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December 2017

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The Action Bible and Jackson-Feild

Thanks to the generosity of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Virginia and the members of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, the boys and girls at Jackson-Feild have brand new Action Bibles!

The best-selling Action Bible – created by a member of Marvel Comics – is designed to be action-grabbing through illustrations full of rich color and bold designs that brings to life the emotions and significance of the stories and figures of the Bible.

Jackson-Feild’s chaplain The Rev. Dr. Robin Jones will use the Action Bible’s four-step lesson path to engage teens at every step. The path starts by setting the stage to help teens feel comfortable with the Bible, and then brings the Bible stories and passages to life through animation. It helps readers make a connection and prompts them to ask questions. The Action Bible helps the boys and girls understand who God is and what they mean to Him, and it helps them develop their own value system.

Everyone involved in the Spiritual Program at Jackson-Feild is grateful to St. Martin’s and the ECW of the Diocese of Virginia for funding the purchase of these Bibles that will help to connect timeless truths to life today.

Brunswick Academy Student to be on Food Network Kids Baking Championshop

Season Premieres Monday, January 1st at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network

Brunswick Academy Sixth Grader Bryn Montgomery will appear on the new season of Kids Baking Championship on Food Network.She is the daughter of Vin and Ann Montgomery of South Hill. Photo: Food Network

NEW YORK – November 29, 2017 – Food Network celebrates the New Year in a big way as Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldmanchallenge the skills of a dozen young bakers with major talent on a new season of Kids Baking Championship, premiering on Monday, January 1st at 9pm ET/PT. Over the course of ten episodes, the contestants (ranging in age from 10 to 13) compete in decadent dessert challenges designed to find the most impressive and creative kid baker in the country. To make it to the top tier of the competition, their baking skills and originality must measure up, as they whip up sweet treats such as cookies, ice cream, and doughnuts. Only one will take the cake and the sweet grand prize of $25,000, a feature in Food Network Magazine, and the title of Kids Baking Champion!

“The return of family-favorite Kids Baking Championship is the perfect sweet note to start the new year with creative confections and delicious desserts from extraordinary young bakers showing off their remarkable talents that will awe and inspire audiences,” said Courtney White, Senior Vice President Programming, Scripps Networks Interactive. 

Throughout the ten-episode season, the kid contestants must tackle new confectionary challenges, from sweet dessert pizzas using traditional savory pizza toppings, to out-of-this-world desserts with freeze-dried astronaut approved ingredients, and to a new twist on the popular imposter dessert challenge featuring lunchbox favorites. On the premiere, the bakers must conquer cookie cakes, but when Duff and Valerie throw them a crazy curveball, one competitor melts under the pressure. On Monday, March 5th at 9pm ET/PT, the championship culminates as one talented baker will rise to the top in the grand finale.

Kids Baking Championship contestants include: Gareth Bennett (Gaithersburg, MD; age 10), Julia Betz (Key Biscayne, FL; age 12), Alex Czajka (Edmonton, AB; age 12), Beverly Hepler (Foster City, CA; age 10), Grady Holloway (Chesterfield, MO; age 11), Luke Jonsson (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; age 13), Linsey Lam (Closter, NJ; age 13), Abby Martin (Franklin, WI; age 13), Bryn Montgomery (South Hill, VA; age 11), Aditya Pillutla (Cary, NC; age 12), Michael Platt (Bowie, MD; age 11) and Soleil Thomas(Livingston, NJ; age 12).

Fans can join the baking banter on Twitter using #BakingChampionship, and can relive the most dramatic, creative, and adorable moments with video and photo highlights, at FoodNetwork.com/KidsBakingChampionship.  They can also go behind the scenes with Duff and Valerie, and discover more baking tips.

Learn About the SVCC Power Line Worker Training Program

Learn more about the Power Line Worker Training Program of Southside Viirginia Community College on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at the SVCC Occupational/Technical Center.  The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the center located at 1041 W. 10th Street, Pickett Park, Blackstone, Virginia.

This session will offer information on admission requirements, schedule, cost, housing, job prospects and scholarships.  Join the over 100 graduate of this program that started in 2016. 

Pizza will be served.  Please register at powerlineworker@southside.edu or call Susan Early at 434 292 3101.

Bridging the gap: Southwest Virginia has the most bridges and culverts in ‘poor’ condition

 

By Alexa Nash, Capital News Service

It’s difficult to avoid driving over a bridge in Virginia, and motorists often don’t give them a second thought. Drivers are unaware that some of the structures they have come to trust are in a troubling state, especially in the southwestern part of the commonwealth.

Of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s nine districts, Bristol has the highest number of bridges and culverts rated D or lower on the agency’s “health index,” an indication of the overall soundness of a structure. (Culverts are tunnels that allow streams or drains to flow under the road.)

Data obtained from VDOT shows that 451 bridges and culverts of over 3,400 in the Bristol district have that low grade, and 182 structures were deemed structurally deficient, or “poor.” The worst structure, a bridge in Scott County, has a grade of 12 on a 100-point scale – a solid F.

Even so, state officials say motorists should not worry.

“Scary terms aside, if there were a problem out there, [the bridges] would be investigated and closed,” said Michelle Earl, communications manager for VDOT’s Bristol district. “This is nothing we toy around with.”

