September 2020

  1. College Republicans Discuss Future of GOP in Virginia

    By Brandon Shillingford, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Young Republicans say this is a crucial time in the country's history amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the country facing a reckoning in its relationship with racial justice and an open Supreme Court seat.

    Many of the Generation Z Republican and conservative voters, ages 18-23, are participating in their first or second presidential election and are ready for their voices to be heard.

    Cameron Cox, vice president of campaigns for the College Republicans at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, sees the pandemic as a priority that must be at the forefront of the government's concerns, but it shouldn’t be handled by shutting the economy down. Cox is no stranger to politics. His father Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, has served in the General Assembly since 1990 and is considering a run for Virginia governor. 

    “At a national level, this means continuing to give states the guidance and tools they need to effectively manage their people,” Cox said in an email. “It means helping, not hindering the market, in aiding our nation’s economic recovery. It means empowering people to get back to work and provide for their families.”

    Andrew Vail, chairman of the College Republicans at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, believes COVID-19 and racial injustice are challenges for the country which will eventually pass. 

    “People organize and politicians make laws and, you know, social movements go on,” Vail said. “At some point the world will calm down.”

    Vail thinks that cities in Virginia had less of a challenge containing Black Lives Matter protests compared to New York City, Portland, Seattle and Washington D.C., where protests attracted tens of thousands of people and often saw conflicts between opposing groups. 

    He said the protests throughout the commonwealth were “pretty normal protests” with people utilizing their constitutional rights. 

    Courtney Hope Britt, southern regional vice chair for the College Republican National Committee and chair emeritus to the College Republican Federation of Virginia, was disappointed with responses to the protests in Richmond. Painting murals and taking down Confederate statues “don’t change the day-to-day reality of Black people in our state,” Britt said in an email. 

    More schools are shedding Confederate names, but Britt doesn’t believe those moves will effectively deal with educational disparities between Black and white students.

    “These problems are complex and incredibly deep rooted in our systems, and so it will take time to rework things,” she said. “I don't really see that being done right now.” 

    Britt also disagrees with Gov. Ralph Northam’s handling of the pandemic. A poll conducted by Northeastern, Harvard, Rutgers and Northwestern universities found 59% of respondents agreed with the governor’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in July but only 46% echoed that sentiment in August.

    Virginia’s rate of 2.2 COVID-19 tests per 1,000 residents puts it at No. 29 in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Britt said that while testing has improved, “we’re still lagging way behind where we should be.”

    “Governor Northam is a medical doctor; he should have been as well prepared to respond to the pandemic as anyone and yet he did worse than almost everyone,” she said.

    Cox said the Democratic majority in the Virginia General Assembly needs to address the state’s projected $2.7 billion shortfall. He also said that reopening schools safely are issues that need to be resolved. There needs to be “safe, in-person learning for students, as well as resources for kids not in the classroom to avoid being left behind,” he said. 

    “Education is at the center of entities affected by the coronavirus,” Cox said. “As school systems handle their students in different ways, it’s important for the state to help, not hinder, schools in this process.”

    Vail and Britt, a recent graduate of The T. C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, said that there is plenty of ideological diversity between the younger and older members of the Republican Party. Britt said the Republican Party has been better about “intentionally recruiting greater diversity into the party.”

    “I'm really proud of that,” she said.

    Vail echoed this sentiment.

     “I’ve seen that a lot of conservatives lean more in a Libertarian direction, and most Republicans in their ’40s and ’50s are sort of your George Bush brand of conservative,” Vail said.

    Richard Anderson, chairman for the Republican Party of Virginia, sees young Republicans as invaluable assets that will serve the nation for years to come. He said they play a crucial element in campaigns through door knocking, phone banking, and registration of new voters. 

    “Many will go on to serve in local, state, and federal offices,” Anderson said. “In that capacity, they have vital roles to play in shaping public policy today and in the future."

    Many millennials and Gen Zers who recently have become active in the Republican Party are prioritizing issues that may be considered more liberal. According to a Pew Research study, almost half of millennials and Gen Z Republicans are more likely than their older counterparts to say that the federal government is doing too little to lessen the impact of climate change. 

    Rather than just being against the Green New Deal, young conservatives are working on their own climate proposals like the American Conservative Coalition’s American Climate Contract and the Declaration of Energy Independence, according to Britt. The movements seek to fight climate change and provide clean energy to Americans. 

    “We are beginning to address issues that have often been left to the Democrats with positive arguments,” Britt said. 

    There are younger conservatives who do not support President Donald Trump and who want to see a new Republican platform grounded in Constitutional principles but “more conducive to an evolving American landscape.” A Georgetown University graduate launched gen z gop in July to reach younger voters and establish a “palatable alternative to the left.”

    Britt views Trump positively, however. He has brought an invigoration and excitement to the party that hasn’t been seen before, she said. This makes her excited and optimistic about the party’s future.

    “I'm excited for us to continue building on that for the next four years and beyond,” Britt said.

  2. STATEMENT OF SENATE INTEL VICE CHAIR SEN. MARK R. WARNER ON THE INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTIONS

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the below statement:

    “Our nation has a 200-year history of successful elections, followed by a peaceful transfer of power. Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee received a briefing on election security from our nation’s top officials. We all know that the election process will look different this year, in light of COVID-19, and we may not know the results on election night. The Intelligence Community (IC) warned that, as a result, the period immediately before and after the election could be uniquely volatile. But we should continue to have faith in the state and local officials who are responsible for the conduct of our elections and the IC and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) officials who help to protect them, and make sure that all the votes are counted. 

    “The President of the United States should not be aiding and abetting foreign adversaries who are working  to sow doubts about the legitimacy of the American election system.”

    In February 2020, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the third volume in the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russian election interference, “U.S. Government Response to Russian Activities,” which was approved on a bipartisan basis by the Republican-led Committee. That report included a series of recommendations for improving the security of our elections in the future, including:

    (U) Sitting officials and candidates should use the absolute greatest amount of restraint and caution if they are considering publicly calling the validity of an upcoming election into question. Such a grave allegation can have significant national security and electoral consequences, including limiting the response options of the appropriate authorities, and exacerbating the already damaging messaging efforts of foreign intelligence services. (Page 45)

  3. USDA Reminds Farmers of September 30 Deadline to Update Safety-Net Program Crop Yields

    Don’t Miss This One-Time Opportunity - First Since 2014

    USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farm owners that they have a one-time opportunity to update Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program yields for covered commodities on the farm. The deadline is September 30, 2020, to update yields, which are used to calculate the PLC payments for 2020 through 2023. Additionally, producers who elected Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) should also consider updating their yields.

    “The last time farmers could update yields for these important safety-net programs was in 2014,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “It is the farm owner’s choice whether to update or keep existing yields. So, if you rent, you’ll need to communicate with your landlord who will be the one to sign off on the yield updates.”

    Updating yields requires the signature of one owner on a farm and not all owners. If a yield update is not made, no action is required to maintain the existing base crop yield on file with FSA. 

    For program payments, updated yields will apply beginning with the 2020 crop year which, should payments trigger, will be paid out in October of 2021.

    Determining Yield Updates

    The updated yield will be equal to 90% of the average yield per planted acre in crop years 2013-2017. That excludes any year where the applicable covered commodity was not planted and is subject to the ratio obtained by dividing the 2008-2012 average national yield by the 2013-2017 average national yield for the covered commodity.

    The chart below provides the ratio obtained by this calculation.

    Covered Commodity

    National Yield Factor

    Barley

    0.9437

    Canola

    0.9643

    Chickpeas, Large

    1.0000

    Chickpeas, Small

    0.9760

    Corn

    0.9000

    Crambe

    1.0000

    Flaxseed

    1.0000

    Grain Sorghum

    0.9077

    Lentils

    1.0000

    Mustard Seed

    0.9460

    Oats

    0.9524

    Peanuts

    0.9273

    Peas, Dry

    0.9988

    Rapeseed

    1.0000

    Rice, Long

    0.9330

    Rice, Medium

    0.9887

    Rice, Temp Japonica

    0.9591

    Safflower

    1.0000

    Seed Cotton

    0.9000

    Sesame Seed

    0.9673

    Soybeans

    0.9000

    Sunflower Seed

    0.9396

    Wheat

    0.9545

    If the reported yield in any year is less than 75 percent of the 2013-2017 average county yield, the yield will be substituted with 75 percent of the county average yield.

    More information

    PLC yields may be updated on a covered commodity-by-covered commodity basis by submitting FSA form CCC-867to include a farm owner’s signature.

    For more information, reference resources, and decision tools, visit farmers.gov/arc-plc. Contact your local FSA county office for assistance at farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

  4. Governor Northam Announces More Than $8.4 Million to Support COVID-19 Recovery and Response Efforts in Rural Virginia

    Funding will help small businesses and community partners with rent relief, equipment purchases

    RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $8.4 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for 14 projects that will help rural communities across Virginia respond to recover from the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    “Our administration remains committed to investing in rural communities during this unprecedented health crisis and as we work to rebuild Virginia’s economy,” said Governor Northam. “This funding will go a long way to address the immediate needs of Virginia families and provide relief to small businesses, so they are better prepared for economic growth despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic.”

    Since 1982, the federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Virginia receives funding annually to distribute to small cities, towns, and counties, and funding is allocated among local government applicants through an open submission application process using objective scoring criteria developed in consultation with eligible localities. Large cities and counties receive direct allocation of CDBG resources from the federal government, so the state administered funds must focus on smaller and more rural regions of the state. This year, more than $20.4 million has been distributed to communities across Virginia through the CDBG program.

    DHCD reallocated existing CDBG funding to assist with COVID-19 response and recovery activities. Funding can be used for: 

    • Construction or rehab of structures for shelters
    • Testing or equipment manufacturing
    • Training programs for healthcare workers or service industry jobs transitioning to food or pharmaceutical delivery systems
    • Acquisition costs for telework or telemedicine services
    • Job creation or business development for manufacturing of COVID-related materials
    • Business assistance for job training or re-tooling business services to reopen and adapt in a new environment
    • Small business recovery funds for rent/mortgage assistance
    • Personal protective equipment, sanitization, dining equipment, and barrier devices to meet social distancing requirements

    “Virginia continues to take an innovative approach in providing resources to assist households and businesses throughout the Commonwealth as they navigate this pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “From housing to business assistance, this CDBG funding will create healthy and safe ways for Virginians to move forward with recovery efforts.”

    The following projects (among others) will receive CDBG funding:

    Brunswick County Small Business Recovery Assistance
    $520,000
    Brunswick County

    Brunswick County will provide recovery assistance to small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses will be able to apply for up to $5,000 for retooling and technology activities and up to $10,000 for three to six months of rent and mortgage relief. Brunswick County will work with its local partners to assist at least 40 businesses.

    Mecklenburg County Small Business Recovery Assistance
    $520,000
    Mecklenburg County

    Mecklenburg County will assist at least 40 businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses will be able to apply for up to $5,000 for retooling and technology activities and up to $10,000 for three to six months of rent and mortgage relief.

  5. SCOTT, WARNER INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO INCREASE ACCESS FOR DIABETES CARE

    WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced the PREVENT DIABETES Act. This legislation would increase access to the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) Expanded Model by allowing CDC-recognized virtual suppliers to participate in the program.

    "Diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in South Carolina and disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable communities,” said Senator Tim Scott. “The PREVENT DIABETES Act could deliver life-saving results for older Americans in the Palmetto State and across the country."

    "It’s no secret that diabetes is a disease that has disproportionately affected minority communities across the country. To ensure that all individuals have the tools needed to combat this preventable disease, the PREVENT DIABETES Act would help expand access to virtual classes under the existing Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program. This commonsense and cost-saving expansion will ensure that more Americans at-risk of developing diabetes who are living in either rural or medically underserved communities, can participate in this critical program that has been proven to delay the full onset of this preventable disease," said Sen. Warner.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is a higher prevalence of diabetes within minority populations. Diabetes affects 16.4 percent of Black adults, 14.9 percent of Asian adults, and 14.7 percent of Latino adults, compared to 11.9 percent of White adults. To help combat these alarming trends, the PREVENT DIABETES Act would provide access to virtual programs under the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) to help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. The MDPP Expanded Model (EM) leverages evidence-based interventions to prevent the full onset of type 2 diabetes in at-risk Medicare beneficiaries. Unfortunately, the existing MDPP Expanded Model is only available through in-person sessions, making it more difficult for individuals in rural or medically underserved areas to participate in the program.

    In October 2019, Senators Scott and Warner wrote to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to expand the program by administrative action and more recently, to allow beneficiaries to access the program via a virtual platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS has temporarily allowed individuals to access the program via a virtual platform during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this administrative change still excludes a number of providers and does not ensure long-term access to a virtual benefit. This legislation will improve access to the program by ensuring individuals can access the MDPP Expanded Model via virtual suppliers.

    This legislation is supported by American Diabetes Association, American Medical Association, Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, The Connected Health Initiative, Endocrine Society, Healthcare Leadership Council, Livongo, Noom, National Kidney Foundation, Novo Nordisk Inc., Omada Health, and YMCA of the USA.

    To view the one-pager, click here.

    Full text of the bill is available HERE.

  6. Etta Mae Bryant Jarratt

    May 10, 1939-September 27, 2020

    Etta Mae Bryant Jarratt, 81, of Jarratt, passed away Sunday, September 27, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Tom Jarratt and a grandson, Adam Bryant Harrell.

    Etta Mae is survived by her daughter, Joan Harrell and husband, Ricky; sons, Richard Benjamin Jones, Jr. and Benji Jarratt (Hope Pittman); grandson, Eric Jones and fiancée’, Brandy Nickelston; granddaughter-in-law, Samantha Jo Harrell and great-granddaughter, Ava Harrell.

    Funeral services will be private.

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

  7. ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING OUTLINES PROTECTIONS AGAINST VOTER INTIMIDATION

    ~ Herring issues advisory opinion outlining protections in both state and federal law against voter intimidation in response to recent events ~

    RICHMOND (September 24, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has issued an advisory opinion outlining protections in both state and federal law against voter intimidation in response to “reports of activity near polling places that led some voters to fear for their safety while waiting to cast their vote, or led them to believe that they would be harmed for supporting a particular candidate.”
     
    “Voting is a fundamental right and the bedrock of our democracy. No Virginian should ever feel intimidated or afraid while exercising their duty as an American and casting their vote,” said Attorney General Herring. “My hope is that the behavior we saw last week will not happen again, and I remain committed to ensuring that every Virginian is able to safely and comfortably cast their ballot without fearing for their safety or wellbeing.”
     
