Lee County School Board Meeting Packed in Response to Gun Raffle

There was standing room only at the last monthly Lee County School Board meeting with Public comment lasting more than two hours. Roughly 41 concerned citizens addressed the Board for five minutes duration each.
America Collins and Sue Ella Kobak, were the two individuals listed for public comment on the agenda with others invited to speak afterwards.

Collins said that she had raised three boys that attended Lee County Schools and she was concerned about student safety and asserted “that everyone has the responsibility to keep kids safe in school.”  She acknowledged some safety precautions were in place but suggested other barriers such as effective lock systems and ground floor window coverings.

Kobak said that she was speaking on behalf of Dr. Art Van Zee, her husband and referred to a letter sent to the editor of Powell Valley News the previous week concerning the AR-15 Gun Raffle that was sponsored by a Lee High School group. While not against fundraisers or wanting to challenge the 2nd Amendment she suggested other types of fundraisers, such as tutor programs and food pantry community service.

A variety of topics was discussed after that by citizens regarding the Lee High School gun raffle fundraiser, school security, and the suspension of Lee County Public School welding instructor John Henry Myers Jr. With numerous individuals expressing their opinion that the lack of a welding instructor was harming the progress of students, even though third year students had pitched in to help first year students.

After discussion of many topics the board entered into Closed Session and the Lee County School Board adjourned until their next meeting on March 22nd at 6pm for a Public Hearing concerning the Fiscal Year 2019 School Budget at Lee High School.

Traffic Stop Results in 4 Arrests

An early morning traffic stop in the Dryden section of Lee County has resulted in four arrests and the seizure of a handgun, drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Lee County Sheriff Gary Parsons reported that Deputy Ty Taylor observed a suspicious acting vehicle with one headlight. Officer Taylor stopped the vehicle at the Dryden Post Office.
According to Deputy Taylor, the occupants of the vehicle were acting suspiciously. He ran wanted checks on the suspects and one to be wanted out of Wise County. When Taylor asked the person to step out of the vehicle he observed a needle lying on the floor board of the vehicle.
Sheriff Parsons stated that the person wanted in Wise then attempted to flee and resisted arrest. He was subdued with the assistance of Jonesville Officer Aaron Payne and Pennington Gap Officer Johnny Gwinn who had responded to assist at the scene.
According to Parsons those arrested were:
23 year old Kalan Daniel Rowland of Big Stone Gap, Va who is charged with distributing a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest and capias from Wise County.
30 year old Lora Cierra Hyde of Pennington Gap, Va who is charged with distribution of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
23 year old Aaron Paul Lovell of Big Stone Gap, Va who is charged with distribution of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Jordan Hensley of Cleveland, Ga who is charged with distribution of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
All four are being held in the Duffield Regional Jail.
Sheriff Parsons commended the alertness of Deputy Taylor and appreciates the other officers and agencies that responded to assist.

Giles Hollow Water Project Meeting

There will be a Public Hearing of the Lee County Board of Supervisors and the Lee County Public Service Authority on Tuesday, March 20th at 4pm in the General District Courtroom of the Lee County Courthouse to garner public input on a proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) proposal submitted to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for the Giles Hollow Water Project.
The proposed project would involve construction of a new potable public water system in the Giles Hollow community, providing new public water service in a new area of Lee County outside of Ewing. All interested individuals are encouraged to attend and be heard.
A CDBG proposal draft fact sheet will be presented for comment along with information on possible beneficiaries, including the number of low and moderate income residents that would benefit from the proposed project, along with plans to minimize displacement. Citizens will also have an opportunity to comment on the County’s past use of CDBG funds.
You can also pick up a fact sheet at the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission in Duffield. Additionally you may contact Jimmy Adkins at LENOWISCO by phoning 276-431-2206. Complaints or grievances may be sent in writing to Lee County Administrator, Dane Poe at the Lee County Courthouse, PO Box 367, Jonesville, VA 24263 or by phone at 276-346-7714 now until the hearing date.

