Voting Methods in the Commonwealth

With early voting having begun on the 18th of September, citizens are reminded that there are now new ways to vote on the Presidential Election that will occur on November 3rd, 2020. Voting methods apply to any and all qualified registered Lee County voter. Early voting ends on October 31st, 2020.
The General Registrar’s Office in Lee County, will be open Mondays-Fridays from 8:30am-4:30 pm to allow voters to vote early. To further accommodate residents, the General Registrar’s Office will also be open on Saturdays, October 24th, and October 31st, 2020 for those who are registered for Early Voting.
Absentee Voting by Mail began on July 1st, for any registered voter to receive their official ballot by mail. October 23, 2020 is the last day to request an Absentee Ballot by mail. Individuals interested in voting by this method may do so by submitting an application for Absentee Ballot at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov or by contacting the General Registrar’s Office in Jonesville at 276-346-7780.
In Person voting is still available at polling stations on Election Day. Polls open at 6am and remain open until 7pm. Those in line at 7pm will be allowed to vote, but you are required to not step out of line.

Jonesville’s Drive Thru Halloween

According to Mayor Jerry Harris, the community would like to provide a safe environment for children look to trick or treat this year. Their idea is for those participating to remain in their vehicles and receive candy that way. Groups and individuals distributing treats will be required to wear gloves and masks. They are also required to register for the event by phoning the Town Hall at 276-346-1151.
Members of the Jonesville Town Council cited the successful distribution of school supplies and other items that were provided this past August in the park utilizing a drive thru system.

Lee County Public School Students

Students in Lee County Public Schools are eligible to receive a second P-EBT benefit this fall. If you received a P-EBT benefit this past spring or summer, the new benefit will be automatically added to your card. If you did not receive a benefit in the summer or spring, you will receive a pre-loaded Virginia P-EBT Card addressed to the parent or guardian. If you’ve lost or discarded your P-EBT card, telephone 1-866-281-2448 to request a replacement card.
It is not necessary to contact the school about this benefit. However, if you have had a change of address or did not receive the spring or summer benefit because of an incorrect address, please contact your child’s school to update your address as soon as possible.
Students who are learning virtually for at least 5 consecutive days and are eligible for free or reduced price meals are eligible to receive a P-EBT benefit this fall. If you received a P-EBT benefit this past spring or summer, the new benefit will be automatically added to your card. All eligible students will be submitted for benefits by the school division. Benefits will be issued between September 30 and October 15, 2020.
If you have questions about P-EBT or want more information, please visit the DSS P-EBT webpage to submit your question and receive a response. As a reminder, the Virginia P-EBT Card will have food assistance benefits on it that can be used for food items anywhere SNAP benefits are accepted.
Participation in the program is voluntary. If you choose not to participate in the program, please dispose of the card by cutting through the magnetic stripe and discarding it in a secure manner.
You will not be able to redeem the food benefits, nor can you transfer the card to someone else.
You may also be eligible for additional assistance with food, medical insurance, and other VDSS programs. Apply online at https://commonhelp.virginia.gov.

Board of Supervisor Receive Suggestions for CARES Funds

Recently representatives from the Emergency Services agency offered a suggestion to the Board of Supervisors that relief funds from the CARES Act be awarded to Lee County in order for them to boost the effects of area rescue squads and fire departments. Members from both departments were present to deliver their plea, reminding everyone that the county is legally required to use the funds by the 30th of December, and with two vital services in desperate need of equipment it would be a great option.
Citing nearby communities that had already utilized the funds in this same manner to benefit their emergency related services on behalf of their residents. With numerous representatives of Lee County’s various emergency services adding that with the desire to help our citizens, it would be a crime not to use these federal funds when our county needs and could benefit from this unexpected federal windfall.
It was also pointed out that with the lack of a local hospital, the need for reliable, functioning emergency services was critical to the county’s citizens. Representatives of several emergency service agencies proposed that the CARES Act funds be used to purchase an ambulance for each county agency. It was also recommended that more active units could possibly be awarded more funds.
District 2 Supervisor Kolb, stated that they would not waste a cent of the funds, but shared the information that the cost of healthcare and regional jail expenses had increased and the county would need to take that into consideration as they would need to account for those expenses. Suggesting instead that people could pay more in taxes to help with costs of fire and rescue emergency services.
One of the other proposed tax hikes was directed at Lee County smokers with a proposed $2.50 tax increase on each carton of cigarettes. Another tax increase seems unfair to those who smoke to constantly single them out, when alcohol abuse could be curbed in some instances with higher taxes on their products.

GO Virginia Economic Resilience and Recovery Grant Program

The Growth and Opportunity for Virginia Board approved a policy to implement the GO VA Economic Resilience and Recovery Grant Program for up to $14.66 million in GO Virginia competitive funds to be dedicated statewide, and each GO Virginia regional council may apply for up to $1 million to support strategic initiatives in response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This program will help regions build capacity to support and serve existing businesses, priority traded sectors and essential businesses, including the health care system and its supply chain during this crisis. This initiative will focus resources on economic resiliency and recovery while staying true to the GO Virginia mission.

A dedicated reserve of $5.66 million has been set aside for statewide projects for extraordinary need or extraordinary positive economic impact.
Applications will be accepted through the nine GO Virginia Regional Councils. CONTACT: Kalen Hunterkhunter@uvawise.edu276-870-7731.

