February 2019

Gold Box in Richmond Park Connects People Around Globe

Green Book Helped Black Travelers Navigate Racist Terrain

General Assembly Expands Revenge Porn Law to Include Fake Nudes

Legislators Delay Decision on Funding I-81 Improvements

Black-owned Restaurants Serve Culture and Cuisine

General Assembly Legislative Scorecard

The Williamsburg Winery’s “Petite Fleur” Awarded Gold Medal at Governor’s Cup Competition

Safe Driving Advocates Lament Defeat of ‘Hands-Free’ Legislation

Bills to Protect Landowners in Pipeline Cases Fail

Senate Passes Bill Allowing Guns in Church, Fails in House

VCU Panel: Journalists Need to Call Out Racism

Legislators Want All Capitol Meetings Video-Recorded

Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services Meets Medicaid’s New Standards

For a number of years, Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services (JFBHS) has been a Medicaid provider.  Medicaid recently initiated stringent standards of care, and JFBHS is pleased to announce that they passed – with flying colors – an unannounced three-day observation and assessment by a Medicaid representative.

This achievement is a testament to JFBHS’ mission to provide high quality evidence-based psychiatric, residential, educational and recovery treatment services for children who suffer from severe emotional trauma, mental illness and/or addiction.  Their goal is to restore wellness and provide support for successful reintegration into homes, families and communities.

Medicaid is a government-sponsored insurance program for persons of all ages whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care including mental health.

Medicaid raised the bar for psychiatric residential facilities, and JFBHS cleared the bar simply by doing what they already were doing:  providing high quality, effective services.  Medicaid will continue to make unannounced site visits, and JFBHS is confident that they will continue to meet the challenge and exceed the expectations.

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Frederick T. Bare

December 19, 1938 - February 23, 2019

Graveside Services

Friday, March 1, 2019, 2:00 PM

Cobb-Whitehead Family Cemetery 

22311 Southampton Parkway

Courtland, VA 23837

Frederick T. Bare, 80, of Emporia, died Saturday, February 23, 2019. He is survived by his wife, Wilma W. Bare; two sons, Gary Bare and Fred W. Bare and two nieces, Judy Hall and Tessie Allen.

A graveside memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, March 1 at the Cobb-Whitehead Family Cemetery in Southampton County.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.


Efforts to Ratify ERA Fail on Tie Vote in House

Lawmakers OK Bills To Expand Access to CBD, THC-A Oils

“Pesky Varmints”

A mole has a very hard nose
to help it burrow underground
leaving those ugly ridges
which in our lawns are found.
Moles tunnel beneath the surface
searching for grubs and insects too
in a way not too well thought of
but they do it for me and you.
They help aerate the soil
which for so long has been packed
leaving their trails everywhere
looking like the dirt was stacked.
Then they’ll travel through the freeway
or thru the tunnels if you will
eating grubs and other insects
until they get their fill.
Yes they eat the grubs that eat the roots
of the grass seed we have sown
they also eat many of the insects
that chew the leaves from the plants half grown.
Now the vole is so much different
in oh so many ways
they will jump around like a kangaroo
and can make you laugh for days.
The humor in their presence
won’t last for very long
just take one look at your flower beds
and you’ll wonder what went wrong.
Yes voles eat the flower bulbs you plant
leaving open spaces galore
your flower garden won’t shine so bright
unless you plant some more.
Now the moles a pest to say the least
but they’re mainly just passing thru
yet the vole will take up residence
and spend many months with you.
Under thick mulch beds; or mounds of leaves
they can for long survive
making sure that they are present
when your first spring bulbs arrive.
You can catch a vole with a mouse trap
and for the mole , just dig a deep hole
just don’t give up on the first try
it takes patience don’t you know.
          Roy E. Schepp

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Kid’s Rule: House of Delegates Page Program Holds Annual Mock Debate

Richard Peyton Bloom

Richard Peyton Bloom, 81, of Boynton Beach, Fla., passed away on February 23, 2019. “Richie” was born on May 2, 1937, in Norfolk, VA to the late Charles and Alice Bloom. He graduated from Greensville County High School in Emporia, VA.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois Cohen Bloom, and his brother, Larry.  He is survived by his sister, Phyllis Sue Green, of Boynton Beach, FL.  Richie and Lois were married on November 18, 1961. A long-time resident of Emporia, VA, Richie also lived over the years in Las Vegas, NV, Virginia Beach, VA and most recently in South Palm Beach, FL.  Richie and Lois were married for 56 years and had three children, son Charles Bloom (Cindy and grandchildren Lindsey and Maxwell Bloom) of Blythewood, SC; daughter Sari Bloom of Lake Worth, FL; son Jared Bloom (Sandy and grandchildren Jordan and Maddux Bloom) of Longwood, FL. The family thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations sent to either the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County (https://jewishpb.org/fed/index.php/tzedakah-fund-tribute-cards/) or the Democratic Party of Palm Beach County, Fla. (http://pbcdplegacyblue.org/).  A family-only celebration of his life will be scheduled at a later date.

