May 2016

  1. Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Call to Action: Voices for the Vote Statewide Rallies

    In light of the recent  lawsuit by Republican leadership to block Governor McAuliffe’s executive order to restore the rights to 206,000 ex -felons, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in partnership with the Virginia State Conference NAACP, Virginia AFL-CIO, ACLU of Virginia  and  New Virginia Majority will host four  Voices for the Vote Rallies across the Commonwealth.  These organizations stand as voices for the people in the fight against voter suppression.

     “The Governor’s action matched our hopes and exceeded our expectations. The ACLU of Virginia has urged three straight governors to use their executive and constitutional power to restore the rights of all Virginians who have served their time and completed probation and parole. In our most recent letter to Governor McAuliffe on March 7, we pointed to ‘the significant and continuing adverse impact of the racial disparities of our racial justice system’ as one of the most important reasons to let Virginians who have paid the price for their actions once again be a part of the democratic process and enjoy the full rights of citizenship, ” stated ACLU of Virginia Executive Director,  Claire Guthrie Gastanaga.

     “Republicans in our General Assembly should be ashamed of themselves for behaving this way,” said Doris Crouse –Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO. “Voting rights are the most basic, fundamental core of a strong democracy and their actions to disenfranchise voters are simply the latest move in a political game to silence the voices of hardworking Virginians.  The people affected by Governor McAuliffe’s executive order have paid their debts and deserve the opportunity to fully participate in our democracy upon reentry into civilian life.”

     “The disenfranchisement of people who have already served sentences for prior mistakes was an outdated, discriminatory vestige of our nation’s Jim Crow past,” said Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of The New Virginia Majority. “Instead of celebrating the progress our state has taken to restore the fundamental right to vote for the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who have repaid their debts to society, conservative lawmakers are trying to send our state back to its discriminatory past. By championing an undemocratic legal effort to limit ballot access – General Assembly Republicans are ignoring the will of the public they represent. The majority of Virginians – 63 percent – agree that Governor McAuliffe made the right decision by restoring voting rights for people with prior felony convictions. It is our leaders’ responsibility to uphold the values of an inclusive and just democracy – this lawsuit represents exactly the opposite. Virginians deserve better. Democracy demands better.”

    Linda Thomas, President of the State Conference of the NAACP states, “We are disappointed by the recent actions of some in the Republican leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia who have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the recent executive order issued by our Governor Terry McAuliffe to restore the rights of more than 200,000 citizens.  The Virginia State Conference of the NAACP has been persistent in its efforts of advocating for the restoration of rights to those who have paid their debt to society. Despite those who would turn the issues of voter rights and voter suppression into a partisan battleground, we will continue to fight this systematic erosion of enfranchisement.

    In this moment, where we find our spirits bolstered by United States Supreme Court decision to dismiss the GOP appeal against the newly drawn Congressional Districts; we will neither ignore, nor will we forget that our progress is still threatened by thinly veiled attempts at voter suppression as a means to partisan political gains. We vow to be unwavering in our commitment to insure that the right to participate in democracy is never suppressed, threatened or denied. And we stand boldly with those who share these views.”

    “The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus is proud to stand with our partners in this effort to protect the vote of citizens of the Commonwealth.  Governor McAuliffe was within his constitutional authority to restore the rights of 206,000 Virginians who have paid their debt to society and who now should be fully integrated into the communities in which they are now living and working as taxpaying citizens.  Voting is a fundamental right of a democracy, not a privilege to be weakened by suppressive efforts designed to undermine the power of the people,” stated Senator Mamie E. Locke (D-Hampton), Chair of the Caucus.

    Dates & Locations for the Rallies:

    Hampton Roads Rally

    Wednesday, June 1,2016


    Hampton City Hall – outside on the plaza

    22 Lincoln St.

    Hampton VA


    Southside Rally

    Saturday, June 4,2016


    Tabernacle Zion Church

    602 Hicks st.

    Lawrenceville, VA


    Central Virginia RALLY

    Saturday, June 4,2016

    4:30 pm -6:30pm

    Pocohontas Island

    Petersburg, VA


    Southwest Rally

    Melrose Rugby Neighborhood center

    Saturday – June 4,2016


    1730 Orange Avenue NW
    Roanoke, VA

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    8 Traffic Deaths in 2016, Compared to 14 Over 2015 Holiday Weekend

    RICHMOND – The 2016 Memorial Day holiday weekend proved safer for those traveling the highways of Virginia in comparison to the 2015 Memorial Day weekend. During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers report a total of eight drivers and passengers died in seven traffic crashes statewide this past holiday weekend. During the same time period in 2015, traffic crashes claimed a total of 14 lives on Virginia highways.

    The seven traffic crashes occurred in the counties of Accomack, Amherst, Arlington, Henrico, New Kent, Pittsylvania and York. Monday’s single-vehicle crash (May 30, 2016) in Accomack County claimed the lives of both the driver and passenger. State troopers responded to and investigated a total of 847 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period.

    “As encouraging as this decrease is in traffic deaths for the extended holiday weekend, we still have a great deal of work to do to save even more lives on Virginia’s highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We are on the cusp of the summer vacation and travel season, so we need all motorists to do their part in driving to save lives by buckling up, complying with speed limits, avoiding driving distractions, and never driving drunk or drugged. Drive like your life depends on it.”

    Of the seven passenger vehicle fatalities over the holiday weekend, three of the drivers were not wearing seat belts. In addition, as part of the ongoing 2016 Click It or Ticket (CIOT) spring mobilization campaign, Virginia State Police troopers cited 913 safety belt violations and another 272 child safety seat violations. The two-week, concentrated CIOT educational and enforcement initiative began Monday, May 23, 2016, and runs through Sunday, June 5, 2016. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign combines high visibility enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws with outreach and education. 

    Virginia State Police also participated over the holiday weekend the Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) traffic safety initiative that began 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 27, 2016, and concluded Monday, May 30, 2016, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like Memorial Day. The 2015 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 11,245 speeders and 2,678 reckless drivers. A total of 134 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

    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.

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    Children of the counties of Brunswick, Greensville, and Sussex, as well as the city of Emporia, were recently given the opportunity to participate in a week-long literacy event hosted by The Improvement Association’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) initiative. The event, known as Readers Are Leaders, is a community-wide literacy program developed and implemented by LaWanda Fisher, Program Coordinator for The Improvement Association’s PAT initiative, and her team of parent educators.

    “The Readers Are Leaders program was developed with three goals in mind,” said Fisher. “The first goal is to promote literacy. The second goal is to encourage parents to read more to their children, and the third is to encourage children to read more. We really try to promote book sharing with all the children within our service area, not just those enrolled in the PAT program.”
    The Readers Are Leaders program debuted during The Week of the Young Child, which was celebrated April 11-15. Fisher organized several notable community figureheads to read at various locations throughout the service areas.

    On Monday, April 11, Dr. Al Roberts, President of Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC), visited the children of Saint Paul’s Head Start and Child Development Center (CDC) in Brunswick County. On this day “History met History.” The first African American president of SVCC read to the children on the campus of St. Paul’s College, a historically black college. The Improvement Association kept St. Paul’s name affiliation for the child development center in efforts to maintain the legacy of St. Paul’s College.

    On Tuesday, April 12, Brunswick County Sheriff B. K. Roberts visited Country Mouse Nursery School in Lawrenceville.

    Also on Tuesday, April 12, Waverly Mayor Mariam Edwards visited the Head Start students at Wakefield ABC. “It makes my heart feel good to be involved with the young people. On behalf of the Town of Waverly, we thank The Improvement Association for allowing us to be a part of our future leaders”, stated Ms. Edwards.

    On Wednesday, April 13, Mr. Williams Ricks, of The Improvement Association’s Project Discovery program in Sussex County, visited the children attending the Head Start program at Sussex Elementary.

    Emporia Police Chief Rick Pinksaw visited children at two classrooms at Elnora Jarrell Worship Center Daycare on Thursday, April 14.

    Greensville Sheriff Tim Jarrett also two classrooms at Footprints Daycare and Nursery in Emporia on Friday, April 15.

    At Shiloh Baptist Church, home of The Improvement Association’s Head Start Shiloh location, Mr. Logan Tatum, Family Service Specialist for the Greensville and Emporia area, read to the children participating in the Head Start program on Friday, April 15.

    Parents as Teachers is a FREE program for parents and guardians of children from birth up to five years old. PAT helps caretakers understand their role in encouraging their child’s development. It helps children prepare for Kindergarten and ensures they are meeting developmental milestones, as well as passing hearing and vision screenings. Parent Educators also provide information on prenatal health to encourage intellectual development, curiosity, and language development.

    One on the main components of PAT is to provide families with books to read with, and to, their children. During the week-long Readers Are Leaders event, 160 books were distributed to the children. The PAT initiative is currently accepting book donations for the next Readers Are Leaders event to be tentatively scheduled in the fall.

    “I’d like to encourage individuals, churches, area businesses, and social and civic groups to participate,” said Fisher. Books can be dropped off at any of The Improvement Association’s four office locations in Emporia, Dinwiddie, Lawrenceville, or Waverly. If your agency or organization would like to set up a donation center, please contact LaWanda Fisher at (434) 634-2490 ext. 227 for additional information.

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  4. Organizations Announce Effort to Help Outdoor Cats Living at Naval Station Norfolk

    Norfolk, Virginia, May 27, 2016 – The Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and a group of Hampton Roads animal advocates called Cat Team 7 have entered into an agreement with the U.S. Navy to help cats living outside and unowned at Naval Station Norfolk (NSN), the world’s largest naval base. The cats will be placed with community members owning barns or stables who will provide care for the felines in such an indoor/outdoor environment. People owning breweries, distilleries, vineyards or warehouses may also be considered for appropriate placements.

    All who agree to provide loving oversight will receive at least one cat from the naval base. They also will greatly enhance the lives of the cats while gaining rodent control experts.
    This initiative started once the Norfolk SPCA was made aware of the large number of outdoor cats living on NSN. Military policy forbids feeding the cats as well as assisting them via a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program because stray companion animals are not permitted on military property.

    Recently, however, Cat Team 7 leaders reached out to leaders of NSN to determine if the Navy would permit humanely trapping the cats, so they could be sterilized and given a rabies vaccine at the Norfolk SPCA’s public veterinary clinic, which assists thousands of feral cats in local TNR programs. The cats from the naval base would not be returned to their current outdoor home, as is typical with TNR, but, instead, relocated for an outdoor existence with a screened and approved adopter elsewhere in Virginia. The group will attempt to find homes for kittens and cats who are sociable.
    “We just had to see if Naval Station Norfolk wanted to be part of an effort that would make them the most humane naval base in the world,” said Caitlyn McIntosh, Cat Team 7 Project Coordinator. “Partnering with Norfolk SPCA and Naval Station Norfolk has been amazing and this is only the beginning.”

    Cat Team 7 volunteers—the majority of whom are current or former members of the military or are spouses of service members—will receive trapped cats from the Navy, arrange the spay/neuter surgeries, and transport cats with needed equipment to ensure successful relocations. Feral cat relocations are not always successful and take two to four weeks of caring for the cats indoors in a cage or pen to ensure cats accept the new location as a home.

    “We are thrilled that the U.S. Navy has agreed to this trap-neuter-relocate effort and we heartily thank the leadership at Naval Station Norfolk for partnering with us to launch this program,” said Rob Blizard, Norfolk SPCA Executive Director. “The potential for improving the lives of these cats and their kittens—by stopping the cycle of reproduction and finding them a caring home—is enormous.”

    The effort to trap-neuter-relocate at NSN began in May. The Norfolk SPCA and Cat Team 7 will be updating the public on a regular basis on the results of the program in hopes of encouraging similar tests at other military installations in Hampton Roads and even nationwide.

    Anyone interested in giving a home to an outdoor cat from the Naval Station Norfolk should contact Cat Team 7 at 571-423-9200 or More information about TNR is available at the Norfolk SPCA website.

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  5. Local Student Adwarded Comcast Scholorship


    Annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program Recognizes Students’ Leadership Skills, Academic Achievement and Commitment to Community Service

    RICHMOND, VA – May 26, 2016 – Comcast today announced that is has awarded $75,000 in scholarships for the 2016-17 school year to 66 Virginia high school students as part of its annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program.  The program, funded by the Comcast Foundation, recognizes students who strive to achieve their potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools, and who serve as models for their fellow students.

    "As leaders in their schools and communities, these students represent the best our Commonwealth has to offer,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.  “Thanks to partners like Comcast, we can help ensure that these young people have a bright future and that they are well prepared to become the next generation of exceptional leaders.”

    Comcast, joined by Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia Karen R. Jackson and school administrators, recognized the students at a special event held Wednesday, May 25, at the Virginia State Capitol. Sixty-five recipients of the 2016 Virginia Leaders and Achievers® scholarships received $1,000 scholarships. Tianna Jordan, a senior at Charlottesville High School was awarded a $10,000 Comcast Founders Scholarship – instituted in honor of Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Comcast Corporation – for a total of $75,000 awarded this year to Virginia high school students.

    “I am highly impressed by these outstanding students,” said Jackson.  “Not only are they committed to academic excellence, but also to ensuring their communities prosper.  It is inspiring to witness their commitment and drive and I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

    “We are honored to recognize the accomplishments of these Leaders and Achievers Scholarship winners.  They demonstrate leadership in school activities and share a strong commitment to community service,” said Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “We are excited to support them as they prepare for the next chapter in their educational careers.”

    Comcast’s Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program gives young people every opportunity to prepare for the future and to engage them in their communities. The program also demonstrates the importance of civic involvement, and the value placed on civic involvement by the business community.

    To date, Comcast has awarded more than $25 million to nearly 25,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program.

    2016 Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Recipients from Virginia

    Albemarle County

    • Kai Millner of Albemarle High School
    • William Livermon of Western Albemarle High School


    • Nicole Gray of St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School


    • Jose Alvarenga of Arlington Mill High School Continuation Program
    • Hajira Aslam of Wakefield High School
    • Marisa Sydnor of Washington-Lee High School

    Augusta County

    • Kaitlyn Bahrs of Riverheads High School in Staunton


    • Tianna Jordan of Charlottesville High School

    Chesterfield County

    • Fred Shuford of Cosby High School in Midlothian
    • Jaylon Brooks of James River High School in Midlothian
    • Jonas Kee of L.C. Bird High School
    • Hope Parker of Manchester High School in Midlothian
    • Jasmine Hires of Matoaca High School
    • Ruth Flores of Meadowbrook High School
    • Francesca Urcia of Midlothian High School
    • Kaylea Armstrong of Monacan High School
    • Rebecca Hall of Thomas Dale High School in Chester


    • Trystan Wiggins of Galileo Magnet High School
    • Lily Hungarland of George Washington High School

    Dinwiddie County

    • Jasmine Pope of Dinwiddie High School


    • Tiffany Posey of Greensville County High School

    Fairfax County

    • Madeleine Cochrane of South Lakes High School in Reston

    Frederick County

    • Cana Curtis of Sherando High School in Stephens City

    Hanover County

    • Evan Day of Hanover High School in Mechanicsville


    • Kayla Leaman of Harrisonburg High School

    Henrico County

    • Lindsey Shavers of Henrico High School
    • Julia McKinnon of Highland Springs High School
    • Annemarie Beran of John Randolph Tucker High School
    • Bailee Hancock of Varina High School


    • Jamarian Easter of Hopewell High School

    King William County

    • Destiny Coleman of King William High School

    Loudoun County

    • Kyle Enriquez of Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn


    • Olivia Stuckey of Brookville High School
    • Annie Eick of Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology


    • Mary Cuccinelli of Seton School

    Manassas Park

    • Katherine Gaouette of Manassas Park High School


    • Erin Perry of Appomattox Regional Governor's School
    • Jasmine Fobbs of Petersburg Public High School

    Pittsylvania County

    • Humza Qazi of Chatham High School

    Powhatan County

    • Stephanie Washburn of Powhatan High School

    Prince George County

    • Marcey Jiles of Prince George High School
    • Prince William County
    • Steven Tian of Battlefield High School in Haymarket
    • Samantha O’Connor of Potomac Senior High School in Dumfries
    • Jaelyn Demory of Woodbridge Senior High School


    • Kahlil Newsome of Armstrong High School
    • Monique Ross of Franklin Military Academy
    • Derrick Wang of Maggie L. Walker Governor's School
    • Kourtney Bugg of Open High School
    • Keaja Jefferson of Richmond Community High School
    • Samantha Conway of St. Catherines School
    • Colin Knight of St. Christopher's School
    • Emma Farmer of St. Gertrude High School
    • Ahmed Woodson of Thomas Jefferson High School
    • Precious Smith of Victory Christian Academy

    Rockingham County

    • Michelle De La Cruz of Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater


    • Brittany Owens of Salem High School

    Smyth County

    • Daisy Sturgill of Marion Senior High School


    • Kathryn Cardenas of North Stafford High School

    Sussex County

    • Brittany Chambliss of Sussex Central High School

    Washington County

    • Emily Stinson of Abingdon High School
    • Margaret Melton of John S. Battle High School in Bristol
    • Sam Caudill of Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring


    • Danna Gallego-Garcia of Waynesboro High School


    • Habebah Mounib of John Handley High School
    • Lauren Brocious of Millbrook High School

    Wise County

    • Ethan Elkins of Central High School in Norton

    Connect with the scholarship winners at Explore and “like” Comcast in the community at

    The Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program is one of the many ways that Comcast gives back to the communities we serve. Click here to learn more.

