Commonwealth’s Children’s Cabinet

Expected to weigh in on the arming of Lee County school teachers will be the Children's Cabinet, which is a reestablished work group that was signed into action by Governor Ralph Northam by Executive Order that examines several areas.
Some of the areas that will be covered include:
Enhancing information sharing and the effectiveness of threat assessment teams. Assessing the role, the prevalence, and the training of School Resource and School Security Officers. Evaluating existing ratios and staff levels for school support staff. Identifying potential opportunities to expand any relevant training to a myriad of school based personnel. Lastly the consideration of other school based programs, including mental health support and others needed to ensure the safety of students.
Brian Moran, the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security stated, "The members that have been assembled for this work group have devoted their careers to student safety. The diverse range of backgrounds and expertise will provide critical perspectives as we address this issue."
Created in In 2014, Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order 21 established the Commonwealth’s first Children’s Cabinet, a cross-secretariat, multi-agency collaborative created to better align policies and programs in support of our shared goal of serving Virginia’s youngest citizens. Dedicated to the education, health, safety and welfare of Virginia’s children and youth, and is an advisory body to the Governor of Virginia.
Another Priority of theirs is the Classrooms Not Courtrooms Initiative: to reduce student suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and the disparate impact of these practices on minorities and students with disabilities.

Virginian Conservators of the Peace Policy

Just weeks after Lee County's School Board voted unanimously to select some teachers to be labeled "conservators of the peace" Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam recently stated that he is against public schools in Lee County allowing teachers to carry firearms on school property. Adding that local school districts should not be arming their educators, further stating that “As a professor of neurology at Eastern Virginia Medical School — and, as I said, my wife is a teacher and I talk to a lot of other educators across the commonwealth of Virginia. I just don’t think it’s a good path to take, to say that we’re going to arm teachers; that’s my opinion.”
The policy would give select teachers authoritative jurisdiction in a specific area according to Brian Austin the Superintendent of Schools. In Virginia, Special Conservators of the Peace have all the powers of a peace officer or law enforcement and are authorized to perform arrests, carry firearms as part of their duties, direct traffic, use a police logo on their uniform and utilize police style lights on their vehicles.
Officials are still anticipating Attorney Mark Herring's official opinion on the subject. Herring has already voiced that laws in Virginia have few exceptions to existing laws that prohibit guns on school property.
Northam also defended his decision to pull four Virginia National Guard troops, along with a helicopter from the Mexican border in response to the policy of separating children from illegals crossing the borders. Adding that the troops and equipment would be sent back once the children are reunited with their parents.

Sugar Hill Cidery LLC Coming to City of Norton

Close to home in Norton, Virginia the downtown area is expected to get a big return on investing in the new cidery plant. The sister company of Sugar Hill Brewing Company LLC, the Sugar Hill Cidery, LLL is the first hard cider production facility and restaraunt located in Southwest Virginia. The facility will be in the soon to be renovated former auto dealership owned by the Norton Industrial Development Authority, thanks to the partnership of the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund and the City of Norton.
According to a Press Release from Governor Ralph Northam, the City of Norton has been working hard with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development the past few years to bring this to fruition.
According to Norton's Industrial Development Authority Chairman Byron Cantrell, “The city recently completed a Downtown Revitalization Master Plan, which recommended various development and improvement initiatives along Park Avenue and improved connections to outdoor destinations, including Flag Rock Recreation Area and the High Knob Recreation Area. The development of the cidery, restaurant and shared expo center/public event space will greatly enhance Downtown Norton as a destination for residents, businesses and regional outdoor recreation visitors.”
The new Cidery Project plans to source 100$ of it's apples from Virginia and represents $500,00 worth of investment and will further create six new jobs and lead to the purchase of almost $90,000 of Virginia sourced apples in the next three years.
Norton Mayor William Mays stated, "“This new cidery, along with the restaurant it supports, is a central piece of our city’s economic development strategy to position Downtown Norton as a regional hub for small business and job creation, and to strengthen tourism connections to the region’s outdoor recreational assets.”

Lee County Hospital’s Certificate of Need Extended Thru December 31st

The Virginia Commissioner of Health recently signed an extension of the Lee County Hospital's Certificate of Need through December 31st. Efforts to refurbish, furnish and equip the Jonesville facility continue with hopes it will open soon. The 25 bed Facility will also have a 24 hour Emergency Room, as well as Labratory and Radiology Departments.

Sunset Digital Communication Finishes $50 Million Purchase

Duffield based, Sunset Digital Communication has finalized the $50 million purchase of the assets and service network of BVU's Optinet Broadband Division. Paul Elswick, Co-founder of Sunset Digital stated "that it has been a difficult  journey and he appreciates the effort and support of everying." Adding that, "there will be no increase in cost to their customers."

Tri-City Airport Receives 1.8 Million in Federal Funds From The Federal Aviation Administration

Tri-Cities Airport plans to make some much needed Infrastructures Updates soon than to the 1.8 million dollars of Federal Funding they've received. Provided by the Federal Aviation Administration the funds will be used to construct a 34,000 square yard South Apron that would provide Aircraft Parking for the airport. In addition a portion of the funds are ear marked to be used for the Runway and Taxiway repairs.

Tanya Suzanne Neff Accused of Embezzlement by Lee County PSA

Here in Lee County a Lee County Grand Jury has indicted a former employee at the Lee County Public Service Authority in Jonesville. Tanya Suzanne Neff has been charged with 52 Counts of Felony Embezzlement, 80 Counts of Misdemeanor Embezzlement and 4 Counts of Felony Forgery. Neff was employed as an Office Manager and was fired last March. The offenses date back to 2014. Neff is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court soon for arraignment.

LENOWISCO Planning District Commission Board Meeting Tonight

The LENOWISCO Planning District Commission Board will meet this evening, August 6th in the Crooked Road Technology Center, Suite 101 located at 372 Technology Trail Lane in Duffield beginning at 5:30.

Lee County School Board Meeting August 9th

The Lee County School Board will have it’s next regular School Board meeting on Thursday evening, August 9th at 6p.m. at Lee High School in Ben Hur.

Lee County Grand Jury Indicts 29 Defendants on 207 charges

Locally in the news, according to the latest Press Release from Lee County’s Commonwealth Attorney H. Fuller Cridlin was concerning the Lee County Grand Jury that indicted 29 Defendants on 207 charges.
Cridlin stated, “The regularly scheduled July Grand Jury impaneled by the Lee County Circuit Court indicted 29 defendants on a total of 207 counts. The charges include drug crimes, burglaries, arsons, welfare fraud, and embezzlement. I applaud the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, and all other investigative agencies that have worked closely with my office in recent weeks to help present these charges to the Grand Jury. We look forward to prosecuting swiftly and aggressively, and bringing these defendants to justice.”