Current Weather Conditions

 
Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

Community Calendar Sponsored By...

 

2018-2-1

Hospitals update visitation policy during flu season

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, hospitals and health systems that are members of the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition are updating their visitation guidelines to protect patients, visitors and health care providers during flu season. 

VCU Health System facilities including VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, Bon Secours, HCA Virginia, Southside Regional Medical Center, Centra Southside Community Hospital, and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center are limiting visitors in patient care areas to include only healthy adults who are 18 years or older, and no more than two adults per patient at one time. The guidelines apply to visitors, and do not affect children who need to be hospitalized.

In close collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the limitations are implemented in years when the flu is a widespread concern. Signs at entryways to the health system facilities will alert the public of the limited-visitation policy.

Greensville County School Board Announces Superintendent Search

(January 31, 2018)—The Greensville County School Board announced today that it will begin the process of hiring a new superintendent by seeking public input on qualifications.

The School Board has created a survey related to superintendent criteria, which is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GreensvilleCountySearch and on the home page of the division web site. Hard copies of the survey will also be available at the school board offices, at each school, at the Greensville County Government Office’s reception desk, at the City Manager’s office, and at the Meherrin Regional Library.

In addition to the survey, the Board will hold a public hearing at 6 pm on February 15, 2018 in the Greensville County High School Media Center.  

“We want to include and involve as many stakeholders as possible in this process,” said School Board Chairman Rhonda Jones-Gilliam.  “This is a priority for the Greensville County School Board and the Board will work diligently to find the next leader of the school division.”

The School Board selected the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) to assist the Board with the superintendent search.

Improvement Association to Hold Community Forum “Speed Dating” Style Events

Each year The Improvement Association conducts a series of community forum events. These forums are designed to seek community input for our Community Needs Assessment and bring valuable community resources to our residents. In fact, every initiative offered by the agency is guided by the Community Needs Assessment and it is a critical piece to provide much needed programs.

The agency has partnered with area organizations to offer a Kids Corner where children can participate in various activities while parents participate in the forum. Additionally, the local sheriff’s departments will offer child identification kits for parents wanting to ensure the safety of their children.

This year The Improvement Association will be conducting its community forum event in a speed dating style. Barbie Roundtree, Program Technician stated: “The ‘Speed Dating’ concept was adopted from a training I attended at the National Community Action Partnership Conference last summer. It was much more enjoyable than sitting in a session listening to one person speak. It is also an effective way to gather input from all in attendance.”

“We’ve also invited several community partners to set up informational tables at the event,” said Steffan. “We realized there are several residents who aren’t aware of the available resources within the community. They may also have difficulty getting to the offices to apply for assistance. By having these community resources on hand, we’re enabling the residents to learn about various assistance programs and apply on the spot.” Some of the resources available include local Departments of Social Services, local Health Departments, areas banks, Southside Programs for Adult Continuing Education and Southside Virginia Community College, District 19, and more. “We’re really trying to focus on helping our residents become self-sufficient, and sometimes you need a bit of help for that.”

The agency will be offering door prizes and raffle prizes for those in attendance. “We’ve been seeking donations from local businesses to help entice residents to attend. We’ve had great support and will have a variety of items to be given away during the event,” said Steffan. Some donations include gift certificates to local restaurants, bakeries, hair salons, nail salons, auto repair shops, museums, and more.

All local residents and employees are welcome to attend their corresponding area events. Please RSVP no later than Feb. 16 by calling 434-634-2490 ext. 243 or by emailing lsteffan@impassoc.org. Please be sure to specify what area you will be attending. All events will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the following locations:

March 1: Greensville/Emporia - 1750 E. Atlantic St. Emporia, VA 23847

March 8: Sussex - 120 Coppahaunk Ave. Waverly, VA 23890

March 15: Brunswick - Elm Acres, 100 Raney St. Lawrenceville, VA 23868

March 22: Dinwiddie - Ragsdale Community Center, 20916 Old School Rd. McKenney, VA 23872

March 29: Surry - Department of Youth & Family Resources, 11 Lebanon Rd. Spring Grove, VA 23881

State Legislators Ask Congress to Improve Interstate 81

By Logan Bogert, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – More than a dozen members of the Virginia General Assembly urged their counterparts in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to fund improvements in safety and congestion on Interstate 81, which runs from Tennessee to the Canadian border.

