July 2018

  1. "Look Up"

    Do you look up towards the heavens
    after you do solemnly pray
    well that is where the rain comes from
    and it's always been that way.
    Yes it's not the weather channel
    where they play their guessing game
    that decides just who will soon get wet
    while others remain the same.
    Now the farmers are quite patient
    immensely more than I could be
    they know what's needed to suatain their crops
    yet can only wait and see.
    Each year is very much the same
    and their hours never end
    the sunshine most is ample
    still the rain the Lord must send.
    Now the farmer tils the soil
    and then does plant the seed
    in hopes the crops will flourish
    for our big world to feed.
    Yes so say a prayer for a farmer
    you need not know his name
    the efforts of his toil each day
    is not a simple game.
                        Roy E. Schepp

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  2. Bipartisanship Brings Loan Program Expansion for Small Businesses

    Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act Means More Capital for Growth

    BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

    President Donald J. Trump recently signed the bipartisan, bicameral Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act into law. Led by House Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Jim Risch (R-ID), and House Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY); the Reform Act improves access to capital for small business owners by ensuring appropriate oversight of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) flagship 7(a) loan program. The bill passed both committees unanimously, and passed the House and Senate without objection before going to the President’s desk for his signature.

    The 7(a) loan program was created to help entrepreneurs gain access to credit in order to start and grow their businesses when they are unable to qualify for a conventional loan. It can be a “make or break” cash infusion that gets small businesses doing what they do best, creating jobs in their community and supporting the American economy. Millions of American entrepreneurs use and repay billions of dollars in 7(a) loans each year.

    The Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act updates the “credit elsewhere” test, which is the entry point to the program; increases oversight of the program and transparency to Congress, and provides flexibility for SBA’s Administrator to increase the program’s authorization cap in an emergency. It ensures SBA has the tools it needs, provides lenders with needed clarity, and makes sure entrepreneurs and small business owners have access to funds they would otherwise not be able to obtain.

    Whether it is a new military contractor in Virginia Beach, or a family owned craft brewer in Erie, small businesses face the common challenge of finding affordable financing. An improved 7(a) program ensures more businesses can access capital to grow, invest in their operations and, ultimately, create jobs.

    This bill was widely supported in the small business community, including by the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the American Bankers Association (ABA), the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Check out our online Lender Match tool to find an SBA-approved lender to help you through the process. I also encourage you to visit your local SBA office or a “Powered by SBA” partner organization for help putting together the business plan you’ll need to qualify for an SBA-backed loan.


  3. Virginia's annual sales tax holiday weekend is Aug. 3-5

    Virginians are encouraged to use the holiday to make purchases to prepare their home, business and family for all hazards

    RICHMOND — Virginia’s annual sales tax holiday is often associated with back-to-school shopping purchases but the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) encourages all Virginians to print, review and use the VDEM sales tax holiday checklist (http://www.vaemergency.gov/tax-free/) . Many hurricane and emergency preparedness products are eligible for tax-free savings; therefore residents should take this opportunity to make tax-free purchases that will assist them when responding to an emergency or disaster. The three-day sales tax holiday starts the first Friday in August, Aug. 3, at 12:01 a.m., and ends the following Sunday, Aug. 5, at 11:59 p.m.

    Items to help Virginians prepare for and recover from all hazards, including hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes include: batteries, light sources, radios, miscellaneous items, chain saws, portable generators and Energy Star and WaterSense products. For a comprehensive list of qualified items, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/tax-free/ and download the checklist.

    “Preparing your home, business and family for emergencies, including natural disasters, is vital to a sustainable recovery. Virginians should have an emergency communication plan, and assemble and maintain an emergency kit before disaster strikes,” said VDEM State Coordinator Jeff Stern. “The annual sales tax holiday is an opportunity for residents to make tax-free emergency preparedness purchases that prepare Virginians for disasters and assists them with recovery.”


  4. Arthur Edward Avent, Sr.

    Arthur Edward Avent, Sr., 99 ½ passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Shelby, NC.  Born in Sussex County, he was the son of Gracie Grizzard Avent and Vernon Thomas Avent.  He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.  He loved the Lord, his family, and his friends as well as his church, Adams Grove Baptist, where he taught Sunday school for over 55 years.  Arthur spent most of his life in Southampton County.

    Left to cherish his memory is a daughter, Dot A. Griffith, son, Art E. Avent, Jr. (Patsy), and daughter, Diane A. Seward (Wilson).  Also left to cherish his memory are his seven grandchildren: Stacy A. Young (Michael), Stephanie S. Rose (Randy), Dee P. Greene (Kevin), Stephen C. Seward (Pamela), Christy A. Powell (Tom), Kimberly A. Wyngaard (Todd), Patty A. Wyngaard (Peter).  These grandchildren blessed him with 22 great-grandchildren.  The Young’s:  Timothy, Zachery, Benjamin, Hannah:  The Powell’s – Tyler, Madisen, Ryland, Blakely, Joshua, Dawson:  The Todd Wyngaard’s – Jacob, Gracie, Kyndall Rose, Kyle: The Peter Wyngaard’s – Makena, Ike, Edy Rose:  The Rose’s – Kelsey, Nick:  The Greene’s – Kaylee, Marshall, and Garrison.  His special family also includes Greg Sledge (Barbara), Randy Woodruff (Faye), and Albert Delbridge Jr. (Rebecca). 

    Arthur was pre-deceased by his loving wife of 73 years, Ada Belle, and brothers, Leroy, Irvin, and William and sisters, Alice, Rosaleen, Louise, and Virginia Belle. 

    Arthur was a member of Adams Grove Baptist Church and served the Lord in as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, choir member, and a faithful steward of the Lord.   Arthur served in the US Army in WWII, was a charter member of the Adams Grove-Grizzard Ruritan Club and a member of the Gideons.

    We would also like to thank the caregivers, Clara Clark, Carolyn Clontz, and Nancy Griggs that made Arthur’s life much easier and made him very loved.  A special thanks goes to Clara Clark for being with Arthur at hospice. 

    The funeral will be at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, VA.  The funeral will be held at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, July 31.  Visitation will be just prior to the funeral from 12:00-1:00 pm with burial in the Greensville Memorial Cemetery. 

    Memorial donations may be made to organizations of your choice or Adams Grove Baptist in memory of Arthur Avent.  Flowers are also welcomed. 

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  5. VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for June, 2018

    W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (far right) presented John Watson, Jr., DPT, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for June.  There to congratulate John was (L to R) Todd Howell, VP of Professional Services; Mike Simmons, Respiratory Manager; and Donna Jarrell,  Director of Rehab Services.

    You know you’re doing it correctly when a patient’s family takes the time to write a note to your supervisor about your workday.  John Watson, DPT, from the physical therapy department, was calm, cool and collected when an emergent situation happened while he was working with a patient in the hospital recently.  To quote the family member, “John was instrumental in getting quick assistance when my son passed out while visiting.”

    For his efforts, John was named the VCU Health CMH Star Service Team Member of the Month for June.  The family member also wrote about John’s effort working with her mother following knee replacement surgery.  “He has a friendly disposition and demonstrates caring for his patients. He is very articulate,” she wrote.

    John works in Acute Rehab in the Physical Therapy Department and spends quite a bit of his time in the hospital. He’s been with VCU Health CMH for almost nine years and enjoys the teamwork his department shows and he’s really enjoying the new hospital.

    Originally from Weldon, NC, John did his undergraduate work at Winston Salem University and stayed there for his post graduate degree. He received his doctorate from Chatham University and another from the Neuro Recovery Institute.

    Mike Simmons, his supervisor, said John is an exemplary employee who takes customer service seriously. Mike was also proud of the way John handled the emergent situation with the family member.

    In addition to the award certificate, John received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of his choice for the month.

    John resides in LaCrosse, VA

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  6. Frances Dunlow Scott

    Frances Dunlow Scott, 85, of Emporia, passed away Thursday, July 26, 2018. She was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Jack Scott, and two sons, Donald Lee Scott, and Lynn Scott and also a sister and three brothers.

    Frances is survived by a daughter, Diane Nunnally and husband, David; two sons, Tommy Scott and William Scott; eight grandchildren, Tracy Bullock, Joey Scott, Jennifer Lozy, Scott Nunnally, Ashley Walker, Derica Donofrio, Michael Scott, and John Scott; eight great-grandchildren and a great-great- grandson; two sisters, Nettie Moseley and Ann Rook and husband, Donald; daughter-in-law, Betty Scott; a number of nieces and nephews; and her longtime dear friend, Hazel Conn.

    The funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, July 29, 2018 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends prior to the service 1:30 – 3 p.m. Interment will follow at Emporia Cemetery.

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  7. Carolyn Faye Brinkley Ferguson


    Carolyn Faye Brinkley Ferguson, 69 of Emporia, Virginia passed away at home surrounded by family on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

    Carolyn was born in Littleton, NC to the late Woodrow and Lillian Brinkley and raised there. She met Mike Ferguson, fell in love and they married on July 30, 1967.

    Carolyn is survived by her husband of 51 years, Mike, their three sons; Craig Ferguson, Clay Ferguson (Teresa), Chris Ferguson (Stephanie); six loving grandchildren; Tyler Ferguson, Tori Ferguson, Joshua Kim (Victoria), Skylar Ferguson, Haley Ferguson, Tucker Ferguson, two great grandchildren Emili and Alex; her sister, Betty Sue Freuler (Randy), sister-in-law Debbie Moseley (Leslie) and several dearly loved nieces and nephews.

    Carolyn had a sweet soul, generous to a fault and made friends easily. She always saw the goodness in everyone. She was a member of Forest Hill Baptist Church where she faithfully served the Lord until the time of her illness. She was well known for witnessing through singing; not only in church but her community as well. She was previously a member of the Riparian Woman’s Club and took advantage of any opportunity to be involved with the community.

    Visitation will be Saturday, July 28, 2018 from 6-8 pm at Echols Funeral Home located at 806 Brunswick Avenue, Emporia, Virginia 23847. The Celebration of Life Service will be Sunday, July 29, 2018 at Forest Hill Baptist Church located at 2103 Pine Log Rd Skippers, VA 23879.

    In Lieu of flowers; memorial contributions can be made to the Forest Hill Perpetual Care Cemetery Fund, 5070 Brink Rd Emporia Virginia 23847. 

    On line condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

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  8. Fannie Newsome Doyle

    Fannie Newsome Doyle, age 92, died Wednesday July 25, 2018. She was born July 12, 1926 to the late W.T. Newsome, Sr. and Pattie Thorpe Newsome.

    She was preceded in death by her husband; Tom Doyle, three sisters; Virginia Renner, Frances Newsome and Eloise Drummond, two brothers; W.T. Newsome Jr. and Archie Newsome.

