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March 2018

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will hold its regular meeting Thursday, August 15, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.

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Panther Prep Day Returns April 3, 2018

 
Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to all locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  This is a great time to meet advisors, learn about SVCC programs register for Summer and Fall Classes and just have some fun and food and fellowship.  The event will be held at the Alberta and Keysville Campuses from 10 until 6 p.m.  Other locations include Southern Virginia Higher Ed. Center in South Boston, the Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Also, plan to attend this event at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park in Blackstone from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop on all you need to know about Southside Virginia Community College.  More information about the college can be seen at www.southside.edu

Joyce E. Whitehead

Joyce E. Whitehead, 76, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, March 31, 2018. She was preceded in death by a brother, Johnny Grizzard and a sister, Frances Dixon. Mrs. Whitehead is survived by her devoted companion, Raleigh Jones; two daughters, Tammy Jarratt and husband, Bill and Lori Poole and husband, William; son, Doug Whitehead; seven grandchildren, Casey Jarratt, Billy Jarratt, Christel Gordon, Elizabeth Justice, Angel Poole, Wayne Whitehead and Angela Whitehead; seven great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Mary Grizzard “Baby” and Sally Velvin and husband, Jimmy. She also leaves behind her cherished pets: dogs, Lacy and Tiny and cat, Bear Kitty. The funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 at Adams Grove Baptist Church. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at church one hour prior to the service. Online condolences may be shared with the family atwww.owenfh.com.
 
 

Nell Mattox Whitlock Mitchell

Nell Mattox Whitlock Mitchell, age 93, passed away peacefully in her home on March 31, 2018. She was predeceased by her parents Percy and Lucy Mattox, 2 brothers, P.J. Mattox and Gilbert “Sprout” Mattox, 2 sisters, Leola Fisher and Margaret Duckworth, and 2 husbands, Robert K. Whitlock and William T. Mitchell.

She is survived by daughter, Carolyn Whitlock Myrick; son, Robert K. “Kenny” Whitlock (Carolyn), and daughter Ginger Mitchell Smith. She is also survived by 7 grandchildren, John Myrick (Jennifer), Robert Myrick, Wendy Whitlock Gilbert, Brian Whitlock (Kelly), Jason, Jeremy, and Amanda Smith; 16 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Mitchell retired from the City of Emporia after serving 33 years as a City Clerk. She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church for 66 years.

Special thank you to Gloria Meyers, Gail Spence, Glenda Rawlings, Francis Drummond, and Hospice of Virginia (Joyce Lynch and Queen Washington).

Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Andy Cain officiating. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the chapel from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, 310 North Main Street, Emporia, VA.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com

Amelia K. Harris

Amelia K. Harris, of Emporia, VA, went to be with her Lord and Savior on March 30, 2018, at the age of 80, after a courageous battle with ALS. She was preceded in death by her parents, Marvin G. King and Betty L. King, and brother Ed King.

Amelia is survived by three sisters, Ada Newsome, Sallie Allgood, and Lucille Taylor; and several nieces and nephews. She also leaves to cherish her memory; three children, Robert Harris (Cristy), Denise Harris, and Amy Clary (Andy); four grandchildren, Cassie Modlin, Christopher Moseley, Lee Harris, and James Harris; great grandchildren, Natalie Harris, Liam Harris, Carter Modlin, Kensleigh Rae Moseley, and her namesake Caroline Amelia Modlin.

Funeral Services will be held Monday, April 2, 2018 at 1:00 P.M. at Monumental United Methodist Church with Rev. Rachel G. Plemmons officiating. Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Lawrenceville, VA. A reception and visitation will be held at the church from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Amelia’s name to: Monumental United Methodist Church, 300 Southampton St. Emporia, VA 23847.

Peggy Harrison Allen

Peggy Harrison Allen, of Emporia, died Friday March 30, 2018, at the age of 85. A native of Greensville County, she was the daughter of the late Fredrick and Ethel Mae Brantley Harrison, and the widow of the late Frank Richard Allen Jr. Peggy was a longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church and a retired secretary with the Federal Government.

