October 2021

SVCC and DRS Imaging Services Celebrate Graduates

 

 

 

SVCC graduates of the DRS Imaging Services employee program are Jamie Caknipe, Jessica Caknipe, Shavonne Hargrove, Jeanette Rawlings, Shelby Russell, Bruce Terry and (not-pictured) Kelly Gordon.

Southside Virginia Community College in partnership with DRS Imaging Services, LLC in Clarksville held a luncheon event celebrating seven DRS Imaging employees who received a career studies certificate from SVCC.

Within a two-year period, the DRS employees attended classes that covered office software applications; business; career exploration; team concepts; and problem solving for the completion of a Career Studies Certificate in Office Basics. 

"As an owner and Board member of DRS, I was excited to spearhead an incredible partnership between CapEQ (led by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson), the Southside Virginia Community College team and the South Central Workforce Development Board. Working together, we have provided more than 2,500 free college credit hours to DRS employees in Clarksville. We believe impactful initiatives like these not only serve to upskill our employees but are also significantly beneficial to companies by reducing employee churn. Thank you to our incredible partners on a job well done," said Nick Jean-Baptiste, Member of the Board of Directors of DRS Imaging Services, LLC.

Through this program DRS Imaging paid for the tuition and books for each of the courses provided to its employees.  When talking with the graduates they explained that taking these courses were a springboard for a future career or a more advanced degree.  Others stated that they were encouraged to finish what they had started years ago.  For some of the graduates they received the encouragement to attend college for the first time.

“This type of program is what I love about workforce and apprenticeship courses,” said Kristie Morris, Apprenticeship Specialist and Instructor at SVCC.  “We at SVCC are able to offer our students (especially those working full time) courses they need to further educate themselves while fitting the courses into their busy schedules, one class at a time.”

“It was a pleasure working with DRS to upskill their workforce,” states Kelly Arnold, former Southside Virginia Community College, Apprentice Coordinator. “In the digital age it’s essential for employers to understand the value of upskilling and investing in their employees. While there is a small cost to training the workforce, the benefits to developing tech savvy workers creates intrinsic value for the employee and the company.”

Arnold added, “The partnership with Southside Virginia Community College allowed the DRS employees to learn new technologies and to earn career studies certificates. These collaborative efforts pay dividends in employee efficiency, well-being and accomplishments.”

DRS was founded in 1964 and is one of the oldest and largest privately owned document scanning service bureaus in the United States with more than 400 employees and 13 locations across the country.

For more information about other employee and apprenticeship programs offered at SVCC, please contact Kristie Morris, Apprenticeship Specialist at SVCC, kristie.morris@southside.edu.

The three stages of COVID-19

Community Memorial Hospital respiratory therapist shares what she sees

Sandra Pearce, M.S., R.R.T., of Mecklenburg County, has been on the front lines of caring for adult patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. She’s been a respiratory therapist at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Va., for 35 years and was recently promoted to respiratory supervisor.

Pearce sees COVID-19 patients from the moment they arrive in the emergency department and throughout their hospital stay. Here, she describes the three stages of COVID-19 she witnesses everyday among her patients, depending on their ability to fight the virus. Please not that not everyone experiences these same symptoms.

Stage 1: Flu-like symptoms

Stage 1 is the early viral response. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Forty-seven percent of people are asymptomatic, which is a major problem for unknowingly spreading the disease,” Sandra said. “It can take anywhere from two to 14 days for symptoms to appear, which explains the need for quarantining after exposure.”

If you experience these symptoms, visit the Virginia Department of Health for a list of COVID-19 testing sites near you. Seek emergency medical care for difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to stay awake, and pale, gray or bluish-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone.  

Stage 2: Pneumonia/respiratory symptoms

Stage 2 is when the virus moves into your lungs and causes pneumonia. This is the critical stage where you must watch closely for trouble breathing, chest pain and confusion.

 “When you’re constantly coughing and can’t take deep breaths, your oxygen level can decrease,” Sandra said. “If the oxygen saturation in your blood is not at a satisfactory level, you will be admitted, and we’ll start treatment.”

Respiratory therapists work closely with hospitalists and pulmonologists to treat COVID-19 patients. They will try to increase your flow of oxygen first with non-invasive equipment similar to what some people use at home for sleep apnea. You can also perform breathing exercises and receive anti-virals, steroids and other medications deemed appropriate by your doctor.

“Our pulmonologists, Dr. Shivaram and Dr. Adarkwah, do everything they can to keep patients out of the ICU unless medically necessary,” Sandra said.

In addition to pneumonia and other severe respiratory problems, at this stage you might require emergency care for blood clots. If you can’t walk across the room without getting winded, seek emergency care immediately. The Emergency Department physician will order blood work and other tests to determine the proper treatment for your condition.

Stage 3: Organ failure

Stage 3 is when your lungs go into a hyperinflammatory response, which can lead to sepsis and organ failure.

“This is when we call your family because it may be the last time you’re able to talk to them,” Sandra explains.

If you require a ventilator, a long tube will be inserted into your trachea, in addition to multiple IVs and catheters. Pressure can build up in your lungs, requiring the insertion of a chest tube through your ribcage.

Sandra notes that at the beginning of the pandemic, CDC statistics showed that only one in 10 patients on ventilators survived. Of those who did, many required rehab and home oxygen.

“I’ve cried,” Sandra admitted. “It’s hard to watch when they are close to the end. So, when patients do recover and are discharged, it gives hospital staff a big boost of morale.”

Dealing with the stress

How does Sandra deal with the stress after 18 months of caring for COVID patients?

“I relish my days off,” Sandra said. “I enjoy relaxing at home, cooking and spending time with my family and friends.”

Sandra still orders her groceries for pickup and wears a mask in public indoors. With the positivity rate in the Southside Health District still at 11%, she’s not taking any chances.

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart, wear a mask and get the vaccine.

“I recommend everyone, with few exceptions, get the vaccine,” Sandra said. “After seeing what I see every day, and the fact it can be prevented, I just wish people would understand.”

Since July 1, 51% of the patients admitted to VCU Health CMH with COVID have been less than 60 years of age. Of those who died from COVID since then, 38% were less than 60.

To find a vaccination location near you, visit www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233. You can also text your zip code to 438-829 for a list of vaccination sites near your home. Vaccination is free!

Creating Paths for Opportunity

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

The United States has been called a land of opportunity, a place where all people have the chance to increase their income, improve their circumstances, and pursue happiness. History paints a more complex picture. Socioeconomic studies find that the conditions required to pursue opportunities are unevenly distributed.

Factors such as unequal access to quality education, disparities in family wealth, and insufficiently robust social connections contribute to dissimilar outcomes. Furthermore, living in poverty undermines security and thwarts optimism. A few years ago, researchers at the Census Bureau, Harvard University, and Brown University discovered that the neighborhood in which a child grows up has a significant impact on future earnings, incarceration rates, and other adult outcomes.

