September 2021

Join Us for the More Than a Pink Ribbon Awards Event This Friday!

Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation Hosts Virtual Event to Kick Off October Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Richmond, September 28, 2021 – VBCF will host the 2nd Annual More Than a Pink Ribbon Awards and 30th Anniversary Commemoration event virtually via Zoom on Friday, October 1, at 11:30 am and is open to the public. This event will kick off breast cancer awareness month and honor leaders in Virginia who are making a difference in the lives of those impacted by this disease. Awards will be presented to recognize local and state accomplishments in breast cancer education and advocacy for Virginians.

Our 2021 More Than A Pink Ribbon Awardees are Congressman A. Donald McEachin, Legislative Impact Award; Cheryl Tankersley, Planet Hair, Community Impact Award; and Dr. David Trent, Sherry Kohlenberg Lifetime Achievement in Healthcare Award.

We will also commemorate VBCF’s 30 years of service to Virginians impacted by breast cancer. We are committed to continuing our efforts to educate and support Virginians as we seek to achieve our goal of eradicating this disease.

To learn more about the event and register to attend, visit If you can’t watch the event when it premiers, you can still register. We will be sharing the recording afterward!

Jackson-Feild Meets Highest Fund Raising Standards



Jackson-Field is an accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, meeting all twenty standards. Awarded by the Better Business Bureau, this charity seal demonstrates commitment to accountability and ethical business practices. This certification ensures donors that Jackson-Feild meets the highest standards for fund raising.

GuideStar USA is a preeminent information source about the nation’s charities. It maintains a database of 2.7 million nonprofits and is IRS compliant. It handles 26 million searches annually.

GuideStar has four levels of transparency for nonprofits. Jackson-Feild was awarded the platinum level in 2019, having previously achieved the bronze, silver, and gold levels.

The platinum level gives donors better insight into Jackson-Feild’s mission and the work it does to treat children with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.

Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Service strives to be transparent and to provide its stakeholders with information to help them make informed decisions when donating.

Southside Virginia Community College named a “2021 Great College to Work For”

This honor puts Southside Virginia Community College in elite company.

Southside Virginia Community College is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by the Great Colleges to Work For® program.
The results, released in a special insert of The Chronicle of Higher Education, are based on a survey of 196 colleges and universities. In all, 70 of the 196 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with Southside Virginia Community College included among the medium universities with 3,000 to 9,999 students.
SVCC won honors in 7 categories this year:
Job Satisfaction & Support; Professional Development; Mission & Pride; Supervisor/Department Chair Effectiveness; Confidence in Senior Leadership; Faculty & Staff Well-being; and Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging.

SVCC was also named to the Great Colleges Honor Roll, a status granted to only 42 colleges each year who are highlighted most across the recognition categories.
“This is a very satisfying affirmation of Southside Virginia Community College, but our real goal is not recognition – it’s being a community that values the needs and contributions of every individual. In that sense everyone at Southside Virginia Community College helps to make this a great place to work,” said SVCC’s President Dr. Quentin R. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson added, “SVCC is a great place to work because our dedicated faculty and staff are deeply committed to offering high quality academic and workforce programs. This commitment to academic and workforce excellence serves as a platform for maintaining a highly collegial and collaborative, student-first, campus environment for our students. The Covid-19 pandemic has only served to bring our college community closer, and make us stronger in our resolve to serve students. Together, faculty, staff, and students exude a strong sense of pride in all that we do as a community! Our motto at SVCC is "Panther Pride - Catch it!”

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institution questionnaire that captured employment data and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.
The employee survey underwent a number of changes this year, including the addition of 11 new survey statements, some of which are related to new survey themes around diversity, inclusion and belonging, as well as faculty and staff well-being. New survey demographics related to gender identity and remote work were also included this year.
In accordance with the survey changes, the recognition categories for the program were also updated this year to better reflect current patterns and methodologies in employee engagement in higher education.
The Great Colleges to Work For® program is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all current and previously recognized institutions, visit the Great Colleges program website at and ModernThink, a strategic human capital consulting firm, administered the survey and analyzed the results.

Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge Starts Today

Schools across Virginia set goal to register 65 percent of eligible voters

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the start of Virginia’s sixth annual Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge.

“Our democracy depends on voting, and it should be as easy as possible,” said Governor Northam. “Our landmark 2021 Voting Rights Act of Virginia makes voting easier and more accessible. This challenge helps ensure young people have the resources they need to become active and civic-minded citizens for life.”

The Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge encourages schools to register as many of their voting-age population as possible. High schools that register at least 65 percent of their eligible senior class will receive a congratulatory certificate from the Governor. The annual competition, created in 2016, is the result of a collaboration between the Office of the Governor, the Secretaries of Administration and Education, the Virginia Department of Elections, and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

The Governor’s Challenge helps high schools comply with a 2020 law that requires Virginia public high schools to facilitate voter registration during the school day. Students born on or before November 2, 2003 can register to vote in this year’s November 2nd general election.

“We are always excited to be a part of this event,” said Secretary of Administration Grindly Johnson. “This contest is a great way to introduce the next generation of Virginia voters to the electoral process. We hope that it continues to encourage students to be enthusiastic about making their voices heard and contributing to our democracy.”

There are many ways to register to vote. Volunteers or local election officials will provide voter registration opportunities for students in public and private high schools. Virginians are automatically registered when they access services at a Department of Motor Vehicles office or on the DMV website. Additionally, Virginians can register to vote by submitting paper applications to their local general registrar by mail, in person, or by completing the online form on the Department of Elections’ website.

“We remain committed to assisting high schools throughout the Commonwealth in meeting their obligations to register qualified students, whether in person or virtually,” said League of Women Voters of Virginia President Deb Wake. “We believe each qualified high school student who registers to vote is given a strong start to exercising and understanding their valuable rights as a citizen of Virginia. We encourage high schools to give students an opportunity to register before the October 12 deadline for the November 2nd general election.”

Resources to help schools educate and register students are available through the Department of Elections and the League of Women Voters of Virginia. Schools participating in the Governor’s Challenge can get credit for each student who registers to vote via the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal by using their school’s unique URL that can be found on the League of Women Voters of Virginia website. For more information, contact Janet Boyd, Voter Services Director for the League of Women Voters of Virginia, at

The Governor's Challenge will conclude in the last week of April 2022.

