-July 4th – Independence Day – the official beginning of summer!
Way back in 1776, a Virginian, Richard Henry Lee, introduced a motion at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia calling for the colonies to claim their independence from Britain. A month later, on July 2, the colonies signed an official document authored mostly by another Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, which justified breaking with England. Congress voted on that document and adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, and to this day we celebrate the birth of American Independence on that day. I hope that you and yours will have a safe and happy 4th of July!
- With the state budget now finalized, localities and school divisions can plan for the next year. Speaker of the House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) recently announced $7,356,129 in legislative branch savings that will be returned to the general fund at the end of fiscal year 2014. This includes over $3.7 million in savings from legislative branch agencies and over $3.5 million in savings from legislative commissions and councils.
- A new service is being provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles. You can get a copy of a Virginia birth certificate at any of the 75 DMV customer service centers and five mobile offices. Already, approximately 5,000 Virginians have requested birth certificates at DMV locations.
- Good news for Virginia veterans! The state has been awarded a $3.4 million grant from the United States Department of Labor to provide veterans with community college credits for their past military service and training, coursework to obtain additional skills and credentials, and mentors at the community colleges to help veterans navigate through higher education, including admissions and financial aid. To learn more about career opportunities for veterans, please visit the Workforce Development Departments at Virginia's 23 Community Colleges
- I am still following Duke Energy's coal ash spill. DEQ has set up a news feed for information that allows folks to sign up to receive periodic updates on the spill and the status of the Dan River. To sign up for the news feed visit the DEQ website at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsFeeds.aspx.
OF LOCAL INTEREST:
- Congratulations to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) in South Boston. The SVHEC announced that it has received a $33 million in-kind software grant from Siemens. This money will go towards expanding the Siemens Go-PLM Training Center established at the SVHEC last fall. This software will be used to expand digital manufacturing and Mechatronics (Industrial Maintenance) at the center.
- The New Brick Historic Lofts project that was developed by Rehab Development out of Winston-Salem, N.C. in partnership with the non-profit organization of Destination Downtown South Boston, has won the 2014 Virginia Main Street Special Achievement Award and the 2014 Virginia Downtown Development Association Award of Excellence for jointly developing the new condos for downtown living. The two organizations successfully renovated the last tobacco warehouse in South Boston into very nice condos for downtown living. Congratulations to both organizations!
- Congratulations also goes to Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties, on their regional collaboration to create the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway, consisting of over 100 miles of rivers and lakes, encompassing the Dan, Staunton and Banister Rivers and Buggs Island Lake and Lake Gaston. Secretary Maurice Jones participated in a ribbon cutting at Staunton River State Park on June 16.
-Governor McAuliffe has appointed two local citizens to state boards: George L. Jones of Brookneal has been appointed to the Virginia Beef Industry Board and J. Nelson Link of Alton has been appointed to the Virginia Pork Industry Board. Congratulations to both!
- Remember, any legislation can be read in full on the Virginia General Assembly website, http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/. A wealth of additional information on the legislative process can also be found on this site. In addition, you can actually watch video for the House by clicking on the link on my website, http://www.friendsofjamesedmunds.com/.
Quote of the Day:
"It will be of little avail to the people if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood."
. Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time.