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Friday, October 31, 2014

Old Bunks from Virginia Intermont Get Use in Southwest Virginia
Deserving children around Southwest Virginia will have a warm bed to sleep in thanks to a non-profit agency purchasing bunks from the dorms of the closed Virginia Intermont College. Communities in Schools Director Sam McKinney said Kroger of Abingdon gave a portion of a prize from selling a winning lottery ticket to the group that help pay for 50 beds that went to students in seven counties. (McKinney): “The very first year I was here, within six months we found that a family had bed bugs. We found that what was happening was the bed bugs were biting these kids so bad because they were actually sleeping on a little mattress on the floor.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Abingdon Still on Board with New Med School Project
While Washington County, Virginia has withdrawn from a proposed new medical school for Southwest Virginia, and has sued to get back its initial $50,000 investment, Abingdon is still on board. Town Mayor Ed Morgan says new partners will soon be announced for the project, and it's moving ahead. He said,“It's taken on some new partners that I think will ensure its success and even though it's been a long, drawn out process, we have stayed the course and we think it's about to come to fruition.” (LM)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Abingdon Still on Board with New Med School Project
While Washington County, Virginia has withdrawn from a proposed new medical school for Southwest Virginia, and has sued to get back its initial $50,000 investment, Abingdon is still on board. Town Mayor Ed Morgan says new partners will soon be announced for the project, and it's moving ahead. He said,“It's taken on some new partners that I think will ensure its success and even though it's been a long, drawn out process, we have stayed the course and we think it's about to come to fruition.” (LM)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Law Leaves Most VA Highway Projects Competing for Scarce Dollars
Extending the Coalfield Expressway, improving Interstate 81 exits in Abingdon, expanding Lee Highway in Bristol for The Falls Development and many more projects brought out a crowd to a Virginia Transportation Board public hearing. According to state Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane, under new state law, unless a project is already under construction or brings 50 percent of its funding from another source to the table, all projects are back competing - based on cost/benefit factors - for the state's scarce dollars. He said, “Heretofore, it's been driven by political whim and executive order, so hopefully this will put more sustainability and credibility into the process.” (LM)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Virginia Transportation Secretary: New Law Leaves Most Highway Projects Competing for Scarce Dollars
Extending the Coalfield Expressway, improving Interstate 81 exits in Abingdon, expanding Lee Highway in Bristol for The Falls Development and many more projects brought out a crowd to a Virginia Transportation Board public hearing. According to state Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane, under new state law, unless a project is already under construction or brings 50 percent of its funding from another source to the table, all projects are back competing - based on cost/benefit factors - for the state's scarce dollars. He said, “Heretofore, it's been driven by political whim and executive order, so hopefully this will put more sustainability and credibility into the process.” (LM)

Virginia Creeper Trail Inducted into National Rails to Trail Hall of Fame
The Virginia Creeper Trail, a centerpiece of outdoor recreation in the regon, is a new inductee into the National Rails to Trails hall of fame. The 34-mile trail connecting Abingdon to White Top is recognized for being one of the region's most prominent recreational draws by the Rails to Trails conservancy. (LM)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Virginia Creeper Trail Inducted into National Rails to Trail Hall of Fame
The Virginia Creeper Trail, a centerpiece of outdoor recreation in the regon, is a new inductee into the National Rails to Trails hall of fame. The 34-mile trail connecting Abingdon to White Top is recognized for being one of the region's most prominent recreational draws by the Rails to Trails conservancy. (LM)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bristol, Virginia Will Pursue Option of Contracting with Regional Jail
Bristol, Virginia City Council votes to pursue negotiating a service contract with the regional jail near Abingdon...rather than build a new $30-to-$40 million dollar city jail - this to solve the problem of an outdated and overcrowded facility. A consultant showed the city could save more than a million dollars a year going regional, but it would mean an investment of as much as $800,000 this year and the city is already strapped for cash. And although city leaders say they will negotiate for local jailers to retain their jobs at the regional facility, a crowd of deputies was on hand to show what Sheriff Jack Weisenburger says is concern about their vocation. The sheriff said, “A lot of the staff issues are about the vocation of a deputy sheriff which is much different than the vocation of a detention officer at a regional jail.” LM

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bristol, Virginia Will Pursue Option of Contracting with Regional Jail
Bristol, Virginia City Council votes to pursue negotiating a service contract with the regional jail near Abingdon...rather than build a new $30-to-$40 million dollar city jail - this to solve the problem of an outdated and overcrowded facility. A consultant showed the city could save more than a million dollars a year going regional, but it would mean an investment of as much as $800,000 this year and the city is already strapped for cash. And although city leaders say they will negotiate for local jailers to retain their jobs at the regional facility, a crowd of deputies was on hand to show what Sheriff Jack Weisenburger says is concern about their vocation. The sheriff said, “A lot of the staff issues are about the vocation of a deputy sheriff which is much different than the vocation of a detention officer at a regional jail.” LM

Friday, October 10, 2014

Family Going to Prison for Cockfighting Operation
U.S. District Judge James Jones in Abingdon sends a family to federal prison for running a multi-million dollar, multi-state cockfighting operation. Known as the Big Blue Pit in McDowell County, Kentucky, it ran for years and had up to 5,000 customers from at least eight states, including Virginia and also was supplied with birds, armed with knives and gaffes, from Southwest Virginia. The judge said though the family had no previous record, due to cruelty to animals and gambling, he sentenced Dale Stumbo to federal prison for 18 months; his wife, Sonya, and their 26 year old son, Josh, to 10 months. He also granted prosecutors the right to forfeit nearly a million dollars in property and assets seized from the family.(LM)

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