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Caution urged for Prom Night

Emergency services chief resigns post

Four days, three fatal crashes

A Clarksville teen died Friday in Buffalo Junction wreck, the first of three deadly car crashes in Mecklenburg County in the past week.


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Mecklenburg County jobless rate back over nine percent; CMH sets minor staff cuts / February 06, 2013
Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percent in December, increasing to 9.1 percent from 8.9 percent in November, according to figures released Thursday by the Virginia Employment Commission.

Brunswick County saw a similar rise in December as its jobless rate jumped to 9.8 percent from a November rate of 9.6 percent, while Lunenburg County only faced a .1 percent increase in its unemployment numbers, rising to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.

Halifax County’s rate held steady at 8.7 percent for the fourth straight month, and Charlotte County’s rate remained unchanged, as well, holding at 7.2 percent.

At the same time, all five counties saw their civilian work force continue to contract, pointing toward a sluggish economy as people become discouraged and end their job hunts. The civilian workforce — the number of people available for work — decreased by 64 in Brunswick County, 30 in Charlotte County, 48 in Halifax County, 9 in Lunenburg County, and 41 in Mecklenburg County.

Christine Chmura, Chief Economist with Chmura Economics & Analytics in Richmond, in a statement release by the Commission, called December’s employment report “disappointing.”

Since the recent unemployment figures only reflect the employment picture through the end of December, it does not show the impact that the closing of Home Care Industries, located in La Crosse, had on struggling Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties. Home Care Industries shut its door, and laid off over 100 employees on Jan. 2.

In that week, the Commission reported receiving 108 new claims for benefits, and 73 the following week.

The unemployment numbers also do not cover claims from the 100 employees of International Veneer Company of South Hill that are expected to lose their jobs in the next 30 days when the company shuts down its manufacturing operations.

Ann Lang, senior economist with the Virginia Employment Commission, attributed the uptick in December unemployment to holiday-related school closings and seasonal job reductions in the tourism industry.

However, some of the newly unemployed may be from businesses that are restructuring such as Community Memorial Healthcenter (CMH), one of the largest employers in Mecklenburg County.

Scott Burnett, president and CEO of CMH said, “As part of our efforts to reduce costs and improve outcomes for our patients, we are working on changes within the organization to improve CMH’s operations.

“ As a result, we have identified some process changes that have resulted in staffing reductions that will affect no more than 9 positions. These positions will be eliminated within the next 30-45 days; however, efforts will be made to locate other opportunities for the affected employees within the corporation.

“Staffing changes such as these have occurred on numerous occasions in the past and are necessary to maintain an efficient healthcare entity,” and he reassured the public saying, “Rumors of an impending major layoff are completely unfounded and have no basis in fact," he said.

One bright note for these five Southside Virginia Counties, unemployment rates in Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg Counties were lower in December than a year earlier when Brunswick had a 10.6percent unemployment rate, Charlotte had 8.6%, Halifax had 9.6 percent, Lunenburg had 8.1 percent and Mecklenburg had 9.6 percent.

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