December 2017

  1. Mary Marie LeMaster Matthews

    Mary Marie LeMaster Matthews of 308 Allen Court Emporia,VA. passed away 12/30/2017. She was born September 14, 1930 in Salamonia, Indiana. Marie was adored by her family, many friends, and long-time coworkers from the local telephone company.

    She was predeceased by her parents, Gerald W. and Pearl S. LeMaster of Salamonia, Indiana; ex-husband Bill Matthews; sisters, Maxine LeMaster, Nadine Perry and Roberta Lenox, and brother Robert J. Lemaster. She is survived by her 3 children: Cindy Merritt, Jerry Matthews (Ivy), and Bobbi Griles; 6 grandchildren: Dickie Thompson (Stephanie), Christina Smith (Jerry), Stephanie Ferguson (Chris), Tony Thompson (Traci), Tina Flanagan (Jimmy), and Becky Affronti (Kyle). She was blessed with 12 great-grandchildren: Joshua Kim (Victoria), Haley Ferguson, Brandon and Dylan Driver, Cassie Flanagan, Olivia and Stephen Thompson, Gabriella and Lance Thompson, Meredith Taylor, and Logan and Landon Affront; and 2 great-great grandchildren: Emili and Alex Kim. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law, Emily Snider, Mary Louise Fergusson, Jolene Matthews, and numerous nieces and nephews.

    The family would like to give their heartfelt gratitude to Lifestar Ambulance Service, SVRMC staff, Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Southern Virginia Regional Healthcare. A special thank you goes out to Gloria Franklin and Caroline Lee for their tender loving care to her over the past few years.

    Marie was well-known for her favorite expression of "Well, joy!" This was an apt expression for her life and how she lived, bringing joy, humor and happiness to everyone who had the privilege to know and love her. Mother, Momma, Grandma, Mama, we all wish you everlasting joy and peace in heaven with all those waiting for you. We'll miss you more than you could ever know.

    A "Celebration of Life" will be held at Owen Funeral Home in Jarratt, VA 7 p.m. Friday, Jan 5, 2018.The family will be receiving family and friends from 6-8pm.

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  2. "Happy New Year"

    The New Year is upon us
    and due for to unfold
    yet do not get your wishes too high
    at least I have been told.
    Yes wishes do for many
    to extend their hopeful ways
    still you'll find for the most of us
    it works the same with rainy days.
    Now I made a list of things to do
    for the year the just went by
    well I searched everywhere but couldn't find
    and even my cat does not know why.
    Yet one needs to put a limit
    on things you plan to do
    that way you'll feell much better
    if you acomplish but a few.
    Yes review your need to do list
    and with caution please take heed
    you've listed many things to do
    of which you do not need.
    Now don't put off for tomorrow
    things you should do today
    yet make time in your schedule
    to pelax, enjoy and play.
    I close out with a great big wish
    for one and all of you
    may you find peace and love in you hearts
    this entire new year through.
    Roy E. Schepp

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  3. VCU Health CMH Blood Drive set for Jan. 4th & 5th

    Help give the gift of life

    SOUTH HILL, VA– VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is hosting a blood drive on Thursday, January 4th and Friday, January 5th from 1:00PM – 6:00PM in the CMH Education Center located at 125 Buena Vista Circle, South Hill.  VCU Health CMH is committed to providing high quality care to patients as well as the need for blood products or services.  The Red Cross is the sole supplier of blood products for VCU Health CMH, in addition to the more than 70 other hospitals the Red Cross supplies in the state of Virginia.

    Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. The Red Cross collects and processes approximately 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and is fully prepared to ensure area patients receive the blood products they need.

    VCU Health CMH and Red Cross representatives will work with patients and donors to answer any questions. If you would like to schedule a time to give blood, please contact Marah Michael at 434-774-2550.

    The need for blood is constant. Blood is needed for premature infants, patients battling cancer or leukemia, people undergoing a sickle cell crisis, trauma patients and many others need blood in this community. Blood can be donated every 56 days, six times a year. The American Red Cross runs blood drives every day throughout the region.  Walk-ins are welcome at Red Cross blood drives or you can make an appointment to donate blood at or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.



    SHELBY JEAN WRENN WRAY, age 77, of Bristow, VA, formerly of Emporia, passed away December 24, 2017, at her home.  Shelby was born April 25, 1940 in Emporia, VA, the daughter of Bessie and Willie Wrenn.  Shelby married James Palmer Wray on July, 20, 1963 and moved to Northern Virginia in 1969.  Shelby was reunited with her loving husband on Christmas Eve.  Shelby deeply enjoyed being a full-time Mom to her daughter Lisa and spent many years providing child care services to some of her closest friends.  Shelby was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

    Survivors include her daughter, Lisa Linette Dukeman, her two granddaughters, Taylor Catherine Dukeman and Logan Elisabeth Dukeman, and her son-in-law, Thomas Patrick Dukeman all of Manassas, VA.   

    Graveside services will be held at Greensville Memorial Cemetery on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 11am.  In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy will be deeply appreciated and can be made in her name at the American Cancer Society of Virginia, or by calling 1.800.227.2345. Condolences may be sent to www.

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  5. Michael Wayne Robinson, Jr.

    Michael Wayne Robinson, Jr., 35, passed away December 22, 2017.  He is survived by his mother, Margaret Harrell Ball and husband, Anthony; father, Michael Wayne Robinson, Sr.; sister, Ashley; brother, Derrick and wife, Marybeth; nephew, Grant; beloved uncle, Eric; a large extended family of aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces; and his dog, Blazer, whom he loved and was loved by dearly.

    Michael grew up in Emporia, Va where he learned the value of hard work from his father on the family farm.  He took an interest in computers at an early age with the guidance of his uncle Eric.  Michael attended Greensville County High School and then Virginia Tech, where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in both Computer and Electrical Engineering.  After college Michael accepted a position at Spreadtrum Communications in San Diego, CA and continued his career there for 13 years.  He had a passion for travel and an unending thirst for knowledge.

    Services will be held at Owen Funeral Home on Sunday, December 31st at 2 o’clock with graveside burial to follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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  6. Delegate Roslyn Tyler Receives Virginia Education Association Legislative Champion Award

    Delegate Roslyn Tyler, House of Delegate Representative of the 75th District was awarded the Virginia Education Association 2017 Legislative Champion Award by Kathy Burcher, VEA Director of Government Relations and Research for her legislation HB 2332 which was passed by the Senate and the House.

    HB 2332 legislation passed was to increase teacher's salary at or above the national average. This legislation was signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe at the State Capitol.

    Delegate Roslyn Tyler will be returning to the General Assembly on January 10, 2018 and serves as senior member on the State Committee on Education.

    Please feel free to contact her at or 804 698-1075.

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  7. Coca-Cola Hosts Pizza Party for Jackson-Feild’s Children

    Most everyone would likely agree that there’s not a teen who doesn’t enjoy pizza and a Coke.

    The boys and girls at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services were recently thrilled to enjoy an all-you-can eat pizza party compliments of the Halifax NC-based Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated.

    A team of volunteers led by sales rep John Lassiter brought pizza, cookies, and Coca-Cola products for each resident in addition to a generous monetary gift for special meals and recreational activities for the residents during the Christmas holidays.

    The Coca-Cola folks brought to campus much more than pizzas and sodas.  They brought a special brand of kindness that always puts a smile on a child’s face.  It’s difficult to be away from home during the Christmas holidays, but after an afternoon of simply sharing a Coke, these good friends from Halifax NC left the boys and girls knowing that someone cares about them and that they are valued and appreciated.

    The folks from Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated – Halifax (NC) brought the spirit and meaning of Christmas to the children of Jackson-Feild, and everyone on campus is incredibly grateful for their support.


  8. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces December Employee of the Month

    Emporia, VA – Leroy Smithhas been named the Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) Employee of the Month for December 2017. Mr. Smith, who works in SVRMC’s Environmental Services Department, has been employed at SVRMC since October 2008.

    Each month employees are nominated for demonstrating excellence in one of ten Standards of Behavior; the highlighted Standard of the Month for December was Appearance.  Mr. Smith’s nomination included the following statement: “Leroy is one of the most professional and respectful employees at SVRMC. He has a very conscientious attitude about the cleanliness of the work environment as well as his personal appearance.  He takes pride in his work, ensuring that his equipment is well maintained and in proper working order. He is quick to respond when EVS needs arise and works diligently to ensure that SVRMC shines.  Leroy’s dedication to ensuring that SVRMC is “top notch” does not go unnoticed by anyone.  We are so grateful to have Leroy on our team.” 

    As SVRMC’s December Employee of the Month, Mr. Smith received a certificate of recognition, balloons, cookies to share with his co-workers, a cash award, and a chance to be selected as SVRMC’s 2018 Employee of the Year.

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  9. Marvin Wayne Howell

    Marvin Wayne Howell, Sr., 66, of Emporia, VA passed away Saturday, December 23, 2017. He was preceded in death by his father, Rufus Howell, Jr. and a brother, James Howell.