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    Federal grant expected to create 1,191 jobs

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced that the Greensville County Water and Sewer Authority will receive $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for infrastructure improvements to support development of the Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center in Greensville County.

    “We are pleased to see the federal government partner with local authorities to provide Virginians with better public services while creating jobs for Greensville County,” said Warner and Kaine.

    The Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center is one of Virginia’s primary mega-site developments. The improvements will help strengthen and enhance diversification of the region’s advanced manufacturing cluster, boost new commercial and industrial development, and create opportunities for job creation in the region. According to the EDA, the project is expected to create 1,191 jobs.

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    RICHMOND – With the start of the 2016 Click It or Ticket (CIOT) spring mobilization campaign, the Virginia State Police is taking this opportunity to remind motorists of the need to always buckle up when driving and/or riding in a vehicle. The two-week, concentrated educational and enforcement initiative began Monday, May 23, 2016, and runs through Sunday, June 5, 2016. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign combines high visibility enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws with outreach and education. 

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those who use a seat belt are 45 percent less likely to be fatally injured in a crash. In addition, if all passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts, an additional 2,814 lives could have been saved in 2014 alone nationwide.

    Virginia’s statewide seat belt use rate was 80.9 percent in 2015, 77.3 percent in 2014, 79.7 percent in 2013 and 78.4 percent in 2012. The 310 unrestrained fatalities in Virginia last year represent 41 percent of the 753 total traffic fatalities.

    “The state police cannot stress enough the importance of always using a seat belt when on the road,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Buckling up takes just seconds of you and your passengers’ time and yet can make the difference of a lifetime if and when one is involved in a crash. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend and summer travel season, all motorists are reminded to #DrivetoSaveLives whether it’s to school, work, the store, the beach or the mountains. Drive like your life depends on it.”

    Since the 2016 Memorial Day holiday weekend falls within this year’s CIOT campaign, state police troopers will be even more vigilant in their efforts to increase seat belt usage among adults, teenagers and children. Occupant restraint enforcement is a key component of the Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) traffic safety initiative that begins 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 27, 2016, and concludes Monday, May 30, 2016, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like Memorial Day. The program also means that all available Virginia State Police troopers will be on patrol through the holiday weekend.

    The 2015 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 1,314 individuals who failed to obey the law and buckle up, as well as issuing 403 citations for child safety seat violations on Virginia’s highways statewide. In addition, state police cited 13,728 speeders and 3,452 reckless drivers. A total of 142 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

    There were 14 traffic fatalities statewide during last year’s four-day statistical counting period for Memorial Day weekend. In 2014, there were eight traffic deaths and, in 2013, Virginia experienced nine fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the holiday weekend.*

    With additional troopers and other law enforcement working on Virginia’s highways this holiday weekend, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. A life-saving law intended to protect public safety responders and others who have a responsibility to work the roads. Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.


  8. Honor Graduates of Brunswick Academy

    Honor Graduates, wearing gold cord and tassel, have a 95 or above cumulative average throughout their High School years.  

    L-R:  Grant Edward Bradley (JMU), Ashley Ann Clary (UVA), Dallas Dwayne Hawthorne (UVA) and Garrett Paul Ramsey (Hampden-Sydney College)

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  9. 11 Brunswick Academy Graduates Children of Alumni

    Edmund Tyler James Baird, son of Nelson Craig Baird, Class of 1993 and Grandson of Rita Edwards Baird, Class of 1972.

    Ashley Ann Clary, daughter of Ricky Earle Clary, Class of 1981.

    Makayla Julie-Ann Clary, daughter of Daryl Peebles Clary, Class of 1982.

    Larissa Elise Conner, daughter of Charles Anthony Conner, Class of 1985.

    Taylor Rene Daniel, daughter of Kevin Travis Daniel, Class of 1986.

    Madison Marie Fajna, daughter of Dathan Jerry Fajna, Class of 1985.

    Hannah Gayle Glenn, daughter of Amy Gayle Green Glenn, Class of 1988.

    Charles Isaac Gregory, III., son of Charles Isaac Gregory, Jr., Class of 1979.

    Dallas Dwayne Hawthorne, son of Belinda Wrenn Hawthorne, Class of 1981 and Dwayne Hawthorne, Class of 1981. 

    Autumn Page Hyde, daughter of Robin Braddy Hyde, Class of 1984 and Aubrey W. Hyde, Jr., Class of 1980. 

    Kenneth Cole Williams, son of Kim Clary Williams, Class of 1980. 

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  10. Johnny Pascal Bowen

    7/8/1926 - 5/20/2016

    Memorial Service, 2:00 pm, Thursday, May 26, 2016, at Independence United Methodist Church.

    Johnny Pascal Bowen, 89, of Emporia, VA passed away on May 20, 2016. He was predeceased by his parents, Joseph Alexander Bowen and Daisy Newsome Bowen. He is survived by his wife, Marie Doyle Bowen; son, Gary P. Bowen and wife Lynette of Naples, FL; daughter, Nancy B. Pernell of Emporia, VA; grandchildren, John A. Pernell and Matthew P. Pernell; sisters, Ethel Gauldin and Nellie Roberts and numerous nieces and nephews. Mr. Bowen was member of Widows and Sons Masonic Lodge, Independence United Methodist Church, and a charter member and life member of Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad. He had a large family he truly loved and they loved him in return. A memorial service will be held 2:00pm, Thursday, May 26, at Independence United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, Crater Community Hospice, or Independence United Methodist Church. Condolences may be made to

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    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine today introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prevent the Department of Defense (DoD) from privatizing commissaries at five major installations until a study, requested in last year’s NDAA, to assess the costs and benefits of privatization is completed and properly taken into consideration by Congress.

    “It would be imprudent for Congress to authorize this privatization of commissaries – possibly jeopardizing an important benefit for our military men and women, their families, as well as retired servicemembers – before receiving the thorough study on the potential impacts as requested in last year’s NDAA,” said Warner and Kaine.

    The following Senators joined Warner and Kaine in introducing the amendment: U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (R-OK), Edward Markey (D-MA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), David Vitter (R-LA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

    The Senate’s NDAA for Fiscal Year 2016, as passed out of committee on May 14, 2015, included language that sought to launch a pilot program to begin the privatization of military commissaries at five locations. Specifically, the amendment:

    • Required a study on the impact privatizing commissaries would have on military families before a pilot program could be implemented and would look at modifications to the commissary system, common business processes, privatization in whole or in part, analysis of different pricing constructs and impacts on MWR programs.
    • Required a comptroller-general assessment of the plan no later than 120 days after the report is submitted.

    The amendment was adopted on the Senate floor and included in the final NDAA signed into law by the President last year.

    The requested study is currently underway but has not been completed at the time of this press release. This year’s amendment would block language in the Senate bill that, once again, seeks to begin the process of privatization, and would restrict any such action until completion of the study and thorough review by Congress.

    The following 43 organizations are opposed to the privatization language currently in the bill:

    • Air Force Sergeants Association
    • American Federation of Government Employees
    • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Teamsters
    • American Legion
    • American Logistics Association
    • American Military Retirees Association
    • American Military Society
    • American Retirees Association
    • American Veterans
    • Armed Forces Marketing Council
    • Army and Navy Union
    • Association of the United States Army
    • Association of the United States Navy
    • Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States
    • Fleet Reserve Association
    • Gold Star Widows
    • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
    • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
    • Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
    • Military Officers Association of America
    • Military Order of Foreign Wars
    • Military Order of the Purple Heart
    • National Association for Uniformed Services
    • National Defense Committee
    • National Guard Association of the United States
    • National Industries for the Blind
    • National Military Family Association
    • National Military and Veterans Alliance
    • Naval Enlisted Reserve Association
    • Military Partners and Families Coalition
    • Reserve Officer Association
    • Society of Military Widows
    • The American Military Partner Association
    • The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits
    • The Flag and General Officers Network
    • The Retired Enlisted Association
    • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
    • Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees
    • United States Army Warrant Officers Association
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars
    • Vietnam Veterans of America

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  12. FArm Service Agency County Committee Workshop

    The Greensville County FSA Office has scheduled a Public Workshop on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the Greensville USDA Service Center located at 706 South Main Street, Emporia, Virginia 23847.

    This informative meeting will explain; the general role of FSA in the community; COC committee role and responsibilities; the ballot and voting process and the voter eligibility and how the elections are held.

    Person with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact Melvin E. Hill, Jr. at 434-634-2462 Ext.2 or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 by June 3, 2016.



    RICHMOND – The men and women of the Virginia State Police and their families will gather together Thursday, May 26, 2016, to honor those public safety professionals who have given the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the 2016 Virginia State Police Law Enforcement Memorial Service, special recognition will be given to Trooper Nathan-Michael W. Smith, 27, who died in the line of duty Sept. 21, 2015, in Prince George County; and Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, who lost his life March 31, 2016, in the City of Richmond. The Honorable Lamont Bagby of the Virginia House of Delegates will provide the ceremony’s keynote address.

    A poignant part of the service will be the unveiling and dedication of Trooper Smith’s portrait before his family and fellow troopers. Following the ceremony, Trooper Smith’s portrait will be hung in the Colonel C.W. Woodson Jr. Memorial Gallery located within the Virginia State Police Academy. The gallery already holds the portraits of the state police’s other 60 courageous men and women who died in the line-of-duty while serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.

    Trooper Smith died after his vehicle crashed on an Interstate 295 exit ramp in Prince George County. Trooper Smith was responding to an emergency request for assistance at a fatal crash scene in Dinwiddie County.

    The service will recognize all of the Department’s law enforcement professionals who have died in the line of duty, to include a special tribute to the following 13 troopers in which 2016 marks a significant passage of time":

    5 Years:           Trooper Adam M. Bowen                   (2011-King George Co.)*

    10 Years:         Sr. Trooper Robert A. Hill, Sr.           (2006 - Southampton Co.)

    10 Years:         Trooper Kevin C. Manion                   (2006 - Clarke Co.)

    20 Years:         Trooper Gregory P. Fleenor               (1996 - Hanover Co.)

    30 Years:         Trooper Ricky M. McCoy                   (1986 - Salem)

    35 Years:         Trooper Robin L. Farmer                    (1981-  Caroline Co.)

    40 Years:         Trooper Bernard W. Wright                (1976 - Halifax Co.)

    40 Years:         Trooper Garland W. Fisher, Jr.           (1976 - Durham, N.C.)

    60 Years:         Trooper Henry M. Brooks, Jr.            (1956 - Pittsylvania Co.)

    65 Years:         Trooper Robert Wright Smith             (1951 – Pamplin)

    65 Years:         Investigator Wallace M. Simpson       (1951 - Petersburg)

    70 Years:         Trooper William H. Andrews               (1946 - Nottoway Co.)

    75   Years:        Trooper Urshell T. Mayo                     (1941 - Hampton)

    *Year & Location of Death

    Each tribute includes a single bell toll and an Honor Guard salute.


    Virginia State Police 2016 Police Officers’ Memorial Service

    Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016                           

    Time: 10:30 a.m.

    Location: VSP Gymnasium

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  14. Bandit Steals “Best in Show”

    There were 21 fiercely adorable competitors at the Seventh Annual Doggie Fashion Show and Luncheon on Saturday, but there could only be one “Best-in-Show.”

    Best-In-Show Bandit Day

    This year’s “Best-in-Show” was Bandit Day, a two year old Australian Cattle Dog (AKA Blue Healer) owned and shown by Debra Day.  Bandit is “Blue Roan” and weighs in at 40 pounds.  Bandit is a high energy dog and needed a job, so his family introduced him to fetching the ball as a puppy and it is now his life’s passion.  The breed is often called “Shadow Dogs,” since they are always at your side; Bandit lives up to this name and is always beside his mom.  One of his favorite things to do is go to Tractor Supply with his mom, where he knows he will be petted and treats will be waiting. Bandit was selected as the Best Medium Breed before going on to the big victory.




    First and Second Runners-up Mitus (left) Crawford and Goldie Rumplik

    The First Runner Up and Best Large Breed was Mitus Crawford, a two year old Dogo Argintine, owned by Megan Crawford and Travis Keeter. Mitus was shown by one of his owners, Megan.  Mitus weighs 80 pounds and was adopted by his family last June.  Mitus was also the rarest breed in this year’s show.  Mitus loves to chase deer and rabbit, but his favorite things are sleeping in the bed and cheese sticks.  Mitus Loves Cheese Sticks.  If you were to judge him by his size, you would likely expect him to be ruff and tuff, but he is just the opposite: gentle and sweet.

    The second runner up and Best Small Breed was Goldie Rumplik, a Doxie mix owned and shown by Marlo Rumplik. Goldie is brown and white 2 year old and weighs 6 pounds.  Goldie likes to take naps and be with her mom and dad.  She also loves to cuddle and be loved.  Her favorite thing to do is stretch out with her hind feet behind her and sunbathe.  Goldie is a real show off when she wants attention.

    Judging this year’s contestants were Matthew Gray, Lucy Metcalf, Michelle Wilson and Robin McVoy.  The show was, once again, emceed by Cleve “The Bull” Baker.

    The Doggie Fashion Show is the largest fund raiser for the Emporia-Greensville Humane Society.  According to Peggy Malone, the money raised by the Doggie Fashion Show “goes to benefit the animals.  The Doggie Show has made it possible to continue to do our work for the animals.”

    This year’s Doggie Fashion Show was dedicated to the memory of long time EGHS supporter and animal lover Eugene F. Rae, who passed earlier this year.

    Major sponsors for this year’s show were Jones LTC Pharmacy, Parker Oil Company, Paws & Purrs, PetSense, Jon’s Glass, Davis Body Shop, Good Earth Peanut Company and Peggy B. Malone Insurance.

    While this weekend’s event was the seventh annual, this month also marks the 12 year anniversary of the Emporia-Greensville Humane Society.

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  15. 800,000 Acres of Land Conserved

    More Than 800,000 Acres Selected Through Highly Competitive Application Rounds

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the enrollment of more than 800,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Through CRP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps farmers offset the costs of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and strengthen wildlife habitat. Farmers’ and ranchers’ participation in CRP continues to provide numerous benefits to our nation, including helping reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases and providing resiliency to future weather changes .

    “The Conservation Reserve Program provides nearly $2 billion annually to land owners – dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs.  When these direct benefits are taken together with the resulting economic activity, the benefits related to CRP are estimated at $3.1 billion annually,” said Vilsack. “Over the past 30 years, CRP has created major environmental improvements throughout the countryside. The program has removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere equal to removing nine million cars from the road annually, and prevented 600 million dump trucks of soil from erosion. With today’s announcement, USDA is continuing these achievements by maximizing conservation benefits within the limitations provided by law.”

    This was one of the most selective sign-up periods in CRP’s 30-year history, with a record high Environmental Benefits Index cut-off and the lowest-percentage of applications accepted. The high bar means that the per-acre conservation benefits are being maximized and that acres enrolled address multiple conservation priorities simultaneously.

    A nationwide acreage limit was established for this program in the 2014 Farm Bill, capping the total number of acres that may be enrolled at 24 million for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. At the same time, USDA has experienced a record demand from farmers and ranchers interested in participating in the voluntary program. As of March 2016, 23.8 million acres were enrolled in CRP, with 1.7 million acres set to expire this fall.

    Over three million acres have been offered for enrollment this year across the three main categories within CRP, with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) receiving over 26,000 offers to enroll more than 1.8 million acres during the general enrollment period, and over 4,600 offers to enroll more than one million acres in the new CRP Grasslands program. Coming off a record-setting 2015 continuous enrollment of over 860,000 acres, more than 364,000 acres already have been accepted for 2016 in the CRP continuous enrollment, triple the pace of last year.

    FSA will accept 411,000 acres in general enrollment, the most competitive selection in in the history of the program, with the acreage providing record high conservation benefits. USDA selected offers by weighing environmental factors plus cost, including wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits, and air quality.

