October 2019

McEachin and Baldwin Re-Introduce Legislation to Make Healthcare More Affordable for Young Adults

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the beginning of the 2020 Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) re-introduced the Advancing Youth Enrollment (AYE) Act to help more young Americans afford healthcare by increasing tax credits and, thereby, reducing coverage costs. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Senate companion.

“It is imperative that young Americans have affordable, comprehensive healthcare,” said Congressman McEachin. “Between soaring housing costs, crushing student debt, and job insecurity, young people often have a hard time affording adequate health insurance. I am re-introducing the AYE Act with Senator Baldwin to reduce healthcare costs so that millions more Americans, including individuals with chronic and pre-existing conditions, will be able to afford the high-quality healthcare plans they need. By incentivizing young adults to participate in the individual marketplace, the AYE Act will not only get more young people covered, but also help older enrollees by stabilizing the marketplaces and reducing premiums for everyone.”

 “More Americans are uninsured today than when President Trump took office and his administration continues to make it harder for people to get the quality, affordable health care coverage they need. My legislation will help reduce health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for young adults and make it easier for them to get quality, affordable health care coverage,” said Senator Baldwin. “As Americans begin signing up for quality health care coverage this week through the Affordable Care Act, we can do more to expand access and lower costs. Making health care more affordable for younger adults with targeted tax credits can help ensure that they sign up for quality coverage, which will help strengthen the Marketplace and help lower costs for all.”

 “Every day, we hear from young people who understand the importance of getting covered to protect themselves and their health, but are struggling to make ends meet. We know that young people are uninsured at higher rates, have lower incomes, and tend to struggle with navigating the complexities of health insurance more than their older counterparts. By making coverage even more affordable for young people, we can improve coverage rates and affordability for the nation’s most uninsured age group. By bringing more young people into the individual market, the AYE Act is a smart solution to improving affordability, and strengthening the ACA for everyone,” said Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director, Young Invincibles.

“The Advancing Youth Enrollment (AYE) Act is smart, badly needed legislation that will help young adults afford the health coverage they need, especially during the crucial years when they are starting families,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO of MomsRising, the online and on-the-ground organization of more than one million mothers and their families. “When adults have health insurance, they can more easily get the preventive, routine and other care they need, which helps them to better care for their children. It is deeply concerning that in both 2017 and 2018, the rate of young adults without health insurance increased. The AYE Act can help reverse that by making health insurance plans more affordable for young people, many of whom are just joining the workforce, have low incomes, and are starting families. We commend Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) for introducing and championing this bill.”

All Americans who buy coverage through an ACA marketplace would ultimately benefit from the AYE Act. This bill would strengthen premium assistance tax credits under the ACA to reduce healthcare costs for Americans under 35, enabling more young people to get covered. Current law caps premiums, as a percentage of income, for low- and middle-income families and individuals who buy health insurance plans through an ACA exchange. The AYE Act would lower those caps by an additional 2.5 percent for those under the age of 30; that reduction would be phased out in 0.5 percent annual increments for those aged 31-34.

With year-after-year increases in marketplace premiums around the country—thanks in large part due to the Trump Administration’s cutting ACA enrollment outreach, shrinking the enrollment window, and repeal of the individual mandate—the AYE Act would help stabilize the marketplace and decrease premiums for everyone.

Support for the legislation includes Young Invincibles, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, MomsRising, Community Catalyst, ACA Consumer Advocacy, Out2Enroll, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Texas, the Hemophilia Federation of America, Black Women's Health Imperative, National Council of Jewish Women, Center for Public Policy Priorities, and ACASignups.net.

Full bill text can be found here.

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Carolyn R. Slagle

October 17, 1943-October 26, 2019


11 a.m. Saturday, November 2

Purdy Baptist Church
186 Smokey Ordinary Road
Emporia, Virginia

Carolyn R. Slagle, 76, of Emporia, passed away Saturday, October 26, 2019. She is survived by her husband, John R. Slagle; daughter, Wendi Dawn Slagle; brothers, Cliff Richardson, Jr. (Gail) and Ronald Richardson (Mary Katherine); sister, Joyce Green (John); six nieces and nephews and seven great-nieces and great nephews. She also leaves behind her beloved pets, Sally and Sam and grand-pets, Molly and Susie.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, November 2 at Purdy Baptist Church where the family will receive friends in the social hall following the service.

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

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Morrison Endorsed by Senator Kaine for Clerk of Circuit Court

From Senator Kaine: "I'm pleased to endorse George E. Morrison for Greensville County and City of Emporia Clerk of Circuit Court. George has extensive experience working across local government and a proven dedication to serving his community through organizations like the Democratic Party of Virginia and the NAACP. The residents of Greensville County and the City of Emporia would be well served by supporting him on November 5."


In Support of Delegate Tyler

Dear Editor,

I am writing this article because it is very important for everyone to know Delegate Roslyn Tyler and the many accomplishments she has forth for and achieved over the last 14 years while representing the 75th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. As a Christian, medical professional and a small business owner, she has had a positive impact on the 75th District constituents and businesses. A respected and experienced public servant, Delegate Tyler has earned a reputation in Richmond for building consensus, making informed decisions and finding common sense solutions. More importantly, she makes sure ALL our voices are heard, democrats, republicans and independents.

Delegate Tyler was appointed by the House Speaker to serve on the Education, Militia Police & Public Safety and the Commerce and Labor Committee’s; in 2018 she was appointed to the House of Appropriations – Budget Committee. She has been a strong advocate for Education, healthcare, Virginia farmers, the logging and forestry industry and the public safety officers and hunting rights. Delegate Tyler serves on the Virginia Rural Center Board of Directors, the Joint Commission on Health, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and a member of the Legislator Sportsmen and Rural Caucus.

Delegate Tyler stood up and carried legislation for the Virginia Education Association (HB 2332) that increased teacher’s salaries at or above the national average resulting in teacher’s receiving their highest pay raise in 15 years. As a member of the House of Appropriations, she was instrumental in increasing the salary for Correctional Officers and Deputy Sheriffs attracting over $11 million to improve infrastructure and create jobs. Delegate Tyler voted for Medicaid expansion providing 400,000 Virginians access to healthcare and affordable prescription drugs. Delegate Tyler successfully led the bi-partisan fight to protect hunting with dogs and sportsmen’s rights which was about to be eliminated in Virginia defeating the proposed law (HB 1900) 48-47 votes. Had she not fought for hunters, hunt clubs would have been forced to close their doors throughout Virginia.

As many of you have read flyers and seen false advertisements (from her opponent) on radio and television about Delegate Tyler visiting France. While serving on the Commerce and Labor Committee, Delegate Tyler was chosen in 2011 to be part of a bi-partisan delegation of Senators, Delegates and business owners to visit France to explore a multi-billion operation requesting to come to Virginia.  This trip was not funded by taxpayer dollars but business owners. Because of Virginia’s bi-partisan delegation approach to attract businesses, Virginia has been rated as the best state in the Nation to do business.

Delegate Tyler continues to work towards creating higher paying jobs and expansion of high-speed internet for homes and businesses in Southside Virginia, as an attempt to keep young graduates in our communities.

On Tuesday, November 5th I urge everyone to vote to re-elect Delegate Roslyn Tyler to the House of Delegates.

Thank you, Mary Beth Washington

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

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~ Herring joins coalition of 23 states in opposing the EPA’s proposed rule that undermines the Clean Water Act and would degrade water quality and infringe on states’ rights ~

RICHMOND (October 22, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring, as part of a 23 state coalition, has filed a comment letter opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule which would unlawfully curtail state authority to protect their waters. In the Clean Water Act, Congress recognized and preserved states’ broad, pre-existing powers to protect their state waters and the EPA has no statutory authority to limit state powers under Section 401 of the Act.

The proposed rule is an unlawful and misguided policy that would degrade water quality and infringe on states’ rights. Consistent with the plain language of the Clean Water Act and the clear legislative intent, the EPA’s acknowledgement of state authority spans three decades and four administrations. The proposed rule is a dramatic departure from the prior agency position and the states demand that the EPA withdraw it.

“Once again, the Trump Administration is trying to undermine the states’ ability to protect their environment, and in this case their water,” said Attorney General Herring. “This proposed rule is not only illegal under the Clean Water Act but it infringes on the states’ authority and it would create dirtier water across the country. I will continue to join my colleagues in standing against the Trump Administration’s unlawful attempts to take power away from the states and especially in such important areas like protecting our environment.”

In the letter, the coalition asserts that the proposed rule conflicts with the Clean Water Act’s language, Congressional intent, and applicable case law interpreting the Clean Water Act’s language. The proposed rule:

  • Unlawfully limits the scope of state certification authority only to certain types of discharges;
  • Illegally restricts state conditions on Section 401 certifications to a narrow set of EPA-approved water quality standards;
  • Purports to authorize federal agencies to illegally disregard state-issued denials and conditions on certification applications; and
  • Unlawfully restricts the timing and scope of state review of certification applications.

