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June 2018

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center, Southside Physicians Network, Southside College of Health Sciences and Southside Regional Medical Center Volunteer Medical Services to Emporia’s Remote Area Medical Event

Emporia, VA – On June 23rd and 24th volunteers from Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC), Southside Physicians Network (SPN), Southside College of Health Sciences and Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) will be volunteering their time and medical services to Emporia’s second Remote Area Medical Event (RAM). RAM is non-profit provider of mobile medical clinics that provide free healthcare to those in need. This weekend dentists and physicians will be available along with hearing aids and glasses for this who cannot afford them.

SVRMC’s Chief Nursing Officer, Linda Burnette has been on the front lines planning the RAM event and says, “It is important to remember there are people who cannot afford basic healthcare.” Staff from Emporia, Colonial Heights and Petersburg are donating their skills, the use of wheelchairs, disposable sheets, patient supply bags and providing the locations needed for follow-up calls from the physician about a person’s lab results.

If you or someone you know needs medical service we encourage you to attend.

June 23-24

Greensville High School

403 Harding Street 
Emporia, VA 23847

The patient parking lot will open no later than midnight. Numbered patient admission tickets will be given out beginning at 3 AM, one ticket per patient. Clinic doors will open at 6 AM. Patients will be admitted in numerical order by ticket # and a ticket is required for admission. Services are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. Due to time constraints, be prepared to choose between DENTAL and VISION services. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information visit the RAM website: https://www.ramusa.org/event/emporia-virginia/

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE WARN OF LAW ENFORCEMENT SCAMS

RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police has recently been alerted to an alarming increase in phone scams targeting seniors and, especially, convicted sex offenders. The consistent theme among these scams has been phone fraudsters threatening people into paying hundreds of dollars in gift cards to the caller.

One popular scam making its rounds across the Commonwealth is where the caller says a relative has been arrested and incarcerated, and is in need of a substantial amount of money in order to be released from jail. The phone fraudster can be very convincing by providing extensive personal information (i.e., date of birth, address, social security number, other family members’ names) about the relative who is supposedly in need of help.

The Virginia State Police are also getting numerous calls from convicted sex offenders in the Northern Virginia region who are being told there is a warrant out for their arrest. The sex offender is advised not to call the Virginia State Police and that the only way to adjudicate the warrant is by paying off a fine. Virginia law prohibits unlawful use of the information provided on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry for purposes of intimidating or harassing an individual listed on the registry. Willful violation shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

With both cons, the scammer provides instruction on how the payment should be submitted, usually through an “eGift” cash card or similar payment to a specified account or name given by the caller. The scammer will often pressure, threaten and be verbally abusive in order to intimidate the victim into complying with the scammer’s demands.

The scammer will often manipulate caller ID, which is known as “spoofing,” to make the number appear to come from a nearby state police office or a local police or sheriff’s office. These scam artists use pre-paid phones and many times are not even in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred, making their apprehension difficult.

If you receive such a call, hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency or the Virginia State Police. Complaints can also be made to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which works with other law enforcement agencies to bring scam artists to justice and put an end to unfair and misleading business practices. If you have a complaint, file it online or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

GOODWILL TO OPEN ITS FIRST RETAIL STORE AND DONATION SITE IN EMPORIA

~Newest Location Expands Goodwill’s Footprint into Southern Virginia~

 

EMPORIA, VA (June 19, 2018) - Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia will open its first retail store and donation site in Emporia on June 21. Goodwill converted a former CVS store to create the 5,900-square foot site at 306A W. Atlantic St., just south of Route 58 and less than a mile from Interstate 95.

A ribbon-cutting will take place on June 21 at 9 a.m. at the store. Goodwill will have giveaway prizes to the first 100 shoppers each day on June 21, 22 and 23.

“Our move into Emporia shows our commitment to bringing quality goods at great prices to shoppers in Southern Virginia,” said Bill Carlson, Goodwill’s chief operating officer. “We are excited to open a new store in an area that is currently without a Goodwill presence. We will have an immediate impact on the local economy, bringing new jobs to the area. Also, donors who give their gently used goods will be part of keeping 40 million pounds of goods out of local landfills,” Carlson added.

Goodwill operates six attended donation sites and accepts donations at its 18 retail stores across the Central Virginia region.

For a list of items accepted at Goodwill stores and donation sites, click here.

City Council Passes Budget with no Water/Sewer Increases After All

A public hearing for a Zoning Amendment Request to permit an Adult Day Support Facility on South Main Street occurred just before the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

The request was submitted by Tony Vincent, who plans on turning the building into an Adult Day Care center where clients can come for 6 hours a day for activities, with no overnight care provided. According to the application, clients will receive one hot meal and two snacks each day.

The Planning Commission and Staff both recommended approval of the Zoning Amendment to add “Adult Day Support Facility” to the permitted uses in the City’s C-1 zones.

No citizens spoke during the public hearing.

After the close of the Public Hearing, City Council entered into the regular meeting.

The first order of business after the approval of the agenda, minutes, reports and bills was the presentation of a plaque to outgoing City Manager Brian Thrower. Mr. Thrower is leaving to take a job in Smithfield and this was his last City Council meeting; his last day with the City is June 29th.

After a closed session at the end of the meeting, Assistant City Manager Dr. Edwin Daley was appointed as the Interim City Manager and a search for a replacement will begin.

Old business on the agenda was the passage of the FY2019 budget. The 2.75% rate increases reported on EmporiaNews.com after the June 5 meeting have been removed, and there are now no rate, fee or tax increases in the budget.

The FY2019 budget includes increases to make Emergency Services a full time position, three new cruisers for the Emporia Police Department, a new cruiser and part-time deputy for the Emporia Sheriff’s Department. Also included in the budget was a 2% COLA increase for city employees.

With this budget the City Council has scrapped the idea of a new City Hall and/or Police Station, saving over $7 million.

With the budgets passed, Council moved on to the new business, approving the Zoning Amendment from the earlier public hearing, appropriated some additional sales tax money to Greensville County for GCPS and passed a resolution for the Independence Day fireworks. City Council also heard from the Auditor, and that information will appear as a stand-alone story on EmporiaNews.com at a later date.

During the public comments section, Becky Walker, Director of the Meherrin Regional Library System stood to thank council for their continued support of the Library, both through financing and facilities. Ms. Walker added that there were exciting things happening at the library. The Summer Reading Program started on June 1st and will continue through the summer. During July, the Richardson Memorial Library will participate in the summer feeding program, serving lunch one day a week and snacks two others.

In addition to the Summer Reading Program, the Library has added new online resources, including Ancestry for Libraries, the A-Z Database – a job hunting resource, and Universal Class – online classes that offer continuing education credits in over 500 topics.

Debra Brown, President of the local NAACP and a national board member spoke about polling place issues on Primary Election Day. The polls for Districts 5 and 7 did not open on time. The key that the poll workers had would not open the door and the Fire Chief could not be reached. The polling place was only opened because two fire-fighters showed up at 6:30. After the poll workers, including an member of the Electoral Board finally gained entry to the building, they discovered that the lock was not functioning because it had been taped.

When the General Registrar was able to reach the Fire Chief, it was at his place of business. The response to the concerns of the Director of Elections was “we don’t want y’all” here anyway.

Mrs. Brown addressed the Council directly, “I want to know who are the ‘we’ and who are the ‘y’all’?” She also added that concerns were raised when the polling place for District 5 was moved to that location, stating that the City Council was told then that there would be problems, and the problems have started.

