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Retired officer honored, transit request funded

SoVaNow.com / February 11, 2021


Eleven former and current members of the South Boston Police Department turned out to support two of their own who were recognized by South Boston Town Council Monday night. Council passed a resolution honoring retired SBPD Lt. Ronnie Edmonds, then greeted new police officer Joshua Rice.

Of the commendation by Council, Edmonds said, “I just want to thank the town and the South Boston police department for giving me the opportunity to serve.”

Then he let others do the talking for him.

“There’s been no shortage of stories of how great of an officer Ronnie was, and how great a person he is,” new Police Chief Bryan Young told Council members.

Edmonds retired after 30 years of service with the department and rose to the rank of lieutenant in 2018. The Council resolution noted that Edmonds had a reputation for fairness and respect, and that he had been credited with directly saving multiple lives.

Young said Edmonds possesses “a legacy any of us would love to leave behind.”

Young then introduced new police officer Joshua Rice. Rice, a 23-year-old Clarksville native, graduated from Halifax County High School and joined the town force in June. He graduated from the police academy in December.

Rice comes from a family of emergency service members; he is also a member of the South Boston Church of God and is married with one child. His family was in attendance as well.

After honoring the officers, Council members took up a request by Lake Country Area Agency on Aging to provide funding for the Halifax Area Rural Transportation bus, also known as the HART bus. The HART bus is one of several programs that LCAAA offers to help seniors and younger people with disabilities continue living at home and avoid institutionalization, by providing easy transportation access.

Gwen Hinzman, president and CEO of LCAAA, explained to council that “the last thing people want is to go into a nursing home.”

Although most LCAAA services are funded through the Older Americans Act, payments from insurance programs, and private payments, the HART bus falls under the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. While Virginia picks up most of the tab for the bus, Hinzman explained that localities still must pay a portion of the costs. The HART bus operates only in municipalities that pay for its services, which currently includes the Towns of Halifax and South Boston.

Hinzman’s request for $5,070 to purchase a new bus, along with $39,545 for other programs, is nearly double the request from last year, but Council approved it.

Hinzman also informed Council that there is an opening on the LCAAA board of directors that South Boston could appoint someone to fill.

In other action, council approved the Fiscal Year 2019-20 audit report, recommended Chris Elliot to be reappointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals — which Town Manager Tom Raab noted has not been used in six years — and approved the appointment of Hope Harris-Gayles to the Halifax County Service Authority board.

“She’ll be a fine choice,” said Mayor Ed Owens of Harris-Gayles,

At the close of the meeting, Raab updated Council members on the town’s progress in demolishing abandoned structures. Raab said he has identified more eyesore structures for demolition and is developing changes to the Town Code to give the town more power to go after these structures. He also expressed an interest in amending the code to do something about basketball goals in the street.

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