 The EPA’s unlawful action is the product of President Trump’s April 2019 Executive Order issued to undermine state authority and not to protect water quality. The proposed rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, because the rule is also contrary to law, arbitrary and capricious, and an abuse of discretion. The rule violates the plain language of the Section 401 and the Clean Water Act. Moreover, the EPA fails to consider any water-quality related factors in its decision, fails to explain why it is changing its position from the prior Section 401 regulations and guidance, and fails to analyze the effects of the proposed rule on the states. Because the rule conflicts with Section 401 and limits state authority, the EPA does not have the authority to issue it.

Attorney General Herring filed the comment letter as part of a coalition including the attorneys general of California, New York, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

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McEachin Announces District Photo Contest

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced a photo contest for residents of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

“We are very excited to announce this opportunity for the people of my district,” said Congressman McEachin. “I know that there are many talented photographers throughout the Fourth District, and I look forward to sharing the beautiful scenes they capture. Selected photographs will be featured on my website, social media, and in my Richmond, Suffolk and Washington, D.C. offices.”

Constituents may enter the contest by emailing their high-quality photos to VA04.projects@mail.house.gov by December 1, 2019. Please include your name and locality of residence. Photos must be submitted by the original photographer. By submitting your photo, you authorize our office to display your photo online and/or in our Washington, D.C., Richmond, V.A., and Suffolk, V.A. offices and waive whatever rights you may have in the photo. Any photo of a minor must be submitted by a parent/guardian of the minor, who agrees by submitting the photo to the same conditions in the previous sentence. Submitting a photo does not guarantee that it will be published.



To the Editor:

Election season is fast approaching in a few weeks and we are less than 20 days to Election Day and a brighter more focused future is at hand!

On behalf of the City of Emporia and Greensville County Democratic Committee I write in full support of the candidacies of Mrs. Belinda D. Astrop for the Greensville County Board of Supervisors in the Zion District (District 1) and Mr. Drexel W. Pierce, Jr. for the Greensville County School Board Nottoway District (District 4). 

Fortunately, for our friends and neighbors in the Zion District, they will have a Board member that will represent them fairly and one which will unequivocally have their best interest at heart!  Rarely do you see a leader step forward and answer the call of her peers that is this well qualified, dedicated and excited…but Belinda Astrop is she!  As a member of our committee she sought our endorsement to run for the Greensville County Board of Supervisors from the Zion District under our banner to bring positive change.  In Belinda’s heartfelt plea seeking our support she clearly understands that the county is at a junction – we either remain idly complacent as the county implodes with ever increasing property taxes, no new major employers being attracted to the area, and schools that can’t attract and keep qualified teachers with decent wages.  OR…the Board of Supervisors and its leaders can seize the moment and address the county’s need for more viable and frequent efforts to incentivize Economic Development efforts to assist the county to grow.  She believes that it is time to insist upon productive intelligent conversations during board meetings about recruiting employers with jobs that can pay a living wage and take proactive steps to recruit developers that are willing to invest in the county.  Additionally, entrepreneurs and small business owners should be encouraged to grow and expand within the county.  When investment is encouraged and nurtured, new jobs are sought and created, the quality of our schools and their performance increases and in turn future generations will return home to seek employment and those recruited to our community will stay and continue to be a part of Greensville County’s future success story!

Mrs. Astropis an ardent supporter for after school and year round recreational opportunities for our children and youth.  She is a firm believer that governments place emphasis on the things which are of the utmost importance to them and for her that emphasis should be greatly shared with the future and hope of our community – our children. 

No less committed to the progress of the County and its school system in particular is Drexel Pierce. As a resident in the Nottoway District Drexel believes that the children inour community deserve the best possible environment to learn and grow in, while gaining a world class education. The safety and mental health of our children is at the forefront of his agenda.

Pierce strongly believes that a child’s educational experience is not just about curriculum, but that in order for them to flourish they must be in the safest, most inclusive atmosphere possible. We have the most capable and caring staff within our district, and they need our support and the proper tools to best serve our children at their maximum capacity. He stands to put our children and the Greensville County Public School faculty/staff first!

Drexel’s educational background and work experience offer a unique and fresh perspective as a school board member. If elected, he plans is to work with parents, teachers and our community to ensure that our students receive the exceptional educational experience they deserve.  When students feel safe, accepted and empowered, they succeed. Pierce states, “Together we can make that possible for every child at GCPS!”  Every Student Matters!  Every VOTE Matters!

There are no better qualified candidates that are well suited to stand and fight for this community and its citizens than Belinda and Drexel!  The two truly understand the needs of the county in both arenas to further the county government and advance its educational quality. 

I ask on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 that their fellow citizens for Astrop in District 1 (Zion) and for Pierce in District 4 (Nottoway) make your way to your respective polling place and cast your votes for Belinda Astrop for Greensville County Board of Supervisors and Drexel Pierce for Greensville County School Board!! The polls open at 6 o’clock in the morning and close at 7 o’clock in the evening – stop by and vote for Positive CHANGES in Greensville County!

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Emporia-Greensville Democrats,

George E. Morrison, III, Chairman

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



~ Herring joins coalition in filing an amicus brief to maintain data collection practices that are critical in combating pay discrimination ~

RICHMOND (October 28, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a nationwide coalition of state attorneys general and government agencies in fighting for equal pay by filing an amicus brief in a lawsuit that would maintain data collection practices that are critical in combating pay discrimination. In 2017, the Trump Administration announced that they would stop collecting pay data from certain private employers that would be used as part of the effort to address the wage gap between men and women and people of different races and ethnicities. In an amicus brief in National Women’s Law Center, et al. v. Office of Management and Budget, et al., Attorney General Herring and his colleagues explain how collecting that information is critical to tackling pay discrimination.

“It is inexcusable that such large gender and racial pay disparities continue to exist,” said Attorney General Herring. “Good data is key to identifying problems and crafting solutions, but instead of embracing the data, the Trump Administration is trying to stifle it. I am proud to stand with my colleagues and continue the fight for equal pay.”

Inequality in earnings between women and men and people of different races and ethnicities has been a widespread, persistent flaw of the American labor market. Although the gender pay gap has been slowly decreasing, in 2018 women still only earned approximately 85 percent of what men earned. Over the last 30 years, Latinos and African-Americans have been estimated to earn around 70 percent of what white men earned over the same period. For women of color, the pay gap has been consistently worse. For instance, in 2015, Latinas earned approximately 58 percent of what white men earned.

Federal law directs the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to work with Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPA) to investigate and resolve claims of employment discrimination. The EEOC relies on pay data to inform its investigation and civil rights enforcement efforts, publish reports on pay disparities to help close the wage gap, and identify trends that help employers better evaluate their pay policies and practices to ensure their compliance with the law. As a result, the agencies’ efforts to address pay discrimination are directly affected by the Trump Administration’s decision to halt the collection of crucial employment data.

If you believe you have been the subject of pay discrimination in Virginia you can file a complaint with Attorney General Herring’s Division of Human Rights:

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Herring joins the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia. The coalition also includes state civil rights agencies including California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Maine Human Rights Commission, Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Nevada Equal Rights Commission, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights, and Washington State Human Rights Commission. Additionally, the coalition includes local civil rights agencies including the Baltimore Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, New York City Commission on Human Rights, and Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

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2018 Report Found Nearly 7,000 Absentee Ballots Mailed Too Late

By Aliviah Jones, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia voters have already returned more absentee ballots in 2019 than in the November 2015 election -- the last time all 140 seats in the General Assembly were up for reelection. In the last few elections there has been an uptick in absentee ballots, but not all returned ballots are counted.

A Virginia Department of Elections 2018 post-election report found that 6,771 absentee votes did not count in the 2018 election because they were returned to the registrar's office after Election Day. Eleven were returned late in person and 6,760 were mailed late.

The VDE lists 2018 official absentee ballot counts as 287,763.

The VDE said in the same report that they would “work with general registrars in an attempt to determine if there are patterns that exist preventing the timely return of ballots.”

Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day, or Nov. 5, in order to count. The only exception, according to Andrea Gaines, VDE director of community relations and compliance support, is if voters are overseas or in the military.

The return date is listed on the absentee ballot application, but not the ballot itself, according to Gaines.
“There is no return date on the ballot itself,” she said. “When a voter receives an absentee ballot, they also receive instructions on how to properly cast that ballot in a manner in which it will be counted.” 