    The results of the first-ever enrollment period for CRP Grasslands, FSA will also accept 101,000 acres in the program, providing participants with financial assistance for establishing approved grasses, trees and shrubs on pasture and rangeland that can continue to be grazed.  More than 70 percent of these acres are diverse native grasslands under threat of conversion, and more than 97 percent of the acres have a new, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher as a primary producer. FSA continues to accept CRP Grasslands offers and will conduct another ranking period later this year. Acres are ranked according to current and future use, new and underserved producer involvement, maximum grassland preservation, vegetative cover, pollinator habitat and various other environmental factors.

    Participants in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.  Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.

    CRP is currently protecting more than 100,000 acres of bottomland hardwood trees, nearly 300,000 acres of flood-plain wetlands, and 300,000 acres each for duck nesting habitat and nearly 250,000 acres of upland bird habitat. In addition, CRP is creating economic benefits that include at least $545 million per year in recreation benefits and water quality benefits from reduced sedimentation of $587 million per year.

    Throughout the Obama Administration, USDA has generated thousands of critical partnerships to conserve and protect our natural resources on working landscapes, while enrolling a record number of acres in conservation programs. Seventy-percent of the nation’s land is owned and tended to privately, and America’s farmers, ranchers and landowners have willingly stepped up to address the growing impacts of a changing climate. With USDA’s support, they work to implement voluntary practices that improve air and water quality, prevent soil erosion and create and protect wildlife habitat.

    Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect land and water on over 400 million acres nationwide.

    To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit contact a local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit

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  16. Strokes Among Young Adults on Dramatic Rise

    EMPORIA, VA(May 23, 2016)– While recent years have seen an overall decline in the number of strokes in the U.S., research published in the American Academy of Neurology Journal suggests the number of strokes among younger adults is actually on the rise, with about one in five victims now below the age of 55.

    “Since the mid-1990’s, the number of strokes in younger adults has increased by approximately 53 percent,” said Dr. Saqib Shah, Medical Director of Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department. “This trend is alarming in the impact it has on young families, when a parent who suffers a stroke is often physically and economically disabled before or during their most productive years.”

    Experts attribute several factors to the increased incidence of stroke in young adults, with the greatest focus around the issue of obesity. A study of more than 2,300 people in the Baltimore area indicated that obese young adults were 57 percent more likely to experience a stroke than their non-obese peers. Much of that increased risk might be connected to the co-conditions often tied to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.

    “Even though more than a half million young adults suffer annually from a stroke, 73% of those interviewed indicated they would NOT seek treatment at a hospital when faced with the classic symptoms,” said Dr. Shah. “Nearly three in four stated they would opt to ‘wait and see’ if their weakness, numbness or impaired vision symptoms went away on their own. This is a lack of awareness that can lead to devastating results.”

    Medical experts agree that medical treatment must be delivered for a stroke within three hours of the first symptom. This is the window during which treatment can minimize or even reverse brain damage. A lack of awareness results in patients that don’t seek immediate treatment. But to date, only limited public health and research efforts have been dedicated to addressing stroke in young adults.

    The authors of one study suggest people should memorize the acronym “FAST”, which stands for:  Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty; Time to Call 911.

    Many, though not all, strokes are preventable through simple but critical lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, ensuring a daily dose of physical activity, controlling blood pressure, controlling blood sugar if you are diabetic and refraining from smoking are considered the most effective means of avoiding the devastation of a stroke. 

    The skilled staff of Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s rehabilitation department provides inpatient and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy to stroke patients, all designed to help them regain their independence and get back to work, play and their lives. Call (434)348-4871 to learn more about these services.

    For more information about stroke symptoms or to find a physician who can help you craft a prevention plan, visit

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  17. Exercise Can Be the Best Medicine

    The Erin Robinson Story

    Erin Robinson, a young, ambitious 21 year old from South Hill, VA had graduated from Longwood University in May of 2015 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and decided to enroll in a Master’s program the fall of 2015.  Only a couple months after her college graduation Erin started to feel nauseous constantly along with occasional dizziness.  Erin would not make it to a class that next semester and here is why.

    In July of 2015, Erin went to see a gastroenterologist in Richmond, VA where she endured tests for hours.   After the initial tests, she was diagnosed with gastroparesisGastroparesis is a condition in which your stomach cannot empty itself of food in a normal fashion. Often, the cause of gastroparesis is unknown.

    Erin’s sister, Nicole Dugger of Brodnax, researched the disease and got Erin an appointment with one the best gastroparesis doctors in the country, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An assistant in the office talked to Erin for an hour and the doctor came in for about five minutes and instructed the nurses to take five vials of blood to test.  When the tests came back there was no change in the diagnosis.  Erin still felt sick and was seeking help from a different physician.

    Determined to get help for her sister, Nichole begged the office staff of a doctor in Winston-Salem, NC, whom was also touted as one of the top gastroparesis doctors in the country, to see Erin as quickly as possible.  Her plea for help was granted as Erin was seen by the doctor in October of 2015. 

    The doctor in Winston-Salem ran more tests on Erin, one being a stomach emptying test, along with a radioactive trace test.  (The radioactive trace test takes a picture of someone’s stomach every hour for four hours.) The results from the tests showed that her stomach was fine. Erin was told she could go back to eating regular foods, but when she attempted it, she was still severely nauseous.  So, more tests were needed to be done to figure out what was causing the painful nausea.

    Erin traveled again to Winston-Salem where the doctor put her on a tilt-table test.  For this test she had to lay flat for five minutes, strapped in (because many people in her condition faint), as they kept her standing for 30 minutes and watched her blood pressure and heart rate.  During the test Erin was lightheaded, dizzy and saw white spots.  Her heart rate rose to 156 beats per minute, just from laying to standing.

    Two weeks after the tilt-table test, the doctor diagnosed Erin with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).  POTS is a condition in which a change from the laying position to an upright position causes an abnormally large increase in heart rate, called tachycardia. The causes of POTS are poorly understood, and it is likely that several distinct underlying problems can lead to the symptoms

    All Erin would have to do was take salt tablets and her severe nausea would subside.  But, another problem occurred as Erin couldn’t keep the tablets down.  Erin tried multiple times to take the salt tablets but vomiting occurred each time.

    While still dealing with vomiting, nausea, hunger and dizziness, Erin was sent to a cardiologist by her doctor in Winston-Salem.  Erin said that the cardiologist gave her an article to read and said he couldn’t help her.  Still without any relief of her symptoms, Erin did more research and found a POTS specialist at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, VA named Dr. Sica.

    Erin’s mother called Dr. Sica’s office attempting to get an appointment but to her disdain the earliest time her daughter could be seen was months out.  So, the desperate mother called Dr. Sica and in tears, explained her daughter’s story, how she had been in pain for months and that she just wanted to find someone who could help her.  After the call, Erin got an appointment the next day. 

    Dr. Sica decided to give Erin a medication that would help her to retain salt, instead of taking salt tablets that she couldn’t keep down.  At first this didn’t exactly work as planned as it made Erin very dehydrated, which eventually lead to home health coming in to give Erin fluids though IV lines.  Erin stated that at this point her spirit was fading because she couldn’t believe she needed someone to come into her home to take care of her at such a young age. 

    Erin stated that she constantly read Proverbs 3:5 from the Bible that said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."  IV lines would take hours to be inserted because of her dehydration, so Erin believed that it had to be a better way to treat her symptoms.

    At this point, Erin was seeing improvements with her new medication and the IV fluids.  She was only nauseous about every other day, she was able to eat minimally and felt stronger, especially after drinking her mother’s special concoction consisting of coconut water, lemons, limes, oranges, honey, sugar and salt.

    Seeing improvement in Erin’s health, Dr. Sica told his young patient that to be able to function normally she needed to improve her strength through specialty exercise, which in-turn will reduce her dizziness when standing.  Convenient for Erin, there was an exercise center located close to her in South Hill, the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.  

    Erin’s first exercise experience started in Water Aerobics twice a week with instructor Rhonda Campbell.  Erin said, “Rhonda was fantastic to work with, she showed me exercises that were just for me.  She genuinely cared about my well-being.”  Also at the rehab center is where Erin met Kimberly Brown, Exercise Physiologist for VCU Health CMH, and “Kim in the gym” (as she calls her) created an exercise plan specifically tailored for Erin’s condition each visit while monitoring her heart rate.   Over a six month span Erin went from not being able to get out of her bed to now exercising five days a week with Kim.

    During a February, 2016 visit with Dr. Sica at VCU in Richmond, Erin was told that she was showing vast improvement and the doctor recommended increasing her work-out time from 60 minutes per day to 90 minutes per day.  Even though POTS is not curable the symptoms can be controlled and through medication and exercise Erin has been able to thrive.

    Kimberly Brown, Exercise Physiologist for VCU Health CMH said, “Erin’s mindset of developing a healthy self from the inside out was extremely positive. She didn’t focus on what she had to give up; instead, she focused on what she had to gain. This determination will carry her above and beyond with great success.”

    Erin stated, “The staff at the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab center are phenomenal, they go above and beyond expectations.  I would highly recommend the center to anyone.  They motivate me and with their help I feel fantastic.”  Erin also said, “I want to thank my family for being there for me and helping me get through this tough time in my life; my sister, Nicole Dugger of Brodnax, my parents Terry and Martin Robinson of South Hill, Nancy Carey of South Hill and my boyfriend, Brian James of LaCrosse.”

    Donna F. Jarrell, VCU Health CMH Rehab Director said, “The Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center was built with the intention to benefit the people of our community, people just like Erin Robinson.  We are much more than a gym; we are a medical fitness center dedicated to practicing the concept of exercise is actual medicine.  We believe that exercise is one of the best prescription medicines that people can take and that a person needs to participate in the right type of exercise for the right amount of time and at the correct intensity to obtain the best results.  Staying abreast of and implementing the latest scientific based exercise prescriptions is what we specialize in.”

    Erin will be attending Longwood University in the fall of 2016, working towards the completion of a Master’s Degree in the field of counseling.  According to Erin, POTS is an under-diagnosed condition that is sometimes misinterpreted as anxiety.  She hopes her story will spread awareness for POTS and inspire those suffering from the condition to take control of the syndrome and find their path to a healthier life.  Erin is now back on pace in following her dreams and it was all made possible by a doctor who cared, a family who wouldn’t give up, an exercise staff that truly believed, a tremendous will to get better and her unyielding faith.

    Photo (L to R):

    Erin Robinson is pictured with Kimberly Brown, Exercise Physiologist at the Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill.

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  18. Shawn Keith “Skip” Penley

    March 09, 1992-May 21, 2016

    Visitation: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 6-8 pm.  funeral Service: Thursday, May 26, 2016 2 pm.

    Shawn Keith “Skip” Penley, 24, passed away Saturday, May 21, 2016. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Reid Boone Trail; paternal grandparents, Donna Gene Penley and Lionel Drace Penley and uncle, William Reid Trail. Skip is survived by his parents, Keith Douglas Penley and Donna Trail Penley; sisters, Katie Penley Wrenn and husband, Robert and Betty Anne Ramsey and husband, Jason; brother, Michael Ray Cousins and companion Cathy Butler and their children, Sonya Phillips and William Perkinson; his grandmother, Betty Trail; aunt Vickie Mollicone; uncle, David Penley and cousins, Vincent Mollicone and companion, Taylor Riley, Jennifer Jensen Walker, Josh Jensen and Drace Penley and lifelong friends, Ginger Beatty and Jamie King The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, May 26. . Interment will follow at Drewryville Cemetery

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  19. Meherrin Regional Library Announces Summer Reading Program

    The Meherrin Regional Library System urges families to get ready, get set, go to the library and sign up for Read–For the Win!

    Meherrin Regional Library System launches its Read–For the Win! Summer Reading Program with sign up starting on Wednesday, June 1st. During the next two months, the library will host a range of free activities for children and teens to encourage and support a love of reading. Participants can win prizes for reaching their reading goals.

    “We’ve planned a wonderful program for kids to make the library a great place to read, learn, and discover what’s available for their enjoyment,” said Krystal Cook-Elliott, Youth Services Librarian.

    Themed events include a kickoff carnival on Thursday, June 30th.  Some other programs include a demonstration from Virginia State Police K-9 Dog, Zumba with an instructor from the Emporia-Greensville YMCA, Uncle Henry's fun animal facts and nature show, a meet and greet with Nutsy, the Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot, and much more! 

    There’s also a serious side to summer reading. Research has shown that reading over the summer prevents summer reading loss.

    “Studies also indicate students who read recreationally outperformed those who don’t. Students read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests,” Polly Duffey, Director. “Our libraries are committed to supporting lifelong learning and educational enrichment for all families.”

    To learn more about the summer reading adventure at the library, please call the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 ext. 301 or the Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539 or check out the library’s website

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  20. Southside Virginia Community College Class of 2016

    Caption for this photo:  Dr. Al Roberts leads the processional at Southside Virginia Community College on May 14, 2016 during the 26th Commencement.  To the left is Gerald W. Watts, SVCC Local Board Chair, and Dr. Tara Carter, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and behind is Martha Reed, Speaker, and Dr. John J. Cavan, former SVCC President.

    Dr. Al Roberts awards Tiffany Posey of Emporia with her diploma at SVCC's graduation.

    Debra D. Norwood of Emporia was among those graduating from SVCC on May 14, 2016

    Graduates from Emporia

    Disheka Lanae Adams

    Shaheed Nasir-Hakim Ahmad

    Alexandra Nicole Allen

    Haley Dawn Allen

    Lesley Daniel Allen

    Moniqua La'Chae Allen

    Tamarreious Kemond Anderson

    Sarah Kathleen Ashcraft II

    Alexis Tilton Autry

    Deborah Leigh Barnes

    Jordan McKaley Boney

    Autumn Karen Britton

    Tenisha Renee Broadnax

    Aviel Ranisia Brown

    Brian Matthew Bullock

    De'Shawn Tre'Von Cain

    Derrick   Carpenter Jr.

    Harvey Lee Cifers Jr.

    Ciara Dare Cifers

    Arden Carol Samson Cosio

    James Bryant Cutcliff

    William Henry Davis Jr.

    Dynisha Te'sha Davis

    Khadysia Simone Davis

    Sonji S Davis

    Morgan Elizabeth Dianis

    Leslie Claire Dickens

    Allison Gray Draper

    Kathy Robinson Drummond

    Terri LaPHaraha Drummond

    Stewart Cordell Dugger

    Amanda Lynn Earp

    Skylar Dawn Ferguson

    Ayjah Lashay Fields

    Jessica Marie Flynt

    Jessie Roland Gay

    India RaQuell Gillus

    Tammy Jo Goddard

    Markeisha Denise Green

    Paula Pettis Grizzard

    Garrett Leon Gund

    Denita Powell Hardy

    Dykee Quashawn Harrison

    Taylo Mariah Harrison

    Andre' Malik Hayes

    Michelle J. Hensley

    Bryant O'Neal Hicks Jr.

    Isaiah Cornelius Hicks

    Davida S Jackson

    Felicia A Jackson

    Dillon Jacob Jenkins

    Ny'Lisha Shaqiell Jones

    Tillacia Breyaun July

    Nathaniel Joseph King

    Carman Kelli Larson

    Zacia Tianna Lewis

    Kimberly Ann Lucas

    Porscha C Offer Lundy

    Shastany DeAnn Lundy

    Meredith Kaitlyn Lynch

    Cleophas Franklin Malone

    Kayla Ivona Maloney

    Mallie Evelyn Manning

    David Franklin Martin III

    Lorraine   McDowell

    Haylee N Miller

    Deja Imani Moody

    Kristen Nicole Moseley

    Laurice Danielle Moses

    Debra D Norwood

    Michaela Romonza Parker

    John Russell Perkins Jr.

    Angel M Person

    Austin Lee Petty

    Justin N. Phillips

    Kevin Neal Phillips

    Latisha   Pitt

    Rafiq JaQuail Akmed LilNay Pitt

    Tiffany La'Rose Posey

    Erica Rose Potempa

    Kelli Miller Powell

    Shaketta Shanelle Powell

    Terrance   Price

    Nayr Q Robinson

    Valerie J Robinson

    Edmund Marcus Saleeby

    Moesha Chardae' Seaborn

    Kayla Marie Simmons

    Markesha Tonyale Simmons

    Martina La'Shay Singleton

    Darius Marcel Sneed

    Kiarra Litia Speller

    Tamara Lynn Starke

    Michael Ray Stephens

    Kevin McGlenn Stephenson

    Allysa Jordan Thomas

    Dominique Montayia Thomas

    Sedarous Martiz Thomas

    Makayla Lynn Tomlin

    Al Lee Tucker

    Dontae Shaquille Tucker

    Angela Rowena Turner

    Courtney Denise Vaughan

    Stewart Eric Veliky

    Alyssa Brooke Velvin

    Tyler Wayne Velvin

    Jarques James Walton

    Katina Tiara Washington

    Keeana Nastaaja Washington

    Roland Eubank Weaver III

    Ahmeara Elizabeth Wilfong-Linder

    Kylah Simone Williams

    Deondre Malik Williams-Porter

    Harry Wilson Woodley Jr.

