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Total positive Coronavirus Cases in our Community, as reported by the Health Department:

Locality Emporia Greensville Brunswick Southampton Sussex
Positive Reported Today 76 63 24 146 143

Cases in out area are still on the rise. Please continue to wash your hands and avoid thouching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in public and continue to socially distance.

Governor Northam may have begun the process of openning up the state, but we need to continue to play it safe to keep things open.

As Businesses begin to reopen in the next few weeks, remember Social Distancing. Continue to wear masks and wash your hands often.

If you plan on going out, call ahead and make sure your destination is open/accepting visitors. Most fast food and chain restaurants are still open, but many local restaurants have closed.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING URGES CONGRESS TO FUND EXPANDED ACCESS TO BROADBAND

~ Herring joins bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general in urging Congress to ensure critical broadband access for those studying, working, and seeking healthcare from home during COVID-19 ~

RICHMOND (May 22, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general in urging Congress to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity necessary to participate in telemedicine, teleschooling, and telework as part of any additional legislation that provides relief and recovery resources related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Internet access has become critical for basic needs over the past few weeks while millions of Virginians and Americans have been working, learning, socializing and seeking healthcare from home.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Virginians to move school, work, healthcare and just about everything else online and has highlighted how desperately we need a national broadband plan during this crisis,” said Attorney General Herring. “Many telecom companies have stepped up to provide internet access but that is not a sustainable answer. Congress should include a national broadband plan in any future relief packages to make sure that all communities, especially those in more rural or underserved areas, have access to the internet resources they need.”

In the letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues laud independent efforts of various companies to increase access by waiving late fees or even providing free or discounted access to students and medical providers, while acknowledging that such efforts are not sustainable. Ultimately, the attorneys general argue that there must be a national solution to get internet access to homes across the country, especially in more rural areas.

Unless Congress acts quickly, disparities in access to home internet connectivity will exacerbate existing gaps in educational and health outcomes along lines of geography, economic resources, and race.

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders, the attorneys general urge Congress to:

  • Provide state, territorial, and local governments with adequate funding expressly dedicated to ensuring that all students and patients, especially senior citizens who are at risk, have adequate internet-enabled technology to participate equally in online learning and telemedicine.
  • Increase funding to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission Universal Service Fund, which provides vital funding to rural and low-income populations, healthcare providers, and educators with the goal of bridging the digital divide.

With public health experts warning that a second wave of coronavirus infections may require teleschooling and telemedicine to continue for millions of Americans throughout 2020, it is critical that Congress act now to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity they need to access educational opportunities, healthcare, and to earn a livelihood.

Joining Attorney General Herring in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Alaska, American Samoa, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

State Board Holds the Line on Community College Tuition and Fees for Fall 2020

RICHMOND —The State Board for Community Colleges, by a unanimous vote, elected to maintain the current in-state tuition and mandatory fees for Fall 2020. The Board’s decision means tuition will remain at today’s rate of $154 per credit hour – keeping community college tuition and mandatory fees at approximately one-third of the comparable costs of attending Virginia’s public four-year universities. This marks the second year in a row that the Board has voted to hold tuition and fees steady for the coming fall.

“We are doing everything we can to be an affordable, accessible resource for Virginians. Some people find themselves unexpectedly out of work. Others are looking for safer, convenient options to pursue their college aspirations. We want to be there for them,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “We’re asking the Board to hold the line on tuition and fees for the fall. We’d like to maintain that rate beyond the fall, if the state funding exists to help us do that responsibly.”

Further, the State Board maintained the existing tuition rate for out-of-state students, which is $354.10 per credit hour.

Tuition differentials

For the second year in a row, there were no increases to the tuition differential rates charged at eight of Virginia’s 23 community colleges (Germanna, John Tyler, Northern Virginia, Piedmont Virginia, Reynolds, Tidewater, Thomas Nelson, and Virginia Western). Tuition differential rates allow colleges to address unique and specific institutional priorities.

 

SBA and Treasury Department Announce $10 Billion for CDFIs to Participate in the Paycheck Protection Program

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, announced $10 billion of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Round 2 funding will be lent exclusively by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs expand economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing financial products and services for residents and local businesses. These dedicated funds ensure PPP funds reach all communities in need of relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The forgivable loan program, PPP, is dedicated to providing emergency capital to sustain our nation’s small businesses, the drivers of our economy, and retain their employees– a key priority for President Trump,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. “CDFIs provide critically important capital and technical assistance to small businesses from rural, minority and other underserved communities, especially during this economically challenging time.”