Many bridges across the state need major repairs and possibly replacement. While the vast, rural Bristol district has more than its share of such bridges, it is aggressively attacking the problem, officials say.

Gary Lester, a bridge engineer for the Bristol district, said there are many reasons for high number of bridges with low grades, but two stand out: Bristol has more bridges than any other VDOT district, and because of the area’s geography, they are built differently than anywhere else in the state.

The Bristol district is a mountainous region with many streams to cross, and winters are harsh. This means that more salt is used on the roads due to snow, which corrodes the exposed steel in the simply designed bridges.

“In the past, we’ve used a lot of steel beams with timber decks because those were the cheapest and easiest for our crews to put in at the time,” Lester said. Most of the bridges were constructed in the early- to mid- 20th century.

The bridges needed to go up fast, so they were designed differently than those in Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg or Hampton Roads – districts that have the fewest structurally deficient bridges. Those bridges have a design life, or the time in which the bridge is structurally sound, of 50 to 100 years. Bridges built with just steel beams and timber decks in the Bristol district have a design life of about 25 years and need costly rehabilitation much more often.

Dr. David Mokarem, research associate at Virginia Tech, said VDOT’s health index is determined by the overall condition of all of the bridge’s parts. He said that traffic, load capacity and the geography of the district are factors in determining the grade.

Age and design life are also important factors. The needs for each district also depends on how much the bridges are used, so it makes sense that the more populous northern and eastern areas of Virginia see most of the funding from VDOT. That doesn’t mean that Bristol’s situation can be ignored.

“If [the grade] is 65 percent, that’s low,” Mokarem said. “They need to be fixed, repaired … something needs to be done.”

Lester is addressing the need in his district by looking at his bridges differently. He said he focuses on the structurally deficient bridges. This means that the bridge either can be crossed only by light vehicles and loads or cannot be used at all until it is rehabilitated or completely reconstructed.

The formula to determining structural deficiency is more accurate than the health index, Lester said. The formula, based on federal guidelines, divides the bridge into its deck structure and substructure and carefully calculates the health of those two parts.

The rating is out of nine. Once a bridge receives a four or below, it is considered structurally deficient and must have signage to advertise its load capability. To put that rating in perspective, a brand-new bridge with a few cracks is given a score of eight.

Every bridge is inspected every two years, and if they are structurally deficient, they are inspected once a year or more, Earl said.

VDOT had a goal over the past five years to decrease the number of structurally deficient bridges in each district by 15 percent. Bristol was the only district to exceed that goal. The district is replacing those bridges with ones that have a design life of 100 years.

“We’re looking at the overall load on a bridge before they go structurally deficient, and we’re looking at the condition of the joints to improve those so they don’t leak any water to get down into the structural elements, which will be a new performance measure,” Lester said. VDOT plans to announce these new performance measures in the next few weeks.

As the measures take effect, Lester said that the number of bridges determined to be structurally deficient should go down each year. The district will continue to work hard to bridge the structural and financial gaps.

“There’s new funding available to help improve bridges,” Earl said. “Public safety is our ultimate goal, so if there was an issue out there, it would get closed.”

In the City of Emporia there are no structually deficient bridges, but the Meherrin River Bridge on Main Street is functionally obsolete. The Meherrin River Bridge on Northbound I-95 is listed as functionally obsolete, but is currently being replaced.

In Greensville County there both the Falling Run culvert on Old Halifax Road and the Fountains Creek Bridge on Hells Island Road are structually deficient and the following bridges are listed as functionally obsolete:

Nottoway River on Purdy Road,
Moores Branch on Nottoway Road,
Fountains Creek on Moore's Frerry Road,
US 301 Soutnbound over CSX Railroad (Replaced).
Cattail Creek on Moore's Ferry Road,
Fountains Creek on US 301-Skippers Road,
US 301 Sounthbound over I-95 Ramp at Exit 12,
Branch on Low Ground Road,
Ramp to US 301-Skippers Road over Interstate 95 at Exit 8
Beaverpond on Pine Log Road.

Deloris Whitfield Success Story

Deloris Whitfield started with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act(WIOA)youth program in April 2017. She has a passion for helping others so she enrolled in the Nurse Aide program in May 2017 attending Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.

 While continuing to work on her credential, Whitfield participated in the 2017 WIOA Youth Summer Program and was involved in quite a few activities. She obtained a work experience with the Hazelwood House in South Hill, Virginia as an Adult Day Care worker. From this experience, she received a phenomenal reference letter for her work ethic.

During the summer program, she also completed the Tools for Success work readiness training.  Whitfield participated in the 3-D Imaging Dream It Do It Camp. She was one of the selected winners for her project and presentation of the skills she had learned in the camp.

She completed her CNA training in July of 2017 and successfully completed the WIOA youth program also.  She later successfully obtained her CNA licensure and gained full-time employment with Meadowview Terrace on as a Certified Nurse Aide.  She hopes to further her education with a stackable credential in Medication Aide.

A native of Brunswick County, she now lives in South Hill.

The W.I.O.A. Youth (OSY) program assists eligible students, between the ages of 14 and 24, in reaching the goal of high school graduation or obtaining the GED. We provide a variety of services to assist the student in making reasonable strides toward this goal. These services include tutoring, additional counseling, mentoring, transportation reimbursement, childcare assistance, career exploration, incentives and supply provisions if there is documented need for these services. The funding for this program is provided by the WIOA through the South Central Workforce Investment Board.  The contract for the Youth Programs is awarded to SVCC which provides the direction and coordination of the youth services.

