Wise D.A.R.E Golf Tournament

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. Annual Golf Tournament will be held on August 26th beginning at 1 p.m. at the Raven Rock Golf Course in Jenkins, Kentucky. Teams, hole sponsors, and door prizes are needed. All proceeds from this tournament will go to the Drug Education programs provided to students and the community by school resource officers. Those who would like to enter a team or be a sponsor can contact Sgt. Teresa Meade at 276-328-3566 or by email at tmeade@wiseso.net. Team registration forms must be completed and faxed to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office before August 24th. The entry fee is $50 per person. Lunch, cart, and green fee is included in that fee. Teams must be four person. Again, those interested can contact Sgt. Teresa Meade at 276-328-3566.

Pennington Town Council Meeting

In their regular monthly meeting Monday, the Pennington Gap Town Council discussed the use of ATVs on town streets, taking public opinion before reaching a solution. The council voted to approve use of ATVs on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays on Morgan Avenue and Kentucky Street only. Spearhead Trails executive director Chuck Riedhammer said the earlier mentioned opening date of August 29th was a mistake and that the official opening date announcement should be made sometime in mid-September.

The Greenway Trail was also discussed, but setbacks due to paperwork will push any further progress to the end of September. The town did discuss the purchase of two camper cabins to be placed at the RV park at Leeman Field.

Sheriff Gary Parsons addressed the council after being approached by town officers to put the town motto “In God We Trust” on Pennington Town Police cruisers. The council voted to approve that request. The council adjourned until September 21st at 6 p.m.

Round Table Discussion to Protect Wise County Senior Citizens

Wise County Commissioner of Accounts Chuck Slemp will host a round-table discussion today on strategies to protect senior citizens. Congressman Morgan Griffith, Wise County Sheriff Ronnie Oakes, and interim Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Abbott will also attend the event which is open to the public and will feature discussion by public officials on the need for renewed focus on ways to serve and protect seniors. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the older population represents 12.9% of the U.S. population and that number is steadily growing. According to a press release, the round-table discussion will address the concerns for this demographic’s increasing vulnerability to a broad range of abuse and exploitation, in particular financial crimes. Discussion will center around what is being proposed in Wise County to address these concerns. The event will begin at 2 p.m. today at the C. Bascom Slemp Memorial Library in Big Stone Gap, VA.

Lee County Elementary Schools Offering Free Meals

As part of the Lee County Public School’s Child Nutrition Program, all Lee County elementary school students will now eat meals at no cost and no application is required for these students. To ensure that the program is a success, the CNP is asking that parents have their children participate in school lunch and breakfast every single school day. Child Nutrition Program Director Connie Daugherty stated in a press release that “with the success of the CEP at the elementary level, (the) hope is to expand this opportunity to middle and high school students next year”.

In addition to the no cost meals, all ten Lee County elementary schools will now move to an alternative breakfast model in which students will be allowed to take their breakfast outside the cafeteria to other designated areas. Breakfast will now be available until the beginning of second period each day. Breakfast is proved to reduce absenteeism, reduce behavior problems and improve a student’s academic performance. Lee County Public Schools is among 4,000 schools already offering the Community Eligibility Provision.

Lee County and Wise County Conduct Drug Roundups

The Lee County Sheriff’s Department conducted a drug roundup Friday that resulted in the arrest of dozens of drug dealers. According to a press release, Sheriff’s Deputies, with help from the Pennington Gap and Jonesville Police Departments and the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, rounded up 40 individual on 91 drug counts. Charges included the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine, child abuse, distribution of narcotics, and possession of stolen property.
Sheriff Gary Parsons reported that his office acted in cooperation with the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacy Munsey. He says the investigation began in February and most of the charges involved controlled hand to hand drug buys.

The City of Norton Police Department conducted Operation “Perfect Storm 458” Thursday arresting 38 individuals.

According to a news release, a yearlong investigation conducted by Norton Police and the Southwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force led to the arrests, most on drug charges. Twenty-two arrests were made Thursday in addition to 16 arrests that had already been made as part of this same operation.
Multiple agencies assisted in the investigation and arrests.

