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CSX Railroad has scheduled closing the crossing listed below for repair. Signage will be in place marking detours. Please plan an alternate route.

Atlantic Street between Halifax St. & Reese St.

This crossing is scheduled to close at 6:00 am on Wednesday, August 15 and open by noon on Friday, August 17.

Dates subject to change due to weather and/or other conditions.

Southside Virginia Community College wants you!!  There is still time to register for classes and  apply for Financial Aid for the upcoming semester starting August 20.  Come by to see us...  Go to SVCC's Christanna Campus in Alberta or the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville or a location  in Emporia, Blackstone, Chase City, South Boston,  or South HIll for individual help or visit SVCC online at  Now is the time, SVCC is the place!!!!!

E.W. Wyatt Middle School will be hosting soccer conditioning/tryouts on August 14-15 from 10:00am - 11:00 am. 

Must have a physical to attend!

Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services Elects New Officers & Trustees

At its annual meeting, Jackson-Feild Board of Trustees elected new officers: T. Darley Adamson, III of Richmond - President; William H. Poarch of Emporia -  Vice-President; Anne G. Greever of Richmond - Secretary; and Robert B. Wynne of Richmond and Blacksburg -  Treasurer.

Five new trustees were also elected to serve on the board.

Beverley A. Coleman of Petersburg has extensive experience in state and local government working in business development.  A graduate of Virginia State University, Coleman has worked for Chesterfield County, Historic Jackson Ward Association, and the Department of Housing and Community Development helping residents as well as businesses.  With her talents and background, Coleman will serve on JFBHS’ development committee.
Dr. Muriel A. Hawkins brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to JFBHS. Currently an Associate Provost and Professor of Educational Leadership at Virginia State University, Hawkins has more than 40 years’ experience in higher education as an administrator, faculty member and allied health practitioner. She has served on numerous civic boards and professional educational organizations.
Dr. Leslie W. Rose, III, a specialist in internal medicine, treated the children at Richmond’s Virginia Home for Boys and Girls for over 25 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond, his MD from the Medical College of Virginia, and his MBA from the University of Richmond. Rose has devoted his life to taking care of others and particularly enjoys helping children.
Anne W. Hill currently manages professional malpractice claims for the Virginia office of Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company. Prior to her insurance career, Hill was a Trust and Estate/Tax attorney for McGuire Woods in Richmond.  She received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University, and her MBA and JD from the University of Richmond. Hill lives in Goochland and is active at Gayton Baptist Church where she serves on the Finance Committee and is Vice-President of the   Missions Counsel.
The Rev. James W. Browder, III currently lives in Courtland where he serves as Vicar at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Browder is also a social worker at East Pavilion Nursing Home located at Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin VA. Browder earned his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University, MEd at the University of Virginia, and his MDiv at Virginia Theological Seminary.  In addition to a number of memberships, Browder is a trustee of the Ridley Foundation, and a member of the Ethics Committee of Southampton Memorial Hospital.

Commonwealth's Attorney Patricia Watson to face Civil Suit for Malicious Prosecution

A recent "Opinion of the Day" in Lawyers Weekly highlighted the opion of the Federal Judge in the case of King v Darden, Watson and Allen. That opinion is available online here, and, like all of the documents in the case, is public record.

That opinion found that the allegations in two of the four counts of the complaing warranted proceding.

The Judge granted the motion to dismiss all counts against Mr. Allen but denied the motion to dismiss for both Ms Darden and Mrs. Watson on Counts I and III. Count II was dismissed, but Mr. King was granted leave to amend the complaint. The Judge's opinion also stated that Mrs. Watson did not enjoy Eleventh Amendment Immunity.

As for Commonwealth's Attorney Watson and Virginia State Police Special Investigator, the Judge ruled that they would both face some of the allegations in the Complaint filed by Mr. King. his opinion further stated that Eleventh Amendment Immunity does not shield Mrs. Watson from facing the claims in the complaint it is alleged tht she acted in her personal capacity and not a professional one. Mrs. Watson may still be shielded by State Immunity, but that would require a "more complete record" and an affirmitive defense by Mrs. Watson.

