June 2021

William “Billy” Grimes Rogerson

January 29, 2021 - June 28, 2021

Visitation Services

Wednesday, June 30, 2021, from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

Thursday, July 1, 2021, starting at 11:00 AM

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

William “Billy” Grimes Rogerson, 78, passed away on June 28, 2021. He was a member of Main Street Baptist Church and belonged to the American Legion Group. Billy is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph E. Rogerson, Sr., Glenn Dora Grimes Rogerson, brother, James L. Rogerson. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Judy Rogerson, sons, Shaun Rogerson (Stephanie), Paul Rogerson (Teri), William Beighley, brother, Joseph Rogerson, Jr., sister, Elizabeth R. Bryant, granddaughter, Lily Rogerson, great-grandson, Matthew Kiser, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held at Echols Funeral Home, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

A funeral service will take place at Echols Funeral Home, Thursday, July 1, 2021, starting at 11:00 A.M. with interment to follow at Emporia Cemetery. Dr. Rick Hurst and Rev. Dave Roberts will be officiating.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Governor Northam Commemorates 50th Anniversary of the Virginia Constitution

1971 document replaced regressive constitution in place since 1902 that enshrined segregation, disenfranchisement

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today marked Constitution Day by visiting the Library of Virginia to view original copies of four of Virginia’s Constitutions and commemorate 50 years since the current Virginia Constitution took effect on July 1, 1971. Until 1971, the Virginia Constitution included detailed provisions intended to disenfranchise Black voters and prohibit racially integrated public schools.

In the years after the Civil War, the brief period of Reconstruction was characterized by state and federal laws that expanded the rights and freedoms of citizens. But Virginia leaders re-wrote the state constitution explicitly to restore white supremacy, culminating in the Constitution of 1902 that instituted poll taxes, literacy tests, and other barriers to voting. The Constitution also required segregated schools by prohibiting the teaching of Black and white children in the same school. While some of the most discriminatory provisions of the 1902 Constitution were reversed by federal law or court decisions, it remained in effect in Virginia for most of the 20th century, until voters approved a new constitution in 1971.

“The 50th anniversary of Virginia’s 1971 Constitution is an important opportunity to acknowledge how our Commonwealth has evolved,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia has 400 years of history—good and bad—and it is important that we tell the accurate, honest story of our past. Understanding our full history means learning about these events and the ways they are connected to the present day, so we can work together to build a better future for all Virginians.”

The 1971 Virginia Constitution took important steps to renounce the constitution in place since 1902 by eliminating the poll tax, enshrining a ban on racially segregated schools, providing free public education for every school-aged child, and prohibiting governmental discrimination based on race, color, national origin or sex. 

Work on the 1971 Virginia Constitution began in 1968 when Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. appointed a commission to revise the 1902 document. This action came in response to the momentous social changes of the 1960s, including the passage of the Civil Rights Act and other laws that superseded discriminatory provisions in state constitutions, including that of Virginia.

A.E. Dick Howard, the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of Law at University of Virginia School of Law, served as executive director of the Commission on Constitutional Revision 50 years ago and directed the successful referendum campaign for the ratification of a new constitution.

“Thomas Jefferson famously called for each generation to consider the extent to which a constitution serves the needs of its own time,” said Professor Howard. “In 1971, the revision commission’s purpose was to repudiate the racism of the 1902 constitution, and to put Virginia on a sound and progressive footing. I consider Virginia to have been well served by the commission—they handed us a good constitution, and the proof lies in the fact that it continues to serve the purpose of upholding a democratic government.” 

Virginia adopted its first Constitution on June 29, 1776, declaring the total dissolution of the rule of Great Britain and its monarch over the citizens of the Commonwealth. Virginia also led the nation by adopting the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which later influenced the United States Constitution Bill of Rights. 

Virginians are encouraged to participate in events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Virginia Constitution of 1971. A list of some of those events can be found here

The public can view original copies of Virginia’s Constitutions of 1776, 1869, 1902, and 1971 from June 29 – July 1, 2021 at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.

Governor Northam and Professor Howard viewing original copies of Virginia’s Constitutions at the Library of Virginia.

"Birthday Time"

I heard it on the grapevine
so I know it must be true
yes soon after this month is past
I've another birthday due.
 
It don't seem like a year has past
since I last had one
yet when you get to my age
you soon forget the fun.
 
Now I'm not looking for presents
for I have most all I need
still with my hearty appetite
I know I'll accept feed.
 
Well I spent the day out shopping
for candles for my cake
I want to be prepared
if someone asks to make.
 
Now I do want to have enough
to make a blaze when all are lit
yes and I also need to know the cake size
so on top they all will fit!
 
                         - Roy E. Schepp

USDAReminds Virginia Producers to Complete Crop Acreage Reports

RICHMOND, VA, July 1, 2020 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds Virginia producers to complete crop acreage reportsby the applicable deadline for their county. Acreage reporting dates vary by crop and by county. Contact your FSA county office for a list of acreage reporting deadlines by crop.

“To make sure you’re eligible for many USDA programs, you need to file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said Nivin A. Elgohary, State Executive Director in Virginia. “Our FSA staff is standing by to help you with your acreage reports, including providing maps.”

The following acreage reporting dates are applicable in Virginia:

July 15, 2020 - hay/pasture (acreage not enrolled in NAP), corn, cotton, cover crop, CRP, grain sorghum, peanuts, soybeans, tobacco vegetables (acreage not enrolled in NAP) and cover crops.       

      
Due to the pandemic, FSA has implemented acreage reporting flexibilities. FSA can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings.

FSA county offices in Virginia have provided and will provide maps to producers who have requested along with instructions for completing and returning the maps through either mail, email or through commercially available free and secure online tools such as Box for file sharing and OneSpan for eSignature solutions. After planting is complete, producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email or the Box and OneSpan tools by July 15, 2020.

After completed maps and all acreage reporting information is received, FSA will make software updates and send producers the completed Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) to sign. Producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through [mail, email, or Box] by July 15, 2020.

The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:

  • If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.
  • If a producer has not timely filed an acreage report, the producer may file the acreage report within 30 days of the acreage reporting date. Because of the pandemic, late fees will be waived if filed within the 30 days.

FSA is also providing additional flexibilities for producers to file on acres with failed crops or crops that were prevented from planting because of extreme weather events. For insured crops, producers who timely filed a prevented planted claim with the reinsurance company but filed a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) form after the deadline will be considered timely filed for FSA purposes. For uninsured crops, producers may start a Notice of Loss by calling their FSA county office.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

When producers are working with FSA staff – either in-person or virtually – they can also take care of applications for other FSA programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. A CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to help. The CFAP Call Center can provide service to non-English speaking customers. Customers will select 1 for English and 2 to speak with a Spanish speaking employee. For other languages, customers select 1 and indicate their language to the Call Center staff.

Applications can also be submitted for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus for 2018 and 2019 as well as other disaster assistance programs that may be able to assist producers at this time.

For questions, please call your FSA county office. To locate your local FSA office visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

Governor Northam Awards Grants to Brunswick, Lee, Lunenburg, and Rockingham Counties to Support Innovative Agricultural Projects

Funding to help farmers transitioning from tobacco to vegetable production, explore feasibility of sustainable organic waste disposal

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Brunswick, Lee, Lunenburg, and Rockingham Counties will each receive grants from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund Planning Grant program to support local agriculture initiatives.

“We are pleased to see localities continue to use AFID Planning Grants to further embed agriculture into their current recovery efforts and long-term economic development plans,” said Governor Northam. “Identifying and supporting local initiatives like these that strengthen and diversify Virginia’s agricultural economy is critical to positioning this vital industry for success in the years to come.”

Brunswick and Lunenburg Counties submitted a joint application for $35,000 in AFID funds to help develop architectural and engineering plans for a proposed large-scale produce processing facility. The facility will be operated by Southside Virginia Vegetable Packing, LLC (SVVP) and provide infrastructure that allows the region’s former tobacco producers to transition to vegetable production. Organic and conventional vegetable crops offer former tobacco farmers a stable and growing market opportunity that leverages existing farmland, labor, and production equipment to maintain and expand their operations. SVVP has seen tremendous growth through its existing fruit and vegetable production, aggregation, and distribution, leading to the need for a larger produce processing facility to meet increasing demand. The AFID Planning Grant award will leverage an additional $90,000 in local funds.