    Fannie is survived by a daughter, Patsy Cooper and a son Tommy Doyle and his wife Te, 7 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

    Fannie was a retired salesperson for Bloom Brothers Department Store.

    Fannie’s family would like to give a special thanks to the employees at Greensville Health and Rehab for taking such good care of Fannie so well over the past few years.

    Graveside Funeral Services will be held Saturday, July 28, 1:30 P. M. at Emporia Cemetery.

    Condolences may be sent to www.echolsfuneralhome.com.



    In order to try-out or practice with any of the teams at Greensville County High School, you must have a current physical on file (dated after April 30, 2018).  Forms can be downloaded off of the high school web site or picked up from the schools main office.

    Football - July 30th at 9:00am-12:00pm in football locker room

    Golf - July 31st at 3:00pm at Emporia Country Club

    Varsity Cheerleading - August 1st from 9:00am-2:00pm

    Cross Country - August 1st at 5:00pm at the track

    Volleyball - August 2nd from 9:00am-12:00pm in gym

    JV Cheerleading - August 6th from 4:45pm-7:15pm

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  10. Dominion Energy Launches Grid Transformation Program, Paving Way for Virginia’s Energy Future With 3,000 Megawatts of New Solar and Wind Planned by 2022

    • New law saves Dominion Energy Virginia customers hundreds of millions of dollars

    • Calls for unprecedented expansion of solar and wind energy to be in public interest

    • Provides significant boost to energy efficiency and EnergyShare programs

    • Reduces outages, speeds restoration and improves service through new technology

    RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Energy Virginia customers stand to benefit from a smarter, stronger and greener energy grid in the first set of plans filed today under the Grid Transformation & Security Act (GTSA). The landmark legislation, signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, became effective July 1 and provides a roadmap for Virginia’s energy future.  Dominion Energy is committing to having 3,000 megawatts of new solar and wind -- enough to power 750,000 homes -- under development or in operation by the beginning of 2022.

    “Thanks to the Grid Transformation & Security Act, Dominion Energy plans to develop a system that meets the increasingly complex demands and expectations of our customers,” said Ed Baine, Senior Vice President – Power Delivery. “And we are doing it with more renewable energy.”

    The law paves the way for expanded investments in renewable energy, smart grid technology, a stronger, more secure grid and energy efficiency programs, all while keeping rates affordable. It provides hundreds of millions of dollars in bill credits and rate reductions for customers, and expands the EnergyShare program to help Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens.

    The Grid Transformation & Security Act includes provisions for:

    • $200 million in bill credits to customers, and $125 million in annual rate cuts due to tax relief

    • Modernizing the energy grid to improve reliability, resiliency and the ability to integrate more renewable energy and emerging technology

    • Significantly expanding the company’s renewable energy fleet in Virginia

    • Future testing of wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach

    In today’s regulatory filing, the company asked the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to approve the programs, investments and costs included in the first three years of the 10-year grid transformation program. The company will update the plan and request approval of additional programs and spending in later filings with the SCC.

    Keeping Energy Affordable

    Customers will continue to see affordable energy prices even as the company makes critical investments in grid transformation. Through the provisions of the new law, Dominion Energy customers will see significant savings, starting with the $133 million bill credit this month, another $67 million credit in January, and $125 million annually in rate cuts due to recent federal tax reform.

    Additionally, customers who need assistance will benefit from the significant expansion of EnergyShare. The law directs Dominion Energy to commit at least $13 million in shareholder funds each year through 2028 for bill assistance and weatherization services for seniors, veterans, low-income customers and people with disabilities.

    Expanding Virginia’s Renewable Resources

    The Grid Transformation & Security Act set Virginia’s energy policy on a course for a massive expansion in new wind and solar energy -- 3,000 megawatts of which Dominion Energy is committed to having in operation or under development by the beginning of 2022. The projects will be a combination of assets developed and procured by the company.

    In a related filing with the SCC today, Dominion Energy will seek to specifically add 240 megawatts of solar energy in Virginia. The proposed projects will continue to grow the company’s solar fleet, which is already the sixth largest in the nation. Dominion Energy is also working this summer to gather input from stakeholders before announcing the next phase in its solar strategy later this year.

    Later this summer, the company will seek SCC approval for its proposed Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project. The 12-megawatt facility would be the first of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, located in a federal lease area about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The two-turbine test project is being developed through a partnership with Ørsted Energy of Denmark, a global leader in wind generation. It will provide valuable information that could lead to more extensive wind development.

    Smart Grid Technology and Grid Security

    Customers can expect better service under the grid transformation initiative, which includes the installation of approximately 2.1 million smart meters in homes and businesses. If approved by the SCC, these smart meters in conjunction with a new customer information platform will give customers more information and tools to better manage their energy use and bills. The approximately $450 million investment in smart meters and the customer information platform during the first three years of the initiative will be funded without any rate increase by using the reinvestment model enabled by the GTSA.

    Smart meters and other grid transformation investments will help integrate new technologies like private solar and electric vehicle charging stations into the grid. Investments in intelligent grid devices, smart meters, and automated control systems will enable a “self-healing” grid which will speed the restoration process by quickly identifying and isolating outages.

    New construction and material standards will improve grid resiliency and reduce outages caused by weather and other events. Additional measures will be taken to protect the grid against the growing threat of both physical and cyber-attacks. These measures include hardening substations serving critical facilities and the deployment of new intelligent devices and control systems which help energy companies detect and recover from events more quickly.

    Other provisions of the GTSA reinforce efforts by Dominion Energy to place more vulnerable and outage-prone distribution lines underground. The latest expansion of the company’s Strategic Underground Program (SUP) is now under review by the SCC.

    Energy Efficiency

    The GTSA directs Dominion Energy to propose at least $870 million in energy efficiency programs over the next decade, designed to help customers save energy and manage the demand on Virginia’s electric system. The new law designates that at least five percent of energy efficiency programs must benefit low income, elderly or disabled individuals, most likely through residential weatherization upgrades.

    Dominion Energy will file its initial proposals for new energy efficiency projects with the SCC for approval later this year following input provided by stakeholders.

    “The GTSA lays out a very clear path for Virginia to reach a clean energy future that includes greater reliability, more security and grid resiliency,” Baine said. “And it does this while ensuring prices remain reasonable and competitive. Virginia will make great strides in the coming years, because of the new law.”

    For more information visit: http://www.dominionenergy.com/next.

    Customers and developers interested in learning more about the company’s wind and solar expansion plans can contact renewableenergy@dominionenergy.com.

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  11. The Church Periodical Club’s Miles of Pennies Benefits Jackson-Feild


    Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Service’s Hayden Gwaltney School received a grant of $822.23 from the Miles of Pennies to purchase books and educational materials. The Gwaltney School has received more than $8,567 from the program over the years. The beneficiaries of these grants have been students who were educated by using materials provided by this fund.

    Founded in 1888, the Church Periodical Club (CPC) is an Episcopal organization that provides books, magazines, tapes, videos and CD’s at no charge to those who cannot otherwise obtain them. The first grants were awarded in 1991.

    The Miles of Pennies provides grants up to $844.80.  Laid edge-to-edge, it takes 84,480 pennies to cover the distance of a mile.  Hence, the name of the fund and the maximum amount of grants provided. The Miles of Pennies program focuses exclusively on the educational needs of children from kindergarten through high school.

    Donations are collected to support the Miles of Pennies Fund as well as other programs sponsored by the CPC.  The majority of the donations are provided by Episcopal Church Women throughout the country. The total grants awarded annually range from $18,000 to $25,000 depending upon the donations raised.


  12. Sally Sanborn Grizzard

    Sally Sanborn Grizzard, age 84, of Emporia, VA passed away July 23, 2018.  She is preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Alice Sanborn and her son, Franklin Grizzard, Jr.  She is survived by her sons, Wayne Wong, Cyran “PY” Wong , Robert Dale Grizzard and Carl E. “Dinky” Grizzard; nine grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; her brother, Robert Sanborn, Jr. of Hawaii; and three sisters, Harriett Sanborn of Mississippi, Rita Leroux of California and Lelaini Hill of Oregon.  The family will receive friends at the home.  The family will have a service 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 4, 2018 at the home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the National Kidney Foundation or the National Cancer Society.  Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville will be handling the arrangements.

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  13. Walker Making The Most of Opportunity at SVCC

    The often-used adage, life begins at 40 is something Angela Walker takes to heart.  Of course, she had a full life up to this point but at 41, she decided to complete her studies at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC).  In December, she will receive dual degrees in Criminal Justice and Human Services, a payoff to her hard work and determination to succeed.

    She embraces the fact that she is a non-traditional student.   Walker represents about half of the seven characteristics of a non-traditional student; which include, delayed enrollment into postsecondary education; attends college part-time; works full time; is financially independent for financial aid purposes; has dependents other than a spouse; is a single parent; or does not have a high school diploma.

    Recently, she “starred” in a radio commercial for the college talking about her experience of going back to school.  She tells the audience, “It is never too late, my experience at SVCC has been fantastic and I have received work promotions since going back to school.”

    Walker works at Greensville Correctional Center and has been there for 21 years.  She is the Executive Secretary to the Warden Senior.  Working full time, she is allotted education leave that enables her to work on some of her classes.    

    A single parent, Walker has raised a son who now attends college and he will be graduating in May 2019 from Bluefield College. 

    She advises others by reminding them that knowledge is the key to success.

    Earning a degree is a milestone for anyone, she said. 

    “Having this ability to grow in your career makes me proud and feel accomplished,” she said.

    And, even though the end of these degrees is in sight, her educational goals will not end there.  Working towards a Bachelor’s degree is in her near future, she said.

    There should be no barriers to people interested in furthering their education.  At SVCC, there are many people in place to make the pathway smoother despite age, financial situation, and other circumstances, so stop making excuses and make the first step to further your education. 

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  14. Virginia’s Community College’s FastForward Credential Training Program Exceeds Expectations, Students Share Their Successes

     FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – In their first two years, FastForward workforce training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) have enabled Virginians to earn more than 11,000 industry-recognized credentials to advance their careers. The most recent statistics were shared with the Virginia State Board for Community Colleges at its scheduled July meeting.