    Attorney General Herring concludes his opinion saying, “[t]he legitimacy of our government—and its success in fulfilling the promises of our Constitution—rely on the notion of uncoerced choice. Virginia and federal law protect the fundamental right to vote freely. Accordingly, it is my opinion that the conduct you describe could violate state and/or federal law if it threatens or intimidates voters casting their ballots at polling places.”
     
    The opinion outlines applicable provisions in the Code of Virginia “[that] expressly prohibit[] voter intimidation” including:
    • Section 24.2-607(A) makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor “’for any person to hinder, intimidate, or interfere with any qualified voter so as to prevent the voter from casting a secret ballot.’”
    • Section 24.2-1005 makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to use “’threats, bribery, or other means in violation of the election laws’ to ‘attempt[] to influence any person in giving his vote or ballot or . . . deter him from voting.’”
    • Section 24.2-1015, makes it a Class 5 felony to “’conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate, prevent, or hinder any citizen of this Commonwealth in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the provisions of [the election laws].’”
     
    The opinion also highlights provisions in the Virginia state code that “prohibit[] certain conduct at polling places that might interfere with the right to vote free from influence,” including:
    • Section 24.2-607(B) that says “’[n]o person shall conduct himself in a noisy or riotous manner at or about the polls so as to disturb the election.’”
    • “While polls are open, it is unlawful to ‘loiter or congregate,’ ‘give, tender, or exhibit any . . . campaign material,’ or ‘solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote’ within 40 feet of ‘any entrance of any polling place.’”
    • “It is also unlawful to ‘use[]’ a ‘loudspeaker…within 300 feet of a polling place on an election day.’”
     
    Additionally, the opinion notes that “Virginia and federal law provide that voters shall not be harassed for exercising their rights”, highlighting that “[b]oth state and local law protect citizens from violent threats, and in particular from being threatened with firearms” and that “[i]t is a criminal offense for private individuals to usurp the role of actual law enforcement, and it is accordingly unlawful to appear at the polls attempting to exercise roles that rightfully belong to law enforcement.” Attorney General Herring says that “[t]hese types of protection have an important history in our law. They have helped vindicate racial equality in voting, ensure the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws, and invoke the basic respect that is due every voter at the polls.”
     
    Other key passages from the opinion:
     
    In our democratic system of governance, the right to vote is “a fundamental political right.” Voting both ensures “a representative form of government” and also “preserv[es] . . . other basic civil and political rights.” “[T]he right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner” is therefore a “bedrock” principle in any “free and democratic society.” Intimidation of citizens who are seeking to vote is both illegal and antithetical to one of the basic promises that binds us together: that of democratic self-governance. [Page 1]
     
    Federal criminal law similarly provides that any person who “intimidates, threatens, [or] coerces” another person “for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose” in a federal election—or “attempts” to do the same—may be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year. [Page 2]
     
    Should they so choose, officers of election—with the consent of the locality’s chief law-enforcement officer—are empowered to “designate a law-enforcement officer” to “preserve order inside and outside at the polling place.” [Page 2]
     
    Voters similarly should not fear for their safety when voting, whether they are within the forty-foot zone of a polling place or in socially-distanced lines beyond that zone. [Page 2]
     
    Virginia law also prohibits carrying or possessing firearms or weapons at specific locations that may be used as polling places, such as schools and courthouses. [Page 3]
     
    Virginia law makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to “falsely assume[] or exercise[] the functions, powers, duties, and privileges incident to the office of sheriff, police officer, marshal, or other peace officer, or any local, city, county, state, or federal law-enforcement officer.” This criminal prohibition can apply to “a group of private militia members coming as a unit, heavily armed with assault-style weapons, dressed in fatigues and other military accessories, and acting in a coordinated fashion” where the “militia members patrol[] a line of citizens” and “project[] authority to manage the crowd.” [Page 3]
  8. Virginia early voting nears 200,000 in first week

    By Joseph Whitney Smith, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia voting is off to an active start, with tens of thousands of people hitting the polls during the 45-day early voting period. 

    Over 164,000 citizens have voted in person, while more than 926,000 absentee ballots have been issued as of Sept. 25, said Andrea Gaines, director of community relations and compliance support at the Virginia Department of Elections. Over half a million people returned absentee ballots in the 2016 presidential election, according to the department

    Breaking the traditional custom of voting on Election Day, the governor and other top officials hit the polls when they opened Sept. 18. The General Assembly earlier this year removed restrictions to vote absentee and allowed early, in-person voting until Oct. 31. The move allowed individuals to cast their ballots 45 days early.

    “While the pandemic has made this an unprecedented election year, Virginia voters have several safe and easy ways to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a press release. “Voting is an essential part of our democracy, and I encourage every Virginia voter to know their options and make a plan for safely casting their ballot.” 

    About 20 people were lined up, six-feet apart, to vote Friday morning at the Henrico County registrar’s office. Carrington Blencowe was one of the voters. She said that voting early is more convenient for her family. 

    “This makes it a lot easier than trying to vote the day of because it gives people more time and we’re a working country,” Blencowe said.

    Voters do not have to fill out an application to vote in person early.They just head to their general registrar’s office or satellite voting location, show ID and cast a ballot.

    Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, said previous early voting and absentee ballots were much more inconvenient. 

    “It involved signing a statement saying you had one of a range of acceptable excuses, they included military service, being away at college, travel plans, working from out of county, or disabilities,” Farnsworth said. “When you think about how much easier it is to vote via mail-in, my guess is that it will remain popular after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.”

    The last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 23. The Virginia Department of Electionsrecommends that applicants return their ballot as soon as possible due to the high number of ballots issued. In2018 and 2019,90% and 85% of requested absentee ballots were returned, respectively.

  9. Despite pandemic, some Virginia registrars report surge of poll workers

    By Will Gonzalez, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Several places in Virginia say they’ve seen a surge in people applying to be Election Day-workers, despite initial concerns there would be a shortage.

    The U.S. is facing a nationwide poll workers shortage, Gov. Ralph Northam said in a Tweet posted in early September urging Virginians to apply for the position. Some districts expected a shortage because they anticipated high turnout. Poll workers fulfill a variety of part-time and full-time roles, from assisting with absentee ballot distribution, answering phone calls, supervising early voting, and helping at the polls on Election Day. 

    Before polls opened last week, Virginia Beach said it needed 1,200 poll workers this year instead of the 800 they usually have, according to CBS-3 (WTKR-TV). 

    On the other hand, Arlington County, posted online that it has filled “beyond capacity” its need for poll workers in its 54 precincts. No shortage of poll workers is expected in Fairfax County, which will have more than 3,800 election officers to work the county’s 243 polling locations, about half of which are first-time poll workers, according to Brian Worthy, a Fairfax County spokesperson. The county’s 3,800 workers this year is about 500 more than it had in the last election, and extra staff is on hand to process the mail-in ballots.

    “Unlike other jurisdictions that I’ve heard may be having difficulty recruiting election officers, Fairfax County has experienced a very strong interest from people who want to serve,” Worthy stated over email. “In fact, we’ve had about ten times the normal number of people apply to become election officers.” 

    Recruiting poll workers is also not an issue in Orange County, located 20 miles from Charlottesville. Donna Harpold, the county’s director of elections and general registrar, said she doesn’t know if being in a smaller county impacts volunteer availability compared to Northern Virginia.

    “They obviously have the population advantage, but that may also lead to people being more wary of serving due to exposure concerns,” Harpold wrote in an email.

     Lisa Betterton, general registrar and director of elections in Isle of Wight, which has roughly 37,000 residents, said the Hampton Roads county has plenty of poll workers.

    Poll workers and voters have expressed concern over potential exposure to the COVID-19 if polls are crowded on Election Day. Many people who volunteer at polling places across the country are retirees, the most at-risk demographic for serious complications and death from the disease. Election officials in Washington D.C. decided this year that working at a poll will count toward the community service hours required to graduate high school in the district.

    Breaking with the tradition of voting on Election Day, Virginia’s top officials cast their votes on Sept. 18, the first day polls were open. Northam emphasized voters will have “several safe and easy ways” to vote. Over 164,000 residents hit the polls within the first week, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

    Virginia has allocated federal CARES Act funding to ensure that election officers have personal protective equipment and Virginia Medical Reserve Corps volunteers will assist at polling places to ensure social distancing and sanitization measures are followed, according to Northam’s office.

    Voters are required to wear masks. In order to limit physical interaction between individuals and to avoid voters sharing pens, Fairfax County will provide voters with “I voted” pens that they can use to fill out their ballots and keep instead of offering stickers.

    The General Assembly passed several bills in the spring to make voting easier, such as turning Election Day into a state holiday, no excuse required to vote absentee and allowing early voting 45 days ahead of the election. Residents may vote early at their local registrar’s office from Sept. 18 to Oct. 31, or request a mail-in absentee ballot until Oct. 23, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

  10. Sean Rae Pair

    June 11, 1938-September 23, 2020

    Visitation Greveside Services

    2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 27, 2020

    Echols Funeral Home
    806 Brunswick Avenue
    Emporia, Virginia

    3:00 P.M., Sunday, September 27, 2020

    Greensville Memorial Cemetery
    1250 Skippers Avenue

    Emporia, Virginia

    Sean Rae Pair, 82, passed away on September 23, 2020. He was the son of the late Thomas Wayne Pair and Lillie Mitchell Pair. He was preceded in death by his brother, Roy Pair, sister, Emmogene Morgan. He is survived by his two sons, Michael Wayne Pair of Roanoke Rapids, NC., Darryl Pair (Amy) of Roanoke Rapids, NC., six grandchildren, Michael Curt Pair, Stephanie Pair Mitchell, Lizzie Pair, Exia Pair, Rachel Pair, Landen Pair, all of Roanoke Rapids, NC., three great-grandchildren, Makayla Pair Luke Pair, Mckenzie Hamilton. Sean Pair served in the National Guard and was the owner of a retail furniture store (Mattress Center Discounters).

    The family will receive friends from 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at Echols Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 3:00 P.M., Sunday, September 27, 2020, with Rev. John Kinsley officiating. Interment to follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

    Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

  11. Cameron Cole Pearson

    March 26, 2005-September 20, 2020

    Graveside Services

    Saturday, September 26 at 1:00

    Independence United Methodist Church Cemetery
    4438 Independence Church Road
    Emporia, Virginia

    Livestream Available Here

    Cameron Cole Pearson went to be with God on Sunday, September 20. He was the sweetest boy and will be remembered by the many people he touched in his short life.

    He loved hunting with his uncle and friends at the hunt club, fishing, spending time with Jackson and Kyle, playing Xbox with friends all over the world, listening to music, and he loved his mom most of all.

    He will be greeted in Heaven by his granddaddy, William Pearson. He is survived by his mother, Pam Pearson, his grandmother, JoAnn Pearson, aunts Sandy Pearson, Susan Moore (Calvin), Jennifer Jones (Ted), cousins Brandon, Billie Jean, Jordan, Morgan, Jenna and Ava, his great aunt Evangeline Taylor (Harry) and his dog, Chloe.

    There will be a small graveside service at Independence United Methodist Church on Saturday, September 26 at 1:00. The service will also stream on the church’s Facebook page. Donations in his honor may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, The American Heart Association, or Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

  12. School Board Vacancy in Nottoway District

    The Greensville County School Board announces a vacancy on its Board.  Citizens residing in the Nottoway Voting District may apply for appointment to the School Board as an interim School Board member.  The interim School Board member will serve until a Special Election is held.

    Applicants must meet requirements of the Code of Virginia for School Board membership including, at the time of his/her appointment or election, the applicant be a qualified voter and bone fide resident of the district from which he/she will represent if appointed or elected by district.  If a School Board member ceases to meet these residency requirements, he/she shall be deemed to have vacated his/her position on the School Board.  A School Board member cannot be an employee of the School Board of which he/she is a member and cannot hold an incompatible dual office.

    Interested applicants should submit or deliver a letter of interest to

    Mr. Jason Rook
    105 Ruffin Street
    Emporia, VA  23847

    Letters must be received on or before close of business on September 28, 2020.  (Please include address of current residence, email address, and phone number in the letter of interest.)

  13. Jones Pharmacy Team Wins Jackson-Feild’s Golf Tournament

    The Winning Team: the Jones LTC Pharmacy Team.

    Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services held is 25th anniversary tournament on September 21st at the Country Club of the Highlands in Chesterfield County. It was a picture perfect day for golf and the course was in perfect shape. Hardees, who has served as the tournament sponsor since day one provided a box lunch for each player. Players teed off at 1:00 p.m. and the format was captain’s choice.

    This year’s tournament was like no other due to COVID-19 guidelines. Nevertheless the golfers had a great time in spite of current restrictions and appreciated the opportunity to support the children and mission of Jackson-Feild.

    The Jones LTC pharmacy team shot a tournament best sixty-one which is eleven strokes under par for the course.  The team Jones team consisted of John Jones, Johnny Jones, Rick Jones and Steve Abernathy. Jones LTC Pharmacy has been a sponsor of this event for years and their team always has a strong showing and finishes in the top three teams annually.

    Proceeds from the 2020 tournament will be used to fund services for which Jackson-Feild receives no reimbursement primarily Neurotherapy services and educational scholarships to fund the education of children whose school division does not pay for their education.

    This tournament has raised over $550,000 since its inception and the funds have been used for a variety of need including special projects, capital purchases, capital improvements and educational scholarships.

  14. VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA REACH SETTLEMENT OVER DAN RIVER SPILL

    ~ 2014 Duke Energy spill resulted in approximately 27 million gallons of coal ash wastewater and between 30,000 and 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River ~

    RICHMOND (September 21, 2020) – Attorney General Herring, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have entered into a consent decree to finalize the restoration plan and environmental assessment related to the 2014 Dan River spill.
     
    “This final restoration plan ensures that any damage caused by the Dan River spill is reversed and restored, as well as holds those who were responsible for the spill accountable,” said Attorney General Herring. “The community was directly impacted by this spill and I’m glad we were able to involve them in coming up with a suitable plan for everyone. I want to thank our state and federal partners for their help and collaboration on reaching this important settlement.”
     
    Four projects have been selected as meeting these goals and three of those have already been completed as early restoration. Completion of the last project – improved recreational access to the Dan River – is expected after the court filing. Selected projects include:
     
    • Acquisition and conservation of the Mayo River floodplain and riverbank adding up to 619 acres to the Mayo River State Parks in North Carolina and Virginia for long-term stewardship (completed)
    • Aquatic habitat restoration in the Pigg River via removal of the Power Dam returning riverine conditions to 2.2 miles, benefitting game fish such as smallmouth bass, and the federally and state listed Roanoke logperch and other nongame fish (completed)
    • Establishment of public boat launch facilities on the Dan River (ongoing)
    • Improvements to the Abreu Grogan Park in Danville, Virginia, including new amenities and other improvements that address impacts related to park closure during spill response activities (completed)
     
    “Transparent community involvement was a vital part of this multi-agency partnership between Virginia and North Carolina as we shaped the important projects in the restoration plan to rehabilitate our natural resources,” said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “Filing the consent decree will ensure all work is completed to enhance cleaner water, beautiful landscapes and our many outdoor recreation venues.”
     
