Lee High Agrictulture teacher Beth Shell received Region 7 Teacher of the Year on Tuesday, beating out 5,100 others for the award. Only seven teachers statewide are honored as teacher of the year. Superintendent Brian Austin told WCYB, "She has an impact on students that goes well beyond the classroom and she represents us extremely well, not only as a teacher but as a community member".
Shell was unaware she had received the title until Tuesday morning when high school students and staff in Lee County gathered in Lee High School's auditorium to announce the award.
Every year the school district nominates their choice for teacher of the year. Shell was chosen from more than 300 teachers in Lee County. Then a panel at the Virginia Department of Education chose the winner from those finalists.
Region 7 covers 15 counties and four cities in Southwest Virginia.
More than 80 percent of Virginia public schools are fully accredited according to a Virginia Department of Education news release.
Eighty-one percent, which is 1,482 out of Virginia's 1,825 public schools are fully accredited for 2016-17 which is a three percent increase over 2015-16.
For a school to gain full accreditation, students must have adjusted pass rates of at least 75 percent on English reading and writing Standards of Learning (SOL) tests and at least 70 percent on assessments in math, science, and history.
High schools need to meet a benchmark for graduation and completion as well. Accreditation ratings also may reflect an average of achievement over several years.
Dickenson County, Norton City, Russell County, Scott County, Washington County, and Wise County all achieved full accreditation. Pennington Middle was partially accredited and warned about pass rates.
September is Veteran’s Suicide Awareness month. Suicide is an issue that impacts many veterans and their families, and there is help available.
A report from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs states that as of 2014, 20 U.S. veterans die from suicide each day.
The report states:
“In 2014, an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day. Six of the 20 were users of VA services. In 2014, veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults, while veterans constituted 8.5 percent of the US population. In 2010, veterans accounted for 22 percent of all deaths from suicide and 9.7 percent of the population. Approximately 66 percent of all veteran deaths from suicide were the result of firearm injuries. There is continued evidence of high burden of suicide among middle-aged and older adult Veterans.
“In 2014, approximately 65 percent of all veterans who died from suicide were aged 50 years or older. After adjusting for differences in age and gender, risk for suicide was 21 percent higher among Veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adults. After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 18 percent higher among male veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adult males. (2014) After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 2.4 times higher among female veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adult females.”
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs does offer assistance for those dealing with the issue.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs website, the VA established The Veterans Crisis Line in 2007. This is a free, confidential, 24-hour hotline for Veterans and their families and friends. Since its launch in 2007, the veterans Crisis line has answered more than 1.25 million calls and made more than 39,000 lifesaving rescues. To reach someone right away you can dial a number and speak with someone, send a text, or just as easily start an online chat.
The VA website states those receiving care from the VA had a 16 percent decrease in suicide. Some signs of concerning behavior include:
• Hopelessness, feeling like there is no way out
• Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness or mood swings
• Feeling like there is no reason to live
• Rage or anger
• Engaging in risky activities without thinking
• Increasing alcohol or drug use
• Withdrawing from family and friends
The website also lists actions people can take if they notice any danger signs. These activities include starting a conversation, let them know what prompted you to initiate the conversation. Stay calm and let the person know you want to help them. Don’t leave the person alone. Listen, express concern and reassure the individual. Let the person know you care and that you take the situation seriously. Letting the person know you care will go a long way in establishing a support system. Create a safety plan and ask the person if they have access to anything that could harm them and call for help if you feel the situation is dangerous.
“You don’t have to be a trained professional to support someone who may be going through a difficult time,” Dr. Caitlin Thompson, Director of the VA Office of Suicide Prevention stated in a press release. “We want to let people know that things they do every day, like calling an old friend or checking in with a neighbor, are strong preventive factors for suicide because they help people feel less alone. That’s what this campaign is about — encouraging people to be there for each other.”
The VA website advises individuals experiencing such thoughts and behavior can make simple yet effective lifestyle changes to help alleviate these harmful thoughts and behaviors. These can include getting exercise, taking time off of work, and spending time with friends and family to avoid isolation.
The Veteran’s crisis line can be reached at 1(800)-273-8255. The VA advises anyone at risk or feeling uneasy should talk to their health care provider.
The Wise County Sheriff's Office reported last week that during a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over traffic-checking detail on Darden Drive in Wise on Sept. 5, deputies observed a vehicle stop about 15 yards short of the traffic stop checkpoint.
Upon further investigation, deputies found a 12-year old girl behind the wheel. Also inside the vehicle were Jason Todd Kennedy, 52, 5511 Paramount Road., Wise, and Christopher Todd Clark, 50, 712 Old Coeburn Road., Coeburn, and both appeared to be intoxicated.
After further investigation, Kennedy was charged with felony child endangerment, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, allowing a person without a license to drive, public intoxication and inhaling a noxious chemical.
Clark faces the same charges, along with possession of Schedule II and Schedule IV drugs. Both men were reported being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield, and the 12-year old girl released into the custody of her mother.
This past summer had the second-highest average temperature on record and tied 2010 with the most 90-degree days.
