October 2021

Sydney Paige Paul- BA November 2021 Student of the Month

Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Sydney Paige Paul has been selected as the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month for November 2021. Sydney, a senior, is the daughter of John and Tonya Paul (‘91) of Emporia. Her brother, Jonathan, graduated from Brunswick Academy in 2019. She is the granddaughter of Wanda Proctor of Emporia and Ronald and Virginia Paul of Henrico, NC.

Sydney is in the Brunswick Academy Honors Program and is taking dual enrollment courses through Southside Virginia Community College as well as Liberty University. She has been named to the All-A Honor Roll each year during her time at the academy. Regarding academics, Sydney is a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Council Organization (3 years), and the Latin Club (5 years), and has served on the Honor Council (2 years). In 2019, she was selected for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar. Her academic accomplishments earned her the honor of serving as a Junior Marshalduring the 2021 Commencement Exercises.

Throughout her years at Brunswick Academy, Sydney has participated in athletics at the junior varsity and varsity levels. She has played volleyball since the 7th grade and basketball and softball since the 6th grade. She served as captain of the volleyball team her junior and senior years and was recently awarded VCC All-Academic, 2nd team All-Conference and All-Tournament. In basketball, she has received the Coaches and Most-Improved awards and was named VCC 2nd team All-Conference her sophomore year. Sydney was MVP for the varsity softball team her freshman, sophomore and junior years while also earning VCC 1st team All-Conference and 1st team All-State her freshman year. In May 2021, she was named VISAA’s All-State Division III Softball Player of the Year. She enjoys all athletic competitions and appreciates the opportunity to represent her school.

Outside of school, Sydney is a member of Main Street United Methodist Church in Emporia, where she has served as a scripture reader since the 3rd grade. She is also a member of Main Street’s Youth Group and has participated in 3 week-long mission trips where the group has traveled to different states to perform a variety of tasks including home repairs for the elderly, serving food to the needy as well as assisting with the renovations of a camp cabin on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Sydney has played travel softball for 9years and is currently a member of the Hanover Hornets organization. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and playing the piano.

Sydney is in the process of applying to college and is interested in studying Chemistry. Please join us in congratulating Sydney on this achievement! #SOM  #VikingProud

Virginia State Police Investigate Saturday Crash that Resulted in Double Fatality in Greensville County

Greensville County, VA: -  On November 6, 2021 at approximately 11:59 a.m., the state police was called to investigate a motor vehicle crash, southbound Low Ground Road, south of Chambliss Road. 

Upon arriving at the scene troopers located the vehicle and found both the driver and passenger to be deceased as a result of the crash. 

Preliminary investigation reveal that the driver of a 1985 GMC C10 pickup truck, Gregory Taylor, was traveling southbound on Low Ground Road when he ran off to the right side of the roadway, overcorrected, ran off the left side of the roadway, struck an embankment causing the vehicle to roll over and land against several trees.

Seat belts were worn for both occupants, and alcohol was not a contributing factor in the crash. Identification and notification was made to family members.

Driver - Gregory Lorwell Taylor, 51 years of age, of the 300 block of Jones Mill Road, Emporia.

Passenger - Tyrone Kindred, 68 years of age, of the 400 block of Brunswick Avenue, Emporia, Virginia.


The Commonwealth Remembers A. Linwood Holton

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued the following statement on the passing of former Governor Linwood Holton.

“Linwood Holton changed what it means to serve as Governor of Virginia. He knew defeat at the ballot box before victory—and when he won, he made every moment count. 

 “If you want to know what American strength looks like, look at the famous photographs of Governor Holton—smiling, as he walked his children to Richmond’s public schools during the tensest moments of desegregation. He faced down Virginia’s demons and enabled this Commonwealth to look ahead. 

 “He showed a wistful state how to embrace the future, inviting us all to be “touched by the better angels of our nature,” in the words of President Lincoln who founded the reforming Republican Party that Linwood Holton revered. 

 “A half century has passed since Linwood Holton served as Governor. His public service continued for decades after that, and his children carry on his legacy today, serving in public office, in the academy, and as good and loving souls. 

 “May we all celebrate the life of Linwood Holton, Virginia’s servant leader. Our country needs more people like him today. 

 “Pam and I are smiling tonight in memory of this great man who lived nearly a century. Our thoughts tonight are especially with Jinks, Anne, Tayloe, Woody, and Dwight, and everyone who loved Governor Holton.

 “I have directed that Virginia state flags be flown at half-staff in Governor Holton’s honor for the next 30 days.”

RICHMOND (October 28, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued the below statement following the death of Governor Linwood Holton:

 “Our Commonwealth has lost a great Virginian today. Governor Linwood Holton dedicated his life to bettering the lives of all Virginians, through his courageous fight to desegregate Virginia schools, his work to diversify the Governor’s Office, and his efforts to overhaul politics in the Commonwealth. He truly personified what a public servant should be and transformed what it meant to be a politician in Virginia – into someone who works for the betterment of the people.

 “Governor Holton’s legacy of progress and inclusion, and his dedication to civil rights can still be felt in every corner of Virginia, and I personally have looked to him as inspiration in the work that I have done during my time in public service.

 “Laura’s and my thoughts are with Governor Holton’s family tonight as they mourn the loss of their husband, father, and friend. He leaves behind an immense legacy and a Virginia that is a more open and welcoming place because of him.”

Richmond – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) issued the following statement on the passing of former Governor Linwood Holton:

Linwood Holton was our governor, a trailblazer, and the essence of what a leader should be. He stood up for what was right – he didn’t wait for others; he didn’t ask his party; he did what he knew was morally and ethically correct. He set an example for all Virginians. Although Governor Holton led our state fifty years ago, his actions still reverberate and inspire us today. When he walked his children into Richmond City public schools, setting an example of integration, tolerance, and fairness and showing Virginians that this must be our future – the future we should and must embrace – he changed our Commonwealth. Moreover, he was always kind, greeting everyone with a pleasant word and sincerely asking about them.

Governor Holton was a great Virginian who will be remembered for his words and his deeds. May we all strive to live up to his ethical standards and emulate his leadership.

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and his entire family. May his memory be a blessing and comfort during this difficult time.


On today's date (Oct. 26), the Virginia State Police investigated a vehicle crash involving a pedestrian, which resulted in a fatality. The crash occurred at approximately 5:51 a.m., on Route 1, south of Route 46 in the county of Brunswick. 

Carlton Stith, 61 YOA, was traveling southbound on Route 1, in a 2019 Chevrolet pickup truck when he observed his brother, Jerry Stith walking on the shoulder of the roadway. Carlton Stith placed the vehicle in reverse, in an attempt to back up to his brother, and give him a ride. Upon reversing, Carlton Stith ran over his brother. Jerry Van Stith, 63 YOA, of Lawrenceville, was pronounced deceased at the scene. Carlton Stith was subsequently charged with improper backing.

Notification has been made to family members.

McEachin Announces Winners of the VA-04 Photo Competition

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the winners of the annual VA-04 Photo Competition. Heath Covey, City of Chesapeake, took 1st Place with his “Great Bridge Sunrise" submission.

Heath Covey, City of Chesapeake, “Great Bridge Sunrise

“I am thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 VA-04 Photo Competition,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Each year, I am so impressed by the creativity and skill of our contestants, and I thank you for your participation. Congratulations to our winner, runner ups, and all of the participants in this year’s competition. Your photos were incredible and truly captured the beauty of Virginia’s Fourth.”  

Rep. McEachin also announced the following runner ups:

The VA-04 Photography Contest challenges constituents to submit photographs of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. The competition is open to all residents of the district, regardless of age, and the winner’s photograph will be displayed in Rep. McEachin’s congressional offices and on his social media platforms.