    “Thanks to FastForward, thousands of our fellow-Virginians have been able to secure new jobs and career promotions,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “In the process, many of these newly-empowered workers are enjoying healthy wage hikes, and Virginia businesses are finding more of the skilled workers they need.” 
    “When we first proposed this initiative, we hoped to achieve 10,000 new credentials in the first two years, and we did even better than that,” DuBois added. “But the numbers tell only part of the story.”
    This spring, the VCCS surveyed people who trained through FastForward. Nearly 700 FastForward graduates responded. 
    Here’s a sampling of their survey responses:
    “I was stuck in a dead end job for a boss I didn't like. Training was very satisfying, fun, and informative. After training, I got a job right away in a field that I like. I'm getting experience toward getting the job I want, which would not be possible without the training.”
    “I needed a job with benefits and I was tired of working weekends. Now I am working a job that is Monday-Friday, and I love it. I am being challenged and supported by my supervisors, and my coworkers are good to get along with.”
    “I had worked at a basically dead-end job for years and had few marketable skills. Within the first two sessions of class, I felt like I was finally moving forward in life. It only took me about two weeks after training to find a job in the field I trained for.”
    “I was very frustrated with the part time work I was doing, with low pay and no benefits. I had been out of the work force taking care of my elderly mother, but it was only for two and a half years. After she died, I could not get anyone to hire me for a full time job with benefits. People said things like ‘We don't hire anyone who hasn't worked in a while’ as if there was something wrong with me for taking care of my mother. I had to beg for food and medicine to survive, even with the part time job. I was so glad to be able to take a short-term training program at night that showed that I could learn new skills and was willing to work in a challenging field. I passed the National certification exam and began applying for jobs. I was chosen for the first one I was interviewed for! I love my new job, and have the pay and benefits I need. The instructor was wonderful.”
    “Coming from retail work but with huge passion to join the health care field to save lives, I had no knowledge about health care. But after taking my CCMA program, I totally am on the right track of achieving my dream of being a part of the health care team to save lives.” 
    “We’re grateful for the General Assembly’s continued support for the Workforce Credential Grant program that makes FastForward programs so affordable to Virginians,” said DuBois. “We’re proud to share some of the stories that show FastForward is changing lives for the better in Virginia.”
    Learn more at www.fastforwardva.org.
    About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

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    ~ AG Herring has filed suit against Hearts 2 Heroes Inc., and has entered into a multistate settlement with Operation Troop Aid Inc. ~

    RICHMOND (July 19, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that his office has taken legal action against two deceptive charitable organizations that he believes have conned Virginians by falsely promising their donations would help veterans, when the money really went to benefit those operating the so-called charities. Attorney General Herring has filed suit against Hearts 2 Heroes Inc., a for-profit company doing business as Active Duty Support Services Inc., and has entered into a settlement with Operation Troop Aid Inc. and its president and chief executive officer to resolve a multistate investigation of the charity. The actions are part of “Operation Donate with Honor,” a nationwide sweep to crackdown on fraudulent charities that exploit the name of America’s veteran community to solicit donations.
    “Virginians are caring people who want to give back to veterans who have risked their lives to keep our country safe. Charities that deceptively solicit funds from donors who want to help veterans are disgraceful and should be held accountable for their efforts to make money on the good name of those who have served our country,” said Attorney General Herring. “I hope these enforcement actions send a strong message to similar organizations that they need to be honest about where their money is going, and make sure they follow through on their promises.”
    Hearts 2 Heroes
    Attorney General Herring has filed a lawsuit against Hearts 2 Heroes, a for-profit company doing business under the name Active Duty Support Services Inc. The business conducts door-to-door sales of “care packages” that will allegedly be sent to service members overseas. The lawsuit alleges violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and Virginia’s Solicitation of Contributions law through misrepresentations regarding the nature of the business and the care packages purchased, and the use of donated funds. The lawsuit alleges that the charity violated state charitable solicitation laws in the following manner:
    • Leading prospective donors to believe that Hearts 2 Heroes is a charity, when it is not, or that donations made are tax deductible, when they are not;
    • Delivering care packages, if delivered at all, to military bases in the United States, not overseas as represented;
    • Representing to consumers that staff were veterans or volunteers when in fact those staff were not veterans or volunteers; and
    • Employing staff who would “skim” cash donations for themselves.
    The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Hearts 2 Heroes from continuing to solicit donations, as well as award restitution to the affected consumers or impose a constructive trust on all funds received so that they will be distributed for legitimate charitable purposes. The suit also seeks an award of civil penalties, and reimbursement of the Commonwealth’s costs, investigative expenses and attorneys’ fees.
    Operation Troop Aid Inc.
    Attorney General Herring has entered into a settlement between 16 states and Operation Troop Aid Inc. and its president and chief executive officer to resolve a multistate investigation of the charity. The settlement resolves allegations that the Tennessee-based charity violated state charitable solicitation laws, including Virginia’s Solicitation of Contributions law, by improperly spending funds for purposes other than their solicited purpose and using unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive solicitation and business practices. 
    The multistate group alleges the charity violated state charitable solicitation laws in the following manner:
    • Failing to conduct proper oversight of a commercial co-venture called “Operation Teddy Bear,” in which certain retail stores sold teddy bears in military uniforms that would supposedly provide a fixed dollar amount to the charity for each bear sold for the express purpose of sending care packages to service members;
    • Failing to maintain donated funds as restricted funds, even when designated for a particular purpose, and spending funds improperly on non-charitable purposes; and
    • Using donated funds for purposes other than those expressly represented as the charitable purpose of the charity, and engaging in unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive solicitation and business practices.
    The settlement requires the charity to dissolve and prohibits the president and chief executive officer, Mark Woods, from becoming an employee, officer, director, board member, or assuming any fiduciary role with a nonprofit corporation, and from soliciting on behalf of a nonprofit corporation. The charity and Woods are also prohibited from violating state charitable solicitation statutes. The settlement includes a $10,000 civil penalty enforceable by all the states to be held in abeyance to ensure compliance with the injunctive terms of the settlement.
    The 16 states involved in the settlement are California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.
    Attorney General Herring has made it a priority to combat deceptive charities, especially those that target Virginians supporting veterans. In December 2017, Herring announced a settlement between 24 states and VietNow National Headquarters, Inc., an Illinois charity that falsely represented that donations would help local veterans, resulting in the organization's dissolution. The settlement appointed a receiver to dissolve VietNow, obtained an injunctive relief against VietNow's directors and officers and required their cooperation in investigations of VietNow's professional fundraisers.
    Since 2014, Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $246 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG's Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.
    Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section:

    Today’s enforcement actions are being announced in conjunction with “Operation Donate with Honor,” a joint effort between Virginia, other states, and the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on fraudulent charities that falsely claim to benefit veterans and service members.

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  16. "There Must Be Some Mistake"

    We are rated third in City Planning
    and fourth for a business to build
    this is a lot like when I go hunting
    I saw five; but none were killed.
    Our schools are rated very low
    and the teacher's pay is lower yet
    we talk constant of improvements
    but how many do we get.
    Just look at our entertainment
    I mean past the city park
    you can't rely on it alone
    for half the year it's dark.
    Now we can get another quickie
    or perhaps an antique store
    yet if you want tourists to come in
    believe me you need more.
    You still have room for the bowling alley
    which really is over due
    yes something exciting for the tourist
    so they kon't just keep passing through.
    It seems our present leaders
    do not care about a change
    yes it may take the next election
    for some thoughts to be rearranged.
                                                  Roy E. Schepp


  17. Isaiah Stephens Wins Gold at Junior Olympic Championship Meet

    Lazers’ Track Club member, Isaiah Stephens, competed in USA Track & Field Virginia (USATF) Association Junior Olympic Championships on June 23-24, 2018 at Virginia State University.  Isaiah earned a gold medal in the javelin, a silver medal in the shot put and discus. He is ranked #1 in javelin and #2 in shot and also #2 in discus in the state of Virginia.  Isaiah has qualified for USATF Junior Olympics Regional Championship to be held at Hampton University in July.  

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  18. Jackson-Feild Promotes Two Staff Members


    Ms. Marie Hyppolite who has served as Clinical Director heading the behavioral health services at Jackson-Feild for the past four years has been promoted Director of Programs and Clinical Services. She has been employed by Jackson-Feild for twenty-five years. She previously serves as Director of the Eleventh House an independent living program which has since closed and as a clinical social worker at Jackson-Feild.

    Also promoted is Adrienne Foster to the role of Clinical Manager. She has served as a clinical social work for thirteen years.

    Both Ms. Hyppolite and Ms. Foster have helped Jackson-Feild achieve an excellent reputation for the provision of high quality residential treatment services to help children struggling with mental health disorders and their  families.          

    Both Ms. Hyppolite and Ms. Foster are outstanding thereapists who have helped countless children understand and manage their disorders.

    They will provide great leadership and direction to ensure that Jackson-Feild provides trauma-focused, cutting-edge and evidence-based mental health services in the future.    

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  19. Two Local Men Perish in James River Boating Accident

    A boating collision in Newport News has claimed the lives of two Emporia-Greensville residents.

    Just after 8 am Saturday, July 14, the crew of the tug Miss Hannah called watchstanders after witnessing the bow of a pleasure craft pop up behind a tug pushing an oyster barge with a pump barge alongside.

    Good Samaritans rescued four of the people on the boat and they were transported to local hospitals.

    The Coast Guard, crews from Newport News, Hampton, York County, the Port of Virginia and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission searched nearly 200 square miles, with additional support form the U. S. Navy, for the two remaining passengers until Sunday, July 15, using boats and aircraft.

    “We would like to extend our condolences to those affected by this tragedy,” said Capt. Kevin Carroll, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads after the search for survivors was called off. “As a first responder, suspending a search is never an easy decision to make.”

    Officials from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) confirmed the bodies recovered Monday morning by police in Victory Landing Park around 8 a.m. were those of Leroy Parker and Robert Coleman, both from Emporia-Greensville. Newport News Deputy Fire Chief Kenneth Lay says the bodies were found about a quarter-mile apart from each other on either side of the park.

    The Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Resources Commission are jointly investigating the cause of the crash.

    "They'll end up trying to reconstruct the accident as best they can to determine ways it can be prevented in the future and possible who's at fault for criminal charges and civil liability," said Officer Henry Reichle.

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  20. VCU Health CMH is Upbeat about New Cardiologists


    VCU Health CMH knows that cardiovascular (CV) disease is the most common cause of acute and chronic illness globally, in the U.S. and in Virginia. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Virginia and stroke is the third cause of death in our state. It is predicted that CV patients will account for 15% of overall hospital utilization by the year 2028. With this information, it is clear, that local access to advanced diagnostic cardiovascular services is critical for the patients in our region.

    VCU Health CMH recently increased the scope of cardiovascular services with the opening of our new hospital in November, 2017 and the addition of our in-house catheterization laboratory. Dr. Nimesh Patel, Cardiologist, has been providing cardiology services here since 2016. He performs diagnostic cardiac catheterizations in the new cath lab. Having diagnostic cardiac catheterization available helps to promote faster care and better clinical outcomes.

