Norton Virginia Police Chief James Lane Has Decided To Solicit The Help Of Virginia State Police In An Investigation To Burton High School Head Football Coach Jim Adams. Lane’s Department Received A Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Adams After The School Board Renewed The Coach’s Contract During A Controversial Meeting Earlier This Month. Adams Denies Any Wrongdoing.
A Longtime Southwest Virginia Delegate Has Failed To Get His Name On The November Ballot. Republican Terry Kilgore Of Gate City Is Running For Re-Election Unopposed. He Serves The Counties Of Scott, Lee And Wise Counties And The City Of Norton. Kilgore Is Now Asking The Board Of Elections To Declare Him The Republican Nominee. The State Board Of Elections Is Expected To Make A Decision By Tomorrow.
The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation is pleased to present "Diamonds and Denim," an evening of elegance and entertainment featuring the music of the Jeff Little Trio and Wayne Henderson, at the beautiful Crooked River Lodge in Hiltons, Va., Saturday, August 24.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Scott County Endowed Scholarship Fund, supporting Scott County students who wish to further their education and skill level at Mountain Empire Community College. Continued financial support is needed to assist students with tuition, book, and attendance costs.
The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. and includes heavy hors d'oeuvres, refreshments, wine, beer, concert entertainment and a silent auction. Guests are encouraged to wear their diamonds and denim for this relaxed, semi-formal evening event. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets for the event are $65 or $125 per couple and may be purchased online at www.meccfoundation.org/scevent or at Farm Bureau Insurance located in Gate City, VA.
The Scott County Endowed Scholarship Committee is currently seeking sponsorships to support event costs. Sponsorships range from $500 to $5000 and include tickets, branding, and special recognition. For more information on becoming an event sponsor, visit www.meccfoundation.org/scfund.
With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian or Americana music, and is rarely the lead instrument. But Jeff Little is an exception – and a remarkable one. His distinctive two-handed style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity. He has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Folk Festival, Merlefest and has been featured on National Public Radio and PBS. In 2014, Jeff was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame. He is a full-time faculty member and artist in residence at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.
Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar, and in seven nations in Asia. In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He is a recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. He produces about 20 instruments a year, mostly guitars; he is almost as well-known for the mandolins he has made.
Crooked River Lodge is located on a 200-acre estate along the Holston River close to Seven Shoals in Hiltons, Virginia. This enchanted estate includes rolling hay fields, over a mile of river frontage, oak forests and open glades. The view is spectacular down an open valley with Clinch Mountain on one side, rocky cliffs along the river on the other side and beautiful meadows and hay fields between. A restored 1823 timber frame lodge towers above the valley below. The power and magnetism of the river delight the eye and pull you in while the forest and glades make the outside world fall away. The heart of Crooked River is the circa-1823 Ohio Grist Mill that serves as the concert venue, featuring 12x12 oak beams and majestic lighting.
For more information on the event, please contact the MECC Foundation at 276.523.7466 or visit the Foundation’s website at www.meccfoundation.org.
New Child Safety Seat Law Takes Effect July 1 Children up to Two Must Ride Rear-Facing in Vehicles In VIRGINIA
RICHMOND – A bill passed by the 2018 Virginia General Assembly and signed by Governor Ralph Northam that will take effect July 1, 2019, requires children remain rear-facing in child safety seats until age two, or until the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing child restraint device as prescribed by the manufacturer of the device. “Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages one to 13, which is why it is so important for parents to select the right child safety seat and use it properly,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The forces during a crash can be deadly. A rear-facing car seat is designed to move with the child in the event of a crash, helping to protect his or her head, neck, and spinal cord.” Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, added, “Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend all children ride rear-facing as long as possible. You may think your child is ready to face forward, but for optimal protection, it’s important to keep your child rear-facing until he or she is at the highest weight or height specified in the manufacturer’s instructions.” The AAP and NHTSA also recommend the following when installing a child safety seat: Follow the installation instructions provided by the child safety seat manufacturer. Position the harness straps on the shoulders and chest and flat against the child’s body. The straps should be snug enough that you cannot pinch any slack in the straps at the child’s shoulder. Position the chest clip at armpit level. Make sure the safety seat does not move forward or side-to-side more than one inch. Virginia’s child passenger safety laws require all children under age eight be properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat, regardless of weight or height. For more information on child safety seats, including selecting and installing a seat, visit dmvNOW.com.
