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Career Opportunity

LPN

 

Posting Date:  September 4, 2020

Job Posting #:  2020-3

Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility for youth located ten minutes north of Emporia, Virginia seeks Virginia licensed LPN. Full-time position.  Twelve hour evening/overnight shift (8PM to 8AM).

Starting Pay $19.30/hr. to $26.00/ hr. depending upon experience.  Compensation package includes employer matching 401(k) retirement plan & employer sponsored health, dental, vision & life insurance.  JFBHS is a Drug Free Workplace.  Successful applicants must pass a pre-employment drug screening and criminal background screening.  Position open until filled. EOE.

E-mail, fax, or mail cover letter & resume to:

Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services                                                                   
Job# 2020-3
Attn: Chris Thompson
Fax: (434) 634-6237

Total positive Coronavirus Cases in our Community, as reported by the Health Department:

Locality Emporia Greensville* Brunswick* Southampton* Sussex*
Positive Reported Today 244 740 333 474 374
Positive Reported This Monday 243 739 332 466 374
Positive Reported Last Monday 241 724 317 384 357
Weekly Increase 0.83% 2.21% 4.73% 21.35% 4.76%
Total Deaths Reported 22 11 3 16 10

Cases in our area are still on the rise. Please continue to wash your hands and avoid thouching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.

*There are State Correctional Facilites and/or County/Regional Jails in each of the localities marked.

Wear a mask in public

(a properly worn mask COVERS YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE

and does not hang below your chin or rest atop your head),

continue to socially distance

and wash or sanitize your hands often.

The City of Emporia has reported the loss of NINETEN (19) souls, with ELEVEN (11) lost in Greensville County, to Covid 19 and new cases in the area continue to rise week-after-week at rates from less than 1% to more than 20%. Properly Worn Masks, Social Distancing and Proper Hand Washing/Sanitization may well have saved even one or two of the THIRTY (30) of our friends and neighbors who have died in Emporia/Greensville, or slowed the progression of this pandemic.

We're all in this together...

Masks are REQUIRED IN PUBLIC and everyone is still strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and regular handwashing.

Raymond Martin Prince,

July 23, 1941-September 14, 2020

Graveside Services

Sunday, September 20, 2020, at 2:00 P.M.

Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery
16489 Dry Bread Rd
Emporia, VA 23847

Raymond Martin Prince, 79, passed away suddenly on September 14, 2020. He is the son of the late, Edward Martin Prince and Mildred Louise Slagle. He is survived by his wife, Betty Mitchell Prince of Emporia, Va., son, Larry Wayne Prince of Emporia, Va, daughter, Melissa Prince Evans of Rocky Mount, NC., son-in-law, Joel Scott, brother, Billy Prince of Emporia, Va., sister, Frances Butler of Emporia, Va., grandchildren, Victoria Christian, Wayne Scott Evans, Mindi Marie Prince, great-granchildren, Kaylie Marie Batchlor, Jordan Gilbert, Nathan Wade Caraway. Raymond was a member of Mt. Vernom Baptist Church and worked as a mechanic for Powell Tire.

A graveside memorial service will be held at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, Sunday, September 20, 2020, at 2:00 P.M. with C. W. Bing officiating.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Louise Shaw Ellis

August 25, 1933-September 17, 2020

Graveside Services

Monday, September 21, 2020, at 2:00 P.M

Emporia Cemetery
Brusnwick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia

Louise Shaw Ellis, 87, passed away on September 17, 2020. She was preceded in death by beloved son-in-law, Eddie Leinwand. She is survived by her son, Mike Ellis (Lauren Shearin) of Emporia, VA., daughters Kaye Whitehead of Boykins, Va and Betty Leinwand of Suffolk, VA.  Grandchildren Keith Tomlin (Joyce) of Franklin, VA., Tori Hargrave of Emporia VA, Angela and Wayne Whitehead of Fayetteville, NC.  Great grandchildren Nate and Zak Tomlin.   Special nieces Joyce Gardner, Frances Vincent, Novella Casey and Marybelle Lynch.  Special nephews Walter Rook and Calvin Ramsey.

Louise was best known for how much she loved her family and friends. Everybody who knew her loved her famous biscuits.  She was a very special person.  Life was not always easy for her but she persevered and stayed true to her beliefs.  Her passion for travel and family gatherings left her with many great memories.  She will forever be missed.

A graveside service will be held Monday, September 21, 2020, at Emporia Cemetery, 2:00 P.M., with Rev. Jeremy Kobernat officiating.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 4217 Park PI Ct, Glen Allen, VA, 23060.

Online condolences may be made at www.echolsfuneralhome.com

Virginia female lawyers, lawmakers remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Noah Fleischman, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is being mourned by the country, and in Virginia, female lawyers and legislators are reflecting on her legacy. Some called her a role model, others called her a trailblazer, but they all admired the impact she left.