Lorene Ferguson

March 12, 1928-September 24, 2021

Celebration of Life

5pm on October 9th

Chattahoochee Country Club
138 Roanoke Rapids Road
JGaston, North Carolina


Lorene Ferguson, passed away peacefully in her home on September 24th, 2021. She was 93 years old. Lorene was well-loved in the small town of Jarratt, VA. She was a devoted friend of God, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother and knew no strangers. She was greeted in heaven by her beloved husband of 62 years, Ernest Ferguson, her son, Keith Ferguson, her grandson, Chuck Kasper, precious puppy dog Romie, and many beloved family members. Lorene was wonderfully devoted to her children Ernest Wayne (Diane), Brenda Turner, and Keith Ferguson (deceased). She was a beloved Granny and leaves behind six grandchildren; Ryan Ferguson, Lauren Youell (Blanton), Jaime Trevillian, Matthew Turner, Kelsey Dunn (Michael) and Rob Turner as well as six great-grandchildren; Maddie, Claire, Jaxson, Jamison, Jenevieve and Eli. She is survived by her sister Dale Jones and sister-in-law Annie Laurie Jones, and many nieces and nephews.

She was a devoted and longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church. Her passion for traveling was fulfilled when she met some of her best friends at the Senior Circle from Southern Virginia Regional Hospital. She signed up for almost every trip and volunteered to send out the newsletter.

Lorene had a compassionate spirit whose passion was caring for and protecting others. She was a Sheriff's Deputy for Greensville County from 1977 until her retirement in 1990. In her 13 years of service, Lorene qualified as a sharpshooter. A heart of gold, outside of work Lorene was always making delicious dinners and desserts for her loved ones. Her famous chicken and dumplings recipe will forever be cherished.

She was often making baked goods for her Friday night line dancing at the Chattahoochee Country Club. So devoted to making each dance that she had her own reserved table and became an honorary member of the band. The Country Club gave Lorene many good memories and friendships, including her darling, David Zitta. Lorene danced until the very end.

The family would like to thank her caretakers Jill Bryant, Vicky Conwell, and Angie Smith from the hospice workers of Kindred Hospice.

A celebration of life will be held at 5pm on October 9th at the Chattahoochee Country Club, 138 Roanoke Rapids Road Gaston NC. Pastor Andy Cain will lead us in scripture reading and prayer. In her loving memory, family will present eulogies. Lorene's favorite things consisted of line dancing and eating good food. Please join us in honoring Lorene by doing her favorite things and sharing memories.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Tablespoons Bakery, a non-profit organization that provides vocational education and employment to young adults with developmental disabilities. 1707 Westover Hills Blvd Richmond, VA 23235

McEachin Launches 2021-2022 Eco Heroes Program for VA-04 Students

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the start of his annual 2021-2022 Eco Heroes Program, an environmental education program for students in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. 

Initially launched in 2019, the Eco Heroes Program aims to increase youth’s awareness and excitement about productive, eco-friendly habits and behaviors they can begin developing and implementing now. Participating students will complete a series of environmentally-focused challenges and education tasks to learn more about the importance of being eco-friendly in their daily lives. 

“I am thrilled to launch my annual Eco Heroes Program. This program provides young students in Virginia’s Fourth with the power and knowledge to begin adopting important eco-friendly practices to preserve our environment,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “I have been so impressed by the participation and commitment of young Virginians in previous years. I look forward to another productive Eco Heroes Program and cannot wait to see the insightful and creative approaches our students take. I hope that this program can empower our young people to be future stewards of the Earth and begin developing mindful habits now.”

Parents or guardians of students in grades K-5 who live in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District can register for the program by visiting:

Teachers working in schools located in VA04 can register their class by emailing

The deadline to register for the 2021-2022 Eco Heroes Program is October 8, 2021.

Virginia Launches Expanded Train Service from Downtown Richmond to Washington, D.C., on to New York and Boston

New Amtrak train is first step in statewide rail expansion program

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the launch of expanded rail service from Richmond to the Northeast corridor. The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 will now offer early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington D.C. when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting. The new train is the first expansion of service under Governor Northam's Transforming Rail in Virginia program to significantly expand rail infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. 

Governor Northam celebrated the milestone this morning from the tracks at Main Street Station as the first train departed at 5:35am. 

“If you've ever been stuck on I-95, you know we can't pave our way out of congestion,” said Governor Northam. “This new train offers quick, reliable service from the Commonwealth's capital to Washington, D.C., connecting our two cities and making it easier for thousands of Virginians to get to work in the morning. Virginia is leading the nation in expanded access to high-performance rail—and I look forward to many more milestones ahead.” 

The newly expanded service has stops at a variety of destinations in the Northeast corridor. Travelers can choose from three daily departure times, two in the morning and one in the evening.

“Originating more trains from Main Street Station will connect our vibrant capital city to Washington D.C. and population centers along the East Coast,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine.  “This extension will bring trains closer to where people live and work, expanding access and economic opportunity.” 

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority supports four Northeast Regional routes. Service originates in Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke. These routes allow passengers to travel to cities along the East Coast without needing to change trains.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, service to and from Richmond’s Staples Mill Station was suspended in March 2020,” said Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director DJ Stadtler. “Today’s resumption of this service, which includes the extension to Main Street Station, marks the return to pre-pandemic service levels in Virginia.”

Main Street Station is a National Historic Landmark located in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom district. It is served by Amtrak, GRTC, RVA Bike Share, and Megabus. The station’s Virginia Welcome Center is stocked with information about local and statewide tourist destinations.

Amtrak service was restored to the station in 2003. The train shed opened in 2018 as a 47,000 square foot event space. This station serves a variety of transportation needs. Most recently, a Pulse bus rapid transit service stop was added at the entrance.

“We are pleased to partner with Virginia to bring additional Amtrak service to the Main Street Station,” said State Supported Services at Amtrak Vice President Ray Lang. “As people feel comfortable traveling again, we are honored that our customers trust us on their journey as we are excited to welcome them onboard.”

“CSX is proud to partner in this Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative, which is enhancing passenger and freight rail service from the Commonwealth of Virginia into the District of Columbia,” said CSX Vice President Tammy Butler. “This is just the first step in creating safer, more efficient service while easing congestion in the region.”

Tickets are now available for purchase. Amtrak worked with a medical director and partnered with the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health to ensure proper health and safety protocols were implemented.

Transforming Rail in Virginia is a $3.7 billion program to expand and improve passenger, commuter, and freight rail in Virginia. It will connect the Northeast and Southeast corridors in America’s national rail network. In partnership with CSX, Amtrak, and VRE, Virginia is constructing a new Long Bridge over the Potomac dedicated to passenger and commuter rail. 386 miles of rail right-of-way and 223 miles of track were acquired, and more than $1 billion was invested for additional rail infrastructure.