    Marvin is survived by his wife, Audrey Faye Howell; son, Marvin Wayne Howell, Jr. and wife, Tiffany; daughters, Sherry Lin Jarratt and husband, Ron and Tiffany Nichole Howell; seven grandchildren, Stephanie Powell, Chris Jarratt, Natalie Jarratt, Jordin Jarratt, Logan Howell, Conner Howell and Isobella Byrum; great-granddaughter, Ma’Kenzie Fox; his mother, Peggy Howell; sister, Paulette Howell, brothers, George Bennett Howell, Ricky Howell, Joey Howell and Andy Ray Howell and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

    The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, December 27 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia.

    A graveside funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, December 28 at Drewryville Cemetery.

    Online condolences may be made at

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  10. Shelley Allen Soler

    Shelley Allen Soler, 44, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, December 22, 2017. She is survived by her husband, Jonathan N. Soler; two daughters, Avery Allen and Mackenzie Soler; her mother, Sandra Skinner; step-father, Marvin Skinner; step-brothers, Steven Skinner and wife, Annette and Mark Skinner and step-sister, Lorna Emmons.

    A graduate of Bluefield College, Mrs. Soler worked as a probation and parole officer with District 38.

    A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, January 6, 2017 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the March of Dimes or to a favorite charity.


  11. Robert Clark, Jr.

    On the morning of Tuesday, December 19, 2017, the Lord, our God called home his son Robert Clark, Jr.

    On April 30, 1942, Robert was born the 8th child out of 14 children to Robert Clark, Sr. and Beatrice Clark. He joined Rock Mount Baptist Church at an early age.

    Robert Jr. was employed at Weldon Mills and Southampton Textile and retired  after over 30 years of service. Later on, he returned to Southampton Textile in  security. He also worked many years in various lawn care services.

    Along with his parents, Robert was preceded in death by his beloved son, Marcus Lewis Clark and four siblings; Frances, Jasper, Alice, and Shirley.

    Robert Jr. leaves to cherish his precious memories a dedicated wife; Victoria, three beloved children; Frank (Felicia), Angela and Kemeca (George), eight grandchildren; Melonie (Solomon), Paulette, Shawna (Marcus), Dijon (Julia), Montavius, Justin, Jasmine, Alexavier, and Andia, seven great grandchildren, nine siblings; Ivory, William (Shirley), Jean, Marie (Clarence), Fannie (Shane), James, Milton, Theodore (Alice) and Betty, one very special aunt; Nellie Williams, his God-mother; Effie Revis, three devoted friends; Swanson Robinson, Dwayne Thomas and Landis Moody and a   plethora of aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins other relatives and friends.

    The family will receive visitors from 9 am to 7 pm on Friday, December 22, 2017 at R. E. Pearson and Son, 556 Hamifax Street, Emporia. Funeral services will be at 2 pm on Saturday, December 23, 2017, at Mars Hill Baptist Church, 11211 Low Ground Road, Emporia, with interrment following at the Mars Hill Baptist Church Cemetary. Professional Services are entrusted to the staff of R.E. Pearson and Son Funeral Service, Inc.

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  12. Donna G. Whitby

    Donna G. Whitby, 69, went to be with the Lord on December 19, 2017. She is survived by her brother, James Grant (Lynne) of Emporia; special nieces, Tami Reeves, Alyssandra Reeves and Amber Reeves. She is also survived by special friend, Scott Wilkerson. Funeral services and interment will be private. Online condolences may be shared with family at

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  13. Santa’s Elves Come to Jackson-Feild

    On December 13th members of two different groups traveled far and wide to Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services’ main campus in Jarratt, VA to wrap all the children’s Christmas presents

    The volunteers included members from the PEO Chapter C-D-Littleton, N.C. and the Lake Gaston Ladies Club. They both have been actively involved with Jackson-Feild in a variety of ways over the years. This will be the 12th Christmas they served as Santa’s helpers wrapping the presents for the boys and girls.

    The day began when the women arrived bright and early in the morning and got right to work. By the end of the day over 250 presents were carefully wrapped with loving by these special ladies. They made sure no presents went unwrapped and each ribbon curled to perfection.

    The children are very grateful to these special elves for their wonderful efforts to make Christmas special for children who have never experienced a “real” Christmas.

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  14. Making Christmas Better for our Neighbors

    Many thanks to some very generous customers and an awesome staff!  The Emporia Branch of Xenith Bank was able to adopt 4 families this Christmas season!

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  15. As the population grays, Alzheimer’s and dementia threat looms

    By Jesse Adcock, Capital News Service

    Over the next eight years, the number of Virginians with Alzheimer’s disease will swell by nearly 36 percent, to about 190,000, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

    It’s part of a global trend: The World Health Organization projects that the number of people living with dementia will triple – from 50 million to 152 million – by 2050.

    Why the increase? Because the Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, will be advancing into the age range when Alzheimer’s is more common. This is compounded by the fact that the birth rate during the Baby Boomer years was higher than any other generation since.

    The result: In the coming years, the U.S. will face an unprecedentedly large elderly population – people more prone to dementia-related diseases.

    “By 2020, they’ll be 70. Typically, we’ll see Alzheimer’s emerge in your 70s,” said Harald Sontheimer, executive director of the School of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech. “It’s not that the likelihood has changed.”

    On average, over the course of about four to eight years, Alzheimer’s causes the brain to deteriorate, impairing memory and cognition.

    “Particularly, the cortex gets thinner and thinner as more brain cells die,” Sontheimer said. “It really begins with when it impairs the independent ability to live.”

    Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and causes between 60 and 80 percent of all dementia cases.

    According to the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, near half a million caregivers in Virginia provide assistance for a family member with dementia. At a projected 519 million hours of care in 2015, this was equivalent to $220 billion in unpaid caregiving that year.

    The cost of nursing homes to care for people with dementia can be staggering – between $4,000 and $8,000 per month. So three years ago, the state’s aging-services agency launched a program called Family Access to Memory Impairment and Loss Information, Engagement and Supports, or FAMILIES.

    FAMILIES provides counseling and education resources to those with family members suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

    “Caregivers aren’t getting the information they need,” said Devin Bowers, dementia services coordinator for the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. “The FAMILIES program helps build a support network. It’s meant to delay putting a family member in an institution.”

    The FAMILIES program has reached more than 250 caregivers in Virginia over the past three years. Among other benefits, it lowers the incidence of depression among caregivers, according to a survey of families with a loved one suffering from dementia.

    “My major concern is that people in the industry are well trained,” said Tina Thomas, director of programs and services for the Greater Richmond chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “People need to know what sort of care is available in their area.”

    A Medicare rule put into effect last year allows primary care doctors to bill Medicare for Alzheimer’s and dementia testing. Currently, only 45 percent of doctors regularly test aging people for such disorders. Hopefully, Thomas said, the new rule will make testing more frequent, as early diagnosis and planning are key to financial planning.

    “It’s great to have these conversations early on,” Thomas said. “It really comes down to drafting a road map of care.”

    Researchers are not certain what causes Alzheimer’s. The most popular theory is that a protein called amyloid plaque builds up on brain cells and causes the disease. However, researchers don’t know whether the amyloid itself causes the disease or if the proteins are a biomarker of another process occurring.

    A research trial is currently underway in Colombia with the hope of better understanding Alzheimer’s. Near the city of Medellin, a family carries a mutation that causes some members to develop Alzheimer’s between 45 and 50. They are being given drugs that inhibit the buildup of amyloid plaque, to determine whether the protein is to blame.

    According to the World Health Organization, the global costs of dementia total more than $800 billion annually. That is why WHO has launched the Global Dementia Observatory, an online platform to track services for people with dementia and their caregivers.

    “Nearly 10 million people develop dementia each year – 6 million of them in low- and middle-income countries,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said in a press release on Dec. 6.

    “The suffering that results is enormous. This is an alarm call: We must pay greater attention to this growing challenge and ensure that all people living with dementia, wherever they live, get the care that they need.”

    More information on the web

    Help is available for families with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related disorders.

    The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services has created a program called FAMILIES, which stands for Family Access to Memory Impairment and Loss Information, Engagement and Supports. To find out more about FAMILIES, email Devin Bowers, the state’s dementia services coordinator, by clicking here or call 804-662-9154.

    In addition, in 2016, the department and other organizations launched No Wrong Door, an online platform that stores patient data in one place for easy access by public and private health-care services.

    The groups involved include area agencies on aging, centers for independent living, community services boards, local departments of social services, hospitals, nursing homes and organizations providing home care, home repair, transportation, meals programs and other services.

    For more about No Wrong Door, email or call 804-662-9354.

    About the data in this report - A note from the author

    The data for this project was obtained from two sources: the U.S. Census Bureauand the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The CDC maintains a searchable online database called WONDER – Wide-ranging OnLine Data for Epidemiologic Research. This database provides statistics on the cause of death. I used it to find the number of deaths caused by Alzheimer’s and dementia in each county and city in Virginia in 2015, the latest year for which data were available.

    Besides the number of dementia-related deaths, WONDER also estimated the death rate – the number of deaths per 100,000 population.

    In addition, I used the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder tool to pull data from the 2010 census on the number of people age 65 and older in each locality of Virginia. This particular set was chosen because data from more recent surveys are not as complete.

