The Amherst County Department of Social Services, may be in store for an expansion in workspace. The department has seen a dramatic increase in requests for services within the last decade, the New Era Progress reports there has been 310 percent increase in food stamps alone. According to the article, in a space study made in 2007, the department had already maximized its existing workspace—that study suggested an additional 5,000 square feet. The County Administrator revisited the issue of expansion recently and earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors approved an additional 10,000 square feet, to satisfy the department’s long-term needs.
Altavista officials are slated to meet this evening for a discussion regarding the PCBs in the wastewater treatment plant’s emergency overflow pond. According to the Altavista Journal, the Town Manager recently received a letter from the DEQ asking for a plan for resolving the longstanding issue with PCBs; and has requested a timeframe submission by March 31, 2015. In a meeting about a month ago, council asked consultants to evaluate all of the options and report back; the work session today will dedicated to reviewing those remediation alternatives. Whether any action comes is uncertain, according to the Altavista Journal as council has been divided on how to handle the contamination.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to require day care providers that receive public subsidies to acquire a state license. In an announcement form the governor’s staff yesterday, McAuliffe will seek the new regulations during the 2015 legislative session. The measure is in response to recent tragedies including a Sept. 19 fire, that critically injured three children two of whom died from their injuries in Lynchburg. A grand jury indicted Doris Lee Thompson last month on one count of unlawfully operating an unlicensed daycare facility. The measure could affect 1,920 day care providers across the state that currently operate without a license.
There’s nothing that “man’s best friend” can’t fix. Each semester, Liberty University’s final exams take a toll on the students. A few years back, the Falwells realized the stress level and decided to have a ‘puppy room,’ for students to come and visit during business hours. The popularity of the ‘puppy room’ grows each year and is a great way for students to de-stress, even if it is for ten minutes.
Hunters for the Hungry is in need of donations. According to the program’s website, it’s at a 17 year low in the number of pounds of venison it has been able to make available to hungry families throughout the state. Since its beginning in 1991, the program has processed and distribute over 22.2 million quarter pound servings. But assistance in meeting those needs is urged for this year. The hunting season continues in various ways through Jan. 3. Hunters, hunting group and clubs are encouraged to commit to harvesting a deer or two and donating to the program. To learn how you can help visit: www.h4hungry.org.
The Campbell County Public Safety Department is endorsing a new animal control facility. The Public Safety Director told the Board of Supervisors last week that the current facility did not have the required space for euthanasia OR for adequate isolation of sick animals. The county was cited for significant findings of noncompliance following a May 8 inspection by the state Office of Animal Care and Health Policy. The Altavista Journal reports county staff believed building a new facility would be the most effective long-term option; while meeting all current state requirements. On December 2, the board delayed a vote pending outcome of a renovation feasibility evaluation.
A local delegate, is backing a bill to legalize industrial hemp production in Virginia. House Bill 1277, seeks to take advantage of a new federal provision allowing states to set up pilot programs to grow hemp and research its potential as a commercial product. Del. Matt Fariss of Rustburg is one of three Republicans and four Democrats that have lent their names to the bill. The News & Advance reports, nationally 19 states have put similar laws on the books. HB1277 will be considered in the 2015 General Assembly session that convenes Jan.14. If passed, the bill will require hemp producers be licensed and regulated by the state.
The annual Wreaths Across America wreath-laying ceremony will be held on Saturday. For the seventh year the Old City Cemetery is Lynchburg’s only participating location. Live evergreen wreaths with red ribbons will be placed on over 1,000 graves of the 2,300 veterans interred on its grounds. All branches of the armed forces are honored; from every major American conflict from the Revolutionary War through the Viet Nam War era. The event will take place at 12:00 noon on Saturday, December 13, 2014 organizers encourage participants to arrive by 11:30 to guarantee parking. See Old City Cemetery’s website for directions, www.gravegarden.org.
A Campbell County grand jury has indicted a woman for the murder of her grandchild. The Altavista Journal reports, 65 year old, Patricia Sue Higginbotham, of Rustburg, was indicted on one charge of felony murder and one charge of child abuse. According to the article, the charges stemmed from the death of a 3-month-old male infant on June 27. The child was Higginbotham’s grandchild and was in her care. The Campbell County Sheriff’s office has not revealed the cause of death but tells the source, that the case has been under investigation since June.
An Evington man has pleaded guilty for his part in the drug overdose death of his girlfriend. 27 year old, Steven Vance Richardson, was originally charged with felony murder and distribution of a schedule II controlled substance; in the death of 26 year old, Amanda Dawn Watkins, who died in November of last year of fentany toxicity. In a plea agreement last week, Richardson pleaded guilty to the amended charges of involuntary manslaughter and distribution of a schedule II controlled substance with accommodation; each charge carries with it a potential maximum sentence of 10 years…a sentencing date has not yet been set.