Over the next ten years, these investments will result in nearly hourly Amtrak service between Richmond and Washington. Amtrak service will also be enhanced for Newport News and Norfolk. VRE services will increase by 75 percent along the I-95 Corridor and weekend service will be added.

Bladder out of control? We can help.

On Wednesday, October 13, from 1:00 - 1:30 p.m., Dr. Pearson will explore conditions, causes and symptoms of overactive bladder in a virtual community outreach education program.

Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a treatable condition. It is extremely common. One in six adults has OAB. It’s more common than vision problems and diabetes. But it’s not a normal part of aging. And you shouldn’t have to deal with it on your own.

On Wednesday, October 13, from 1:00 - 1:30 p.m., Dr. Pearson will explore conditions, causes and symptoms of OAB in a virtual community outreach education program. You will understand all your treatment options and learn which therapies Medicare and private insurers cover. Visit for the Zoom link. This seminar will be recorded. Your presence is your permission to post on VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s website so more people can benefit from hearing this information.

John Pearson, M.D., earned his medical degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He completed a surgical internship, surgical residency and urology residency at the University of California, San Francisco. He served in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. Dr. Pearson is board certified in urology with special interest in urogynecology. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and member of the American Urological Association.

“Patients with this condition may feel alone, anxious, and often adjust their social and professional lives to avoid embarrassment,” said Dr. Pearson. “Here’s the good news: Treatment options are available for people who are living with urinary and bowel incontinence. Lasting relief means fewer trips to the bathroom, fewer accidents each day, and more confidence doing the things you enjoy.”

Dr. Pearson is accepting new patients at CMH Urological Services located inside the C.A.R.E. Building at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill. To view a full list of services, visit:

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s August, 2021, Team Member of the Month

Christianna “Christy” Moseley-Glynn, Practice Ops Manager; Shirley Craft, Practice Administrator; Donna Overton, LPN; Scott Burnette, President.

You know that colleague who everyone relies on because they’ve been there the longest? The one who knows everyone, does everything and can fix anything? That person is Donna Overton, a nurse at CMH Occupational Health and Wellness. She started her nursing career at Community Memorial Hospital in the 1980s. She left to work for other private practices and long-term care and came back in 2004 to Clarksville Primary Care Center before transferring to CMH Occupational Health and Wellness in 2007.

Donna was awarded the August Team Member of the Month award for STAR service. STAR stands for Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. She received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of September and a $40 gift card.

“For six months Donna took on multiple extra duties covering for people who were out on extended leave and training new hires,” explained Christy Moseley-Glynn. “She pitched in and assisted other departments with customer service support when needed.”

“She is a wealth of information which makes her a great mentor to our staff,” said Stacy Davis, NP.

Donna is always open and willing to learn new things. She’s looking forward to getting back out in the community to do blood pressure screenings once it is safe to do so again.

“It felt really good to be recognized for all the extra work I did,” Donna said. “It was a nice surprise.”

Donna lives in Chase City, is married with a grown daughter and enjoys taking their pontoon boat out on Buggs Island Lake. They also vacation in the Outer Banks. She has a dog and four cats, two inside and two outside.

Other nominees for June were Isaiah Jiggetts in the C.A.R.E. Building and Paula Spence in the Emergency Department.

Sussex County Crash Claims Life

Sussex County, Va; - On September24, 2021, the Virginia State Police investigated a single vehicle crash that resulted in a fatality. The crash occurred at approximately 11:49 PM, on Rock Branch Road, west of Little Mill Road. The driver of a 1999 Chevy Silverado, 46 year old, Domingo A. Baca Lacayo, was traveling westbound on Rocky Branch Road, lost control, and ran off the roadway. Upon running off the roadway, the vehicle overturned several times, ejecting Lacayo, who was not wearing his seatbelt. Lacayo died at the scene due to injuries sustained from the accident.

It is unknown at this time if alcohol was a contributing factor. 

Notification has been made to family members.

Benchmark Community Bank honored by Town of Kenbridge

Kenbridge Mayor Ken Blackburn (second from right), presents Benchmark Community Bank President/CEO Jay Stafford (right), former President/CEO Mike Walker (left), and former SVP Janice Pernell Martin with a resolution congratulating the bank on reaching 50 years of service to Kenbridge, Lunenburg County, and neighboring towns and counties. The bank is headquartered in Kenbridge.

KENBRIDGE, VA. September 22, 2021. – The Town of Kenbridge issued a resolution of congratulations to Benchmark Community Bank in honor of the bank’s fiftieth anniversary. The resolution was presented on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at the Town Council’s regular monthly meeting.

Presented by Mayor Ken Blackburn (center right) to President/CEO Jay Stafford (right), with former President/CEO Mike Walker (left) and former Senior Vice President Janice Pernell Martin (center left), the resolution commemorates the Kenbridge-based banking institution for being a source of stability for the Town of Kenbridge, its citizens, and the citizens of Lunenburg County, as well as those of neighboring towns and counties.

Benchmark Community Bank opened for business on September 8, 1971, as The Lunenburg County Bank in a modular unit located on Broad Street in downtown Kenbridge. The headquarters moved to its current location at 100 S. Broad Street in 1974 and the modular unit was relocated to nearby Victoria where it became the bank’s second location. The bank’s name was changed in 1989 to Benchmark Community Bank when it began its expansion into neighboring counties in Southside Virginia.  

Today Benchmark Community Bank has 17 locations throughout central Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. To learn more about Benchmark and view its fifitieth anniversary documentary video, please visit Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Brusnwick Academy Cross Country Off To Great Start

Brunswick Academy Cross Country has gotten off to a great start. They had their first meet at Fuqua School on September 2. Cullen Corum placed 5th, Brady Burke 7th, Christian Lecher 8th, Cameron Lynch 12th and Jacky Zhu 17th. Overall our boys team came in second place. On September 9th the cross country team traveled to Kenston Forest. Our boys placed in the top 17 and second overall.Brunswick Academy will host the Cross Country meet on October 14th. Pictured L to R: Christian Lecher, Coach Sidney Burke, Brady Burke, Cullen Corum and Jacky Zhu. Not pictured: Carter Early and Cameron Lynch.

Governor Northam Announces Major New Produce Packing Facility in Brunswick County

Partnership and facility to help former tobacco farmers seize fast-growing market for organic vegetables

RICHMOND—Governor Northam today announced Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing, LLC has partnered with Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority to construct a new, 45,000 square-foot, $4.2 million produce processing and packing facility.