View the winning photos featured on the Congressman’s website here. View all of the submissions for the 2021 VA-04 Photo Competition here.


New acquisition comes just months after announcement of high-capacity sawmill in Weldon, N.C.

Springfield, Ore. – Just months after the announcement of a state-of-the-art lumber mill in Weldon, N.C., Roseburg Forest Products has purchased an additional 30,000 acres of timberland in Halifax County, N.C., and southeast Virginia. The well-managed loblolly pine plantations are in addition to the 158,000 acres of timberland that Roseburg owns in the Roanoke Valley area, making it the largest private timberland owner in the region.

“This expansion is just another example of our commitment to the Weldon community and investment in the surrounding Halifax County area,” Roseburg Senior Vice President of Resources Scott Folk said. “The addition of these high-quality properties to our existing Roanoke Tree Farm allows us to add more scale and operational efficiency to our southeastern timber operations.”  

In addition to this latest acquisition, Roseburg expects to break ground on Roanoke Valley Lumber in the first quarter of 2022, with startup scheduled for later in the year. The new 375,000-square-foot facility located on approximately 200 acres of land in Weldon will bring 137 jobs to the area over the next two years. The sawmill will be capable of producing as many as 400 million board feet of dimensional lumber per year, making it one of the highest-capacity mills on the East Coast.

For more information about the progress of the project, as well as upcoming hiring opportunities, please visit the Roanoke Valley Lumber website.

Coping with the holidays drive thru event at CMH Community Hospice

Staff at CMH Community Hospice understand that losing a loved one is one of the most difficult events that may occur in your lifetime. Facing the holiday season without your loved one can reignite those feelings of loss. Join the CMH Community Hospice team to gain insight and coping skills when facing the holidays after a loss. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 10th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. CMH Community Hospice will be offering a drive through “Coping with the Holidays” event at The Leggett Center located at 300 E. Ferrell St. in South Hill, VA.

The event offers an opportunity to speak with Hospice staff trained in bereavement services from the safety of your vehicle. We will have educational handouts as well as tips and suggestions to help you get through the upcoming holiday season. Should you not be able to attend, and you wish to receive the materials or activities, we will gladly mail the items to the address you provide. If you would like to opt in for the mailing option, please contact Allison Mull, Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, at (434) 447-0838.
“We'd love to see you, even if there's a car door between us,” CMH Community Hospice Social Worker Allison Mull said.

Please RSVP your plans to attend the drive through event by November 1st to Allison Mull, BSW at (434) 447-0838.

Vulcan Materials donates pizza for front-line hospital workers on the night shift

Vice President of Professional Services Todd Howell, Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary T. Hardin and Chief Medical Officer Ikenna C. Ibe thank Vulcan Materials for showing such generosity to the night shift.

Despite reports of overall decreases in COVID cases statewide, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Hospitals are full, health care workers are exhausted, and people are still refusing to be vaccinated, causing unnecessary deaths. One local business hasn’t forgotten the need for morale boosting.

Vulcan Materials in South Hill recently had 17 pizzas delivered to front-line night shift workers at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.  

Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary T. Hardin, said, “Thank you – they were enjoyed by many!”

“It is a very small gesture for what you all are going through,” Brandy Clary with Vulcan Materials in South Hill said. “Thanks to everyone for the hard work and relentlessness through these very tough times.”

McEachin Votes to Pass the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted to pass H.R. 3110, the bipartisan, bicameral Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act to expand workplace protections for breastfeeding mothers. This bill updates and improves the 2010 break time for nursing mothers’ provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide reasonable break time to pump for one year after a child’s birth and ensure proper accommodations for mothers to pump.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would protect millions of employees inadvertently left out of existing legislation by extending protections to cover salaried employees, such as teachers, nurses, and farmworkers. It also clarifies paid versus unpaid pumping time to protect salaried workers from having their pay docked. Finally, it ensures that nursing mothers have avenues of legal recourse under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“I was proud to help pass this crucial legislation to provide additional workplace protections for mothers,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “All working mothers who want to breast feed should have reasonable accommodations to do so. Too often mothers feel forced to choose between nursing and returning to work successfully.  No mother should have to make the untenable choice between earning a living or feeding their child. The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is an important step in protecting the rights of working mothers, and I urge the Senate to take up this bipartisan legislation without delay.”

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is supported by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE), National Retail Federation, National Education Association, NARAL Pro-Choice America, HR Policy Association, and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, American Civil Liberties Union, A Better Balance, and UC Hastings Center for Work Life Law.

Read H.R. 3110, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act bill text here.

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.8 Percent in September

Unemployment rate has dropped every single month for 16 straight months

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced today that Virginia’s unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in September, 2.8 percentage points below the rate from one year ago. Virginia unemployment continues to stay below the national rate of 4.8 percent.

In September, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 69,300 jobs and the public sector gained 3,700 jobs, totaling 73,000 new jobs.

“September marks the sixteenth consecutive month Virginia’s unemployment rate has dropped,” said Governor Northam. “People are working, businesses are hiring, and that’s all good news. This consistent progress shows the strength of Virginia’s economy, and we need to keep this momentum going.”

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 2,700 jobs over-the-month. The number of unemployed residents decreased by 8,606 to 159,786. The number of employed residents rose by 4,747 to 4,084,410. In September 2021, Virginia saw over-the-year job gains of 1.8 percent.

“Even with an unemployment rate well below the national average, our administration remains committed to helping those Virginians who are still searching for work,” said Secretary of Labor Megan Healy. “We will continue to work with our workforce development partners to ensure that all Virginians have access to the resources and skills they will need to find a high-quality career in this new job market.”

“Since this time last year, employment in Virginia has increased by more than 70,000 jobs and the unemployment rate has dropped by 2.8 percentage points,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These numbers are just a few of the latest encouraging signs for the Commonwealth’s economy in a post-pandemic world, and we are optimistic that job growth will continue in the months ahead.”

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 23,800 jobs or 3.1 percent. The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 19,300 jobs or 5.9 percent. Trade, transportation, and utilities experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain of 10,500 jobs or 1.6 percent.

For more details, visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website.

Paula Jean Schneider Diefert

March 18, 1938 - October 18, 2021


Monday, October 25, 2021 at 11:00 a.m

St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery
4800 Purdy Road
Emporia, Virginia

Paula Jean Schneider Diefert, of Kill Devil Hills, NC, passed away peacefully at her home on October 18, 2021.  She was born on March 18, 1938, in Union, New Jersey.  Born to William and Florence Schneider and raised in Irvington, New Jersey where she graduated from Irvington High School in 1955.  She married the love of her life Ronald John Diefert and in 1965 they moved to Emporia, VA. 

Paula was preceded in death by her grandparents, Fredrick and Maude Swick, George and Marie Theresa Schneider; her parents, William and Florence Schneider; and her husband Ronald J. Diefert of 53 years.  She is survived by her daughter, Suzanne Matthews (James) of Rocky Mount, NC; her son, Ronald W. Diefert (Brenda), her granddaughter, Brysen Diefert of Emporia, VA; and her sister, Barbara O’Hara.

Paula was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church for many years while residing in Emporia, VA.  After moving to the Outer Banks, Ron and Paula joined Grace Lutheran Church in Nags Head, NC.  She had a strong commitment to both churches for many years.  Paula also supported her community by volunteering at the local Hotline in Nags Head, NC.

Family and friends are welcome to attend the graveside burial on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 11:00 a.m., at the St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery, located at 4800 Purdy Road, Emporia, VA.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to any of the following:  Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanub, Utah. 84741; St. John’s Lutheran Church, Emporia, VA.; or Grace Lutheran Church, Nags Head, NC.

