June 2019

  1. Beware of People Pretending to be From Social Security

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

    Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

    There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your SSN, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

    Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

    Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone.

    Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

    You can also share our new “SSA Phone Scam Alert” video at http://bit.ly/2VKJ8SG

    Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage.

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    ~ Bipartisan legislation would improve transparency, allow users to understand exactly what data is being collected for profit ~

    WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) will introduce the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight And Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act, bipartisan legislation that will require data harvesting companies such as social media platforms to tell consumers and financial regulators exactly what data they are collecting from consumers, and how it is being leveraged by the platform for profit.

    “For years, social media companies have told consumers that their products are free to the user. But that’s not true – you are paying with your data instead of your wallet,” said Sen. Warner. “But the overall lack of transparency and disclosure in this market have made it impossible for users to know what they’re giving up, who else their data is being shared with, or what it’s worth to the platform. Our bipartisan bill will allow consumers to understand the true value of the data they are providing to the platforms, which will encourage competition and allow antitrust enforcers to identify potentially anticompetitive practices.”

    “When a big tech company says its product is free, consumers are the ones being sold. These 'free' products track everything we do so tech companies can sell our information to the highest bidder and use it to target us with creepy ads,” said Sen. Hawley. “Even worse, tech companies do their best to hide how much consumer data is worth and to whom it is sold. This bipartisan legislation gives consumers control of their data and will show them how much these 'free' services actually cost.”

    As user data increasingly represents one of the most valuable, albeit intangible, assets held by technology firms, shining light on how this data is collected, retained, monetized, and protected, is critical. The DASHBOARD Act will:

    • Require commercial data operators (defined as services with over 100 million monthly active users) to disclose types of data collected as well as regularly provide their users with an assessment of the value of that data.
    • Require commercial data operators to file an annual report on the aggregate value of user data they’ve collected, as well as contracts with third parties involving data collection.
    • Require commercial data operators to allow users to delete all, or individual fields, of data collected – and disclose to users all the ways in which their data is being used. including any uses not directly related to the online service for which the data was originally collected.
    • Empower the SEC to develop methodologies for calculating data value, while encouraging the agency to facilitate flexibility to enable businesses to adopt methodologies that reflect the different uses, sectors, and business models.

    The DASHBOARD Act is the second tech-focused bill Hawley and Warner have partnered on. The first was Hawley’s Do Not Track Act, which would be modeled after the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Do Not Call” list and allow users to opt out of non-essential data collection.

     A section-by-section summary of the bill is available here. Bill text is available here.

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  3. How a Speech-Language Pathologist Can Help

    Speech therapists (also known as speech-language pathologists) evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with a wide variety of conditions that affect oral motor skills, swallowing, and speech and language abilities. The speech therapists at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) work closely with neurologists, ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctors and other specialists to treat a variety of conditions. Voice therapy is personalized to each individual through techniques for improving vocal care and hygiene as well as training strategies and exercises for improved vocal quality.

    Concerns regarding voice problems should first be evaluated by an ENT doctor, also known as an otolaryngologist. Referral to a speech-language pathologist should be made for voice therapy when appropriate. Speech therapy helps regain speech loss due to diseases that affect the voice or following treatment for certain diseases such as cancer.

    Who Might Need Treatment?

    • Individuals with chronic reflux
    • Individuals with phonotrauma/laryngeal trauma
    • Individuals with vocal abuse/misuse behaviors
    • Individuals with neurological disease (Parkinson’s)
    • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia
    • Following laryngeal cancer treatment
    • Smokers
    • Individuals with difficulties swallowing or communicating

    “Speech therapists at SVRMC are experienced in helping patients with short-term and long-term memory disorders. They work with patients who are struggling with impaired memory and having difficulty finding words,” says Richard M. Alexander, PT, DPT, Director of Rehabilitation Therapy Services at SVRMC.

    According to the American Speech-Language Pathology and Hearing Association, cognitive-communication disorders often happen as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury or dementia. Consult your doctor if you notice a sudden change in you or someone you know in cognitive communication including:


    • Difficulty organizing thoughts
    • Difficulty paying attention
    • Difficulty remembering
    • Difficulty planning
    • Difficulty problem solving

    Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center offers speech pathology services for all ages, from children to seniors. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (434) 348-4871.

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    ~ $2.5 million to be distributed across the nation to cancer centers eligible to apply such as those at Virginia Commonwealth University or the University of Virginia; the Virginia Office of the Attorney General served on the Executive Committee for this multistate lawsuit ~

    RICHMOND (June 20, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that $2.5 million will be distributed to cancer centers across the country as a result of a multistate lawsuit brought against sham cancer charities. The $2.5 million was recovered through settlements of a landmark lawsuit that Attorney General Herring filed along with all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against four affiliated sham charities – Cancer Fund of America, Inc., The Breast Cancer Society, Inc., Cancer Support Services, Inc., and Children’s Cancer Fund of America – and their founder James Reynolds, Sr. and other individuals. Additionally, the people responsible for fronting the sham charities have been banned from any charity or fundraising activities for the rest of their lives. This was one of the largest charity fraud actions ever brought by enforcers and the Virginia Office of Attorney General has served on the Executive Committee for this multistate action. 

    “False charities that solicit funds from folks who want to help cancer patients are disgraceful and need to be held accountable,” said Attorney General Herring. “I am glad that we were able to shut down these fraudulent operations and recover money that will now actually go towards helping cancer patients as the donors intended. This unprecedented case should serve as a strong warning to those would take advantage of Virginians’ generosity and I want to thank my team for their hard work and cooperation with our law enforcement partners.”

    The distribution of funds marks the conclusion of the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in May 2015. The suit was the first time that all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the FTC joined together to shut down sham charities.

    The complaint alleged that the so-called charities, led by Reynolds and his family members, bilked the public out of more than $187 million dollars between 2008 and 2012. The defendants used telemarketing calls, direct mail, and websites to portray themselves as legitimate charities with substantial programs that provided direct support to cancer patients in the United States, such as providing patients with pain medication, transportation to chemotherapy, and hospice care. But these claims were deceptive and, as alleged in the complaint, the charities “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation, with none of the financial and governance controls that any bona fide charity would have adopted.” Of the money collected, only about 3% was directed to cancer patients in the United States and most of it was either paid to professional fundraisers or squandered by the defendants. 

    Cancer Fund of America also claimed to supply patients with pain medications and transportation to chemotherapy treatments, when it provided no such services. The charities also participated in a “gift-in-kind” program in which they sent drugs that had nothing to do with cancer to other countries. The complaint alleged that the purpose of this program was to make the organizations appear larger than they were and to hide their high fundraising costs.

    The complaint also alleged that the defendants used the organizations for lucrative employment for family members and friends, and spent consumer donations on cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets, and dating site memberships.

    The money will be transferred to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) who, under a services agreement with the plaintiffs, will distribute the funds to select health and medical programs targeting breast and pediatric cancer. Eligibility will be determined through an invitation-only application process, and is limited to NCI-designated Cancer Care Centers, a designation bestowed by the National Cancer Institute on institutions and programs recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research. RPA CEO Melissa Berman noted, “We are pleased to be part of this landmark process of ensuring that the philanthropic intent of donors is coming to fruition, despite the conduct of bad actors.” RPA will ensure that the funding will serve patients in all 50 states, and will monitor, ensure compliance and provide detailed reporting for all grants awarded.

    As NCI-designated Cancer Centers, both Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia Cancer Center will be eligible to apply for funds.

    Overall, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $301 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has transferred more than $33 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund, and following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016 the Section has been even more effective in fighting for Virginia consumers.

    Before giving to a charity, remember these tips:

    • Give to charities you know and trust

    • Watch out for groups with names that sound like other well-known, reputable charities

    • Don't give to someone pressuring you to make a quick donation or requiring that you give cash or wire money

    • Ask for detailed information about programs and services in writing

    • Find out how much of your donation will go to the charity's programs and services

    • Check if the charity and its fundraiser are registered with the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs in the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - (804) 786-1343 orhttp://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/food-charitable-solicitation.shtml


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  5. Earlene Pearson Grizzard

    March 20, 1925 - June 20, 2019

    Graveside Services

    Monday, June 24, 2019
    11:00 AM

    Greensville Memorial Cemetery
    1250 Skippers Rd
    Emporia, Virginia 23847

    Earlene Pearson Grizzard, 94, of Emporia, widow of Frank E. Grizzard, Sr., departed this life Thursday, June 20, 2019. She was the daughter of the late Thomas B. and Pearl S. Pearson and was also preceded in death by a brother, Robert Pearson, and four sisters, Ella Cannon, Lucille Waters, Vera Lee Grizzard, and Shirley Skinner.

    Mrs. Grizzard was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and a member of Monumental United Methodist Church.

    She is survived by three sons, Frank E. Grizzard, Jr. (Sydnee), Tracy Lane Grizzard (Toni) and William D. Grizzard (Tom); nine grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren; sister, Amelia Clyde Lotts; sisters-in-law, Peggy Pearson, Polly Proctor, Willie Mae Harris, Barbara Barlow, Alease Braswell, and Diane Smith; and a number of nieces and nephews.

    A graveside funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, June 24, at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

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  6. Meherrin Regional Library Independence Day Schedule

    Both libraries in of the Meherrin Regional Library System - The Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville and The Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia will be closed Thursday, July 4th through Saturday, July 6th in observance of the Independence Day holiday. The libraries will reopen Monday, July 8th at 10:00 am. For more information please call 434-848-2418 ext. 301 (Lawrenceville) or 434-634-2539 (Emporia). To keep up to date with library news follow on Facebook @meherrinregionallibrary.

