November 2017

  1. First Baby Born at New VCU Community Memorial Hospital

    South Hill, VA – At 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, Lane Joseph Newton became the first baby delivered inside the new Garland Birthing Center at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

    Lane weighed in at eight pounds and eleven ounces.  Lane is the second son of Rebecca and Brian Newton of Bracey, VA. 

    When asked about her delivery inside the new Garland Birthing Center, Mrs. Newton stated that Dr. Austin and the nursing staff was fantastic and her entire experience has been wonderful.  She thought the facility and the accommodations were top-notch.  She also liked the fact that her, her son and husband were able to stay in the same room throughout their whole experience.

    Mrs. Newton said when she found out her due date was so close to the opening of the Garland Birthing Center (Nov. 20th) that she wouldn’t make it; she would deliver before then, since this was her second child. She was pleasantly surprised that Lane was the first born at the new hospital.  She was also excited about not having to drive to Petersburg, as they had before with their first son.

    Even though Mrs. Newton said that two kids were all she wanted, when asked would she deliver at VCU Health CMH again, she said with no hesitation, “For sure, no doubt.”



    There are some students who set the bar.  They work harder, show more passion and lead by example – in the classroom, on the court and within the community.  Wendy’s High School Heisman recently recognized Brunswick Academy senior, Heather Dianne Thompson of Emporia for her dedication to never cutting corners by naming her a winner in the scholarship program. 

    Since 1994, Wendy’s and the Heisman Trophy Trust have been running the same play to perfection; honoring more than 600,000 of the nation’s most esteemed students.  This year, Wendy’s will celebrate the accomplishments of thousands of the best high school seniors. 

    The Wendy’s High School Heisman was created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas in 1994.  Dave Thomas dropped out of high school when he was 15 years old in order to work full-time and went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history.  While this nontraditional path led to his prosperity, it always worried Dave that others would follow in his footsteps and expect to achieve similar fame and wealth by not finishing high school or attending college. 

    Faced with this dilemma, at 61 years old, Dave enrolled at Coconut Creek High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and received his GED.  Inspired by this moment and with a desire to celebrate the outstanding achievements of youth in America, he launched the Wendy’s High School Heisman program.

    Heather Thompson is the daughter of Chris and Kristine Thompson of Emporia.  She has played JJV, JV and Varsity Basketball, JV and Varsity Volleyball, Varsity Soccer and JV softball while at Brunswick Academy.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, Jr. Beta Club, Student Council Organization, Honor Council and BA Latin Club.  She has been an active member of the BA Theatre program with many leading roles.  Heather has also participated in the Model General Assembly program and received the College of William and Mary Leadership award.  Congratulations Heather.

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  3. SVCC Faculty Recognized at VCCA Annual Meeting

    Southside Virginia Community College was well represented at the Virginia Community College Association Annual Meeting.  Four members of the college were recognized as Showcase recipients for 2017.  This recognition is for leadership, dedication and hard work at their colleges and to the mission of the Virginia Community College System.  Three of those recognized from SVCC are (left to right) LaTrisha McCargo, Library Specialist and currently Acting Coordinator at the Estes Community Center in Chase City, Melissa Dunn Back, Assistant Professor of Biology on the John H. Daniel Campus, and Angela L. Jackson, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Administration. 

    Alfonzo Seward (left) Associate Professor of Administration of Justice for the Christanna Campus of SVCC receives his Showcase award during the annual Virginia Community Colleges Association conference held recently.  Seward received a Showcase award in recognition of his leadership, dedication and hard work in promoting the mission of the Virginia Community College System. 

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    Dr. Al Roberts,President of Southside Virginia Community College, Mike Walker, and Jay A. Stafford, President and Chief Executive Officer of Benchmark Community Bank  (Left to Right).

    Benchmark Community Bank has established the Michael O. Walker Benchmark Community Bank Scholarship at Southside Virginia Community College.  This honors the leadership and legacy of Walker’s 43 years of service at the bank. 

    In the bank’s most recent Annual Report, it notes, “The Mike Walker years will be remembered for the extraordinary progress made and the healthy growth of the bank, which almost doubled in asset size and added over 17,000 customers during that time.” 

    Another aspect of Walker’s legacy is recorded as “his input was always greatly appreciated, sometimes awe-inspiring.”

    Walker worked at the bank for over four decades and served as the President and CEO for 12 years until his recent retirement.  During his tenure, he introduced a robust secondary mortgage program, reorganization of loan operations, introduced a Benchmark credit card, construction of three new branch facilities and the completion of five major renovation projects.   He also spent ten years encouraging employees to “Make Southside Smile.”

    This scholarship in his honor will continue Walker’s contribution to happy people in Southside Virginia.

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  5. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces November Employee of the Month

    Emporia, VA – Latoya Vaughanhas been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Month for November 2017. Ms. Vaughan, who works in SVRMC’s Pharmacy Department, has been employed at SVRMC since March 2011.

    Each month employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in one of ten Standards of Behavior; the highlighted Standard of the Month for November was Attitude.  Ms. Vaughan’s nomination included the following statement: “Latoya demonstrates many of the standards of behavior, but most importantly she comes to work with a good attitude and prepared for the day. She takes pride in her work and in that of the department. The pharmacy department and SVRMC are fortunate to have Latoya as a team member.”

    As SVRMC’s November Employee of the Month, Ms. Vaughan received a certificate of recognition, balloons, cookies to share with her co-workers, a cash award, and a chance to be selected as SVRMC’s 2018 Employee of the Year.


  6. Club J316 Performs for Emporia Youth

    Salem Baptist Church opened its doors to Club J316 for a night of music and fun recently.  Club J316 is a traveling group of Christian artists that minister a Godly positive and uplifting message.

    The artists use upbeat Christian Music to convey an alternative message to conventional rap music whose messages include sex, drugs and violence.

    The mission of the club is to bring our generation a Christian message to express that a relationship with Christ and doing what's right is cool. Club J316 is based in Southampton County and performs throughout Hampton Roads Virginia and beyond.  The artists range from elementary school students to young adults traveling from our local cities to nationwide.

    More than 100 people attended the Salem Baptist Church event and 15 teens gave their life to Christ at the end of the performance. This is the first performance for Club J316 in Emporia and they hope to be able to return soon. The members of Salem Baptist Church were happy to host the event and were pleased with the turnout and the positive response of the youths who attended this event.

    Club J316 has been performing regularly at Jackson-Feild Behavior Health Services. It was founded by Jackson-Feild alumna, Leslie Ludwig.  Jackson-Feild and finding her faith in God helped transform her life and led her to founding Club J316.

    Leslie stated with her husband, son, her ministry-partner Shannon Huskinson and the ClubJ316 team they believe only through the grace of God will their ministry reach lives worldwide!

    To see videos or receive more information about club J316 here is a link to their Facebook page


  7. RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY! The Former Jefferson Elementary School Basketball Court Repairs

    The threat of rain loomed over the ribbon cutting for the new basketball courts at Jefferson Elementary school in Jarratt on Saturday. However, rain took a vacation and the ribbon cutting was done, celebrating the installments of a basketball court. In addition, the children’s playground was cleaned and prepared by staff from the county.

    The former Jefferson Elementary School located in Jarratt, Virginia has been closed for some time now; however, the basketball court on the property was still being used for recreation purpose by the children in the neighborhood.

    Earlier in the year, Supervisor Tyler (Henry District) noticed that the basketball court was in a state of disrepair. The basketball court was located near the tree line of the property. The roots, mainly from the pine trees, had grown through the basketball court and had created a series of hills, cracks, and crevices—not conducive to playing. Recognizing that children in the community lack adequate recreational facilities, Supervisor Tyler brought his concerns to the Board with a request to repair the basketball court. The repairs included laying new asphalt, turning one basketball goal around and adding a new goal at the other end.

    At its June 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board approved an appropriation for the repairs to the basketball court at the former Jefferson Elementary School, located at 9436 Mayes Street, Jarratt, Virginia. Supervisor Tyler officially cut the ribbon on Saturday, November 18, 2017 to mark the completion of the basketball court repairs.Donations from Jerusalem Baptist Church, Owen Ford, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hamlin, the Coalition of Pastors and leaders from Sussex County and Stith Solutions defrayed the cost for refreshments. Sheriff Giles, Deputy Winfield, and Deputy Simmons prepared the food. The Improvement Association took the leadership role in organizing the event.

    Pictured are citizens and children from the Jarratt community. Also pictured from left to right are the Honorable Rufus Tyler, Sussex Board of Supervisors Henry District (cutting the ribbon; Officer Simmons, Lt. Givens, Officer Meredith—all of Sussex County’s Sheriff’s Department; Delegate Roslyn Tyler, 75th District Virginia House of Delegates, Sussex County’s Sheriff Ernest Giles, Tia Sanchez, Sussex Department of Social Services; and Robert E. Hamlin, former Henry District Board of Supervisors member. Also present but not pictured were Mr. Vandy V. Jones, III, Sussex County Administrator and Millard “Pete” Stith, Sussex Consultant.

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  8. 2 BA Students Receive Outstanding Acheivement Award

    Mr. Kenneth Clary, Secretary of the local chapter of Woodmen Life, visited Brunswick Academy to present two 5th Graders with the Woodman Life Outstanding Achievement Award. Dawson Clary received the Outstanding Achievement Award in History and Natalie Allen received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Reading/English. Mr. Clary presented them both with a certificate & a goodie bag which included a $25 Walmart gift card.

    Pictured left to right - Mr. Kenneth Clary, Natalie Allen, Dawson Clary, and Mrs. Cheryl Bowen, Head of School



    2017 Proving to be Deadlier than 2016 for Traffic Crashes

    RICHMOND – With overall traffic fatalities already on the increase, the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday weekend proved to be a deadly one for 10 individuals traveling on Virginia’s highways. During the holiday statistical counting period, which began Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. and continued through midnight Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, traffic crashes claimed the lives of eight drivers, one passenger and a pedestrian. As of Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, there have been 737 reported traffic deaths in Virginia, compared to 664 this date last year.

    “The increase in fatal crashes throughout this year is troubling and should be of serious concern to all Virginians,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Tragically, there will be at least 700 families heading into the holiday season mourning the loss of a loved one because of a traffic crash on a Virginia highway. Let’s make these remaining weeks of 2017 safer for everyone by buckling up and driving smart, safe, sober and distraction-free.”

    The Thanksgiving fatal crashes occurred in the City of Richmond and the counties of Appomattox, Augusta, Bedford, Caroline, Fairfax and Spotsylvania. Two of the crashes, including the pedestrian crash, occurred in the City of Richmond, and two other fatal crashes occurred in Fairfax County. Two drivers lost their lives in a two-vehicle, head-on crash in Augusta County.

    In an effort to prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

    During the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:

    • Cited 8,016 speeders
    • Cited 2,465 reckless drivers
    • Arrested 102 drunken drivers
    • Cited 589 safety belt violations & 205 child restraint violations
    • Investigated 998 traffic crashes, in which nine were fatal
    • Assisted 2,635 disabled motorists

    The Virginia State Police will also this year be participating in the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) “Tie One on for Safety” campaign, which discourages drunk and drugged driving during the winter holidays.

  10. Virginia Governor Attends SVCC Power Line Graduation

    Graduates of Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Program

    Front Row L-R: Jamall Walker (Blackstone), Hunter Cline (Gretna), Brandon Morgan (Farmville), Jackson Clay (Evington), Kyle Edwards (Amelia), Matthew Kirby (Montpelier), Scott Geovannello (Chesterfield), Brad Wike, Instructor, Clyde Robertson, Director.  Middle Row- Donald Neece (Powhatan), Kenny McMichael (Sedley), Chris Walker (Windsor), Jacob Bailess (Hurt), Raphael Rector (Dunnsville), Zachary Patterson (Powhatan), Jacob Taylor (Appomattox), Caleb Krahenbill (Palmyra) and Nathan Nelson (New Castle).  Back Row- Sonny Smith, Instructor, Peter Hoskins (Marshall), Dylan Fraser (Stafford), Justin Chandler (Henrico), Trevor Paul (Crewe), Chase Barnard (Chesapeake), John-Mark Hall (Ruther Glen),  Jacob Pruitt (Painter) and Douglas Dunn (Sutherland).


    Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was tapped as the honorary 100th graduate of the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training School on November 21, 2017.  He joined the 24 other graduates completing the sixth class held since opening of the program in March of 2016

    SVCC’s Power Line Worker Training Program is a direct result of McAuliffe’s belief in credentials for workforce readiness and he noted his administration provided the first $200,000 Talent Solutions for Economic Development Grant to get it rolling.

    In introducing the Governor, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, said, “ “Governor McAuliffe’s presence at today’s ceremony serves to highlight the value of the Power Line Training Program in meeting a critical workforce need.”  

    “This is a great day in Virginia.  We are training people for real jobs, higher paying jobs, this is exciting that we are preparing for the Bold New Virginia Economy,” McAuliffe said.

    He noted that the state of Virginia is at almost full-employment, noting his efforts to bring industry and jobs to the state while ensuring there are people to fill these jobs. 

    The governor also praised the community colleges in Virginia for the move in the right direction by training the workforce of the state.  The Power Line program also fits into the Virginia Community College System Rural Virginia Horseshoe initiative of which the goals areimproving the educational outcomes of rural communities to establish a common foundation for all Virginians, wherever they may live.

    The first of its kind in Virginia, the school was founded by a public-private partnership between Virginia’s electric co-ops, Southside Virginia Community College, the Virginia Community College System 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, has lead each class through completion with a 90 percent hiring rate. 

    Students completing the program receive five Workforce credentials, including Commercial Driver’s License, OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid, NCCER Power Line Worker Level 1 and VCOT Traffic Controller. 

    After the ceremony, the class demonstrated their prowess at climbing poles, rescuing techniques and repairing lines on the field where they train at the SVCC Occupational/Technical Center at Pickette Park;  the field is often referred to as “The Playground.”

    Inset Photo:  Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (Left) was awarded the honorary 100th certificate from the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Graduation on November 21m 2017.  Dr. Al Roberts (Right), SVCC President, gave him the certificate, a PLW shirt and hat.