Governor Northam Announces More Than $4.4 Million to Revitalize Communities Across Virginia

Grants will support entrepreneurs and boost local economies

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that local business owners and community organizations will benefit from more than $4.4 million in grants for 33 investment projects across the Commonwealth.

These projects will create and support business development, economic recovery, and the redevelopment of industrial and commercial structures.

“This is about renovating old buildings, investing in neighborhoods, and launching new businesses,” said Governor Northam. “These projects will greatly benefit Virginia’s local economies and business owners.” 

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers these important programs, as well as some American Rescue Plan funds.

The Industrial Revitalization Fund leverages local and private resources to redevelop deteriorated structures. This creates more long-term employment opportunities and supports infrastructure and economic revitalization.

Community Business Launch grants help prepare businesses for success. Entrepreneurs can receive training and help with developing business plans.

The Virginia Statewide Business District Resurgence Grant supports historically economically disadvantaged communities and business districts that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“This funding will expand job growth, nurture entrepreneurial ecosystems, and provide support to communities most affected by the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Supporting this funding means supporting the Commonwealth’s small businesses and an economic future that works for all Virginians.” 

2022 Industrial Revitalization Fund Awardees:

VUMAC Adaptive Reuse: Boutique Hotel | $600,000

Town of Blackstone

Blackstone Hotel Partners is rehabilitating a former women’s college into a boutique hotel with 109 rooms, a restaurant, microbrewery, gift shop, and movie theater. The funding will support public improvements, including water and sewer lines, stormwater solutions, sidewalks and curbs, electrical service, and a backup generator for the property. The project is expected to create 25 full-time equivalent positions, 35 jobs in total. 

Hotel Petersburg | $600,000

City of Petersburg

The city of Petersburg will renovate a 65-room hotel that was originally built in 1915. The owner, Tabb Street Development, will operate the facility in conjunction with Retro Hospitality, who has experience with boutique hotels in the region. The project is expected to create 60 full-time and 40 part-time jobs.

Carver Food Incubator and Community Kitchen | $470,000

Culpeper County

The former George Washington Carver Regional High School, located on Route 15 in Culpeper, was constructed in 1948 and served as the regional high school for African American students. Culpeper County is renovating the property to become a cultural, agricultural, and vocational business incubator with educational and research facilities. The funding will support the construction of a commercial kitchen, which will be used as a food business incubator, providing food truck services, a point source for locally grown products, and a community education kitchen. The George Washington Carver Food Enterprises Center will manage the kitchen. The project is expected to create 28-38 full-time positions.

2510 Jefferson Avenue | $250,000

City of Newport News

The city of Newport News will renovate a 1930-building into retail and office space. The Newport News Economic Development Authority acquired this property in June 2020. Since the acquisition, the city has created the Critical Community Improvements Plan, which outlines the plan for the 2510 Jefferson Avenue building. The project is expected to create and/or support 11 full-time positions.

2022 Community Business Launch Awardees:

RDA Dream Launch Entrepreneurship Program | $90,000

City of Danville

The Downtown Danville Association will organize a nine-week business training series, followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on North Union/Spring Street, a historically Black commercial district adjacent to downtown Danville. Downtown Danville Association and its many partner organizations will focus on business types that serve the North Union neighborhood and will engage in outreach to identify potential entrepreneurs fitting with both the history and future of the area. At completion, the project will train more than 85 entrepreneurs, create or expand three businesses, and create at least five jobs.

Uptown Partnership Community Business Launch | $90,000

City of Martinsville

Uptown Partnership, in partnership with the Advancement Foundation, will host a 12-week business workshop series, followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on Uptown Martinsville. Uptown Partnership recently completed a retail market analysis in 2021 and will use that information to guide its entrepreneurial outreach strategies, with a specific emphasis on small-scale manufacturing businesses and retail catering to the needs of uptown residents. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs. 

Town of Bedford Business Launch | $65,000

Town of Bedford

The town of Bedford, in partnership with the Advancement Foundation, will host a 12-week series of business planning workshops culminating in a two-week pitch competition, focusing on entrepreneurs seeking to open in Centertown Bedford. Bedford aims to diversify its retail business mix with a focus on small-scale manufacturing businesses that offer retail shoppers the experience of watching products being made. At completion, Bedford will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Bristol Community Business Launch | $60,000

City of Bristol

Believe in Bristol will host a six-week business training series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on downtown Bristol. Believe in Bristol recently embarked on an assessment of small-scale manufacturers and would like to emphasize the addition of these types of retails to downtown. At completion, Believe in Bristol will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Wood Avenue Revitalization | $45,000

Town of Big Stone Gap

The town of Big Stone Gap will host a six-week business training series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on Wood Avenue in the historic downtown area of Big Stone Gap. Big Stone Gap will focus on specialty retail and restaurants to fill a critical mass of vacant properties in order to turn around a highly visible area of the community. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Homegrown for Hopewell | $45,000

City of Hopewell

Hopewell Downtown Partnership, in partnership with Virginia State University, will host a six-week business workshop series, followed by a business plan pitch competition focused on downtown Hopewell. Hopewell Downtown Partnership will focus on businesses that will fill gaps in available services for residents and visitors to Hopewell, such as specialty grocery, outdoor recreation outfitters, and/or a small conference center/hotel. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Scottsville Community Business Launch | $40,000

Town of Scottsville

The town of Scottsville, in partnership with the Community Investment Collaborative, will host an eight-week business workshop series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on downtown Scottsville. The town of Scottsville recently completed an assessment of its retail and housing market, identifying several retail business categories with opportunity for growth, such as restaurants, general merchandise, grocery, and specialty retail. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

2022 Virginia Statewide Business District Resurgence Grant Awardees

“Made in Bristol:” Small-Scale Manufacturing for State Street | $150,000

City of Bristol

Building on its small-scale manufacturing strategic plan, the city of Bristol will initiate a Made in Bristol membership program open to any and all small-scale producers in the Bristol area. Members will have access to training, technical assistance and capacity-building grants specific to the needs of small producers. SWaM businesses will be particularly encouraged to participate. This project seeks to promote stability and growth among existing businesses, providing direct assistance to at least 20 businesses.

North Main Hill Neighborhood Business District Revitalization Program | $150,000

Downtown Danville Association | City of Danville

The Downtown Danville Association will partner with the Danville Regional Foundation and the city of Danville Office of Economic Development to pilot a new neighborhood commercial district revitalization program in historically BIPOC neighborhoods adjacent to downtown, such as North Main Hill. The organization aims to develop an action plan to provide services to an expanded footprint including but not limited to business assistance, marketing, façade improvement programs, and place making rooted in economic inclusion. Upon completion, this will increase access to capital, loans, and grants, increase business training and start-ups, execute at least one resident-driven project, and lay the groundwork for infrastructure improvements such as WiFi hotspots.

Black Entrepreneurial Advancement and Community Opportunity Network (BEACON) Incubator Project | $150,000

New Hill Development Corporation | City of Charlottesville

New Hill Development Corporation, in partnerships with the city of Charlottesville, Community Investment Collaborative, Operation Hope, and the Virginia Department of Health, will develop a business accelerator, commercial kitchen, and co-working space for Black food and beverage entrepreneurs in and around the Starr Hill community of Charlottesville. New Hill CDC  plans to conduct entrepreneur identification and outreach, rent a commercial kitchen, provide culinary business training, conduct a pop-up restaurant event and organize a competitive startup grant program. Upon completion, New Hill CDC  will assist at least 24 businesses, create 10 new businesses, create at least 12 jobs, and build organizational capacity for growing the project even further.