Count IV of the complaint was dismissed for all defendants.

Below are the pertinant details of the Compalint.


Comes now the plaintiff, by counsel and sues the defendants for redress of the violation of his civil rights pursuant to the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and for relief for violations of State law.


This court has jurisdiction in this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §l983 and §l988. This court has supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S. C. §1367.


1. The plaintiff, Stephen King (King), is a resident of Virginia; he resides at 8007 Brink Road, Emporia, Virginia 23847.

2. The defendant Kimberly L. Darden (Darden) at all times germane to this case was employed by the Virginia State Police (VSP) and was acting under the Color of State Law when she undertook the actions complained of herein against King.

3. The defendant Patricia T. Watson (Watson) at all times germane to this case was the Commonwealth Attorney for Greenville County and the City of Emporia, Virginia. She was acting under the Color of State Law when she undertook her actions complained of herein against King.

4. On good faith and belief Watson was not acting in her official capacity from just prior to the time King was charged with Election Fraud and seized in his person and prosecuted.

5. The defendant Henry Stephen Allen, a/k/a Steve Allen (Allen) is a resident of Greenville County, Virginia and resides at 618 Hilltop Lane, Skippers, Virginia 23879.


6.  King is the owner of a grocery store on Brink Road Emporia, Virginia.

7.  On Friday, June 13, 2014 the store experienced an armed robbery.

8.  King and his family also own a farm in North Carolina just south of the State line approximately 4 miles from the store's location.

9.  Approximately a month after the robbery, King had a recall of memory that he had seen a teal green colored car coming out of the road across from the farm on the night of the robbery. The car was covered with mud.

10.  King recalled that the car driven by the robbers of his store was said to have been teal green in color.

11.  King knowing the land around his farm knew that the closest mud source to the road he had observed the car the night of the robbery was a parcel of land locally called the "stump pile."

12.  King went to the stump pile and found evidence of the robbery in the form of various items that had been taken from his store.

13.  King contacted police and Deputies Pearce and Rook, from Greenville County's Sheriff's Office, as well as two Deputies from Northampton County, North Carolina met King at the "stump pile."

14.  As a result of King's findings four young men were arrested and charged with robbery.

15.  As the criminal case against the four men was proceeding, the neighbor whose road King had seen the car exiting and who is a relative of one of the men charged with the robbery brought charges against King for trespass.

16.  King was to be tried in North Carolina on September 15, 2014, a Monday.

17.  On September 12, 2014 the Friday before the trial, King's Defense

attorney, Monica Wilson received a telephone call from Watson, who informed her

that the two Greenville County Sheriff Deputies who came to the "stump pile" and

who were to testify at King's trespass trial on his behalf would not be in Court as

they were to be in Court in Emporia, Virginia.

18.  Wilson asked if they could be present in the afternoon and was told they would be in Court "all day" Monday, September 15, 2014.

19.  King had concerns that if the Deputies were not present and if he were to be found guilty of trespass the evidence he found in the "stump pile" could be suppressed.

20.  The trial for trespass commenced that Monday, at which time the District Attorney for Northampton County, North Carolina moved the Court to dismiss for lack of probable cause.

21.  On the morning of September 15, 2014 King had to drive by Deputy Pearce's home on his way to North Carolina. Pearce's patrol car was parked at the home.

22.  That afternoon as King was driving back to his store he noticed that Pearce's patrol car had not been moved from where it was that morning when King  was driving to North Carolina.

23.  Seeing the patrol car having not been moved, prompted King to drive to the Greenville County Courthouse, where he arrived at approximately 1 :30 p.m. The Courthouse parking lot was empty.

24.  Seeing that the patrol car had not been moved and the Courthouse parking lot empty, King went to the Greenville County Administration offices and made a FOIA request for the video camera recordings of the Courthouse's entrance door for that Monday, September 15, 2014.

25.  King then, at approximately 3:30 p.m., confronted Watson in her office and told her he was 99% certain she bad lied to his Defense Attorney.