Two Tazewell Virginia Police Officers Have Been Terminated. Officers D.C. Grizzel And T.J. Crabtree Were Fired This Week As A Result Of An Investigation Into A Claim Of Racial Profiling. A Formal Complaint Was Filed Against Grizzel Following A June 11th Traffic Stop. Tazewell Police Chief David Mills Said This Is The First Complaint The Department Has Had During His Nearly Two Years As Chief And Two Years As A Lieutenant.
The Federal Government Has Decided To Keep Flatwoods Job Corps Open In Coeburn Virginia. Virginia District 4 Delegate Todd Pillion Was Happy With The Decision And Is Appreciative The Trump Administration Listened And Engaged In The Concerns. Senators And Congressman On Both Sides Of Aisle Worked Together To Make This Happen.
Officials from across our region met for a roundtable discussion last week to address public safety issues at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. The meeting provided an opportunity for Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, Virginia Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services Shannon Dion, Virginia Director of the Department of Corrections Harold Clarke, and other officials from Richmond to learn about the most pressing issues facing Southwest Virginia from law enforcement leaders, Sheriffs, Commonwealth's Attorneys, and victim advocates.
Monday's roundtable discussion centered on ways to improve public safety and the criminal justice system in Virginia. Attendees included Bristol City Sheriff David Maples, Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman, Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler, Wise County Assistant Sheriff Grant Kilgore, Dickenson County Assistant Sheriff Kelly Fleming, Washington County Victim Witness Coordinator Sharon Reed, Wise County Victim Witness Coordinator Joni Coleman, Bristol City Commonwealth's Attorney Jerry Wolfe, Dickenson County Commonwealth's Attorney Seth Baker, Wise County & City of Norton Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp, Russell County Commonwealth's Attorney Zack Stoots, Scott County Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Dan Fellhower, Smyth County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jill Lawson, and local attorney and candidate for the House of Delegates William Wampler.
The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said, "I appreciate the opportunity to speak with local law enforcement officers and Commonwealth's Attorneys about issues specific to the Southwest region of Virginia. We successfully addressed concerns from last year. We supported alternative transportation options for people with mental health needs, increased the number of school resource officers, and reduced the drug analysis backlog. Our team listens carefully during these conversations and we take what we hear back to Richmond."
These collaborative meetings are imperative to the health of our local community so that all understand the present issues affecting our citizens, problem solving strategies can be put in place, and funds can be allocated when necessary to address these needs. This year's focus was on the drug epidemic in Southwest Virginia and how it's impacting our communities in regards to safety, health, and overall well-being. In addition, concerns were addressed regarding drug prevention education in our schools, availability of treatment for substance abuse addictions, funding for incarceration on the local versus state level, treatment of victims in our locals hospitals, police body worn cameras and Virginia's new criminal discovery rules, and other relative issues. Last year a similar roundtable was held and focused on school safety. Following last year's discussion, our region received funding from the Commonwealth that helped to provide more school resource officers in our local school systems.
Wise County & City of Norton's Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp organized the gathering. Slemp said, "It is important for public safety officials from across our Commonwealth to listen to one another, brainstorm about ways to improve the safety of our communities, and join forces to address our most pressing challenges."
Seth Baker, Commonwealth's Attorney for Dickenson County said, "I was honored to sit down with Mr. Moran and others from Richmond. It was refreshing to see so many Sheriffs and Commonwealth's Attorneys from both sides of the aisle come together to discuss issues that directly affect Southwest Virginia.
Will Wampler, Candidate for House of Delegates and local attorney, said, "I believe public safety is a core function of government, but our law enforcement and prosecutors can't do it alone. The legislature must continue to be responsive to their needs to ensure that our schools and communities are kept safe."