When asked how VDE worked with registrars to determine patterns preventing the timely return of ballots, per the 2018 report, Gaines said: "Our mission is to provide voters with the information and resources necessary to successfully cast their votes."

Zareen Farhad, a 19-year-old student at Virginia Commonwealth University, said she is voting absentee this upcoming election because she can’t make it back to Northern Virginia. Farhad said she has voted absentee three times and that the instructions on the ballot are sufficient, but that the VDE website could clarify when the ballot is due.

“I think that the Virginia elections website could be a bit more clear about exactly how to vote absentee and when early in-person voting is,” Farhad said.

Grant Fox, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said the organization recently hired a full-time voter protection director to make sure every vote counts and voters are aware of their rights. 

Republican and Democratic candidates have highlighted the option to vote absentee.
John Findlay, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia said “we’re encouraged by the absentee numbers.” 

As of Monday, the unofficial return count for absentee ballots is 73,903, out of 123,459 absentee ballot applications, according to VDE. 

"Using absentee voting is a good indicator of potential turnout, and if you look at previous elections and compare it to today there has been an increase in this election and overall," said VDE commissioner Christopher Piper, in a previous CNS interview.

Stakes are high with all 140 legislative seats up for grabs for this first time since 2015, but also since Donald Trump was elected president. Several Senate districts held by Republicans have leaned blue in recent elections since then, and voters pushed Democrats into the House en masse in 2017. Republicans currently hold a slim majority in both chambers of the legislature.

According to an analysis posted by the Virginia Public Access Project, 54 House districts have already surpassed the number of absentee ballots returned in 2015. Of those, 22 are also key House races determined by a CNS analysis of competitive races, redistricting changes and recent voting trends on Virginia Public Access Project. The top five House districts that have seen over twice the number of return absentee ballots compared to 2015 are:

  • HD 76 – Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, facing Democratic challenger Clinton Jenkins.
  • HD 78 – Del. Jay Leftwich, R-Chesapeake, running unopposed.
  • HD 77 – Del. Cliff Hayes, D-Chesapeake, running unopposed.
  • HD 9 – Democrat Martha Mulger and Republican Colleen Holcomb are running for an open seat in a Republican-held district where Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
  • HD 66 – Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights faces challengers Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman and Independent Linnard Harris Sr. 

Twenty-one Senate districts have also had a higher return in absentee ballots than in 2015. Three of the key senate races identified by CNS have had higher returns this year than 2015. 

Residents who wish to vote absentee must apply for a mailed absentee ballot by 5 p.m. Tuesday through the VDE online citizens portal or their local voter registration office. The deadline to return absentee ballots to registration officers is Election Day at 7 p.m.


Statewide Campaign Focuses on Keeping Youth and Teens Safe on Halloween Night

SALEM, VA—Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) is joining with the Virginia State Police (VSP) and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office to encourage youth and teens to make good choices and celebrate responsibly as part of the statewide Halloween Safety Campaign.  The campaign’s focus is to prevent a tragedy on what is supposed to be a fun night for youth.

Over the next week, schools and youth groups across the Commonwealth are participating in the peer-to-peer campaign by organizing programs and activities to promote safe and responsible celebrations for Halloween. Participating schools will be displaying Halloween safety banners and posters with the message: “Driving Safely is the Trick, Getting Home Safely is the Treat. Buckle Up, Celebrate Without Drugs or Alcohol.” They will also be distributing pledge cards and flashlight key chains, and making announcements before and after school to promote a safe Halloween.

The campaign also provides an opportunity for high school students to talk with students at their local preschool, elementary and middle schools about trick-or-treat safety and being safe pedestrians on Halloween night. The message for younger students will be on buckling up, being seen while trick or treating, and making good choices.

YOVASO staff say irresponsible driving behaviors such as underage drinking and driving as well as texting and driving can be even more deadly on Halloween night when young children are out trick-or-treating on neighborhood streets. Between 2012 and 2016, there were 168 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1).* Approximately 44 percent of all fatalities on Halloween night were crashes involving a drunk driver.*

“It is important for parents and schools to remind teens to drive safely and make good choices when out celebrating this weekend and on Halloween night,” said Mary King, YOVASO Program Manager.  “Poor decisions, such as texting and driving, underage drinking and drug use, speeding, and forgetting to buckle up while out celebrating can ruin what is supposed to be a fun occasion. Driving safely and avoiding distractions becomes even more critical on Halloween night when young children will be trick-or-treating in neighborhoods.”

Here Are Some Suggested Safety Tips for Teens to Follow for a safe Halloween:

  • Avoid driving during “Halloween Rush Hour” from 5:30-9 p.m. when children are trick–or-treating.
  • Drive below the speed limit in residential neighborhoods and use alternate routes when possible.
  • Scan ahead for trick-or-treaters and yield to pedestrians.
  • Use caution around stopped vehicles in neighborhoods and proceed slowly.
  • Drive distraction-free.
  • Celebrate responsibly and resist any peer pressure to celebrate Halloween with alcohol and/or drugs or to drive while impaired—it’s illegal.
  • Do not ride with any drivers who may have used alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Be on the alert for drivers who could be under the influence of something other than sweets.
  • Remember to always buckle up.

Safety Tips for Youth to Follow for a Fun and Safe Halloween:

  • Avoid distractions and leave electronic devices at home while walking or biking
  • Wear reflective clothing
  • Carry a flashlight or glow stick
  • Walk on sidewalks when possible
  • Only trick-or-treat in well-lit neighborhoods
  • Older students should always travel in pairs or large groups and let parents know where you are going
  • Younger students should always trick or treat with a parent or adult supervision
  • Never approach a stranger’s car
  • Make good decisions and avoid any mischief that could ruin a fun night
  • Stay alert and Be Seen on Halloween in case motorists are not watching out for you

More information and safety tips can be found on the YOVASO website: https://www.yovaso.org/halloween-campaign/   

YOVASO is Virginia’s peer‐to‐peer education and prevention program for teen driver and passenger safety. Through YOVASO, teens work to advocate for safer driving among their peers and to develop positive prevention strategies for their schools and communities. The program, which currently has 110 active member schools and youth groups across Virginia, is administered by the Virginia State Police and funded through a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. YOVASO also receives support from State Farm.

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Morrison and King Nominated by Emporia-Greensville Dems

Dear Editor:

The Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee has nominated two outstanding candidates to run in this fall’s General Election!  We have running for Greensville County and the City of Emporia –

George Morrison for Clerk of Circuit Court and Stephen King for Sheriff!

George is the Chairman of our local committee and he brings nearly 28 years of experience in local government in middle and senior management as well as having owned and managed his consulting business.  He is a Silver Life Member of the Greensville Emporia NAACP as well as its Secretary.  Morrison is a lifelong United Methodist and attends Main Street United Methodist where he is a Trustee, At-Large member of Church Council, had served a decade as its Worship Committee Chairperson, is a member of United Methodist Men as well as its Adult Chancel Choir.  Additionally Morrison had been tapped by several Bishops and District Superintendents to serve on both State Church Conference wide and Petersburg and James River District Committees.

As Clerk, Morrison proposes further modernizing the operations of the office while improving the quality of customer service to ALL citizens and customers.  Upon taking office George will reinstate free Notary Public Services to the citizens of Greensville and Emporia.  Additionally, he will seek to select jury pools that accurately reflect the real demographics of our community.  Morrisonwill seek to establish, like other counties and cities across the Commonwealth, an introduction to the necessity and functions of the courts system.  This program will be geared toward our high school seniors as he works with the school system to introduce the functionality of the court and judicial system on a level playing field.

Stephen is a Greensville County native, graduate of Greensville County High School, and meets and exceeds all of the requirements set by the Commonwealth of Virginia to be YOUR next Sheriff of Greensville County and the City of Emporia.   He intends to use his nearly twenty years of extensive corporate management experience, bybringing to the community his analytical, administrative and organizational skills. His ability to achieve goals, objectives, and futuristic; both short and long-term visions will provide a safe, secure, and better quality of life for all citizens of Greensville County.

He is an active member of in both the Democratic Committee as well as the Greensville Emporia NAACP.

Sheriff King WILL maximize crime prevention, take a strong stance against drugs that currently plague our community and establish community outreach for our youth.  In addition, Stephen is a strong believer in Community Policing increasing patrols throughout the county and reestablishing Project Lifesaver and the Triad Program for our seniors and an after school program for our youth. 

Stephen is dedicated to Progressive Change and FIRM but Fair Leadership.  When elected, he is ready to roll up his sleeves and serve our community in a hands-on, collaborative way with RESPECT, INTEGRITY and theINVOLVEMENT you deserve!

Recently, both Morrison and King have been endorsed by United States Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas and Member of the House of Delegates, Lashrecse Aird, and Chairwoman of the Fourth Congressional District Democratic Committee.