    Rebecca Leeann Wrenn

    Alanna   Wright

    Lance Ryan Wyatt



    Graduates from Jarratt

    Stephen Dwayne Allen

    Codi Alexander Autry

    Tabria Neshae Bailey

    Precious C Colbert

    Donella Grant Crist

    David Michael Gwaltney

    Kaitlin Renee' Harrison

    Madilyn Marie Harrison

    Candace W. Joyner

    Desmond Naron Manning

    Matoya Shenelle Nicholson

    Shacacia Tygi Parker

    Laquishia Denise Person

    Dallas Morgan Phelps

    Kathryn Alexandra Rae

    Shanice Shanae Squire

    Robert   Sykes Jr.

    Tameka Massenburg Williams

    Graduates from Slippers

    Tavonia Danielle Banks

    Nicole M. Hicks

    Dashawn   Jefferson

    Jonathan Carl Jones

    LaMoni Chetrel Lee

    Tyler Dean Moore

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    Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Madison Marie Fajna has been chosen the May 2016 Student of the Month. Madison, a senior, is the daughter of Dathan (BA Class of 1985) and Heather Fajna of Emporia and has one brother, Ian also a student at Brunswick Academy.    Madison has been a Cheerleader at Brunswick Academy since the 6th Grade.  She has cheered on both the  JV and Varsity squad. She is a member of the Spanish Club, Yearbook Staff and has been the Reporter of her class for the last several years. 

    Madison has been an active member of the St. John Lutheran Church youth group for many years.  She has volunteered in the nursery, Vacation Bible School and your group fundraising activities.  She also currently works at Boyd Chevrolet of Emporia.   In her spare time she enjoys shopping, spending time at the beach and hanging out with friends. 

    She will attend Lynchburg College in the fall where she will also continue her love of cheerleading as a member of the Lynchburg College Cheerleading Squad.  Madison plans to major in Biology and her future plans are to become a Physical Therapist.   



  22. Health Community Memorial Hospital receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award

     American Heart Association Award recognizes

    VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care

    South Hill, May 18, 2016― VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

    To receive the Silver Plus Quality Achievement award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for at least 12 consecutive months and during the same period achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

    Pictured (L to R) at the Stroke Coordinators Mid-Atlantic Boot Camp held on April 28, 2016 in Raleigh, NC is Laura Shuey, Vice president Mid- Atlantic Affiliate American Heart American Stroke Association, Vickey Morgan, RN, BSN and VCU Health CMH Stroke Program Coordinator, and  Kim Warren, RN, BS, BSN,MSHA, FACNA Clinical Director of Neuroscience, Bon Secours and Joint Commission Surveyor Stroke Certification.

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  23. Aleise Hawkins Ligon

    Aleise Hawkins Ligon, 101, of Emporia passed away on May 18, 2016. She was predeceased by her husband, Jeffery Paul Ligon, Sr.; her parents, F. W. Hawkins and Ada S. Hawkins; brothers, Russell W. Hawkins and James F. Hawkins and sister, Mattie H. Williams. She is survived by her sons, Jeffery Paul Ligon, Jr. and wife Peggy H. Ligon and Gerald Hawkins Ligon and wife Patricia W. Ligon; grandchildren, Kennon P. Ligon and wife Sandy, Brian C. Ligon and wife Emily, and Shelley L. Rideout and husband Jason; great-grandchildren, Matthew H. Ligon, Charles Maxwell Ligon, and Caroline E. Rideout. She was a member of Zion Baptist Church. Visitation will be held on Thursday, 6-8pm, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel. A funeral service will be held 1pm, Friday, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel followed by interment in Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Zion Baptist Church, Emporia Volunteer Fire Department or Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad. Condolences may be sent to

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  24. SVCC College Diesel and Auto Tech Graduation

    The Southside Virginia Community College Diesel and Auto Tech programs held a ceremony to recognize successful graduates on May 5, 2016.  The program is taught at the SVCC Occupational Technical Center in Blackstone at Pickett Park.  Two of the students completing the program, Chad Philpot and James 'Kenny' Davis, are Dual Enrollment students who received the college Certificate before their high school graduation.  Those completing the program are:

    Front Row Kneeling L - R: Antonio Watkins - Roanoke, Chad Philpot - Amelia, James (Kenny) Davis - Blackstone, Charles McKay - Rice, Tyler Moore - Skippers, Zachari Perkinson - Dinwiddie, Robert Cofer, Roanoke. 2nd row: Russell Hicks, Instructor, Tavon Jones - South Hill, Kyle Harlan - Jetersville, Arrick Chaffin - Nottoway, Chris Griffin - Chase City, Dylan Ray - Moseley, D. J. Winn - Chesterfield, Damon Honn - Chester, Ryan Huddleston - Farmville, Bryan Lewis, Instructor, Josh Smith, Instructor, Billy McGraw, Instructor.  3rd Row: Sedarous Thomas - Emporia, Thomas Wach - N. Chesterfield, Skyler Woollett - Lynchburg, Jeremiah Kelly - Crewe, Jonathan Kelly - Crewe, Michael Stephens - Emporia, Chance Holland - Lexington, Zachary Piper - Blackstone.

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  25. First SVCC Power Line Worker Program Celebrates Graduation

    Graduates of the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Program are(Front Row, Left to Right) Joseph Alan Anthony, Jr.  of Blackstone, Kevin Lee Dalton of Blackstone, Robert Joseph Parlante, Jr. of South Chesterfield, Derek Hunter Staton of Clarksville, and Brad Wike, Instructor and (Back Row, L to R) Cameron Willis Gibbs of Burkeville, Clyde Robertson, Instructor, Anton Andrew Lewis Carwile of Charlotte Court House, Joshua Lanier Crenshaw of Midlothian, William Andrew Jordan of Mineral, Lucas Brent Storey of Chester, of Powhatan,  Matthew Thomas Cox of Powhatan and Jackie Eugene Lewis, Jr. of Chase City.

    The inaugural class of the Power Line Worker Program of Southside Virginia Community College celebrated graduation with family, friends and supporters on May 12, 2016.  Eleven students completed the 11-week program earning Level 1 certification from NCCER (National Center for Construction Education & Research), a commercial driver’s license, first aid & CPR certification and OSHA 10 safety training.

    This comprehensive training program includes pole climbing, pole-top rescue, power line repairs, electrical circuits, rigging, setting and pulling poles, electrical test equipment, and trenching, excavating and boring equipment.  Prior to the graduation ceremony, students demonstrated pole climbing, rescues and other skills on the outdoor pole range.

    The first of its kind in Virginia, the school was founded earlier this year by a public-private partnership between Virginia’s electric co-ops, Southside Virginia Community College, the Virginia Community College System, Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The motivation to establish the program grew from the demand for power line workers throughout Virginia and the nation. 

    Clyde Robertson, Instructor and a 41-year veteran lineman, noted, “This class set a high bar for the classes to follow.”

    Senator Frank Ruff, guest speaker, said, “This type of skill and training is a building block to your future.”  He commended the partners who brought this program “to our part of Virginia, it saves costs and keeps dollars in our economy.”

    The Program opened on March 1, 2016.  At the time, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President said, “The establishment of the Power Line Worker Training School is a shining example of the high level of partnership and collaboration that is required if we are to advance our local economies and meet the demands of Governor McCauliffe’s New Virginia Economy.”

    SVCC Vice President of Workforce Development, Keith Harkins points out “ this program is a wonderful example of how short-term training leading to an industry credential can result in a rewarding career”.  Two of the recent graduates have accepted jobs with electric cooperatives and several others have had interview opportunities.

    The second class of the program starts on July 11 and is almost full.  An October class is filling up also.  This program is open to any high school graduate or GED recipient and includes extensive hands-on training that will prepare students for apprentice level line work at electric utilities.


  26. Leslie T. “L.T.” Turner

    Leslie T. “L.T.” Turner, 79, of Emporia passed away Monday, May 16, 2016 at his home. He is survived by his wife, Jearline M. “Judy” Turner; two sons, Leslie Keith Turner and wife, Cindy of Roanoke and Wayne Peterson and fiancée, Tammy Williams of Richmond; three daughters, Gwen T. Edwards, Sarah T. Combs and husband, Mike, all of Emporia and Kathy Turner of Winston-Salem, NC; two granddaughters, Nicole Edwards and Crystal Edwards; a sister, Rose Edwards and husband, Marshall of Littleton, NC; a brother, Bill Turner and wife, Rachel of Seaboard, NC; a number of nieces and nephews and his beloved feline companion, “Big Boy Turner”. Mr. Turner was the owner/operator of Turner’s Emporia 66 service station in Emporia for 45 years. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 19 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. A graveside funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, May 20 at Beechwood Cemetery in Boykins, Virginia. Online condolences may be made at

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  27. Lydia Gerusa Norwood Riolo

    8/26/1940 - 5/16/2016

    Celebration of Life, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 11:00am, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel.

    Lydia Gerusa Norwood Riolo, 75, of Emporia, VA passed away on May 16, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband, Matteo Riolo and her two brothers, Eduardo Gerusa, Jr. and Ramon Gerusa. She is survived by her daughters, Pat Norwood Cocke (Raymond), Lynda Norwood Crabtree (Paul), and Debbie Denice Norwood; step-daughter, Pat Riolo Baker; brother, Reynaldo Gerusa; 13 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and Robert “Bobby” C. Norwood, Jr. A Celebration of Lydia's Life will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 11am, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel. Condolences may be sent to


  28. Local Student Authors Win State Contest

    The Riparian Woman's Club hosted it's annual Writing contest, the children who place first at the district level went on to the GFWC VA (General Federation of Women’s Clubs Virginia) State competition.  No student from Greensville County Public Schools has ever won at the state level.  This year two won.  Blair Dickens won 1st place for Poetry and Davis Robinson won 1st place for Short Story.  Both children will be moving on the National Contest.  Both are students in the 4th grade at Greensville Elementary School. Blair is the student of Melissa Harrison and Davis is the student of Brenda Matthews.  Blair is the 10 year old daughter of Doug and Tina Dickens of Skippers, VA and Davis is the 10 year old son of Will and Gloria Robinson of Emporia.

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  29. Kelly Ann Burke Graduates with Honors

    Kelly Ann Burke of Emporia, Virginia, daughter of Debbie Burke Vincent and William J. Burke of Chester graduated cum laude from James Madison University on May 7, 2016.

    Kelly graduated from James Madison University with a major in Biology and minor in Sociology with plans of applying to medical schools this coming June. She has been conducting undergraduate research alongside Dr. Stephen Poulson investigating patterns of civilian fatality secondary to both insurgent and incumbent forces in Iraq to establish predictable trends of violence, and therefore trends of injury which could be used to prepare medical personnel in training for and responding to violent attacks. Manuscript entitled Levels of Insurgent Control and the Patterns of Civilian Fatalities in Co-ethnic Communities During the Iraq Civil Conflict (2004-2009) submitted to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) for publication. Kelly has also conducted clinical animal research in the field of neuroscience for the past 3 years under Dr. Justin Brown in the Biology department exploring the role of the brainstem in mediating a protective cardiovascular and behavioral response to environmental stress such as hypoxia to investigate the serotonin receptor's possible role in the pathology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

    Outside of academia, Kelly has focused her attention to expanding medical assistance in rural areas by founding the annual Emporia 5k for Diabetes Awareness in an attempt to promote awareness for the high incidence of diabetes in southern Virginia with a focus on Emporia. She has also interned with Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Knoxville, Tennessee working at free clinics in Appalachia such as the Wise County Clinic.

    Her leadership roles include working as the Chief Scribe in the Emergency room documenting medical charts at Rockingham Memorial Hospital as well as serving as an executive board member of the Biological Honor Society Beta Beta Beta.

    During her gap year, Kelly has been hired to scribe full time at a family practice office in Dayton, VA. with Dr. Ronald Schubert as she applies and interviews at medical schools across the state.


  30. Government Initiatives Seek to Combat Opiate Epidemic


    By Sarah King, Capital News Service

    The rate of fatal opioid overdoses in the United States has quadrupled since 2000, claiming nearly a half-million lives, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, nearly 80 Americans, including at least two Virginians, die each day from an overdose of heroin or prescription drugs.

    No wonder governments at all levels, as well as health care companies and educators, have mobilized to target the problem.

    In March, the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. State Attorney General Mark Herring praised the Senate’s action and the work of Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to advance the legislation.

    “Passage of CARA is a big step forward in addressing what has become a national epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse and overdose,” Herring said. “If anything cried out for bipartisan action, it is this ‘all hands on deck’ moment, and my only regret is that these resources come too late for thousands of families in Virginia and throughout the country who have already lost a loved one to addiction.”

    Herring said nearly every day he reads about another Virginian, often a young person, who died from a heroin or prescription drug overdose.

    “It’s heartbreaking to read these stories and to talk to the parents, family and friends of these people who never thought anyone in their family would be touched by addiction, but now are trying to carry on in the face of such a tremendous loss,” Herring said.

    President Barack Obama said fighting the opioid epidemic is also a priority for his administration. In March, he announced new measures to expand access to treatment. For example, Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans, now will cover substance abuse disorder in the same way it covers mental health issues.

    The administration is also providing $11 million to states to purchase and distribute the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, and to train first responders and others on its use along with other overdose prevention strategies.

    Additionally, this fall, more than 60 medical schools, 50 pharmacy schools and nearly 200 nursing schools will start requiring students to take some form of prescriber education to graduate. The requirement will align with the CDC’s newly released Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Schools in Virginia that have signed on to the initiative include:

    ●     Hampton University

    ●     James Madison University

    ●     Old Dominion University

    ●     Radford University

    ●     Virginia Commonwealth University

    National chain pharmacies are also taking part in the effort:

    ●     Rite Aid has trained more than 8,400 pharmacists on naloxone. In 10 states, Rite Aid also is dispensing naloxone to patients without needing an individual prescription; the company plans to expand that policy to additional states.

    ●     Kroger currently dispenses naloxone without an individual prescription at its pharmacies in seven states, with plans to expand to at least 12 more by the end of the year.

    ●     AmerisourceBergen/Good Neighbor Pharmacy will provide educational materials to encourage its 4,000 independently owned and operated retail pharmacy locations to provide naloxone without an individual prescription.

    ●     Walgreens announced in February that it will install safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drugstores across the country, primarily at locations open 24 hours. Walgreens also will make naloxone available without needing an individual prescription at its pharmacies in 35 states and Washington, D.C.

    ●     Since March, CVS Pharmacy locations in 23 states have been able to dispense naloxone to patients without needing an individual prescription. This initiative will increase to 35 states by December.

    ●     CVS Health has launched a program called Pharmacists Teach, which sends the company’s pharmacists into schools across the country to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse. To date, more than 30,000 students have participated in the program.

    At the state level, Gov. Terry McAuliffe released his task force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse implementation plan in October. In the 2016 legislative session, McAuliffe signed into law three bills regarding opiate abuse:

    ●     House Bill 1059 directs the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission to evaluate sentencing patterns in cases involving heroin and recommend adjustments in sentencing guidelines.

    ●     Under House Joint Resolution 45, the state will study whether to mandate health insurance coverage for “abuse deterrent formulations for opioid medications.”

    ●     Senate Bill 556 removes certain restrictions on health care professions who treat people with opiate addiction using opioid replacements approved by the federal government. Such restrictions include the proximity of the provider to a school or daycare center.

    The attorney general, however, says legislators haven’t gone far enough. Herring criticized the General Assembly for failing to pass HB 102, which would have made it a felony homicide to manufacture or provide a controlled substance that later causes a fatal overdose.

    “Virginians are losing their lives every day to cheap, potent heroin, and tools to hold dealers and traffickers accountable are a critical part of addressing this problem, along with education, prevention and treatment,” Herring said.

    “Too often, the parents of young people who have died from an overdose feel like no one really cares that their child was taken from them, and they’re resigned to the fact that the dealer will never really face consequences for what they’ve done.”

    Herring said his office has helped prosecute a number of these cases at the federal level, but local commonwealth’s attorneys need a “proper state-level tool” to hold dealers and traffickers accountable.

    HB 102 easily passed the House of Delegates but died in the Senate.It is the only opioid overdose bill proposed by Herring that has yet to pass.

    In 2015, the General Assembly approved his legislation to expand the use of naloxone by first responders and make the drug available without a prescription; to create a “good Samaritan” provision to encourage the reporting of overdoses in progress; and to expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program.

    (Editor's Note: Per the spreadsheet sent with this article, since 2007 there have been 5 Fatal Drug Overdoses in the City of Emporia and 6 in Greensville County.)