    On February 2, 2014, a stormwater pipe underneath the primary coal ash basin at the Duke Energy Dan River Steam Station failed, resulting in the spill of approximately 27 million gallons of coal ash wastewater and between 30,000 and 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River, resulting in documented ash or ash-like material co-mingled with native sediment in North Carolina and Virginia as far as 70 river miles downstream.
     
    The Dan River spill NRDAR process included collecting and reviewing monitoring data in the Dan River for several years after the completion of the cleanup, as well as identifying projects that would restore the habitat and gathering public input about those project ideas. In October 2014, the Trustees invited restoration project ideas from the public to help identify the types and scale of restoration needed to compensate for those injuries. Public feedback showed support for land protection and conservation projects, dam removals, and increasing public access to the river.
     
    The final restoration plan and environmental assessment can be found here.

    (Editor's Note: While this spill was out of the Emporia News reading area, the Dan River is a tributary of the Roanake River. Conditions upriver have the potential to effect conditions downriver; including the Kerr Reservoir, Lake Gaston, Roanoke Rapids Lake and the Roanoke River, all recreation and angling areas used by local readers.)

  15. Governor Northam Announces Refinancing Plan to Save Virginia Colleges and Universities More Than $300 Million Over Next Two Years

    FAIRFAX—Governor Ralph Northam today announced a higher education refinancing plan that will save Virginia’s public colleges and universities more than $300 million over the next two years. The Commonwealth of Virginia will take advantage of low interest rates by refinancing bonds issued by the Treasury Board of Virginia (TBV) and the Virginia College Building Authority (VCBA), which institutions of higher education use for capital projects. The Governor was joined by George Mason University President Dr. Gregory Washington and state legislators for the announcement at the university’s Fairfax campus.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have tremendous impacts on higher education, including the fiscal health of our colleges and universities,” said Governor Northam. “Families all over the country are taking advantage of record low interest rates to refinance their home mortgages, and we want our public institutions to benefit as well. Refinancing will free up millions of dollars in savings allowing our colleges and universities to make critical investments, meet the needs of Virginia students, and continue offering a world-class education.”

    Virginia has successfully avoided cuts to higher education during the pandemic. The Commonwealth has worked hard to maintain its valued AAA bond rating, which has allowed the state to be eligible for these favorable interest rates.

    “Our public higher education institutions are critical to Virginia’s success, and we know they are hurting right now,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Janet Howell. “Allowing them to refinance some of their debt is an innovative way to save money when they need it most, and I look forward to supporting the legislative portion of this proposal next session.”

    Many Virginia colleges and universities have seen a decline in revenue traditionally used for bond payments. These institutions are also navigating uncertainty regarding in-person learning, with many unsure when or how students will return to campus. Under the Governor’s plan, institutions will make no principal payments on their VCBA bonds through fiscal year 2023. The proposed restructuring would also extend institutions’ payment plans for two years beyond their current schedule, for both VCBA and TBV bonds.

    “As stewards of the Commonwealth’s finances, we are always seeking creative solutions to financial issues,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Torian. “Helping public colleges and universities restructure their debt obligations allows them to focus their resources on the pressing needs they face right now as a result of the pandemic.”

    As part of his plan, Governor Northam will work with the General Assembly to allow additional flexibility for higher education refinancing during the 2021 General Assembly session.

    “Governor Northam is committed to supporting Virginia’s institutions of higher education,” said Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne. “These savings will make a tremendous difference for our colleges and universities as they navigate these challenging times.”

    The following savings are expected:

    • Christopher Newport University: $14.4 million
    • George Mason University: $58.3 million
    • James Madison University: $43.7 million
    • Longwood University: $8.2 million
    • Norfolk State University: $8.2 million
    • Old Dominion University: $29.8 million
    • Radford University: $5.1 million
    • Richard Bland College of William & Mary: $320,000
    • University of Mary Washington: $9.3 million
    • University of Virginia: $344,000
    • Virginia Commonwealth University: $23.1 million
    • Virginia Community College System: $9.7 million
    • Virginia Military Institute: $2.8 million
    • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: $40.1 million
    • Virginia State University: $12.8 million
    • William & Mary: $33.7 million
  16. Emporia Medical Center Welcomes New Provider

    Emporia Medical Center is pleased to announce that Rasha Kafi, FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) has joined our medical team.

    Rasha Kafi, FNP-C

    Rasha Kafi attended Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and graduated in 2015 with her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).  She continued her education at George Washington University School of Nursing and earned her MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner in 2019.  Rasha also has a BS (Bachelor of Science) degree in Global and Community Health from George Mason University.

    Rasha worked as an RN for four years and 8 months (January 2016-August 2020) in the Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.  She also worked as a Certified Nurse Practitioner at the GYN office (Women’s Health Partners LLC) for three months, in Maryland.  Then, in the Spring of 2020, she had a three-month contract position at Chimes Organization, working mainly with COVID-19 positive patients.  On August 17, 2020 Rasha Kafi became the newest addition to the Southern Dominion Health System, Inc. medical team.

    Rasha Kafi is a certified Family Nurse practitioner and is also certified in chemotherapy biotherapy.  Her special interest includes Women’s health and oncology.  Rasha enjoys traveling, shopping, and reading.

    Rasha Kafi is currently seeing patients at Emporia Medical Center Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm.  She welcomes all ages, scheduled appointments, and same day appointments. Please call (434) 634-7723.  Emporia Medical Center is located at 510 N. Main Street, Emporia, VA 23847.

  17. MEMBERS OF CONGRESS DEMAND RESPONSE FROM BUREAU OF PRISONS REGARDING WORSENING CONDITIONS AT VIRGINIA FACILITIES

    ~ Lack of PPE, limited access to essential facilities & worsening food are among some of the issues at Virginia’s facilities ~

    WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with Reps. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), demanded answers from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regarding reports of troubling conditions at Virginia facilities amid the COVID-19 crisis. Expressing frustration with Director Michael Carvajal’s failure to respond to a letter from earlier this year, the lawmakers pressed for answers concerning an ongoing lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and diminished quality of life for incarcerated individuals.

    “Nearly four months ago, we sent you a letter detailing the significant risks and challenges COVID-19 posed to the health and safety of staff, incarcerated individuals at FCC Petersburg and USP Lee, and the surrounding communities. We remain deeply concerned that the conditions within those facilities have failed to improve – and in many ways, appear to have deteriorated,” the lawmakers wrote. “One area of particular concern is the continued lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). According to employees at FCC Petersburg, both staff and incarcerated individuals are forced to re-use supplies and masks, which presents serious health and safety risks. Given the close quarters and frequent person-to-person interaction, correctional staff and incarcerated individuals are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Lack of PPE also creates additional risk of community spread outside the facilities. Relatedly, we have learned from facility staff that showers are restricted for individuals incarcerated at FCC Petersburg, a policy which further exacerbates sanitation and hygiene issues during a global pandemic.”

    “We have also received numerous reports related to other declining conditions at FCC Petersburg. It is our understanding that access to outdoor recreation, exercise facilities, and phones have been reduced due to the pandemic. We recognize the importance of limiting large group gatherings, and that coordinating these activities can present logistical, health, and safety challenges. However, it is imperative that correctional facilities find new ways to maintain and support a healthy quality of life for incarcerated individuals during this crisis,” they continued. “We have also heard disturbing reports that the food the incarcerated individuals are receiving has declined significantly in both quantity and quality, including being served spoiled food. Such conditions are unacceptable.”

    In Virginia, there are two federal correctional institutions in operation, including the U.S. Penitentiary in Lee County and the Petersburg Federal Correctional Complex. Correctional officers at Virginia’s facilities are responsible for approximately 4,144 incarcerated individuals.

    In their letter, the four members of Congress also raised concern with reports that correctional staff at FCI Petersburg continue to be denied a lunch break despite working shifts as long as sixteen hours – an issue originally raised in the lawmakers’ May 21st letter. Calling this “unacceptable and dangerous,” they encouraged Director Carvajal to institute a nation-wide break policy in order to address correctional staff’s basic needs.

    Additionally, they expressed dismay regarding the transfer of incarcerated individuals between facilities, highlighting that at least one person with a positive case of COVID-19 was transferred to USP Lee. The lawmakers noted that this this lapse in judgment could result in an entirely preventable COVID-19 outbreak inside the prison, endangering staff, inmates and local communities.

    The members of Congress have advocated for vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Earlier this year, they requested answers from Director Carvajal regarding issues at the Virginia facilities. Sen. Warner also joined his Senate colleagues in a letter to BOP and the three largest private prison operators inquiring about any policies and procedures in place to manage a potential spread of COVID-19.

    Additionally, Sen. Warner and Kaine have urged the Trump Administration time and time and time again to cease the inter-state transfer of people held at immigration detention facilities during the public health crisis.

    Full text of today’s letter is available here or below.

    Dear Director Carvajal:

    We write to reiterate our serious concerns about the health and safety of staff and individuals incarcerated at Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Petersburg and United States Penitentiary (USP) Lee, the two federal correctional facilities in Virginia, and to express our severe frustration at your failure to respond to our letter from May 21, 2020. After speaking with employees and the families of individuals incarcerated at both facilities, it is clear that the situation is worsening. According to figures shared with our offices, there are over 200 incarcerated individuals and at least 12 staff who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at FCC Petersburg.

    Nearly four months ago, we sent you a letter detailing the significant risks and challenges COVID-19 posed to the health and safety of staff, incarcerated individuals at FCC Petersburg and USP Lee, and the surrounding communities. We remain deeply concerned that the conditions within those facilities have failed to improve – and in many ways, appear to have deteriorated.

    One area of particular concern is the continued lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). According to employees at FCC Petersburg, both staff and incarcerated individuals are forced to re-use supplies and masks, which presents serious health and safety risks. Given the close quarters and frequent person-to-person interaction, correctional staff and incarcerated individuals are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Lack of PPE also creates additional risk of community spread outside the facilities. Relatedly, we have learned from facility staff that showers are restricted for individuals incarcerated at FCC Petersburg, a policy which further exacerbates sanitation and hygiene issues during a global pandemic.

    We have also received numerous reports related to other declining conditions at FCC Petersburg. It is our understanding that access to outdoor recreation, exercise facilities, and phones have been reduced due to the pandemic. We recognize the importance of limiting large group gatherings, and that coordinating these activities can present logistical, health, and safety challenges. However, it is imperative that correctional facilities find new ways to maintain and support a healthy quality of life for incarcerated individuals during this crisis. We have also heard disturbing reports that the food the incarcerated individuals are receiving has declined significantly in both quantity and quality, including being served spoiled food. Such conditions are unacceptable.  

    Further, as we detailed in our letter nearly four months ago, correctional staff at FCC Petersburg continue to be denied a lunch break, despite reportedly working shifts as long as sixteen hours. This is unacceptable and dangerous. We once again encourage you to institute a break policy—not only at the Petersburg facility, but at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) facilities across the nation—that more appropriately responds to correctional staff’s basic needs.

    Additionally, we are particularly dismayed to learn that, despite our concerns, BOP is transferring individuals to facilities without a record of COVID-19 cases. A group of individuals was recently transferred to USP Lee, which included at least one person with a positive case of COVID-19. Such transfers are a potentially deadly lapse in judgment. USP Lee is one of the largest employers in Lee County, Virginia, and not only could this transfer result in an entirely preventable outbreak inside the prison, it is also dangerous for the public health of local community members. 

    Finally, your failure to respond to our serious concerns is further heightened by the recent announcement from the BOP that facilities will allow visitations to resume in early October. While we agree that resuming visitations is incredibly important for incarcerated individuals and their families, proper protocols must be in place and followed to ensure the health and safety of the incarcerated individuals, their families, and the surrounding communities. We urge you to take all available steps to ensure vitiations can resume as soon as possible while preserving the health and safety of visitors, staff, and incarcerated individuals.

    Given the magnitude of the worsening conditions at USP Lee and FCC Petersburg, we demand an immediate response to how BOP is addressing our concerns by no later than October 5, 2020. As COVID-19 continues to present a significant health challenge at FCC Petersburg and USP Lee, and the surrounding communities, we are committed to working with you to address the needs of incarcerated individuals and correctional staff.

    We appreciate your attention to these important issues impacting our constituents and look forward to your prompt response.

    Sincerely,

     

     

  18. McEachin Statement on House Passage of Strength in Diversity Act

    RICHMOND, V.A.  Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today released the following statement on the House passage of the Strength in Diversity Act, legislation he co-sponsored to support local communities in thier efforts to desegregate public schools:

     

    "More than 60 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, school systems across our country are more segregated today than at any time since the 1960s. This is unacceptable (or whatever word choice you think is best) and we must do more to make education a more diverse and inclusive experience. 

     

    "Today, I was pleased to join my House colleagues in passing the Strength in Diversity Act, which will take meaningful steps toward fulfilling the promise of equity in education. This bill provides critical funding to support school districts’ efforts to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity in the classroom and across school district lines. 

     

    "Together, we can move our communities beyond compliance solely with the letter of the law and towards continued progress in increasing diversity in schools and ensuring an equitable learning experiences for all students."

     

     

    About the Strength in Diversity Act

    The Strength in Diversity Act helps fulfill the promise of equity in education by offering support to districts that are developing, implementing, or expanding school diversity initiatives. The bill:

    • Establishes a grant program that provides federal funding to support voluntary local efforts to increase diversity in schools. Grants could fund a range of proposals, including (but not limited to):
      • Studying segregation, evaluating current policies, and developing evidence-based plans to address socioeconomic and racial isolation.
         
      • Establishing public school choice zones, revising school boundaries, or expanding equitable access to transportation for students.
         
      • Creating or expanding innovative school programs that can attract students from outside the local area. 
         
      • Recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers to support specialized schools.
    • Supports the development and maintenance of best practices for grantees and experts in the field of school diversity.
       
    • Makes available grant funding to school districts, independently or in collaboration with neighboring districts, as well as regional educational authorities and educational service agencies.

    The Strength in Diversity Act is endorsed by: American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD); Center on Law, Inequality, and Metropolitan Equity – Rutgers Law School; Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice – Harvard Law School; Integrate NYC4me; Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Legal Defense Fund, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP-LDF); The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Magnet Schools of America; National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP); National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP); National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD); National Education Association (NEA); National Women’s Law Center (NWLC); New York Appleseed; the Office of Transformation and Innovation at the Dallas Independent School District; Poverty & Race Research Action Council; The School Superintendents Association (AASA); Unidos; and the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation.
     