Ginsburg died Friday at age 87 from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Alison McKee, president of the Virginia Bar Association, said Ginsburg was one of the most empowering women in the law profession. The VBA is a membership organization of state attorneys who promote legislative changes.

“She was an extraordinary force in attempts to overcome gender inequality,” McKee said. “Overall, to borrow a phrase from Sheryl Sandberg, she leaned in for all women in our profession and helped to close the gap on gender inequality.”

Ginsburg’s fight for gender equality changed a Virginia college’s admissions process in the 1990s. She wrote the majority opinion in the 1996 case that allowed women to attend the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. VMI was the last male-only college in the United States until the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Ginsburg wrote in the majority opinion that since a 1971 ruling, the Court “has repeatedly recognized” laws incompatible with the equal protection principle and that denied women access “simply because they are women, full citizenship stature-equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities.”

Ginsburg was also a longtime advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that seeks to guarantee equal rights for all regardless of sex.The ERA first passed Congress in 1972 but could not collect the three-fourths state support needed to ratify it. In January, Virginia became the final state needed to ratify the amendment, though the 1982 deadline has passed. A congressional bill to eliminate the ratification deadline passed the House in February and is sitting in a Senate committee. Over the years Ginsburg has still vocalized support for the ERA, though in February she saidshe would like “it to start over.”

Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, was a co-patron of the ERA in Virginia.

“I think we’re carrying on her work, carrying on her legacy to make life, liberty and justice for all include all and include women equally,” McClellan said. “We carried on her work with that, very much an inspiration there too.”

Del. Hala Ayala, D-Woodbridge, who was a co-patron on the ERA in the House of Delegates, called Ginsburg “our firewall to protect civil rights, voting rights and everything that we fight for” in a statement Friday night.

“My life’s work for women’s equal justice, including championing the Equal Rights Amendment in the Virginia House of Delegates, was inspired by Justice Ginsburg’s work,” Ayala wrote. “Her determined spirit gave me the motivation to fight everyday for what is right, knowing that we would make our Commonwealth and our country a better place.”

Ginsburg was a pioneer for women in the law profession, becoming the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 after Sandra Day O’Connor.

Margaret Hardy, president of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, said seeing someone that looked like her in the law profession is “critically important,” and that’s why diversity is important—so everyone has a role model.

“I think that just seeing a woman because in her case, in many instances, she was the woman, not just one of many,” Hardy said. “I think just for anyone seeing someone in a profession that you’re entering who looks just like you is an inspiration.”

Lucia Anna “Pia” Trigiani, former president of the Virginia Bar Association, called Ginsburg a role model for all lawyers, not just women.

“For her to do what she did, she also showed not only women that it could be done, but men,” Trigiani said. “She showed everyone that it could be done.”

McClellan equated Ginsburg to civil rights lawyer and former Justice Thurgood Marshall.

“I think she for women’s rights was what Thurgood Marshall was for civil rights,” McClellan said. “I as a woman lawyer, as a woman lawmaker, stand on her shoulders.”

Governor Northam Casts Vote in November General Election on First Day of Early Voting in Virginia

 

 

Reminds voters of options to vote absentee by mail or early in person, urges all Virginians to make a voting plan

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today voted early in person at the Richmond general registrar’s office on the first day of Virginia’s 45-day early voting period.

New laws allow all Virginians to vote absentee by mail, or in person at their local registrar’s office or satellite locations. The Governor signed legislation this year removing a previous provision that required absentee voters to provide a reason for voting early, so any Virginia voter may vote early without providing a specific reason.

“Virginians can be confident their vote is secure, and will be counted,” said Governor Northam. “While the pandemic has made this an unprecedented election year, Virginia voters have several safe and easy ways to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Voting is an essential part of our democracy, and I encourage every Virginia voter to know their options and make a plan for safely casting their ballot.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a higher number of Virginians are expected to vote by mail in the 2020 election. As of Thursday, the Department of Elections had received 824,000 requests for absentee ballots by mail. For comparison, 566,000 votes were cast absentee in the 2016 General Election—half by mail.

Virginians have several options for safely casting their ballots for the November General Election.

Absentee by Mail
Beginning today, September 18, Virginia general registrars will mail absentee ballots to voters who request them. Virginians can request a ballot online at elections.virginia.gov. The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Friday, October 23 at 5:00 p.m.

All absentee ballots will include a return envelope with prepaid postage. Ballots with a postmark of November 3 or earlier will be accepted until noon on Friday, November 6.

As an additional layer of security, every absentee ballot envelope is required to have an intelligent mail barcode and an election mail insignia. The insignia tells the United States Postal Service that this piece of mail is a ballot and should be prioritized. The barcode lets voters track their ballot once it leaves the registrar’s office—so a voter will know when their ballot has been mailed to them, and when it is delivered back to the registrar. Voters can track their absentee ballot using the absentee ballot look-up tool available here.

