December 2018

  1. Doris B. Proctor

    Doris B. Proctor, 75, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, December 30, 2018. She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Maude Braswell and was also preceded in death by a sister, Betty Lou Dunn.

    Mrs. Proctor is survived by her husband, Bobby W. Proctor; daughter, Donna Troyer; two stepsons, Tommy Proctor (Sue) and Dale Proctor; step-daughter, Lisa Proctor; three grandchildren, Arron Jarratt, Caleb Troyer and Megan Proctor; two sisters, Mary Frances Stinson (Bud) and Sylvia Lewis and a large extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins and numerous nieces and nephews.

    After a career in the garment industry, Doris worked in home health care. She became a great source of support to those in need in her family and community.

    A Celebration of Life reception will be held 1-3 p.m. Saturday, January 12, 2019 at Forest Hill Baptist Church in the fellowship hall. Private interment at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery will be held at a later date.

    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society.

    Online condolences may be shared with the family at


  2. Sarah Edwards Wrenn

    Sarah E. Wrenn passed from this life on Friday, December 28, 2018 at the age of 94 years old.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Percy and Jane Edwards, her sister Catherine Dunn (Spouse: Robert Dunn, Jr.), her sister Paxina Edwards (Spouse: R.G. Edwards, Jr.), her brother George Edwards (Spouse: Mary Edwards), and her brothers Phillip Edwards and P.B. Edwards.

    After graduating from high school, Sarah was employed as an agent for the Virginian Railroad for about one year, before marrying J. Reid Wrenn of Emporia, to whom she was married for seventy three years.

    Sarah was very interested in furniture restoration and antiques.  She loved to sew, cook, garden and travel, especially to visit family.

    Sarah leaves behind one son, James R. Wrenn, Jr., (Spouse: Karen Wrenn), and one daughter, Rebecca Wrenn Adam, (Spouse: Michael Adam).  Sarah also leaves behind three grandsons:  Brian Wrenn (Spouse Adriana Wrenn and great-granddaughter Maria Wrenn), as well as grandsons Elliott Wrenn and Ryan Adam.

    Visitation will be held at Echols Funeral Home at 806 Brunswick Avenue, Emporia, VA on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00pm.

    A funeral service will be held at the Echols Chapel on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at 2:00 pm, with burial to follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery located on U.S. highway 301 South, also in Emporia.

    Following the burial, friends and relatives will be welcomed at the Wrenn home at 426 Laurel Street, Emporia, VA.

    Online condolences may be sent to the family at:


  3. William Stuart Howell

    William Stuart Howell, 75, of Emporia, VA, died December 27, 2018, at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center.

    Mr. Howell, was born in Radford, VA, and worked with Nationwide Insurance Company for forty-eight years.

    He is survived by his wife, Teen Quesenberry Howell and numerous friends. Howell was a former member of the Emporia Jaycees and Emporia/Greensville Rescue Squad. He served as a board member of the Emporia/Greensville Chamber Of Commerce since the early 70’s and also served as Treasurer. In 2012, Howell was awarded the Eugene H. Bloom Lifetime Achievement Award.

    A memorial service will be held in the Chapel of Echols Funeral Home, at 2:00 PM, Thursday, January 3, 2019, with Rev. Rick Franklin officiating. The family will receive at the funeral home following the service.

    The family request memorial donations be made to the Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad or to a charity of one’s choice.

    Online condolences may be sent to the family at:


  4. Irene Mitchell Phillips

    Irene Mitchell Phillips, 79, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, December 29, 2018. She was preceded in death by her husband, Cecil Neal Phillips; one son, Randy Lynn Phillips and a brother, Parker Mitchell, Jr.

    Mrs. Phillips is survived by herson, Kevin Phillips (Sherry); grandson, Justin Neal Phillips; sister, Betty M. Prince (Raymond); brother, Roy Lee Mitchell (Martha Jane); sister-in-law, Lilly Ruth Mitchell and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 2 at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at church one hour prior to the service.

    Memorial contributions may be made to Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

    Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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  5. "Time to Change"

    Whatever happened to the many days
    that constitute a year
    I know some are surely missing
    for soon a new ones here.
    I put away my resolutions list
    a good long while ago
    now just where I did put it
    I really do not know.
    Now I started many things for sure
    and I finished one or two
    yet guessing now what was on the list
    I don’t think that I could do.
    I’m told this is a good thing
    but you have to do it right
    yes and for me I think it would be best
    to hold the list in one hand quite tight.
    Well there is no cause to worry
    for these things won’t go away
    I only hope after my travel and hunting
    that I’ll find me another free day.
    Happy New Year to one and all.
                             Roy E. Schepp

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  6. Bettie Sue Neal

    Mrs. Bettie Sue Neal, 94, died peacefully at her home in Lawrenceville on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018.

    Born and raised in Clover, Va., Mrs. Neal was one of 10 children born to Sallie Blanch Throckmorton and Tom Steven Neal. She had been an active and revered resident of Lawrenceville for more than 70 years, having settled there after World War II and her marriage to Harold Jones Neal Sr. in 1942.

    While busy raising her family of four children, Mrs. Neal was also involved in the civic life of her adopted hometown. She was the first president of Town and Country Garden Club, and was also a member of the Lawrenceville Women’s Club, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, the Lioness Club, and the Firemen’s Auxiliary.

    Her membership in Lawrenceville United Methodist Church was one of the most meaningful of her life. In addition to being a regular Sunday morning church-goer, she was president of the United Methodist Women, a Sunday School teacher, and chairman of her circle. She also helped decorate the church with flowers for special occasions and she assisted with refreshments whenever there was a reception. If the church doors were open, Mrs. Neal was there.

    Mrs. Neal’s greatest joy was her family, which had grown to include 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She was never happier than when surrounded by her family, and she took great delight in hosting the entire family in her home, whether for a festive holiday gathering with everyone’s favorite dishes or a bowl of Brunswick stew at the kitchen table.

    She loved to cook, and Thanksgiving especially showcased her talents in the kitchen as well as her loving spirit. Besides turkey and all the trimmings, her sideboard groaned with every vegetable known to man, in order to satisfy the preferences of every single family member. There were also multiple desserts, and though she enjoyed trying new recipes, her famous chocolate pie was her signature treat. She often baked the tasty concoction of chocolate custard topped with meringue for bereaved families, shut-ins, and church bazaars.

    Mrs. Neal loved her circle of friends and she loved socializing. She played bridge on a regular basis for many years, and she once remarked that she sometimes had trouble concentrating on the game because she got caught up in conversation. 
     She also was a member of the local Red Hat Club and she joined in on every excursion that her schedule allowed. She enjoyed excellent health until recent months, and she continued to take pleasure in outings with her family as well as trips to shop, go out to eat, or have her nails and hair done.

    Mrs. Neal was predeceased by her husband, who died in 1975. In addition to 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, she is survived by her four children and their spouses, Bettie Brent Neal Vaughan (Charles) of Lawrenceville; Dr. Harold J. Neal Jr. (Jamie) of Emporia; John C. Neal (Susan) of Fredericksburg; and Russell C. Neal (Nancy) of Dinwiddie.

    Surviving grandchildren and their spouses are Sloan Canaday (Brian) of Richmond; Meredith Sawyer (Tom) of Alexandria; Charlotte Crane (Adam) of Ashland; Harrison Vaughan (Danielle) of Wake Forest, N.C.; Sallie Vaughan of Lexington, S.C.; Taylor Neal (Rachel) and Gordon Neal (Katherine), both of Richmond; Katherine Neal of Fredericksburg; Elizabeth Mims (Weston) of Mount Sidney; and Sarah Phillips (Blake) of Franklin. She also is survived by a sister, Elsie N. Griles of Clover; her sister-in law, Violet M. Neal and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

    Mrs. Neal’s caregivers over the past two years enabled her to remain in her beloved home, and the family sincerely appreciates their devotion to her well-being. 

    A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at Lawrenceville United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at the church at 12 noon prior to the service.