Mrs. Hargrove’s Kindergarten Class Letters to Santa Claus

Dear Santa,

I want a dirt bike.  I’d also love a Dodge Ram Powerwheel.  I want a toy Lamborghini car.  And a big truck with shiny pipes. 

Thank u,

Isaiah P. 


Dear Santa,

I want a Hoverboard, shoes, clothes and toys. 

Jamie


Dear Santa,

My name is Arkeyla Porter, and I have been good this year.  I would like for you to bring me some clothes and shoes.  And I would like for you to bring my niece and nephews some clothes and shoes too.  And bring them some toys and lots of love. 

Arkeyla


Dear Santa,

I want a Power Ranger, Ninja Turtle and an army man.

Jayveion


Dear Santa,

My name is Jakiyah Nottie Lazae Vaughan.  I know I haven’t been that good this year but I was hopeful of maybe getting some outfits with shoes to match some Doc Mcstuffin toys, a hoverboard, doll house with some dolls, tablet, a baby alive, money and maybe a puppy. 

Jakiyah


Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I want a kitchen set and a baby alive doll, shopkins, a bike and a Hatchimal. 

Zakiya


Dear Santa,

I want a dragon toy, Trex toy, race cart, plane toy, dinosaur toy, wolf toy, and Pterodactyl toy. 

Noah


Dear Santa,

I want coloring books, a doll baby and a bed for my dollbabies. 

Ameria


Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I would like Pop the Pig, a football, a toy gun and a fire tablet.   Merry Christmas Santa!

Love,

Justin Wright


Dear Santa,

My name is Andre and all I want for Christmas is a Nintendo DS along with some games.

Andre


Dear Santa,

I have been good this year.  This Christmas, I wish for train tracks sets so that I can build awesome train stations.  Please give my sister a dollhouse. 

Love,

Daveron


Dear Santa,

I been a very nice girl.  All I want is bike, dollhouse and kitchen set, some boots, dollbabies and some clothes.

Love,

Zalilian Green


Dear Santa,

My name is Zy’ire.  For Christmas, I want a PS4, a tablet and a white DS.  I will leave you some milk and cookies.

Zy’ire


Dear Santa,

I want candy, toys and presents.

Liliana


Dear Santa,

I want Frozen dolls and toys. 

Rana


Dear Santa,

I want a doll and stroller.  I also want a dollhouse. 

Zaila

Sandra Hubbard is VCU CMH Fundraiser of the YEAR

One of the three co-chairs of the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Foundation’s 2016-2017 Health Care For Life Capital Campaign was honored in November by the Piedmont Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as its Volunteer Fundraiser of the year.

“When Sandra Hubbard agreed to serve on the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Health Care For Life Capital Campaign Cabinet in February 2016, she did so with trepidation. She was a quiet listener as the early planning stages of the campaign were ironed out. But out of necessity the campaign was an accelerated version of a traditional capital campaign. And that’s when Sandra began to blossom, bloom, and became an unstoppable force for good,” said Ken Kurz, Executive Director of the Foundation, when nominating Sandra.

Sandra served as one of three co-chairs of the campaign, joined by Dean Marion, the Town of South Hill’s mayor, and Ryan Bartholomew, an Edward Jones investment advisor.

According to Kurz , “this triumvirate presided over an incredibly quick and successful capital campaign that saw an area of less than 100,000 people raise an amazing $3.8 million in just 10 months -from start to finish.”

Kurz added that this campaign was on the heels of a still to be completed 2012 capital campaign for VCU Health CMH. He said that Sandra was approaching donors who still had payments left from the previous campaign. But that didn’t even slow her down.

“Even with zero fundraising experience, Sandra was by far the most successful fund raiser for the Health Care For Life Capital Campaign. Her community connections and persistence paid huge dividends for the CMH Foundation. She also put her money where her heart was and donated to the campaign. She was the perfect messenger to send out to the community. She was engaged, involved and refused to see the campaign fail,”  Kurz added.

Kurz continued, “countless times Sandra brought new donors into the CMH family because she believed in the mission of CMH. She also worked at bringing in additional volunteer campaign workers. To put it bluntly, Sandra was indispensable to the campaign on several levels.”

In the 10-month campaign, we had 22 external cultivation events and Sandra was involved in all but one -when she went on vacation. Sandra was instrumental in making the campaign a success. She played host on three different occasions for these events. She brought in her friends, old and new, who had previously not supported CMH.

When someone is a volunteer, expectations of time involvement are typically fairly modest, according to Kurz.

“Even though we have met our $3.5 million goal, Sandra has not stopped. She continues to seek out new donors to help CMH. Since the campaign’s conclusion, Sandra was instrumental in an additional $25,000 gift and is currently cultivating several additional donors at this time,” he said.

Kurz added that named bricks and other naming opportunities are still available at the new hospital and C.A.R.E. Building. Anyone interested in donating to benefit VCU Health CMH can contact the Foundation office at 434-774-2575.