Drop-off Locations
Absentee ballots may also be hand delivered to your local registrar’s office or returned to a secure drop-off location, which include any satellite voting location. A list of drop-off locations is available on your county or city’s official website. On Election Day, you can also drop off your completed absentee ballot at any polling place in the county or city in which you are registered to vote.

For voters who prefer to vote in person, there are two options.

Early In Person
Starting today, September 18, Virginia voters can vote absentee in person at their local registrar’s office as Governor Northam did. Voters can simply go to their local general registrar’s office or a satellite voting location identified by the registrar’s office and cast their vote. Voters may use this option through Saturday, October 31—one of the longest early voting periods of any state.

Election Day
The other option is the traditional one: voting in person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, at your polling place. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Virginia has allocated federal CARES Act funding to ensure that all election officers have personal protective equipment, and Virginia Medical Reserve Corps volunteers will assist at polling places to ensure social distancing and sanitization measures are followed.

Virginia considers election security to be a top priority and has made significant progress in recent years to ensure a secure election process that places election integrity and voter confidence at the forefront. Additional information about election security in Virginia can be found here.

To register to vote or learn more about absentee voting in Virginia, visit elections.virginia.gov/absentee. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.

Follow the Department of Elections on Twitter at @vaElect, on Facebook at @VirginiaELECT, and on Instagram at @va_election.

See below for photos of Governor Northam casting his ballot at the Richmond general registrar’s office.

Change Your Future in Weeks

Southside Virginia Community College will offer an 80 hour American Welding Society (AWS) certification program at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia beginning September 28th and running through December 9th.  Classes will be held on Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

According to Dennis Smith, SVCC’s Director of Workforce Development, “These classes are open to anyone interested in gaining this valuable, in-demand skill that can lead to well-paying job opportunities.”

Topics will include safety, general welding shop practice, routine equipment maintenance, metal preparation, OSHA 10, the Gas Metal Arc Welding process (MIG) and more. 

Grants and scholarships are available.  For more information contact Courtney Starke at (434) 949-6614 or visit southside.edu.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING SECURES $15.3 MILLION IN DEBT RELIEF FOR FORMER ITT TECH STUDENTS IN VIRGINIA

~ Herring joins CFPB, 47 other state attorneys general in securing $330 million agreement over PEAKS loans at defunct for-profit school ~

RICHMOND (September 15, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has secured an agreement to obtain approximately $15.3 million in debt relief for at least 1,840 former ITT Tech students in Virginia as part of a settlement with 48 attorneys general and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Nationally, the settlement will result in debt relief of about $330 million for 35,000 borrowers who have outstanding principal balances.   
 
The settlement is with PEAKS Trust, a private loan program run by the for-profit college and affiliated with Deutsche Bank entities. ITT filed bankruptcy in 2016 amid investigations by state attorneys general and following action by the U.S. Department of Education to restrict ITT’s access to federal student aid. 
 
“Student loan debt continues to be a significant burden to Virginians and their families across the Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Herring. “As Attorney General, I am committed to protecting Virginians from unscrupulous for-profit schools and shady lenders who try to pressure, abuse, and exploit student loan borrowers. I am glad we were able to reach this agreement that I hope will alleviate some of the financial pressure on Virginians who were taken advantage of by this scheme.”
 
PEAKS was formed after the 2008 financial crisis when private sources of lending available to for-profit colleges dried up. ITT developed a plan with PEAKS to offer students temporary credit to cover the gap in tuition between federal student aid and the full cost of the education. 
 
According to the settlement agreement, ITT and PEAKS knew or should have known that the students would not be able to repay the temporary credit when it became due nine months later. Many students complained that they thought the temporary credit was like a federal loan and would not be due until six months after they graduated. 
 
When the temporary credit became due, ITT pressured and coerced students into accepting loans from PEAKS, which for many students carried high interest rates, far above rates for federal loans. Pressure tactics used by ITT included pulling students out of class and threatening to expel them if they did not accept the loan terms. Many of the ITT students were from low-income backgrounds and were left with the choice of enrolling in the PEAKS loans or dropping out and losing any benefit of the credits they had earned, because ITT’s credits would not transfer to most schools. 
 
The default rate on the PEAKS loans is projected to exceed 80%, due to both the high cost of the loans as well as the lack of success ITT graduates had getting jobs that earned enough to make repayment feasible. The defaulted loans continue to affect students’ credit ratings and are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
 
Under the settlement, PEAKS has agreed that it will forgo collection of the outstanding loans and cease doing business. PEAKS will send notices to borrowers about the cancelled debt and ensure that automatic payments are cancelled. The settlement also requires PEAKS to supply credit reporting agencies with information to update credit information for affected borrowers. 
 