  19. National Small Business Week to Kick-off September 22-24

    SBA Hosts Virtual Event to Honor America’s Small Businesses

    WASHINGTON – Today, Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, announced the kick-off for National Small Business Week. The virtual event, rescheduled from May due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be held September 22-24. National Small Business Week honors the nation’s small businesses, many of which are veteran, women and minority-owned, for their achievements and dedication to their communities. This year’s National Small Business Week activities will include numerous educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as our nation’s small businesses look to pivot and recover toward a stronger economy. The event will recognize the national award winners, including the naming of this year’s National Small Business Person of the Year.

    “I am thrilled to host SBA’s virtual National Small Business Week ceremony and provide this opportunity to recognize inspiring entrepreneurs from across the country for their innovation, and in many cases this year, resilience,” said SBA Administrator Carranza. “This year, we will spotlight America’s outstanding small businesses and their stories of perseverance and their ability to pivot and overcome adversity.  This event will also feature many educational forums that will inspire entrepreneurs around the country as they recover and sustain their operations.”

    National Small Business Week will also recognize small business advocates for their involvement in disaster recovery, government contracting, and their support for small businesses and entrepreneurship.  Awards will be presented to SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development, including top SCORE Chapter, Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, and Veterans Business Outreach Center.

    For registration and additional information on National Small Business Week, please visit sba.gov/NSBW

  20. Mary Belle Harrison Parker Nye

    Photo Caption

    July 28, 1933-September 20, 2020

    Visitation Services

    5-7 p.m. Friday, September 25

    Owen Funeral Home
    303 S. Halifax Rd
    Jarratt, Virginia

     

    11 a.m. Saturday, September 26

    Owen Funeral Home
    303 S. Halifax Rd
    Jarratt, Virginia

     

    Mary Belle Harrison Parker Nye, 87, of Jarratt, Virginia, departed this life on Sunday, September 20, 2020 to go be with her Father in Heaven, along with many departed loved ones and pets. Born to Claude and Pearl Harrison on July 28, 1933, Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 39 years, Garland Slade Parker. She was also preceded in death by her son, Garland Slade "Rusty" Parker and her second husband, Abner Alexander Nye. 

    At a young age, Mary started her career at Johns-Manville Corporation in Jarratt. She retired from Georgia-Pacific Corporation, (which bought the Johns-Manville plant at Jarratt), after 43 years of service. She also worked as the Town Clerk of Jarratt and eventually became the Mayor after serving on Town Council. She was very active in her community and in her church, Centenary United Methodist Church in Jarratt where she served as Treasurer for many years and was also on several committees. She also served as delegate for the church conference. She was an officer in the Quarter Century Club of Johns-Manville. Earlier in life, she was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Stony Creek Chapter. Mary was an incredibly talented person, as evidenced by her many accomplishments. She used to make her own fresh evergreen Christmas decorations, and even made her children's clothes. Mary loved God, her husbands, her children, stepchildren, her friends and her beloved pets. 

    Mary is survived by her daughters, Sherri Dawn Parker and companion, Bill Dutton, Jr. and Sandra Slade Parker York and husband, Peter York of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and a number of nieces and nephews; step-sons, Paul Nye and wife, Diane and Peter Nye and wife, Valerie. She is also survived by her special friend, Hazel Ann Leonard and her beloved cats, who brought her much company near the end of her life. 

    The family will receive friends 5-7 p.m. Friday, September 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd in Jarratt where the funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, September 26. (Please consider all protocols of social distancing and face coverings). Private family interment will follow. 

    Floral tributes are welcomed, as Mary loved her flowers, but if you prefer a memorial donation please make it to Centenary United Methodist Church, P.O Box 472, Jarratt, Virginia 23867 or to the Emporia-Greensville Humane Society, 113 Baker St., Emporia, Virginia 23847.

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

  21. Southside Virginia Community College Named a “2020 Great College to Work For”

    Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) 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 recently in a special insert of The Chronicle of Higher Education, are based on a survey of 221 colleges and universities. In all, 79 of the 221 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with SVCC included among the medium colleges and universities with 3,000 to 9,999 students.

    Southside Virginia Community College won honors in three categories this year:

     * Job Satisfaction

     * Work-Life Balance

     * Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship

    “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.  It that sense everyone at SVCC helps to make this a great place to work,” said SVCC president, Dr. Quentin R. Johnson. 

    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 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 previous recognized institutions, visit the Great Colleges program website at http://www.greatcollegesprogram.com. ModernThink, a strategic human capital consulting firm, administered the survey and analyzed the results.

  22. Governor Northam Announces Expansion of $70 Million Rebuild VA Grant Fund for Small Businesses, Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19

    Eligibility criteria expanded to include businesses that received federal CARES Act funds, supply chain partners affected by closures

    RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Rebuild VA, the $70 million economic recovery fund launched in August, is expanding its eligibility criteria to allow more small businesses to apply. Businesses that received funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and supply chain partners of businesses whose normal operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are now eligible to receive grants of up to $10,000. Businesses that have received federal funds must certify that they will only use the Rebuild VA grant for recurring expenses and that the grant will not be used to cover the same expenses as the other CARES Act funds.

    Rebuild VA, which is administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), successfully launched on August 10. SBSD and its program partners, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, made the decision to expand eligibility criteria after analysis of eligible and ineligible applications received within the first 30 days of the launch.

    “When we initially launched Rebuild VA, we focused on reaching the small businesses and nonprofit organizations most in need,” said Governor Northam. “I am deeply grateful for the work of our state agencies to swiftly adjust the parameters of this program so we can assist more Virginia businesses as they weather this health crisis and build back stronger.”

    Eligible businesses and nonprofits must demonstrate that their normal operations were limited by Governor Northam’s Executive Orders Fifty-Three or Fifty-Five, or that they were directly impacted by the closure of such businesses. In March, Governor Northam took executive action to protect the health and safety of Virginians, which included limiting operations for food and beverage, non-essential brick and mortar retail, exercise and fitness, entertainment and public amusement, personal care and personal grooming, and private campground and overnight summer camps. Expanded business sectors now eligible to apply for Rebuild VA grants include small hotels and bed and breakfasts lodging facilities along with film companies supporting production in the Commonwealth. Businesses that provide goods or services for those identified in one or more of the eligible business categories previously mentioned are now eligible.

    Businesses must also certify that they have not received grant or loan dollars from federal, state, or local CARES Act funded programs, or if they have received CARES Act funding, that they will use the Rebuild VA grant only for recurring expenses. These businesses must also certify that the Rebuild VA funds will not be used to cover the same expenses as other CARES Act funds.

    Rebuild VA still requires that businesses and nonprofit organizations must be in good standing, have annual gross revenues of no more than $1.5 million, and have no more than 25 employees.

    Rebuild VA funding may be utilized for the following eligible expenses:

    • Payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave;
    • Employee salaries;
    • Mortgage payments, rent, and utilities;
    • Principal and interest payments for any business loans from national or state-chartered banking, savings and loan institutions, or credit unions, that were incurred before or during the emergency;
    • Eligible personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting materials, or other working capital needed to address COVID-19 response.

    For additional information about Rebuild VA, expanded eligibility criteria, covered expenses, and how to submit an application, please visit governor.virginia.gov/RebuildVA.

  23. Joanne Newsome House

    May 25, 1936-September 18, 2020

    Visitation

    Thursday, September 24, 2020, from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M

    Echols Funeral Home
    806 Brunswick Avenue
    Emporia, Virginia

    Joanne Newsome House, 84, passed away on September 18, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas A. House, son, William Smith, brothers, Robert Newsome, Albert Newsome, John Newsome, Russell Newsome, Irvin Newsome, Oliver Newsome. She is survived by her sons, Robert Smith (Tracy) of Colonial Heights.VA, James Smith (Bobbie Jo) of Hopewell, VA., brothers, Richard Newsome (Stalla) of Emporia, VA., Donald Newsome (Marion) of Emporia, VA., Frankie Newsome (Linda) of Sedley, VA., Butch Newsome (Ruth) of Myrtle Beach, SC, along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    The family will receive friends at Echols Funeral Home, Thursday, September 24, 2020, from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

    In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a charity of ones’ choice.

    Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

  24. Poll of Virginia voters favors Biden; shows mixed support for mail-in voting

    By Anya Sczerzenie, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- A poll released this week by the Virginia Commonwealth University L. Douglas Wilder School of Government shows presidential candidate Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner leading by double-digit margins in the commonwealth. 

    The Richmond-based university conducted a telephone poll of just over 800 adults from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7. 

    The results show Democratic nominee Biden ahead of President Donald Trump by 14 percentage points (53% to 39%). Warner, a Democrat who has represented Virginia in Congress for more than a decade, is ahead of his Republican challenger Daniel Gade by 17 percentage points (55% to 38%). The poll had a margin of error of 5.17 percentage points for all adults sampled and 6.22 percentage points for likely voters.

    Biden is leading in the Northern, South Central and Tidewater regions of the state, while Trump leads in Western and Northwestern Virginia. 

    Stephen Farnsworth, director at the Fredericksburg-based University of Mary Washington Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said that Trump’s message resonates with rural voters in the western part of the state.

    “His focus on the message of Christian conservatives resonates well in rural areas,” Farnsworth said. “Trump has appointed politically conservative judges, and Christians have been well served by him.”

    Farnsworth said that Trump tends to lose in suburban areas of Virginia such as Northern Virginia, where voters tend to be socially progressive but fiscally conservative.

    The poll also provided insight into the demographics of Biden voters. 

    “Something that was interesting was the strength of women as an indicator of support for Biden,” said Farrah Stone, who directed the VCU poll.

    Women were more likely to support Biden over Trump by 22 percentage points (58% to 36%). Men preferred Biden over Trump by five percentage points (47% to 42%). In July, a Wilder School poll found that men were more likely to say they would vote for Trump.

    The poll also shows Biden’s nomination of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate does not significantly affect his support among women or minorities. 

    “If you’re looking at Kamala Harris, there aren’t significant differences between whites and minorities, or men and women,” Stone said. “What was significant was whether you were a Democrat or Republican.” 

    Farnsworth said that vice presidential candidates often don’t change people’s votes, but they can help a candidate by increasing turnout among people who support the candidate but wouldn’t otherwise vote.

    “If Biden’s pick of Harris ramps up turnout among African American voters, then that was a smart decision by Biden,” Farnsworth said. “This election is largely frozen in place; there aren’t many voters who are undecided.”

    Hillary Clinton secured a Democratic victory in the commonwealth during the last presidential race, beating Trump by over 212,000 votes. The 2016 turnout of registered voters was higher than in 2012, but lower than 2008, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. 

    The poll also asked voters about an issue that has recently come to the forefront of election news: the reliability of mail-in voting. 

    Virginians are split on whether mail-in voting is trustworthy. When combined, 50% of respondents are “somewhat or very confident” that mail-in votes will be accurately cast and counted, while a combined 48% are not too or not at all confident about the process. Trust in mail-in voting is affected by party affiliation, with a majority of Republicans finding it untrustworthy, according to the VCU poll. 

    “The differences are significant across party lines, which line up with voting and support for Trump,” Stone said. 

    Sixty-seven percent of Republicans said they were “not at all” or “not too” confident in the accuracy of mail-in ballots. 

    “Trump has tried to increase public doubts about mail-in voting,” Farnsworth said. “No previous candidates have emphasized mail-in voting this much, but it’s never been this significant before.”

  25. Virginia Department of Health Confirms First Age 10 – 19 Fatality Due to COVID-19

    RICHMOND, VA — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that an adolescent resident in the Southside Health District who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. This is the first reported COVID-19 death of a child in the Commonwealth. VDH will disclose no further information about the teenager to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family.

    “We were extremely saddened to learn of the loss of the state’s first adolescent with COVID-19. On behalf of all of us at VDH, I extend sincere condolences to the teenager’s family and loved ones,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A.  “No age group is immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this unfortunate event, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing in some areas of the Commonwealth, is a reminder that we all need to do our part to help slow the spread of virus in the community.”

    This fatality will be reflected on the data dashboard update for Saturday, September 19, 2020.

    To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

    • Stay home as much as possible, except for essential travel;
    • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
    • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals;
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
    • Stay home when you are sick;
    • Avoid contact with sick people;
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
    • If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor; and
    • Avoid large gatherings and contact with crowds, especially with those not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing guidelines.

    For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

  26. Virginia bill seeks to guarantee free school meals to students advances to Senate

    By Aliviah Jones, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill this month to provide free school meals for 109,000 more public school students in the commonwealth.

    House Bill 5113, introduced by Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, passed the chamber unanimously. Roem’s bill requires eligible public elementary and secondary schools to apply for the Community Eligibility Provision through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.

    “School food should be seen as an essential service that is free for everyone regardless of their income,” Roem said.

    The program allows all students in an eligible school to receive free breakfast and lunch. Currently, 425 schools are eligible for CEP but don’t take part in the program, according to a document that details the financial impact of the legislation. More than 420 schools and 200,000 students participated in CEP during the 2018 to 2019 school year, according to the Virginia Department of Education. 

    The bill allows eligible schools to opt out of the program if participating is not financially possible.
    Most Virginia food banks have purchased twice as much food each month since the pandemic started when compared to last year, according to Eddie Oliver, executive director of Federation of Virginia Food Banks.

    “We're just seeing a lot of need out there and we know that school meal programs are really the front line of ensuring that kids in Virginia have the food they need to learn and thrive,” Oliver said.

    Virginia school districts qualify for CEP if they have 40% or more enrolled students in a specified meal program, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It also includes homeless, runaway, migrant and foster children, Roem said.

    Sandy Curwood, director of the Virginia Department of Education Office of School Nutrition Programs, said school districts receive federal reimbursement based on a formula. 

    “Making sure that children have access to good healthy food, and particularly through school meals I think is a great opportunity,” Curwood said.

    The federal government will reimburse schools who have more than 62.5% students who qualify for free meals, Roem said. Schools with between 55% and 62.4% students enrolled will receive between 80% and 99% reimbursement. 

    “If HB 5113 is law, how their children will eat during the school day will be one less worry for students and their families,”, said Semora Ward, community organizer for the Hampton Roads-based Virginia Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative. The meals are available whether children are physically in schools or attending virtual classes.

    The Virginia Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative has raised $8,000 in the past three years for unpaid school meals in Hampton and Newport News, according to Ward.

    “While we are pleased with these efforts and the outpouring of community support, we should have never had to do this in the first place,” she said. 