Mrs. Brown reminded Council that while they no longer administered the Volunteer Fire Department, they did continue to fund the operation, adding that the building was a designated polling place and should remain available.

Mrs. Brown also shared a complaint made to her about the practices for renting the fire hall. An African-American family had used the facility for a graduation party, and another African-American family was planning using the facility the next weekend for a birthday party. The second family was apparently told, by the Fire Chief, that they [African-Americans] could not rent the facility on consecutive weekends. Mrs. Brown asked that there be a designated person to handle the bookings for the facility, as is the practice at Veteran’s Memorial Park, Greensville County High School, Golden Leaf Commons and the Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Mrs. Brown also had another concern, and asked the Secretary of the NAACP to read a letter to City Council. The text of that letter is here:

This letter is written with great consternation over comments made by Councilman F. Woodrow Harris to Dr. Angela B. Wilson, Division Superintendent of Public Schools in Greensville County, Virginia.

It is reported that during Dr. Wilson’s presentation to City Council, Councilman Harris referred to Dr. Wilson in his pontificating and stated “… what you don’t understand little girl…” As President of the Local Unit of the NAACP and a member of its National Board of Directors, I, along with our membership here in Greensville Emporia, the Commonwealth of Virginia and across this Nation, are appalled at the lack of respect shown to Dr. Wilson.

Mr. Harris’ poor lack of judgement and professionalism reflects volumes on the decorum of City Council and its members. Councilman Harris’ degrading remarks harken back to the days of “Jim Crow” when some Caucasians found it acceptable to refer to grown adult African-American ladies and gentlemen as boy, girl, missy, aunt, uncle or other racially degrading misnomers. The decorum of the whole of City Council is brought into question due to the absence of any member of Council for not admonishing Councilman Harris for his words and lack of respect right then and there when he uttered such drivel for the entire City to hear. Thusly, an outside observer would feel it was the consensus due to the deafening silence from any member of City Council. We can only hope that this is not the case.

We realize that some words are spoken with intent and reflect one’s absolute ignorance and intolerance for others that are unlike them – be it another’s race, color, size, religion, ethnicity or educational attainment however, so much more is expected from the members of this City Council in Emporia, Virginia. In a municipality which currently contains a more than 60% African American population as its citizenry it is Expected, with NO exemption, that all are treated with respect and dignity whatever their station in our community and society.

We are here this evening to request an apology from Councilman Harris to Dr. Wilson. Not just a spoken one, although that is a good start, but an apology that is published in the local newspaper and other media from Councilman Harris as well as an apology from City Council so that its meaning is crystal clear – not all of City Council condones such derogatory and classless comments. It is also recommended that a Code of Conduct be added by to the City’s Ordinances to address any future lack of judgement by any sitting Council member. If you should require assistance in developing said code I will be happy to put you in contact with our knowledgeable and professional legal team serving the NAACP in the Commonwealth of Virginia and our National organization.

It is our sincerest hope that this misstep in addressing a professional employee and citizen of the Greensville Emporia community in such a belittling way can and will be corrected in a satisfactory manner. We look forward to working with the City of Emporia to move our city beyond this regression and join together for a brighter prosperous and respectable future for all its citizens.

After the letter had been read, Mayor Person addressed the concerns about the polling place, stating that they were aware of the issue and were working to resolve it. The Mayor then gave Councilman Woody Harris to respond.

“If I could, I would like to respond, since my name was mentioned, under a point of personal privilege, and I promise to limit myself to three minutes.”

“I find it interesting and fascinating that such comments would be made by anyone about anything that was said in a discussion between Dr. Wilson and me over a school budget. At a time, folks, when our school system is down over 200 kids, when over two dozen teachers have fled to other school systems, when SOL scores for our students are down, when local spending drastically up with nothing to show for it and when most of our schools are not accredited.

I find it astonishing that you would be more concerned about what a fat old councilman says in exchanging repartee with the school superintendent who I’ve known for years.”

“No, there will be no apology, nor is one warranted or needed; and I understand your agenda. I know what you’re trying to do and I think it is laughable to focus on that instead of the serious, legitimate problems that exist with our school system.”

“Thank you, Madame Mayor.”

Mrs. Brown responded, “No, it is not ridiculous. When someone comes before you, you should treat them with respect.” Mrs. Brown went on to add that the major problems with the school system stem from lack of funding and budget cuts, with Councilman Jim Saunders adding that funding for education had increased.

Rev. John Kinsey stepped to the podium to invite the entire Council to a special service to honor city officials at Faith Baptist Church on July 8 at 10:30 am.

After the meeting, Debra Brown stated that the NAACP concerns were “not about the quality of or the funding level (which is woefully inadequate) of the school system. This is about respect for a person who is doing a job that is more difficult than sitting on City Council, a person that is at the very least his [Councilman Harris’] equal.”

VCU Health CMH Presents 2018 Nursing Awards

Teresa Collins, RN, ONC, the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award recipient; Icie McMiller, the Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award recipient; Ursula Butts, BSN, MSHA, CNAA-BC, FACHE, the Ursula Butts Nurse Leader Award; and Magen Wright, LPN, the Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award recipient.

The Professional Development Council of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital recently recognized four extraordinary people.  One of the council’s goals is to offer recognition to nurses and nurse care partners for their continual commitment to excellence.

VCU Health CMH first gave out these awards on Nurses’ Day, May 6, 2009 and this tradition has continued and grown stronger each year.  This year the Professional Development Council of VCU Health CMH received numerous nominations, a testament to the many dedicated professionals among the hospital’s staff.  This year’s awards were given to four incredible individuals, whose impact and contributions to nursing at VCU Health CMH have been tremendous.

The three original awards were named after three special people, Dee McMillan, Carol Love and Alice Tudor. These women embodied the values that are respected in nursing: hard work, diligence, kindheartedness, compassion, knowledge, loyalty and support. 

This year the Professional Development Council presented a new award, the Ursula Butts Nurse Leader Award.  This inaugural award was presented to the person for which it was named, Ursula Butts, Vice President of Patient Care Services.  Ursula has been at VCU Health CMH for 41 years.  She has seen and lived many changes, but her compassion for nursing and her vision of giving the best possible care and leadership has never changed.  Under Ursula’s leadership and guidance, VCU Health CMH was able to establish Home Health and Hospice Care.  As a nursing leader, she has stimulated and encouraged many nurses to stay challenged, focused and unwavering in their determination to be the best they could be.

The Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award is named after the late Dee McMillan, who was a true nurse partner for many nurses and nursing staff at VCU Health CMH. She was a person who wore many hats when she worked within the organization. Dee demonstrated commitment in her work and a kindhearted attitude toward everyone she met. This award is presented each year in her memory as the Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award.  This year’s recipient is Icie McMiller.  Icie works in Surgical Services and has been employed at VCU Health CMH for more than three years.  She collaborates with team members all over the campus and beyond to acquire information to provide safe and timely care for our patients.  Icie has a trademark smile and truly values her relationship with patients, families and team members.  Her personality is so engaging that others remember her name.  She is especially talented with the computer system and is a resource to the department.

Carol Love, LPN, was awarded the first LPN Award from the Professional Development Council of VCU Health CMH in 2009 for her leadership, commitment, caring attitude, demonstration of professionalism, and contribution to the Practical Nursing Program.  Thereafter, the award was named the Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award in her honor, and is given each year to an LPN, for their exemplary contribution to nursing at VCU Health CMH.

