Due to inclement weather, we had to reschedule our School Market.  The School Market will be held at Greensville Elementary on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 starting at 4:30.  Free food items will be first come, first serve.  Tia Powell with the Virginia Cooperative Extension will be on hand showcasing food demonstrations and the Virginia Health Department will be there with free blood pressure checks!  We hope to see many Greensville Elementary parents and guardians for a fun family event! 

 

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February 2018

The End of an Era - Virginia Pork Festival Coming to an End

The Virginia Pork Festival is coming to an end. Below is the text postedon the Virginia Pork Festival Website:

"After 44 years, we have reluctantly decided that it is time to say good-bye to the Virginia Pork Festival. This has been a very painful decision to make, however, we would like to end this run on a positive note. This festival would never have existed without the support of hometown, Emporia and the Emporia/Greensville Ruritan Club, the County and all law enforcement. For that, we say thank you. There are so many people that have been a part of the festival throughout the years, that it would be impossible to list them all and not miss someone. To all the bands , especially Craig Woolard and the Embers, thanks for the many years of great entertainment that you brought to the festival. Boars Head, Gunnoe’s, Steven’s Sausage and Smithfield Meats, you deserve applause and our taste buds thank you for the  quality pork products throughout the years.

​To the Sadler family, the Pecht Family and Pecht Distributing, we truly appreciate your years of dedication and loyalty.

Our non-profit organizations and other groups that prepared all of the pork dishes, we love you and will truly miss each of you. The long hours of preparation and your dedication to this festival are not to be forgotten.  

Last, by definitely not least, we’ll miss our attendees. You guys came from all over. We’ve even  had people from Hawaii. We hope that you have enjoyed our hospitality has much as we enjoyed seeing you walk through those gates and there were a lot of you! We understand that this festival was a yearly tradition for many and we are truly humbled that you choose to spend your valuable time with us.  

​It has become to difficult for our group, of the last three years, to operate, raise adequate funds and sustain enough volunteers to carry on an event of this magnitude to make it what it deserves to be and should be, after the festival suffering many years before. Always remember, we came together for a common cause on a hot, June afternoon, once a year, only for a few short hours, to eat great pork dishes, drink some cold beverages, dance to some good music and be a part of the Virginia Pork Festival one more time. We did it together, all of us.  So we are choosing to go out gracefully as the sun sets once more, on the pond in the middle of the festival grounds, we wave farewell to you and we thank you for the many years of good times and great memories." 

Bill Banning Sanctuary Cities Heads to Senate Floor on 7-6 Vote

By George Copeland Jr.,Capital News Service
 
RICHMOND -- A bill to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia advanced to the Senate floor Tuesday on a 7-6 committee vote that split along party lines.
 
Introduced by Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge, House Bill 1257 would restrict localities from passing sanctuary policies, which limit cooperation with national immigration enforcement efforts to improve relations with immigrant communities.  The legislation would require localities to follow immigration standards set by federal law, including collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
 
When the bill was under consideration in the House of Delegates, it was nearly struck down due to a tie vote.  However, reconsideration led to a second vote, with the bill passing 51-49, sending it to the Senate Committee on Local Government.
 
Gov. Ralph Northam is opposed to the bill and has said that sanctuary cities have not been a problem in the state; similar legislation last year was vetoed by former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
 
Sens. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, and Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, voiced concerns over how ICE’s presence would impact future business opportunities, state autonomy and the ability and community trust of local law enforcement.
 
Sen. Charles Carrico, R-Grayson, who supported the bill, cited the presence of violent gangs in the state  including MS-13.
 
“Without a law such as this,” Carrico said, “if a locality wants to create a sanctuary city, then what you’re doing, in essence, is protecting those gang members from ever being deported.”
 
Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, countered that the legislation is “a message bill.”  She said there are already laws to check the immigration status of those jailed or imprisoned.
 
“This bill is not about MS-13,” McClellan said, “although I know that is what gets trotted out all the time as the boogeyman.” She added, “This bill sends a message to certain people: ‘You’re not welcome here.’”
 
There were no comments from the public in support of the bill.  Among those opposed were representatives from the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.
 
"It would increase the policing in our communities, it would make police officers quasi-federal immigration agents, which we don't want, right," said Diego Arturo Orbegoso, an immigrant from Peru and a member of the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.  
 
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brain Moran cited the “many unintended and even intended” effects of the bill in reiterating the governor’s opposition.
 
Voting in favor: Charles Carrico Sr., R-Grayson; Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield; William DeSteph Jr., R-Virginia Beach; Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico; Emmett Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta), William Stanley Jr., R-Franklin; and Glen Sturtevant Jr., R-Richmond.
 
Opposed: Barbara Favola, D-Arlington; Lynwood Lewis Jr., D-Accomack; David Marsden, D-Fairfax; Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond; Jeremy McPike, D-Prince William; and Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax.

Lawmakers, Northam, lobbyists go to court — for a good cause

CAPITAL CLASSIC

Use buttons on each side to scroll forward/back through slideshow.

By Sophia Belletti, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Bragging rights were on the line as the Virginia governor’s office played the lobbyists and the state Senate took on the House of Delegates in the 10th annual Massey Capitol Classic Challenge basketball games.

Among the team of government officials was Gov. Ralph Northam, who recorded just two points and a reboundMonday night but maintained high spirits.

“It’s great to see everyone here tonight to support a great cause. Thank you all so much for supporting it,” Northam said.

The event at the Virginia Commonwealth University Siegel Center raises money for the VCU Massey Cancer Center. This year’s game raised more than $34,653 — over $1,000 more than last year. The House of Delegates led the fundraising efforts, raising $12,853 through personal and family donations.

According to the Massey website, the cancer center is one of two in Virginia, designated by the National Cancer Institute. Of the 1,500 cancer centers in the United States, 69 have earned an NCI designation, placing Massey in the top 4 percent of cancer centers nationwide.

To prepare for the Capitol Classic, team members have been practicing on Tuesdays since the legislative session began in January, said Laura Bryant, an intern for Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg. Their hard work, however, may not have been noticeable to the hundreds of fans in attendance.

The first game was a showdown between the Northam administration representatives and lobbyists. The first half was full of sloppy passes and missed open shots. The second half proved to be more fruitful for both sides, but the lobbyists ultimately fell to the governor’s team by a final score of 52-48.

The winning team included Northam aide Seth Opoku-Yeboah and Director of Communications Brian Coy.

Following the governor’s victory, the House and Senate took the court. After a slow 15-minute first half the House held an 18-13 lead.

The game featured some local celebrities, such as former VCU basketball guard Doug Brooks, class of 2017, and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. However, even Brooks couldn’t lift the Senate to a victory. In the Senate, Fairfax only votes in case of a tie. On the basketball court, he helped the House seal a 40-31 victory.

Exxon-Mobil Grant to Brunswick Academy

Brunswick Academy received a $1,000 grant from the Exxon Mobil Educational Alliance.  This grant is given to selected schools across the country in communities served by Exxon or Mobil stations.  The grant was made possible by funding from Exxon Mobil Corporation in conjunction with Parker Oil Company.  Mr. Ed Low of Parker Oil Company presented the check to our Head of School, Mrs. Cheryl Bowen.