Persistent, multigenerational poverty has had an especially devastating effect in minority communities. At the same time, people with higher incomes are able to live in neighborhoods with more resources and accrue socioeconomic advantages. These diverging trends, rooted in resource availability, contribute to an ever-widening gap between segments of society. This in turn disrupts our national unity and hampers our prosperity.

For opportunities to lead to widespread benefits, they need to open doors for everyone. The word itself, opportunity incorporates the word unity, underscoring the need to join hands and work together toward common goals.

With these thoughts in mind, the Virginia Community College System set out to consider the steps needed to attain equitable outcomes. The resulting strategy is called “Opportunity 2027.” Adopted earlier this year, the strategic plan provides a six-year blueprint that will guide Virginia’s community colleges into the future. The action-oriented design provides a detailed roadmap ensuring that “Virginia’s Community Colleges will achieve equity in access, learning outcomes, and success for students from every race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic group.”

The initiative seeks to remove equity gaps among students of color and ALICE students (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), a population that faces chronic financial instability and struggles to meet basic needs. To accomplish this, the plan establishes five target goals. These include communicating the importance of equity in securing Virginia’s future talent pipeline, improving the quality and diversity among community college faculty and staff members, ensuring a culture of care that meets the needs of a diverse student population, matching instruction to what is needed for 21st century careers, and keeping education affordable.

Southside Virginia Community College has already begun taking steps. We are expanding training for in-demand career pathways, pursuing options for granting prior-learning credits, embedding valued stackable credentials into programs, braiding credit and non-credit instruction, and pursuing local options for internships and apprenticeships. In addition, we are working to ensure that we employ faculty, staff, and administrators able to stand as role models and help our students envision themselves in future leadership positions.

My colleague John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College, summed it up nicely when he said, “Achieving our mission, and recognizing that every citizen of the commonwealth needs the opportunity to succeed will really help us improve the lives not only of individuals, but the communities where they live.”

“Opportunity 2027” establishes objectives and adopts metrics to monitor and document progress so colleges can see exactly how well they are doing in closing equity gaps based on race or ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic condition. At SVCC, we are proud to be in the forefront of this important work.

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.

NEXT EMPORIA STORAGE AUCTION SET FOR OCTOBER 30

Attendees encouraged to participate in costume contest

EMPORIA, VA – Emporia Storage has a unit auction scheduled at its three facilities in the city beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The auction will have a special seasonal twist. Those attending the auction are encouraged to dress in costume. There will be a contest for auction participants with a prize awarded for the best costume.

The auction will begin at Emporia Storage office headquarters at 315 West Atlantic Street, Emporia, VA 23847, then move to the units at 623 South Main Street across from 7-11 and finish up at its third location on East Atlantic Street across from Georgia Pacific. Those attending should adhere to current government guidelines regarding COVID-19 by wearing masks and practicing distancing.

Multiple units will be auctioned. The exact number of units will not be available until the day before the auction. During this cash only sale, the belongings of delinquent storage units are auctioned to the highest bidder to recoup the loss of rental fees.

Gates open at 9 a.m. for registration. Registration is free. The auction begins at 10 a.m. Bidders will be given a few minutes to look at the units once they are opened. In this absolute auction, units will be sold "as is, where is" and contents must be removed by the winning bidder by 6 p.m. that day. A 15% buyers’ premium will apply. Please bring your own masks and locks, as you are responsible for security of your units upon winning the bid. The auction will be conducted by Carla Cash Harris, Emporia, Va., (434) 594-4406, VA License # 2907004352, a member of the Virginia Auctioneers Association. For more information, call Carla or Emporia Storage at (434) 634-2919.

Virginia State Police investigate a single vehicle crash that results in a double fatality in Brunswick County.

On today's date, October 17, 2021, at approximately 9:52 a.m., state police were dispatched to investigate a vehicle fire on southbound Interstate 85 at the 32mm in Brunswick County. Upon arriving at the scene, troopers located a 2015 Nissan Rogue with a New York registration fully engulfed. Preliminary investigations reveal that the Nissan was traveling at a high rate of speed, ran off the roadway and struck a tree. The impact of the crash caused the vehicle to catch fire burning the driver and passenger beyond recognition. No other occupants were located in the vehicle. The bodies have been taken to the Medical Examiner's office in Richmond for positive identification. The investigation remains ongoing.

South Hill man gets life back after cardiac rehab. Twice.

Tim Kallam stands on his favorite piece of equipment, the treadmill, with VCU Health CMH cardiac rehab staff.

South Hill resident Tim Kallam was 49 years old when he had a massive heart attack. A few years later, he experienced a second artery blockage. Both times he completed cardiac rehabilitation at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) in South Hill. The therapy gave him the confidence to enjoy living his life. Here is Tim’s story.

In 2019, Tim was moving his daughter into her apartment in Roanoke. In the months prior he had experienced chest pain and a tingling sensation in his arm, but he had shrugged it off as being overweight and out of shape. After several trips to the apartment, he went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics resuscitated him, but he lost consciousness again on the way to the hospital.

The widow-maker

Tim was diagnosed as having a 100 percent blockage in his left anterior descending (LAD) artery. This type of heart attack is known as a widow-maker because only 6 percent of people survive an event like that. Doctors placed a stent in the artery, and Tim began his road to recovery.

Back in South Hill, Tim completed 36 sessions of cardiac rehab over three months, going three times a week. At first, he was afraid to do anything the least bit strenuous. Yet each week, his therapists pushed him to work harder. About midway through, Tim felt confident enough to do most anything he wanted.

“This was my testing ground, where I could safely work out under the supervision of the staff while my heart rate and blood pressure were monitored,” Tim explained. “The staff are enthusiastic and supportive. They have a genuine concern for my recovery.”

Not again!

In 2021, Tim again experienced chest pain and tingling in his arm — but this time he knew what it was and sought immediate medical attention. His cardiologist conducted a stress test and ordered imaging. It turned out a second artery was 99 percent blocked. He has collateral vessels that have opened on their own to keep the blood flowing. But back to cardiac rehab he went.

“We have a great facility at VCU Health CMH,” he said. “You don’t have to seek out rehab in a big city. The staff here is outstanding.”

Now Tim takes daily walks. He’s lost about 30 pounds and feels good.

“My wife and I enjoy the outdoors. I hunt rabbits and spend time on the farm with my dogs. We have a son who plays football at Hampden Sydney who is about to graduate from college. We have a daughter who is getting married in a year. I am motivated to stay healthy so I can experience being a grandfather someday.”

Social Security Announces 5.9 Percent Benefit Increase for 2022

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022.  Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.  (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $147,000 from $142,800. 

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount.  Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their personal my Social Security account.  People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.    