“The PPP has helped over 50 million American workers stay connected to their jobs and over 4 million small businesses get much-needed relief,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “We have received bipartisan support for dedicating these funds for CDFIs to ensure that traditionally underserved communities have every opportunity to emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.”

The additional $10 billion in Round 2, combined with CDFI approvals of $3.8 billion in Round 1, ensures entrepreneurs and small business owners in all communities have easy access to the financial system, and receive much-needed capital to maintain their workforces.

“Providing American businesses with access to federally-guaranteed capital ensures underserved communities are not left out of our COVID-19 recovery, said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Steve Bulger. No longer will small business owners in underserved communities just hear about the money. With today’s action, more minority-owned small businesses will be able to access it to survive, thrive and support our economy.”

The PPP was created by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and provides forgivable loans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their employees on the payroll. To date, more than 4.4 million loans have been approved for over $510 billion for small businesses across America. The SBA and the Treasury Department remain committed to ensuring eligible small businesses have the resources they need to get through this time.

Governor and First Lady Northam to Host “Virginia Graduates Together” Honoring Class of 2020

Broadcast and streaming event on Friday, May 29 at 5:00 PM will include special guests, recognize accomplishments of graduates

RICHMOND—Virginians across the Commonwealth are invited to join Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam in honoring the remarkable achievements of the class of 2020 during a statewide virtual celebration at 5:00 PM on Friday, May 29. The broadcast and streaming event, “Virginia Graduates Together,” is produced by Virginia Public Media (VPM) in partnership with the Office of the Governor and the Virginia Department of Education, and will be distributed by public television stations throughout Virginia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had major impacts on students across the country and prompted the cancellation of traditional graduation ceremonies. “Virginia Graduates Together” will salute 2020 graduates with a special address from the Governor and First Lady, musical performances, a keynote speech from United States Women’s National Soccer champion Angela Hucles Mangano, and well-wishes from notable Virginians.

“Virginia’s class of 2020 is graduating during an unprecedented and difficult time, and I know this is not the end of the school year that any of us imagined,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia students have demonstrated tremendous resilience throughout this health crisis, and we want to ensure their accomplishments are celebrated in a big way. We look forward to commemorating one of life’s greatest milestones together as a Commonwealth and giving our graduates a strong send-off to their bright futures.”

Hucles Mangano, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is a native of Virginia Beach and a graduate of the University of Virginia. The 4-time All-ACC soccer player and member of two United States women’s World Cup soccer teams is also a businesswoman and is known as an advocate for gender diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

“We are excited to honor our next generation of leaders with something revolutionary,” said First Lady Northam. “Never before have we had all Virginia graduates celebrate together in one place and at the same time. This will be special event, and we are honored to get to celebrate with you.”

Prominent Virginians appearing in the program include former Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, University of Virginia’s men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett, Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox, Denver Nuggets guard Troy Daniels, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris, United States Senator Tim Kaine, Los Angeles Rams linebacker Micah Kiser, musician Dave Matthews, comedian Jay Pharoah, Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, New York Liberty forward Megan Walker, United States Senator Mark Warner, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, actress Constance Wu, and World Series Champion Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

“After a school year that has been like no other, our graduating class of 2020 deserves a true celebration of their hard work,” said Jayme Swain, CEO of Virginia Foundation for Public Media and President of VPM. “We congratulate this year’s seniors and hope ‘Virginia Graduates Together’ allows friends and loved ones to share in the celebration of their wonderful accomplishments.”

Many of the nearly 600 videos and photos submitted to VPM by graduates will be featured in the 30-minute program. Students, families, and teachers can join the celebration on social media by sharing cap and gown photos, well-wishes, videos, and more using the hashtag #GraduateTogetherVA.

“Virginia Graduates Together” premieres at 5:00 PM on Friday, May 29 on Blue Ridge PBSVPM and WHRO, and will stream on Facebook Live and YouTube through WETA and East Tennessee PBS.

More information about the program can be found at VPM.org/grad.