The state lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine as well as to U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith and Barbara Comstock, whose congressional districts include I-81.

The letter was signed by three state senators (Charles Carrico, Creigh Deeds and Mark Obenshain) and 14 state delegates, all from the western part of the state. Fifteen of the legislators are Republicans, and two are Democrats. They asked Congress to support several bills to improve I-81.

“I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for common sense solutions for our pressing safety problems on I-81,” Obenshain, a Republican from Harrisonburg, said in a press release. “We are coming together as a bipartisan group of Senators and Delegates urging our Congressional delegation to fight for funding for I-81.”

Obenshain has two bills on this issue before the General Assembly:

  • Senate Bill 561 would direct the Department of Transportation to conduct a pilot program to establish zones on I-81 where tractor trucks would be required to travel in the right lane. SB 561 has been referred to the Committee on Transportation.
  • SB 971 would direct the Commonwealth Transportation Board to develop an I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan that may include tolling heavy commercial vehicles to finance the improvements. SB 971 has been referred to the Committee on Rules.

Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, who also signed the letter, has proposed creating a joint subcommittee to study the possibility of adding lanes to I-81 between Wytheville and Bristol.

“There are real safety problems that need real solutions,” Obenshain said, “and I am confident that these legislative proposals will present these solutions.”

Latina Lawmaker Delivers Response to President’s Address

By Ryan Persaud, Capital News Service

One of Virginia’s first Latina lawmakers delivered the Democrats’ Spanish-language response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, saying he “has pushed a dark and extremist agenda that damages our national values and endangers national security.”

Del. Elizabeth Guzmán, a first-term delegate representing Virginia’s 31st District, criticized the Trump administration for actions she considered discriminatory. Those actions included rescinding protections for certain young immigrants under the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program and, in Guzmán’s view, Trump’s lack of action in providing citizens in Puerto Rico with hurricane relief.

“We should not accept nor normalize the atrocious and insulting way in which this president characterizes our communities,” she said in her nationally broadcast speech. “Doing so would mean giving in to a false and dangerous narrative.”

Guzmán emphasized the need to serve middle-class families instead of supporting the wealthiest, as she claims Trump’s policies do.

“Instead of fighting for the middle class, President Trump rolled back progress towards an overtime wage raise,” Guzmán said. “We, as Americans, deserve a leader that defends the interests of the middle class – not someone who helps the privileged and powerful step on everyone else.”

Guzmán closed her speech by calling upon citizens to make their voices heard by voting and running for office.

“I was told that Virginia wasn’t ready to elect a delegate with Latina roots - and look what happened,” said Guzmán, who was born in Peru and is a social worker in Prince William County. “We need candidates who worry about the fact that our children are at risk of inheriting a nation that no longer believes in equal opportunities for all.”

Guzmán’s speech, which aired with English subtitles for non-Spanish speakers, followed one from Rep. Joe Kennedy III, a Massachusetts congressman and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy who was chosen to lead the Democratic rebuttal. Kennedy called for the unity of the American people while also pointing out the discriminatory nature of the Trump administration.

"It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos, partisanship, politics, but it's far bigger than that," Kennedy said. "This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us, they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection."

The Democratic Party was responding to Trump’s first State of the Union address. In the address, the president reflected on his first year of office, citing tax cuts, the repeal of parts of the Affordable Care Act, and the creation of new jobs as major accomplishments for his administration.

Trump focused on future plans for immigration reform, which included building a border wall, as well as ending programs such as the visa lottery and chain migration, which would strongly limit immigration sponsorships to family members.