Charlie Joseph Brna

Charlie Joseph Brna, 82, of Richmond, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Charlie was with the Army National Guard for two years and was Honorably discharged to enlist in the United States Air Force in 1954. He retired from the USAF after 23 years of service as an Audio-Visual Superintendent. He served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He also retired after 21 years from Carpenter Company. Charlie was a member of the American Legion Post 137 and the Farmer’s Hunt Club in Emporia, Va. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Anna Brna. He is survived by his sister, Ellen Dillard; brother, Dr. Theodore Brna; son, Steven Brna; daughter, Rhonda Underwood (Matt); two grandchildren, Kamryn and Rylan; and numerous extended family and friends.

Funeral Services will be held at St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church at 2 P.M., Monday, December 11, 2017 with Rev. Stephen Bocklage officiating. Internment will follow in St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church Cemetery. Visitation will be held 1 hour before the Service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church Building Fund.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

VSU Offers Free Five-Week Beekeeping for Beginners Course

Beekeeping for Beginners is a free five-week course being held at Hopewell United Methodist Church, 4585 Dry Fork Rd, Dry Fork, VA (Pittsylvania County). Classes will be held for five consecutive Tuesdays beginning January 23, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There will also be a field day trip to a hive on Saturday, March 3, weather permitting.

This five-week course is being offered by the Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) of Virginia State University (VSU) Cooperative Extension. It is designed for individuals interested in starting a beekeeping operation.

Participants will learn about the history and purpose of beekeeping; the basic biology of bees and equipment needed; getting started and harvesting; and how to manage pests, disorders and parasites. Mike Rogers and Patrick Ferrer from the Pittsylvania County Beekeepers Association will be presenters in the course, along with Berry Hines, a master beekeeper.

Registration is free. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

If you need further information or are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Agent Cassidy Williams at (804) 704-4033, cwilliams@vsu.edu, or call the Small Farm Outreach Program office at (804) 524-3292 / (800) 828-1120 (TDD) during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

VSU Receives $600,000 to Assist Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

VSU’s Cooperative Extension Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) has received a grant award of $600,000 to educate and mentor socially disadvantaged and veteran Virginia beginning farmers and ranchers (SDVBFR) so they have the information they need to allow their farms to be sustainable and economically successful.

The grant is one of 36 totaling $17.7 million funded through fiscal year 2017’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). The BFRDP is a competitive grant program administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that funds education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives directed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers of all types. It was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to help address issues associated with the rising age and decrease in the number of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

“Agriculture is the number one industry in the commonwealth,” said William Crutchfield, SFOP Director. “But high barriers to entry make farming and ranching one of the hardest careers to pursue, and the number of people entering into farming has been slowly declining each year.”

The average age of the typical Virginia farmer is 59.9 years old. Thirty-six percent of Virginia farmers are 65 years of age or older. The average farm size is 181 acres.

Despite significant hurdles like land acquisition and potentially significant start up costs, there are people who see great opportunities in agriculture today and want to start their own farm or ranch businesses. They tend to be younger on average than those who started farming decades ago and less likely than established farmers to farm full-time. They also tend to operate smaller farms, have more diversified operations and come from non-agricultural backgrounds, which means little to no access to farmland that traditionally is passed down from one generation of farmer to the next.

The BFRDP grant is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to training the next generation of farmers and ranchers. This highly successful initiative provides grants to academic institutions, state Extension programs, producer groups and community organizations to support and train new farmers and ranchers across the country. The program funds everything from production techniques to mentoring new farmers in how to develop a business plan and has proven a critical resource in ensuring the success of the next generation of farmers—one that faces unprecedented challenges pursuing a career in agriculture.

The three-year grant was awarded to VSU’s SFOP program, which specifically targets SDVBFR in 54 Virginia counties. These audiences have been traditionally undeserved and have been plagued by several barriers such as: high start-up costs, limited access to credit and capital, lack of knowledge on land acquisition and transition process, lack of skills in agribusiness and financial planning, lack of adequate production skills, and limited access to existing and viable markets. VSU’s SFOP, in a continued partnership with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (BFRCP), proposes to address these barriers by using the "Whole Farm Planning" curriculum developed by BFRCP as one of the tools to train these farmers, with the expected result of an improved quality of life for them and their communities. 

Farmers enrolled in the program will begin by attending a small farmer orientation and must commit to attending a series of educational workshops that include estate planning, financial and business management, sustainable production practices and marketing. They will also be connected to a farmer mentor.

If you are farmer interested in joining the program, contact the SFOP at 804-524-3292 or SFOP@vsu.edu

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Kids Kab is Back for Year Two of Winter Recreation Basketball

Southampton County, VA.  Kids Kab, a local children’s non-profit organization, is excited to announce that the registration for Winter Recreation Basketball is open. Deadline for registration is December 17.

Games for the Kids Kab Winter Recreation Basketball League will begin on January 6. Teams participating in the league will play, at most, 8 games to include playoffs and championship. All-stars will be chosen and this year the league will feature a Skills Challenge All-star weekend. Registration for the Winter Recreation Basketball League is $40 per player. Boys and Girls ages 5-14 can play. Three divisions will be formed within the league, Midget (5-7), Junior (8-10) and Senior (11-14). Cheerleading is also open, and registration is $30. The registration deadline is December 17. Teams will be coached by Hoops League coaches and volunteers of the Kids Kab organization.

On December 16, the League will host a free skill development clinic from 9 am – 12 pm at Southampton Middle School. Any interested and/or registered individuals should attend the clinic. Teams will be formed after the clinic and coaches will be given rosters following. For more information on the league, visit www.kidskab.org or follow Kids Kab on Facebook.

