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Speaker at South Boston Council meeting alleges mistreatment by police

Members of South Boston Town Council fielded allegations of police mistreatment from a 20-year-old county man who said he suffered bruises and lacerations during a Nov. 30 traffic stop by…

Second suspect arrested in South Boston slayings (UPDATED)

A second person has been charged in the slaying of two brothers this weekend in South Boston after police initially arrested a 17-year-old male on murder charges.

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Holiday special

SoVaNow.com / November 27, 2019
Good news for Thanksgiving — the cost of your dinnertime turkey is at a 10-year low.

Sadly, there’s always a catch. From NBC News:

Turkey prices are down about $1.30 per pound this year, or $20.80 for a 16-pound bird, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey.

The average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people is only up 1 cent from last year to $48.91, for a spread that includes pumpkin pie, veggies, rolls, cranberries, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and all the usual fixings.

President Donald Trump’s trade war and ensuing tariffs on imported goods have meant an oversupply of domestically produced goods, in some cases, bringing down prices. “The biggest items seen impacted are soybeans, some pork, cotton, and feed grains,” John Newton, the Federation’s chief economist told NBC News. “Really what it’s done is it may have increased supplies at home, leading to lower input costs.”


Lower input costs! Great for you and me, not so much for the farmer behind the tree. The NBC report continues:

Farms filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcies — the liquidation or financial restructuring plan most frequently filed by family farmers — rose by 13 percent from July 2018 to June 2019 over the year prior, according to American Farm Bureau Federation figures.

“Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world, but most don’t realize only 8 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food goes to farmers,” said Newton.


On a related note: we received a Farm Services Agency press release to publish this week on “the second tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program” payments by USDA. This is the official term for the bailout money that the Trump Administration is providing to ag producers who have been hurt by the president’s trade war with China. To be clear, the fact that farmers are receiving government money to offset the damage from Chinese tariffs is not the fault of farmers, but of the White House they largely (and mystifyingly) continue to support.

For the record, the much-maligned bailout of the auto industry during the Obama Administration cost taxpayers $12 billion, in return for which the U.S. saved a lynchpin industry employing tens of thousands of people at above-market wages. What has the Trump farm bailout profited the U.S., and how many of our taxpayer dollars have been spent in return?

According to Bloomberg News, the bailout tab is now $28 billion, and “farmers expect the money to keep flowing” next year. In other words, the hit to taxpayers is likely to be three times that of the auto bailout, which, just as an aside, was largely paid back to the federal treasury.

“China hawks in Trump’s administration want Beijing to quit subsidizing strategic industries, yet that hasn’t deterred the White House from doling out billions in aid to American farmers, who have become more dependent on government money than they’ve been in years,” reports Bloomberg.

There’s a persistent belief in some quarters that the trade dispute will end up working out for the best, and farmers who are hurting now will recoup their losses later down the line because of Trump’s trade standoff. Sadly, there’s not a jot of evidence to support this wild idea. Seriously, folks: this White House is utterly incompetent, which is probably the nicest thing you can say about the Trump presidency. Someone please let me know when the news breaks that America “has won the trade war.” In other developments, Oceania remains at arms with Eastasia ....

***

I’ve been meaning to write something for weeks about Francis Mitchell, the longtime teacher and coach at Halifax County High School who passed away Oct. 27 at her South Boston home. Mrs. Mitchell had a hand in so much going on at Halifax County Senior High School during my years there (1976-1980) that I couldn’t begin to pin down all of her various assignments and duties. She was a coach for the track team, of which I was a member — it was a team where no one was ever cut — and she served as the Health/PE department chairman, although I’m not sure if her time in that role overlapped my years at the high school. No matter — Mrs. Mitchell was a ubiquitous presence at the high school, always upbeat and encouraging and the sort of person you couldn’t help but to like.

After her retirement in 1999, she remained a constant presence in the lives of young people. When my son was young, he played PeeWee basketball at the armory (since renamed the South Boston Recreation Center.) The rec league basketball scene is truly one of the finest parts of living in Halifax County, where kids of all backgrounds and colors come together to hoop with nary a care in the world. The program’s adult leadership, starting with Rec Department Director Matt McCargo on down to all of the referees and coaches who so capably teach the game of basketball, help to make rec league hoops such a joy. And Mrs. Mitchell was always a big part of that. I don’t recall a time when I would step into the armory and Mrs. Mitchell wasn’t around to help take up tickets and cheer on the kids. There wasn’t a moment I remember when she showed anything but love in her heart for the county’s youths.

It should go without saying she will be missed. Mrs. Mitchell set an example in her lifetime that the rest of us should heed in ours.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.





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