She is survived by her sons; Darrell Allen and his wife Monica of Richmond, and Mark Allen and his wife Darlene of Elk Park, N.C.; a sister, Polly Wray of Lebanon Virginia; grandchildren, Madison, Harrison, Winfield and his wife Ansley, Eric and his wife Kathryn, Michael, and Stephen Allen; great-grandchild, Luke Allen; Goddaughter, Cindy Caldwell and her husband Frankie; daughter she never had, Dana Snow and her husband Steve; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at Echols Funeral and Cremation Chapel with Pastor Andy Cain officiating. Interment will follow in Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends Monday, April 2, 2018 from 7:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. at Echols Funeral and Cremation Service.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

Getting a Second Chance in Southside Virginia

Ja' Kei Woods (Left) and Jamarcus Reid (Right) with Alonzo Seward (Center) recognizing the two young men who recently completed the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College.
 

Second chances are always good.  In Southside Virginia, a Diversion Program for young offenders is offering another chance at a successful life without incarceration.

Alonzo Seward, Coordinator of the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is pleased to announce initial successes from its first class.  Designed to provide alternative sentencing, the first class began in October 2016. SVCC worked in partnership with local Commonwealth’s Attorneys' offices to include Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg counties. The youthful offenders that enter the program face incarceration in either jail or prison due to a crime that they have committed and to which they have subsequently pled guilty. The program serves as an alternative to incarceration and/or a felony conviction and includes a requirement of participation in group and/or individual community service projects.  Additionally, the program requires participants to be drug free (verified through drug screenings) and of good behavior.

While serving as an advisor to SVCC’s Administration of Justice Program, Lezlie Green, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Brunswick County, presented the idea to Seward, who heads the Administration of Justice program at the college.  Both Green and Seward throughout their years in law enforcement recognized an unmet need for alternative sentencing programs in Southside Virginia.  They joined forces with Monica McMillan, caseworker with Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Out of School Youth Program (WIOA) and Linda Macklin, caseworker for Southside Community Corrections to develop a program that was approved by the college’s administration and has been accepted as a sentencing alternative by both the local judiciary and defense bar.

The program is designed to follow a paramilitary format during the initial semester. The semester begins with a cohort of offenders meeting three nights a week in two different courses. These courses are designed to improve life skills, academic skills and overall behavior. The concept of the program is to provide individuals who fit the criteria with opportunity to gain the necessary skills to attain employment and deal with the stressors of life, so that they can become successful citizens.

Recently Seward recognized two success stories: Jamarcus Reid andJa' Kei Woods,both members of the initial group. Although they were in the same cohort, their challenges were different due to differing educational backgrounds. Both men met the criteria of being drug free during the program

Reid completed the initial cohort semester, and transitioned into college courses where he successfully completed hiswelding certification through SVCC’s program. Reid also participated in 24 hours of community service projects while in the program. He participated in projects benefitting SVCC, Alberta Fire Department and the Town of Lawrenceville.

During the course of the program, and in addition to the welding certificate Reid completed a work experience and earned a Career Readiness Certificate. Reid recently secured a fulltime job in the welding industry.

Woods was awarded his GED on February 23, 2018. For a period of almost a year and a half he attended GED classes during the day and diversion courses at night. He successfully completed the “Dream It Do It Welding Academy” and was awarded a $100.00 gift card for his presentations.  Other accomplishments for Woods throughout the program included successfully completing two work experiences, earning a National Career Readiness Certificate, and participating in 32 hours of community service projects. He plans to remain at SVCC to earn his welding certificate.

The program operates through grant funded assistance and donations to the SVCC Foundation, Inc. For more information or to make a contribution, call 434 949 1051.

Panelists Discuss Future of Transgender and Nonbinary People

Lady Vikings defeat Amelia Academy 12-0

Emily Roberts threw her second no-hitter of the year against Amelia on Monday, March 26.  Emily allowed one baserunner when she walked a batter in the third inning.  She struck out 13 of the 16 batters she faced. 

Amelia has not had softball in several years and it showed. They just did not have pitching that could throw strikes.  The score would have been a lot worse if we had not backed off after we scored 10 runs in the first inning. 