Lee County and the surrounding region is also experiencing a shift from tobacco to vegetable production. The $20,000 AFID Planning Grant will be used to fund a feasibility study for locating a produce auction in the county. The AFID award will leverage $20,000 in funding from the county and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to develop a business and marketing plan, identify a suitable site, and create a design for the proposed produce auction facility.

Lastly, Rockingham County is exploring the feasibility of an anaerobic digester to provide the county’s large agriculture and food and beverage manufacturing sectors with a sustainable disposal option for their organic waste streams. Anaerobic digesters are an established technology that accepts organic wastes and processes them into useful soil amendments and fertilizers, while also producing a methane bio-gas that can be used locally or sold back to a gas utility. The $20,000 AFID Planning Grant will be matched with local funds and will explore the financial feasibility of such a facility, available waste streams, potential locations, and ownership structures. 

“Embracing innovation and exploring new opportunities in agriculture is key to the growth and prosperity of rural communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “Congratulations to Lee County, Rockingham County, and Brunswick and Lunenburg Counties for recognizing the importance of our local agriculture industries and supporting local farmers and producers by creating and expanding new markets to maintain and grow their farms.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which administers the AFID Planning Grant program, accepts applications for the program on a rolling basis. Successful applications demonstrate a clear need, a proposed solution, strong support from local government and the agriculture and forestry community, and the ability to provide matching funds. Additional information about the AFID Planning Grant program is available here. Questions about the program and application process should be directed to Jennifer.Perkins@vdacs.virginia.gov.

Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Declares Semi-Annual Dividend

KENBRIDGE, VA, June 28, 2021 - Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based hold­ing company for Benchmark Community Bank, recently announced the declaration of a semi-annual dividend of $0.33 per share to holders of common stock of the company.  This dividend is unchanged from the dividend declared in December of 2020.   

The record date for shareholders entitled to payment of the dividend will be the close of business, 4:00 P.M., on July 5, 2021, with payment to occur by July 31, 2021. 

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

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

"It Isn't Right"

I'm all for helping the poor
if they are in need of feed
yet many go through the free line
that do not have the need.
 
Now this did not just happen
it's been going on too long
I'm surprized if they don't realize
what they are doing is wrong.
 
Many give their time and fare
to help out both day and night
yet to those that take advantage
it simply isn't right.
 
Well I don't know how to change this
though I'm sure there is a way
it isn't fair to the needy
whose food they take away.
 
I do hope that those that read this
will think it over once or twice
yes and then refrain from doing
now wouldn't that be nice?
 
                         - Roy E. Schepp

McEachin Votes to Expand Access to Basic Reproductive Health Care for Women Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted in favor of the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act to expand access to basic reproductive health care for women veterans.  

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) grants all women using civilian health insurance access to basic contraceptive services without a co-pay while activity duty servicemembers also have access to contraception without co-pays through TRICARE. However, the VA still requires co-pays for contraception, denying veterans fair access to these essential services.

“Women veterans make incredible sacrifices and risk their lives in service to our country. They should most assuredly have fair access to basic health care services,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Improved access to reproductive health care leads to better physical and mental health outcomes, which is why I was pleased to vote for this legislation to eliminate burdensome co-pays for servicemembers insured under the VA."

This coverage gap unfairly disadvantages female veterans, who now make up the fastest growing group enrolling in VA health care.  This legislation ensures they receive the same access to contraceptive care as civilian women covered under the ACA and active duty women in the armed forces.

Governor Northam Welcomes Air Force F-22 Training Unit Move to Joint Base Langley-Eustis

Virginia’s congressional delegation and General Assembly members united in support of relocation to Hampton Roads

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today welcomed the decision by the United States Air Force to permanently locate the F-22 Raptor formal training unit (FTU) at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton.

In 2019, Governor Northam joined Virginia’s bipartisan congressional delegation and General Assembly members in urging the Air Force to select Joint Base Langley-Eustis as the new home for the F-22 FTU after it was displaced from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida due to Hurricane Michael.

“We are thrilled to welcome the F-22 Raptor formal training unit to our Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “Home to a significant number of military installations with critical national security missions and operations, there is no place that welcomes service members more warmly than the Hampton Roads region. Langley-Eustis is the right choice, with the ideal environment to achieve the maintenance and supply efficiencies that are critical to successful F-22 squadron training. This move is good for the Air Force and the Langley-Eustis community, and demonstrates that Virginia is best suited to host this mission and the next generation of air dominance fighter aircraft.”

“After years of advocating alongside the Virginia congressional delegation, we’re pleased that the U.S. Air Force has confirmed what we already knew: Hampton Roads is the ideal location to permanently house the F-22 training squadron,” said United States Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force and the Virginia Air National Guard to make sure the relocation process is a smooth one for the service members and their families that will now make the Commonwealth their new home.”

“The United States Air Force has chosen Joint Base Langley-Eustis here in Hampton for the F-22 Flight and Maintenance Formal Training Unit,” said Congressman Bobby Scott. “The Hampton Roads area is vital to our military and national security and we look forward to welcoming these service members to our community.”

“I am proud to welcome the F-22 Flight and Maintenance Formal Training Unit to Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Hampton Roads,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria. “This decision from the Air Force and the Department of Defense sends a strong message about our community’s commitment to active duty personnel, our veterans, and their families.”

The rebasing of the F-22 FTU will include the relocation of more than 31 F-22 and 16 other training aircraft, along with an estimated 700 skilled military and civilian personnel and contractors and approximately 1,600 dependents. The personnel will settle in communities near Joint Base Langley-Eustis to support the unit’s training mission and operations. 

Joint Base Langley-Eustis is home to the Virginia Air National Guard 192nd Fighter Wing, which flies the F-22 Raptors. The Virginia Air Guard has experienced instructors and maintainers to help support the FTU.

“Consolidating the F-22 FTU at Langley-Eustis is the sensible move, and will allow the Air Force greater training opportunities while ensuring that investments in Langley-Eustis and its infrastructure get the use for which they were intended,” said Senator Mamie Locke. “This is important for our region and for the entire Langley-Eustis community.”

“One in 12 Virginians is a veteran, which speaks to the value and welcome we have for our military and its installations,” said Delegate Jeion Ward. “We welcome the F-22 FTU and its airmen to Langley-Eustis and the Hampton Roads community.”

Governor Northam Appoints Eric J. Reynolds as Virginia’s First Children’s Ombudsman

Independent agency is authorized to investigate and resolve issues related to families of children served by state agencies

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the appointment of Eric J. Reynolds as Virginia’s first Director of the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman. The Office was established by the General Assembly and approved by Governor Northam during the 2020 legislative session to serve as a mechanism for reporting concerns about the treatment of children within Virginia’s foster care system.

“The role of the Children’s Ombudsman is to ensure every child in Virginia has a safe and permanent home,” said Governor Northam. “Eric Reynolds is a compassionate leader with extensive experience working in our foster care system and with agencies that serve children—he is the right person for this important position.”

The Office is an independent agency that is authorized to receive complaints and investigate and review actions of the Virginia Department of Social Services, local departments of social services, child-placing agencies, or child-caring institutions. Prior to the creation of this office, the only way for families to file a complaint with a local department of social services was with the agency itself or with the Department of Social Services. It will also monitor and ensure compliance with relevant statutes, rules, and policies pertaining to child protective services and the placement, supervision, treatment, and delivery of care to children in foster care and adoptive homes. The Children’s Ombudsman has the ability to advocate for legislation.

“I am honored to serve in this inaugural role,” said Reynolds. “I was drawn to this position because I know how much of an impact it can make. I look forward to working alongside the Department of Social Services to ensure that the needs of foster care children across Virginia are put first.”

“I was thrilled to champion this legislation creating the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman,” said Delegate Chris Hurt. “The work of the Ombudsman will be a critical step forward in keeping the best interests of the child at the center as complicated decisions are made.”

Reynolds most recently served as Staff Attorney for Court Improvement Programs at the Virginia Supreme Court. Reynolds previously served as Assistant Attorney General in the Division of Health, Education, and Social Services at the Office of the Virginia Attorney General. He also served as legal counsel for the Department of Social Services, Office of Children’s Services, Department of Medical Assistance Service, and Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services. In this role, he provided analysis for agency programs and assisted in drafting proposed legislation and regulation.

As an attorney, Reynolds has represented both parents and children in child welfare cases and family law. Reynolds earned his law degree from the University of Richmond and his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York. Reynolds will assume his role on Friday, June 25, 2021.