26.  After King obtained the FOIA video, which showed that Deputy Pearce did not enter the Courthouse at all and that Deputy Rook was in the Courthouse from 9:50 a.m.; to 11:09 am. on September 15, 2014.

27.  King again confronted Watson by going to her office.

28.  King told Watson he was going to file a Bar Complaint against her.

29.  King thereafter caused a Bar Complaint to be filed with the Virginia State Bar.

30.  On June 8, 2015 King legally filed with the Greenville County Voter Registrar to run for the office of Sheriff of Greenville County for the upcoming election to be held on November 3, 2015.

31.  On July 17, 2015 King was approached by Darden who told him she was there to speak with him regarding his Certificate of Candidate Qualification to run for Sheriff.

32.  At the trial Darden was asked how did she get the "complaint" regarding election fraud? Her response was that the VSP received a letter of request from the Greensville County Commonwealth's Attorney's office.

33.  Arguably Watson was without authority to cause an investigation to be commenced. (See §24.2-104, Code of Virginia) This is particularly true given Watson had an undisclosed conflict. See infra.

34.  To date the letter has not been seen. The plaintiff filed a FOIA request with the Virginia State Police for Darden' s file which was opposed. A Richmond City Circuit Court, Judge Rupp, up held their position.

35.  At the Preliminary Hearing in General District Court and at trial the Greenville County Voter Registrar, Dorothy Kea, testified that King would have to have lived in the Commonwealth of Virginia for one year, next proceeding the election date in which he sought office. That is prior to November 4, 2014. (See Exhibits A and B )

36.  Darden learned from speaking with King that he had moved from the farm to live with his father in Greenville County the first week of October, 2014. A period of greater than one year prior to the November 3, 2015 Election.

37.  Darden spoke with the Voter Registrar as part of her investigation and there has been no indication she was told anything differently by Dorothy Kea, prior to filing charges than what Dorothy Kea testified to at King's preliminary hearing and trial. (See Exhibits C and D)

38.  At the preliminary hearing Darden testified she had spoken by telephone with Allen, the person who was supposed to have made a complaint to Watson.

39.  Darden's testimony regarding her telephone conversation with Allen was "but he had no information. He said he did not know Mr. King's current residence." (See Exhibit E)

40.  Darden having spoken with King, Kea and Allen knew or should have known King was a resident of Virginia and Greenville County for more than a year prior to the election, Darden nonetheless sought a felony charge against King.

41.  Darden did not have probable cause to charge King with Election Fraud.

42.  On July 24, 2015 Darden caused a Criminal Warrant for the arrest of King to be issued by the Magistrate of Greenville County. (See Exhibit F)

43.  King was charged with a Class 5 felony for Election Fraud, which if convicted would have caused King to serve a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than I 0 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement injail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both. § 18. 2-10,  Code of Virginia.

44.  On November 6, 2015 King was tried for Election Fraud in the Greenville County Circuit Court and was found to be not guilty by a jury.

45.  Watson interactions with King the prior year provides motivation for the actions she took against him.

46.  The timing of the charges, which were publically disseminated in the media, also calls into question the motives of the other defendants.

47.  Days prior to the charges being issued against King, Watson presented to the Greenville County Circuit Court an order seeking to have Michael Doucette, Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Lynchburg appointed as Special Prosecutor of the King case. (See Exhibit G)

48.  On September 14, 2015 at the preliminary hearing in the prosecution of King, Watson testified that she had received a complaint that King was committing election fraud from a Steve Allen.

49.  Watson at no time disclosed that Steve Allen was related to her. Whether Darden knew of their relationship is currently unknown. (See Exhibit H)

50.  Watson clearly had a conflict, in that the complainant, Steve Allen was related to her.


51.  The forgoing slated facts which are adopted and incorporated herein as allegations.

52.  The conduct of the defendants, as alleged herein constitutes the violation of King's civil rights guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution to be free of illegal seizure of his person.