    On July 2, 2018, VCU Health CMH, in collaboration with VCU Health in Richmond, took another leap forward with the addition of Dr. Bethany Denlinger and Dr. Jayanthi Koneru to our CMH Physician Services cardiology practice. Dr. Bethany Denlinger, who is no stranger to CMH, has been providing cardiology services to the area since 1995 through South Hill Internal Medicine & Critical Care, previously known as Dr. Strunk’s office. Dr. Denlinger has been traveling from Richmond three days each week since 1995 and for years was the only cardiology provider in the area. Dr. Denlinger will continue her travels to South Hill each week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday but will now see patients at CMH Cardiology Services located in the C.A.R.E. Building at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue, South Hill.

    Dr. Jayanthi Koneru is also well known in our area. He has been seeing patients and providing cardiology services through South Hill Family Medicine two days each month. Dr. Koneru specializes in cardiac electrophysiology/heart rhythms and will now provide services through CMH Cardiology Services.

    In September, Dr. Khalid Mojadidi will join CMH Cardiology Services as a full-time cardiologist. Dr. Mojadidi is an Invasive Cardiologist and is currently at VCU Health in Richmond completing a Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease.

    Our patients and families can continue to expect the highest level of care -- today and well into the future, thanks to this team-based care. Having these cardiologists in one location will provide easier access to cardiology services and bring substantial expertise in the diagnosis and treatments for patients with heart disease and related conditions to our service area.


  21. 10 powerful Ways to Use Social Security Online

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

    Chances are good that you use the internet or a cell phone app every day. Social Security has you covered. We’ve created online tools to make the lives of millions of people easier. We’ve put together a top ten list of easy-to-use resources for you.

    Want access to our latest news, retirement planning tips, and helpful information? Social Security Matters is our blog at blog.socialsecurity.gov. There, you can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where you can watch our popular videos.

    Our online calculators, such as the Retirement Estimator, the Life Expectancy Calculator, and the Early or Late Retirement Calculator, can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/calculators.

    Apply for Social Security benefits online. This is the fastest, most convenient way to apply for retirement, spouses, disability, or Medicare benefits without visiting a local office or calling to speak to a representative; we can be found online at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits.

    Lost or missing your Social Security card? Find out how to get a new, replacement, or corrected card at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. In fact, you may be able to quickly request a replacement card online with a my Social Security account, if you meet certain qualifications, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

    Verify your annual earnings and review estimates of your future Social Security benefits when you access your Social Security Statement, one of the many services available with a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

    Do you have to pay taxes on Social Security benefits? How do you apply for Social Security retirement benefits? What is your full retirement age? Discover the answers to your Social Security related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at www.socialsecurity.gov/faq.

    Do you own a business? The Business Services Online Suite of Services allows organizations, businesses, individuals, employers, attorneys, non-attorneys representing Social Security claimants, and third-parties to exchange information with Social Security securely over the internet. Find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso/services.htm.

    Have you dreamed of moving abroad? Learn how Social Security makes international payments and how you can do business with us from around the world at www.socialsecurity.gov/foreign.

    Are you a veteran? Are you at mid-career? Maybe you’re new to the workforce. Find out how we fulfill your needs through life’s journey on our People Like Me page at www.socialsecurity.gov/people.

    If you like to read and prefer to know all the details, our publications webpage is a library of helpful information. Access it at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

    We make things simple, easy to use, and beneficial. And we’re always here to help you secure today and tomorrow, www.socialsecurity.gov.

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  22. Keeping Your Cool

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    As temperatures outside rise, indoor thermostats often respond by calling for cooler air. This ability to control the indoor environment helps people be more comfortable. It protects infants, children, medically vulnerable individuals, and the elderly from heat-related illnesses. It enables workers to be more productive.

    In our current age, air conditioning is something many folks take for granted. To address this blasé attitude, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry observes Air Conditioning Appreciation Days every year from July 3 to August 15.

    But how does one show appreciation to an air conditioner? One way is to learn how it works and how it all began.

    The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) offers a simplified explanation: A chemical (called the refrigerant) circulates through a closed system that includes three main components where the refrigerant is compressed, condensed, and evaporated. During the process, the refrigerant undergoes changes in pressure and temperature. This enables indoor heat to be absorbed and transferred to the outdoor environment.

    The process of cooling the air also accomplishes other tasks. Filters can reduce allergens and other airborne particulates, helping people with allergies or other respiratory problems breathe more comfortably. Also, in addition to removing heat, the process reduces humidity. In fact, air conditioning was invented in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier originally as a means to reduce humidity in a printing plant. Cooling was a by-product.

    Another way to appreciate your air conditioner is to keep it well maintained. Industry experts offer these tips: replace air filters on a regular schedule; use fans to help circulate air; cover windows with curtains or blinds; and run appliances that generate heat, such as ovens, washers and dryers, and dishwashers, during the evening.

    When things go awry, you can call on qualified HVAC technicians, the superheroes of sweltering summer days. HVAC technicians are trained to restore your cool and help AC equipment to operate at peak efficiency.

    The demand for HVAC technicians is high across our state and nation, and qualified job candidates can earn above-average wages. Southside Virginia Community College offers two fast-track career studies programs for students wishing to embark on careers in the HVAC industry, a Basic program and an Advanced program. Both are housed at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill. The HVAC curriculum offers students the opportunity to learn how to install and repair residential and commercial HVAC systems. A solar component teaches students how a heat pump powered by solar panels can cool a house and reduce homeowners’ cooling bills.

    For more information about entry into HVAC or other technical career pathways, call Chad Patton, SVCC’s Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, at 434-949-1038.

    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 al.roberts@southside.edu.

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  23. Reading is Fun at the Library

    Reading is fun at the Meherrin Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program “Reading Takes You Everywhere”.

    On Thursday, July 19, the Virginia Cooperative Extension will demonstrate the role agriculture plays making cookies. Events will be held at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, VA at 10:30 AM and at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia, VA at 2:00 PM.

    Monday, July 23rd will feature Disney’s Ice Age: Collision Course (rated PG, 95 minutes). Ice Age: Collision Course will be shown at the Brunswick County Library at 10:30 AM, snacks welcomed. The Richardson Memorial Library will have a showing at 2:00 PM, snacks will be provided during the show. Children under age 10 must be supervised.

    On Thursday, July 26, Impressions Theatre will present classic characters Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn on a new adventure. Events will be held at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, VA at 10:30 AM and at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia, VA at 2:00 PM.

    For more information about Summer Reading at the Library, please stop by or contact the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 x301, or Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539, or visit www.meherrinlib.org.


  24. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Announces New Chief Executive Officer

    Emporia, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Wilson Thomas, MBA as Chief Executive Officer, effective August 13. In his role as CEO, Thomas will be responsible for the strategic growth and day-to-day operations of SVRMC.

    Thomas, an Alabama native, is currently Assistant Chief Executive Officer at North Okaloosa Medical Center (NOMC), a 110-bed hospital in Crestview, Florida. He was instrumental in leading the hospital’s renovation and construction projects and development of several new service lines, most notably Wound Care, Urology and Orthopedics.

    “Wilson’s tireless energy, dedication and healthcare administrative background make him an excellent choice to lead our extraordinary team of professionals at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center,” says The Honorable Steve Bloom, Chairman, SVRMC Board of Trustees.

    Thomas has more than 8 years of healthcare leadership experience. Prior to his work at NOMC, Thomas was Assistant Administrator with Sparks Health System (SHH) in Fort Smith, AR. At SHH he was responsible for opening the orthopedic and cardiology service lines. Thomas was also Director of Facility Operations and Safety Officer at Cedar Park Regional Medical Center in Cedar Park, TX. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a Masters of Business Administration from Troy University.

    “I’m impressed by the staff’s positive attitude and dedication. We will build on the strong foundation that currently exists and continue the high level of quality care while expanding services to fit the needs of the community” said Thomas.

    An active member of the community, Thomas participates in the Rotary Club and American College of Healthcare Executives. He is excited to be relocating with his wife and new baby daughter to the Emporia and Greensville community.


  25. Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Declares Semi-Annual Dividend

    KENBRIDGE, VA - Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based hold­ing company for Benchmark Community Bank, recently announced the declaration of a semi-annual dividend of $0.25 per share to holders of common stock of the company.  The current dividend is an 8.7% increase from the dividend of $0.23 per share declared in December 2017.  

    The record date for shareholders entitled to payment of the dividend will be the close of business, 4:00 P.M., on July 2, 2018, with payment to occur by July 31, 2018

    The common stock of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. trades on the OTC Pink marketplace under the symbol BMBN. Any stockbroker can assist with purchases of the company's stock, as well as with sales of holdings.

    Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is head­quartered in Kenbridge, VA. It is the company's sole subsidiary which oper­ates fourteen banking offices through­out central Southside Vir­ginia and northern North Carolina. Additional information is available at the company’s website,www.BCBonline.com.

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    RICHMOND-  On June 27, 2018, Attorney General Mark Herring filed a lawsuit in Tazewell County Circuit Court against Perdue Pharma accusing the company of profiting from the opioid crisis that it helped create and prolong through a years-long campaign of lies and deceit in violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Below, elected officials and advocates voice their support for Attorney General Herring’s actions today.

    “Right now we are in a fight for the lives of people in every corner of this Commonwealth who are currently battling opioid addiction or could become addicted soon. We have a responsibility to use every resource at our disposal to protect Virginians and hold companies accountable for misconduct. I applaud Attorney General Mark Herring and his team for taking bold action to fight the opioid crisis,” said Governor Ralph Northam

    “Today we take a new step in our ongoing work to combat the opioid epidemic,” said Delegate Todd Pillion, who represents part of Southwest Virginia and has helped spearhead legislative efforts in the General Assembly. “Combined with legislative and executive action in Virginia, this lawsuit demonstrates the full commitment of the Commonwealth to take a stand against this scourge and the damage and heartbreak it has inflicted. This epidemic has robbed us of too many precious lives, ripped families apart, and depleted our communities and workforce. It is clear we should use whatever tools are available and necessary to pursue justice and hold accountable those companies who have contributed to this crisis through their schemes and misrepresentations.”

    “The path to opioid addiction often starts with legal painkillers that are being over-prescribed and misused. Four out of five persons who are addicted to heroin began with prescription opioid drugs. The opioid epidemic has reached crisis level due to the introduction of synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, being mixed with heroin. This produces a drug that’s dramatically more addictive and that is largely responsible for the growing number of overdose fatalities. The opioid crisis knows no boundaries, effecting all demographics and socioeconomic groups. The typical opioid addict today is not someone sitting on a street corner with a needle in their arm, it is likely someone within your household or in your neighborhood,” Chief Maggie DeBoard, Herndon Chief of Police.

