The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search

Halifax County supervisors meet tonight with social distance measures in place

Vote on tax rates tops board agenda

Solar project groundbreaking pushed back

Foxhound Solar in Mount Laurel runs into delays

Guidance on the virus, by Johns Hopkins

Researchers lay out what works and what doesn’t to halt spread, treat illness


High-flying Waller looks to up his game in hoops and track

Waller claimed state Class 4 high jump title in indoor track while playing a pivotal role on the varsity basketball team





First read / January 08, 2020

Here it is, the start of a new year, and all the crystal balls in the world have been hit with a cut-off notice. Translated: who the heck knows what lies ahead in 2020? It’s a tradition in this space to sally forth into January with our Fearless Forecast of the Future®, but there’s fearless and then there’s clueless, and I’m not so clueless as to look back over the past year and think any of it could have been predicted beforehand.

And what of the year that lies ahead? Impeachment. Iran. Guns at the Virginia Capitol. Coin-operated pot dispensaries in ABC stores. (Okay, maybe that one’s a stretch.) The 2020 presidential election. Woof.

You know how on TV, you see commercials for exciting new drug remedies and then comes the part where the narrator reads quickly through all the things that could possibly go wrong? Well, it’s gonna be that kind of year. Talk fast, folks.

Here goes nothing:

(1) On Jan. 20, gun rights advocates will bring the Second Amendment sanctuary movement to Richmond with a massive “armed rally” at the Capital. Aside from the sure-to-be-impressive crowd size, what headlines will we read about the event the day after?

(a) Democratic lawmakers rethink quick action to pass gun control bills.

(b) Hundreds of gun-waving activists are arrested for brandishing.

(c) Capitol police call on the help of Virginia State Troopers to keep the peace; scattered arrests are made.

(d) Man hospitalized after gun accidentally discharges on Capitol grounds, causing brief panic.

(2) Here in Mecklenburg County, one of our local governing boards falls into a state of utter dysfunction in 2020. Which one?

(a) the Board of Supervisors

(b) School Board

(c) South Hill Town Council

(d) Chase City Town Council

(e) All of the above

(3) As for why question #2 comes to pass, it’s because:

(a) Supervisors argue over whether Mecklenburg County’s budget has grown too sharply in recent years.

(b) School trustees bicker over disparities at Bluestone and Park View high schools in a last gasp for Mecklenburg’s longstanding east-west political divide before the consolidated secondary school opens.

(c) A simmering dispute over the management style at South Hill Town Hall goes public.

(d) Because Chase City wants in on the action.

(e) All of the above

(4) Fill in the blank: Mecklenburg County’s economy in 2020 …

(a) gets a turbocharge boost from construction of the high school-middle school complex and the ongoing (and almost limitless) expansion of the Microsoft cloud computing complex in Boydton.

(b) hits a speed bump when America’s manufacturing recession hits home, claiming one of our local industries.

(c) witnesses a noticeable decline in retail spending, with unemployment slowly inching upward and trade tariffs cutting into farm and business profits.

(d) is transformed by a rush of new solar energy projects, aided by state policy mandating greater reliance on renewable energy sources.

(e) keeps bumping along.

(5) The biggest frustration for local government and business leaders in 2020 proves to be:

(a) the slow-slower-Lord this is taking way too much time rollout of rural broadband in underserved areas of Mecklenburg County.

(b) new regulations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers limit residential use of Buggs Island Lake.

(c) rainy and erratic weather dramatically slows construction of the new school complex.

(d) the hemp industry fails to live up to the hype.

(e) Southside Virginia’s ongoing population drain picks up momentum.

(6) With Republicans relegated to a powerless minority at the General Assembly, which of their rhetorical dogs — that is, dire predictions of disaster under Democratic rule — doesn’t bark?

(a) Extreme gun curbs; think confiscation and let your imagination run free ….

(b) The end of Virginia’s right-to-work law

(c) Upward spiraling utility rates with mandates to add more renewable energy to Virginia’s electric power portfolio

(d) Socialism as far as the eye can see

(e) All of the above

Bonus tip: Check state Sen. Frank Ruff’s column for weekly updates on imaginary legislative disasters.