Dianne Tindall Mitchell

August 30, 1949-May 23, 2020

Dianne T. Mitchell, 70, formerly of Emporia, Virginia, and then of Charlotte, North Carolina, departed from her life here on Saturday, May 23, 2020, to enter her Heavenly home for eternity. She had waged a valiant battle with congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other related complications.

She is survived by her faithful husband of 52 years, Keith W. Mitchell; son Lance W. Mitchell and wife Cheryl, and granddaughter Emerson, of Houston, Texas; son Sean K. Mitchell and wife Shannon, and grandchildren Silas, Ezra, and Clara, of Charlotte; a sister, Janet T. Clarke and husband Edward of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; a brother, James H. Tindall and wife Carole of Houston; and several nieces and nephews.

Greeting her in her new eternal home are a grandson, Jude James Mitchell; her parents, Dorothy and Harold Tindall; a sister, Kathy T. Bailey; a special mother-in-law, Dorothy R. Mitchell; and so many other special friends and fellow believers whom she loved dearly.

Dianne was born and raised in Marion, South Carolina. She moved to Emporia during her senior year in high school, after the plant that her daddy managed in Marion was destroyed by fire, and he was transferred to Emporia to manage a plant there. During that same time period, Keith was sitting out a semester in college after the sudden death of his daddy. Even then, God was working out a plan in their lives for their paths to cross (Romans 8:28). They met, fell in love, and were married a few short months later.

In 1976, Dianne was the first to surrender her life to Jesus, followed by Keith a few short months later. Their sons, too, did likewise when they were young, and the four of them traveled all over the United States to attend Christian gatherings of believers. They were baptized at the same time at Calvary Baptist Church in Emporia, Virginia.

Many years later, after Lance and Sean had moved away and married, Dianne and Keith returned to Monumental Methodist Church in Emporia, where Keith had grown up and he and Dianne had attended when Lance and Sean were young. They taught a Sunday school class together until they moved to Charlotte four years ago. On several occasions, Dianne was asked to speak at various churches and Christian ladies’ groups, attesting to her love for the Lord. For 10 years, she conducted Christian services at a nearby ladies’ prison, and for several years, she and her family held weekly services at a local nursing home. Dianne was also a long-time member of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and served excellently for several years as the treasurer in her regional chapter.

Dianne operated Christian Love & Care Daycare center for many years, where she instilled so many Christian values into the children she kept, many of whom became believers in their later years in part due to her witness to them. Some years later, she went to work for Keith in his financial services business, and his business immediately increased.

In January of 2016, she had a device attached next to her stomach to help in the digestion of food. She suffered from gastroparesis, a side effect of diabetes, and even with a limited diet, she was at least then able to get the nutrients necessary to live. But in December of that year, she had to undergo emergency surgery for a blockage, thought to have been caused by the wires from that device becoming entangled around her colon. Three days later, she suffered a heart attack, which left the left ventricle of her heart severely damaged. When it failed to repair itself, she had a device attached next to her heart and a PICC line inserted through her arm to feed medicine directly to the heart to assist that ventricle in pumping.

She was also told that the survival rate for people who began that treatment was about 50 percent after the first year. She was offered the opportunity to receive an artificial pump or possible transplant, but she turned it down and said that she wanted to live out whatever time she had left enjoying being with her family, and especially her grandchildren, without undergoing more hospitalization and risky surgery should she elect that route. Though she suffered many ups and downs with her heart, diabetes, and other related illnesses, she did beat the odds and survived for 19 more months after having that procedure done. She never returned to a hospital until the day she breathed her last, with Keith at her side.

Dianne’s sister, Janet, told Keith the night after she died that Dianne had told her a year ago that she was ready and anxious to go and be with the Lord, but that she did not think Keith was ready for her departure. The night before she died, Keith asked her that if she had a choice, would she want to go ahead then and be with the Lord. She nodded her head and said yes. He told her that he was willing to pray with her for that, and their prayer together was answered.

That, alone, demonstrates the unselfishness of this strong and faithful servant of the Lord. And now, She has risen!   

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association in her name at https://billygraham.org/checkout/give-honor-memorial.php, and a card can be sent to Keith Mitchell at 3305 Open Field Lane, Apt 528, Charlotte, NC 28226. You can also contact BGEA directly and mail a check to 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201, or over the phone at 1-877-247-2426.

A memorial service for friends and family will be held later in Charlotte.