Information about Medicare changes for 2022, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.  For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2022 are announced.  Final 2022 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

STATEMENT OF U.S. SEN. MARK R. WARNER ON PROPOSED DOL RULE

~ On U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rule to remove barriers to considering environmental, social, governance factors in plan management ~

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement on the Department of Labor’s proposed rule enabling retirement plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their decision-making:

“I am glad that the Employee Benefits Security Administration has moved to reverse one of the Trump Administration’s efforts to ignore the calamitous effects of climate change, including its associated financial risks, by proposing a rule enabling retirement plans to consider Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations in investment decisions. Companies do not operate in a vacuum and investment fiduciaries should have the ability to consider sustainability of the broader community without running afoul of their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders. With the publication of this proposed rule, the Biden Administration has taken a step towards protecting the long-term financial security of pensioners and workers across the country.

“This proposed rule also highlights the continued importance of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) effort to establish clear ESG disclosure requirements for publicly traded companies. Investors increasingly clamor for consistent ESG reporting because they understand companies that invest in their workers, minimize harmful environmental impacts, and enact strong worker safety measures, also tend to perform better in the long-run.” 

Under the proposed rule, retirement plan administrators will continue to act in the sole interest of the plan’s participants but will now be able to more freely include ESG factors, including in their initial analysis of investment options. Sen. Warner has previously called on Congress to amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to require consideration of ESG factors as part of fiduciary duty. While this rule does not require consideration of ESG factors by plan managers, it grants critical flexibility to do so.

McEachin Bipartisan Bill to Increase Offshore Drilling Accountability Passes Natural Resources Committee

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) participated in a Natural Resources full committee markup where he helped advance his legislation, the Offshore Accountability Act, to update reporting standards and increase transparency of critical system and equipment failures on offshore drilling facilities.

“Today’s committee markup and passage of the Offshore Accountability Act is an important step toward greater transparency and accountability of the offshore oil and gas industry,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “As we have seen from prior tragedies, like the Santa Barbara and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, offshore drilling accidents can be dangerous, expensive, and life-altering for coastal communities and critical ecosystems. All Americans, especially those in coastal communities, deserve transparency from industries operating in our oceans.”

“My legislation makes commonsense updates to existing reporting standards to ensure appropriate accountability and oversight of offshore drilling facilities,” Rep. McEachin (VA-04) continued. “I thank my colleagues on committee for helping advance this important legislation, and I look forward to its passage in the House.”

H.R. 570, the Offshore Accountability Act, requires offshore drilling facilities to report critical safety system failures directly to the Secretary of the Interior, who would then be mandated to publicly disclose these incident reports.

Watch the Natural Resources full committee markup here. Read the Offshore Accountability Act bill text here.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING DEFENDS INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT PROTECTIONS BEFORE THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

~ Herring has filed an amicus brief in support of the United States and four federally recognized tribes in their efforts to uphold critical protections guaranteed under the Indian Child Welfare Act ~

RICHMOND (October 8, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has filed an amicus brief supporting the United States and four federally recognized tribes in their efforts to uphold critical protections guaranteed under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Attorney General Herring and a bipartisan coalition of 26 attorneys general filed the amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Haaland v. Brackeen and Cherokee Nation v. Brackeen. The brief highlights the states’ compelling interest in standing up for the wellbeing of all children, including Native American children, in state child-custody proceedings.
 
“Since its passage more than 40 years ago, the Indian Child Welfare Act has been a critical tool for protecting Native American tribes and keeping Native American families together, and it has also helped to foster tribal-state collaboration,” said Attorney General Herring. “Every single child deserves to be protected, especially during child-custody proceedings, and it’s crucial that protections like the ICWA remain in place to do just that. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act and maintaining these crucial protections for Native American children and their families.”
 
Congress enacted ICWA in 1978 in response to a serious and pervasive problem: State and private parties were initiating state child-custody proceedings that removed Native American children from the custody of their parents — often without good cause — and placed them in the custody of non-tribal adoptive and foster homes. That practice harmed children and posed an existential threat to the continuity and vitality of tribal communities. To address this, Congress established minimum federal standards governing the removal of Native American children from their families. ICWA’s provisions safeguard the rights of Native American children, parents, and tribes in state child-custody proceedings, and seek to promote the placement of Native American children with members of their extended families or with other tribal homes. In the four decades since Congress enacted ICWA, the statute has become the foundation of state-tribal relations in the realm of child custody and family services. Collectively, the coalition states are home to approximately 86% of federally recognized tribes in the United States.
 
In the amicus brief, the coalition asserts that: 
  • ICWA is a critical tool for protecting Native American families and tribes, and fostering state-tribal collaboration;
  • The court of appeals incorrectly concluded that several of ICWA’s provisions violate the anti-commandeering doctrine; and
  • ICWA’s preferences for the placement of Native American children with other Native American families and foster homes do not violate equal protection.
 Joining Attorney General Herring in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

CELEBRATING A MILESTONE FOR MY SOCIAL SECURITY

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

We are excited to celebrate a significant milestone for my Social Security: 60 million registrations!  We thank each of you who took the time to create a personal my Social Security account – and encouraged others to do the same.  We keep improving our online services to make doing business with us easier, faster, and more accessible.

If you are receiving benefits, you can use your personal my Social Security account, to:

  • Change your address and direct deposit information.
  • Get proof of your benefits.
  • Request replacement documents, like a Medicare card.

If you aren’t currently receiving benefits, you can:

  • Check your earnings record.
  • Get estimates of your future benefits.
  • View your Social Security Statement.

In most states, you can also request a replacement Social Security card online, although often you only need to know your Social Security number and you do not need the physical card.  See everything you can do with a personal my Social Security account, and open one today at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

Please help us share this information about my Social Security with friends and family.  You can also post it on social media to help us spread the word.  

 

GRANT HELPS SAVE “HISTORIC GEM” IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY, VA

Located in Brunswick County Virginia, Canaan was the plantation home of   The Rev. Edward Dromgoole Sr., a traveling minister of the Revolutionary War and early national periods. This “historic gem” is situated in Valentines, Virginia just off the Christanna Highway (route 46) -- a road that Brunswick County is developing as a tourism corridor. Once restored, this plantation home will be an additional site for visitors to enjoy along this corridor. The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation, as a 501(3) c non-profit organization and the owner of this historic building, has recently been awarded a grant that will help save it from potential collapse.

As proven by dendrochronology, Canaan was built between 1796 and 1799. This home had solidly stood for over 200 years but after Hurricane Michael in the fall of 2018 inundated the county with rain, a dramatic tilt was noticed in its east chimney.  Given that this chimney is timber-tied into the house, if the chimney should fall so will the house.  Local resident and builder, Tom King, completed the necessary emergency structural work to brace the chimney in its tilting position and to pour concrete to unify and support its base.  Although the stress on the bracing and on the west chimney remained evident, the Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation (OBCF), could not do the work needed to permanently stabilize and repair the chimneys and foundation until they could raise the necessary funds.