“The creation of this office is an important step in our ongoing work to strengthen Virginia’s foster care system,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Daniel Carey, MD, MHCM. “I am confident that Director Reynolds will build an office that improves outcomes and delivers results for children in foster care and their families.”

The Office of the Children’s Ombudsman is headed by the Children’s Ombudsman, who is appointed for a term of four years by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. The Office is required to annually report its activities and findings to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services.

June is National Safety Month

CMH Occupational Health Practice Manager Christy Moseley-Glynn; Stacy Davis, FNP-BC; DeeAnna Forbes, RN; Patient Access Representative Holly Clary.
Not pictured: Donna Overton, LPN and Brandi Lloyd, LPN.

South Hill, VA (6/24/21) – The National Safety Council established June as National Safety Month to prevent injuries and save lives both in the workplace and outside. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) also values safety in every aspect of patient care. Every department touches some aspect of safety.

CMH Occupational Health and Wellness offers employers a way to improve the health of their workers and keep everyone safe. They have a Department of Transportation (DOT)-certified provider on site for DOT/CDL physicals and provide COVID testing swabs in the office. They can even go to business sites with certain services, depending on the number of employees, staff availability and business location.

More than 5,000 workers died in the U.S. on the job in 2019 and about 20 percent of these were in the construction industry. The most common OSHA violations in 2020 were fall protections, hazard communications, respiratory protections, scaffolding requirements, ladder construction, hazardous energy control, powered industrial trucks, eye and face protection, and machinery guarding.

Setting up regular physicals and drug testing can save a company by preventing accidents, reducing health care and workers’ compensation costs, decreasing lost work time from being sick, and making employees more productive and motivated.

Practice Manager Christy Moseley-Glynn said, “We are a one-stop shop for local businesses to keep them going and keep their workers employed. They can save up to 25 percent as compared to going the traditional route of primary care providers because we are able to offer bundled savings.”

Stacy Davis, FNP-BC, explained, “Just this week I caught a vision problem and was able to refer the patient to a specialist for follow up. I also find undiagnosed diabetes and high blood pressure that will lead to complications if not treated.” 

How does it work? Call (434) 774-2541 to discuss the type of service that best fits your unique situation and the service rate applicable for each team member you refer to them. They do not accept health insurance, however, they invoice on a monthly basis.

CMH Occupational Health currently works with more than 140 businesses, 80 percent of which are local. Some national chains in the trucking industry use them when drivers happen to be in the area and get a traffic ticket or called for a drug test.

Kristine Martin, Benefits Administrator with Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, has been using CMH Occupational Health for five years.

“Our Wellness and Safety Programs are instilled in our culture at MEC as well as in our EMPOWER Broadband subsidiary,” Kristine said. “It’s how we operate our business and honor our commitment to our members and customers.”

They invite CMH Occupational Health to their facilities several times throughout the year to provide updated information and education services to help keep staff healthy.

“Our relationship with CMH allows us to keep updated with ongoing, fast-paced health and wellness initiatives to continually improve our Wellness Program here,” she added.

For more information on their services visit VCU-CMH.org and click on Occupational Health or call (434) 774-2541. Stay safe out there!

Governor Northam Announces Over $11.1 Million in GO Virginia Grants

Funding will support workforce and site development, infrastructure, entrepreneurial ecosystems

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced an allocation of more than $11.1 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants to help advance economic recovery efforts across the Commonwealth. This funding will support 20 projects focused on expanding workforce development and talent pipelines in key industries, growing startup businesses and entrepreneurial ecosystems, and increasing Virginia’s business-ready sites portfolio.

“The targeted support that GO Virginia provides is critical to ensuring communities across our Commonwealth are well positioned to succeed in a post-pandemic economy,” said Governor Northam. “These projects demonstrate how regional collaboration can drive innovation and deliver positive economic results, including diversifying our workforce, supporting entrepreneurs, and upgrading our infrastructure.”

Included in this round of GO Virginia funding is one statewide project, 16 regional projects, and three projects through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program. The awarded projects will leverage an additional $7.1 million in local and other non-state resources.

“The regional approach of GO Virginia continues to spur creative economic development strategies throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These projects will support regional priorities and help communities achieve economic growth goals now and in the future.”

“The collaboration inspired by GO Virginia is evident in these projects,” said Nancy Howell Agee, who was elected to serve as Chair of the GO Virginia Board at the June 15th meeting. “It is important to recognize the leadership of the GO Virginia regional councils and the localities partnering on these important initiatives and acknowledge their continued efforts to build stronger regional economies that provide quality job opportunities for Virginians.”

Since the program’s inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 182 projects and awarded approximately $68 million to support regional economic development efforts. To learn more about the GO Virginia Program, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/gova.

2021 ROUND TWO STATEWIDE GRANT AWARDS

Cybersecurity Job Creation System | $1,450,000
Region 5 (lead): Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach
Region 7: Fairfax County
Regions 3, 4, 6

Old Dominion University Research Foundation will develop and deliver a cost-effective, cloud-based compliance system to help Virginia’s Department of Defense contractors achieve Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) accreditation. A NIST 800-171/CMMC education program will be developed and delivered by Old Dominion University, Eastern Shore Community College, and as part of the four VA-affiliated universities and participating community colleges.
 

2021 ROUND TWO REGIONAL GRANT AWARDS

Southwest Virginia Regional Ecosystem Initiative Implementation | $290,850
Region 1: Cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton and the town of St. Paul

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is partnering with SWVA Startup and Opportunity SWVA to increase the number of entrepreneurs in the region by 2027 and ensure they have access to a robust ecosystem, including support for existing, early-stage businesses. The multi-prong strategy includes hiring a regional ecosystem builder, implementing a virtual accelerator program, and focusing on increased outreach and programming to develop a more diverse entrepreneurship community.

Project Fuse | $70,000
Region 1: Counties of Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise, and the city of Norton

Project Fuse will develop an action-oriented plan with business retention and recruitment tools for local economic developers to promote telework employment strategies in the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority territory. This project supports the needs of companies and economic developers looking to expand the use of teleworking strategies as well as residents interested in remote employment opportunities.

Project Thoroughbred | $100,000
Region 1: Counties of Lee and Scott

Project Thoroughbred will add capacity to the maximum output farmers can produce, strengthen market confidence in the region’s ability to meet quality specifications, diversify products, and take the first step toward creating jobs for graduates of the Mountain Empire Community College’s Grain Management Program. 

Dearing Ford Industrial Park | $506,000
Region 2: Campbell County and the town of Altavista

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance will manage a project to extend gas service to the Dearing Ford Industrial Park and the adjacent publicly-owned development parcels. This project will create the only gas-serviced site in the Lynchburg sub-region and significantly increase the marketability of the sites.

Helping Local Employers Prepare the Existing and Future Workforce for Industry 4.0 | $45,360
Region 2: Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the town of Vinton

The Learning Factory in Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center, will address the need for trained talent in Industry 4.0 technology skills in the region and increase competitiveness for manufacturers. The project will convene employers and stakeholders to help identify areas of needed growth in Industry 4.0 such as necessary new technology, skill gaps among the current and future workforce, areas of potential collaboration and others. 

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope | $97,740
Region 2: Amherst County and the city of Lynchburg

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope will develop a Playbook for Future Centers to provide a programmatic guide of its existing Future Centers model that will focus on in-demand careers in the region’s targeted industries of manufacturing, information technology, and life sciences. The playbook will guide the operations and sustainability of the Future Centers model, a template for hiring a director of each Future Center, and a professional development and training module for effective Future Centers. 

Building a Regional Health Sciences Talent Pipeline | $100,000
Region 2: Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the town of Vinton

The project will establish the Blue Ridge Partnership for Health Science Careers to work as a consortium with public institutions and private employers, helping them to more systematically collaborate to leverage resources and align curriculum with employers’ future growth strategies. This project will accelerate the development of a new model for widespread business-education collaboration, increase the number of health and life science graduates, and begin to formalize a health science talent pipeline focused on engineering, cybersecurity, mechatronics, and the broader life sciences trade sector.

Minority Small Business Launch Center at Virginia State University | $453,000
Region 4: Counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Henrico, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex and the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond

The Division of Research and Economic Development and the Center for Entrepreneurship at Virginia State University will create a Minority Small Business Launch Center that will provide a comprehensive suite of services for minority business founders and early-stage businesses. Funding will support the creation of 90 jobs and 40 new businesses.