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Effort to Remove Unlawfully Appointed Member of School Board Falls Short

The question of Miss Marva Dunn’s unlawful appointment to the Greensville County School Board seems to be answered.

After a heated debate, fraught with accusations of “personal vendettas,” and the inference of improper spending, the motion to remove Miss Dunn failed on a vote of 5-1, with one abstention.

Miss Dunn, whose term was to expire on December 31, 2018 was reappointed at a called meeting of City Council on December 27, 2018. This special meeting was called just days before the newly elected City Council was to be seated.

The newly seated Council, with the first ever Black majority in the history of Emporia took exception to the appointment when it was discovered that Miss Dunn’s appointment was unlawful, given her membership on the Board of Zoning Appeals, Miss Dunn’s appointment to the Redevelopment and Housing Authority was also unlawful because of her membership on the BZA. It was disclosed during the conversation that Miss Dunn’s appointment was discussed in a closed session at the January 15th meeting.  Miss Dunn submitted her letter of resignation for both the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Redevelopment and Housing Authority on the 16th of January, even though the matter was, apparently, not discussed publically.

During the debate Council Member Jim Saunders (District 3) was concerned about the cost of the outside attorneys engaged to deal with the issue. He felt that, given the other important issues facing the City, such as water line replacements, this expenditure of public funds was wasteful.

Saunders was also concerned that if this were to proceed to the Circuit Court, that the cost could, possibly, double.

Council Member F. Woodrow Harris (District 4) questioned who had authorized Mayor Person to contact an outside attorney and accused the Mayor of having a “personal vendetta” against Miss Dunn for running against the Mayor.

Council Members Saunders and Harris have championed saving taxpayer funds, both with the issue involving Miss Dunn and with the Transportation System.

Council Member Yolanda Hines (District 7) countered that we are only in the position of calling outside attorneys as the current City Attorney was unable to advise Council on this matter at the Closed Session on the 15th of January. Council Member Hines also asserted that it was important to undo this unlawful appointment, regardless of the cost.

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Gerald Roberson

July 22, 1930 - February 23, 2019


Visitation Services

Owen Funeral Home

303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia 23867


Owen Funeral Home

303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia 23867

Gerald Roberson, 88, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, February 23, 2019. He was preceded in death by a brother, Graham Roberson. Mr. Roberson is survived by his wife, DeEtte Roberson; son, Jerry Allen Roberson (Melissa); daughters, Kippa Hladky (Randy) and Gail Hayner (Terry); grandson, Sammy Fields (Jenny) and sister, Doris Sumerlin.

The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 27 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at Emporia Cemetery.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

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Most Virginians Don’t Want Officials to Resign, Poll Finds

Roger Kent Woodruff


Roger Kent Woodruff

May 23, 1965 - February 17, 2019


Visitation Services

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6:00-8:00 pm

Echols Funeral Home

806 Brunswick Ave., Emporia, Virginia


Friday, February 22, 2019, 2:00 pm

Echols Funeral Home Chapel

806 Brunswick Ave., Emporia, Virginia

Roger Kent Woodruff passed away on February 17, 2019 at the age of 53. He was born on May 23, 1965 in Halifax County, North Carolina. Roger was an equipment operator for Enviva Pellets. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Tabitha Woodruff. He is survived by his father Vasser Lee Woodruff, Jr.  (Linda) of Emporia, mother Phyllis A. Woodruff of Emporia, son Brandon Woodruff (Amber) of Emporia, daughter Tiffany Woodruff of Emporia, brother James Woodruff (Julie) of Emporia, Sisters Gail Seward (Billy) of Emporia and Brenda Murphy (Bryan) of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; along with numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 P.M. Thursday, February 21, 2019 at Echols Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 2 P.M. Friday, February 22, 2019 at Echols Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. John Kinsey officiating. An Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.


