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
News

Service set Friday for late Councilman Billy Clarke

Pedestrian suffers life-threatening injuries in Route 501 hit-and-run

Virginia State Police are investigating a Friday morning hit-and-run in northern Halifax County at the Staunton River and Campbell County line that sent a pedestrian to Centra Lynchburg General Hospital.…

Remains of Emma Compton Layne identified; leads sought in homicide

Human remains found in the Nathalie area in November have been positively identified as those of Emma Compton Layne of Cody, who has been missing since June 20, 2017.

Sports

One Dixie for all

Scottsburg merges with Halifax County Dixie Youth to form one countywide league

Community


Opinion


A&E

Opinion

Tom McLaughlin

Losing a neighbor

An old neighbor, Fred Martin, the longtime pastor at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Halifax, died Tuesday after a lengthy struggle with leukemia and other illnesses. The majority of the Martin clan relocated to Richmond years ago, but prior to that point our two sprawling families —five McLaughlin kids, nine Martin children—grew up together as next-door neighbors in Halifax. As one of the few adults in the fray, Fred was the sharp-tongued presence at backyard get-togethers, beer in hand and a slightly owlish look on his face, unless he were laughing at something, which was often, in which case his visage more closely resembled that of the Cheshire cat. Although it wasn’t as evident during those childhood years, Fred made his mark on the world as someone who could be quite outspoken on the great issues of the day. He famously sermonized against the Vietnam War at a time when that sort of thing simply wasn’t done, and on questions of race relations, equality and justice he would challenge the conscience even as others held their tongues. Whether motivated by his faith or an abiding fearlessness or just plain old orneriness is hard to say — one would guess a combination of all three — Fred Martin made this community a better place during the time he lived here and forever after. He will be greatly missed.

Questions and answers

I ran into three people this week who sought out my opinion on three separate items in the news. That, of course, was all the fodder I needed for today’s column:

Back in black

The issue of ag/forestal districts is back on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda, and it’s clear the votes are there to pass the policy with room to spare. I wrote a series of columns last year outlining why I think ag/forestal districts are a middling-to-bad idea, and nothing has changed since then to warrant a change of heart. That said, I do think county officials have come up with a reasonably thoughtful proposal, regardless of how misguided the notion may (or may not) be.

BTU overdrive

First rule for countering groupthink: When everyone else agrees on a plan of action, that’s when you should become suspicious. Conventional wisdom now says the path to a healthy Southside economy begins with the development of alternative energy technologies. By harvesting our natural resources in innovative ways, so we are told, Southside can become the Saudi Arabia of wood scrap, corn cobs, chicken poop or whatever.

Crime and punishment

Much to get to this week: Let’s start with Jeff Oakes. With the former sheriff stuck with a $37.50 fine for low crimes and misdemeanors (his jury bill, on the other hand, will run $1,620) people will debate ad nauseam whether the investigation into the wiped computer at the Sheriff’s Office was worth the time, money and effort, coming as it did at taxpayer expense.

Clear cut

With all the trimming, hemming and hawing that occurs in politics, it’s rare to experience a moment when clarity prevails and the depravity of segments of our so-called leadership is laid bare for all to see. Such a moment arrived late last week in Richmond when the House of Delegates — defying reason, compassion and plain good sense — rejected $125 million in federal stimulus funds to expand unemployment benefits in Virginia. The House vote, cast mostly along party lines, would have been deplorable even in the best of times. But with a terrible economy putting jobs at risk across the Commonwealth, the delegates’ action is nothing short of astounding. Let them eat cake indeed.

Member of the gang

A sage person once observed that the less said the better, but this is advice that I’ve never really been able to take to heart and I don’t blame Ted Bennett for struggling with the concept, either. Bennett stunned the political cognescenti (well, some anyway) by announcing Sunday that he was dropping out of the race for House of Delegates. After saying he would run to succeed the outgoing Clarke Hogan, Bennett took about three weeks before deciding that life in retirement wasn’t so bad, and besides, he didn’t have as much time for politics as he previously thought.

Bad company

Somehow I get the feeling that the 2009 elections won’t be as fun as a barrel of monkeys. In the governor’s race on the Democratic side there’s a decent chance the party nominee will be Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and a notable Friend of Bill and Hillary. Nothing against the Clintons, but the last thing Virginia needs is for a big-money, Wall Street-lovin’ Democrat to take over the state party and call the shots in Richmond. Ugh. On the Republican side you’ve got the presumptive nominee, former Attorney General Robert McDonnell, who is slick, smart and smooth but also holds extreme views on social and economic issues that to my mind make him a poor choice for our next governor. My hope is that one of the other Democratic candidates in the gubernatorial race — State Senator Creigh Deeds, my first pick, or former Delegate Brian Moran, also a perfectly acceptable choice — will emerge as the Democratic nominee in the June 9 primary. But about that we shall simply have to see.

Limits of science

The uranium mining subcommittee of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission is moving forward with a study of the health, environmental and economic impacts of uranium mining in Pittsylvania County. No surprise there. The subcommittee this week issued a draft report that lists the topics of study for a scientific commission, just the sort of bureaucratic action you’d expect in what promises to be a long, arcane, occasionally tendentious thrill ride to Armageddon.

Mixed message

Two weeks ago I wrote a lengthy front-page article on the dual enrollment program at Halifax County High School that I hope fairly laid out its pros and cons. So, folks with limited patience might ask: What’s the bottom line? The answer is, alas, complicated. Some people will tell you that college-level classes at HCHS are all sizzle and not much steak, and others testify to the benefits that kids and families have reaped from dual enrollment—usually measured in dollars-and-cents savings on future higher ed costs, the result of students racking up community college credits while still in high school. Everyone’s experience is different. No one has a monopoly on the truth, and seemingly everyone has an anecdote to share. What I ended up with was a mixed picture on the college-level academic program at Halifax County High School — in marked contrast, it should be noted, to the official line that dual enrollment at HCHS is proof of Halifax County’s commitment to providing a world-class education for our kids.

• Page 56 of 57 pages « First  <  54 55 56 57 >

Advertising Flyer

Find out how you can reach more customers by advertising with The News & Record and The Mecklenburg Sun -- in print and online.