Chamberbrook Arts and Business District Master Plan Activation | $150,000

Real Chances Inc. | City of Richmond

Real Chances Inc., in partnership with the Storefront for Community Design and the FORM Coalition, will conduct master planning and early stage implementation for the Chamberbrook Arts and Business District at the northern gateway into the city of Richmond. Real Chances Inc. will work with design and planning consultants to develop a master plan and architectural pattern book for Chamberbrook, organize pop-up retail and place making projects, offer business start-up training/coaching, and administer business start-up grants. Upon completion, Real Chances will complete a master plan, develop an e-commerce platform, assist five businesses, and improve six commercial buildings in the Chamberbrook district.

Entrepreneurial Support Hub for Businesses on Williamson Road Corridor | $150,000

Williamson Road Area Business Association | City and County of Roanoke and County of Salem

Williamson Road Area Business Association (WRABA) will develop a new shared workspace/incubator adjacent to WRABA’s existing space to serve a multi-lingual, multinational population of highly-motivated entrepreneurs hoping to open businesses along the Williamson Road corridor. WRABA plans to complete its facility buildout, execute start-up business training, and install public artworks that communicate the purpose of the hub.

Waynesboro Renaissance | $116,000

Waynesboro Economic Development | City of Waynesboro

Building on the city’s strategy to support small business recovery downtown and create a path to a Waynesboro renaissance, funding will be used for façade improvement grants, business training and technical assistance, marketing/promotions, and a downtown housing study. This project will assist businesses in historically economically disadvantaged communities, drive traffic to existing businesses in their historic main street, and prepare the area for new investment.

757 Makerspace - Peninsula Expansion | $100,000

Economic Development Authority of the City of Hampton | City of Hampton

A spin-off of the successful 757 Makerspace in Norfolk, this project creates access to the same resources North of the James and expands access to these resources closer to innovators affiliated with NASA, Langley AFB, Newport News Shipbuilding, VIMS, Hampton University, William & Mary, and all of their suppliers. This project will be executed in partnership with Hampton Public Schools’ vocational/technical programs, including BIPOC students and their families. Through the StartWheel online platform, they will promote entrepreneurial activities and early-stage startup businesses in the area.

B-Cubed Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Expansion | $100,000

City of Harrisonburg and County of Rockingham

The city of Harrisonburg, as part of a multi-partner effort called B-Cubed (Black- and Brown-owned Business) Growth Program, will support next stage growth and adaptation of its Bricks and Clicks business retention program to focus on the needs of underserved entrepreneurs who will benefit from more coaching, larger grants to overcome undercapitalization, and less instruction in institutional settings. The B-Cubed Growth Program will assist 30 businesses and provide 30 grants.

Expansion of Bloom Co-Working Space and Incubator | $100,000

Partnership Development Foundation | City of Portsmouth

The Partnership Development Foundation will support the expansion of the Bloom coworking and incubator space in Portsmouth, which will provide local startups and micro-companies targeted resources and educational programming to grow into successful businesses. Bloom is currently providing subsidized space and services for small-business owners to help them recover and pivot as necessary. This space will target Portsmouth small businesses and veterans, minorities, persons with a disability, and women. This incubation and co-working space seeks to increase the availability of co-working space, increase the revenue of associated businesses and individuals, and increase job creation.

Filling Street Level Vacancies in Arts and Culture District | $100,000

Venture Richmond | City of Richmond

Venture Richmond will identify and fill vacant or underutilized retail storefronts along the Broad Street section of Richmond’s Arts and Culture District damaged during the social uprisings of the summer of 2020 and recruit existing small, women, and minority (SWaM) and immigrant-owned businesses to fill vacancies in the district. Building and business owners will be eligible for façade improvement grants from the city of Richmond. New start-ups will be eligible for business training and mentoring through the Metropolitan Business League and grants for specific reimbursable expenses. 

We Care Recovery and Small Business Resiliency | $100,000

Metropolitan Business League | City of Richmond and County of Henrico

The Metropolitan Business League (MBL) will expand the capacity of its existing “We Care” recovery and resiliency project in order to provide relief funds for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and social justice demonstrations. Through this program, MBL provides direct grants, financial counseling, technical assistance, and corporate training to businesses in the Richmond metropolitan region, directly serving Black and Brown business owners in low- to moderate-income areas.

Childcare Business Support in the Historic Triangle | $100,000

Inner Peace Coalition Inc. | City of Williamsburg and County of James City

Inner Peace Coalition Inc., in partnership with James City County Department of Social Services, will provide business support services to small, woman-, minority- and immigrant-owned businesses in the Historic Triangle area, with an emphasis on businesses providing child care services. Inner Peace Coalition Inc. plans to conduct outreach, training and ongoing mentorship to new and existing business owners. The organization will train at least 150 entrepreneurs and create at least two new businesses.

Small Scale Developer Education and Activation | $95,000

Hopewell Downtown Partnership | City of Hopewell

Hopewell Downtown Partnership (HDP) will train a cohort of small, woman, and minority developers to tackle projects in Hopewell, update Hopewell’s retail market analysis, and create a new business investment guide. Hopewell Downtown Partnership plans to organize a series of small-scale real estate development trainings, including advanced training and coaching for owners with active projects that are ready to begin right away. Hopewell Downtown Partnership will train 120 small-scale developers, including at least 30 of whom will be small, woman, and minority developers benefiting from scholarships.

Lawrenceville Merchants Assistance Program | $88,000

IDA of Brunswick | County of Brunswick

The IDA of Brunswick will provide SWaM retail merchants with technical assistance and mentoring, joint marketing opportunities and the development of a shared e-commerce platform for Brunswick County merchants and makers, with an emphasis on Lawrenceville. This project will leverage existing entrepreneurial initiatives to provide additional impact.

Southeast Commercial District Business Assistance | $86,000

Newport News Economic Development Authority | City of Newport News

The Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA) will support existing small business growth and entrepreneurship in the southeast commercial district, a historically underserved and disadvantaged area of Newport News. In partnership with the Women's Empowerment Development, NNEDA plans to offer hands-on technical and financial assistance to small businesses in the community as well as distributed commercial locations within the broader Southeast Community.

Strategic Plan for Inclusion of Fifth Street Corridor in Downtown Lynchburg Association Service Area | $64,000

Downtown Lynchburg Association | City of Lynchburg

Downtown Lynchburg Association (DLA) will conduct a strategic action plan to expand DLA’s service district to include Fifth Street, a historically Black commercial district. Downtown Lynchburg Association plans to follow up its strategic planning with place making projects such as murals, interpretive signs, and beautification along with enhanced supportive services for Fifth Street businesses and property owners.

Southeast Community Commercial District Strategic Action Plan | $50,000

City of Newport News

Womens Empowerment Development Inc., (WED), in partnership with the city of Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA), will develop a strategic action plan for the Southeast Community in the historic Jefferson Avenue and Chestnut Avenue commercial districts. WED will conduct an assessment of potential gaps and opportunities to support the business ecosystem and to provide an inclusive framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization and vitality, entrepreneurship readiness, and start-up SWaM business support services.

B-Force Accelerator | $50,000

Black Brand | City of Portsmouth

Black Brand will expand capacity of the existing microenterprise assistance, B-Force Accelerator program. This expansion will provide technical assistance and training workshops to early stage minority business owners to increase their ability to access capital, scale up, increase revenue, decrease expenses, and develop a professional network.

Gainsboro Neighborhood Business Assistance Program | $50,000

City of Roanoke

The city of Roanoke will complete a needs assessment for merchants in the Gainesboro commercial district. The results of the assessment will inform program design for grant and technical assistance in the historically underserved neighborhood commercial district adjacent to downtown Roanoke. 