Virginia’s Gateway Region Sites | $1,634,407
Region 4: Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, and Powhatan and the city of Petersburg

Virginia’s Gateway Region will advance site readiness in Region 4 by three-fold, elevating 15 sites (totaling 1,652 acres) to Tier 4 on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Business Ready Sites Program. This effort will promote the availability of shovel-ready sites to prospective businesses, which will in turn help to create higher-paying jobs in the region.

Sussex County Water Study | $96,000
Region 4: Counties of Isle of Wight, Sussex, and Surry

Virginia’s Gateway Region will facilitate a preliminary engineering report for the evaluation of water supply alternatives to serve a 1,000-acre development site in Sussex County. Funding will support the expanded marketability of the site by identifying strategies to provide additional water capacity.

Campus 757 | $500,000
Region 5: Cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth 

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council will create an initiative to increase the percentage of college students who stay and work full time in Hampton Roads. The project aims to assist up to 400 companies and connect 700 to 1,500 students with employment opportunities. 

757 Collab | $2,415,573
Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk

757 Collab, an ongoing venture of 757 Accelerate, 757 Startup Studios, and 757 Angels, will continue building and delivering new innovation and entrepreneurship programming, capacity, and services to early-stage companies by bringing together an accelerator, private capital, collaborative space, and community outreach programs. 

Establishing a Regional Internet of Things Accelerator Program in the Rappahannock Regional Entrepreneur Ecosystem | $215,000
Region 6: Counties of King George and Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg

Stafford County and partnering localities will collaborate with the Center for Innovative Technology to expand entrepreneurial programs in the Rappahannock Region. Programs will also support the technology-based Virginia Smart Community Testbed in Stafford and provide entrepreneurs with access to the proven Regional Internet of Things Accelerator Program and additional community-focused programming.

Northern Virginia Community College Dual Enrollment Expansion Program for Information and Engineering Technology | $1,106,777
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park

Northern Virginia Community College, in conjunction with multiple partners, will implement the Dual Enrollment Expansion Program for Information and Engineering Technology (DEEP-IET) to develop regional workforce capacity in IET, specifically targeting information technology and engineering technology. The DEEP-IET approach will target successful student outcomes with multiple touch points on the STEM talent pipeline and will result in 288 additional graduates, 96 new internships, and expand the number of certified dual enrollment teachers in the region.

Innovation Forward | $100,000
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park

The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance will undergo a strategic planning process to determine the best approaches to organization and management, budgeting and funding, staffing, policy development, business development activities, and brand development. This project will ultimately develop regional capacity and leverage combined assets to grow and diversify the regional economy.

Accelerating Regionally Significant Sites | $786,333
Region 9: Counties of Culpeper and Louisa

The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development will elevate one 700-acre site to Tier 4 on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Site Characterization scale and enhance the marketability of a 266-acre Tier 4 site by completing water and sewer engineering studies for the sites. The project will benefit the region by increasing the number of shovel-ready sites and supporting economic development efforts that will increase the business tax base and create high-paying jobs.
 

2021 ROUND TWO ECONOMIC RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY STATEWIDE GRANT

Expansion of Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program Mentor Network | $882,794
Region 7 (lead): Counties of Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax
Region 2, 4, 5, 6 

George Mason University will expand the statewide network of Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program mentors, who will support startups and early-stage companies. Services will include assistance with developing strategic plans and accessing funding and grants through a new regional hub service network.
 

2021 ROUND TWO ECONOMIC RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY REGIONAL GRANTS

The Future of Workforce Development Outreach | $148,689
Region 9: Counties of Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, and Nelson

Virginia Career Works – Piedmont will address newly identified service equity gaps by providing targeted assistance to displaced workers who do not have access to a career center or high-speed internet. They will create face-to-face support for job seekers and increase access to training and employment opportunities.

Accelerate 2022 | $100,000
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the city of Fairfax

Refraction Inc., in partnership with George Mason University, will launch Accelerate 2022, a high-profile, multiday showcase and pitch competition that will bring investors from across the United States to fund Northern Virginia startups and high-growth companies. The project will address the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on raising critical capital, which will lead to more than 100 high-paying jobs and $16 million in follow-on funding within five years.

McEachin Helps Pass Legislation to Protect Older American Workers from Age Discrimination

Washington, D.C. - Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) helped pass the bipartisan, bicameral Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. The bill aims to increase anti-discrimination protections for older workers and empower them to hold their employers accountable for unfair practices.

The Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. weakened protections against age discrimination. Its ruling mandated that plaintiffs of age discrimination demonstrate age was the sole motivating factor for the employer’s action.

“All Americans should be equally protected under the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's 2009 ruling undermined protections against age discrimination,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “At a time when Americans are working more and longer than they ever have, we must ensure older workers are protected and provide them with a form of recourse in instances of discrimination. The Protecting Older Works Against Discrimination Act will reduce the burden of proof for age discrimination cases and align it with similar standards for other discrimination claims.”

Reports of age discrimination have increased in recent years. According to a 2018 poll conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons, three in five workers over the age of 45 had seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also seen an increase in complaints of age discrimination. In 2000, there were roughly 16,000 complaints of age discrimination, while in 2017, age discrimination complaints exceeded 20,000.

Read more on H.R. 2062, Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act here.

Experiences with Extension and Virginia State University prepared alumna for key post at USDA

This wasn’t the original path for Jewel Bronaugh. She didn’t intend to become the deputy secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture and the first Black woman to hold the position. 

An educator by trade, Bronaugh instead wanted to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become a teacher. She wanted to work with people and help them achieve success in the classroom. 

But instead of following their path – she forged her own. Now, she’s not only helping youth achieve success, she helping the entire country.

On May 13, the former dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University and 4-H youth development specialist was confirmed as the deputy secretary of the USDA after being nominated in January by then President-Elect Joe Biden.

“I fully understand the historic nature of this confirmation, along with the responsibilities of my service in this role,” Bronaugh said. “I join thousands of dedicated civil servants at the USDA who work in every state and 100 countries around the world. I know from experience how their work touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. I value their work and identify with their selfless commitment.”

The former commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will face her biggest hurdle yet when she becomes second-in-command at the USDA.

But her roots in Virginia Cooperative Extension and at Virginia Tech’s partner land-grant institution, Virginia State University, helped her prepare to handle everything that awaits in the road ahead.

“Dr. Bronaugh has done exceptional work for the commonwealth, and we have no doubt that she will continue to do so at the federal level. We look forward to working with her and USDA as we address our country’s agricultural, nutritional, and infrastructure needs.” 

—Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine

Land-grants and leadership

Virginia’s land-grant institutions exist to give higher education opportunities to people who otherwise would not have had that chance. It’s the outreach arm that disseminates knowledge to the people. 

“These institutions took a chance on me before I even believed in myself,” said Bronaugh, who earned her doctorate from the Virginia Tech School of Education in 2000. “They gave me the chance to become an administrator. Where would I be without Extension, Virginia State, and Virginia Tech? I have no idea. They’re the ones that pushed me forward and let me stand on their shoulders.”

The Petersburg, Virginia, native got that start when she returned to the commonwealth to be closer to her family after teaching at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. An opening for a 4-H youth development specialist job caught her eye. She had taught high school before, so she knew what it was like to work with youth.

“4-H is an incredible organization for youth that is focused on how to empower young people to become leaders,” Bronaugh said. “From my involvement in 4-H and 4-H camp, there are so many people I know who are successful because of 4-H.”

Ed Jones, the director of Virginia Cooperative Extension, has worked with Bronaugh since she was an Extension specialist. The two continued to collaborate as she rose through the ranks at Virginia State University, Extension’s partner institution. Jones said a large part of the excellent working relationship between the two universities can be traced back to Bronaugh’s tenure as dean of the VSU College of Agriculture. 

“Jewel does not have a big ego, so people warm to her easily, and consequently she can build meaningful and lasting partnerships,” Jones said. “Her style is very authentic and that gives people the space to trust her and know their trust won’t be betrayed.”

Jones said these traits, along with her willingness to listen, make her an excellent leader.

“The value of listening as a leader is incredibly important, and Jewel does it extremely well,” Jones said. “If you are not listening you are not taking in additional perspectives that can help you make decisions better. Leaders who do not listen only hear themselves.”