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  31. Foundation Helps Addicts Recover as Opioid Deaths Soar

    By Sarah King, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Scraps of newspaper obituaries, photographs of the departed and handwritten notes in memory of loved ones collage the bottom third of a sectioned-off piece of the wall at the McShin Foundation’s intake office.

    The delicate ensemble pays homage to lives lost to addiction – a tangible mnemonic indicative of a statewide epidemic. Inches to the right, the rest of the wall is covered with photos of smiling faces, separated from the deceased only by a faint line of demarcation.

    “This is how we keep track of people when they leave housing,” said Michael Quinn, the intake specialist at the foundation, a local nonprofit recovery community organization. “If they’re doing well they’re above the line. People will come in all the time and kind of shift things around so we can keep better track of how people are doing.”

    Unfortunately, not everyone’s face remains above the halfway mark – a reflection of a wave of deaths in Virginia due to fatal opiate overdoses.

    Opioids – both prescription pain medications and heroin – account for most of the spike in fatalities. The number of fatal opioid overdoses increased nearly 60 percent, from 475 deaths in 2010 to more than 880 last year, a CNS analysis of data from the Virginia Department of Health found. Opioids made up more than 90 percent of the state’s drug deaths in 2015.

    Quinn attributes the sharp rise in drug abuse partially to the availability of more potent heroin.

    “A lot of dealers are cutting the heroin with phenobarbital, which is a deadly combination,” he said. “And the other thing is, heroin’s become more of a popular drug in suburban and upper-class neighborhoods, so it’s becoming more acceptable.”

    In Richmond, the number of heroin deaths jumped from five in 2010 to 38 last year. Over the same period in Henrico County, the number rose from four to 27. In Virginia Beach, it went from three to 18. And in Fairfax County, it increased from two to 32.

    Nick, a Fairfax County native who asked that his last name not be used, knows firsthand about the addiction that drives those statistics.

    “It was like when I was high, I could live in this fantasy all the time that was, ‘I’m gonna go to school tomorrow, and fold my laundry, and start working out, and cook dinner,’” he said. “But as soon as I came down, my only concern was getting back to that place of contemplative productivity by getting another hit.”

    Now 22 and almost a year into a treatment program in Florida, Nick tried prescription painkillers for the first time at 16.

    “It progressed from whenever I could get them, to raiding medicine cabinets, to finding my own dealers for the next three years,” Nick said. “I started using every day at 19, and that continued until about 20, and then I was injecting.”

    Nick said his parents were unaware of his growing addiction until his father had to cover a $500 drug debt about nine months before he went to treatment.

    “It was when I started using heroin in addition to the pills, and the unmanageability during the times when I had no drugs was too much to bear, that I decided to get help or I was going to die. So I checked into treatment,” Nick said. “My parents didn’t know I was IV’ing until we got to the ER the day I asked for help.”

    Quinn said he hears stories like this all too often. The McShin Foundation works to erase the stigma associated with addiction and getting help.

    “When somebody says they’re an addict, people think of them as this nasty junkie person you don’t want to be with,” Quinn said. “The media always portrays the problem – the arrests and drug dealers – but they never show the solution, which is people recovering and living regular lives.”

    Quinn, like all other administrators at the foundation, went through McShin’s peer-to-peer program personally. He has been clean from opioids for more than a year. The foundation’s CEO has been sober for nine; the director of operations, five; and the founder, John Shinholser, more than 30.

    “It’s an everyday battle still,” Quinn said. “I have a sponsor, I go to meetings – it’s working. And people can relate to us and can’t use the excuse of ‘Oh well, you haven’t been there, you don’t know what you’re talking about,’ because yeah, I have been there, and I do know.”

    The McShin Foundation is now in its 12th year. About 60 percent of its clients are addicted to opioids. Quinn said the rate of recovery is higher than at most treatment centers.

    He said traditional centers typically have an 18 to 20 percent success rate – which is determined by a year of sobriety – whereas success rates at McShin are closer to 50 percent.

    Because the nonprofit McShin Foundation does not receive any government funding and insurance companies don’t recognize the program, Quinn said treatment must come out of pocket for individuals and families. But clients say it’s well worth the cost.

    “You’re investing in someone’s life,” Quinn said. “My parents tell me all the time the best investment they ever made was getting their son back – and that’s priceless.”

    For the past two years, the opioid epidemic has claimed, on average, more than two Virginians’ lives a day for the last two years. The toll has spurred state officials into action. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in particular is taking strides to address the rise in fatalities and opioid abuse.

    Last month, Herring was awarded the Bronze Key, a national recognition presented for outstanding contributions, from the McShin Foundation at the organization’s 12th Annual Spring Awards Banquet.

    “So many families across Virginia have been touched by addiction to heroin and prescription opioids, and too many have already lost a loved one to a fatal overdose,” Herring said. “In many cases, this is a problem that has its roots in the medicine cabinet, not in the streets, and that the medical community has to be part of the solution.”

    Herring’s office created a documentary “Heroin: The Hardest Hit,” which features Virginians, including some from the McShin Foundation, sharing their personal stories of grappling with addiction and recovery, as well as the stories of people who died from overdoses.

    Herring has also worked with local and federal authorities to prosecute more than 28 cases against dealers and traffickers involving more than 95 kilograms of heroin – which equates to 238,500 daily doses and a street value of more than $19 million.

    “So often, shame, stigma or fear forces families and those with substance abuse disorders to suffer in silence,” Herring said. “But we cannot and will not let ourselves become hopeless or discouraged. We have to make sure that people who are struggling know you can beat addiction. There is life after addiction, and there is hope in recovery.”

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe and state lawmakers across party lines agree have joined forces to address the problem. During the 2015 legislative session, the General Assembly made naloxone – a potentially life-saving opioid-antagonist administered in the event of an overdose – more widely accessible to law enforcement and health-care providers.

    Last October, McAuliffe’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse released its recommendations, and state officials are implementing some of them. They include developing a website as an informational hub on prescription pill and heroin abuse, creating an opioid educational curriculum for law enforcement, reducing the stigma associated with addiction and increasing the availability of peer-support services.

    According to a recent policy brief by the VCU School of Medicine, untreated substance abuse costs the state and local governments more than $600 million annually.

    “Virginia’s opioid epidemic and untreated substance abuse are killing hundreds of Virginians and costing taxpayers more than half a billion dollars each year,” said Andrew Barnes, the brief’s lead author and an assistant professor at VCU.

    For young adults like Nick and families across the state, there are emotional costs as well.

    “A close friend of mine relapsed and overdosed on Dec. 18. It’s hard seeing someone give up on themselves and go back to their old ways,” Nick said. “I’m a fear-based person, but my fear of dying from this disease is the reason I keep doing what I need to in order to stay sober.”

    Richmond native William “Billy” Derr, 24, passed away from a fatal overdose last month. Derr’s mother, Jenny, wrote in her son’s obituary, “As those who struggle with addiction know, it is a daily fight, hour by hour, and is ever constant. Billy had some extended periods of sobriety; those were the times when his true genuine heart shined through.”

    In the obituary, Deer stated:

    “To the people who don't understand addiction, he may be just another kid who made a ‘bad choice.’ For those who do understand the disease, this was our oldest child, a brother, a friend and as his mother, my children are my everything. The disease of addiction is non-discriminatory and without mercy. It is up to us to open our minds and hearts to those suffering from the disease. We will continue to fight the fight.”

    So will the McShin Foundation. It provides a rapid detox program, which tapers the individual off opioids over five to seven days. Quinn said what separates McShin from other treatment centers is that there’s no waiting list.

    “If someone calls me, they can come in today, see the doctor and get put in a bed that day,” Quinn said. “If someone needs help, there’s always a bed available.”

    More about the McShin Foundation

    The foundation’s website is, and its phone number is 804-249-1845. The foundation, at 2300 Dumbarton Road in Henrico County, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the Committee’s Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a number of provisions he advocated for to benefit Virginia’s shipbuilding industry and defense community. The bill was reported out of committee today and will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

    “I’m proud this bill includes many provisions that will benefit Virginia’s hardworking defense community, including support for our servicemembers and their families and funding to maintain our carrier fleet and bolster the shipbuilding industry. Virginia is one of the states most connected to the military – through our servicemembers, military families, veterans, contractors and infrastructure – and ensuring that our national defense policies fuel continued growth for the Commonwealth is one of my highest priorities.

    “While I appreciate Chairman McCain’s goal of making the Department of Defense more efficient, I’m concerned by the process that led to department reforms in this year’s NDAA, which were proposed without full input of stakeholders in the defense community or any other outside agency. During Committee debate, I offered an amendment that would create a commission to study many of the challenged areas in the Department of Defense and propose reform recommendations for Congress to consider and debate. I was disappointed that my proposal wasn’t adopted, but following my suggestions, Committee leadership made improvements to reduce the severity of some proposals and potential career impacts across the Department of Defense and the services. I still have serious concerns about some of the provisions in the bill. As the bill heads to the Senate floor, I’ll keep urging my colleagues to get the public’s input before making far-reaching reforms that could inadvertently dilute our military capability and deter talented young individuals from contemplating a career in the greatest military in the world.”

    During Committee debate, Kaine offered an amendment that would have empowered a Commission to study the Department of Defense, the Combatant Commands and various other internal staff functions of the Department and then make reform recommendations. Read his full remarks here.

    The following list includes many of the programs and provisions Kaine advocated for during the markup process that were included in the final bill:

    Supports Shipbuilding: Provides funding for research, procurement and sustainment of an 11-carrier fleet. The bill continues to fund construction of the USSGerald R. Ford (CVN 78), USSJohn F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and research and purchasing of the future USSEnterprise (CVN 80). Additionally, the bill funds the refueling and complex overhauls (RCOH) of the USS George Washington (CVN 73) and the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). The bill also authorizes full funding for the Virginia-class and Ohio-classsubmarine programs, the LHA-8 amphibious assault ship and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The bill ensures the strength of Virginia shipyards by supporting the President’s budget request for Navy Operations and Maintenance account.

    Improves Credentialing Process for Servicemembers: The authorization includes a provision Kaine introduced to continue to reduce veterans’ unemployment by ensuring that servicemembers receive high-quality accredited credentials that will prepare them for a successful transition to civilian employment. Building off of previous credentialing victories, the bill expands the scope of authorized credentials to additional skills servicemembers acquire throughout their service.

    Bolsters DoD-Virginia Tech Industry Relationship: The bill included a Kaine provision to permanently authorize the Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP) which exchanges best practices and IT personnel between the Department and the private sector. The provision encourages greater outreach to private sector partners in Northern Virginia and other high density technology hubs.

    Puts Committee on Record Against Sequestration: Kaine put the Committee on record denouncing the shortsighted, non-strategic and across-the-board sequestration cuts and their harmful impact on our national security. Kaine’s amendment states the Committee’s belief that these methods remain an unreasonable and inadequate budgeting tool to address deficits and debt and that relief from sequestration should come for both defense and non-defense programs.

    No BRAC Round: The bill rejects the Department of Defense proposals for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.

    Authorizes Military Construction (MILCON): The committee authorizes $59.2 million in critical military construction projects throughout the Commonwealth.

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  33. Serving Those Who Have Served

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    Every year, more than 200,000 men and women leave the military and re-enter civilian life. These returning heroes often possess advanced skills and good work habits acquired from valuable service-related training and experiences. Despite these advantages, however, many veterans encounter obstacles as they transition to civilian life.

    Dean Schwartz, the Veterans Affairs School Certifying Official at Southside Virginia Community College, who is himself a wounded veteran, explains that part of the problem stems from the military’s culture. He cites interpersonal communication as just one example. “Military communication is blunt, very blunt, and not following an order can hurt or kill someone.” As a result, Schwartz says veterans sometimes find it difficult to adjust to civilian perceptions about what it means to be polite.

    Additionally, veterans who pursue education opportunities are typically nontraditional students, returning to the classroom after a break in schooling. They are likely to be older than many of their classmates and more likely to have families and dependents. For some veterans, injuries have left lasting disabilities. For some, settling down after frequent moves is a significant lifestyle change.

    Identifying a new career path can also be a challenge. Schwartz says his military training—dealing with landmines, explosives, and machine guns—had little applicability to what he wanted to pursue in civilian life. For him, a successful career meant one devoted to serving others. Swartz has been able to achieve this goal at SVCC where he meets with veterans, helps them learn about available GI benefits, and guides them as they explore options.

    SVCC also reaches out to veterans in other ways. Each of the college’s main campuses hosts a Student Veterans of America chapter. Monica McMillian, past president of the Christanna chapter, served with the Army Reserves for nearly ten years. She says SVCC provided a veteran-friendly, comfortable environment with one-on-one assistance that helped her remain motivated.

    Sometimes SVCC’s engagement with service members begins while they are still on active duty. In collaboration with the Fort Lee Soldier for Life Program, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), and other partners, the college developed an innovative advanced manufacturing training program. Its graduates prepare for a seamless transition to civilian employment through the attainment of National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certifications.

    Financial assistance to qualifying veterans is also available. The SVCC Foundation administers the William M. "Bunky" Warren Memorial Veteran's Scholarship and the Jack M. Rainey Memorial Veteran's Scholarship, both established by American Legion Post #79. Veterans who would like more information about these scholarships, and people or organizations interested in funding additional scholarship opportunities, can call 434-949-1051. Former military personnel and transitioning service members who are re-entering civilian life can learn more about the services SVCC offers veterans by contacting Dean Schwartz at 434-736-2100.

    Dr. Al Roberts 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

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  34. SVCC Classes are Coming for Summer Beginning May 23

    Summer is hot, welding is cool.  You can take welding this summer at Southside Virginia Community College or a lot of other cool classes.  Our classes can get you a head-start or transfer to your away-from-home college.  Check out the listings at

    Home from college for the Summer??  Right out of high school?  Don’t waste your long hot summer, take classes at Southside Virginia Community College!!!  Jump start your college education or pick up a few transfer courses such as biology, Physics, English, Public speaking, Business or many others.   Or the college is offering Administration of Justice classes, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Cosmetology, Diesel Tech, First Aid and CPR and much more. 

     Southside Virginia Community College has a variety of class offerings and there are ten week and five week sessions.  Classes begin May 23, 2016.  For more information, to see the entire schedule of classes and to put some class into your summer,

    Or call 1-888-220-SVCC or come by a location!!!

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  35. A Shameful Chapter in Virginia History: Lynchings

    By Sterling Giles and Brian Williams, Capital News Service

    Raymond Bird, a black man accused of having sex with a white woman, was reportedly asleep in jail in the western Virginia town of Wytheville when the mob arrived.

    According to historical accounts, there were at least 25 men – all armed, all masked. On Aug. 15, 1926, they rousted Bird from his cell, shot him, tied him to the back of a truck and dragged him for more than nine miles. When the truck stopped along State Route 699 in Wythe County, the mob left Bird’s lifeless body hanging from a tree.

    That grisly murder nearly 90 years ago was the last recorded lynching in Virginia. A recent report has shed light on how common such vigilantism was in the South. Between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and 1950, there were 4,075 “racial terror lynchings” in the region, according to the Equal Justice Initiative.

    Virginia shares a piece of this shameful history. Between 1880 and 1926, more than 90 people were lynched in Virginia, according to the initiative’s data and other documented incidents.

    Bird was a native of Speedwell in Wythe County. He was married to Tennessee Hawkins, a black woman, and had three daughters – Edith, Lillian and Hazel. After serving in World War I, Bird worked as a farmhand for Grover Grubb, a white landowner.

    According to J. Douglas Smith’s book “Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia,” Bird was accused of raping Grubb’s daughter, Minnie. However, Minnie Grubb vehemently denied she was raped and insisted that the sex was consensual. Even if consensual, sex between blacks and whites was illegal then.

    On July 23, 1926, Minnie Grubb gave birth to a biracial daughter, Clara. Bird was immediately imprisoned in the Wytheville jail.

    Bird’s lynching three weeks later made headlines across the country in publications such as Time magazine and The New York Times. The national exposure prompted Louis I. Jaffé, editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, to prod state officials to approve an anti-lynching law.

    The Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit based in Alabama, spent four years researching racially motivated lynchings in 12 Southern states. “Racial terror lynching was much more prevalent than previously reported,” the group reported.

    “Some states and counties were particularly terrifying places for African Americans and had dramatically higher rates of lynching than other states and counties we reviewed,” the report added. Moreover, “terror lynching played a key role in the forced migration of millions of black Americans out of the South.”

    Mississippi had the most lynchings (614), followed by Georgia (595), Louisiana (559) and Arkansas (491), the data showed. Of the 12 states studied, Virginia had the fewest lynchings – 88 by the initiative’s count.