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  7. "Up, Up and Away"

    It would be nice to be a Senator or Congressman
    if only for one day
    just to hop on their new super jet
    and go to some special hide-a-way.
    Yes we put these people in office
    after they said they'd look out for us
    well they are up there flying
    while we're waiting for the bus.
    Its not just you, but also me
    these politicians so impress
    yet it seems after each election
    we get in a greater mess.
    Why not a probationary period
    like most people have on their jobs
    perhaps this would make it a little harder
    to get friendly with the capital fobs.
    What they do on their own we do not know
    and what they do for us; it's much later we find
    now you may not agree, but in time you shall see
    my assessment of them has been too kind.
    Yes start them all at a minimum wage
    and let them earn their keep
    I'm sure the Government debt would go down
    while you and I are asleep.
                             - Roy E. Schepp

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  8. Understanding Social Security Benefits

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

    Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American, whether at the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, the onset of a disability, or the transition from work to retirement. For more than 80 years, our programs have contributed to the financial security of the elderly and the disabled. Social Security replaces a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings. The amount of your average wages that Social Security retirement benefits replaces varies depending on your earnings and when you choose to start benefits. If you start benefits after full retirement age, these percentages are higher. If you start benefits earlier, these percentages are lower. Most financial advisers say you will need about 70 percent of pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement, including your Social Security benefits, investments, and personal savings.

    You can learn more about retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement. Our resources and publications are easy to share with people you think might need the information.

    Many people think of Social Security as just a retirement program. And it’s true that most of the people receiving benefits are retired, but others receive benefits because they’re:

    • Individuals with disabilities;
    • A spouse or child of someone who receives benefits;
    • A divorced spouse of someone getting or eligible for Social Security;
    • The spouse or child of a worker who died;
    • A divorced spouse of a worker who died; or
    • The dependent parent of a worker who died.

    If you can’t work because of a physical or mental condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

    Our disability rules are different from private or other government agency programs. Qualifying for disability from another agency or program doesn’t mean you will be eligible for disability benefits from us. Having a statement from your doctor saying you’re disabled doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

    . We’ve made learning about our disability programs very easy at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/disability.

       Please share these resources with friends and family who might need them.

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  9. Log Truck Accident Blocks Traffic

    A truck carrying logs lost it's payload on South Main Street at the intersection with Brink Road in the City of Emporia on Tuesday. Luckilly, no injuries were reported.

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  10. Tyler Rae Congratulated by Mayor and City Council on Earning Eagle Scout Honor

    Whereas, the Boy Scouts of America is a vital force in the development of our youth through its many programs which encourage the ability of its members to do things for themselves and especially for others; and

    Whereas, Tyler Rae is a member of Troop 232 and has not only proven himself to be an outstanding member of the Boy Scouts of American, but has attained the highest honor bestowed on a Scout – the Eagle Scout Award; and

    Whereas, one of the major objectives in the Scouting program is to develop citizenship through community involvement and in addition to working for citizenship merit badges, Scouts are encouraged to participate in community service projects; and

    Whereas, for his Eagle Scout project Tyler coordinated the renovation of the current flag pole located at the Emporia City Veteran’s Park; and

    Whereas, the Eagle Scout Award is a distinction that will follow him throughout life and will be a beacon to others of the leadership quality and commitment this young man has shown; and

    Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, that I, Mary L. Person, Mayor and the Council of the City of Emporia, Virginia hereby congratulate Tyler Rae for his many accomplishments and especially recognize him for earning the distinguished rank of contributions and wish him much success in all of his future endeavors.

    Done this 18th day of June 2019.

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  11. Boozman-Warner Legislation Aims to Expand Outreach, Create Measurement Tool to Improve Effectiveness in Fight Against Veteran Suicide

    WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced legislation to improve coordination of veteran mental health and suicide prevention services and to better measure the effectiveness of these programs in order to reduce the alarming number of veteran suicides.

    The IMPROVE (Incorporating Measurements and Providing Resources for Outreach to Veterans Everywhere) Wellbeing for Veterans Act creates a new grant program to enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct additional outreach through veteran-serving non-profits in addition to state and local organizations.

    “Congress has provided significant resources to the VA to decrease veteran suicides, yet the number of veterans who take their own lives everyday remains unchanged,” Boozman said. “We all share the goal of saving the lives of veterans. We must have better coordination of existing programs; a common tool to measure the effectiveness of our programs; and better information sharing, data collection and continual feedback in order to identify what services are having the most impact. Creating a framework for these necessary pieces is essential to empowering organizations to work together in the fight against veteran suicide.” 

    “Of the 20 veterans who commit suicide every day in this country, roughly 14 of them don’t receive treatment from the VA,” said Warner. “This legislation will target that group by providing grant funding to private organizations with a proven track record of strong mental health and suicide prevention efforts among veterans. It’s my hope that broad coordination between the VA, state veterans affairs departments, first responders, and local leaders, will allow us to support more at-risk veterans and make a meaningful impact on reducing veteran suicide rates in this country.”

    In Fiscal Year 2010, the VA requested $62 million for suicide prevention outreach. In Fiscal Year 2020, that number nearly quadrupled to $222 million. Despite the sharp increase in funding, the rate of veterans suicides has remained roughly unchanged at 20 per day. Only six of those 20 veterans are receiving healthcare services at the VA. This points to a significant need to empower the VA to work through community partners to expand outreach. At the same time, national data indicates there are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans, yet they are hard for veterans to find, access, apply for and use.

    To date, policy makers have assessed capacity and access to services as a measurement for effectiveness. Despite significant capacity increases, the rate of veterans suicides remains the same. There are no shared tools to measure the effectiveness of programming at improving mental resiliency and outlook, which would be indicators of reduced suicide risk.

    To address these programmatic gaps, the IMPROVE Wellbeing for Veterans Act will accomplish three broad objectives:

    • Enable the VA to directly or indirectly reach more veterans than it currently does.
    • Increase coordination among currently disparate community resources that serve a wide variety of veteran needs – all of which play a part in reducing the purposelessness that ends in suicide.
    • Create and inspire broad adoption of a measurement tool that will indicate effectiveness of services provided for veterans suicide prevention.

    Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are original cosponsors of the legislation.

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  12. SVRMC Celebrates Men’s Health Month

    Emporia, VA – To celebrate Men’s Health Month, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) along with Men’s Health Network, the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus, and hundreds of other local and national organizations will be focusing on men’s health awareness.

    The goal: Educate the public about the many preventable health problems that affect men and boys, and empower them and their loved ones to move towards a healthier, happier life. Men die five years younger than women, on average, and die at higher rates for nine of the Top Ten causes of death. Men are the majority of workplace injuries, less likely to be insured, and far less likely to see a doctor for preventive care. All of this impacts their ability to be an involved father, supportive husband, and engaged member of their community.

    “We recommend men complete an annual physical with their primary care provider to ensure they are in their best health,” says Spencer Feldmann, Jr., M.D. “It is important to make sure they are getting age-appropriate screenings.”

    “This year continues to be a pivotal one for men’s health—new guidance on prostate cancer screenings and the declining mortality rates for large groups of men means awareness and education is paramount,” says Ana Fadich, Vice President at Men’s Health Network.

    You can find more information on a variety of health issues at the Men’s Health Resource Center: www.MensHealthResourceCenter. Visit SouthsidePhysicians.com to make an appointment with a primary care provider or call (434) 348-4680 and health profiles of men and boys in each state can be founstateshealth.com.

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  13. McEachin & Olson Lead Bipartisan Bill Cracking Down on Robocall Violators

    WASHINGTON, DC – Today, a bipartisan group of House members led by Congressman A. Donald (D-VA) McEachin and Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced the Locking Up Robocallers Act of 2019, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide evidence of unlawful robocall violations to the Attorney General. This would strengthen enforcement of current robocall laws aimed at ending the scourge of predatory robocalls.

    The bill was introduced by Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA), Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX), with original co-sponsors Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ), Congresswoman Susan Brooks(R-IN), Congressman Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) and Congressman David Kustoff (R-TN).

    “Robocalls can be a nuisance or even predatory,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin.“This bill will allow for greater transparency and oversight over the enforcement of robocaller infractions which is desperately needed at a time when robocalls are on the rise. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will help protect Virginians and all Americans from these unwanted calls.”  

    "The constant interruption from unwanted and illegal robocalls disrupt and aggravate all Americans," said Congressman Olson. “The Locking Up Illegal Robocallers Act will provide important information to the Department of Justice, so they can fully prosecute criminals who engage in deceptive and illegal robocall practices. I'm proud to work on this bipartisan issue to help Texans hang up on harassing robocalls. I thank my colleagues for helping on this critical issue and hope we can pass it on the floor soon.”

    “These robocalls aren’t just annoying, they’re a tool for fraud aimed at members in our community and they must be stopped,” said Congressman Kim. “I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to bring this solution to the table. I look forward to working together to get this passed into law and give New Jersey residents the relief from this predatory behavior they deserve.”

    Robocalls are disruptive and often prey on our communities’ most vulnerable populations in hopes to capitalize off of their private and personal information,” said Congresswoman Brooks.“With these kinds of scams on the rise, we must do more to protect consumers by ensuring those who violate the law are prosecuted. The Locking Up Illegal Robocallers Act is a bipartisan bill we can all support that works to diminish the dangerous telemarketing scams Hoosiers and people across the country face daily by better providing law enforcement the information they need in order to put a stop to fraudulent robocalls.”

    “Upstate New Yorkers are fed up with intrusive and unwanted robocalls,” said Congressman Brindisi. “These calls aren’t just annoying, they are dangerous and can scam hard-working Americans out of time and money. I'm proud to support the bipartisan Locking Up Robocallers Act to make sure law enforcement officials have the information they need to put an end to these scam calls and financial frauds”

    “I have heard from countless people throughout West Tennessee who are tired of the endless stream of harassing robocalls,” said Congressman Kustoff. ““Robocalls are illegal, abusive, dangerous and anyone with a phone can fall victim to them. I look forward to getting this bipartisan legislation passed into law and finally put an end to these scams.”