Keep Greensville County and the City of Emporia BLUE and vote the Democratic Ticket on November 5th

Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee

George E. Morrison, III, Chairman

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

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Celebration of SVCC’s 50 Years Begins

Photo from the day so many years ago when Bill Steed (Left) met with Dr. Kenneth Dawson to fill out the first application for acceptance into Southside Virginia Community College.

Fifty years ago, a ground-breaking event was held to begin construction of Southside Virginia Community College; a monumental moment in improving educational opportunities to area residents.  In celebration of the anniversary, the college hosted a kick-off event on October 9, 2019 on the Christanna Campus in Alberta to honor and remember the accomplishments of the college, key figures in its’  history and to salute the future

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, the sixth president to serve SVCC, welcomed those in attendance.  He also recognized the contributions of two former presidents, Dr. John J. Cavan and Dr. A. Allison Roberts.  He announced that a tree will be planted in honor of each to include a commemorative plaque recognizing the enormous impact of each on the college’s success. 

Beginning the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Southside Virginia Community College, President Dr. Quentin R. Johnson (Center) honored two past college presidents, Dr. A. Allison Roberts (Left) and Dr. John J. Cavan (Right).  Trees will be planted on the campuses to commemorate their valuable contributions to education in Southside Virginia. 

“It was truly an honor to have our two previous presidents, Dr. Cavan and Dr. Roberts, along with the very first student to apply to SVCC, join us for this historic 50th Anniversary Celebration! We were also honored to have our Local Board along with a host of SVCC faculty, staff, retirees and community supporters in attendance which helped make this celebration extra special!!”

Another honoree was Bill Steed of Warfield who was the first person to complete an application for admission to the college.  He was farming at the time in northern Brunswick County, but since the day was gray and cloudy, he decided to drive to Lawrenceville where the president of the college had an office in the Perkinson building.  With the help of the first President, Dr. Kenneth Dawson, Steed completed his application, was accepted and is a graduate of the SVCC class of 1972.

Bill Steed(Left) of Warfield, Virginia was the very first applicant to Southside Virginia Community College.  He was recognized at the kick-off event for SVCC"s 50th anniversary recently and is shown with his wife, Deborah (Center), also an SVCC graduate, and Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President.  Making it a family affair, the Steed's daughter Tori is also a graduate.

During the year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary, items will be collected for placement in a time capsule to be buried and opened at the 100th Anniversary of the college.  Items will represent the years from 1969 to 2019. 

In 1966, the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation to establish the statewide system of community colleges.  Called the Great Gateway of Opportunity, for the first time, higher education was in easy and affordable reach to Virginians. 

In the 50 years in operation, a grand total of 14,882 students have received diplomas, degrees or certificates from SVCC. 

Dr. Kenneth E. Dawson was the first president hired to plan and conduct the opening of the college to students in 1970.  Since Dr. Dawson (1969 – 1974), the college has been led by some extraordinary men, Dr. Max Wingett (1974 – 1979), Dr. Bryan Brooks (1979 – 1983), Dr. John J. Cavan (1983 – 2014), Dr. A. Allison Roberts (2014 – 2019)a, and now, Dr. Quentin R. Johnson who came on board July 1, 2019. 

The Christanna Campus in Alberta opened for classes in the fall of 1970 and the construction of John H. Daniel Campus followed with classes being offered there in the fall of 1971.  Campus construction stalled until about 1999 when ground was broken for two workforce development centers on each campus.  Bulldozers arrived on the John H. Daniel Campus in 2013 to begin construction of the beautiful Learning Resource Center and in 2020, a new Student Services and Learning Resource Center will open on the Christanna Campus.

The idea of taking the college to the people due to the large service region (about 1,000 square miles smaller than  the state of Connecticut) initiated the establishment of outreach centers.  Campus Without Walls opened in an old bank building in Emporia in 1985, Higher Education Center started in a single-wide trailer in South Boston in 1986 with classes held at the high school, and later, moved into a Lowe’s building and in 2001 to the current Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.  Also in 2001, the first classes were offered at the Estes Community Center in Chase City, the Occupational Technical Building at Pickett Park officially opened in November of 2003 and that same year, the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center opened in South Hill.  The current Emporia facility, Southside Virginia Education Center opened in 2008. 

In the beginning, tuition was $60.00 per quarter for 12 credits or $5.00 per credit and today’s price is $156.50 per credit, which is still very affordable.  Innovative new programs have been added over the years to meet Workforce demands, such as Practical Nursing, the entire two years for Associate Degree Nursing, Truck Driver Training, Power Line Worker, Emergency Medical Technician, Information Technology, Machining, Advanced Technology, and much more, not to mention transfer guarantees to many colleges and universities in the state.

Dr. Johnson notes that the future is bright for SVCC as he leads the college into the next half century -  Panther Pride, Catch It!

Air Max

Emporia Manor Goes Pink for Breast Cance Awarness

The Emporia Manor staff and residents participated in “Pink Out Day” to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Pictured are (front row) Taylor Simmons, (back row, left-right) Janice Randof, Melanie Gosney, Mary Pair, Mark Morton, Sheila Sasser, Shonda Thornhill, Bella Harvey, Annette McLaurin, and Whitney Burke.

Arisara Karbdecho

Robert Alfred Smith



October 25, 2019, at 2:00 P.M

Greensville Memorial Cemetery

Robert Alfred Smith, 86, of Emporia, VA., died Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia, VA., with his family by his side. He was a native of Greensville County, VA, born September 12, 1933 to the late Pender Lee Smith Sr. and Virginia Harrell Smith. He was a retired farmer and a partner of P.L. Smith and Sons Peanut Warehouse, and was also a Charter Member of the Brink Ruritan Club, a U.S. Army Veteran and a 1954 graduate of Greensville County High School.

He is survived by his high school sweetheart, Christine Woodruff Smith, of 58 years, one son, Robert Pender Smith, two grandchildren, Ashley Lauren Smith and Michael Leslie Smith, one sister-in-law, Jo Anne Hancock Smith, one brother-in-law, Billy Joe Bivens Jr, two nieces, Amy Pollard Lifsey and Pat Bivens Clary (Wilson). He was predeceased by one brother, Pender Lee Smith Jr., one sister, Alice Smith Bivens, three nephews, David Smith, Mike Bivens, and Joey Bivens III.

 A Graveside service with Military Honors will be held Friday, October 25, 2019, at 2:00 P.M. at Greensville Memorial Cemetery with Rev. Rick Ragan officiating. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice. 

Online condolences may be made to www.echolsfuneralhome.com


Dr. William Clarence Stainback

April 13, 1943 - October 20, 2019

Dr. William Stainback, fondly known as Billy, left this earth on October 20, 2019, for one more special journey.

A native of Emporia, Va., and resident of Richmond, Va., he was an educator, researcher and author as an advocate in the field of inclusion in special education. Being a UVA graduate, he was a great supporter of all things Wahoo. In his unassuming manner, he helped various individuals whom he saw had great potential in various walks of life. After his retirement from the University of Northern Iowa, he became an electrician, a plumber, and a passable carpenter, sustaining a few bruised fingers along the way. He was an explorer and always willing to try something new such as climbing Machu Pichu, riding a camel in Egypt, dog sledding in Canada and bicycling in various countries, always accompanied by his beloved wife, Linda, and good friends from Emporia.

During his professional career, Dr. Stainback was appointed in 1988 to an Endowed Chair Professorship at California State University Los Angeles. Dr. Stainback authored numerous professional articles and several books.  One of his textbooks was used in many national and international university classrooms. His career in inclusion in special education took him to several international conferences and was invited to be the keynote speaker at an educational congress in Riva del Garda, Italy in 1997.

He was predeceased by his parents, Willard T. Stainback and Maybelle M. Stainback Whitman, and step-mother Ellie P. Stainback. He is survived by his wife, Linda Slate Stainback; beloved twin brother, Dr. George H. Stainback and wife Madelyn of St. Augustine, Fl.;  a special nephew, Dr. G. Andrew Stainback (Sylvia) of Homestead, Fl.;  and a special niece, Amy Sakhare (Ravi) of Johnson City, Tn;  special  “nephew”,  William A. Harrison of Richmond; and step-son, W. Glenn Rainey (Tina) of Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

He is also survived by one great-niece and three great-nephews, and many other relatives throughout Virginia and North Carolina.

There will be a graveside service at Greensville Memorial Cemetery, 1250 Skippers Road,  Emporia on Saturday, October 26, 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Robert C. Wrenn at 304 Church Street.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a memorial contribution to the UVA Gift Processing Services, PO Box 400331, Charlottesville, Va. 22904, “In Memory of William Stainback”. These contributions will be designated for a general academic scholarship fund which will impact students in financial need.