    “I am happy the Attorney General has decided to proceed with a lawsuit against Purdue. I know of so many people that have gotten addicted to opiates because of these pills that are made by Purdue. When VA wins this case, funds should go to Authentic Peer to Peer Recovery Community Organizations like The McShin Foundation to deliver our same day services to those affected by addiction,” said Honesty Liller, CEO of the McShin Foundation

    “Drug overdoses are just the tip of the iceberg in the current opioid crisis, which has been fueled by the production and distribution of prescription opioids and is impacting families across the Commonwealth. One needs to examine the devastating impact of increases in diseases like Hepatitis C, endocarditis, and HIV to truly appreciate the magnitude of this epidemic. As we continue to identify solutions to the current crisis, we must recognize that opioids represent merely the current drug trend in a much broader addiction epidemic that impacts countless lives across the country. To overcome this broader addiction epidemic, we must treat addiction as the chronic, relapsing disease that it is,” said Dr. Nick Restrepo, Medical Director at Valley Health in Winchester and Member of the North Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition



  27. SVCC Granted Reaccreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has reaffirmed accreditation for Southside Virginia Community College.  The SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees.

    SVCC was notified recently that the SACSCOC Board of Trustees reaffirmed accreditation on June 14, 2018.   The notification stated, “No additional report was requested. Your institution's next reaffirmation will take place in 2028 unless otherwise notified.”

    Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, said, “We are elated to receive the reaffirmation of accreditation for our college.  The reaccreditation process is a huge undertaking and we have been successful only due to the diligence and committed effort of the entire college community working towards one goal, one mission.”

    Accreditation means that the institution has (1) a mission appropriate to higher education, (2) resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain its mission, (3) clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is (4) successful in assessing its achievement of these objectives and demonstrating improvements.  Accreditation by SACSCOC is a statement of the institution’s continuing commitment to integrity and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.  Accreditation is necessary for SVCC to participate in Federal Financial Aid programs and for transfer credit acceptance by other universities and colleges. 

    SACSCOC has six core values which are integrity, continuous quality improvement, peer review/self-regulation, student learning, accountability and transparency.  The mission is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions.

    SVCC is a two-year institution of higher education established as part of the statewide system of community colleges created by the 1966 Virginia General Assembly.  The college serves the largest area of any of the community colleges in Virginia, a total of 4,200 square miles. The Christanna Campus in Alberta was opened in 1970 and the John H. Daneil Campus in Keysville was added a year later. The college operates off-campus sites also.



    RICHMOND – Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent, has announced two executive staff promotions and the retirement of veteran VSP leader, Lt. Col. George L. Daniels Jr. Effective June 10, 2018, Matthew D. Hanley was appointed to director of the Bureau of Field Operations (BFO) upon Daniels’ retirement. Hanley most recently served as director of the Office of Performance Management and Internal Controls (OPMIC).

    “We are profoundly grateful to Lt. Col. Daniels for his esteemed professionalism and selfless leadership during his extensive tenure with state police,” said Settle. “As we wish him only the best in retirement, his legacy carries on with the appointment of Matt Hanley to director of our field operations. Lt. Col. Hanley’s considerable field experience and progressive thinking will be of great benefit to our patrol and traffic safety efforts across the Commonwealth.”

    The BFO director oversees the majority of the Department’s uniformed personnel and is responsible for more than 1,700 sworn and civilian employees. Troopers under the director’s command are responsible for patrolling more than 64,000 miles of state roadways and interstate highways. In coordination with the BFO division commanders and other law enforcement agencies, the director is responsible for all aspects of highway safety, traffic law enforcement, aviation support, emergency medical evacuation, crime prevention, uniform law enforcement support to local agencies, and coordination of law enforcement in civil disturbances and disasters.

    Effective July 10, 2018 was the promotion of Maj. Lenmuel S. Terry, BFO deputy director, to lieutenant colonel. Terry’s appointment is to director of OPMIC, a component of the Superintendent’s Office responsible for tracking, monitoring and guiding the Department’s progress towards prioritizing and sustaining agency objectives and strategies. OPMIC is comprised of the Department’s Staff Inspection, Internal Audit and Information Technology Security programs. Terry will also be instrumental in advancing VSP’s ongoing recruitment initiatives aimed at further expanding minority representation among the Department’s sworn and civilian ranks.

    “The Virginia State Police is at a critical threshold as we embark on a comprehensive, strategic planning initiative and evolutionary shift towards 21st century policing methods. We are extremely fortunate to have Lt. Col. Terry, a veteran leader of our Department, taking the lead of OPMIC. His comprehensive knowledge of the Department will ensure we’re not only advancing operational, administrative, accreditation and internal auditing functions for the benefit of our personnel, but also for the services we provide the Commonwealth,” said Settle.

    Effective Sept. 1, 2018, Daniels will conclude an esteemed 45-year career with state police. A Charlotte County, Va., native, he joined VSP in 1973. Upon graduation from the Academy, his first patrol assignment as a trooper was in South Hill. As he progressed through the ranks, Daniels was assigned to the Appomattox BFO Division Headquarters and the Lynchburg, Vansant and Charlottesville area offices. In 1993, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the Personnel Division. He then transferred to the Training Division to serve as second in command of the Academy. In 2000, he achieved the rank of captain and served as the division commander for the BCI Criminal Intelligence Division (CID). As captain, he also served at the Chesapeake BFO Division headquarters and later as the BASS Promotional Administrator. Daniels was promoted to major in 2005 with his appointment to the position of BFO deputy director. He has served as BFO director since his promotion to lieutenant colonel Dec. 25, 2013.

    Daniels is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) having earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration. He is also a graduate of the Police Administration Training Program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., the Commonwealth Management Institute (CMI) and the Virginia Executive Institute (VEI).  He has also received more than 45 commendations and recognitions during his tenure with VSP to include the American Red Cross Lifesaving Award, the American Legion Citation of Meritorious Service and a Virginia State Police Superintendent’s Award of Merit.

    Terry is a 42-year veteran of VSP. Having joined the Department in 1976, his first patrol assignment as trooper was in Stafford County. As he moved up through the ranks, Terry has been assigned to the Caroline County, Chesapeake, and Fredericksburg area offices. A promotion to lieutenant brought him to the Richmond Field Division headquarters, where in 2001, he was appointed division commander. As captain he has also served as commander of both the VSP Professional Standards Unit and the VSP Academy. He has been serving as the BFO deputy director since January 2014. Terry achieved a master’s degree and post-baccalaureate certificate in criminal justice from VCU. The Pittsylvania County, Va., native holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Mary Washington College and an associate’s degree in police science from Germanna Community College. Terry is also a graduate of the Professional Leadership School at the University of Richmond. He was elected class president while attending the Administrative Officers Management Program at North Carolina State University (NCSU), and VCU’s Public Safety Institute. He has received numerous commendations and certificates of achievement during his distinguished law enforcement career and is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and the Army National Guard.

    Hanley graduated the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. His first trooper assignment and promotion to sergeant were in the Department’s Fairfax Division. A promotion to first sergeant in 2006 took him to the Culpeper Division’s Warrenton area office. Four years later he accepted a promotion to lieutenant at the Culpeper Division headquarters, where he served as both the headquarters and field lieutenant. In 2014, Hanley advanced to the rank of captain and relocated to Richmond to serve as the Academy Training Officer. On May 10, 2017, Hanley joined the VSP executive staff upon his appointment to director of OPMIC.  The Massachusetts native is a graduate, cum laude, of Norwich University in Vt., with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He earned a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School (Center for Homeland Defense and Security) in California. He is also a graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ National Criminal Justice Command College.

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    ~ Federal funds will go to community programs in Henrico, Hampton Roads, and Roanoke ~

    WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that three Virginia organizations will receive $891,303 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Labor to help homeless veterans re-enter the workforce.

    The funds – in the form of three competitive Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants – include $227,263 for Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke Valley, Inc.; $355,050 for STOP Inc., in Hampton Roads; and $308,990 for River City Comprehensive Counseling Services in Glen Allen, Va.

    “Virginia’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to fight for our nation. Now, we need to fight for them and help ensure that they have the resources they need to succeed and thrive after completing their service,” said the Senators. “These grants will provide homeless veterans with counseling and a variety of career services in order to help them re-integrate into the workforce.”

    HVRP funds are awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards; local public agencies and nonprofit organizations; tribal governments; and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills training, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance. Grantees under the HVRP program will coordinate their efforts with other federal programs, such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

    Sens. Warner and Kaine both have long records of advocating for the nation’s veterans through the appropriations process and legislation they have championed to reduce veteran homelessness, improve job training opportunities for veterans, and expand access to veterans’ health care.

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  30. VCU Health CMH Auxiliary Annual Awards 2018

    If you’ve ever been inside a hospital—as a patient, family member, or friend—you’ve probably been assisted by an Auxilian. Perhaps he or she helped you make a selection in the gift shop . . . or gave you directions to a patient’s room . . .  or comforted you as you waited to hear the outcome of a loved one’s surgery. 

    VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill is fortunate to have the wonderful support of a large team of volunteers through the Hospital's Auxiliary.  VCU Health CMH volunteers provide service, support and good cheer for patients, visitors and staff, and help complete the hospital community.

    Perhaps in no other industry is volunteering more vital than in health care.  Each year, these dedicated volunteers make valuable contributions to VCU Health CMH through countless hours of service to patients and the hospital with donations that strengthen health care services for the community. 

    The Auxiliary's mission is to advance the welfare of the hospital.  With a membership of 170 members, these dedicated volunteers donated 22,281 hours of service to patients and the hospital over the past year.  

    The Auxiliary holds fund-raisers throughout the year to help support its programs and services. Their main source of funds is from the “Fish Bowl” Gift Shop.  Each year, the Auxiliary makes a generous donation to the Hospital on behalf of its fundraising efforts. During their Annual Awards Luncheon held recently, outgoing Auxiliary President, Nancy Bradshaw, reported on their accomplishments for the past year and presented VCU Health CMH CEO, W. Scott Burnette with a $47,000 check. This donation is the third installment of the Auxiliary’s $225,000 pledge to VCU Health CMH’s “Healthcare for Life” capital campaign. 

    During the banquet, new officers were installed and members were awarded pins and certificates for the number of hours of service to the hospital.  Also the special “Lou Saunders Award of Excellence” was given.

    VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary 2018/2019 Officers –  Ruth Reams, President; Kenny Pitts, First Vice President; Linda McNabb, Second Vice President; Becky Waters, Treasurer; Nancy Bradshaw, Recording Secretary; Jean Zembower, Corresponding Secretary

    Joyce Tudor was awarded the Lou Saunders Award of Excellence, the Auxiliary’s highest honor.  The Lou Saunders award was established in 2010 and named after longtime CMH Auxiliary volunteer, Lou Saunders. Joyce is a past President of the CMH Auxiliary and she currently serves on the Auxiliary Board as Historian and Mecklenburg County Co-Coordinator. Joyce also volunteers at the information desk. She recently served on the CMH Foundation’s Capital Campaign Committee raising funds for the C.A.R.E. Building.

