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Caution urged for Prom Night

Emergency services chief resigns post

Four days, three fatal crashes

A Clarksville teen died Friday in Buffalo Junction wreck, the first of three deadly car crashes in Mecklenburg County in the past week.


Double play





Checking the list / December 19, 2013
Dear Santa,

I have been a good boy this year. Well, most of the time. But this letter isn’t about me. I am writing to ask you to look kindly upon all the poor souls who struggle in their daily lives, who must deal constantly with hardship and strife, who deserve a little happiness this Christmas season. You probably already know the folks I’m talking about: They made the majority of our headlines in 2013.

Yes, sometimes our newsmakers have been naughty, and sometimes they’ve been nice, but everyone deserves a moment of happiness and a ray of hope and a pony under the tree this Yuletide. So here’s a list just for them, Santa. You might want to schedule some overtime for the elves:

For Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark: A collector’s edition box set of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

For Halifax County Public Schools: The winning Mega Millions ticket.

For Commonwealth’s Attorney-elect Tracy Quackenbush Martin: Photos of her performance in Little Theatre’s production of “The Tempest,” also starring Mike Freshour (from oh so many years ago).

For James Abbott, among the stars of the most recent Little Theatre show, “The Man Who Saved Christmas”: an encore.

For Halifax County Administrator James Halasz: A trail guide.

For the Halifax County Board of Supervisors: A surer sense of direction.

For Superintendent of Schools Merle Herndon: No more fungus among us (sorry).

For South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel: A gift of brand new golf clubs in recognition of his work on behalf of the Washington-Coleman Center, and a mulligan for his latest zoning plan.

Daniel’s stocking stuffer: The new software release of Powerpoint.

For Jack Dunavant: A mahogany storage cabinet for the shotgun he vowed to brandish at Coles Hill.

For John Cannon: An interest-bearing account for the Virginia Coalition’s unspent lobbying funds.

For Virginia Uranium Inc. investors: Free glow-in-the-dark rocks to give to the kids this Christmas.

For State Sen. Frank Ruff: A higher purpose at the General Assembly now that VUI has thrown in the towel on overturning Virginia’s uranium mining ban.

For Del. James Edmunds: A reminder that Southside Virginia has many people who work full-time but earn so little as to qualify for health coverage with the proposed expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

For Halifax Regional Health System President Chris Lumsden: The politicians’ ears when it comes to deciding whether to accept the Medicaid expansion.

For South Boston Mayor Ed Owens: More ribbons to cut.

For County Treasurer Linda Foster: A stamp to mark tax bills as “unpaid.”

For Commissioner of Revenue Brenda Powell: Open source computer software that won’t stop working when the inventor dies.

For Assistant School Superintendent Valdivia Marshall: A copy of the classic 1915 novel, “The Good Soldier.”

For county Supervisor Barry Bank: A tricorner hat.

For retiring Clerk of Court Bobby Conner: Online courses on how to become a lawyer.

For Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Executive Director Betty Adams: Eager students and recruiting employers.

For members of the Halifax County IDA: Lifetime free passes to the Halifax County Fair.

For the fairgrounds property: A major manufacturing concern that doesn’t mind sharing space with the Ferris wheel each year (good luck with that).

For Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy: More days spent on the river.

For new Comet football coach Kenneth Day: No need for Hail Marys.

For Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph: Offensive linemen he can look up to.

For South Boston Rec Director Matthew McCargo: A head coaching job.

For students at Sinai and Meadville elementary schools: New gymnasiums.

For YMCA Director Marcus Hargrave: Ditto.

For We’ve Got Rhythm Dance Academy instructor Lori Reeves: Sugar plum fairies and standing ovations.

For Prizery Arts Director Chris Jones: A vacation on Broadway.

For the developers of the New Brick Historic Lofts: Well-heeled tenants.

For Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Pool: A recording of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” as read by Nick Long.

For Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt: A higher caliber of ghostwriter for his weekly newspaper column.

For Attorney General candidate Mark Obenshain, Republican: A cigar to go with yesterday’s graceful concession in his razor-thin race.

For Attorney General-elect Mark Herring, Democrat: The hair back on his chinny-chin-chin.

For outgoing Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell: No late-breaking indictments.

For incoming Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe: Discretion in his choice of friends.

For Star Scientific founder and CEO Jonnie Williams: No more bromances at the Governor’s Mansion.

For House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: Revocation of his Tea Party membership.

For U.S. Senator Mark Warner: Stretching exercises in the run-up to the 2014 mid-term elections.

For Southside Virginia: Single-digit unemployment. Make that low single digits.

For the News & Record’s readers, advertisers, and friends: Our sincerest thanks for your support throughout the year and our fondest wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

For yours truly: A short respite from column-writing until the new year.

Happy holidays and see everyone again in 2014!

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