Online condolences may be made to www.echolsfuneralhome.com


Elsie Lee Tomlinson Jarratt Winfield



5/28/1926 - 10/22/2019


Visitation Services

12 p.m. Saturday, October 26

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

2 p.m. Saturday, October 26

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road

Jarratt, Virginia

Elsie Lee Tomlinson Jarratt Winfield, 93, widow of John B. Jarratt and B.D. Winfield, passed away Tuesday, October 22, 2019. She was also preceded in death by an infant son, Melvin Wayne Jarratt and a grandson, Brad Jarratt. Elsie is survived by two sons, Edward Jarratt (Patricia) and John Jarratt (Mabel); daughter, Kathy Harris; grandchildren, Robin Golem, Sherri Robbins (Scott), Holly Cooke (Walter) and Chris Harris (Angie), seven great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren; two sisters, Nellie Prince (Arthur “Preacher”) and Mildred Rawlings and a number of nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, October 26 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends 12-2 p.m. prior to the service. Interment will follow at Emporia Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with the family at  www.owenfh.com .


Jesse J. Grizzard, Jr.

May 21, 1951 - October 20, 2019

Visitation Services

6-8 p.m. Tuesday, October 22

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

3 p.m. Wednesday, October 23

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

Jesse J. Grizzard, Jr., 68, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, October 20, 2019. He was preceded in death by his wife, Connie Matthews Grizzard. He is survived by his son, Jesse J. ‘Bubba” Grizzard, III (Jeannie); daughter, Brooke G. Haught (Daniel) and son, Cody W. Mitchell; grandchildren, Jesse J. Grizzard, IV, Gracie Lee Grizzard, Alexis Danielle Haught, Jaxson Connor Haught, Dawson Perry Haught, Taylor Griffin Mitchell and Holden Tate Haught; four sisters, Judy G. Powell (Winfred), Faye Grizzard, Minnie Grizzard and Karla G. Holloway (Keith); nieces, Jessica Jarratt (Charles), Teresa Hudson (Curt) nephew, Wayne Grizzard and a number of great-nieces and great-nephews.

The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, October 22 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 23. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

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Virginia DMV Increases Staffing As Real ID Deadline Approaches

By Jimmy O’Keefe, Capital News Service

RICHMOND --  After noticing his driver’s license was set to expire, Loudoun County resident John Akins paid a visit to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Friday. This time he’ll obtain a Real ID-compliant driver’s license — a new requirement for many Americans. 

Virginians have until Oct. 1, 2020 to acquire a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or ID if they would like to travel by plane or access certain federal facilities. As the deadline approaches, the Virginia DMV has increased staffing at customer service centers .

“We’ve had more than 700,000 Virginians already receive a Real ID,” said Matthew Butner, a spokesman for the Virginia DMV. “The main driver I think is the air travel piece.” 

It is optional to acquire a Real ID, but federal agencies will not be able to accept non-Real ID licenses or IDs after next year’s deadline. Access to Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints will require either a Real ID or a passport for domestic and international flights. Some military bases already require a Real ID for access.

The Real ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, establishes minimum security standards for state-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the security standards required for the Real ID itself and the process of obtaining it include: “Information and security features that must be incorporated into each card; application information to establish the identity and immigration status of an applicant before a card can be issued; and physical security standards 

for facilities where driver's licenses and applicable identification cards are produced.”

Akins, a computer engineer, said he knew Real ID is intended to provide an increased level of security when traveling, but he noted that the look of his new driver’s license and the process for obtaining it wasn’t drastically different than the previous procedure.

“This process wasn't unlike any other time I've renewed my license, although obtaining a Real ID-compliant license required an in-person visit to the DMV,” Akins said. “I was surprised to see that the only discernible difference between my original driver's license and the Real ID license was a small solid black circle with a star in the center, in the upper right corner of the license.”

To meet demand for the new IDs, DMV has increased staffing at service centers. The organization also has expanded its mobile outreach program, which travels throughout the state providing Real IDs.

“We also have added DMV Connect teams, which are doing a ton of work for us,” Butner said. “These are two-to-three person teams, they have a laptop, a camera, and a signature pad and they can go out and do any DMV transaction other than testing and vital records.”

DMV Connect teams typically go to places that lack easy access to DMV customer service centers, such as rural areas. Recently, teams have been working in densely populated areas where customer service centers are already busy. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the state has been issuing Real IDs at all Virginia Department of Corrections facilities to formerly incarcerated people.

“We are fully committed to ensuring returning citizens have access to the support they need to successfully reintegrate into society,” Northam said in a press release. “Having identification that is Real ID-compliant will be a valuable tool in reducing recidivism and helping them start out on a positive path upon release.”

Butner encourages Virginians who still need to obtain a Real ID to do it sooner than later. 

“We are seeing increased wait times, and that's just simply due to the volume of customers that are taking advantage of Real ID,” he said. “It's only going to get more crowded as we head towards Oct. 1, 2020 … don’t wait until the last minute.” 

Obtaining a Real ID requires the following: 

  • One proof of identity and legal presence

  • Two proofs of Virginia residency

  • One proof of social security number

  • Current driver’s license, if seeking to obtain a Virginia driver’s license for the first time.

  • If proof documents contain different names (for example, if the last name on a birth certificate is different than the name on a payroll check stub), it's necessary to supply documents showing proof of the name change, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or a court order.

Running Shoes & Gear

As Election Nears, Democrats Haul in the Cash -- Republicans Aren’t Daunted


By M. Quesada, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- In competitive General Assembly races, a majority of Democratic challengers and incumbents are outraising their opponents and hoping dollars convert to voters on Election Day.

Stakes are high with all 140 General Assembly seats up for re-election on Nov. 5 and a push to flip both chambers to a Democratic majority. A win for Democrats would mean the party  leads both the executive and legislative branches and could be better positioned to pass legislative agendas. 

Democrats raised $13.7 million total to Republicans $8.1 million total in five key Senate races and 26 in the House of Delegates determined by a CNS analysis of competitive races, redistricting changes and recent voting trends on Virginia Public Access Project.

In competitive House races, six Democratic challengers outraised Republican incumbents in the past three months, based on new data released by VPAP. Only three Republican incumbents held a fundraising edge over Democratic challengers -- Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, and Del. Christopher Stolle, R-Virginia Beach. Freitas did not register in time to have his name on the ballot, but pledged in August to mount a write-in campaign that could translate to a win in the Culpeper Republican stronghold.

Democratic challenger Sheila Bynum-Coleman outraised Speaker of the House Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, by over $200,000 during the same period. Independent candidate Linnard Harris Sr. raised $2,167.

On the other side, with 11 Democratic incumbents seeking reelection, only two Republican challengers outraised their contenders. Ian Lovejoy is vying for Democratic Del. Lee Carter’s House District 50 seat. Lovejoy outraised Carter by over $70,000. Challenger H. Otto Wachsmann Jr. outraised Del. Roslyn Tyler, D-Sussex, in the race for the seat of House District 75.

Carter said he wasn’t surprised, or unsettled, by his opponent’s cash advantage, "given the fact that Virginia has no limits on corporate contributions.” 

“In fact, I've been continually surprised by how weak his fundraising has been compared to other Republicans in the area, and the fact that the overwhelming majority of his money ... comes from the Republican Party or other Republican campaigns,” Carter said. “I've never taken a single dime from for-profit corporations or industry interest groups, and I never will.  That grassroots support is certainly reflected in our conversations with voters, and I'm very confident that I'll be able to win despite being outspent, just like I did in 2017."

A U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld a redistricting map that favored Democrats and also left six Republicans in Democratic-leaning districts. Some Republican strongholds also began to fade blue when Donald Trump ran against Hillary Clinton, and in recent House and U.S. Senate elections.

There are five battleground races in the Senate, based on VPAP data. In Districts 10 and 12, Democratic challengers have outraised Republican incumbents.


Del. Debra Rodman, D-Henrico, raised over $1.4 million in the last two filing periods. She outraised her opponent, incumbent Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, whose cash haul was $694,844 in the same period. The two candidates were the first to spend over $1 million in media ad-buys. District 10 challenger Ghazala Hashmi outraised first-term incumbent Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Richmond, by $487,951.

Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, the only Democratic incumbent in this group, holds an advantage of nearly $20,000 over his Republican challenger Elizabeth Lankford.

Republican Jen Kiggans and Democrat Cheryl Turpin are vying for the seat vacated by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach. Turpin raised over $890,000 and Kiggans brought in just over $600,000.

Democratic candidates in these competitive Senate races accumulated just over $4.1 million in three months, compared to the $2.1 million raised by Republican candidates, according to campaign finance reports collected by VPAP.

Jeff Ryer, press secretary for the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, said the party has faced similar situations before. 