Welcome Back to Business | $50,000

South Hill Chamber of Commerce | Town of South Hill

The South Hill Chamber of Commerce will develop a public space for outdoor dining and events, façade improvement program, business technical assistance and training, and the development of a marketing campaign to draw customers to the central business district. This program seeks to expand the availability of business support services to historically disadvantaged business owners in the community. The South Hill Chamber of Commerce will serve 30 businesses, improve 10 downtown businesses, and provide assistance to ten historically disadvantaged businesses through this initiative.

Commercial Real Estate Rehabilitation Incentive Enhancements | $50,000

Town of South Hill

The town of South Hill seeks to further capitalize existing façade improvement funds for building owners and offer reimbursable grants for business interior buildout projects. This project will directly support 10 building improvement projects and will include outreach and engagement to ensure the inclusion of traditionally underserved business owners in these initiatives while leveraging existing business incentives to create a more resilient business district.

Start Smart Education for Early Stage Low and Moderator Income Entrepreneurs | $10,000

BizWorks | County of Chesterfield

BizWorks Enterprise Center will organize and host a series of small-scale business startup classes and mentoring focused on low- and moderate-income residents of the Route 1 corridor of Chesterfield County. BizWorks Enterprise Center plans to conduct extensive outreach to nearby residents. Biz Works will offer business training and mentoring and host a business plan competition. BizWorks Enterprise Center will train 30 students, retain and strengthen 10 businesses, create at least five jobs, and generate $50,000 in loans.

McEachin Congratulates VA-04 Angel in Adoption Honoree

Richmond – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) congratulated Angel in Adoption Honoree, Adalay Wilson, for her extraordinary contributions to promote strong adoption, permanency, and child welfare programs within the Fourth District. Wilson is the Chief Program Officer of United Methodist Family Services, a Richmond-based nonprofit that seeks to create significant, positive change and address pressing social challenges. 

Each year, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) honors individuals and organizations across the nation who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of children in need of permanent, loving homes through the Angel in Adoption Program. 

“I am grateful that such altruistic and passionate people, like Ms. Wilson, live in Virginia’s Fourth and contribute so much to our communities and its members,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “I was pleased to speak with her and congratulate her on receiving this distinguished recognition as one of CCAI’s Angels in Adoption. Adalay is truly making a difference in the lives of children and families across the Commonwealth and continues to show the positive difference adoption makes in the life of a child.” 

View the full list of honorees here. Watch the 2021 Gala here.

Virginia State Police investigate a single vehicle crash in Greensville County which resulted in a fatality.

Preliminary investigations reveal that at approximately 2:20 a.m. this morning (October 21), the driver of a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, ran off the roadway and struck a tree. DeShaun Tyrail Moss, was traveling on Crescent Road, north of Crescent Court in Emporia, when he lost control of the vehicle, ran off the roadway, and struck a tree. As the vehicle overturned, Moss was ejected, and landed on top of Moss. Moss died upon impact. Neither speed nor alcohol appear to be contributing factors in the crash.

Notification has been made to family members. DeShaun Tyrail Moss, 24 years of age, was of the 3100 block of Fiddlers Road, Emporia, Virginia.

SVCC and DRS Imaging Services Celebrate Graduates




SVCC graduates of the DRS Imaging Services employee program are Jamie Caknipe, Jessica Caknipe, Shavonne Hargrove, Jeanette Rawlings, Shelby Russell, Bruce Terry and (not-pictured) Kelly Gordon.

Southside Virginia Community College in partnership with DRS Imaging Services, LLC in Clarksville held a luncheon event celebrating seven DRS Imaging employees who received a career studies certificate from SVCC.

Within a two-year period, the DRS employees attended classes that covered office software applications; business; career exploration; team concepts; and problem solving for the completion of a Career Studies Certificate in Office Basics. 

"As an owner and Board member of DRS, I was excited to spearhead an incredible partnership between CapEQ (led by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson), the Southside Virginia Community College team and the South Central Workforce Development Board. Working together, we have provided more than 2,500 free college credit hours to DRS employees in Clarksville. We believe impactful initiatives like these not only serve to upskill our employees but are also significantly beneficial to companies by reducing employee churn. Thank you to our incredible partners on a job well done," said Nick Jean-Baptiste, Member of the Board of Directors of DRS Imaging Services, LLC.

Through this program DRS Imaging paid for the tuition and books for each of the courses provided to its employees.  When talking with the graduates they explained that taking these courses were a springboard for a future career or a more advanced degree.  Others stated that they were encouraged to finish what they had started years ago.  For some of the graduates they received the encouragement to attend college for the first time.

“This type of program is what I love about workforce and apprenticeship courses,” said Kristie Morris, Apprenticeship Specialist and Instructor at SVCC.  “We at SVCC are able to offer our students (especially those working full time) courses they need to further educate themselves while fitting the courses into their busy schedules, one class at a time.”

“It was a pleasure working with DRS to upskill their workforce,” states Kelly Arnold, former Southside Virginia Community College, Apprentice Coordinator. “In the digital age it’s essential for employers to understand the value of upskilling and investing in their employees. While there is a small cost to training the workforce, the benefits to developing tech savvy workers creates intrinsic value for the employee and the company.”

Arnold added, “The partnership with Southside Virginia Community College allowed the DRS employees to learn new technologies and to earn career studies certificates. These collaborative efforts pay dividends in employee efficiency, well-being and accomplishments.”

DRS was founded in 1964 and is one of the oldest and largest privately owned document scanning service bureaus in the United States with more than 400 employees and 13 locations across the country.

For more information about other employee and apprenticeship programs offered at SVCC, please contact Kristie Morris, Apprenticeship Specialist at SVCC, kristie.morris@southside.edu.

The three stages of COVID-19

Community Memorial Hospital respiratory therapist shares what she sees

Sandra Pearce, M.S., R.R.T., of Mecklenburg County, has been on the front lines of caring for adult patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. She’s been a respiratory therapist at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Va., for 35 years and was recently promoted to respiratory supervisor.

Pearce sees COVID-19 patients from the moment they arrive in the emergency department and throughout their hospital stay. Here, she describes the three stages of COVID-19 she witnesses everyday among her patients, depending on their ability to fight the virus. Please not that not everyone experiences these same symptoms.

Stage 1: Flu-like symptoms

Stage 1 is the early viral response. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Forty-seven percent of people are asymptomatic, which is a major problem for unknowingly spreading the disease,” Sandra said. “It can take anywhere from two to 14 days for symptoms to appear, which explains the need for quarantining after exposure.”

If you experience these symptoms, visit the Virginia Department of Health for a list of COVID-19 testing sites near you. Seek emergency medical care for difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to stay awake, and pale, gray or bluish-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone.  

Stage 2: Pneumonia/respiratory symptoms

Stage 2 is when the virus moves into your lungs and causes pneumonia. This is the critical stage where you must watch closely for trouble breathing, chest pain and confusion.

 “When you’re constantly coughing and can’t take deep breaths, your oxygen level can decrease,” Sandra said. “If the oxygen saturation in your blood is not at a satisfactory level, you will be admitted, and we’ll start treatment.”

Respiratory therapists work closely with hospitalists and pulmonologists to treat COVID-19 patients. They will try to increase your flow of oxygen first with non-invasive equipment similar to what some people use at home for sleep apnea. You can also perform breathing exercises and receive anti-virals, steroids and other medications deemed appropriate by your doctor.

“Our pulmonologists, Dr. Shivaram and Dr. Adarkwah, do everything they can to keep patients out of the ICU unless medically necessary,” Sandra said.