    Roem was one of several legislators that took on the USDA earlier this year to not require students to be present when receiving free school meals during the pandemic. The Virginia General Assembly passed Roem’s bill earlier this year that allows school districts to distribute excess food to students eligible for the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program administered by the USDA.

    HB 5113 has been referred to the Senate Education and Health Committee.

  27. Raymond Martin Prince,

    July 23, 1941-September 14, 2020

    Graveside Services

    Sunday, September 20, 2020, at 2:00 P.M.

    Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery
    16489 Dry Bread Rd
    Emporia, VA 23847

    Raymond Martin Prince, 79, passed away suddenly on September 14, 2020. He is the son of the late, Edward Martin Prince and Mildred Louise Slagle. He is survived by his wife, Betty Mitchell Prince of Emporia, Va., son, Larry Wayne Prince of Emporia, Va, daughter, Melissa Prince Evans of Rocky Mount, NC., son-in-law, Joel Scott, brother, Billy Prince of Emporia, Va., sister, Frances Butler of Emporia, Va., grandchildren, Victoria Christian, Wayne Scott Evans, Mindi Marie Prince, great-granchildren, Kaylie Marie Batchlor, Jordan Gilbert, Nathan Wade Caraway. Raymond was a member of Mt. Vernom Baptist Church and worked as a mechanic for Powell Tire.

    A graveside memorial service will be held at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, Sunday, September 20, 2020, at 2:00 P.M. with C. W. Bing officiating.

    Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

  28. Louise Shaw Ellis

    August 25, 1933-September 17, 2020

    Graveside Services

    Monday, September 21, 2020, at 2:00 P.M

    Emporia Cemetery
    Brusnwick Avenue
    Emporia, Virginia

    Louise Shaw Ellis, 87, passed away on September 17, 2020. She was preceded in death by beloved son-in-law, Eddie Leinwand. She is survived by her son, Mike Ellis (Lauren Shearin) of Emporia, VA., daughters Kaye Whitehead of Boykins, Va and Betty Leinwand of Suffolk, VA.  Grandchildren Keith Tomlin (Joyce) of Franklin, VA., Tori Hargrave of Emporia VA, Angela and Wayne Whitehead of Fayetteville, NC.  Great grandchildren Nate and Zak Tomlin.   Special nieces Joyce Gardner, Frances Vincent, Novella Casey and Marybelle Lynch.  Special nephews Walter Rook and Calvin Ramsey.

    Louise was best known for how much she loved her family and friends. Everybody who knew her loved her famous biscuits.  She was a very special person.  Life was not always easy for her but she persevered and stayed true to her beliefs.  Her passion for travel and family gatherings left her with many great memories.  She will forever be missed.

    A graveside service will be held Monday, September 21, 2020, at Emporia Cemetery, 2:00 P.M., with Rev. Jeremy Kobernat officiating.

    Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 4217 Park PI Ct, Glen Allen, VA, 23060.

    Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

  29. Virginia female lawyers, lawmakers remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    By Noah Fleischman, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is being mourned by the country, and in Virginia, female lawyers and legislators are reflecting on her legacy. Some called her a role model, others called her a trailblazer, but they all admired the impact she left.

    Ginsburg died Friday at age 87 from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

    Alison McKee, president of the Virginia Bar Association, said Ginsburg was one of the most empowering women in the law profession. The VBA is a membership organization of state attorneys who promote legislative changes.

    “She was an extraordinary force in attempts to overcome gender inequality,” McKee said. “Overall, to borrow a phrase from Sheryl Sandberg, she leaned in for all women in our profession and helped to close the gap on gender inequality.”

    Ginsburg’s fight for gender equality changed a Virginia college’s admissions process in the 1990s. She wrote the majority opinion in the 1996 case that allowed women to attend the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. VMI was the last male-only college in the United States until the Supreme Court’s ruling.

    Ginsburg wrote in the majority opinion that since a 1971 ruling, the Court “has repeatedly recognized” laws incompatible with the equal protection principle and that denied women access “simply because they are women, full citizenship stature-equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities.”

    Ginsburg was also a longtime advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that seeks to guarantee equal rights for all regardless of sex.The ERA first passed Congress in 1972 but could not collect the three-fourths state support needed to ratify it. In January, Virginia became the final state needed to ratify the amendment, though the 1982 deadline has passed. A congressional bill to eliminate the ratification deadline passed the House in February and is sitting in a Senate committee. Over the years Ginsburg has still vocalized support for the ERA, though in February she saidshe would like “it to start over.”

    Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, was a co-patron of the ERA in Virginia.

    “I think we’re carrying on her work, carrying on her legacy to make life, liberty and justice for all include all and include women equally,” McClellan said. “We carried on her work with that, very much an inspiration there too.”

    Del. Hala Ayala, D-Woodbridge, who was a co-patron on the ERA in the House of Delegates, called Ginsburg “our firewall to protect civil rights, voting rights and everything that we fight for” in a statement Friday night.

    “My life’s work for women’s equal justice, including championing the Equal Rights Amendment in the Virginia House of Delegates, was inspired by Justice Ginsburg’s work,” Ayala wrote. “Her determined spirit gave me the motivation to fight everyday for what is right, knowing that we would make our Commonwealth and our country a better place.”

    Ginsburg was a pioneer for women in the law profession, becoming the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 after Sandra Day O’Connor.

    Margaret Hardy, president of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, said seeing someone that looked like her in the law profession is “critically important,” and that’s why diversity is important—so everyone has a role model.

    “I think that just seeing a woman because in her case, in many instances, she was the woman, not just one of many,” Hardy said. “I think just for anyone seeing someone in a profession that you’re entering who looks just like you is an inspiration.”

    Lucia Anna “Pia” Trigiani, former president of the Virginia Bar Association, called Ginsburg a role model for all lawyers, not just women.

    “For her to do what she did, she also showed not only women that it could be done, but men,” Trigiani said. “She showed everyone that it could be done.”

    McClellan equated Ginsburg to civil rights lawyer and former Justice Thurgood Marshall.

    “I think she for women’s rights was what Thurgood Marshall was for civil rights,” McClellan said. “I as a woman lawyer, as a woman lawmaker, stand on her shoulders.”

  30. Governor Northam Casts Vote in November General Election on First Day of Early Voting in Virginia

     

     

    Reminds voters of options to vote absentee by mail or early in person, urges all Virginians to make a voting plan

    RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today voted early in person at the Richmond general registrar’s office on the first day of Virginia’s 45-day early voting period.

    New laws allow all Virginians to vote absentee by mail, or in person at their local registrar’s office or satellite locations. The Governor signed legislation this year removing a previous provision that required absentee voters to provide a reason for voting early, so any Virginia voter may vote early without providing a specific reason.

    “Virginians can be confident their vote is secure, and will be counted,” said Governor Northam. “While the pandemic has made this an unprecedented election year, Virginia voters have several safe and easy ways to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Voting is an essential part of our democracy, and I encourage every Virginia voter to know their options and make a plan for safely casting their ballot.”

    Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a higher number of Virginians are expected to vote by mail in the 2020 election. As of Thursday, the Department of Elections had received 824,000 requests for absentee ballots by mail. For comparison, 566,000 votes were cast absentee in the 2016 General Election—half by mail.

    Virginians have several options for safely casting their ballots for the November General Election.

    Absentee by Mail
    Beginning today, September 18, Virginia general registrars will mail absentee ballots to voters who request them. Virginians can request a ballot online at elections.virginia.gov. The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Friday, October 23 at 5:00 p.m.

    All absentee ballots will include a return envelope with prepaid postage. Ballots with a postmark of November 3 or earlier will be accepted until noon on Friday, November 6.

    As an additional layer of security, every absentee ballot envelope is required to have an intelligent mail barcode and an election mail insignia. The insignia tells the United States Postal Service that this piece of mail is a ballot and should be prioritized. The barcode lets voters track their ballot once it leaves the registrar’s office—so a voter will know when their ballot has been mailed to them, and when it is delivered back to the registrar. Voters can track their absentee ballot using the absentee ballot look-up tool available here.

    Drop-off Locations
    Absentee ballots may also be hand delivered to your local registrar’s office or returned to a secure drop-off location, which include any satellite voting location. A list of drop-off locations is available on your county or city’s official website. On Election Day, you can also drop off your completed absentee ballot at any polling place in the county or city in which you are registered to vote.

    For voters who prefer to vote in person, there are two options.

    Early In Person
    Starting today, September 18, Virginia voters can vote absentee in person at their local registrar’s office as Governor Northam did. Voters can simply go to their local general registrar’s office or a satellite voting location identified by the registrar’s office and cast their vote. Voters may use this option through Saturday, October 31—one of the longest early voting periods of any state.

    Election Day
    The other option is the traditional one: voting in person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, at your polling place. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Virginia has allocated federal CARES Act funding to ensure that all election officers have personal protective equipment, and Virginia Medical Reserve Corps volunteers will assist at polling places to ensure social distancing and sanitization measures are followed.

    Virginia considers election security to be a top priority and has made significant progress in recent years to ensure a secure election process that places election integrity and voter confidence at the forefront. Additional information about election security in Virginia can be found here.

    To register to vote or learn more about absentee voting in Virginia, visit elections.virginia.gov/absentee. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.

    Follow the Department of Elections on Twitter at @vaElect, on Facebook at @VirginiaELECT, and on Instagram at @va_election.

    See below for photos of Governor Northam casting his ballot at the Richmond general registrar’s office.

  31. Meherrin River Forecast to Crest at 23 Feet After Rain From Remnants from Tropical Storm Sally

    The rain from the remains of Tropical Storm Sally, which began falling on Thursday morning, have already raised the water level in the Meherrin River at the Main Street Bridge in Emporia from just over three feet to nearly 18 feet are forecast to stop on Friday, September 18. By the time they do stop and all of the rainfall from up stream gets here the Meherrin River is currently forecast to crest at 23 feet at about 8 pm on Saturday evening, September 19. Twenty-three feet is the beginning of the Minor Flood stage for the Meherrin River.

    At 23 feet the river will have overtopped the dam and will be flowing at a very dangerous 11, 586 cubic feet per second and should be avoided.

    There may be standing water on Center Street and in the back yards of homes on Park Avenue. The parking lot at EGRA Park will begin to flood. Flood waters will also begin to infiltrate the Sewarage System.

    As of 10 am Friday, all warnings have expired, but residents should still be wary of driving though standing water.

  32. Charles Martin, Sr.,

    June 1, 1937-September 17-1937

    Graveside Services

    2 p.m. Saturday, September 19

    Greensville Memorial Cemetery
    1250 Skippers Road
    Emporia, Virginia

    Charles Martin, Sr., 83, of Emporia, passed away Thursday, September 17, 2020. He was the son of the late Wilbur Lawrence Martin and Ruby Gill Martin and was also preceded in death by three brothers and three sisters.

    Mr. Martin is survived by his wife, Betty B. Martin; son, Charles Martin, Jr.; two daughters, Lelia Boney (James) and Tammy Veliky (Stewart); grandchildren, David, Tiffany, Joseph, Lisa and Anthony; four step-grandchildren, Brent, Brad, Eric and Leslie; fifteen great-grandchildren; two sisters, Carol Suggs (Gene) and Martha Blankenship and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The funeral will be held graveside 2 p.m. Saturday, September 19 at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

  33. Lucy Mitchell Davis

    June 4, 1922-September 15, 2020

    Graveside Services

    September 17, 2020, 11:00 A.M.

    Greensville Memorial Cemetery
    1250 Skippers Road
    Emporia, Virginia

    Lucy Mitchell Davis passed away on September 15, 2020 at the age of 98. She was the daughter of the late, Peter and India Mitchell. She was preceded in death by her husband, Emmett L. Davis, sisters, Nell Spence, Elie Smith, Alice Hale, brothers, Shelby Mitchell, Beauford Mitchell, Fred Mitchell. She is survived by her daughter, Jacqueline Gordon of Roanoke Rapids, NC., grandchildren, Donna Dixon (Jimmy) of Chocowinity, NC., Carol Dildy of Roanoke Rapids, NC., great-grandchildren, Kyle Barnes, Brandon Dixon, great-great grandchildren, Ella Blake Barnes, Graham Barnes.

    Lucy was a longtime member at Forest Hill Baptist Church, She loved her family, and loved when her church family came to visit.

    A graveside service will be held on September 17, 2020, at Greensville Memorial Cemetery, at 11:00 A.M., with Rev. Rick Ragan officiating.

    Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

  34. Change Your Future in Weeks

    Southside Virginia Community College will offer an 80 hour American Welding Society (AWS) certification program at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia beginning September 28th and running through December 9th.  Classes will be held on Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

    According to Dennis Smith, SVCC’s Director of Workforce Development, “These classes are open to anyone interested in gaining this valuable, in-demand skill that can lead to well-paying job opportunities.”

    Topics will include safety, general welding shop practice, routine equipment maintenance, metal preparation, OSHA 10, the Gas Metal Arc Welding process (MIG) and more. 

    Grants and scholarships are available.  For more information contact Courtney Starke at (434) 949-6614 or visit southside.edu.

  35. ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING SECURES $15.3 MILLION IN DEBT RELIEF FOR FORMER ITT TECH STUDENTS IN VIRGINIA

    ~ Herring joins CFPB, 47 other state attorneys general in securing $330 million agreement over PEAKS loans at defunct for-profit school ~

    RICHMOND (September 15, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has secured an agreement to obtain approximately $15.3 million in debt relief for at least 1,840 former ITT Tech students in Virginia as part of a settlement with 48 attorneys general and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Nationally, the settlement will result in debt relief of about $330 million for 35,000 borrowers who have outstanding principal balances.   
     
    The settlement is with PEAKS Trust, a private loan program run by the for-profit college and affiliated with Deutsche Bank entities. ITT filed bankruptcy in 2016 amid investigations by state attorneys general and following action by the U.S. Department of Education to restrict ITT’s access to federal student aid. 
     
    “Student loan debt continues to be a significant burden to Virginians and their families across the Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Herring. “As Attorney General, I am committed to protecting Virginians from unscrupulous for-profit schools and shady lenders who try to pressure, abuse, and exploit student loan borrowers. I am glad we were able to reach this agreement that I hope will alleviate some of the financial pressure on Virginians who were taken advantage of by this scheme.”
     
    PEAKS was formed after the 2008 financial crisis when private sources of lending available to for-profit colleges dried up. ITT developed a plan with PEAKS to offer students temporary credit to cover the gap in tuition between federal student aid and the full cost of the education. 
     
    According to the settlement agreement, ITT and PEAKS knew or should have known that the students would not be able to repay the temporary credit when it became due nine months later. Many students complained that they thought the temporary credit was like a federal loan and would not be due until six months after they graduated. 
     