    I created maps based on each set of data – both the dementia-related death ratesand the percent of elderly residentsin each locality. Those maps may help readers see patterns. In addition, we have posted on the web all of the data used in this report.


    – Jesse Adcock

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  16. December, 2017, SVCC Welding Graduates

    Recent successful completers of the Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development Welding Skills Certification course December 13, 2017 at the Southside Virginia Education Center.  

    This is an 11-week program utilizing the NCCER Curriculum at the accredited training and education facility.  Those finishing the most recent class are shown (Left to Right) Donald Brown of Bracey, Michael Walker of Lawrenceville, Jason Vincent of Emporia, Stacy French of Emporia, Monta' Gray of Skippers, Rasha Green of Emporia, Andre Clary of South Hill, Derrond Vaughan of Lawrenceville and Dr. Marcus Bridges, SVCC Welding instructor. 

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  17. Dozens of Virginia Nursing Homes Fined for Violations


    By Gillian Bullock and Diana DiGangi, Capital News Service

    When we think about where our loved ones will spend their golden years, most of us don’t picture understaffed facilities employing known abusers, or dementia patients warehoused, mistreated and helpless to advocate for themselves. But citations issued by government inspectors paint a grim picture of long-term care at dozens of facilities in Virginia.

    Evelyn Lee and her sister were faced with the decision of placing their mother in a nursing home when their mother experienced a stroke. Lee’s mother selected a nursing home that best suited her needs of acute care for her to undergo physical therapy. When Lee’s mother’s health began to steadily decline, Lee and her sister started their search for a long-term care facility.

    “We looked to see if there was availability, if the nursing home was easily accessible to my sister, and the general aesthetic such as how the facility looked and smelled,” said Lee, a reverend at First Baptist Church Bute Street. “When looking at facilities, we looked at the state survey and looked to see if any citations were given to the nursing homes.”

    Of the 290 nursing homes in Virginia, 72 nursing homes have faced penalties totaling more than $4.7 million since 2014, according to data posted online by Medicare, the government agency that provides health care for elderly Americans.

    The facilities that have incurred the most fines are:

    §  Montvue Nursing Home in Luray, with more than $600,000 in fines.

    §  Cherrydale Health and Rehabilitation Center in Arlington, with almost $240,000 in fines.

    §  Harrisonburg Health & Rehabilitation Center in Harrisonburg, with more than $192,000 in fines.

    Together, those three nursing homes accounted for about 22 percent of the total amount of fines in Virginia.

    Penalties run the gamut of severity. While nursing homes are often cited for relatively minor infractions like failing to post staffing information, many nursing homes across Virginia have been cited in the past several years for more serious violations.

    For instance, 116 nursing homes have been cited on 176 counts for failing to either “1) hire only people with no legal history of abusing, neglecting or mistreating residents, or 2) report and investigate any acts or reports of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents.”

    One Richmond nursing home, Envoy of Westover Hills, has been cited for that infraction seven times since July 2015. That was more citations than any other facility in the state received during that time period. Envoy’s nursing director could not be reached for comment.

    The nursing directors at two other facilities that had been cited multiple times for this same infraction – Culpeper Health and Rehabilitation Center in Culpeper, and Carriage Hill Health and Rehab Center in Fredericksburg – also couldn’t be reached for comment.

    Long-term care professionals who are dedicated to their jobs and compassionate to their patients say they struggle to keep going in an industry that often does not hire enough staff for its facilities and underpays its staff.

    Jordan James, former employee of Home Elderly Care, says she enjoyed her time at the facility and keeps the memories of her patients close to her heart.

    “One of my patients that stands out to me is Mary,” James said. “She taught me sign language, and she would always show me her family albums with pictures of her husband, children, siblings and grandchildren.”

    But at many homes, there aren’t enough skilled assistants like James.

    “Staffing levels are deficient,” said Gretchen Francis, ombudsman for the Capital Area Agency on Aging. “Most for-private facilities do not have enough staff in comparison to the number of residents on the floor. Will residents have to wait for assistance and be in their bed while they’re soiled, or try to wait for assistance and need help going to the bathroom and fall? The state recommends 15 minutes to respond to residents, but there is no regulation.”

    According to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization, more than 80 percent of nursing homes are reporting higher levels of registered nurse care to a government-run website for consumers than are reflected in their reports to Medicare.

    “As a hospice chaplain, I have seen many nursing homes,” Lee said. “I have seen quality nurses, but facilities were simply understaffed. CNAs [certified nursing assistants] tend to the patient’s personal needs, and they are overworked and their salaries are very low. Their salaries should increase, and they should only have three patients under their care.”

    Advocacy by family members can be powerful in ensuring that residents are treated well.

    “Residents with strong advocates receive better care,” Francis said.

    While Lee’s mother was in a nursing home, she realized how vulnerable the elderly are without someone to act on their behalf.

    “I can remember when visiting with my mom and thinking, if I wasn’t there, what would have happened? Whatever nursing home you go to, the family has to be visibly involved and serve as an advocate,” Lee said.

    Francis suggested that adult children do their research before they choose a place for their parents.

    “Not only look at state inspections but see what kinds of citations were given,” she said. “If there are significant care issues, I would look into that. The type of citation itself can tell you what type of care the resident will receive.”

    Both Emporia Manor and Greensville Manor are only rated at one star. Greensville Manor, however, was fined $159,215 on 09/09/2016.

    How to track nursing home quality

    During the 1960s, elderly Americans were the population group most likely to be living in poverty. The U.S. government responded by creating a national health insurance initiative. Since 1965, Medicare and Medicaid have provided services to almost all Americans 65 years or older.

    A federal agency called the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services annually tracks the quality of care at every nursing home nationwide certified by those programs. The agency recently released the latest data for penalties, deficiencies and inspections involving nursing homes.

    You can search the datafor information about a specific home or download the entire database.

    Over the past three years, nursing homes in Virginia have been cited for 7,658 deficiencies. When citing deficiencies, Medicare & Medicaid Services uses an assessment that determines the severity of each deficiency with a letter of A through L. The most egregious deficiencies are classified as level four. Facilities in Virginia were cited with 20 level-four deficiencies.

    Virginia’s state government has an office that can be an advocate for elderly residents who encounter problems receiving long-term care. The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman can help bring about changes at the local, state and national levels to improve care and quality of life. More information about the agency is available at

    About the data used in this report

    Multimedia journalists Gillian Bullock and Diana DiGangi analyzed federal data to examine abuse incidents, penalties, deficiencies, understaffing and inspections of nursing homes in Virginia.

    Bullock and DiGangi downloaded data on nursing homes from The two journalists used Microsoft Access to extract the records for nursing homes in Virginia.

    Bullock focused on penalties. She sorted the data to identify the Virginia nursing homes that had incurred the most fines.

    For deficiencies, Bullock filtered in descending order the nursing homes with the highest deficiencies from A to L. Bullock found that Medicaid categorizes deficiencies into four classes. Class one are deficiencies of A, B and C; class two are deficiencies of D, E and F; class three are deficiencies of G, H and I; and class four are deficiencies of J, K and L. Class four includes the most egregious deficiencies.

    DiGangi focused on the datasets involving abuse incidents and understaffing. For instances of abuse, for example, she filtered the data to identify nursing homes that had failed to “protect each resident from all abuse, physical punishment, and involuntary separation from others.”

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  18. Keith Prince Sworn In as Emporia City Sheriff

    With his parents at his side City of Emporia Sheriff Elect was sworn into office by Clerk of the Circuit Court Bobby Wrenn on Sunday, December 17, 2017.

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  19. Thanks to a Truck Driver

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    Santa may rely on a sleigh and reindeer, but other folks who want holiday packages delivered to distant destinations typically rely on trucks. In fact, the entire U.S. economy depends on the trucking industry. Every year, our nation’s truck drivers carry more than 10 billion tons of freight, a total that represents 70% of all shipped domestic tonnage.

    Hauling all these goods is a task that requires more than 3.5 million commercially licensed drivers, and the trucking industry currently faces a shortage of qualified job candidates. In October, the American Transportation Research Institute released a study identifying the driver shortage as the industry’s most critical issue. The report noted, “An optimistic trucking industry outlook, based on improving economic growth in the United States, has many in the industry concerned that the demand for truck drivers will further outpace the supply of qualified drivers. To this end, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates a shortfall of 48,000 drivers, with projections that the shortage could increase to 175,000 by 2025.”

    Southside Virginia Community College is helping address this need through the continuing expansion of its Truck Driver Training School, which has already educated more than 2,500 students. SVCC’s Truck Driver Training School was established in 1996 at Ft. Pickett in Blackstone. We added a location in South Boston in 1999 and another in Emporia in 2007. More recently, SVCC has entered into a partnership with Danville Community College and Patrick Henry Community College to offer the successful program across a broader region. SVCC’s truck driver program has a graduation rate of 85%, and 75% of program graduates have found employment in the industry. They hold jobs with more than 70 companies in capacities that include long distance (coast to coast), regional, dedicated, and local routes.