Students will not need to do anything to receive the debt relief and the notices they receive will explain their rights under the settlement. Students can direct any questions they may have to PEAKS at customerservice@peaksloans.com or 866-747-0273. They can also reach out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with questions at (855) 411-2372.
 
In June 2019, Attorney General Herring announced that he had secured $9.29 million in debt relief for nearly 1,000 former ITT Tech students in Virginia as part of a $186 million settlement that resulted in debt relief for 18,664 former ITT students nationally. That agreement was with Student CU Connect CUSO, LLC, which also offered loans to finance students’ tuition at ITT Tech.
 
Additionally last year, Attorney General Herring and 48 other attorneys general reached a settlement with for-profit education company Career Education Corporation (CEC). The terms of the settlement required CEC to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally. In Virginia, 3,094 students will receive relief totaling $8,022,178.
 
In December 2016, the Attorney General announced that more than 5,000 Virginia students formerly enrolled in schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. may be eligible for loan forgiveness. This came after the U.S Department of Education found that Corinthian College and its subsidiaries published misleading job placement rates for many programs between 2010 and 2014. Following this announcement, Attorney General Herring urged Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education to follow through on their commitment to cancel student debt for students in Virginia and around the country who were victimized by Corinthian Colleges' practices.
 
Attorney General Herring has stood up against the Trump Administration’s numerous attempts to rollback student borrower protections. In January, he urged Congress to reject the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 Borrower Defense Rule that fails to protect students and taxpayers from the misconduct of unscrupulous schools. Previously, Attorney General Herring won a victory in federal court when a judge rejected the Trump Administration’s challenge to the Obama-era Borrower Defense Rule, ordering its immediate implementation for students nationwide. This ruling followed a victory Attorney General Herring won in federal court after he and a coalition of state attorneys general challenged the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to abruptly rescind its Borrower Defense Rule which was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans. The immediate implementation of the 2016 Borrower Defense rule meant that the U.S. Department of Education had to automatically discharge $381 million in loans for students whose schools closed.
 
Students with questions about their rights under the settlement will receive information in the Notices that are sent. Students may also contact Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:

 
Overall, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $334 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has transferred more than $61 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund, and following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016 the Section has been even more effective in fighting for Virginia consumers.
 
Joining Attorney General Herring in announcing today’s settlement are the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

 

A Message from Virginia Chamber President & CEO, Barry DuVal

On Friday, Governor Northam announced that Hampton Roads will re-join the rest of the Commonwealth in Phase 3 of the “Forward Virginia” plan. Over the last six weeks, the Hampton Roads region was placed under targeted COVID-19 restrictions including a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, a requirement to stop the sale of alcohol at 10:00pm, and a requirement that all restaurants close by midnight. In last week’s announcement, the Governor attributed the easing of these restrictions to the improved health metrics, stating that number of positive cases in Hampton Roads has been decreasing for more than 45 days. More information can be found here.
 
Last month, I announced that the Virginia Chamber Foundation would be partnering with Dominion Energy to bring relief to small businesses in the Commonwealth. Dominion Energy Virginia has pledged $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. The program funding will be covered by shareholders and will not impact customer rates. Qualified businesses may be eligible to receive one-time assistance with their past due Dominion Energy electric bill balances up to $1,000. I encourage our small business community to visit the website to learn more information about this invaluable program and apply today. More information can be found here. I would also like to thank and acknowledge our other partners in this important initiative:
 
  • The Asian American Chamber of Commerce
  • The Metropolitan Business League
  • The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce
  • The Urban League of Hampton Roads
  • The Virginia Asian American Chamber of Commerce
  • The Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
  • The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
 
This Thursday, September 17, the Virginia Chamber will host our next signature event – The Virginia Conference on Energy Diversity & Corporate Sustainability. Now hosted as a virtual conference, attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from business and policy leaders on how we can make Virginia more competitive through corporate sustainability and a diverse energy portfolio. Follow this link to review the full agenda and register today. 
 
This week, the Virginia Chamber is pleased to recognize Appalachian Power for its continued support of communities across the Commonwealth and nation during COVID-19.  
 
Appalachian Power’s history in Virginia dates back more than 100 years. A part of American Electric Power, the company today provides safe and reliable electric service to approximately 1 million customers in far southwest, southern and central Virginia, as well as portions of West Virginia and Tennessee. Through the work of dedicated employees, Appalachian Power achieves its mission to power the economy, while investing in its communities to help meet economic development, environmental, educational and other needs. Appalachian Power has applied this same approach to helping its customers, employees and communities during the pandemic. 
 
In response to COVID-19, Appalachian Power temporarily stopped all service disconnections for non-payment. As part of its return to standard business operations, the company has since focused its efforts on helping residential and business customers affected by the pandemic find a flexible payment arrangement that meets their needs. The company also put a program together to help business customers fully leverage the CARES Act and brought awareness to other loans and funding available.
 