The recipient of this year’s Carol Love Award is Magen Wright, LPN.  Megan has been employed by VCU Health CMH for twelve years.  She started her career in The Hundley Center and is currently working with our Physician Practices.  Magen is described as being conscientious of patient safety and exhibits empathy and concern for each patient and their family members.  She displays a sense of calmness that puts patients at ease.  Megan always conveys professionalism and a positive impression in both her appearance and demeanor.

The Alice Tudor Professional Nursing Award is named after Ms. Alice Tudor, a CMH professional registered nurse. Ms. Tudor always presented with a professional appearance at work, her demeanor was an example of how a professional registered nurse should behave around their co-workers, patients and families. For more than 50 years, nurses looked up to Ms. Tudor and what she stood for as a professional nurse. This award is presented to a Registered Nurse each year in her honor as the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award.

The recipient of this year’s Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award is Teresa Collins, RN, ONC.  Teresa has been employed by VCU Health CMH for more than twenty years and is currently in Oncology as the Clinical Coordinator. Theresa is the perfect example of a professional nurse.  She has been a pervious Alice Tudor Award winner. Her co-workers felt that this year she was well-qualified to be nominated again as she continues to display superb professionalism, with patients and families, every day in the Cancer Center.

All 2018 Nursing Award recipients were nominated by their peers or their manager. Each one has demonstrated care and compassion to patients and families and exemplifies excellence in nursing practice and leadership.

McEachin Announces 2018 Congressional Art Competition Winners, Exhibit

Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announces the winners of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition, and the art exhibit displaying all 2018 entries – including the winning submissions.

“I am once again convinced that some of the most talented artists live in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District,”said Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04). “The submitted artwork was truly amazing. I look forward to meeting the young artists and celebrating their hard work at this year’s art exhibit.”

All submitted and winning artwork will be displayed at the 2018 Congressional Art Competition Exhibit and Reception hosted at the Browne Studio on Saturday, June 23, 2018, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The first-place artwork completed by Allie Sarinana, a student from Colonial Heights High School, will also be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

“I am honored to see Allie’s work of art every time I walk through the Capitol. Her work represents our congressional district well,” said Congressman McEachin.

The winners were selected by the members of the 2018 Advisory Committee for the Congressional Art Competition.

 First Place: Allie Sarinana, Colonial Heights High School, "Miles," Graphite.

Second Place: Krystle Brown, Surry County High School, "Parisian Beauty," Mixed Media.

Third Place: Raven Peirce, Surry County High School, "Still Life with Flowers." Water Color.

VSU Offers Two Introduction to Quickbooks Sessions

The Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) at Virginia State University is holding two Introduction to Quickbooks sessions. The first will be held on Thursday, July 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and the second will be held on Thursday, July 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Both sessions will be held at Virginia State University’s Singleton Hall, Room 304.

Participants will learn how to create invoices and sales receipts, to enter and pay bills from vendors and download bank and credit card transactions directly into Quickbooks. They will also learn how to export reports so they can be used in Excel.

The session is free. Seating is limited to 20 per session. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar.

For more information, or if you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, contact Michael Carter Sr. at mcarter@vsu.edu, (804) 481-1163/TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations 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, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Books for New Parents Donated to VCU Health CMH

Pictured (L to R): Front row:  Connor Lacks, Drew Jones, Regan Tanner, Cody VanGoethem, Nathan Daniel, and Addison McDaniel; Second row:  Tucker Warren, Seth Bishop, Aveline Wollenberg, Joshua Rosenfeld, Kyndall Jones, Alyssa Hershey, Ken Kurz (VCU Health CMH), Ally Clark, Saylor Moody, and Amanda Boileau

The joy of reading was shared by students at First Christian School with patients at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill.

The 5th and 6th grade students at First Christian School recently completed a mission project under the direction of their teacher, Ms. Amy Crowder. 

“The students spear-headed the "Books for Babies" project, whose goal was to put books into the hands of parents in our community who give birth at VCU Health - CMH in South Hill,” according to Ms. Crowder. “New moms and dads will have the opportunity to pick out a book to share with their new little one.  Together with book and financial donations, the students collected almost 150 books.”

According to Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development at CMH, the books will be featured in the Garland Birthing Center at the new VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

The students went the extra mile by designing and constructing a bookcase to store the new baby book library.  Students worked to teams to come up with their own design and model which was presented to the class.  The model selected was designed by Drew Jones, Addison McDaniel, and Cody VanGoethem, and represents a Ticonderoga pencil.  The classes shopped for supplies and constructed the bookcase with the assistance of parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends. 

“We were thrilled when Amy contacted us,” he said. “What the students did, not just gathering so many books to be shared with our new parents, but constructing a fun bookcase to house those donations was just fantastic.”

Ms. Crowder used this project as an opportunity for her students to utilize skills that were learned in the classroom and apply them in a real world setting.  She is very proud of the effort and excitement that her students have shown throughout the process, but is more impressed with the desire to give back to the community selflessly by blessing those around them.

According to Ms. Crowder, a special thank you goes to Home Depot in South Hill and Det. Chris Whittemore of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office for their assistance with the project.

Lealon M. Vassar Scholarship Established

Family and friends have established the Lealon M. Vassar Scholarship at Southside Virginia Community College in memory of and to recognize his contributions to the community, service to others, leadership skills, work ethic, and honesty. 

The fund will assist students from Charlotte County who attend SVCC.  Preference will be given to students exhibiting characteristics such as dedication to community service, hardworking, kind-hearted and willingness to help others as was Mr. Vassar’s legacy.  The scholarship will be used for tuition, fees and other related costs of the recipients. 

According to an article in the December 1, 2017 Southside Messenger, A Tribute To A Life Well Lived “The Vassars are not the first family or the last to lose a husband, a father, a grandfather, but this man was a shining light in a family and community lucky enough to have strong leaders and wonderful people who take care of each other.  Charlotte County and the surrounding areas are a different place now without Lealon Morris Vassar.”

The article continues, “ No one knows how many kids are playing baseball, softball, tennis, running cross country, participating in travel ball, shooting basketball, and more with uniforms they provided, travel expenses covered, land for fields, buildings for indoor opportunities, and on and on.  We have come to learn that there seem to be endless people he helped with extra work when they needed it, a hand up during tough times, loan of equipment, a vehicle to drive, maybe most impactfully, a listening ear, advice, and an honest course correction when necessary. A quote from someone these last few days was that he believed in people few others would; he gave second chances to people no one else would.”

Mr. Vassar, a resident of Charlotte Court House, passed away peacefully on November 22, 2017, surrounded by his family.  He loved supporting youth activities in the community, especially athletics, and enjoyed coaching his beloved Dixie Youth Charlotte Court House Red Midgets and Minors.  If he was not coaching, he was attending athletic events in the county, according to family.  He was devoted to New Hope United Methodist church serving in many capacities there.  He was a charter member and president of Knock Down Hunt Club since 1972, was known for his generous heart and was dedicated to the Truckers Parade Against Cancer and the American Cancer Society.  He was third of five generations in the logging business and was owner of R&V Mill, R&V Trucking and Pulpwood and Logging, Inc. 

Shannon Vassar Feinman, his daughter,  notes, “He was an extraordinary person in too many ways to count.  He has been quietly helping people through education and training for years and believed strongly that it changes lives.  We honor him now by formalizing that characteristic through this scholarship.”

For information about the newly established scholarship, contact the SVCC Foundation, Inc., at 434 949 1008.  Contributions in Mr. Vassar’s name may be made by in person, by mail or online at http://southside.edu/college-foundation.