The Crater Planning District Commission Announces the Establishment of a New Loan Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

 

The Crater Planning District Commission has established a Business Continuity Loan Program to assist existing for-profit small businesses to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.  The goal is to provide working capital for small businesses to retain employees and support other working capital needs.

The Business Continuity Loan can range in size from $10,000 to $50,000 and the term of the loan can be up to 1-year.  The interest rate is fixed at the prime interest rate which is currently 3.25%.

The small business must be located within the Crater Region:  Cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell and Petersburg; and the Counties of Charles City, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Surry and Sussex.

The Crater Commission is looking forward to doing its part to assist the region’s many small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19.

This loan program is in total accord with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Blueprint for Getting Virginians Back to Work initiative.

For more detailed information, please visit the Crater Commission’s website- www.craterpdc.org.

 

Farmers and Ranchers in Virginia Can Now Apply for Financial Assistance through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Online Tools and Toll-Free Number Available to Assist Producers

RICHMOND, VA, May 26, 2020 – Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call center in order to simplify how they serve new customers across the nation.

We know Virginia producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said Nivin A. Elgohary, State Executive Director for FSA in Virginia. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.” 

Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

“We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” Elgohary said.

In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.

Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.

Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

Applying for Assistance

Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application, sign, and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method. Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.

Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

Additional Commodities

USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:

  1. suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
  2. shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or
  3. not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.

More information about this process is available on farmers.gov/cfap.

More Information

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap

or call 877-508-8364.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.  

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

 

WARNER, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO ENSURE NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS ACTIVATED IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 RECEIVE FULL BENEFITS DURING PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in introducing legislation to ensure that all National Guard troops activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic receive full benefits. The National Guard COVID-19 Response Stability Act would extend Title 32 authority for all troops activated in response to the crisis through the end of the public health emergency – a move that would ensure that the federal government continues covering 100 percent of the costs of this activation. Currently, states have to continue requesting support to avoid a lapse in authorities or federal funding for the troops on the frontline of this crisis. While the Trump Administration gave an extension, it cynically chose a peculiar date that was later revealed to result in a hard deployment stop at 89 days for thousands of National Guard members – one day short of the 90-day threshold to receive additional federal benefits, like access to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

“Our nation is lucky to be able to count on the men and women of the National Guard who are stepping up during this public health crisis,” said Sen. Warner. “While we may not be able to repay them for their selflessness and courage, the very least we can do is make sure they have access to full benefits as they work to fight this deadly pandemic.”

“The Trump Administration’s repeated attempts to nickel and dime members of the National Guard would be wrong under any circumstance, but it is particularly offensive when these troops are responding to a deadly COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed more than 90,000 Americans,” said Sen. Duckworth. “This legislation would ensure that all National Guard troops activated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic are provided with the full benefits they’ve earned and will give states much-needed certainty during these uncertain times.”

Specifically, this legislation would amend federal law to authorize state governors to order members of the National Guard to active duty in connection with COVID-19 response with full federal benefits. This enhanced authority would be in place through the end of the Trump Administration’s declared public health emergency, plus an additional 30 days to allow the Guard to shift away from Title 32 operations. Most recently, the public health emergency declaration was renewed on April 26, 2020 for a period of 90 days.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Duckworth, the legislation was co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Sen. Warner has been a strong advocate for National Guard troops during this crisis. In March, he wrote a letter urging the President to approve Governor Northam’s request to deploy the National Guard to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Virginia.

Rep. McEachin Hosts COVID-19: Managing Our Grief, Mental Health, Stress & Trauma

RICHMOND, VA. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) yesterday hosted COVID-19: Managing Our Grief, Mental Health, Stress & Trauma, a virtual event to discuss mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Congressman McEachin was joined by mental health experts who provided advice and tips for constituents who are struggling with the additional daily stress and worry caused by COVID-19. 

“I am so grateful that these incredible panelists were able to join me this evening to provide much-needed advice for my constituents,” said Congressman McEachin. “This is an incredibly stressful and heartbreaking time for us all, and I wanted to host this event to make sure that my constituents have the tools they need to take care of themselves. Maintaining our mental health is so critical, but it is easy to forget to check in on yourself with so much else going on. I hope tonight was an opportunity for folks to get connected to resources they may need.”