 

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for February 2018

(Left to Right) W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Linda Wilkins, Environmental Services Technician, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for January.  There to congratulate Linda was Todd Howell, VP of Professional Services and Gary Perry, Director of Environmental Services.

Linda has been employed at VCU Health CMH for 17 years.  Her dedication and attention to detail are just two of the qualities that make her a wonderful asset to VCU Health CMH.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “Linda went beyond what is outlined in her job description to help a nurse.  She demonstrated a level of teamwork that embodies the true feel of a community hospital. Service that shows you care is a great quality that Linda shows each day.  She cares about the patients on her hall and doesn’t hesitate to speak up for them! ” 

In addition to the award certificate, Linda received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

Greensville Schools to host Child Find

Greensville County Public Schools will sponsor Child Find on Friday, March 16, 2018 from 10 am until 5 pm at Greensville Elementary School.

Child Find is registration for Head Start or Virginia Preschool Initiative.

Head Start is a federal preschool program which provides comprehensive services and learning experiences to prepare children for Kindergarten and move families toward self-sufficiency. The program also operates in compliance with IDEA to include children with special needs. All Head Start services are free to children and families.

The Virginia Preschool Initiative, established in 1995, distributes state funds to schools and community based organizations to provide quality preschool program for at-risk four-year-olds. The program offers full day Pre-kindergarten, parent involvement, child health and social services, and transportation to families with four-year-olds at risk of school failure.

Parents of all children who are or will be four years old on or before September 30thand are residents of Emporia or Greensville County are encouraged to attend. There will be NO TESTING. Children do NOT need to attend!

To apply, you must bring your child’s OFFICIAL birth certificate (NOT a hospital certificate), immunization record, PROOF of residency (for example: a current water/electric bill with YOUR name and address) and, because of NEW state guidelines, verification of household income (for example: paystub, W-2, Medicaid card, TANF, SNAP, WIC, SSI).

VCU Health CMH Star Service Team Member of the Year for 2018

W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Nellie Hawkins, Licensed Practical Nurse, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Year Award for 2017. There to congratulate Nellie was (left to right) Mellisa Black, Acute Care Nursing Director, and Linda Norman, RN, Assistant Director of Medical-Surgical Telemetry.

Nellie has been employed at VCU Health CMH for 31 years.  Her dedication and work ethic are just two of the qualities that make her a wonderful asset to VCU Health CMH.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “One of my very close friends had a scare with her child and she was admitted to CMH overnight for observation.  The couple was so complimentary of every staff member they came into contact with, however, one really stood out.  The parents were emotionally and physically drained.  The nurse caring for the baby told the mom and dad that when she got off from work she would come back to the room and rock the baby so they could rest, grab dinner, and a change of clothes.  The mom had tears in her eyes telling this story.  It meant so much to them that she offered and they knew she meant every word.  They said that this nurse was focused on their child’s wellbeing and it was obvious she was passionate about caring for babies.  This nurse was Nellie Hawkins.”  “What an excellent example of STAR Service! Nellie’s dedication to her patient and family made a tremendous impact on them showing how much she cared.  I am so proud to have a nurse of her caliber working with me and being a role model to her peers.”

In addition to the award certificate, Nellie received a STAR Service Team Member of the Year lapel pin, a gift certificate worth $200.00 for hotel accommodations to any location of her choice and $300.00 of spending money.

GROW CAPITAL JOBS WORKS TO BOOST OUR REGION'S ECONOMY

As robust economic growth returns to the U.S., few Virginians realize that economic growth across our state continues to lag.  While most areas have now recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, statewide economic growth is far lower to that being experienced in other states.  In fact, in 2016, Virginia grew only 0.6% - ranking us 40th in the nation.  As a state used to economic prosperity, such data should be alarming. Even here in the Richmond area where the economy appears strong, we are performing just below the national average.

The reasons for this lagging growth are many – fewer federal contracts, less defense-related spending, and population declines in many Virginia localities.  At the core of these declines however, is the loss of higher paying jobs in the state.  In fact, last year, for the fourth year in a row, Virginia saw net out-migration of talented people to other states where better job opportunities exist.  When job growth does occur, it is often in lower-paying jobs, which reduces economic growth.

Fortunately, our elected leaders have recognized that to reverse these trends, we need to take a hard look at the way we have traditionally done business in Virginia by encouraging cooperation, instead of competition, among our localities to tackle the many challenges our state faces. 

In 2016, the General Assembly enacted the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Act, also known as GO Virginia, to provide incentives for cooperation to boost the state’s economy.  Since that time, working through regional councils like our own GROW Capital Jobs, hundreds of business and community leaders have now started to develop innovative projects to again accelerate economic growth across Virginia.

GROW Capital Jobs has been working for the past year to first identify challenges to economic growth in our region and then prioritize the opportunities to reverse those trends.  That study identified innovation and entrepreneurship in the areas of advanced manufacturing, life/biosciences, and logistics as keys to our region’s economic future.  Projects to spur the development of new small businesses, develop new industrial sites, and to focus worker-training programs around these key industries, are now being advanced. Recently, both the VCU Pharmaceutical Commercialization Program andtheCommonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy were approved for funding by the GO Virginia Board. These projects have the potential to stimulate job creation and economic development throughout our entire region. Over the coming months, GROW Capital Jobs will continue to seek out projects that that will benefit our region and meet the council’s funding criteria.

Already, over $5 million of state incentive funds have been approved statewide since December to advance projects to help create more higher-paying jobs through regional cooperation, and additional grants are expected in the near future. These funds have also leveraged over $9 million dollars in additional monies that augment the state’s initial investments.

Similar to the fact that these economic problems didn’t emerge overnight, the solutions will also take time. It will take years of focused determination and additional funding to put Virginia’s economy back on the right track.

Over the coming weeks, it will be important that members of the General Assembly, along with Governor Northam, hear about how to continue the good work of GO Virginia.  Such additional funding is necessary to sustain the progress we have already made and to restore Virginia’s competitiveness. Go to www.govirginia.org to learn more and to convey your support for the program. 

William H. Goodwin Jr., Chair, and John A. Luke Jr., Vice Chair, GROW Capital Jobs Council of GO Virginia, Info@growcapitaljobs.org.

Goodwin is Chairman Emeritus of CCA Industries, and The Riverstone Group, whose holdings include Kiawah Island Golf Resort, The Jefferson Hotel, Sea Pines Resort and Dynamic Brands. Luke is Non-Executive Chair of West Rock, a leading manufacturer of packaging and paper products.

GO Virginia is a business-led initiative to provide state incentives for localities to collaborate to strengthen our private sector economy by increasing higher paying jobs.

Region Four, or as it is called GROW Capital Jobs, includes the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex; and the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond. The Region Four Council is led by William Goodwin Jr. as chair and John Luke Jr. as vice chair and supported by the GROW Capital Jobs Foundation, led by Mark Hourigan, Chair of Region Four GROW Capital Jobs Foundation and Chief Executive Officer Wilson Flohr.