An Alternative to the Traditional Four-Year Plan

By Dr. Al Roberts

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the number of bachelor degrees conferred in the U.S. has increased by 125% since the early 1970s. A large part of the reason is the encouragement high school students receive from parents and guidance counselors to pursue a college education.

Getting a bachelor’s or advanced academic or professional degree is good advice for many students, but like a lot of other things, one size does not fit all. Going to a four-year college without a clear plan is an increasingly expensive proposition, and students’ choices can dramatically impact the financial rewards associated with degree attainment. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce studied the difference in potential income based on a student’s major. Results were made available in a May 2011 publication, “What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors.” Findings demonstrated that bachelor degree holders who were employed full time earned annual salaries that ranged from $29,000 for students who had majored in Counseling Psychology to $120,000 for Petroleum Engineers.

In writing “High-Paying Jobs Go Begging while High School Grads Line Up for Bachelor’s Degrees,” for the Hechinger Report in April 2018, higher-education editor Jon Marcus reported, “The financial return from a bachelor’s degree is softening, even as the price—and the average debt into which it plunges students—keeps going up.”

At the same time, because so many young people are encouraged to pursue four-year degrees, employers now face shortages of qualified applicants for skilled jobs in professions such as nursing, welding, power line work, industrial maintenance, automotive repair, and advanced manufacturing. Compounding the situation is the fact that in many skilled trades, craft workers are older than their counterparts in other fields. Anticipated retirements are expected to exacerbate worker shortages.

Community colleges stand poised to provide a solution. Marcus’s research revealed that, “A shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades.” He added, “It’s not that finding a job in the trades, or even manufacturing, means needing no education after high school. Most regulators and employers require certificates, certifications, or associate degrees. But those cost less and take less time than earning a bachelor’s degree.”

The potential rewards are significant. An updated report issued last year from The Center on Education and the Workforce last year, stated “There are 30 million good jobs in the United States today that pay without a BA (bachelor’s degree). These good jobs have median earnings of $55,000 annually.”

For more information about the variety of opportunities afforded by a community college education, please visit southside.edu or call SVCC at 434-949-1000. Counselors can answer your questions about career pathways and programs designed to help you reach your goals.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

June Declared Virginia Berry Month


 

June has been officially recognized as Virginia Berry Month. On June 7, a formal proclamation issued by Governor Ralph Northam was read aloud by Bettina Ring, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, at the USDA Field Day held at Virginia State University’s (VSU) Randolph Farm.

 

Hundreds of berry farms across the state grow strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. More than 6 million pounds of berries are produced each year, which have an estimated value of $8 million in farm income.

 

“This recognition is important for Virginia’s berry growers,” said Dr. Reza Rafie, horticulture Extension specialist at VSU. “Berry growers across the commonwealth work earnestly to grow robust, tasty and nutritious berries for consumers. To have this recognition from the governor is incredible.”

 

The proclamation declared, “Virginia Berry Month recognizes berry producers’ stewardship of Virginia’s farmland, their positive environmental and economic impacts, and appreciates the social and cultural significance that berry production provides to the Commonwealth.”

 

You can read the proclamation at: https://bit.ly/2MqgvTw

 

Founded in 1882, Virginia State University is one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions and is located 20 minutes south of Richmond in the village of Ettrick.

Corey Jacob Williams Named to the Dean’s List at Hampden-Sydney College

Hampden-Sydney, VA - Corey, a student at Hampden-Sydney College, was named to the Dean’s List for the spring semester of the 2017-2018 academic year. To earn this distinction, students must achieve at least a 3.3 semester grade point average out of a possible 4.0.

Corey is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart W. Williams of Emporia, VA.

FREE VETERANS LEGAL CLINIC TO BE HELD IN PETERSBURG IN JULY

~ July 10th event at Petersburg Freedom Support Center to include free powers of attorney, wills, and advance medical directives for veterans, as well as benefits information sessions from DVS ~

PORTSMOUTH (June 15, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of VirginiaAnnual State Convention that the next pro bono Veterans Legal Services Clinic will take place July 10 in Petersburg at the Petersburg Freedom Support Center, located at 32 West Washington Street, Petersburg, Virginia 23803.
 
During the daylong event, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and the Virginia State Bar (VSB), volunteer attorneys from Attorney General Herring's office and the VSB will serve low-income veterans by drafting important estate planning documents like wills, powers of attorney and advance medical directives. Representatives from DVS will also be present to answer questions regarding state and federal benefits that may be available to Virginia veterans including health benefits, disability benefits, financial services, education benefits, burial in a Virginia or United States veterans cemetery, and more.
 
Qualified veterans can sign up on Attorney General Herring’s website at their local DVS Benefits Services Field Office, or by completing and mailing an application to the Attorney General's office. 
 
“The legal services these clinics provide are very important, but they can often be too expensive for a veteran who may be retired or on a fixed income,” said Attorney General Herring. “I have had the opportunity to visit clinics that we have held across the Commonwealth where we have been able to serve more than 185 veterans and their spouses. It has been so rewarding to witness the peace of mind we have provided these men and women who have given so much to Virginia and our country. This has been a rewarding partnership with the Department of Veterans Services and the State Bar, and I look forward to growing the program even more in the months and years ahead.”
 
Attorney General Herring, DVS, and VSB have held eight pro bono Veterans Legal Services Clinics, serving more than 185 veterans and their spouses in Hampton Roads, Roanoke, Richmond, Lynchburg, Annandale, and Petersburg.
 
Clinics provide qualified veterans and their spouses with simple wills, powers of attorneys, and advance medical directives, including notary services, during the one hour time slots which will be filled on a "first-come, first-served basis." In order to be eligible for services, veterans and their spouses must fill out anintake questionnaire on Attorney General Herring's website or at their local Virginia Department of Veterans Services Benefits Center. Because participants must collect information and make significant decisions prior to the clinic, walkups cannot be accepted.
 
Additional details including qualifications and sign up links can be found here: https://oag.state.va.us/programs-initiatives/veterans-assistance-resources.

 

Jackson-Feild Holds its 20th Commencement Exercises

Eleven students from the Edna Hayden Gwaltney School received their GED certificate on June 8th.  Forty students received their ServSafe food certificate and 8 the culinary certificates.

Dr. Bill Bowling, Director of Education, presided over the ceremony held at the Golden Leaf Commons at the Southside Virginia Community College Emporia Campus. 

Two graduates spoke to those gathered about their experience at Jackson-Feild and at the on-campus, Gwaltney School. The express thanks and gratitude for the help and assistance they received from everyone at Jackson-Feild.

One student speaker concluded her remarks stating “Every day at Jackson-Feild I got closer to God and discovered God within me.  Maybe it is because just being in the middle of nowhere surrounded by  trees and animals, or the positive energy on campus but I believe it is the people who brought me closer, I hold Jackson-Feild very dear to my heart for opening a bright new world.”

Six scholarships were awarded to students to help with college or trade school expenses. These scholarships were given by a number of funders.

Each graduate is given a class ring donated by an anonymous donor. Young ladies are also given a dozen roses and young men a wallet in addition to a cash gift from an anonymous donor. Graduates are also given gift certificates from the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

The Gwaltney School at Jackson-Feild has graduated 177 students since its founding in 1998.

"Ode to the Fathers"

Now some will call him Father
while others call him Dad
still some call by his first name
but wish they never had.
 
Yea a father is an elite position
and should be treated with respect
in the same thought all the fathers
should never show neglect.
 