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  11. A.R. Chesson Construction Introduces Southern Smiles Orthodontics

    One of A.R. Chesson Construction Company’s most recent projects is Southern Smiles Orthodontics, located in Roanoke Rapids, NC.  Owner and orthodontist, Courtney Aman, DDS, MS and her husband, Eric Nicholson, DDS, who is a dentist and partner at Arthur & Nicholson, are very excited about this endeavor.

    Throughout their 36-year history of crafting iconic projects across eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, A.R. Chesson’s design and construction expertise have established them as the premier client-focused general contractor in the region.  Their long-term alliances with reliable subcontractors, suppliers, design firms, and fellow contracting firms give them the resources for project success. A. R. Chesson Construction coordinates the collaborative process with these parties to provide leadership, meet production schedules, ensure safety, control costs, and achieve results for their clients.

     “This occasion has been a long time in the making,” said Dr. Courtney Aman, a Roanoke Rapids native, who plans to    have the practice open by January. “Having spent a decade away from the Roanoke Valley while pursuing my education, it is with excitement that my husband, Eric (Nicholson), and I return to the community where I grew up.”

    Dr. Aman said, “We had many choices when deciding where to settle, but ultimately chose to build our businesses and family life in the town that has served me so well. We both look forward to embracing all the positive aspects that a small, close-knit community has to offer and in turn giving back to our community.”

    She noted the love and support of friends and family during her journey to reach her educational goals and her dream of being a business owner. “I would like to give special thanks to my husband, Eric, and to my parents Scott and Renee as well as my sister, Emily. I am also very fortunate to have such close relationships with my grandparents and other extended family and friends.”

    Dr. Aman said she is excited to bring her orthodontic services to the community in which she grew up. “The spacious office is designed with patient comfort in mind and will feature modern technology, leading to a truly personal and quality treatment experience.”

    During the design build process, A.R. Chesson chose several local subcontractors in order to create a team of professionals who are dedicated to this project from the groundbreaking to the ribbon cutting.  Southern Smiles Orthodontics is scheduled to open in January 2018.

    A.R. Chesson has a long-standing history with the Aman family, having completed 12 design build projects for Courtney’s father Scott Aman, owner of New Dixie Oil Company.  This partnership has been fostered by A.R. Chesson’s commitment to providing quality construction through expertise, efficiency, and integrity for each and every client.  This pledge has resulted in repeat clients, their referrals, and many longstanding relationships within the construction industry and community.

    A. R. Chesson Construction Company, Inc. is a full service construction firm providing a comprehensive portfolio of innovative project development, management and construction services.  Family owned and operated since 1981, A.R. Chesson Construction has been a leader in design/build construction, project management and development services for new construction, renovation and expansion.  The A. R. Chesson Construction team has the management skills and technical expertise to drive each project to completion. Their experience encompasses a wide range of project types, sizes and complexities.

    To learn more about A.R. Chesson Construction Company, Inc. and their client-focused design build experience, call (252) 792-4486 or visit them at


  12. Southside Regional Medical Center Partners to Offer FREE “Stop the Bleed” Class

    Petersburg, VA - Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) partners with Petersburg Fire and Rescue, Southside Virginia Emergency Crew and Petersburg Bureau of Police to bring the National “STOP THE BLEED” class, endorsed by the American College of Surgeons – Committee on Trauma to citizens of Petersburg.

    The goal of the class is to partner with Fire, EMS, Police and our community to train together, provide public awareness and teach lifesaving skills to our community.   The class will focus on wounds, application of tourniquets, wound packing, Self-Aid and Buddy-Aid.  This course also includes additional psychomotor and didactic skills for our students to build a knowledge base and comfort factor in the event of an injury.

    The class will be held at Saint Joseph School, located at 123 Franklin Street, Petersburg on Wednesday, December 6th from 6-7:30pm.  This course is FREE and open to the public.  Please call 804-765-5689 to register.


  13. From Abner to Zuri, baby names fluctuate in popularity

    By Gillian Bullock, VCU Capital News Service

    After bringing a baby into the world, parents immediately face a daunting decision – giving their child a name. It’s an identity the child will have for the rest of their life.

    Brittny Gainey is familiar with the responsibilities of naming a child: She is the mother of two sons.

    “People define themselves by their name. A name lets you know who you are and where you come from,” said Gainey, a licensed clinical social worker from the Tidewater area.

    In 2013, she gave birth to a son and named him James. To Gainey, it was important for her first-born child to carry on a family name. Gainey’s son shares a commonality not only with family members but with many other Virginians.

    Since 1910, more than 148,000 boys born in Virginia have been named James, making it the most common male name in the commonwealth during that time period. Although the name James has fluctuated in popularity in recent decades, it was the third most common male name for babies born in the state in 2016.

    The U.S. Social Security Administration annually tracks the most popular names of babies born nationwide as well as in individual states. The agency recently released its data for last year’s births.

    Over the past century, the diversity of baby names has grown exponentially, and the popularity of certain names has shifted.

    The Social Security Administration includes in its data any name given to at least five babies in a single year. For boys born in Virginia in 1910, there were 183 such names, ranging from Aaron and Abner to Willis and Wilson. But last year, 1,127 different male names were associated with five or more births; they vary from Abdul and Alberto to Zayden and Zymir.

    In 1910, the five most common male names in Virginia were James, William, John, Robert and George. For boys born last year, the most popular names were William, Noah, James, Liam, and Mason. (John was No. 18, Robert was No. 44 and George was No. 101.)

    The changes in girls’ names have been even more radical.

    In 1910, the data showed, 287 female names were given to at least five babies in Virginia, ranging from Agnes and Alberta to Winifred and Zelma. Last year, the database included 1,384 girls' names, from Aaliya and Addyson to Zariyah and Zuri.

    The most common female names in 1910 were Mary, Virginia, Elizabeth, Ruth and Margaret. In contrast, the most popular names for girls born in Virginia in 2016 were Olivia, Emma, Ava, Charlotte and Abigail.

    Only Elizabeth remains among the top 10 female names (at No. 9). Mary has dropped to No. 70; Virginia, to No. 91; Ruth, to No. 115; and Margaret to No. 69.

    Aside from parents, doulas can also play a part in the naming process of a child. Doulas, dating back to ancient Greece, provide educational opportunities and advocacy during pregnancy and after birth. As an advocate for the mother, doulas console expecting families through their fears and worries and serve as a listening ear for hopes that families have for the child’s future.

    Doulas take the journey with expecting families to provide emotional support throughout the pregnancy, said Brianna Grocholski, a member of Richmond Doulas.

    “Being present during a birth is the most vulnerable time during an expecting mother’s life,” Grocholski said. “It is an extremely intimate setting where later you acquire and retain friendships.”

    With the close relationship that doulas form with families, it is not uncommon for doulas to share in the process of naming the newborn.

    “One of my clients named their son after the father. The father’s middle name was given to the son as his first name,” Grocholski said.

    Researchers say the first piece of information we learn about a person is their name – and on that basis, we may subconsciously form judgments about the individual. These judgments can trigger positive or negative feelings about someone.

    Baby names can increase or decrease in popularity in response to popular culture or politics. The name Dorothy was the seventh most popular female name in Virginia in 1939 – the year The Wizard of Oz was released.

    Mark Hinkle, acting press officer for the Social Security Administration, has seen nationwide trends regarding particular names as well.

    Kehlani rose 2,487 spots on the girls’ side to number 872, from number 3,359 in 2015. Perhaps this can be attributed to Kehlani Parrish, a singer/songwriter who was nominated for a Grammy in 2016,” Hinkle noted in a press release.

    After having James four years ago, Gainey gave birth to another boy in 2016 and named him Jabari. Jabari means “brave one” in Swahili. Gainey said parents should think carefully about all that encompasses naming a child.

    “A name is something that people can never take from you, and you carry it with pride and joy,” she said.

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  14. Law Enforcement Recognized at SVCC



    Southside Virginia Community College recently hosted the 10th Law Enforcement Awards Banquet.  During the event, officers are recognized for their hard work, dedication and professionalism as chosen by their department.  Those recipients are (Front Row, Left to Right) Detective Ryan Durham, South Hill Police Department, Deputy Peter L. Dayton, Lunenburg County Sheriff's Office, Trooper Thomas W. Reeves, Area 22, Virginia State Police, Deputy Kevin Jones, Brunswick County Sheriff's Department, and Trooper Joseph M. Balek, Virginia State Police, Area 35 and (Back Row, L to R) Deputy Neil A. Clayton, Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, Patrolman Jerry Carey, Jr., Chase City Police Department, Corporal Christopher W. Rook, Greensville County Sheriff's Office, and Lieutenant Jerry Wright, Emporia Police Department, Captain John R. Stith, Lawrenceville Police Department.  


    Chief Ricky Pinksaw, Emporia Police Deparment(left) congratulates Officer of the Year Lieutenant Jerry Wright (Center) along with Alfonzo Seward, Southside Virginia Community College Assistant Professor of Administration of Justice at the tenth Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony.

    Greensville Sheriff William T. Jarratt, (left) congratulates Officer of the Year Corporal Christopher W. Rook (Center) along with Alfonzo Seward, Southside Virginia Community College Assistant Professor of Administration of Justice at the tenth Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony.



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  15. LSBDC welcomes consultants in new regional structure

    The Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) has adopted a new regional approach that utilizes experienced, independent consultants to better serve the small businesses in 19 counties and six independent cities in South-Central Virginia.

    “Where we had five specific office location before, we’ve created  three sub-regions,” Longwood SBDC Executive Director Sheri McGuire said. “We’ve shifted Mecklenburg and Brunswick into our central region covered from Farmville. Lin Hite manages client services in  our western region as regional director. Ellen Templeton manages client services in our eastern region as regional director.”

    In addition to LSBDC’s staff of regional directors and general business analysts, the independent consultants will provide a broader menu of services and higher level of skill sets.

    New to the LSBDC consultant team is Jon Van Cleave, who has 25 years of experience with the global corporation, Reynolds Metals/Alcoa, as well as working as an independent consultant.

    “Billion-dollar companies put a lot of money behind financial planning and analysis. Small businesses need the same analysis — just on a smaller scale,” Van Cleave said.

     “I do financial planning and analysis including business evaluations and acquisition integration, product and customer profitability analysis, and budgeting and forecasting.”

    Van Cleave, who has been traveling on a weekly basis for the past seven years, looks forward to settling in Farmville. He and his wife are currently renovating an older home on High Street.

    “I’m looking forward to focusing on Virginia,” he added. “I’m the kind of consultant that likes to work side-by-side with a client — not just come in, advise and leave. I want to work as a partner.”  Van Cleave will be available to work throughout the SBDC territories.

    Michael Duncan and Kelvin Perry continue to serve as independent consultants in the western region and are available for online consultations throughout the territory as necessary.

    “Michael Duncan specializes in manufacturing and operations for existing businesses ,” McGuire explained. “Kelvin Perry, who works for the City of Danville in the economic development office, also works as an independent consultant  for LSBDC on an as-needed basis.”

    “I provide counseling to start-ups or for clients who want to grow an existing business,” Perry said. “I meet with clients in Martinsville after hours, but I’m flexible.”

    Randy Lail provides independent counseling on a volunteer basis.

    “He’s a retired CFO for Peebles Department Store whose specialty is retail and finance,” McGuire said.

    A recent addition the LSBDC office in Farmville is Brandon Hennessey, who completed his MBA at Longwood University. As business analyst, Hennessey assists clients with marketing, financial analysis, and developing a business plan.

    “I can give clients a good practical abstract of where they’re headed and what actions they need to take to be successful,” Hennessey said. “Developing interpersonal relationships with my clients is important to me — I want them to feel comfortable in discussing their plans and problems.”

    McGuire sees the regional structure with new consultants and analysts as a way to provide greater service to small business owners in the LSBDC service area.

    “We believe that providing specific and specialized resources to grow existing businesses can create an even greater impact in the community,” she concluded. “Assisting start-ups also remains an important part of what we do.”

    As a small business resource for 28 years, the LSBDC core mission is to provide education, consulting, and economic research to support potential and existing small business owners throughout Southern Virginia. LSBDC works with local sponsors to

    provide consulting services free of charge; for more information visit


  16. Enfield NC Home Tour is December 2 - The Tobacco Warehouse

    This year the 2017 Enfield Christmas Homes Tour is focusing on a popular architectural style of the Roaring Twenties: five Craftsman Bungalows and one 1920s Tobacco and Cotton Warehouse. To kick off the tour and to learn more about Craftsman style, Maggie Gregg, Regional Director, Eastern Office of Preservation North Carolina, will give a lecture at 11 a.m. at Bellamy Manor & Gardens, located at 613 Glenview Road in Enfield. Gregg, who has a “lifelong love of preservation,” was one of the first graduates of Edgecombe Community College’s Historic Preservation Technology Program. Her lecture will conclude at noon. From Bellamy Manor, tour participants can walk, drive or take a horse-drawn carriage to where the tour starts. Refreshments will be provided at each of the homes on the tour and DERP docents will be decked out in Roaring Twenties garb.

    The homes and Warehouse are within walking distance of one another. The Warehouse was included on the tour because it was built in the same time period as the Craftsman bungalows. It is estimated that the Tobacco and Cotton Warehouse was built between 1915 and 1921, according to The Historic Architecture of Halifax County, North Carolina. The economic fuel that drove North Carolina was agriculture, but it was tobacco that made the state a powerhouse – and home to the world’s largest tobacco companies. According to the town’s website, Enfield had a population of 700 in the late 1800s. But when the Enfield Tobacco Market opened up in 1896, prosperity followed as well as growth in new businesses and population. The Parker family, the largest landowners in Halifax County during the late 19th century, capitalized on the new tobacco market that opened up and built the brick warehouse.

    Turning nonresidential structures into living space is a recent trend. Old House Journal calls it “adaptive reuse.”  When Lee Jones bought the structure in 2006, the roof was caving in, some of the bricks in the façade were deteriorating or falling and he had to use a pot-belly stove to keep the place warm during the winter months. Many residents in Enfield can still remember seeing Lee singlehandedly rebuilding the roof, with lumber and long sheets of tin perched on his shoulder.