AmeriGas Bestows School Days Check

L-R in front: Corey Lee, Autumn Dickens, Zahria Aziz, Jhamanus Futrell, Caleb Moseley, Roy Claiborne; Back: Principal Nicole Coker, Guidance Counselor Kendra Floyd and Amerigas Representative  Amy Moseley

Greensville Elementary School participates in “School Days”, a program sponsored by AmeriGas where you can turn your propane bills into cash for our school.  Schools can receive up to $2,000 per school year to purchase books, computers, equipment and more with the AmeriGas School Days Program.

Customers of AmeriGas in the area can drop their vouchers  off by the office, send them in with their payment or give them to the school office, Attention Kendra Floyd. They can also be mailed to your local office at 1141 North Main Street, Emporia, VA  23847.  The vouchers come in the envelope with you bill. AmeriGas donates back to the school  .02 cents for each gallon delivered and turned in.

Jackson-Feild Mourns the Passing of Robert G. Neuville

Robert Neuville recently departed this earth but his legacy lives in the lives of the children he helped at Jackson-Feild and in the Neurotherapy/biofeedback program he helped to refine and grow.

Robert was born and raised in Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Marine Corp and fought in the Korean War. Returning home he attended and graduated from the University of Richmond after which he has a successful 25 year career with AT&T.

Robert returned to college and received a Master’s in Social Work degree from Norfolk State University. He stated a second career as a professor at Norfolk State and working with underserved children in Norfolk.

He became a pioneer in the field of Neurotherapy/Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback began on the late 1950’s. It focuses on brain activity and uses and EEG. Robert was passionate about the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and revolutionized its treatment.

Jackson-Feild began using Neurotherapy in the 1990’s to help treat children who have suffered severe emotional trauma. Robert and his business partner and beloved friend Patty Graydon began providing this service for the children at JFBHS. They made a meaningful difference to countless children for years.  Robert’s health began to fail and he and Patty discontinued their efforts. Dr. John Griffin, local neuro-psychologist has picked up where they left off.

His goal was to depart this world leaving it a better place than he found it. He did through the lives of the children he helped at Jackson-Feld.

Brian Trent Clary

Brian Trent Clary, died Tuesday February 20, 2018, at his home in Hope Mills, N.C.

Trent was born on December 8, 1969, to Eileen Hallingshead Clary and Roger Clary. He was a talented professional musician, specializing in Christian music, and along with his parents was a longtime member of Faymont Baptist Church in Fayetteville. He was preceded in death by an uncle, James E. Hallingshead.

In addition to his parents, Trent is survived by a brother, Herbert Balquet Jr., of North Augusta, S.C., an aunt, Nancy Ann H. Mckee and her husband Leonard, of Fayetteville, uncles, Rev. Arthur David Hallingshead and his wife Glenda of Palmyra, VA, Ray Justice and his wife Nancy of Gasburg, VA, and Delaine Wilkey of Marietta, S.C.

Graveside Services will be held Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 1:00 P.M. at the Pleasant Hill Christian Church Cemetery in Gasburg, VA with Pastor James Cunningham officiating. The family will receive friends at Wrenn, Clarke, & Hagan Funeral and Cremation Service from 11:00 A.M. until 12:00 Noon Wednesday before the service.

Online condolences may be left at wrennclarkehagan.com.

New VP of Practice Management & Business Development for VCU Health CMH

Brenda T. Palmore, DHA, FACMPE, FASPR

South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to announce that Dr. Brenda T. Palmore is the new Vice President of Practice Management and Business Development.

The VP of Practice Management and Business Development will have administrative oversight to the operations side of all CMH physician practices and hospital based physician services.  In addition, the role will involve the development of new regional practice and business opportunities for VCU Health CMH.  The role will also entail coordinating any new VCU Health System regional population/community health initiatives developed in our service area. 

Dr. Palmore has been employed with VCU Health CMH since 1999. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Longwood University and a Master of Business Administration from Averett University. She received her Doctorate of Health Care Administration and Leadership from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Dr. Palmore is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Practice Executives and a Fellow of the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (FASPR).  Additionally, she earned Lean Six Sigma Certification, Yellow Belt.

Dr. Palmore was born at Community Memorial Hospital (now VCU Health CMH) and raised in the South Hill, VA area. She still resides in South Hill with her husband, Wilson, and her seven year old daughter, Addison. She is also very active in the community volunteering with the following local organizations:  Board Member, Lake Country Young Professionals; Board Member, First Christian School; Board Member, FEAT (Families Embracing Autism Together); Mecklenburg County Relay for Life/American Cancer Society; Co-Organizer Annual Adopt-a-Child Christmas program through social services/HALO.

Dr. Palmore resides in South Hill, VA

Co-Developers of Meherrin Solar Project to Host Public Meeting

(Emporia, VA)-Co-Developers of the Meherrin Solar Project, Brookfield Renewable and SolUnesco, have extended an invitation to the public and local media outlets to attend a meeting taking place on February 27th from 6-8pm at the Brink Ruritan Club in Emporia (5926 Brink Rd. Emporia, Va.)

The meeting is being held to offer a forum for the public to learn more about the project and the benefits it offers to the community, as well as to ask any questions.

Brookfield Renewable Stakeholder Relations Manager, Brian Noonan said, “Brookfield Renewable has a reputation and track record of successfully integrating ourselves as community partners in the areas where we operate. There are tremendous benefits to this project, and we look forward to discussing these benefits with local residents as well as answering any questions or working to address any concerns that they may have.”

SolUnesco Co-Founder & CEO Francis Hodsoll said, “Over the last year, we’ve worked with local landowners to locate the project and utilize setbacks and buffers that will ensure that neighbors enjoy the same view before and after the project is operational.  We believe the Meherrin Solar project will provide many benefits to the community including jobs, tax revenue and revenue for local businesses. . We are excited to talk about the benefits with the local community as well as answer any questions.”

If you are interested in the project and have further questions, Noonan and Hodsoll are encouraging you to visit MeherrinSolarProject.com to learn more, or contact Francis Hodsoll at (703) 672-5097 or e-mail him at info@solunesco.com.

SVCC Regional Job Fair in Emporia

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) and Greensville County/City of Emporia community partners will once again host a Regional Job Fair at Southside Virginia Education Center (SVEC) at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia, Virginia.  Crater Regional Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and First Media Radio , WPTM, WWDW, WYTT, WDLZ, WTRG, WSMY, WWDR  will support this exciting event.

This event will be open to the public from 2:00 pm until 4:30 pm on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.  All job seekers are welcome during this timeframe.

This Regional Job Fair has invited over 70 employers who have participated in the past.  Job seekers have even been hired “on the spot”!  Employers who have participated in this job fair previously include: Georgia Pacific, Oran Safety Glass, Toll Brothers, Boars Head, Virginia Staffing Services, ProLabor Temps, Southside Virginia Regional Medical Center, GEO Group, Greensville Correctional, etc.

SVCC will host a private luncheon for participating employers who have open job vacancies.  Hiring employers will enjoy networking with other local business and industry.