A father witll get the credit
for the children he helped bear
still a fathers not a gather
if when needed, he's not there.
 
The duties of a father
can make a list from here to there
yet the most improtant aspect
is for raising the chores to share.
 
In the home life a father is needed
around the campfire so to speak
solving problems before they materialize
and ever reach their peak
 
Now if in the aforementioned
youcome close in any way
yor are definetly a father
so please enjoy your special day.
 
Roy E. Schepp

Summer Feeding Program Locations Announced ***UPDATED***

Greensville County Public Schools is participating in the 2018 Summer Food Service Program.  Meals will be provided to all children without charge.  Acceptance and participation requirements for the Program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities, andthere will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.  Meals will be provided, at a first come, first serve basis at the sites and times as follows:

                                                                                 

Location Days of Service

Greensville Elementary School

1011 Sussex Drive, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 7:45– 9:00 am.; Lunch 10:45 am.–12:45 pm

E W Wyatt Middle School

206 Slagle’s Lake Road, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 7:45–8:30 am.; Lunch 11:00 am. – 12:30 pm

Greensville County High School

403 Harding Street, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 7:45–8:30 am.; Lunch 11:00 am. – 12:30 pm

William E. Richardson, Jr. Memorial Library

100 Spring Street, Emporia, VA 23847

July 11, 18, 25 Wednesday’s Only

Lunch 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

July 2-July 31 Mondays & Thursday Only

Snack 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Word of Life Assembly of God

707 Brunswick Avenue, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 11:30 – 12:30 pm

The Scottsdale Community

91 Scottsdale Drive, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 – July 31 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 11:30 – 12:30 pm

Northwood Village Apartments

300 Lewis Street, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 11:30 am. – 12:30 pm

Brookridge Apartments

1325 Skippers Road, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 12:30 – 1:30 pm

Main Street United Methodist Church

500 South Main Street, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 11:30 am. – 1:00 pm

El Shaddai Ministry

609 Halifax Street

Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 8:30 – 9:30 am

Lunch 12:30 – 1:30 pm

Reese Village Apartments

311 Bond Court, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 11:30 – 12:30 pm

Weaver Manor

216 Meherrin Lane, Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 11:30 – 12:30 pm

Elnora Jarrell Worship Center

490 Liberty Road

Emporia, VA 23847

July 2 –July 31 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 9:00 – 10:00 am

Lunch 11:30 – 12:30 pm

**All sites will be closed July 4 & 5, 2018.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.

Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)   Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)   Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)   Email: program.intake@usda.gov.

 

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Adam Thomas Bradley

Adam Thomas Bradley, 27 of Raleigh, formerly of Roanoke Rapids passed away Monday June 11, 2018.

Adam was born May 5, 1991 in Nash County to Ricky Bradley and Cynthia Wilson Bradley. He was preceded in death by his Maternal Grandmother, Janice Honea; his Paternal Grandparents, George and Ruth Bradley.

Adam is at peace at last. He loved playing his guitar, was an avid fisherman and also loved playing tennis. Adam had a soft spot for dogs, especially Daisy, Annabelle and Murphy.

Adam is survived by his mother Cindy Bradley of Raleigh; his father and step-mother, Ricky and LaDorne Bradley of Halifax; his sisters, Christy Hudson and her husband Danny and Tonya Hasty and her husband Chuck both of Roanoke Rapids; his nieces and nephews, Amanda Phillips, Macie Hasty, Karson Hasty and Trey Hasty; his aunts and uncles, Dianne Clary and her husband Jeff of Emporia, VA and Carol Holton of Chicago, IL; his step-grandfather, Donald Haskins of Halifax.

A celebration of Adam’s life will be held 2:00 P.M. Saturday, June 16, 2018 at Victory Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Cedarwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. Friday, June 15, 2018 at Hockaday Funeral and Cremation Service and other times at his father’s home.

Memorials may be made to Victory Baptist Church in Adam’s honor, 2360 Bolling Road, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870.

Online condolences may be sent to www.hockadayfs.com.

We Are Always Here to Help

Emporia, VA – With the high profile news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths by suicide, the topic of mental health is at the forefront for many. It’s important to remember mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

In a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths by suicide have seen a 25% increase in the United States. In Virginia, the suicide rate is up 17.4% between 1999 and 2016. Depression is a leading cause of disability across the planet according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Rakesh Sood, MD, FAASM, FAPA of Southside Physicians Network says, “We need to show concern to people who are depressed and suicidal. Being compassionate, caring and developing trust is key to helping them.”

What are the symptoms of depression?

  • Feeling sad
  • Loss of interest and enjoyment of activities
  • Reduced energy
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feelings of guilt or low self-worth
  • Poor concentration
  • Medically unexplained symptoms

“We need to help people understand that depression can be treated effectively and that we are always here to help,” says Dr. Sood. Family, friends and colleagues should not be afraid to speak up if they notice a change in someone’s mood or behavior.

What can you do to help?

  • Ask the person if they need help
  • Keep them safe
  • Be there
  • Help connect them
  • Follow up

Family and friends should be available and sensitive to the person’s emotional needs and seek emergency room help or call 911 if he or she threatens suicide. Remove weapons from their home, keep an eye on drug/alcohol use and DO NOT leave them alone.

Suicide Warning Signs:

  • Feeling like a burden
  • Isolation
  • Increased anxiety
  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increased anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s Behavioral Health (SVRMC) unit offers acute inpatient care to those ages 18 and over who need immediate intervention. Patients receive 24-hour-a-day supervision in a therapeutic environment. To enhance recovery, they participate in a structured program that includes psychotherapy, problem-solving group activities and life skills classes.

SVRMC’s Behavioral Health unit is available to help 434-348-4580.

https://www.svrmc.com/behavioral-health-services

CDC>>> https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/

WHO>>> http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

Sabra and VSU Tackle Food Security Issues Through Construction of Urban Garden at Ettrick’s Summerseat Property

Monday, June 11, about 15 Sabra Dipping Company employees joined staff and faculty at Virginia State University (VSU) to build the first phase of the Summerseat Urban Garden Project. The project is an initiative of VSU’s Sustainable and Urban Agriculture Cooperative  Extension Program and part of Sabra’s Plants with a Purpose program, which addresses the needs of communities living in food deserts.  

The Summerseat Urban Garden Project is designed to transform the 2.2-acre historic land parcel known as Summerseat into a food and agricultural hub to address food security issues within local schools and communities, enhance nutrition and food education, and bring people together. Summerseat is located on the VSU campus at the corner of Chesterfield Avenue and River Road, across from Ettrick Elementary School and next to VSU’s Multipurpose Center.

The volunteers, who also included several members of the Ettrick community, constructed 10 raised bed gardens that included shorter ones accessible to children and those in wheelchairs and waist-high beds, providing easy access for those who find it difficult to bend over. The beds will hold a wide variety of crops throughout the growing season. The purpose of the raised beds gardens is twofold: to teach members of the community how to successfully grow their own healthy food, as well as to harvest the crops for donation to food distribution centers for residents in and around Ettrick who have low access issues to fresh and nutritious food.

Later phases of the Summerseat Urban Garden Project may include a certified kitchen, nutrition and cooking classes, the development of a historical museum within the Summerseat building and K-12 educational programs

Four years after publishing the ground-breaking study, ‘Food Deserts in Virginia,’ VSU continues to identify ways to raise awareness of the commonwealth’s food security issues and to provide fresh, affordable food to all residents. Sabra Dipping Company shares a similar commitment and believes that everyone should have ready and affordable access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Both entities are confident that together they will be able to create a recreational, historical and productive green space at Summerseat that will provide maximum benefits to the public.