In addition to pneumonia and other severe respiratory problems, at this stage you might require emergency care for blood clots. If you can’t walk across the room without getting winded, seek emergency care immediately. The Emergency Department physician will order blood work and other tests to determine the proper treatment for your condition.

Stage 3: Organ failure

Stage 3 is when your lungs go into a hyperinflammatory response, which can lead to sepsis and organ failure.

“This is when we call your family because it may be the last time you’re able to talk to them,” Sandra explains.

If you require a ventilator, a long tube will be inserted into your trachea, in addition to multiple IVs and catheters. Pressure can build up in your lungs, requiring the insertion of a chest tube through your ribcage.

Sandra notes that at the beginning of the pandemic, CDC statistics showed that only one in 10 patients on ventilators survived. Of those who did, many required rehab and home oxygen.

“I’ve cried,” Sandra admitted. “It’s hard to watch when they are close to the end. So, when patients do recover and are discharged, it gives hospital staff a big boost of morale.”

Dealing with the stress

How does Sandra deal with the stress after 18 months of caring for COVID patients?

“I relish my days off,” Sandra said. “I enjoy relaxing at home, cooking and spending time with my family and friends.”

Sandra still orders her groceries for pickup and wears a mask in public indoors. With the positivity rate in the Southside Health District still at 11%, she’s not taking any chances.

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart, wear a mask and get the vaccine.

“I recommend everyone, with few exceptions, get the vaccine,” Sandra said. “After seeing what I see every day, and the fact it can be prevented, I just wish people would understand.”

Since July 1, 51% of the patients admitted to VCU Health CMH with COVID have been less than 60 years of age. Of those who died from COVID since then, 38% were less than 60.

To find a vaccination location near you, visit www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233. You can also text your zip code to 438-829 for a list of vaccination sites near your home. Vaccination is free!

Creating Paths for Opportunity

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

The United States has been called a land of opportunity, a place where all people have the chance to increase their income, improve their circumstances, and pursue happiness. History paints a more complex picture. Socioeconomic studies find that the conditions required to pursue opportunities are unevenly distributed.

Factors such as unequal access to quality education, disparities in family wealth, and insufficiently robust social connections contribute to dissimilar outcomes. Furthermore, living in poverty undermines security and thwarts optimism. A few years ago, researchers at the Census Bureau, Harvard University, and Brown University discovered that the neighborhood in which a child grows up has a significant impact on future earnings, incarceration rates, and other adult outcomes.

Persistent, multigenerational poverty has had an especially devastating effect in minority communities. At the same time, people with higher incomes are able to live in neighborhoods with more resources and accrue socioeconomic advantages. These diverging trends, rooted in resource availability, contribute to an ever-widening gap between segments of society. This in turn disrupts our national unity and hampers our prosperity.

For opportunities to lead to widespread benefits, they need to open doors for everyone. The word itself, opportunity incorporates the word unity, underscoring the need to join hands and work together toward common goals.

With these thoughts in mind, the Virginia Community College System set out to consider the steps needed to attain equitable outcomes. The resulting strategy is called “Opportunity 2027.” Adopted earlier this year, the strategic plan provides a six-year blueprint that will guide Virginia’s community colleges into the future. The action-oriented design provides a detailed roadmap ensuring that “Virginia’s Community Colleges will achieve equity in access, learning outcomes, and success for students from every race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic group.”

The initiative seeks to remove equity gaps among students of color and ALICE students (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), a population that faces chronic financial instability and struggles to meet basic needs. To accomplish this, the plan establishes five target goals. These include communicating the importance of equity in securing Virginia’s future talent pipeline, improving the quality and diversity among community college faculty and staff members, ensuring a culture of care that meets the needs of a diverse student population, matching instruction to what is needed for 21st century careers, and keeping education affordable.

Southside Virginia Community College has already begun taking steps. We are expanding training for in-demand career pathways, pursuing options for granting prior-learning credits, embedding valued stackable credentials into programs, braiding credit and non-credit instruction, and pursuing local options for internships and apprenticeships. In addition, we are working to ensure that we employ faculty, staff, and administrators able to stand as role models and help our students envision themselves in future leadership positions.

My colleague John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College, summed it up nicely when he said, “Achieving our mission, and recognizing that every citizen of the commonwealth needs the opportunity to succeed will really help us improve the lives not only of individuals, but the communities where they live.”

“Opportunity 2027” establishes objectives and adopts metrics to monitor and document progress so colleges can see exactly how well they are doing in closing equity gaps based on race or ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic condition. At SVCC, we are proud to be in the forefront of this important work.

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


Attendees encouraged to participate in costume contest

EMPORIA, VA – Emporia Storage has a unit auction scheduled at its three facilities in the city beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The auction will have a special seasonal twist. Those attending the auction are encouraged to dress in costume. There will be a contest for auction participants with a prize awarded for the best costume.

The auction will begin at Emporia Storage office headquarters at 315 West Atlantic Street, Emporia, VA 23847, then move to the units at 623 South Main Street across from 7-11 and finish up at its third location on East Atlantic Street across from Georgia Pacific. Those attending should adhere to current government guidelines regarding COVID-19 by wearing masks and practicing distancing.

Multiple units will be auctioned. The exact number of units will not be available until the day before the auction. During this cash only sale, the belongings of delinquent storage units are auctioned to the highest bidder to recoup the loss of rental fees.

Gates open at 9 a.m. for registration. Registration is free. The auction begins at 10 a.m. Bidders will be given a few minutes to look at the units once they are opened. In this absolute auction, units will be sold "as is, where is" and contents must be removed by the winning bidder by 6 p.m. that day. A 15% buyers’ premium will apply. Please bring your own masks and locks, as you are responsible for security of your units upon winning the bid. The auction will be conducted by Carla Cash Harris, Emporia, Va., (434) 594-4406, VA License # 2907004352, a member of the Virginia Auctioneers Association. For more information, call Carla or Emporia Storage at (434) 634-2919.

Virginia State Police investigate a single vehicle crash that results in a double fatality in Brunswick County.

On today's date, October 17, 2021, at approximately 9:52 a.m., state police were dispatched to investigate a vehicle fire on southbound Interstate 85 at the 32mm in Brunswick County. Upon arriving at the scene, troopers located a 2015 Nissan Rogue with a New York registration fully engulfed. Preliminary investigations reveal that the Nissan was traveling at a high rate of speed, ran off the roadway and struck a tree. The impact of the crash caused the vehicle to catch fire burning the driver and passenger beyond recognition. No other occupants were located in the vehicle. The bodies have been taken to the Medical Examiner's office in Richmond for positive identification. The investigation remains ongoing.

South Hill man gets life back after cardiac rehab. Twice.

Tim Kallam stands on his favorite piece of equipment, the treadmill, with VCU Health CMH cardiac rehab staff.

South Hill resident Tim Kallam was 49 years old when he had a massive heart attack. A few years later, he experienced a second artery blockage. Both times he completed cardiac rehabilitation at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) in South Hill. The therapy gave him the confidence to enjoy living his life. Here is Tim’s story.

In 2019, Tim was moving his daughter into her apartment in Roanoke. In the months prior he had experienced chest pain and a tingling sensation in his arm, but he had shrugged it off as being overweight and out of shape. After several trips to the apartment, he went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics resuscitated him, but he lost consciousness again on the way to the hospital.

The widow-maker

Tim was diagnosed as having a 100 percent blockage in his left anterior descending (LAD) artery. This type of heart attack is known as a widow-maker because only 6 percent of people survive an event like that. Doctors placed a stent in the artery, and Tim began his road to recovery.