A solution came in the form of financing from the Emergency Supplemental Historical Preservation Fund (ESHPF).  Administered by the National Park Service, 4.7 million dollars of these funds were awarded to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR). These monies allowed VDHR to offer sub-awards to historic sites located in 52 counties and cities in Virginia that had been negatively impacted by Hurricane Florence and Michael.   The OBDF applied for this grant because-- as board member Ann Keeling said, “It was the type of grant opportunity that was ideally structured for a small non-profit organization like ours”.   Having made an application for the grant, the OBCF recently got the news for which they anxiously awaited:  the National Park Service in partnership with the VDHR had awarded the OBCF an initial grant award amount of $199,605.   For Canaan, this grant will fund the stabilization and repair of its chimneys and foundation as well as the acquisition of a Historic Structure Report and an Engineering Assessment. Both of these planning documents will inform the construction needed.

Canaan is the only surviving home in Virginia of an 18th Century itinerant minister or Methodist “circuit rider”, Rev. Edward Dromgoole, Sr.  Dromgoole was influential in spreading John Wesley's Methodist movement in America. . It was in this home that Dromgoole and his wife, Rebecca Walton Dromgoole, hosted class meetings and worship services.  This house also served as an important hospitality and educational stop for Methodist preachers, notably Francis Asbury, one of the two first Methodist Bishops in America.   Dromgoole died May 13, 1835 and is buried on the property.   Canaan later became the home of his son, Hon. George Coke Dromgoole, who represented his region of Virginia, first in the state legislature for 13 years, then in Congress for 7 years.

 More information about The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation and Canaan can be found at https://vaumc.org/oldbrunswickcircuit.   To support the preservation efforts of the Foundation, tax-deductible donations payable to The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation may be sent to P. O. Box 385, Lawrenceville, VA 23868-0385 (with memo line “to Dromgoole”); or donations can be made via  PayPal@OBCFVA on Facebook.

Photos, top to bottom: Dromgoole House as it appeared when purchased  by the Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation. Braced East Chimney of Dromgoole House. Dromgoole House after being covered in protective covering  (Photo courtesy of Lea Beazley). Sign informing visitors of the grand and the significance of the house.

 

 

 

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC endorses Delegate Roslyn Tyler for House seat in the 75th District

Delegate Roslyn Tyler received the endorsement of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (VFBF) AgPAC, a political action committee of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, in the race for the 75th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“I am pleased to have received the endorsement of Virginia Farm Bureau.”

Delegate Roslyn Tyler is among 81 candidates that VFBF AgPAC has endorsed for House and Senate seats. Endorsements were made based on candidates’ support of Virginia Farm Bureau past and current agricultural issues, as well as leadership on key agricultural issues, among other criteria.

“Each of these candidates has shown a clear understanding of the needs of farmers and/or have proven their support through their favorable voting records while holding positions in the General Assembly. These candidates have demonstrated a willingness to engage with our farmers, and we believe they will be advocates for Virginia’s largest industry, agriculture and forestry,” said Wayne F. Pryor, chairman of VFBF AgPAC and VFBF president. “We look forward to working with them in the 2022 Virginia General Assembly.”

VFBF AgPAC is a nonpartisan political action committee that works to build relationships with elected officials and enhance their understanding of agricultural issues. AgPAC evaluates candidates running for the Virginia General Assembly for potential endorsement. A full list of candidates endorsed by the committee can be viewed online at vafb.com

Delegate Tyler Touts Endorsements and Committee Assignments

This year has been a great year in the General Assembly, and I will continue to work hard in the 75th District.  Because of the work that I have done I am proud to announce that I have been endorsed by the following organizations:

  • Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance
  • Virginia Farm Bureau
  • Virginia League of Conservation Voters
  • Virginia Education Association
  • Committee to Protect Health Care
  • National Coalition of Public Safety Officers
  • Virginia Professional Fire Fighters
  • Committee to Protect Healthcare

I am also proud to serve on the following committees for the state of Virginia:

  • Education Committee (Chair)
  • Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources
  • Appropriations Committee
    • Sub Committees for Appropriations
  • Compensation & General Government (Chair)
  • Commerce, Agriculture, and Natural Resources
  • Transportation and Public Safety Conferee
  • Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission
  • Broadband Advisory Council Vice Chair
  • Center for Rural Virginia Chair
  • Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Commission
  • Education Commission of the States
  • E-911 Boarder Response Group
  • Hemp Work Group
  • Southern Economic Development Committee

Monthly Update from Congressman McEachin (October, 2021)

This has been a very busy September. From the start of several district activities to significant legislation in Washington, I wanted to remind my constituents of several important deadlines for the upcoming month:

The deadline for the Congressional App Challenge is fast approaching on November 1st. The Congressional App Challenge is open to students who live or attend school in our Congressional District. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their creativity in designing a useful and interesting computer app. Information about this challenge and applying is available here.

November 1st is also the deadline to submit a nomination for the Fourth District’s Veteran of the Year. As the son of a veteran, I am well aware of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women and their families. Moreover, many veterans, even when retired from the military, continue to serve our communities, making a difference. We need to honor our veterans every day for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe and free. If you know a veteran you would like to nominate, seeherefor the application.

If you are struggling with an issue with a federal agency, such as missing benefits, a lost tax return, an absent passport or visa or other concerns, my office is here to help. To facilitate serving constituents, we have a program called Mobile McEachin to make it easier for constituents to get an appointment with one of my experienced and knowledgeable constituent service representatives. Our October Mobile McEachin will be virtual and will be on October 13 from 10:30 to 3p. You can sign up for an individual appointment here. We’re here to help!

Each year, I have the opportunity to nominate the very best and brightest high school students for consideration to our nation’s esteemed military academies. The five U.S. Service Academies include the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

This year, I was pleased to host a joint Service Academy Day with my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, from Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. We were joined by representatives from the military academies, who provided helpful information about the application and nomination process. If you missed the event and would like more information, you can view it here.

For more information, including how to apply for the nomination process, please visit my website. The deadline to apply is coming up quick – October 29, 2021.

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

Brenda Allene Crockett Fuller

November 9, 1973 - October 7, 2021

Graveside Services

Tuesday, October 12, 2021, starting at 1:00 P.M.

Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery

It is with great sorrow her family announces the unexpected passing of Brenda Allene Crockett Fuller on October 7, 2021 to be welcomed by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, along with many loved ones who predeceased her. She is survived by her fiancé, Robby Butler, her daughters, Heather Marie Fuller, Ashley Nicole Fuller, and Cindy Butler, her mother and father, Sam and Barbara Crockett, her brother, John Crockett, and many beloved aunts, uncles, relatives and friends.

Brenda graduated from Greensville County High School in 1992 and served in the U.S. Airforce after graduation. She enjoyed making crafts, especially blankets, wreaths, and delicious pickles for her family and friends!

The most important thing Brenda will be remembered for is her capacity to love. She truly loved without expectation of being loved in return.