I want to applaud Appalachian Power for its efforts to help the community and encourage you to learn more about this week’s “Member Spotlight” below. 
 
Best regards,
 
Barry DuVal
President

Virginia Chamber 2020 Event Updates

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and ever-evolving situation, the Virginia Chamber made the decision to postpone all of our scheduled events for the spring. We have secured new dates for each of these events later in the year. 
 
Please find below an updated tentative event calendar for the fall months. Additional details on each event with be released in the coming weeks. 
 
SAVE THE DATE
 

Dominion Energy Small Business EnergyShare Relief Program

Dominion Energy is partnering with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation to temporarily expand its EnergyShare program to assist those small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Dominion Energy Virginia has pledged $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. The program funding will be covered by shareholders and will not impact customer rates. Qualified businesses may be eligible to receive one-time assistance with their past due Dominion Energy electric bill balances up to $1,000.
 
How to Submit An Application
  • Before submitting an application, please review the eligibility requirements HERE.
  • The application can be downloaded HERE
  • The applicant must submit their completed and e-signed application via e-mail to Foundation@vachamber.com for review. 
  • Applications MUST be submitted with a file name that lists the numerical date and organization name. Ex: 09.01.20 Virginia Chamber Foundation
  • Upon submission of the application, the applicant will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of the materials. Notification of the assistance decision will be made via e-mail within 14 business days.
  • The application period will remain open until the funds allocated to the program are exhausted. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
For more information, please visit our website.

 

 

 

Efforts falter to require schools to provide in-person options

By Sam Fowler, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- An effort to require Virginia school districts provide in-person classes to students with poor internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic is most likely dead. 

House Bill 5009, introduced by Del. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, would require public schools to offer in-person classes to elementary, middle and high school students who have substandard internet connections at home. 

The bill was referred in August to the House Committee on Education during the Virginia General Assembly special session, but the legislation still hasn’t been addressed as the legislature nears crossover day—when each chamber must act on bills for them to advance.

“Anything still left in committee, will essentially die. So it doesn’t look like this bill will progress,” Del. Joshua Cole, D-Fredericksburg, who co-sponsored the bill, said in an email. 

Mark Cole’s bill would have required schools to provide in-person instruction to individuals who can’t access an internet speed of more than 10 megabits per second download and one Mbps upload. 

“This is an equity issue,” Mark Cole wrote in an email earlier this month. “Some children do not have access to the internet or internet of sufficient capacity to be able participants in online instruction, primarily rural and poor children.”

More than 1 million public school students were slated to start school in an online-only format, according to data posted in August by the Virginia Public Access Project. That includes Fairfax County, home to almost 189,000 students. More than 269,000 children were set to start school in a hybrid format that offers in-person and online instruction. Many of those students are located in rural areas. Hanover County, which enrolls more than 17,500 students, is the largest school district offering a blended format, according to VPAP. 

Russell County in Southwest Virginia is among the schools offering an in-person and online learning format. The school has set up an internet hotspot on school grounds to help students download material for class, and zip drives to store what they download, according to Janice Barton, a teacher at the school. High schools in the surrounding area have also done the same, Barton said. 

Even though schools are offering ways to access the internet, they’re still not offering high-speed access, Mark Cole said.

“This still puts children without high speed internet at a disadvantage over those that can participate in the comfort of their homes,” he said. “Children have to be driven to a hotspot, often a school parking lot, where they try to receive instruction while sitting in their car.”

Joshua Cole believes children should have an equal opportunity to learn without having to worry about attending online classes.

“If you don’t have internet, if you don’t have high speed internet, if your speeds are low, we want to make sure that your student is not left out,” he said. 

Stafford County gives some students an opportunity to come to school if they need to, said Joshua Cole, who is one of the county’s representatives in the House. The lawmaker said only some students are attending in-person classes in Stafford County, primarily students with disabilities or those without reliable internet access.

“It's not a bunch of students coming in,” he said.

Fredericksburg City Public Schools partnered with business owners in the area who are helping fund internet hotspots for students to access from their homes, according to Joshua Cole.

Many schools that are offering in-person instruction have created spaces to accommodate students and follow social distancing guidelines.

“We have signs in the hallways, in our classrooms. We have it set up 6 feet apart,” Barton said. “We have cleaning supplies, every teacher has that.”

Russell County Public Schools also provide students and teachers with masks, Barton said. 

Senate Bill 5114, sponsored by Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Mechanicsville, had similar wording to Mark Cole’s bill, but it was passed by indefinitely, which means the bill is dead unless the committee takes additional action.

Impact Study Highlights SVCC’s Contributions

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

A recent Economic Impact study undertaken by Dr. Vincent Magnini, a researcher at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business in Blacksburg, examined the impact Southside Virginia Community College makes across its ten-county service area and throughout the Commonwealth. The findings identified economic contributions and other social benefits in our local region and beyond. The research emphasized that what makes SVCC different and what makes us special is how we take care of our students, how we take care of each other, and how we contribute to the communities we serve.