    Memorial Contributions may be made to Lawrenceville United Methodist Church Elevator Fund, P.O. Box 2, Lawrenceville, VA  23868.  Mrs. Neal wished to be cremated and her remains will be buried alongside her husband at Oakwood Cemetery in Lawrenceville. Williams Funeral Home in Lawrenceville is handling arrangements.

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  7. Walter L. Wyatt

    Walter L. Wyatt, 83, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, December 23, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Sherba “Polly” Wyatt; two sons, Danny Wyatt (Barbara) and Tommy Wyatt; five grandchildren, David Wyatt (Lauren), Lance Wyatt (Kelli), Danielle Donovan (Brian); Austin Wyatt and Jessica Harrison (Brian); five great-grandchildren, Bryn Donovan, Sydney Wyatt, Brayden Wyatt, Logan Harrison and Brooklyn Harrison; a brother, R.C. Wyatt, Jr.; two sisters, Sarah Milligan (Jimmy) and Alma Louvene Norman and a number of nieces and nephews.

    The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, December 26 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. The funeral service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, December 27 at Independence United Methodist Church. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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  8. “A Christmas Story”

    Many listen for the sleigh bells
    That in a far off distance ring
    Yet others shout Hosanna’s
    For the new born Savior King.
    Now Christmas day is celebrated
    In many a varied way
    For the Christian it’s quite religious
    But with non-believers, just a holiday.
    The Wise Men traveled to Bethlehem
    Just guided by a star
    They were bearing gifts for the Baby Jesus
    Which all brought from afar.
    Today most rely on Santa Claus
    And his reindeer overhead
    The principal is much the same
    But they’re store bought gifts instead.
    Yes the stores put out their welcome mat
    Two months before Christmas day
    Trying to help us fill our shopping list
    In a most beneficial way.
    We all help them with their efforts
    For the needs are much abused
    In the corner of room number three you’ll find
    Some toys that haven’t been used.
    Just throw away the want list
    And to all little children bring
    Clothes that will keep them all warm
    Until the first breath of spring.
    On Christmas Eve, fill up all the stockings
    So all is ready for Christmas morn
    Yes and while opening presents take time to remind
    That today the Christ Child was born.
    Roy E. Schepp


  9. Santa’s Elves Come to Jackson-Feild

    On December 20th fourteen members of the Lake Gaston Ladies Club and several other volunteers traveled to Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services campus in Jarratt, VA to wrap all the children’s Christmas that were purchased by donors and will be given to residents on Christmas Eve. 

    The wrapping event is an annual has become a tradition for the women for the past eighteen year in which they have served as Santa’s helpers.

    The day began with the women arrived bright and early in the morning and they got right to work. By the end of the day over 250 presents were lovingly wrapped by these special elves.

    While some of the returning ladies began wrapping presents, members who had not previously been  to campus were given a tour and overview of Jackson-Feild’s programs and services/

    These special volunteers ate lunch in the dining hall with residents and one of the residents welcomed them to the campus and thanked them for their efforts on behalf of all the children.


  10. Coca-Cola Hosts Pizza Party for Jackson-Feild Residents

    Staff members of the Consolidated Coca-Cola Bottling Company in  Halifax, North Carolina hosted a pizza party for the residents of Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services. 

    A team of eight volunteers provided pizza, Coca-Cola products for every resident.

    The company also sponsored  Christmas gifts for eight residents and will be presented to these children on Christmas morning.

    The residents were extremely excited to enjoy a special meal as was evidenced by how many had a second serving of pizza. After everyone enjoyed their pizza, they were served a dessert of either cookies which were baked by residents in the food occupation class.

    Both the staff and residents of Jackson-Feild are incredibly grateful for the support Consolidated of Coca-Cola Bottling Company for their wonderful efforts on behalf of the residents and for bringing the spirit of Christmas to Jackson-Feild.

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  11. Trial Date Set in Civil Suit Against Emporia-Greensville Commonwealth's Attorney Patricia Watson

    The civil suit filed against Patricia Watson, Kimberly Darden and Henry Allen will procede. The claims against Mr. Allen have previously been dismissed.

    The Honorable John A. Gibney, Jr. has set date for a Trial by Jury beginning April 29, 2019 at the Federal District Courthouse for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond.

    The opinion of the Federal Judge finding probable cause in the case of King v Darden, Watson and Allen was the "Opinion of the Day" in Lawyers Weekly shortly after it was issued. That opinion is available online here, and, like all of the documents in the case, is public record.

    That opinion found that the allegations in two of the four counts of the complaing warranted proceding.

    The Judge granted the motion to dismiss all counts against Mr. Allen but denied the motion to dismiss for both Ms Darden and Mrs. Watson on Counts I and III. Count II was dismissed, but Mr. King was granted leave to amend the complaint. The Judge's opinion also stated that Mrs. Watson did not enjoy Eleventh Amendment Immunity.

    As for Commonwealth's Attorney Watson and Virginia State Police Special Investigator, the Judge ruled that they would both face some of the allegations in the Complaint filed by Mr. King. his opinion further stated that Eleventh Amendment Immunity does not shield Mrs. Watson from facing the claims in the complaint it is alleged tht she acted in her personal capacity and not a professional one. Mrs. Watson may still be shielded by State Immunity, but that would require a "more complete record" and an affirmitive defense by Mrs. Watson.

    Mr. King, through his attorney later filed further information with the Court and Count II was reinstated.

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  12. Song Traveled a Long Way to SVCC Training Program

    Terence Song won a lottery and almost three years later, he has graduated from the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program at Pickett Park in Blackstone, Virginia.  A native of Cameroon, a country located in Central Africa, Song had applied for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) that makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. 

    From his native town to Blackstone, he has traveled about 5,800 miles to attend the 11-week training program and graduate with the largest class thus far, 36 members.

    Song is not a stranger to lineman work as he worked as a lineman in Cameroon for eight years.  In what he calls his ‘new country,’ he has been working for Rockingham Construction, a company that provides electrical construction work.  He lives in Woodbridge, Virginia. 

    Song’s native language is French and in studying lineman work in America, he has learned new names for all the familiar equipment.  Asked about his ability to grasp a new language complete with Southern accents, he notes that he tilts his head in and listens hard.

    “There are no bucket trucks in Cameroon,” he said, noting that America offers much better equipment to maintain electric power lines.    He said in his former country, they plant utility poles by hand using shovels and the power of five to six men to place the pole.  The machinery and power line equipment here is much safer and easier, he noted. 

    Another difference that amazed Song’s classmates are the climbing spikes he brought from Cameroon.  The spikes used in America feature a long gaff or spear that gouges into the wood of the pole and allows for moving up and down.  The ones used by Song have a row of shorter spears plus semi-circle claw.  Instructor Clyde Robertson notes that if one ever gets accustomed to the spikes Song uses, they offer a more comfortable platform for the feet. 

    During his training in Virginia, he has been given a chance for more practice in snow, something one never see in Cameroon.  He said the lowest temperature there is around 60 and the hottest can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.   Also, there are not four seasons in his native land, he said, “There are only two seasons there, rainy and dry.”

    At age 40, he said he was the old man in the class.  Most of his classmates were in their early 20s.  He said some of the guys in the lineman class would tell him to take his jacket off when the temperature was warm but the temperatures here  in October did not seem particularly hot to him.

    “I like it here, I like the countryside,” he said and the small town atmosphere.  His hometown is Ombe, a city of about three million people. 

    Proud of his recent accomplishment, he looks forward to continuing to live and work and one day obtain citizenship in his New Country. 


