Virginia leaders want special session after McAuliffe’s felon order

State leaders in Virginia are asking for a special session after Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an order to restore the rights of convicted felon.

Speaker of the House William Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment say the restoration is a "flagrant disregard for the Constitution of Virginia."

Previous governors, including former-governor Tim Kaine have determined the Constitution only allows the governor to restore rights to felons on a case-by-case basis.


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WCSO Weekly Activity Report


April 21, 2016

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office reports the following activities for the period of 04/11/2016 through 04/17/2016.

Wise Central Dispatch received a total of 1,597 calls for this seven-day period.
Of the total calls received 337 were dispatched to the Sheriff’s Office
Total number of Domestic calls for this period was 6.
Criminal Process for this period: Served 19 Felony Warrants, 33 Misdemeanor Warrants, 1 DUI Arrest.
Civil Process Served: 502 Civil Papers
Traffic Accidents: 9
13 Additional Criminal Investigations were initiated and 22 Cleared by Arrest.
Sheriff’s Office provided 244 man-hours of Court Room Security.
Unlocked Vehicles: 19
Escorted Funerals: 3

The Sheriff’s Office Total Transport for this period: 5
Total Transport Hours: 20

2,287 Visitors to Courthouse.

Jonesville Neighborhood Watch Meeting

Veterinarians being recruited to Southwest VA

Qualified veterinarians with student loan debt, and who are willing to temporarily relocate to a rural location, could have their debt paid off through a federal partnership.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced that the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for loan repayment grants for veterinarians willing to serve in parts of Virginia with moderate to critical shortages of food animal vets.

Several rural counties in Virginia lack adequate access to veterinary services for food supply animals such as beef cattle and sheep.

The critical shortage is in Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott and Wise counties. There is moderate shortages in three areas: Bland, Smyth and Tazewell counties; Patrick county; and Alleghany, Bath and Highland counties.

If a qualified veterinarian commits to providing at least three years of veterinary service in a designated veterinary shortage area, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will repay selected candidates up to $25,000 of their student loan debt per year.

“Many people don’t realize that veterinarians are critical to America’s food safety and food security,” said Dr. Richard Wilkes, VDACS’ State Veterinarian. “Many farmers face a critical shortage of veterinarians, and this loan award program is designed to give assistance to veterinarians so they can help improve the health of livestock and ensure a safe food supply in shortage areas.”

Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received for attendance at an accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or equivalent. The application period is now open and will close on May 20, 2016. More information is available at

As a condition of the award, the veterinarian must serve beef cattle and small ruminant producers – sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas and other camelids. He or she may also serve dairy cattle, swine and poultry.

Awardees filling Type 2 shortages must dedicate at least 30 percent of their time or 12 hours per week to provision of food animal veterinary services. Recipients are required to commit to three years of veterinary service in a designated shortage area.


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MECC To Offer CNA Courses This Summer

 Mountain Empire Community College will offer three Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) courses this summer in day, evening, and weekend formats. An accelerated evening/weekend option will be offered May 5-July 16 in Pennington Gap. Classes will be held Mondays and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A second class will be held on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., May 18-August 19, at the MECC campus. A third class option will be held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 18-August 19 on the MECC campus. Financial aid is available, but students should apply now. Employers will be interviewing students who successfully complete the course to fill open positions. For more information or to register, please contact Kim Dorton or Arietta Harvey at 276.523.7456 or

Harlan UPS Facility Closing

UPS Public Relations representative Dan McMackin has confirmed the decision has been made to close the UPS facility in Harlan.McMackin said the decision to close the leased building in Harlan was due to technology upgrades being made system-wide at UPS. The nearest UPS facilities are now in Baxter KY and Kingpsort.

School Board Appoints New Superintendent

The Lee County School Board voted 4-1 to appoint Brian Austin as Superintendent last week during an executive session. The change became effective on April 15 after the resignation of interim superintendent Michael Brickey. Austin was most recently the Director/Supervisor and Business Operations at Botetourt County Public Schools.

ARC grant funds projects throughout the region

Projects in Big Stone Gap, at Mountain Empire Community College and in Duffield are among those receiving grants from a nearly $3.37 million pool of Appalachian Regional Commission funds. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced funding decisions involving the federal commission’s Virginia grants in a press release yesterday afternoon. • Big Stone Gap visitors center, $85,931.

• MECC healthcare simulation access project, $100,000.

• Duffield branch, Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, $142,937.

• The Crooked Road heritage music trail, $250,000 to expand the brand.

Other grants will go to a Lee County water line project, a Bristol passenger rail study, a Blue Ridge medicinal plant center, a Henry County train depot project, a “wired road” connector project in Galax and Carroll and Grayson counties, a Damascus waterfront development plan, Barter Theater production capacity expansion, a New River Valley food center and state Department of Housing and Community Development planning grants.

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Circuit Court Clerk website launch

Lee County Circuit Court Clerk Rene Lamey is happy to announce that the NEW Circuit Court Clerk website has been launched and can be viewed at:

Since starting my term in January 2016 as your Clerk we have deployed the Juror Text Notification System where Jurors can be notified via text message if they are needed for Jury Duty and now the launch of our website, which is the first website this office has had.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud history of providing citizens with full access to records maintained by public officials. The public records room of the Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court has upheld this history since 1793 by providing the technology and staff by which any citizen may get information on: Land Records (Deeds), Financing Statements, Assumed Names, Notary Public, Concealed Handgun Permit, Marriage Licenses, Wills and Probate, Court Records Criminal Division, Court Records Civil Division, Judgments, Divorces, Jury Service, Passports, Hunting/Fishing License and more. Our website will provide you with resources and links in a simple easy to understand format.

The new website is mobile friendly and can be viewed on smart phones and tablets, and also has an App that can be saved on your mobile device for quick reference and access to the website.

Cyber Scam Alert

Don't fall for this dangerous phishing text scam! (View the Images with this post)

A brand new scam is going around that's targeting Apple users. Reports are coming in about a text message popping up that's actually a phishing tactic.

The message claims to be from Apple Inc., and informs users that their Apple ID is about to expire. But this message is fake and if you've received it you should immediately delete it.

Those who have fallen for the scam have been tricked into handing over the login details of their actual Apple ID account. The message addresses them by name, and says: "Your Apple ID is due to be expire today. Prevent this by confirming your Apple ID at [link] – Apple Inc."

One of the first clues Apple users have informing them that this is not a legitimate message from Apple is the fact that the message itself has typos. The second clue is that all Apple ID account updates would take place in directly in iTunes. But, the rest of the scam has been executed to a level that could even fool cyber security experts.

When users click on the provided link, they're taken to a fake website that looks entirely legitimate.

The website asks them to enter in their Apple ID account details, then gives them an error message. This message informs users that their account has been locked for security reasons.

Users' Apple ID information is not all that's being targeted by this phishing scam. When prompted to unlock their account, users are asked to provide their date of birth, telephone number, address and credit card details.

In some cases, users are also asked to confirm the answer to a security question, such as their mother's maiden name, first job or other questions that are frequently associated with other logins.

This scam was reported as early as last week, but is still picking up speed. That's why we wanted to keep you informed. If you've seen this message pop up on your phone, delete it as soon as possible.

And, whatever you do, don't enter your personal details into the fake site's prompt to unlock your login.