If you are looking for a job, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy will host a career symposium next week. The event will be on the campus of Mountain Empire Community College next Wednesday. The event will provide training to job seekers that includes resume building and review, how to fill out an application and get noticed as well as how to prepare for an interview. The department's human resources manager, Gail Vance says a large percentage of SWVA's workforce is retiring, which will provide numerous open positions needing to be filled. Registration begins at 8:30 am on June 21st.
A Wise County man has been charged with sexual abuse of a child. Todd Edward Bowmanp was arrested for indecent liberties with a child, assault and battery of a family member, and aggravated sexual battery. Bowmanp is being held in the Duffield Regional Jail.
C.H. "Chuck" Slemp, III, Commonwealth's Attorney for Wise County & the City of Norton announced toady the launch of a collaborative effort to combat and prevent abuse and financial exploitation of seniors and incapacitated adults.
The effort is being called the Southwest Virginia Joint Senior Abuse Task Force. The first meeting of the task force will be held on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. June 15 is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The event will feature a roundtable discussion of community leaders, law enforcement, prosecutors, adult protective services workers, legislators, representatives from financial institutions, and other community partners.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "Creating this task force was one of the promises I made to the voters in 2015 while seeking the position of Commonwealth's Attorney. I remain committed to protecting our community's most vulnerable, especially seniors. As a prosecutor, I see numerous cases of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Far too many of these cases involve victims who are older or incapacitated adults. Yet, these matters are significantly underreported and extremely difficult to successfully prosecute."
Seniors make up the fastest growing segment of the population in Southwestern Virginia. As the population grows, so too are the number of crimes and scams targeting older adults.
Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 1922 which was signed by the Governor on March 13, 2017. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2017. It mandates that all cases involving suspected financial exploitation of an adult, regardless of the amount of loss, shall be immediately referred to a local law-enforcement agency for investigation and directs that local law-enforcement agencies provide a preferred point of contact for these referrals. In Wise County and the City of Norton, Slemp hopes that these referrals will be directly made to his office for a coordinated response among varying agencies.
Delegate Terry Kilgore, who will be speaking on Thursday and voted in favor of HB1922 during the 2017 General Assembly Session, commented, "We owe a duty to seniors who have given so much to our communities and we are committed to doing all we can to safeguard them from exploitation."
According to statistics from the Virginia Department of Social Services, elder abuse affects an estimated five million people each year, as few as one in twenty-four cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities, and roughly half of people with dementia are abused or neglected by caregivers.1
Slemp hopes this meeting will be the beginning of a new focus on bringing justice to exploited adults. Slemp said, "We need to do more to protect our seniors. We hope that this task force will increase communication between different state agencies, collaboration of resources, new legislation to strengthen our response, and find ways to break the barriers to successfully investigating and prosecuting those who abuse, neglect, and exploit vulnerable adults."
Members of the press are encouraged to attend.
Big Stone Gap -- Individuals who are looking for a job or who are interested in improving their resume and interview skills are invited to attend a Career Symposium to be held Wednesday, June 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mountain Empire Community College's Holton Hall. Employers and career counselors will be on hand to review and improve your resume, upgrade your application, and practice interview skills. The event is sponsored by the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, the Wise County Chamber of Commerce, and MECC. Attendees are asked to register for the event at http://www.mecc.edu/events/career-symposium/. For more information, contact Beth Boggs, MECC Career Counselor at 276.523.2400 ext. 324.
Governor McAuliffe has announced recommendations for more than 2.7 million dollars in Appalachian Regional Commission awards. The recommended projects include programs like Early Childhood Workforce Development from United Way of Southwest Virginia and Tazewell County's Fall Mills Adult Day Care. The ARC will finalize approval of these project awards later this year.
A Southwest Virginia man was sentenced to forty-five years in prison for child sex crimes. 36-year-old William Richard Shockley of Norton was found guilty of producing child pornography, forcible sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery all of a child less than 13 years of age. Charges against Shockley were internally dropped in 2016 due to lack of evidence, but Wise County Attorney Chuck Slemp worked alongside the Norton City Police Department and the Southwest Virginia Children's Advocacy Center to successfully prosecute the case.
