VDOE Seeking Participants For The Summer Food Program

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is looking for interested residents willing to participate in the Commonwealth’s Summer Food Service program that attempts to ensure our children have access to nutritious meals during the summer months when school is not in session. Approved organizations that participate are reimbursed for meals served and for administrative costs associated with serving the meals. Additionally all participants are given training and provided technical assistance from the Virginia Department of Education.
The Summer Food Service program operates in schools, public housing and community centers, playgrounds, camps, parks and churches. Other organizations that may qualify to participate in the program include public or private non profit schools, local government, public or private nonprofit residential summer camps, and private nonprofit faith based and community based organizations.
This program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, which allows organizations to combine a feeding program with summer activity programs in communities where at least 50% of the children qualify for free and reduced price meals. The deadline for new and returning organizations to submit their applications is June 15th, 2018 for this year’s Summer Food Service Program.
Additional information is available on the VDOE website http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/nutrition/programs/sfsp.shtml

Pennington Gap Town Council Meeting Tonight at 6 p.m.

The Pennington Gap Town Council will meet this evening February 20th at the Pennington Gap Town Hall at six p.m. for their next regularly scheduled meeting.

Lee County School Board Votes To Move 8th Grade Students

The Lee County School Board recently voted 3-1 with one abstention to move the eighth grade students from their current location in the Jonesville Middle School and the Pennington Middle School to Lee High School for the 2018-2019 school year. Voting in favor of the move were Chairman Michael Kidwell from District 1, Pam Fannon from District 5, and Rob Hines from District 2, with Ty Harber from District 3 voting against and Debbie Jessie from district 4 abstaining.
Originally the motion was presented as transferring the eighth grade students from the two middle schools to Lee High School and requiring administration to develop boundaries consistent with school attendance areas. After a brief discussion a motion was made to amend the action by deleting the administration requirement of developing boundaries. During the Public Comment portion of the meeting at the beginning, numerous citizens commented on the proposed eighth grade move.
A work session for the 2019 fiscal year school board budget was held before the regular meeting with discussion on the revenue estimates, expenditures, and capital improvement plan with additional work sessions to be scheduled in the future.

School Revitaliztion Bill Could Boost Economy in Southwest Virginia

Empty and abandoned school buildings in southwest Virginia may soon be repurposed for use by business if a new bill becomes law in the Commonwealth. Currently local lawmakers are working to interest companies to invest in public properties. Recent consolidation has closed numerous schools across the southwest region and this has left behind many school buildings that could become possible work spaces for businesses.
Separate bills are advancing right now in the State House and the Senate that would provide tax incentives for businesses that convert these empty eyesores for corporate use. There is already interest from the business community and this school revitalization plan could give small towns a much needed economic boost.
Delegate Todd Pillion stated, “Those abandoned school facilities have been community staples for decades and now that they’re sitting there empty deteriorating becoming eyesores and no longer active components of the community.”
The abandoned school revitalization bill was passed unanimously in the Virginia House of Delegates. There is a similar bill that is currently advancing on the Senate side. This legislation is already expected to be passed and signed by Governor Ralph Northam.

Staff From Congressman Griffith’s Office to Visit

A member of staff from the Ninth District Congressman Morgan Griffith’s office will be at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office conference room in Jonesville. Residents that are needing assistance with any federal issues are encouraged to attend Monday afternoon, February 26th from 2-4 p.m.

Lee County School Board Meetings

The Lee County School Board will have their next work session for the Fiscal Year 2019 on the following dates, with their locations to be announced later.
Thursday evening March 22nd a Public Hearing at 6 p.m.
Thursday evening March 8th, 2018 at 5p.m. before the regular school board meeting.
Thursday evening February 22nd at 6 p.m..

Burning Law In Effect

Locally the Burning Law is currently in effect from February 15th until April 30, 2018. There is a maximum fine of $500. For additional information you may contact the Virginia Department of Forestry.
But a breakdown of what the Burning Law means is basically:
01) No burning allowed until after 4:00 p.m. if within 300 feet of woodland or grass brushland leading into woodlands.
02) Fires must be attended to at all times if located within 150 feet of woodland or brushland that leads into woodland.
03) No fuel may be added or the fire rekindled after midnight.
04) The Burning Law appllies to camp fires, warming fires, brush piles, household trash, stumps, fields of broomstraw and brush or anything capable of spreading fire.

Virginia Department of Health LENOWISCO Offering REVIVE! Classes Locally

The Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) LENOWISCO health district is offering REVIVE! Training. This is Virginia’s Opioid and Naloxone education provide that will provide Narcan aka Naloxone to individuals completing the short training session free of charge.

REVIVE! Classes are scheduled in February at local health departments in Lee, Scott and Wise counties that are intended to reach professionals, stakeholders and concerned community members on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency by administering Narcan which is a brand name for Naloxone.
Naloxone reverses the effects of opiates on the brain, allowing time for emergency services to respond and provide medical services. The training also includes information on risk factors for opioid overdoses. These classes are offered free to the public and only last thirty minutes or less. No preregistration is required.

The classes are available at:
Lee County Health Department located in Jonesville, Wednesday February 21st, from 8a.m. until 4 p.m.
Wise County Health Department located at 134 Roberts Avenue in southwest Wise. Thursday February 15th from 12 noon until 7 p.m. Then again on Tuesday February 27th from 8a.m. until 4 p.m.
Additional information is available by contacting District Health Educators Dan Hunsucker at 276-386-1312 or Melanie Deel at 276-328-1904.

A Very Important Message from Dr. Marissa Levine; the Virginia State Health Commissioner and the Virginia Department of Health

Lee County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

The latest Press Release from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office concerns a search that happened in Pennington Gap, Virginia on Friday that led to the discovery of Methamphetamine and resulted in the arrest of five Lee County residents.
Lee County Sheriff Gary Parsons reports that deputies from his office, along with an officer with Pennington Gap Police Department responded to a call at the Old Mill Apartments of a person intending to harm themselves. Once at the apartment building a lady stopped Deputy Chad Rouse and informed him that there were people in her apartment with drugs.
Parsons said that Deputy Rouse along with Deputy Mark Vanhuss and Officer Matt Johnson proceeded to search the apartment after being given consent. Upon entering the apartment they smelled a strong chemical odor. They quickly located 3.5 grams of methamphetamine along with digital scales, suboxone, and a smoking device laying inside a child’s playpen. Officers with the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force also responded to the scene.
According to Sheriff Parsons five individuals were arrested. 38 year old Michael Thacker of Pennington Gap, 33 year old James McQueen of Keokee, 37 year old Gary Napier of Pennington Gap, 35 year old Margaret Potter of Pennington Gap and 28 year old Amanda Newman of Jonesville.
Parson said all were charged with Possession of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic and Possession of drug paraphernalia. Parsons commended all of the officers involved for their work and the excellent spirit of cooperation between agencies.