Events Today and This Weekend

The Town of Jonesville in partnership with the Jonesville Woman’s Club will host the 34th Annual Festival in the Park on Saturday.  Many crafters and food vendors will be available around the park that usually is attended by a large crowd looking to see local talented crafters.  There will be quilts on display in the American Legion Building from 11 until 2 along with supplies available for purchase for quilting.  An opportunity to create your own bird feeder at a craft location will be available from 1 until 3 along with a dozen or so of food vendors including BBQ from the Jonesville Lions Club.  The festival will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The Lee High Generals will travel to Rose Ridge to take on the Ridgeview Wolf Pack tonight in Mountain 7 District Play.  This will be another tough test for a scrappy General team and will be at one of the toughest places to take out a win.  The Wolf Pack is one of the top teams in the Mountain 7 and has started their season off well in the district by upsetting Central earlier this season.  Kickoff is 7p.m. and if you can’t make the trip you can listen live here on WSWV

The Thomas Walker Pioneers take to the road tonight also as they make the short trip to Claiborne County Tennessee to take on the Bulldogs.  TW is having to play on a short week but is riding high, getting their first win of the season at Castlewood on a rare Monday Night game.  The Pioneers look to even their season at 2-2 and attempting to get 2 wins in a single week.

Pennington Gap Council Meeting – Continued

Continuing our coverage of the Pennington Gap Town Council meeting, in addition to the speakers we reported of yesterday and the approvals of use of the greenway for the Outdoor Classroom Project along with approval to participate in the Historic Resources Project, there were other items on the agenda. 

Assistant town manager Brian Skidmore received approval for the new Code of Conduct along with approval for a loan resolution for new town police department vehicles.   This approval for the new vehicles would be funded by a little over 2/3rds  by a grant from Rural Development.  He also reported the work on the parking lot on Main Street has been completed. 

The paperwork was finalized concerning the I & I sewer grant from the Department of Environmental Quality.  Engineers from Mattern and Craig will begin work with assistance from some of the town personnel in Mid October and will last about a month.

Skidmore also reported the fire department had been receiving a number of calls concerning situations that would normally have gone to the rescue squad.  Town attorney Greg Edwards said that there was a meeting between several officials to discuss the current situation of the rescue squad and they discussed this further in executive session. 

Harless also informed the council that Elk Knob, Inc. had started the the Sidewalk Safety Project in West Pennington and VDOT was addressing an issue related to a drain needed for the project’s success.

Virginia Spends the 16th Least on Welfare

The American Rescue Plan, passed in March, included direct payments to U.S. households, new investments into safety net programs like food stamps and unemployment, and increases to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

These programs created a wide-ranging role for the government in protecting disadvantaged citizens from economic harms. Today, public welfare encompasses a variety of government programs whose benefits are contingent on need, such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Because these programs are typically based on demographic and economic factors, they have grown with shifts in the population and economy over time. According to the Census Bureau, in the last 20 years alone, state and local welfare spending has more than tripled in nominal dollars. As a share of total spending, welfare spending has risen from 13.4% of state and local budgets at the start of the millennium to 18.8% in 2019, a rise in 180% on a per capita basis over that span. This makes public welfare the single largest category of expenditure in state and local budgets.

While the role of state and local government in welfare spending has grown everywhere, some states invest more than others in welfare programs. For instance, states like Arkansas, West Virginia, and Kentucky all spend more than a quarter of their budgets on welfare spending.

The analysis found that in Virginia, 15.6% of total state spending is dedicated to welfare spending, compared to the national average of 18.8%. Out of all U.S. states, Virginia spends the 16th least on welfare.

The full report and data can be found here.

Pennington Gap Town Council Meeting Monday

The Pennington Gap Town Council met on Monday, hearing from several speakers on current projects and projects in the area.  Ruth Gilliam, representing the Pennington Gap Women’s Club, spoke to the council concerning their Wreath’s Across America program where they plan to place wreaths on the graves of local veterans at Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City.  Gilliam said they would like anyone that has information concerning a veteran buried there to contact them in order to ensure all local veterans receive a wreath on their grave.  She added that the costs of the wreaths were $15.00 and they would be placed just prior to Christmas and remain for about a month.  Donations are also welcome to aid the project if anyone wishes to help.  There was also a request from Faye Bocock to name the bridge at Leeman field for Lonnie Evans and Scott Delph, local Vietnam veterans who lost their lives in service to our country.

Monica Buchanan, representing Virginia Career Center Workforce Development, presented information to the council on the opportunities available in their dislocated worker program.  She spoke of their training and support of eligible individuals along with their interest in expanding their programs to local youths ages 11 to 22. 

Town Manager Keith Harless requested and received approval to use the Greenway as part of the Outdoor Classroom Project in partnership with the Extension Office.  He also presented and received approval to participate in establishing a historic district in the town which would preserve buildings over 50 years old and benefit not only the town but the property owners as well.

This Election May Foretell Next Year’s Results

We reported yesterday early voting has begun and voters in Virginia will give Democrats and Republicans the first hints of the political landscape in advance of next year’s midterm elections when they head to the polls in eight weeks.

But the more revealing test will come in smaller, below-the-radar elections for seats in the House of Delegates. Democrats hold 55 of the 100 seats up for election in November, contests that can approximate what appears to be an uphill battle to maintain control of the House of Representatives in Washington one year from now. 