    According to the FCC, they receive over 200,000 complaints a year from residents receiving predatory robocalls. Another FCC report shows that an estimated 26.3 billion robocalls were made to mobile phones and more than 47 billion were made in total to phones in the U.S. in 2018.

    “Every day, Americans’ phones are flooded with unwanted robocalls, often originating from scammers,” said NCTA, the internet and television association who has endorsed the legislation. “Both the Locking Up Illegal Robocallers Act and the Ending One-Ring Scams Act take important actions to alleviate illegal robocalls and keep consumers safe from harmful schemes. While combatting robocalls is a complex challenge, we look forward to working with House members on passage of these two pieces of legislation.”

    The full text of the bill can be found by clicking here.

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  14. Mother/Son Graduate from SVCC

    Mother and son team, Amy Sloan(Left) and JaReese Arrington (Right) are proud graduates and shown being congratulated by Dr. Al Roberts, President of Southside Virginia Community College on May 11, 2019 during the annual commencement ceremony.  

    By Meredith Feinman

    Every graduate is unique; however, Amy Sloan and JaReese Arrington truly stood out on May 11, 2019, when mother and son graduated from Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC). From Emporia, Virginia, they attended Greensville County High School where Sloan graduated in 1997 and Arrington graduated in June 2019.

    Sloan’s journey to her diploma was far from easy. She began taking classes at SVCC in 2004 after being recruited by Dr. Al Roberts who is currently the president.   Between raising three children and working full-time, life just got in the way of taking classes. In 2015, Dr. Roberts urged Sloan to return to Southside to finish her degree. Life was not any less hectic for Sloan as it was in 2004. She was still working full-time, raising her family, and would soon be a caretaker for her mother. With the help of her son, JaReese, Sloan returned to Southside in 2015 to complete her degree.

    JaReese’s path to his degree began in high school. His guidance counselor pushed him to take advantage of the great opportunity SVCC provides to high school students. By taking dual enrollment classes at his high school, while also working, playing sports, and teaching dance classes, JaReese was able to complete his associate degree before his high school graduation.

    Both Amy and JaReese say that their most meaningful experiences at SVCC came from the people they met. Dr. Roberts, Erica Andrews, Kayla Green, and Kathryn Slagle are a few of the people that helped this mother and son on their journey. Dr. Dianne Edmonds also played a vital role in their success as she not only taught both these graduates, but counseled them after the passing of Sloan’s mother and kept her from leaving college in her time of grief.

    After completing her associate degree in Human Services, Amy plans on continuing to work full time and attend Old Dominion University in the fall to study sociology. She wants to work improving the lives of others by teaching and mentoring, just as Dr. Edmonds did for her. After completing his associate degree of Arts and Sciences, General Studies, JaReese plans on attending Virginia Commonwealth University to major in dance, possibly with another major in social work. He has been dancing since the age of seven, choreographing since he was 10, and dreams of showing people how dance can be a powerful counseling tool.

    When asked if they had any advice for future SVCC students, JaReese said, “SVCC makes everything worth your while. They are always there to work with you, and they give you the chance to succeed.” Amy replied, “Adults and parents, SVCC gives you the opportunity to keep your current life and still succeed. They help you get to the next level; they open every door to you.”

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    ~ Court agrees with Attorney General Herring that the House of Delegates lacked standing ~

    RICHMOND (June 17, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued the statement below following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill. The Court agreed with Attorney General Herring that “the House lacks standing, either to represent the State’s interests or in its own right” and dismissed House Republicans attempt to protect racially gerrymandered districts:

    “This is a big win for democracy in Virginia. It’s unfortunate that House Republicans wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and months of litigation in a futile effort to protect racially gerrymandered districts, but the good news is that this fall’s elections will take place in constitutionally drawn districts. I’m really proud of the work my team and I did to protect the new, constitutional districts, and to protect the voting rights of all Virginians.”

    Writing for the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: “In short, the State of Virginia would rather stop than fight on. One House of its bicameral legislature cannot alone continue the litigation against the will of its partners in the legislative process.”

    In June 2018, a three-judge panel found that eleven House of Delegates districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. In July 2018, Attorney General Herring announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia would not appeal the decision, citing the seriousness of the constitutional violation, the low likelihood of success, and the considerable time and more than $4.5 million in taxpayer money spent by House Republicans to defend racially gerrymandered districts.

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  16. Eight Students Graduate from Jackson-Feild

    Eight students from the Edna Hayden Gwaltney School at Jackson-Feild received either their high school diploma or GED certificate on June 7. 

    Mr. Johnnie McKeller, Director of Education, presided over the ceremony which was held at the Golden Leaf Commons at the Southside Virginia Community College Emporia Campus. 

    Seven scholarships and two book awards were given to students to help with college, nursing school, or trade school expenses. The funds for these scholarships were donated by loyal supporters of Jackson-Feild.

    The Rev. Johnnie Worrell, pastor of Grace Commission Outreach Baptist Church in Franklin     provided the commencement address. Rev. Worrell is a retired New York City police officer. He message of life choices and their consequences was well received by the graduates and Gwaltney students.

    One graduate spoke about her experience at Jackson-Feild and at the Gwaltney School. She expressed thanks for the help and assistance she received while in treatment and shared her plans to attend nursing school in the fall.

    Each graduate was presented with a class ring given an anonymous donor. Young ladies were given a dozen roses, and young men a wallet. In addition, cash gifts were given from two anonymous donors and the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

    After the ceremony, everyone enjoyed a special lunch prepared by the food service staff of Jackson-Feild.

    Since its opening in 1994, 185 students have graduated from The Gwaltney School.

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  17. Dr. Walker Receives Honarary Degree

    Dr. Kenneth Garren, President of the University, Dr. Thomas Walker and Sally Selden, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

    Dr. Thomas Walker, MD, received an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Lynchburg during the University's recent Baccalaureate Service.

    The citation he received read as follows:

    "Dr. Thomas A. Walker, '53, paired his work as a physician with philanthropy and service to the community for more than 55 years. He earned his biology degree with a chemistry minor at Lynchburg College in 1953 and graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1957.

    He practiced medicine in Stony Creek, Virginia, for seven years before settling in Emporia, Virginia. When he retired in 2012 he still had patients whom he had served in his first year of practice.

    He met his wife, Barbara Jones Walker, when they were both Lynchburg College students. All three of their children pursued careers in health care. They started the Susan Lynn Walker Scholarship Fund in honor of their daughter, a member of the first Lynchburg College nursing class.

    Dr. Walker served on the Lynchburg College Board of Overseers for 10 years before joining the Board of Trustees in 1995. As a trustee he served on the Advancement and Educational Programs Committees. He retired from the board in 2018.

    He and Barbara have been generous as well. In addition to several capital campaigns they supported the creation of the Walker Human Performance Libratory, an integral component of the University's Exercise Physiology Program.

    In recognition to the service he has rendered to his alma mater, his patients, and his community, the University of Lynchburg Board of Trustees is pleased to confer upon Dr, Thomas A. Walker the degree of Doctor of Science."


  18. Summer Reading is Fun for the Family

    The Meherrin Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program features events and movies that are sure to delight children of all ages. Monday Movies begin June 24th, with events beginning Thursday, June 27th.

    This year’s Summer Reading theme is “It’s Showtime at Your Library!” All events will be held at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville at 10:30 AM and at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia at 2:00 PM.

    Uncle Henry and his animals will present “The Wild Side of the Alphabet” on June 27th for our first event. On July 11th, ventriloquist Uncle Ty-Rone and his “ventriloquppets” will use music and comedy to share the joys and benefits of reading. Hunter Rhodes will be on hand July 18th to present a fun and interactive live magic show for all ages. The last event on July 25th will feature author Christine Emery, who will use storytelling, comedy, and magic to encourage children to see themselves and the world in a magical way. Door prizes will be given out at all events, and Top Reader Grand Prizes will be given out at the last program to those who read the most books in their age group.

    Monday Movies will be held at the Brunswick County Library at 10:30 AM and at Richardson Memorial Library at 2:00 PM. The Lego Movie: The Second Part will be shown on June 24thHow to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on July 1stThe Lion King on July 8thFinding Nemo on July 15th; and Wonder Park on July 22nd. Snacks are welcome, and children under age 10 must be supervised.

    To learn more about Summer Reading at the Library, stop by your closest branch or contact the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 x301, or the Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539. Visit www.meherrinlib.org for more information, or follow the Meherrin Regional Library on Facebook @meherrinregionallibrary.

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    RICHMOND – Virginia’s official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2018 is now available online at the Virginia State Police website at www.vsp.virginia.gov, under “Forms & Publications.” The detailed document, titledCrime in Virginia, provides precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in towns, cities and counties across the Commonwealth. The report breaks down criminal offenses and arrests by the reporting agency.

    Overall, Virginia experienced a 2% decrease in violent crime (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) compared to the previous reporting period.