53.  King had the Constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment to be free from illegal seizure of his person and said right was a clearly established right at the time of the violations alleged herein.

54.  The defendants knew or should have known that King had not violated the Election Laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

55.  The defendants, jointly and severally, had no probable cause to believe King had violated the Election Laws of Virginia.

56.  The actions of the defendants’, jointly and severally, were taken under the Color of State law for an improper purpose.

57.  The defendants' actions were willful, wanton and malicious and/or done with a reckless disregard for the rights of King.

58.  In the alternative the acts were negligent, grossly negligent and/or done with a reckless disregard for the rights of King.


59.  The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein by this reference.

60.  The conduct of the defendants' ,jointly and severally, was such as to cause the false imprisonment of King, to deny him his freedom of movement, to cause him to be publically arrested, handcuffed, booked into the local jail, processed and officially charged with a felony.

61.  The defendants' actions were willful, wanton and malicious and/or done with a reckless disregard for the rights of King, such as to permit King to recover from the defendants compensatory and punitive damages.

62.  In the alternative the acts were negligent, grossly negligent and/or done with a reckless disregard for the rights of King such as to permit King to recover from the defendants compensatory and punitive damages.



63.  The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein by this reference.

64.  All persons are charged with knowing the law. Darden and Watson, due to their positions are particularly charged with knowing the requirements of the law; the most basic is the requirement in a criminal matter is "probable cause."

65.  The defendants' conduct was intended to cause the prosecution of a crime they knew or should have known, especially after Darden's investigation developed no probable cause, King had not committed.

66.  Notwithstanding said knowledge the defendants proceeded to prosecute King.

67.  The defendants' actions were willful, wanton and malicious and/or done with a reckless disregard for the rights of King, such as to permit King to recover from the defendants compensatory and punitive damages.

68.  In the alternative the acts were negligent, grossly negligent and/or done with a reckless disregard for the rights of King such as to permit King to recover from the defendants compensatory and punitive damages.

69.  The prosecution of King may have caused him loss of an election, it did cause him money for his defense; it did cause him to be held up to public disfavor and it did cause him fear, anxiety and apprehension of the loss of his freedom.

70.  King may bring this Count for Malicious Prosecution because he meets all of the elements for the tort. " ... the plaintiff has the burden of proving four essential elements: that the prosecution was (1) malicious, (2) instituted by or with the cooperation of the defendant, (3) without probable cause, and (4) terminated in a manner not unfavorable to the plaintiff. Baker v.  Elmendorf, 271Va.474 (2006). Malice may be inferred from a lack of probable cause.

71. In order to maintain malicious precaution action it is necessary that it be alleged and provided: (1) that the prosecution was set on foot by the now defendants and that it had terminated in a marmer not unfavorable to the now plaintiff; (2) that it was instituted, or procured by the cooperation of the now defendants; (3) that it was without probable cause, and (4) that it was malicious. Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia,  James 0. Wiggs. Jr .•  v.  Marian C.  Farmer,  205 Va 149 (1964) (Emphasis Added)


72.  The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein by this reference.

73.  The defendants, jointly and severally combined, associated, agreed, mutually undertook and concerted together for the purpose of willfully and maliciously injuring King in his business and profession such as to permit King civil relief under§ 182-500, Code of Virginia.

74.  The conduct of the defendants entitles King to recover treble damages from the defendants and his reasonable attorney fees.

WHEREFORE, the plaintiff, King, demands judgment against the defendants, jointly and severally in the amounts as stated per Count as set forth infra:


Compensatory Damages and an award of reasonable attorney fees.


Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages.


Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages.


Compensatory Damages, said damage to be trebled by operation of law and an award of reasonable attorney fees.


Teachers Needed for Tomorrow

By Dr. Al Roberts

Nationwide, schools are experiencing a scarcity of qualified job candidates for teaching positions. Declining enrollment in programs that prepare students for licensure as teachers is one cause. According to a report issued by the Learning Policy Institute, enrollments in teacher education programs dropped by 35% between 2009 and 2014. This decline represents a decrease of nearly a quarter of a million potential teachers.The impact on school districts across the nation varies considerably. The Learning Policy Institute report noted, “Students in high-poverty and high-minority settings bear the brunt of teacher shortages. Considerable evidence shows that shortages historically have disproportionately impacted our most disadvantaged students and that those patterns persist today.”