Old Dominion Organic Farms, a member of Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing, will operate the facility. Over the next three years, 40 new jobs will be created and the facility is expected to process nearly $24 million Virginia-grown vegetables, approximately 80 percent of which will be certified organic. The new facility will support more than 22 farmers located in Amelia, Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Prince George, and Surry Counties during its first season.

“As the Commonwealth’s largest and oldest industry, agriculture is an integral part of Virginia’s economic wellbeing—especially in rural areas,” said Governor Northam. “I commend the members of Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing and all of the public and private sector partners who have made this project a reality. They have set an example for how we can all work together to support Virginia agriculture and the communities that rely on this important industry.”

During Governor Northam's administration, the Commonwealth has brought in a record-breaking $48.2 billion in capital investment and created over 91,500 new jobs, including over $8.4 billion and 21,500 jobs in distressed communities.

Since 2001, the price and volume of tobacco sales in Virginia have decreased by nearly half, forcing many Southern Virginia farmers to find new markets or close down their operations. By contrast, the market for organic produce has boomed over that same period, with annual growth frequently exceeding 10 percent. Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing is taking advantage of this market opportunity by leveraging its existing land and labor assets, investing in organic certification, and partnering with farmers across the region to provide wholesalers with a stable and abundant supply of organic and conventional produce. 

Over the next five years, Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing expects to make more than $60 million in produce sales, with $42 million being returned directly to individual farmers. A non-profit has been created to assist prospective farmers with growing these crops and obtaining organic certification, so they too can participate in this market.  

“Embracing innovation and exploring new opportunities in agriculture is key to the growth and prosperity of rural communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that Brunswick County’s first Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development award is being used to partner with Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing to create new markets and support local farmers and producers with creative ways to maintain and grow their farming operations.”

“Access to a facility that provides efficient packing, cooling, and distribution of vegetables for local farmers will create access to markets previously unavailable to them,” said Jordan Brandon of Old Dominion Organic Farms. “This was the key component farmers were lacking to capitalize on the land, equipment, labor, and farming experience they already possess.”

The Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked closely with Brunswick and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to secure the project for the Commonwealth. The architectural and engineering work needed to move the project forward was supported through a $35,000 Planning Grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund awarded in June to Brunswick and Lunenburg Counties. To assist the county in securing this project for Virginia, Governor Northam awarded Brunswick’s Industrial Development Authority a $400,000 Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Facility Grant, the county’s first-ever Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development award.  The project is also supported by a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

“The Brunswick County Board of Supervisors is excited to see this project come to fruition as it capitalizes on our existing agricultural community, aligns with our Board Vision 2035 to create new business opportunities, and will result in more job creation for our citizens,” said Brunswick County Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Barbara Jarratt Harris. “We look forward to a continued partnership with the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority, the Brunswick County Agriculture Task Force, and other stakeholders to redefine our niche and help our agriculture industry thrive in new markets.”

“Three years ago, the Industrial Development Authority convened an Agricultural Task Force comprised of state and local leaders in agriculture, education, business, and economic development to leverage our farming heritage to create a new vision for development in the county,” said Industrial Development Authority of Brunswick Chair Gloria Meneweather-Woods. “This project is an outgrowth of that vision, and I sincerely thank the task force for their leadership. While there is still much to do, we know collaborative efforts like this offer us a pathway to continued success.”

“I am delighted that this project will draw on the farming expertise and experience of local folks in this effort to supply fresh, wholesome food to Virginians,” said Senator Frank Ruff.

“Supporting our local farmers and producers is every bit as important now as it has always been for our region,” said Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission member Delegate Roslyn C. Tyler. “This facility will enable local farms to reach new customers and pursue new wholesale opportunities that will increase profitability and help ensure that these farms remain operational for generations to come. This is a big win for agriculture in our region and I’m pleased the Commission chose to support this important project. I look forward to seeing construction get underway on this new facility as soon as possible.”

The Northam administration has funded an historic number of projects through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund. As of today, 109 businesses have received Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development grants, investing nearly $10 million in businesses all over the Commonwealth, helping them create more than $1 billion in new investment, nearly 3,500 jobs, and over $1 billion in commitments to purchase Virginia-grown products.

Jeremy Bradforde “Brad” Wilson

September 26, 1978 - September 22, 2021

Jeremy Bradforde “Brad” Wilson, 42, of Emporia, passed away Wednesday, September 22, 2021. He was preceded in death by his father, Kenny Wilson and grandparents, Lawrence and Lucy Wilson and Burton Edward Grizzard.
Brad is survived by his wife, Tina Wilson; son, Joseph Joyner; mother, Elizabeth “Liz” Grizzard; maternal grandmother, Joanne B. Grizzard and his canine companion, Sophie “Beardo”.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family.

Go Vote!


Dear Editor-

My fellow citizens:

THE CLOCK IS TICKING!  The polls are now open for EARLY VOTING.  Each weekday your local Registrar’s office is open and they are anxious to have you Vote!  If you are too busy to make it during the week there’s good news – there will be two Saturdays in October (the 23rd and 30th) 2021 that they will be open.  The Registrars’ respective offices in Greensville County, 1781 Greensville County Circle and the City of Emporia, 201 South Main Street, Emporia, Virginia will be open these days from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for the upcoming General Election on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. In addition to their normal weekday openings. 

If you would prefer to vote in the privacy of your own home you may still request an Absentee Ballot to be mailed to you by contacting your Registrar’s Office. You may also apply for an Absentee Ballot online at   Absentee Ballots must be requested by mail by October 22, 2021, by 5:00 pm and you should allow plenty of time to mail them back to the Registrar – or use the Ballot Drop Boxes at each location. Their phone numbers are Emporia: 434.634.9533 and Greensville County: 434.348.4205 to start the process.

By the way, if you haven’t decided for whom you are supporting let me share with you that the Democrats are running an exceptionally qualified slate of strong, principled and results-oriented Leaders!

  • Tery McAuliffe, Governor
  • Hala Ayala, Lieutenant Governor
  • Mark Herring, Attorney General
  • Roslyn Tyler, House of Delegates, 75th District
  • Jay Osburn, City Treasurer, Emporia

Our local Committee shares the values of the Democratic Party of Virginia and is proud of the strong candidates for office on this year’s ticket and encourages you to cast your VOTE for Leadership that works for us!


George E. Morrison, III, Chairman

Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to 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.)