Jeffrey David Rolen, age 66, of Wise, appeared before the Circuit Court of Wise County today to be sentenced for sex crimes he committed between 1986 and 1988. Rolen previously pleaded guilty on Friday, November 9, 2018, to seven counts of Indecent Liberties with a child under the age of eighteen without a plea agreement from prosecutors. At today's sentencing hearing, the judge heard evidence from both the prosecution and defendant as to an appropriate sentence. The Commonwealth asked the court to impose a significant term of prison time.
Rolen was sentenced to seven years with six suspended. He will serve an active term of 12 months of incarceration and will be required to complete ten years of probation upon his release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender, complete sex offender treatment, have no contact with the victim, and was ordered by the Court to have no contact with minor children.
Beginning in 1986 and lasting until 1988, Jeffrey Rolen had an illegal and inappropriate sexual relationship with a child that he met at Camp Bethel, a faith-based summer outdoor camp for youth in Wise. Rolen served as a youth pastor and the camp director at the time. In testimony Rolen was referred to as the victim's "spiritual advisor" to gain her trust before using his position at the camp to engage in sexual contact with the child. In 2017, an anonymous complaint was received by Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp and referred to the Virginia State Police for investigation. During the investigation, Rolen confessed his actions to police.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "Jeff Rolen used his position and faith to manipulate, groom, and victimize a vulnerable child in the most formative years of her life. For his calculated and deliberate behavior, we asked the Court to send him to prison for a long time and hold him accountable for his actions. We pray that this sentence will safeguard our community and provide closure for the victim of this indecent crime."
Slemp thanked those who made the investigation and prosecution possible. Slemp said, "I want to thank the dedication and hard work of Virginia State Police Special Agents Jeff Starnes, Jeff Howard and Jason Nichols, Senior Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Josh Newberry, Victim Witness Coordinator Joni Coleman, and all those who worked behind the scenes to prepare for this case."
There is no statute of limitations for a felony offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Rolen was immediately taken into custody following the hearing.
Contura Energy In Bristol Tennessee Has Announced The Completion Of Its Plan To Refinance 561-Million Dollars. This Will Offer The Company More Flexibility To Return Capital To Shareholders. Proceeds From The Transaction Will Be Used To Repay Outstanding Amounts Under The Company’s November 2018 Credit Agreement.
WASHINGTON, DC - The "Wise Works Program," an alternative sentencing initiative launched by the Wise County Board of Supervisors and Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp in 2017, was featured last weekat the National Academy of Sciences Forum for Children's Well-Being.
At the forum on Thursday, June 6, 2019, researchers and policy leaders from across the United States gathered in the nation's capital to discuss multigenerational approaches and policy strategies to promote health and well-being of children and families. Particular attention was paid to multisector strategies that promote public health and safety, using the opioid crisis as a case study and exploring policies being implemented around the country aimed at preventing opioid misuse.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "I am humbled to join this distinguished group of policy leaders and scholars. Itsexciting that our efforts in Wise County to combat the substance abuse crisis are gaining national attention and recognition. I am so proud of the teamwork of our prosecutors, law enforcement officers, prevention advocates, and public service workers and the successes of our Wise Works Program."
Wise Works gives an alternative sentencing option for low-level, low-risk offenders. Rather than of simply being incarcerated, qualifying participants are sentenced to work community service jobs without pay such as picking up trash, cleaning at the animal shelter, or working at non-profit organizations. Slemp explained to the gathering in Washington, DC, "Instead of costing taxpayers $30 a day to sit in jail, watch tv, and eat honey buns, these folks are sentenced to work, get substance abuse treatment, and develop workforce training." Since the program started, participants have worked over 30,000 hours saving localities almost $400,000 in labor costs and the initiative has resulted in a savings of $500,000 for taxpayers in unnecessary jail costs.
In addition to Chuck Slemp's presentation on Wise County, Virginia, last week's forum also featured other presentations from speakers who discussed innovative community-based prevention and intervention programs in Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and various federal agencies.