    Initially Lee was going to use the space as a large garage, where he hoped to restore antique cars when he retired. But a few years into the renovation project, he changed his mind – thinking the massive space would make an excellent home for him when he retired. Retiring in 2016, Lee has literally rebuilt the entire inside of the structure.

    Adapting nonresidential structures into homes is a major undertaking, but Lee has painstakingly managed to turn this Warehouse into a future living space with heated floors, under-the-counter fridge/freezer, three bedrooms, two baths, an open kitchen with a brick archway and an enormous living-dining area. With the exception of the sheetrock, insulation and AC, Lee did all the work himself – and his craftsmanship is apparent. While the project is not complete, those on the tour will get a good idea where this renovation is headed – and may even look at all those empty Enfield warehouses in a different light. Enjoy the view from the arched wagon entry on the front of the warehouse, where you can see the Railroad Watchman’s Tower, the only building of its kind at its original location.

    For more information about DERP or to buy tickets to the Christmas Homes Tour, visit

    PHOTO CREDIT: Susanna Martin.

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  17. The Hundley Center Now a Standalone Facility


    As of November 11, 2017, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital moved to its new location, 1755 North Mecklenburg Avenue, South Hill, VA.  When the move occurred The Hundley Center became a standalone facility at the original hospital site of 125 Buena Vista Circle, South Hill, VA.



    The Hundley Center will continue to provide all of the same services as previously offered while being connected to the hospital.  Many processes were developed, streamlined and changed to accommodate this transition.  It is the desire and purpose of staff to continue to accommodate residents’ needs and serve this community.

    “The well-being of our residents is our main priority.  Our goal is to give the highest quality of care in the most effective and efficient way possible.  Our staff is passionate about patient care which is vital to our mission,” said Regina Williams, R.N., M.S.H.A., LTC Administrator for VCU Health CMH.

    One major improvement to The Hundley Center is the transition to a new electronic medical record system called Cerner.  Cerner is the same system used in VCU Health CMH’s new hospital and also used by VCU Health’s facilities in Richmond.  This system allows for a seamless transfer to any VCU Health facility, if needed.

    The Hundley Center is a 140-bed extended care facility that provides intermediate and skilled nursing rehabilitative care.  Individuals may receive short-term or long-term extended care.  Patient care is provided under the supervision of professional nurses.  Physicians are also on call 24 hours a day.  The qualified, caring staff is trained to meet the needs of each individual according to his or her physician’s orders.  Facility services include:  nursing care, personal care, social work services, planned activity programs, maintenance and housekeeping, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, dietary and pharmacy.  The Hundley Center is a Medicare and Medicaid certified provider.

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  18. Kathaleen B. “Kat” Lipscomb

    Kathaleen B. “Kat” Lipscomb 73, Homemaker, Loving Mother, Grandmother, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Tuesday November 21st, 2017. Kat was preceded in death by her life partner Bill Ellis.

    Kat is survived by her six children; Mickey (Martha) Stephens, Pansy (Earl) Mitchell, Ronald (Debra) Lipscomb Sr., Rickey (Renee) Lipscomb, Threasa Moore and fiancée Steven Myers, Dorothy (Ronnie) Bryan. Ten Grandchildren, thirteen Great Grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and Special Friends.

    A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 2:00 P.M.  at Emmanuel Worship Center, 4910 East Atlantic St. Emporia, VA. The family will receive friends from 12:00 P.M. until Service time.

    In lieu of flowers, our family request donations for cremation/memorial expenses. Contact Threasa Moore (434-631-7983) or Echols Funeral Home (434-634-2633)

    Online condolences may be left at

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  19. Skip the Mall! Shop Local and Support Small Businesses on Saturday

    The first Thanksgiving Feast was celebrated in the Plymouth Colony. When the “Pilgrims” arrived, they spent the first winter aboard the Mayflower.  It had been a rough first year for that group. Nearly half of the group never made it to that first spring. As you can imagine, all of those people living aboard a ship moored in the Massachusetts Bay with not a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, both exposure and scurvy were pretty major threats. Infectious diseases were also rampant in such an overcrowded space.

    When spring finally came and the survivors of the winter started the process of building the colony, they were met by a Native Abenaki who actually greeted them in English. He returned with another Native, Squanto, a Pawtuxet tribesman who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to the metropolis of London and making his way back to his own continent.

    Thankfully for the new arrivals, Squanto harbored no ill will to the English. He could have easily seen the Mayflower Colonists as an enemy and wiped them all out. Instead, he taught them to grow their own food and introduced the colonists to the Wampanoag Tribe that was the beginning of an alliance that would last for more than 5 decades.

    The crops that Squanto taught the fledgling colony to grow brought in a bountiful harvest. The harvest feast that, along with many other feasts, grew into our modern Thanksgiving was called by the Governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford. That feast lasted three days and included Lobsters and Swans. The Wampanoag brought at least 5 deer that were roasted. Turkey was also plentiful and a major source of food for both Natives and colonists. The corn that was already a staple of the Natives was served in a dish that is closer to polenta than the modern Corn pudding. Local produce, most likely, played a major role in that first feast. The first pumpkin pie was probably a bit different than what we do today. Without wheat and sugar, pumpkin flavored custard in short-crust would not have been possible, even if there were an oven in the colony. Food historians believe that the first “pumpkin pie” was a mixture of milk and honey poured into a hollowed out pumpkin and roasted in the coals. Other sweets were also close at hand – the plentiful fruits that were native to the area.

    I will admit that I am a bit biased when it comes to when the first Thanksgiving was, as Governor William Bradford was my first ancestor on this great continent. No matter what anybody believes about the origins of this uniquely American holiday, that first feast was completely local. The Turkeys, Seals, Mussels, Lobster, Onions, Turnips, Blueberries and the Pumpkins were all readily available and plentiful. Those early colonists couldn’t just jump in the family car and head into Colonial Heights to buy their groceries. They ate what was close. They ate what they could catch within walking distance of their colony.

    We could take a page from Governor Bradford’s playbook when it comes to buying gifts for Christmas (which was actually illegal in Puritan New England for quite a while).

    You could, of course, hop in the family car and drive to any one of the major shopping centers in the region, raising your blood pressure in the process, or you could spend all day Thursday and as much time as you want to (or are forced to) on Friday with your family and friends.

    As the example of that first Harvest Feast teaches us, local is best, and we have a bountiful selection of quality retailers right here in Emporia-Greensville.

    Surely you have will have some leftover country ham from Spivey’s, so make it the centerpiece of a hearty Saturday breakfast. Spivey’s does have the best meat department in town, so you could also get some quality bacon and sausage. Whip up some simple homemade biscuits (or not), fry up some home fries and scramble some eggs. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your spouse and children (and possibly your in-laws, cousins, aunts or uncles that are still visiting).

    After breakfast get out the walking shoes and take advantage of the many local businesses that are truly the lifeblood of our local economy:

    Carolyn's Creations, 1363 Brink Road (pictured above), has an amazing selection of unique gifts and Christmas Decorations.  This weekend, Carolyn is running a sale on ornaments and stems to decorate your home for the holidays.  Carolyn also offers you a perfect opportunity to find truly thoughtful gifts like Jim Shore ornaments, Tervis Tumblers, Jewelry, and a ton of other one of a kind things for the home. 

    CJ's Furniture and Pawn Shop, 308 South Main Street.  Pawn Shops are great sources for gifts for the entire family, electronics, tools, jewelry, firearms, and even furniture.  CJs has a truly unique selection of merchandise – from inkwells and antique lighters and ink pens, they even have a really sweet Milk Glass cookie jar among their varied and interesting, well, stuff. Compact Discs for the music lover, DVDs for the movie lover, games and consoles, and did I mention that they have jewelry? This month Computers and Mattresses are on sale.

    Just like pawn shops, consignment shops have a pretty good selection of unique gifts. Check out Halifax Street for Twice Told Tales & Treasures and True Patriot Antiques at 327 and 323, respectively

    At Twice Told Treasures, Leandra has a whole shelves of scrap booking and paper craft items and a table full of fun salt and pepper shakers. She also has a wall full of used books that need an new home.

    A recent trip to True Patriot Antiques found a new home for a ceramic bread box, but there is also a table full of glassware (including Fostoria American) and some other pretty neat stuff, like a set of canisters – white with blue writing and a fun shape.

    While you are on Halifax Street, stop by Three Bears and a Tree at 321. They have a Day Spa, gift shop and are the home of L. P.’s Café Cusine. After you shop a bit, let Linda whip you up a great lunch. I was there one day last week and the Meatloaf Sandwich that was the special that day was great.

    I know that hardware stores are not typically hot spots for traditional gift shopping. We all have that one person in our life that is a bit of a nerd about something. Maybe someone has been dropping hints about a new dishwasher or freezer or washing machine (yes, I know, all of these involve work, but if your spouse actually asks for a dishwasher, buy them a dishwasher, just make sure that they are serious so that you don’t end up in the dog house), stop by City Auto Supply and Hardware at 311 and have a look.

    If you don’t find that perfect gift that is actually work at City Auto Supply, stop by Farm and Lawn Service, head on over to Farm and Lawn Service, 700 North Main Street, and check out their line of Husqvarna tools.  Beat the spring rush and get Dad that new String Trimmer or Leaf Blower for Christmas (you know that he has been dropping hints all year).

    Since you are already so close, stop by Monte’s Flower and Gift Shop, 600 North Main Street.  Flowers are always a good choice, but they have more than flowers and potted plants. Check out their selection of gifts and Christmas Ornaments.

    Also in the Emporia Shopping Center isSloan's Boutique, 528 North Main Street.  Sloan's offers unique fashions for men and women.

    For over 50 years, White’s Family Shoe Store, 212 East Cloverleaf Drive, has been offering the quality name brands that you would drive to some other place to buy. Save the drive, you can get gifts for everybody right here in Emporia at White’s Family Shoe Store.

    Head on over to Jarrat and check out Vintage, 117 Jarratt Avenue. If they still have it, there is a great doll house that would make almost any little girl happy.  They also have antiques and handcrafted furniture and gifts. Many of the offerings, from butcher block cutting boards to candy, including some truly addictive candied pecans, and soy candles are made by local artisans. There really too many items to list, so just head on over and have a look for yourself!

    Back to Emporia, where you must swing by Thorpe’s Whole Home Store, 202 Carroll Street (in the old Sash and Door).  Yes, they have flooring and paint (think about updating the bathroom for Mom), but if you head upstairs there is a world more. Melody pointed out the custom embroidery on my last visit, and they have seasonal soaps, some great smelling Woodwick Candles and a corner chock full of fishing tackle, which could make at least one grandparent, uncle brother or sister happy.

    On the off chance that you still have not found everything for everyone on your list, there is also Clements Mayes Photographyand Picture Perfect Custom Framing, 401 Halifax Street. Grandmas the world over are always happy to get pictures of their babies! In addition to the great photography, Clements also does wonderful restoration work, so you can get that picture that you knocked off the wall a few years ago restored and reframed.

    Dinnertime is near! Arby’s, 109 Market Drive, has some great new menu items. The Pork Belly is back! Swing by, get dinner for the car full of weary shoppers – get dessert, too, the turnovers and cookies are as good as the milk shakes.

    Odds are, you have forgotten someone or have gifts going out of town. You might even have someone that would love a taste of home. The Good Earth Peanut Company, 5334 Skippers Rd, Skippers, has you covered. They can even handle the shipping. No, it is not all peanuts, but, honestly, a good tin of peanuts can’t be beat. They have trail mixes, gift assortments, mixed nuts, butter toasted peanuts and pecans, preserves, pickles, apple butter (and pumpkin, peach, and cherry), peanut butter, honey, salad dressings, sauces and Country Ham. If you are just too tuckered out to head down to Skippers, visit

    Take it easy on Friday and shop local on Saturday. Tell them you read about it on!

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  20. Open House At CITE Lab on November 30, 2017

    The public is invited to an Open House at the Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) Lab located at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Open House is Thursday November 30, 2017 anytime from 5 to 7 p.m. at 118 East Danville Street. 

    Come learn about the program and meet some of our students who are currentlypreparing for exciting careers in the Information Technology world. The lab offers students realistic learning experiences in a simulated data center environment and prepares them to take CompTia credentials (A+, Server+, Network+,Security+), industry standards.

    Made possible through a grant from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and a partnership with the Town of South Hill, the lab has been built and furnished to provide a state-of-the-art laboratory in which students will learn and hone the skills for jobs in IT.  This field encompassesthe application of computer to store, study, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information, often in the context of a business or other enterprise.

    For information, call 434 955 2252.

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  21. Francis “Buddy” Harding

    Francis “Buddy” Harding, 87, of Jarratt, passed away Sunday, November 19, 2017.  He is survived by his wife, Esther “Tutter” Harding; three daughters, Denice Cifers and husband, Wayne, Karen Wiles and Sheran Rigg and husband, Baker; twelve grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; nephew, Kevin Harding and nieces, Tammy Cabrera, Virginia Anderson and Kathleen Meehan. A memorial service will be held 3 p.m. Saturday, November 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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  22. VCU Rape Reports Increase, But Cause May Be Complicated

    By Diana DiGangi, Capital News Service

    A recently released campus safety report showed Virginia Commonwealth University’s number of rape reports nearly doubling, but officials say could be a good sign.

    Both the VCU Police Department and the university’s Wellness Center say the increase could be due to students feeling more at ease in coming forward about being the victims of sexual assaults – not an increase in the crimes themselves.

    “We believe individuals come forward because they feel comfortable reporting to VCUPD and that awareness and education is a key part in communicating to the community,” said Matthew Lovisa, coordinator of communications and marketing for the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

    In its 2017 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report, VCU reported that 15 rapes occurred on campus in 2016. That was a big jump from eight rapes in 2015 and five in 2014.

    Crime statistics are complicated because there are several different sets of data. Just days before VCU released its annual campus safety report, which goes to the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI posted crime numbers for the nation’s colleges and universities.