Kids Kab is a non-profit organization with a mission to support, empower and cultivate youth by providing safe, inspirational and educational activities and transportation for school-age children. Kids Kab was founded in January 2016 by local community leader and Mentor, C.C. Cooper.  In addition to recreation basketball, the organization has several programs that impact the community in a positive and hands on way. The Kids Kab Mobile Mentors program provides mentoring to children while transporting them to and from their educational and enrichment activities. Currently, the organization has 75 children enrolled in this program. The Mobile Meals division began providing hot meals to the underserved population of our community in December 2016.

More information about the Summer Basketball League and the Summer Skill Academy you may visit www.kidskab.org or call Mr. Cooper directly at 757-653-6239.

VIRGINIA 2019 INSPECTION STICKERS TO BE RELOCATED ON VEHICLE WINDSHIELD

RICHMOND – Effective Jan. 1, 2018, Virginia state inspection stickers will no longer be affixed to the bottom center of a vehicle’s windshield. Due to new innovations in the automotive industry, the state inspection stickers will be placed in the bottom left corner of the windshield, when viewed from inside the vehicle. This change in location will also apply to the placement of any other authorized stickers. There have been no changes made to the size or appearance of the existing vehicle inspection sticker.

The relocation stems from the fact that automobile manufacturers now offer crash avoidance technology in many of their vehicles.  In such vehicles, the new technology utilizes the center of the windshield. Therefore the placement of items in that area, including stickers, could prevent crash avoidance systems from operating properly.

“The core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety and the crash avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times,” said Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr., Virginia State Police Safety Division Commander. “Therefore, we immediately began evaluating the situation and set forth to make the necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual, which governs the placement of the safety inspection sticker on all vehicles.”

 

Existing Virginia vehicle inspection stickers are to remain in their current position – in the bottom center of the windshield. Once a vehicle is inspected and issued a 2019 sticker, the new inspection sticker must be placed in the lower left corner, which is consistent with other states across the nation.

The Virginia State Police Safety Division began Dec. 2, 2017, notifying all Virginia certified inspections stations of the placement change that is to take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

VCU Drops Ball on Student-Athletes’ Graduation Rates

By Sean Boyce, Capital News Service

As the college basketball season gets underway, VCU fans are looking forward to the Rams putting up big numbers against opponents in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

But off the court, VCU’s student-athletes are far behind on an important statistic – the “graduation success rate” as calculated by the NCAA. This number reflects the percentage of student-athletes who earn a degree within six years of entering college. The most recent NCAA report tracks student-athletes who entered college in 2010 and whether they graduated by 2016.

Overall, VCU’s student-athletes had a GSR of 79 percent. That was the lowestamong the 14 schools in the A-10. Davidson College led the conference with an overall GSR of 98 percent. Eight other schools had GSRs of 90 percent or higher, and the four remaining members of the A10 were in the 80s.

In terms of individual sports, of the 14 A-10 members, VCU ranked:

  • Ninth for men’s basketball, tied with St. Louis University, with a GSR of 77 percent.
  • Last for men’s track, with a GSR of 46 percent. The next-lowest school was the University of Massachusetts, whose male track athletes had a GSR of 75 percent. Five schools were at 95 percent and above.
  • Last for men’s soccer, with a GSR of 63 percent. The next-lowest school was George Washington University, at 75 percent. Six schools were at 90 percent or above.
  • 13th for women’s basketball (with a GSR of 86 percent) and for women’s track (85 percent).
  • 12th for women’s soccer, tied with Massachusetts, with a GSR of 84 percent.
  • VCU officials say there are reasons for such disparities. One is that VCU doesn’t offer as many NCAA scholarship sports as its A-10 rivals. Because there are fewer student-athletes at VCU, the overall GSR can be skewed by a relatively small number of academically struggling student-athletes.

VCU doesn’t just trail its conference opponents on the GSRs; the university falls short of most other colleges and universities in Virginia.

Of the state’s 14 Division I schools, VCU had the third-lowest overall GSR. The College of William and Mary was No. 1, at 93 percent; then came the University of Richmond, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia at 90 percent. VCU was 1 percentage point below Old Dominion University’s GSR of 80 percent.

Two Virginia schools had overall GSRs lower than VCU’s: Hampton University, at 73 percent; and Norfolk State University, at 63 percent.

While VCU’s student-athletes might lag compared with their peers, they actually graduate at rates higher than VCU’s regular student body, the NCAA reported. That observation is based on the federal graduation rate as computed by the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the federal graduation rate, of the freshmen who entered VCU in fall 2010, 62 percent graduated within six years. The federal graduation rate for student-athletes who entered VCU in fall 2010 was 65 percent.

(The methodology for calculating the federal graduation rate penalizes schools if a student transfers to another institution, as many student-athletes do. So the NCAA developed the graduation success rate as an alternative methodology. Under the GSR, schools aren’t penalized if a student-athlete who is in good academic standing transfers to another college or university. That is why the NCAA’s GSR is higher than the federal graduation rate.)

At VCU, student-athletes have higher graduation rates than other students because of the support services that the university provides, according to Noah Strebler, assistant athletic director for compliance and student services.

“Student-athletes have a smaller adviser-to-student ratio, which allows a student more individual attention than a traditional student receives,” Strebler said.