Governor Northam Appoints Ann Jennings as Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources

Appointment announced ahead of Chesapeake Bay Executive Council set to meet October 1 in Virginia Beach

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today appointed Ann Jennings as the new Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.

“Virginia’s water and air are cleaner today because we have made historic investments in Virginia's natural resources over the past four years,” said Governor Northam. “We have secured more funding for the Chesapeake Bay than any previous administration. We are all-in for clean energy, with the country's largest offshore wind development rising off the coast of Virginia Beach. We are breaking new ground in coastal resilience and environmental justice. Ann Jennings has been a leader in this work, and as Secretary, she will make sure Virginia continues this momentum.”

Jennings has served as the Deputy Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources with primary responsibility for the Chesapeake Bay. She also has served as the Virginia Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative commission created to advise the General Assemblies of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia on matters of Bay-wide concern.

The appointment comes as the Chesapeake Executive Council prepares to meet in Virginia Beach next week. The Council includes the governors of the six watershed states, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The panel establishes the policy direction to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay.

Before joining state government, Jennings served as the Virginia Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Her career also includes work as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Originally from Virginia Beach, Jennings received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University. She is a graduate of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute and the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Program.

Matt Strickler, the outgoing Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, is pursuing new opportunities where he will continue his excellent work of protecting our nation’s resources. He began working with the Governor in 2008 as a legislative assistant in the office of then-state Senator Northam. Strickler had served on the cabinet since Governor Northam took office in 2018. 

“We will miss Secretary Strickler, and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Governor Northam. “I want to thank Matt for all that he has done for the people of the Commonwealth while serving in this administration. His work to clean up Virginia’s air and water over the last four years has directly benefited the health, wellbeing, and lives of all who reside here.”

Governor Northam Announces New Grant Program Supporting Local Food and Farming Infrastructure

Local governments can apply for grants to support farmers markets and small-scale agricultural facilities October 1 through November 15

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced a new grant program designed to support equitable and sustainable local food systems for small-scale agricultural producers, farmers markets, and food hubs. It is a new component of the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.

This Infrastructure Program competitively awards matching grants of up to $25,000 in partnership with local governments for community infrastructure development projects that support local food production and sustainable agriculture. Special reduced match requirements are available to projects in economically distressed localities, underserved communities, or for those benefiting multiple small-scale producers.

“Ensuring equitable access to healthy and affordable food for all Virginians has always been a priority of this administration,” said Governor Northam. “One of the best ways we can do this is by partnering with local governments to make strategic investments in our local food systems.  The local infrastructure created by this new program will enable Virginia’s small-scale farmers and food producers to thrive, grow local economies, and improve food access.”

“One of the greatest strengths of Virginia agriculture, the Commonwealth’s largest private sector industry, is its diversity,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that the new Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Infrastructure Program provides another economic development tool for localities. These resources make funding accessible to communities that need it most and benefit farmers and producers, as well as our local food systems.”

Delegate Sam Rasoul’s House Bill 2068 created this grant program during the 2021 General Assembly session. The legislation authorizes the Governor to award grants of up to $25,000 to political subdivisions.

The reimbursable grants are primarily for capital projects at new and existing food hubs, farmers markets, commercial kitchens and other value-added facilities such as those for the processing and packaging of meats, dairy products, produce, or other Virginia-grown products. Small farmers, food producers, local food systems advocates and others interested in building their community’s local food and farming infrastructure are encouraged to learn more about the program and work with their localities to identify and develop suitable projects.

Applications for this funding can be submitted October 1 through November 15. Final award announcements will be made no later than December 31 of this year.   

“The Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Infrastructure program, with its focus on supporting local food and farming, benefits both our communities and farmers,” said Delegate Rasoul. “The money spent with local farmers and growers stays close to home and is reinvested with the businesses and services in our communities.”

The new Infrastructure Program joins two other the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development funded programs, all of which are administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Facility Grants Program is a Governor’s discretionary economic development incentive for new and expanding facilities that, in addition to creating new jobs and investment, add value to Virginia-grown products. The Planning Grants Program funds a wide range of activities that support agriculture and forestry-based industries more broadly and is designed to empower localities to develop creative solutions tailored to their unique needs.

Additional information about the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Infrastructure program is available here. Questions about the program and upcoming application workshops should be directed to

Women Entrepreneurs Are on The Move!

By: Martin Short, Lead Economic Development Specialist & Public Information Officer

Women entrepreneurs are on the move when it comes to small business ownership. Women are starting businesses at a much higher rate. Also, women are being recognized now than ever before for their business capabilities and successes. As a matter of fact, today is American Business Women’s Day. 

According to the Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey (ABS) there were 6,861 more women-owned firms in 2018 than in 2017. This is an increase of 0.6% to 1.1 million firms. This number is continuously growing.

The SBA helps women entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and compete in the marketplace. We have programs that are dedicated to the success of women entrepreneurs. For example, we have an Office of Women’s Business Ownership(OWBO). Our OWBO is geared to empower women entrepreneurs through education, support, and advocacy. 

In addition, the SBA helps fund Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) around the country. WBCs are vital members of our entrepreneurial ecosystem with the mission of helping women navigate the business landscape and overcoming unique obstacles. The SBA has two partner WBCs in Virginia. The Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Women’s Business Center is hosted by Old Dominion University and is located Norfolk, VA. The newest center, Women’s Business Center of Richmond-National Institute Economic Development, is hosted by Virginia Union University and is located in Richmond, VA.

Through the partnership with the SBA Virginia-Richmond District Office and the WBCs, we provide women entrepreneurs with access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, and business training. These services are just the tip of the iceberg. 

In addition, the SBA and WBCs empower women entrepreneurs to be bold, relentless, and resolute about success. We are here to further fuel and amplify this movement. Join us by visiting our webpage on women-owned businesses. Happy American Business Women’s Day!

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to 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.)

Meet our new Rheumatologist: Joshua Gavin, D.O.

Dr. Gavin is the new rheumatologist on the first floor of the C.A.R.E. Building, next to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, in South Hill.

South Hill, VA (9/17/21) – Over 46 million people in the United States are living with rheumatic disease, the most common cause of joint pain and loss of mobility. Some of the more frequently found examples of these conditions include: OsteoarthritisRheumatoid ArthritisLupus, OsteoporosisPsoriatic Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, GoutTendinitis, and Bursitis.

We just opened a new rheumatology practice located on the first floor of our C.A.R.E. Building, next to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, in South Hill. We invite you to learn more about Rheumatology at our next virtual Community Out-Reach Education program on September 28, 2021, at noon via Zoom. Visit for the link.