Moderated by Jessica Lark from WTKR, the panel included: Ms. Kathy Harkey, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Virginia; Dr. Faye Belgrave, Virginia Commonwealth University Professor of Healthy Psychology; Dr. Rebecca Vauter, Virginia Board of Psychology; Mr. Jesse Wysocki, Chief Operating Officer, The McShin Foundation; Ms. Ashley Everette Airington, Children’s Mental Health Policy Analyst, Voices for Virginia Kids; and Ms. Frederika Jones, Interim Executive Director, Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA) of Virginia.

"We are grateful to Rep. McEachin for shining a light on the impact this pandemic has had on the mental health of children and families,” said Ashley Airington. “Supporting and protecting the emotional well-being of our children is critical now, more than ever. The good news is that nurturing relationships between children and their caregivers are the most important factor in developing resilience and overcoming the negative impacts of this collective trauma."

“As we move into a new lifestyle norm, we must have the courage to go forward,” said Frederika Jones,  SAARA Interim Executive Director. “For some, it will be right on the surface of their mindset, but for others it will require reaching deeper within themselves to muster the strength needed to deal with each new day.  Nevertheless, we must stay hopeful because the sun will still shine and as Stevie Wonders sings, ‘Tomorrow Robins Will Sing.’”

“It was an honor and a privilege to be join this diverse panel of experts in their respective fields. We know that COVID 19 is real, causing harm throughout our community and nation [and] we must not forget about those who suffer from substance use disorders or mental health struggles,” said Jesse Wysocki, McShin Foundation Chief Operating Officer. “Having these open talks and panelists of experts to discuss and answer questions is part of the solution, but we must now turn our discussion into action, doing everything we can to continue to have access to services for those with SUD and MH.”

“COVID 19 has impacted the mental health of everyone through disruption in major life events such as unemployment, financial problems, changes in living situations and routines, and changes in the health status of self or loved ones,” said Dr. Faye Belgrave, VCU Professor. “Poor mental health is directly linked to poor physical health so we must always be attentive to our mental health.  Although there are many things we cannot control about COVID 19, there are things we can control.  Let's center ourselves and be mindful of every day mental health care.

FULL VIDEO LINK

TRAFFIC CRASHES CLAIM EIGHT LIVES DURING 2020 MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

11 Traffic Crashes During 2019 Memorial Day Weekend

RICHMOND – The 2020 Memorial Day weekend not only netted a reduction in overall traffic volumes on Virginia’s highways, but also a decrease in traffic deaths. Preliminary reports indicate eight people lost their lives during the four-day, holiday statistical counting period. During the same statistical counting period in 2019 and 2018, traffic crashes on Virginia highways resulted in 11 deaths.

Of the eight individuals killed this year on Virginia highways, two were riding on motorcycles and one was a pedestrian. The statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday (May 22) and ended at midnight Monday (May 25). Virginia State Police statewide responded to 480 total traffic crashes during this past holiday weekend.

The fatal crashes occurred in the city of Virginia Beach and the counties of Caroline, Montgomery, Pittsylvania, Prince William, Rockingham, Southampton and Sussex. The two fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in Pittsylvania and Rockingham counties. The pedestrian, who was pushing his bicycle when he was struck and killed, was in Sussex County.

"Even though we are thankful for the slight decrease in traffic fatalities over the Memorial Day weekend, eight deaths are still too many,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “It is also concerning to see reckless driving citations and DUI arrests practically on par with last year’s holiday weekend. Fewer drivers should have demonstrated a significant decline in the number of citations and traffic deaths. Sadly, that was not the case and too many motorists were putting too many lives at risk due to reckless choices and deadly driving behaviors.”

During the weekend’s statistical counting period, Virginia troopers statewide cited 2,489 reckless drivers and arrested 70 impaired drivers. During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend, state police cited 2,548 reckless drivers and arrested 75 drivers for DUI.

"Considering that traffic was much less than what we normally see on this particular holiday weekend, it is very concerning to have only reduced the death toll by three in comparison to the past two years,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “As Virginia continues to gradually re-open through the Governor’s ‘Forward Virginia’ plan and more motorists return to the highways, it is imperative that Virginians make traffic safety a priority.”