In addition to the Summerseat collaboration, Sabra is providing tuition assistance for students of VSU’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certification Course, which aims to increase competence and marketability for a career in urban agriculture. Students will have an opportunity to apply their skills in Sabra’s 340-square-foot employee workshare garden installed on the Sabra campus in Colonial Heights.

BRUNSWICK ACADEMY HONOR ROLL

6th Six Weeks, 2nd Semester, and End of Year (Bold denotes students in the Honors Program)

THIRD GRADE – 6th Six Weeks – All A – Grayson Newsome, A & B Honor Roll – Jud Farmer, Harrison Grizzard, Alexis Haught, Lilly Ibrahim, Lacey Jamison, Mallory Lewis, Koen Morris, Arya Patel, Kennedi Roberts.

THIRD GRADE – 2nd Semester – All A – Grayson Newsome, A & B Honor Roll – Jud Farmer, Harrison Grizzard, Alexis Haught, Lilly Ibrahim, Lacey Jamison, Mallory Lewis, Koen Morris, Arya Patel, Kennedi Roberts, Grayson Thomas.

THIRD GRADE – END OF YEAR – All A – Grayson Newsome, A & B Honor Roll – Jud Farmer, Harrison Grizzard, Alexis Haught, Lilly Ibrahim, Lacey Jamison, Mallory Lewis, Maddison McAden, Koen Morris, Arya Patel, Kennedi Roberts, Grayson Thomas.

FOURTH GRADE – 6th Six Weeks – All A – Bayne Carroll, Aubrey Corum, Rickey Grassel, Riley Griffin.

A & B Honor Roll – Bryce Abernathy, Saige Coker, Olivia Evans, Landon Jennings, Emily King, Mason Hardy, Cali Pegram, Nathan Talbert, Kylie Walker.

FOURTH GRADE – 2nd SEMESTER – All A – Bayne Carroll, Aubrey Corum, Ricky Grassel, Riley Griffin, Emily King, Kylie Walker.  A & B Honor Roll – Bryce Abernathy, Saige Coker, Olivia Evans, Mason Hardy, Landon Jennings, Langley Keefe, Cali Pegram, Nathan Talbert.

FOURTH GRADE – END OF YEAR – All A – Bayne Carroll, Aubrey Corum, Ricky Grassel, Riley Griffin, Emily King, Kylie Walker.  A & B Honor Roll – Bryce Abernathy, Saige Coker, Olivia Evans, Mason Hardy, Landon Jennings, Langley Keefe, Makenzie Leemon, Cali Pegram, Mankirit Singh, Nathan Talbert.

Head of School’s List – All A’s

Grade 9:   Tyler Creedle, Hunter Greene, Meredith Lucy, Brady Talbert, Christian Williams;

Grade 10:  Katie-Lynn Chandler, Jacob Farmer, Sadler Lundy, Emily Robertson;

Grade 11Taylor Capps, Morgan Moore, Jonathan Paul, Lucy Smith, Hannah Waller, Courtney Walton;

Grade 12:  Benjamin Lewis; John Myrick; Halie Dru Sadler.

(*Dual Enrollment students qualify at the end of the semester.)

“A” & “B” Honor Roll

Grade 9:   Brysen Diefert, C. K. Greene III, Seong (Peter) Jung, Jun-Young (Jun) Park, Kyle Powell, Naomi Sadler, Nelia Washburn;

Grade 10:  William Bryant, Jr., Parker Burke, Kyleigh Capps, Peyton Coleman, Hart Creedle, Joseph Fajna, Logan Hyde, Morgan Jamison, Paige Jennings, SuttonMontgomery, Katelyn Ottaway, Reanna Powers, Davis Roberts,Kyle Tanner, Katie Wright;

Grade 11:  Savannah Greene, Jinheng (Jacob) Hu;

Grade 12:   Slayten Farmer, Claire Gregory, Matthew Harrison, Sarah Poarch, Yuwei (Tiffany) Wang, Blake Washburn.

(*Dual Enrollment students qualify at the end of the semester.)

Menopause What Every Woman Must Know

Eric Reinertson, MD

Community Out-Reach Education

South Hill – Menopause is an inevitable component of aging.  The physical and emotional symptoms may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy and affect overall health.  What happens during menopause?  What is hormone therapy and how is it given?  What can you do to stay healthy after menopause?

If you are seeking answers to questions like these you should attend June’s C.O.R.E. (Community Out-Reach Education) Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital to learn more about menopause.

This FREE program will be on Tuesday, June 19th at 4:00 p.m. in the VCU Health CMH Education Center inside the new C.A.R.E. Building located at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.

Dr. Eric Reinertson will be the speaker for the program.  Dr. Reinertson is Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  He practices at VCU Health CMH Women’s Health Services located in the C.A.R.E. Building at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill, VA. 

Reservations are not required for this program; however, they are recommended.  For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 774-2550 or visit www.vcu-cmh.org.

"Our Flag"

She's held proudly front and center
as the marching band comes down the street
yes and we feast our eues upon her
at every athletic feat.
 
Her presence depicts honor
and brings glory to the meek
in the present and past ages
of the freedom that we seek.
 
From atop the highest flagpole
with the stars and stripes unfurlled
we have made a declaration
to have peace throughout the world.
 
Our flags flown over our nation
through os so many wars
letting our foes know we're united
with all our military corps.
 
Some contend she is Old Glory
others may the Stars and Stripes
yet in essence it spells freedom
we enjoy all days and nights.
 
Let her colors fly forever
yes the red, the white and ble
sho respect when in her presence
it is the tight thing to do!
 
Roy E. Schepp

Letter to the Editor: Wasting Taxpayer Money

I was so pleased to go onto your website as I do regularly and see some genuine “hard” news in the form of your report of the happenings at the recent Emporia City Council meeting.

Public notices and such perform a service of sorts, depending upon their source and content; sometimes, though, particularly with regard to meetings of local governing bodies, it is even more of a public service to report to local residents and taxpayers the actions and inactions of those they elect to serve and represent them.

The best example of that was the report of the discussion about the under-performance of the Greensville County public transportation system, which city council was duped into joining in and contributing to when provided with low-ball estimates as to how much it would cost city taxpayers. So now it turns out that the cost to the city is close to 10 times what it was estimated to be. Wisely, city council voted to serve notice that it would be withdrawing from the agreement as soon as contractually possible.

I recall so well having told my wife—and she recalls it—that the city council and the county board of supervisors were both being taken for a ride of their own when they embarked upon this venture.  As is the case so often these days, consultants are too often hired to do what elected officials are paid to do and decide whether a project supposedly for the benefit of those they serve is worthwhile or not. This one was not, which I knew from the outset. Both governing bodies should have known better. Consultants should have, too. Your report did not mention it, but I would be curious to know if the board of supervisors had gone back and questioned the wisdom of their recommendation. Also, if it cost city taxpayers that much more than expected, how much are their counterparts in the county having to shell out?

Of course, it could be argued that the reason the venture has failed is primarily the result of less-than-expected ridership. But shouldn’t the folks who recommended the system have taken into account the prevailing factors at the time that contributed to that?

If I were still a county taxpayer, I would be disturbed by this waste of my tax dollars. But to take that a step further, if I had been elected to the county governing body when I ran, and if  I had voted to go ahead with this project in the first place, I would be irate!

It is one thing to waste your own money; it is even worse to waste someone else’s.