VCU Athletics can point to a number of academic success stories involving student-athletes such as Joey Rodriguez and Mo Alie-Cox. Rodriguez graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and corrections and is currently the director of player development at his alma mater, VCU. Alie-Cox graduated a year early with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, earned his master's degree in criminal justice and is currently a tight end in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts.

“Getting my master’s is about preparing myself for life after basketball. No matter how much I love the game, I know my career as an athlete has an expiration date. Having two degrees is about having the opportunity to move forward,” Alie-Cox said in an interview for a story on the website of VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

In some sports, VCU has high graduation success rates – including 100 percent in men’s tennis and 95 percent in field hockey.

Moreover, the university’s overall GSR is headed in the right direction: In 2001, it was just 71 percent. VCU’s current rate of 79 percent is the school’s highest since the NCAA started keeping track of that metric in 1998.

As with the general student body, there’s a gender difference: Female student-athletes have a much higher GSR (86 percent) than male student-athletes (70 percent).

But if VCU hopes to compete in the GSRs as it does on the basketball court, the university definitely will have to up its game: On Dec. 9, the Rams will play Seton Hall, which has an overall GSR of 92 percent and a 90 percent GSR for its male basketball players.

Southside Virginia Community College Participates in Schneider Truck Driving School Advisory Board

School is among top programs placing new professional truck drivers in the industry with Schneider

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin and BLACKSTONE, Virginia (December 4, 2017) – Southside Virginia Community College recently attended the 2017 Truck Driving School Advisory Board meeting hosted by Schneider. One of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, Schneider regularly invites top truck driving schools to attend its biennial event. This year, 11 schools were selected to attend.

The event provides these top producing truck driving schools and Schneider senior leaders a two-day forum to exchange ideas and best practices in areas such as safety, training, regulatory compliance and technology – with the end goal of setting up graduates for success as professional truck drivers.

“We view this event as critical to our collective success in ensuring graduates are prepared for new careers as professional truck drivers,” said Rob Reich, Schneider’s senior vice president of equipment, maintenance and driver recruiting. “It is vital to our industry that new drivers are prepared for today’s trucking and the information and learnings exchanged keep us all abreast as to what trends we are seeing to ensure graduates’ expectations are met.”

The U.S. has been plagued by a driver shortage for years. According to the American Trucking Associations, it is estimated that the industry is currently short 100,000 drivers and the gap is expected to grow to 160,000 by 2022. This creates great, lucrative opportunities for those interested in joining the industry as over 70 percent of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. moves by truck.

“The experience we had with the Schneider team during the two-day meeting was invaluable,” said C. Duncan Quicke, coordinator of the truck driver training school at Southside Virginia Community College. “We have worked hard in our 21 years of existence to make the transition from school to employment as seamless as possible, and even though Schneider is the largest carrier that hires our graduates, they are able to offer those personal amenities that helps to make their drivers know that they too are an integral part of the trucking profession.”

A focus item at this year’s event was making it easier for those interested in attending a truck driving school. Schneider offers a $7,000 tuition reimbursement program to new hires and regularly attends the schools to present career opportunities and conduct interviews.

Another focus was learning about improvements in career opportunities for graduates. Items that Schneider shared were its shift to automated transmissions, driver pay increases in 2017 and new work opportunities that provide more home time for drivers. Over 75 percent of Schneider drivers get home weekly or more frequently.

For more information about professional driving positions with Schneider, visit www.schneiderjobs.com. Information about Southside Virginia Community College’s Truck Driver Training Program is available at www.southside.edu.

GREENSVILLE COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES $5,000 GEORGIA-PACIFIC BUCKET BRIGADE GRANT

2017 Grants Total More Than $188,000 For Lifesaving Equipment

The Greensville County Fire Department will receive a $5,000 grant from Georgia-Pacific for new equipment. Pictured: Greensville VFD Lt. Adam Hueber (left) with Georgia-Pacific Emporia Plywood Plant Manager Bryan Bates.

Emporia, VA, Nov. 30, 2017 – The Greensville County Fire Department is one of 40 fire departments awarded Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grants this year. The department will receive $5,000 to help fund equipment needs.

“We have a strong relationship with our local fire departments, so we are very pleased to help them stay well-equipped,” said Bryan Bates, plant manager of Georgia-Pacific's Emporia Plywood facility. “These grants show our gratitude for their selfless dedication.”

The Bucket Brigade program awarded $188,400 in grants to departments this year for equipment critical to firefighters’ safety. Since the program began in 2006, Georgia-Pacific has given more than $2.2 million in cash and educational materials to 287 fire departments that serve the company’s facility communities across the country.

The fire department says the grant will go toward the replacement of three sets of so-called “turnout” gear that no longer meet standards set by the National Fire Protection Association.

“Firefighting is a dangerous profession that requires specialized equipment to effectively and safely mitigate a fire emergency,” said Lt. Adam Hueber. “This grant will allow our volunteer firefighters to respond more safely.” The department is an all-volunteer unit that includes one employee of the Georgia-Pacific facility.

Grants are based on need and are funded by the Georgia-Pacific Foundation and local Georgia-Pacific facilities. Funds are typically used to purchase new protective clothing and replace items such as damaged safety gear and aging equipment.

Through the program, Georgia-Pacific also gives all grant applicants free memberships to The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), which provides access to tools, resources, programs and advocacy for first-responders across the nation.