  13. Ninth Class Graduates Power Line Worker Program at SVCC

    The Ninth Class of Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Training graduated on December 18, 2018.  This was the largest class to complete the training with a total of 36.  They are

    Joshua Bale

    Chincoteague Island, Virginia

    Noah Blackwel

     Ruther Glen, Virginia

    Tristen Bunch

    Dinwiddie, Virginia

    Collin Burnett

    Mine Run, Virginia

    Austin Cherrix

    S. Prince George, Virginia

    Waverly Clements

    Emporia, Virginia

    Colton Cliborne

    McKenney, Virginia

    Hunter Cochran

    Cumberland, Virginia

    Tyler Conner

    South Boston, Virginia

    Ryan Drewery

    S. Prince George, Virginia

    Cordell Farley

    Montpelier, Virginia

    Logan Farrell

    Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Lane Janosik

    Church Road, Virginia

    Cody Jewett

    DeWitt, Virginia

    Jake Lloyd

    Louisa, Virginia

    Ryan Love

    Waverly, Virginia

    Austin McCormick Mechanicsville, Virginia

    Jacob McLamb

    Vernon Hill, Virginia

    Logan Miller

    Wilsons, Virginia

    John Moore

    Warrenton, Virginia

    Jason Ownby

    Cumberland, Virginia

    Brycen Parnell

    Keysville, Virginia

    Elijah Patterson

    Staunton, Virginia

    Bayse Pitts

    Farnham, Virginia

    Aaron Ruddick

    McKenney, Virginia

    Hunter Rutledge

    Keysville, Virginia

    Fred Smith

    Craddockville, Virginia

    Terence Song

    Woodbridge, Virginia

    Daniel Sorrells

    Buena Vista, Virginia

    Adam Stubbs

    Ashland, Virginia

    Charles Thompson

    Richmond, Virginia

    Noah Tosh

    Bedford, Virginia

    Robert J. Watson

    Nellysford, Virginia

    Jarvis Wingo, Jr.

    Jetersville, Virginia

    Joel Wright

    Gordonsville, Virginia

    Seth York

    Blackstone, Virginia


  14. VCU Health CMH Recognizes Veterans on Staff

    South Hill, VA - VCU Health is proud of the many team members whom are veterans and have served our nation.  Pictured are the team members that were recognized during a special ceremony held on Veteran’s Day in November.  Each team member received a lapel pin that honors their branch of service.

    (L to R) Tommy Pistolis, Eric Williams, Linda Norman, Curtis Poole, Larry Tucker, Earnest Hatcher, Ronnie Allen, Mike Simmons, Sherry Jobe, Jonathan Mayo and Archie McCartney.  Not Pictured:  Benjamin Davis and Pat Stables

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  15. Donald McEachin Installed as Vice-Chair of the Sustainale Energy and Environment Coalition

    WASHINGTON — Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) issued this statement following his installation as a Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC):

    “Scientific reports, record breaking natural disasters, and my constituents – especially our courageous young people – have made it crystal-clear: the time to act on climate is now. As members of SEEC’s leadership team, we will take bold steps together to address our climate crisis. We will encourage our national transition to a clean energy economy; promote the creation of well-paying green jobs; and advocate for strong environmental protections, all while fighting to address long-standing environmental injustices. I am confident that in the new Democratic Majority, SEEC members will help lead our colleagues and our country toward a more sustainable future. I am excited and honored to be part of the leadership that will help make that happen.”

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  16. A Gift in Winter

    By Dr. Al Roberts

    Twentieth century British poet Edith Sitwell wrote, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

    I enjoy many of winter’s simple pleasures, including the beauty of snowflakes and moonlight, traditional feasts and gift-giving, and hot cocoa with warm conversations. Warding off winter’s chill by bundling up in a snug, woolen coat contributes to an overall sense of serenity and comfort.

    But winter can also be a time when harsh conditions lead to hardship. Emergencies multiply. Their effects compound.

    According to an analysis by the United Way’s ALICE Project, 39% of Virginia’s households were either living below the federal poverty level or identified as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE). The ALICE designation describes working families with incomes above the poverty level but still less than required for basic living costs, such as housing, food, child and health care, and transportation.  Within SVCC’s service region, the number of households at or below the ALICE or poverty level ranges from 49% to 60%, much larger percentage than the statewide averages.

    Income at ALICE and poverty levels supports only a modest lifestyle. It leaves no room for savings, so families are often left vulnerable to emergencies and unexpected expenses.  A surprisingly high heating bill, a car that won’t start, or a doctor’s visit can threaten to topple plans and cast the future into darkness.

    Several factors contribute, including low regional pay scales and increases in the basic cost of living that outpace wage growth. Education is a documented solution. Career and technical certifications and associate-degree programs provide rapid access to well-paying jobs and pathways to family-sustaining careers.

    Pursuing educational goals, however, can temporarily stress finances. On the road to better pay and professional security, students encounter such expenses as tuition, books, technology, and transportation that can strain limited budgets. Illustrating this concern, recent studies have found that 13% to 21% of community college students experience food insecurity, yet college students are often ineligible for federal food assistance programs. In light of this need, SVCC has established food pantries at locations across its service area.

    Additionally, to help students facing food emergencies and other crises, the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation administers funds that help meet urgent needs so that students can remain on track to reach their education goals. These opportunities are made possible through the generous contributions of people who understand the importance of helping students succeed. If you would like to join them and make a gift that will usher in a brighter future for hard-working students with unexpected challenges, contact the SVCC Foundation office at 434-949-1051.

    Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at

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  17. The Holidays and Alzheimer’s: Tips to Help Families Navigate Challenges this Holiday Season

    Holiday celebrations are often joyous occasions that families look forward to all year, but they can be challenging for the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 5.7 million people in the U.S., and more than nearly 16 million people care for someone with the disease.

    “The hustle and bustle that accompanies the holidays can be stressful for people living with Alzheimer’s,” said Monica Moreno, senior director, care and support, Alzheimer’s Association. “Changes in the daily routine, large gatherings and noisy environments – all holiday hallmarks – can create extra anxiety for someone living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”

    To help families navigate holiday-related challenges, the Alzheimer’s Association is offering these simple tips to ensure an enjoyable holiday for all.

    Prepare Your Guests: The holidays are full of emotions, so let guests know what to expect before they arrive and tell them how they can help. Suggest activities to engage the person with Alzheimer’s or best ways to communicate with them. “Cross talk or simultaneous conversations can be challenging for people living with Alzheimer’s, so try engaging them one-on-one or in smaller group settings,” Moreno advises.

    Build on traditions and memories: Take time to experiment with new traditions that might be less stressful or a better fit with your caregiving responsibilities. If evening confusion and agitation are a problem, turn your holiday dinner into a holiday lunch or brunch.

    Involve the person living with Alzheimer’s: Depending on abilities and preferences, make sure to keep the person with Alzheimer’s involved in the celebrations, such as packing cookies in tins or helping wrap gifts.

    Plan ahead: When attending a holiday party, prepare the host for special needs, such as a quiet room for the person to rest when they get tired, away from the noise and distractions.

    Adapt gift giving to ensure safe and useful gifts: Diminishing capacity may make some gifts unusable or even dangerous to a person with dementia. If someone asks for gift ideas, suggest items people living with the disease can easily enjoy, such as comfortable clothing, favorite music, videos and photo albums.

    More holiday tips can be found by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline also provides reliable information and support to all those who need assistance. Call the helpline toll-free anytime, even holidays, at 1.800.272.3900.

    The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research. The Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

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  18. Ervin M. “Snake” Harris

    Ervin M. “Snake” Harris, 86, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, December 15, 2018. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah W. Harris. He is survived by a son, Ervin Harris, Jr. “Casey”; two daughters, Michele H. Cogbill and Heidi H. Geary; a brother, Herman Harris; two sisters, Dean Riggan and Anne Florence Harris and a number of nieces and nephews.

    A funeral service will be held graveside 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 18 at Mount Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery.

    In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

    Online condolences may shared with the family at

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    LOCATION: FOOD LION 216 Market Dr, Emporia, VA

    Hours: 6:30-7:30 P.M.


    December 21, 2018 at 6:30-7:30 pm.

    Toys, turkeys and $10 Food Lion gift cards will be donated to those in need in Emporia, Virginia on a first come, first serve basis.  Please bring a form of identification and some form of information proving need such as: a Medicaid card, SNAP card or social services  benefits letter. People who do not have this information and still are in need will be handled on a case by case basis.