    SVCC’s leadership in truck driver training is also recognized beyond the borders of our region. Earlier this year, Duncan Quicke, the program’s coordinator, traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin, at the invitation of Schneider National to participate on their Truck Driver Training Advisory Board, a forum for exchanging ideas and best practices in areas such as safety, training, regulatory compliance, and technology. Schneider is one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, and representatives from only 11 schools around the nation were selected to be included.

    Students in SVCC’s Truck Driver Training School participate in a six-week program during which they receive 240 hours of instruction and hands-on practice. The class day mimics a normal workday, and activities include pre-trip inspections, keeping logbooks updated, highway driving, and maneuvering procedures such as twisting, turning, and backing up.

    For information about driver qualifications, student prerequisites, and upcoming class schedules, call the Truck Driver Training School at 434-292-1650.

    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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  20. Care Advantage Completes Acquisition of Care Solutions

    Care Advantage establishes market leadership in Southeastern Virginia

    Richmond, VA– December 12, 2017–Care Advantage, a leading provider of home healthcare services in the Mid-Atlantic and a BelHealth Investment Partners (“BelHealth”) portfolio company, announced the acquisition of Care Solutions of Tidewater, LLC (“Care Solutions” or the “Company”).

    Care Solutions operates an agency in Hampton, Virginia that provides non-skilled personal care services in the home primarily for private pay patients.  The acquisition strengthens Care Advantage’s presence in Southeastern Virginia and makes Care Advantage a leader in this market after coupling it with the acquisition of Stay at Home Personal Care earlier in 2017.

    William Mayes, CEO of Care Advantage, said, “The acquisition of Care Solutions enhances our presence and market share in Eastern Virginia, which is one of our key targeted geographies for growth within our existing footprint. Their reputation for focusing on high quality patient care will fit seamlessly into our culture at Care Advantage.”

    Scott Lee, Managing Director of BelHealth and Care Advantage Board Member, added, “Care Solutions is a very strategic acquisition for the platform and strengthens our personal care division. The business has built very strong referral relationships in its service area and further expands our private pay patient census. We are continuing to aggressively pursue add-on acquisitions both in Virginia and other contiguous states to execute on our investment thesis.”

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  21. Virginia Rural Center Names Kristie Helmick Proctor Executive Director

    Richmond, Va. – Kristie Helmick Proctor has been appointed Executive Director of the Center for Rural Virginia, effective Dec. 4. The rural Virginia native, farm owner and accomplished organizational leader most recently served at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business association, where she managed a staff that implements and oversees grassroots activities in 17 different states.

    Proctor’s experience at NFIB afforded her an opportunity to gain a keen understanding of the issues facing those who live in rural Virginia. In addition, Proctor and her husband both grew up in rural Virginia and recently purchased a farm in Hanover County.

    "Kristie brings an enthusiasm and a range of experiences that will help us build on our successes of the past several years as we strive to more effectively promote an improved economy and an enhanced quality of life throughout rural Virginia,” said Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., Chairman of the Center for Rural Virginia.

    Prior to her role at the NFIB, Proctor served as Public Affairs Specialist at Transurban, a leading international toll road developer and investor. Proctor was instrumental in leading the implementation of a comprehensive public affairs program surrounding the proposed multi-billion dollar I-95/395 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes project in Northern Virginia.

    Earlier, Proctor was Public Affairs Specialist, at AAA Mid-Atlantic, the nation’s fifth largest auto club, working as a spokesperson and representing the club at various civic, professional and transportation organizations.

    Proctor earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Longwood University and Master of Arts degree in Government from Regent University. She holds a Law and Public Policy Graduate Certificate and a Homeland Defense and Terrorism Graduate Certificate from Oxford University. She is also a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

    “I am incredibly excited to serve as Executive Director of the Virginia Rural Center, as I am passionate about identifying new opportunities and addressing challenges facing rural Virginians,” said Proctor. “I look forward to building on the Center’s efforts in a number of key areas, such as highlighting small business opportunities, broadband deployment, workforce development, clean energy and stemming the tide of young people leaving our wonderful rural areas – just to name a few.”

    The Center is a partnership of the Center for Rural Virginia, a Virginia legislative entity advocating for rural policy, and the Council for Rural Virginia, an entity organized by federal statute that is a conduit for building rural capacity by facilitating the collaboration and creation of coalitions of the key economic regions and sectors of the Commonwealth.

    For more information, visit


  22. 2018 Inaugural Committee Leadership Announces Theme for the 73rd Inauguration: “The Way Ahead”

    Alongside Theme, 2018 Inaugural Committee Launches Website and Logo

    Virginians Can Receive Updates Online at

    Richmond -- Today, the 2018 Inaugural Committee announced the theme for the 73rd Virginia gubernatorial inauguration: “The Way Ahead.”

    The Way Ahead articulates a vision for leading a Virginia with bipartisan, commonsense solutions that lifts up all of its people. Whether its taking advantage of new economic opportunities, finding oneself in serving others, or educating Virginia’s children with boundless potential, Governor-elect Northam believes the best way forward is by working together.

    “The Way Ahead is a celebration of the prosperity possible through a unified Commonwealth honoring its diversity and inclusivity,” said Governor-elect Ralph Northam. “Our inauguration will launch an exciting new area of progress for all Virginians -- one in which commonsense solutions, service to others and boundless opportunities for our children’s future rises above all else. By working together as one Commonwealth, Virginians will come together during these troubling times for our country and lift each other up -- no matter who you are or where you’re from.”

    Alongside the launch of the theme, the Inaugural Committee also released the logo and 2018 Inauguration website -- -- which will include forthcoming details on events, logistics and ticketing information. 

    The 2018 Inaugural logo was designed by Andy Lynne, a native of Ashland.

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  23. Government Avoids Shutdown but CHIP Families Still at Risk

    By Alan Rodriguez Espinoza, Capital News Service

    RICHMOND – A stopgap measure designed to avoid a government shutdown includes a provision that will provide the Children’s Health Insurance Program with temporary funding for two weeks. But the program’s fate past Dec. 22 is still uncertain.

    More than 68,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women count on Virginia’s CHIP-funded program, the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security program, for medical services. State officials began reaching out to their families on Tuesday, notifying them that FAMIS could be terminated on Jan. 31.

    “We are hopeful that Congress will once again provide the funding to continue this program,” the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services told families in a letter. “However, because Congress has not acted yet, we need to let you know that there is a chance the FAMIS programs may have to shut down.”

    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. McAuliffe and other Democrats blame Republicans for the problem.

    As of Dec. 1, McAuliffe estimated that more than 68,000 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.

    In early November, 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 … enrollment will be frozen Jan. 1,” McAuliffe stated. “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.

    In Emporia City, Greensville County and Brunswick County CHIP serves 289 children. In Franklin City, Southampton County and Sussex County 263 children are served by the program.

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  24. “Where Did They Go?’

    Where did all the colors go
    One used to wear with pride
    You used to see them everywhere
    In the stands on either side.
    The uniforms now on the field
    Do no longer represent
    True colors of your alma-mater
    No matter where you went.
    Yes it used to spur your ego
    When you knew from where they came
    They had beat you good for many years
    But lately you’ve won some.
    Now you let them see your colors
    Which you proudly do display
    Hoping when the game is through
    A win might come your way.
    Well who has changed the color code
    I know no one asked me
    When something serves so very many
    Why can’t they let it be?
    Roy E. Schepp

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  25. The Action Bible and Jackson-Feild

    Thanks to the generosity of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Virginia and the members of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, the boys and girls at Jackson-Feild have brand new Action Bibles!

    The best-selling Action Bible – created by a member of Marvel Comics – is designed to be action-grabbing through illustrations full of rich color and bold designs that brings to life the emotions and significance of the stories and figures of the Bible.

    Jackson-Feild’s chaplain The Rev. Dr. Robin Jones will use the Action Bible’s four-step lesson path to engage teens at every step. The path starts by setting the stage to help teens feel comfortable with the Bible, and then brings the Bible stories and passages to life through animation. It helps readers make a connection and prompts them to ask questions. The Action Bible helps the boys and girls understand who God is and what they mean to Him, and it helps them develop their own value system.

    Everyone involved in the Spiritual Program at Jackson-Feild is grateful to St. Martin’s and the ECW of the Diocese of Virginia for funding the purchase of these Bibles that will help to connect timeless truths to life today.

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  26. Brunswick Academy Student to be on Food Network Kids Baking Championshop

    Season Premieres Monday, January 1st at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network

    Brunswick Academy Sixth Grader Bryn Montgomery will appear on the new season of Kids Baking Championship on Food Network.She is the daughter of Vin and Ann Montgomery of South Hill. Photo: Food Network

    NEW YORK – November 29, 2017 – Food Network celebrates the New Year in a big way as Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldmanchallenge the skills of a dozen young bakers with major talent on a new season of Kids Baking Championship, premiering on Monday, January 1st at 9pm ET/PT. Over the course of ten episodes, the contestants (ranging in age from 10 to 13) compete in decadent dessert challenges designed to find the most impressive and creative kid baker in the country. To make it to the top tier of the competition, their baking skills and originality must measure up, as they whip up sweet treats such as cookies, ice cream, and doughnuts. Only one will take the cake and the sweet grand prize of $25,000, a feature in Food Network Magazine, and the title of Kids Baking Champion!

