Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes Due by December 5th, 2018

Rita McCann, Lee County Treasurer reminds residents that tax tickets have already mailed this year and any payments you may have made after September 20th, 2018 will not be credited on them as the tax tickets had already been sent to the printer.
Real estate and personal property taxes will be due December 5th of this year. All taxes must be postmarked by December 5th 2018, paid in the Treasurer’s Office by 4:30 p.m. or they can be paid at any branch of Lee Bank & Trust with your tax ticket by December 5th to avoid late fees.
Tax rates are decided by the Board of Supervisors by June 30th of each year. Real Estate tax rate of just under $.62 or $.6187 for each $100 in value is assessed in the owner’s name by January 1st. Properties bought after January 1st remains in the previous owner’s name. Anyone not receiving a tax ticket by November of 2018 should contact the Treasurer’s Office by phone at 276-346-7716.
McCann stated that if real estate is paid by a mortgage company, the tax ticket would be mailed to them. However, if they do not request a ticket then it becomes the responsibility of the owner to send the tax ticket to the company that will be paying it.
Individuals interested in whether they may qualify for Tax Relief, such as those 65 or older and permanently disabled, as well as meeting the financial criteria as established by local ordinances should contact the Commissioner of the Revenue at 276-346-7722. Pre-payment of Real Estate taxes can be made all throughout the year.
This year’s Personal Property Tax Rate is $2 for each $100 in value. Vehicle License Fees are $18 for trailers, Motorcycles are $27.50 and the Vehicle License Fee is$30. Any other Tax Rate Relief inquiries should be directed to the Commissioner of the Revenue at 276-346-7722, and taxes are assessed on January 1st, 2018 ownership by the Lee County Commissioner of the Revenue.

Wise County Press Release for Erika Nicole Lucas Arrest

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office received an alert from Kentucky State Police regarding a vehicle that was stolen in Kentucky. Deputy Dale Gross observed a vehicle matching the description from the alert on route 23 in the Pound, Va area. Deputy Gross observed the vehicle driving erratically and attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle started fleeing from the deputy at a high rate of speed. The pursuit continued over several miles going through the City of Norton. The driver turned near the Hoot Owl Hollow intersection near Norton, striking two deputy vehicles. The driver continued to flee on route 23, north bound, back toward Pound, Va. Speeds in the pursuit reached close to 100mph as the vehicle continued to flee. As the vehicle continued to the Glamorgan Intersection on route 23 near Wise, Va a Wise County Deputy pulled in front to stop it as the Virginia State Police pinned it from the rear. The driver was identified as Erika Nicole Lucas, age 30, of Shelbiana, Kentucky.
The female was transported to Norton Community Hospital with minor injuries. One Virginia State Trooper received minor injuries. Three Wise County Sheriff’s Office vehicles and two Virginia State Police Vehicles received damage. The City of Norton Police Department and Town of Wise Police Department assisted in the pursuit.
Wise County Sheriff Ronnie Oakes states, “I would like to thank everyone that assisted in stopping the driver. Her actions not only put the lives of law enforcement officers in danger, but several people that were on the roadway today. I am glad there were no serious injuries to anyone involved in today’s incident. I am proud of my deputies and all officers involved for their professionalism and dedication to public safety.”
Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp states, “I am thankful that no officers or civilians were seriously injured today. Due to the professional and heroic actions of law enforcement this incident was brought to a quick and sage conclusion. At this time I am working with the law enforcement agencies involved to bring all appropriate charges against the female.”
Several charges will be pending on Erika Nicole Lucas.

Lee, Wise and Scott County Schools to Receive Security Update Funding

According to State Delegate Republican Terry Kilgore, several schools in Southwest Virginia will be receiving grants to acquire school security equipment. Kilgore stated that, "Keeping our children safe is a priority of the General Assembly, and these grants will help us ensure that we are able to have the necessary security equipment in many of our school districts."
Scott County Public School will receive $82,529 for both Gate City and Rye Cove High Schools. Lee County is expected to receive $100,000 for security equipment updates for Dryden Elementary, Elydale Middle, Elk Knob Elementary, Flatwoods Elementary, Jonesville Middle, Lee High, Lee County Career and Tech Center, Pennington Middle, Rose Hill Elementary, St. Charles Elementary and Thomas Walker High School.
Wise County Public Schools will also receive $100,000 for Coeburn Middle, Coeburn Primary, J.W. Adams Combined, St. Paul Elementary, LF Addington Middle, Union Middle, Union Primary, Wise Primary and Wise County Career and Tech Center.
These grant moneys can be used for video monitoring systems, metal detectors, classroom locks, electronic access controls, visitor identification systems, direct communication with law enforcement agencies and other security related upgrades as developed by the Virginia Department of Education and the Department of Criminal Justice Services to give priority to those schools most in need of modern equipment, high numbers of offenses, least able to afford security upgrades and those identified by a school security audit.