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  20. “I Found Snow”

    Snow flurries were just everywhere
    as far as one could see
    I thought my prayers were answered
    and a white Christmas it would be.
    I had just finished polishing my skis
    for they thought we’d get a heap
    yes and skiing is so much more fun
    when the snow is really deep.
    Many don’t realize how great it is
    going down a big steep hill
    just knowing there is always a chance
    you could take quite a spill.
    Well then it stopped coming down
    the reason I don’t know
    yet while it fluttered from the sky
    one did see quite a show.
    Yes my skiing it was ended
    long before I found a hill
    I guess living in the Southland
    has put my chances close to nil.
    Still I called my older sister in Wisconsin
    sometime the very next day
    I let her know little brother had found some snow
    over a thousand miles away!
                             Roy E. Schepp

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  21. Wagman Heavy Civil, Inc. Opens I-95 Northbound Bridge over Meherrin River to Traffic

    Wagman Heavy Civil, Inc. announces the opening of the northbound bridge on I-95 over the Meherrin River in Emporia, Va. The bridge opened to traffic on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 and is the second Interstate bridge on the project that has opened to traffic.

    Greg Andricos, president and COO of Wagman Heavy Civil states, “We are proud of our team for achieving this milestone in spite of a historically wet construction season. Wagman plans to continue the expedited delivery of this project, enhancing quality and safety on I-95.”

    The first new bridge to open was the southbound bridge in September 2017, built next to the existing southbound bridge, while northbound traffic shifted onto the old southbound bridge. Crews then demolished the existing northbound bridge and built the new one in its place. Demolition on the existing southbound bridge, a final stage in the project, has now begun. Aside from the demolition and replacement of both bridges, the $22M project also includes installation of storm water management facilities.

    Construction on the project began in January 2016 and is required to be completed by fall 2019.

    Wagman is a multi-faceted construction firm with major operations in heavy civil, general construction, and geotechnical construction services.  Founded in 1902, Wagman is a fourth generation, family-owned company with offices in Pennsylvania and Virginia.  As a heavy civil contractor, Wagman is a nationally recognized leader within the industry. Wagman’s core competencies include: design-build, infrastructure, marine construction, modified concrete, grooving and grinding, and geotechnical construction services.

    For more information about Wagman, please visit

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  22. Christmas

    Dear Editor,

    When December dawns, thoughts turn to the greatest of all seasons — Christmas. A lot of customs have become associated with Christmas since the reason for this great season was born more than 2,000 years ago. The birth of Christ changed the world and offered hope and eternal life to all who believe in him.

    Today, some people do not want to identify the greatest of all holidays by its true name. Sure, retailers want Christmas gift-giving to keep growing, but some have reverted to calling Christmas “the holidays.”

    Of course, the true meaning of Christmas is not the gift-giving, decorations or parties. Nevertheless, activities observed in honor of the Christmas season should always be identified as Christmas observances.

    I plan to stop shopping in stores that do not clearly identify the Christmas season. In a country where 75 percent of the people identify themselves as Christians, this great season needs to be given the respect it is due.

    So, in the future, there will be no “Happy Holidays” from me. My greetings and observances shall always be identified with a big “Merry Christmas.”

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    (Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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  23. Norman Rex "Buddy" Turner

    Norman Rex "Buddy" Turner, also known as "Leg Man" of Garysburg, NC, passed away on December 12, 2018. Buddy was born in Roanoke Rapids on October 15, 1952.

    He was preceded in death by his father, Ernest R. Turner, Sr., mother, Dorothy L. Otten, stepfather, Fletcher O. Otten, and granddaughter, Jessica Turner.

    He is survived by his wife, Sharon R. Turner of Garysburg; four children, Sandra Blick, Angel Hayzlett, Christy Alston, all from Richmond, VA, and Ashley Turner Gray and her husband, Tom, of Freeman, VA; one sister, Janet T. Davis of Pendelton; two brothers, Ernest R. Turner Jr. and wife, Jackie, of Littleton, and Gary W. Otten of Emporia, VA; seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and one special cousin, Bobby "Punk" Turner, of Roanoke Rapids.

    Buddy loved trucking, music, fishing, boating, and cooking his famous stew. He loved life in general, and his family so very much. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations for expenses.

    The family will have a visitation on Sunday, December 16, 2018, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Askew Funeral & Cremation Services, 731 Roanoke Avenue, Roanoke Rapids.

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    RICHMOND – Over the next week, thousands of Virginians will take to the highway to travel for the holidays. This weekend – Life Saver Weekend – signifies the start of the Christmas travel period and serves as a reminder to motorists to #Drive2SaveLives and celebrate safely so everyone will #ArriveAlive.

    Since Dec. 1, 2018, traffic crashes in Virginia have claimed the lives of 23 people, including 15 drivers, two passengers, three pedestrians, two motorcyclists and one bicyclist. Despite a grim start to the month, preliminary reports indicate traffic fatalities are down 3.5 percent to date in 2018 (Jan. 1, 2018 - Nov. 12, 2018) compared to the same period last year, falling from 799 deaths in 2017 to 771 so far this year. 

    Last year, 248 individuals were killed in alcohol-related crashes on Virginia highways.* Since Nov. 18, 2018 (Thanksgiving week), Virginia State Police has decorated its virtual “Lifesaving Tree” with 99 stars, each of which represents a DUI arrest and a potential life saved because an impaired driver was taken off the road. A star will be added to the “Lifesaving Tree” for every impaired driving arrest through the end of December, which is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

    “The holidays are a time to celebrate, but if the celebration involves alcohol you need to do it responsibly – hand over the keys, call for a ride or simply stay where you are,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “When you choose to drive drunk, you not only put your own life at risk, you risk the lives of others on the road with you. Make the smart, sober choice and help Virginia move toward zero roadway deaths.”

    The “Toward Zero Deaths Virginia” website, an in-depth resource for online traffic safety content, was launched in late November and announced in a press release from Governor Ralph S. Northam.

    To help prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Life Saver Weekend, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program designed to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by speeding, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. As a participating agency, state police will increase its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts throughout the Commonwealth beginning Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through midnight, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018.

    During last year’s Life Saver Weekend (Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 – Sunday, Dec. 17, 2018), Virginia State Police troopers:

    • Cited 1,499 speeders
    • Cited 428 reckless drivers
    • Arrested 31 drunken drivers
    • Cited 147 safety belt violations & 49 child restraint violations
    • Investigated 493 traffic crashes (None of which were fatal.)

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

    * Virginia Highway Safety Office

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  25. National Driver of the Year to Speak at SVCC Truck Driving Graduation Events

    Trucking’s National Driver of the Year, David Boyer, is the guest speaker for the next two graduations of the Southside Virginia Community College’s Truck Driver Training School.  Students will complete the program with ceremonies at the Fort Pickett site on December 13 at 9 a.m. and at the South Boston site on December 20 at 9 a.m. 

    Boyer, a professional truck driver with ABF Freight and an America’s Road Team Captain, was honored as trucking’s 2018 National Driver of the Year at American Trucking Associations Safety Management Council’s meeting in Long Beach California on November 14, 2018.  He is a 40-year veteran with ABF Freight and has worked for only one other company in his career.  He regularly operates twin trailers over the road between Wytheville, Virginia and Memphis, Tennessee.

    Being named for this award recognizes drivers for noteworthy and career-long professional achievements, holding a stellar safety record and maintaining dedication to keeping the roads safe.  As a part of his award, Boyer attended a White House event in October alongside Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in which she told President Trump about his achievements. 

    The SVCC Truck Driver Training School opened in 1996.  There have been approximately 2300 graduates.

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    RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police is expanding its digital footprint in the social media environment with the launch of an official Instagram account. The Virginia State Police account at is now “live” on the photo-sharing app platform and at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, featured as its first post - a sneak preview of the names selected for the Department’s two newest bloodhounds.

    The Virginia State Police established itself on YouTube in 2009 and Facebook in 2010. A @VSPPIO Twitter page followed five years later. Today, the state police engages with more than 180,000 Facebook followers, approximately 13,500 Twitter followers and 1,500 YouTube viewers worldwide.