These quandaries are very much apparent here in Southside Virginia. Data compiled by the Virginia Department of Education indicates that we have the highest percent of unfilled teaching positions. Paul Nichols, Superintendent of Mecklenburg County Public Schools, says, “We have classrooms of all subject areas that are difficult to find teachers to fill. However, our greatest need is in math and science. Close to 10% of the math and science classrooms in Southern Virginia are in need of a qualified teacher. Career and Technical teachers are also very hard to find.”

One proposed solution is to provide an opportunity for career professionals in other areas to obtain the credentials necessary to teach in Virginia’s classrooms. Virginia’s Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program is designed to do just that.  To help support this effort, Southside Virginia Community College has developed a list of the general education courses required for teachers. Potential teachers who have graduated from a four-year college but lack some of the required courses, can pick up their missing credits at SVCC.

Another potential solution is to encourage local high school students to consider careers in education.  With this in mind, the Virginia Department of Education developed a program called “Teachers for Tomorrow,” which provides opportunities for high school juniors and seniors to receive career information, pursue dual enrollment credits, and participate in field trips where they can observe classrooms and gain teaching experience before they head off to college.

For students considering the teaching profession, SVCC offers an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in Education. The degree is designed for students who want to begin their academic journeys at a low-cost, close-to-home institution and then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a baccalaureate program. In addition, for people interested in working with young children, SVCC also offers an Early Childhood Programs Career Studies Certificate.If you are interested in learning more about preparing for a teaching career, contact Dr. Dixie Dalton, SVCC’s Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business ( or call 434-949-1053).

Dr. Al Roberts 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

Gwathmey Memorial Trust Awards a Grant to Jackson-Feild

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

The Gwathmey Memorial Trust has been investing in Jackson-Feild’s children since 1993, and recently awarded a $20,000 grant to Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services to partially fund the salary for a teacher in its new Addiction Recovery Treatment Services program.

The Richard and Caroline T. Gwathmey  Memorial Trust was established by Mrs. Elizabeth Gwathmey Jeffress in 1981 in memory of her parents and is administered by Bank of America US Trust Private Wealth Management and a Board of Trustees.

Jackson-Feild has received several grants since the founding of the Gwathmey Trust.

Apprenticeship Builds People at Toll Brothers

Apprenticeship students were recently recognized at Toll Brothers' awards dinner.Apprentices in the front row: Steven Brown, Calvin Terry, Rene’ Gutierrez, Timothy King, and Chad Patton, SVCC Dean of Career and Occupational Technology. Back Row, Kelly Arnold, SVCC Apprenticeship Coordinator,Jerry Irby, Chris Johnson, Toll Brothers' Plant Manager, Rickey Hall, Maynard Stowe, Department of Labor, Mike Wells.

Toll Brothers, a luxury home builder, is not only building component parts in their Emporia production facility but also building and investing in their employees. For Toll Brothers, the investment in people is a priority, and one way they chose to build people is through the Apprenticeship model of training. Toll Brothers’ Chris Johnson, Plant Manager,  partnered with Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) apprenticeship coordinator, Kelly Arnold, to implement the apprenticeship program for training machine operators with the end goal of helping them become Industrial Maintenance Technicians.

The college’s proposal to Toll Brothers was simple; begin educational training one night a week for one year and couple that with 2000 hours (1 year) of on the job training. Although a slow and steady process, this proved to be a doable training model for employees who work 40+ hours per week and have family commitments.

Conveniently, SVCC’s Southside Virginia Education Center location in Greensville County  was outfitted with electrical training equipment, and six eager employees became college students. As the need grew for training, Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Studies, and Erica Andrews, SVCC’s site coordinator, helped bring the training lab to life.