SVCC’s statewide economic impact for fiscal year 2019 was estimated at $166 million, of which $147.5 million remained within the counties that comprise the southside service area. Salaries and wages represented part of the total. The college’s work contributed to 877 direct and secondary full-time equivalent jobs, leading to combined incomes of $45 million. Other financial elements represented in the economic impact study included local spending by students and other campus visitors, increased income earned as a result of completed programs of study, and the value of federal, state, and local tax revenues.

Benefits beyond direct economic effects included expanding the workforce training pipeline to attract new businesses, using student-centric initiatives to achieve high satisfaction rates, and preparing transfer students to fill upper-level enrollment gaps at four-year institutions. In addition, SVCC offers opportunities to high school students seeking to earn college credits through the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia, career and technical programs, and other dual enrollment options.

In fact, more than 1,800 high school students earned credits for college courses at SVCC in FY 2019. We appreciate the opportunity to help young adults from our region as they pursue academic and career goals. National statistics suggest that secondary students who earn college credentials graduate from four-year colleges or universities (senior institutions of higher education) within four years at a rate that is twice that of their traditional college-going peers who enroll at four-year colleges and universities directly out of high school. Furthermore, they will spend less on college expenses and accrue less debt.

We are also proud of the accomplishments among students who are the first in their families to attend college. In colleges nationwide, fewer than 33% of attendees are first generation students. At SVCC, 65% of our program completers are first generation college students. By increasing access to education and supporting the success of students from low-income, ethnic minorities, and rural families, we play an important role in improving their employability and earnings potential. These are vital ingredients in efforts to address racial equity and fairness.

SVCC’s strategic plan, “One College. One Mission,” focuses on continual improvement to student experiences and achievements. It also aligns with the Virginia Community College System’s strategic plan “Complete 2020-21,” which emphasizes a tripling of earned credentials across our service area. Our efforts to track, monitor, and document evidence of success toward this goal will bring further clarity to the ways SVCC contributes to the wellbeing of the communities we serve.

The Virginia Tech study also noted SVCC’s regular recognition among honorees in the “Great Colleges to Work For” assessment. SVCC has earned specific distinctions in the categories of job satisfaction, professional and career development programs, and employee relationships with supervisors and academic leaders.

The SVCC family brings strength and passion to accomplishing the college’s mission. As our students and alumni know, SVCC’s mascot is the panther, and our “Panther Pride” continues to energize us in the pursuit of excellence.

________

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.

“Heaven is Her Home”

Belva Irene Hess
April 3, 1934 – August 26, 2020
 
Belva was my only sister
And special as could be
We shared together brothers
Yet Sis spent more time with me.
 
The Lord did make His Calling
And Sis did so reply
Yes, she is on her way to heaven
So far up in the sky.
 
I know that I shall miss her
Though the many memories I’ll retain
She helped me in so many ways
More than I can explain.
 
We grew up in the Midwest
Where lots of snow did light
Yes, and she beat me often
When we had a a snowball fight!
 
One day I pray we’ll meet again
In that Kingdom in the sky
I know for sure I’ll think of her
Each day that passes by.

 

Little Brother “Roy”

September 2020

 
                      

Spotlight on Jobs by the Virginia Employment Commission

Gin Operator:  Operate cotton ginning equipment, including but not limited to dryers, cleaners, gin stands, lint cleaners, bale presses, bale hoisters, skid steer loaders, forklifts, and cotton module feeders. Tag bales, assist gin operator with repairing equipment, cleaning blockages, cleaning lint filters, refilling supplies, sweeping floors, removing trash buildup, and picking up cotton on module yard. Load cotton module to feeder, un-tarp modules, roll up and store module tarps, move bales from dock to warehouse, etc.Job Order #2032305

Electrician I Senior Level:  Troubleshoot electrical systems that use 480-volt, 3 phase power, as well as lower voltages. Diagnose problems with 3 phase electric motors and motor starters that operate in these electrical systems. Work with Relay Logic control circuits and able to safely troubleshoot these types of circuits using Ladder Logic Diagrams, schematics, piping/instrumentation diagrams, electrical instrumentation, and meters. Ability to proficiently use basic hand tools, etc.  Job Order #2029140

Construction Electrician:  Manage electrical needs for all new small construction projects at the mill. Manage electrical needs for replacement of deteriorating electrical infrastructure. Work in various types of weather conditions. Climb ladders, stairways, vessels, towers and pipe racks, many involving considerable heights. Lift to 50lbs. Install all types of conduit. Comply with NEC requirements for conduit installations. Size electrical installations to correct ampacity and conduit wire fill using NEC.  Job Order #2029174