    “Adding Instagram to the Virginia State Police social media portfolio enables us to reach a much greater audience with our key traffic safety messaging, crime prevention outreach, investigative alerts and recruitment efforts…and, of course, more photos of our canines,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We look forward to engaging with the public via Instagram and sharing even more about the state police and our mission in service and safety to others.”

    Instagram followers who connect with state police by 11 a.m. Thursday will be the first to find out the winning names for the 11-week-old brother and sister bloodhounds as pictured with Colonel Settle. In mid-November, state police invited the public to send in via Facebook their favorite names for the floppy-eared siblings. The Department’s K9 Training Unit deliberated the more than 3,300 pairs of suggested names and narrowed them down to five for final consideration. Just shy of 1,500 Facebook followers cast their votes and the winning pair of names will be revealed on all three state police social media platforms by noon Thursday.




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  27. Angel Tree at Benchmark Community Bank Helps Our Neighbors

    Benchmark Community Bank is sponsoring a 2018 Angel Tree to benefit an Emporia family that recently lost everything they had. Each angel represents items needed by different members of the family. Branch Manager Gloria Robinson, pictured, invites the community to include this family as you give to a neighbor in need. To participate, stop by the branch located at 216 W. Atlantic Street in the Goodwill Shopping Center.

    Hours are 9-5 Monday-Thursday and 9-5:30 Fridays. Donations will be accepted through Friday, December 14th. To learn more about the Angel Tree project, stop by the Emporia branch or call 434-829-2877

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  28. Alberta Jones Rook

    Alberta “Bert” Jones Rook, 94, died Tuesday, December 11, 2018.

    A native of Wake County, she was the daughter of the late Luther Henry Jones and Annie Grey Jones. She retired as a teller with Central Fidelity Bank. In addition to her parents, Bert was preceded in death by her husband; Walter Daniel Rook Sr., her son; Walter Daniel “Danny” Rook Jr., sisters; Rachel Odom, Mary Alice Nicholson, and Edna Wood, brothers; James Minton Jones and Henry Jones.

    Mrs. Rook is survived by her daughter; Patsy R. Brown and her husband Lee of Emporia, Virginia, Grandchildren; Melanie Brown Owen of Emporia, Ryan Brown of Emporia, Jason Rook of Emporia, Christopher Rook of Jarratt, Virginia, and Kyle Rook of Emporia, Great Grandchildren; Joshua Rook, Adam Owen, Taia Brown, Emma Rook, Allie Jarratt, and Jillian Brown.

    Funeral Services will be held Friday, December 14, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. at Forest Hill Baptist Church in Skippers, Virginia with Rev. Rick Ragan officiating. Burial will follow in the Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 7 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. at Wrenn Clarke and Hagan Funeral and Cremation Service.

    Online condolences may be left at

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  29. Big Comeback Leads to Cool Job for Hawkes

    Sometimes a big setback leads to an even bigger comeback.  This was the case for Cedric Hawkes whose rebound has landed him in the cool job of teaching at Nottoway Middle School where he impacts lives. 

    When his fiancée and mother of his two children passed away and he found himself a single father of two boys, ages five months and 15 months, Hawkes knew some things in his life had to change.  Hawkes had attended Old Dominion University but not finished and was working at Southside Virginia Community College as a restaurant manager for the Farley Experience.  Working in the college environment, he was interested in returning to school and found encouragement from Dr. John Hicks, counselor.

    “Working at the café was the perfect scenario,” he said. “It jump-started me back on track, it was a home place with a fun-oriented atmosphere.”

    He told the he Longwood College publication The Lancer, “It had been on my mind for a while so one day I took my apron off and went to talk to one of the counselors there (at SVCC).”

    After taking some classes at SVCC, he was able to in get into Longwood University through the guaranteed acceptance agreement. He joined the Call Me MISTER program, a national teacher leadership program, where he excelled and was the eldest MISTER so he was role model to others. 

    Asked why his job as a teacher is cool, he said the first word that comes to mind is satisfying. 

    “I am able to give back to so many people, to give so much of myself, to offer selfless service.  When I see the looks on these kids’ faces, when you relate to them on their level, I see growth and change in their lives,” Hawkes said.

    “I try to reach ‘em before I teach ‘em,” he said.

    He does not just change lives and act as a role model during the school day, but he also coaches varsity football at Nottoway high school in the afternoons and is on the field leading the players during practice and games. 

    “I never thought I would be a teacher but the experiences I had and the people I met influenced me,” he said.

    One way he influences his students is by giving them a sense of pride in their appearance.  He sponsors Tie Tuesday for the gentlemen in his class and Step It Up for the ladies as they sport their dressier clothes on these days.

    Besides teaching and coaching, Hawkes is also a volunteer firefighter in Crewe.  He is certified to teach Fire I and 2 and Hazmat training. 

    Hawkes wants to be a role model for his own children, ages, 10, 9, 8 and 14 months.   He and his fiancé’ are both school teachers and he is encouraging her to return to school to complete her Master’s degree.   His philosophy is to keep trying and never give up.  And this certainly shows as he impacts many lives at all levels in Southside Virginia.


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    Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Courtney Ann Walton has been chosen the November 2018 Student of the Month.  Courtney, a senior, is the daughter of Joey and Sonya Walton of Lawrenceville.

    Courtney is in the Brunswick Academy Honors Program that is the most rigorous and challenging program of student academics that the school offers.  She is also currently enrolled at SVCC taking dual-enrollment classes.

    Courtney is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Brunswick Academy Scholastic Bowl team and Honor Council, where she served as Secretary last year.

    She has played varsity softball and varsity volleyball.  At the annual awards banquet in her freshman year, she received the Most Valuable Player for Varsity Softball.  In addition, she was named to the First team All - Conference and First Team All - State.

    For varsity softball, in her sophomore year, she received Conference Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference and First Team All-State.  The climax of the year was being named State Player of the Year.  That same year she was captain of the Varsity Softball Team and Co-Most valuable player of the year.  Courtney has played on the Williamsburg Starz Gold travel ball team and later on the Hanover Hornets travel softball team.

    At the Class of 2018 graduation ceremonies, Courtney was a Junior Marshall.  At the same ceremony, she received the William and Mary Leadership Award.

    In her spare time, Courtney enjoys playing with her goldendoodle puppy, spending time with her family and friends and loves to bake.   She has applied to The University of Richmond, The College of William and Mary, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University.  She plans to major in pre-law.


  31. Clerk of the Circuit Court to Retire after 51 Years of Service

    "After 51 years of serving Greensville County as its Circuit Court Clerk, I will retire effective March 1, 2019.  I wish to thank the citizens who have supported me throughout the years, and the loyal employees who have served alongside me in the Clerk’s Office.  When I first took office in 1968, we were still making entries with pen and ink, and we have now advanced to a mostly digital office.  Though there have been many changes through the years, this office has kept up with the advances in technology, and continued to serve the public in the same courteous and efficient manner they have come to expect," wrote Bobby Wrenn in an email.

    As provided by law, JoAnne Conner, Chief Deputy Clerk, will assume the position of Clerk effective March 1.  She is qualified in every way to serve as Clerk, and has recently earned a certification from the National Center for State Courts as a Certified Court Manager.  Previously she earned certification as Master Deputy Circuit Court Clerk. 

    "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Clerk, and I sincerely thank all of those who have made it possible for me to do so for over five decades."

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  32. Beach Mold & Tool, Inc., Growing Skilled Workers through Apprenticeship

    Celebrating a successful Apprenticeship Program at Beach Mold and Tool, Inc. are (l to r)Maynard Stowe, Department of Labor- Office of Apprenticeship, Joey Sims, Beach Mold and Tool HR Manager, Bryan Floyd, Apprentice, Edward (POP) Clements, Apprentice, Clarence Logan, Apprentice, David Batliner, Beach Mold and Tool VP of Operations, Mike Brockway, Beach Mold and Tool Operations Manager, Kelly Arnold, Apprenticeship Coordinator at Southside Virginia Community College.