The fire departments receiving Bucket Brigade grants this year span 24 states where Georgia-Pacific has facilities: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Visit the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade website for more information about the program.

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces 2017 Employee & Manager of the Year

Emporia, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) has named its 2017 Employee and Managers of the Year. Employees and managers are nominated for these awards by their colleagues based on their commitment to patient care, their professionalism, and their contributions on the job. The recognitions are the highest honors hospital employees can receive.

Employee of the Year

Cardiovascular Technologist, Tammy Green has been employed at SVRMC since October of 2004. Ms. Green performs cardiovascular diagnostic and educational modalities on patients including echocardiography, stress testing, EKG, EEG, Carotid Duplex and vascular testing. Her coworkers had the following to say about her: “Tammy is a great ambassador for our hospital. She is always smiling and brightening the day of our patients, physicians, and staff.”  Tammy was recently recognized by Dr. Firas Kaddaha, Cardiologist, for her responsiveness to her patient. Tammy’s proactive approach to this patient’s condition led to a change in his treatment plan and ultimately saved his life.

Clinical Manager of the Year

Dr. Richard Alexander, Director of Rehab Services, has been employed at SVRMC since August of 2016. He is responsible for the management and development of the rehabilitation therapy services in all areas of SVRMC.  He coordinates and supervises the functions of each rehab service; including: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Cardiac Rehab.  Dr. Alexander’s coworkers had the following to say about him: “Richard is passionate about his patients’ health, wellness, and rehabilitation.  He is a motivator, an initiator, and a team player. He is constantly striving to improve the success of his departments by building relationships and becoming a community champion for SVRMC”

Non-Clinical Manager of the Year

Anita Ivey, Chief Quality Officer, has been employed at SVRMC since 2005. She is responsible for the planning, administration and monitoring of consistent readiness of all quality management regulatory requirements and the quality improvement processes.  Ms. Ivey’s coworkers had the following to say about her: “Anita is an avid supporter of the facility throughout the community.  You will often find her volunteering at community events, representing the facility and being a champion for SVRMC and the services it provides.  Anita is not only devoted to her job, her employees, and her co-workers, but she is also a devoted mother, grandmother, and friend.”

Emporia Police Department Seeks Advanced Accreditation

A team of assessors from the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) will arrive January 7, 2018 to examine all aspects of the Emporia Police Department’s policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services announced Chief Ricky A. Pinksaw.  These include areas such as:  Communications, traffic enforcement, investigations, critical incidents, property and evidence, and even internal human resources.

Verification by the assessment team that the Emporia Police Department meets the Commissioner’s state-of-the-art standard is part of a voluntary process for initial advanced accreditation – a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.  This is the Emporia Police Department’s initial advanced accreditation.

As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session on Monday January 8, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.  The session will be conducted in the City Council Chambers located at 201 South Main Street in Emporia.

If for some reason an individual cannot speak at the public information session but would like to provide comments to the assessment team, he/she may do so by telephone.  The public may call and speak with a CALEA assessor on Monday January 8, 2018 between the hours of 1:00 p.m. through 3:00 p.m.  The public may call (434) 532-3408 and your call will be answered by one of the CALEA assessors.

Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA standards.  A copy of the standards is available at the Emporia Police Department at 310 Budd Street, Emporia.

The Accreditation Manager and contact is Lieutenant David Shidell at (434) 634-2121.  Persons wishing to offer written comments about the Emporia Police Department’s ability to meet the standards for advanced accreditation are requested to write: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)  13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320 Gainesville, Virginia 20155; or e-mail the commission at www.calea.org and place the agency’s name in the subject line and make your comments.

The Emporia Police Department has to comply with 484 standards to achieve advanced accreditation, according to Chief Pinksaw.  By voluntarily submitting ourselves to the accreditation process, we are assuring the community and ourselves that we are providing police services while practicing best practices through CALEA’s international standards. 

Only a small percentage of all law enforcement agencies are CALEA accredited, so this step assures the community that our department and officers are providing the highest quality service to the citizens of Emporia.  Chief Pinksaw stated; “This is just not the Police Department’s accreditation, but it is the Community’s Accreditation.”  Also, Chief Pinksaw wanted to give recognition and thanks to three former police chiefs whose efforts have led the Emporia Police Department to this point: Chiefs Elmer Grizzard, the late Pete Daughtry and Bernard Richardson.

The Emporia Police Department Accreditation Manager, Lieutenant David Shidell, will serve as the liaison with the CALEA assessors and the Department while the assessment team is on location.  The team is comprised of two individuals who both have long careers in law enforcement including extensive knowledge of the accreditation process.  The assessment team will consist of:

Randy Nichols, Retired Chief of Police of the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Police Department, Greenville, North Carolina

Charles Groover, Lieutenant of the Covington Police Department, Covington, Georgia.

Once the assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will then decide if the agency is to be granted accredited status at the next scheduled CALEA conference in March 2018 in Frisco, Texas.

For more information regarding the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., please write the commission at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 329 Gainesville, Virginia 20155; or call (703) 352-4225.  The commission can also be found on the internet at www.calea.org.

Archaeologist to Address Historic Society

Michael Clem, the regional archaeologist for South-eastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, will speak at the December 6, 2017 meeting of the Greensville County Historical Society. The meeting will be held at 7 pm in the conference room of the Richardson Memorial Library (note the change of location).

