of the ongoing uncertainty and agony that these men and women have been carrying for years.  Anything less is an unacceptable and tragic failure of this body to keep its word to the men and women who powered our nation to prosperity at the risk of their own health and lives. 

This nation was built on the backs of our workers.  Let us not forsake them.  We implore you to immediately pass a permanent health care fix for the miners and commit to working with us to finding and passing a solution for the imperiled 1974 Pension Fund.

Sincerely,                                                                                                                  

Mark R. Warner                                                        
United States Senator            

Tim Kaine
United States Senator

Gerry Connolly
United States Representative

A. Donald McEachin  
United States Representative

Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
United States Representative 

Walk In It Brings Mothers and Daughters Closer

Suffolk, VA.  The Walk In It Mother/Daughter Conference was held on Saturday, April 8 from 9 am to 12 noon at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Suffolk, VA.

The girls of Ladies of Distinction (L.O.D.) and the women of Raising Excellent Daughters (R.E.D.), both programs of Walk In it, Inc. came together for the annual Mother/Daughter Conference. The event was full of energy and offered moms and daughters times to connect and have fun together. Break-out sessions included empowerment session for the daughters and empowerment discussions for the moms that encompassed parenting tips.

As a special treat, Dr. Tamara Baldwin, Psychology Professor at Hampton University spoke about striving for excellence in every area of life. She noted that people don’t become excellent by accident, but with intentional and consistent effort. “I think the Mother/Daughter Conference really bridged some relational gaps, empowered the participants, and motivated them to increase the value of their relationships,” said Jennell Riddick, Walk In It Executive Director.

The Mother/Daughter Conference is sponsored by Walk In It, Inc. Walk In It is a non-profit, 501c3 organization, founded by Jennell Riddick in 2004. Walk In It Inc. is dedicated to the empowerment of girls and women. Whether in the classroom, an after-school club, a conference/retreat, or personal mentorship, W.I.T positively impacts the educational and social lives of its participants. Through a combination of practical life skills and empowering life improvement strategies, W.I.T makes a difference one step at a time. 

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