Region One includes the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the cities of Bristol, Galax and Norton. The Appalachian Mountains run through many of the 13 counties and three cities that comprise the region. www.goswva.org

LENOWISCO Board of Director’s Meeting

The next scheduled meeting for the LENOWISCO Board of Directors will be held Monday evening, October 5, 2020 at 5:30pm.

Virginia’s No Love for Litter Pledge

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation almost $3.5 million tax dollars are used each year to clean up trash along roadways. They claim more than half of the refuse is from motorists, while another quarter of it is because of pedestrians. Whether its a result of incorrectly covered loads or people who decide to litter deliberately. An astonishing 75% of all littering is deliberate.
Litterers fail to understand that their blatant disregard of the law affects everyone. Litter affects everything from economic development, public safety, and recruitment of new industry to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which affects everyone’s quality of life. According to Keep America Beautiful, Inc., smokers litter about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts yearly.
Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that degrades slowly in the environment, if at all. Filters are designed to trap carcinogenic chemicals that smokers don’t want in their lungs and bloodstream. Littered butts are carried by wind and storm water runoff into nearby water bodies. The cancer-causing agents in the filters leak into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and aquatic life.
Littering is illegal. Most people are unaware of littering fines. Section 33.1-346 of the Code of Virginia makes littering or dumping trash a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.
Everyone is encouraged to take the new No Love for Litter Pledge and join VDOT’s newest campaign to clean up Virginia’s roadways. Each Virginia jurisdiction has a litter program manager or contact, and a unique litter program. Some jurisdictions encourage citizens to report litter bugs, heavily littered spots or stretches of road, or an illegal dump site.
To find out specific information about recycling or litter prevention program activities in your area, visit your locality’s web site by using any of the web-based search engines.

Ginseng Season in the Commonwealth

American Ginseng is classified as a threatened species under Virginia’s Endangered Plant and Insect Species Act, and this is an important fact to keep in mind during harvest season. Harvesting of ginseng began on September 1st, and it ends on December 31st, 2020. Keep in mind that it is illegal to harvest wild ginseng from January 1st through August 31st.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is in charge of regulating the harvesting of wild ginseng and subsequent sales of ginseng in the Commonwealth. The VDACS reminds everyone to make certain they understand and adhere to all laws pertaining to the protection of this valuable plant before they risk costly fines and potential imprisonment.
Harvesting ginseng on public lands is prohibited generallly, but in those rare instances it is allowed, ginseng diggers are required to have a permit before harvesting any plants. Additionally, collecting any part of a wild ginseng plant from federal property is illegal and anyone caught doing so could face fines of up to $5,000, up to six months in jail, or both. Violations of ginseng harvest regulations are subject to up to twelve months in prison, and fines up to $2,500 or both.
For anyone harvesting wild ginseng from private lands, written permission must first be obtained prior to the removal or harvesting of any plants. The document should be with the harvester at the time of ginseng collection. Even with permission there are still requirements that harvesters must comply with such as:
Ginseng that is less than five years old, or has fewer than four stem scars present on its rhizome or less than three prongs, may not be harvested. Anyone collecting wild ginseng must then plant the seeds of the harvested plant at the collection site at the time of harvesting.
Anyone accepting to buy or buying ginseng are required to first obtain the appropriate license from VDACS. Additional information is available online at the VDACS website and you may also contact them by phone at 1-804-786-3515.

Democratic Red Flag Gun Laws Restrict Commonwealth Citizens

In regards to some of the newly enacted state law that allows the court system to decide whether an individual could potentially be a danger, either to themselves or others. This law has so far prevented either temporarily or permanently, roughly three dozen people from either purchasing or having in their possesion any firearms.
These red flag laws were responsible for the the creation of a petition for “substantial risk” orders which began on the first of July. At the time of this report, the Virginia State Police have listed more than two dozen temporary orders along with nearly two dozen permanent orders being issued in just July and August.
All of this as a result of the Democratically controlled General Assembly passing yet another gun related restriction law earlier this year. Republicans voted against the measure and gun rights groups claim the law violates our Second Amendment rights. Resolutions supporting our Second Amendment rights have already been implemented in numerous Commonwealth localities as a result of the red flag laws.
The new law, which went into effect July 1, is designed to keep guns away from potentially violent people. There are approximately 36,000 gun deaths annually in the U.S. including about 1,000 in Virginia, according to the Gifford Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which analyzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. That includes about 22,000 suicides and nearly 13,000 homicides.
Red Flag laws, also called Gun Violence Restraining Orders and Extreme Risk Protection Orders, are gun-confiscation laws disguised as “gun-violence prevention” laws that are being pushed hard at both the state and federal levels. The State is supposed to punish those who have broken the law, not those who might break the law.

Food City School Bucks Challenge

Again this year, Food City had pledged $700,000 in contributions for the coming school year. Simply using your Food City Valucard, and spending one dollar means you’ll receive one point. The School Bucks Challenge runs through May 11, 2021. To make certain your points are credited to the school of your choosing, simply log onto www.foodcity.com/schoolbucks and link your Valucard to the school of your choice. For additional information, you can contact your local school, visit www.foodcity.com or phone Lisa Johnson, the Food City School Bucks Coordinator at 1-800-232-0174.