18-20 thousand years ago our region was along the edge of a glacial ice sheet and blanketed by a thick forest. This woodland was a perfect hunting ground for early humans, including those that occupied the many Clovis sites in North America, thought to be evidence of the earliest human occupation of the Americas.  The Clovis sites were occupied 12-13 thousand calendar years ago.

On the banks of the Nottoway River in Sussex County lies the Cactus Hill site, which is one of a number of sites in the Commonwealth that predate the Clovis sites. These pre-Clovis sites are from that time when the edge of the ice sheet was a perfect hunting ground for the large animals that sustained early humans.

Swanson D. Jennings

Swanson D. Jennings, 77, of Stony Creek, passed away Monday, October 9, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wife, Eloise A. Jennings. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Kelly and husband, Fred; brothers, Ronnie Jennings and wife, Judy, Ray Jennings and wife, Nancy and a number of nieces and nephews. He was a wonderful father and husband, a faithful brother and friend, and a generous and kind-hearted man overall. He was loved by many. He will be profoundly missed. Mr. Jennings was once a member of Fort Grove and also had a special place in his heart for animals. Thus, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to Fort Grove United Methodist Church, 12471 Church St., Stony Creek VA 23882 or to the ASPCA of Petersburg and Colonial Heights, 201 Temple Ave #E, Colonial Heights Va 23834. A memorial service will be held at Fort Grove United Methodist Church on Friday December 15th at 3:00. The family will be receiving friends and family after the service at the home of Fred and Beth Kelly, 22612 Walkers Mill Rd, Stony Creek Va 23882. Online condolences may be shared with the family at Owenfhva@aol.com.

First Baby Born at New VCU Community Memorial Hospital

South Hill, VA – At 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, Lane Joseph Newton became the first baby delivered inside the new Garland Birthing Center at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

Lane weighed in at eight pounds and eleven ounces.  Lane is the second son of Rebecca and Brian Newton of Bracey, VA. 

When asked about her delivery inside the new Garland Birthing Center, Mrs. Newton stated that Dr. Austin and the nursing staff was fantastic and her entire experience has been wonderful.  She thought the facility and the accommodations were top-notch.  She also liked the fact that her, her son and husband were able to stay in the same room throughout their whole experience.

Mrs. Newton said when she found out her due date was so close to the opening of the Garland Birthing Center (Nov. 20th) that she wouldn’t make it; she would deliver before then, since this was her second child. She was pleasantly surprised that Lane was the first born at the new hospital.  She was also excited about not having to drive to Petersburg, as they had before with their first son.

Even though Mrs. Newton said that two kids were all she wanted, when asked would she deliver at VCU Health CMH again, she said with no hesitation, “For sure, no doubt.”

BRUNSWICK ACADEMY SENIOR LEAVES IT ALL ON THE COURT AND BECOMES A WINNER IN WENDY’S HIGH SCHOOL HEISMAN SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

There are some students who set the bar.  They work harder, show more passion and lead by example – in the classroom, on the court and within the community.  Wendy’s High School Heisman recently recognized Brunswick Academy senior, Heather Dianne Thompson of Emporia for her dedication to never cutting corners by naming her a winner in the scholarship program. 

Since 1994, Wendy’s and the Heisman Trophy Trust have been running the same play to perfection; honoring more than 600,000 of the nation’s most esteemed students.  This year, Wendy’s will celebrate the accomplishments of thousands of the best high school seniors. 

The Wendy’s High School Heisman was created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas in 1994.  Dave Thomas dropped out of high school when he was 15 years old in order to work full-time and went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history.  While this nontraditional path led to his prosperity, it always worried Dave that others would follow in his footsteps and expect to achieve similar fame and wealth by not finishing high school or attending college. 

Faced with this dilemma, at 61 years old, Dave enrolled at Coconut Creek High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and received his GED.  Inspired by this moment and with a desire to celebrate the outstanding achievements of youth in America, he launched the Wendy’s High School Heisman program.

Heather Thompson is the daughter of Chris and Kristine Thompson of Emporia.  She has played JJV, JV and Varsity Basketball, JV and Varsity Volleyball, Varsity Soccer and JV softball while at Brunswick Academy.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, Jr. Beta Club, Student Council Organization, Honor Council and BA Latin Club.  She has been an active member of the BA Theatre program with many leading roles.  Heather has also participated in the Model General Assembly program and received the College of William and Mary Leadership award.  Congratulations Heather.

SVCC Faculty Recognized at VCCA Annual Meeting

Southside Virginia Community College was well represented at the Virginia Community College Association Annual Meeting.  Four members of the college were recognized as Showcase recipients for 2017.  This recognition is for leadership, dedication and hard work at their colleges and to the mission of the Virginia Community College System.  Three of those recognized from SVCC are (left to right) LaTrisha McCargo, Library Specialist and currently Acting Coordinator at the Estes Community Center in Chase City, Melissa Dunn Back, Assistant Professor of Biology on the John H. Daniel Campus, and Angela L. Jackson, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Administration. 

Alfonzo Seward (left) Associate Professor of Administration of Justice for the Christanna Campus of SVCC receives his Showcase award during the annual Virginia Community Colleges Association conference held recently.  Seward received a Showcase award in recognition of his leadership, dedication and hard work in promoting the mission of the Virginia Community College System. 

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