    “The return of family-favorite Kids Baking Championship is the perfect sweet note to start the new year with creative confections and delicious desserts from extraordinary young bakers showing off their remarkable talents that will awe and inspire audiences,” said Courtney White, Senior Vice President Programming, Scripps Networks Interactive. 

    Throughout the ten-episode season, the kid contestants must tackle new confectionary challenges, from sweet dessert pizzas using traditional savory pizza toppings, to out-of-this-world desserts with freeze-dried astronaut approved ingredients, and to a new twist on the popular imposter dessert challenge featuring lunchbox favorites. On the premiere, the bakers must conquer cookie cakes, but when Duff and Valerie throw them a crazy curveball, one competitor melts under the pressure. On Monday, March 5th at 9pm ET/PT, the championship culminates as one talented baker will rise to the top in the grand finale.

    Kids Baking Championship contestants include: Gareth Bennett (Gaithersburg, MD; age 10), Julia Betz (Key Biscayne, FL; age 12), Alex Czajka (Edmonton, AB; age 12), Beverly Hepler (Foster City, CA; age 10), Grady Holloway (Chesterfield, MO; age 11), Luke Jonsson (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; age 13), Linsey Lam (Closter, NJ; age 13), Abby Martin (Franklin, WI; age 13), Bryn Montgomery (South Hill, VA; age 11), Aditya Pillutla (Cary, NC; age 12), Michael Platt (Bowie, MD; age 11) and Soleil Thomas(Livingston, NJ; age 12).

    Fans can join the baking banter on Twitter using #BakingChampionship, and can relive the most dramatic, creative, and adorable moments with video and photo highlights, at  They can also go behind the scenes with Duff and Valerie, and discover more baking tips.

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  27. Learn About the SVCC Power Line Worker Training Program

    Learn more about the Power Line Worker Training Program of Southside Viirginia Community College on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at the SVCC Occupational/Technical Center.  The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the center located at 1041 W. 10th Street, Pickett Park, Blackstone, Virginia.

    This session will offer information on admission requirements, schedule, cost, housing, job prospects and scholarships.  Join the over 100 graduate of this program that started in 2016. 

    Pizza will be served.  Please register at or call Susan Early at 434 292 3101.

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  28. Bridging the gap: Southwest Virginia has the most bridges and culverts in ‘poor’ condition


    By Alexa Nash, Capital News Service

    It’s difficult to avoid driving over a bridge in Virginia, and motorists often don’t give them a second thought. Drivers are unaware that some of the structures they have come to trust are in a troubling state, especially in the southwestern part of the commonwealth.

    Of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s nine districts, Bristol has the highest number of bridges and culverts rated D or lower on the agency’s “health index,” an indication of the overall soundness of a structure. (Culverts are tunnels that allow streams or drains to flow under the road.)

    Data obtained from VDOT shows that 451 bridges and culverts of over 3,400 in the Bristol district have that low grade, and 182 structures were deemed structurally deficient, or “poor.” The worst structure, a bridge in Scott County, has a grade of 12 on a 100-point scale – a solid F.

    Even so, state officials say motorists should not worry.

    “Scary terms aside, if there were a problem out there, [the bridges] would be investigated and closed,” said Michelle Earl, communications manager for VDOT’s Bristol district. “This is nothing we toy around with.”

    Many bridges across the state need major repairs and possibly replacement. While the vast, rural Bristol district has more than its share of such bridges, it is aggressively attacking the problem, officials say.

    Gary Lester, a bridge engineer for the Bristol district, said there are many reasons for high number of bridges with low grades, but two stand out: Bristol has more bridges than any other VDOT district, and because of the area’s geography, they are built differently than anywhere else in the state.

    The Bristol district is a mountainous region with many streams to cross, and winters are harsh. This means that more salt is used on the roads due to snow, which corrodes the exposed steel in the simply designed bridges.

    “In the past, we’ve used a lot of steel beams with timber decks because those were the cheapest and easiest for our crews to put in at the time,” Lester said. Most of the bridges were constructed in the early- to mid- 20th century.

    The bridges needed to go up fast, so they were designed differently than those in Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg or Hampton Roads – districts that have the fewest structurally deficient bridges. Those bridges have a design life, or the time in which the bridge is structurally sound, of 50 to 100 years. Bridges built with just steel beams and timber decks in the Bristol district have a design life of about 25 years and need costly rehabilitation much more often.

    Dr. David Mokarem, research associate at Virginia Tech, said VDOT’s health index is determined by the overall condition of all of the bridge’s parts. He said that traffic, load capacity and the geography of the district are factors in determining the grade.

    Age and design life are also important factors. The needs for each district also depends on how much the bridges are used, so it makes sense that the more populous northern and eastern areas of Virginia see most of the funding from VDOT. That doesn’t mean that Bristol’s situation can be ignored.

    “If [the grade] is 65 percent, that’s low,” Mokarem said. “They need to be fixed, repaired … something needs to be done.”

    Lester is addressing the need in his district by looking at his bridges differently. He said he focuses on the structurally deficient bridges. This means that the bridge either can be crossed only by light vehicles and loads or cannot be used at all until it is rehabilitated or completely reconstructed.

    The formula to determining structural deficiency is more accurate than the health index, Lester said. The formula, based on federal guidelines, divides the bridge into its deck structure and substructure and carefully calculates the health of those two parts.

    The rating is out of nine. Once a bridge receives a four or below, it is considered structurally deficient and must have signage to advertise its load capability. To put that rating in perspective, a brand-new bridge with a few cracks is given a score of eight.

    Every bridge is inspected every two years, and if they are structurally deficient, they are inspected once a year or more, Earl said.

    VDOT had a goal over the past five years to decrease the number of structurally deficient bridges in each district by 15 percent. Bristol was the only district to exceed that goal. The district is replacing those bridges with ones that have a design life of 100 years.

    “We’re looking at the overall load on a bridge before they go structurally deficient, and we’re looking at the condition of the joints to improve those so they don’t leak any water to get down into the structural elements, which will be a new performance measure,” Lester said. VDOT plans to announce these new performance measures in the next few weeks.

    As the measures take effect, Lester said that the number of bridges determined to be structurally deficient should go down each year. The district will continue to work hard to bridge the structural and financial gaps.

    “There’s new funding available to help improve bridges,” Earl said. “Public safety is our ultimate goal, so if there was an issue out there, it would get closed.”

    In the City of Emporia there are no structually deficient bridges, but the Meherrin River Bridge on Main Street is functionally obsolete. The Meherrin River Bridge on Northbound I-95 is listed as functionally obsolete, but is currently being replaced.

    In Greensville County there both the Falling Run culvert on Old Halifax Road and the Fountains Creek Bridge on Hells Island Road are structually deficient and the following bridges are listed as functionally obsolete:

    Nottoway River on Purdy Road,
    Moores Branch on Nottoway Road,
    Fountains Creek on Moore's Frerry Road,
    US 301 Soutnbound over CSX Railroad (Replaced).
    Cattail Creek on Moore's Ferry Road,
    Fountains Creek on US 301-Skippers Road,
    US 301 Sounthbound over I-95 Ramp at Exit 12,
    Branch on Low Ground Road,
    Ramp to US 301-Skippers Road over Interstate 95 at Exit 8
    Beaverpond on Pine Log Road.


  29. Deloris Whitfield Success Story

    Deloris Whitfield started with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act(WIOA)youth program in April 2017. She has a passion for helping others so she enrolled in the Nurse Aide program in May 2017 attending Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.

     While continuing to work on her credential, Whitfield participated in the 2017 WIOA Youth Summer Program and was involved in quite a few activities. She obtained a work experience with the Hazelwood House in South Hill, Virginia as an Adult Day Care worker. From this experience, she received a phenomenal reference letter for her work ethic.

    During the summer program, she also completed the Tools for Success work readiness training.  Whitfield participated in the 3-D Imaging Dream It Do It Camp. She was one of the selected winners for her project and presentation of the skills she had learned in the camp.

    She completed her CNA training in July of 2017 and successfully completed the WIOA youth program also.  She later successfully obtained her CNA licensure and gained full-time employment with Meadowview Terrace on as a Certified Nurse Aide.  She hopes to further her education with a stackable credential in Medication Aide.

    A native of Brunswick County, she now lives in South Hill.

    The W.I.O.A. Youth (OSY) program assists eligible students, between the ages of 14 and 24, in reaching the goal of high school graduation or obtaining the GED. We provide a variety of services to assist the student in making reasonable strides toward this goal. These services include tutoring, additional counseling, mentoring, transportation reimbursement, childcare assistance, career exploration, incentives and supply provisions if there is documented need for these services. The funding for this program is provided by the WIOA through the South Central Workforce Investment Board.  The contract for the Youth Programs is awarded to SVCC which provides the direction and coordination of the youth services.

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  30. Mrs. Hargrove’s Kindergarten Class Letters to Santa Claus

    Dear Santa,

    I want a dirt bike.  I’d also love a Dodge Ram Powerwheel.  I want a toy Lamborghini car.  And a big truck with shiny pipes. 

    Thank u,

    Isaiah P. 

    Dear Santa,

    I want a Hoverboard, shoes, clothes and toys. 