    When the temporary credit became due, ITT pressured and coerced students into accepting loans from PEAKS, which for many students carried high interest rates, far above rates for federal loans. Pressure tactics used by ITT included pulling students out of class and threatening to expel them if they did not accept the loan terms. Many of the ITT students were from low-income backgrounds and were left with the choice of enrolling in the PEAKS loans or dropping out and losing any benefit of the credits they had earned, because ITT’s credits would not transfer to most schools. 
     
    The default rate on the PEAKS loans is projected to exceed 80%, due to both the high cost of the loans as well as the lack of success ITT graduates had getting jobs that earned enough to make repayment feasible. The defaulted loans continue to affect students’ credit ratings and are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
     
    Under the settlement, PEAKS has agreed that it will forgo collection of the outstanding loans and cease doing business. PEAKS will send notices to borrowers about the cancelled debt and ensure that automatic payments are cancelled. The settlement also requires PEAKS to supply credit reporting agencies with information to update credit information for affected borrowers. 
     
    Students will not need to do anything to receive the debt relief and the notices they receive will explain their rights under the settlement. Students can direct any questions they may have to PEAKS at customerservice@peaksloans.com or 866-747-0273. They can also reach out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with questions at (855) 411-2372.
     
    In June 2019, Attorney General Herring announced that he had secured $9.29 million in debt relief for nearly 1,000 former ITT Tech students in Virginia as part of a $186 million settlement that resulted in debt relief for 18,664 former ITT students nationally. That agreement was with Student CU Connect CUSO, LLC, which also offered loans to finance students’ tuition at ITT Tech.
     
    Additionally last year, Attorney General Herring and 48 other attorneys general reached a settlement with for-profit education company Career Education Corporation (CEC). The terms of the settlement required CEC to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally. In Virginia, 3,094 students will receive relief totaling $8,022,178.
     
    In December 2016, the Attorney General announced that more than 5,000 Virginia students formerly enrolled in schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. may be eligible for loan forgiveness. This came after the U.S Department of Education found that Corinthian College and its subsidiaries published misleading job placement rates for many programs between 2010 and 2014. Following this announcement, Attorney General Herring urged Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education to follow through on their commitment to cancel student debt for students in Virginia and around the country who were victimized by Corinthian Colleges' practices.
     
    Attorney General Herring has stood up against the Trump Administration’s numerous attempts to rollback student borrower protections. In January, he urged Congress to reject the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 Borrower Defense Rule that fails to protect students and taxpayers from the misconduct of unscrupulous schools. Previously, Attorney General Herring won a victory in federal court when a judge rejected the Trump Administration’s challenge to the Obama-era Borrower Defense Rule, ordering its immediate implementation for students nationwide. This ruling followed a victory Attorney General Herring won in federal court after he and a coalition of state attorneys general challenged the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to abruptly rescind its Borrower Defense Rule which was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans. The immediate implementation of the 2016 Borrower Defense rule meant that the U.S. Department of Education had to automatically discharge $381 million in loans for students whose schools closed.
     
    Students with questions about their rights under the settlement will receive information in the Notices that are sent. Students may also contact Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:

     
    Overall, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $334 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has transferred more than $61 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund, and following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016 the Section has been even more effective in fighting for Virginia consumers.
     
    Joining Attorney General Herring in announcing today’s settlement are the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

     

  36. A Message from Virginia Chamber President & CEO, Barry DuVal

    On Friday, Governor Northam announced that Hampton Roads will re-join the rest of the Commonwealth in Phase 3 of the “Forward Virginia” plan. Over the last six weeks, the Hampton Roads region was placed under targeted COVID-19 restrictions including a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, a requirement to stop the sale of alcohol at 10:00pm, and a requirement that all restaurants close by midnight. In last week’s announcement, the Governor attributed the easing of these restrictions to the improved health metrics, stating that number of positive cases in Hampton Roads has been decreasing for more than 45 days. More information can be found here.
     
    Last month, I announced that the Virginia Chamber Foundation would be partnering with Dominion Energy to bring relief to small businesses in the Commonwealth. Dominion Energy Virginia has pledged $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. The program funding will be covered by shareholders and will not impact customer rates. Qualified businesses may be eligible to receive one-time assistance with their past due Dominion Energy electric bill balances up to $1,000. I encourage our small business community to visit the website to learn more information about this invaluable program and apply today. More information can be found here. I would also like to thank and acknowledge our other partners in this important initiative:
     
    • The Asian American Chamber of Commerce
    • The Metropolitan Business League
    • The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce
    • The Urban League of Hampton Roads
    • The Virginia Asian American Chamber of Commerce
    • The Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
    • The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
     
    This Thursday, September 17, the Virginia Chamber will host our next signature event – The Virginia Conference on Energy Diversity & Corporate Sustainability. Now hosted as a virtual conference, attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from business and policy leaders on how we can make Virginia more competitive through corporate sustainability and a diverse energy portfolio. Follow this link to review the full agenda and register today. 
     
    This week, the Virginia Chamber is pleased to recognize Appalachian Power for its continued support of communities across the Commonwealth and nation during COVID-19.  
     
    Appalachian Power’s history in Virginia dates back more than 100 years. A part of American Electric Power, the company today provides safe and reliable electric service to approximately 1 million customers in far southwest, southern and central Virginia, as well as portions of West Virginia and Tennessee. Through the work of dedicated employees, Appalachian Power achieves its mission to power the economy, while investing in its communities to help meet economic development, environmental, educational and other needs. Appalachian Power has applied this same approach to helping its customers, employees and communities during the pandemic. 
     
    In response to COVID-19, Appalachian Power temporarily stopped all service disconnections for non-payment. As part of its return to standard business operations, the company has since focused its efforts on helping residential and business customers affected by the pandemic find a flexible payment arrangement that meets their needs. The company also put a program together to help business customers fully leverage the CARES Act and brought awareness to other loans and funding available.
     
    I want to applaud Appalachian Power for its efforts to help the community and encourage you to learn more about this week’s “Member Spotlight” below. 
     
    Best regards,
     
    Barry DuVal
    President

    Virginia Chamber 2020 Event Updates

    Due to the COVID-19 crisis and ever-evolving situation, the Virginia Chamber made the decision to postpone all of our scheduled events for the spring. We have secured new dates for each of these events later in the year. 
     
    Please find below an updated tentative event calendar for the fall months. Additional details on each event with be released in the coming weeks. 
     
    SAVE THE DATE
     

    Dominion Energy Small Business EnergyShare Relief Program

    Dominion Energy is partnering with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation to temporarily expand its EnergyShare program to assist those small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Dominion Energy Virginia has pledged $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. The program funding will be covered by shareholders and will not impact customer rates. Qualified businesses may be eligible to receive one-time assistance with their past due Dominion Energy electric bill balances up to $1,000.
     
    How to Submit An Application
    • Before submitting an application, please review the eligibility requirements HERE.
    • The application can be downloaded HERE
    • The applicant must submit their completed and e-signed application via e-mail to Foundation@vachamber.com for review. 
    • Applications MUST be submitted with a file name that lists the numerical date and organization name. Ex: 09.01.20 Virginia Chamber Foundation
    • Upon submission of the application, the applicant will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of the materials. Notification of the assistance decision will be made via e-mail within 14 business days.
    • The application period will remain open until the funds allocated to the program are exhausted. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
     
    For more information, please visit our website.

     

     

     

  37. Efforts falter to require schools to provide in-person options

    By Sam Fowler, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND -- An effort to require Virginia school districts provide in-person classes to students with poor internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic is most likely dead. 

    House Bill 5009, introduced by Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, would require public schools to offer in-person classes to elementary, middle and high school students who have substandard internet connections at home. 

    The bill was referred in August to the House Committee on Education during the Virginia General Assembly special session, but the legislation still hasn’t been addressed as the legislature nears crossover day—when each chamber must act on bills for them to advance.

    “Anything still left in committee, will essentially die. So it doesn’t look like this bill will progress,” Del. Joshua Cole, D-Fredericksburg, who co-sponsored the bill, said in an email. 

    Mark Cole’s bill would have required schools to provide in-person instruction to individuals who can’t access an internet speed of more than 10 megabits per second download and one Mbps upload. 

    “This is an equity issue,” Mark Cole wrote in an email earlier this month. “Some children do not have access to the internet or internet of sufficient capacity to be able participants in online instruction, primarily rural and poor children.”

    More than 1 million public school students were slated to start school in an online-only format, according to data posted in August by the Virginia Public Access Project. That includes Fairfax County, home to almost 189,000 students. More than 269,000 children were set to start school in a hybrid format that offers in-person and online instruction. Many of those students are located in rural areas. Hanover County, which enrolls more than 17,500 students, is the largest school district offering a blended format, according to VPAP. 

    Russell County in Southwest Virginia is among the schools offering an in-person and online learning format. The school has set up an internet hotspot on school grounds to help students download material for class, and zip drives to store what they download, according to Janice Barton, a teacher at the school. High schools in the surrounding area have also done the same, Barton said. 

    Even though schools are offering ways to access the internet, they’re still not offering high-speed access, Mark Cole said.

    “This still puts children without high speed internet at a disadvantage over those that can participate in the comfort of their homes,” he said. “Children have to be driven to a hotspot, often a school parking lot, where they try to receive instruction while sitting in their car.”

    Joshua Cole believes children should have an equal opportunity to learn without having to worry about attending online classes.

    “If you don’t have internet, if you don’t have high speed internet, if your speeds are low, we want to make sure that your student is not left out,” he said. 

    Stafford County gives some students an opportunity to come to school if they need to, said Joshua Cole, who is one of the county’s representatives in the House. The lawmaker said only some students are attending in-person classes in Stafford County, primarily students with disabilities or those without reliable internet access.

    “It's not a bunch of students coming in,” he said.

    Fredericksburg City Public Schools partnered with business owners in the area who are helping fund internet hotspots for students to access from their homes, according to Joshua Cole.

    Many schools that are offering in-person instruction have created spaces to accommodate students and follow social distancing guidelines.

    “We have signs in the hallways, in our classrooms. We have it set up 6 feet apart,” Barton said. “We have cleaning supplies, every teacher has that.”

    Russell County Public Schools also provide students and teachers with masks, Barton said. 

    Senate Bill 5114, sponsored by Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Mechanicsville, had similar wording to Mark Cole’s bill, but it was passed by indefinitely, which means the bill is dead unless the committee takes additional action.

  38. Remains of Tropical Storm Sally Have Potential for Heavy Thrusday and Friday, Flood Watch Issued

    Flash Flood Watch

    National Weather Service Wakefield VA, 351 AM EDT Wed Sep 16 2020

    ...Moderate to heavy rainfall expected late Thursday through much of Friday...

    Northampton-Hertford-Gates-Pasquotank-Camden-Western Currituck-Bertie-Chowan-Perquimans-Eastern Currituck-Mecklenburg-Lunenburg-Brunswick-Greensville-Sussex-Surry-Southampton-Isle of Wight-Norfolk/Portsmouth-Suffolk-Chesapeake-Virginia Beach-York-Newport News-Hampton/Poquoson-Including the cities of Margarettsville, Ahoskie, Corapeake,Elizabeth City, Horseshoe, Lilly, Sharon, Knotts Island, Quitsna, Edenhouse, Merry Hill, Midway, Windsor, Cape Colony, Edenton, Hancock, Macedonia, Mavaton, Saint Johns, Valhalla, Jacocks, Woodville, Corolla, South Hill, Fort Mitchell, Kells Corner, Arvins Store, Loves Mill, Lunenburg, Nutbush, Rehoboth, Lawrenceville, Emporia, Wakefield, Barham, Gwaltney Corner, Bacons Castle, Chippokes State Park, Hog Island Game Reserve, Poolesville, Booth Fork, Franklin, Carrsville, Lees Mill, Benns Church, Bethel Church, Carrollton, Lawson, Longview, Downtown Norfolk, Ghent, Norfolk International Arpt, Norfolk NAS, Norview, Ocean View, Wards Corner, Chuckatuck, Cleopus,Crittenden, Deanes, Downtown Suffolk, Driver, Elwood, Mount Pleasant, Bowers Hill, Chesapeake Airport, Deep Creek, Fentress, Great Bridge, Greenbrier, Back Bay, Bayside, Cape Henry, Dam Neck, Gallups Corner, Kempsville, London Bridge, Grafton, Tabb, Beaconsdale, Denbigh, Fort Eustis, Hilton Village, Lee Hall, Menchville, Newport News, Buckroe Beach, Fort Monroe, Fox Hill, Grand View, Hallwood, Hampton, and Langley AFB

    351 AM EDT Wed Sep 16 2020

    ...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING...

    The National Weather Service in Wakefield has issued a

    • * Flash Flood Watch for portions of northeast North Carolina and  Virginia, including the following areas, in northeast North  Carolina, Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Eastern Currituck, Gates,  Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Western  Currituck. In Virginia, Brunswick, Chesapeake, Greensville, Hampton/Poquoson, Isle of Wight, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg,   Newport News, Norfolk/Portsmouth, Southampton, Suffolk, Surry, Sussex, Virginia Beach, and York.
    • * From Thursday afternoon through Friday evening
    • * Rain will overspread the area Thursday afternoon as the moisture  from Tropical Cyclone Sally merges with a slow moving frontal boundary. The rain will become heavy at times Thursday night before slowly tapering off to light rain Friday. 3 to 5 inches of rain will be likely with locally higher amounts near the North Carolina - Virginia border. The runoff from this much rainfall will likely result in localized flash flooding.
    • * Potential impacts include rapid rises of water, flooded roads, and flooding of structures in low lying areas near streams.

    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

    A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

    You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.


    Hazardous Weather Outlook, National Weather Service Wakefield VA, 410 AM EDT Wed Sep 16 2020

    NCZ012>017-030>032-VAZ065-066-079-087>089-092-093-095>097-523>525-
    170815-
    Northampton-Hertford-Gates-Pasquotank-Camden-Western Currituck-Bertie-Chowan-Perquimans-Mecklenburg-Lunenburg-Brunswick-Greensville-Sussex-Surry-Southampton-Isle of Wight-Norfolk/Portsmouth-Suffolk-Chesapeake-York-Newport News-Hampton/Poquoson-410 AM EDT Wed Sep 16 2020

    ...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING...

    This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for northeast North Carolina, south central Virginia and southeast Virginia.

    .DAY ONE...Today and tonight.

    Hazardous weather is not expected at this time.

    .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...Thursday through Tuesday.

    Please listen to NOAA Weather Radio or go to weather.gov on the Internet for more information about the following hazards.