The Virginia State Police holiday enforcement efforts are part of the Department’s annual participation in the Operation Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seatbelt. During the 2020 Operation CARE Memorial Day statistical counting period, Virginia troopers also cited 2,469 speeders and 224 seatbelt violations. State police assisted 1,460 disabled motorists during the holiday weekend.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

 

For more information on traffic safety and how to keep Virginia “Moving Toward Zero Roadway Deaths,” go to www.tzdva.org.

Richard “Rick” William Young,

December 19, 1953-May 25, 2020


Richard “Rick” William Young, 66, passed away on Monday, May 25, 2020. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Marcia Jean Rankin and John R. Young. He is survived by his daughter, Heather Anne Greene of Hampton, VA, son, Richard William Young, Jr. (Shawnda) of Chesapeake, VA, brother, John Robert Young (Nina) of Colorado, sisters, Carol Richardson (Thomas) of Tennessee, Janet Shadrick (Timothy) of Georgia, Teresa Goins of Florida, granddaughters, Nicole, Shenene, Natalie, along with daughter-in-law, Josie Toro of Portsmouth, VA.

Rick served in both the Army and the Air Force as well as being a member and Commander of the American Legion, Post 46. He worked at O’Reilly Auto Parts of Emporia, VA, as well as Echols Funeral Home for many years, where he helped those in the community in a way that not many people could bare.

A memorial service will be held at a later date and time due to the coronavirus limitations. The family would like to express a special thanks to Barbara Street and Kathy Tuck for looking after Rick the past few weeks.

Online condolences may be made to www.echolsfuneralhome.com

 

Peggy M. Pearson

July 17, 1932- May 25, 2020

Peggy M. Pearson, 87, of Gasburg, passed away Monday, May 25, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert T. Pearson and her son, Dennis R. Phillips.

Peggy is survived by three daughters, Patricia Hollowell (David), Brenda Justice (Kenny) and Lisa Wright (Danny); nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; her beloved canine companion, “Prissy”; sister, Marion Blankenship; brother, Thomas “Sonny” Seward and a number of nieces and nephews.

A private graveside service will be held Wednesday, May 27 at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to James Square Baptist Church Love Gift Fund, c/o Lisa Wright, 1037 Ankum Rd, Gasburg, Virginia 23857.

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

Virginia Receives USDA Approval to Join SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that for the first time, more than 740,000 Virginians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be able to pay for their groceries online and have them delivered, after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Virginia to participate in an innovative online purchasing pilot program. 

“This continued public health emergency has made access to healthy, affordable food challenging, particularly for Virginians who live in food deserts, have disabilities, or face transportation barriers,” said Governor Northam. “Allowing Virginia families who receive SNAP benefits to purchase groceries online and have them safely delivered to their homes will give vulnerable populations additional flexibility to put food on the table without putting themselves at unnecessary risk.”

The program will launch statewide in Virginia on Friday, May 29 with online shopping access available through the Amazon and Walmart online platforms. Retailers interested in participating the program can find more information and apply by contacting USDA. Transactions will take place using SNAP customers’ secure Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay for fees of any type, such as delivery, service, or convenience fees. 

“With so many Americans already opting to stay safe at home by ordering their groceries online, it’s only right that we make every effort to ensure our most vulnerable families are also able to take advantage of these services,” said United States Senator Mark R. Warner. “After having pushed USDA to approve Virginia’s participation in the SNAP online purchasing pilot program, I’m glad to know that many more families in the Commonwealth will soon be able to access nutritious food without requiring them to leave their homes.”

“I’m grateful that following our request, the USDA has approved Virginia’s inclusion in the SNAP online purchasing pilot program,” said United States Senator Tim Kaine. “Especially at this time of great food insecurity, it’s critical that Virginians have the resources they need to safely access food.”

The pilot, which was mandated through the 2014 Farm Bill, was designed to test the feasibility of allowing USDA-approved retailers to accept online transactions. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) administers SNAP in the Commonwealth.

“Agencies and leaders across the Commonwealth are constantly collaborating on innovative ways to meet the needs of individuals, families and communities during this pandemic,” said VDSS Commissioner S. Duke Storen. “Addressing the adaptive needs of Virginians right now, particularly expanding access to food, remains at the forefront of everything we are doing.”

Additional information about SNAP benefits in Virginia is available on the VDSS website.

Commonwealth Deploys Artificial Intelligence-Powered Online Tool to Help Virginians Self-Screen for COVID-19

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginians can now use COVIDCheck, a new online risk-assessment tool to check their symptoms and connect with the appropriate health care resource, including COVID-19 testing.