“In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can just no longer afford,” Trump said. “It’s time to reform these outdated immigration rules and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.”

Year After Ruling, 1 in 6 Drivers Still Has Suspended License

Manassas resident Greg Ballou was charged with a misdemeanor when he was 19. As a result, Ballou, 28, has had his driver's license suspended for nine years. (Photo courtesy of Greg Ballou)

By Sophia Belletti, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Manassas resident Greg Ballou was charged with a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana when he was 19, and he didn’t have enough money to pay the fine. As a result, his driver’s license was suspended.

Nine years later, Ballou, now 28 and working in construction, is thousands of dollars in debt, and his license has been permanently suspended.

“Everything’s a barrier, and it’s incredibly impossible to have a life at all without a license,” Ballou said.

Under Virginia law, when somebody is convicted of violating state or federal law and does not immediately pay the fine, the court suspends the defendant’s driver’s license.

After he lost his license, Ballou said, life went “all downhill.”

“What’s the point?” he asked. “I couldn’t find a job to keep me out of trouble, and from there, I was bored and had no money.”

Ballou is one of more than 15 percent of Virginia drivers whose licenses have been suspended due to court debt, according to a report released last week by the Legal Aid Justice Center.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Last year, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe asked the General Assembly to discard the automatic suspension plan, but legislators rejected his request. Last February, though, the Virginia Supreme Court required all courts to offer all defendants unable to pay court fines within 30 days deferred or installment plans before automatically suspending their license.

Now Republican Sen. William Stanley Jr. from Franklin County is pushing SB 181 to eliminate such license suspensions.

It would repeal “the requirement that the driver’s license of a person convicted of any violation of the law who fails or refuses to provide for immediate payment of fines or costs be suspended. The bill provides that the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles shall return or reinstate any person’s driver’s license that was suspended solely for nonpayment of fines or costs.”

Stanley said he was seeing a lot of people lose their licenses – not because of driving violations but because they weren’t able to pay their fines.

“And because of that, it was threatening their ability to work, take their kids to school or [travel for medical reasons], and they were getting arrested basically for trying to survive,” he said.

Ballou said he has no choice but to be flexible in his line of work. He said he purposely designs his life to be able to walk to work and care for his family.

“You really have to battle up hills,” Ballou said. “How the hell am I going to get to work? How the hell am I going to actually get a job that’s worth going to work for? How are you going to do all this without a license?”

The Legal Aid Justice Center, a nonprofit group that provides legal services for low-income Virginians, reported that as of December, there were 974,349 suspended licenses in the state due at least in part to court debt. Almost two-thirds of the suspensions were solely for court debt.

“What we can do is ramp up our collection efforts on these fines rather than continually hurting people who can’t drive and lose their job, and the next thing you know, they’re not going to be able to pay those fines,” Stanley said. “We’re perpetuating a cycle of nonpayment instead of encouraging payment or seeking payment.”

The number of Virginians with suspended licenses due to court debt has not changed much in the past year despite the Supreme Court’s order. In September 2016, there were 977,891 suspended licenses in the state, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

“It appears that these reforms have done little, if anything, to stem the breathtaking current of Virginians losing their licenses,” the justice center’s report said. It said that from November 2016 to last October, an average of 835 more driver’s licenses were suspended each day due to court debt.

Subscribe to RSS - 2018-2-1

Emporia News

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

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

EmporiaNews.com serves Emporia and Greensville County, Virginia and the surrounding area
and is provided as a community service by the Advertisers and Sponsors.
All material on EmporiaNews.com is copyright 2005-2018
EmporiaNews.com is powered by Drupal and based on the ThemeBrain Sirate Theme.

Submit Your Story!

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

Contact us at news@emporianews.com
 
EmporiaNews.com is hosted as a community Service by Telpage.  Visit their website at www.telpage.net or call (434)634-5100 (NOTICE: Telpage cannot help you with questions about Emporia New nor does Teplage have any input the content of Emporia News.  Please use the e-mail address above if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the content on Emporia News.)