    New Auxiliary Members - Bonnie Johnston, Lily Atkinson, Dorothy Minter-Saunders, Will Woodall, Trevor Kidd, Keith Ellis, Tom Watters, Sandra Burch, Mabel Wood, Carolyn Wagoner; NOT PICTURED: Patricia Buebendorf, Judy Echard, Shayna Kendall-Maxey, Sandy Mechalske, Zahra Murtaza, Tammy Oakes, Joyce Bagley Pinkney, Heather Raum, Matthew Rodriguez, Frances Tuck, Richard Watson

    6,600 – 13,500 HOURS OF SERVICE – June Meyer, 13,000; Virginia Lucy, 11,000; Sylvia Lambert, 13,500; Anne Cole, 8,300; Lois White, 8,000; Charlene Gray, 8,500; Sandra Gainer, 7,000; NOT PICTURED: Delphine Harris, 6,600; Shirley Carrillo, 10,400

    3,300 – 6,400 HOURS OF SERVICE – Marlene Reinders, 4,100; Gerry Nash, 6,400; Ann Gauchat, 6,000; Joyce Tudor, 5,400; Ruth Reams, 4,500; Leanna Jones, 4,200; Barbara Fife, 3,800; Hattie Baird, 3,300; NOT PICTURED: Deborah Wilson, 3,500; Brigitte Eberle, 4,500; Brenda Roberts, 5,400; Shirley Huested, 6,000

    2,000 – 3,000 HOURS OF SERVICE – Dorothy Williams, 2,900; Belle Jones, 2,700; Dottie Collins, 2,500; Sylvia Solari, 2,900; Roger Pendergrass, 3,000; Rebecca Waters, 2,500; Nancy Bradshaw, 2,000; Edna Jones, 2,500

    1,000 – 1,900 HOURS OF SERVICE – Ann Allman, 1,900; Jean Zembower, 1,500; Janet Morris, 1,500; Pat Adams, 1,500; Gladys Jenerette, 1,100; Larry Minter, 1,900; Mary Werber, 1,300; Ann Jones, 1,200; Kenneth Pitts, 1,000; Brenda Curtis, 1,000; NOT PICTURED: Carmen Cornely-Clarke, 1,100; Mary Carter, 1,500; Sharon Watson, 1,500

    500 – 900 HOURS OF SERVICE – Doris Turner, 900; Brenda Cahoon, 600; Ruth Griggs, 700;  Sharon Carter, 500; Linda McNabb, 900; Margaret Waller, 700; Suzanne Creek, 500; Billie Wells, 700; Barbara Heagran, 700; NOT PICTURED: Phyllis Beasley, 600; Dick Smith, 600; Judith Moody, 800; Sadie Simmons, 800; Vicky Walker, 800

    100 – 400 HOURS OF SERVICE – Linda Gage, 400; Fran Steiert, 300; Jane Stringer, 200; Clare Williams, 200; Tom Watters, 100; Willis Woodall, 100; Darleen Ferguson, 100; Carolyn Wagoner, 100; Jean Houston, 200; NOT PICTURED: Shari Beale-Hasenmueller, 100; Fannie Echard, 100; Sandy Mechalske, 100; Frances Tuck, 100

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  31. Focusing On The Positive Generates Positive Results for SVCC Graduate

    Hilton Bennett, 12.5 K up on Mount Royal.  Avid climber, SVCC alum keeps climbing for the top.


    According to John W. Gardner, Educator and Secretary of Health Education and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson, “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

    There were times in life when Hilton Bennett could have used an eraser.  But since he could not erase some bad choices in his life, he made the best of a bad situation and turned his future around.

    Incarcerated in Lunenburg Correctional Center in Victoria, Virginia, Bennett said that the trials he had in life made him rethink his next steps. 

    “I could do nothing for the next seven years or I could do something positive,” he said.

    Always a good student, he began teaching fellow inmates math, reading and other lessons mainly for something to do.   He enjoyed this positive activity and how it helped to pass the time.   Soon, he caught the attention of Ann Cavan, Regional Principal of the Department of Corrections School, who found him a job in the prison library and allowed him to tutor other inmates.

    Southside Virginia Community College partners with the Virginia Department of Corrections to offer the Campus Within Walls program at the Lunenburg facility. The philosophy of the program is “We believe in the transformative power of education because we see it every day! With a college degree, men leaving prison are more likely to get good jobs and earn more money. Men who earn a degree while in prison are almost 50% less likely to return.”

    “Within six months, I was enrolled in classes through SVCC,” Bennett said speaking of the program.   

    It took about five years to complete his Associate’s degree from SVCC due to the scheduling of needed classes and funding availability.  Two years after his release, Bennett was invited to be the speaker at an SVCC Commencement ceremony at the prison.

    Before he was incarcerated, he had a job, a house, a family and was prospering in life.    He said he realizes now that everything has worked out for the best and that he needed to have the experience of prison to arrive where he is today.

    He currently holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Product Innovation from VCU’s da Vinci center.  He interns for a Biomedical Engineering firm designing Orthopedic Implants. He plans to start a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Medicine soon. 

    In this semester alone, VCU has filed four patents for which he has been the primary engineer on.  These include a device that make the epidural space visible to anesthesiologists and a device that effectually treats the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the Military which is Pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

    In another collaboration, Bennett and others are working on a device to prevent the loss of guide-wires during surgery.

    “If a wire is left behind, he said, “It’s a risky situation for the patient.  The patient must undergo an additional procedure to have it removed,” he noted.

    Bennett said that the team’s current design, a clip with lights and a buzzer, attaches to the wire to serve as a constant reminder to the physician or clinician that the wire is inside the patient’s body. Over the summer, Bennett is working on designing the mold for the device and developing prototypes out of different materials,” according to Invention Seeks to Prevent Wires from Being Left Inside Patients, which appeared on the VCU College of Engineering’s website on August 9, 2017.

    In the article, W. Paul Murphy, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology in the VCU School of Medicine, said working with engineers and others outside his field to solve real-world problems has been an exciting experience.

    “To have folks like Hilton and Ben Ward say, ‘If you do it this way, the problem could be avoided,’” he said, “that’s been a blast.”

    An avid rock climber, Bennett also started his own company in 2016 designing Traditional Climbing Gear for indoor use.

    Recently, Bennett was a guest speaker at Vera Institute of Justice Conference held in Detroit, Michigan. The mission of Vera is “to drive change. To urgently build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.”

    Surprisingly, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, and Lisa L. Hudson, SVCC Campus Within Walls Coordinator, were both in the audience.  And, duly proud of one of the college’s own.

    Dr. Anne Hayes, formerly Coordinator of Campus Within Walls at SVCC, said, “completing an associate degree served as a ‘reset button’ for Mr. Bennett.  He graduated SVCC with a 4.0.(Grade Point Average)”

    Bennett believes education behind bars is key to making it possible for inmates to thrive on the outside.  He knows many who went through the SVCC program with him and have made the successful transition since being released. 

    Not only is Bennett making his life better, his diligence and interest in finding solutions to problems that affect others is a great way for him to continue his pursuit of the positive.  


  32. Crater Planning District Commission Awarded EDA Grant

    Funding will allow economic development initiatives

    The U. S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced that the Crater Planning District Commission will receive a $70,000 economic development grant award to be matched with $30,000 in Commission funds, to enable the Commission to continue important economic development initiatives in the region.

    The Planning District was originally designated an Economic Development District in 1985.  It’s current 2018 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) identifies five focus areas that will strengthen the District’s economic base:  Technology Expansion, Workforce Development, Small Business Growth, Infrastructure Improvements and GO Virginia projects.

    Commission efforts are focused on major initiatives that have come out of the CEDS planning process.

    • Logistics– Through the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems (CCALS), there is a collaboration among Fort Lee (Logistics Capital of the Army), five Virginia universities, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Port of Virginia and logistics companies, focused upon capitalizing on the region’s excellent location, transportation network, proximity to the Port of Virginia, logistics expertise in the universities and talent at Fort Lee to position this region for growth in logistics.
    • Advanced Manufacturing/Workforce Development– The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) has a workforce development component that will grow to be the Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy to prepare workers for jobs in 21st century advanced manufacturing companies.  Currently CCAM is training soldiers exiting the military for in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing.  CCAM is an applied research center that provides production-ready advance manufacturing solutions to member companies across the globe.
    • Tourism– The PDC continues to administer Petersburg Area Regional Tourism (PART), as well as support other jurisdictions pursuing initiatives to grow tourism.  According to the latest U. S. Travel Association (USTA) tourism survey results, visitor expenditures in the Crater District totaled $430 million and $364 million in the PART region. Local governments in the Planning District received $34+ million in local tax revenues from tourism and 4,300 jobs in the region are associated with tourism.  Thus, tourism spending in the region is a growing important contributor to the region’
    • Infrastructure Improvements– EDA recently announced the selection of a $3.15 million funding package to the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) to support the construction of the Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy (AMAA) on CCAM’s campus.  The AMAA will be a “game-changer” for the Crater region, as well as the Commonwealth, as it will deliver qualified workers with industry-directed skills and credentials for advanced manufacturing high-demand jobs in machining, welding and mechatronics.  The AMAA will also provide for the upskilling of incumbent workers who are seeking career advancement.

    For additional information, visit www.craterpdc.orgor call (804) 861-1666.


  33. Nourish Your Brain

    Community Out-Reach Education

    South Hill – Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why?  Perhaps you’ve misplaced your glasses just to find them on your head a little later. As we age we must make a concerted effort to provide our brain plenty of nourishment from healthful foods and mentally stimulating activities to prevent or at least slow the progression of more serious brain conditions.

    If you are interested in learning more about antioxidant-rich foods and physical/mental activities that can contribute to brain health then you should attend July’s C.O.R.E. (Community Out-Reach Education) Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s Rehab & Exercise Therapy Center.

    This FREE program will be on Friday, July 13th at 10:30 a.m. in the CMH Rehab and Exercise Therapy Center located at 750 Lombardy Street in South Hill.

    Amy Moore Hawkins, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Virginia Cooperative Extension for Mecklenburg County, will be the speaker for the program.  Amy has been with the Virginia cooperative Extension for 14 years. Her job responsibilities include education the public on nutrition, health and wellness, particularly chronic disease prevention and maintenance.  She also focuses on local foods and their connection to health and wellness.  Since coming to Mecklenburg County, she has implemented the Balanced Living with Diabetes program, Mast Food Volunteer training, multiple nutrition and wellness workshops, food safety and food preservation workshops as well as school garden projects.  