Leading hitters

Jamie Saunders 2 for 2    RBI

Peyton Coleman  2 for 3  triple   3 RBI

Kelsey Holloway 1 for 3     RBI

Karly Blackwell  1 for 2   RBI

Skylar Capps   1 for 1     RBI

McEachin Announces Beginning of 2018 Congressional Art Competition

Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) calls on high school students to begin submitting their best works of art for consideration in the 4th Congressional District’s 2018 Congressional Art Competition.

“I am incredibly proud of Jada Epps each time I walk past her 2017 first place drawingon display in the U.S. Capitol. I look forward to seeing the art that will represent our district next,”said Congressman Donald McEachin.

All students who live in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District attending school in grades 9 - 12 are invited to submit original artwork in concept, design and execution in the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. Artwork must be two-dimensional, weigh no more than 15 pounds, but may be in any medium (paintings, drawings, collages, prints, photography, graphic design, etc.). Students, parents and teachers can find complete rules for entry here. All submissions must be received before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27, 2018.

For questions or more information about the competition, please contact Elizabeth Hardin at (804) 486-1840.

FIVE FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

Most people know at least something about Social Security. For decades, Social Security has been providing valuable information and tools to help you build financial security. Here’s your opportunity to find out a little more, with some lesser-known facts about Social Security.

1. Social Security pays benefits to children.

Social Security pays benefits to unmarried children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or retired. See Benefits for Children at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf for the specific requirements. 

2. Social Security can pay benefits to parents.

Most people know that when a worker dies, we can pay benefits to surviving spouses and children. What you may not know is that under certain circumstances, we can pay benefits to a surviving parent. Read our Fact Sheet Parent’s Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10036.pdf, for the details.

3. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60.

Remarriage ends survivor’s benefits when it occurs before age 60, but benefits can continue for marriages after age 60.

4. If a spouse draws reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.

Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first. (For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.) The reduction rates for retirement and spouses benefits are different. If your spouse is younger, you cannot receive benefits unless he or she is receiving benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html.

5. If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.

If the deceased worker started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to the surviving spouse. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:

  • The reduced monthly retirement benefit to which the deceased spouse would have been entitled if they had lived, or
  • 82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).

Social Security helps secure your financial future by providing the facts you need to make life’s important decisions.

Local Youth Organize "March for our Lives"

On Saturday Afternoon about 50 people showed solidarity with the March for our Lives in Washington, DC, by marching from the Post Office to the Courthouse on South Main Street in Emporia.

The March was arranged by the Youth Council of the NAACP.

EPD Earns Advanced Accreditation from CALEA

The Emporia Police Department earned it first advanced international accreditation certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) following a panel interview by CALEA commissioners at CALEA’s conference in Frisco, Texas on March 24, 2018.

On Saturday, March 24, 2018 Emporia Police Chief Ricky Pinksaw and Lieutenant David Shidell appeared before a three-member panel of CALEA commissioners to answer questions about the Emporia Police Department’s recent January On-Site Assessment.  The commissioners reviewed the assessment report prepared in January by a two-member assessment team of law enforcement professionals from outside of Virginia, who reviewed department compliance with applicable standards, conducted ride-alongs with officers, interviewed citizens and conducted a public hearing.

The panel consisted of D. Ray Johnson, who is the Chief of Police for the City of Chesterfield, Missouri.  Mr. Douglas Middleton, Deputy County Manager of Public Safety for Henrico County Virginia an Ms. Julie Righter-Dove, Communications Coordinator for the Lincoln, Nebraska Emergency Communications Center. 

The 27-page assessment report, written by retired Chief Randy Nichols from North Carolina following his team’s visit concluded that the Emporia Police Department is a very professional law enforcement agency committed to providing a high level of law enforcement services to the community.

CALEA is a voluntary international program that demonstrates a department’s commitment to excellence, while serving its citizens and showing that the agency is meeting internationally established best practices for law enforcement agencies.

In a March 2018 letter congratulating the Emporia Police Department on its initial accreditation CALEA chairman Craig Webre and CALEA Executive Director W. Craig Hartley, Jr. stated that CALEA Accreditation is the mark of professional excellence and the gold standard in public safety.

In the agency’s quest for Advanced Accreditation, the Emporia Police Department is required to comply with the 484 standards as set forth by CALEA.  The agency is required o establish written directives for those standards, as well as providing proofs of compliance that the agency is in fact in compliance with standards.