    (In researching this story, Capital News Service found authoritative references to lynchings that were not included in the initiative’s data. The total number of lynchings in Virginia exceeded 90. In addition, in 1927, a Virginia mob seized an African-American man from a Kentucky jail and murdered him on the state line in an apparent attempt to confuse authorities.)

    Lynchings occurred in at least 50 localities in Virginia, according to W. Fitzhugh Brundage’s book “Lynching in the New South.” Most of these localities had just one or two lynchings; however, Alleghany County had four, Danville five and Tazewell County 10.

    On Feb. 1, 1893, five African-American railroad workers were lynched in Tazewell County. According to the blog “The Homesick Appalachian,”the railroad workers were allegedly drinking with two white store owners the night before the lynching. The Richmond Planet, an African-American-owned newspaper,reported that the workers had allegedly robbed and murdered the store owners. In fact, the supposed victims were alive – just injured.

    At the turn of the 20th century, racist whites did not need much of an excuse to kill black citizens.

    “Many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person,” the Equal Justice Initiative’s report said. “People who participated in lynchings were celebrated and acted with impunity.”

    On Oct. 17, 1891, three adults and a teenager were lynched in Alleghany County. The victims were African-American coal miners: Charles Miller, Robert Burton and the brothers William and John Scott.

    That morning, several black miners reportedly were walking leisurely through Clifton Forge. According to Brundage, the miners’ behavior was “foolhardy black bravado in a region where the definition of acceptable conduct by blacks was very circumscribed.”

    A police officer accosted the group. The men fled back to the mines but were confronted again by the officer, this time accompanied with a group of whites.A gun battle broke out.

    The miners were eventually arrested by the town’s police and thrown into jail. Later that evening, a mob of townspeople broke into the jail and seized the men. Hours later, they were shot and hung.

    Such incidents continued with disturbing regularity until Bird’s lynching in 1926. Then Jaffé, a crusading newspaper editor and civil rights activist, wrote a letter to Gov. Harry Flood Byrd Sr. (Coincidentally, the governor and the lynching victim had similar names. Some accounts of the lynching spelled the victim’s name as Raymond Byrd.)

    The governor was adamant about attracting businesses to Virginia. That was why, during his term from 1926 to 1930, Byrd paved more than 2,000 miles of roads throughout the state. Jaffé evoked this priority to advocate on behalf of African-Americans: He told Byrd that mob violence only hindered the chances of attracting new industries to Virginia.

    Jafféasked Byrd to support legislation to make lynching a state crime. Byrd initially hesitated, saying such a law might conflict with the Virginia Constitution.

    According to Smith’s book, Jaffé sensed Byrd’s reluctance. So he used his editorial pages to call on Byrd and other officials to take action.

    “Lynching goes unpunished in Virginia because, deny it as one will, it commands a certain social sanction,” wrote Jaffé, who won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1929. The Pilot editor suggested that the state strip lynch-mob members of their right to vote and hold public office. In addition, he argued for strict fines and punishments for lynching.

    Byrd came around. With the governor’s support, the Virginia General Assembly passed anti-lynching legislation. On March 14, 1928, Byrd signed it into law. Among other provisions, the law gave the state the power to enforce stiff penalties against localities that didn’t report vigilante murders.

    The Anti-Lynching Law of 1928 was a breakthrough in curbing violence against African-Americans.

    “Lynch mobs were generally a group composed of poor whites,” said Dr. John Kneebone, chair of the History Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Elites in the South never favored lynching. But because race was involved, the majority chose not to stand up and oppose lynching. Byrd changed that.”

    After his term as governor, Byrd served for 30 years in the U.S. Senate and continued to exert a powerful influence in Virginia politics. A staunch segregationist, he opposed the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Byrd and his allies adopted a strategy called Massive Resistance, forcing Virginia schools to close rather than integrate.

    As the 90th anniversary of Bird’s lynching approaches, it is Byrd who is back in the news.

    The longtime politician died in 1966. Five years later, Henrico County named a middle school after him. This year, students and others petitioned the county to rename Byrd Middle School, arguing that it should not honor a man who stood for racial segregation.

    In March, the Henrico County School Board voted unanimously to rename the school. The board has not yet selected a new name.

    Civil rights advocates have pushed for honest discussions about race like the one happening in Henrico County. That is one of the goals of the Equal Justice Initiative.

    Its report, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror,” noted that “there is an astonishing absence of any effort to acknowledge, discuss, or address lynching.”

    “Many of the communities where lynchings took place have gone to great lengths to erect markers and monuments that memorialize the Civil War, the Confederacy, and historical events during which local power was violently reclaimed by white Southerners. These communities celebrate and honor the architects of racial subordination and political leaders known for their belief in white supremacy,” the report says.

    “There are very few monuments or memorials that address the history and legacy of lynching in particular or the struggle for racial equality more generally. Most communities do not actively or visibly recognize how their race relations were shaped by terror lynching.”

    More on the Web

    The Equal Justice Initiative’s report, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror,” is available at

    America’s Black Holocaust Museum also has posted a list of lynchings in Virginia. It is at

    Find a StoryMap at

    List of all Virginia lynching incidents and victims at

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  36. The Emporia Police need the public’s assistance in solving a robbery that occurred at local convenience store in the 500 Block of East Atlantic Street in the City of Emporia.

    On 05/12/2016 at approximately 11:45pm, officers responded to the 500 block of East Atlantic St to a local convenience store in reference to an armed robbery that had just occurred.

    The investigation revealed that a black male entered the store and held the clerk at gunpoint and demanded money from the cash register.  The suspect then fired a shot at the clerk that missed the clerk and took an undisclosed amount of money prior to exiting the store.

    The suspect is described as a black male, 5’10”-6’00”, slender build with a medium complexion. The suspect was wearing a dark colored pullover hoodie, blue pants and black Nike slippers. The suspect fled the scene of the robbery driving a white Isuzu Rodeo.

    Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact Emporia Police Department at 434-634-2121 or Emporia/Greensville Crime Line at 434-634-1111. Information leading to the arrest of this individual could result in a cash reward.


  37. Who’Ya Gonna Call? Stroke, there’s treatment if you ACT FAST!

    Community Out-Reach Education

    South Hill – A stroke is a “brain attack.”  It can happen to anyone at any time.  Approximately 800,000 people have a stroke each year; about one every 40 seconds.  What are signs/symptoms of a stroke?  How important is it to get help quickly?  How can I prevent a stroke?

    If you are seeking answers to questions like these you should attend May’s C.O.R.E. (Community Out-Reach Education) Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital to learn more about stroke.

    This FREE program will be on Tuesday, May 17th at 4:00 p.m. in the VCU Health CMH Education Center Auditorium at 125 Buena Vista Circle in South Hill.

    Rodney Newton, EMT, President of the EMS Counsel/ODEMSA and Vickey Morgan, RN, BSN, Stroke Program Coordinator at VCU Health CMH will be the speakers for the program. 

    Mr. Newton is Chief of Victoria Fire and Rescue.  He also currently serves as the liaison between the VCU Health CMH Stroke Team and the local surrounding squads.  Mrs. Morgan has been employed with CMH since 2003 and is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit.  She serves as the Stroke Program Coordinator and is actively working with the Stroke Team to help VCU Health CMH move forward to become a Primary Stroke Center certified by the American Heart Association and the Joint Commission.

    Reservations are not required for this program; however, they are recommended.  For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 774-2550 or visit  Entrance to the VCU Health CMH Education Center Auditorium is to the left of the main hospital entrance.

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    The Greensville County Water & Sewer Authority Maintenance crews will be conducting a smoke test of sanitary sewers of the Authority’s system in Washington Park, Lowground Road, Brink Road, Liberty Road and the Skippers Road service areas from May 23 thru May 24, 2016 from 8:00 am until 3:30 pm. The test will assist Greensville County Water & Sewer Authority in locating brakes and defects in the sewer system.  During the test, you might see smoke coming from vent stacks on buildings and from manholes and holes in the ground.  DO NOT BE ALARMED.  The smoke has a mild to no odor and is non-toxic, non-staining, and does not create a fire hazard and will dissipate in a few minutes.

    Before the Authority conducts the smoke test, please make sure there is water in all of your traps and floor drains and any unused sink and showers.  If this is not done, smoke could enter your building through the drain. If you have dogs, birds, or other pets that will be confined alone in the building during the test, make plans for them in case the smoke comes in your house so it does not startle them.

    If smoke should enter your building during the test, it probably means there are defects in the plumbing that could allow DANGEROUS SEWER GAS to enter. Note the location of where the smoke is coming from and if you cannot determine the problem, call your plumbing inspector or plumber to get the problem corrected. OPEN ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS TO VENTILATE ANY SMOKE THAT ENTERS THE BUILDING.

    Please notify us before we conduct the test if you have any of the following situations:

    •             A person who will be alone and is invalid or sleeping during the test.

    •             Any individuals with respiratory problems who will be in the building.

    •             Elderly persons who will be alone and might be alarmed or confused if they see smoke.

    If you have any of these situations or have questions regarding the smoke test, please feel free to call the office at (434)-348-4213.

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  39. Brunswick Academy Head of School Honored

    Brunswick Academy held a  school wide surprise assembly Wednesday, May 11, 2016 for Mr. Dave Newsom, Head of School.  Betsy Hunroe, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, read a retirement resolution to Mr. Newsom covering his 42 years of accomplishments and dedication to Brunswick Academy.  What a great assembly! Thank you, Mr. Newsom for all that you have done for BA and to VAIS and Betsy Hunroe for coming to celebrate with our students. 



  40. Golfers Swing Their Way to Help Jackson-Feild’s Children

    May 9 could not have been a better day for a golf tournament.  The weather was perfect and the course at The Country Club at the Highlands in Chesterfield County was in excellent shape.  The 83 golfers who participated enjoyed their time on the links and the volunteers who worked the event had a great time, but it was the children at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services were the ultimate winners of the 21st annual Go Golfing for the Kids tournament.

    Proceeds from the 2016 tournament will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous foundation and be used to build an outdoor recreation center with a sports court and swimming pool.  Over the years, proceeds from the tournament have been used to finance a variety of special needs such as start-up initiatives and children’s programs in addition to providing scholarship funding for children with no money for their care.

    JFBHS would thank the following:  Boddie-Noell Enterprises for being the tournament sponsor for the 21st year in a row; Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial for being the presenting sponsor; Jones LTC Pharmacy for being the dinner sponsor; and Hardee’s for providing delicious box lunches to all the participants and volunteers.

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  41. GCHS SkillsUSA Attends State Leadership Conference

    The Greensville County High School SkillsUSA club attended the 52ndAnnual Virginia SkillsUSA State Leadership Conference at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center, Fredericksburg, Virginia. The conference was attended by the following members: Jada Brown, Samantha Dickens, Taylor Powell, Anisa Powell and Nathaniel King. The following club advisors were in attendance Jerry Brown, Doris Bennett, and James E. Wright. The students competed in welding, promotional bulletin board, outstanding chapter, and job demonstration A.  Taylor Powell, Samantha Dickens and Anisa Powell served as voting delegates. The students placed in the following competitions:

    • Outstanding Chapter: First Place: Jada Brown
    • Promotional Bulletin Board: First Place: Taylor Powell and Samantha Dickens.

    The first place winner will represent the state of Virginia at the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky June 20-26, 2016.  Students will be organizing fundraiser during April and May.  Please support the club in their effort to attend the national conference. If you would like to make a donation to support the club, donations should be sent to Greensville County High School SkillsUSA Club, 403 Harding Street Emporia, Virginia, 23847. If you need additional information, please contact one of the advisors: Jerry Brown, Doris Bennett, or James E. Wright at 43-634-2195.  The club would like to extend a special thanks to the Greensville County Public School Division, GCHS CTE Department, GCHS faculty, Parents, and Volunteers for assisting with State Leadership Conference.





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  42. Cynthia Lynn Johnson

    Cynthia Lynn Johnson, 42, of Gaston, NC, passed away Saturday, May 7, 2016. She is survived by her son, Dillon Johnson and fiancee’, Emily Ogburn; her parents, Dale and Cynthia Johnson; two brothers, Tony Johnson and wife, Joanna and Billy Johnson and wife, Shanika; half-sister, Patricia Clary and a number of nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held 12 noon on Saturday, May 14 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia 23867 where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will be private. Online condolences may be made at

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  43. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Bronze Quality Achievement Award

    American Heart Association Award recognizes
    VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care


    South Hill, May 6, 2016― VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Bronze Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence

    To receive the Bronze Quality Achievement award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for one calendar quarter.

    These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. They focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.

    “A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed.  This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” saidVickey Morgan, VCU Health CMH RN, BSN, Stroke Program Coordinator.   “VCU Health CMHcontinues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients. The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.”

    “The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize VCU Health CMH for its commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

    Get With The Guidelines-S puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines-S has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.

    As a nurse and former stroke coordinator, Teri Ackerson is aware that every second counts when a stroke strikes. In May 2013, the training she used to help others helped save her own life. Ackerson’s left arm suddenly went numb, she felt the left side of her face droop and she was unable to speak. Despite her symptoms, Ackerson remained calm, made note of the timing of her symptoms and, with the help of her son, proceeded to get treatment quickly.

    “Hospitals that follow AHA/ASA recommended guidelines not only know the importance to treat quickly with tPA, but they also follow evidence-based research that helps to determine why you had a stroke in the first place and report these findings,” said Ackerson, 46, who completed a marathon 26 days after her stroke. “Without the treatment I received, I would not have recovered as well as I did.”

    According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.


  44. School Discipline Falls Harder on Some Students

    By Jason Fuller, Ashley Jones and Rarione Maniece, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – The phrase “kids will be kids” pardons some misbehavior; however, certain kids seem to get called to the principal’s office a lot more often than others.

    Black students were at least three times as likely as white students to be suspended or expelled from school, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Nationwide, for example, 15 percent of African-American students received out-of-school suspensions – compared with 4 percent of white students.

    The analysis focused on the 2011-12 academic year, the most recent data available from the department’s Office for Civil Rights.

    In several states, the disparities were especially wide: Wisconsin suspended 26 percent of its black students but just 3 percent of its white students. In Minnesota, Connecticut, Iowa and Nebraska, African-Americans were six times as likely as whites to be suspended from school.

    Virginia’s statistics were similar to the national numbers: 14 percent of the commonwealth’s black students received suspensions, vs. 5 percent of white students.


    Expulsions are far less common than suspensions, but the pattern was the same. Nationwide, fewer than two of every 1,000 white students were expelled from school in 2011-12 – compared with five of every 1,000 African-American students.

    Again, some states had much bigger disparities. Minnesota, for instance, expelled 11 of every 1,000 black students but only about one of every 1,000 white students. Tennessee expelled 24 of every 1,000 black students but just three of every 1,000 white students. Oklahoma expelled 40 of every 1,000 black students but only six of every 1,000 white students.

    In Virginia, about two of every 1,000 African-American students were expelled, vs. one of every 1,000 white students.

    Other journalists also have looked at the U.S. Education Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection. The Center for Public Integrity, for example, focused on the number of students who were arrested at school or referred to police.

    The center found that Virginia had the highest rate in the United States for calling police on students: Of every 1,000 students in the commonwealth, almost 16 were arrested or referred to law enforcement in 2011-12, the center reported. Nationwide, the figure was about six of every 1,000 students.

    Virginia’s tendency to call the cops on kids has raised alarms with Gov. Terry McAuliffe. In October, at an NAACP conference in Richmond, McAuliffe announced an initiative called “Classrooms not Courtrooms.” He said state officials would work with local school systems to reduce student suspensions, expulsions and referrals to law enforcement.

    As part of the initiative, the Virginia Department of Education also is seeking to address “the disparate impact these practices have on African-Americans and students with disabilities.” The goal is to disrupt what some educators call the “school-to-prison pipeline” that tags certain students as troublemakers and channels them into the criminal justice system.

    During its 2016 session, the General Assembly also considered the issue. Sen. Don McEachin, D-Richmond, sponsored a measure – Senate Bill 458 – to require the Virginia Board of Education to “establish guidelines for alternatives to short-term and long-term suspension for consideration by local school boards. Such alternatives may include positive behavior incentives, mediation, peer-to-peer counseling, community service, and other intervention alternatives.”

    The legislation passed the Senate on a 31-9 vote. However, it was defeated in the House, 43-55.

    The data show racial disparities for when police get involved with students. In Virginia, for instance, about 25 of every 1,000 African-American students were arrested or referred to police; that compared with 13 of every 1,000 white students.

    School districts in Virginia varied considerably in the data on how they discipline students. Greensville County Public Schools, for example, suspended more than half of its students in 2011-12. The Greenville school system suspended 64 percent of its black students, 25 percent of its Hispanic students and 30 percent of its white students.

    In contrast, the Prince George County Public Schools did not suspend any students, the data showed.