IDA Job Fair Press Release

The Industrial Development Authority of Lee County (IDA) announced today that over 150 people attended yesterday’s job fair held at the Pennington Gap Community Center. 17 employers and 3 state agencies met with the huge crowd of job seekers at the event co-sponsored by the IDA and the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).
“We had folks lined up out the door and down Morgan Avenue by 9:30 (30 minutes prior to the start time). It was an amazing turnout. I couldn’t be more proud of the hard-working folks of Lee County with their support of this event,” stated Michael James, IDA Director.
“This is the largest job fair we have seen in quite some time. We are very impressed with the turnout. We remind everyone who attended, and also those who were unable to attend, to update their profiles on the Virginia Employment Commission website (http://www.vec.virginia.gov/find-a-job/register-job-services) regularly so we can match your skills to all of our available positions from employers across the region,” added Vincent Ringrose, Manager of the VEC regional office in Norton.
“The IDA are proud to have coordinated today’s event,” James continued. “We appreciate the assistance from the Town of Pennington Gap, for use of the Community Center, to Lee Theater Manager Tony Lawson for his assistance with the facility and to the representatives from the 17 companies who got a first-hand look at the quantity and quality of the Lee County workforce. Several companies ran out of job applications and had to call for reinforcements from their colleagues back at the office. That is a good problem to have. In addition, two additional companies called me during the event. They heard about the large turnout and asked to be included in our next job fair.”
The IDA will be hosting additional job fairs in the coming months.
About the Industrial Development Authority of Lee County: The mission of the IDA of Lee County is to promote and facilitate economic growth and development in Lee County by recruiting manufacturing, industrial and commercial enterprises to locate or remain in Lee County, promote entrepreneurism and to enhance the economic well being of the citizens of Lee County. Michael James has been Director of the Authority since May, 2011.

IDA Job Fair Well Received

More than 150 job seekers attended the IDA job fair yesterday at the Pennington Gap Community Center. Seventeen employers and three state agencies were present to take applications and resumes. Several companies ran out of applications and had to call their offices to have more delivered. Due to the overwhelming response, the Lee IDA is tentatively planning another job fair for late October or early November. The official dates will be published in a few weeks.

Benefit Concert for Madison King

A benefit concert will be held for four-year-old Madison King this Sunday at the Lee Theater in Pennington Gap. Madison was diagnosed in February with Neurofibromatosis, a form of cancer which causes tumors on on her nerve tissues. Folk Soul Revival will be playing beginning at the Lee Theater at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. All proceeds will go to the King family to help pay for Maddy’s medical treatment.

MECC Mobile Enrollment

Mountain Empire Community College will be taking their registration process mobile this week to help students who wish to enroll but may not have a way of getting to the college for enrollment. Those interested can apply for admission and financial aid right on the scene. A placement test must still be taken at the college campus before a schedule can be made.
On Wednesday, the bus will be at the Sleep Inn Suites parking lot in Clintwood from 10am-12pm and the Wise County Food City from 1pm-3:30pm.
On Friday, the bus will stop at the Gate City Social Services parking lot from 10am-12pm and the Duffield Dollar General from 1pm-3:30pm.
Fall classes will begin August 27.

August IDA Meeting

The Lee County Industrial Development Authority met last Thursday in their regular monthly meeting. The Authority was pleased to announce Envi Hair Studio as their Spotlight Business of the Month. Envi is located in Jonesville and offers a number of beauty services.
The IDA has submitted an application for an Enterprise Zone designation within the county. This is the last year to apply for this program and the authority will receive word in October as to whether or not the application was approved.
Repairs to the Patriot Center in Pennington Gap were discussed as negotiations between the insurance company and contractor are on-going. The building received a large amount of damage during the hail storm last July.

The IDA also approved a $50,000 appropriation from the economic development fund to assist a local business. The Board of Supervisors will also vote on the matter at their next meeting, when the name of the business will be announced.
Finally, the Authority discussed the sale of timber at the Constitutional Oaks property in Western Lee County. Advertisement for bids on this project will begin this week.