In Virginia there are 340 law enforcement agencies.  Only 31 of these agencies are accredited with CALEA.  The Emporia Police Department is the 4th smallest law enforcement agency in Virginia with CALEA Advanced Accreditation status.  The Emporia Police Department entered into contract with CALEA in October 2015 and received CALEA Advanced Accreditation within 27 months.  I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Emporia Police Department for completing this monumental task within such a short period of time,” stated Chief Ricky Pinksaw.  Achieving CALEA Advanced Accreditation was a major goal of mine once I was appointed Chief of Police in January 2015.  “We had to re-write the entire General Orders Manual for the Department, as well as create and implement a new property and evidence room,” stated Chief Pinksaw.  Chief Pinksaw further stated that, “CALEA Advanced Accreditation is truly the gold standard in public safety and the Emporia Police Department will continue to strive to provide the highest quality service to the citizens and visitors of the City of Emporia.  It is important to remember that this is not the Emporia Police Department’s Accreditation, but this is the entire City of Emporia’s Advanced Accreditation.”  “It was truly an honor to represent the City of Emporia and accepting the Police Department’s Initial Advanced Accreditation Award Saturday night at the CALEA conference,” stated Chief Pinksaw

Over 70,000 Sign Petitions Protesting Pipelines Across Virginia

Huge Crowd Fills D.C. in ‘March For Our Lives’

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for February 2018

When Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, told Mildred Waye, LPN and Care Partner, that she was the team member of the month for February, she couldn’t believe it. Her co-workers were excited for her and as a group said she deserved it.

Mildred was nominated by a co-worker and a patient, high praise indeed.  The nomination form from a patient and visiting guest stated, “Mildred did excellent work. She was friendly, courteous and knowledgeable while doing her job. She also worked well with her co-workers.”

Her co-worker said, “Mildred is always a STAR Service Performer.  Her patients notice and compliment her on her skill, professionalism and caring.  She consistently demonstrates excellence in patient care.”

Mildred’s words of wisdom are, “Work hard, put forth your best effort and stay positive.” Two minutes with Mildred will convince you she lives by those words.

Mildred has been with CMH for 38 years and works in the Acute Care area.

Mildred and husband, Larry, have one son, Dennis, and one grandson, Nikolas. They live in Lunenburg County and Mildred graduated from Brunswick High School.

In her off hours, Mildred enjoys her two dogs, reading and doing puzzles.

VSU Announces Interim Assistant Administrator for Programs for Cooperative Extension

Doris Heath has been appointed interim assistant administrator for programs with Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University (VSU).

“We are so delighted to have Doris Heath serving in this position. Her extensive leadership skills, thorough knowledge of Extension programs and her passion for VSU make her a true asset to Cooperative Extension and to the College of Agriculture,” said Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, executive director for VSU’s Center for Agriculture, Research, Engagement and Outreach.

As interim assistant administrator of programs, Heath will provide oversight to Extension specialists at VSU; help specialists develop their plan of work; serve as a liaison between Cooperative Extension at VSU and Virginia Tech (VT) and create opportunities for collaborations; assist in developing strategies and processes for Extension; and improve operational effectiveness and efficiencies.

“Mrs. Heath will draw on her vast Extension experience to enhance the collaboration between Extension specialists and agents and ensure our programs are aligned with Cooperative Extension’s mission. We welcome Mrs. Heath to VSU and look forward to her making significant contributions,” said Dr. M. Ray McKinnie, dean/1890 Extension program administrator of the College of Agriculture.

Heath brings a wealth of leadership and program-building experience to her new position, including 29 years working as an Extension agent with Cooperative Extension at VT, and serving as VCE Southeast district director. She has created needs-based programs and has many years’ experience serving on committees and boards of directors, including terms as president-elect, president and past-president of the Virginia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She has also worked locally with citizens and municipal governments.

In accepting the position, Heath said, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve the university, to engage with Extension specialists and agents to learn about their accomplishments and how we can build on the work they’re already doing.” A VSU alumna, Heath she said she has a “great appreciation” for the university where she earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics business and her master’s degree in home economics education.