    Some school divisions had large racial disparities regarding suspensions. In Arlington County, for instance, 7 percent of the black students were suspended – but just 1 percent of the white students. And in Bland County, 50 percent of the African-American students got suspensions vs. 8 percent of the white students.

    Disparities also were evident in expulsions. In Roanoke, 13 of every 1,000 African-American students were expelled, vs. 1.3 of every 1,000 white students. And in Fairfax County, 5.5 of every 1,000 black students were expelled, compared with 1.3 of every 1,000 white students.

    Many advocates of school reforms, as well as parents, have expressed concerns about such patterns.

    Daniel Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, conducts research on this topic. In the publication “Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice,” he reported that in 2006, more than 3 million students were suspended at least once – about 7 percent of all students enrolled in primary and secondary public schools.

    Losen recommended that school districts with high rates of suspensions and expulsions should receive assistance on how to manage students’ classroom behavior.

    Evandra Catherine, 32, has a son with a disability enrolled in the Richmond Public Schools. She said she is concerned that her child could be the target of harsh disciplinary practices.

    “I am aware of my son’s school district’s financial plight when it comes to managing normal students,” Catherine said. “So I have to be extra vigilant of his treatment because of the lack of resources in play which may recommend discipline instead of accommodating him.”

    One possible solution is to apply school discipline on a case-by-case basis. That is what Dr. Russell Houck, executive director of student services for Culpeper County Public Schools, advocates. He believes mild and moderate violations should receive mild and moderate levels of punishment.

    “We work really hard to give students help, not punishment,” Houck said. “For kids who have a chronic history of disruption, we have a students’ assistance program where they can receive counseling and stay in school.”

    Houck said this framework allows students to stay in school and prevents them from falling behind in class.

    “It’s all about finding a different way to discipline them, because discipline in my world means to teach. So we need to find new ways to teach them coping skills in order to get to the root of the problem, both behaviorally and instructionally.”

    Where We Got Our Data

    The data for this report came from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection. We downloaded both the state-by-state data and the data for each school district in Virginia. Then, using Microsoft Excel, we calculated disciplinary rates for students overall and students of different races.

    We also examined the data published by the Center for Public Integrity as part of its series “Criminalizing kids.” Our analysis of the civil rights data matched the center’s, thus verifying our methods.

    All of the data used in this report has been posted at



    Please join the staff of Delegate Roslyn Tyler, 75th District Representative to the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.for a 2016 Post Session Town Hall Meeting. The meeting will be held at the office of Delegate Roslyn Tyler, 423 South Main Street, Emporia. On hand to provide session results will be Mary Beth Washington and Tiffany Jones, Legislative Assistants to Delegate Roslyn Tyler.

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  46. USDA Offers New Loans for Portable Farm Storage and Handling Equipment

    Portable Equipment Can Help Producers, including Small-Scale and Local Farmers, Get Products to Market Quickly

    USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide a new financing option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment. The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with lower down payments, are designed to help producers, including new, small and mid-sized producers, grow their businesses and markets.

    The program also offers a new “microloan” option, which allows applicants seeking less than $50,000 to qualify for a reduced down payment of five percent and no requirement to provide three years of production history. Farms and ranches of all sizes are eligible. The microloan option is expected to be of particular benefit to smaller farms and ranches, and specialty crop producers who may not have access to commercial storage or on-farm storage after harvest. These producers can invest in equipment like conveyers, scales or refrigeration units and trucks that can store commodities before delivering them to markets. Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply.

    Earlier this year, FSA significantly expanded the list of commodities eligible for Farm Storage Facility Loan. Eligible commodities now include aquaculture; floriculture; fruits (including nuts) and vegetables; corn, grain sorghum, rice, oilseeds, oats, wheat, triticale, spelt, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas sugar, peanuts, barley, rye, hay, honey, hops, maple sap, unprocessed meat and poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and renewable biomass. FSFL microloans can also be used to finance wash and pack equipment used post-harvest, before a commodity is placed in cold storage.

    To learn more about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit or contact the Sussex/Prince George FSA Office at 434-246-8541.

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  47. Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services Thanks the Greensville Co. Sheriff’s Office


    In recognition of Respect for Law Week, the children and kitchen staff at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services baked cupcakes for every member of the Greensville County Sheriff’s office.

    In July 1963, the Past-President of Optimist International met with then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in a discussion that led to the creation of Respect for Law Week.  The week is intended to inspire respect for the law among young people and it acknowledges the outstanding contribution of those charged with law enforcement. Each year the first full week of May is designated Respect For Law Week

    The residents and staff of Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services not only want to commend and recognize the Greensville County Sheriff’s office for their service, but they also want to thank them for their help and support.

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  48. Virginia Provides Model for Testing Rape Kits

    By Rachel Beatrice and Kyle Taylor, Capital News Service

    More than 140,000 untested rape evidence kits are collecting dust in crime labs throughout the country – denying justice for rape survivors waiting for the results and allowing rapists to commit more sexual assaults.

    Virginia has joined a handful of states that have taken legislative action to end the backlog by adopting a law to ensure that the commonwealth’s untested kits will be processed quickly beginning July 1.

    That’s when Senate Bill 291, sponsored by Sen. Richard Black, R-Leesburg, takes effect. Under the legislation, the more than 2,000 untested rape kits in Virginia must be tested immediately. In addition, after a doctor examines someone who has been raped and collects evidence of the crime with a rape kit, the kit must be tested for DNA within 60 days.

    When Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed the legislation into law, the ceremony was attended by a rape survivor whose handwritten pamphlet prompted the General Assembly to act. Natasha Alexenko said she hopes other states will follow suit.

    “This initiative will change America,” she said.

    In 1993, Alexenko, then a 20-year-old college student in New York, was violently raped and robbed at gunpoint by an unknown assailant while returning to her apartment. She underwent a rape exam but would wait nearly 10 years for the results.

    New York had a backlog of nearly 17,000 untested rape kits in 1999, according to the website New York authorities then worked on the problem and cleared the state’s backlog entirely in 2003.

    While waiting for the results of her rape exam, Alexenko become a vocal advocate for sexual assault awareness. Among other things, she made informational pamphlets and distributed them wherever she could.

    In 2014, one of Alexenko’s pamphlets, which highlighted the national backlog of untested rape kits, found itself on Black’s desk.

    Black admitted he was surprised to learn about the backlog. “I thought, ‘What are you talking about – untested rape test kits?’ ”

    To understand the status of the issue in Virginia, Black initiated a statewide audit in 2015, with permission from the governor and conducted by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. The audit revealed that Virginia had nearly 3,000 untested rape kits sitting in forensic labs – some dating to 1988.

    Rape exams are physically intrusive and taken at a time when the victim typically is traumatized, Black said. “It’s an undertaking for a woman to undergo it, and then to have it (the evidence kit) just sit up on a shelf is a terrible thing.”

    Compounding the ordeal is that, before undergoing the exam, rape victims must refrain from bathing, showering, using the restroom, changing clothes, combing hair and cleaning the area where the assault happened, according to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network.

    A rape exam can take hours as a forensic practitioner collects hair, oral, anal and vaginal samples, in addition to taking photographs for visual evidence, explained Eileen Davis, who has worked as a forensic nurse in Virginia.

    She said the failure to test rape kits not only is an insult to the rape survivors but also has allowed more rapes and other crimes to happen, Davis added. According to, a project of the nonprofit Joyful Heart Foundation, there are at least 144,000 untested rape nationwide, including 20,000 in Texas and more than 10,000 in Michigan, Florida and Ohio.

    When evidence goes untested, predators are not identified and arrested, Davis said. DNA from a rape kit taken in 1998, for example, often matches DNA from more recent exams.

    Alexenko’s case reflects that reality. Victor Rondon, the man who raped her in 1993, roamed free until he was arrested on assault charges in 2007 in Las Vegas. In 2008, Rondon was found guilty of eight counts of violent assault and two counts of rape, Black said. Rondon was eventually convicted and sentenced to 44 to 107 years in prison.

    Serial rapists pose the greatest danger, Black said. “Not only for rape, but some of these people flip over into murder, as we have seen with the Hannah Graham case.”

    Graham was a University of Virginia student who disappeared in 2014. In March, Jesse Matthew, a 34-year-old Charlottesville man, pleaded guilty to her murder. Previously, Matthew had been accused of sexual assault at two other Virginia colleges.

    Serial rapists are repeat offenders, Black emphasized. To prevent future crimes, he said, it is critical to test rape kits for the perpetrator’s DNA quickly.

    At the bill signing, McAuliffe said the state budget will provide $900,000 annually to clear the backlog of untested rape kits and to ensure that from now on, kits are tested within 60 days after the rape exam has been performed.

    Attorney General Mark Herring, who attended the signing, said, “Once we get the backlog cleared out, this new bill should ensure that Virginia never finds itself in that situation again.”

    “It is our responsibility,” McAuliffe said, “to provide certainty and ease the pain for women who are haunted by the fear that their attackers could still be out there and could still be free.”


  49. Four SVCC Students Named to All-Virginia Academic Team

    Virginia is one of 38 states participating in the All-State Academic Teams program introduced in 1994 as a way to provide scholastic recognition to Phi Theta Kappa members while promoting excellence at two-year colleges.  Students nominated to the National All-USA Academic Team are automatically named to the All-State Academic Teams.  Four students from Southside Virginia Community College were selected to the 2016 Phi Theta Kappa All-Virginia Academic Team.  The students are Wade Bagley, Elizabeth Dunn, Kaylin Weise and Jacob Cook.

    The students were recognized in Richmond, Virginia at a luncheon attended by Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois, college presidents and others.  Idalia Fernandez, Virginia's Community Colleges State Board Chair was guest speaker and students received medallions at the event.

    Wade Bagley is from Lunenburg County and an Agribusiness major with a 4.0 GPA.  Following graduation, he hopes to transfer to either Virginia Tech or NC State.  His goal is to contribute his share of growing America’s agriculture industry through production, education, leadership and advocacy.

    Jacob Cook of Clarksville is an applied Mathematics major with a 3.943 GPA.  After graduation he plans to pursue additional classes at SVCC and then transfer to Cornell University.  He has the ability to help other students view their world critically, through the objective lens of logic, mathematics and science.

    Elizabeth Dunn of Lunenburg County is a General Studies major with a 4.0 GPA.  She plans to transfer to Virginia Tech to study Fashion Merchandising and Design.  Following graduation her goal is to become a sales manager or buyer in the apparel industry. 

    Kaylin Weise is from Baskerville and a General Studies major with a 3.5 GPA.  After graduation, she plans to transfer to ODJ and major in Human Services/Counseling and then to VCU for a Masters degree in Social Work.  Her goal is to work with the mentally and physically disabled or in hospital administration.

    Photo Caption: Four students from Southside Virginia Community College were selected to the 2016 Phi Theta Kappa All-Virginia Academic Team.  The students are (Left to Right) Wade Bagley of Lunenburg, Elizabeth Dunn of Lunenburg, Kaylin Weise of Baskerville and Jacob Cook of Clarksville.

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    In keeping with Southside Virginia Community College’s Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2021, the college is dedicated to making efficient and effective use of resources in order to serve the region as the leading provider of quality academic and workforce services.  This, along with reductions in funding due to enrollment declines, necessitates a major restructuring and realignment of departments and personnel at the college. 

    As of June 30, 2016, a total of 14 fulltime positions at SVCC will be eliminated, some of which have been vacated due to retirements and other factors and will not be filled.   Several additional part-time positions will also be eliminated.  The major budget expenditure of the college is in the area of personnel.

    Dr. Al Roberts, President, said, “None of the eliminations are performance related.  There are several factors that go into the multimillion dollar shortfall for the 2016-17 fiscal year including a decline in enrollment, lower revenues and decreases in state funding.”

    Over the past year, the college administration has implemented a number of measures in anticipation of a budget shortfall including a hiring freeze in September 2015 for full-time and wage positions.  Voluntary early retirement incentive programs were offered as well as pre-retirement workload reductions to further alleviate the possibility of cutting the workforce.  Operational cost saving measures were initiated and will continue. 

    As a part of the restructuring process, SVCC is targeting growth by focusing on programs, both credit and non-credit, which offer career opportunities and nationally recognized credentials that meet employers’ needs.

    “We are committed to the college’s mission that says all citizens should be given an opportunity to acquire an educational foundation.  By focusing on quality education, student success, and community partnerships to provide workforce training and enhance economic development, we will continue to make decisions for the long-term future of Southside Virginia Community College and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Roberts.

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  51. Celebrating National Hospital Week

    Submitted by Matt Tavenner, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center CEO

    Hospitals are more than a place where people go to heal, or to receive treatment when sick or injured. Hospitals are often at the very heart of their communities, contributing to the physical, emotional and financial health. During National Hospital Week, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) celebrates the hundreds of associates who work together 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure quality medical care is available to every person in southern Virginia.

    National Hospital Week was established in 1953, and this year it will be celebrated from May 8 through May 14. The dates overlap the celebration of National Nurses Week (May 6 through 12 this year), and were chosen to coincide with Florence Nightingale’s birthday, honoring her role in revolutionizing hospital care in the mid 1800’s. This year’s National Hospital Week theme is ‘Healthcare from the Heart’, an appropriate tribute to the 5.6 million physicians, nurses, therapists, food service workers, volunteers and many more who care for their neighbors with competence, dedication and compassion.

    SVRMC is proud to serve southern Virginia with high-quality clinical services that continue to expand, year after year. In 2015, our hospital touched over 30,000 lives through inpatient and outpatient care and treated more than 14,000 patients in our ER. We spent much of 2015 working toward Chest Pain Center accreditation and were excited to recently share that we were awarded this national recognition in January from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

    In addition to celebrating the millions of workers dedicated to patient care in the U.S., National Hospital Week also serves as a reminder that hospitals truly matter in our society and are worth fiercely protecting. Hospitals are indeed at the heart of healthy and vibrant communities.

    This year, SVRMC is proud to acknowledge and celebrate our associates and other healthcare providers, who tirelessly serve the community and personify the 2016 ‘Healthcare from the Heart’ theme.

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  52. The Honorable James C. Vaughan Recognized by Greensville County Board of Supervisors


    RESOLUTION #16-141


    WHEREAS, James Calvin Vaughan was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Garland Faison as a member of the Board of Supervisors representing Election District 1 on October 16, 1995; and,

    WHEREAS, he previously had served over eight years as a member of the Greensville County Planning Commission and retired from the Greensville County Public School System; and,

    WHEREAS, he was elected in November, 1995 as the representative on the Board of Supervisors from Election District 1 and served his first four year term beginning January, 1996; and

    WHEREAS, he was re-elected for subsequent terms and served a total of 20 years as a member of the Greensville County Board of Supervisors; and.

    WHEREAS, Mr. Vaughan was a conscientious and loyal representative for the citizens in his district; and,

    WHEREAS, during his tenure on the Board, he was involved in many projects that made Greensville County a better place and improved the quality of life for all its citizens through educational opportunity and economic development; and'

    WHEREAS, Mr. Vaughan always gave an honest opinion that was valued and appreciated by his fellow Board members;

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Greensville County Board of Supervisors does hereby express their sincere appreciation to James C. Vaughan for the many years of dedicated services to the citizens of Greensville County.

    During the Board of Supervisors Meeting on Monday, May 2, 2016, the portrait of Mr. Vaughan was unveiled, in the presence of his family.  After the meeting, the Board of Supervisors hosted a dinner in his honor.

    (Editor's Note:  Thank You to Mr. Milton Garner for providing the photographs of the unveiling and the dinner.)

