RICHMOND – As the skies clear after Tropical Depression Ida moves beyond Virginia, Virginia State Police is urging those who will be using the Labor Day weekend as a final summer travel getaway to do so safely and responsibly.  Labor Day traffic fatalities have been on the rise for the past four years, which is why it is imperative for motorists to stay alert, stay sober and wear their seatbelts while on Virginia’s highways.

“Last year was a record year for fatal crashes on Virginia roadways and sadly we are on pace for another tragic year,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “In 2020, there were increases in speed, unrestrained and alcohol-related traffic deaths. It’s really quite simple - seatbelts save lives, distractions are deadly on roadways, speed kills and driving impaired is unacceptable. We want you and your family to reach your destination safely, and we need every motorist to help us achieve that goal.”

Virginia State Police will have all available uniformed personnel on patrol over the 2021 Labor Day weekend conducting traffic safety and enforcement patrols as part of Operation CARE – the Crash Awareness Reduction Effort, a nationwide, state-sponsored traffic safety program that aims to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired driving, speeding and failing to use occupant restraints. Virginia State Police’s participation in the program begins Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and continues through midnight Monday, Sept. 6, 2021.

The 2020 Labor Day weekend saw a rise in fatal crashes across the Commonwealth. A total of 20 individuals died in traffic crashes in Virginia during the 2020 four-day, holiday statistical counting period, compared to 17 deaths in 2019 and 14 deaths in 2018*. In addition, as of Aug. 31, 2021, preliminary data indicates there have been 573 traffic fatalities on Virginia highways, as compared to 544 on the same date in 2020.

State police is also actively participating in the annual “Checkpoint Strikeforce,” an anti-DUI enforcement and education program sponsored by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). State police is one of nearly 100 law enforcement agencies conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols through Labor Day in an effort to prevent and deter impaired driving and DUI/DUID-related crashes. In addition, state police reminds all motorists to drive phone- and distraction-free. 

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

*Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Visitation Update South Hill, VA (9/1/21) – Due to the increasing incidents of COVID cases in the region, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) will adopt revised visiting policies as of 8:00 a.

South Hill, VA (9/1/21) – Due to the increasing incidents of COVID cases in the region, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) will adopt revised visiting policies as of 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. Adult patients are limited to one adult visitor per day. Pediatric patients are still able to have two adult visitors.

General Visitation Rules

• All visitors must be screened and provided a visitor badge or armband.
• All visitors must be always masked.
• Visitors must comply with physical distancing guidelines in all common areas.
• The second-floor lobby waiting area is reserved for outpatient surgical patients and their visitor/support person only, all other visitors will be asked to return to their car.
• All visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility and frequently during their stay.
• If patient clinical needs dictate no visitors (i.e. chemotherapy), visitors may be redirected to waiting areas.


• Visiting Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
• One visitor (18 or older) per day per patient for all non-COVID patients. COVID-positive patients are still not allowed to have visitors, unless they are pediatric patients.
• Labor and Delivery unit: 1 adult visitor (18 or older) and 1 doula per day, allowing 1 to spend the night.
• Pediatric patients in all units: 2 adults (18 or older) visitor per day, allowing 1 to spend the night. Parent/POA/guardian may trade off. COVID-positive pediatric patients may have 1 parent or caregiver at a time.
• Patients who are at the end of life: The number of visitors is determined by the patient’s care team.
• Special needs patients that require 24/7 assistance may have a caretaker stay with them if in the best interest of patient care.
To reach a patient, please dial (434) 584-****, followed by the four digits of the patient's room number.

Outpatients and C.A.R.E. Building Appointments

  • • Surgery patients may be accompanied by one adult companion
  • • Patients arriving for doctor’s appointments, evaluation, or diagnostic or therapeutic procedures may be accompanied by one adult companion
  • • Pediatric patients: Up to 2 parents and/or legal guardians.