    Reservations are not required for this program; however, they are recommended.  For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 774-2506



    RICHMOND – Fourth of July 2018 marked a busy holiday for Virginia State Police when it came to arresting impaired drivers and citing speeding motorists. In addition, a total of three fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Augusta, Culpeper and Northampton during the two-day, holiday, statistical counting period.

    Once again this year, Virginia State Police participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), which is a traffic safety initiative that began 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2018  and concluded Wednesday, July 4, 2018, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like the Fourth of July.

    The 2018 Fourth of July Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers stopping and arresting a total of 42 drunk drivers during the 48-hour statistical counting period. Troopers also stopped and issued summonses to 4,911 speeders and 1,251 reckless drivers. Troopers cited 429 safety belt violations and 114 child restraint violations.

    “Every impaired driver who makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle puts countless other lives at risk of injury or death,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We need every Virginian to make the smart, safe and sober decision to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Changing drivers’ dangerous behaviors saves lives.  During these summer months, we ask that all drivers and passengers adopt safe habits like always buckling up, putting down the phone and, of course, never driving impaired. Those are the first steps toward achieving our goal of zero fatalities. We can get there, but we need everyone’s help to make it a reality.” 

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that was one person every 50 minutes in 2016. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44B per year.

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

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    Traffic Fatalities

    # of Days
















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  35. "Far North and Back"

    The miles seemed guite endless
    as I traveled in my car
    yes eleven hundred and still counting
    is well and deed quite far.
    I went to visit with family
    and also some close friends
    now for this I  may be too old
    but the want it never ends.
    Now all seemed in the best of health
    if you should consider age
    yet I can't dwell upon this
    for I'm on the same page.
    Well these trips are now less frequent
    and my doctor will intercede
    he not only wants a reason for
    but sometimes great must b e the need.
    Spending time wisiting with family
    is that how it should be
    now up rhere they are quite close
    but down here theres just me.
    The next one is in the planning
    yet I'm sure it is quite far off
    yes I must build up my strength a bit
    and somehow loose this cough!
    Roy E. Schepp

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  36. "Reading Takes you Everywhere" Continues at the Meherrin Regional Library

    Have summer fun at the Meherrin Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program “Reading Takes You Everywhere”.

    On Thursday, July 12, the YMCA of Emporia will host an Obstacle Course that will be sure to put the crowd in motion. Events will be held at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, VA at 10:30 AM and at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia, VA at 2:00 PM.

    Monday, July 16th will feature Disney’s Ratatouille (rated G, 111 minutes). Ratatouille will be shown at the Brunswick County Library at 10:30 AM, snacks welcomed. The Richardson Memorial Library will have a showing at 2:00 PM, snacks will be provided during the show. Children under age 10 must be supervised.

    On Thursday, July 19, the Virginia Cooperative Extension will demonstrate the role agriculture plays making cookies. Events will be held at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, VA at 10:30 AM and at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia, VA at 2:00 PM.

    For more information about Summer Reading at the Library, please stop by or contact the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 x301, or Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539, or visit www.meherrinlib.org.


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  37. Social Security, a Source of Independence for Millions

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

    On July 4, people in communities everywhere celebrate our nation’s independence with neighbors, family, and friends. A strong community promotes independence by helping each other lead full and productive lives.

    Social Security has been helping people maintain a higher quality of life and a level of independence for over 80 years. Over those decades, we’ve made it even easier for you to access the programs and benefits you might need. Now, applying online is the fastest way to get those crucial benefits.

    Here are some the types of benefits you can apply for:

    Retirement or Spouse's Benefits– You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old andwant your benefits to start no more than four months in the future. Apply at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.

    • Disability– You can apply online for disability benefits or continue an application you already started. Apply for Disability at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityonline.
    • Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs– Many people need assistance with the cost of medications. Apply for Extra Help at www.socialsecurity.gov/i1020.
    • Medicare– Medicare is a national health insurance program administered by the U.S. federal government that began in 1966. You can apply online or continue an application you already started  at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)– SSIis a federal income program funded by general tax revenues designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income. You may be able to apply online if you meet certain requirements. See if you can apply online for SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/ssi.

    Social Security provides benefits for millions of people including wounded warriors and children, the chronically ill and the disabled who cannot work. Find the help you or your family need at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits.

    Don’t forget, our many online services can provide you and the ones you love with lifelong independence. From replacing a lost Social Security card to estimating your benefits, you can access these powerful tools at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.

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    High School Juniors Experience Academy Life of a VSP Trainee

    RICHMOND – Recently 49 high schools students from across the Commonwealth experienced life as a Virginia State Police trooper trainee. Today they became the 29th generation of the Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program, which is co-sponsored by the Virginia State Police and The American Legion. At a ceremony held at the Virginia State Police Academy in North Chesterfield County, the teenagers were presented their graduation certificates Friday (June 29, 2018) afternoon.    

    Photo courtesy of the Virginia State Police and is used with their permission

    The 29th Session of the Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program began June 24, 2018. The week-long training curriculum is for high school students who have completed their junior year. Cadets experience a life similar to a trooper-in-training, complete with daily room inspections and instruction by state police troopers on Department operations, crime scene investigations, officer survival, undercover operations, driver improvement, scuba training, defensive tactics and firearms safety. The students even had the opportunity to meet with First Lady Pamela Northam and get a tour of the Executive Mansion and State Capitol.

    As part of their training, the cadets also undergo a variety of physical agility exercises used in the Virginia State Police applicant testing process.

    “This collaborative program is such an invaluable experience for those youth interested in pursuing a law enforcement career,” says Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “The training not only introduces them to the instruction, skillsets and discipline required of today’s public safety professional, but also provides a positive way for our Department to interact one-on-one with today’s youth.”

    Cadet Zachary Everson of Bedford, Va., was selected for the Jessica J. Cheney Spirit Award. The annual award is presented in memory of Trooper Jessica J. Cheney who was the first cadet to graduate from the program and go on to become a trooper. Trooper Cheney died of injuries suffered Jan. 17, 1998, after being struck by a vehicle as she directed traffic at a crash scene on Route 1, north of Fredericksburg. The award is presented to the cadet who demonstrates the same motivation, drive and enthusiasm that Trooper Cheney displayed as a cadet.

    Additional award recipients include:

    Female Physical Fitness Award:  Cadet Cecelia Barnett of Gum Springs, Va.

    Male Physical Fitness Award:  Cadet Jack Jenkins of Gloucester, Va.

    Virginia State Trooper Counselor’s Award: Cadet Kolton Chapman of Virginia Beach, Va.


    The American Legion selects and sponsors the students to represent the organization’s Virginia districts.



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  40. Great Opportunity To Learn Welding Skills

    The Welding Skills Certification program begins July 16, 2018 at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia.  Offered by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development, the classes will meet Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. through October 3, 2018.

    Class will utilize the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).  Fast Forward Credentials for a Career that Matters may help pay tuition and costs for qualifying Virginians.

    Call today, 434 634 9358 and speak to Erica Andrews or email Erica.andrews@southside.edu.


  41. Book Signing Set for July 10th

    Willoughby Hundley, III, MD

    SOUTH HILL, VA– The VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary will be hosting a “book signing” event featuring Willoughby Hundley, III, MD on July 10th from 11:00AM - 2:00PM in the front lobby of the hospital, located at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill, VA.

    Dr. Hundley, Emergency Room Physician at VCU Health CMH has recently published his fourth novel titled, “Evil Wake” and will be in attendance to sign copies for the public. This event is free and open to the public and a portion of the book sales from the event will benefit the CMH Auxiliary.


  42. Microsoft Offers Scholarships in Southside Virginia


    Microsoft Scholarship recipients recognized recently are (Front Row, Left to Right) Kashawn Hilliard, Jermaine Jackson, Sandra Sanders, Neal Brown, Hailey Walker, Salvador Hernandez-Gonzalez, and (Back Row L to R) Susan O’Shea, Hassan Davis, Brenda Cross, Shanell Toone, Christian Jackson and Abdulah Bell.  Not pictured Darrick Hearns and Kansas Morrison.

    With a mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft has reached out to Southside Virginia in a big way.  There are 14 current recipients of the Microsoft Datacenter Scholarship making it possible for the students to take classes in Information Technology. 

    The recipients of these awards were recognized with a ceremony and dinner held at the Estes Community Center on June 11, 2018.   The students take classes through Southside Virginia Community College’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill and the IT Academy (ITA) of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.

    In his remarks, SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts said, “Program development in higher education is often a very slow process; but our experience at Southside is that the development process can be accelerated when there is strong industry support.”

    He added, “When recruiting students into a new program, there are usually two questions:  One – How am I going to pay for the training? And two – Does it lead to a good job with family-sustaining wages?  Microsoft has responded to both concerns, first through its Datacenter Academy Scholarship and, secondly, through the possibility of employment in a world-class IT organization.  What Microsoft has done is to remove the barriers that often hinder student success and allow students to focus on learning and networking – both IT and social – so that they can succeed.”

    Anthony Putorek, Microsoft Global Datacenter Field and Community Program Manager, said, “The effort of these students to go to class, the desire to learn, the hunger to do more fuels us.  That is why Microsoft puts in the effort to provide these programs.”

    In 2010, Microsoft announced their investment in bringing a data center to Mecklenburg County’s Boydton Industrial Park.  Now, the company is investing in training Southside people for jobs where IT skills are needed. 

    “In addition to bringing well-paying jobs to Southern Virginia, Microsoft is empowering individuals through the scholarships to gain the skills required to qualify for these jobs. How wonderful is that!” said Dr. Betty H. Adams, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

    Scholarships are awarded to individuals from underrepresented populations in the IT field and covers tuition, books, and supplies.

    Opportunities abound for students willing to work hard with the cutting-edge technology available locally, according to SVCC Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, Chad Patton.

    The CITE and ITA labs are an example of how a partnership can make things happen for a community. The ongoing involvement of Microsoft is crucial for Southside Virginia. One amazing thing is that Microsoft wants every student to succeed whether they eventually come to the data center or attain employment elsewhere. 

    SVHEC IT Academy Program Coordinator and Trainer Kelly Shotwell echoed his sentiment stating, “The partnership with Microsoft has been invaluable for the IT Academy. Microsoft donates equipment that enhances the hands-on experience of our training labs, a Microsoft team visits each class to talk with trainees about careers, and the Datacenter Academy Scholarships remove financial barriers to make training more accessible. But Microsoft is not just encouraging a pipeline to employment at the Boydton data center.  Instead, they believe that their partnership with the IT Academy benefits every trainee and every employer who hires an IT Academy trainee, thereby benefiting the Southside Virginia community.”

