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Ramping up for solar jobs

SVCC starts worker training program in anticipation of big demand for installer positions

Mecklenburg trustees take look at shorter school day

Proposal calls for shaving minutes off daily schedule

Brewery makes plans to move to lakefront

Clarksville’s hometown craft brewery is moving to a lakeside location, with a planned opening in summer 2019.


Post 8 scrappy, with solid offense, pitching

Defensive miscues prove costly, but team able to get over shortcomings





Happy Homecoming

South Boston News
Members of the Blue Comet baseball team — Parker Franklin, Andrew Abbott and Clay Lloyd — show off their trophies after the Comets finished as runners-up in VHSL 5A baseball championship. With them is HCHS Principal Michael Lewis at Monday’s meeting of the School Board. Other team members were away taking a belated beach vacation. (SOMcL photo) / June 15, 2017
Members of Halifax County High School baseball team received hearty congratulations on their runner-up finish in the VHSL state 5A baseball playoffs from members of the Halifax County School Board on Monday night.

HCHS Principal Michael Lewis, who introduced team members to trustees, noted that the Comets had set a goal of making it to the state tournament last fall. That explained the number 206 on the backs of their jerseys — representing the number of miles to travel to reach the state tournament. “

They decided they wanted it,” Lewis said. The team “was determined and showed the desire, motivation and a level of class” as marched to the state title game.

“It has been hard to realize the impact these young people have had on this community,” said Lewis. He was quick to thank parents and the community for their support of the team, and added a special thanks to Coach Kenneth Day and his staff “who spent a lot of long hours” working with the team.

While in northern Virginia to compete in the 5A tournament, the Comet ballplayers enjoyed a special treat: attending a Major League Baseball game between the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals at National Park in Washington, D.C.

HCHS alumnus Jeremy Jeffress is a relief pitcher for the Rangers, and prior to the game the Halifax players got to meet him on the Nationals’ playing field.

Lewis also praised both local newspapers and the radio station for the coverage given to the team. He noted that many teams in other communities never receive coverage in their local newspapers.

Lewis added that he was especially pleased when a crowd in the hundreds welcomed the boys home after the conclusion of the championship game, which the Comets lost 5-4 in 14 innings.

In other business Monday night, trustees heard Maintenance Director Jay Jennings explain the preliminary review of a possible energy performance contract with the Trane Company which he presented to Halifax County supervisors last week. The $2.1 million project for local schools has been approved for inclusion in the Virginia Saves Program, which could mean a savings of some $250,000 in interest costs over the 15-year life of the loan.

Jennings explained that all the county schools, plus the maintenance building, the transportation building, the Parent’s Cottage, the STEM Center and the field house will be included in the project. Only the high school building is not included.

Most of the savings, he pointed out, would come from upgrades to the traditional lighting to LED tube retrofits. Other savings would come from building improvements including the weather stripping of doors and windows as well as the addition or replacement of door sweeps, sealing of roof-wall joints, the sealing off of unnecessary roof or wall penetrations as well as additional insulation where needed.

ED-4 trustee Joe Gasperini questioned Jennings about why he had presented the proposal to supervisors before seeking approval of school trustees.

Jennings responded that time was of the essence in seeking inclusion in the Virginia Saves Program, which could mean a savings of some $250,000.

“There was only a limited pool of money for the project and supervisors met a week earlier than you,” Jennings said.

He pointed out that since the school board has no taxing authority, the Central Office administration will have to rely on supervisors for financing the project.

“I needed their blessing since they will have a moral obligation to foot the bill,” Jennings said of supervisors, noting that the savings over the 15-year commitment will more than pay the loan.

Jennings said the preliminary plan, if approved, can be changed as more study is completed.

School Superintendent Merle Herndon reminded trustees that they should be sure that all the schools participating in the project will be operating over the 15 year commitment period. That was reason that the high school was not included in the project.

Jennings noted that trustees have not yet decided whether the high school should be renovated or replaced with a new facility.

In yet another issue, trustees approved the expansion of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program which provides free lunches and breakfast meals for all students of the schools. Last year the program was well received at both Sydnor Jennings and Sinai elementaries, and Gasperini moved to expand the program to five more schools — Meadville, Clays Mill, Scottsburg and South Boston elementaries as well as the South Boston Early Learning Center.

The move will mean that students at all the local schools except the high school, middle school, Cluster Springs elementary and the Cluster Springs Early Learning Center will receive free breakfasts and lunches.

With school breakfasts meals running $1.25 each and lunches at $3.25, he figured parents would save around $310,941 that they could use in other ways.

He said he was basing the savings on the fact that the five schools to be included in the program would have 479 students who now pay the full price of meals.

He attributed much of the success of the program to the fact that there is no stigma attached to receiving the meals since all the students receive their meals free.

The CEP program is a meal service provided by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Program for school districts in low income areas. Schools that adopt the CEP Program are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students participating in programs such as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan) or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

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