Brandon Keith Simmons

May 23, 1989 - February 19, 2019

Visitation Services

Saturday, February 23, 2019, 12:oo Noon

Owen Funeral Home

303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia


Saturday, February 23, 2019, 2:00 pm

Owen Funeral Home

303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia

Brandon Keith Simmons, 29, died Tuesday, February 19, 2019. He is survived by his mother, Kendra Tomlinson (Barry Edwards); his father, Billy Simmons; brothers, Josh Simmons, Jason Simmons, and Christopher Tomlinson; sister, Emily Simmons; paternal grandmother, Grace Clark; a very special cousin and friend, Heather Malone; uncle, Randy Stainback (Melanie) and a number of other uncles and extended family. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, February 23 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends 12 – 2 prior to the service. Interment will be private at First Christian Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad or to a favorite charity. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

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EMPORIA, VA, February 20, 2019 – Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate investment services firm with offices throughout the United States and Canada, today announced the sale of Best Western Emporia, a 99-room hospitality property located in Emporia, Virginia, according to Benjamin Yelm, regional manager of the firm’s Richmond office. The asset sold for $4,311,111.

Prashant Merchant, an investment specialist in Marcus & Millichap’s Richmond office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a limited liability company. Merchant also procured the buyer, a limited liability company.

Best Western Emporia is located at 1100 W Atlantic St in Emporia, Virginia. The 40,432-square-foot hotel was constructed in 1992 on 2.55 acres along Interstate 95.

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Virginia Lawmakers Increase Animal Abuse Penalty to Felony

Assembly OKs Bills to Address Housing and Eviction Issues

Assembly Repeals ‘Jim Crow’ Minimum Wage Exemptions

Virginia Is Deemed 'Ripe' For Berry Growing

VSU to host conference to assist farmers in growing this niche crop

Virginia is not just for lovers, but for berry growers, too, according Dr. Reza Rafie, Virginia State University (VSU) Extension specialist in horticulture. That’s because after conducting extensive research of berry production across central and southside Virginia, Rafie is confident that Virginia’s climate and soil are well suited to grow strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

This is good news for Virginia farmers, because national berry sales have increased in recent years due to growing consumer appreciation for the many health benefits that come from eating these succulent fruits. In fact, with U.S. sales totaling $5.8 million annually, berries are the leading produce category purchased by consumers. And that means Virginia farmers—even those with limited acreage—have an opportunity to tap into this market to gain revenue by helping to meet the growing demand for berries. 

Right now, the Commonwealth lags behind southern neighboring states like North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia in berry production. Berry crops are versatile for industrial use in frozen foods and other value-added products and have the potential to create small enterprises and jobs in rural communities. 

To assist Virginia farmers with starting or growing berries for profit, Rafie is organizing the 11th Annual Virginia Berry Production and Marketing Conference, at which internationally renowned berry researchers will share information about berry production and marketing that will help growers be more profitable. This popular annual event, hosted by Cooperative Extension at VSU, will be held Thursday, March 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Randolph Farm, 4415 River Road, Ettrick. 

Keynote presenter Dr. John R. Clark, a plant breeder and distinguished professor of horticulture at the University Arkansas, will speak on blackberry varieties. Dr. Clark has developed more than 50 varieties of various fruits and has cooperative breeding activities at several locations in the United States, Europe, Mexico, South America and Australia. Dr. Bernadine Strik, a horticulture and Extension berry crops specialist at Oregon State University, will speak about the basics of blueberry production. Berry experts from North Carolina State University, the University of Georgia, Virginia Tech and VSU, will present on insect, disease and weed management. Dr. Theresa Nartea, VSU’s Extension specialist in marketing and agribusiness, will present on marketing berry crops. 

“New and experienced berry growers will not only learn the latest information about berry production, berry health and marketing strategies, they’ll be able to have questions answered by some of the nation’s leading berry experts, and also network with other growers,” Rafie said. 

Registration is $20 per person and includes lunch. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

Persons needing further information or have a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, can contact Mollie Klein at mklein@vsu.edu or call (804) 524-6960 / (800) 828-1120 (TDD) during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. 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.


Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center and the Family YMCA of Emporia – Greensville Partner to Provide FREE Health Fair for Community

Emporia, VA – On Monday, February 25, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) employees will be volunteering their expertise and medical services to the YMCA for a joint health fair from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

SVRMC’s Spencer Feldmann, Jr., MD, will be available for general health questions at an “Ask the Doc” session throughout the event. Dr. Feldmann states, “This is the perfect time to make sure you and your family are in good health and off to a healthy start in the new year.” Nurses and hospital staff will be offering health screenings and have information and refreshments.

YMCA Executive Director Kristin Vaughan explains, “We always see an influx in membership at the beginning of the year, so this is a great opportunity to keep both members engaged and the public aware of the services we provide.” 

The health fair will be inside the YMCA located at 212 Weaver Ave in Emporia in Group Fitness Studio 2. This event is free and open to the public.

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