       Flash Flood Watch.

    The remnants of tropical cyclone Sally will bring the potential for heavy rain to the region late Thursday through Friday. Flash flooding will be possible.

  39. Impact Study Highlights SVCC’s Contributions

    By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

    A recent Economic Impact study undertaken by Dr. Vincent Magnini, a researcher at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business in Blacksburg, examined the impact Southside Virginia Community College makes across its ten-county service area and throughout the Commonwealth. The findings identified economic contributions and other social benefits in our local region and beyond. The research emphasized that what makes SVCC different and what makes us special is how we take care of our students, how we take care of each other, and how we contribute to the communities we serve.

    SVCC’s statewide economic impact for fiscal year 2019 was estimated at $166 million, of which $147.5 million remained within the counties that comprise the southside service area. Salaries and wages represented part of the total. The college’s work contributed to 877 direct and secondary full-time equivalent jobs, leading to combined incomes of $45 million. Other financial elements represented in the economic impact study included local spending by students and other campus visitors, increased income earned as a result of completed programs of study, and the value of federal, state, and local tax revenues.

    Benefits beyond direct economic effects included expanding the workforce training pipeline to attract new businesses, using student-centric initiatives to achieve high satisfaction rates, and preparing transfer students to fill upper-level enrollment gaps at four-year institutions. In addition, SVCC offers opportunities to high school students seeking to earn college credits through the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia, career and technical programs, and other dual enrollment options.

    In fact, more than 1,800 high school students earned credits for college courses at SVCC in FY 2019. We appreciate the opportunity to help young adults from our region as they pursue academic and career goals. National statistics suggest that secondary students who earn college credentials graduate from four-year colleges or universities (senior institutions of higher education) within four years at a rate that is twice that of their traditional college-going peers who enroll at four-year colleges and universities directly out of high school. Furthermore, they will spend less on college expenses and accrue less debt.

    We are also proud of the accomplishments among students who are the first in their families to attend college. In colleges nationwide, fewer than 33% of attendees are first generation students. At SVCC, 65% of our program completers are first generation college students. By increasing access to education and supporting the success of students from low-income, ethnic minorities, and rural families, we play an important role in improving their employability and earnings potential. These are vital ingredients in efforts to address racial equity and fairness.

    SVCC’s strategic plan, “One College. One Mission,” focuses on continual improvement to student experiences and achievements. It also aligns with the Virginia Community College System’s strategic plan “Complete 2020-21,” which emphasizes a tripling of earned credentials across our service area. Our efforts to track, monitor, and document evidence of success toward this goal will bring further clarity to the ways SVCC contributes to the wellbeing of the communities we serve.

    The Virginia Tech study also noted SVCC’s regular recognition among honorees in the “Great Colleges to Work For” assessment. SVCC has earned specific distinctions in the categories of job satisfaction, professional and career development programs, and employee relationships with supervisors and academic leaders.

    The SVCC family brings strength and passion to accomplishing the college’s mission. As our students and alumni know, SVCC’s mascot is the panther, and our “Panther Pride” continues to energize us in the pursuit of excellence.

    ________

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

  40. “Heaven is Her Home”

    Belva Irene Hess
    April 3, 1934 – August 26, 2020
     
    Belva was my only sister
    And special as could be
    We shared together brothers
    Yet Sis spent more time with me.
     
    The Lord did make His Calling
    And Sis did so reply
    Yes, she is on her way to heaven
    So far up in the sky.
     
    I know that I shall miss her
    Though the many memories I’ll retain
    She helped me in so many ways
    More than I can explain.
     
    We grew up in the Midwest
    Where lots of snow did light
    Yes, and she beat me often
    When we had a a snowball fight!
     
    One day I pray we’ll meet again
    In that Kingdom in the sky
    I know for sure I’ll think of her
    Each day that passes by.

     

    Little Brother “Roy”

    September 2020

     
                          
  41. House Advances MARCUS Alert Bill

    By Andrew Ringle, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- The House of Delegates approved a bill Thursday that would create teams of mental health service providers and peer recovery specialists to accompany police officers responding to individual crises.

    House Bill 5043, introduced by Del. Jeffrey Bourne, D-Richmond, was approved by a vote of 57-39. The legislation needs passage from the state Senate and a signature from Gov. Ralph Northam to become law. 

    “This was brought about by a tragedy,” Bourne said.

    Dubbed the mental health awareness response and community understanding services (MARCUS) alert system, Bourne’s proposal references the death of a Black man who was shot and killed during an encounter with the Richmond Police Department in 2018.

    Marcus-David Peters, a 24-year-old high school biology teacher and Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus, was shot and killed by a Richmond Police officer as he charged the officer after a taser was deployed. Peters was unarmed and his family said he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

    “It’s horrific to watch,” Bourne said about police body camera footage of the incident.

    Bourne’s bill would require the Virginia Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and Criminal Justice Services departments to work together to create evidence-based training programs for the care teams and to develop a plan by June 1, 2021 for statewide implementation.

    Del. Carrie Coyner, R-Chesterfield, said she supports the end goal of the proposal but is concerned it will endanger more people without a slower rollout and because mental health resources are “stretched thin.”

    Coyner said she is “very emotional” about the issue after growing up with an aunt who suffered from intellectual disabilities and who attempted suicide multiple times. She said while over time, “mental health providers did everything they could,” her family ultimately had to call 911 for the police’s help.

    “If we had to wait longer for someone to arrive, she may not have been with us still,” Coyner said.

    Del. Michael Mullin, D-Newport News, said he appreciated Coyner’s words and understands the concern for public safety. However, Mullin — an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Hampton — said the state has “criminalized mental health issues.”

    “So much of the work we have been doing today and in the days preceding this has been to reverse 30 years of overcriminalization,” Mullin said. “This bill does a small step in making sure that individuals who are in crisis are not treated as criminals.”

    Princess Blanding, Peters’ sister, recently testified during the bill’s hearing before the House Public Safety Committee. She said her brother “absolutely deserved help, not death” on the day of his fatal shooting.

    “When a person’s kidneys stop functioning properly, they receive dialysis if needed,” Blanding said. “When a person’s heart stops functioning properly, they receive bypass surgery if needed. But the brain is the only major organ that, when it stops functioning properly, we demonize, we incarcerate, and in the case of so many Black people, death is the final answer.”

    Blanding has spoken at multiple demonstrations in Richmond since protests sparked by the death of George Floyd began in late May, demanding the city fully fund the alert system as well as establish a civilian review board to investigate allegations of police misconduct.

    Senate Bill 5038, introduced by Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-Woodbridge, also seeks to establish an alert system. It still needs to pass the Senate before moving to the House of Delegates.

  42. SBA Announces Registration for National Small Business Week Virtual Conference September 22-24

    WASHINGTON –As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration and cosponsors will host all events virtually. This year’s National Small Business Week, September 22-24, 2020, includes numerous educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as our nation’s small businesses look to pivot and recover, contributing to a stronger economy.

    The National Small Business Week event schedule includes three days recognizing America’s outstanding entrepreneurs, shining a spotlight on the nation’s 30 million small businesses across the country, including national award winners, and naming of the 2020 National Small Business Person of the Year.

    Details and registration information are posted on https://www.sba.gov/NSBW. 

    The SBA Virginia-Richmond District Office is happy and proud to announce George Nyfeler, owner of Nyfeler Associates, as the 2020 Small Business Person of the Year for the state. 

    “We will recognize Mr. Nyfeler on September 23rd. He is an owner who cares about his employees supporting their success and his community,” said VA-Richmond District Director Carl Knoblock.

    “Also, a thanks to Mike King, host of “On The Mic with MikeRVA,” for having the SBA appear on the show every Wednesday and hosting our NSBW event.,” said Knoblock.

    Radio Show: “SBA Wednesday-NSBW” Event with “On The Mic with MikeRVA”

    Date: 9/23/2020 Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm Tune-In/Viewing: WJFN-"On The MIC With MIKE RVA" 100.5/92.7 FM/820 AM

    Listen Live: Click Here

    Facebook Live: Click Here

  43. William Hunter Greene is the Brunswick Academy Student of the Month for Septmeber 2020

    Brunswick Academy is proud to announce Brunswick County’s Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month for September:  William Hunter Greene. Hunter, a Senior at Brunswick Academy, is the son of Kevin and Diane Greene. In addition to earning an Honors diploma, Hunter is currently enrolled in four dual enrollment college courses. Hunter is a member of Brunswick Academy’s chapter of the National Honor Society and also serves as the Co-Philanthropic Chair of the Brunswick Academy Latin Club. Also, Hunter volunteers his time as the Co-Head of the Tech Crew for the BA Theatre. During the summer of his Junior year, Hunter attended the distinguished Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar at James Madison University.  Currently, Hunter participates in his church’s youth group and enjoys playing soccer with his friends. He has visited Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, North Carolina State University, and James Madison University to tour their engineering departments. Ultimately, he hopes to attend Virginia Tech to study electrical engineering.

     

  44. Linda Beale Thompson

    April 18, 1947-September 7, 2020

    Visitation Services

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020, from 7:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

    Wrenn, Clarke & Hagan Funeral and Cremation Services
    1015 West 5th Street
    Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870

    Thursday, September 10, 2020, starting at 2:00 P.M.

    Forrest Hills Baptist Church
    2103 Pine Log Road
    Skippers, Va, 23879

    Linda Beale Thompson, 73, passed away on Monday, September 7, 2020. She was preceded in death by her parents, Clara Davis and Carole Quinton Beale, along with her two brothers, Linwood C. Warrick “Bubba” and Eddie W. Warrick. Linda was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and was a retired employee from the City of Emporia.

    She is survived by, her husband, Allen W. Thompson of Emporia, VA., sons, Jason D. Rook (Rhonda) of Emporia, VA., Allen W. Thompson, Jr. (Crystal) of Lexington, SC., grandchildren, Joshua D. Rook, Emma L. Rook, Devin W. Thompson, Cassie H. Thompson, along with her two pets, Muff and Lady.

    The family will receive friends at Wrenn, Clarke & Hagan Funeral and Cremation Services, Wednesday, September 9, 2020, from 7:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

    A funeral service will be held at Forrest Hills Baptist Church, 2103 Pine Log Road, Skippers, Va, 23879, on Thursday, September 10, 2020, starting at 2:00 P.M. with Rev. Terry Corder and Rev. Rick Ragan officiating with an interment to follow at Forrest Hills Baptist Church Cemetery.

    Memorial donations may be made to the Emporia/Greensville Human Society of Emporia, 206 Industrial Dr., Emporia, VA, 23847.

  45. Evelyn Woodruff Moore

    February 26, 1936-September 7, 2020

    Visitation Services

    10 a.m. Thursday, September 10

    Owen Funeral Home
    303 S. Halifax Rd
    Jarratt, Virginia

     

    11 a.m. Thursday, September 10

    Owen Funeral Home
    303 S. Halifax Rd
    Jarratt, Virginia

     

    Evelyn Woodruff Moore, 84, of Jarratt, widow of Wilbur H. Moore, passed away Monday, September 7, 2020. She was the daughter of the late William Albert Woodruff and Verna Braxton Woodruff. She was also preceded in death by brothers, Frank, William “Bill”, Cecil, Charles “Tuck” and Daniel Woodruff and sisters, Sue W. Odom, Betty Jarratt Fitzgerald and Katherine “Kitty” Ehrhart.

    Mrs. Moore is survived by her children, Wilbur H. Moore, Jr. (Peggy), Kathy M. Carroll (Mike), Richard D. “Doug” Moore (Sherri) and Albert “Keith” Moore (Renee’); grandchildren, Melissa Moore, Michelle Carroll, Danny Moore, Ricky Moore, Rebecca Moore Chester and Bryan K. Moore; nine great-grandchildren and one on the way; brother, Onnie L. Woodruff (Brenda); sisters, Shelia W. Pierce (Bobby) and Ann W. Floyd (Luke) and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, September 10 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at High Hills Cemetery.

    Please consider all protocols for covid-19 including masks and social distancing.

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

     

  46. House, Senate committees advance bills for expungement of criminal records

    By Joseph Whitney Smith, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia House and Senate committees have advanced legislation that would remove certain criminal records in a criminal justice reform effort that allows people to petition for expungement of convictions, not just charges. 

    Senate Bill 5043, sponsored by Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, and House Bill 5146, sponsored by Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, would expand the current expungement process. Police and court records are currently only expunged if an individual is acquitted, a case is dismissed or abandoned. 

    Deeds said the bill expands the cases available for expungement and will create an easier process for individuals seeking expungement. 

    Deeds’ bill heads to the Senate floor after moving through two Senate committees. The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee gave the bill the green light Thursday with a 16-0 vote. Herring’s bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee with a 13-9 vote.

    Deed’s bill would allow expungement of records for cases such as misdemeanor marijuana possession, underage alcohol or tobacco possession, and using a fake ID to buy alcohol. The bill allows expungement five years past conviction and once court fines have been paid. The bill excludes violent felonies and drug-related offenses such as marijuana possession over an ounce, distribution of drugs to a person under 18, and the manufacturing, possession or distribution of controlled substances like heroin and methamphetamine.

    “Simple marijuana possession is no longer a crime in Virginia, so you ought to be able to expunge those convictions,” Deeds said.

    Herring’s bill creates an automatic system that after eight years expunges certain charges that have been abandoned or dismissed, as well as certain convictions, including some felonies if there are no subsequent convictions.

    The current process includes filing a petition, being fingerprinted, paying a filing fee and possibly attending a court hearing, according to Colin Drabert, deputy director of the Virginia State Crime Commission, who spoke during a commission hearing Monday. Virginia is one of nine states that do not allow the expungement of a misdemeanor and one of 14 states that do not allow the expungement of a felony, he said. 

    Virginia State Police receive approximately 4,000 expungement orders for non-convictions per year for the past three years, Drabert said. If Herring’s bill passes,  cases that are acquitted, dismissed or a nolle prosequi entered, will be automatically expunged by the court handling the case -- excluding traffic violations. For convictions, Herring’s bill outlines a new, at least monthly process that has state police provide to the courts an electronic list of qualifying offenses that meet automatic expungement. Once a judge approves the names and offenses, the records are expunged.

    “There is a stigma attached when someone has a mark on their record from difficulty in finding employment,” Herring said during a House Courts of Justice hearing. Criminal records also can impact an individual’s ability to attend college, receive financial aid or find housing, she said. 

    Andy Elders, policy director at Justice Forward Virginia and chief public defender for Fairfax County, said expungement helps people re-establish themselves in society. 

    “Many people who have criminal convictions on their records, have them as a result of over-policing of communities of color,” Elders said. 