    The FBI data showed that VCU had reported nine rapes in 2016. Why didn’t the number match the 15 rapes tallied in VCU’s own report?

    Because VCU must pass along all rape reports to the Department of Education, even if the victim has decided not to file a criminal complaint, according to VCU Police. For example, the victim may have chosen to file a Title IX complaint or just seek counseling services.

    There was a similar discrepancy in sexual assault statistics in 2015, when the FBI listed three criminally reported rapes at VCU and VCU’s campus safety report listed eight rapes overall.

    Officials didn’t seem to think the increase in numbers was indicative of a rape trend as much as a sea change in attitudes toward sex crimes and the victims of such assaults.

    “VCU Police has had a paradigm shift in the way the department handles sexual assaults since 2010,” said department spokeswoman Corey Byers.

    In 2010, the FBI listed VCU – along with 14 other schools in Virginia – as having reported zero rapes. Only seven colleges and universities in the state reported any rapes that year, with the highest being four at Radford University.

    “VCU Police officers want to establish trust and rapport with survivors and want them to know they will be supported when they come forward,” Byers said.

    VCU Police are participating in a nationwide campaign called “Start By Believing.” The campaign urges law enforcement officials to trust people when they report sexual assault.

    VCU Police Chief John Venuti served on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence in 2014-15. It recommended that law enforcement agencies provide a “You Have Options” program, which offers victims several ways to report a sexual assault, including just giving authorities a verbal record of the crime.

    The Wellness Resource Center at VCU has a team of advocates for students who have experienced sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking. They meet with students to provide them with guidance, options and support.

    In the spirit of “You Have Options,” VCU Police added several “soft interview rooms” for victims of violence or their families. These rooms have soft lighting and furniture and are meant to make those being interviewed as comfortable as possible.

    “Our whole goal is just making sure they know that there’s ‘no wrong door,’” said Fatima Smith, the Well’s assistant director of sexual and intimate partner violence, stalking and advocacy services. “In other words, wherever you enter, you’ll be supported, you’ll be believed, you’ll be heard.”

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    RICHMOND – Traveling to spend time with family is a holiday tradition, and as millions hit the road this Thanksgiving, Virginia State Police urges motorists to drive to save lives so everyone arrives safely for the celebration.

    Within the past two weeks, traffic crashes in Virginia have claimed the lives of 35 drivers and passengers, and nine pedestrians. From Jan. 1, 2017, to Nov. 16, 2017, preliminary reports indicate traffic crashes statewide have resulted in 710 deaths; compared to 640 deaths during the same timeframe in 2016.

    “Tragically, traffic fatalities are on the rise in Virginia,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We’ve seen an 11 percent increase over this time last year. With so many people estimated to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend, we need everyone to help prevent crashes by driving smart, buckling up and never driving drunk or drugged. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday.”

    To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. As a participating agency, state police will increase its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the Commonwealth beginning Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through midnight, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017.

    During last year’s Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police troopers:

    • Cited 9,235 speeders
    • Cited 2,928 reckless drivers
    • Arrested 132 drunken drivers
    • Cited 824 safety belt violations & 286 child restraint violations
    • Investigated 1,163 traffic crashes, in which eight were fatal

    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.


  24. Enfield NC Home Tour is December 2 - The Craftsman Homes


    Downtown Enfield Restoration & Preservation (DERP) is holding its Fifth Annual Christmas Homes Tour on Saturday, December 2. The tour is designed to showcase the architecture of this historic town (founded in 1740). Since so many newcomers have discovered the advantages of living in this sleepy, rural town – people from New Hampshire, Arizona, New Jersey, Long Island, Florida and Indiana – the tour will provide a good opportunity to see what some of these newcomers have been up to in their new town and restoration projects.

    In years past, the Christmas Homes Tour has featured several antebellum homes in Enfield – Shell Castle, the Cellars, the James H. Parker House, Strawberry Hill and Myrtle Lawn – all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. These homes were built to inspire and impress – with their floor-to-ceiling windows, imposing staircases, double-door entrances, historic out buildings and formal gardens. The 2017 Christmas Homes Tour is veering in a new direction; this year the tour will feature a homier style: the Craftsmen Bungalow.

    The Craftsman style was inspired by the 1850s arts and crafts movement in England. In recent years, the Craftsman style bungalow has regained its popularity. These homes have strong bones, natural materials, handcrafted, built-in cabinetry, big covered porches with tapered (battered) columns on heavy piers that integrate the outside environment with the inside floor plan, deep eaves with knee braces and low-pitched roofs, high ceilings, plenty of double-hung windows and meandering floor plans – with the era of construction being roughly from 1920 to 1930.

    What distinguishes the Craftsmen Bungalows on Enfield’s 2017 Christmas Homes Tour? For one thing, the featured homes on the 2017 Christmas Homes Tour are not “kit homes.” Current restoration undertaken by the new owners in Enfield would have revealed several distinctive features of the “kit homes,” such as stamped lumber, Goodwall Sheet Plaster, a square block on molding joints at staircase landings and shipping labels under the staircase.In contrast, the homes on this year’s tour all have plaster walls, indigenous wood, built-in cabinetry and atypical dimensions.

    The 2017 Christmas Homes Tour will feature five Craftsman Bungalows along with one “Special Project” – a turn-of-the-century warehouse built in 1919 recently converted into living space, which was singlehandedly designed and built by one of Enfield’s newer residents, Lee Jones. The exposed beams, brick arches, stain glass, heated flooring and open design are all reminiscent of Craftsman design elements but now have an up-to-date twist in this spacious warehouse.

    To learn more about Craftsman style, Maggie Gregg, Regional Director, Eastern Office of Preservation North Carolina, will give a lecture on December 2 at 11 a.m. at Bellamy Manor & Gardens. Gregg, who has a “lifelong love of preservation,” was one of the first graduates of Edgecombe Community College’s Historic Preservation Technology Program. The lecture will last an hour.

    The tour begins at noon and ends at 5 p.m. Tickets ($25) are available at Aunt Ruby's Peanuts prior to the date of the event. A senior discount ($20) will be given to those who purchase tickets at Bellamy Manor on the day-of-the-event, at 613 Glenview Road, Enfield, where the lecture is taking place. Please arrive at 10:30 a.m. so you can purchase tickets and hear the 11 a.m. lecture. Tickets can also be purchased online at

    An evening prayer service will be held at the Historic Episcopal Church of the Advent, 200 Batchelor Avenue, on Saturday, December 2, 5:30. A Community Choir, with organist Sally Mosely and Choir Director Jesse Shearin, will perform during the service. If you plan to stay the weekend in Enfield, the annual Christmas service at Whitaker’s Chapel, a Heritage Landmark of the United Methodist Church and also on the National Register of Historic Places, will be held the following day, Sunday, December 3, at 3 p.m. This year Whitaker’s Chapel will be celebrating its 277th anniversary.

    The Downtown Enfield Restoration and Preservation Association (DERP) is a non-profit membership organization comprised of business owners and citizens to strengthen and support downtown revitalization. The organization’s primary focus is stabilization of existing infrastructure, revitalization of abandoned properties through redevelopment, promote Enfield’s natural eco-agri-cultural tourism opportunities and to develop and publish resources and economic incentives to attract and retain business in Downtown Enfield. DERP supports Enfield, “American Made Since 1740.” This past year, DERP has planted 17 Crepe Myrtle trees in the downtown area, installed four new awnings on downtown store fronts and commissioned  Napoleon Hill to restore a mural on a Dennis Street building. For more information about the house tour or the day’s events or DERP, contact Suzann McKiernan Anderson at 252-445-2234.

    PHOTO CREDIT: Susanna Martin

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  25. Rep. McEachin Announces $2.2M+ Grant for Virginia Department of Health

    WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announcedthat the Virginia Department of Health was awarded a $2,285,039.00 Maternal and Child Health Services Grant (MCH) by the Health Resources and Services Administration, to fund access to quality care for women and children in Virginia.

    “I am pleased to see this funding awarded to the women and children of Virginia,” said Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04). “This grant will provide access to high-quality, affordable care for some women and children who might otherwise have lacked the care they need. This funding will help create a healthier, happier, safer Commonwealth.”

    The MCH grant is a Title V block grant that runs through September 2019. The funds are typically allocated to improve access to prenatal and postnatal care, reduce infant mortality, and increase health assessments and preventative care for children.

    Congressman McEachin has made the health and well-being of women and children a priority. Rep. McEachin is an original co-sponsor of the Healthy MOM Act (H.R. 2745), recognizing the immediate need, cost-reducing benefits, and lifesaving nature of being able to enroll in a healthcare plan from the moment pregnancy beings. He is also a co-sponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act (H.R. 3773), which promotes child care and early learning.

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  26. 2017 Christmas Concert

    Pictured: Tammy Hand, Wendy Keener, Darryl Keener, Patty Richardson, Dr. Julie Hawley, Patti Watson, Kathy Baird

    GASBURG ~ The Pleasant Hill Christian Church located at 175 Ankum Road in Gasburg, Virginia cordially invites you to celebrate God’s greatest Gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, with “A Festival of Christmas Music” on Sunday, December 3, at 7:00 pm.  The Christmas Celebration will feature songs for everyone!  From Silent Night to Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, this concert is sure to usher you into the Christmas season.

    The festive evening of Christmas music will be presented by Patti Watson, Kathy Baird, Wendy Keener, Darryl Keener, Patty Richardson, Tammy Hand, Dr. Julie Baird Hawley, and the Pleasant Hill Christian Church Youth and Adult Choirs.  The concert will benefit children and families of domestic violence in Brunswick, Sussex and Greensville counties.

    Patti Watson is a member of Philadelphia United Methodist Church while, Kathy Baird, Patty Richardson, Wendy Keener, Darryl Keener, Dr. Julie Hawley and Tammy Hand are members of Pleasant Hill Christian Church. Together they will present medleys of familiar Christmas carols as well as songs of the season. Following the concert, you are also invited to a reception that will be held in the PHCC Family Life Center.

    There is no admission fee or ticket required for the concert, however, a special love offering will be collected during the program for the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Program which is a non-profit organization that is specially designed to help victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault.  The Family Violence Sexual Assault Unit has been serving the citizens of the City of Emporia, Greensville, Sussex and Brunswick Counties for 29 years. The unit is available to assist victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is manned by a small group of staff and volunteers.

    During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 the Unit served 689 victims: 334 from Emporia, 185 from Greensville County, 128 from Brunswick County and 32 from Sussex County. 190 of the victims were under the age of 17, 97 were aged 18-24, 286 were aged 25-39, 100 were aged 40-59 and 16 were 60 and older. Helping people who are hurting and in need this Christmas season is what this event is all about. For more information regarding the concert please call the church office at (434) 577-2463.

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  27. Make Shopping Small Your Holiday Tradition

    Locally-Owned Businesses Support Communities More than Large Chains

    BY Acting SBA Regional Administrator Carl Knoblock

    Saturday, November 25, 2017 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses for all they contribute to our local communities. Did you know that since 1995, small businesses generated 64 percent of new jobs, and paid 44 percent of the total United States private payroll? When we shop small –spending our money at locally-owned small businesses within our neighborhoods and towns – we help create two out of three net new local jobs.

    Across the nation we are already seeing advertisements and news stories about which major chain is opening their doors on Black Friday, or even pushing employees to work on Thanksgiving Day! What you might not hear about, but should, are the mom and pop shops, the corner bakeries, and other locally-owned businesses that are competing with these national and international conglomerates. This holiday season, let’s recommit to keeping more of our hard-earned money local by supporting our neighborhood champions, America’s small businesses.

    When you shop local, you’re putting your money right back into your town and neighborhood. Compared to chain stores, locally-owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community, which means more money for local police and fire departments as well as schools and other community supported infrastructure and services. Do the math: Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes. And, for every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy compared to only $43 from the big guys.

    This Small Business Saturday®, visit your Main Street merchants to find unique, handmade gifts, and unsurpassed service that you won’t find at a big-box retailer. Afterward, dine at a locally-owned restaurant, an industry employing 14 million Americans and generating $709.2 billion in sales - equal to 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Many small restaurants are also more eco-friendly by serving local products.

    To continue the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration Richmond District Office will do a series of “Where Are We” articles. These articles will showcase small businesses throughout the state of Virginia. Please subscribe to the Richmond District Office Govdelivery to receive articles. Remember to shop and dine small on Saturday, November 25. And, while you’re out shopping, make sure to tell us about it on social media using #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall to amplify your support. 

    For more information on local Small Business Saturday events in your area, check out:

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  28. Virginia Home-Schoolers Top 40,000 for First Time

    By Will Thomas, VCU Capital News Service

    Alycia Wright, a Short Pump resident, used to have her own classroom where each day she taught dozens of middle-school students. That all changed after Wright had her fourth child and decided to begin home-schooling her children.

    “We tried it for a year, loved the freedom and we have not stopped,” she said.

    A licensed middle school teacher for 12 years with a master’s degree, Wright initially made the switch to home schooling as a financial decision: It meant saving on private-school tuition for her two daughters. After experiencing a year in the home-schooling community, Wright was more than happy to continue home-schooling her children.

    Wright’s children are among more than 1,000 home-schoolers in Henrico County, where the number of students being taught at home has risen 130 percent since 2006.

    Home schooling involves more than just parents teaching students. Wright praises professionals from the community who are willing to teach her children and other home-schoolers.

    “Our science teacher is a veterinarian,” Wright said. “The history teacher is actually the curator of the Virginia Historical Society.”

    Last year, the number of home-schoolers in Virginia eclipsed 40,000 students for the first time – an increase of 50 percent in the past decade, according to newly released statistics from the Virginia Department of Education. The agency has been collecting and reporting data on the home education population since 1994.

    If home-schoolers constituted a school division, it would be the seventh-largest district in the state.

    “It’s become more commonplace, it used to be regarded as somewhat fringe,” said Karen Skelton, president of the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. The nonprofit group, which began in 1993, provides advice and other assistance to home-schooling families.

