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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 identif…

Last week, I wrote about the several laws that were changed during the 2020 regular and the on-going Special Session.  My focus was on how the laws were changed this year to skirt around the laws that have been put in place by both political parties over the years to ensure that voting is en…

Sometime, whether at a plant sale or plant swap, I got a Hurricane Lily from my dear friend Mildred.  It has a very unusual life cycle so I am surprised every time I see it emerge.  The plant goes by many names including Resurrection Lily and Red Spider Lily but the botanical name Lycoris ra…

I have not found a story about Thomas F. Goode that respects his true military career. So in a nutshell these are many of the highlights. In 1859 Captain Thomas F. Goode aided in the recruiting campaign held at Randolph Macon College for militia reserves. He was a very outspoken mn and heate…

The 2021 General Assembly Special Session continues to move slowly, only meeting on Thursday and Friday last week, with no guidance on when it will be over. 

My eye surgery, now two weeks ago, went well but was a little more involved than the doctor expected.  I’m supposed to have the stitches removed next week and have hopes all the swelling has gone down and the healing is complete enough that they can figure out my new prescription.  I don’t e…

Free and fair voting is the basic premise of any democracy.  Remember the stories that came out of Iraq after the fall of the Shah?  People gleefully showed their purple fingers.  This was their proof that they had taken part in the electoral process.  The purple ink was the government’s way…

I am so tired of all the ignorant self-righteousness of a handful of society’s failures who want to abolish, desecrate and rewrite history. So I am hopful that some folks reading this story will pass it on (you may have to read it out loud so they can hear and understand it) to those protest…

Whoever said, “Never underestimate the healing power of a quiet moment in the garden,” knew what she was talking about.  The benefits of gardening – fresh air, exercise and mental stimulation - are well documented.

The House of Delegates adjourned last Friday and is subject to the call of the Speaker with 48 hours' notice.  As of this writing, that means the earliest we could be "recalled" would be Wednesday, no doubt to another virtual session.  We still have no idea why the Special Session is moving …

For three quarters of the last century, Virginia was effectively a one-party state.  That political party could enact anything they wanted.  Because they controlled the redistricting process, they could draw district lines to prevent the minority party from gaining much traction at all.  Lik…

Page 1 When the war started, Mecklenburg and neighboring counties were generally known as being rich counties. In the July 4, 1861, issue of the Richmond, Virginia, Daily Dispatch, a correspondent noted that “Old Mecklenburg is by no means the least among the counties of Virginia in size, we…

Last Tuesday we returned to Richmond to make adjustments to the state budget caused by COVID-19.  Certainly not because the Governor wanted us to interfere with his sole power, but rather because the state constitution requires it.  The Constitution states that if the expected tax revenue is…

If you had asked me several years ago about my feelings relating to ornamental grasses, I would have said blah.  A lot of people share this feeling. We tend to only know the overused Pampas Grass or the invasive Maidengrass.  A few years ago I heard a presentation by The Perennial Diva, Step…

When the 2020 Special Session convened on Tuesday, August 18th, Democrats presented HR 514, a rules change that would have, if Republicans had consented to its immediate consideration, allowed for virtual meetings of the House and votes to be taken at virtual committee meetings.

The last two months we have seen many demonstrations regarding equality for all.  It is right and fair to have orderly conversations and demonstrations about where we are in our treatment of others.  However, no one is guaranteed anything in life.  We should focus on giving everyone the oppo…

Southside Virginia Community College will reopen its doors on August 24 with a full schedule of offerings and a range of attendance options that incorporate in-person, online, and hybrid classes. Short-term workforce programs that require hands-on learning will be offered in small groups. We…

The 2020 General Assembly Special Session is set to begin Tuesday, August 18th in Richmond.  The annual Special Session’s purpose has always been for legislators to return to Richmond to finalize the details of the bi-annual budget; however, this year is very different.  We have yet to learn…

Successful gardeners learn to read the weather in their region – and more importantly, get to know the soil that supports their plants. For Sandi Slocum, who moved to Halifax County a few years back with her husband, George, the adjustment to growing in red Virginia clay took time and patience.

I haven’t given up on doing this column but I have to admit, it’s been a rough few weeks.

With only 76 days to election day, Nov 3rd, more and more presidential campaign signs are appearing in the County.  We all believe that our candidate is the best and with that said, how about we show respect for the other Party’s signs, property, and each other.  Whoever stole the 4’ X 8’ Bi…

Serena Sayles was a tough, yet frail; intelligent, yet withdrawn and independent. This seemed to create friction between her and her husband. In her history of south side Virginia I was unable to find any strife between her and neighbors. I found no church she attended and no one she sociali…

Last week I told you how the parole board was under investigation by the Office of the State Inspector General.  The investigation was set in motion due to the release of Vincent Martin, who was convicted in 1979 of killing Richmond Police Officer Michael Connors.  