“If you are feeling sick or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is important that you take action right away,” said Governor Northam. “This online symptom-checking tool can help Virginians understand their personal risk for COVID-19 and get recommendations about what to do next from the safety of their homes. As we work to flatten the curve in our Commonwealth, telehealth services like this will be vital to relieving some of the strains on providers and health systems and making health care more convenient and accessible.”

COVIDCheck is a free, web-based, artificial intelligence-powered telehealth tool that can help individuals displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19 self-assess their risk and determine the best next steps, such as self-isolation, seeing a doctor, or seeking emergency care. This resource assists in identifying users who are at higher risk of COVID-19 and can help individuals find a nearby testing site. It is not to be used in place of emergency medical care. Virginians can visit vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck to learn more and use COVIDCheck.

COVIDCheck users who say they are experiencing symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 are screened for occupational and medical risk factors and are given one of five care levels in accordance with the Virginia Department of Health’s categories.

“Because COVID-19 can affect people differently and cause illness ranging from mild to severe, this personalized assessment tool can help people sort through symptoms and decide if they need to seek medical care,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “While COVIDCheck is not a substitute for medical advice, it can help people decide what steps to take next to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community.”

By answering a series of questions, an individual can receive a personalized, real-time self-assessment with information and recommendations on what to do next. The recommendations, based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include advice on when to contact a medical professional or seek emergency care, next steps for care based on zip code, and permission to follow up with the individual in three days to see how the person is doing.

“We’re proud to partner with the Commonwealth of Virginia to mobilize our AI-powered health assistant to provide the most accurate and helpful information to all Virginians during this vital time,” said Andrew Le, MD, CEO and cofounder of Buoy Health, which developed COVIDCheck. “And as the Commonwealth cautiously continues its phased approach to reopen, our primary goal at Buoy is to empower its residents to make the best decisions about their health so that they may re-enter society in a responsible way—for themselves, their loved ones, and the Virginia community-at-large.”

Buoy is a digital health company developed out of the Harvard Innovation Labs by a team of doctors and data-scientists, aimed at providing personalized clinical support through technology to individuals the moment they have a healthcare concern. Buoy helps remove the fear and complexity that often confronts people as they enter the system by navigating and engaging patients intelligently. The all-on-one technology is able to deliver triage at scale with transparency, connecting individuals with the right care endpoints at the right time.

"Memorial Day"

It's a day set aside for remembering
those who before and after have went
fighting for the need of our country
wherever they might be sent.
 
Men and women, young and old
It mattered not you see
a highly trained military
trying to keep us free.
 
They have fought in strange surroundings
and many lives have been lost
now some were only wounded
but for us, still paid the cost.
 
One can't feel pain or anguish
these men and women all went through
yet we can honor them for what they did
for the freedom of me and you.
 
We can hold in our hearts the memories
of thousands that have died
yes and pray for the many wounded
who lost comarades by their side.
 
Now war is never over
and battle never won
the loss of the lives ere will remain
long after the fighting's done.
 
                              Roy E. Schepp

Spotlight on Jobs by the Virginia Employment Commission

 


Machine Operator:  Troubleshooting and repair to mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical issues pertaining to machinery and equipment including upgrades to wiring and conduit. Part fabrication; designing, machining, and fabricating specialty parts for repairs that cannot be typically ordered. Analyze problems, tear down machinery and equipment, replace or repair parts and reassemble. Use grinders, drill presses, mechanical hand and power tools, electrical gauges and hand tools to perform duties and work with various material handling devices to transport materials to and from work locations. Identifying problems and analyzing or reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options to choose the most appropriate solution, etc.  Job Order #1959654

Entry Level Production:  Looking for candidates who are willing to work any shift which would require working both day and night shifts. Most production positions in the plant require moderate to heavy lifting and can be physically demanding including working in extreme temperatures.  Job Order #1959662

Lathe Technician:  Performing on site diagnosis, analysis and resolution of problems for various end users. Install, configure, test, maintain monitor, troubleshoot end user system. Recommend and implement corrective software/hardware solutions. Construct, test and install customized configurations on various operating systems and platforms. Repair and/or replace defective equipment or parts using hand tools or equipment. Complete and/or prepare documentation on instances of hardware repair, installation, failure and/or removal. Evaluate and recommend hardware/software products for purchase and installation. Overall responsibilities for the operation and maintenance of the new lathe, stacker, and any other associated equipment.  Job Order #1959755