    Skelton lives in Annandale in Northern Virginia. Both of her children are home-schooled graduates.

    Skelton said that every month, she hears from families frustrated with their local schools. She believes this is a major reason why more Virginians are turning to home education.

    “Customizing one's education to fit the learning style – to me, that has been the biggest (reason for the) increase,” Skelton said.

    She said home schooling has grown in popularity nationwide with parents becoming more involved in their children’s education. “You learn together as a family, and you do more hands on things. People come to it with an idea of, ‘This could be a real positive experience and a new lifestyle.”

    Another reason for the increase in home schooling is that parents want to provide hands-on help to their children who may have learning disabilities, said Yvonne Bunn, director of legislative affairs for the Home Educators Association of Virginia. That group was formed in 1983 – the first home education organization in Virginia.

    Bunn said parents often approach her with questions about home schooling. “They ask me, ‘All right – give me the facts. Tell me what the outcomes are, and I want to make a choice that’s the best thing for my family.’”

    Parents are especially concerned about their children’s academic success. Bunn tells them that home schooling produces excellent results.

    “We have some of the highest levels of standardized achievement tests scores. Our kids are going to college; they are getting into universities with scholarships,” Bunn said.

    Editor's Note: Homeschooling in Emporia-Greensville is down 38% from 2011.


  29. Scams on the Rise, Dominion Energy Helping Customers Fight Back

    • Scams reports from customers rose 49 percent over last year
    • Customer education and awareness are best tactics to beat scammers
    • Dominion Energy offers tips to recognize scams and stay safe

    RICHMOND, Va. – Utility scams are on the rise again in Virginia and across the country. Reports of scammers calling Dominion Energy customers threatening disconnection in exchange for immediate payment has increased by 49 percent since last year.

    “Customers report that the caller ID on their phone says ‘Dominion’ when they are actually being contacted by a scammer,” said Marc Gaudette, director-Corporate Security, Safety & Healthat Dominion Energy. “They are told the power to their home or business will be cut within minutes if payment (usually via a pre-paid debit card or credit card) is not provided immediately. Customers are given a fake number to call for payment, and the recording is a copy of Dominion Energy’s own phone greeting.”

    Dominion Energy reminds customers that it doesn’t do business this way.

    “We never threaten customers with immediate disconnection when they are behind on their bills,” said Charlene Whitfield, vice-president-Customer Service at Dominion Energy. “We contact customers by phone or in writing multiple times to work out a payment plan before disconnection occurs. The payment plan never requires payment within an hour or less.”

    Dominion Energy is working with local and federal law enforcement as well as other energy companies and utilities to monitor these scams. The best defense against scams is education and awareness. This year alone, nationwide scams awareness and education has resulted in the shutdown of more than 500 bogus phone numbers.

    Dominion Energy does not:

    • Use aggressive threats to disconnect service (usually within an hour or less)
    • Insist on immediate payment, over the phone
    • Request a pre-paid card to be used for payment over the phone

    But customers can protect themselves and their community by remembering:

    • Never purchase a pre-paid card to avoid shut off— we will not insist on just one type of payment. You can pay in-person at a designated payment center (locations listed here) or through your online account. All payment options available are listed here.
    • Verify what you’re being told about your account.Hang up and call us at 866-DOM-HELP to confirm whether or not a payment is due, not any other number.
    • Collect information from the scammer, such as phone numbers or names, to help us and law enforcement track and spread the word to customers. 

    For more information about protecting yourself against scams, visit

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  30. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces September & October 2017 Employees of the Month

    Emporia, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is pleased to announce the September and October 2017 Employees of the Month: Robin Duncan and Jakai Barnes. These employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in one of ten Standards of Behavior. As Employees of the Month, they each received a certificate of recognition, balloons, cookies to share with co-workers and a cash prize.



    Nominated for demonstrating excellence in Sense of Ownership, September’s Employee of the Month, Robin Duncan, RN works in SVRMC’s Emergency Department. Ms. Duncan’s nomination included the following statement:  “Robin takes responsibility for all tasks assigned to her and ensures they are completed accurately and thoroughly.   She often takes charge of difficult situations without any hesitation, making sure that she does so in the best interest of the patient and the facility.   She is actively involved in the community and promotes SVRMC in a positive manner.  We are lucky to have Robin on our team.”



    Nominated for the All-Star Award, highlighting several Standards of Behavior: Responsiveness, Attitude, and Commitment to Co-Workers, October’s Employee of the Month, Jakai Barnes, works in SVRMC’s Patient Access Department. Ms. Barnes’ nomination included the following statement:  “In addition to Jakai’s daily role as Insurance Verification Clerk, she steps in as PBX Operator, ED registrar, Outpatient Registrar, and Centralized Scheduler, as necessary.  She has the ability to wear many hats and takes pride in her work. She has a strong commitment to her co-workers as she is always willing to adjust her schedule for the needs of the department while maintaining a smile and a positive attitude.  She is an asset not only to the department, but also to SVRMC. “

    Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is an 80-bed, acute-care facility located at 727 N. Main Street in Emporia, VA. With a medical staff of more than 70 physicians representing over 25 specialties, SVRMC serves nearly 50,000 residents in Emporia and the surrounding communities. The medical center is conveniently located near Interstate 95, Hwy 58 and Hwy 301. For more information about SVRMC and the services it provides, please visit


  31. Virginia’s Growth Alliance to Award up to $90,000.00 in Business Startup and Expansion Grants

    Entrepreneurs, new business startups and existing business owners are invited to participate in Virginia Growth Alliance’s 2018 Regional Business Competition, “Growing Entrepreneurs Together” (G.E.T.).

    The G.E.T. business competition is designed to cultivate local economic development by inspiring and supporting local entrepreneurs and existing businesses with a desire to expand in the VGA towns of Clarksville, South Hill, and the city of Emporia.

    The competition will give rise to many budding entrepreneurs and expanding businesses that have been prepared through a free 6 week bootcamp-style workshop series provided by the experts at the Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC). These workshops will be instrumental in guiding participants through studying the feasibility of their proposed business, exploring business models, and developing successful business plans.

    Multiple winners will be awarded prizes that range from $5k to $30k. Additionally, winners could receive other benefits that include access to a low-interest revolving loan funds, building lease rebates, local and regional business mentoring, and other local incentives to be announced.

    “Although up to $30k is available for each award, we anticipate the majority of the awards to be around the $5-10k range”, explained competition organizer, Tina Morgan. “We are really excited to see what big ideas come in for the competition, and based on hat our residents and visitors are saying, we’re particularly hoping to see entries for Food Trucks, Restaurants, Brewery’s, Bakery’s, Retail, and maybe even Tasting Rooms.”

    Applicants aren't limited to these communities; the VGA is hoping to see entries come in from across the country by entrepreneurs who desire to take advantage of local incentives to build in one of these named locations. “Small businesses are the lifeline of our communities around the Commonwealth. They provide jobs, they provide talent, and a sense of place.” said Jeff Reed, Executive Director of Virginia’s Growth Alliance.

    “Entrepreneurship is a key component of our economic strategy, and we want to foster the development of these individuals and their ideas, particularly here in rural Virginia” Planning is underway for this exciting project and those interested are invited to join one of three upcoming (free) Lunch and Learn information sessions to be held in each of the named locations, beginning with Emporia on November 17th. Register for this session and find details about other upcoming information sessions, competition guidelines, and application by visiting and following the Get Cash links. The VGA is interested in knowing what types of businesses you’d like to see open in these areas, so you are invited to weigh in with your opinion at (click on Survey). By completing the survey, you will be entered into a drawing for a $100.00 Visa Gift Card.
    For additional information or questions, contact Tina Morgan, Competition Organizer at the following email: or phone 434-200-8066. This initiative is made possible through seed funding from the DHCD, educational resources by the LSBDC, support and mentorship from state and local officials, additional funding resources by the SPDC, and planning and administration by the VGA. VGA includes the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, and Prince Edward, and the city of Emporia.


  32. William W. “Billy” Dickens

    William W. “Billy” Dickens, 74, passed away Friday, November 10, 2017. He was born April 26, 1943, a son of the late Warren and Marie Dickens and was also preceded in death by a daughter, Billie Jo Dickens.

    He is survived by his son, William S. “Shelley” Dickens and fiance’ Jeanna; three grandchildren, William J. “Joey” Dickens (Alexis), Taylor R. Dickens (Joshua) and Christian B. Dickens; two great-grandchildren, Joshua A. Moore, Jr. “L.J.” and Bruce S. Moore; two sisters, Gayle D. Gilliland (Deb) and Myrtice D. Pinelli (Tony) and a brother, Joseph Alston “Joe” Dickens (Tina); and a devoted former daughter-in-law, Tammy H. Dickens (Johnnie).

    Billy was and is still our hero and remains the strongest man we ever knew. The family would like to express their appreciation to the doctors and nurses of the ICU and CLC at McGuire VA Medical Center for their compassionate care and concern for Billy and his family.

    The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, November 15 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, November 16.

    Interment with military honors will follow 3 p.m. at Virginia Veterans Cemetery at Amelia, 10300 Pridesville Rd, Amelia, Virginia.

    Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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  33. SVCC Student On a Supreme Path

    During his sophomore year at Buckingham County High School, Ty’Leik Chambers made a decision that focused the course of his life and set him on an education and career path that he hopes will culminate with a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Although Ty’Leik was a strong student, he did not feel challenged. “I wanted to do something hard,” he says. So, Ty’Leik decided to apply for admission into the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia(GSSV).

    The Virginia Governor’s School Program began in 1973 to help address the needs of academically motivated young people like Ty’Leik who thrive in a demanding, interdisciplinary environment.

     GSSV, one of 19 academic-year schools within the Governor’s School program, is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education in partnership with ten participating school divisions. Southside Virginia Community College hosts the school at its two main campuses. Students from Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg (Park View High School), and Nottoway counties attend classes at SVCC’s Christanna Campus in Alberta. Ty’Leik and his classmates from Buckingham County High School along with their peers from Amelia, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg (Bluestone), and Prince Edward counties attend classes at SVCC’s John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville.

    Laurie Michaelson, GSSV Director says, “We have wonderful students at GSSV, and Ty’Leik is a great example of our student body. He is intelligent, grounded, service minded, and motivated to learn.”

    Ty’Leik credits his family for encouraging him. “My mom always promoted education. She encouraged me to apply to Governor’s School. She was my inspiration and was very supportive.”

    His older sister was also instrumental. “Instead of reading just stories, she would read to me out of her text books. I still remember some of the facts she read.”

    Now in his senior year, Ty’Leik reflects on his education journey so far, “It’s been way better than I expected. I have friends from other counties who are people like me, people who really value the education and opportunities they have and do not waste it.”

    One of his teachers, Leslie Poling, says, “Ty'Leik is a wonderful student. He is equally adept at being a leader and a worker bee. He also knows when to take each role. I had him in chemistry last year and research this year. He is hard working, a high achiever, and able to work well with anyone.”

    Research is a key component of the GSSV curriculum. All students are a required participate in the development and execution of an original, two-year research project. Ty’Leik’s project focuses on a safety issue. “If someone is cooking on a grill, it can start a fire if it is too close to the house.” With two other students, he is investigating a way to determine if the type of paint used on a building’s exterior impacts its risk of catching on fire. Ty’Leik and his group will present their findings at a research symposium to be held on SVCC’s Daniel Campus.

    The opportunity to conduct and present original research makes an impressive entry on students’ college applications, and Ty’Leik has ambitious plans for his future. “After graduation, I would like to attend the University of Virginia with a double major in pre-law and American studies, or at least a minor in American Studies. After graduation from UVA, I’d like to go to Harvard Law School.” He also has his ideal career path plotted. “I’d like to become a district attorney, then a judge, and then a justice on the Supreme Court.”

    He explains, “I grew up hearing stories of great African Americans who influenced and shaped the direction of our country.” Ty’Leik hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of these great Americans.

    Ty’Leik is eager to take up that mantle of leadership and help steer the nation toward a brighter future. To students who may be considering applying to GSSV, he offers this advice: “Yes. It can be a challenge. But it can be overcome. Classes are hard but the relationships with the teachers and the knowledge they provide makes it possible. GSSV is a wise and smart decision.”

    For information about GGSV, visit

    SVCC Student On a Supreme Path

    During his sophomore year at Buckingham County High School, Ty’Leik Chambers made a decision that focused the course of his life and set him on an education and career path that he hopes will culminate with a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Although Ty’Leik was a strong student, he did not feel challenged. “I wanted to do something hard,” he says. So, Ty’Leik decided to apply for admission into the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia(GSSV).

    The Virginia Governor’s School Program began in 1973 to help address the needs of academically motivated young people like Ty’Leik who thrive in a demanding, interdisciplinary environment.

     GSSV, one of 19 academic-year schools within the Governor’s School program, is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education in partnership with ten participating school divisions. Southside Virginia Community College hosts the school at its two main campuses. Students from Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg (Park View High School), and Nottoway counties attend classes at SVCC’s Christanna Campus in Alberta. Ty’Leik and his classmates from Buckingham County High School along with their peers from Amelia, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg (Bluestone), and Prince Edward counties attend classes at SVCC’s John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville.

    Laurie Michaelson, GSSV Director says, “We have wonderful students at GSSV, and Ty’Leik is a great example of our student body. He is intelligent, grounded, service minded, and motivated to learn.”

    Ty’Leik credits his family for encouraging him. “My mom always promoted education. She encouraged me to apply to Governor’s School. She was my inspiration and was very supportive.”

    His older sister was also instrumental. “Instead of reading just stories, she would read to me out of her text books. I still remember some of the facts she read.”

    Now in his senior year, Ty’Leik reflects on his education journey so far, “It’s been way better than I expected. I have friends from other counties who are people like me, people who really value the education and opportunities they have and do not waste it.”

    One of his teachers, Leslie Poling, says, “Ty'Leik is a wonderful student. He is equally adept at being a leader and a worker bee. He also knows when to take each role. I had him in chemistry last year and research this year. He is hard working, a high achiever, and able to work well with anyone.”