    Dear Santa,

    My name is Arkeyla Porter, and I have been good this year.  I would like for you to bring me some clothes and shoes.  And I would like for you to bring my niece and nephews some clothes and shoes too.  And bring them some toys and lots of love. 


    Dear Santa,

    I want a Power Ranger, Ninja Turtle and an army man.


    Dear Santa,

    My name is Jakiyah Nottie Lazae Vaughan.  I know I haven’t been that good this year but I was hopeful of maybe getting some outfits with shoes to match some Doc Mcstuffin toys, a hoverboard, doll house with some dolls, tablet, a baby alive, money and maybe a puppy. 


    Dear Santa,

    For Christmas, I want a kitchen set and a baby alive doll, shopkins, a bike and a Hatchimal. 


    Dear Santa,

    I want a dragon toy, Trex toy, race cart, plane toy, dinosaur toy, wolf toy, and Pterodactyl toy. 


    Dear Santa,

    I want coloring books, a doll baby and a bed for my dollbabies. 


    Dear Santa,

    For Christmas, I would like Pop the Pig, a football, a toy gun and a fire tablet.   Merry Christmas Santa!


    Justin Wright

    Dear Santa,

    My name is Andre and all I want for Christmas is a Nintendo DS along with some games.


    Dear Santa,

    I have been good this year.  This Christmas, I wish for train tracks sets so that I can build awesome train stations.  Please give my sister a dollhouse. 



    Dear Santa,

    I been a very nice girl.  All I want is bike, dollhouse and kitchen set, some boots, dollbabies and some clothes.


    Zalilian Green

    Dear Santa,

    My name is Zy’ire.  For Christmas, I want a PS4, a tablet and a white DS.  I will leave you some milk and cookies.


    Dear Santa,

    I want candy, toys and presents.


    Dear Santa,

    I want Frozen dolls and toys. 


    Dear Santa,

    I want a doll and stroller.  I also want a dollhouse. 


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  31. Sandra Hubbard is VCU CMH Fundraiser of the YEAR

    One of the three co-chairs of the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Foundation’s 2016-2017 Health Care For Life Capital Campaign was honored in November by the Piedmont Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as its Volunteer Fundraiser of the year.

    “When Sandra Hubbard agreed to serve on the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Health Care For Life Capital Campaign Cabinet in February 2016, she did so with trepidation. She was a quiet listener as the early planning stages of the campaign were ironed out. But out of necessity the campaign was an accelerated version of a traditional capital campaign. And that’s when Sandra began to blossom, bloom, and became an unstoppable force for good,” said Ken Kurz, Executive Director of the Foundation, when nominating Sandra.

    Sandra served as one of three co-chairs of the campaign, joined by Dean Marion, the Town of South Hill’s mayor, and Ryan Bartholomew, an Edward Jones investment advisor.

    According to Kurz , “this triumvirate presided over an incredibly quick and successful capital campaign that saw an area of less than 100,000 people raise an amazing $3.8 million in just 10 months -from start to finish.”

    Kurz added that this campaign was on the heels of a still to be completed 2012 capital campaign for VCU Health CMH. He said that Sandra was approaching donors who still had payments left from the previous campaign. But that didn’t even slow her down.

    “Even with zero fundraising experience, Sandra was by far the most successful fund raiser for the Health Care For Life Capital Campaign. Her community connections and persistence paid huge dividends for the CMH Foundation. She also put her money where her heart was and donated to the campaign. She was the perfect messenger to send out to the community. She was engaged, involved and refused to see the campaign fail,”  Kurz added.

    Kurz continued, “countless times Sandra brought new donors into the CMH family because she believed in the mission of CMH. She also worked at bringing in additional volunteer campaign workers. To put it bluntly, Sandra was indispensable to the campaign on several levels.”

    In the 10-month campaign, we had 22 external cultivation events and Sandra was involved in all but one -when she went on vacation. Sandra was instrumental in making the campaign a success. She played host on three different occasions for these events. She brought in her friends, old and new, who had previously not supported CMH.

    When someone is a volunteer, expectations of time involvement are typically fairly modest, according to Kurz.

    “Even though we have met our $3.5 million goal, Sandra has not stopped. She continues to seek out new donors to help CMH. Since the campaign’s conclusion, Sandra was instrumental in an additional $25,000 gift and is currently cultivating several additional donors at this time,” he said.

    Kurz added that named bricks and other naming opportunities are still available at the new hospital and C.A.R.E. Building. Anyone interested in donating to benefit VCU Health CMH can contact the Foundation office at 434-774-2575.

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  32. Charlie Joseph Brna

    Charlie Joseph Brna, 82, of Richmond, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Charlie was with the Army National Guard for two years and was Honorably discharged to enlist in the United States Air Force in 1954. He retired from the USAF after 23 years of service as an Audio-Visual Superintendent. He served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He also retired after 21 years from Carpenter Company. Charlie was a member of the American Legion Post 137 and the Farmer’s Hunt Club in Emporia, Va. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Anna Brna. He is survived by his sister, Ellen Dillard; brother, Dr. Theodore Brna; son, Steven Brna; daughter, Rhonda Underwood (Matt); two grandchildren, Kamryn and Rylan; and numerous extended family and friends.

    Funeral Services will be held at St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church at 2 P.M., Monday, December 11, 2017 with Rev. Stephen Bocklage officiating. Internment will follow in St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church Cemetery. Visitation will be held 1 hour before the Service.

    In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church Building Fund.

    Online condolences may be left at

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  33. VSU Offers Free Five-Week Beekeeping for Beginners Course

    Beekeeping for Beginners is a free five-week course being held at Hopewell United Methodist Church, 4585 Dry Fork Rd, Dry Fork, VA (Pittsylvania County). Classes will be held for five consecutive Tuesdays beginning January 23, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There will also be a field day trip to a hive on Saturday, March 3, weather permitting.

    This five-week course is being offered by the Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) of Virginia State University (VSU) Cooperative Extension. It is designed for individuals interested in starting a beekeeping operation.

    Participants will learn about the history and purpose of beekeeping; the basic biology of bees and equipment needed; getting started and harvesting; and how to manage pests, disorders and parasites. Mike Rogers and Patrick Ferrer from the Pittsylvania County Beekeepers Association will be presenters in the course, along with Berry Hines, a master beekeeper.

    Registration is free. 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 Agent Cassidy Williams at (804) 704-4033,, or call the Small Farm Outreach Program office at (804) 524-3292 / (800) 828-1120 (TDD) during business hours of 8 a.m. 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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  34. VSU Receives $600,000 to Assist Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

    VSU’s Cooperative Extension Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) has received a grant award of $600,000 to educate and mentor socially disadvantaged and veteran Virginia beginning farmers and ranchers (SDVBFR) so they have the information they need to allow their farms to be sustainable and economically successful.

    The grant is one of 36 totaling $17.7 million funded through fiscal year 2017’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). The BFRDP is a competitive grant program administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that funds education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives directed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers of all types. It was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to help address issues associated with the rising age and decrease in the number of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

    “Agriculture is the number one industry in the commonwealth,” said William Crutchfield, SFOP Director. “But high barriers to entry make farming and ranching one of the hardest careers to pursue, and the number of people entering into farming has been slowly declining each year.”

    The average age of the typical Virginia farmer is 59.9 years old. Thirty-six percent of Virginia farmers are 65 years of age or older. The average farm size is 181 acres.

    Despite significant hurdles like land acquisition and potentially significant start up costs, there are people who see great opportunities in agriculture today and want to start their own farm or ranch businesses. They tend to be younger on average than those who started farming decades ago and less likely than established farmers to farm full-time. They also tend to operate smaller farms, have more diversified operations and come from non-agricultural backgrounds, which means little to no access to farmland that traditionally is passed down from one generation of farmer to the next.

    The BFRDP grant is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to training the next generation of farmers and ranchers. This highly successful initiative provides grants to academic institutions, state Extension programs, producer groups and community organizations to support and train new farmers and ranchers across the country. The program funds everything from production techniques to mentoring new farmers in how to develop a business plan and has proven a critical resource in ensuring the success of the next generation of farmers—one that faces unprecedented challenges pursuing a career in agriculture.

    The three-year grant was awarded to VSU’s SFOP program, which specifically targets SDVBFR in 54 Virginia counties. These audiences have been traditionally undeserved and have been plagued by several barriers such as: high start-up costs, limited access to credit and capital, lack of knowledge on land acquisition and transition process, lack of skills in agribusiness and financial planning, lack of adequate production skills, and limited access to existing and viable markets. VSU’s SFOP, in a continued partnership with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (BFRCP), proposes to address these barriers by using the "Whole Farm Planning" curriculum developed by BFRCP as one of the tools to train these farmers, with the expected result of an improved quality of life for them and their communities. 

    Farmers enrolled in the program will begin by attending a small farmer orientation and must commit to attending a series of educational workshops that include estate planning, financial and business management, sustainable production practices and marketing. They will also be connected to a farmer mentor.

    If you are farmer interested in joining the program, contact the SFOP at 804-524-3292 or

    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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  35. Kids Kab is Back for Year Two of Winter Recreation Basketball

    Southampton County, VA.  Kids Kab, a local children’s non-profit organization, is excited to announce that the registration for Winter Recreation Basketball is open. Deadline for registration is December 17.