Latest From the Lee County Industrial Development Authority

The Lee County Industrial Development Authority held their monthly meeting on March 1st 2018.The board members approved the February 1, 2018 meeting minutes, along with the financial report, bills and payments.
In new business, Jeff Cochran, with the Lane Group gave an update on the Dryden Building Project that is ongoing. Cochran stated that advertisements for bids for renovation and repair had been place with a due date of March 20th, 2018.
Following discussions concerning the earliest date that the winning bid could be awarded, Cochran stated that a recommendation could be made quickly, adding that mobilization should happen within twenty days of the awarded bid.
Formal resolution of the addition of $100,000 to a loan from Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority the VCEDA was approved although the original loan was for $250,000.
During the old business discussion, Cochran offered that they are waiting for approval by the Virginia Department of Transportation or VDOT for the Constitutional Oaks Preliminary Engineering Report, further adding that VDOT is still reviewing the report.
Afterwards the IDA board entered into a closed session with no further announcements. They are scheduled to meet again on Thursday evening March 22nd at 6pm in the third floor conference room at the Lee County Courthouse.

Joshua Ray Wilder Arrested on Involuntary Manslaughter Charges

Lee County Sheriff Gary Parsons has confirmed that a man from Jonesville that was wanted in South Carolina for a shooting has been captured. Parsons stated that Wilder had been found at a friend's home located in the York community east of Jonesville. He was arrested without incident by officers with the Virginia State Police Tactical Team.
Joshua Ray Wilder age 32, was arrested Monday afternoon after Pickens County, South Carolina police placed Wilder onto a nationwide suspect watch following the Saturday shooting that occurred in the town of Easley. roughly seventeen miles outside of Greenville. Wilder is being charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Christy Parsons age 37, of Lee County was shot in the upper torso and later died at a local hospital. Police stated there were four people in the home at the time and that Wilder along with another witness fled the scene after the incident. Detectives have confirmed that a single gun shot was fired from a hand gun and the shooter was seated or at least in the den area according to the police report.
The shooting happened just before 9pm on Saturday evening on March 10th, 2018 when the home owner reported the incident by stating an out of town guest had been shot once by another guest. Detectives from the Sheriffs Department interviewed two of the witnesses that night and were able to ascertain that one of the two witnesses that fled the scene had fired the fatal shot.
Involuntary manslaughter usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as a DUI). The usual distinction from voluntary manslaughter is that involuntary manslaughter (sometimes called "criminally negligent homicide") is a crime in which the victim's death is unintended.

LCPS Addresses Gun Raffle Fundraiser Qualms

In a recent press release concerning the raffle conducted by Lee High School of Lee County that featured a grand prize of an AR-15, Lee County Public Schools posted the following on their website:
Recently, Lee High School of Lee County Public Schools conducted a raffle with a grand prize of a firearm. The firearm was specifically advertised as an AR-15. This specific fundraiser began in January 2018. However, this type of fundraiser and fundraisers with this specific prize or similar items have been conducted in Lee County Public Schools for more than ten years at various schools in the division.
The proceeds of all fundraisers are used for the educational benefit of students and their schools. Neither LCPS nor any school in LCPS has purchased a firearm. In the past and in this instance, LCPS has partnered with Liberty Sport and Pawn, a local business, to provide the firearm in compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations.
The (winner) individual must go to the business and meet all of the necessary requirements and background check processes in order to qualify for the purchase. In light of the recent school shootings, the administration has worked with Liberty Sport and Pawn to provide a gift certificate for the raffle winner. The gift certificate may be used to purchase any item that is in stock at LCPS.

American Pickers to Visit the Area

Mike and Frank - American Pickers

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-OLD-RUST

American Picker Flyer















Health Wagon’s 2018 Healthcare Fair Mission & Donations

The Health Wagon’s 2018 Healthcare Fair will be held March 14th and 15th from 9-4 each day. On Wednesday March 14th it will be at Zion Family Ministries in Wise, Va. On Thursday March 15th it will be at Enervest (Industrial Park, Happy Valley) in Clintwood, Va. Services are on a first come first served basis absolutely free of charge to the public, and all services may not be available on both days. For additional information along with the complete list of procedures that will be offered you may call 276-328-8850.

The mission of the Health Wagon is to provide compassionate, quality health care to the uninsured and underinsured people of the Mountains of Appalachia. Contributions to the Health Wagon are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law and they do not sell, trade, or share personal information about their financial donors. For details visit www.donatenow.networkforgood.org/thehealthwagon.

Wise County Planning Commission Meets Monday at 5pm

The Wise County Planning Commission will have it’s regular meeting on Monday March 12, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at the Wise County Schools Education Center, in Conference Room A, located on Lake Street in Wise.

Lee County School Board Meeting Tonight At 5pm

Locally the Lee County School Board will hold their next work session for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget this evening March 8th at 5pm at the Thomas Walker High School, before the regular school board meeting.