Words cannot describe how deeply Brenda will be missed. She loved the Lord and our loss is heaven’s gain.

A graveside service will be held at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, starting at 1:00 P.M., with Rev. Bobby Griles officiating.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

 

Aubrey E. Wray,

August 10, 1945 - October 07, 2021

Services

2 p.m. Monday, October 11

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Rd
Jarratt, Virginia

 

Aubrey E. Wray, 76, of Jarratt, passed away Thursday, October 7, 2021. He was the son of the late William S. and Helen F. Wray and was also preceded in death by his brother, Morris G. Wray.

A lifelong Greensville County tobacco farmer, Aubrey was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing and enjoyed playing softball and later coaching.

Aubrey is survived by his wife of 56 years, Dolly R. Wray; two sons, Gregory D. Wray (Linda) and Christopher C. Wray (Torri), daughter, Courtney W. Gordon (Brian T.); five grandchildren, Michaela West (Ronnie), Cody Wray (Victoria), Collin and Marshall Wray and Mason Gordon; and a great-granddaughter, Evelyn West.

The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Monday, October 11 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia.

A private committal service will immediately follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Crater Community Hospice, 3916 S. Crater Rd. Petersburg, VA 23805 (info@cratercommunityhospice.org).

 

 

Social Security Announces Redesigned Statement -- Now Available with amySocial Security Account

 

Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today introduced a new look and feel to the Social Security Statement, available online through the my Social Security portal at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and by mail. The Statement is one of the most effective tools people can use to learn about their earnings and future Social Security benefits. This fresh look will allow millions of people to see their earnings information and estimates of future benefits quickly and securely.

“One of my top priorities is to provide information to people in clear and plain terms about Social Security’s programs and services,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi. “The streamlined Social Security Statement contains clear messaging and makes it easier to find information at a glance, helping to simplify our complex programs for the public.”

The agency conducted extensive research, review, and testing to make the updated Statement easy to understand. The new Statement is shorter, uses visuals and plain language, and includes fact sheets tailored to a person’s age and earnings history. It also includes important information people have come to expect from the Statement, such as how much a worker and family members could expect to receive in Social Security benefits and a personalized earnings history, in a clear, concise manner. Examples of the new Statement and fact sheets are available at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/statement.html.

More than 61 million people have already created mySocial Securityaccounts.  U.S. citizens age 18 or older can easily view their redesigned Social Security Statement online by creating a my Social Security account. People age 60 or older who do not receive benefits and do not have a my Social Security account will receive their Statement by mail three months before their birthday. Workers should check their Statement at least once a year for accuracy.

People can check information and conduct most Social Security business through their personalmySocial Securityaccount.  If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.

In addition to obtaining their personalized Social Security Statement, people not yet receiving benefits can use their account to request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. The portal also includes a retirement calculator and links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.

Many Social Security services are also conveniently available by dialing toll-free, 1‑800‑772‑1213.  People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call Social Security’s TTY number, 1‑800‑325‑0778.

Governor Northam Announces Efficiency Efforts Have Saved Virginians $1 Billion in Energy Costs

Virginia is the second state to achieve this milestone

RICHMOND—Governor Northam today announced Virginia has reached more than $1 billion in energy savings through the Virginia Department of Energy’s Energy Savings Performance Contracting Program. More than 30 states have similar programs, and Virginia is only the second state to accomplish this milestone.

“Achieving this impressive level of energy savings shows that Virginia is ready and poised to be a national leader on clean energy,” said Governor Northam. “Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to meet energy needs. These savings are a huge win for sustainability and reaching our ambitious clean energy goals.”

Virginia Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Performance Contracting Support program was created in 2001. Through the program, state agencies, higher education facilities, and other public bodies enter into a contract with an energy services company to significantly reduce energy costs through one or more conservation or operational measures. The cost of the project must equal the projected savings. The program has helped save $1,011,581,170 in energy costs since it was created.

“Working closely with state agencies, local governments, utilities, and the private sector, Virginia Energy has administered this important program, helping Virginia establish itself as a national leader in the expansion of energy efficiency,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These efforts and others are part of Virginia’s commitment to clean energy, and I commend Virginia Energy and those that worked with the agency for meeting this outstanding goal.”

“This significant milestone shows what we can accomplish when our public bodies work together with our vendor community to achieve common goals,” said Secretary of Administration Grindly Johnson. “Through innovative contracting, strategic management and collaboration, we’re able to once again show why Virginia is a leader in business and energy efficiency.” 

Since 2001, Virginia Energy has completed 271 energy efficiency projects: 166 for public bodies, 50 for state agencies, and 55 for higher education systems. The average project value was $3.7 million. Annually, Virginia Energy completes projects totaling an average of $50.5 million. To learn more about the program, click here.

“The General Assembly and Virginia Energy saw the rewards of energy efficiency improvements early—creating an avenue to facilitate those improvements through our agency in 2001,” said Virginia Energy Director John Warren. “Our team has spent many hours visiting localities throughout the Commonwealth to ensure successful projects, and the results speak for themselves. We are excited to see what the results of the next 20-years of work will be as more public bodies realize the benefits of the program.”

This announcement comes on Energy Efficiency Day, designated annually on October 6 and celebrated by a nationwide network of energy efficiency groups and businesses. More than 80,000 Virginians work in the energy efficiency sector in high-skilled, good-paying, clean energy jobs that cannot be outsourced.

Virginia State University Offering Annual Ginger and Turmeric Field Day at Randolph Farm

IN-PERSON WORKSHOP AND FIELD DAY WILL EXPLORE THE MANAGEMENT, PRODUCTION, AND BENEFITS OF GINGER AND TURMERIC

Ginger and Turmeric Field Day: Dr. Razie Rafie and his team of researchers provide information on turmeric & ginger crop production to small farmers in Virginia

PETERSBURG, VA. – Virginia Cooperative Extension is hosting its annual Ginger and Turmeric Workshop and Field Day at Virginia State University’s Randolph Farm on Thursday, October 21, 2021. The event will provide participants with information on how to successfully grow, harvest, pack, and market ginger and turmeric. Experts will present research-based information about the health benefits of ginger. This event is for new and experienced ginger and turmeric growers alike to learn how to better grow and market these crops. 

In 2020, the United States imported 88,000 metric tons of fresh ginger with a total value of $104 million; a 12% increase in imported volume from 2019. Due to its numerous health benefits, the consumption of fresh ginger has increased significantly in the United States.  

At the field day, participants will learn from leading experts about the health benefits of ginger consumption, sustainable production and management of ginger and turmeric, integrated pest management, and how to properly harvest and package these crops.

Presenters include Brian Nelson of Hardywood Brewery in Richmond, VA; Jim Provost of I Love Produce in West Grove, PA; Dr. Reza Rafie, the horticulture Extension specialist at VSU, Dr. Rafat Siddiqui, professor and researcher of food science and food chemistry at VSU, and Dr. Zelalem Mersha, plant and soil science specialist at VSU.