    The following 2018 crime figures in Virginia are presented in the report:

    • The number of reported homicides decreased from 455 to 391 or (-14.1%). Victims tended to be younger males; 43.7% of homicide victims were men between 18 and 34 and 49.4% of offenders were men between 18 and 34.
    • Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 2.4% compared to the previous year.  During 2018, 10,472 motor vehicles were stolen and 9,836 motor vehicles were recovered. Of all motor vehicles stolen, 42.5% were taken from the residence/home and an additional 21.8% from a parking lot or garage. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $94,796,605.
    • Drug and narcotic arrests increased when compared to the previous reporting period (3%). Marijuana arrests accounted for 59% of all drug arrests, with an increase of 3.6%, when compared to the previous reporting period. Arrests for amphetamines/methamphetamines had the greatest increase from 2,063 to 3,483 (68.8%).
    • Fraud offenses decreased 8.5% compared to 2017.
    • Of the 663 arsons and attempted arsons that were reported, slightly more than 56% reported the location as “residence/home.”  Neither the time of the day nor the day of the week appears to be associated with this offense.
    • Robbery decreased 16.1%. Of the 3,623 robberies and attempted robberies, 42% took place between 6 p.m. and midnight. Days of the week showed little variability in terms of the number of robberies that took place.
    • Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 77.2% of homicides and 55% of robberies. Firearms were used to a lesser extent in the offense of aggravated assault (27.4%).
    • There were 161 hate crimes reported in 2018, which represented a 20.3% decrease compared to 2017. More than half (60.2%) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward religion and sexual orientation were next highest (15.5%, 14.3%, respectively). Of all reported bias-motivated crime, 33.5% was associated with destruction/damage/vandalism of property; another 36% was associated with the offense of assault.    

    The report employs an Incident Based Reporting (IBR) method for calculating offenses, thus allowing for greater accuracy. IBR divides crimes into two categories: Group A for serious offenses including violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault), property crimes and drug offenses, and Group B for what are considered less serious offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations where an arrest has occurred.

    Between 2017 and 2018, adult arrests for Group A and Group B offenses decreased 1.1%. Juvenile arrests also decreased by 4.3%. For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 279,288 arrests in 2018, compared to 282,987 arrests in 2017, representing an overall decrease in arrests in Virginia of 1.3%.

    Per state mandate, the Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices. The data are collected by the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division via a secured internet system. This information is then compiled into Crime in Virginia, an annual report for use by law enforcement, elected officials, media and the general public.

    These data become the official crime statistics for the Commonwealth and sent to the FBI incorporating them into their annual report, Crime in the United States.

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  20. Remote Area Medical coming to Emporia, VA to provide free care to those in need

    ROCKFORD, TN (May 23, 2019) – Remote Area Medical- RAM® -- a major non-profit provider of mobile clinics delivering free, high-quality, dental, vision, and medical care to underserved and uninsured individuals-- is returning to Greensville County High School June 22-23. 

    All services are free and no ID is required.   

    Patient parking will be located at Greensville County High School, 403 Harding Street Emporia, VA 23847. The clinic parking lot will open no later than 12 a.m. midnight on Saturday, June 22. Ticket distribution typically begins at 3 a.m., and patients will be seen in chronological order according to their ticket number when clinic doors open at 6 a.m. This process will repeat on Sunday, June 23.

    Services available at the 2019 Emporia RAM clinic include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental x-rays, eye exams, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses, women's health exams, mammograms, chest x-rays, pulmonary function testing, and general medical exams. Along with the standard services provided by RAM, specialists will be onsite to provide EKGs, immunizations, HEP A screening, HIV screening, diabetes care, labs, pharmacy services, dermatology, endocrinology, pediatric, gastroenterology, and podiatric services. RAM will also be performing school physicals. No additional or prior paperwork is required.

    “We want to help empower the Emporia community by addressing some of the health care issues of their most vulnerable,” said RAM CEO Jeff Eastman. “Our clinics enhance quality of life so people can reach their full potential.”  

    For more information about RAM’s mobile medical clinics or to volunteer, visit www.ramusa.org or call 865-579-1530.

    About Remote Area Medical: RAM is a major non-profit organization that operates mobile clinics delivering free, high-quality, dental, vision, and medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals who do not have access to or cannot afford a doctor. RAM’s Corps of more than 135,000 Humanitarian Volunteers is comprised of licensed dental, vision, and medical professionals who have treated more than 785,000 women, men, and children delivering $135 million worth of free health care services. Last year, RAM held clinics in Tennessee, Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Haiti, and the Philippines. Upcoming RAM clinic locations include Virginia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

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  21. Virginia and Maryland Authorities Searching for Abduction Suspect

    ACCOMACK, Va. - State and local law enforcement in Virginia and Maryland are continuing their search for an Accomack County man wanted for abducting an 18-year-old female early Wednesday (June 12) morning  near the state line. A Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert was activated for Miss Vermelle Tontrese Moore, 18, who was most recently residing in Accomack County, Va. She was safely located in Maryland shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday (June 12).

    The search continues at this time for her abductor, Jerry A. Satchell, 20, of Horntown, Va. Satchell is wanted for one felony count of abduction, one felony count of destruction of property and one felony count of assault.

    It was around 3 a.m. Wednesday (June 12) when Moore was a passenger in a vehicle traveling through the Captains Cove subdivision in Greenbackville, Va., and was forcibly removed from the vehicle by Satchell.  Satchell forced Moore into a dark green 1993 Ford F-150 pickup truck and fled the scene. As he was leaving the neighborhood, he intentionally backed into another vehicle and left the scene.

    Satchell is a black male with black hair and brown eyes. He is 5'11 and weighs 185 lbs. He was last seen wearing a black-and-white checkered shirt, dark pants and a red hat. The green, Ford pickup truck he was driving was also located Wednesday afternoon in Accomack County.

    No one in the vehicle that was struck by the pickup truck was injured in the crash.

    The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Chesapeake Field Office is being assisted by the Accomack County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police and local law enforcement in Maryland.

    Anyone with information about Satchell  is encouraged to call 911 or the Virginia State Police at 757-424-6800 or #77 on a cell (in Virginia) or contact us by email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov

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  22. Shana Williams, VHU-CMH May Team Member of the Month

    W. Scott Burnette, Chief Executive Officer; Shana Williams, Dietary Aide; Curtis Poole, Director of Food and Nutrition Services; and Todd Howell, Vice President of Professional Services.

    Shana Williams, a dietary aide with Food and Nutrition Services, is the Star Service Team Member of the Month. She has been employed at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital for nearly a year and a half, and worked in food services for about five years prior to working at the hospital. Her quick attention to a patient in his time of need shows how much of a wonderful asset she is to VCU Health CMH.   

    Shana said she was talking with a patient early one morning, and everything seemed fine. While seated in his room, the patient later went to pick up his tray, leaned over, and began slurring. Shana said she immediately contacted his nurse, and the nurse checked to see if the patient could squeeze her hand. When the patient couldn’t, it was clear he was experiencing stroke symptoms.

    “I used to do personal care and in-home care eight years ago,” Shana added. “I’ve very familiar with the signs of a stroke.”

    The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated Shana went “above and beyond the call of duty.”

    Shana said favorite part of her job is interacting with patients.

    “I love how everyone has different personalities and I enjoy hearing about, their backgrounds and stories,” she said.

    Shana lives in Chase City with her two children Sharniece Cary, 12, and Kenyae Carter, 9.

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

    Other team members nominated in May were: Jannifer Alcudia, Latasha Alexander, Krystal Cheely, Brenda Closson, Binyam Dessie, Sonya Hall, Jonathan Mihnovets, Saleem Naviwala, Nimesh Patel, Gloria Rogers, Larry Rogers, Gabby Spainhour, and Terry Wootten.

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  23. Self Employment and Social Security

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

    Many people enjoy the independence of owning and operating their own small business. If you’re a small business owner, you know that you have additional financial responsibilities when reporting your taxes. A part of this is paying into Social Security.   

    Most people who pay into Social Security work for an employer. Their employer deducts Social Security taxes from their paycheck, adds a matching contribution, then sends those taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and reports the wages to Social Security. Self-employed people must do all these actions and pay their taxes directly to the IRS.

    You’re self-employed if you operate a trade, business or profession, either by yourself or as a partner. You report your earnings for Social Security when you file your federal income tax return. If your net earnings are $400 or more in a year, you must report your earnings on Schedule SE, in addition to the other tax forms you must file.

    You must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time to get Social Security benefits. The amount of time you need to work depends on your date of birth, but no one needs more than 10 years of work (40 credits).

    In 2019, if your net earnings are $5,440 or more, you earn the yearly maximum of four credits — one credit for each $1,360 of earnings during the year. If your net earnings are less than $5,440, you still may earn credit by using an optional method described below.

    We use all your earnings covered by Social Security to figure your Social Security benefit, so, report all earnings up to the maximum, as required by law.

    Family members may operate a business together. For example, a husband and a wife may be partners or run a joint venture. If you operate a business together as partners, you should each report your share of the business profits as net earnings on separate self-employment returns (Schedule SE), even if you file a joint income tax return. The partners must decide the amount of net earnings each should report (for example 50 percent and 50 percent).

    You can read more about being self-employed and how that affects your Social Security benefits including optional methods of reporting at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10022.pdf.

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  24. Life-Saving Diagnostic Technology at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center

    Emporia, VA – The imaging department at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) has Computed Tomography (CT), a diagnostic imaging test used to create detailed images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels. CT scanning is often the best method for detecting disease since the images allow radiologists to confirm the presence of abnormalities and determine size and location. CT is fast, painless, noninvasive and accurate. It is important that emergency rooms have access to CT because it can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly enough to help save lives.

    Amanda Lynch, RTR (M)(CT), is a CT Tech that has worked at SVRMC for 15 years. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she says, “I enjoy knowing that I can make a difference in my patients’ well-being. I like working with the physicians as part of a team to provide our patients with quality care.” Lynch is currently working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Health Care Management.


    SVRMC offers CT scans 24/7, 365 days a year. The most widely used procedure is a head CT to rule out a stroke, but CT is also used to diagnose pulmonary embolism, all forms of cancer and kidney stones. Recently, they had a patient that had been experiencing headaches for some time. The patient visited their primary care physician several times and finally decided to come to the emergency room.  The Emergency room physician ordered a CT of the head and the patient was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor that needed to be removed immediately. The patient has undergone the surgery and is doing well. Lynch explains, “This kind of situation happens more often than you would think. A routine CT can be lifesaving, because it can catch things we just can’t see from the outside.”