    Games for the Kids Kab Winter Recreation Basketball League will begin on January 6. Teams participating in the league will play, at most, 8 games to include playoffs and championship. All-stars will be chosen and this year the league will feature a Skills Challenge All-star weekend. Registration for the Winter Recreation Basketball League is $40 per player. Boys and Girls ages 5-14 can play. Three divisions will be formed within the league, Midget (5-7), Junior (8-10) and Senior (11-14). Cheerleading is also open, and registration is $30. The registration deadline is December 17. Teams will be coached by Hoops League coaches and volunteers of the Kids Kab organization.

    On December 16, the League will host a free skill development clinic from 9 am – 12 pm at Southampton Middle School. Any interested and/or registered individuals should attend the clinic. Teams will be formed after the clinic and coaches will be given rosters following. For more information on the league, visit or follow Kids Kab on Facebook.

    Kids Kab is a non-profit organization with a mission to support, empower and cultivate youth by providing safe, inspirational and educational activities and transportation for school-age children. Kids Kab was founded in January 2016 by local community leader and Mentor, C.C. Cooper.  In addition to recreation basketball, the organization has several programs that impact the community in a positive and hands on way. The Kids Kab Mobile Mentors program provides mentoring to children while transporting them to and from their educational and enrichment activities. Currently, the organization has 75 children enrolled in this program. The Mobile Meals division began providing hot meals to the underserved population of our community in December 2016.

    More information about the Summer Basketball League and the Summer Skill Academy you may visit or call Mr. Cooper directly at 757-653-6239.

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    RICHMOND – Effective Jan. 1, 2018, Virginia state inspection stickers will no longer be affixed to the bottom center of a vehicle’s windshield. Due to new innovations in the automotive industry, the state inspection stickers will be placed in the bottom left corner of the windshield, when viewed from inside the vehicle. This change in location will also apply to the placement of any other authorized stickers. There have been no changes made to the size or appearance of the existing vehicle inspection sticker.

    The relocation stems from the fact that automobile manufacturers now offer crash avoidance technology in many of their vehicles.  In such vehicles, the new technology utilizes the center of the windshield. Therefore the placement of items in that area, including stickers, could prevent crash avoidance systems from operating properly.

    “The core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety and the crash avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times,” said Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr., Virginia State Police Safety Division Commander. “Therefore, we immediately began evaluating the situation and set forth to make the necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual, which governs the placement of the safety inspection sticker on all vehicles.”


    Existing Virginia vehicle inspection stickers are to remain in their current position – in the bottom center of the windshield. Once a vehicle is inspected and issued a 2019 sticker, the new inspection sticker must be placed in the lower left corner, which is consistent with other states across the nation.

    The Virginia State Police Safety Division began Dec. 2, 2017, notifying all Virginia certified inspections stations of the placement change that is to take effect Jan. 1, 2018.


  37. VCU Drops Ball on Student-Athletes’ Graduation Rates

    By Sean Boyce, Capital News Service

    As the college basketball season gets underway, VCU fans are looking forward to the Rams putting up big numbers against opponents in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

    But off the court, VCU’s student-athletes are far behind on an important statistic – the “graduation success rate” as calculated by the NCAA. This number reflects the percentage of student-athletes who earn a degree within six years of entering college. The most recent NCAA report tracks student-athletes who entered college in 2010 and whether they graduated by 2016.

    Overall, VCU’s student-athletes had a GSR of 79 percent. That was the lowestamong the 14 schools in the A-10. Davidson College led the conference with an overall GSR of 98 percent. Eight other schools had GSRs of 90 percent or higher, and the four remaining members of the A10 were in the 80s.

    In terms of individual sports, of the 14 A-10 members, VCU ranked:

    • Ninth for men’s basketball, tied with St. Louis University, with a GSR of 77 percent.
    • Last for men’s track, with a GSR of 46 percent. The next-lowest school was the University of Massachusetts, whose male track athletes had a GSR of 75 percent. Five schools were at 95 percent and above.
    • Last for men’s soccer, with a GSR of 63 percent. The next-lowest school was George Washington University, at 75 percent. Six schools were at 90 percent or above.
    • 13th for women’s basketball (with a GSR of 86 percent) and for women’s track (85 percent).
    • 12th for women’s soccer, tied with Massachusetts, with a GSR of 84 percent.
    • VCU officials say there are reasons for such disparities. One is that VCU doesn’t offer as many NCAA scholarship sports as its A-10 rivals. Because there are fewer student-athletes at VCU, the overall GSR can be skewed by a relatively small number of academically struggling student-athletes.

    VCU doesn’t just trail its conference opponents on the GSRs; the university falls short of most other colleges and universities in Virginia.

    Of the state’s 14 Division I schools, VCU had the third-lowest overall GSR. The College of William and Mary was No. 1, at 93 percent; then came the University of Richmond, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia at 90 percent. VCU was 1 percentage point below Old Dominion University’s GSR of 80 percent.

    Two Virginia schools had overall GSRs lower than VCU’s: Hampton University, at 73 percent; and Norfolk State University, at 63 percent.

    While VCU’s student-athletes might lag compared with their peers, they actually graduate at rates higher than VCU’s regular student body, the NCAA reported. That observation is based on the federal graduation rate as computed by the U.S. Department of Education.

    According to the federal graduation rate, of the freshmen who entered VCU in fall 2010, 62 percent graduated within six years. The federal graduation rate for student-athletes who entered VCU in fall 2010 was 65 percent.

    (The methodology for calculating the federal graduation rate penalizes schools if a student transfers to another institution, as many student-athletes do. So the NCAA developed the graduation success rate as an alternative methodology. Under the GSR, schools aren’t penalized if a student-athlete who is in good academic standing transfers to another college or university. That is why the NCAA’s GSR is higher than the federal graduation rate.)

    At VCU, student-athletes have higher graduation rates than other students because of the support services that the university provides, according to Noah Strebler, assistant athletic director for compliance and student services.

    “Student-athletes have a smaller adviser-to-student ratio, which allows a student more individual attention than a traditional student receives,” Strebler said.

    VCU Athletics can point to a number of academic success stories involving student-athletes such as Joey Rodriguez and Mo Alie-Cox. Rodriguez graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and corrections and is currently the director of player development at his alma mater, VCU. Alie-Cox graduated a year early with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, earned his master's degree in criminal justice and is currently a tight end in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts.

    “Getting my master’s is about preparing myself for life after basketball. No matter how much I love the game, I know my career as an athlete has an expiration date. Having two degrees is about having the opportunity to move forward,” Alie-Cox said in an interview for a story on the website of VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

    In some sports, VCU has high graduation success rates – including 100 percent in men’s tennis and 95 percent in field hockey.

    Moreover, the university’s overall GSR is headed in the right direction: In 2001, it was just 71 percent. VCU’s current rate of 79 percent is the school’s highest since the NCAA started keeping track of that metric in 1998.

    As with the general student body, there’s a gender difference: Female student-athletes have a much higher GSR (86 percent) than male student-athletes (70 percent).

    But if VCU hopes to compete in the GSRs as it does on the basketball court, the university definitely will have to up its game: On Dec. 9, the Rams will play Seton Hall, which has an overall GSR of 92 percent and a 90 percent GSR for its male basketball players.


  38. Southside Virginia Community College Participates in Schneider Truck Driving School Advisory Board

    School is among top programs placing new professional truck drivers in the industry with Schneider

    GREEN BAY, Wisconsin and BLACKSTONE, Virginia (December 4, 2017) – Southside Virginia Community College recently attended the 2017 Truck Driving School Advisory Board meeting hosted by Schneider. One of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, Schneider regularly invites top truck driving schools to attend its biennial event. This year, 11 schools were selected to attend.

    The event provides these top producing truck driving schools and Schneider senior leaders a two-day forum to exchange ideas and best practices in areas such as safety, training, regulatory compliance and technology – with the end goal of setting up graduates for success as professional truck drivers.

    “We view this event as critical to our collective success in ensuring graduates are prepared for new careers as professional truck drivers,” said Rob Reich, Schneider’s senior vice president of equipment, maintenance and driver recruiting. “It is vital to our industry that new drivers are prepared for today’s trucking and the information and learnings exchanged keep us all abreast as to what trends we are seeing to ensure graduates’ expectations are met.”

    The U.S. has been plagued by a driver shortage for years. According to the American Trucking Associations, it is estimated that the industry is currently short 100,000 drivers and the gap is expected to grow to 160,000 by 2022. This creates great, lucrative opportunities for those interested in joining the industry as over 70 percent of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. moves by truck.

    “The experience we had with the Schneider team during the two-day meeting was invaluable,” said C. Duncan Quicke, coordinator of the truck driver training school at Southside Virginia Community College. “We have worked hard in our 21 years of existence to make the transition from school to employment as seamless as possible, and even though Schneider is the largest carrier that hires our graduates, they are able to offer those personal amenities that helps to make their drivers know that they too are an integral part of the trucking profession.”

