Parts of Southside expand Phase 1b vaccinations offerings
– More people living in two health districts in Southside Virginia will now be able to receive the COVID vaccine, according to the Virginia Department of Health. On Tuesday, both the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District and the Southside Health District, which covers Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties, expanded beyond vaccinating only those 65 and over as part of Phase 1b. “We are very excited to be able to now offer the vaccine to everyone in Phase 1b,” said director of the PDHD and SSHD Dr. Scott Spillmann. The previous group included police officers, firefighters, hazmat workers, childcare workers, pre-k through 12 school staff, at-risk populations and adults aged 65 and older. If you’re interested in receiving a vaccination, you can pre-register here.
Mecklenburg Electric still reconnecting customers in Southside Virginia
GRETNA, Va. – The storm clouds are long gone from Southside Virginia, but crews are still cleaning up the damage the freezing rain left behind. Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative estimates up to two-thirds of its customers in Halifax and Pittsylvania County were without power at some point after this past weekend’s ice storm. “I’ve been here for more than 30 years, but we’ve seen more damage from this storm than most of us here can remember,” said Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s David Lipscomb. AdLipscomb said the ice made it especially challenging to repair power lines, and he’s grateful Thursday’s ice storm did not cause more complications. “Thursday’s storm had the potential to make us have to start all over again.”Lipscomb believes Mecklenburg Electric will have all of its customers reconnected by the end of the weekend.
Cameron Webb tapped to join Biden administration’s COVID-19 Response Team
Dr. Cameron Webb, a Democrat who ran for the House seat in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, will be a member of the White House COVID-19 Response team. I’m so humbled by this appointment to join the White House at such a time as this. Looking forward to serving & working for an equitable COVID-19 rescue & recovery!” tweeted Webb, announcing his new position. https://t.co/j0LbXy5InJ — Dr. Cameron Webb (@DrCameronWebb) January 15, 2021The Biden-Harris Tranision team announced the new members of the response team on Friday, which includes the 37-year-old doctor. The individuals announced today will bolster the White House’s COVID-19 Response team and play important roles in carrying out our rescue plan and vaccination program.
Two medical cannabis companies serving Virginia to merge
RICHMOND, Va. – Two medical cannabis companies serving Virginia have agreed to merge. New York-based Columbia Care Inc. plans to acquire Maryland-based Green Leaf Medical LLC for $240 million, the companies announced Tuesday. “No organization in the industry will be better positioned to serve patients and customers in the mid-Atlantic than Columbia Care,” Columbia Care CEO Nicholas Vita in a news release. Green Leaf secured approval in 2018 from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to be the lone medical cannabis licensee for an area that includes the Richmond region and parts of Southside Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Columbia will pay $240 million, consisting of a cash payment of $45 million with the balance of $195 million in Columbia Care stock, according to the newspaper.
Sen. Mark Warner talks to educators in Martinsville about broadband needs
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Sen. Mark Warner made a stop in Southside Virginia with Election Day right around the corner. The educators at Warner’s event included Martinsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Zebedee Talley and Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Sandy Strayer. Many of the educators told Warner their largest issue is broadband Internet access for rural communities. Warner said he hopes to develop a bill that requires large tech companies to pay for America’s rural broadband infrastructure. “Facebook, Google, Amazon...they make money every time someone logs on the internet," Warner said.
Caesars leaders optimistic about Danville casino proposal before Election Day
DANVILLE, Va. – Danville voters are days away from determining whether to bring a Caesars casino to the city. Caesars Entertainment’s proposal to build an entertainment complex at the former Schoolfield Dan River Mills site depends on a voter referendum. Former Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio currently works as a special advisor for the company. Rodio said Caesars chose Danville because of its revitalization efforts and its proximity to North Carolina. I think 25 years from now, Danville will be a regional hub for people who want to get away.”
WATCH: US Senate candidates Mark Warner, Daniel Gade hold hour-long debate
Senator Warner, you get the first response. CHUCK TODD:Very quickly to both of you, first to you, Senator Warner, what grade would you give the president and his handling of the virus? First to Senator Warner. DANIEL GADE:Well, Chuck-- again, and to the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and Senator Warner, thank you for this-- spirited exchange of ideas. You know, I’m a real-- with all our challenges, I’m an-- real opt--(BREAK IN TAPE)(OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)MARK WARNER:--American dream.
Group, inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy, gives away food in South Boston
DANVILLE, Va. – Ralph Rhyne is driven to serve the less fortunate throughout Southside Virginia, and he said Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a large inspiration to his mission. "She stood for the less fortunate, and for those who didn’t have a voice.”After Bader Ginsburg died Friday at the age of 87, Rhyne gave away food to less fortunate families in her memory. Rhyne and his group, God’s Final Warning Call Ministry, delivered boxes of essential food from their headquarters in Danville to the Emmanuel Seventh-Day Adventist Church in South Boston on Sunday. “Every time we do these, we run out of food before we run out of people, so the need is great," Green said. “The more we band together, the more we can float through this pandemic and rise above it," Rhyne said.
Heat and humidity, in conjunction with front, create severe storms across parts of region
Any time there are temperatures in the 90s, dew points in the low-to-mid 70s and a cold front moving through, it makes for a juicy atmosphere ripe for severe weather. Weve had several severe thunderstorm warnings, along with numerous storm reports coming into the Weather Center. From torrential downpours, to lots of thunder and lightning, to damaging wind over 60 mph and quarter- to half-dollar-size hail. Reports of trees down came from Troutville, Daleville and Buchanan in Botetourt County, and from near Ridgeway and Horse Pasture in Henry County. A more tranquil Saturday is headed our way, but the oppressive heat weve been experiencing is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Tornado Watch for parts of Southside cancelled
ROANOKE, Va. – Although the watch was initially scheduled to expire at 5 p.m., the National Weather Service canceled it shortly after 1:20 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for multiple counties in Southside Virginia until 5 p.m.At 11 a.m., the watch was issued for Halifax, Henry and Pittsylvania counties, as well as the cities of Danville and Martinsville. Remember, a watch means that storms containing damaging wind will be possible. If a warning is issued, that is when you take action.
Hundreds sweat it out stuffing backpacks so kids with less go back to school with more
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - On Tuesday night volunteers with a faith-based nonprofit in Southside Virginia put in a lot of sweat equity to help others. About 300 volunteers packed backpacks to make sure kids across Virginia, the Carolinas and even Texas start the school year on the right foot. The Back2School Outreach collects donations through the summer and then organizes them all and prepares them to be stuffed into backpacks. The volunteers, most of them coming with their churches, pack backpacks full of paper, pens and more for students ranging from preschool to high school. Over the course of the 13-year program, Whitlow said they've served more than 25,000 kids and their families.