“Hillary Clinton outspent Donald Trump ... and yet Donald Trump was able to prevail,” he said. Ryer said the candidates’ message during an election is more important than money. “Every indication that we have is that most of the races are very close and that both State Senate and State House could go either way.”

Democrats see the uptick in fundraising as proof of the momentum they are gaining in Virginia. The party has also had a higher number of candidates run in the past two elections -- more than double the number in 2015.

“In 2017 Virginia really started a ‘blue wave,’ following Trump’s election,” said Kathryn Gilley, director of communications for the Virginia House Democrats. Gilley believes out-of-state money and interest is important for the future of Virginia. “People see that there is a possibility of flipping the chambers this year,” she said.

Across the state, Democrats have raised large amounts of cash in the past three months, even in districts that lean heavily Republican and don’t offer great odds of victory, in part due to a flood of donations Gilley referenced. But there are opportunities based on climbing voter turnout in off-year elections; heightened by the increasing popularity of absentee ballots. Still, the last time all seats were up for grabs in 2015, only 29% of registered voters turned up. 

“There is greater enthusiasm, right now, among Democratic-inclined voters than Republican-inclined voters,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. “The candidates that are better funded at this point have a better chance in using that money to turn out voters on election day.”

Kidd said out-of-state donations represent the attention these elections have around the country. “People are looking at Virginia as a bellwether to see where voters are and then look forward to next year in the presidential race,” he said.

Key races are identified in this story from VPAP’s competitive index of House and Senate races and also include districts that lean Democratic after House redistricting. Races with an Independent candidate were not included.

Womens Nike Cortez

“A Real Change”

Years back I fixed the broken
or let’s just say I tried
now days it doesn’t make much sense
to all I must confide.
You pay for parts or service
which both are now too high
for less than the cost of repairing
you can another buy.
They have the warranties figured out
almost unto the day
so to get extended coverage
is a wasted fee to pay.
What do we do with all the extra parts
this system does create
we fill up the junkyards and landfills
and they raise your garbage rate.
Parts stores will go out of business
for no longer is the need
yes our high tech technology
means more than what you read.
So now when something breaks down
I look for a place to throw
for I can buy another cheaper
than to fix it, don’t you know!
                         - Roy E. Schepp

Nike Blazer High

GCPS to Sponsor At-Risk Afterschool Meals

Greensville County Public Schools announces the sponsorship of the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program. The same meals will be available at no separate charge to all participants at each site.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program is a federally funded, State-administered program that provides funding to child and adult care centers and homes that serve healthy meals and snacks. Through the At-Risk Afterschool Meals component of CACFP, healthy meals and snacks can be served to children and teenagers who participate in afterschool programs in low income areas. To participate, these programs must (1) be organized primarily to provide care for children after school or on the weekends, holidays, or breaks during the regular school year; (2) provide organized, regularly scheduled activities; (3) include educational or enrichment activities, like arts and crafts, computer lessons, or homework help; and (4) be located in an eligible area.

Greensville County Public Schools is proud to participate in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).  We believe that afterschool snacks and meals are an effective way to help reduce childhood hunger when school is out and they help to promote a healthy childhood weight. 

The supper meal consist of a meat/meat alternate, vegetable, grain, fruit, and milk; students must choose 3 of the 5 components offered to make a meal. Most of our snacks consists of a whole grain rich product and a 100% fruit juice option or milk.

"I am happy to be able to fill the hunger gap while our students participate in constructive after school activities that are safe, fun, and filled with opportunities for learning," stated MaRendia Garner, Food Service Supervisor.

Meals will be provided at these facilities:

Greensville County High School

snack & supper

403 Harding Street
Emporia, VA 23847  

Belfield Elementary


515 Belfield Road
Emporia, VA 23847

E. W. Wyatt Middle School


206 Slagles Lake Road
Emporia, VA 23847    

Greensville Elementary


1011 Sussex Drive
Emporia, VA 23847

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 by USDA.

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 than English.

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 for or letter to USDA by:

(1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

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

This institution is an equal opportunity provided.

For further information please contact: MaRendia Garner, Food Service Supervisor at 434-634-2863.

For additional information, you may also contact the Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition Programs by calling 804-225-2082.

Nike Air Max

Brunswick Counry High Speed Chase Ends in Fatality

Virginia State Police was called to investigate a single vehicle accident that was a result of a vehicle pursuit by Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
Preliminary investigations reveal that at approximately 10:48 p.m. yesterday evening (October19), the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department attempted to pull over a 2010 Honda Civic for speeding 84MPH in a 70 MPH speed zone. The Honda Civic was traveling in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, when the deputy attempted to pull over Valeton Junior Pratt. Mr. Pratt failed to pull over and a pursuit entailed. Mr. Pratt attempted to take exit 34 at a high rate of speed, crossed over Route 630, and struck a tree.
Mr. Valeton J. Pratt, 27 YOA, of the 1000 block of First Avenue, Lawrenceville, VA., died upon impact. His front seat passenger, Keith M. Haskins, of South Hill, Virginia, suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was taken to VCU Hospital in South Hill, Virginia.
Mr. Pratt was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. It is unknown at this time if alcohol played a contributing factor. 
Notification to family members has been made.

Nike Roshe

Bobbie D. Barnes

February 27, 1944 - October 17, 2019

Visitation Services

Saturday, October 19, 2019, from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

Sunday, October 20, 2019, at 3:00 P.M.

Echols Funeral Home
806 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

Bobbie D. Barnes 75, went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Thursday, October 17th, 2019. Bobbie was a member of The Trinity Church in Halifax N.C.

She was born in Greensville County, Virginia, the daughter of the late Randall D. Turner and Katie Mathews Turner. She was the widow of David Lee Barnes and also preceded in death by a sister Lucille T. Link Turner and a brother Louis E. “Joe” Turner.

She is survived by her loving and devoted daughter, Patti Lynn Barnes and special friend Stella Stanley and her daughter Morgan of Emporia, VA., a sister, Diane T. Huskey (Jimmy) of Emporia, VA., three brothers, Cleveland D. Turner (Betty) of Norfolk, VA., Bernard Turner (Bertha Ray) of Skippers, VA., R. Jimmy Turner (Marty) of Skippers, VA., numerous nieces and nephews, along with grand dogs Carmel and Bizzie.

A funeral service will be held at Echols Funeral Home on Sunday, October 20, 2019, at 3:00 P.M., with Pastor Mitchell Norville officiating. The family will receive friends Saturday, October 19, 2019, at Echols Funeral Home from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

Special thanks to the staff of Greensville Manor for their devoted and dedicated care.

Online condolences may be made to www.echolsfuneralhome.com

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Panther Prep Advising Day is Coming to SVCC October 17

Everyone is invited to a huge event happening at six locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Thursday, October 17, 2019 .  Panther Prep Advising Day will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. for all current students, those interested in becoming a student or learning more about the college. The Event at Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.  The general public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The event is being held at the Christanna Campus, Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus, Keysville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, South Boston, Estes Community Center and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center, South Hill.  And of course, Emporia from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

SVCC will show its Panther Pride on this day with fun, food, DJs, door prizes and offering help with registering for Spring Classes, applying for financial aid and advisors getting students on the right path to success. 

For information, call Leslie Perkins at 434 736 2022.

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‘No pedestals, no weapons, no horses,’ -- Women’s Monument Unveiled on Capitol Square

By Susan Shibut, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- Hundreds watched as the first seven statues of “Voices from the Garden: The Virginia Women’s Monument” were unveiled on the Capitol grounds this morning, on Indigenous Peoples Day. 

The monument is the nation’s first created to showcase remarkable women of Virginia.

Mary Margaret Whipple, vice chair of the Women’s Monument Commission, said the monument embodies the goals of the commission to honor real women in a way that is not mythic or symbolic. The Virginia General Assembly established the commission to determine and recommend an appropriate women’s monument for Capitol Square in 2010. 

“These women rose to the occasion and made significant achievements,” Whipple said. “They were from all walks of life. From different times and places. They were famous and obscure. Real women. Even imperfect women. Who have shaped the history of this commonwealth.” 

Clerk of the Senate Susan Clarke Schaar spoke about the decade-long process for the design and realization of the monument. She worked with professors and historians to design the structure. 

“No pedestals, no weapons, no horses,” Schaar said. “They wanted it to be approachable. They wanted it to be warm and welcoming. And they wanted to convey a sense of consensus building. And they wanted young women and young men to know that they could do anything they wanted to do with their lives.”

Gov. Ralph Northam said the monument is long overdue. 

“For far too long we have overlooked the transformative contributions of women and other underrepresented groups,” said Northam. “Until recently that has been the case on Capitol Square as well.”