Seven Democrats won their seat by fewer than 5 percentage points in 2019 and eight more won by a margin of only 5 to 10 points.  Both sides are targeting key races in the Northern Virginia suburbs and exurbs, the economic engine of our state that has shifted to the left in recent decades; in Hampton Roads, perpetual swing territory; and in the Richmond suburbs, a microcosm of a broader electorate that regularly switches its votes between parties.

Republicans have seized on an emerging debate over critical race theory in public schools, in a state where school board meetings in places like wealthy Loudoun County have drawn attention from national news outlets. There is also the debate on abortion, budget activity, police funding, the border crisis and more.

Many polls show a Republican path back to a majority in the House of Representatives is not far-fetched: Voters favor a generic Democratic candidate over a generic Republican by just a 48 percent to 45 percent margin, according to a Monmouth University poll released late last month.

With Democrats in charge during a turbulent time, both in Washington and Richmond, the Democrats’ winning streak is suddenly on the line. And both Democrats and Republicans say they will be watching closely to glean any insight for the midterms to come.

The key for everyone is to get out an vote.

Early Voting Underway

Early voting has begun in the 2021 General Election on November 2nd.  This general election will determine the state offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Attorney General.  This is an extremely important election even though these are the only three races on the ballot.  The Governor’s Race has three persons on the ballot:  Republican Glenn Youngkin, Democrat and former governor Terry McAuliffe and an independent in Princess L. Blanding.  The Lieutenant Governor candidates are Republican Winsome E. Sears, and Democrat Hala Ayala.  The third race is for attorney general that has Republican Jason Miyares seeking to unseat the incumbent Mark Herring a Democrat who is looking for his 3rd term.

Again, early voting has begun and anyone wishing to vote early can go the Lee County Registrar’s office in Jonesville, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30p.m.  Other deadlines to be aware of are new voter registration must be completed by October 12 and absentee vote by mail request deadline is October 22nd.  Any voter can submit an application to receive an absentee ballot which has already begun to mail.  A ballot drop box will be available at the Registrar’s Office for early voting and one will also be available at all polling places on Election Day. 

For everyone else, the polls will open at 6am on November 2nd and close at 7pm.

Lee High hosts Patrick Henry tonight

The Lee High Generals will welcome the Patrick Henry Rebels into 5 Star Stadium tonight.  There is a tailgate party in the parking lot before the game to celebrate the Generals and everyone is welcome to attend.  The Generals have had a couple of weeks off due to a Covid-19 protocol and their open date.  Lee enters the contest at 0-1 and this contest will not be an easy one.  Patrick Henry, although coming off a loss verses Virginia High last week, fields a lot of talent with speed, which will be a tough test on a young Lee High team.  Coach Carroll will have the Generals ready though and it looks to be a great contest between these two teams tonight.

RAM Returns to Lee High

RAM, Remote Area Medical, will be hosted by Lee High School this weekend.  This is truly one of the greatest events in our area that helps a large number of people in a very short period of time.  RAM services are free to everyone with no ID required to receive a long list of medical services.  Services are provided on a first come first serve basis and there are a wide variety of services available at this clinic.  Some of the available services are general medical exams, women’s health exams and chest x-rays along with vision services including glaucoma testing, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on site and dental services including x-rays, fillings, extractions, cleanings and more.  Clinic doors open tomorrow and Sunday at 6a.m. with the parking lot available starting no later than just after midnight Saturday morning.

Burchett and Black Hawk East College Team wins National Honors

Lee County’s own Robby Burchett, and his teammates, representing Black Hawk East College’s Livestock Judging Team in Galva, IL., won the 2021 National Barrow Show Monday, September, 13, 2021. This national contest is one of the most highly regarded livestock judging contests in the nation. Teams are required to place swine, of different breeds, into four placings then give their oral reasons for those placings to certified judges within the NSR or National Swine Registry. Lee Congratulations Robby and the entire Black Hawk East Judging Team. Black Hawk East College is coached by Dr. Blake Bloomberg and Assistant Coach Timothy Hubbard also from Lee County.

Collins Crowned 2021 Lee County Fair Queen

Autumn Page Collins was chosen as the new 2021 Miss Lee County Fair on opening night festivities at the 114th Annual Lee County Fair and received a $1,000 scholarship from the Pennington Gap Woman’s Club and Pennington Gap Lion’s Club. Autumn is the 18 year old daughter of Bobbie and Chris Collins of Rose Hill. Autumn is currently pursuing a career in real estate. In her spare time autumn enjoys watching nature documentaries and playing with her puppy Bentley. Autumn is passionate about giving back to not only her community but she works with a non-profit program known as VSV, Vets Serving Vets. This program works closely with military veterans to assist them in integrating back into their communities after service, works with corporate and private donors to raise funds for a Veteran’s Park System establishing a legacy for the community, and honors those that have served at home or abroad.  Autumn stated that, “Sadly, many of our own county’s veterans feel as if they have no support once returning from active duty. I view it as they gave their all for me. I need to give my all to them.” Autumn will now begin preparation for her next scholarship pageant, Miss Virginia Association of Fairs. Autumn will compete for that title in January, 2022 at the Omni Resort located in Hot Springs, Virginia