Housekeeper: Maintain customer service as the top priority. Project a courteous and professional demeanor to all customers. Cleaning and maintaining store to include but not limited to sweeping, mopping, dusting and washing windows. Picking up trash and emptying trash cans. Cleaning and re-stocking restrooms. Stocking shelves. Restocking of deli and food bar items. Regular, dependable attendance and punctuality.   Job Order #1957447

 

THESE AND ALL JOBS WITH THE VIRGINIA EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION CAN BE FOUND ONLINE AT

www.vawc.virginia.gov

The Virginia Employment Commission is An Equal Opportunity Employer/Program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

La Comision de Empleo de Virginia es un empleador/programa con igualdad de portunidades.  Los auxiliaries y servicios estan disponibles a dedido para personas con discapacidades

Governor Northam Announces Phase One Guidelines to Slowly Ease Public Health Restrictions

Phase One will begin no sooner than Friday, May 15

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order Sixty-One and presented a detailed framework for the first phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. The Phase One guidelines will be implemented when the data meets the public health criteria outlined by the Commonwealth. The new executive order modifies public health guidance in Executive Order Fifty-Three and Executive Order Fifty-Five and establishes guidelines for Phase One.

The Governor’s phased approach is grounded in science and data and includes mitigation strategies to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus through enhanced safety practices. The plan allows localities to consider delaying implementation of Phase One guidelines based on local conditions.

“I am proud of the millions of Virginians who have stayed home and helped to flatten the curve, but our work is not done,” said Governor Northam. “These guidelines represent one step forward in a gradual process, establishing the necessary modifications to business operations to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure for employees and customers. When we move into this first phase, it will be important for Virginians to act cautiously—especially our most vulnerable populations, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions.”

Under Phase One, the Commonwealth will move to a Safer at Home strategy, which continues the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people and maintains recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and wearing face coverings. All businesses should make modifications to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitization of high contact surfaces, and provide enhanced workplace safety measures. 

Retail establishments will be allowed to operate at 50 percent occupancy, restaurant and beverage establishments may offer outdoor dining at 50 percent occupancy, personal grooming services may begin operating with one patron per service provider, and fitness centers may offer outdoor exercise services. Campgrounds may also begin taking reservations for short-term stays.

Places of worship have had a 10-person limit and have been allowed to hold drive-in services allowed. In Phase One, drive-in services may continue, and services may be held inside at 50 percent capacity. Specific guidelines for religious services can be found here.

Many of the restrictions put in place by Executive Order Fifty-Three will remain in place in Phase One. Entertainment and public amusement venues will remain closed and beaches will continue to be open only for exercise and fishing. Childcare centers remain open for children of working families. Overnight summer camps will remain closed in Phase One.

See more about the changes in Phase One below:

Phase One guidelines for specific sectors are available here or at virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

View the graphs and slides from the Governor’s presentation here

The full text of Executive Order Sixty-One and Order of Public Health Emergency Three is available here.

Meherrin Regional Library Remains Closed

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis the Meherrin Regional System will remain closed until further notice. This closure also includes the use of the library's meeting rooms. The library will not charge fines and item due dates will continue to be extended until normal operations resume. Wi-Fi continues to be available in parking spots closest to library entrances. If you have questions concerning your account or other library resources please email the library at mrlsweb@gmail.com. The library appreciates the patience and understanding of the community during this time. The Meherrin Regional Library includes the Brunswick County Library, Lawrenceville and the Richardson Memorial Library, Emporia.

Up-to-Date Information on the Coronavirus/COVID-19

For the most accurate information available please visit any of the following sites:

Remember to Keep Your Social Distance -

  • Remain About 6 Feet Apart
  • No Gatherings of More Than 10 People

Shelter in Place, Leaving Your Home Only for:

  • Groceries
  • Pharmacy
  • Medical Care
  • Exercise/Walking the Dog

Wash Your Hands Thouroughly and Often with Soap and Water for at Least Twenty Seconds (Sing Happy Birthday Twice).

If you are unable to wash your hands, Use Hand Sanitizer with an Alcohol Content of at Least 60%

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