Job seekers should come dressed to impress with several copies of quality resumes.  Job seekers who have earned a WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) can be admitted 15 minutes early at 1:45 pm with photo ID and copy of WorkKeys CRC.

To learn more about how to earn a WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate, please contact SVCC Workforce Development.

Employer space is limited! Deadline for employers to reserve a booth is March 16, 2018.  Employers who have job vacancies may reserve a booth by contacting SVCC Workforce Development at 434-949-1026 /angela.mcclintock@southside.edu or 434-949-6614/Yolanda.hines@southside.edu

KAINE JOINS COLLEAGUES TO INTRODUCE BILL THAT EXPANDS FUNDING FOR STATES FIGHTING OPIOID EPIDEMIC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to introduce the Opioid Response Enhancement Act to help states better fight the opioid epidemic that has put a strain on communities in Virginia and across the country. This bill would expand a grant program that was created as part of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act of 2017 and ensure states have access to additional funding for the next five years under this program.
 
“This bill will help expand federal funding for states fighting the opioid epidemic, providing much-needed support for Virginians combatting addiction,” Kaine said. “The federal government has an important role to play in addressing this crisis that is hurting communities across the country.”
 
In 2017, Congress provided $1 billion over two years of additional funding for state efforts to combat the opioid epidemic under the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act. As the opioid epidemic continues to strain local resources, Congress needs to continue to fund this important program to help communities combat this crisis beyond 2019, so that states, localities and tribal communities have adequate resources to help prevent and treat substance use disorders and addiction.
 
The Opioid Response Enhancement Act would provide an additional investment of $12 billion over five years for the State Targeted Opioid Response (STR) Grant, including a new Enhancement Grant for states that have been hit especially hard by the epidemic, including those with high opioid mortality rates. It would also provide an additional $1.5 billion for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018 under new resources made available in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
 
Kaine has been a leader in the Senate on efforts to address the opioid epidemic and support disease research. In December, Kaine co-sponsored the The International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology (INTERDICT) Act to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tools including hi-tech chemical screening devices to help detect and interdict fentanyl and other illicit synthetic opioids. Kaine has pushed for funding to support health education initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic in vulnerable communities in Virginia. In October, Kaine introduced the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act, which would invest $45 billion for prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment of opioids and opioid addiction. 
 
In addition to Kaine, Shaheen, and Baldwin, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Angus King (I-ME), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Tom Udall (D-NM).
 
Specifically, the bill would:
 
  • Provide $10 billion over five years for the current STR Grant program under 21st Century Cures Actbeginning in FY19.
  • Add a new STR Enhancement Grant for $2 billion over five years for at least ten states and tribal entities with high needs, including high opioid mortality rates, to enhance and expand opioid abuse efforts under the STR program.
  • Include Tribal entities as eligible for the STR Grants, funded by a 10 percent set aside.
  • Require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide technical assistance to states and tribes through the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center, for application procedures, outreach and support to underserved communities, and data collection.
  • Provide flexibility to allow states and tribes to use some of the funding to help address other substance use issues that are similar or substantial public health threats, in addition to carrying out opioid abuse efforts.
  • ·         Direct states to prioritize providing funding directly to local community organizations and counties to ensure that local leaders have access to critical resources to help them address areas of unmet need.

Athletes’ Artwork Scores Big at ‘Abstract’ Exhibit

By Zachary Joachim and Jessica Wetzler, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis says art has been an inspirational factor in his athletic career.

“When I was a kid, I’d pick up fabric paint and draw cartoon characters on my jeans and shirts,” Davis said. “I don’t know where it came from; it was just something that followed me through the rest of my life.”

Art and athletics came together Friday when 1708 Gallery welcomed “The Abstract Athlete,” the first exhibition in Richmond to feature Davis and other professional athletes who have maintained an active art career.

“The Abstract Athlete” explores work centered on the collision of art, sports and science. It includes pieces by Brett Tomko, a former Major League Baseball pitcher, and Larry Sanders, a Virginia Commonwealth University basketball star who later played in the NBA, as well as by U.S. Army veterans such as Alicia Dietz and Joe Olney.

Their artwork will be on display at the gallery, 319 W. Broad St., until March 17.

Before the opening of the exhibit, the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center hosted a symposium to discuss the benefit of art in sport. It focused on the effects that creating art has on the mind and body.

Speakers included Davis, Dietz, former Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Percy King and David Cifu, associate dean for innovation and system integration in VCU’s School of Medicine.

“Art can follow you, and you don’t even know it’s following you. Art will always come first to me, and sports will follow,” Davis said. “Not saying I don’t love sports; I enjoy the creative opportunities it gives me. But art is the best combination in my life.”

Within the first three minutes of the gallery’s opening, Davis’s pieces – “The Sea #1” and “The Sea #2” – sold, with proceeds benefiting the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts. The works feature bright-colored triangles laid over a monotone rectangular base, creating an eye-popping effect designed to have viewers diving into the deep blues and copper hues of the sea.

King’s two works use hand-carved wood segments in a variety of shapes and colors. King stacks the pieces upon one another, creating a 3-D effect that interprets shadows and lines through the shapes of wood. His first piece on display, “The Boxer,” features a pair of blue boxing gloves. His second piece, “Heavy is the crown,” is a portrait of Barack Obama.

King said art is integral to his performance on the football field.

“It helps with healing, athletic performance, rest – it’s really adding an efficiency element,” King said. “I do things in a more complex and rich way. Art adds that layer of complexity to our hardworking bodies and brains.”

Cifu echoed King’s message, saying art is therapeutic for people who have experienced mental or physical trauma.

“I’m an artist at a very small level,” Cifu said. “But maybe I’m a healing artist.”

Olney, who served in Iraq as a sergeant and combat engineer, also had one of his pieces sell within 30 minutes.

U.S. bobsledder Hillary Werth takes inspiration from the streets of New York through her painting “Escape.” The landscape features dark purple, red and yellow spray-painted graffiti art and textured backgrounds.

Tomko sticks to his roots in his two pieces, re-creating iconic moments in the history of Major League Baseball. His first, “The Great Bambino,” features New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth. His second, “Color Line,” depicts Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the major leagues, running the bases.

Other artists participating in the exhibit include professional soccer player Jay DeMerit and painter Ridley Howard.

“The Abstract Athlete” is the name not only of the exhibit but also of an organization that brings together artists and professional athletes.

Business partners Ron Johnson and Chris Clemnar founded the group and spent two years planning the exhibit. Clemnar is a toy designer, and Johnson has been an art professor at VCU since 2003. Johnson hopes to display the exhibit internationally.

More information on the web

For more information about the artists, see www.theabstractathlete.com. The 1708 Gallery, a nonprofit space for new art, is located at 319 W. Broad St. Its website is at www.1708gallery.org, and the phone number is 804-643-1708.

As College Tuition Rises, Senate Panel Kills Bill Mandating Public Input

By Lia Tabackman and Deanna Davison, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – In Fall 2010, Virginia Commonwealth University increased annual tuition by almost 24 percent, tacking $1,700 on to each in-state student’s bill in one fell swoop.