    Research is a key component of the GSSV curriculum. All students are a required participate in the development and execution of an original, two-year research project. Ty’Leik’s project focuses on a safety issue. “If someone is cooking on a grill, it can start a fire if it is too close to the house.” With two other students, he is investigating a way to determine if the type of paint used on a building’s exterior impacts its risk of catching on fire. Ty’Leik and his group will present their findings at a research symposium to be held on SVCC’s Daniel Campus.

    The opportunity to conduct and present original research makes an impressive entry on students’ college applications, and Ty’Leik has ambitious plans for his future. “After graduation, I would like to attend the University of Virginia with a double major in pre-law and American studies, or at least a minor in American Studies. After graduation from UVA, I’d like to go to Harvard Law School.” He also has his ideal career path plotted. “I’d like to become a district attorney, then a judge, and then a justice on the Supreme Court.”

    He explains, “I grew up hearing stories of great African Americans who influenced and shaped the direction of our country.” Ty’Leik hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of these great Americans.

    Ty’Leik is eager to take up that mantle of leadership and help steer the nation toward a brighter future. To students who may be considering applying to GSSV, he offers this advice: “Yes. It can be a challenge. But it can be overcome. Classes are hard but the relationships with the teachers and the knowledge they provide makes it possible. GSSV is a wise and smart decision.”

    For information about GGSV, visit

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  34. How to Start College with an Advantage

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    Dual enrollment programs operate as collaborative partnerships between high schools and colleges. They offer students who meet prerequisite requirements an opportunity to jumpstart collegiate and professional careers by earning college credits while still in high school.

    Dual enrollment differs from other accelerated learning options in significant ways. For example, in Advanced Placement (AP) programs, students receive high school credit for passing approved courses, but the conferring of college credit is conditional. It depends on a student’s choice to take a qualifying exam (20–30% do not) and then on the score ultimately received. In dual enrollment programs, students take actual college courses from appropriately credentialed teachers. Credits earned through dual enrollment appear on the student’s permanent college transcript.

    The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center and the Community College Research Center at Columbia University recently examined dual enrollment programs. Their study, published in September 2017, reported that students who work on college courses concurrently with high school completion were more likely than their peers to graduate from high school, attend college, and earn a college credential. The study also found that students with as little as one term’s participation also accrued benefits. Among students from Virginia, educational attainment for dually enrolled students surpassed national averages.

    The ability of dual enrollment to reduce the total cost of degree or credential attainment is perhaps the best-known advantage of dual enrollment, but programs also confer other benefits. For students who are the first in their families to attend college and for those from groups that are traditionally underserved by institutions of higher education, dual enrollment courses offer a preliminary look at what college work will require. Participating helps these young adults develop the confidence they need to persist and achieve their goals. For students focused on technical and professional credentials, dual enrollment options help them acquire the knowledge and develop the skills necessary to be competitive in the workforce.

    At Southside Virginia Community College, our dual enrollment program seeks to expand a tradition of higher education across our region. Approximately 70% of SVCC’s dual enrollment students pursue either an Associate of Arts and Sciences (AA&S) degree, which will transfer to most of Virginia’s four-year colleges and universities, or a Career Studies Certificate (CSC) in a technical or professional area. These areas include welding, automotive diagnosis and tune-up, high-performance technology, advanced manufacturing, computer-related fields, and nurse aide. About 30% of our dual enrollment students take classes to accumulate a few college credits or to skip introductory-level classes. During the most recently completed academic year, graduating dually enrolled seniors earned 252 Associates Degrees, 35 General Education Certificates, and 230 Career Studies Certificates.

    For more information about dual enrollment opportunities at SVCC, contact Katherine Clatterbuck, Dual Enrollment Coordinator (434-736-2080 or

    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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    Alice Smith Bivens, age 81, of Emporia, VA, died Monday, November 13, 2017, at Dunlop House Assisted Living and Memory Center, Colonial Heights, VA.

    Mrs. Bivens, was born in Greensville County, VA the daughter of the late Pender Lee Smith, Sr. and Virginia Harrell Smith; she was pre-deceased by two sons, Mike Lee and Joe Bivens.   She was a devoted mother and homemaker.

    Surviving are: Her husband Billy Joe Bivens; two daughters, Pat B. Clary and her husband Wilson of Emporia, VA and Amy Pollard Lifsey of Roanoke Rapids, NC; A brother Alfred Smith and his wife Christine of Emporia, VA; 4 grandchildren, Heather Lifsey Barnes of Lucama, NC, Katie Clary Richardson of Gasburg, VA, Kelly Clary of Emporia, VA, Kendall Clary of Sutherland, VA; three great grandchildren, Ryan Barnes and Ben Barnes both of Lucama, NC and Kenzie Clary of Emporia, VA.

    Graveside services will be held in Greensville Memorial Cemetery, Emporia, VA, Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 2:00PM, with Rev, Rick Ragan officiating.

    Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6350 Center St., Suite 102, Norfolk, Va. 23502.

    Online condolences may be sent to the family at:

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  36. Fund Children’s Health Program, Va. Officials Tell Congress

    By Alan Rodriguez Espinoza, VCU Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – Medical coverage for more than 60,000 children and 1,000 pregnant women in Virginia lies in the hands of Congress, which has yet to reach a decision on how to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

    CHIP is an extension of Medicaid that provides government-funded health insurance to children and pregnant women from families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance.

    Congress missed the Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize federal funding for CHIP.

    The problem is “one of benign neglect,” Karen Remley, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a press release. “As efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act dominated the agenda in the Senate, needed attention to CHIP was lost.”

    In a letter to the Virginia congressional delegation, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said “partisan infighting and dysfunction” in Congress have jeopardized the state’s CHIP-funded program, called Family Access to Medical Insurance Security. McAuliffe and other Democrats blame Republicans for the problem.

    McAuliffe estimated that 66,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women in Virginia depend on FAMIS to receive medical services such as immunizations, checkups and even surgeries and cancer treatments.

    Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services estimates that nearly 1,200 of those children live in Richmond.

    In response to McAuliffe, U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor, a Republican from Virginia Beach, said that “scaring families via press release is not helpful.”

    “It is completely disingenuous to insinuate that I or any other member of the Virginia congressional delegation are ignoring reauthorization of this important program,” Taylor stated in a press release of his own. “In fact, the present delay is a result of a request by the minority party to further negotiations on offsets.”

    U.S. senators including Virginia Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have expressed bipartisan support for the Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure Act, or the KIDS Act of 2017. If ratified, it would extend federal funding for CHIP through the 2022 fiscal year.

    “Sen. Warner recognizes it is essential that CHIP is reauthorized,” said Jonathan Uriarte, his deputy press secretary. “And the KIDS Act is an imperfect but needed compromise to continue funding these necessary health care services for children.”

    But the KIDS Act does not specify where funding for CHIP would come from.

    On Friday, the House voted 242-174 to reauthorize CHIP under the Championing Healthy Kids Act. Democrats opposed the bill because it would cut more than $10 billion from public health and prevention programs funded by the Affordable Care Act and because it would raise Medicare fees for higher-income recipients.

    Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, said on the House floor that the Healthy Kids Act would extend CHIP “without adding to our country’s deficit.” On the other hand, Rep. Donald McEachin, a Democrat from Richmond, said the bill is “loaded with poison pills that would undermine the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid.”

    According to the Department of Medical Assistance Services, CHIP in Virginia cost more than $304 million in fiscal year 2017, with most of the money coming from the federal government. McAuliffe said Virginia is expected to exhaust the federal funds by the end of January.

    “Unless something changes, DMAS will be forced to send letters on Dec. 1, 2017, notifying families of the impending loss of coverage,” McAuliffe stated. “Enrollment will be frozen Jan. 1, 2018, and by Jan. 31, Virginia will have insufficient federal funds to continue the program.”

    The House and Senate must agree on a bill before it can be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.


  37. Brunswick Academy Upper School Honor Roll

    Second Six Weeks of 2017-2018

    Head of School’s List – All A’s

    Grade 9

    Hunter Greene

    Meredith Lucy

    Naomi Sadler

    Grade 10

    Katie-Lynn Chandler

    Jacob Farmer

    Sadler Lundy

    Davis Roberts

    Emily Robertson

    Grade 11

    Taylor Capps

    Savannah Greene

    Morgan Moore

    Jonathan Paul

    Lucy Smith

    Hannah Waller

    Courtney Walton

    Grade 12*

    Benjamin Lewis

    Halie Dru Sadler


    *Dual Enrollment students 

    qualify for Honor Roll at

    the end of each semester.

    “A” & “B” Honor Roll

    Grade 9

    Aaryn Babb

    Tyler Creedle

    Brysen Diefert

    C. Kenneth Greene III

    Seong-Hun (Peter) Jung

    Megan Lewis

    Andrew Myrick

    Kyle Powell

    Brady Talbert

    Kaitlyn Waller

    Nelia Washburn

    Christian Williams


    Grade 10

    Parker Burke

    Kyleigh Capps

    Peyton Coleman

    Hart Creedle

    Sarah Paige Fajna

    Reid Harrell

    Nicholas Hobbs

    Logan Hyde

    Morgan Jamison

    Paige Jennings

    Sutton Montgomery

    William Morris

    Kyle Tanner

    Hinton (Jay) Vick III

    Katie Wright

    Grade 11

    Hunter Hastings

    Guanxi (Will) He

    Sage Kallam

    Cole Moseley

    Kien Powell


    Grade 12*

    Slayten Farmer

    Claire Gregory

    Matthew Harrison

    John Myrick

    Sarah Poarch

    Yuwei (Tiffany) Wang




    *Dual Enrollment students 

    qualify for Honor Roll at 

    the end of each semester.

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  38. McEachin, Costello, Evans, Ryan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to End Food Deserts

    The “Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act” would incentivize food providers to expand access to healthy foods in underserved communities 

    WASHINGTON – Congressmen A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Ryan Costello (PA-06), Dwight Evans (PA-02) and Tim Ryan (OH-13) co-introduced the bipartisan Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act (HFAAA) to increase access to fresh produce available in low-income and rural areas of America.

    “Every person, regardless of where he or she lives, deserves access to nutritious, affordable food, yet thousands of families in my congressional district live in areas where food access is a problem. I am committed to addressing hunger and food insecurity, which is why I introduced the Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act with my colleagues,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “By creating incentives for food providers to establish themselves in communities without access to fresh foods, this commonsense bill will help my constituents secure healthier food options for themselves and their families. We must do everything we can to eliminate food deserts.”

    The bicameral, bipartisan HFAAA would create a system of tax credits and grants for businesses and nonprofits who serve low-income and low-access urban and rural areas. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an estimated 37 million Americans live in a food desert. (*See chart below for data on food deserts in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.)

    "Access to nutritious food should be an important aspect of every life” said Congressman Costello. “Under this legislation, grocery stores, farmers markets, and food banks that provide fresh, healthy foods would be encouraged to open, offer a permanent presence, or make renovations to their stores in underserved areas. Nutritious foods are linked to positive health outcomes, and this legislation is a step forward in making sure families can access the nutrients and food they need to be successful.”

    “I truly believe when we change the narrative as it relates to healthy food options and provide greater access to nutritious food choices we can move the needle in terms of getting rid of food deserts, something I’ve focused a great deal of my time on throughout my entire career.  This bill is an example of a way to use the tax code to incentivize food merchants to help close the grocery store gap and change behaviors. We know diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and others, have a direct correlation to the foods we eat and to critical nutrients missing from our diets. Today, I am proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce the Healthy Food Access for All Americans (HFAAA) Act. HFAAA is one of the tools in our toolbox that we can use to build healthier neighborhoods, block by block,” said Congressman Evans.

    “Our food system is broken and ineffective. In a country where obesity and diabetes rates are skyrocketing, and where 37 million people live in food deserts, we cannot allow the status quo to continue. We must find new ways for all Americans to have access to fresh, healthy food. This legislation takes a big step in the right direction towards accomplishing that goal, and I’m proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress to get this done. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it makes economic sense to tackle a food system that is at the root of so much of our sky-high healthcare costs,” said Congressman Ryan.

    USDA defines a food desert as an area where a grocery store is not available within a mile in urban communities or 10 miles in rural areas; and defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. This bill expands on that definition by adding U.S. census tracts with a poverty rate of 20% (or higher) or a median family income of less than 80% of the median for the state or metro area. The legislation also defines a grocery market as a retail sales store with at least 35% of its selection (or forecasted selection) dedicated to selling fresh produce, poultry, dairy, and deli items.

    Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced a similar version of the HFAAA in August; Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) signed as a co-sponsor since the bill was introduced.

    Full bill text is available here and bill summary is available here. For a map of areas in the United States that would qualify to be served as food deserts under this bill, click here.  


    (The listed localities are included in the 4th Congressional District)


    Virginia Locality

    # of Residents





    Colonial Heights










    Prince George


    Richmond City









    *The population of Virginians who live in food deserts as defined in this bill.

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  39. Past members from once-segregated agriculture and home economics clubs are recognized and honored by Gov. McAuliffe in a formal proclamation

    Attendees at the VSU Agriculture Alumni Banquet Friday night where 62 NFA and NHA alumni were honored.

    Sixty-two former members of the New Farmers of America (NFA) and New Homemakers of America (NHA) were honored by Virginia Gov. Terry R. McAuliffe Friday night, Nov. 3, at a Virginia State University (VSU) reception. The governor, via video, announced a formal proclamation that recognizes “the contributions and achievements of members of the New Farmers of America and New Homemakers of America in our Commonwealth of Virginia, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.”

    Dr. Basil Gooden, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, read aloud the proclamation, which also acknowledged that “Virginia State University recognizes how the NFA and NHA organizations since their inception are deeply-rooted in the rich history of Virginia, its land-grant institutions, and how their values and principles have been etched into the fabric of modern day vocational education programs across the Commonwealth.”

    The proclamation also acknowledged, “The Agricultural Alumni Association of Virginia State University has maintained a steadfast commitment to preserving the history of these organizations and recognizing the accomplishments of its members.”