    In the fast-paced world of manufacturing, training skilled workers can be a challenge. For Beach Mold and Tool, Inc., located in Emporia, VA, this challenge was especially true. The company, which is currently expanding, was struggling to find qualified industrial maintenance technicians. With the current manufacturing boom, addressing this issue and formulating a solution was paramount.

    For years, trade jobs were not promoted as viable career choices. While this is one factor, another contributor to the deficiency is an aging workforce entering retirement.

    Joey Sims, Human Resource Manager, weighed his options and chose to look internally at a training strategy for the skilled worker shortage. To be successful, Joey collaborated with Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) to implement an industrial maintenance apprenticeship program. The company selected employees who were willing to attend classes one night per week at the Emporia training facility located at the Southside Virginia Education Center (SVEC).   Through hands-on lab work and instruction, the employees are mastering electrical and mechanical concepts. The hard work recently paid off for three employees as they proudly received their machine operator apprenticeship certificate.

    David Batliner, Vice President of Operations, for Beach Mold and Tool, congratulated each recipient and spoke proudly of the level of commitment the group had displayed. Speaking from experience, he noted that working full time and attending school is demanding but the rewards are life changing.

    Evidence of the employees’ level of commitment occurred right after Maynard Stowe, Department of Labor, presented the certificates at the apprenticeship awards ceremony. Each employee signed up to embark on the next level of training as an Industrial Maintenance Technician.

    This is confirmation that the apprenticeship model is the perfect training program to fix the shortage of skilled workers, stated, Kelly Arnold, apprenticeship coordinator for SVCC.  When you combine on-the-job training with a few educational classes, the results are always positive and life changing.

    Being able to train locally began when Dr. Chad Patton, Dean, for SVCC, started offering electrical classes at the SVEC in Emporia. Recently, SVCC collaborated with CCAM for a GO Virginia grant to outfit a mechatronics’ lab for workforce training. This lab has simulators that replicate a real-world scenario in an industrial facility. Classes are available every semester to fill the skills trade shortage.

    Apprenticeship is the solution. Therefore, while others are sounding the alarm of a skilled labor shortage, Beach Mold and Tool is actively taking steps necessary to fill the gap, said Arnold.

    If you are interested in finding out more about the programs, contact SVCC’s office in Emporia or visit our website,

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    ~ Herring has partnered with the Preventum Initiative to implement FEND, an opioid education and prevention campaign for teenagers; FEND will be an addition to the AG’s existing approach to the opioid epidemic ~

    RICHMOND (December 10, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced a partnership between his office and the Preventum Initiative to implement FEND (Full Energy, No Drugs), an opioid education and prevention campaign for Virginia teenagers. FEND will engage youth by rewarding them for learning and taking action against opioids and other drugs. The program will be implemented in conjunction with the Attorney General’s existing multifaceted approach to the opioid crisis.

    “The opioid epidemic has taken a devastating toll on communities across Virginia,”said Attorney General Herring. “Partnerships like this one with Preventum Initiative and programs like FEND are critical tools we can use to teach young people about the dangers of addiction, opioids, and prescription drugs so they are better equipped to handle situations. I will continue to make combating the heroin and opioid epidemic a top priority and I look forward to working with Preventum Initiative to help make our communities safer.”

    Preventum Initiative developed the FEND Movement to educate young adults about the dangers of heroin and opioid use. FEND will roll out in three stages over a two-year period beginning in 2019. The first stage will engage youth across the state, the second will roll out into high schools with a school-based competition model, and the third will empower youth to take the messages of FEND into their local communities. Additionally, the FEND app, which will be freely available in the Apple and Google Play stores, will reward youth for engaging with the app with streetwear, concert tickets, athletic events and other experiences. 

    “FEND gives young people the facts about opioids, prescription drugs, and addiction so they can make informed choices about their health,” said Jacquii Burgess, Executive Director of the Preventum Initiative. “Understanding what an opioid is, why they’re so addictive, and how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose can potentially save a life. We are thrilled to partner with Attorney General Herring to educate Virginia’s young people about opioids and other drugs.”

    Attorney General Herring has made combating the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority, attacking the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcementeducation, prevention, and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program. He has supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth. Attorney General Herring recently outlined his recommended next steps for combating the crisis, focusing on law enforcement initiatives, support from the medical community, and recovery, treatment, prevention and education. He is also participating in a multistate investigation into the practices of drug manufacturers and distributors to determine what role they may have played in creating or prolonging the crisis. Most recently, Attorney General Herring announced he was suing Purdue Pharma for their role in helping to create and prolong the opioid epidemic in Virginia.

    The Preventum Initiative is a 501(c)(3) that brings together technologists and researchers to solve complex public health problems.


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  34. Kenneth T. Herrick

    Kenneth T. Herrick, 68, of Emporia, passed away on Sunday, December 9, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Connie L. Herrick; his father, Albert Herrick; brother, Olin Herrick of Lawrenceville, VA; two sisters, Carolyn Montgomery of Florida and Martha Hall of Raleigh, NC; sister-in-law, Gail A. Mainwaring and husband, Frank of Emporia; niece, Christina Lake and husband, Ron; nephew, Jonathan Lynch and wife, Laci and numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

    A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, December 21 at First Christian Church with interment to follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends after funeral services in the church social hall.

    Memorial contributions may be made to First Christian Church, 427 Ruritan Rd, Emporia. Virginia 23847.

    Online condolences may be shared with the family at


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  35. Representatives McEachin, Schneider Introduced P.A.R.I.S. Climate Act

    Legislation to highlight why U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is disastrous

    Congressmen A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Brad Schneider (IL-10) introduced the Produce All Relevant Information to Safeguard (P.A.R.I.S.) Climate Act at the same time the United Nations Climate Change annual conference takes place in Poland.

    “Climate change poses an existential threat to the world as we know it, and preventing that change is one of the most pressing issues we face. Public health, environmental quality, and our economy are at risk if we do not act. Several international and domestic reports have confirmed the urgency of our situation, and this administration must use the facts we have to protect the American people and everyone with whom we share this one Earth,” said Congressman McEachin. “Three years after the signing of the Paris Agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference, Congressman Schneider and I introduced the P.A.R.I.S. Climate Act because we know the Paris Agreement was a crucial step toward ensuring our world is livable and healthy, and science shows our withdrawal endangers that precious goal.”

    The P.A.R.I.S. Climate Act would require the Secretary of State to regularly publish a public assessment that highlights the damaging consequences of the Trump Administration’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. This straightforward bill demands regular answers to the following questions:

    1. How many parties have formally indicated an intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement?
    2. Does the State Department have a reasonable expectation that any parties may pursue withdrawal in the next year? If so, which, and for what reasons?
    3. Has the U.S. established specific terms for re-engagement with the Paris Agreement, per stated administration policy?

    The P.A.R.I.S. Climate Act will force the administration to acknowledge the dangers of withdrawal, again and again. Every other nation recognizes the threat posed by climate change; Reps. McEachin and Schneider believe that this administration should stop preventing the United States from doing as much as possible to mitigate the impact of climate change. Bill text of H.R. 7220 is available here.

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  36. IG Warns Public About Fraudulent Phone Calls Threatening Arrest or Legal Action

    Posted on  by Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

    The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is urging citizens to remain vigilant of telephone impersonation schemes that exploit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) reputation and authority.

    The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) continues to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to be from SSA.  Recent reports have indicated that unknown callers are using increasingly threatening language in these calls.  The callers state, due to improper or illegal activity with a citizen’s Social Security number (SSN) or account, a citizen will be arrested or face other legal action if they fail to call a provided phone number to address the issue.  This is a scam; citizens should not engage with these calls or provide any personal information.

    SSA employees do contact citizens, generally those who have ongoing business with SSA, by telephone for customer-service purposes.  However, SSA employees will neverthreaten you for information; they will not state that you face potential arrest or other legal action if you fail to provide information.  In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.