While that jump may seem like an outlier, tuition increases have been the norm at the state’s institutions of higher education during the past decade.

Public colleges and universities in Virginia have increased tuition by an average of 82 percent over the past 10 years. While various factors, including state budget cuts, contribute to tuition increases, these decisions take place at board meetings where it can be difficult for students and members of the public to make their voices heard.

Even so, a bill by Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, to mandate public input on proposed tuition increases – as required in 10 other states – appears to be dead for this session.

HB 1473, which sought to require university trustees to hold a public comment period, unanimously passed the House of Delegates on Feb. 6. After the Senate Education and Health Committee voted 14-1 in favor of the bill, it then was sent to the Senate Finance Committee – which supporters saw as a bad omen.

They were right. On Tuesday, the Finance Committee killed the bill on a 6-4 vote. The next day, the committee reconsidered the matter – but the bill again was “passed by indefinitely,” 7-6.

The committee heard testimony from representatives of the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary, as well as from representatives of Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust, a progressive advocacy agency for college affordability.

“It’s bad enough that the cost of higher education in Virginia is spiraling out of control,” said James Toscano, president of the affordability group. “But failing to ensure the voices of students and parents are heard before public appointees set tuition is a blow to good governance and transparency.”

While Toscano argued that Miyares’ bill is important for transparency, Betsey Daley, U.Va.’s associate vice president for state governmental relations, said the measure was unnecessary, as emails from board members, the president and other officials are already available online.

“One public hearing is not a substitute for year-round input we have at U.Va.,” Daley said.

According to the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia, there is an inverse relationship between state funding and the rate at which tuition increases at public colleges and universities. When the state provides support for these institutions, the colleges themselves are better able to control fluctuating tuition costs.

In 2010, for example, VCU felt the impact of a $40 million budget cut, the same year tuition increased by 23 percent.

Virginia has established a cost-share goal of the state funding 67 percent of university operations and students fronting the remaining 33 percent; however, the state is expected to pay only 47 percent in 2018. Students will carry 53 percent, a record high.

According to SCHEV, it would take more than $660 million in additional state revenue to reach the 67/33 cost-share goal. But doing so could lower tuition costs by $2,700.

In the meantime, Virginia students owe more than $30 billion in student loan debt.

SB 394, a bill that would create a state ombudsman for student loan issues, has unanimously passed in the Senate and appears to be on its way for House approval.

Virginia Prisoners a Step Closer to Free Feminine Hygiene Products

By Tianna Mosby, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Prisons and jails in Virginia would have to start providing female inmates with free feminine hygiene products under a bill making its way through the General Assembly.

The Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee unanimously backed HB 83, sponsored by Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, on Friday. The bill won unanimous approval in the House on Feb. 13. It now goes to the full Senate.

The Virginia Department of Corrections already offers pads at no charge, but tampons are only available through commissaries, meaning inmates have to pay for them. Officials said the previously estimated $33,769 annual cost to supply the products could be covered within the department’s budget. The State Board of Corrections has yet to determine how local and regional jails who don’t already provide free products will pay for them.

“This is a great way to start a Friday,” Kory said after the morning meeting

Last week, Kory’s HB 152, which called for removing the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, was killed in the House along with the remaining “tampon tax” bills, which proposed tax exemptions on the items during the state’s three day tax-free period in August and year-round.

Holly Seibold, a member of the Virginia Menstrual Equity Coalition, said although the group is disappointed the legislation failed, they are encouraged by progress toward free products for women who are incarcerated.

Del. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, introduced two bills this year and one last year proposing tax-exemptions for feminine hygiene products, but none of the bills were approved. Still, she said she plans to introduce similar legislation moving forward.

Dr. Grace Harris Is Remembered for ‘Her Spirit of Hope’

By George Copeland Jr and Adam Hamza, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Dr. Grace Harris, whose life and career stretched from the roads of rural Halifax County to the halls of the Virginia State Capital, was celebrated Saturday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Nearly 200 people, including family, friends, legislators and educators, assembled to remember Dr. Harris, who died Feb. 12 at age 84. She was praised as a “thoughtful, forward-thinking leader” by Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao. Dr. Harris remains the highest-ranking African-American woman in the college’s history.

Rao cited her 48-year tenure at the school, where she served as a dean, provost and acting president, as fundamental to VCU’s community and culture.

“I’ve talked a lot about VCU and its commitment to public good. That’s Grace,” Rao said. “VCU is committed to excellence and inclusion. That’s Grace.”

Rao also made clear that those present “must never forget” how racism initially barred Dr. Harris from attending VCU (the Richmond Professional Institute at the time) during her college years. As a result, Harris had to start graduate school out of state – at Boston University, where her classmates included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Members of the Harris family shared memories and personal stories of how they viewed her legacy.

In the course of their life together, Dr. Harris and her husband, James W. “Dick” Harris, had two children – James and Gayle. James Harris described the work ethic his mother instilled in him growing up in a letter read by his wife, Noelle Harris.

“She showed me what hard work, talent and dedication can do,” James Harris wrote. “And I’m glad to say and show her that I listened.”

Gayle Harris reminisced about the openness, kindness and respect her mother showed her throughout their life together.

“How wonderful it has been to have such support, encouragement, acceptance and love,” she said.

Recalling his time working with Dr. Harris on VCU’s Board of Visitors, Roger Gregory, chief judge of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, remembered the “prescription of life” she brought during her tenure.

“She gently wove her spirit of hope into the tapestry of every professional endeavor she had and every professional encounter,” Gregory said.

A number of political leaders, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, attended the service. U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner were unable to attend but wrote letters sending their regards. Dr. Harris served on Warner’s transition team for his term as Virginia governor in 2001. When Kaine was governor, she helped him choose appointees to university boards of trustees.

Former Gov. Douglas Wilder noted the challenges Dr. Harris faced and overcame as a woman of color in a racially segregated state and society. He also spoke of the importance of her legacy at a time of national upheaval and change for women.

Quoting Dr. Harris directly, Wilder left the audience with words of inspiration: “I will persist until I succeed, for I was not delivered into this world in defeat.”

That inspiration was evident in those in attendance. Leon Sankofa, president and founder of Family and Youth Foundations Counseling Services in Hampton, said Dr. Harris’ outreach efforts led him to enroll in VCU’s School of Social Work, where she served as assistant professor from 1967 to 1976.

“She was my idol,” Sankofa said. “She still is.”

Dr. Harris’ legacy of compassion extended beyond the funeral’s speakers and audience. Band leader Rudy Faulkner, during the opening musical selection, briefly mentioned the kindness the Harris family showed him one Christmas many years ago.

It was this compassion and kindness that Jullian Harrison, Dr. Harris’ grandson, saw as her greatest quality.

“Yes, she was smart. Yes, she was kind. But also, she was empathetic,” he recalled. Harrison said that is what made his grandmother so special.

“In a day and age when leadership and power is so synonymous with the focus on self, the fact that she could build a legacy and foundation based on kindness and to have it be successful is what made her.”