                Microsoft is dedicated to helping the community surrounding its data centers.  The Datacenter Academy Scholarship helps to increase diversity in the IT field by removing traditional barriers to education. In the fall, Microsoft will grant two diligent students the opportunity to experience a three-month paid internship at the Boydton facility.

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    NARCAN® Already Used by Trooper to Save Life of Lynchburg Woman

    RICHMOND – As of July 1, 2018, all sworn Virginia State Police personnel through the rank of first sergeant will have been trained and equipped to quickly respond to dangerous opioid exposure and overdose emergencies. Through a grant administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), state police has purchased more than 2,100 NARCAN® dispensers for troopers, special agents, sergeants and first sergeants across the Commonwealth.

    “Equipping our uniformed and investigative personnel with NARCAN® dispensers was necessary due to the continued increase in heroin and opioid overdoses in recent years in Virginia*,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Having this emergency treatment readily available to our personnel not only helps save the lives of Virginians, but also the lives of our first responders who are at risk of an inadvertent exposure to dangerous synthetic opioids during the course of their public safety duties.”

    The state police NARCAN® dispensers and training have already saved one life in Virginia. On June 17, 2018, Virginia State Police Trooper J.A. Montgomery responded to assist local law enforcement in Lynchburg with a medical emergency. Upon arriving at the scene, the trooper encountered a deputy administering CPR to an adult female while waiting for a local EMS crew to respond. Trooper Montgomery, who had just been trained nine days earlier on the administration of his NARCAN® dispenser, immediately began to assess the woman’s condition and questioning those at the house as to the cause of her severe medical distress. Based on that critical information, he confirmed that she was suffering from an opioid-related overdose and successfully administered one naxolone dosage. CPR continued and a pulse was detected with EMS arriving moments later. The woman was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital and released from the hospital two days later.

    NARCAN® Nasal Spray is an FDA-approved nasal form of naxolone, a prescription medicine. When appropriately administered, the medicine counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose. All trained state police personnel have been issued two dispensers to carry with them at all times. State police canine troopers have been issued three dispensers, for the protection of their dogs as an opioid exposure poses just as serious a threat to an animal’s safety.

    The state police purchased its initial NARCAN® supply and additional inventory through a DBHDS grant of $154,800.


  44. Angela Wilson Tapped as New Director of Teacher Education

    Mary Baldwin University (MBU) welcomes Angela Wilson as the new director of teacher education for the College of Education, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of educational fields and specialties. Wilson will also hold the title of assistant professor of education, and will teach education courses at MBU.

    Wilson will serve in a key leadership role, alongside the dean of the College of Education at MBU, and be the university’s primary contact with the Virginia Department of Education on matters pertaining to teacher education. She will oversee data collection and reporting relating to program approval and accreditation, and ensure that MBU’s teacher education program approval status remains current and aligned with state regulations and policies. She will also work on new initiatives, build partnerships with local school divisions, and serve as an academic advisor for College of Education students.

    Rachel Potter, dean of the College of Education at MBU, spoke about the importance of Wilson’s role.

    “As the College of Education has grown to encompass multiple programs, the largest of which is teacher licensure, we believe we can benefit from someone in a faculty leadership role who can focus primarily on the unique and specific needs of teacher education as a subset of all of the College of Education’s offerings,” she said.

    Wilson has a wealth of leadership and administrative experience in the Virginia public school system. She most recently served as division superintendent for Greensville County Public Schools, a position she held since 2014. Prior to that Wilson was assistant superintendent for Greensville County and Amelia County, respectively. She also has experience in the fields of testing and curriculum supervision, as well as serving as a school principal. Wilson started her career in education as a science and math teacher in Emporia.

    “She is passionate about addressing the growing teaching shortage in Virginia, has a history of creative thinking to address complex barriers, and is looking forward to this next chapter of her career in higher education,” Potter said.

    Wilson earned a PhD in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU); an MED in Educational Administration and Supervision from Virginia State University; and a BS in Biology Education also from VCU. She has completed professional development courses in the fields of organizational and instructional leadership, and also holds a Division Superintendent License from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Wilson will begin her new position in August. She thanked the MBU administration and faculty for the opportunity to join the College of Education.

    “It is clear to me that this is a team of professionals who enjoy what they do, and who keep students as the first priority,” Wilson said. “I believe Mary Baldwin University is a place for learning where I can contribute and grow. Teaching and learning are my lifelong passion.”

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  45. John "Jack" Gaines Miller, III

    John Gaines Miller, III (Jack), died on July 1, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia.  He was 95.   He was predeceased by his wife, Doris Rawls Miller (Dot), his mother Evelyn R. Miller, his father, John Gaines Miller, Jr, his son John Gaines Miller IV, his daughter, Sharon Leigh Miller, and his son, Charles Russell Miller.   He is survived by his sister, Paula M. Burnett (Tom), his son, Dwane Henry Miller (Dee), his daughter-in-law, Karen F. Miller, his granddaughters Jennifer O. Howard, (Sloan), Erica M. Trout (Joe), Laura M. Ross (Jason), Eleanor M. Robertson (Tim), and his grandson, Russell F. Miller (LaCrissa); great-grandchildren, Cierra Howard, Chayne Howard, Nathan Trout, Natalie Trout, Jonathan Gavin Miller, Gracyn Ross, Coral Ross, Gabriella Robertson, and Burkley Robertson.

    Jack was born on April 10, 1923 in Rolla, Missouri and grew up on the plains of southeastern Kansas, where he showed his early love of flying by building model airplanes. During World War II he left the University of Kansas to join the Army, where he entered flight training. It was during this time while in Richmond that he met Doris. On the third night after they met, as he was walking her home across the bridge to Manchester, he asked her to marry him. During the war he flew his beloved P-38 “Lightning” in the China Burma India Theater, routinely flying the Hump. 

    After the war, Jack returned home, eloped with Dot, then completed his education at the University of California, where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for many years for the Berol Corporation, headquartered in Danbury Connecticut.

    After retiring, Jack and Dot moved to Deltaville, Virginia, acquired a Hunter sailboat, and for several years sailed to the Bahamas in the fall, returning each spring.  They then moved to Southampton County, Virginia, living on land that backed up to the Meherrin River, on which over time he navigated a johnboat down to the Albemarle Sound.

    His most recent experience in the air took place when he leaped out of an airplane at 11,000 feet to skydive over southside Virginia. He was only 88 at the time.  

    Services will be on Thursday,12:00 P. M., July 5,, 2018  at Persons United Methodist Church, 27642 Old Church Rd., Drewryville, VA 23844  Visitation will be 11;00 A. M. to 12:00 P. M., prior to service.

    In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Persons United Methodist Church, Drewryville, Virginia, c/o Mark Person, Treasurer, P.O. Box 14121, Richmond, Virginia 23225.

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    RICHMOND – Virginia highways will be bustling this week as millions of people take to the road for the Independence Day holiday, and Virginia State Police is urging motorists to ensure safety and celebration go hand-in-hand.

    In just the first six months of this year, at least 368 individuals, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and motorcyclists, have lost their lives in traffic crashes. Of the 843 fatal crashes on Virginia’s highways last year, 208 involved a distracted driver and 248 were alcohol related.

    “Summer days are filled with celebration, including vacations, outdoor festivals and backyard cookouts, but no matter where your plans take you, please make safety your priority,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Regardless of the distance you’re traveling this week – across the country or around the corner – remember to buckle up, eliminate distractions and never drive buzzed or drunk. If we all do our small part, we increase everyone’s chances of arriving alive.”

    As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways, Virginia State Police will increase patrols around the Independence Day holiday. Beginning tomorrow (July 3, 2018), VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. The 2018 Independence Day statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2018, and continues through midnight Wednesday, July 4, 2018.

    During last year’s four-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers cited 10,264 speeders and 2,678 reckless drivers, issued 308 citations for child seat violations, and cited 994 individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. Nearly 42 percent of the 843 individuals who died in all traffic crashes last year were unrestrained.

    Troopers also arrested 115 drunk drivers during the 2017 holiday period. If you plan to drink alcohol at a holiday function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver or use a rideshare service to be certain you get home safely.

    NHTSA has a SaferRide app which is available for Android and Apple users. If you do not have a designated driver, you can always use NHTSA’s SaferRide app to call a taxi or a friend. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store. The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) SoberRide® is offered throughout Lyft’s Washington, D.C., coverage area, which includes the Northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William.

    With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

    From 2008 to 2017 nationwide, 126 law enforcement officers working along the roadside were struck by a vehicle because a driver failed to heed the “Move Over” law.

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  47. Jesse Neal Allen

    Jesse Neal Allen, 85, of Brink Road, Emporia, Va., departed his earthly home on Saturday, June 30, 2018.

    He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Virginia Allen.  His sons: Lorn and wife Annie Allen; Jeffery and wife Sandy Allen. His daughters, June Walker and Frances and husband John Edwards.

    His grandchildren, Jesse and his wife Kelly Allen with son Neal and daughter McKenley; Aaron and his wife Elaine Allen with sons Asa, Troy, Silas and daughters Cora and Vera of Richmond; Krystal and husband Jeff Miller with son Beck and daughter Lashley of Lawrenceville; Jessica and her husband Elliott Petry with daughter Isabelle and son Noah of Christiansburg; Leanna and husband Dave Collins with sons Blake and Jase of North Tazewell; Carrie Walker of Richmond; John Jr and his wife Brittney with son Carter.

    He was preceded in death by his parents, Jessie and Marguerite Allen; His sister, Frances Allen; His brother, Lorn Allen; His son-in-law, Ricky Walker; His granddaughter, Amanda Jane Edwards.

    He was a very active member of Fountain Creek Baptist Church, where he was a Deacon, Trustee, Sunday School Teacher.  He and his wife share many special memories together including large family holiday gatherings and family trips to Disney World. Visitation will be held on Monday, July 2, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Echols Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at Fountain Creek Baptist Church with Pastor Bobby Griles officiating. Interment followed at the church cemetery.

    In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Amanda Jane Edwards Memorial Scholarship, P.O. Box 325, Gasburg, VA 23857.

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  48. Summer Fun at the Library

    The fun continues with the Meherrin Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program “Reading Takes You Everywhere”.

    Monday Movies on July 9th will feature Disney’s Cars 3 (rated G, 103 minutes). Cars 3 will be shown at the Brunswick County Library at 10:30 AM, snacks welcomed. The Richardson Memorial Library will have a showing at 2:00 PM, snacks will be provided during the show. Children under age 10 must be supervised.

    On Thursday, July 12, the YMCA of Emporia will host an Obstacle Course that will be sure to put the crowd in motion. Events will be held at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, VA at 10:30 AM and at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia, VA at 2:00 PM.

    For more information about Summer Reading at the Library, please stop by or contact the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 x301, or Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539, or visit www.meherrinlib.org.


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