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Halifax Dems offer support to Cockburn at Monday caucus

Caution urged for Prom Night

Emergency services chief resigns post


Double play





Ahead of the times 2 / 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 helpful than hindsight. Take ousted Redskins coach Mike Shanahan (please!): Do you think that Shan-the-Man might want to take back that 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 our annual Pop Quiz of the Future, a fixture in this space for many years. He might learned that some things just are not destined to turn out very well in the future. Such as: getting a phone call from Redskins owner Daniel Snyder offering a coaching job. At times like these, it’s best to turn your thoughts elsewhere, 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 whims of reality. How’s that for a guarantee?

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

1. The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley, some Scottish poet dude once wrote, or so we’ve been told. Which of these best-laid plans is likely to go wrong in 2014, and why?

(a) Congress fails to pass a Farm Bill, which used to be a fairly rudimentary piece of political business, and for once local farmers actually suffer hardship due to the dithering at the nation’s capital.

(b) Despite assurances that the problem is being taken care of, by late spring there’s a new outbreak of mold at Halifax County High School.

(c) Plans to repurpose the Halifax County Fairgrounds as an industrial site/business park are thwarted by the pitchfork brigades riding atop tractors at the annual Heritage Festival.

(d) The Halifax County Courthouse project is thrown into turmoil by the Rat Army.

2. On the other hand, something is bound to go right in 2014, right? (Think the law of averages here.) By the end of the year, we’ll be celebrating our good luck because ….

(a) The IDA lands a manufacturing company as the first tenant at the Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center (the old Daystrom Furniture building to you and me ….)

(b) The School Board discovers a way to fund long-overdue renovations at Sinai Elementary and Meadville Elementary.

(c) The City of Danville at long last sees the rumor about a massive auto manufacturing plant heading to Southside come true.

(d) Walter Coles and other Chatham-area landowners throw in the towel on uranium mining and bequeath their Coles Hill properties to the Nature Conservancy.

(e) Work begins on restoring and reopening the John Marshall Hotel in downtown South Boston.

3. Like death and taxes, one thing that’s certain in life is state-funded shortfalls in the K-12 budget. Here in Halifax County, which component of the school system will take it on the chin?

(a) The maintenance department — can you say outsourcing?

(b) The transportation department — someone will have to work extra hard to keep those old buses rolling for another year.

(c) Athletics — “pay to play” isn’t just for lobbyists anymore.

(d) Teachers — um, about those salary increases

(e) All of the above

4. Twenty years from now, we’ll look back at 2014 and remember it as the year when ….

(a) South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniels’ plan to transform Riverdale into a wetlands park got going with passage of an updated rezoning ordinance.

(b) Healthcare in southern Virginia improved greatly with implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

(c) Healthcare in southern Virginia became a drab, Soviet-style experience with implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

(d) Halifax County missed the boat by not moving expeditiously to expand its itty-bitty stretch of rail-trail.

(e) It became obvious that the county needs a new high school.

5. Who is most likely to have a breakout year in 2014, and why?

(a) Halifax County school superintendent Merle Herndon, who wins statewide recognition for her non-headline-inducing work to upgrade the Halifax County Public Schools curriculum.

(b) Nettie Simon-Owens of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, who takes on a big new statewide role in workforce development.

(c) Jeb Burton, who exceeds expectations on the NASCAR circuit.

(d) Jeremy Jeffress, pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, who finds his control and has a big impact in the bullpen for the surprising Blue Jays.

(e) IDA Executive Director Matt Leonard, who becomes more than just the “local guy at the IDA” with the successful recruitment of new industries to the county.

6. Time to pivot to legislative matters: Which of the following events will confound 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 show where people stand.

(b) After putting on a front 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 protest 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) will be kind of a mess for the next four years.

(d) will have surprising success in 2014 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 will land 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) Nightly Fox News 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 already-headless Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives.

(c) Senator Ted Cruz, the Harvard-educated demagogue who turns the tables on establishment Republican efforts 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 will snag 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. (b). 2. (e). 3. (b). 4. (e). 5. (b). 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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