About this time every summer our gardens are often looking as wilted, as we are if we spend any time in the heat.    We often think of this time of summer as the Dog Days when the weather is hot and humid and often dry. This period got its name from the dog star Sirius which not counting the…

I suspect that some of you have thought, at some time in your life, about how all those folks who came to the new world, arriving in New York and Pennsylvania Colonies ended up in the Smokey Mountains – from Pittsburg to Atlanta (the eastern range of the Appalachian Mountain Range.). In the …

We have been inundated with data about the Coronavirus since March.  The news media has covered the issue relentlessly for over five months, giving most of us an unending fear that we all are going to get COVID-19 and will probably die.  Most are living in unbridled fear for themselves and t…

Last Wednesday, House Democrats had their second hearing on criminal justice reform.  The testimony by speakers invited by House Democrats should concern any Virginian who values public safety.

Fall gardening or second plantings prolong the growing season and you can reap a lot more from your garden even after the peak summer season.  Gardens give you the most dividends when planting produce food from spring through summer and up to the first frost and even beyond.  In many areas, …

They notified the police and all parties agreed to meet with Mrs. Johnson, upon her arrival at the Clarksville Greyhound bus station and go with her to the house. (As it was told to me and as it appears in the history.) (There is another option which may have been shuffled in history and tha…

The true lilies Lilium are in the Liliaceae family as are daylilies.  In “Herbaceous Perennial Plants”  Allan Armitage lists 16 species and 5 related species and many of these species have cultivars and hybrids.  Four of these species are native to parts of the Eastern United States, Wood Li…

I appreciate all the calls and emails I have received over the past couple of months from my constituents regarding the current school reopening situation.  Most that I have talked to are in favor of opening on a regular five day a week in-person schedule. I am glad that it appears all the s…

All of us have been challenged by the events in the news this year.  It was heartbreaking enough when our lives were flipped on end by the Covid-19 and the response to that.  That was followed by rioting and destruction of public and private property.  For most of us, these events on top of …

When this question is posed, the standard answer is rooted in geography—America is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by Canada, and the south by Mexico.

 Let me begin with this statement:  We all should be cautious during this period of the Covid-19.  We should all wear masks when we are in locations in which we might interact with those who might have the virus.  However, some consistency and logic should be incorporated in, not only when w…

I appreciate all the calls and emails I have received over the past couple of months from my constituents regarding the current school reopening situation.  Most that I have talked to are in favor of opening on a regular five day a week in-person schedule. I am glad that it appears all the s…

The sudden onset of summer heat reminded me of the fact that I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with summer.  Although I hate the heat and humidity, I loved the fact that summer was a chance to learn new things, things that were not taught at school. School might be where we learned bu…

Japanese beetles are emerging in Southside.  To understand why I say emerge, it is important to understand their life cycle.  A little background first.  Japanese Beetles were first found in the United States in 1916.  The pest is from Japan as its name indicates but there it has natural ene…

Business is not the only thing that has changed this year because of the Covid-19 issues.  In mid-March, Governor Northam made the decision to close our schools for the rest of the academic year.  He was the first or second governor to close schools three months in advance.  Other states mad…

Speaker of the House Filler-Corn has decided to convene a joint meeting of the Public Safety and Court of Justice committees to consider ‘reforms’ regarding law enforcement and our police departments.

In recent months, our nation has struggled with its responses to two diseases, COVID-19 and racism. One stems from a viral threat, and the other is a symptom of systemic and institutional dysfunction. As news reports have amply documented, both can be deadly.

I recall a movie from the 1990s “Patch Adams” which I loved and even considered returning to college for a medical degree, but I didn’t. The one scene in this movie that left lasting memories is the scene where walks into the room of this crotchety old man who is dying. They had had a couple…

I am sure we are waiting to bite into our first big homegrown tomato! Nothing is quite like the taste and anyone can master growing great tomatoes by following a few simple rules. Start with healthy soil, plenty of sunlight, support the stems with stakes or cages, plant seedlings deep, remov…

During Operation Desert Storm, American war planes would wander over battlefields with impunity, striking whatever they wanted. There were so many opportunities to strike that it could be overwhelming. This situation was called a 'target rich environment.' Such is the situation we now face w…

 The best question that everyone serving in public office should ask themselves is this:  Who can more wisely spend the money that one earns, you and your family or the government?  The Democrats in Washington and Richmond have no doubts when they consider this.  They believe that government…

In a normal year, we should be celebrating July 4th together.  This is not a normal year.  The lead up to this year’s has been saturated with violence and looting.  It did not start that way; it began with demonstrations and protests based on legitimate grievances.  It quickly evolved into n…