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

SBA Helps Level the Playing Field for Women Owned Small Business

BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

Each March, SBA joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Women’s History Month by commemorating the historic contributions of women to our country and to our economy. This is also a great time to point out the Administration’s commitment to help women compete as equals in the small business world.

Women entrepreneurs have overcome historic inequities in a brief period of time, and as a woman business owner, I can tell you that we don’t want special treatment – we want equal treatment. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon has made it clear that women need better access to mentors, advisers and networking. And everybody needs capital. You can’t run a business without it. It was only thirty years ago that the Women’s Business Ownership Act eliminated laws requiring male co-signers on women’s business loans. The Women’s Business Center Program and the National Women’s Business Council were created to encourage women to overcome barriers and achieve success.

This Administration’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs is clear. In his first 100 days, the President signed two executive orders supporting women in business: the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, which encourages entrepreneurial programs that recruit and support women, and the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers and Innovators and Explorers Act, which directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to pursue careers in aerospace.

We’re making progress, but we’re not there yet. Female entrepreneurs make up a growing share of U.S. small business owners; they own 9.9M companies in the US, employ more than 8M people, and provide $264 billion in wages. Yet, despite these numbers and while women make up over 50% of the US population, only 29% are business owners. 

We’re doing our part here at SBA with the funding of more than 100 Women’s Business Centers across the nation; programs such as federal contracting set-asides for women-owned businesses; initiatives such as the InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge, and business loans for female entrepreneurs. 

SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia, does a little better than the national average with the largest concentrations of women-owned enterprises. The work we do on a local level in our district offices for women entrepreneurs cannot be overlooked or understated.

I am proud to be part of all that SBA does to promote women entrepreneurs. With SBA’s help, women-owned firms contributed more than $1.7 trillion in sales to the U.S. economy in 2017. It is my goal to ensure women remain a vital part of our nation’s economic success. Start or grow your Woman-Owned small business with a visit to your nearest Women’s Business Center (https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/wbc )

Lady Vikings Overtake KIPP 15-0

On Friday, March 23, 2018, the Lady Vikings hosted Kipp Tech from Gaston, NC.  We had heard they had a new softball program. We did not know what to expect.  Three of our varsity players were attending the Model General Assembly (MGA) in Richmond. The decision was made to pull 2 of our best JV players to play this Varsity game rather than reschedule.  One of my varsity pitchers, Jamie Saunders was attending MGA and the other, Emily Roberts, had been sick and did not attend school on Thursday.   Starting the game was Sydney Paul, a left-handed JV pitcher, and Alyssa Rivas, JV catcher.

Sydney pitched a great game only allowing 3 hits while striking out 5.  Alyssa blocked all the balls doing a great job behind the plate.   Kipps’ pitching was not very good and I was proud of how our girls adjusted.   The highlight of the game was Senior Kelsey Holloway’s hitting a inside the park grand slam homerun.

Leading hitters

Kelsey Holloway 2 for 3    Grand slam   4 RBI

Alyssa Revis     3 for 3

Peyton Coleman 2 for 3      2 RBI

Paige Jennings   2 for 3      2 RBI

Bailey Edwards   2 for 2        RBI      SAC bunt

Sydney Paul          2 for 3     2 RBI     double

Allie Pope            2 for 2       RBI        Double

Karly Blackwell   1 for 3       2 RBI

Naomi Sadler      RBI      

KAINE-WHITEHOUSE BILL TO HELP FORGIVE STUDENT LOANS FOR PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS PASSES CONGRESS

Senators’ provisions will assist teachers, social workers, military personnel, and other public servants cancel their student loan debt

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Included in the omnibus federal spending bill that cleared Congress last night was a version of a bill offered by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to fix a glitch in a federal loan forgiveness program that is leaving teachers, soldiers, social workers, and other public servants with massive loan balances they thought would be forgiven.  The provision will help to relieve the financial burden for eligible middle-class families who sought to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which allows those pursuing public service careers to discharge student loan debt. 

“Americans who honorably serve our communities have earned much-deserved relief from crushing student loan debt in return for their time and commitment.  But unfortunately because of confusion around a provision in the program, we were at risk of breaking that promise to Virginia teachers, social workers, nurses, and military servicemembers.  I’m glad the Senate heard our call and joined Senator Whitehouse and I in moving closer to righting that wrong today,” Kaine said.