Capitol Square is also home to the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, opened in 2008, and “Mantle,” a monument dedicated to Virginia’s Indian tribes in 2018. 

Artist Kehinde Wiley last month in Times Square unveiled “Rumors of War,” a statue of a young African American man on a horse in a pose modeled after Confederate monuments. The statue will be permanently moved to the entrance of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Arthur Ashe Boulevard in December.

2019 is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America. It also marks the 400th anniversary of the first slaves arriving in Virginia. 

Sen. Ryan McDougle, a Republican running for reelection in the 4th District, brought his daughter Reagan on stage with him. He said the monument was about inspiring the accomplishments of women yet to come. 

“It’s about Reagan, and all the girls here today, and all the girls that will come; whether they have those role models in their families or not, they will be able to see that women that have come before them have achieved tremendous things,” McDougle said.

When the monument is completed it will feature a dozen bronze statues on a granite plaza and an etched glass Wall of Honor inscribed with 230 names of notable Virginian women and room for more. For a future honoree to qualify for the wall, she must be a native Virginian or have lived mostly in Virginia and must be deceased for at least 10 years.

The granite wall features a quote excerpted from a 1912 address that Mary Johnston, a 20th century Virginian author, made to an all-male Richmond conference of state governors:

“It did not come up in a night, the Woman Movement, and it is in no danger of perishing from view. It is here to stay and grow … It is indestructible, it is moving on with an ever- increasing depth and velocity, and it is going to revolutionize the world.”

The seven completed statues are Anne Burras Laydon, a Jamestown colonist; Cockacoeske, Pamunkey chieftain; Mary Draper Ingles, a frontierswoman; Elizabeth Keckly, seamstress and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln; Laura Copenhaver, an entrepreneur in the textile industry; Virginia Randolph, an educator; and Adèle Clark, suffragist and artist. 

Five more statues will be added as they are funded and completed — Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, America’s inaugural first lady; Clementina Bird Rind, the first female printer in Virginia; Sally Louisa Tompkins, a hospital administrator; Maggie L. Walker, a civil rights leader and entrepreneur; and Sarah G. Boyd Jones, teacher and physician. 

The statues, which each required a $200,000 investment, were sculpted by New York-based Ivan Schwartz, who also crafted the Capitol’s Thomas Jefferson statue.

Schwartz spoke about the lack of statues to, for, or about women. According to the Washington Post, of the estimated 5,193 public statues depicting historic figures on display on street corners and parks throughout the United States, 394 are of women. 

“Women have been excised from the marble pedestal of history,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz has recently worked on other sculptures of notable women around the country. He mentioned projects highlighting Susan B. Anthony, Anne Frank and Harriet Tubman.

“I still make sculptures of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington,” Schwartz said. “I don’t turn my back on these good gentlemen. But their gentlemen’s club, which has occupied our national living room, our nation’s public spaces, has at last started to admit women, African Americans and Native Americans.”

Girl Scouts unveiled the structures, pulling back a blue cloth as the name of each statue was announced by Susan Allen, chair of the Virginia Capitol Foundation and former first lady of Virginia. The Girl Scouts represented councils from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Skyline and the Colonial Coast. 

Allen gave closing remarks, calling the occasion “a monumental day.”

“Let us recognize our diverse past, and those on whose shoulders we stand so proudly today and be inspired to work on for a better future for our daughters and the young leaders of tomorrow like these lovely young women here today,” Allen said.

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Annual Ginger and Turmeric Field Day Focuses on New Varieties and Health Finding

Dr. Reza Rafie holds baby ginger grown at Virginia State University’s Randolph Farm.

Virginia Cooperative Extension will conduct its Ginger and Turmeric Field Day Thursday, October 24, 2019, at Virginia State University (VSU), Petersburg, Va. The popular annual program will cover both the health benefits of ginger and turmeric, as well as techniques to successfully grow and market it. Participants will also visit VSU’s Randolph Farm, where they will see four new varieties of container and outdoor grown ginger, as well as learn about the harvesting, washing and packing of the crops for market. Additionally, participants will learn about the runaway success story of Richmond’s Hardywood Brewery Gingerbread Stout, which features locally-grown ginger.

Pre-registration is required and costs $20 per person. It includes a boxed lunch.

At the program new VSU research will be announced that confirms immature ginger, or “baby” ginger, contains about twice as many polyphenols and has two to three times more antioxidation activity than the mature ginger found in most grocery stores. “That means if you’re eating ginger for its health benefits,” said Dr. Rafat Siddiqui, associate professor of food sciences at VSU’s Agricultural Research Station, “you may be selling yourself short at the supermarket, which traditionally offers only mature ginger, recognizable by its light brown color.”

Unfortunately for consumers though, 100 percent of the ginger found at the supermarket is imported, largely from Southeast Asia on container ships. From the time it’s packed until it makes its way into our kitchens is usually months. “Baby ginger is more perishable than its older counterpart, which naturally features a papery skin to lock in moisture and freshness,” said Dr. Reza Rafie, horticulture Extension specialist at VSU. “The immature ginger just couldn’t make the voyage.”

So, what’s a health-conscious, ginger-lover to do? Rafie and others at the field day will present solutions that not only hold benefits for consumers, but also for U.S. small-scale farmers, as well.

Since it takes less time to grow and harvest baby ginger (seven to eight months, Rafie explained, compared to commercial ginger, which matures in the ground for about 10-11 months), the tropical plant can grow in regions with shorter growing seasons than Southeast Asia. Rafie explained he and many others have had great success growing baby ginger in pots and in raised beds up and down the East Coast.

“But it’s a crop that must be sold close to home and quickly,” he added. “It’s perfect for those small-scale farmers who sell direct to consumers at farmers markets or through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs or to chefs, who prefer it for its more delicate taste and the fact it doesn’t need to be peeled.”

Presenters at the field day will also discuss the potential profitability of growing baby ginger. Immature ginger is selling this fall for about $5 to $10 a pound, depending on the market, remarked Rafie. Compared with traditional small-scale farming crops like tomatoes or sweet potatoes, which were selling this summer at a Richmond, Va farmers market for $2 and $1.50* respectively, baby ginger can offer farmers the opportunity for greater profits per production area.

He explained that production results at VSU have shown that each ginger plant has the potential of producing three to eight pounds of marketable baby ginger, depending on production techniques, including fertilizer, irrigation, disease management and mounding.

“The market potential is considerable,” says Rafie.

The program will be held in the L. Douglas Wilder Building Auditorium, Carter G. Woodson Avenue on the VSU campus.

For more information, visit the VSU Cooperative Extension calendar of events at ext.vsu.edu and click on the event. If you desire further information or are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Mark Klingman at mjklingman@vsu.edu or

804-524-5493/TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations five days prior to the event.

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Gene Seward

March 28, 1949 - October 12, 2019

Visitation Services

1 p.m., Tuesday, October 15

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

2 p.m., Tuesday, October 15

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

Gene Seward, 70, of Jarratt, passed away Saturday, October 12, 2019. He was preceded in death by his father, James W. Seward, Sr. and a sister, Arlene Leasburg. He was a retired employee of Greensville Correctional Center and a USMC veteran of the Vietnam War where he earned the Purple Heart.

Gene is survived by his wife, Betty V. Seward; son David Seward (Paula); his mother, Frances Seward; three brothers, James Wilson Seward, Jr. (Diane), Leon Seward (Rita) and Billy Seward (Gail); a number of nieces and nephews and his beloved “grandpuppy” Roscoe.

The funeral service will be held 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 15 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at St. John Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 562, Jarratt, Virginia 23867.

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

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Elton Alexander Lucy

September 18, 1929 – October 9, 2019

Memorial Service

2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 13, 2019

Pleasant Hill Christian Church
175 Ankum Road
Gasburg, Virginia

Elton Alexander Lucy, age 96, of Lake Gaston-Henrico, N.C. and Emporia, Va., passed away October 9, 2019. The son of Charlie Lear Lucy and Daisy Browder Lucy, Elton was born September 18, 1923 and raised in Lawrenceville, Virginia.  February 11, 1943 he married his high school sweetheart, Lucille Baird Lucy.  They had 65 happy years together until her death in 2008. He was also preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Joseph Gilbert Lucy and Emory Lear Lucy, and a sister, Phyllis Lucy Daniel.  He is survived by his son, Gerald W. Lucy of Lawrenceville, and his daughter, Glenda Lucy Pope and her husband, Linwood, of Emporia, Va.  He is also survived by his grandchildren, Lin Pope, Charles Pope and his wife, Tina, all of Emporia, Jeremy Lucy and his wife, Angie, of Dolphin, Va., and Daisy Lucy Cary and her husband, Tommy, of Liberty, Texas. Great grandchildren are Emily Pope, Carter Pope, Allie Pope, Charlie Pope, Meredith Lucy, Abbie Grace Lucy, River Lucy, Sadie Cary, and Rock Cary.  He is also survived by a niece, June Lucy Spurlock, of Reno, Nevada and a nephew, Danny Hale Daniel, of Courtland, Va.