Back in South Hill, Tim completed 36 sessions of cardiac rehab over three months, going three times a week. At first, he was afraid to do anything the least bit strenuous. Yet each week, his therapists pushed him to work harder. About midway through, Tim felt confident enough to do most anything he wanted.

“This was my testing ground, where I could safely work out under the supervision of the staff while my heart rate and blood pressure were monitored,” Tim explained. “The staff are enthusiastic and supportive. They have a genuine concern for my recovery.”

Not again!

In 2021, Tim again experienced chest pain and tingling in his arm — but this time he knew what it was and sought immediate medical attention. His cardiologist conducted a stress test and ordered imaging. It turned out a second artery was 99 percent blocked. He has collateral vessels that have opened on their own to keep the blood flowing. But back to cardiac rehab he went.

“We have a great facility at VCU Health CMH,” he said. “You don’t have to seek out rehab in a big city. The staff here is outstanding.”

Now Tim takes daily walks. He’s lost about 30 pounds and feels good.

“My wife and I enjoy the outdoors. I hunt rabbits and spend time on the farm with my dogs. We have a son who plays football at Hampden Sydney who is about to graduate from college. We have a daughter who is getting married in a year. I am motivated to stay healthy so I can experience being a grandfather someday.”

Social Security Announces 5.9 Percent Benefit Increase for 2022

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022.  Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.  (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $147,000 from $142,800. 

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount.  Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their personal my Social Security account.  People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.    

Information about Medicare changes for 2022, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.  For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2022 are announced.  Final 2022 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.


~ On U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rule to remove barriers to considering environmental, social, governance factors in plan management ~

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement on the Department of Labor’s proposed rule enabling retirement plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their decision-making:

“I am glad that the Employee Benefits Security Administration has moved to reverse one of the Trump Administration’s efforts to ignore the calamitous effects of climate change, including its associated financial risks, by proposing a rule enabling retirement plans to consider Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations in investment decisions. Companies do not operate in a vacuum and investment fiduciaries should have the ability to consider sustainability of the broader community without running afoul of their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders. With the publication of this proposed rule, the Biden Administration has taken a step towards protecting the long-term financial security of pensioners and workers across the country.

“This proposed rule also highlights the continued importance of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) effort to establish clear ESG disclosure requirements for publicly traded companies. Investors increasingly clamor for consistent ESG reporting because they understand companies that invest in their workers, minimize harmful environmental impacts, and enact strong worker safety measures, also tend to perform better in the long-run.” 

Under the proposed rule, retirement plan administrators will continue to act in the sole interest of the plan’s participants but will now be able to more freely include ESG factors, including in their initial analysis of investment options. Sen. Warner has previously called on Congress to amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to require consideration of ESG factors as part of fiduciary duty. While this rule does not require consideration of ESG factors by plan managers, it grants critical flexibility to do so.

McEachin Bipartisan Bill to Increase Offshore Drilling Accountability Passes Natural Resources Committee

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) participated in a Natural Resources full committee markup where he helped advance his legislation, the Offshore Accountability Act, to update reporting standards and increase transparency of critical system and equipment failures on offshore drilling facilities.

“Today’s committee markup and passage of the Offshore Accountability Act is an important step toward greater transparency and accountability of the offshore oil and gas industry,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “As we have seen from prior tragedies, like the Santa Barbara and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, offshore drilling accidents can be dangerous, expensive, and life-altering for coastal communities and critical ecosystems. All Americans, especially those in coastal communities, deserve transparency from industries operating in our oceans.”

“My legislation makes commonsense updates to existing reporting standards to ensure appropriate accountability and oversight of offshore drilling facilities,” Rep. McEachin (VA-04) continued. “I thank my colleagues on committee for helping advance this important legislation, and I look forward to its passage in the House.”

H.R. 570, the Offshore Accountability Act, requires offshore drilling facilities to report critical safety system failures directly to the Secretary of the Interior, who would then be mandated to publicly disclose these incident reports.

Watch the Natural Resources full committee markup here. Read the Offshore Accountability Act bill text here.


~ Herring has filed an amicus brief in support of the United States and four federally recognized tribes in their efforts to uphold critical protections guaranteed under the Indian Child Welfare Act ~

RICHMOND (October 8, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has filed an amicus brief supporting the United States and four federally recognized tribes in their efforts to uphold critical protections guaranteed under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Attorney General Herring and a bipartisan coalition of 26 attorneys general filed the amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Haaland v. Brackeen and Cherokee Nation v. Brackeen. The brief highlights the states’ compelling interest in standing up for the wellbeing of all children, including Native American children, in state child-custody proceedings.
“Since its passage more than 40 years ago, the Indian Child Welfare Act has been a critical tool for protecting Native American tribes and keeping Native American families together, and it has also helped to foster tribal-state collaboration,” said Attorney General Herring. “Every single child deserves to be protected, especially during child-custody proceedings, and it’s crucial that protections like the ICWA remain in place to do just that. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act and maintaining these crucial protections for Native American children and their families.”
Congress enacted ICWA in 1978 in response to a serious and pervasive problem: State and private parties were initiating state child-custody proceedings that removed Native American children from the custody of their parents — often without good cause — and placed them in the custody of non-tribal adoptive and foster homes. That practice harmed children and posed an existential threat to the continuity and vitality of tribal communities. To address this, Congress established minimum federal standards governing the removal of Native American children from their families. ICWA’s provisions safeguard the rights of Native American children, parents, and tribes in state child-custody proceedings, and seek to promote the placement of Native American children with members of their extended families or with other tribal homes. In the four decades since Congress enacted ICWA, the statute has become the foundation of state-tribal relations in the realm of child custody and family services. Collectively, the coalition states are home to approximately 86% of federally recognized tribes in the United States.
In the amicus brief, the coalition asserts that: 
  • ICWA is a critical tool for protecting Native American families and tribes, and fostering state-tribal collaboration;
  • The court of appeals incorrectly concluded that several of ICWA’s provisions violate the anti-commandeering doctrine; and
  • ICWA’s preferences for the placement of Native American children with other Native American families and foster homes do not violate equal protection.
 Joining Attorney General Herring in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.


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

We are excited to celebrate a significant milestone for my Social Security: 60 million registrations!  We thank each of you who took the time to create a personal my Social Security account – and encouraged others to do the same.  We keep improving our online services to make doing business with us easier, faster, and more accessible.

If you are receiving benefits, you can use your personal my Social Security account, to:

  • Change your address and direct deposit information.
  • Get proof of your benefits.
  • Request replacement documents, like a Medicare card.

If you aren’t currently receiving benefits, you can:

  • Check your earnings record.
  • Get estimates of your future benefits.
  • View your Social Security Statement.

In most states, you can also request a replacement Social Security card online, although often you only need to know your Social Security number and you do not need the physical card.  See everything you can do with a personal my Social Security account, and open one today at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

Please help us share this information about my Social Security with friends and family.  You can also post it on social media to help us spread the word.  



Located in Brunswick County Virginia, Canaan was the plantation home of   The Rev. Edward Dromgoole Sr., a traveling minister of the Revolutionary War and early national periods. This “historic gem” is situated in Valentines, Virginia just off the Christanna Highway (route 46) -- a road that Brunswick County is developing as a tourism corridor. Once restored, this plantation home will be an additional site for visitors to enjoy along this corridor. The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation, as a 501(3) c non-profit organization and the owner of this historic building, has recently been awarded a grant that will help save it from potential collapse.