Each presenter will share their knowledge indoors, after which guests will take a trolley to the field for demonstrations.

This workshop and field day will take place from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at VSU’s Randolph Farm Pavilion. Visit the calendar of events at ext.vsu.edu. to register for this event. Pre-registration is required to attend this event and cost $10 per person. Space is limited is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

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

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

For too long, domestic violence was considered a "family issue" and was left for families to address in private.  That is why, decades ago, I created and pushed for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to be passed.  Today, we recognize the important roles of the public and private sectors, non-profit organizations, communities, and individuals in helping to prevent and address domestic violence and create a culture that refuses to tolerate abuse.  Domestic violence affects millions of people in the United States, causes significant harm to the physical and mental health of survivors and their families, undermines their economic stability and overall well-being, and is a stain on the conscience of our country.  While significant progress has been made in reducing domestic violence and improving services and support for survivors, much work remains to be done to expand prevention efforts and provide greater access to safety and healing.  During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we come together to reaffirm our commitment to ending domestic violence and supporting survivors. 
 
Domestic violence is an abuse of power that tears apart the fabric of relationships and families and undermines the well-being of communities.  One in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.  Homicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States for women under the age of 44, and nearly half are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence has become a pandemic within a pandemic, with many victims facing the added pressures of increased economic insecurity, increased time in isolation with their abusers, and limited contact with their support networks.  This has made it even more difficult for victims to access the lifesaving services and support they need. 
 
To strengthen our response to domestic violence and all forms of gender-based violence, my American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $450 million to increase support for domestic violence and sexual assault service providers and to further assist survivors in their short- and long-term transition away from their abusers.  It also includes a historic commitment to funding culturally-specific community-based organizations to address the needs of survivors in historically marginalized communities.  My Administration also allocated an additional $550 million for domestic violence shelters and supportive service providers to develop and employ COVID-19 detection and mitigation strategies and help survivors access health care during the pandemic.  In the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, I proposed an historic $1 billion for grant programs administered by the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, and more than doubled investments through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.  I was also proud to sign into law the Victims of Crime Act Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act, which increases resources available to help thousands of survivors of domestic violence. 
 
To accelerate this progress, the White House Gender Policy Council is working to develop our Nation's first ever National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence and the Council is collaborating with the Department of State and other Federal agencies to update and strengthen our Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally.  My Administration is also working to prevent and improve the response to intimate partner violence in our military and pushing to strengthen VAWA.  Authoring and championing VAWA remains one of my proudest legislative achievements as a Senator, and its reauthorization is long overdue.  Legislation to reauthorize and strengthen VAWA, which already passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, would reduce intimate partner homicides by strengthening common sense gun laws, expand protections for Native American survivors, increase access to safe housing, expand training for trauma-informed policing, and support programs centered on restorative practices.  We are also committed to reauthorizing the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act to strengthen efforts to address domestic violence as a public health issue and to increase support for life-saving services and prevention programs across the Nation.
 
During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we honor the tremendous dedication of advocates and service providers, honor the courage and resilience of survivors, and recommit ourselves to standing with them for safety, dignity, and justice.  There is still much work to do, and it will take all of us to do it.  We must rededicate ourselves to creating a society where domestic violence is not tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all people have an opportunity to thrive without fear of violence or abuse.
 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.  I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support efforts to educate young people about healthy relationships centered on respect; support victims and survivors in your own families and networks; and to support the efforts of victim advocates, service providers, health care providers, and the legal system, as well as the leadership of survivors, in working to end domestic violence.
 
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.
 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Student Discovers Her Time to Shine

Like many college students, Darleen Ferguson has exciting plans for her future. But unlike many of her classmates, Darleen has already overcome the challenges of navigating a decades-long career path. She has also experienced the rewards that come from raising a family.

“I am 73 years old, and I proudly claim all 73 of those years,” Darleen boasts. “When I was young, I made sacrifices for my children. Now they’re doing good. Now it’s time for me. For the years I have left, I’m planning on enjoying them.”

Darleen took a decisive step into her future when she enrolled in “Computer Applications and Concepts” at Southside Virginia Community College during the Fall 2021 semester. The course provides basic instruction in fundamental computer topics, internet skills, and commonly used software programs.

“You can do so much nowadays with a computer,” Darleen says. She speaks from the perspective of a person who knows how much the world has been transformed. When Darleen first joined the workforce, she lived in the Washington, DC area and was employed by a company that had a large, room-filling IBM machine. “Since then, everything has changed,” she laughs. “People even have computers in their homes.”

Darleen’s own life has been through dramatic changes as well. She had to put an earlier quest for education aside in order to focus on raising her two young daughters. When her father retired from the DC police force and moved to southside Virginia, she followed him. She worked as a Teacher’s Aide with Brunswick County Schools and then as a Nurse Aide for Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill. Eventually, she enrolled in SVCC’s RN program, but her plans were derailed when she developed sarcoidosis, a serious lung disease that required intense care and a lengthy recovery.

“When the sarcoidosis hit me, I became very depressed because I went from doing a lot to not being able to do anything,” Darleen remembers. After one attempt at returning to work resulted in a relapse and rehospitalization, she realized that returning to full-time work would not be possible.

In time, Darleen recovered sufficiently to embrace volunteer work. Today, she serves VCU Health CMH through the CMH Auxiliary, an organization that exists to serve the hospital’s patients, visitors, and staff. Her primary duties include working at the Information Desk and in the Surgical Waiting Room. Darleen also serves as Chairperson of the Scholarship Fund and as the 2nd Vice President of the CMH Auxiliary, roles that require writing reports and organizing fundraising efforts. Her developing computer skills are already helping her do these tasks more efficiently.

Recalling the motivation that inspired her to return to academic pursuits, she says, “I credit my children who push me. My daughters give me hand-me-down electronic devices and encourage me, telling me I can do it.”

She attends classes once a week. “I like to be able to sit in a classroom and raise my hand. The teacher is very nice and helpful, and my fellow students help me.” 

Her instructor, Kelley LaPrade, Associate Professor of Information Technology, notes, “At SVCC, we have students of all ages from high school to senior citizens. Ms. Ferguson has been a joy to have in class and her persistence encourages me and others to be lifelong learners. The other students enjoy her in class. She is learning to use software tools, she has learned Canvas, how to use an e-book, and how to submit online assignments.”

Darleen’s computer course is just the first step of a longer journey. When she’s finished, she plans to pursue a Career Studies Certificate in bookkeeping, a pathway that will require 17 credits.

“Every year, the Auxiliary sponsors the Tree of Love Ceremony that funds the Elizabeth T. Mosley Scholarship Fund to help people who work at the hospital to advance their education.” Darleen’s tasks include keeping track of donor’s names and addresses and other recordkeeping. She looks forward to Bookkeeping Training to help keep a watchful eye on every penny.