Emergency Department Patients

Visitation is currently suspended except for the following circumstances:

• Pediatric patients: Up to 2 parents and/or legal guardians.
• Patients who are at the end of life or critical condition: The number of visitors are determined by the patients’ care team.
• Exceptions to the visitation rules for specific incidents will be in accordance with ED policy or permission from the Administrative Representative.

Hundley Center

• Two visitors are allowed at a time for 15 minutes, and it must be scheduled in advance. Please call (434) 584-4570 or (434) 584-4579 between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to schedule a visit for 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It is very important that all visitors maintain appropriate physical distancing in all waiting areas.  The health and safety of all patients and staff will continue to be of the utmost importance through this pandemic. Your best defense is to make sure you and your family are vaccinated. Look for further updates as VCU Health CMH continues to make progress in the fight against COVID.

McEachin Announces More Than $10 Million in HHS Grants for Virginia Department of Health

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the Virginia Department of Health will receive two grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) totaling $10,840,522. A grant for $3,127,953 will support preventive health services, and one for $7,712,569 will help bolster childhood immunizations in Virginia.

“Preventive health services are essential to achieving better health outcomes. Unfortunately, too many Virginians cannot afford these crucial services and are forced to delay doctor visits for too long. These funds will help ensure those Virginians receive the preventive care they need, hopefully leading more successful outcomes,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “In addition, childhood immunizations have saved millions of lives. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, we have vaccines to protect our youth from deadly diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. These funds will help ensure that all Virginian children receive every needed vaccine, which will help save lives and keep our children healthy.”

"Did We Put In Office?"

Our leaders found time and funds
to take down statues; and gravesites rearrange
yet nothing has been done to improve Baker Street
now doesn't that seem strange?
This is one of the biggest eyesores
that our city does proclaim
still the ones we put in office
just hang their heads in shame.
We direct tourist to the chamber
which is quite close indeed
yes and when they see this awful sight
a tour they will not need.
Now the first impression fills the mind
which is quite hard to change
it is for sure something must be done
and our leaders must arrange.
It is a danger to the public
and for all that do walk past
something must be done to repair
I'm sure this complaint, won't be the last!
                         - Roy E. Schepp

USDA Announces Dates for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands Signups

RICHMOND, VA, July 12, 2021 –– Agricultural producers and landowners in Virginia can apply for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands signup from today until August 20. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated signup options to provide greater incentives for producers and increased the program’s conservation and climate benefits, including setting a minimum rental rate and identifying two national priority zones.

The CRP Grassland signup is competitive, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide for annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

“USDA is excited to roll out our new and improved CRP Grasslands signup,” said R. Kevin Bohon, Acting State Executive Director for FSA in Virginia. “USDA is providing a bigger return on investment in terms of protecting natural resource benefits. The Grasslands signup is just one of the many tools available through CRP to help protect our nation’s working lands.”

Grasslands Signup

CRP Grasslands helps Virginia landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland, and pastureland and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands. Protecting grasslands contributes positively to the economy of many regions, provides biodiversity of plant and animal populations, and provides important carbon sequestration benefits.

FSA has updated the Grasslands Signup to establish a minimum rental rate of $15 per acre, which will benefit 1,300 counties.

To focus on important wildlife corridors, FSA also identified National Grassland Priority Zones, providing extra incentives to producers for enrolling grasslands in important migratory corridors and environmentally sensitive areas – the Greater Yellowstone Elk Migration Corridor and the Severe Wind Erosion – Dust Bowl Zone. Counties within these two zones get extra ranking points as well as $5 added to their rental rate. The CRP Grasslands Ranking Factors fact sheet has additional information.

How to Sign Up

To enroll in the CRP Grasslands signup, producers and landowners should contact USDA by the August 20 deadline. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Because of the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Contact your Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment. Additionally, more information related to USDA’s response and relief for producers can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

More Information on CRP

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits. The program marked its 35-year anniversary this past December.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity, and natural resources, including our soil, air and water. Through conservation practices, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local, and tribal governments.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

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