COUNCIL, VA (WJHL) – A man was injured Friday night after Virginia State Police say he was pinned underneath a mobile home.
It happened in Council, Virginia located in Buchanan County.
Virginia State Police said workers with Moving Dreams Mobile Home Service had a home pulled off on the side of the road on Helen Henderson Highway.
Police said at one point, a tow dolly malfunctioned and the blocks underneath the home gave way. That is when the worker became pinned between the mobile home and a tire.
State Police identified that worker as Tracey Fletcher. They said he was airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center.
As of Saturday afternoon, Fletcher was in critical condition.
WISE, Va. (WYMT/UVA Wise) - The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will receive $3.5 million from the University of Virginia to increase enrollment in targeted programs at the College and to create a robust culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.
The Wise Innovation Ecosystem received the funding from the University of Virginia’s Strategic Investment Fund.
“The Strategic Investment Fund is an extraordinary opportunity for the University of Virginia community to dream big and exercise creative license to design and implement high-impact, high-value initiatives,” UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. “The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is grateful for this award. This is truly a transformative opportunity which will strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in our curriculum while reinforcing student outcomes and economic development.”
Approval was announced Friday by the Board of Visitors.
“One goal of the Wise Innovation Ecosystem is to diversify the region’s economy by boosting enrollment in the software engineering, computer science and management of information systems programs,” said Shannon Blevins, assistant vice chancellor for economic development and engagement. “Another goal is to give students the skills needed to be relevant and competitive in the emerging economy by creating a center for innovation for students to collaborate and develop entrepreneurial skills through hands-on learning experiences.”
Southwest Virginians are warned to be on the lookout after a new and dangerous drug cocktail has made two appearances in the state. Called “gray death,” the substance is a dangerous combination of several opioids blamed for thousands of fatal overdoses nationally, including heroin and fentanyl. Officials at the state lab in Richmond say that more than 200 instances of heroin laced with other substances are brought in monthly.
Timothy Wade Lemay, age 50 of Norton, pleaded no contest last week in the Wise County Circuit Court for charges stemming from a shooting incident last December in Norton. Lemay was found guilty of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Lemay received a sentence of 23 years with 18 years and six months suspended. He will have 12 years' active supervised probation upon his release from incarceration. He will spend an active sentence of four years and six months incarceration within the Virginia Department of Corrections.
On December 1, 2016, officers from the City of Norton and Virginia State Police were dispatched to an area behind Norton Community Hospital in reference to the sound of gunshots. A hospital staffer reported to shots coming from an apartment complex. Upon investigating, he observed a male lying in the breezeway of the apartment complex and another male standing over him. The victim had a gunshot wound to the abdominal area and told rescue personnel that he was shot by "Tim."
While medical personnel was transporting the victim out of the apartment, he yelled out "I love you, buddy" to Tim Lemay. When officers searched the apartment, they found firearms, spent shell casings, and alcohol.
Lemay advised that he and the victim had been drinking liquor together and doing methamphetamine. After becoming intoxicated, the two started shooting a gun into a field near the apartment. At some point, the two began wrestling with the gun and eventually the gun discharged. Lemay admitted to shooting the victim in the stomach.
Lemay and the victim both made multiple, varying statements about the events of the shooting, probably due to the involvement of drugs and alcohol. No motive for the shooting was found and the two individuals involved are still remain friends.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp commented, "This case is an example of what can go wrong when you mix drugs and alcohol. Without the diligent efforts of our law enforcement and first responders on the scene, this case could have ended very differently."
Lemay had originally been charged with attempted first degree murder. Slemp said, "Upon our review of the case and during preparation for trial, the evidence did not support a prosecution on the attempted murder charge." The case was prosecuted by Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Josh Newberry. Slemp thanked the efforts of Norton City Police Chief James Lane and the Norton City Police Department, Norton City Fire Department, the Virginia State Police, and the Southwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force for their work investigating and assisting in the prosecution of the case.