This week we sat down with Joshua Gavin, D.O., and asked him a few questions.

What is Rheumatology?

A medical science devoted to the study of rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders. Rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders are diverse and include autoimmune disorders, inflammatory arthritides, noninflammatory arthritides, diffuse and local soft tissue disorders, injuries, and osteoporosis.

Why did you choose the field of Rheumatology?

I took an elective in medical school and was intrigued learning about different organ systems and how rheumatologic conditions impact the entire body. I learned the evolution of different treatments and really enjoyed improving my patients’ quality of life.

What is your goal for this community?

I want to provide accessible, high-quality care for patients of this community who suffer from rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders.

What is your philosophy of care?

I hope to provide compassionate and individualized patient care through building meaningful healing relationships with my patients over time by delivering patient-centered care. As the treatment options for rheumatologic diseases continue to advance, I believe better education and shared decision-making strategies will help my patients make better treatment options and live a healthier life.

How would you describe your bedside manner?

I’ve been told I am optimistic and approachable.

What are your qualifications?

I am board certified in Internal Medicine and earned my Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri. I completed an Internal Medicine residency from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. I also completed a Rheumatology fellowship at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. I am a member of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology.

What would you like patients to know about you?

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but mostly grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have lived in Texas, Kansas and Missouri. I currently live in Chester with my wife and two dogs. My family lives all over the country including Florida, New Mexico and Tennessee. I enjoy cooking, travel, playing tennis poorly, and visiting new restaurants and breweries.

How does someone make an appointment with you?

Most often my patients are referred by their primary care physician or other specialists. But if someone is new to the area with an existing rheumatic diagnosis or seeking a second opinion please call (434) 584-2273 to make an appointment.

Concord UMC Donates School Supplies to Jackson-Feild

The members of Concord United Methodist Church in Stony Creek conducted a drive to collect school supplies for the students of the Gwaltney School at Jackson-Feild Health Services (JFBHS).

The drive was conducted over several weeks and the donated supplies were transported to Jackson-Feild by Mrs. Mary Spires and presented to Dr. Shaneka Rose, Director of Education.

The members of this historic church have been helping the children at JFBHS since 2004. The United Methodist Women have been the most active recognizing birthdays, celebrating holidays, providing scholarship funding for college, and conducting donation drives.

They engage the help of the pastors and members to assist them in improving the quality of life at JFBHS and work to ensure the residents know that they are valued and loved.

Dr. Rose and the Gwaltney School were most grateful to receive these supplies and putting them to use in classrooms this school year.

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Drops for 15 Straight Months, to 4.0 Percent in August


Virginia outpaces the nation in economic recovery

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.0 percent in August, 3.0 percentage points below the rate from one year ago.

The labor force increased by 5,550 to 4,247,321, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 7,678 to 168,515. The number of employed residents rose by 13,228 to 4,078,806. In August 2021, Virginia saw over-the-year job gains of 2.2 percent. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate of 5.2 percent.

“Virginia’s economic recovery continues to outpace the nation," said Governor Northam. “Our unemployment rate remains well below the national average and has fallen consistently every month for the past fifteen months. More people are working and businesses are continuing to flock to our Commonwealth—even with the ongoing threat of COVID-19. I'm proud of our roaring economic growth, and I look forward to seeing these trends continue."

“This month’s declining unemployment rate is made possible through the hard work and determination of Virginia’s workers and employers, who are the true champions of economic recovery in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Labor Megan Healy. “While we have more work to do, we can all be proud of how far we've come.”

“The overall trend in the unemployment rate we see is very encouraging, as the number of jobs being added to payrolls across Virginia continues to increase,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The trends are clear—businesses are hiring and folks are getting back to work.”

In August, private sector employment increased by 1,500 jobs to 3,208,700, and employment in the public sector gained 9,000 jobs to 704,500. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 10,500 jobs in August. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 37,100 jobs or 12 percent. The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 20,600 jobs or 2.7 percent. Trade and transportation experienced the third-largest over-the-year job gain of 16,600 jobs or 2.6 percent.

For a greater statistical breakdown, visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website.

Governor Northam Announces Production of ‘Raymond and Ray’ in Virginia

Project will film in Central Virginia this fall

RICHMOND—The Governor today announced that the feature film Raymond and Ray, from Apple Original Films, will shoot in Central Virginia this fall. The film stars Ethan Hawke (Before Sunset, Boyhood) and Ewan McGregor (Halston, Fargo).
Raymond and Ray tells the story of half-brothers who have lived in the shadow of a difficult father. Rodrigo García (In Treatment, Albert Nobbs) will write and direct. Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Roma) will produce with Bonnie Curtis (Saving Private Ryan, Albert Nobbs) and Julie Lynn (Albert Nobbs, To the Bone). Lynn is a board member for the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, and a graduate of the University of Virginia. Gabriela Rodriguez and Shea Kammer will serve as executive producers.
“Major projects like Raymond and Ray shine a powerful spotlight on and increase awareness of all that Virginia offers,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “We look forward to working with the film’s exceptional team and to the economic benefits a film of this scale will bring to Virginia workers and businesses.”
“The Virginia film, television, and new media industry is a source of strong economic growth for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The industry has provided high-wage jobs and revenue to many Virginia communities throughout times of economic uncertainty and especially so for our hard-hit hospitality industry. Projects like Raymond and Ray continue to build our profile as a preferred production location, and we eagerly anticipate the expansion of this important Virginia industry.”
“Attending the lovely Virginia Film Festival whetted our appetite to film in the Commonwealth,” said Raymond and Ray director Rodrigo Garcia and producers Alfonso Cuaron, Bonnie Curtis, and Julie Lynn in a joint statement. “The Virginia Film Office has been amazing, and we’re thrilled to bring Raymond and Ray here, with Apple’s support, to take advantage of the gorgeous locations and fall colors."
“We are honored to welcome the many new and familiar faces of Raymond and Ray to Virginia,” said Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds. “There is truly no greater testament to Virginia’s rich assets, talented workers, and film-friendly atmosphere than repeat customers of this distinction, and we’re enthusiastic about another special opportunity to grow our partnership.”
Recent major projects that have been filmed in Virginia include the feature film Tapawingo, the Hulu limited series Dopesick, AMC’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and Apple TV’s Swagger. 
Raymond and Ray will be eligible for a Virginia film tax credit or grant. The exact amount will be based on the number of Virginia workers hired, Virginia goods and services purchased, and deliverables including Virginia tourism promotions.
For more information about Virginia’s film production industry, please visit the Virginia Film Office website. To learn more about Virginia tourism, please click here.