“Congress created this program so bright, talented people could use their college education for public service.  But a growing number of them are finding, to their shock, that a glitch is keeping them from getting the relief they were promised.  We need to fix that,” said Whitehouse.  “There’s more to do, but I’m proud that a version of our legislation will help public servants continue their important work.”

Congress established the bipartisan loan forgiveness program in 2007 to help teachers, social workers, military personnel, and other critical public service workers pursue sometimes lower-paying careers serving their communities without facing decades of crippling loan payments.  The program allows borrowers to erase the balance of their student debt if they spend 10 years working for a nonprofit or government employer while making qualifying payments.  Due to a lack of consistent and clear guidance from loan servicers and complicated program requirements, some borrowers believe they are making qualifying payments under the program when they are not. 

Kaine and Whitehouse’s bill would allow loan forgiveness for public service borrowers who ended up in the wrong repayment plan.  If borrowers had been making payments that were as much as they would have paid on a qualifying repayment plan, they would receive full credit for those payments toward loan forgiveness.

The version of the legislation in the spending bill includes $350 million to help borrowers in this situation on a first-come, first-serve basis.  It would also require the Education Department to develop and make available a simple method for borrowers to apply for loan cancellation, and conduct outreach to help borrowers make use of the program.

Kaine and Whitehouse’s bill was endorsed by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Richmond Students, Community Rally in the Thousands for Gun Control

Paige Matthews Mento

Paige Matthews Mento of Henrico, Virginia, died on March 19, 2018 at the age of 75. She was predeceased by her father, Albert L Matthews and is survived by her mother, Eleanor "Rivers" Johnson Gill and her three children, Maria L DeShazo, Niki Loupassi and G. Manoli Loupassi, all of Richmond. Memorial Services will be Private.

Virginia Cities to Join Saturday’s March Against Gun Violence

Bessie Ann Wright

Mrs. Bessie Ann Wright, 67, of Emporia, Virginia, died on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

A Visitation for Mrs. Wright will be held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on Friday, March 30, 2018, in the Roanoke Rapids Chapel of H.D. Pope Funeral Home.  Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 Noon, on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at Royal Baptist Church, 106 W. Atlantic Street in Emporia, VA.  The Interment will take place immediately after the Service in the Greensville Memorial Cemetery in Emporia, VA.

Condolences may be sent via:  www.hdpopefuneralhome.com

Governor Visits SVCC Power Line Worker Training Program

Governor Ralph Northam spent time at the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park.  Among those attending are (Left to Right) Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives(VMDAEC), Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, John Lee, CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Governor Northam, Jeffrey Edwards, CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative, and Brian Mosier, Vice President of Member and Governmental Relations for VMDAEC.

Virginia’s new Governor, Ralph Northam, spent part of a cold, snowy and blustery day touring the field where power line worker students train for jobs in the Commonwealth.  His visit to the Southside Virginia Community College Occupational Technical Center at Pickett Park wasarranged by Virginia Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives and Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for VMDAE. 

The Governor spent time watching power line students climb, saw truck driving activity on the range and met the head of the diesel tech program. He also sat down with the CEOs of Mecklenburg and Southside Electric Cooperatives, John Lee and Jeffrey Edwards respectively, and SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts and VP of Workforce Dr. Keith Harkins to learn more about the impact these programs have on the economy of Virginia. Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Advisor to the Governor was also in attendance.       

Governor Northam was at the Blackstone facility to see firsthand the benefits of the Workforce Credentialing Grant Programand discuss issues facing rural Virginia; including broadband deployment and workforce development. Leepresented Governor Northam with a letter, signed by CEOs from all 12 electric cooperatives headquartered in Virginia pledging unified commitment to collaboratively work on a comprehensive solution to rural Virginia’s lack of broadband availability.         

Now in its third year of operation, this 11-week line worker pre-apprentice program provides Level 1 certification from NCCER (the National Center for Construction Education & Research), as well as commercial driver’s licenses, CPR/First Aid certification and OSHA safety training. At the recommendation of its advisory committee, the PLW program recently expanded to include chainsawsafety, with training provided by Penn Line.         

