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Ramping up for solar jobs

SVCC starts worker training program in anticipation of big demand for installer positions

Mecklenburg trustees take look at shorter school day

Proposal calls for shaving minutes off daily schedule

Brewery makes plans to move to lakefront

Clarksville’s hometown craft brewery is moving to a lakeside location, with a planned opening in summer 2019.


Post 8 scrappy, with solid offense, pitching

Defensive miscues prove costly, but team able to get over shortcomings





Ahead of the times / January 02, 2014
You needn’t be an out-of-work NFL head coach to realize that foresight is a heck of a lot more useful than hindsight. Take ousted Redskins coach Mike Shanahan (please!): Do you think that Shan-the-Man might want to take back the decision last season to continue playing his hobbled star quarterback, Robert Griffith III, in a postseason game, only to see RGIII rip up his knee? If only Shanahan had checked out The Sun’s annual Pop Quiz of the Future, a fixture in this space for many years. He might have learned something useful. Like: next time Redskins owner Daniel Snyder calls up to offer a coaching job, find something else to occupy your thoughts, such as the laundry.

You, dear reader, on the other hand, are in luck — the Pop Quiz is back. And while some may find our forecasts about as reliable as Redskins ownership, we stand by our product. Our warranties are good until such time as they expire, depending on the intrusion of reality. How’s that for a guarantee?

Without further ado, here’s our list of possibles for the year ahead:

1. As 2013 drew to a close, Santa Claus was feverishly making plans to come to town. Who else might be coming to town in 2014?

(a) a manufacturing outfit to soothe the hardship in South Hill after the area was hit by a wave of plant closings in 2013.

(b) The first data center at the Kinderton Technology Park in Clarksville.

(c) A new ownership group for that den of dead-enders otherwise known as Virginia Uranium Inc.

(d) First-year Governor Terry McAuliffe, who will seek to atone for his decision to ignore our corner of Southside Virginia during the campaign now that he has a new cause to sell: Medicaid expansion.

(e) Mr. Flu

2. The School Board couldn’t possibly be any more contentious after spending most of 2013 engaged in open warfare, could it?

(a) Yes it could — just wait for a wave of citizen petitions to oust the members of the School Board majority who are keeping Superintendent of Schools James Thornton gainfully employed.

(b) Yes it could — a teacher exodus will force the School Board’s hand on Thornton’s future.

(c) No it won’t — owing to Thornton’s decision to move on to a higher-paying job elsewhere.

(d) No it won’t — to quote Elvis Costello, what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?

3. 2103 was one of those years when scandal seemed to fly in from every direction, like buzzards over Buggs Island Lake. Where should we expect trouble to well up in 2014?

(a) At shuttered Buckhorn Elementary School, where things go bump in the night.

(b) At Mecklenburg County Circuit Court, where the ongoing investigation into the fraudulent deeds of ex-Social Services employee Lorenda Wells uncovers some curious information about her unauthorized search of DSS databases.

(c) At the Office of U.S. Attorney, Eastern Division of Virginia, which handles federal prosecutions over a broad area, including Mecklenburg.

(d) All of the above

(e) None of the above.

4. Which of these events emerges as the feel-good story of the year in Mecklenburg County in 2014?

(a) The revival of the job market

(b) The faster-than-expected development of the Island Creek Project for disabled veterans who want to go fishing at Buggs Island Lake.

(c) Creation of a new public park in the Bracey area, by the banks of Lake Gaston.

(d) The first winning season for the Bluestone football team in a generation.

(e) The surprising success locally of Obamacare.

5. Community Memorial Healthcenter steps into the new year with the goal of securing a partner to protect its future as a community health care provider. Which much-larger hospital chain pairs up with CMH, and roughly how does the deal go down?

(a) CMH sells out, lock, stock and barrel, to Duke Lifepoint.

(b) Richmond-based Bon Secours takes effective control of the South Hill hospital, although the affiliation agreement doesn’t exactly fit the description of an outright sale.

(c) CMH becomes an adjunct facility for VCU Health Care in Richmond, which builds on the existing operating agreement for the newly-opened VCU/CMH Solari Radiation Therapy Center.

(d) A surprise suitor springs a too-good-to-refuse deal on CMH’s board at the last moment.

6. Time to pivot to legislative matters: Which of the following headlines will upend expectations for the 2014 session of the General Assembly?

(a) Virginia Uranium, not content to play possum, convinces a member of the House of Delegates to carry a bill to overturn the state’s uranium mining ban, just for the sake of forcing a vote to determine where people stand.

(b) After putting on a show of implacable opposition, the GOP-controlled House approves the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia under Obamacare.

(c) The legislature finds a lot more money laying around for K-12 education that anyone really expected.

(d) Gay marriage gains traction in Virginia, despite a surprise appearance at the statehouse by the Duck Dynasty guy.

(e) Senator Frank Ruff announces his upcoming retirement.

7. Because it’s Terry McAuliffe we’re talking about here, Virginia …

(a) won’t have to wait long for a new scandal to fill the void created by Bob McDonnell’s departure from the Governor’s Mansion.

(b) will maintain a robust presence on the Stephen Colbert Show.

(c) is kind of a mess for the next four years.

(d) has surprising success attracting corporate employers comfortable with McAuliffe’s carnival-barker style of salesmanship.

(e) will be permanently crossed off the “Mother of Presidents” list.

8. What can we expect for McAuliffe’s vanquished opponent in the gubernatorial race, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli?

(a) His name will be submitted for an open Circuit Court judgeship.

(b) The Cooch lands a comfy perch at a Richmond law firm stocked full of hooch.

(c) The ex-AG is picked up as the new director of a national homeschoolers association.

(d) Fox News nightly guest commentary slot, duh.

9. Which national politician sees his or her fortunes rebound in 2014?

(a) President Obama, because there’s nowhere to go but up, right?

(b) Speaker of the House John Boehner, who finds a way to decapitate the headless Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives.

(c) Senator Ted Cruz, the Harvard-educated demagogue who turns the tables on an establishment Republican effort to paint him as some kind of blithering idiot.

(d) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who unexpectedly regains her old job as Speaker of House with sizable Democratic gains in the 2014 mid-term elections.

(e) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is finally rid of the awful Mitch McConnell after the Kentucky senator loses his re-election bid.

10. Which movie snags the Oscar for the Best Picture of 2013?

(a) Gravity

(b) American Hustle

(c) The Wolf of Wall Street

(d) 12 Years A Slave

(e) Lee Daniels’ The Butler

(f) Thor 2: The Dark World

11. Finally, just for Coach Shanahan, the question: Who wins the Super Bowl?

(a) New England

(b) Seattle

(c) Philadelphia

(d) Carolina

(e) Denver

(f) Cincinnati

(g) Halftime performer Bruno Mars, whoever he is.

Answers: 1. (d). 2. (c). 3. (e). 4. (d). 5. (c). 6. (b). 7. (d). 8. (d). 9. (e). 10. (c). 11. (g).

Bonus question: True or false, this quiz is a bunch of malarkey.

Answer: check back with us on that next year.

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