PLC/Electrical Technician:  Program, troubleshoot and maintain advanced PLC/5 and Control Logix. Read assembly drawings, schematics and equipment layouts. Maintain, troubleshoot, and repair electronic circuits. Maintain, troubleshoot, and replace control devices. Understand and use data to improve productivity. Adhere to all plant safety and environmental guidelines, policies and procedures. Assist crew members and work in team environment. Help meet or exceed production waste and quality goals.  Job Order #2029175

Electrician II:  Perform routine mechanical and electrical equipment repairs and preventive maintenance activities. Troubleshoot and repair electrical and electronic equipment in a variety of different applications. Operate equipment such as hoists, man-lifts, rigging equipment, cranes and forklifts. Install new and rebuilt equipment as required. Follow work plans and schedules, etc.  Job Order #2028773

THESE AND ALL JOBS WITH THE VIRGINIA EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION CAN BE FOUND ONLINE AT

www.vawc.virginia.gov

The Virginia Employment Commission is An Equal Opportunity Employer/Program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

La Comision de Empleo de Virginia es un empleador/programa con igualdad de portunidades.  Los auxiliaries y servicios estan disponibles a dedido para personas con discapacidades

House Advances MARCUS Alert Bill

By Andrew Ringle, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- The House of Delegates approved a bill Thursday that would create teams of mental health service providers and peer recovery specialists to accompany police officers responding to individual crises.

House Bill 5043, introduced by Del. Jeffrey Bourne, D-Richmond, was approved by a vote of 57-39. The legislation needs passage from the state Senate and a signature from Gov. Ralph Northam to become law. 

“This was brought about by a tragedy,” Bourne said.

Dubbed the mental health awareness response and community understanding services (MARCUS) alert system, Bourne’s proposal references the death of a Black man who was shot and killed during an encounter with the Richmond Police Department in 2018.

Marcus-David Peters, a 24-year-old high school biology teacher and Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus, was shot and killed by a Richmond Police officer as he charged the officer after a taser was deployed. Peters was unarmed and his family said he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

“It’s horrific to watch,” Bourne said about police body camera footage of the incident.

Bourne’s bill would require the Virginia Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and Criminal Justice Services departments to work together to create evidence-based training programs for the care teams and to develop a plan by June 1, 2021 for statewide implementation.

Del. Carrie Coyner, R-Chesterfield, said she supports the end goal of the proposal but is concerned it will endanger more people without a slower rollout and because mental health resources are “stretched thin.”

Coyner said she is “very emotional” about the issue after growing up with an aunt who suffered from intellectual disabilities and who attempted suicide multiple times. She said while over time, “mental health providers did everything they could,” her family ultimately had to call 911 for the police’s help.

“If we had to wait longer for someone to arrive, she may not have been with us still,” Coyner said.

Del. Michael Mullin, D-Newport News, said he appreciated Coyner’s words and understands the concern for public safety. However, Mullin — an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Hampton — said the state has “criminalized mental health issues.”

“So much of the work we have been doing today and in the days preceding this has been to reverse 30 years of overcriminalization,” Mullin said. “This bill does a small step in making sure that individuals who are in crisis are not treated as criminals.”

Princess Blanding, Peters’ sister, recently testified during the bill’s hearing before the House Public Safety Committee. She said her brother “absolutely deserved help, not death” on the day of his fatal shooting.

“When a person’s kidneys stop functioning properly, they receive dialysis if needed,” Blanding said. “When a person’s heart stops functioning properly, they receive bypass surgery if needed. But the brain is the only major organ that, when it stops functioning properly, we demonize, we incarcerate, and in the case of so many Black people, death is the final answer.”

Blanding has spoken at multiple demonstrations in Richmond since protests sparked by the death of George Floyd began in late May, demanding the city fully fund the alert system as well as establish a civilian review board to investigate allegations of police misconduct.

Senate Bill 5038, introduced by Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-Woodbridge, also seeks to establish an alert system. It still needs to pass the Senate before moving to the House of Delegates.

SBA Announces Registration for National Small Business Week Virtual Conference September 22-24

WASHINGTON –As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration and cosponsors will host all events virtually. This year’s National Small Business Week, September 22-24, 2020, includes numerous educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as our nation’s small businesses look to pivot and recover, contributing to a stronger economy.

The National Small Business Week event schedule includes three days recognizing America’s outstanding entrepreneurs, shining a spotlight on the nation’s 30 million small businesses across the country, including national award winners, and naming of the 2020 National Small Business Person of the Year.

Details and registration information are posted on https://www.sba.gov/NSBW. 

The SBA Virginia-Richmond District Office is happy and proud to announce George Nyfeler, owner of Nyfeler Associates, as the 2020 Small Business Person of the Year for the state. 

“We will recognize Mr. Nyfeler on September 23rd. He is an owner who cares about his employees supporting their success and his community,” said VA-Richmond District Director Carl Knoblock.