    “Unfortunately, scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people, including scaring them into thinking that something is wrong with their Social Security account and they might be arrested,” Stone said.  “I encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence.  We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens, so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”

    The OIG recently warned that some of these impersonation calls have “spoofed” SSA’s national customer service phone number, displaying 1-800-772-1213 as the incoming number on caller ID.

    The Acting Inspector General urges citizens to be extremely cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it.  If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, you should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online at

    For more information, please visit

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  37. Seasonal work can empower you

    By Jacqueline Weisgarber

    Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

    Soon after school begins in the fall, many businesses begin advertising for seasonal workers.  It’s a good way for people to make some extra income during the busy holiday season or ease back into working.

    The diversity of jobs appeals to many people. Each year, companies also hire for seasonal work-from-home positions. These jobs include: customer service, sales, tech support, call center representatives, healthcare support, order taking/review, and more. Seasonal positions may help bridge employment gaps on your resume. They show proven experience and that you are ready, willing, and able to succeed. They also can help you to develop new or strengthen existing skills through training.

    If you receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), special rules make it possible for people to work and still receive monthly payments. If you want to try working again, seasonal work may help you ease back into the work force. ReadWorking While Disabled at or visit our Ticket to Work website at for more information.

    Keep in mind that you must report all earnings, including your seasonal earnings, to Social Security; however, they also count toward your future benefits. You earn Social Security credits when you work in a job and pay Social Security taxes. We use your total yearly earnings to figure your Social Security credits. You can learn more at

    You can also get Social Security retirement or survivors benefits and work at the same time. But if you’re younger than full retirement age and earn more than certain amounts, your benefits will be reduced, although not dollar for dollar. Your benefits may increase when you reach full retirement age. You can read more about working while retired at

    Getting back to work can empower you in a number of ways. Social Security is here for you throughout your life’s journey — at each step of your working life and beyond.

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  38. Greensville Memorial Foundation Helps Jackson-Feild

    Recognizing the importance of doing all they can to improve the quality of life and health of the community, the Greensville Memorial Foundation recently awarded grant funding to Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health (JFBHS) Services to purchase a new eight-passenger van.

    On average, residents at JFBHS are driven 20,000 miles per year for medical and dental appointments. Replacing a 2010 minivan with more than 200,000 miles on the odometer, this new vehicle is expected to provide reliable transportation of the children for a number of years.

    The board and staff of JFBHS are most grateful to Executive Director Jill Slate and the board of the Greensville Memorial Foundation for this wonderful gift.

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  39. VSP Urging Motorists to Stay Off the Roads, Even as Two Troopers Struck by Vehicles

    Two Virginia State Police troopers have been struck due to vehicles losing control on Virginia's slick highways. Since the Governor of Virginia declared a State of Emergency Saturday (Dec. 8), Virginians have been advised to avoid travel during the storm. Yet, Virginia State Police have responded statewide to more than a thousand traffic crashes and just shy of 1,150 disabled/stuck vehicles between 12:01 a.m. Sunday and 10 p.m Sunday (Dec. 9, 2018). 

    At 6:44 p.m. Sunday, a vehicle traveling north on Interstate 81 lost control at the 94 mile marker in Pulaski County and slammed into a trooper and his patrol vehicle. The trooper was seated inside his patrol car at the time of the crash. Fortunately, the trooper was not injured nor was the driver of the out-of-control vehicle. 

    On Sunday at approximately, 7:11 p.m., a Virginia State Police Trooper was stopped with his emergency equipment activated assisting a disabled vehicle on the left hand shoulder of southbound I-95, at the 89.6 mile marker in Hanover County.  A 2003 GMC Yukon traveling southbound lost control and struck the trooper's vehicle in the rear.  The trooper was sitting inside of his vehicle at the time of impact sustaining minor injuries and was transported to the hospital.  No other injuries were reported.  (The attached photos are the property of the Virginia State Police, which permits for their publication/broadcast.)

    This is why the Virginia State Police is still advising folks to delay travel unless absolutely necessary. The highways are still slick and snow-covered. As the temperatures drop overnight, roadways will freeze and turn even more dangerous.   

    As of 10 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 9), the Virginia State Police are responding to the following:

    Richmond Division: 
    31 Disabled Vehicles
    68 Traffic Crashes
    Culpeper Division: 
    3 Disabled Vehicles
    11 Traffic Crashes
    Appomattox Division: 
    23 Disabled Vehicles
    14 Traffic Crashes
    Wytheville Division: 
    13 Disabled Vehicles
    6 Traffic Crashes
    Chesapeake Division: 
    8 Disabled Vehicles
    8 Traffic Crashes
    Salem Division: 
    15 Disabled Vehicles
    13 Traffic Crashes
    Fairfax Division:
    3 Disabled Vehicles
    1 Traffic Crash


  40. Toy Drive at Union Bank and Trust

    Now through the 18th bring new and unwrapped toys to Union Bank and Trust at 100 Dominion Drive in Emporia for families being sponsored by Social Services in this time of need. You may drop your toys from  Monday-Thurs 9:00-5:00, Friday 9:00 – 6:00 or Saturday 9:00 – 12:00 in the drive thru

    Once the drive has ended, we will deliver the toys to Social Services and they will deliver these to the children in the area.

    Branch Manager Brent Mason and employees Pam Brown, Shirley Mangrum, and then Nancy Cobb all from the Union Bank & Trust Emporia branch.

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  41. From the Desk of Delegate Tyler: Do you need healthcare?

    ~Medicaid Expansion for Healthcare Coverage deadline is December 15.~

    If you do not have healthcare, please review the updated eligibility criteria for Medicaid. Medicaid expansion applications will reach their application deadline on December 15, 2018. To be eligible, you must be between the ages of 19-64 and you CANNOT be eligible for Medicare. One of the most notable improvements is that Medicaid will now cover adults without children, which was not offered before. The amount of income one can make also has increased which provides an opportunity for even more people to gain coverage. To apply for healthcare coverage, apply online at contact your county’s Social Services office for more assistance (**see contact information below**).  The income requirements are as follows:


    MONTHLY                                                YEARLY

    Family Size                             Monthly Income                     Yearly Income

    1 (No Children)                            $1,397                                                 $16,754

    2 Members                                   $1,894                                                 $22,715

    3 Members                                     $2,391                                                 $28,677

    4 Members                                     $2,887                                                 $34,638

    5 Members                                     $3,384                                                 $40,600

    6 Members                                     $3,881                                                 $46,562

    7 Members                                     $4,378                                                 $52,523

    8 Members                                     $4,875                                                 $58,485



    Greensville Co., VA & Emporia, VA Social Services: (434) 634-6576

    Southampton Co., VA Social Services: (757) 653-3080

    Franklin, VA Social Services: (757) 562-8520

    Brunswick Co., VA Social Services: (434) 848-2142

    Dinwiddie Co., VA Social Services: (804) 469-4524

    Isle of Wight Co., VA Social Services: (757) 365-0880

    Lunenburg Co., VA Social Services: (434) 696-2134

    Surry Co., VA Social Services: (757) 294-5240

    Sussex Co., VA Social Services: (434) 246-1083


  42. VCU Health CMH Star Service Team Member of the Month for October 2018 - Michelle Ashby, RN

    When you wake up excited to go to work, it tends to produce pretty solid results.

    “I just love my job,” said Michelle Ashby, the October Star Service Team Member of the Month at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, where she is a registered nurse working in Home Health.

    “I’ve been in home health for 20 years and it’s great to enjoy what you do and to be honored like this, I just want to thank the patient who nominated me,” she said.

    Her patient was glowing in praise for Michelle’s knowledge, friendliness and efficiency.

    The patient said, “I am an extreme introvert. The thought of someone I don’t know coming into my home was not a good feeling for me. Add to that, not feeling well and just having been through a traumatic emergency surgery and you can guess how apprehensive I was. But we needed help and I could not have had a better experience.”