    The NFA’s history is rooted at VSU and is a result of the vision of three men: George Washington Owens and J.R. Thomas, both teacher trainers at Virginia State College (now VSU); and Dr. H. O. Sargent, federal agent for agricultural education, U.S. Office of Education. In 1927 these three visionaries organized the New Farmers of Virginia, one of the first organizations in the country aimed at promoting the success of farm youth.

    While Owens wrote the constitution for the New Farmers of Virginia and helped lay the foundation for what would later become a national organization (NFA), Sargent lobbied within the Department of Education to officially create an organization in segregated schools. As the idea grew in popularity, chapters formed sporadically throughout the southern states and region. State associations emerged next and then sectional associations based on proximity. These sections held conferences and contests unifying the state associations until a national organization, NFA, was officially created in Tuskegee, Ala. on August 4, 1935. Its objective was to promote agriculture education, leadership, character, thrift, scholarship, cooperation, and citizenship among African-American youth, primarily in the southern states, where schools were segregated by law.

    Owens is today recognized as the “father of NFA” and has a building named after him on VSU’s campus, where the majority of the agricultural classes are taught.

    As Virginia played a leadership role in the development of a national organization for African-American boys interested in agriculture, so did it for white boys with a similar interest. In 1925, Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (now Virginia Tech) organized the Future Farmers of Virginia for white boys in agriculture classes. This Virginia organization became the model for the national Future Farmers of America (FFA), founded in 1928 to bring together white students, teachers and agribusinesses to solidify support for agricultural education.

    In 1965, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the desegregation of public schools, the African-American NFA and the white FFA merged into one national organization under the FFA name. Today, the FFA remains committed to students of all colors and races, providing a path to achievement in leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

    While girls were not permitted to join the NFA or the FFA in its early years, similar home economics organizations were established for them as early as 1920, but these clubs were not nationally organized until 1945. At that time the New Homemakers of American (NHA) for African-American girls and the Future Homemakers of America (FHA) for white girls were established as national segregated organizations. Like their male counterparts, the two organizations merged in 1965 under the name FHA, and in 1999 changed its name to the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

    Over several decades the NFA and NHA contributed extensively to organized instructional programs for African-American youth in public schools, who sought to develop their vocational skills, social lives, and pursue careers in agricultural education and home economics. Virginia-chapter members have held leadership positions at local, state and national levels, and have been recognized and received awards for their achievements. Both organizations are rooted in VSU’s rich history and have been instrumental in the development of modern day vocational education programs.

    The reunion was hosted by the VSU Agriculture Alumni Association and was included as part of the group’s 36th Annual Recognition Banquet. VSU’s Agriculture Alumni Association is committed to preserving the history of the NFA and NHA and recognizing the accomplishments of its members. More than 165 total guests attended the banquet.

    Founded in 1882, Virginia State University is one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions and is located 20 minutes south of Richmond in the village of Ettrick. 

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  40. Maggie Leonard Lewis

    Maggie Leonard Lewis, 88, of Stony Creek, passed away Thursday, November 9, 2017 surrounded by her family. She was the widow of H. Garnett Lewis and was also preceded in death by her daughter, Martha Lewis Rideout. She is survived by her son, H. G. Lewis, III and wife, Kay; son-in-law, David Rideout and wife, Helen; five grandchildren, Jamie Lewis and wife, Brandy, Chuckie Lewis, Katie Poarch and husband, Doug, Kevin Rideout and wife, Shannon and Louise Brucato and husband, Joe; nine great-grandchildren, Taylor Gill, Carter Lewis, Austin Lewis, Grace Lewis, Kaitlyn Poarch, Makenna Poarch, Kelsey Rideout, Luca Brucato and Martha Brucato; a brother, John Leonard and wife, Ruby of Disputanta; a sister, Betsy Critz of Richmond; devoted brother-in-law, Roy Lewis, Sr. and a number of devoted nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Sunday, November 12 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, November 13. Interment will follow at Lewis Family Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Sappony Baptist Church, 9183 Huske Rd., Stony Creek, Virginia 23882. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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  41. Stuart J. Barnes

    Stuart J. Barnes, 60, of Emporia, passed away Tuesday, November 7, 2017. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Online condolences may be shared with the family at  


  42. "All Are Heroes"

    Do not judge the soldier's valor
    By the medals they have won
    many loose their lives or members
    Long before the battle's won.
    Instead treat them all as heroes
    Dedicated one and all
    Fighting for our country's freedom
    Fearing not what might befall.
    Comfort all that feel the trauma
    Give hand to all those in need
    Show respect for all the branches
    For we need them all indeed.
    Pray for his and her encounters
    Knowing none shall be the same
    Faith and trust will sure be needed
    Because keeping peace is not a game.
    Make a bond with those around you
    Show them all you really care
    We're indebted for the freedom
    They have given me and you.
    Roy E. Schepp
    Emporia, Virginia

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    Functional Family Therapy (FFT) Makes Family Members Key Part Of Rehabilitation

    Richmond, VA, Nov. 3 – The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), using the savings realized from closing Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center earlier this year, is adding Functional Family Therapy (FFT), a highly-regarded evidence-based model, to its growing continuum of community-based services available to court-involved youth in traditionally underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

    Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is an empirically grounded, well-documented and highly successful family intervention program for at-risk youth. FFT has been applied to a wide range of youth and their families in various multi-ethnic, multicultural contexts. Target populations range from at-risk preadolescents to youth with very serious problems such as conduct disorder, violent acting-out, and substance abuse.  While FFT targets youth aged 11-18, younger siblings of referred adolescents also often become part of the intervention process.

    FFT is being used in 11 countries and has more than 300 sites serving more than 50,000 families each year. FFT has been conducted both in clinic settings as an outpatient therapy and as a home-based model.

    “In almost all cases, a child’s family is a critical part of their life and rehabilitation,” said DJJ Director Andy Block. “And yet, Virginia has lacked evidence-based family interventions in much of the state. With these new programs, and those we will add in the coming months, we will provide highly effective evidence-based programs for high-risk youth and their families, programs which research shows cost less, and gain better outcomes, than incarceration. “

    “FFT has proven itself effective time and again, because it targets the known causes of delinquency: family relations, peer relations, school performance, and community factors,” said Valerie Boykin, DJJ’s deputy director of community programs. “One of our key goals as we continue to transform our agency is to keep court-involved youth in their communities, near family support whenever possible, and out of an institutional setting. FFT will play a major part in making this happen.”

    The first two FFT teams are located in Suffolk and Petersburg, and include probation and parole referrals from the following cities and counties, all within a 90-minute drive:

    • Eastern FFT Team (Provider: Western Tidewater Community Services Board):Suffolk, Franklin City, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Accomack, Northampton, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Poquoson, York, City of Williamsburg, James City.
    • Southern FFT Team (Provider: Family Focus): Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Nottoway, Amelia, Powhatan, Hopewell, Surry, Greensville, Emporia, Prince George, Brunswick, Sussex, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Prince Edward, Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Henrico, Richmond, Charles City, New Kent.

    Last month DJJ added a similar and equally effective model of family intervention, Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) to its continuum of services.  DJJ plans to implement FFT or MST in more than 100 jurisdictions by the end of 2017. 

    DJJ began a major transformation just over three years ago using research and data to introduce new practices and programs that have proven to provide better outcomes for youth.  The transformation includes the development of a continuum of evidence-based services across the Commonwealth for youth before the court.  The population of committed youth has dropped significantly in recent years, thus reducing DJJ’s need for correctional center beds.  The continuum is being funded in part by reinvestment funds made available through the downsizing of DJJ’s large correctional facilities.

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  44. VSU's Randolph Farm Hosts Popular Ginger and Turmeric Field Day

    Virginia State University (VSU) is bringing back its ever-popular Ginger and Turmeric Field Day on Nov. 16, from 8 a.m. to noon at the university’s Randolph Farm, 4415 River Road, Petersburg, VA.

    This Cooperative Extension event will include indoor classroom presentations and a visit to the fields where participants will learn about harvest, washing and market preparation for the two crops.

    “Both ginger and turmeric are considered healthy spices. Nationwide, the consumption of ginger and turmeric has increased significantly,” said Dr. Reza Rafie, VSU Extension horticulture specialist. “Participants will learn about the proper conditions for growing and marketing ginger and turmeric.”

    The event will feature several guest speakers, including Dr. Shoba Ghosh, associate chair for research in the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, who conducts clinical research using turmeric; and Dr. Theresa Nartea, VSU Extension specialist in marketing & agribusiness, and Wanda Johnson, VSU Extension associate culinary demonstration specialist.

    Local ginger growers Bill Cox from Casselmonte Farm, Michael Clark from Planet Earth Diversified, and Richard Harrison from the Farm at the Red Hill will share their experiences with participants and answer questions. Several buyers will also attend the field day and visit with potential new growers.

    Ginger and turmeric are flavorful spices commonly used in cooking. Ginger is a flowering, herbaceous, perennial plant; turmeric is a plant in the ginger family. Each has medicinal properties that can be traced back thousands of years. Small farmers can produce these niche crops for health-conscious consumers.

    Registration is $10 per person. To register visit, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

    If you need further information, or are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Agriculture & Natural Resources Program office at (804) 524-5960 / (800) 828-1120 (TDD) during business hours of 8 am. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.

    Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

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  45. There's a New Sheriff in Town

    Sheriff-Elect D. Keith Prince is surrounded by his supporters at his Victory Celebration on Tuesday, November 7.

    The last update of results in the race to succeed Terry McAulliffe as Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia were published on the website of the State Board of Elections at 8:14 and the results for Greensville County came a moment later. Very shortly after the publication of those results NBC News called the race for the Democrat, Dr. Ralph Northam.

    A couple of minutes later the races for Lt. Governor and Attorney General – Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring, respectfully, were announced on the SBE website, followed, very shortly, by the call from the Associated Press.

    It would seem that our two small localities pushed all three Democrats into the State-wide offices for which they were running.

    D. Keith Prince bested incumbent Sam Brown nearly 2-1 to become the Sheriff-Elect for the City of Emporia, he will take office in January.

    Sheriff-Elect Prince posted on his facebook page Tuesday evening: “To be surrounded by those that worked the polls, family and friends while the results were coming in was an amazing experience. You guys know how to make a man feel loved! To the poll workers, door to door campaign team, and to those that gave me guidance... Thank you!!!”

    City Commissioner of the Revenue Joyce Prince and City Treasurer Billy Harris  ran unopposed and will return to their offices at the beginning of 2018.

    In the races for the General Assembly, Delegate Roslyn Tyler also ran unopposed and will take her seat in Richmond for the next session. Many Republican Delegates were faced with opposition, many from women, and as a result of those challenges the Virginia House of Delegates will be tied at 50-all for the next session.

    The most ironic defeat came from Northern Virginia. Delegate Bob Marshall, who has sparked controversy – even calling himself Virginia’s “homophobe-in-chief” and authoring the “Bathroom Bill” in an attempt to force transgendered people to use the restroom of their birth gender was beaten by a double digit margin by Danica Roem, a transgendered woman.

    Below are the local results for the 2017 General Election:


    8 precincts of 8 (100.00%) reporting




    Ralph S. Northam 



    Edward W. "Ed" Gillespie 



    Clifford D. Hyra 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:14 PM

    Lieutenant Governor

    8 precincts of 8 (100.00%) reporting




    Justin E. Fairfax 



    Jill H. Vogel 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:14 PM

    Attorney General 

    8 precincts of 8 (100.00%) reporting




    Mark R. Herring 



    John D. Adams 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:14 PM

    Member House of Delegates (075) 

    8 precincts of 8 (100.00%) reporting




    Roslyn C. Tyler 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:14 PM

    Sheriff (EMPORIA CITY)

    8 precincts of 8 (100.00%) reporting




    D. Keith Prince, Jr. 



    Sam C. Brown 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:14 PM

    Commissioner of Revenue (EMPORIA CITY)

    8 precincts of 8 (100.00%) reporting




    Joyce Edwards Prince 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:14 PM

    Treasurer (EMPORIA CITY)

    8 precincts of 8 (100.00%) reporting




    W. S. "Billy" Harris, Jr. 



    Write In 





    9 precincts of 9 (100.00%) reporting




    Ralph S. Northam 



    Edward W. "Ed" Gillespie 



    Clifford D. Hyra 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:15 PM

    Lieutenant Governor 

    9 precincts of 9 (100.00%) reporting




    Justin E. Fairfax 



    Jill H. Vogel 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:15 PM

    Attorney General 

    8 precincts of 9 (88.89%) reporting




    Mark R. Herring 



    John D. Adams 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:16 PM

    Member House of Delegates (075) 

    9 precincts of 9 (100.00%) reporting




    Roslyn C. Tyler 



    Write In 



    Last Modified on 11/07/2017 08:17 PM

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  46. Verghese Award Presented To Hafey

    Lori Haley (Left) is a recipient of the K. George Verghese Memorial Academic Merit Award at Southside Virginia Community College.  The award is being presented by Patricia Archer(Right) , Association Professor of Practical Nursing Program.  Dr. Verghese was a dean at SVCC and instrumental in the establishment of the Registered Nursing and Practical Nursing Programs at the college.  

    The K. George Verghese Memorial Academic Merit Award has been awarded to the outstanding Practical Nursing Program student of Southside Virginia Community College Christanna Campus.  Lori L. Hafey of Emporia, Virginia recently received the award.

    The award was established by the Arts and Sciences faculty at the Christanna Campus of SVCC and supported by the Verghese family to commemorate the instrumental role played by Dr. Verghese in the establishment of both the Registered Nursing and Practical Nursing programs at the college.

    Hafey is a Licensed Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate, a Nationally Registered Phlebotomist and Licensed Virginia Insurance agent.  She has served as a volunteer on the Greensville Rescue Squad for 17 years.  She is a 1998 graduate of Greensville County High School.  She is daughter of Dennis and Gwen Hafey of Bracey.  

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  47. Saunders joins Benchmark Community Bank

    Kenbridge, VA, October 30, 2017 –Benchmark Community Bank is pleased to announce that Jim Saunders has joined the organization as Vice President/Senior Business Banker. Based out of Benchmark’s Lawrenceville branch location, the Emporia native will be primarily working with businesses in his hometown area to assist them with banking solutions designed to meet the unique needs of their operations.