    To make an appointment have your physician fax an order to (434) 348-4964. To find a provider near you, visit our physician directory at SVRMC.com.

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  25. Brunswick Academy students awarded Benchmark Community Bank $mart$tart Scholarship

    Recent Brunswick Academy graduates are shown receiving $1,000 $mart$tart Community Commitment Scholarships from Benchmark Community Bank.  Lawrenceville’s AVP/Branch Manager Nicole Young presents Hannah Waller (below right); Emporia’s VP/Senior Business Banker Jim Saunders presents Jonathan Paul (above); and VP/Area Manager Holly Blackwell of South Hill presents Lucy Smith (below left).

    Kenbridge, VA – Three recent Brunswick Academy graduates were recently announced as recipients of $1,000 scholarships from Benchmark Community Bank. Hannah Waller of Brunswick County, Jonathan Paul of Greensville County, and Lucy Smith of Mecklenburg County were three of eleven recipients selected from a pool of over 75 applicants for the bank’s $mart$tart Community Commitment Scholarship named for Benchmark’s teen savings and money management program.

    The awards were presented during Brunswick Academy’s senior awards program. The annual $mart$tart Community Commitment Scholarship recognizes dedication to community and extracurricular service throughout a student’s high school career. Waller (Medicine) and Paul (Chemical Engineering) plan to attend the University of Virginia. Smith plans to major in Nursing at Radford University.


    “All of these students distinguished themselves through service with several community organizations, as well as involvement and leadership in multiple extracurricular organizations while at Brunswick Academy,” Benchmark President/CEO Jay A. Stafford said of the recipients. “We need young people like these to further their educations and return to Southside Virginia to contribute their skills and talents for the future of our region. It is Benchmark’s privilege to help these students succeed.”

    “The goal for our $mart$tart savings and money management program is to help teens build the solid skills that will put them on the road to greater financial security,” explained Executive Vice President for Retail Banking LeAnne Emert. “Soon after the program launched, we began hearing great stories about some of our $mart$tart customers and other young people in our area who were contributing time, skills, and experiences to improve the quality of life in their schools and communities. We believe those contributions should be rewarded and cultivated to benefit our hometowns.”

    Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is head­quartered in Kenbridge, VA, and operates sixteen branches throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. For the thirteenth consecutive year, American Banker magazine has named Benchmark as one of the Top 200 Community Banks out of over 5,000 community banks in the nation. To learn more about Benchmark, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, please visit www.bcbonline.com or stop by our area branches located at 220 W. 5th Avenue, Lawrenceville; 316 W. Atlantic Street, Emporia; or 905 N. Mecklenburg Avenue, South Hill.

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  26. “To All the Fathers”

    Now some will call him father
    While others call him dad
    Still some call him by his first name
    But wish they never had.
    Yes a father is an elite position
    And should be treated with respect
    In the same thought all the fathers
    Should never show neglect.
    A father will get the credit
    For the children he helped bear
    Still a fathers not a father
    If when needed, he’s not there.
    The duties of a father
    Can make a list from here to there
    Yet the most important aspect
    Is for the raising chores to share.
    In the home life a father is needed
    Around the campfire so to speak
    Solving problems before they materialize
    And ever reach their peak.
    Now if in the aferementioned
    You come close in any way
    Your are definitely a father
    So please enjoy your special day.
                             - Roy E. Schepp

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  27. SVCC Truck Driving Graduates Hear from Top Driver

    Duncan Quicke(left)a Truck Driving Coordinator, Southside Virginia Community College and Nikki Weaver, guest speaker.

    By Meredith Feinman

    Southside Virginia Community College Truck Driver Training graduations in April featured a truly inspiring graduation speaker.  Nikki Weaver has two major passions in her life – her eight-year-old son and truck driving. She is a road driver for Federal Express Freight with a  route that consists of pulling twin trailers from Harrisburg, PA to Old Washington, OH and back. This totals 570 miles a day, and she completes the route five days per week. Weaver has been a dependable and loyal employee, only working for three trucking companies in the past 18 years. Amazingly, she has accumulated 1.7 million accident and citation free miles.

    In 1986, American Trucking Associations established America’s Road Team. Sponsored by Volvo and Mack trucks, this team attempts to educate the public about the importance of trucking. Approximately 2,000 drivers from across the country are nominated by various companies to serve as road team captains. These captains have the goal of improving the public’s perception of the trucking industry.

    For 2019-2020, Weaver was one of only 18 chosen to serve as a captain on America’s Road Team. In addition, three other women were chosen to be part of the 18 captains, making this the largest contingent of women to serve since the beginning of America’s Road Team.

    SVCC has offered a program in Truck Driver Training 1997 graduating the first class in February of that year.  Duncan Quicke has been program coordinator since it began. 

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  28. Petersburg Kiwanians Help Jackson-Feild

    On a recent beautiful – but windy – Saturday morning, volunteers from Petersburg Breakfast Kiwanis Club arrived bright and early and got right to work on a much-needed project on the Jackson-Feild campus.

    The decking around the modular buildings that house the Gwaltney School had weathered over time and was in dire need of attention. Working several hours on the project, the Kiwanians applied a fresh coat of stain that immediately improved the appearance and helped preserve the wood.

    Over the years, members of the Kiwanis Club have helped the children through “hands on” service projects and financial support for specific needs.

    The children and staff at Jackson-Feild wishes to thank these wonderful volunteers from the Petersburg Breakfast Kiwanis Club for all they’ve done to benefit the organization.

    If you are a member of a civic/service/church group and would like to offer a helping hand for a future project, please contact Vice-President of Advancement Tod Balsbaugh at 804-354-6929 or tbalsbaugh@jacksonfeild.orgto see how you may be of help.

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  29. Summer Fun at the Library

    The Meherrin Regional Library invites children of all ages to participate in their Summer Reading Program by keeping track of books read during the summer, and attending FREE events at their closest branch. Children who reach their age group’s reading goal will win a free book. Those who read the most books in their age group will win the Top Reader Grand Prize, with winners announced at the last program on Thursday, July 25th. All movies and events will be held at 10:30 AM at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, and at 2:00 PM at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia.

    Monday Movies

    June 24th - The Lego Movie: The Second Part

    July 1st - How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

    July 8th - The Lion King

    July 15th - Finding Nemo

    July 22nd - Wonder Park

    Thursday Main Events

    July 27th - Uncle Henry

    No program July 4th

    July 11th - Ventriloquist Uncle Ty-Rone

    July 18th - Hunter Rhodes Magic

    July 25th - Author Christine Emery

    To learn more about Summer Reading at the Library, stop by your closest branch or contact the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 x301, or the Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539. Visit www.meherrinlib.org for more information, or follow the Meherrin Regional Library on Facebook @meherrinregionallibrary.

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  30. Brothers, Twins and SVCC Graduates

    Twins Bryan and Ryan Craighead (pictured with their mother Sirvena Craighead) have more than just their birthday in common. As of May 11, 2019, they are now Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) graduates.

    From Saxe, Virginia, both graduated from Randolph-Henry High School. The brothers had heard such positive feedback about SVCC that they decided to enroll in classes on the John H. Daniel campus. Bryan chose to study Information Technology, and Ryan chose to study what he has always dreamed of, Administration of Justice. While taking classes, Bryan was employed by SVCC’s Buildings and Grounds department, and Ryan was a part of SVCC’s Safety Patrol and was a Student Ambassador.

    Both say that the most meaningful part of their academic journey was the teachers they met through SVCC and how much they truly cared about their students’ success. Bryan would like to thank Joan Tuck for all her support, and Ryan would like to thank Doug Whaley, Judith Vaughan, Wanda Vaughan, and, two important people from the brothers’ church, Loretta Bailey and Reverend Marvin Bowman.

    After three years of hard work for Bryan, and two years for Ryan, the brothers earned their Associate degrees. Both are currently pursuing jobs in their relative fields of study, and Ryan plans to continue his education online with Liberty University while working.

    When asked if they had advice for current and future SVCC students, their responses were, “Never give up on yourself” and “Be prepared for the unexpected.” Just one out of many stories, these brothers, twins, and now college graduates are an example of how SVCC can put you on the road to success.

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  31. How to Stay Safe From Measles

    Emporia, VA – The Virginia Department of Health issued a press release informing people of a possible exposure to measles in the Northern Virginia area. More than 1,000 measles cases have been reported in the United States in 2019. At halfway through the year, this is already the greatest number of cases reported in a year in the U.S. in more than 25 years.

    Measles is a serious and highly contagious respiratory disease that can be dangerous for infants and young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 2001-2013, 28% of children younger than 5 years old who had measles had to be treated in the hospital. It is easily spread through droplets in the air from the patient coughing or sneezing. Patients are contagious 4 days before the rash even starts and the virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.

    “Measles can be serious and it's more than just a rash and fever.  It can cause serious health complications so it's important to vaccinate,” says Spencer Feldmann, MD, a family medicine physician at Southside Physicians Network (SPN). 

    Measles starts with a fever that can get very high. Some of the other symptoms that may occur are:

    • Cough, runny nose, and red eyes
    • Rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body
    • Diarrhea
    • Ear infection

    For some children, measles can lead to:

    • Pneumonia (a serious lung infection)
    • Lifelong brain damage
    • Deafness
    • Death

    Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles for yourself and your family.  Some people are unable to get the vaccine due to medical conditions and treatments including those with cancer. When enough people (93% to 95%) are vaccinated against measles, the entire community is less likely to get the disease.