“Also, a thanks to Mike King, host of “On The Mic with MikeRVA,” for having the SBA appear on the show every Wednesday and hosting our NSBW event.,” said Knoblock.

Radio Show: “SBA Wednesday-NSBW” Event with “On The Mic with MikeRVA”

Date: 9/23/2020 Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm Tune-In/Viewing: WJFN-"On The MIC With MIKE RVA" 100.5/92.7 FM/820 AM

Listen Live: Click Here

Facebook Live: Click Here

William Hunter Greene is the Brunswick Academy Student of the Month for Septmeber 2020

Brunswick Academy is proud to announce Brunswick County’s Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month for September:  William Hunter Greene. Hunter, a Senior at Brunswick Academy, is the son of Kevin and Diane Greene. In addition to earning an Honors diploma, Hunter is currently enrolled in four dual enrollment college courses. Hunter is a member of Brunswick Academy’s chapter of the National Honor Society and also serves as the Co-Philanthropic Chair of the Brunswick Academy Latin Club. Also, Hunter volunteers his time as the Co-Head of the Tech Crew for the BA Theatre. During the summer of his Junior year, Hunter attended the distinguished Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar at James Madison University.  Currently, Hunter participates in his church’s youth group and enjoys playing soccer with his friends. He has visited Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, North Carolina State University, and James Madison University to tour their engineering departments. Ultimately, he hopes to attend Virginia Tech to study electrical engineering.

 

House, Senate committees advance bills for expungement of criminal records

By Joseph Whitney Smith, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia House and Senate committees have advanced legislation that would remove certain criminal records in a criminal justice reform effort that allows people to petition for expungement of convictions, not just charges. 

Senate Bill 5043, sponsored by Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, and House Bill 5146, sponsored by Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, would expand the current expungement process. Police and court records are currently only expunged if an individual is acquitted, a case is dismissed or abandoned. 

Deeds said the bill expands the cases available for expungement and will create an easier process for individuals seeking expungement. 

Deeds’ bill heads to the Senate floor after moving through two Senate committees. The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee gave the bill the green light Thursday with a 16-0 vote. Herring’s bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee with a 13-9 vote.

Deed’s bill would allow expungement of records for cases such as misdemeanor marijuana possession, underage alcohol or tobacco possession, and using a fake ID to buy alcohol. The bill allows expungement five years past conviction and once court fines have been paid. The bill excludes violent felonies and drug-related offenses such as marijuana possession over an ounce, distribution of drugs to a person under 18, and the manufacturing, possession or distribution of controlled substances like heroin and methamphetamine.

“Simple marijuana possession is no longer a crime in Virginia, so you ought to be able to expunge those convictions,” Deeds said.

Herring’s bill creates an automatic system that after eight years expunges certain charges that have been abandoned or dismissed, as well as certain convictions, including some felonies if there are no subsequent convictions.

The current process includes filing a petition, being fingerprinted, paying a filing fee and possibly attending a court hearing, according to Colin Drabert, deputy director of the Virginia State Crime Commission, who spoke during a commission hearing Monday. Virginia is one of nine states that do not allow the expungement of a misdemeanor and one of 14 states that do not allow the expungement of a felony, he said. 

Virginia State Police receive approximately 4,000 expungement orders for non-convictions per year for the past three years, Drabert said. If Herring’s bill passes,  cases that are acquitted, dismissed or a nolle prosequi entered, will be automatically expunged by the court handling the case -- excluding traffic violations. For convictions, Herring’s bill outlines a new, at least monthly process that has state police provide to the courts an electronic list of qualifying offenses that meet automatic expungement. Once a judge approves the names and offenses, the records are expunged.

“There is a stigma attached when someone has a mark on their record from difficulty in finding employment,” Herring said during a House Courts of Justice hearing. Criminal records also can impact an individual’s ability to attend college, receive financial aid or find housing, she said. 

Andy Elders, policy director at Justice Forward Virginia and chief public defender for Fairfax County, said expungement helps people re-establish themselves in society. 

“Many people who have criminal convictions on their records, have them as a result of over-policing of communities of color,” Elders said. 

Dana G. Schrad, executive director of Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said the proposed changes won’t allow certain employers to access expungement records, including police chiefs who conduct thorough background checks before hiring individuals.

“If these expungement proposals are enacted into law, law enforcement hiring processes will be further compromised,” Schrad said.

Deed’s bill would not require disclosure of expungement. Herring’s  bill will prohibit automatically expunged records from being seen unless applying for law enforcement and certain federal and state positions.

Schrad also said the law change could impact background checks for teachers, child care providers, mental health and social workers.

Though the governor promised sweeping criminal justice reform in January, the newly-elected Democratic majority failed during the regular session to pass bills such as reinstating parole and expungement of records. Deeds’ bill, if passed, would take effect January 2022. Herring’s bill would be phased in and require multiple agencies to sign off on the implementations.

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