Keith W. Mitchell
Charlotte, NC

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

Library Board Recognizes Dunn

At the May 9th Meherrin Regional Library Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Marva Dunn was recognized for her dedicated service with a certificate of appreciation. Ms. Dunn has served on the Library Board representing the City of Emporia for two full four year terms plus a partial term. Her tenure as Trustee ends on June 30, 2018. Pictured (left to right): Library Director Becky Walker, with Trustees John Zubrod, Kathie Little, Sherri Bagley, Marva Dunn, Rebecca Akers, and Brenda Parsons.

Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools Is Now Southside College of Health Sciences

Colonial Heights, VA – Effective June 1, 2018, Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools will change its name to Southside College of Health Sciences. This name change is in keeping with our mission to offer individuals the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for entry into practice in their chosen health discipline. In addition, this change will position us for future growth and expansion of our current programs, and develop additional program offerings while continuing to foster student success and life-long learning within their program of choice.

We will continue to function in our current structure and there will be no difference in the day-to-day operations within the school. Contact numbers, emails and our website will remain the same. However, we do anticipate a change in our website in the near future. You will be notified of this change prior to implementation.

Transcripts and diplomas will reflect the new name after June 1, 2018. Your financial aid, scholarship and/or loan information and processing will not be affected.

With more than 120 years spent educating individuals for entry into a healthcare profession, and graduating thousands of highly-qualified professionals who have served our community and beyond, we look forward to continued service and growth under this new name.

Should you have any questions regarding this name change, please feel free to contact:

Ms. Erica Jackson
Director of Enrollment Management
(804) 765-5214
Erica_jackson@srmcps.edu

State and Local Leaders Convene in Farmville for Virginia Rural Housing Roundtable

FARMVILLE, Va., June 8, 2018 – State, local and federal officials convened in Farmville on June 5 for a Virginia Rural Housing Roundtable luncheon designed to spark dialog around affordability, availability and other issues affecting rural housing across the Commonwealth.

More than 70 people participated in the event, which was hosted by the Virginia Rural Center and held on the campus of Longwood University.

“Like any complex policy issue, rural housing touches on all sorts of other complex policy issues,” said Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV in his opening remarks.

Reveley pointed to transportation as an example, noting the challenges that were presented when Greyhound Bus Lines discontinued service in Farmville.

“The great opportunity that Virginia has is to show the country how our rural communities really can thrive, and I think the Commonwealth has a chance to do that,” Reveley said. “And the great minds that can make it all happen are gathered right here.”

Senator Frank Ruff, Chairman of the Virginia Rural Caucus, explained that housing is precisely the kind of issue that led to the formation the Caucus and a dedicated Virginia Rural Center organization 18 years ago.

“When you talk about housing, everyone thinks of urban issues,” said Ruff. “They do not look at us and they do not see us, and that’s a problem.”

Even at the federal level, “cities get designated money, whereas in rural parts of the country, we have to compete against each other to try to get any money at all,” Ruff said.

During the roundtable discussion, Matt King, CEO of Walk2Campus Holdings, praised state and federal programs that offer tax credits to developers of historic building rehabilitation projects as a victory for his firm, which has renovated houses and larger buildings in Farmville since 2004.

“Without that program, these projects were not viable,” said King, who also pointed to the cost of construction as a challenge in rural towns.

“It is as expensive if not more expensive to build in some of these smaller areas,” said King. “It takes a lot more creativity and a lot more hard work to get larger, commercial grade subcontractors – especially in this economy – to come to these places and do work in an affordable way.”

William Park, President of Pinnacle Construction & Development Corporation, who worked to revitalize a portion of Main Street in Farmville, echoed King’s remarks.

“Is it easier for me to build 250 units in Richmond, or to build 50 units in Farmville?” Park asked, comparing the economics of building in an urban area versus a small town.

Park said that his company often looks for the presence of a college, a hospital and a Super Wal-Mart in potential development sites.

“If it’s got those three things, then there’s a good chance that we can do market-rate housing. If not, more than likely it’s going to have to be affordable housing,” said Park, which typically requires pooling together low-income housing tax credits and a variety of other sources of funding.

“There’s always going to be a need in these rural areas,” said Park. “The challenge is just going to be finding the money to put it together to make it work.” 

Other panelists noted that the demographic need for affordable housing is surprisingly large, extending well above the poverty level.

“The people that we build homes for, they work in the hospital, they work for the college, they work in the public schools,” said Jayne Johnson, Executive Director of Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity. “Sometimes there is a perception that they always are on public assistance, and that’s just not true.”

“The top area right now that we see that really needs an answer is starter home affordability,” said Andrew P. McCoy, Ph.D., Director of the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) at Virginia Tech, describing challenges in the housing supply chain.

McCoy shared a story around an interesting dynamic playing out in the current real estate market. Older adults who want to downsize end up having to compete against younger buyers with rising incomes – and the starter homes they are bidding on are owned by middle-aged couples who are increasingly holding them for rental income.

“So that’s the complexity of what we’re seeing,” said McCoy. “But it also serves as a good time in the market to figure out how we can inject some innovation, and push along a process of getting the housing market to drive our economy.”

Other panelists suggested that it was time take a fresh look at manufactured housing – which has advanced significantly in recent years – as a way to help ease rural housing challenges.

“The manufactured housing of today is not the manufactured housing of the 1970’s or the 1980’s or the 1990’s,” said Erica Sims, Senior Associate of Development and Programs at Housing Virginia, a statewide partnership of public and private organizations and individuals focused on affordable housing.

Sims suggested it was time to “re-imagine manufactured housing” as a part of the solution to rural housing affordability, while also driving economic development.

“Manufactured housing has the additional benefit of being related to economic development because its factory-built housing that can provide new industry for areas,” said Sims.

Following the luncheon, attendees toured the Hotel Weyanoke, an iconic Farmville hotel built in the 1920s that was recently renovated and reopened by AOSS Ventures, a firm also noted for its multi-family housing development projects in Central and Southwest Virginia.

“Our goal today wasn’t to solve the rural housing problem, but to really start the conversation,” Ruff said at the conclusion of the luncheon. “I encourage you all to continue this dialog.”

For more information, visit www.cfrv.org.

About the Center for Rural Virginia: The Virginia Rural Center is a collaborative partnership of the Center for Rural Virginia and the Council for Rural Virginia. Together, these two organizations work with federal, state and local policymakers as well as business leaders to grow economic opportunities and preserve the quality of life throughout rural Virginia. To learn more visit www.cfrv.org.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING STEPPING IN TO DEFEND THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND VIRGINIANS’ HEALTHCARE

~Since the President and Attorney General have abandoned defense of the ACA, Herring and his colleagues are stepping in to protect accessible, affordable healthcare and Virginians with preexisting conditions~

RICHMOND (June 8, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring and a coalition of 16 state attorneys general will be defending the Affordable Care Act and the American healthcare system now that President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have announced they will abandon defense of the ACA in the pending lawsuit Texas v. United States.  The Texas-led lawsuit, which now has the support of the U.S. Department of Justice, would end the ACA, threatening healthcare coverage for 20 million Americans, stripping protections from those with preexisting conditions, and ending billions of dollars in funding for critical healthcare programs and services nationwide. Attorney General Herring has joined this lawsuit to protect Virginians who benefit from the ACA, including Virginians with preexisting conditions and those who would suffer reduced access and increased premiums should this lawsuit succeed.