    Dana G. Schrad, executive director of Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said the proposed changes won’t allow certain employers to access expungement records, including police chiefs who conduct thorough background checks before hiring individuals.

    “If these expungement proposals are enacted into law, law enforcement hiring processes will be further compromised,” Schrad said.

    Deed’s bill would not require disclosure of expungement. Herring’s  bill will prohibit automatically expunged records from being seen unless applying for law enforcement and certain federal and state positions.

    Schrad also said the law change could impact background checks for teachers, child care providers, mental health and social workers.

    Though the governor promised sweeping criminal justice reform in January, the newly-elected Democratic majority failed during the regular session to pass bills such as reinstating parole and expungement of records. Deeds’ bill, if passed, would take effect January 2022. Herring’s bill would be phased in and require multiple agencies to sign off on the implementations.

  47. Virginians debate whether COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory

    By Will Gonzalez, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Though the federal government is asking states to prepare for the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine within months, some Virginians differ on whether the vaccine should be mandatory when it becomes available.

    Virginia Freedom Keepers, a nonprofit that advocates for medical freedom, gathered in Richmond this week for a “March Against Mandates,” in protest of the statewide mask mandate, as well as a potential vaccine mandate, in response to COVID-19. The Virginia General Assembly is currently holding a special session to discuss the budget, along with COVID-19 and criminal justice reform measures.

    Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said in a recent interview with ABC-8 (WRIC-TV), that if he is still Virginia’s acting Health Commissioner when a COVID-19 vaccine is made available, he will make immunization mandatory.

    “It is killing people now, we don’t have a treatment for it and if we develop a vaccine that can prevent it from spreading in the community we will save hundreds and hundreds of lives,” Oliver said.

    Gov. Ralph Northam’s office did not back up the health commissioner’s statement. Northam’s administration told WRIC it had “taken no official policy position on whether or not a COVID-19 vaccine for adults should be mandatory.” Northam’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Capital News Service. According to the Virginia Department of Health press office, when Dr. Oliver spoke in support of a mandate for a future COVID-19 vaccine, he was “sharing his personal opinion as a physician.”

    Virginia law currently gives the health commissioner the authority to issue a mandate for a vaccine in the case of an epidemic. The law allows doctors to exempt people from vaccination if their health would be negatively affected. A. E. Dick Howard, a professor of international law at the University of Virginia, says this statute must be read in light of the state constitution, which states the commonwealth’s executive power is vested in the governor, meaning it’s unlikely that Oliver would have the final word.

    “This provision is meant to focus both authority and responsibility of the governor. It therefore argues against the splintering of authority in the executive branch,” Howard said in an email.

     The current language exempts those with a note written by a doctor, but two Virginia delegates wanted to exempt people who object to vaccination on religious grounds.

    HB 5070, introduced by Del. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, and HB 5016, introduced by Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, have similar wording. The two bills, which were tabled during the special session, would have eliminated the health commissioner’s authority to enforce a vaccination mandate for people who object due to religious beliefs. 

    “I am concerned that there is such a rush to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, that normal safety and effectiveness testing may be bypassed, leading to the distribution of a vaccine that has not been fully tested,” Cole said in an email. “Who knows what the health consequences of short-circuiting the process may be?”

    LaRock did not respond to a request for comment about his bill. Cole said constituents concerned about a mandatory vaccine asked him to introduce HB 5016, and that “religious beliefs” in the bill incorporates any belief system, including secularism. 

    “I am old enough to remember the Swine Flu scare more than 40 years ago. President Ford started a program of public vaccinations to protect people from it,” Cole said. “I received the vaccine when I was in college.” 

    In 1976, a swine flu outbreak in New Jersey led President Gerald Ford to issue a nationwide immunization program, according to the Los Angeles Times. Of the 40 million Americans who received the vaccine around 500 are suspected to have contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder that damages nerve cells and causes paralysis in some cases.

    “No one should be forced to take a vaccine. Every vaccine has some health risks associated with it; they may be relatively minor, but they are there,” Cole said. “Vaccines that have been tested and found to be effective and safe should be offered to the public, and I am confident that most people will take advantage of it, including myself.” 

    In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled states have the authority to regulate for the protection of the public and a community has the right to protect itself against an “epidemic of disease,” regardless of one’s political or religious objections, according to the National Constitution Center. The ruling allowed the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts to fine residents who refused to receive smallpox injections. According to Howard, in the case of a mandatory vaccine, the court ruled that states may create an exemption based on religion but are not obliged to do so.

    “Thus, the question of what qualifies as a religious exemption depends on how a statute is drafted and interpreted,” Howard said.

  48. Robert W. Harding

    December 3, 1932-September 2, 2020

    Graveside Services

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 2 p.m.

    Emporia Cemetery.

    Robert W. Harding, of Emporia, Virginia, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, after being diagnosed with ALS this spring following months of early symptoms. Bobby, as everyone knew him, was a long standing member of Monumental Methodist Church in Emporia. His favorite place to be was outdoors, either hunting, fishing, or golfing. He also loved to cheer on his favorite sports teams throughout the year. Bobby was born on December 3, 1932, and lived most of his life in Emporia. He earned his Eagle Scout as a child and graduated from Emporia High School. He then earned a Business Administration degree from Virginia Tech in 1956. He was drafted into the Army in 1956, and spent 2 years in active duty at the Pentagon, and 4 years in the reserves. He married his sweetheart, Joyce Ann Livesay, on September 20, 1962. They were married for 55 years until Joyce went to Heaven in 2017. Bobby worked in the telephone industry his entire career.

    He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert Vance Harding, Jr and Louise Poole Harding, and his wife, Joyce Livesay Harding. He is survived by his children, Tricia (Rob) Parker of Alto Boquete, Panama, Doug (Diane) Harding of Mableton, GA, and three grandchildren: Jaeson Moore and Joshua and Taylor Harding. In celebration of Bobby’s life, there will be a graveside service on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 2 p.m. at Emporia Cemetery.

    If you feel led to give a donation, any donations to Monumental Methodist Church are appreciated.

  49. Dr. Daryl Minus Joins Leadership Team at Southside Virginia Community College

    Dr. Daryl Minus recently joined the leadership team at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services. 

    Dr. Minus came to SVCC from the Marine Corps Community Services (United States Department of Defense) where he was Education Assistant Branch Manager/Education Services Officer.  Prior to that he served as Vice President, Student Services and Enrollment Management, for Cape Fear Community College. 

    “We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Minus to SVCC.  He brings a wealth of experience, an entrepreneurial mindset, an understanding of the challenges of community colleges in rural communities, and an excellent team leadership philosophy to the role.  We look forward to his leadership as we respond to the unprecedented evolving challenges, demands and opportunities facing us,” President Quentin R. Johnson said.

    Dr. Minus graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.  He earned his master’s degree from New York University in business education/higher education and his doctorate in educational leadership from University of Phoenix. 

    “I am thrilled to be part of the SVCC Family,” Minus said.  “I am looking forward to working alongside staff and faculty to impact the lives of students and the communities served by the College."

  50. VIRGINIA STATE POLICE URGING MOTORISTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON SAFETY AS FATAL CRASHES CONTINUE TO RISE IN THE COMMONWEALTH

    RICHMOND – With most Virginians refraining from traditional vacations this year, Virginia State Police is urging those who are using the Labor Day weekend as a last chance for a getaway to do so safely and responsibly. AAA has reported road trips to be the main mode of vacation travel this summer and with Labor Day traffic fatalities on the rise for the past three years, motorists need to stay alert, stay sober and wear their seatbelts.
     
    “It’s really quite simple - seatbelts save lives, distractions are deadly on roadways and driving impaired is unacceptable,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “I understand that this year has been particularly stressful and Virginians are looking to get away. We want you and your family to reach your destination safely and throughout Virginia you can expect to see more state troopers conducting patrols to ensure that safety.”
     
    Virginia State Police’s traffic safety and enforcement efforts are part of Operation CARE – the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort, a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints. Virginia State Police’s participation in the program begins Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., and continues through midnight Monday, Sept. 7, 2020.
     
    The 2019 Labor Day weekend saw a rise in fatal crashes across the Commonwealth. A total of 17 individuals died in traffic crashes in Virginia during the 2019 four-day, holiday statistical counting period, compared to 14 deaths in 2018 and 5 deaths in 2017. In addition, according to preliminary data, as of Sept. 2, there have been 532 fatalities on Virginia highways in 2020 as compared to 531 in 2019.
     
    “In a year where there have been fewer cars on the roads, this trend is disturbing,” said Settle. “Virginians must realize that actions have consequences and when you’re unsafe on the road, people pay the price. These are strong words, but this is a serious subject. Every day State Troopers notify family members of a loved one’s death. It’s not a job we want to do and no one wants to get that knock at the door. Your safety habits can help reverse the trend and save a life.”
     
    Drivers and passengers are encouraged to safeguard themselves by always buckling up. State police is also actively participating in the annual “Checkpoint Strikeforce,” an anti-DUI enforcement and education program sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). State police is one of nearly 100 law enforcement agencies conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols through Labor Day in an effort to prevent and deter impaired driving and DUI/DUID-related crashes. In addition, state police reminds all motorists to drive phone- and distraction-free.
  51. Floyd Lee Hobbs, Jr.,

    October 8, 1939-August 30, 2020

    Graveside Services

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 2:00 P.M.

    Greensville Memorial Cemetery
    1250 Skippers Road
    Emporia, Virginia

    Floyd Lee Hobbs, Jr., 80, passed away on August 30, 2020. He was an Army veteran, and was a contractor in the construction industry. He was the son of the late, Floyd Lee Hobbs, Sr., and Elsie Morriss.

    He is survived by his wife, Mary Cooper Hobbs, son, Lee Hobbs (Joy), grandchildren, John Lee Hobbs (Nikki), Ashlei Hobbs True (Justin), great-grandchildren, Olivia Grace True, John David True, Leiana Nichole Hobbs, brother-in-law, Norman Cooper, along with four nieces and two nephews.

    A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at Greensville Memorial Cemetery, at 2:00 P.M., with Rev. Larry Grizzard officiating.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Greensville County Fire Department.

    Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

     

  52. Joe Kiser Robinson

    May 13, 1936-August 30, 2020

    Graveside Services

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 11:00 A.M.

    Greensville Memorial Cemetery
    1250 Skippers Road
    Emporia, Virginia

    Joe Kiser Robinson, 84, of Emporia, VA., passed away on Sunday, August 30, 2020.  He was a member at Forrest Hill Baptist Church. He worked as a Loom Fixer at J.P. Stevens/The Bibb Company for over 40 years and retired from Franklin Braid. He was preceded in death by the love of his life and wife of 52 years, Vadie Louise Hobbs Robinson, daughter, Vanessa Robinson Raiford, grandson, Donald Keith Raiford, son-in-law, Donald Lee Raiford, sister, Christine Robinson Butler, brother, James Henry (Frog) Robinson.

    He is survived by, his son, Craig Robinson (Jackie) of Roanoke Rapids, NC., grandchildren, Casey Raiford (Penny) of Courtland, VA., Justin Robinson of Roanoke Rapids, NC., great-grandchildren, Ava Raiford, Elena Raiford, Kaley Raiford, Jason Raiford, all of Courtland, VA.

    Kiser Robinson loved his family and friends, and enjoyed spending time with them. He always had a joke or something funny to say. He also loved to watch baseball, and he talked to everybody and never met a stranger.

    A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 11:00 A.M. at Greensville Memorial Cemetery with Rev. Rick Ragan officiating.

    In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Forrest Hill Baptist Church, 2103 Pine Log Road, Skippers, VA., 23879.

    Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

     

  53. Governor Northam Announces $4 Million to Expand Legal Aid Services for Virginians Facing Eviction

    Governor will match $2 million IKEA donation with $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund

    RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced $4 million in funding for the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, which will support 20 Legal Aid attorneys in providing services to Virginia tenants facing eviction for the next two years. This critical investment comes as thousands of Virginians continue to be at risk of eviction and is supported in part by a $2 million donation from IKEA U.S. Community Foundation. The Governor will match the donation with $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was approved by the General Assembly in April.

    “Our Commonwealth faced an eviction crisis before COVID-19 arrived in early March, and the ongoing global pandemic is making this problem even worse,” said Governor Northam. “We are deeply grateful to IKEA for this generous donation that, coupled with money from the COVID-19 Relief Fund and other federal resources, will help more Virginians stay in their homes as we fight this virus. In an unprecedented crisis and financial uncertainty, we must be able to get relief to vulnerable populations quickly and efficiently—this additional funding will make that possible.”

    IKEA Retail U.S. has stores in Norfolk and Woodbridge and employs approximately 550 Virginians. As part of the company’s efforts to support COVID-19 recovery across the country, IKEA is providing partner states with a donation equal to the amount given to their employees in the form of unemployment benefits. Housing security continues to be a top priority for Virginia amid the ongoing public health crisis, and Governor Northam asked that the $2 million donation from IKEA to the Commonwealth be directed to support eviction relief.

    IKEA has continued to follow Governor Northam’s orders to protect the health and safety of both employees and customers. After Governor Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order, IKEA closed its two Virginia retail locations to keep their staff and customers safe. Now IKEA is giving back to ensure the Commonwealth has the funding to provide essential services and goods to those who need it most.  

    “We are appreciative of the ongoing support from the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the unemployment funds paid to our co-workers who were furloughed in the early weeks of the pandemic,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA Retail U.S. president. “People are the heart of our business, and these unemployment benefits helped IKEA U.S. co-workers during a difficult time. We now have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, and we’ve decided to pay it forward to support the ongoing relief efforts in our local communities.” 

    This funding will be matched by $2 million from Virginia’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is supported by tax revenue from electronic skill machines. Governor Northam proposed this one-year alternative funding mechanism as a way of providing additional support to small businesses, Virginians who are out of work due to the pandemic, and individuals struggling to stay in their homes.

    Although $1.5 million per year for Legal Aid was unallotted from Virginia’s biennial budget, this $4 million in funding will allow for additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legal Aid attorneys play a critical role in eviction diversion in the Commonwealth—Virginia families facing eviction have successful outcomes 72 percent of the time when represented by Legal Aid lawyers, as opposed to just 34 percent without representation.

    Governor Northam also established the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) with an initial $50 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and proposed an additional $88 million in funding for the Housing Trust Fund over the biennium to prevent evictions and expand affordable housing. Since launching at the end of June, the RMRP has served more than 3,100 households in Virginia, and over 60 percent of the households served have children in the home.

    The Legal Services Corporation of Virginia funds and oversees the work of nine regional Legal Aid programs and a statewide support center, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, that provide services to low-income Virginians in every city and county in the Commonwealth.

    Watch the video of today’s announcement here.