Darleen encourages other senior citizens to consider educational pursuits. “You’re never too old,” she says. “It’s something to keep your mind going. Learning gives you something to do to overcome aches and pains. Senior citizens have an advantage because they don’t have competing obligations, like child care and work schedules.”

SVCC offers a wide slate of flexible options for students of all ages. For more information, please visit SVCC’s website (southside.edu) or call 434-949-1021.

Darleen reminds you, “It’s your time to do what you want to do. Go ahead and try. You never know what you can do until you try.”

Governor Northam Celebrates New Virginia Department of Energy

New name for team leading Commonwealth’s transition to clean economy

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced on October 1st that the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is now the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy). The name change was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Northam in April 2021. It became official today, October 1st, 2021.

“Virginia is all-in on clean energy,” said Governor Northam. “We've passed one of the most sweeping clean energy laws in the country, and we are transitioning our electric grid to 100 percent clean energy. These are exciting changes, and they mean new jobs, new investment, cleaner air, and a stronger economy.”

The agency's name change and reorganization follows the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act. The act establishes a mandatory renewable portfolio standard to achieve 30 percent renewable energy by 2030, a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard, and the path to a carbon-free electric grid by 2050. The bill also declares that 16,100 megawatts of solar and onshore wind, 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind, and 2,700 megawatts of energy storage are in the public interest. This provides a pathway for clean energy resources to be constructed, while ensuring that the investments are made in a cost-effective way. The Virginia Clean Economy Act protects customers with a program that helps reduce electricity bills and brings energy efficiency savings to low-income households.

The legislation also changed the former Division of Energy to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and the former Division of Mined Land Reclamation to Mined Land Repurposing.

“The Virginia Department of Energy has a long history of working with partners across the energy sector and across government at all levels in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Collaboration between the agency and these partners will be critical to meeting the climate goals that are so important to all of us. This change reflects the agency’s mission to support clean energy programs and energy infrastructure development.”

The Virginia Department of Energy was reorganized to increase the agency’s focus on clean energy in January 2021. Resources were shifted toward development opportunities associated with the repurposing of previously mined sites. Projects include those in the solar energy, agriculture, recreational, cultural, and industrial sectors.

“This agency will continue to provide a high level of service to our traditional customer base, while enhancing the communities we serve,” said Virginia Energy Director John Warren. “The well-timed clean energy movement has allowed us to respond and realign our staff, enabling us to work on new initiatives while keeping our continued customer service.”

The agency’s new website went live today at energy.virginia.gov. Staff emails will also reflect the change, as their domain names will now be “@energy.virginia.gov.”

Virginia Energy was created in 1985 as the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. At that time, the agency mostly served the mining industries, ensuring the safety of coal, mineral, gas, and oil workers and environmental compliance at each site. It also housed the state’s energy office, which has expanded significantly after the passing of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020.

Virginia Energy has nearly 200 employees across the Commonwealth, with offices in Big Stone Gap, Charlottesville, and Richmond. The agency serves as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Virginia State Energy Office and manages state-based clean energy policy and deployment initiatives. Virginia Energy serves as the regulatory agency for coal and mineral mining, as well as natural gas production. Federal grants are administered by Virginia Energy staff to reclaim historic mines through the Abandoned Mine Land program. It also houses Virginia’s Geology and Mineral Resources program.

Clean energy means jobs, a strong economy, and a future for our children.

VCU Health Anywhere

Non-emergency care without an appointment

We offer on-demand virtual urgent clinic visits to adults in Virginia from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily. No appointment is required. All virtual visits with VCU Health System providers are conducted online from the comfort of your home using a smartphone, tablet or computer. To download our app and get started, visit vcuhealthanywhere.org.

We treat a variety of symptoms and conditions using telehealth, including mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. Additional symptoms and conditions include:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma 
  • Colds and Flu
  • Diarrhea
  • Infections
  • Insect Bites
  • Conjunctivitis (i.e. Pink Eye)
  • Rashes
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Skin Inflammations
  • Sore Throats
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Bladder Infections
  • UTIs
  • Vomiting

Virtual visits do not cost more than an in-person appointment visits. Depending on the health insurance coverage plan, a patient’s copay for in-person and virtual visits may be the same. We are committed to providing our patients access to affordable health care. Patients with more questions can visit our financial assistance page or call our Financial Counseling Call Center at (804) 828-0966.

Current employees of VCU Health should call Employee Health or Infection Prevention if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

How to Have a Successful Virtual Visit

You'll need a strong internet connection (or Wi-Fi) and a noise-free environment. Devices must have a working camera, speakers and a microphone. To optimize your virtual visit experience, please use one of the following browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge.

Scheduled Virtual Visits

Appointments are required to speak with a VCU Health CMH specialist. To schedule a virtual visit, make an appointment by calling (434) 584-2273.

Please do not use the virtual urgent clinic to ask about COVID-19 vaccine booster appointments. View frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19.

If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911.

NATIONAL COMMUNITY POLICING WEEK, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

Community policing -- the practice of law enforcement professionals working side-by-side with members of their communities to keep neighborhoods safe -- is a critical and proven tool used by law enforcement agencies across our Nation to improve public safety and forge strong, valuable relationships.  During National Community Policing Week, we recommit to building bonds of trust between our law enforcement officers and the communities they serve and encourage community policing practices across our Nation.

America's law enforcement officers play an essential role in protecting our communities and enforcing our laws.  Every time an officer pins on their badge and walks out their front door, the loved ones they wave goodbye to are forced to wonder if they will return home safely.  This week and every week, we recognize the bravery and dedication of our peace officers who put themselves on the line each and every day to protect and serve their communities. 

We also recognize the role that all community members play in advancing public safety.  As our country continues to reckon with a long and painful history of systemic racism -- as well as the ongoing challenges of social and economic injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic, mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse -- we must think broadly, conscientiously, and creatively about the future of effective policing and how to foster strong police-community partnerships.  Evidence and experience tell us that strong neighborhood relationships, the use of problem-solving to address crime systematically, and improvements to policy and training -- key tenets of community policing -- are all tools that help make our communities safer.  My Administration is using programs such as the Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhoods to bring together law enforcement and community stakeholders in an effort to develop local solutions to help prevent violent crime.

I have long been an advocate for community policing, just as my late son Beau was when he served as Attorney General of Delaware -- because he knew, as I know, that it works.  It is especially important now, as State and local governments across the country continue to climb back from the once-in-a-century economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 last year.  With their budgets decimated, countless communities were forced to cut essential services in 2020, including law enforcement and social services, just as a second public health epidemic of gun violence threatened the safety of their cities and towns.  To help keep our communities safe, my Administration has provided local leaders with guidance on how American Rescue Plan funds can be used to help reduce violent crime and ensure public safety.  I am also committed to investing in mental health services, drug treatment and prevention programs, services for people experiencing homelessness, and community violence intervention.  Community violence intervention programs are vital to preventing violence before it occurs, and they have a proven track record of reducing crime by up to 60 percent in cities across our Nation. 

