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2019-8-5

McEachin Announces “For the People” August District Work Period Events

Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin has spent the past 200 days working to lower health care costs, protecting our environment, increasing paychecks by rebuilding American and restoring ethics and integrity in our government to deliver progress to the people of Virginia’s fourth congressional district. He will be holding events to discuss his vision for the country, give legislative updates, and hear directly from his constituents on what matters most to them. Congressman McEachin issued the following statement:

"After spending several months advocating and passing good policy For The People, I am very excited to be coming home with extended opportunity to meet with constituents,” saidCongressman A. Donald McEachin. “We have events planned all over the district - a town hall about gun violence in Petersburg with special guest, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, another town hall with Congressman Scott in Chesapeake and a town hall in Emporia about healthcare. I will also be doing several book drops at libraries in the district and I will also meet with constituents in Surry to discuss food deserts, an issue in which I have introduced bicameral legislation with Senator Warner.

“I plan to be all over the district to hear the concerns of my constituents and share information about the first seven months of this Congress. It will be a busy time and I look forward to being out around the district for an extended period.”

August 7th at 6:30pm: Emporia Health Care Town Hall in cooperation with the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, City of Emporia, and local health care experts City Council Chambers;Municipal Building,  201 S. Main St. Emporia, VA 23847

SVCC Grad’s Cool Job Is A Family Tradition

By Meredith Feinman, SVCC Intern

Whitney Hawkins' job is cool because she followed in her parents’ footsteps by becoming a school teacher.  She grew up in Alberta, Virginia and attended Nottoway High School and the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia at the same time. 

Whitney said, “I chose to attend the governor's school while in high school because I wanted a head start when it was time for me to graduate and attend a university. Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC)  allowed me to get a feel for college-level coursework while also allowing me to prepare myself to be successful for life after high school.” 

Since graduating from high school and SVCC with an Associate degree in General Studies, Whitney transferred to James Madison University where she majored in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in 2016 and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Teaching the following year. She now teaches kindergarten in Brunswick County Public Schools and was recently named Teacher of the Year for both her school, Red Oak-Sturgeon Elementary School, and the entire county. 

Her dad, Crawley Hawkins, teaches at Red Oak-Sturgeon and has been a teacher for 25 years and her mother, Priscilla, retired after 30 years in the classroom.  

Outside of teaching, Whitney runs a program called “Bike and Read”. In this program, students are provided with the opportunity to enjoy bike rides on a local trail, have lunch, and read books throughout the year. She also recently hosted an event called “The Mommy and Me Brunch,” where she celebrated all mothers do for their daughters and recognized key mothers from the local area. 

In the future, Whitney says she plans on “pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership with hopes of becoming a principal. I also would like to work on getting my summer Bike and Read program to be an official nonprofit organization.” Whitney also said, “Many people dream of moving far from home and establishing themselves, but I truly love making an impact here in my hometown.”

Looking back on her experience at SVCC, Whitney had these thoughts: “My time at SVCC was challenging but so well worth it. I was able to experience college-level course work while still in high school in a more personal setting, and I encountered some of the best professors such as Dr. Joyce Hurt, Mrs. Celeste Paynter, and many more. I also made lifelong friends who I am still in contact with to this day. I continue to rave about the wonderful experience I had while attending SVCC for governor's school, and recommend all high school students to look into it and apply if the opportunity arises for them.”

She is proof that you don’t have to land far from home to have a very rewarding and cool career!!

SVCC STEM Camp Students Launch Rocket Replicas of Apollo 11

Students work at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center on rockets at a STEM Camp offered through Southside Virginia Community College.  The Saturn V replicas of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon were successfully launched after being constructed by the students.  The camp was designed as a commemoration of the actual trip to the moon undertaken by Americans 50 years ago. 

During July of 2019, Associate Professor Brent Richey from Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) led a group of  Mecklenburg County students through a space camp celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew completed the national goal set by President John F. Kennedy eight years prior: to perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth.

Held in South Hill’s Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center, this camp was made possible by a grant from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. The students spent two days creating four feet tall replicas (1/100 scale) of the Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin,  and Michael Collins into space.

On the third day of the camp, which was the actual date of the moon landing 50 years ago, the students got to see if their rockets would successfully launch. There were many excited spectators present at Parker Park to view launching of the model rockets including the South Hill Volunteer Fire Department who were there as a precaution. The spectators watched in wonder as all 20 rockets built by these young scientists launched as planned. 

Richey said, “The students had to commit to all four days of the camp, or not at all since there was no way to "catch up" if someone missed a day.  Also, the construction of the rockets is tedious but rewarding and there is no cost to participants.”  

He noted that the rocket kits are very detailed and the finished product makes a great display once finished properly.  

“Everyone got to keep his/her rocket after the launch, provided it survived,” he said.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING SECURES $6 MILLION FROM CISCO SYSTEMS IN MULTISTATE SETTLEMENT

~ Virginia to receive $546,000 as its part of the settlement ~

RICHMOND (August 1, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general in settling a multistate lawsuit against Cisco Systems, Inc. concerning security surveillance system software sold to Virginia, a collection of other states, and the federal government. A whistleblower came forward under the federal False Claims Act to assert that Cisco’s software had major flaws rendering the system vulnerable to hackers, and that despite learning of the exposure, Cisco failed to report or remedy this security flaw for several years. Virginia will receive approximately $546,000 of the total settlement payment.

“It is inexcusable that Cisco was aware of the security flaws in its software for years, yet failed to do anything about it,” said Attorney General Herring.“These security flaws opened our surveillance systems up to hackers and could have put Virginians at risk. My team and I will continue to hold manufacturers accountable and make sure they know that they must report and repair any flaws that they find or they will have to deal with the consequences.”

In 2009, according to the action, Cisco discovered security flaws in a software product designed to control security camera systems sold to Virginia, multiple other states, and the federal government, but the company failed to report or remedy these flaws until 2013, and only after commencement of the investigation of the action.

The now-discontinued software contained flaws that would permit unauthorized access to the system, with the potential to control and otherwise manipulate security cameras and the recorded footage. 

The investigation began after parties involved in the settlement received information from a former Cisco employee who came forward as a whistleblower and filed an action under the federal False Claims Act and whistleblower acts of the multiple states involved. The joint investigation uncovered no evidence that a hack or any unauthorized access of security surveillance systems ever took place.

The $6 million fine will be distributed among the plaintiff states, with a share for the whistleblower. The Virginia False Claims Act allows private persons to file civil actions on behalf of the government, and to share in any recovery.

Attorney General Herring and his team conducted this investigation in coordination with the States of California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.

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