Vida Rodgester Fajna

Vida Rodgester Fajna, 73, passed away Thursday, February 22, 2018. She was the daughter of the late Charlie Lee and Mabel Rodgester and was also preceded in death by two sisters, Dot Hobbs and Nellie Bradley. Mrs. Fajna is survived by her husband, Wayne Fajna; daughter, Kathy Fajna; brother, Cliff Rodgester and wife, Jane; two sisters, Emma Bradley and Linda Tuck and husband, Steve; and a large loving extended family including sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law; cousins and numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews. She also leaves behind her beloved family of furbabies.

The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Monday, February 26 at Zion Baptist Church, 974 Zion Church Rd, Emporia, Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at church prior to the service beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

Senate Panel Votes to Ban ‘Lunch Shaming’ in Virginia

By Irena Schunn, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A Senate committee Thursday unanimously approved a bill to prohibit “lunch shaming” – the practice of singling out students who owe the school cafeteria money or cannot pay for their lunch.

The Senate Education and Health Committee voted 15-0 in favor of House Bill 50, which would bar schools from giving students a hand stamp or wristband when their lunch account is empty, or ask students to do chores or throw away their meal if they cannot pay. The bill specifies that any concerns regarding students’ lunch debt must be taken up directly with their parents or guardians.

The bill, which unanimously passed the House last week and now goes to the full Senate, would address the concerns of parents like Adelle Settle, a mother in Prince William County. She started fundraising to help students settle lunch debts after hearing about the lunch shaming phenomenon on the radio. Last year, she helped raise over $20,000 for students with meal debt in Prince William.

“A child has no control over their family finances, and a child should have no involvement in the discussion between a school and the parent to collect for meal debt,” Settle said. “Our kids deserve to be treated equally and with compassion at school.”

The price of a school lunch in Virginia public elementary schools averages $1.88, but it can be as high as $3.05 in Loudoun County and $3 in Fairfax County and Falls Church, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education.

As in all states, schools in Virginia participate in a federal program that provides free or reduced-price lunches to children from low-income families. Eligibility depends on income and household size. A four-person household must have an annual income of $44,955 or less to qualify for free lunches.

Students who receive free lunches are not at risk of being shamed by school staff because their meals are provided by government funding; the students cannot incur debts. Of the 1.29 million students in Virginia’s public schools, almost 572,000 – or 44 percent – qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.

But lunch shaming can affect the remaining students who pay for their lunch out of pocket and occasionally may not have the money.

Reports of meal-debt shaming vary across the country but include practices such as stamping “I need lunch money” on students’ hands, asking students to wipe down tables or throwing away the lunch that can’t be paid for.

In Virginia, procedures handling school lunch debt vary by school district. Some school districts allow students a certain amount of debt before refusing to provide them with a standard meal. Other districts treat all students the same, regardless of whether they owe money.

“Students unable to pay for their meal at the time of meal service are allowed to charge a breakfast and lunch,” said Shawn Smith, director of government, policy and media relations for Chesterfield County Public Schools. “This may result in a debt to the student’s meal account with the expectation that the parent or guardian is responsible for full payment.”

Virginia’s strides to abolish lunch shaming aren’t the first. Last year, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., introduced a bill that would make it illegal to shame a student who doesn’t have lunch money.

Virginia Teenagers May Rescue Volunteer Fire Departments

By Logan Bogert, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bill to allow teenagers to join volunteer fire and rescue squads may save many operations around Virginia that have seen an increase in service calls but a decrease in volunteers.

Volunteers make up more than 65 percent of Virginia’s firefighting services – but according to the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, “retention and recruitment of new members has never been more challenging.”

However, the General Assembly approved – unanimously in both the House and Senate – a bill that might rescue some of these operations.

Currently in Virginia, 16- and 17-year-olds can join a volunteer fire department only with parental or guardian consent and proper certification. SB 887, if signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, would allow these teens to join a volunteer fire department and participate in non-hazardous activities such as training exercises without consent or certification. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds still would need consent and certification to participate in a fire department’s or rescue squad’s potentially hazardous activities.

“The commonwealth recognizes the need to reach out to Virginia’s youth and engage them in non-operational roles within emergency departments,” Mohamed Abbamin, policy manager for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, said by email. “Reaching out to people when they are young has long-range effects, and encouraging youth to take part in the emergency services is extremely beneficial to local communities and departments.”

Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, introduced the bill after a meeting with the VDFP in the fall.

“It’s just like anything else: If you can get young people involved, there’s a better chance they’re going to stick with it,” Deeds said. “This bill is just about encouraging and making sure that young people can be as involved as possible.”

The legislation directs the Virginia Fire Services Board, which oversees the VDFP, to adopt a junior member policy to provide guidance to fire and rescue departments in developing and administering non-hazardous training courses and programs.

“If we can get young people that are high school age involved at least on an auxiliary basis helping out, they might be interested in eventually becoming a fireman. So that’s the idea behind the legislation,” Deeds said.

Delegate Tyler Sponsors Bill to Protect Correctional Officers

Correctional Officers from across the Commonwealth gathered for a Press Conference and lobbying day on Capitol Hill in Richmond to Voice their concerns for increased salaries, improved working conditions and officer’s turnover along with Delegate Roslyn Tyler (Sussex) and Delegate John Bell (Loudon). Delegate Tyler’s District includes the following state correctional centers in Greensville County, Sussex I and II, Deerfield, Lunenburg and the private prison in Lawrenceville.  HB 1418 introduced by Delegate Tyler for the Creation of Procedural Guarantee Act for Correction Officers has passed the House of Delegate’s and has now crossed over to the Senate. Additionally, she was recently appointed to serve on the House of Appropriations, Sub-Committee on Public Safety which funding allocations are recommended for public safety officers including the state police, sheriffs, deputies, emergency services and state correctional officers.

In the budget released this week, the Correctional Officers are winners. The House of Appropriations budget includes a $1,100 salary adjustment in January 2019 and 2% increase in salary in July 2019 and 1% merit pay in July, 2019. This funding will increase the starting salaries of Correctional Officers to approximately $33,000. This is one giant step towards funding correction officers for the work they do in protecting our community from harm and danger.

The officers, Donald Baylor, the NCPSO representative and I have addressed this issue for a long time and we are pleased of our accomplishment. Our work is not over. The final budget has not been passed by the House and the Senate. The two budgets will be in conference before final passage for negotiations. Therefore, contact the House and Senate Conferee to maintain funding in the budget for final approval.  Please feel free to contact me in Richmond at 804 698-1075.

Delegate Tyler is a Member of the Sportsman's Caucus

Pictured from the left:  Delegate Barry Knight, Senator Emmett Hanger, Senator John Cosgrove, Delegate James Edmonds, Delegate Robert Bloxom, Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Delegate Tony Wilt, Delegate Buddy Fowler, Jr., and Delegate John McGuire

Delegate Roslyn Tyler is a member of the General Assembly Sportsman Caucus in Richmond, Virginia. Pictured are members Senators and Delegates who enjoy hunting and outdoor recreation over the Commonwealth. Each Thursday morning at 7:00 AM the caucus meets for updates on certain topics such as Chesapeake Bay Foundation, World Life Foundation, Bear and Deer hunting and proposed sportsman rights legislation HB564, HB1328 and HB1414 all passed through the House and are in the Senate for vote.  If you are in Richmond, feel free to stop by and see us in room E321 in the Pocahontas Building on Main Street.  Delegate Tyler can be reached via email atDelRTyler@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1075.