My Administration is also working to ensure that police departments have the resources they need to serve their communities safely and effectively.  Communities experiencing a surge in gun violence can make use of $350 billion in State and local funding included in the American Rescue Plan to hire law enforcement officers and advance community policing strategies.  I have also proposed an additional $300 million in my budget for next year to support community policing across our country.  As I seek that additional funding, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice will continue to provide grants for community policing pilot projects and hiring local police officers -- including funding prioritization for officers who will live in the communities they serve.  These new resources will allow departments to implement community policing strategies and strengthen police-community partnerships.

At its core, community policing is about building trust and mutual respect between police and communities -- important goals that can only be reached when we have accountability and faith in our justice system.  That's why I strongly support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would deliver meaningful accountability, improved transparency, and the resources necessary to support community policing and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  Although that bill is not yet law, my Administration will continue to consult with the law enforcement and civil rights communities to achieve reforms that advance safety, dignity, and equal justice for all Americans. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 3 through October 9, 2021, as National Community Policing Week.  I call upon law enforcement agencies, elected officials, and all Americans to observe this week by recognizing ways to improve public safety, build trust, and strengthen community relationships.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Timothy A. “Tim” Gainey

December 3, 1967-October 1, 2021

Memorial Service

2 p.m. Friday, October 8, 2021

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Rd
Jarratt, Virginia

Timothy A. “Tim” Gainey, 53, passed away Friday, October 1, 2021. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Mckenzie Cherie Gainey and his father, Gene Gainey. 

Tim is survived by two daughters, Allison G. Lynch (Kurt) and Logan Gainey; two sons, Timothy A. Gainey, Jr. (Joslyn Smith) and John Lee Lewis Gainey; two grandchildren, Kynlee and Oaklen Lynch; his mother, Joan M. Gainey; two brothers, Tony Gainey (Pam) and Mark Gainey (Marsha). 

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, October 8, 2021 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax RD, Jarratt, Virginia. The family will receive friends at Tim’s home immediately following the service. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Emmanuel Worship Center, 4908 East Atlantic St., Emporia, Virginia 23847.

Greensville County Public Schools Announces the Sponsorship of the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program

The same meals will be available at no separate charge to all participants.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

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

Submit your completed for or letter to USDA by:

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

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov

This institution is an equal opportunity provider

Meals will be provided at these facilities:

E. W. Wyatt Middle School (snack)                                     
206 Slagles Lake Road                                                                     
Emporia, VA 23847

Crashes Claim Lives in Brunswick and Sussex Counries Over Weekend

Brunswick County

On the afternoon of October 3rd at approximately 5:55 p.m., the Virginia State Police investigated a single vehicle motor crash that resulted in the fatality of the driver.  The crash occurred on Route 611 (Alvis Road), west of Route 662 (Tillman Road). Investigation revealed that the driver, and sole occupant of a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe, Leslie Bruce House, Jr., lost control of the vehicle while traveling westbound on Alvis Road, ran off the roadway, overturned, and struck a tree. House, 43 YOA, of the 400 block of Clements Road, LaCrosse, Virginia, was not wearing his safety belt and suffered serious life threatening injuries. House was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash. 

Notification has been made to family members. It is unknown at this time if alcohol played a contributing factor.

Sussex County

On the evening of October 1, 2021, at approximately 8:34 p.m., the Virginia State Police investigated a two vehicle crash that resulted in one fatality, and two individuals medflighted to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV).

The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes of Route 460, east of Route 602. 

The driver of a 2016 Fiat 500, Teresa R. Perkinson, was traveling eastbound on Route 460 at an extremely high rate of speed when she came upon a 2020 Baodia Moped traveling in the travel lane and struck it from behind. The force of the impact caused the moped to run off the roadway into a ditch, ejecting the driver, 30 year old Brandon M. Brown, and killing him upon impact. Perkinson lost control of the vehicle, ran off the roadway, striking a curb and tree before overturning and landing on its roof. Perkinson and her male passenger suffered serious injuries and had to be airlifted to MCV Hospital.

It is unknown at this time if alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash. Notification was made to the family of 30 year old Brandon M. Brown of the 30500 block of Petersburg Road, Waverly, Virginia.

The crash is still under investigation and charges are pending at this time

NATIONAL YOUTH SUBSTANCE USE PREVENTION MONTH, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Far too many families across our Nation have been impacted by addiction and the overdose epidemic.  In 2020, more than 93,000 people died from an overdose -- 93,000 families forced to bury a piece of their souls.  The impact of this crisis echoes in communities across the Nation, in the empty chairs in classrooms and around kitchen tables.  During National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to helping America's youth overcome this epidemic and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the need to provide more resources to address substance use disorder.  Substance use disorder touches families in every community, and it is essential that we invest in a broad range of services, including prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for mental health and substance use.

My Administration has been working to expand evidence-based prevention programs along with access to care and recovery support services.  We are committed to preventing substance use among our Nation's youth -- including alcohol, tobacco products, illicit drugs, and misused prescription medications -- by bringing communities together to find local solutions.  Through the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug-Free Communities Support Program helps equip community coalitions to reduce youth substance use at the local level.  We must continue to encourage parents, caregivers, educators, and other members of the community to play an active role in promoting evidence-based prevention efforts that encourage healthy lifestyles, promote alternatives to substance use, and educate young people about the harms associated with substance use.  We know that delaying substance use until after adolescence, when the brain has fully developed, decreases the likelihood of an individual developing a substance use disorder.  We also know that smart investments in effective school-based prevention programs save lives and save our economy money in the form of averted medical costs and improved productivity.

My Administration is also committed to advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy -- implementing fairer, more effective, and more culturally resonant policies to prevent, address, and treat substance use disorder.  That is why we are supporting the development of tailored tools that strengthen prevention efforts in diverse communities.  These include racial equity trainings, resources on inclusion and diversity, and racial equity decision-making frameworks.  Our youth-focused efforts must also account for the fact that poverty, homelessness, trauma, and other adverse childhood experiences affect drug use and the overall health of our Nation's youth -- especially with respect to people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by these factors.  By advancing equity in every part of our society -- including our education, health care, criminal justice, and housing systems -- we can build a future where all Americans can lead healthy and fulfilling lives

This October, we honor all those who champion evidence-based youth substance use prevention and recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Americans have the skills, knowledge, and resources to live full and healthy lives.  Substance use disorder is a disease, and I will do everything within my power to expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services as well as reduce the supply of illicit drugs to keep more Americans safe. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month.  I call on communities, parents, caregivers, educators, employers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials, faith and community leaders, and all Americans to take action to promote evidence-based prevention and improve the health of our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth. 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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