Throughout Bronaugh’s roles, she has maintained her passion for the people, said M. Ray McKinnie, dean of Virginia State’s College of Agriculture and 1890 administrator.

“To me, her greatest ability is that she understands that there’s a person at the other end of the policy, programs, and program development,” McKinnie said. “We build programs and we design things, but they impact people. She's never forgotten that.”

“As dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University, Dr. Bronaugh inspired many first-generation college students from rural communities to become outstanding leaders in their fields. That is understandable considering her positive, uplifting nature. She speaks respectfully of producers and rural Americans and believes that as a public servant, her job is to find a way to help those who need it. I look forward to working with Dr. Bronaugh to ensure USDA lives up to its calling as the People’s Department, to be a department that serves all people equally and fairly.”

— USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

Richard Booker, a retired Extension Specialist and assistant administrator for Extension at Virginia State University, worked with her at the university and helped mentor her.

“Jewel has always been significantly concerned about the programing, methodology, involvement, and the results of programing for our clientele, especially the communities of the minority and underserved,” Booker said. “She had a genuine concern for the diversification of small farmers in their production techniques and crops.”

Alan Grant, dean of the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, served on the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services board with Bronaugh when she ran the board meetings. 

“I’m always so impressed by her leadership style, and I think she is so effective because of her strong interpersonal skills,” Grant said. 

He also said her strong belief in the land-grant system and its inherent ethos of service has been a guiding light throughout her career. 

“I think that those of us who work at land-grant universities are serving society, and that is something that has been part of Jewel’s career,” he said. “I think that the land-grant university experience prepares people well if they want to go work in government because it is all about service. This is a core part of who Jewel is and is one of the many reasons she’s going to excel in this new role.”

An open ear for farmers

Bronaugh honed her leadership skills during the statewide travels with farmers as both an Extension specialist and dean of Virginia State’s College of Agriculture and 1890 administrator. 

During some of these travels, she saw the heart and soul of Virginia’s producers firsthand, and she got to know Robert Mills, who is the 2017 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year, a former member of Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors, and graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

At a Farm Bureau convention in Hot Springs, Virginia, Mills opened up to Bronaugh – who was then the commissioner of the VDACAS – about the mental state of farmers in Virginia. It’s a difficult topic that few people want to talk about.

This was at a time where prices were depressed. The economy wasn’t great. There was a constant stream of farms that were going up for foreclosure. The suicide rate of farmers was high.

“We sat down at the couch there in a little atrium room and I poured my heart out to her,” Mills said. “Her response to what I told her about the folks that I love so much here in Virginia was from the heart. It was overwhelming in the sense that she took what I told her, ran with it, and started a farm stress task force.”

Bronaugh’s ability to listen to farmers has led to an increased focus on the vital topic.

Coinciding with the new task force, Virginia Cooperative Extension and professional agency partners conduct and go through training on how to identify critical mental health needs of farmers and farm family members in their communities. This includes agents having much-needed tools for talking to and providing referrals for farmers and family members who may need professional support and health care interventions.

“Sometimes it's sitting down or standing across from a farmer and seeing them cry. Sometimes it's been out of frustration. Sometimes it's been out of joy. They are honest in what they share with me and the help that they need to continue to make the contributions to their communities and their families,” Bronaugh said. “It moves me, and it’s what motivates me to do the work that I do. The decisions that we make impact someone’s life.”

To this end, Bronaugh helped create the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund and Program, a statewide program that aims for equity and justice in underserved food systems in the commonwealth.

Because of her ability to listen to the needs of farmers, they love her, said Rosalyn Dance, a former member of the Virginia Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates.

“She wants to hear what farmers have to say and to find a solution,” Dance said. “That’s why they trust her. They can’t be anything but happy to know that someone they know and who is genuinely concerned with their issues is at the USDA.”

An inspiration for those to come  

In a voice vote, the United States Senate confirmed Bronaugh in May, officially making her the first Black woman and woman of color to serve as the USDA’s deputy secretary and a role model for many.

Bronaugh said she understands the responsibilities that come with a position of this magnitude.

“My job is to represent all people who are clients of the USDA,” Bronaugh said. “But I do understand that my role as a woman and my role as an African American can require me to speak up for people who may feel that they have suffered systemic racism and discrimination. I have a role to play in being a voice and in sharing a perspective, if necessary. I realize that this is part of the responsibility of who I am and what people see in me in this role.”

Through all of her positions and roles in agriculture, Bronaugh continues to be a trailblazer. 

“As the first in Virginia to be a woman, minority and Black in holding the positions that she has held, Jewel should and will continue to be a role-model for African Americans, especially females, and women of all backgrounds,” Booker said.

Dance, who has known Bronaugh since childhood, knows the caliber of her character.  

“She hasn’t changed over the years,” Dance recalled of Bronaugh’s willingness to work hard and the dedication to her family. “She’s done everything the right way. Her confirmation is a promise to African American girls that they too can excel and can reach the highest levels of government in the United States.”

In her new role, Bronaugh will rely on the experiences she had at Virginia State University, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia 4-H, and Virginia Tech in working for all farmers, producers, and rural communities that rely on the USDA. Virginians saw what she can do. Now the United States has this opportunity.

“Jewel’s confirmation is great for Virginia, great for the country, and great for farmers,” Mills said.

VDH Announces Nearly 150 Pharmacies Will Expand Hours for COVID-19 Vaccination as part of the National Vaccine Month of Action

(Richmond, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that five pharmacy partners will expand their hours on certain days through July 4 to provide COVID-19 vaccination as part of the National Vaccine Month of Action, a collaborative effort led by the White House that includes businesses, national organizations and community-based partners working together to promote vaccination.

“Pharmacies have been critical to helping us vaccinate our community,” said Dr. Stephanie Wheawhill, Director of the Division of Pharmacy Services. “They are Virginia’s trusted messengers who assist people in making informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Currently, at least 70 percent of adults in Virginia have been vaccinated with at least one dose. The extended pharmacy hours will provide approximately 2,235 additional hours of vaccination availability, especially on Friday evenings, for those who may have difficulty getting vaccinated during normal pharmacy hours. Over 147 pharmacy locations across the state will extend their hours on certain days through July 4. Participating pharmacy partners include Albertsons, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and independent pharmacies.

Anyone age 12 or older can find vaccination clinics near them by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Pharmacies are included through the link to Vaccines.gov.

McEachin Announces Crucial Funding for the Virginia Department of Health

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced two grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Virginia Department of Health totaling $823,410. A grant for $223,410 aims to improve access to rural health offices in Virginia, and the other is a $600,000 grant for stroke prevention medical care.

“These two grants help us address critical health-related needs in our district. Every Virginian must have access to affordable, quality health care. Unfortunately, residents in rural communities commonly face difficulties accessing care. The grant funding for rural health offices can help address these challenges and promote better health outcomes,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in Virginia, killing about 3,300 Virginians annually. Tragically, every fifty minutes a Virginian suffers a stroke. These funds will provide much-needed resources to aid in the prevention of this deadly disease.”

Tamera “Tammy” Newsome Jarratt

August 18, 1968-June 17, 2021

Visitation Services

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 2:30 PM

Greensville Memorial Cemetery
1250 Skippers Road
Emporia, Virginia

Tamera “Tammy” Newsome Jarratt, 52, passed away Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Tammy was born August 18, 1968, in Emporia, Virginia. She graduated from Greensville County High School in 1986. She continued her education at Halifax Community College where she earned an associate degree in Business. Later, she pursued her interest in the dental field and received her Dental Assistant certification. She spent most of her career as a Dental Assistant and Dental Coordinator within the Virginia Department of Corrections to include Greensville Correctional Center, Lawrenceville Correctional Center, and most recently, Sussex II State Prison.

Tammy was preceded in death by her parents, Elsie Padgett, and Thomas P. Newsome.

She is survived by her loving children; Brooklyn N. Jarratt of Urbanna, Kayla L. Jarratt, and Austin C. Jarratt, both of Emporia; four grandchildren; Lailah and Rilee Baylor, of Urbanna, and Dakota and Daxton Ferguson, of Emporia. She will also be remembered by her aunts, uncle, cousins, coworkers, and friends.

Family will receive friends at Echols Funeral Home on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM with a graveside following at 2:30 PM at Greensville Memorial Cemetery.

Online Condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Greensville County Public Schools Summer Feeding Program Schedule

 

Greensville County Public Schools is participating in the 2021 Summer Food Service Program.  Meals will be provided to all children without charge.  Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities, andthere will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. 