    She continued, “I never felt like she was rushing to her next home visit even when my questions kept her with me longer than normal. And speaking of normal, she put me at ease many times over my expectations of how long my healing was taking versus how I thought it SHOULD be going. I could ask her absolutely anything health related and knew I would get an honest answer and helpful suggestions.”

    Michelle’s supervisor, Megan Gardner, agreed with the patient about Michelle. “Michelle goes above and beyond on a daily basis for her patients. Michelle is team-focused and relationship-focused. I am honored to have her as part of the Home Health team.”

    Michelle has been with VCU Health CMH for just under a year. She was recently married to Mike Thomas and Michelle has two children, Daleigh, an RN herself, and Hunter.

    She’s a graduate of Lenoir College in Kinston, NC and resides in the Bracey, VA area.

    Her words of wisdom come from having a major health issue herself. Michelle broke her neck in two places nearly 10 years ago and she now lives by the motto of “live everyday as if it’s your last.”

    Others nominated in October were: Jessica Fleming from the ED, Emelita Gaskins and Carl Hillbert of Acute Care, Renea Johnson of Med Surg, Mike Lloyd of Environmental Services, Lisa Smith and Hilary Tackett of the ICU and Belinda Wells of Wound Care.

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  43. Nurses Aides Receive Pins

    These Nurse Aide students had their Pinning Ceremony on November 1, 2018, Southside Virginia Education Center, Emporia, Virginia.  The are (Left to Rigth)  Malikquia Sade’ Bittle, Shakea Janay Bowles, Shaquail Diamonike Crowder, Lottie Evelina Johnson, Tiffani Renēe Procise, Gloria Jean Staton from Greensville/Emporia, Brunswick and Sussex/Stoney Creek. 

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  44. Law Enforcement Honored at SVCC Banquet

    The Eleventh Annual Law Enforcement Awards Banquet was hosted by Southside Virginia Community College on November 29, 2018.  The event featured local law enforcement officers chosen to receive Officer of the Year awards for their department.  Those attending and receiving the award are (Left to Right) Dr. Alfonzo  Seward, SVCC Associate Professor of Administration of Justice, Detective Carie Watters chosen for South Hill Police Department, Sgt. William V.. Smith, Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Devin Jones, Clarksville Police Department, Deputy Robert Sawyer of Nottoway County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Sheriff Davis Cumbia of Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department, Virginia State Trooper Natalie Jimenez from Area 35, Sgt. William Stembridge, Chase City Police Department, Captain David Shidell of Emporia Police Department, Deputy Jimmy Lee Pair of Greenville County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Trooper William Dean II, Area 22, Matthew Gatling, Victoria Police Department, and Guest Speaker First Sergeant George Crespo, Virginia State Police. 

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  45. Community Invited to Complete Survey in Search for SVCC’s New President

    The preliminary stage of the process to secure a new president for Southside Virginia Community College is underway.  Dr. Al Roberts, current president, will retire effective July, 1, 2019 and the college and the Virginia Community College System will conduct a nationwide search for his replacement.

    Betsy Sharrett, Chair of the SVCC Local Board, said, “On behalf of the SVCC Local Board, I would like to express our deep appreciation to Dr. Roberts for his devoted leadership.  He has provided five years of outstanding service to both our College and Southside Virginia.”

    As one of the first prescribed steps the Board will identify the most pivotal challenges or opportunities that the College will face over the next three to five years.  These will be used as a guide in constructing a strategic framework and determine the leadership quality required of the next president. 

    The entire community is urged to take an online survey as stakeholders in the process and the future of SVCC.  Please respond by December 11, 2018 at 5 p.m. to Link: or find it on the college website

    Sharrett noted, “While we are losing a much-respected leader, we are confident that we will be able to find a worthy successor to lead this great institution.”

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  46. BA Art Students 'Paint-a-Plow"

    This year Lawrenceville Area VDOT Headquarters partnered with Brunswick Academy in the Paint-a-Plow program. This program allows schools in the community the opportunity for art programs to share their artistic talents by painting a snow plow blade to represent their school. Early this fall Brunswick Academy art students under the direction of Mrs. Kathy Lee worked diligently over several weeks to complete the project. Be on the lookout in the community for the creative artwork of our Brunswick Academy art students as VDOT “moves forward” with their snow removal operations this winter.

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  47. Microsoft and MidAtlantic Broadband Communities Corporation Donates for Purchase of Dental Equipment for Children

    Front Row: Todd Howell, Vice-President of Professional Services at VCU Health CMH; Sandra Hubbard, CMH Foundation Cabinet Co-chair; and Shannon Lambert, CMH Foundation Manager. Back Row: Tad Derisio, CEO of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation; Nathan Hamm, IT Operations Manager at the Microsoft Data Center; Brian Bourroughs, Data Operations Manager at the Microsoft Data Center; and Jeremy Satterfield, Manager of the Tech Spark Initiative.

    During a recent joint initiative, Microsoft and MidAtlantic Broadband Communities Corporation came together to donate $75,000 to benefit the purchase of pediatric dental equipment for the new VCU Health CMH Family Dental Clinic.

    The clinic, which opened on November 26, 2018 will serve adult and pediatric patients, providing a full array of dental services for residents of the community.

    Led by Dr. Natasha Grover, staff members, dental students, dental residents, endodontic residents and faculty in addition to oral surgeons for the VCU School of Dentistry will provide state of the art dental care in a new technologically-advanced facility.

    Generous support from Microsoft and MidAtlantic will ensure access to specialized dental equipment for children.

    “Support from our leaders in the business community is so important to the success of a community hospital. We are so appreciative of the generosity of Microsoft and MidAtantic Broadband Communities”, said Todd Howell. “This philanthropic generosity will mean a great deal to our patients, and to our community.”


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  48. Averett University and Southside Virginia Community College Partner in Sociology/Criminal Justice Articulation Agreement

    DANVILLE, Va. (November 30, 2018) -- Today, Averett University President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks and Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) President Dr. Alfred Roberts signed the first articulation agreement and a community educational partnership agreement between the two schools in order to make the transfer process to Averett orderly and smooth for graduates of SVCC.

    The articulation agreement focuses on those studying sociology and criminal justice, allowing for students who have completed SVCC’s administration of justice program to transfer to Averett University and continue their education to earn a Bachelor of Science in sociology/criminal justice. The students will enter Averett with a junior status and can expect to graduate after completing a minimum of 60 credits at Averett.  

    The community educational partnership agreement guarantees acceptance into Averett with a junior status of any student from SVCC who has completed an associate’s degree. Students with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher will be able to transfer.

    “We are excited to enter into a new partnership with Southside Virginia Community College. This is a wonderful opportunity for more students who wish to build upon their two-year degree by taking that next step to a four-year university,” Franks said. “We want to make the transition as easy as possible and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the team at Southside Virginia Community College.” 

    Both the Community Educational Partnership Agreement and the articulation agreement allow for an orderly and smooth transition for students, including many scholarship and financial aid options. Members of Phi Theta Kappa, the community college honor society, are automatically awarded a $2,000 Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship once they are admitted to Averett University.

    "Partnerships such as this one with Averett University are critical to the success of SVCC and our students. By joining others who share a common commitment to access and opportunity, we are able to provide additional pathways for our students to further their educational journey. We look forward to continued collaboration with Averett to better serve the citizens of Southside Virginia," said Dr. Roberts.

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  49. Linda Faye Ricks Malone

    Linda Faye Ricks Malone, 70, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, December 1, 2018 following several years of declining health. She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Fannie Ricks and her husband of thirty years, Paul Malone. She is survived by her faithful companion of 20 years, Donald Mountjoy and his family; stepdaughter, Sabrina Baker; brother, William E. "Mac" Ricks; two sisters, Barbara Nelson and Debra Carroll; several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

    Linda was a quiet, simple and gentle woman that loved her animals, family and her jellybeans. She will be greatly missed.

    The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Monday, December 3 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. The funeral service will will be held  11 a.m. Tuesday, December 4 at  Victory Fellowship Church, Emporia, Virginia. A private interment will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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