Attorneys Launch Group to Boost Free Legal Services to Low Income Clients

SUFFOLK, Va., Feb. 20, 2018  – Virginia Legal Aid Society is pleased to announce the creation of the Suffolk Pro Bono Task Force, a  group of influential and successful attorneys who are recruiting their colleagues to provide volunteer, free legal help to VLAS clients.

The attorney members of the task force are calling, writing and visiting with other attorneys in the area to encourage them to take on pro bono cases for VLAS clients. In addition to this work, the attorney members of the task force all accept representation of VLAS clients on a pro bono basis. 

Private attorneys who agree to work pro bono allow VLAS to help many additional low income clients who otherwise would not be able to hire an attorney for representation in their civil legal case. VLAS staff attorneys in Danville, Lynchburg, Farmville and Suffolk close about 3,000 cases each year; pro bono attorneys close an additional 150 or so cases for VLAS clients. VLAS seeks to greatly increase the numbers of attorneys providing pro bono representation to its clients, and the Suffolk Task Force members are an invaluable asset in this endeavor.

The Suffolk Task Force members are:

  • Nicole Harrell
  • Jeanette Ojeda
  • Andrew Page
  • Richard Railey
  • Whitney Saunders
  • Martin Speroni
  • Daniel Vinson
     

For More Information Contact: Kristine Smith, Pro Bono Director (434) 846-1326, ext. 413

Virginia Legal Aid Society is a nonprofit law firm that provides legal information, advice and representation in civil cases to underprivileged individuals and families. Since 1977, VLAS has been the only institutional provider of such services in Central, Southside, and Western Tidewater Virginia. VLAS attorneys and paralegals use legal skills to solve problems in housing, access to health care, income and public benefits, family issues, consumer lending and assets. Our mission is to resolve serious legal problems of vulnerable people, promote economic and family stability, reduce poverty through effective legal assistance, and to champion equal justice. For more information on our services, to get involved, or to make a donation, please visit us at www.vlas.org and follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/VaLegalAidSociety, and Twitter @VA_LegalAid

Margaret Ann Turner Conley

Margaret Ann Turner Conley, 76, of Kilmarnock, Virginia  passed away Tuesday, February 20, 2018.  She was born June 12, 1941 in Emporia, Virginia,  daughter to the late Joe Turner and Josephine Sopko Turner.  She retired after 20 years with VIMCO and enjoyed her retirement from gardening to traveling along with spending time with her children, grandchildren, family and friends.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, Samuel Roy Conley for whom she greatly missed.  She is survived by her two sons, David Lee Conley of Rockville, Va. and Jeffrey Scott Conley and wife Diana Lynn of Glen Allen, Va.; four grandchildren, Curtis Lee Conley and wife Laura, Lindsey Paige Conley, Jessica Blair Conley and Amber Lynn Conley and two great grandchildren Cason and Adalyn Conley as well as her two favorite grand dogs Gypsy and Panda.

Mass will be held 11:00 a. m. Monday, February 26, 2018 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Kilmarnock, Va.  Interment will follow the service at Morattico Baptist Church Cemetery, Kilmarnock, Va.  The family will receive friends 2:00 to 4:00 p. m. Sunday, February 25th at Currie Funeral Home, Kilmarnock, Va.

Margaret Lee Williams Edwards

Margaret Lee Williams Edwards of Greensville County, died February 19, 2018. She was the daughter of the late George Thomas Williams and Olive Rawlings Williams. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Raymond Floyd Edwards; brother, Reeves Williams; three sisters, Frances Wagner, Ida Barnes, and Audrey Blalock.

She was a homemaker and lifetime member of Monumental United Methodist Church. “Maggie”, as she was called by her grandchildren and great grandchildren, was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and sister. She is survived by two daughters, Merilyn E. Newsome (Wesley) of Roanoke Rapids, NC and Judy E. Rushing (Leon) of Cary, NC; sister, Agnes Murrill of Newport  News, VA; five grandchildren, Cynthia Browder, Ray Poole, Tripp Nunnally, Bryan Rushing, Megan Hare; and eight great grandchildren.

A service will be held at Monumental United Methodist Church on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. with Rev. Rick Franklin and Rev. Rachel Plemmons officiating. Interment will follow at Emporia Cemetery. A reception will be held at the church one hour prior to the service.

The family would like to offer a special thanks to the staff of Greensville Manor.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Monumental United Methodist Church/Organ Fund.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com.

KAINE CO-SPONSORS BIPARTISAN CHILDHOOD CANCER BILL

Bill complements Kaine’s Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act to further expand pediatric cancer research and treatment 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined a bipartisan group of colleagues as a co-sponsor of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act. This bipartisan legislation will advance pediatric cancer research and child-focused cancer treatments, while also improving childhood cancer surveillance and providing resources for survivors and those impacted by childhood cancer. 

“While we have made advances and breakthroughs in many fields, childhood cancer treatment has been left behind,” said Senator Kaine. "The Childhood Cancer STAR Act would help us right that wrong so one day we can ensure that no family has to lose a child to this terrible disease.” 

Childhood cancer research has progressed in recent years, but cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the United States, according to NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI). In 2017,  NCI estimated that nationwide, more than 10,000 children and adolescents up to 14 years of age would be diagnosed with cancer and that more than 1,190 would die from the disease.

Senator Kaine has consistently supported legislation funding pediatric cancer research. In 2014, he championed the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act to support pediatric medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama. The legislation honors the memory of Leesburg, Virginia’s Gabriella Miller, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor the size of a walnut at age 9. He also voted for the RACE for Children Act of 2017 to support the development of innovative and promising cancer drugs for children.

The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act would:  

  • Expand opportunities for childhood cancer research
  • Improve efforts to identify and track childhood cancer incidences
  • Enhance the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors
  • Ensure pediatric expertise at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Expanding Opportunities for Childhood Cancer Research:  Due to the relatively small population of children with cancer and the geographic distance between these children, researching childhood cancer can be challenging.  The Childhood Cancer STAR Act would authorize the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to expand existing efforts to collect biospecimens for childhood cancer patients enrolled in NCI-sponsored clinical trials in order to maintain relevant clinical, biological, and demographic information on all children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer.

Improving Childhood Cancer Surveillance:  Building upon previous efforts, this bill would authorize grants to state cancer registries to identify and track incidences of child, adolescent, and young adult cancer.  This funding would be used to identify and train reporters of childhood cancer cases, secure infrastructure to ensure early the reporting and capture of child cancer incidences, and support the collection of cases into a national childhood cancer registry.