Meals will be provided, at a first come, first serve basis at the sites and times as follows:

                        Location                                                          Days of Service

Greensville Elementary School

1011 Sussex Drive, Emporia, VA 23847

July 6 –July 29 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 8 am– 8:30 am; Lunch 10:35 am–12:00 pm

E W Wyatt Middle School

206 Slagle’s Lake Road, Emporia, VA 23847

July 6 –July 29 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 9 am-9:30 am; Lunch 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Greensville County High School

403 Harding Street, Emporia, VA 23847

June 28 –July 22 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 9 am–9:15 am; Lunch 11:15 am – 12:05 pm

Care Kids

345 Halifax Street, Emporia, VA 23847

June 28 –July 29 Monday – Thursday

Lunch 12:00 pm  – 12:30 pm

June 28 –August 27 Monday – Friday

Snack 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Reese Village Apartments

311 Bond Court, Emporia, VA 23847

July 6-August 26 Monday - Thursday

Snack 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Top Hand Foundation

206 W Atlantic Street, Emporia, VA 23847

June 21 –August 12 Monday – Thursday

Breakfast 9 am–9:30 am; Snack 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Weaver Manor

216 Meherrin Lane, Emporia, VA 23847

July 6-August 26 Monday - Thursday

Snack 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

There will be no bus delivery for summer meals. Families are encouraged to visit a school site for meals.

All sites will be closed July 5, 2021.

For more information about Summer Meals, please contact MaRendia Garner at 434-634-2863.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded byUSDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA  through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other thanEnglish.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form,  (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or  write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a  copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDAby:

(1)        mail: U.S. Department ofAgriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights  1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C.20250-9410;

(2)         fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)         email:program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunityprovider.

“For You Dad”

My fathers up in heaven
though I remember him each day
yes it was many years ago
the lord took him away.
 
Yes to me he was quite special
for I was the youngest son
he played with me when able
until the day was done.
 
Now he taught me to show respect
and care for one and all
yes my dad was always there for me
if I should ever call.
 
Well fathers are important
in each and every family
I know the one that I had
made it quite plain to see.
 
We set aside a special day
for fathers every where
now if you still have yours
let him know you care!
 
                         - Roy E. Schepp

McEachin Invites VA-04 Students to Compete in Congressional App Challenge

Richmond, VA – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the start of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge for all middle and high school students in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

The annual competition challenges students to create an original software application. The winner will be eligible to have their app displayed in the U.S. Capitol, featured on the U.S. House of Representatives website, and will be invited to attend the #HouseofCode Capitol Hill reception.

“The annual Congressional App Challenge is an exciting chance for students to harness their STEM-related knowledge and potentially develop the next best app. I have been so impressed with previous competitors’ creativity and command of coding software,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Computer science is a burgeoning industry and continues to present new career opportunities. I encourage all eligible students to enter this year’s competition, and I look forward to seeing your innovative apps.”

The Congressional App Challenge is an opportunity for students to compete against their peers and test their abilities in coding and computer science. The competition provides students with the chance to hone their skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines and begin exploring new industries and potential future career paths.

The Congressional App Challenge is open to all students who reside in or attend school in the Fourth Congressional District. Students may begin pre-registering for the event today on the Congressional App Challenge website. Official launch of the competition begins on June 24th. The deadline to submit an app is November 1st.

More information on the Congressional App Challenge is available on Rep. McEachin’s website.

Roger Clark “Kicky” Epps

July 26, 1951-June 14, 2021

Visitation Services

12 – 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 16

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Rd
Jarratt, Virginia

 

2 p.m. Wednesday, June 16

Zion Baptist Church Cemetery
974 Zion Church Rd
Skippers, Virginia

 

Roger Clark “Kicky” Epps, 69, passed away Monday, June 14, 2021. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Wanda K. Turner and her husband, Wayne and a brother, Larry Epps.

Mr. Epps is survived by his wife, Inetta C. Epps; three daughters, Debbie Blankenship (Jack), Brenda G. Russ (Donald) and Susan A. Liming (Don) and son, Danny Whitby (Donna); grandchildren, Kenneth Russ (Julie), Margaret Russ (Jason), Eric Blankenship (Laura), Tina Turner, Jonathan Whitby, Cliff Whitby (Heather) and Kelly Liming (Jason); great-grandchildren, Makenzie, Nicole, Cameron, Isabella, Jakayla, J.J., Jacob, Jayla, Ryland, Kellan, Ayden and Conner; Two brothers, Wayne Epps (Rhonda) and Donald “Bear” Epps (Norma Jean), two sisters, Carolyn Stainback (Tommy) and Marie Epps and numerous nieces and nephews.

A public viewing will be held 12 – 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 16 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia.

The funeral service will be held graveside 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 16 at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery, 974 Zion Church Rd, Skippers, VA.

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

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s May, 2021, Team Member of the Month

VCU Health CMH CEO Scott Burnette, Foundation Coordinator Rebecca Sontag and Director of Marketing and Development Ken Kurz.

South Hill, VA (6/15/21) – When the only person who does an important job leaves, the hole left behind is difficult to fill. In the case of the Pharmacy Connection vacancy at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH), it took eight months to fill the position. The Pharmacy Connection is the medication assistance program funded by the Virginia Health Care Foundation. During that time, community members with financial challenges continued to get the medications they needed thanks to Rebecca Sontag, CMH Foundation Coordinator.

“Rebecca exhibited an enormous amount of teamwork by stepping up to temporarily take over The Pharmacy Connection duties in addition to her normal Marketing and Foundation role,” said a coworker in the nomination. “She built positive relationships with the patients she served and has trained the new hire to do the job well.”

“Year-end work for both the Foundation and Pharmacy Connection required significant time and effort and Rebecca fulfilled all those requirements and has never complained,” said Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development.

Rebecca was awarded the May Team Member of the Month award for STAR service. STAR stands for Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. She received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of June and a $40 gift card.

She said, “I feel humbled and grateful. It’s nice when people recognize your hard work and show their appreciation for all that you do by nominating you for an award like this.” 

Rebecca has worked at VCU Health CMH for nearly two years. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist and previously worked as a Recreation Therapist and Volunteer Coordinator at The Virginia Home in Richmond for 16 years.

She shared advice for her team members, “I’m a helper and I don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand to anyone that is in need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and if you see someone that is overwhelmed reach out and see if there is anything you can do to lighten their load. Even the smallest gesture of kindness really does go a long way.”

“My passion in life is helping people, particularly those with special needs, and I am always looking for ways to give back, especially to organizations that I love and support their mission,” Rebecca explained.

She serves on the board for Families Embracing Autism Together (FEAT) and is helping them with their work program that promotes the benefits of hiring people with intellectual disabilities and offers job training to those individuals.

Rebecca lives with her husband, Tom, in Mecklenburg County and they have three children, ages 15, four and three. She loves spending time with her family, friends and her sweet dog, Lacey.

Other nominees for May were Mary Alexander, Food and Nutrition; Kristy Fowler, Marketing; and Molly Hatchell, ICU.

Virginia State Police Warn of Phone Scams Targeting Sex Offenders

The Virginia State Police has recently been alerted to an alarming increase in phone scams targeting offenders on the Sex Offender registry. The consistent theme among these scams has been phone fraudsters threatening people into paying large amounts of money in the form of gift cards.

The phone scammers are calling offenders claiming to be a "Virginia State Police Sergeant Johnson/Badge#321" from the Isle of Wight/Smithfield Field Office, claiming there is a warrant for their arrest for failure to provide a DNA sample. The phone fraudster claims that the warrant can be removed for a fee of $6500.00. The fraudster provides instructions on how the payment should be submitted, usually in the form of a gift card from a local business and to provide the DNA sample to 30010 Camp Parkway, Courtland, to avoid further prosecution. 

The scammers will often manipulate caller ID, to make the number appear to come from a nearby police office or local sheriff's office. The prepaid phones that are being used are prepaid cellular phones or spoofed numbers, making their apprehension difficult. 

The Virginia State Police, which oversees the sex offender registry, will NEVER ask for payments to be released from a warrant. Do not give the caller any information and never provide any form of payment. 

If you receive such a call, hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency or the Virginia State Police at questions@vsp.virginia.gov or at (804)674-2467.