NDUTIME Youth & Family Services and its CEO Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to the Virginia Medicaid Program

RICHMOND, Va. – A Henrico County mental health services provider and its executive officer agreed to settle a civil lawsuit alleging they caused the submission of false claims to the Virginia Medicaid program, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia and Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia.
NDUTime Youth & Family Services, Inc. (NDUTime) and its current Chief Executive Officer, Teshana Gipson, of Henrico County, have agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a civil fraud lawsuit alleging they caused false claims to be submitted for payment from the Virginia Medicaid program.
The United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia jointly filed a complaint against NDUTime and Gibson under the federal False Claims Act and the Virginia Taxpayers Against Fraud Act. NDUTime provided crisis intervention, crisis stabilization, and therapeutic day treatment for children, among other mental health services. NDUTime was only entitled to reimbursement for services that it actually provided. In addition, Virginia state law required that certain services be provided by a licensed mental health professional and that initial assessments be made before services were provided. The lawsuit alleged that, between 2013 and 2017, NDUTime submitted false claims for services that it did not actually render, false claims for services that were not provided by a licensed counselor, and false claims that were based on initial assessments that were not completed by a licensed counselor.
The Government initiated an investigation after two separate lawsuits were filed under the False Claims Act and the Virginia Taxpayers Against Fraud Act by whistleblowers who made the allegations. These Acts permit the government time to investigate allegations of fraudulent conduct and to intervene in such lawsuits. Based on their investigation of the allegations, the Government intervened, the cases were consolidated and unsealed, and the Government filed its own complaint. 
The False Claims Act and the Virginia Taxpayers Against Fraud Act also permit whistleblowers to receive a share of between fifteen and twenty-five percent of any recovery.
The resolution in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Virginia Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The matter was investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McIntosh, former Assistant Attorney General Jessica McKenzie, and Assistant Attorneys General Airen Adamonis, Ray Bowman, and Megan Winfield.
Related court documents and information from the civil lawsuit are on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:16-cv-653.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The civil claims settled by this agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability.

Governor Northam Encourages Virginians to Celebrate Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month

Month proclaimed in recognition of contributions of Hispanic and Latino Virginians

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today proclaimed September 15 to October 15 as Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month.

“As we mark 53 years of commemorating National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, Pam and I encourage all Virginians to join us in celebrating the important history and enduring contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community throughout Virginia and our country. They enrich our communities by sharing their vibrant culture and heritage.

“Throughout this month, we honor and celebrate the hard work and dedication of our Hispanic and Latino men and women who have contributed greatly to the success of our Commonwealth. Hispanic and Latino Virginians continue to make great strides in public office and civil rights issues, supporting the fight for justice and equality for all, and successfully advocating for the historic passage of language access and of protections for all immigrants regardless of citizenship status.

“We acknowledge their deep-rooted history and foundation in our country and in our Commonwealth. We highlight their leadership in business and education, and their service in the fight against COVID-19 as healthcare and frontline workers. We recognize the dedication of our public servants as teachers and government employees. We commend the service of Hispanic and Latino men and women in the military protecting our democracy and freedom.

“The stories of Hispanic and Latino people are woven into the fabric of our communities. I invite all Virginians to participate in virtual and other safe celebrations of Hispanic and Latino heritage taking place in communities around the Commonwealth. Hispanic and Latino history is Virginia’s history.”

The text of Governor Northam’s Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month proclamation can be found here in English and here in Spanish.

Governor and First Lady Northam shared a video message with Virginians during Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month. Watch the video here.

Virginia Department of Health Announces Launch of QR Codes to Verify COVID-19 Vaccination Status

~ QR codes are secure and private for users, easy for businesses ~

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Health today announced the addition of QR codes – a type of barcode that can be scanned with smartphones – to Virginia COVID-19 vaccination records.

QR codes – short for “quick response” – are commonly used in retail, logistics, and other sectors. The technology allows anyone to show proof of vaccination with a digital or printed QR code instead of a paper card, and without the need for an app. As more and more employers and businesses respond to calls by President Biden and Governor Northam to require that employees and customers be vaccinated, QR codes will help improve the consistency and security of vaccination information while protecting individual privacy.

A person vaccinated in Virginia can visit to obtain their free vaccination record with QR code, which can then be saved to a phone gallery, printed on paper, or stored in a compatible account.

QR codes contain the same information as paper records, but in a format that offers greater security and efficiency. Because the QR code is digitally signed by the Virginia Department of Health, it cannot be altered or forged. Information from QR codes is only available if and when the individual chooses to share it. Businesses and employers that choose to verify an individual’s vaccination status can scan QR codes with the free SMART Health Verifier App. Individuals do not need to download an app to use QR codes.

Virginia is now the fifth U.S. state to adopt the SMART Health format for QR codes, empowering individuals with trustworthy and verifiable copies of their vaccination records in digital or paper form using open, interoperable standards. The framework and standards were developed by VCI, a coalition of more than 800 public and private organizations – including The Mayo Clinic, Boston Children’s Hospital, Microsoft, MITRE, and The Commons Project Foundation.

QR codes are available to anyone whose vaccination record includes a working phone number and is in the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS). Nearly all doses administered in Virginia are reported to VIIS, including pharmacies, physician offices, health department clinics, federally qualified health centers, and community vaccination centers. Some doses administered outside Virginia to Virginia residents may be in VIIS. Doses administered directly by federal agencies such as the Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs are not reported to VIIS. A person whose record cannot be retrieved automatically may call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1) for assistance.

With more than 10.2 million doses of vaccine administered so far in Virginia, more than 58% of the population is fully vaccinated. Everyone 12 or older is eligible to be vaccinated now. To find free vaccines nearby, visit or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.

Driver Succumbs to Injuries from August 29 Crash

On August 29, 2021, the Virginia State Police investigated a single vehicle crash with injuries in Greensville County. The driver of a 2003 Nissan Altima, Onazty Vargas, 21 year old female, was traveling on Pine Log Road, south of Brink Road, when she lost control, ran off the roadway and struck a culvert pipe. Upon striking the culvert pipe, the vehicle overturned and ejected Vargas. Vargas was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash. Vargas suffered life threatening injuries and was taken to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. On September 14, 2021, Vargas had succumbed to her injuries sustained from the crash. Vargas was from Garysburg, North Carolina, and notification was made to family members.