“It cannot be overstated how reckless, cruel, and dangerous this politically motivated lawsuit is,” said Attorney General Herring. “In seeking to strike down the entire ACA, these plaintiffs are playing games with the lives and financial well-being of millions of Americans and Virginians. Unfortunately, they now have powerful allies in President Trump and Attorney General Sessions. I will do everything I can to protect the progress we have made under the Affordable Care Act, including the life-changing Medicaid expansion that Governor Northam signed into law just yesterday. I will continue to fight to make sure that politics do not stand in the way of Virginians receiving high-quality, affordable healthcare.”

As part of their defense of the ACA, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues filed a brief yesterday in opposition to the Texas lawsuit, which seeks to end the ACA based on a far-fetched legal theory that the recently passed Republican tax bill rendered the ACA unconstitutional. Instead, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues argue that the Court should reject the request to strike down the ACA because it remains lawful, constitutional, and of vital importance to the health and well-being of Americans.

Since the ACA was implemented in 2009, Virginia’s uninsured rate has dropped from 16.4% to 12.4%, and the recently enacted Medicaid expansion is expected to drive it down even further.

If successful, Texas’ lawsuit would harm Virginia by:

  • Halting Medicaid expansion, which was signed into law in Virginia just yesterday with the goal of covering an additional 400,000 Virginians;

  • Allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charge them more;

  • Allowing insurance companies to discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums;

  • Taking away seniors’ prescription drug discounts;

  • Ending $1.15 billion in tax credits that helped 335,000 Virginians afford insurance in 2017 alone;

  • Ending the healthcare exchange where more than 410,000 Virginians purchased their healthcare in 2017;

  • Stripping funding from our nation’s public health system, including work to combat the opioid epidemic; and

  • Ending billions in federal aid for healthcare, including $458 million in FY 2019 and $1.9 billion in FY 2020.

 In total, Americans living in the states that successfully intervened could lose half a trillion dollars in healthcare funding.

Attorney General Herring and his colleagues were allowed to join this case as defendants on May 16, 2018, meaning that the states can defend the ACA in place of President Trump and Attorney General Sessions, and can appeal any adverse ruling that threatens Virginians’ access to healthcare.

Joining Attorney General Herring in defending the ACA and filing the motion opposing Texas lawsuit are the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota by and through its Department of Commerce, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Attorney General Herring previously defended the healthcare rights of Virginians by leading a multistate coalition in the Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States in the cases of King v. Sebelius. He intervened to defend "cost sharing reduction payments" that more than 220,000 Virginians rely on to afford healthcare, and successfully sued to block President Trump’s attempts to end the no-cost contraception benefit created by the ACA.

Elton A. Short, Jr.

Elton A. Short, Jr. 93, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, June 7, 2018. He was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Lena M. Short in March of this year and also by a sister, Dorothy Mae Nicholson.

Mr. Short is survived by his son, David Short and wife, Kathy; grandchildren, Taylor Short and wife, Natalie, and Mallory McCall and husband, Uriah; great-grandson, Hassan McCall and a brother, Wayne Short and wife, Jean.

The family will receive friends 11 a.m. -1 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at Monumental United Methodist Church where the funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. A graveside committal service with military honors will follow at Emporia Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Monumental United Methodist Church, 300 Southampton St.Emporia, Virginia 23847.

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

Social Security Combined Trust Fund Reserves Depletion Year Remains 2034 Says Board of Trustees

~Disability Fund Improves by Four Years~

The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds.  The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time. 

The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in late 2034, as compared to last year’s estimate of early 2035, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time.  The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2032, extended from last year’s estimate of 2028, with 96 percent of benefits still payable.

In the 2018 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $44 billion in 2017 to a total of $2.89 trillion.
  • The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income in 2018 for the first time since 1982, and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period.  As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2018.  Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034 – the same as projected last year.  At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 79 percent of scheduled benefits.

“The Trustees’ projected depletion date of the combined Social Security Trust Funds has not changed, and slightly more than three-fourths of benefits would still be payable after depletion,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.  “But the fact remains that Congress can keep Social Security strong by taking action to ensure the future of the program.”

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $997 billion in 2017.  ($874 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $38 billion from taxation of benefits, and $85 billion in interest)
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to more than $952 billion in 2017.
  • Social Security paid benefits of more than $941 billion in calendar year 2017.  There were about 62 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.84 percent of taxable payroll – slightly larger than the 2.83 percent projected in last year’s report.
  • During 2017, an estimated 174 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $6.5 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2017 was a very low 0.7 percent of total expenditures.
  • The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 3.0 percent in 2017.

The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members.  Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor.  The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

View the 2018 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2018/.

Sabra’s Plants with a Purpose to support Virginia State University’s Summerseat Urban Garden Project and Urban Agriculture Certification

Colonial Heights, VA, June 07, 2018— As an extension of its Plants with a Purpose program, Sabra Dipping Company, LLC (Sabra) will partner with Virginia State University (VSU) to assist in the development of an educational urban garden at Summerseat.  The Summerseat Urban Garden Project will transform a 2.2-acre historic land parcel into a food and agricultural hub designed to address food security issues within local schools and communities, enhance nutrition and food education, and bring people together. Sabra’s Plants with a Purpose initiative was launched as a pilot in late 2016 to address the needs of communities living in food deserts.  Richmond, VA has been called the largest “food desert” in America.

“We believe everyone should have ready and affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Eugenio Perrier, Sabra’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The most meaningful way to create change is through hands-on, community driven collaboration. Through Plants with a Purpose, we aim to bolster the efforts of local partners who are literally planting seeds for the future. The Summerseat community garden will bring together neighbors of all ages to create fresh connections and draw sustenance from the ground.”

“Four years after publishing the ground-breaking study, ‘Food Deserts in Virginia,’ VSU continues its commitment to raise awareness of the commonwealth’s food security issues and to identify ways to provide fresh, affordable food to all residents,” said Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, the former Executive Director of VSU’s Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement and Outreach. “We are grateful that Sabra Dipping Company shares a similar commitment, and we’re confident that together we will be able to create a recreational, historical and productive green space at Summerseat that will provide maximum benefits to the public.”

In addition to the Summerseat collaboration, Sabra is providing tuition assistance for students of VSU’s Urban Agriculture Certification Course, which aims to increase competence and marketability for a career in urban agriculture. Students will have an opportunity to apply their skills in Sabra’s 340 square foot employee workshare garden installed on the Sabra campus in Colonial Heights. 

“This collaboration with VSU’s Summerseat Urban Garden Project enables us to build on our efforts to enhance access of fresh foods in communities where we work and live,” said Chandler Gotschlich, Sabra’s Associate Director Marketing Global Brands and Plants with a Purpose team lead.  “VSU has been instrumental in bringing awareness to the needs of the local community and creating public private partnerships to help fill in the gaps. We are thrilled to be involved in these efforts and look forward to playing a long-term role.”

Last year VSU received from former Gov. Terry McAuliffe the inaugural Outstanding State Stewardship Award for its preservation of Summerseat, an historic house built around 1860 near present-day VSU. A one-room house with modest Italianate detailing and a raised brick basement, Summerseat is among the last remaining dwellings of Ettrick, a small African-American community established along the Appomattox River in the mid-19th century. Its name is derived from local lore, which says that the structure previously served as a county judge’s courtroom during the summer months. Both Summerseat and Ettrick are eligible for listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

“Food deserts,” as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are neighborhoods and towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, affordable food (specifically fruits and vegetables). It is estimated more than 23 million Americans live in impacted areas.  At least 17 percent of Virginia’s population is affected by limited food access or food deserts.

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