(Editor's Note: The last two lines above are true of any scam involving the Virginia State Police, even if you are not on the sex offender registry. The Virginia State Police (nor any other law enforcement agency) will never ask for payment, especially in the form of gift cards, to release you from a warrant. If you ever receive any such call, please contact your local l aw enforcement agency, or the VSP using the contact information provided above.)

 

Local Kids Get Vaccinated in the Fight Against COVID

South Hill, VA (6/14/21) – On Friday, June 4, kids age 12 and older took advantage of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s (VCU Health CMH) last first-dose COVID vaccine clinic. Pfizer is the only vaccine that is approved for ages 12 - 17 at this time. They’ll be able to come back for the second shot, but no more first doses will be given due to the vaccine being widely available now in so many other places.

Alice Wells, of La Crosse, got her first COVID vaccine dose.

Thirteen-year-old Alice Wells, of La Crosse, said, “It felt great to get the shot and not have to worry about catching COVID anymore. My arm was sore for a day, but that’s about it. I’m ready to get back to in-person school and skeet shooting with the 4-H Club in Chase City.”

She lives in a multi-generational family and her family members all got the shot when it first became available to them.

Her father, Robert Wells, said, “Alice is a ‘no-fear’ child and we didn’t have to do any convincing. We are all ready to get back to some sense of normalcy after the year of lockdown.”

Morgan Evans, of South Hill, got her first COVID vaccine dose.

Fourteen-year-old Morgan Evans, of South Hill, said, “I feel good; my arm was sore for about two days. I’ve been doing virtual school so I’m looking forward to going back in the fall and hanging out with my friends.”

Her grandmother, Carolyn House, said, “Morgan is an honor roll student – kids don’t do as well learning on the computer so I know she’s looking forward to bringing up her grades.”

If you still need to get your shot, it’s not too late. See your primary care provider for more information. If you need a primary care provider, call (434) 584-2273 to make an appointment. COVID Vaccines are readily available at local pharmacies and you can check vaccines.gov to find a location near you.

Community College Tuition: A Good Deal and a Great Investment

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

For the fourth year in a row, tuition at Southside Virginia Community College will remain unchanged. The State Board for Community Colleges made the decision by unanimous vote earlier this year. As a result, tuition at Virginia’s community colleges represent an unparalleled value in education.

The tuition rate of $154 per credit hour represents approximately one-third of the comparable cost to attend one of Virginia’s public four-year universities, but the tuition savings is only part of the picture. A host of financial aid options are also available. In fact, according to recent data, 90% of first-time students at SVCC received financial aid. The average annual amount awarded each recipient totaled $5,224.

Sources of financial assistance include Federal Pell Grants, which are available to qualifying students based on financial need. Several statewide initiatives for community college students also help lessen education costs. For example, grants made under the Re-Employing Virginians (REV) program provide assistance to qualifying students who lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Get Skilled, Get a Job, and Get Ahead (G3) program provides funding for Virginians who are seeking training for in-demand careers in fields with high-value wages. The FastForward Credential Program provides funding to cover two-thirds of the cost of attending short-term training programs that prepare students to embark on career pathways in a wide variety of technical fields.

In addition, approximately 250 students each semester receive aid through the SVCC Foundation. These local scholarships support students at a wide range of levels, from moderate help in paying for textbooks and supplies, to major assistance that covers full tuition. Awards are based on diverse criteria, such as program of study, county of residence, year in school, and academic performance. Funding for these scholarships comes from the generosity of alumni, employees, organizations, companies, and others in the region who understand the value of education and training for as many people in our service area as possible.

Long time SVCC board member Lisa Tharpe, and her husband Tim Tharpe of J.R. Tharpe Trucking have an established track record of aiding students in SVCC's Truck Driver Training program. Mrs. Tharpe explains, “The Truck Driver Training Program is a valuable resource to our company. Support of this program and its students is a great investment in our future workforce.”

Ray Thomas of Brunswick Insurance Agency is another benefactor. He says, “My family has a long history of providing scholarship support to Brunswick County students so they can attend SVCC.  My dad, Gene Thomas, was instrumental in setting up the SVCC Foundation, and we understand the value of community college education.”

One thing students at SVCC do not receive is debt. National statistics regarding federal student loan obligations suggest that many college students leave the classroom with staggering amounts of debt. The credit rating agency Experian reported that the aggregate amount of outstanding student debt at the end of 2020 was nearly $1.6 trillion, with an average individual student balance of $38,792. Instead of contributing to this burden, SVCC chooses to help students find sources of funding that do not have to be repaid. As a result, the federal student loan amount encumbered at SVCC by our graduates is $0. That’s right, zero!

I invite you to maximize the benefit of your education dollars. Visit www.southside.edu for links to more information about SVCC’s programs of study, enrollment options, and financial aid availability.  Again, SVCC tuition is a Good Deal and a Great Investment!

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at quentin.johnson@southside.edu.

CITE Certifies State Champion

Southside Virginia Community College’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) recognized Blaise Carter of Palmer Springs for an outstanding performance on the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel Exam. Blaise not only earned a Microsoft Office Specialist Certification in Excel; he was recognized by Microsoft for receiving one of the highest scores in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia in 2020. Presenting the “State Champion'' certificate of accomplishment to Blaise is Microsoft representative Jeremy Satterfield, TechSpark Community Engagement Manager. Blaise is a graduate of Park View High School and SVCC. His future plans are to pursue a career in the information technology field. If you are interested in CITE or furthering your Microsoft Office knowledge and skills, contact Crystal Pendergrass, CITE Program Coordinator, at crystal.pendergrass@southside.edu.

VIRGINIA’S ANNUAL CRIME ANALYSIS REPORT NOW AVAILABLE ON VIRGINIA STATE POLICE WEBSITE

RICHMOND – Virginia’s official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2020, is now available online.  The Crime in Virginia report continues to provide 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.

Violent crime includes the offenses of murder, forcible sex offenses (rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object per the FBI’s updated rape definition), robbery and aggravated assault. Overall, Virginia experienced a 1.9 percent decrease in violent crime offenses compared to 2019. There were 15,713 violent crime offenses reported in 2020 compared to 16,018 violent crime offenses in 2019.

The following 2020 crime figures in Virginia are presented in the report:

  • The number of reported homicides increased from 428 to 528 (23.4%).  Victims and offenders tended to be younger males; 45.1% of homicide victims were men between 18 and 34 and 52.7% of offenders were men between 18 and 34.  Nearly half (49.2%) of all homicides occurred at a residence/home.
  • Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 6% compared to 2019 during which 10,575 motor vehicles were stolen in 10,044 offenses. During 2020, there were 11,209 motor vehicles reported stolen in 10,773 offenses. In 2020, 6,366 motor vehicles were recovered (vehicles may have been stolen prior to 2020).  Of all motor vehicles stolen, 40.2% were taken from the residence/home.  The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $113,993,341.
  • Drug arrests decreased by more than a third (36.7%) with the largest percentage decrease in the under 18 age group (48.6%).  The number of reports of drugs seized decreased for nearly all drug types, especially marijuana (31.7%), due in part to decriminalization of possessing less than 1 ounce of the drug effective July 1, 2020.
  • Burglary decreased 18.4%. Of the 11,413 burglaries and attempted burglaries, more than half (52.2%) took place at night between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., a reverse pattern from 2019 during which 54.8% of burglaries occurred during the day.  Furthermore, 68% occurred at a residence/home, a decrease of 7.3% over the previous year.
  • Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 83% of homicides and 50.4% of robberies. Firearms were used in more than one-third (35.2%) of aggravated assault cases.
  • There were 190 hate crime offenses, involving 193 victims, reported in 2020 representing a 2.7% increase compared to 2019. Two offenses indicated more than one type of bias motivation. Nearly three-fourths (72.8%) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward sexual orientation and religion were next highest (14.4%, 11.8%, respectively). Of all reported bias motivated crime, 77.4% were assault offenses (aggravated assault, simple assault) or destruction/damage/vandalism of property.    

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 sex offenses, 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.

For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 206,609 arrests in 2020 compared to 274,636 arrests in 2019, representing an overall decrease in arrests in Virginia of 24.8%.

Per state mandate, the Virginia Department of 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. 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 are sent to the FBI for incorporation into their annual report, Crime in the United States.

Governor Northam Urges Virginians to Prepare Now for 2021 Hurricane Season

Early predictions indicate active, above-normal Atlantic hurricane season

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam is calling on all Virginians to prepare now for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which starts June 1 and lasts through November 30. The beginning of hurricane season is the ideal time for Virginians learn their risk for inland or coastal flooding, find out which evacuation zone they are in, and develop an emergency plan for their families or businesses.