“We’re proud to help launch these young people into a vital career that will enable them to stay in their rural communities,” said Harkins.

For more information about the Power Line Worker Training School, visit https://southside.edu/events/power-line-worker-training-schoolor call SVCC’s Susan Early at (434) 292-3101.  Next Class begins June 4, 2018.

‘We Value Work’: Richmond Employers Recognized for Backing Living Wage

WOMEN’S HISTORY and SOCIAL SECURITY

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

March is Women’s History Month. This is a time to focus not just on women’s achievements, but on the challenges women continue to face. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Knowing this, you can take control of your own rich and independent history, with knowledge you can get from Social Security.

Social Security has served a vital role in the lives of women for over 80 years. With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income. With the national average life expectancy for women in the United States rising, many women may have decades to enjoy retirement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a female born today can expect to live more than 80 years. As a result, experts generally agree that if women want to ensure that their retirement years are comfortable, they need to plan early and wisely.

A great place to start is with Social Security’s Retirement Estimator. It gives you a personalized estimate of your retirement benefits. Plug in different retirement ages and projected earnings to get an idea of how such things might change your future benefit amounts. You can use this valuable tool at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

You should also visit Social Security’s financial planning website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. It provides detailed information about how marriage, widowhood, divorce, self-employment, government service, and other life or career events can affect your Social Security. 

Your benefits are based on your earnings, so you should create your personal my Social Security account to verify that your earnings were reported correctly. Your account also can provide estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. You can access my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

If you want more information about how Social Security supports women through life’s journey, Social Security has a booklet that you may find useful. It’s called Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know. You can find it online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10127.html.

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New Law Would Lower GED Age Requirement

Ex-Gov. Wilder Sues VCU Over Assistant’s Harassment Claims

Lady Vikings Win Opening Games

The Lady Vikings opened their 2018 Varsity Softball season at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

The Lady Vikings first game was against Norfolk Academy.  Eighth grader, Emily Roberts was handed the ball to pitch not only our first game of the season, but also her first varsity game.  Emily did great pitching a 6 inning No-hitter.  She struck out 9 batters and only threw 61 pitches. 

Emily got plenty of help from her infield with their great fielding of the ground balls.  Outfielder and Senior Karly Blackwell saved Emily’s no-hitter in the 5th inning with a diving catch in left field.  That catch should have been on the ESPN highlights.  The Lady Vikings bats were full of opening day hits to win the game 10 to 0.

Hitting leaders were:

Peyton Coleman:  2 for 3, 2 triples, 2 RBI

Naomi Sadler:  2 for 2, 1 triple, 2 RBI

Kelsey Holloway:  2 for 3, 1 triple

Paige Jennings:  1 for 3

Skylar Capps:  1 for 2

Kyleigh Capps:  1 for 1, 1 RBI

Jamie Saunders:  4 RBI

Emily Roberts:  1 RBI

Lady Vikings Beat Collegiate School   15 – 4

Junior Jamie Saunders took the mound against Collegiate for our second game of the day.  Collegiate School is a stronger team than the Norfolk Academy team even though both are Division 1 schools.  Brunswick Academy is a Division 3 school.

Jamie pitched well allowing 6 hits while striking out 7. The top 4 hitters in our lineup made things a lot easier for Jamie.  Of course, Jamie is one of those hitters.

Leading hitters:

Jamie Saunders:  5 for 5, 2 doubles, triple, 3 RBI

Emily Roberts:  4 for 5, triple, Homerun, 6 RBI

Naomi Sadler:  4 for 5, double 2 Stolen bases, RBI

Peyton Coleman:  2 for 4, triple, homerun, 4 RBI

Kelsey Holloway:  1 for 5, RBI

2018 Lady Vikings Softball team:

Kelsey Holloway – Senior- Captain, Karly Blackwell – Senior, Jamie Sanders – Junior, Allie Pope – Junior, Skylar Capps – Junior, Bailey Edwards – Sophomore, Kyleigh Capps – Sophomore, Peyton Coleman – Sophomore – Captain, Paige Jennings – Sophomore, Naomi Sadler – Freshman, Emily Roberts – Eighth Grader

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