Motorists Cautioned of Scott County Road and Bridge Construction Delays

Over in Scott County, motorists are cautioned that ongoing road construction projects on Wadlow Gap Road and U.S. 23 will overlap each other until sometime in the Summer of 2019. The Weber City bridge work is expected to finish on time; while curve elimination projects have just begun. Motorists are expected to experience only periodic delays as the majority of the work will happen along the road shoulders.

UVA at Wise Adjunct Professor Kristofer Rucinski Guilty

A former Adjunct Professor at UVA of Wise was sentenced in U.S. District Circuit Court last week. Kristofer Rucinski age 34, was given five years probation after he pled guilty to importing Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogs into the United States from Canada.

Junction Center for Independent Living Hosting Resource Fair Today

The Junction Center for Independent Living Incorporated will hold a Resource Fair at their offices located in Big Stone Gap on Wednesday October 17th. Honoring that October is Disability Awareness Month, the Resource Fair will have representatives from each of the six Managed Care organizations that perform Medicaid funded services throughout the Commonwealth, along with local service providers and agencies.
October 15th marked the beginning of the Open Enrollment period, which allows changes in insurance plans and service providers. This Fair allows interested individuals to meet with representatives of each Managed Care organizations in one place to give individuals an informed choice when making changes to their plans or switching to another.
Interested individuals may contact Junction Center for Independent Living at 1520 Third Avenue East in Big Stone Gap. Preregistration is preferred but not required to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

November 6th General Election Registration Deadline Today

Today is the deadline to register for the November 6th General Election. Numerous voters have already cast absentee ballots at the Lee County Voter Registrar’s Office located in the former Adult Learning Center on the formers School Board Campus in Jonesville. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Tuesday, October 30th, with in-person absentee voting offered each week from 8:30-4:30 weekdays at the Registrar’s Office and on October 27th and November 3rd, the last two Saturdays before Election Day.
Patsy Burchett, the Lee County Voter Registrar reminds everyone that a photo ID is required for voting and the website conveniently lists the proper forms of ID along with other voting information. The November 6th ballot contains candidates seeking office in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Polls will remain open from 6:00 a.m. til 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
This Senate race consists of three candidates Republican Corey A. Stewart, Democrat Timothy M. Kaine, and Independent Matt J. Waters, with Kaine currently serving in the Senate. Incumbent Republican Morgan Griffith, and Democrat Anthony Flaccaveto are both vying for the 9th District Congressional Seat.
Additionally there are two Constitutional Amendment questions with the first being;
Should a county, city, or town be authorized to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if flooding resiliency improvements have been made on the property?
The second is:
Shall the real property tax exemption for a primary residence that is currently provided to the surviving spouses of veterans who had a 100% service connected, permanent, and total disability be amended to allow the surviving spouse to move to a different primary residence and still claim the exemption?
Additional details and information are available by contacting the Registrar’s Office at 276-346-7780.

Tobacco Festival Beauty Pageant Tomorrow at 6 p.m.

The Tobacco Festival Beauty Pageant is slated for October 13th at Lee Theatre in Pennington Gap, sponsored by the Pennington Gap Women’s Club. The pageant begins at 6 p.m. with seven categories for all contestants ranging from birth to age 22, including two categories for young boys. Registration information is available at the Pennington Gap Town Hall.

VDAC and VCE Offering Free Farm Readiness Reviews

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or VDAC in partnership with the Virginia Cooperative Extension or VCE are performing free confidential on-farm readiness reviews for the way local farmers grow, pack, hold and distribute ready-to-eat produce. Any farmer that sells more than $25,000 in applicable produce per year may soon find themselves subject to new federal regulations, with regulatory inspections expected to begin in mid 2019 for which they can learn about the changes to come.

A VDACS Produce Safety Specialist along and a VCE Agent will join with you to walk through the operation. Typically these reviews last two hours and can answer most of the questions local farmers may have concerning the federal Produce Safety Rule. Farmers interested in a free informative review may call 804-786-4003 or online at for additional information.

Lee County Rescue Squad Monthly Stats September 2018

The Lee County Rescue Squad, Pennington Gap Unit, received and responded to  144 calls during the month of  September 2018.
86 Patients were transported to their closest appropriate facility.
45 Patients refused treatment or transport.
02 Patients received treatment on scene.
05 Patients were flown to higher level care utilizing Air Evacs 88 & 33
05 Calls resulted in no patient contact
86 Calls were cancelled while the unit was en route.
34 Calls were in the Pennington Gap area
09 Calls were in the Jonesville area
09 Calls were in the St. Charles area
09 Calls were in the Dryden area
06 Calls were in the Jasper area.
The Lee County Rescue Squad travelled a total of 5,294 miles between Rescue 12 and Rescue 20.