Elton worked for the U.S. Postal service from 1961-1985 serving as Assistant Postmaster in Emporia, Va. and as Postmaster in Lawrenceville, Va.  He was a member of Pleasant Hill Christian Church, Gasburg, Va. where he was an Honorary Lifetime Elder, Chairman of the Finance Committee and Treasurer of his Sunday School Class.  During World War II, he served in the Army Transportation Corp aboard the hospital ships USAHA Louis A. Milne and USS Chateau Therry.  

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 13, 2019 at Pleasant Hill Christian Church, 175 Ankum Road, Gasburg, Va.  There will be a reception following the service in the Family Life Building.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Memorial Fund of Pleasant Hill Christian Church.  Williams Funeral Home, Lawrenceville will be handling the arrangements.    

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Virginia Ranks Among States With Lowest Crime Rates


By Jaclyn Barton, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia had the fourth lowest violent crime rate and 13th lowest property crime rate in the United States last year, according to new data from the FBI.

The commonwealth had 200 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2018, the data showed. Only Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire had a lower violent crime rate. Nationally, there were 369 violent offenses per 100,000 population.

Virginia had about 1,666 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. A dozen states — topped by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont — had lower property crime rates. Nationwide, the rate was 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 population.

From 2017 to 2018, the violent crime rate decreased 3% and the property crime rate fell 7% nationwide and in Virginia.

All of Virginia’s metropolitan areas had violent crime rates below the nationwide level, and most were below the national rate for property crimes.

The Winchester and Harrisonburg metro areas had the least violent crime — fewer than 140 offenses per 100,000 population.

The metro areas with the most violent crime were Roanoke (235 offenses per 100,000 residents), Richmond (239), Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (265) and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (307).The Virginia metro areas with the least property crime were Harrisonburg (1,137 offenses per 100,000 population) and Lynchburg (1,350). The metro areas with the most property crime were Richmond (2,156 offenses per 100,000 residents), Roanoke (2,378) and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (2,405).

Under the FBI’s definition, violent crimes include murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.

Although Virginia’s overall statewide and metro-area crimes rates generally were low, the data revealed some trouble spots — especially regarding homicides.

Nationwide, there were 5 murders for every 100,000 people last year. Virginia’s murder rate was 4.6 per 100,000 population.

Most Virginia metro areas had murder rates below the national average. For example, the Winchester area didn’t report any homicides last year; the Blacksburg-Christiansburg area had just one; and the Charlottesville area had three (for a rate of 1.4 per 100,000 population).

But the murder rates in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria and Lynchburg metro areas were at the national average of 5 killings per 100,000 residents. The murder rates exceeded the national level in Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News and the Roanoke metro areas (about 7 murders per 100,000 residents) and the Richmond area (almost 8 murders per 100,000 population).

Murder rates were well above the national average in several Virginia cities, the FBI data showed. The murder rate last year was 44 killings per 100,000 population in Petersburg, 27 in Danville, 23 in Richmond, 21 in Portsmouth and 15 in Norfolk.

Of the 490 U.S. cities with a population between 25,000 and 35,000, only three had a higher murder rate than Petersburg. (One of the three was Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in 2018.)

Of the 31 U.S. cities with a population between 200,000 and 250,000, only two (Birmingham, Alabama, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana) had a murder rate higher than Richmond last year.

Among cities in Virginia, Portsmouth, Newport News, Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke all had violent crime rates and property crime rates above the national average.

The Roanoke Police Department is active in community outreach programs created to reduce crime. They include neighborhood watch groups, a summer youth basketball league and programs to help students read and do their homework. Police officials attend as many as 30 community events each month.

“There is no way to determine causation factors for a potential decrease in crime. It could be a number of different reasons, and we cannot determine that any of our community outreach or crime prevention has impacted the crime rates,” said Caitlyn Cline, who does community outreach, public information and crime prevention for the Roanoke Police Department.

In 2018, Richmond reported 52 murders — more than any other city or county in Virginia. Still, that was a far cry from two decades ago.

“I don’t think Richmond or Virginia has a particularly high murder rate relative to places like Maryland and Baltimore,” said Patrick Lowery, assistant professor of criminal justice at Virginia Commonwealth University.

He said that in 1994, the number of murders in Richmond “peaked at 160. In 2014, we were down to 43, so that’s about four times less homicides relative to 10 or 15 years ago.”

Overall, violent crime in every major American city has decreased since the early 1990s. Lowery attributes that to many factors, such as community outreach programs and changing sentencing laws.

The FBI data release, from an annual report called Crime in the United States, represents statistics reported by about 16,700 law-enforcement agencies last year.

In June, the Virginia State Police issued a state-level report called Crime in Virginia. The State Police report covered additional crimes such as kidnapping and abduction.

A total of 1,696 kidnapping and abduction offenses were reported in 2018. That number was up 6% from 2017. Prince William County had the most kidnappings last year — 111.

“It’s not as if random people are getting snatched off the street,” said Sgt. Jonathan Perock, supervisor for the Prince William County Police Department. “The majority of the time, it’s a domestic incident in which both parties are known to one another.”



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Schools With the Best and Worst Graduation Rates

By Sravan Gannavarapu, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Three small rural school districts had 100% graduation rates this year, and the Brunswick County, Manassas and Richmond school systems had the state’s lowest graduation rates, according to data released by the Virginia Department of Education.

Colonial Beach and Charles City, which each had fewer than 50 students in their 2019 graduation classes, and Highland County, which had just 14, graduated all of their seniors. Twenty-seven district had rates of at least 95%, including such larger school districts as York, Montgomery and Hanover counties.

The proportion of Virginia high school students graduating on time dipped from 91.6% in 2018 to 91.5% in 2019, the data showed.

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said Virginia’s on-time graduation rate has risen by more than 10 percentage points in the decade since the department began reporting graduation rates that account for every student who enters the ninth grade.

“I believe this long-term, upward trend will continue as school divisions and the commonwealth adopt equitable policies and practices that provide instructional and support services tailored to the unique needs of every learner,” Lane said.

During the past school year, 74 of the state’s 131 districts had graduation rates above the statewide average. That was true of 197 of Virginia’s 327 high schools.

Eleven high schools — most of them with 50 or fewer students — had 100% graduation rates in 2019. Six of those schools achieved perfect rates the previous year as well: Chincoteague High in Accomack County; Highland High in Highland County; Achievable Dream Academy in Newport News; Open High and Franklin Military Academy in Richmond; and Chilhowie High in Smyth County.

Greensville County Public Schools, which covers both Greensville County and the City of Emporia had a dropout rate of 9.1% and a graduation rate of 86.6%.  The graduation rate for the previous year was 88.8% while the dropout rate was 8.6%.

Among high schools with at least 400 seniors, three had graduation rates of 99% or higher: Thomas Jefferson High for School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County; Cosby High in Chesterfield County; and Rock Ridge High in Loudoun County.

Analysis of the data also showed that:

  • The Lunenburg County, Colonial Beach and Charles City County school divisions registered the most improvement in their graduation rates in 2019. Each district’s rate jumped by more than 10 percentage points from 2018.
  • The Brunswick, Amherst and Sussex County school divisions saw the biggest drops in graduation rates — at least 7 percentage points.

Many of the students who did not graduate on time are still pursuing their high school diploma or a GED. Other students, however, have quit school and are considered dropouts.

Statewide, the dropout rate rose from 5.5 in 2018 to 5.6 this past year. The dropout rates varied among demographic and socioeconomic groups. The rate was:

  • 4% for female students and 7% for male students
  • 2% for Asian students, 3% for white students, 6% for African American students and 17% for Hispanic students
  • 8% for economically disadvantaged students, 9% for students with disabilities, 22% for homeless students and 26% for English language learners
  • The Richmond Public Schools had the highest dropout rate in 2019 — more than 24%.

“We are of course deeply disappointed by the latest graduation numbers, but as we shared last spring, we knew a decline was possible — if not likely — as we stopped a number of inappropriate adult practices that were artificially inflating our rate,” Jason Kamras, superintendent of the Richmond school district, said in a statement.

“We clearly have more work to do, but I’m confident we are now heading in the right direction.”

Chesterfield County, which had a dropout rate of 7%, planned to do a “complete audit” of every student who had quit school, said Superintendent Merv Daugherty.

“This involves making personal contacts with each family with a goal of having the student re-enroll,” Daugherty said. “Additional student support services are also being incorporated to work with students who may be vulnerable to dropping out.”

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