    There are 2 vaccines that can prevent measles:

    • The MMR vaccine protects children and adults from measles, mumps, and rubella
    • The MMRV vaccine protects children from measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox

    “The most important thing for everyone to know, especially parents, is that getting vaccinated is safe and effective,” says Dr. Feldmann. 

    Measles used to be very common in the United States before the measles vaccine was available. Due to high vaccination rates, it was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. It is still common in many parts of the world. Every year, unvaccinated travelers (mostly unvaccinated Americans) bring measles into the U.S. from those countries.

    Measles outbreaks have been confirmed in 26 states this year. According to the Virginia Department of Health, the high number of cases in 2019 is primarily the result of a few large outbreaks occurring in Washington state and New York which started in late 2018.

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  32. Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 14

    #LeadYourFSA and be the Voice of Farmers in Your Community

    WASHINGTON, June 3, 2019– USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting nominations for county committee members on Friday, June 14, 2019. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate.

    “I encourage America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest stewards to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “There’s an increasing need for diverse representation including underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and minority farmers and ranchers.”

    Committees make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital on how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

    Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serving on FSA county committees. The committees are made of three to 11 members and typically meet once a month. Members serve three-year terms. Producers serving on our FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency.

    Producers should visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. Check with your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.

    To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2019.

    Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4, 2019. Read more to learn about important election dates.

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  33. Herbert “Herb” Wyatt Maxey, Jr.

    Memorial Service
    Saturday, June 22nd, 11am at First Presbyterian Church, 210 S. Main St in Emporia, VA

    Memorial Service for Herbert “Herb” Wyatt Maxey, Jr. will be held on Saturday, June 22nd, 11am at First Presbyterian Church, 210 S. Main St in Emporia, VA.

    Herb passed away peacefully at his home on May 27, 2019. He is preceded in death by his parents Barbara Smith Maxey, Herbert W. Maxey, Sr and brother James Robert Maxey. He is survived by a niece Barbara L. Maxey, his devoted pup “Miss April”, cousins, many devoted close friends and loving neighbors. Herb was an accountant and bookkeeper for Maxey Chevrolet, Sadler Auto Center and Boyd Auto Center before retiring in 2015 due to health issues.

    In lieu of flowers please make a donation to help cover expenses payable and mail to: Lee Seymour, 115 Shore Drive, Emporia, VA 23847.

    Thanks to all in advance. Praying and hope to see many of you at the Memorial Service for Herb.

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  34. Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center The Benefits of Volunteering

    Emporia, VA – Compassionate, generous, giving; these words reflect what it means to be a volunteer, and in the health care system, volunteers are an invaluable part of the team. Such is the case with Jean Newsome who has dedicated the last 36 years to volunteering. Like others, she helps support the hospital’s mission to provide exceptional patient care. Ms. Newsome is passionate and loves interacting with people. Whether it is performing clerical duties, escorting patients, delivering flowers, or ensuring the comfort of patients by providing a warm blanket, pillow or water, Ms. Newsome makes a difference in the lives around her. Her joy and love for people exemplifies the true meaning of what a volunteer is. Senior Circle Advisor and Volunteer Coordinator Tracy Mitchell at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) shared, “Ms. Newsome has been a volunteer in our Auxiliary department since 1983 and is still going strong! She runs errands for anyone who needs it and delivers the complimentary local newspaper to patients and visitors in the waiting areas. Recently she was in my office looking for pencils for a patient to complete her crossword puzzles. She is a true advocate for our patients and our hospital.”

    Being a volunteer can transform a life from the connections volunteers create with people to the joy of giving back to the community. The rewards speak for themselves. Ms. Newsome joyfully shared, “I have truly enjoyed my work over the last 36 years and those with whom I have had the pleasure of working. Helping not only patients but employees is a blessing. We have a good group of people and a good organization.”

    To become a volunteer, visit SVRMC.com and click on About: Volunteer Opportunities to download a volunteer application. Contact the volunteer coordinator with any questions at (434) 348-4455.

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  35. Stacy R. Davis, FNP-CJoins VCU Health CMH

    South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Family Nurse Practitioner, Stacy R. Davis, to our family of health care providers.  Nurse Practitioner Davis specializes in Family Care.

    Davis earned her MSN Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Chamberlain University in Illinois. She received her nursing diploma from Bon Secours School of Nursing and completed her BS in Nursing from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Stacy is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

    Nurse Practitioner Davis is joining Jenea Bennett-Talley at Chase City Primary Care Center, located at 200 East Fifth Street in Chase City.  She is accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 372-0900.To view a full list of services visit:  VCU-CMH.org

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  36. Truck Driver Training Classes Begin in July

    Train now for a great, well-paying job! Southside Virginia Community College is offering Truck Driver Training classes in July at locations in Emporia and South Boston, Virginia.  The Emporia class will begin July 15, 2019.  The South Boston class begins July 22, 2019.  Classes run for six weeks.  SVCC's program is an excellent school turning out qualified drivers that are in high demand.  Pre-registration is required so contact the school at 434-292-3101 or visit our website at www.southside.edu for more information.  There is assistance with tuition so call soon to register for this exciting program to put you on the road to success.

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  37. Beware of people pretending to be from social security

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

    Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

    There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number or even a local SSA office number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your SSN, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

    Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

    Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone.

    Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

    You can also share our new “SSA Phone Scam Alert” video at http://bit.ly/2VKJ8SG

    Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage.

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  38. Physical Therapists Can Keep You Moving Forward

    Emporia, VA – The majority of Americans who die from opioid overdoses do so after using these medications to treat legitimate pain. Sadly, many of these conditions could be prevented or managed with positive lifestyle changes, and a better understanding of body mechanics learned through physical therapy.

    “Rural areas need quality care, especially for rehabilitation.  Our clinic is fully equipped to meet all therapy needs of the people of Emporia and the surrounding areas; we are the only full service clinic in the area,” says Richard M. Alexander, PT, DPT, “We treat everything from heart attacks and strokes to joint replacements, sports medicine, neck and back pain, balance disorders and vertigo.”

    Physical therapists are movement specialists. They are licensed professionals with graduate-level degrees, who have advanced clinical knowledge of the human muscular and skeletal systems. Over the past decade, physical therapy has increasingly focused on prevention rather than treatment. Physical therapy techniques can help those with arthritis, sports injuries, environmental or workplace pain, and sleep disturbances, providing a number of benefits.

    • Avoiding Surgery. Meniscal or rotator cuff tears, spinal stenosis and degenerative disk disease often experience significant improvement through physical therapy. Given the cost and recovery time involved with surgical procedures, it’s worth a try.
    • Avoiding Opioids. Chronic joint and nerve pain are the most common reasons people seek over-the-counter and prescription pain medications. Exhausting all possible therapy and body-management tactics for pain reduction should always be a priority before opting for opioids.
    • Managing the Work Environment. A PT can provide you with tools and exercises to prevent pain and loss of mobility, whether you sit for a living, stand in one place, use your hands repetitively, or lift heavy objects all day. Recognizing the risks involved in your daily work life and being proactive about them can save pain, costs, and lost productivity.
    • Preventing Headaches.  Many chronic headache conditions are caused by increased time in front of computers and mobile devices. Pressure on the thoracic and cervical spine can lead to disk degeneration and nerve damage, and result in fierce and frequent headaches. Learning to use and position your body can lead to a significant reduction in pain.

    Arthritis is a fact of life for most people, though the extent and nature of its impact on our lives can vary widely. We all know those folks who still look spry and confident at age 82. It’s unlikely that they have no arthritis – the difference is in how they “manage” their bodies. Physical therapists provide benefits for arthritis patients in three different areas:

    1. Prevent and manage chronic pain. A PT will help strengthen the associated muscle groups and teach you to move your body properly, while decreasing impact on the affected joint.
    2. Create and maintain maximum flexibility and mobility. Physical therapy is a holistic practice of medicine, and good therapists factor in your social, emotional and physical factors when creating a treatment plan.
    3. Support good sleep. Much of the physical decline associated with arthritis can be attributed to poor sleep mechanics. A therapist will help with tips and tools for proper sleep health.

    Physical therapy benefits those with and without existing physical ailments. When you meet with a physical therapist, give them an accurate picture of your current lifestyle and paint a picture of what you’d like to accomplish. The benefits won’t be realized overnight, but much of what you learn, you can continue yourself at home.

    The way we hold, operate and rest our bodies is closely tied to levels of happiness, disease prevention and longevity, and the practice of it is not to be underestimated. If you need assistance locating a qualified physical therapist, ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation or contact SVRMC Rehabilitation Services at 434-348-4871.


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  39. Dr. Dalton Receives Distinguished Alumni Award at Virginia Tech

    Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics’ recipient of the Distinguished Alumna in Academia Award.  The award is presented by VT’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during its “Celebration of Ut Prosim,” the college’s alumni organization’s annual recognition program.  Ut Prosim is the university motto meaning “That I May Serve”.

    For 17 years at Virginia Tech (VT), Dr. Dixie, as she was known by her students, taught numerous classes, provided leadership to the undergraduate program, and contributed academic and career advising to undergraduate and graduate students in VT’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. In recognition of her teaching and advising contributions, she was selected as VT’s recipient of the outstanding teaching award and the outstanding advising award— both in the same year.  At the national level, she received teaching awards from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Association and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. In addition to teaching and advising, she contributed to Virginia’s agricultural industry through her extension work.  In recognition of those contributions, she received Virginia Farm Bureau’s Service to Agriculture Award and the Virginia Cooperative Council’s Cooperative Education Leadership Award. She continues to make a positive impact in her current position at SVCC.