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  53. Southside Virginia Community College Hosts 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet

    Southside Virginia Community College held the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet at the Christanna Campus on April 21, 2016.  This event recognizes Officer of the Year and Employee of the Year for correctional facilities in the area of the college.Kenneth J. Reagans, Assistant Warden of Operations, Lawrenceville Correctional Center was guest speaker.  Those receiving awards are (Front Row, Left to Right) Cassandra Roberts, Employee, Halifax Correctional Unit #23, Rosa L. Booker, Employee, Dillwyn Correctional Center, Officer Alease J. Royall, Buckingham Correctional, Linda H. Mayo, Employee, Lawrenceville Correctional, Alfonzo Seward, SVCC Criminal Justice Assistant Professor, LaCretia Watkins, Employee, Lunenburg Correctional, Cindy F. Spencer, Employee, Nottoway Correctional, Officer Betty J. Wardell, Nottoway Correctional and Officer Lisa V. Pearson, Lawrenceville Correctional and (Back row, L to R) Officer Michael Gary, Greensville Correctional, Dr. Tara Carter, SVCC Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, John A. Stearrett, III, Employee, Buckingham Correctional, Officer James D. Jackson of Halifax Correctional, Paul E. Hawkins, Employee, Deerfield Correctional, Lt. Jeanette S. Minggia, Deerfield Correctional, Robin Y. Ramsey, Employee, Greensville Correctional, Dale C. Compton, Dr. Chad Patton, SVCC Dean.Southside Virginia Community College held the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet at the Christanna Campus on April 21, 2016.  This event recognizes Officer of the Year and Employee of the Year for correctional facilities in the area of the college.Kenneth J. Reagans, Assistant Warden of Operations, Lawrenceville Correctional Center was guest speaker.  Those receiving awards are (Front Row, Left to Right) Cassandra Roberts, Employee, Halifax Correctional Unit #23, Rosa L. Booker, Employee, Dillwyn Correctional Center, Officer Alease J. Royall, Buckingham Correctional, Linda H. Mayo, Employee, Lawrenceville Correctional, Alfonzo Seward, SVCC Criminal Justice Assistant Professor, LaCretia Watkins, Employee, Lunenburg Correctional, Cindy F. Spencer, Employee, Nottoway Correctional, Officer Betty J. Wardell, Nottoway Correctional and Officer Lisa V. Pearson, Lawrenceville Correctional and (Back row, L to R) Officer Michael Gary, Greensville Correctional, Dr. Tara Carter, SVCC Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, John A. Stearrett, III, Employee, Buckingham Correctional, Officer James D. Jackson of Halifax Correctional, Paul E. Hawkins, Employee, Deerfield Correctional, Lt. Jeanette S. Minggia, Deerfield Correctional, Robin Y. Ramsey, Employee, Greensville Correctional, Dale C. Compton, Dr. Chad Patton, SVCC Dean.

    Greensville Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College.  Assistant Warden Valerie Washington(Left to Right) and Joyce Merritt-Johnson congratulate Officer of the Year Michael Gary along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

    Greensville Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College.  Assistant Warden Valerie Washington(Left to Right) and Joyce Merritt-Johnson congratulate Employee of the Year Robin Y. Ramsey along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

    Deerfield Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College.  Assistant Warden Cynthia Bhuya and Assistant Warden Jo Ann Halsey-Harris (Left to Right)  congratulate Employee  of the Year Paul E. Hawkins along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

    Deerfield Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College. Assistant Warden Jo Ann Halsey-Harris and  Assistant Warden Cynthia Bhuya (Left to Right)  congratulate Officer of the Year Lt. Jeanette S. Minggia along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

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  54. Obama Discusses College Affordability with Student Reporters


    By Sarah King, Capital News Service

    WASHINGTON – White House press secretary Josh Earnest was answering a Fordham University student’s question regarding sexual assault reporting on her campus when an obnoxious screech filled the White House Briefing Room.

    “That’s never happened before,” Earnest told the approximately 50 college reporters staring bug-eyed at him, a momentary social-media-ceasefire taking hold as the noise tapered off.

    In the aisles flanking the student reporters, members of the White House press corps let out a chuckle; the seasoned journalists had donated their highly coveted assigned briefing room seats to their younger counterparts for this occasion.

    “I hear there’s some hotshot journalists here,” said President Barack Obama, striding into the briefing room for a surprise appearance to conclude the White House’s first-ever College Reporter Day last week.

    During the inaugural event, student reporters representing schools across 28 states convened in Washington, D.C., to engage with senior administration officials on issues pertinent to college campuses, including student loan debt and Title IX initiatives.

    “I heard you guys were around today, so I wanted to stop by and say hello,” Obama said, flashing a smile at the crowd. “I also have a bit of breaking news for you.”

    At the ensuing press conference, Obama announced that his administration is aiming to enroll 2 million more people in Pay As You Earn, a program that caps the amount borrowers repay on their student loans to 10 percent of their monthly income, by April 2017.

    Nearly 5 million student borrowers are now enrolled in income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn – up from 700,000 in 2011, according to U.S. Secretary of Education John King.

    In a press call the day before, Richard Cordray, director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said about 43 million Americans have student loan debts. In Virginia alone, there are more than 350,000 federal student loan borrowers – totaling more than $10.5 million in outstanding debt.

    Nationwide, the volume of outstanding federal student loan debt has doubled in less than a decade to about $1.3 trillion.

    “That is more, in fact, than any other category of consumer debt in America except mortgages,” Cordray said.

    That’s partially why the U.S. Department of Education created – an online system intended to help borrowers better understand their repayment options in a “consistent, accurate, actionable and transparent” manner.

    King also spoke with the students at Thursday’s College Reporter Day and reminded them of the value of a four-year degree.

    He said that over a lifetime, an individual with a bachelor’s degree can earn up to $1 million more than someone with only a high school degree.

    “It’s debt that pays you back,” King said. “I know personally, because although I was recently sworn in as secretary of education, I am still paying off my graduate school loans that helped me to get here.”

    King said that since 2008, the Obama administration has doubled investments in grant and scholarship aid through Pell grants and tax credits and created repayment programs such as Pay As You Earn. Such initiatives have helped more than 1 million more African American and Hispanic students go to college, he said.

    At the press conference, Obama said college affordability is one of his priorities.

    “I’m proud of the work we’ve done in education to make sure that millions of kids who previously couldn’t afford to go to college can,” he said.

    The president also discussed his initiative to provide federal funding to help states make the first two years of community college free for “hard-working” students.

    “This is something achievable,” Obama said. “Now, Congress has not moved on our proposal. But what we’ve also seen is that there have been 27 jurisdictions around the country that have taken us up on this challenge and are doing it themselves – are figuring out ways to make this happen.”

    One such jurisdiction is Tennessee, where Republican Gov. Bill Haslam launched the Tennessee Promise program last fall. It has provided thousands of students with a free two years of community college or technical education out of high school.

    “If there’s a Republican governor in the state of Tennessee who can make this program work in his state, why shouldn’t Democrats and Republicans work together in Washington to give that opportunity to every American?” Earnest asked in the press briefing before Obama took the podium.

    Obama said it will be hard to sustain these initiatives if the cost of college “keeps on going up as fast as it’s going up.”

    Earnest said too many state governments, “in their zeal to cut government spending,” are reducing support for public colleges and universities.

    “That is a really poor choice,” Earnest said. “And what many college administrators legitimately say is, ‘Look, I’m getting less support from the state government, and if I want to continue to provide a high-quality education to the student body, I’ve got to get that money from somewhere.’”

    For Obama, college affordability is more than just another domestic policy.

    “Probably the thing I’m most proud of is – mainly as the assistant to Michelle Obama – I’ve raised two daughters who are amazing and I’m really, really proud of,” Obama told the college journalists. “And being able to do that while still focused on my job, I think, is something I’ll look back on and appreciate.”

    Three days after hosting College Reporter Day, the White House announced that Malia Obama, who is graduating from high school, has decided to attend Harvard University beginning in fall 2017. Malia, 17, is the older of the Obamas’ daughters. She has opted to take a gap year before leaving for college.


  55. Daisy Belle Bradley Newsome

    Mrs. Daisy Belle Bradley Newsome, 95 died on Sunday, May 1,2016 at her home on 305 West York Dr., Emporia, Virginia. She was born in Greensville County to Martha Buckner and James Richard Bradley, both deceased. She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Robert James Newsome. She was a member Calvary Baptist Church. Survivors include five sons and their wives, Bob and Barbara Newsome, Tom and Sue Newsome, Jerry and June Newsome, Mike and Carolyn Newsome, and Frank and Jill Newsome. Grandchildren are Debbie Newsome, Geoff Newsome (Kaye), Misty N. Dunlap (Dennis), Wendy N. McDowell (Lynwood), Christy Newsome, Mark Newsome (Jennifer), Beth N. Thompson (Mason), Joey Newsome, Jason Newsome (Kimberly), Blake Newsome (April), Brooke N. Markevicius (Edgar), Page Newsome, and Arnie Newsome. Great grandchildren are Gabriel Dunlap, Joshua Dunlap, Lucas Newsome, Veronica Newsome, Cecilia Newsome, Becket Newsome, Lindsay Thompson, Leah Thompson, Braedon Thompson, Maddie Newsome, Graham Newsome, Darcy Newsome and Lily Newsome. She was also preceded in death by a son, William Dean Newsome, a sister, Ella Sadler, and four brothers, Charlie Bradley, Jesse Bradley, Thomas Bradley, and Eddie "Pete" Bradley. The funeral service will be conducted at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at Echols Funeral Home Chapel in Emporia. The family will receive friends from 1:30 - 2:30 prior to the Service of Remembrance. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. The family is grateful for the loving care given to her by Mary Adams, Sabrina Burnes, Rosa Carson, Jennifer Watson and Geraldine Walton as well as Joyce Lynch of Hospice of Virginia.

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  56. Obituary-Evelyn P. Allen

    Evelyn P. Allen, 79, of Emporia, passed away Tuesday, May 3, 2016. She was born December 22, 1936, daughter of the late Russell and Ora Proctor. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Alfred Simmons; three brothers, Bynum, Arnold and Pete Proctor and wife, Martha; two sisters, Doris Bankie and Jean Pair and husband, Roger “Dickie" Pair. Mrs. Allen is survived by her husband, Sherman Allen; their children, Marian StClair (Tim), Mary Smith (Howard), Doris Ozmar (Jim), Lois Hobbs (Mike), Ronnie Allen (Linda) and Kenneth Allen; a brother, Bobby Proctor (Doris); a number of grandchildren; great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends 6-8 Friday, May 6 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. The funeral service will be held graveside 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at Independence United Methodist Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Independence United Methodist Church or to Lebanon United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be made at

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  57. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Receives Chest Pain Center Accreditation

    EMPORIA, VA(May 2, 2016)– Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC)recently received full Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC).  The accreditation is valid until January 27, 2019. 

    “This Chest Pain Center accreditation is a tribute to the hard work of and collaboration between our emergency and cardiac teams,” explains Matt Tavenner, SVRMC’s Chief Executive Officer. “From the moment we receive notice from EMS providers that a patient with chest pain is heading our way, a group of dedicated physicians, nurses, technologists and others work together to provide seamless, quality care to our patients.”

    Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

    An Accredited Chest Pain Center’s (CPC) evidence-based, protocol-driven and systematic approach to cardiac patient care allows clinicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack. Accredited facilities better monitor patients when it is not initially clear whether or not a patient is having a coronary event. Such monitoring ensures patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

    SCPC’s CPC Accreditation process came about as greater numbers of facilities in the United States sought to establish standards and adopt best practices in the quality of care provided to patients experiencing chest pain. SCPC’s CPC Accreditation process ensures that hospitals meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and undergo a comprehensive onsite review by a team of accreditation review specialists. Hospitals that receive SCPC CPC Accreditation status have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who present with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.

    By achieving SCPC’s Chest Pain Center Accreditation status, SVRMC demonstrates expertise in the following areas:

    • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
    • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
    • Effectively treating patients at low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
    • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
    • Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
    • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
    • Constructing a functional design that promotes optimal patient care

    Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack

    In addition to an array of diagnostic cardiovascular services, such as holter monitoring, nuclear stress testing, carotid duplex scanning and more, SVRMC offers a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program for patients with heart disease or who have suffered from a heart attack or other cardiac event.  For more information on SVRMC’s emergency and cardiovascular services, visit

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  58. Isaiah Stephens Brings Home Three Gold Medals!

    Lazers Track Club member, Isaiah Stephens began his outdoor track season on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at Highland Spring High School in Richmond, VA.  He placed 1st in the shot put and the discus events, earning him two gold medals. Stephens threw a PR (Personal Record) of 90.01 feet in the discus event. 

    After his meet, Isaiah and his Mom stopped by Virginia State University to support his sister, Laricesa Miles.  Laricesa is a Junior at VSU, where she majors in Health Science and plays “Right Out Field” (ROF) on the softball team. Miles and the Trojans advanced to the CIAA Tournament, but were unfortunately eliminated by Fayetteville State on Friday, April 29, 2016. Laricesa was also named Athlete of the Week at VSU during the month of April.

    Isaiah also competed in a track meet on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Norview High School in Norfolk, VA. Stephens placed 1st in shot put, discus and javelin events, earning him three gold medals.  Isaiah threw a PR of 99.08 ½ in the Discus.  He also threw a PR of 138.03 ½ feet in the javelin, breaking his own 2015 National Jr. Olympic Record.

    Isaiah, Laricesa and their mother, La-Tina Smith give all the glory and honor to GOD for their achievements.

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  59. State Board Committee Certifies Presidential Finalists for Paul D. Camp Community College

    RICHMOND– The State Board for Community Colleges has certified a group of four finalists for the position of president at Paul D. Camp Community College, with campuses in Suffolk and Franklin. The finalists were among 90 people who applied for the presidency from across the country.

    The four finalists include Dr. Pamela Haney, of Matteson, IL; Dr. Daniel Lufkin, of Williamsburg; Dr. Mark Smith, of Temple, TX; and Dr. Kristen Westover, of Martinsville.

    Dr. Pamela J. Haneyis currently vice president of academic affairs for Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL, a position she has held since 2012. Previously, she served as dean of the college’s science, business, and computer technology department. From 2009-2010, Dr. Haney also served as assistant dean of the college’s academic initiatives program. She holds a doctorate in interpersonal communication from Bowling Green State University, OH, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Norfolk State University.

    Dr. Daniel W. Lufkin is currently vice president for student affairs at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to that, he was dean of enrollment management at Maricopa County Community College District /Gateway in Phoenix, where he served as a member of the president’s leadership team from 2009-2013. Previously, he served as vice president for student affairs at MCCCD/Gateway. He holds a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University, FL, as well as a master’s in education from Northern Arizona University, and a bachelor’s degree from State University College at Potsdam, NY.

    Dr. Mark A. Smith is vice president of educational services at Temple College in Temple, TX, a position he has held since 2008. Previously, he served as associate vice president of the college’s distance education department. From 2003-2006, he also served as college director, student affairs for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, MS. He holds a doctorate in education from Capella University in MN, and both a master’s degree in business administration as well as a bachelor’s degree in general studies from William Carey College in MS.

    Dr. Kristen A. Westover is currently vice president for academic and student services at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, a position she has held since 2011. Previously, she served as higher education program coordinator at the University of Texas in Austin, from 2009-2011. From 2008-2009, she also served as director of technical programs for the Kansas Board of Regents. She holds a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in FL., and both a master’s degree in instructional technology and a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University in KS.

    Candidates will attend on-campus interviews at PDCCC in May, with a final decision expected later in the month. The appointee will follow Dr. William C. Aiken, who has served as PDCCC’s interim president since April, 2015.

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on the executive actions President Obama announced to reduce gun violence:

    “We’ve seen tragedies in countless cities and towns including Charleston, Newtown and Blacksburg. In Roanoke last year, we saw a horrific shooting take the lives of two young journalists. It’s also important to remember that countless instances of gun violence occur outside the purview of the mainstream media – domestic disputes in homes, suicides and urban violence,” Kaine said. “I support the President’s steps today. Partnering with law enforcement to encourage the use of smart technology to develop safer guns, increasing access to mental health treatment and investing in gun violence research are all steps that can help prevent tragedy.”

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  61. Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program Announces Fraud Fighters Awards Winners

    Richmond, Va. — The Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program yesterday distributed 10 Fraud Fighters Awards to individuals who’ve made exemplary contributions to help stamp out fraud in the Commonwealth. Fraud Fighters Awards are presented annually during Insurance Fraud Awareness Week. First Sgt. Steve Hall, IFP coordinator, introduced this year’s Fraud Fighters Awards at a luncheon at the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Special Investigation Units annual conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Midlothian. “Insurance fraud costs Virginians millions each year, and losses across the United States are in the billions,” Hall said. “So it’s important to highlight some of the good work that’s being done to combat insurance fraud.” In 1999, the Virginia General Assembly established the IFP (House Bill 52-37) to initiate independent inquiries and investigations regarding suspected insurance fraud. The IFP established its Fraud Fighters Awards program in 2003. Fraud Fighters Awards nominees are judged on a variety of efforts taken to reduce fraud in Virginia, including: actions taken to proactively prevent insurance fraud; involvement and contributions in in-surance fraud investigations; financial impact, in terms of recoveries and restitution, of their investigative efforts; proven commitment to assisting the insurance community in fighting fraud. 2016 Fraud Fighters Awards— Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney John Alexander, Botetourt County — Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Hardiman, Stafford County — Lt. Steve St. Clair, Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office — Senior Investigator Jay Boothe, Virginia State Corporation Commission Bureau of Insurance — Senior Special Agent Durwin Powell, Virginia State Police — Senior Special Agent Gary Straub, Virginia State Police — Senior Special Agent Harvey Spahr, Virginia State Police — Special Agent Brandon Blakey, Virginia State Police — Special Agent Christopher Brennan, Virginia State Police — Special Agent Scott Mitchell, Virginia State Police