    “Jim has been part of the Southside Virginia business community for over 30 years,” said Senior Vice President/Business Banker Steve Creedle. “He brings a wealth of community knowledge and involvement that is a perfect fit for Benchmark’s unique model of business banking.”

    A 2015 graduate of the Virginia Banking Association School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia, Saunders most recently worked in commercial lending and business development for an area community banking institution. He began his career in banking with Pace American Bank in Lawrenceville before taking the helm of his family’s Emporia business Saunders Gas & Oil, Inc., a position he held until 2001. He re-entered banking in 2005 as Market President for Gateway Bank & Trust in Emporia until 2014.

    An active member of his community, Saunders serves as an elected Emporia City Council member for which he previously served as President. He is a member of the Main Street United Methodist Church where he sings in the Adult Choir and is a member of United Methodist Men. He is the current Board Chair for the Family YMCA of Emporia-Greensville and is a member of the Community Youth Center (CYC), Ltd. in Emporia, as well as the Emporia Rotary Club. Additionally, Saunders is the boys’ junior varsity basketball coach for Brunswick Academy.

    “Jim is an outstanding addition to our team,” said Benchmark President/CEO Jay Stafford in making the announcement. “His longstanding relationships throughout the Emporia area truly underscore Benchmark’s commitment to being part of the communities we serve through personal and institutional involvement, as well as our pledge to invest in the places we call home.”

    Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is head­quartered in Kenbridge, VA. Along with its twelve banking offices located through­out central Southside Vir­ginia, Benchmark operates loan production offices in Wake Forest and Henderson, NC.  The Lawrenceville branch is located at 220 W. Fifth Avenue. Since 2007, Benchmark has been named one of the Top 200 Community Banks in the nation by American Banker magazine. To learn more about Benchmark, please visit www.bcbonline.comor call the Lawrenceville branch at 434-848-6552.



    Alleghany County Sheriff Provides Testimonial to Tragedy of Addiction

    RICHMOND – From March through July of this year, medical emergency departments across the Commonwealth each month have fielded more than 700 visits by Virginia residents for treatment for unintentional opioid/heroin or unspecified substance overdoses. Of those 700 overdose visits, approximately 160 resulted from heroin usage in June and another 150 in July. In the first half of 2016, fatal drug overdoses across the state increased by 35 percent.*

    Even grimmer than the statistics are the stories behind each life impacted by an overdose and/or death related to opioid and heroin addictions. As a member agency of Governor McAuliffe’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, the Virginia State Police has taken an active role in coordinating with federal, state and local law enforcement, public health agencies and first responders across the Commonwealth to combat, prevent and investigate opioid and heroin abuse and illegal distribution. Such efforts led to the collaboration of Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Drug Enforcement Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) C. Scott Wade and Alleghany County Sheriff Kevin W. Hall to collaborate on a video that tells the story of Sheriff Hall’s son, Ryan, and his battle with addiction. “Broken Dreams,” an emotional video testimony of the purposeful struggle to overcome addiction and persevere, is told from the deeply-personal perspectives of both Sheriff Hall and Ryan.

    “This isn’t a story, it’s the real life account of what a young man and his family have had to go through in order to get their son and their lives back,” said SAA Wade, coordinator of the Eastern Shore Drug Task Force. “The fact that this is the child of a sheriff may be unique, but his story of addiction, the consequences and his daily struggle with staying drug-free are not. There are thousands across the Commonwealth in the same situation.”

    The second video, “No Second Chance,” debuted recently on the Eastern Shore and follows the tragic consequences of a 20-year-old Accomack County woman who died from a heroin overdose in July 2016. Her mother and grandmother share their firsthand struggles to overcome the grief of losing a loved one at such a young age to heroin.

    SSA Wade is working to have the videos integrated into opioid/heroin prevention programs across the Commonwealth and shown before audiences of all ages in schools, drug-prevention programs, treatment facilities, and community and civic groups statewide. “We cannot begin soon enough to further spread the message about the severely-addictive nature of opioids and heroin. The impact of opioid and heroin abuse is being felt in every corner of the Commonwealth. This video is designed to initiate discussion among parents and their children, teachers, law enforcement, medical professionals, and communities about what it’s going to take to stop and prevent the overdoses and deaths afflicting and overwhelming so many Virginians.”

    Both videos can be downloaded from the VSP YouTube page:

    Broken Dreams, Ruined Lives(Alleghany County) -

    No Second Chance(Eastern Shore) -

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  49. New Hospital Move Set for November 11, 2017


    After months of planning, a tabletop exercise, and countless walkthroughs of both the old facility and the new facility, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital will open its Incident Command Center at 5 a.m., November 11, 2017 to begin the process of moving from the old to the new.

    Planning for the move was one of the biggest undertakings ever for VCU Health CMH, according to Scott Burnette, CEO of the hospital.

    “We have been planning this really since the decision to build a new hospital was made,” he said.  “We have an Excel spread sheet that we are using to make sure no item was left out or forgotten.  That document is nearly 25 pages long, and that just covers the main items, each line item has multiple components.”

     “We have had a team of employees working on this very hard,” Burnette added. “Pretty much everyone at CMH has a part to play in the move.”

    A committee co-chaired by Christy Reese, Director of Materials Management and Rick Clary, Pharmacy Director assumed responsibility for overall planning for the move including all furnishings, equipment and patients.  Moving the patients requires a significant amount of detailed planning.  A sub-committee of clinical personnel chaired by Janet Kaiser, RN, MSN, CEN, and Nurse Director of the Emergency Department at VCU Health CMH assumed responsibility for developing a plan designed to ensure a well-coordinated move that places patient safety and comfort at the forefront of the effort.     

    For a very short time on November 11th, VCU Health CMH will have two operational hospitals. Beginning at 7 a.m., people will be directed to go to the new hospital’s emergency department. Both hospitals will be staffed with nurses, doctors and ancillary staff until the last patient is moved to the new hospital. According to Kaiser, all area rescue squads understand the timing of the hospital. Also at 7 a.m., patients in the old CMH will began being moved to the new hospital.

    “We have seven rescue squads: South Side Rescue Squad, Boydton Life Saving Crew, Chase City Rescue, Alberta Fire, Victoria Rescue, Kenbridge Rescue and Greenville County Rescue; who will be providing 10 ambulances and crew necessary to transport patients the two miles to the new hospital,” according to Roger Warden, Emergency Management Specialist at VCU Health CMH, who coordinated that component of the move. “We have made South Hill Police, Mecklenburg County Sheriff and the State Police aware of what we are doing and they will help us make the move easy on our patients.”

    With an expected 35 patients to move, the hope is that all patients will be at the new VCU Health CMH by early afternoon on November 11th.

    “Our goal is to move between 8-10 patients an hour.  We have an excellent plan with the advanced nursing preparations for meeting patient needs prior to transfer and rescue squads skilled in moving patients to very effectively manage this transfer. The plan takes in consideration the priority of patient safety, the departing and arriving of the patients to the new units in a manner that brings no unnecessary stress to the patient or staff handling the transfer.  The Hospital Command Center will be fully staffed to monitor all facets of the move and will insure the smooth transition.” Warden said.

    Burnette expressed his appreciation to the staff at VCU Health CMH, but also for the help from VCU Health (out of Richmond). “Our staff has worked very hard to make sure we are prepared to make the move.  So many hours of planning have been invested. We have tried to ask the hard questions to see if our plans are not complete. We feel very prepared for this move.”

    Visitors will be restricted at both hospitals during the move, according to Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development at VCU Health CMH.

    “We are asking anyone who plans to visit patients to wait until at least 4 p.m. on the 11th,” he said. “We not only are moving patients, but equipment and supplies from the old hospital are being moved to the new hospital that day.  There is going to be an enormous amount of activity at both locations. Our hope is to have the patients moved by early afternoon and then we can open the new hospital up for visitors.”

    Kurz added that VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is hoping the general public keeps their distance for the move.

    “We need to protect patient confidentiality, but more important, the safety of all those involved should take precedence. We will have rescue squads, moving vehicles, just a bevy of activity at both locations. We are hoping people understand and plan to stay clear,” he said.

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  50. Southside Virginia Community College's Truck Driving Training Program Graduates from October 19, 2017.

    Front Row, Left to Right: Shawn Allen (Farmville), Jonathan Wilmouth (Drakes Branch) ( also graduated from Diesel Tech), Robert Judy (Phenix), Jessie James, Sr. (Crewe). Back Row L-R: Dennis Seay (Instructor), Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Wesley Drake (Lawrenceville), Jarrett Coleman (Amelia), Tim Redd (Meherrin), Latwaun Robinson (Prospect), Ron Burk-Bryan (Kenbridge), Duncan Quicke (TDTS Coordinator) and Kurtis Jones, Public Safety & Recruiting for Abilene Motor Carriers. (Guest Speaker).  Next class at Pickett Park begins November 6, 2017.

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  51. Herman R. Kitchen, Jr., “Willie”

    Herman R. Kitchen, Jr., “Willie”, 55, of Emporia, passed away Wednesday, October 31, 2017. He was a son of the late Herman and Elizabeth Kitchen. He is survived by his spouse, Kenneth Eanes; two daughters, Sara Chappell Myrick and Melissa Kitchen; four grandchildren; two brothers, Owen Kitchen and wife, Brenda and Calvin “Peanut” Kitchen; a sister, Juanita Kitchen and a number of nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held 7 p.m. Monday, November 6 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt where the family will receive friends prior to the service 5-7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to assist the family with funeral arrangements. Online condolences may be made at

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  52. New Breast Cancer Prevention Options

    Is Genetic Testing Right for You?

    Petersburg, VA– Since 1985, the U.S. has dedicated the month of October to a national focus on the screening, prevention and survivors of breast cancer. The increased focus on education, screening and lifestyle changes has been a critical tool in driving down both the number of deaths and new diagnoses of breast cancer.

    Genetic testing has quickly become a more mainstream practice, both for human interest about our ancestry, and for the purpose of understanding how that ancestry might increase our risk for certain diseases. Recent medical news has focused on the BRCA genes and their role in increased cancer risks, and now there are affordable, at-home testing options for those with specific risk factors.

    The two BRCA genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2 – normally help protect women from cancer. However, some women experience a mutation of these genes that can actually lead to cancer. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women with a BRCA gene mutation are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 30 times more likely to get ovarian cancer, when compared with women without the gene mutations.

    So, should all women be tested for the BRCA gene mutation? The experts say, absolutely not.

    “It’s important to keep in mind that gene mutations are only a small part of the breast cancer story,” said Sasa-Grae Espino, MD, fellowship-trained Breast Surgeon. “It’s true that having an immediate family member with breast cancer can double your risk of being diagnosed. But it’s also true that more than 80% of women who get breast cancer have NO family history of the disease. There are many other factors, some inside and some outside of your control.”

    Both the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the medical community agree there are certain risk factors that indicate a woman should seek genetic counseling, and BRCA testing if recommended after counseling:

    • A family history of someone having a positive BRCA mutation
    • Ovarian, tubal or peritoneal cancer at any age in a family member
    • Breast cancer in a family member before the age of 50
    • Triple-negative breast cancer before the age of 60
    • Male breast cancer in any family member
    • People of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
    • Two or more family members with breast cancer, on either side of the family

    Beyond BRCA genes, there are more than 30 gene mutations associated with various types of hereditary cancer. Tremendous information can be gained through genetic testing, but it’s important to work with your physician and/or a genetic counselor to ensure you pursue the right options for you.

    “Genetic testing is exciting, but in no way does it reduce the need for vigilance on the more prevalent risk factors for cancer,” said Dr. Espino. “A healthy, whole food diet, regular exercise, regular mammograms and a no-smoking policy, are still by far the most critical tools for reducing the risk of all forms of cancer. Genetic testing is another tool for early intervention and managing increased risk, and should be used judiciously.”

    If you meet the criteria set by the USPSTF, talk with your doctor about the best prevention and genetic testing for you. To find a primary care physician, visit

    About SRMC:

    Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is a 300-bed, acute-care facility located at 200 Medical Park Boulevard in Petersburg, VA. SRMC serves nearly 200,000 residents and boasts a medical staff of more than 380 physicians representing over 40 specialties. SRMC treats more than 60,000 patients annually in its Emergency Department and is a Level III Trauma Center. The medical center provides inpatient care for approximately 12,000 patients per year. SRMC is owned in part by physicians. For more information about SRMC and the services it provides, please visit

    About Sasa-Grae Espino, Breast Surgeon

    Fellowship trained in breast surgery, Dr. Sasa-Grae Espino practices at Southside Physicians Network in Petersburg.
    Dr. Espino specializes in breast diseases, including the surgical treatment of breast cancer, benign diseases and managing high risk patients (genetic testing and counseling). Surgeries include biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies and
    immediate breast reconstruction. She is an active member of the medical staff of Southside Regional Medical Center. For more information, visit or call 804-520-6730.

    Jordan Eclipse Chukka

  53. Advisory Commission on Student Success Scheduled to Meet

    In May 2017, the Greensville County School Board established a 35-member advisory commission to engage members of the community in dialog about needed school improvements.

    During the three meetings held last spring, members of the Advisory Commission on Student Success were committed to fulfilling the goals of understanding the needs, engaging in meaningful dialog, and making recommendations for improvement in key areas. Four primary recommendations came forth from the Commission’s work last spring.

    The Commission recommended that the school division

    • Conduct a comprehensive strategic planning process;
    • Continue work in the areas of safety, security, supervision, and student discipline;
    • Implement systemic literacy instructional services that move student achievement forward; and
    • Strengthen the system for early academic intervention to address needs of students who do not master required grade level skills.

    The Commission’s first meeting of the year is scheduled for 5:30 PM on Thursday, November 9th, in the Library/Media Center at Greensville County High School. The purpose of this meeting is to receive progress updates and discuss next steps.

    Meetings of the Advisory Commission on Student Success are open for the public to attend.