    Dixie has played a major role on the VT College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Organization board of directors. Beginning as a departmental faculty representative in the 1990’s and more recently as a director, she has served as vice president, president, and past president.  During the presentation of her award at the college ceremony, this was said of her contributions: “Always working quietly but effectively and always in the spirit of Ut Prosim, Dixie has provided steady, thoughtful, and consistent leadership throughout her career for the Department, the College, Virginia Tech, and Virginia.” During the ceremony, in addition to receiving the alumna award, she was also recognized by current president, Rachel Kohl, for her two years of service as the alumni organization’s president.

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  40. Virginia Cooperative Extension Continues To Be An Important Resource For The Commonwealth In Severe Weather

    Hurricane season runs from Saturday, June 1 through Nov. 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), between nine and 15 named storms, including includes tropical storms, are predicted to form in the Atlantic this year.

    Being prepared for severe weather before it arrives can keep you and your family safe and healthy. Knowing where to turn for help and information afterwards can play an important role in mitigating further damage and health risks.

    For more than a century, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) has helped Virginians manage the devastations bad weather can cause. The program, managed jointly by Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Tech, provides online resources ranging from food safety issues during power outages to how to protect livestock and crops, as well as Extension agents who cover every corner of the state to offer additional information when needed.

    “One of the chief goals of Virginia’s Cooperative Extension program is to empower farmers, ranchers and communities of all sizes to adequately respond to emergencies,” said Dr. M. Ray McKinnie, VSU College of Agriculture dean and 1890s Extension Program administrator. “In partnerships with the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Extension offers valuable research-based information to communities preparing and recovering from disasters, whether the need is flood clean-up or financial stability.”

    Last October Hurricane Michael’s strong winds and high water killed six people, knocked out power to thousands across the state, closed hundreds of roads, and flooded many homes. To protect yourself and your family, pets and livestock from the next severe weather event, take time now to review or create an emergency plan. Visitwww.ext.vsu.edu/severe-weather to get started.

    To keep on top of other ways Virginia Cooperative Extension can help you, your family or your business, follow them on Facebook (VsuCollegeOfAgriculture) or Twitter (VSU_AG) or subscribe to their weekly eNewsletter or email updates athttps://bit.ly/2UekOW3 (or from the ext.vsu.edu homepage).

    In the event of severe weather predictions, always stay tuned to your radio or television. Meteorologists are trained professionals equipped to analyze natural indicators of weather conditions that may be threatening and to advise when to seek safety when necessary.

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


  41. 2019 ODEMSA Regional EMS Council Award Winners Announced

    The 2019 Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) Regional EMS Council Award winners were announced at the 2019 ODEMSA Regional EMS Council Awards Ceremony at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA. Executive Director Heidi Hooker recognized 12 outstanding EMS providers and organizations from across Virginia Planning Districts 13, 14, 15, and 19, for their exceptional achievements and dedication to the regional EMS system.

    The awards were presented in conjunction with the start of the 45th National Emergency Medical Services Week. EMS Week celebrates EMS practitioners and the vital work they do in our nation’s communities. This EMS Week kick-off welcomed EMS providers and their families, in addition to EMS allies from across the ODEMSA Region and the Commonwealth.

    “It is so exciting that we are kicking off EMS week for our region,” said Ryan Scarbrough, Regional Projects Coordinator, Old Dominion EMS Alliance. “We have world-class providers within our four planning districts and what a better way to distinguish them than to have them come out to a world-class amusement park and recognize them in front of their peers and family members.”

    “We have so many providers and agencies from our region that have helped to shape the face of EMS into what it is today,” said Heidi Hooker, Executive Director, Old Dominion EMS Alliance. “We have providers and agencies that continue to exceed the mark of excellence, and we are here to recognize them for all that they do every single day. Congratulations to all of this year’s regional level award winners and good luck to them as their regional awards move them into the running for this year’s Governor’s EMS Awards that will be held in November, at the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services’ 40th Annual Symposium in Norfolk, VA.”

    Award for Excellence in EMS



    James H. Gould, RN



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Excellence in EMS was presented to James H. Gould, with VCU Center for Trauma & Critical Care Education.  Jay has had a long and distinguished career in EMS as a provider, administrator, and educator.  He began his career in 1974 at Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad, where he served in nearly all capacities of leadership, and where he is now a life member.  His career in EMS has led him down many paths, including the opportunity in 1994, to develop an EMS course in Russia.  He also received the Governor’s Letter of Recognition in 1989.

    A patriarch in EMS, he is a pioneer that forged the future for all providers in Virginia, especially with his service at the Medical College of Virginia.  His longevity and vast experience allow him to serve as a subject matter expert in EMS.  Few can boast the expertise he can and yet he remains humble and eager to pass lessons and knowledge from his experiences to future generations

    Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a High School Senior



    Kaylee Eckert



    The ODEMSA Regional Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a High School Senior was presented to Kaylee A. Eckert of Goochland County Fire-Rescue.  This award was presented along with a scholarship for $1,000 from ODEMSA.

    Having a paramedic father allowed Kaylee a door, to peek through, to the world of emergency medical services.  When she turned 16, she willingly walked through that door and into the Goochland County Fire and Rescue Department.  Since joining, only 18 months ago, she has completed an EMT program, and is now precepting to become an “Attendant in Charge.”  She regularly volunteers 120 hours a month, has recently become an NAEMT Bleeding Control Instructor, and is pursuing an AHA CPR Instructor certification.  Kaylee has accomplished all of this while maintaining a high academic standing of 4.23GPA.

    At her young age, she is amazingly aware of current issues and challenges within the EMS and Healthcare systems.  Her senior project was on “Access to Healthcare in Rural Areas.”  After learning about the problems, she set out to address what she could by spearheading a plan to teach community CPR and Bleeding Control classes to her fellow students and faculty within Goochland High School. 

    Though she has only been an EMT for a short time, her enthusiasm and “can do” attitude has left an impression with her agency leadership, ODEMSA and others from across the region.

    Award for Outstanding EMS Administrator



    Greg Jones



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding EMS Administrator was presented to Greg Jones with Chesterfield Fire and EMS/MedFlight One.  Greg is a tenured company officer and a paramedic with Chesterfield County Fire and EMS.  He has served in multiple capacities within many organizations but, it is his service and leadership as the Chief Flight Paramedic of MedFlight 1 since 2011, that justifies his receipt of this award. 

    In 2015 Greg’s ability to manage and problem solve was instrumental to the successful transition of the MedFlight 1 program from two paramedics to a paramedic/nurse configuration.  His knowledge, skill, and abilities exemplify the meaning of EMS leadership and have earned him the title of a fair and trusted administrator who gets the job done.

    Award for Nurse with Outstanding Contribution to EMS



    Gail Weatherford, FNP



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Nurse with Outstanding Contribution to EMS was presented to Gail Weatherford, FNP of Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad.  Gail has been an honored and faithful member of Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad for over 36 years, where she remains an active riding member.  As an EMS provider, she has risen through the ranks, holding positions of EMT, Paramedic, Crew Lieutenant, Junior Squad Advisor, Secretary, Vice-President and Training Officer, the last of which she has held for 25 years.

    She is also a respected member of the VCU Health System.  While there she has worked in pediatrics, the emergency room, trauma care, and is currently a Nurse Practitioner in primary care.  Gail had married these two professions to create within her the perfect balance.  Her dedication to medicine is distinct and exemplified by her continued education as both a nurse practitioner and an EMS provider.  She shares her knowledge and experiences through training and preception programs, developed by her.  Her peers will tell you it’s her empathy and compassion for her patients, fellow squad members, co-workers, and the people she is training that makes her stand out.  She conveys her desire for everyone to succeed and pushes others to achieve boundaries they believed impossible.  They say that when you work with her, you learn from her.

    Award for Physician with Outstanding Contribution to EMS



    Stephanie K. Louka, MD



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Physician with Outstanding Contribution to EMS was presented to Stephanie K. Louka, MD of VCU Health. Stephanie’s career in medicine has its roots in EMS, and she is a Life Member of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad.  While there she earned a variety of awards and accolades as an EMS Provider.  She carried her passion for EMS with her throughout medical school and into her career as a practicing physician that has culminated with her completion of sub-specialty fellowship in Emergency Medical Services at VCU Health.

    As a fellow, she has taken on the responsibilities as an EMS educator and advocate, presenting over a dozen original continuing education courses in the last three years. She also serves as the medical director for the nation’s first university-level point of care ultrasonography course explicitly created for prehospital providers.  She serves as Assistant Medical Director for the Richmond Ambulance Authority, where she has embraced the idea of mobile integrated healthcare.  She also serves as Flight Physician with VCU LifeEvac, where she uses her skills to train and mentor our air medical prehospital providers.

    As if her work in Virginia wasn’t enough, she has even taken her passion and expertise in EMS outside our country’s borders to Rwanda, where she has helped develop their EMS infrastructure.  We also believe she might be the only OMD in the ODEMSA Region, trained by NASA, in space shuttle emergency landing & astronaut extrication.

    Award for Outstanding Prehospital Educator



    Rodney C. Newton



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Prehospital Educator was presented to Rodney C. Newton of Victoria Fire & Rescue. Rodney teaches because he loves it, and he motivates students to excellence by displaying it.

    As an educator, he connects with his students, and he provides individualized learning opportunities. He makes learning pleasant and productive and brings positive attributes to the classroom.  As a life member of Victoria Fire and Rescue, he has walked the path and has lived the pages of the textbook from which he teaches. Students say he is a wealth of knowledge and that constant words of encouragement have led many, who otherwise would’ve quit, to continue with courses that might seem impossible to complete.  He embraces the opportunity to fill new minds with knowledge, and they love him for it.