The Toll apprentices embraced the educational task with gusto and worked hard to learn. For some this was the first time taking a college level class. The students were determined to finish the three classes, complete the on-the-job component, and earn the Department of Labor credential for Machine Operator.

These students finished their goal and learned what they needed to learn.   Their accomplishments were recognized on Wednesday night, July 18, at the company’s award dinner. Johnson and Maynard Stowe, DOL apprenticeship representative, presented their certificates with family and friends cheering for them.

In Johnson’s opening remarks, he stated, “We have tried many training programs, but the apprenticeship program, by far, has been the most successful for our facility.”

Each apprentice logged the hours, studied, and worked hard, but the simple plan is producing results; results that make a difference to them individually and results that are making a difference at Toll Brothers. While each earned their certificate for machine operator, they immediately turned around and registered to begin the same simple process to earn their Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship certifications.

Starting in the fall semester at SVCC,  the Toll students will walk into a newly outfitted Industrial Maintenance lab. This new lab is a partnership between CCAM in Richmond, SVCC, and a grant from Go Virginia along with Greensville County and the city of Emporia. State of the art trainers now occupy two rooms with wall to wall equipment all ready for students to roll up their sleeves and learn electrical, mechanical, pneumatics and hydraulics, the core of mechatronics training.

For Toll Brothers, let the building of luxury homes continue, but most importantly, for the people of Southside Virginia, let the building up of people be the cornerstone of what drives our community. If you are interested in learning more about the lab in Emporia or Apprenticeship, contactErica Andrews at 434-634-9358 erica.andrews@southside.eduor Kelly Arnold at 434-579-7260.

June, 2018 SVCC Truck Driving Graduates

Southside Virginia Community College Truck Driver Training School Graduates from the Emporia class on June 14, 2018 are

Front Row L-R:  Donnie Sisk (Instructor), Isreal Stith (Lawrencevile), Mark Shinn (Virginia Beach); Back Row L-R:  Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Wilson Treese (Instructor), Kyle Hornung (Virginia Beach), Kirtwood Squire (Gaston, NC), Ronald Tucker (Lawrenceville), David Porter (Kenbridge), Adam Hoffman (Guest Speaker and Recruiter for TMC), Duncan Quicke (TDTS Coordinator.  For information, call 434 292 3101.

SVCC Massage Therapy Class Coming to Chase City

Massage Therapy is being offered through Southside Virginia Community College beginning August 28, 2018 at the Estes Community Center in Chase City, Virginia.  Now is the time to sign up for this year-long class that leads to a rewarding career. 

Call today to register and learn more about possible financial assistance.  Classes will meet two nights a week, Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.  Call Wanda Vaughan for more information at 434 736 2093 or email

Power Line Worker Information Session

Power Line Workers are in demand and information about becoming one will be offered on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Officer’s Club at Pickett Park, 3951 Military Road, Blackstone.  Learn about admission requirements, schedule, cost, housing, job prospects and scholarships.  This has become a popular program and was the first PLW school in Virginia.  

Register at in order to attend.  Pizza will be served.

TopHand Foundation Buy-a-Brick Fundraiser

Make a lasting tribute to family, friends, or your business allowing individuals to purchase laser engraved bricks for installation outside the newly renovated TopHand Foundation located at 206 West Atlantic Street, Emporia, VA. Bricks purchased will fund the renovation of TopHand Foundation. The first order will not be laid until construction is completed. The donation per brick is tax deductible.

Each 4X8 brick can be engraved with up to three lines, 18 characters (including punctuation and spaces) per line.  You can purchase just one brick or several. Engravings can be purchased in your name or the name of a friend or family member; in celebration of a birth, graduation, wedding or anniversary; in honor of a soldier or veteran; or in memory of someone you love. Honor a casual effort; commemorate a special occasion, remember a loved one, the possibilities endless with our brick laser engraving technology. Businesses, firms and organizations are also encouraged to participate.

Bricks sales will continue until August 25th, 2018.

They may be purchased through any TopHand travel ball player, at TopHand Foundation, or log onto to order online.

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