Parents and child care advocates, yesterday, renewed their calls for better oversight of home day cares. There are a number of bills on the issue currently working their way through the legislative process; and child care advocates hope it results in stricter regulations. Supporters of reform want to see licensing —training and inspection standards — required for all home day cares; they also calls for background checks to be based on fingerprints rather than names. They are also urging tougher penalties against those who violate state regulations —but lawmakers are already indicating that compromise may be needed on some measures, in order to win approval on others.
A new conservation program may bolster restoration efforts along the James River. The Department of Agriculture recently announce its plan to invest in public-private partnerships to help improve water quality, support wildlife habitat and enhance the environment. The 370 million competitive grant is part of the five-year Regional Conservation Program made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Robert E. Lee Soil & Water Conservation District, which serves Lynchburg and the counties of Amherst, Appomattox and Campbell reimburse farmers who build fencing to keep livestock out of waterways. Projects must be supported by local and regional partners.
The Appomattox Town Council has changed its schedule to meeting only once of month. Council members will no longer be meeting twice a month; the change to a single monthly meeting is being implemented this year. Sources say, Council will not hold workshop meetings like it did in years past; however, council will still hold regular session meetings on the second Monday of each month with the exception of holidays or otherwise specified. If a meeting is cancelled due to inclement weather, council will meet the following night. The 2015 Council Meetings begin on Feb. 9.
Sweet Briar College is exploring options to stay viable in the future. Sweet Briar is at a crossroads as school leaders look at ideas to help the college survive and thrive amid challenging times for small, private liberal arts schools in the United States. The New Era Progress reports the college has contracted with the Art & Science Group to conduct market research about possible ideas to grow enrollment. Completion of the market research study is expected in the late Spring; according to the article, the strategic plan includes the possibilities of partnering with other schools.
The Town of Altavista is pursuing an emergency notification system. Town staff are in the process of gathering more information and working out a contract for the system, that officials say, will have comprehensive notification process, with the ability to inform citizens before, during and after events, whether emergency or non-emergency. 911 information the town already has for residents and businesses could be moved to the new system. The Altavista Journal reports, the town may need to do a campaign to collect other contact information. According to the article, Bedford and Lynchburg are already using the system.
Work has begun on a second phase of renovation on Wright Hall at the campus on Randolph College. The five-story building was constructed in 1909…this is the first renovation of the building since 1994. It is one of six residence halls at Randolph. Officials expect the renovations to be complete by Aug. 1.
Many Appomattox businesses are attending workshops to prepare for sesquicentennial visitors. April 12th marks 150 years since the Civil War ended with a surrender at Appomattox Court House. Stephanie Keener, program specialist for the Region 2000 Small Business Development Center told WDBJ-7 the workshops will include tips on how to provide better customer service and reach tourist through social media. The workshops begins today and will be held every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. through March 12th.
The Lynchburg Parks & Recreation Department is now accepting registrations for the Girls Dixie Softball Program. Lynchburg Dixie Softball is the longest, continuously operating Dixie Softball Program open for girls ages 5-18, that attend Lynchburg City Schools. New players can register at the Parks and Recreation offices between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Birth certificates are required at the time of registration for all new players. Players are also invited to register during one of the official registration days next month. The list of dates can be found online at: http://www.lynchburgva.gov.
Another suspect has pleaded guilty for his part in a deadly drive-by shooting. 19 year old, Jakiel Benson, this morning pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and a felony firearm charge. Benson is among eight co-defendants connected with the killing of the 20 year old, murdered, prosecutors say as he sat in a car on Shaffer Street last June. The news & Advance reports, multiple felony firearm charges won’t be prosecuted; and a previous murder charge was also amended as part of a plea agreement today. An autopsy found the victim died of a single 9mm gunshot wound to the chest –April Renae Bateman, accused of firing the fatal shot, pleaded guilty to murder last month.