The average temperature in the region for June, July and August was 77.1 degrees Fahrenheit, falling only behind 2010, which set the record with an average temperature of 77.3 degrees.
The normal average temperature for the summer months in the region is 73.3 degrees, which means this summer was 3.8 degrees hotter than normal.
Those hot days are expected to start dissipating in the next few weeks. September typically is the transition month from summer to fall. By the middle of the month, 90-degree days become increasingly rare.
If you don’t want to fight the crowds and would rather watch the Battle at Bristol a little closer to home, then head to Gate City.
Virginia Tech and University of Tennessee fans are invited to the Tail Gate City event, set for Saturday in downtown Gate City. The big game will be broadcast live on a 20-foot projection screen.
Prior to kickoff, there will be live entertainment, inflatables for the kids, local food, a beer garden and games. Halftime will feature a fireworks show.
Both Virginia Tech and Tennessee tailgaters are encouraged to come and show their team spirit at Tail Gate City. Tennessee tailgaters will set up on one side of Jackson Street in downtown Gate City while Virginia Tech fans will set up on the opposite side. Trophies will be awarded to the best tailgate display for both a Virginia Tech and Tennessee tailgater.
Live entertainment will start at 2 p.m.
Below is Saturday’s schedule of events leading up to game time:
2 p.m. — Ivy Road.
3 p.m. — Cornhole Tournament hosted by Copper Ridge Cornhole (cash prizes will be awarded).
3:30 p.m. — The Benny Wilson Band.
4:45 p.m. — Jenkins School of Dance.
5 p.m. — Asylum Suite.
6:15 p.m. — Jenkins School of Dance.
6:30 p.m. — StoneCreek Four.
7:45 p.m. — Awards for the best tailgaters.
8 p.m. — Live video cast of the Battle at Bristol.
Tail Gate City is made possible by First Community Bank, Homestead Creamery and Mattern & Craig.
For more information, visit www.TailGateCity.net or call (276) 386-3831.
The Southwest VA Workforce Development Board is hosting a Coal Miners Appreciation picnic on Saturday, 9/24 in Lebanon.
This is a free, ticketed event for Southwest Virginia coal miners and their families. Individuals may obtain a free ticket by calling 276-883-4034 or visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coal-miner-appreciation-picnic…. Businesses and agencies interested in participating in this event, may contact Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board at 276-883-4034.
Lee County RAM Clinic
September 10 @ 6:00 am – September 11 @ 2:00 pm
, 200 Generals Lane
Jonesville, VA 24263
The basic services can include:
- DENTAL: Cleaning, fillings, extractions
- VISION: Complete dilated eye exams, testing for glaucoma, testing for diabetic retinopathy, glasses made on site
- MEDICAL: General medicine
- PREVENTION: Breast exams, diabetes screening, physicals, women’s health
- EDUCATION: Educational resources and information are provided throughout service areas
NOTE: Due to time constraints, be prepared to choose between DENTAL and VISION services. All patients will have the option of receiving DENTAL and MEDICAL care or VISION and MEDICAL care, but not DENTAL and VISION care on the same day.
RAM offers services on a first-come, first-serve basis; therefore, we do not make appointments.
To enter a clinic you will need a number, and to receive a number you will need to be present when we provide them.
Because our services are free and resources are limited, we only give numbers to those who are physically present at the time of number distribution.
We hand out numbers at the clinic location at 3am on clinic days.
We open the parking lot at clinic sites at 12 midnight. Often, folks begin arriving several hours before the parking lot even opens.
We can’t tell you a specific time to come, but the earlier you come, the greater your chances of being seen by a doctor.
Volunteer and patient populations determine how many numbers we distribute. For example, if 100 doctors sign up to volunteer, we give out more numbers than we would if only 50 doctors came.
You are not required to bring anything with you. We do not ask for proof of residency or proof of income.
Bring all of the medications that you take every day, and take them just like you normally do.
Because you will likely wait outside of the clinic site until the clinic begins, we suggest checking weather conditions and preparing accordingly.
Since the wait can be a long one, it’s also a good idea to bring food, water, and entertainment like books or games.
The 2nd Annual Lee County Recovery in Action Walk and Candlelight Vigil in Pennington Gap will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 8, at Leeman Field Park. Candles will be provided. The candlelight vigil/memorial will provide a time for friends and family to remember those they’ve lost due to addiction. Refreshments will follow.
The Recovery in Action Walk is for anyone in recovery, anyone who wants to support recovery or family/friends who have been impacted by addiction.
For more information about the walk in Pennington Gap, call Shawn Allen at 276-346-3590.
For services and support, contact these agencies:
» Lee County Behavioral Health Services, 34084 Wilderness Road, Jones-ville, 276-346-3590
» Wise County Behavioral Health Services, 3169 Second Ave. E., Big Stone Gap, 276-523-8300
» Scott County Behavioral Health Services, 1006 U.S. Highway 23N, We-ber City, 276- 225-0976
» Addiction Education Center, 131 Constitution Ave., Pennington Gap, 276-546-5432
» HIS Ministries, 407 Wood Ave. East, Big Stone Gap, 276-523-7447
» The City Center, 464 Kentucky Ave., Norton, 276-679-3266