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South Boston Council votes in favor of cigarette tax

South Boston Town Council moved decisively to impose a 10 cent-per-pack tax on cigarette purchases in town by voting 4-1 in favor of the levy Monday night.

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Service set Friday for late Councilman Billy Clarke / January 15, 2018
A funeral for South Boston Town Councilman Billy Clarke will be held on Friday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. at Crystal Hill Baptist Church.

Clarke’s sudden death on Wednesday at a Lynchburg hospital was mourned by fellow members of council and many others who remember the retired educator for his thoughtfulness and dedication to the community.

Clarke served on council since November 2014 when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Margaret Fountain Coleman. He won a special election in November 2015 and was re-elected to a full four-year term on Town Council in May 2016.

Mayor Ed Owens and fellow council members all remember Clarke as a quiet, studious colleague who did not speak often, but was direct and insightful on issues before the town.

“We will really miss him,” said Town Manager Tom Raab, who said he counted on Clarke to always look out for the best interests of South Boston.

For nearly 15 years, Clarke taught in the Halifax County public school system, from November 1974 until December 1988. He spent the next phase of his career leading literacy and GED programs in facilities for the Virginia Department of Corrections from 1988 to 2013. He taught inmates in Camp 23 in Halifax County during that period.

He was also a member of the adjunct faculty for Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC), teaching adult education in the GED program. He also was an instructor at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

Clarke did his undergraduate classroom work at Danville Community College (DCC) and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia State University. He later earned a Masters of Science degree from Longwood University.

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