(7) Which bills will be signed into law in the State of Virginia before the year is done?

(a) Localities gain the authority to take down Confederate monuments.

(b) Democrats pass an extreme risk “red flag” law to keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a risk to others, and they ban the sale of assault-style weapons, with an exception carved out for gun owners who have a hunting license

(c) A state minimum wage increase

(d) Decriminalization of marijuana

(e) The declaration of Election Day as a state holiday, coupled with redistricting reforms that assign the drawing of election district lines to an independent, non-partisan commission

(f) All of the above

(8) Okay, let’s jump into national politics: What happens with the impeachment of President Trump?

(a) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally sends over the two Articles of Impeachment (for abuse of power and obstruction of justice in the Ukraine scandal) to the Senate, which in turn holds a one-day trial resulting in the acquittal of Donald Trump and his continued presence in the Oval Office.

(b) Pelosi continues to sit on the Impeachment Articles, refusing to submit them to the Senate until Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees to hold a real trial with real witnesses.

(c) Answer B, with an additional twist: Trump goes nuts (per usual) as Pelosi stiff-arms the GOP-run Senate, leading Trump to trash McConnell’s best laid-plans to wrap up the whole business as soon as possible.

(d) Former national security advisor John Bolton testifies that Trump knew everything about the hold-up of Congressionally-authorized military aid to Ukraine, and personally demanded the act of blackmail in his desire to smear rival candidate Joe Biden.

(e) Hunter Biden testifies before the Senate about what he did as a board member of a Ukrainian natural gas company — short answer: nothing — and a food fight breaks out, with Senators accusing each other of having family members that also serve in well-paid, politically-greased sinecures.

(f) Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, called on to fulfill his constitutional duty to preside over the Senate impeachment trial, has a big surprise in store for everyone.

(9) Who wins the Democratic nomination for president?

(a) Elizabeth Warren

(b) Joe Biden

(c) Bernie Sanders

(d) Pete Buttigieg

(e) Amy Klobuchar

(f) Mike Bloomberg

(10) What happens in the Middle East in the wake of the targeted killing by U.S. forces of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani?

(a) The Quds Force, Iran’s extraterritorial military, sinks oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

(b) Sectarian tensions fanned by Iran bring down the American-backed government in neighboring Iraq.

(c) A significant portion of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure is destroyed in terrorist attacks.

(d) Israel launches a ground invasion of Lebanon in an attempt to wipe out Iranian-backed Hezbollah

(e) Not much really, other than a few skirmishes — in fact, much less than you’d expect from news reports in the immediate aftermath of Soleimani’s death. Until days before the presidential election, that is ….

(11) In these trying times, what development arises in 2020 that unites a fractured nation?

(a) 88-year-old Rupert Murdoch relinquishes control of Fox News to his more risk-adverse sons.

(b) Facebook bans altered “deepfake” videos and actually makes the policy stick.

(c) The New England Patriots do not win the Super Bowl.

(d) The movie version of “Cats” wins the newly-designated Lifetime Achievement category at the annual Golden Raspberry Awards. (Kitties and Razzies, perfect together.)

(e) Donald Trump is finally kicked off Twitter.

(12) Which new media technology emerges as the breakout hit of 2020, grabbing the baton from Tik Tok, Slack and a bunch of other stuff that average Baby Boomers will never understand?

(a) Pokemon GoFinder

(b) WhatDis

(c) ButtKiss

(d) AlgorithmBlocker

(e) RandoMan AI

(“AI,” for tech-weary readers, stands of course for “Artificial Intelligence,” as opposed to the, um, natural kind ….)

(13) Which film wins this year’s Oscar for Best Picture?

(a) Little Women

(b) Parasite

(c) Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

(d) 1917

(e) The Irishman

(f) Joker

(g) Avengers: Endgame


13 seems like an apt cut-off number for all the things, good and more likely bad, that could happen during 2020. Here are our predictions, and if you don’t like them, hey, there are lawyers seeking new business:

(1) c

(2) b

(3) b

(4) a

(5) d

(6) e

(7) f

(8) f

(9) a

(10) b

(11) c

(12) d

(13) b

Classified Advertising

Buy and sell items in News & Record classifieds.