    Award for Outstanding Prehospital Provider



    Jimmy Lee Pair



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Prehospital Provider was presented to Jimmy Lee Pair of Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, Inc. Though Jimmy has only been in EMS for 15 years, he has packed a lot of experiences into that time. His friends will tell you he wears his EMS hat “24/7”. Whether in his role as a Deputy with the Greensville County Sheriff’s Office or as an Advanced EMT with the Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, he is continuously monitoring radios and going where he is most needed. 
    Described as a jack of all trades, his experience working with a telecommunications company allows him the ability to troubleshoot and repair squad radios when needed, or offer educated advice on upgrades and funding. His experience as a dispatcher allowed him the knowledge to upgrade two dispatch systems and gave him the skill to clarify misconceptions of field providers with them. His job as a deputy allowed him the ability to have crews stage when a call that was dispatched initially as an “unconscious person” was a call for a shooting. Also, his experience as a medic allowed him to use an AED that he kept in his patrol car, to defibrillate and revive a cardiac arrest patient. Jimmy is dedicated to his community and making it safer no matter what role he plays.

    Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety



    Metro Richmond Flying Squad (Greg Nieman)



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety was presented to the Metro Richmond Flying Squad located in Richmond, VA.  The health and safety within our fire and EMS occupation is sometimes overlooked, but not by the Metro Richmond Flying Squad (MRFS).  MRFS was established in December 2016, when a group of firefighters from around the area identified a lack of rehabilitation services on scene. They pursued the utilization of a donated vehicle and secured the equipment needed to accomplish their mission.  Five months later they were up and running with 30 volunteers consisting of active and retired firefighters.  What started as a goal of providing rehab services to firefighters, quickly expanded to include EMS, police, and displaced residents.

    In January 2019 they were called to assist on the scene of a house fire.  Not only did they help the firefighters and provided warmth and shelter to the two displaced residents, who wore only shorts and flip flops on the snow-covered city streets they also provided a safe and warm place for the resident’s two dogs.

    Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS for Children



    Samuel T. Bartel, MD



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS for Children was presented to Samuel T. Bartle, MD of VCU Health. Sam is one of ODEMSA’s most passionate pediatric advocates. He is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the VCU Health System, which is the only certified Pediatric Trauma Center in Virginia. He has over 20 years of practice in the field of pediatric emergency medicine and his areas of clinical interest include Pediatric Injury & Trauma and Pediatric Sedation. 

    He is active in governmental and public advocacy of pediatric health, medical and safety issues. As busy as Sam may be, he still finds time to share his knowledge with the EMS community every chance he has. It is not uncommon to see him teaching continuing education classes at a local rescue squad, attending a sub-council meeting, or a committee meeting at the regional council level, or chairing a state committee. Pediatric medicine is his passion and educating and assisting the EMS provider is a close second.

    Sam was recognized for his advocacy work on behalf of children at the Virginia General Assembly in 2009 by the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He currently serves as the chapter’s chairperson for its governmental and legislative affairs committee, and as its representative on the governor’s sub-panel on disaster preparedness. Sam also serves as a representative on the Governor’s Emergency Medical Services Council Advisory Board for the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians. He is the current Chairperson for the EMS for Children Committee, a sub-committee of the Governor’s EMS Advisory Board.

    He practices pediatric emergency medicine at the VCU Health System and is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Emergency Medicine with a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Pediatrics for VCU Health System. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Sam has spent a lifetime in service to children, with just as much time spent assuring that EMS providers have the tools to do the same.

    Award for Outstanding EMS Agency



    Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad
    (Tristan Cox, Andrew Inge, Tracie Delano)



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding EMS Agency was presented to Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad from Henrico, VA. The Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad is one of the last remaining agencies in the ODEMSA Region and the Commonwealth that doesn’t charge for services and doesn’t employ any paid staff. 

    This January they celebrated 61 years of providing care to the citizens of Henrico County.  Their all-volunteer force consists of over 50 members, who last year contributed over 19,000 hours of service.  Within the past year, members of the agency were recognized publicly for several accomplishments including the successful resuscitation of a runner, who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at the Monument Avenue 10k who was able to walk out of the hospital neurologically intact. Members also received by way of the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards recognition for the hours that they volunteered. One of their members was also presented with the Daily Points of Light Award on behalf of President George H.W. Bush before his passing.

    Lakeside Vol. Rescue Squad is active in their community. In addition to providing community CPR training, they also patrol their first due area neighborhoods on Halloween night. You can find their members utilizing their UTV to patrol and play Halloween music while passing out candy. This activity by the agency provides an extra set of eyes and ears for the trick-or-treaters.  They’re also active on the regional and state levels, as they are involved with the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads, ODEMSA and various statewide initiatives. They exemplify the commitment and dedication of citizen volunteers in the Commonwealth.

    Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Telecommunications



    Christina M. Austin



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Telecommunications was presented to Christina M. Austin of Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA). Christina leads a team of System Status Controllers who provide command, control, and communication for the Richmond Ambulance Authority’s operations.  RAA receives, processes, and dispatches over 66,000 responses each year.

    Christina provides close oversight and management of their program assuring exceptional performance.  In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, she serves on a Medical Dispatch Review committee that includes quality assurance and quality improvement for the department.  She is an outstanding professional with an exceptional program that she oversees.

    Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response



    K-9 Search & Rescue Dogs, Inc.



    The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response was presented to K-9 Search & Rescue Dogs, Inc. based in Richmond, VA.  The members of the K-9 Search & Rescue Dogs, Inc., go through more training than most expect and are overlooked as an integral part of the emergency response system.

    Handlers are required to have wilderness survival training, emergency first aid for both humans and K9’s, crime scene preservation, courtroom procedures, confined space safety, swift water safety, and several NIMS courses.  They must be amateur radio operators, experts in navigation with the use of a map and compass, and at record keeping.  Handlers must be physically fit, and able to walk through uneven wilderness terrain, or over rubble from a fallen building.  They spend countless hours preparing and learning how to train their dogs best.  They’re even amateur meteorologists so they can know how wind and scent patterns move to set their team up for success.

    The dogs must pass several physical exams before being allowed to participate in actual searches. They must be obediently trained to the highest degree and are not afraid of anything which includes people yelling, other dogs, sirens, jackhammers, and other sources of distraction.  They must be persistent and not give up, and most importantly, they must like the job and have fun searching.  K-9s are utilized on ATVs/UTVs, in helicopters, planes or boats.  Snow, water, mud, thick brush, briars or darkness cannot slow them down as they must be able to work in all and changing conditions because lives depend on their keen sense of smell, vision, and endurance.

    Of the search and rescue teams, K9 teams are elite because they can search large areas much quicker than standard groups.  The work that the K-9 teams do can be done by no other, and the work they do saves lives.

    Honorable Mention

    The ODEMSA Award Selection Committee will, from time to time, have special requests.  This year they requested that ODEMSA give special recognition to Smithfield Fresh Meats Corporation, North Plant Facility.  The people of the North Plant Facility enhance regional training experiences in the region through their donation of educational materials to EMS providers. These materials allow providers the ability to practice life-saving skills such as tracheotomies in the classroom.

    Countless lives are saved because of this invaluable training tool.  ODEMSA offered special thanks to those in attendance from Smithfield and presented them with a framed certificate of appreciation for the many contributions made that have allowed for the advancement of emergency medical services training.

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  42. Spring Fling – A Night to Remember

    On May 23, Robinson-Withers Gym at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services was transformed into an elegant ballroom for the evening’s “Spring Fling” prom.  JFBHS would like to recognize and thank everyone who worked so hard to ensure the event would be a success.

    Students in JFBHS’ art program prepared and hung decorations throughout the gym. JFBHS food service staff prepared special foods and sweets for the event.  Wooten Brothers Greenhouse loaned beautiful table decorations. Staff member and professional photographer Leon Robinson snapped photos throughout the evening while staff member and professional DJ Craig Mangrum provided the music that kept the boys and girls dancing all night.  Students at the Collegiate School in Richmond provided prom dresses, shoes, and accessories through The Fairy Godmother program.  Several Rotary clubs in the region donated blazers for the boys.  A friend of JFBHS provided hair styling and manicures.

    Prom is a rite of passage for most American teenagers, and JFBHS is committed to providing this special event that residents will cherish for a lifetime.

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  43. SVCC Awarded Scholorship

    First Citizens Scholarship Awarded to SVCC:  Cindy Thomas, Sr. Vice President (2nd from right) of First Citizens Bank, presents a check to SVCC President, Dr. Al Roberts to support the established First Citizens Bank Nursing Scholarship. Also pictured are Nancy Edwards, Business Banker (left), and Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences (right).

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  44. Elizabeth K. “Ann” Davis


    2 p.m., Monday, June 10

    Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery, 17262 Courthouse Rd., Yale, VA 23897

    Elizabeth K. Davis, “Ann”, 84, passed away Saturday, May 11, 2019. She was the daughter of the late James L. Kelly, Sr. and Gertrude S. Gordon. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, James Cecil Davis and sister, Joan G. Kientz. She is survived by her brother, James L. Kelly of Prince George; sister, Betty G. Edwards of Franklin (Jimmy) and brother-in-law, Frank Kientz (Evelyn) of Jarratt. Mrs. Davis is also survived by her five nieces; Lynn Kelly Shearin (Robin), Susan Kientz Grigg (Charlie), Judy Kelly Hoyle (Robert), Pam Kientz Harris (Edward) and Linda Kelly Pace (John); great-nephews, Charles Grigg, Brett Harris, Hunter Harris, Davis Harris, R.J. Hoyle, Tom Hoyle and Luke Pace; great-nieces, Elizabeth Brown and Abby Pace. She is also survived by several great-great-nephews. Ann was a supervisor for Contel Telephone for 37 years. A graveside memorial service will be held 2 p.m., Monday, June 10 at Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 17262 Courthouse Rd., Yale, VA 23897. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

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