McEachin & Spanberger to Host Virtual Joint Service Academy Day

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) announced details for their upcoming virtual Service Academy Day, in which high school students from Virginia’s Fourth and Seventh Congressional Districts will be able to meet with representatives from various U.S. Service Academies and learn more about the Academy nomination process.

“Every year, I am impressed by the young men and women who are eager to serve

to serve their country,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “I am excited to once again host this Service Academy Day with Congresswoman Spanberger. This event will be a wonderful opportunity for students to learn more about these esteemed military academies and the incredible education and professional opportunities they provide. I strongly encourage interested students to attend, and I look forward to seeing the very best and brightest students and their families.”

“One of the greatest honors I have as a U.S. Representative is nominating outstanding young Virginians as candidates to our nation’s service academies. The sheer number of applicants, the caliber of students, and the clear dedication to excellence has been remarkable each nomination cycle. This event will be a terrific opportunity for students and their parents to learn more about the application and nomination process,” said Rep. Spanberger (VA-07). “Public service is truly our nation’s highest calling, and I am so proud of the Central Virginia students who are committed to serving their fellow Americans. I look forward to engaging with many Central Virginia students throughout this process, and I would like to thank the representatives from each of the U.S. service academies for giving their time and joining this presentation.”

Details for the virtual Joint Service Academy Day are as follows:

  • WHEN: Saturday, September 18, 2021 @ 11:00 am ET
  • WHERE: This information session will be held virtually. Interested students can RSVP here.

The five U.S. Service Academies include: the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S.  Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Nominations to U.S. Service Academies can be made by the President, Vice President, or a Member of Congress. Nominations are required for all but the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, to which appointments are made on the basis of an annual nationwide competition.

Re-Elect Delegate Roslyn Tyler to represent the 75th District

The leaders of Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance have been asked many times how we decide to support the candidates we choose to endorse. It is easy to say “We support those who have supported us”, but often it is just that simple. If an incumbent( such as Delegate Roslyn Tyler) has consistently voted to support the values of rural Virginia, especially in the defense of the tradition of hunting with dogs, they deserve to be supported.

We have been fortunate to have many friends in the Virginia General Assembly who have honored our hunting traditions and defended dog ownership. It is vitally important to have representatives from both parties support us. There is no better example of this than the fight to end the Right-To-Retrieve law (RTR) in the 2017 Session of the General Assembly with Delegate Roslyn Tyler.

The Republican Speaker surprisingly filed a bill (HB 1900) to end the RTR as the last bill of his legislative career. The Bill divided the Republican caucus, as many did not want to oppose their longtime leader and friend, while other members knew the importance of the RTR to rural Virginia both culturally and economically.

At this point, Delegate Roslyn Tyler from Jarratt took up the fight of her friends and hunters to defend the RTR on the floor of the House of Delegates. In an impassioned speech, Mrs. Tyler told her colleagues what hunting with dogs meant to her community and to her personally. No doubt, she had much to say in her closed Democratic Caucus meeting prior to the floor vote and many of them listened and voted to preserve that law that had been in place since 1936. The vote on February 6, 2017 was 47 to 48. We won by one (1) vote! Without Del. Tyler, not just voting with us, but leading the fight on our behalf, the RTR would have been abolished!

Delegate Tyler has continued to play an active role in defending our heritage of hunting with dogs in Virginia. She has gone to bat for us many times since that crucial vote, including in June of this year when Wildlife Resources Chairman John Daniel was again attacking hunting with dogs. We enthusiastically endorse Delegate Roslyn Tyler’s re-election in 2021 and urge the people of 75th District to vote for her re-election on November 2, 2021.

Kirby Burch,
Chief Operating Officer
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to 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.)

Vikings JJV Win over Faqua School

The Brunswick Academy Vikings JJV Football program are 2-0 for the season. The JJV Vikings are coached by Tim Powell and Daniel Hightower. On September 2, the Vikings traveled to Greenbrier Christian and dominated the whole game with a 62-0 victory. Hunter LIttle had a TD. Nathan Talbert had 4 TDs and Carter Early and Peyton McAden had 2 TDs each. September 8 the Vikings traveled to Fuqua School for a great game. It was a hard fought game but the Vikings remained undefeated with a 22-20 score. Nathan Talbert had 2 rushing TDs for the night and Peyton McAden had a pass reception for 1 TD.

Virginia Cooperative Extension to Host First Ever Mid-Atlantic Urban Agriculture Summit


Karen Washington
Karen Washington, Keynote Speaker And Founder Of Rise & Root Farm.


PETERSBURG, VA. – The Virginia Cooperative Extension is hosting the first Mid-Atlantic Urban Agricultural Summit, formerly the Virginia Agriculture Summit, virtually from Tuesday October 12, 2021 – Thursday, October 14, 2021. The summit welcomes urban farmers, gardeners, policymakers, government officials, foodies, and anyone with interest in urban agriculture to take part in three days of learning about one of agriculture’s fastest-growing sectors, virtually touring successful urban farms, and networking with others who are passionate about creating healthy communities through urban agriculture.

The Virginia Agriculture Summit was launched five years ago. This year, organizers at Virginia Cooperative Extension have extended it to the entire Mid-Atlantic region to facilitate the sharing of even more knowledge and experiences.

This year’s topics will include:

  • Urban Agriculture and Food Security
  • Innovations in Urban Ag: Business, Technology, and Policy
  • Urban Community Gardening

Keynote speakers include Karen Washington of Rise & Root Farm in New York City, Kristof Grina of Up Top Acres in Washington D.C., and Dr. Gail Myers of Farms to Grow, Inc. in Oakland, Calif.

Washington, a community activist, has lived in New York City all her life and has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access fresh, locally grown food.

Grina, of Up Top Acres, grew up in the District and studied agriculture in Vermont. He became obsessed with scaling commercial agriculture to the densely populated, built environment of DC. Up Top Acres transforms city rooftops into spaces that produce locally grown food and provide educational opportunities for children and adults alike.

Myers, of Farms to Grow, Inc., earned her doctorate in anthropology from The Ohio State University. A cultural anthropologist, she founded Farms to Grow, Inc. in Oakland where she works with local, national, and international organizations to improve the lives and futures for socially disadvantaged and sustainable small farmers.

“By participating in the Summit, you can learn how urban agriculture can positively impact your community,” says Dr. Leonard Githinji, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist for Sustainable and Urban Agriculture at Virginia State University.

To register for the conference, visit Registration is $25 per person.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Jessica Harris at or call (804) 524-5964 / TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations five days prior to the event.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its 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, military status, or any other basis protected by law.


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