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A bad feeling about this

Minutes of Tobacco Commission Executive Committee’s discussion of uranium mining socioeconomic study

On April 15, members of the Executive Committee of the Virginia Tobacco Commission approved $200,000 for a study of the socioeconomic impacts of uranium mining.

The fixers

Last week the Virginia Tobacco Commission all but cut a check for a study of uranium mining's socioeconomic impacts in Southside Virginia, thus drawing closer the day when a decision is made — or not made — on lifting the state's mining moratorium. Funding the study is an unusual move by the Tobacco Commission, which could stand more scrutiny of its own, but it's hardly surprising inasmuch as the leaf panel claims a broad mission to revitalize Southside's economy. Besides, what's another $200,000 when you've already burned through half a billion dollars?

Overdue tribute

South Boston News
Henry McLaughlin
I’m a firm believer in ‘fessing up to one’s shortcomings in neat and prompt fashion — easier to keep the sins straight that way — so please forgive me as I open today’s column with an account of sheer thoughtlessness and heedlessness. Mine, that is. And don’t worry, the story quickly improves.

Emotional rescue

I learned about the new book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” second-hand from my sister-in-law in Indianapolis, who happened upon a glowing review in the New York Times and e-mailed the link to my wife. Susan majored in biochemistry in graduate school, so the biography of a pivotal figure in the rise of modern-day medicine would seem a natural read for her, if not necessarily for me. But, as you may have heard, there’s another aspect to the tale that any Southside Virginia reader will find irresistible: Henrietta Lacks grew up a poor black farmer in Halifax County and lived most of her life here before dying of cervical cancer in 1951. Far from being just another local yarn, this book, author Rebecca Skloot’s first, currently ranks eighth on the Times’ non-fiction bestseller list. I figured I’d best crack it open and find out what the rest of the world must already know.

Great expectations

At a public hearing Monday night to discuss a county budget that doesn’t yet exist, School Board trustee Joe Gasperini suggested bringing in an outside group to audit school division spending and operations. It’s a good idea by Gasperini that with luck might actually accomplish some good for the schools and county taxpayers. Surely such a modest undertaking shouldn’t be too hard to carve out a little time for. How does “yesterday” fit on the Central Office’s calendar?

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