As proven by dendrochronology, Canaan was built between 1796 and 1799. This home had solidly stood for over 200 years but after Hurricane Michael in the fall of 2018 inundated the county with rain, a dramatic tilt was noticed in its east chimney.  Given that this chimney is timber-tied into the house, if the chimney should fall so will the house.  Local resident and builder, Tom King, completed the necessary emergency structural work to brace the chimney in its tilting position and to pour concrete to unify and support its base.  Although the stress on the bracing and on the west chimney remained evident, the Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation (OBCF), could not do the work needed to permanently stabilize and repair the chimneys and foundation until they could raise the necessary funds.

A solution came in the form of financing from the Emergency Supplemental Historical Preservation Fund (ESHPF).  Administered by the National Park Service, 4.7 million dollars of these funds were awarded to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR). These monies allowed VDHR to offer sub-awards to historic sites located in 52 counties and cities in Virginia that had been negatively impacted by Hurricane Florence and Michael.   The OBDF applied for this grant because-- as board member Ann Keeling said, “It was the type of grant opportunity that was ideally structured for a small non-profit organization like ours”.   Having made an application for the grant, the OBCF recently got the news for which they anxiously awaited:  the National Park Service in partnership with the VDHR had awarded the OBCF an initial grant award amount of $199,605.   For Canaan, this grant will fund the stabilization and repair of its chimneys and foundation as well as the acquisition of a Historic Structure Report and an Engineering Assessment. Both of these planning documents will inform the construction needed.

Canaan is the only surviving home in Virginia of an 18th Century itinerant minister or Methodist “circuit rider”, Rev. Edward Dromgoole, Sr.  Dromgoole was influential in spreading John Wesley's Methodist movement in America. . It was in this home that Dromgoole and his wife, Rebecca Walton Dromgoole, hosted class meetings and worship services.  This house also served as an important hospitality and educational stop for Methodist preachers, notably Francis Asbury, one of the two first Methodist Bishops in America.   Dromgoole died May 13, 1835 and is buried on the property.   Canaan later became the home of his son, Hon. George Coke Dromgoole, who represented his region of Virginia, first in the state legislature for 13 years, then in Congress for 7 years.

 More information about The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation and Canaan can be found at https://vaumc.org/oldbrunswickcircuit.   To support the preservation efforts of the Foundation, tax-deductible donations payable to The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation may be sent to P. O. Box 385, Lawrenceville, VA 23868-0385 (with memo line “to Dromgoole”); or donations can be made via  PayPal@OBCFVA on Facebook.

Photos, top to bottom: Dromgoole House as it appeared when purchased  by the Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation. Braced East Chimney of Dromgoole House. Dromgoole House after being covered in protective covering  (Photo courtesy of Lea Beazley). Sign informing visitors of the grand and the significance of the house.




Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC endorses Delegate Roslyn Tyler for House seat in the 75th District

Delegate Roslyn Tyler received the endorsement of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (VFBF) AgPAC, a political action committee of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, in the race for the 75th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“I am pleased to have received the endorsement of Virginia Farm Bureau.”

Delegate Roslyn Tyler is among 81 candidates that VFBF AgPAC has endorsed for House and Senate seats. Endorsements were made based on candidates’ support of Virginia Farm Bureau past and current agricultural issues, as well as leadership on key agricultural issues, among other criteria.

“Each of these candidates has shown a clear understanding of the needs of farmers and/or have proven their support through their favorable voting records while holding positions in the General Assembly. These candidates have demonstrated a willingness to engage with our farmers, and we believe they will be advocates for Virginia’s largest industry, agriculture and forestry,” said Wayne F. Pryor, chairman of VFBF AgPAC and VFBF president. “We look forward to working with them in the 2022 Virginia General Assembly.”

VFBF AgPAC is a nonpartisan political action committee that works to build relationships with elected officials and enhance their understanding of agricultural issues. AgPAC evaluates candidates running for the Virginia General Assembly for potential endorsement. A full list of candidates endorsed by the committee can be viewed online at vafb.com

Delegate Tyler Touts Endorsements and Committee Assignments

This year has been a great year in the General Assembly, and I will continue to work hard in the 75th District.  Because of the work that I have done I am proud to announce that I have been endorsed by the following organizations:

  • Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance
  • Virginia Farm Bureau
  • Virginia League of Conservation Voters
  • Virginia Education Association
  • Committee to Protect Health Care
  • National Coalition of Public Safety Officers
  • Virginia Professional Fire Fighters
  • Committee to Protect Healthcare

I am also proud to serve on the following committees for the state of Virginia:

  • Education Committee (Chair)
  • Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources
  • Appropriations Committee
    • Sub Committees for Appropriations
  • Compensation & General Government (Chair)
  • Commerce, Agriculture, and Natural Resources
  • Transportation and Public Safety Conferee
  • Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission
  • Broadband Advisory Council Vice Chair
  • Center for Rural Virginia Chair
  • Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Commission
  • Education Commission of the States
  • E-911 Boarder Response Group
  • Hemp Work Group
  • Southern Economic Development Committee

Monthly Update from Congressman McEachin (October, 2021)

This has been a very busy September. From the start of several district activities to significant legislation in Washington, I wanted to remind my constituents of several important deadlines for the upcoming month:

The deadline for the Congressional App Challenge is fast approaching on November 1st. The Congressional App Challenge is open to students who live or attend school in our Congressional District. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their creativity in designing a useful and interesting computer app. Information about this challenge and applying is available here.

November 1st is also the deadline to submit a nomination for the Fourth District’s Veteran of the Year. As the son of a veteran, I am well aware of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women and their families. Moreover, many veterans, even when retired from the military, continue to serve our communities, making a difference. We need to honor our veterans every day for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe and free. If you know a veteran you would like to nominate, seeherefor the application.

If you are struggling with an issue with a federal agency, such as missing benefits, a lost tax return, an absent passport or visa or other concerns, my office is here to help. To facilitate serving constituents, we have a program called Mobile McEachin to make it easier for constituents to get an appointment with one of my experienced and knowledgeable constituent service representatives. Our October Mobile McEachin will be virtual and will be on October 13 from 10:30 to 3p. You can sign up for an individual appointment here. We’re here to help!

Each year, I have the opportunity to nominate the very best and brightest high school students for consideration to our nation’s esteemed military academies. The five U.S. Service Academies include the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

This year, I was pleased to host a joint Service Academy Day with my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, from Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. We were joined by representatives from the military academies, who provided helpful information about the application and nomination process. If you missed the event and would like more information, you can view it here.

For more information, including how to apply for the nomination process, please visit my website. The deadline to apply is coming up quick – October 29, 2021.

Nominations to U.S. Service Academies can be made by the President, Vice President, or a Member of Congress. Nominations are required for all but the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where appointments are made during an annual nationwide competition.

Brenda Allene Crockett Fuller

November 9, 1973 - October 7, 2021

Graveside Services

Tuesday, October 12, 2021, starting at 1:00 P.M.

Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery

It is with great sorrow her family announces the unexpected passing of Brenda Allene Crockett Fuller on October 7, 2021 to be welcomed by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, along with many loved ones who predeceased her. She is survived by her fiancé, Robby Butler, her daughters, Heather Marie Fuller, Ashley Nicole Fuller, and Cindy Butler, her mother and father, Sam and Barbara Crockett, her brother, John Crockett, and many beloved aunts, uncles, relatives and friends.

Brenda graduated from Greensville County High School in 1992 and served in the U.S. Airforce after graduation. She enjoyed making crafts, especially blankets, wreaths, and delicious pickles for her family and friends!

The most important thing Brenda will be remembered for is her capacity to love. She truly loved without expectation of being loved in return.

Words cannot describe how deeply Brenda will be missed. She loved the Lord and our loss is heaven’s gain.

A graveside service will be held at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, starting at 1:00 P.M., with Rev. Bobby Griles officiating.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com



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