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SOL test scores: Mixed bag

Halifax makes the grade half of the time with passing rates, but dropoffs outnumber gains

Judge nixes lawsuit by motorsports instructor

Case dismissed after Wilborn contested firing

Jobless rate rises to 8.8 percent in July

Halifax County’s unemployment rate jumped from 8.3 percent in June to 8.8 percent in July. Over 900 people left the labor force, which numbered 15,974 in June, but fell to…

Sports

Comets fall in opener to Jefferson Forest

A quick, athletic Jefferson Forest squad proved too potent offensively for the Halifax County High School varsity football squad Friday night, speeding past the Comets, 50-30, in South Boston.

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Opinion


A&E

Opinion

Sea change

On our website this week, there’s been an outbreak of commentary — consisting of equal parts vitriol and virtue — on the subject of gay marriage. The precipitating event? The News & Record’s story on Monday, headlined “Temporary Setback.”

By the numbers

As of this writing, the two chambers of the General Assembly are far apart on the issue of state funding for local schools. The State Senate has produced a budget that restores $100 million of the funding that school divisions have lost over the past three years; the House version perpetuates a regrettable trend of dwindling state support for education. (A major difference between the two budgets is the House goes along with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed $150 million raid of the general fund for transportation, whereas the Senate balks at using the money for anything other than traditional General Fund purposes). One would hope that the upper chamber would get its way on education, but we shall see. In the meantime, schools are sure to fare better than expected under McDonnell’s budget version announced in December. For one thing, the revenue picture has brightened somewhat since the governor produced his numbers. For another, the legislature always seems to pull rabbits out of its appropriations hat. Mecklenburg Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Thornton initially calculated a state funding reduction this year of $2 million. The final number won’t be so bad — how bad it will be, however, remains to be seen.

NR Sultans of Swag

Several weeks ago The Virginian-Pilot published an eye-opening article on Virginia’s economic development incentives and where the money’s gone over the past year. (The piece was written by the redoubtable Bill Sizemore, a Clarksville native and one of the Pilot’s top reporters.) Of the $50 million earmarked by the General Assembly, nearly half — $23.8 million — went to just 22 companies, by and large deep-pocketed corporations that aren’t exactly desperate for the cash. Help for small business? Not so much.

Sultans of swag

Several weeks ago The Virginian-Pilot published an eye-opening article on Virginia’s economic development incentives and where the money’s gone over the past year. (The piece was written by the redoubtable Bill Sizemore, a Clarksville native and one of the Pilot’s top reporters.) Of the $50 million earmarked by the General Assembly, nearly half — $23.8 million — went to just 22 companies, by and large deep-pocketed corporations that aren’t exactly desperate for the cash. Help for small business? Not so much.

Indomitable

The last time I sat down for a conversation with Betty Bane, the daughter of a mutual friend had just gotten married in Halifax and the wedding reception was in full swing and, well …. Betty had important business on her mind. She wanted me to help her out with something. (It had to do with the sidewalk benches in downtown Halifax; the details of the conversation are unimportant). Her “plea,” was, of course, totally unnecessary — I would no sooner say no to Betty Bane than fly a hang glider off a mountaintop during a hurricane. Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy made a statement in the wake of Betty’s death on Tuesday describing her as a “force of nature.” Funny, that was my first thought, too.

Last of the straight shooters

Thinking back on all the times I used to call up Lew Parker to chat up legislative business with this key General Assembly player from so many years ago, one word leaps to mind: powerful.

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