    A focus item at this year’s event was making it easier for those interested in attending a truck driving school. Schneider offers a $7,000 tuition reimbursement program to new hires and regularly attends the schools to present career opportunities and conduct interviews.

    Another focus was learning about improvements in career opportunities for graduates. Items that Schneider shared were its shift to automated transmissions, driver pay increases in 2017 and new work opportunities that provide more home time for drivers. Over 75 percent of Schneider drivers get home weekly or more frequently.

    For more information about professional driving positions with Schneider, visit Information about Southside Virginia Community College’s Truck Driver Training Program is available at

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    2017 Grants Total More Than $188,000 For Lifesaving Equipment

    The Greensville County Fire Department will receive a $5,000 grant from Georgia-Pacific for new equipment. Pictured: Greensville VFD Lt. Adam Hueber (left) with Georgia-Pacific Emporia Plywood Plant Manager Bryan Bates.

    Emporia, VA, Nov. 30, 2017 – The Greensville County Fire Department is one of 40 fire departments awarded Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grants this year. The department will receive $5,000 to help fund equipment needs.

    “We have a strong relationship with our local fire departments, so we are very pleased to help them stay well-equipped,” said Bryan Bates, plant manager of Georgia-Pacific's Emporia Plywood facility. “These grants show our gratitude for their selfless dedication.”

    The Bucket Brigade program awarded $188,400 in grants to departments this year for equipment critical to firefighters’ safety. Since the program began in 2006, Georgia-Pacific has given more than $2.2 million in cash and educational materials to 287 fire departments that serve the company’s facility communities across the country.

    The fire department says the grant will go toward the replacement of three sets of so-called “turnout” gear that no longer meet standards set by the National Fire Protection Association.

    “Firefighting is a dangerous profession that requires specialized equipment to effectively and safely mitigate a fire emergency,” said Lt. Adam Hueber. “This grant will allow our volunteer firefighters to respond more safely.” The department is an all-volunteer unit that includes one employee of the Georgia-Pacific facility.

    Grants are based on need and are funded by the Georgia-Pacific Foundation and local Georgia-Pacific facilities. Funds are typically used to purchase new protective clothing and replace items such as damaged safety gear and aging equipment.

    Through the program, Georgia-Pacific also gives all grant applicants free memberships to The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), which provides access to tools, resources, programs and advocacy for first-responders across the nation.

    The fire departments receiving Bucket Brigade grants this year span 24 states where Georgia-Pacific has facilities: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

    Visit the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade website for more information about the program.

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  40. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces 2017 Employee & Manager of the Year

    Emporia, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) has named its 2017 Employee and Managers of the Year. Employees and managers are nominated for these awards by their colleagues based on their commitment to patient care, their professionalism, and their contributions on the job. The recognitions are the highest honors hospital employees can receive.

    Employee of the Year

    Cardiovascular Technologist, Tammy Green has been employed at SVRMC since October of 2004. Ms. Green performs cardiovascular diagnostic and educational modalities on patients including echocardiography, stress testing, EKG, EEG, Carotid Duplex and vascular testing. Her coworkers had the following to say about her: “Tammy is a great ambassador for our hospital. She is always smiling and brightening the day of our patients, physicians, and staff.”  Tammy was recently recognized by Dr. Firas Kaddaha, Cardiologist, for her responsiveness to her patient. Tammy’s proactive approach to this patient’s condition led to a change in his treatment plan and ultimately saved his life.

    Clinical Manager of the Year

    Dr. Richard Alexander, Director of Rehab Services, has been employed at SVRMC since August of 2016. He is responsible for the management and development of the rehabilitation therapy services in all areas of SVRMC.  He coordinates and supervises the functions of each rehab service; including: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Cardiac Rehab.  Dr. Alexander’s coworkers had the following to say about him: “Richard is passionate about his patients’ health, wellness, and rehabilitation.  He is a motivator, an initiator, and a team player. He is constantly striving to improve the success of his departments by building relationships and becoming a community champion for SVRMC”

    Non-Clinical Manager of the Year

    Anita Ivey, Chief Quality Officer, has been employed at SVRMC since 2005. She is responsible for the planning, administration and monitoring of consistent readiness of all quality management regulatory requirements and the quality improvement processes.  Ms. Ivey’s coworkers had the following to say about her: “Anita is an avid supporter of the facility throughout the community.  You will often find her volunteering at community events, representing the facility and being a champion for SVRMC and the services it provides.  Anita is not only devoted to her job, her employees, and her co-workers, but she is also a devoted mother, grandmother, and friend.”


  41. Emporia Police Department Seeks Advanced Accreditation

    A team of assessors from the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) will arrive January 7, 2018 to examine all aspects of the Emporia Police Department’s policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services announced Chief Ricky A. Pinksaw.  These include areas such as:  Communications, traffic enforcement, investigations, critical incidents, property and evidence, and even internal human resources.

    Verification by the assessment team that the Emporia Police Department meets the Commissioner’s state-of-the-art standard is part of a voluntary process for initial advanced accreditation – a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.  This is the Emporia Police Department’s initial advanced accreditation.

    As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session on Monday January 8, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.  The session will be conducted in the City Council Chambers located at 201 South Main Street in Emporia.

    If for some reason an individual cannot speak at the public information session but would like to provide comments to the assessment team, he/she may do so by telephone.  The public may call and speak with a CALEA assessor on Monday January 8, 2018 between the hours of 1:00 p.m. through 3:00 p.m.  The public may call (434) 532-3408 and your call will be answered by one of the CALEA assessors.

    Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA standards.  A copy of the standards is available at the Emporia Police Department at 310 Budd Street, Emporia.

    The Accreditation Manager and contact is Lieutenant David Shidell at (434) 634-2121.  Persons wishing to offer written comments about the Emporia Police Department’s ability to meet the standards for advanced accreditation are requested to write: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)  13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320 Gainesville, Virginia 20155; or e-mail the commission at and place the agency’s name in the subject line and make your comments.

    The Emporia Police Department has to comply with 484 standards to achieve advanced accreditation, according to Chief Pinksaw.  By voluntarily submitting ourselves to the accreditation process, we are assuring the community and ourselves that we are providing police services while practicing best practices through CALEA’s international standards. 

    Only a small percentage of all law enforcement agencies are CALEA accredited, so this step assures the community that our department and officers are providing the highest quality service to the citizens of Emporia.  Chief Pinksaw stated; “This is just not the Police Department’s accreditation, but it is the Community’s Accreditation.”  Also, Chief Pinksaw wanted to give recognition and thanks to three former police chiefs whose efforts have led the Emporia Police Department to this point: Chiefs Elmer Grizzard, the late Pete Daughtry and Bernard Richardson.

    The Emporia Police Department Accreditation Manager, Lieutenant David Shidell, will serve as the liaison with the CALEA assessors and the Department while the assessment team is on location.  The team is comprised of two individuals who both have long careers in law enforcement including extensive knowledge of the accreditation process.  The assessment team will consist of:

    Randy Nichols, Retired Chief of Police of the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Police Department, Greenville, North Carolina

    Charles Groover, Lieutenant of the Covington Police Department, Covington, Georgia.

    Once the assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will then decide if the agency is to be granted accredited status at the next scheduled CALEA conference in March 2018 in Frisco, Texas.

    For more information regarding the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., please write the commission at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 329 Gainesville, Virginia 20155; or call (703) 352-4225.  The commission can also be found on the internet at

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  42. Archaeologist to Address Historic Society

    Michael Clem, the regional archaeologist for South-eastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, will speak at the December 6, 2017 meeting of the Greensville County Historical Society. The meeting will be held at 7 pm in the conference room of the Richardson Memorial Library (note the change of location).

    18-20 thousand years ago our region was along the edge of a glacial ice sheet and blanketed by a thick forest. This woodland was a perfect hunting ground for early humans, including those that occupied the many Clovis sites in North America, thought to be evidence of the earliest human occupation of the Americas.  The Clovis sites were occupied 12-13 thousand calendar years ago.

    On the banks of the Nottoway River in Sussex County lies the Cactus Hill site, which is one of a number of sites in the Commonwealth that predate the Clovis sites. These pre-Clovis sites are from that time when the edge of the ice sheet was a perfect hunting ground for the large animals that sustained early humans.

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  43. Swanson D. Jennings

    Swanson D. Jennings, 77, of Stony Creek, passed away Monday, October 9, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wife, Eloise A. Jennings. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Kelly and husband, Fred; brothers, Ronnie Jennings and wife, Judy, Ray Jennings and wife, Nancy and a number of nieces and nephews. He was a wonderful father and husband, a faithful brother and friend, and a generous and kind-hearted man overall. He was loved by many. He will be profoundly missed. Mr. Jennings was once a member of Fort Grove and also had a special place in his heart for animals. Thus, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to Fort Grove United Methodist Church, 12471 Church St., Stony Creek VA 23882 or to the ASPCA of Petersburg and Colonial Heights, 201 Temple Ave #E, Colonial Heights Va 23834. A memorial service will be held at Fort Grove United Methodist Church on Friday December 15th at 3:00. The family will be receiving friends and family after the service at the home of Fred and Beth Kelly, 22612 Walkers Mill Rd, Stony Creek Va 23882. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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