Improving Quality of Life for Childhood Cancer Survivors:  Unfortunately, even after beating cancer, as many as two-thirds of survivors suffer from late effects of their disease or treatment, including secondary cancers and organ damage. This legislation would enhance research on the late effects of childhood cancers, including a study on insurance coverage and payment of care for childhood cancer survivors; improve collaboration among providers so that doctors are better able to care for this population as they age; and establish a new pilot program to begin to explore innovative models of care for childhood cancer survivors. 

Ensuring Pediatric Expertise at the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The Childhood Cancer STAR Act would require the inclusion of at least one pediatric oncologist on the National Cancer Advisory Board and would improve childhood health reporting requirements to include pediatric cancer.

Exhibits Commemorating WW I Reflect Contemporary Concerns

WWI EXHIBIT

By Caitlin Barbieri, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Women across the country demanding equality. African Americans protesting racism. Government officials worried about Russian interference.

Those descriptions may reflect today’s headlines. But they also mirror what was happening a century ago – as America was coming out of World War I.

To commemorate the war’s centennial, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture is showcasing two exhibits – “WW1 America” and “The Commonwealth and the Great War.”

“WW1 America” is a traveling exhibit from the Minnesota Historical Society; Richmond is the exhibit’s only stop on the East Coast. “The Commonwealth and the Great War” was created by the Virginia Museum of History and Culture to highlight Virginians in the war.

“Every museum in the country has a collection of World War I posters,” said Brian Horrigan, curator of “WW1 America.”

“They’re beautiful, they’re brilliant, but they don’t tell the story. They tell a visual story of a story, a story about persuasion and propaganda, but where’s the underbelly of that story?”

Horrigan started the project three years ago with the desire to “look more broadly at America and Americans.” He wanted to focus less on the horrors of the trenches and propaganda and instead examine the turmoil at home.

“There were darker sides of the American experience during this time,” Horrigan said. “Entire swaths of U.S cities [were] engulfed in racial conflagrations; more race riots and more violent race riots [occurred] in 1919 than any single year in the 1960s.”

Just as the Black Lives Matter movement has pushed for societal reforms in recent years, African-Americans were fighting intense racism during World War I: The U.S. military then was segregated; blacks were relegated to menial jobs, and there were only two African-American combat units – both commanded by white officers. After the war, black soldiers returned to a segregated society; their heroism was ignored.

The exhibit also highlights issues of women’s suffrage – the #MeToo movement of its time – as well as workers’ rights and care for disabled veterans. In addition, during World War I, Americans were terrified of Russia, believing that the Bolsheviks were preparing to invade America. The exhibit shows how this fear developed into the Cold War.

Horrigan’s favorite part of the exhibit is a glass bowl used to pick men for the draft.

“The importance of this bowl as [a] national icon cannot be overstated,” Horrigan said. “I was fascinated by this draft bowl because I thought, there is a real turning-point moment where people began to feel that they are being counted, pinpointed and tracked by the United States government, and they could become just a number.”

Americans had never seen the government conduct such a massive call to arms. All men age 18 to 45 had to enter the draft. By the end of the war, nearly 20 percent of all draft-age men had served in the military.

The second exhibit, “The Commonwealth and the Great War,” focuses on the men drafted from Virginia and the families they left behind. Approximately 100,000 Virginians fought in World War I, and 3,700 died in service.

With the exception of Fort Myer and Fort A.P. Hill, all of Virginia’s major military bases were built during World War I. The exhibit includes pictures and stories from the men at these bases and highlights some of Virginia’s accomplished soldiers.

However, the exhibit honors more than Virginia’s soldiers. Pictures and artifacts reflect the significant role Virginia women played. Many women were nurses, helped organize fundraisers and made items to send to troops.

Horrigan said the Virginia Museum of History and Culture did an outstanding job complementing the traveling exhibit.

“What it has done with the second exhibit really makes this whole thing much more significant, giving it a personal Virginia side,” Horrigan said.

He also sees parallels between the museum’s contents and contemporary America.

“Every time you turn around in that exhibit, you see some connection to today,” Horrigan said.

If You Go

“WW1 America” will be on display at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, 428 N. Boulevard in Richmond, until July 29. “The Commonwealth and the Great War” will be available until Nov. 18. Museum admission is $10.

Activists Oppose Drilling Off Virginia’s Coast

    

    

Business, military, fishing and environmental leaders unite at the Four Points hotel by the Sheraton Richmond Airport to publicly oppose allowing oil and gas development off of Virginia’s coast as the Trump Administration’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management holds one of its first public hearings in Richmond. This opposition is joined by growing bi-partisan calls from Virginia leaders, including Governor Ralph Northam, Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Scott Taylor, to remove Virginia from this newly proposed oil and gas leasing program.

By Brandon Celentano, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — About 75 people, including activists and lawmakers, rallied Wednesday against the Trump administration’s plan to allow drilling off Virginia’s coast, saying it would endanger the environment, the economy and military readiness.

The group held a press conference before the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s public hearing in Richmond on the issue. At the meeting, environmental and business leaders urged the agency to abandon the plan.

“We are here today to protect our waters, the Virginia coast and Atlantic Ocean from dangerous oil and gas development,” said Karen Forget, executive director of Lynnhaven River Now in Virginia Beach. “We’re here to make our voices loud and clear that we do not think offshore drilling is good for Virginia.”

U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, said he was honored to speak alongside state officials, environmentalists and retired military and business leaders to express opposition to offshore drilling.

“The Trump administration’s decision to push for drilling in more than 90 percent of our nation’s coastal waters, including off the coast of our beautiful commonwealth, poses serious dangers to our economy and our environment,” McEachin said. “As we learned from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, accidents can be unimaginably destructive, devastating the marine environment and potentially affecting the health of local residents.”

McEachin said an oil spill would have disastrous consequences for communities along the coast and around the Chesapeake Bay. Coastal fisheries, tourism and recreation support 91,000 jobs in Virginia and represent almost $5 billion of the state’s economy, he said.

Even without a spill, oil exploration alone would be damaging, according to Susan Barco, the research coordinator and senior scientist at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach.

“One of the tools they use is seismic testing, and that would occur regardless of if there is a spill or drilling for that matter,” Barco said. “Seismic testing produces very, very loud sounds in the ocean in order to understand what is below the strata or layers at the bottom of the ocean. Those sounds are very likely to negatively impact a lot of animals, particularly marine mammals.”

McEachin said the U.S. Defense Department has twice concluded that drilling off Virginia’s coast would compromise the Navy’s ability to effectively operate and train and that this would effectively reduce military readiness and compromise national security.

Gov. Ralph Northam and members of Congress from Virginia’s coastal areas, both Republicans and Democrats, oppose the U.S. Interior Department’s offshore drilling plan. Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, a Republican, alsoopposes it.

Wednesday’s meeting at a hotel near Richmond International Airport was the only public hearing that the federal government plans to hold in Virginia to discuss the offshore drilling plan. That irked Northam.

“If the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management doesn’t hold additional hearings in the Tidewater region, I will be one of the few people from a Virginia coastal community who has had the opportunity to share my opposition to the administration’s plan to put our economy, environment, national security, and the health and safety of our residents at risk,” Northam said.

The Democratic governor said he will use every tool he can use to make sure no drilling happens off Virginia’s coast.

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