“Hurricanes and tropical storms can have devastating impacts on every part of our Commonwealth, not just coastal communities,” said Governor Northam. “As the 2021 hurricane season begins, now is the time for all Virginians to prepare for a potential storm by checking your insurance coverage, making an emergency plan, and having a disaster kit ready.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center predicts an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, with a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes, including 3 to 5 major hurricanes. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season had a record-breaking 30 named tropical storms, including 13 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes. Virginia has been prone to many impacts from tropical systems including damaging winds, flooding, and tornadoes. Even storms that start in the lower Atlantic states have the potential to cause significant damage.

“Hurricane preparedness is even more important today, as we have seen an increase in the number and intensity of storms in recent years,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “Together with all of our emergency management and public safety partners across the Commonwealth, we have spent months preparing for hurricane season, and we encourage Virginians to make plans to protect their families and property.”

Virginians are encouraged to review the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which includes information on preparedness, response, and recovery activities in the event of tropical weather, particularly for coastal evacuation areas of the Commonwealth. This year’s guide includes pandemic considerations, recognizing that COVID-19 is still circulating and there are still many unvaccinated individuals, including younger Virginians.

“Disasters and emergencies don’t affect everyone equally and we know that low-income and disadvantaged communities are disproportionately impacted,” said Curtis Brown, State Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “We have made significant progress building equity into Virginia’s emergency management programs and will continue working to support at-risk populations well in advance of any event.”

Before peak storm season gets underway, all Virginians and those visiting the Commonwealth are encouraged to prepare by knowing your risk, purchasing flood insurance or reviewing your policy, and create an emergency plan that includes arrangements for your pets. Learn what to do to protect yourself, your loved ones, your property, and your community by taking these steps:

  • Know your zone. Evacuation may become necessary depending on the track and severity of the storm. Review Virginia’s evacuation zones at KnowYourZoneVA.org. It is important to note that the zone colors have been updated. Users can enter their physical address in the search bar of the website to view and confirm their designated evacuation zone.
  • Complete a family communication plan. Prepare for how you will assemble and communicate with your family and loved ones. Identify meeting locations and anticipate where you will go. Federal Emergency Management Agency guidance on family communications plans is available here.
  • Check your insurance coverage. Remember, there may be a waiting period for a flood insurance policy to become effective, and be aware that not all hurricane-related losses, such as flooding, are covered under traditional policies. Now is the time to review your coverage and contact your insurance agent for any changes. If you are not insured against floods, talk to your insurance agent or visit floodsmart.gov. If you are a renter, now is the time to ensure you have adequate coverage to protect your belongings.
  • Make an emergency kit. Assemble an emergency kit that includes nonperishable food, water, medication, sanitary supplies, radios, extra batteries, and important documents. Learn more about building an emergency supply kit here.
  • Stay informed. Identify where to go for trusted sources of information during emergencies. Check with your local emergency management office to sign up for alerts that go directly to your phone or email. Be sure to monitor local news for watches and warnings in your area and follow directions of local officials. Power outages are always a concern during weather events—make sure you have a battery-operated radio available so you can still receive life-saving alerts.

There are many resources available to assist with hurricane planning efforts. Learn more about preparing your business, your family, and your property against hurricane threats at vaemergency.gov/hurricanes and ready.gov/hurricanes. Additional information about preparing for hurricanes during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

 

Annual Nursing Award Winners at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

On May 12, VCU Health CMH celebrated its 2021 Nursing Award recipients.

South Hill, VA (6/3/21) – On May 12, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) celebrated its 2021 Nursing Award recipients. Hospital employees and family members gathered on the chilly afternoon in the Healing Garden amidst a light rain and honored the legacy of VCU Health CMH nursing professionals by whose namesake the awards were created. Recipients received a certificate, a bouquet of flowers and an engraved award. Attendees celebrated the winners with cupcakes.

Yolanda Sallie, of South Hill, won the Dee McMillan Nurse Partner Award. Yolanda is a Care Partner in Acute Care.

In her nomination, a co-worker wrote, “Yolanda is always willing to help no matter what is asked of her. She is flexible and transitions easily. She treats everyone equally, makes sure that care is ethical and that each patient is treated by her with a non-judgmental, dignified and caring attitude. She is careful to respect everyone while communicating the needs and promoting the well-being of the patient. Yolanda is committed to every patient being cared for and all tasks being completed and goes as far as to help other care partners with their duties to ensure they are completed on shift. She always has a smile and an amazing attitude, which helps establish a positive atmosphere.”

Amy Lacks, LPN, of Kenbridge, earned the Carol Love Practical Nursing Award. Amy is a nurse for CMH Home Health and Hospice.

Her nomination said, “Amy values her relationships with providers, patients, patients’ family members and her fellow team members. As a result, her customer service is always top notch and frequently includes her going above and beyond the duties of her job. She has been witnessed advocating for patients on numerous occasions. Team members and patients feel comfortable and trust her. Many team members have been observed stating that Amy cannot have a day off because ‘they don’t know what they are going to do without her.’ Amy is promoting professional growth by pursing her LPN to RN-BSN. She is the very first LPN at VCU Health CMH to pursue her LPN to RN in this manner and has paved the way for others like her to include institution of a clinical model here at CMH that supports her program requirements.”

Alfreda Brown, RN, BSN, of Boydton, received the Alice Tudor Professional Nursing Award. Alfreda is the Hospice Clinical Coordinator.

Her supervisor said, “Alfreda is a respected leader among her peers and her commitment to excellence can easily be recognized in her day-to-day work. She has fostered relationships with her team members and developed a trust among them that enables her the unique ability to influentially teach and educate. Team members have come to rely on her as a support and have verbalized a sense of security from her commitment to them. I have observed her quickly jump in to see patients when staffing was short, work after hours to support new team members during an emergency admission and juggle the ever-changing world of COVID with a continued smile on her face. During recent ice storms, she tirelessly worked to contact patients and families and ensure that their medical needs were able to be met. She approaches the hard-to-answer questions surrounding terminal illness with an openness and honesty that is appreciated and valued by patients and their loved ones.”

A recording of the awards ceremony can be viewed on YouTube at youtu.be/xRCOjrJUM6g. Congratulations to the winners!

TRAFFIC CRASHES CLAIM 14 LIVES DURING 2021 MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Lack of Seat Belt Usage Continues to Contribute to Lives Lost

RICHMOND – The 2021 Memorial Day weekend not only saw an increase in overall traffic volumes on Virginia’s highways, but also an increase in traffic deaths. Preliminary reports indicate 14 people lost their lives during the four-day, holiday statistical counting period. During the same statistical counting period in 2020, traffic crashes on Virginia highways resulted in eight deaths.

Of the 14 individuals killed this year on Virginia highways, two were riding on motorcycles and eight were not wearing a seat belt. The statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday (May 28) and ended at midnight Monday (May 31).

The fatal crashes occurred in the cities of Richmond and Virginia Beach, and the counties of Botetourt, Bedford, Northampton, Cumberland, Chesterfield, Prince George, Tazewell, Amherst, Fairfax and Albemarle. The two fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in the city of Virginia Beach and Tazewell County.

"I understand that most Virginians have been driving less in the past year. They may be feeling a bit green in the driver seat and their patience may be a bit short,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “But the rules of the road haven’t changed and safety on the roadways should be of paramount concern to everyone. This holiday weekend, as well as the entire year so far, have seen far too many people lose their lives on Virginia’s highways. Speeding, reckless driving and distractions are leading to tragedy. Every one of these actions is a choice, a choice that has left too many families in mourning. In addition, eight people made the choice not to buckle up, a simple action that could have saved their lives and kept a family whole. Virginia State Police urge all Virginia drivers to step up and make safe decisions when they get into their vehicles. You have the opportunity to break this devastating streak.”

This year, the Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. Initiative fell within the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign. During the entire statistical counting period for “Click It or Ticket” and the Memorial Day weekend which ran from 12:01 a.m. May 24 through midnight May 31, Virginia Troopers cited 5,553 speeders and 1,818 reckless drivers and arrested 79 impaired drivers. In addition, 740 individuals were cited for seat belt violations and 281 felony arrests were made. Virginia State Police also assisted 2,302 disabled motorists.

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

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