Virginia’s Popular Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Returns Friday

 School Supplies, Clothing and Footwear will be Exempt from Sales Tax 

RICHMOND, Va. – It’s time to make your shopping list because Virginia’s popular sales tax holiday for clothing, footwear, and school and office supplies begins Friday.

For the ninth straight year, many clothing items, shoes, and school and office supplies will be sales tax-free during the first full weekend in August, which is Friday, Aug. 1, through Sunday, Aug. 3 this year.  It’s a great time to buy what you need while saving some money.

During the three-day event, most school and office supplies that cost $20 or less each, as well as clothing items and pairs of shoes priced at $100 or less each will be exempt from Virginia’s 5.3 percent state and local sales tax.  You’ll save even more in most Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads localities where the sales tax is 6 percent.  For example, if you spend $500 on qualifying items during the sales tax holiday, you’ll save $26.50 for tax exempt purchases.  You’ll save $30 in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

The list of tax-exempt items is the same as last year.  It includes pens, pencils, loose leaf ruled notebook paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, construction paper, sneakers, hats, shirts, dresses, jeans, bathing suits, diapers, T-shirts, and many more items.  There is no requirement that the purchases be made for school purposes.

All retailers who sell the exempt items are required to participate.

The tax-exempt items are available to anyone shopping in the state and there is no limit on the number of products you can buy tax-free, as long as each one qualifies under the guidelines.

“This is an event that benefits both consumers and businesses in Virginia,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe.  “Many families will be sending more than one child off to school soon and this gives them an opportunity to save money on purchases that are necessary to get them ready for class.  It also carries a universal appeal because everyone who wants to buy some clothes or office supplies can benefit during the three days of the holiday.  I urge all Virginians to go out and save some money, while supporting our retail community.”

If you can’t get out to the stores but still want to shop and save, online purchases of qualifying items are also tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday.

During the sales tax holiday, retailers may also choose to save taxpayers even more money by absorbing, or paying themselves, the sales tax on items that are not eligible for exemption.  In past years, many stores have taken advantage of this opportunity and some have sold everything in their stores tax-free.

An all-inclusive list of school and office supplies, a list of exempt clothing and footwear items, guidelines for shoppers and retailers, and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the Department’s Sales Tax Holiday Information Center at

Virginia’s other two sales tax holidays are for hurricane preparedness in May, and for energy-efficient appliances and water-saving items in October.

10 Things to Know for Today

The Associated Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


The strike that hit the crowded compound sheltering the war displaced comes amid Israel’s heaviest air and artillery assault in more than three weeks of conflict with Hamas.


Federal rescue workers are hampered by continuing rains and poor roads leading to the village of Ambe in the Maharashtra state where the disaster buried about 40 houses.


Officials in the city of Donetsk say 19 people are dead in fighting between the government forces and pro-Russian separatists.


Stocks take a tumble in Moscow after coordinated sanctions are aimed at increasing pressure on Putin to end his support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.


The measure is intended to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat them, and make it easier to fire senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department.


The region’s secession campaign promises profound consequences for the country as it emerges from its worst economic crisis in a generation, with the moneymaker as a major driver of growth.


In a weeklong effort by the FBI to rescue child sex trafficking victims last month, 168 juveniles recovered, some as young as 11. Among them was a group that particularly troubles child welfare advocates: those whose disappearance was never made known to authorities.


The country’s Espirito Santo family business survived wars, dictatorship, revolution and family feuds for almost 150 years. Now, it is being stripped of its wealth and influence amid accounting irregularities, huge unreported debts and a police investigation.


The city officials are turning up the heat on Times Square costumed characters in a bid to rein in a summertime spike in badly behaving characters, such as the Spider-Man accused of punching a police officer recently.


Vin Scully, the 86-year-old Hall of Fame announcer will return for his record 66th season with the team in 2015.

Obituary for William Dewey (Bill) Graham

William Dewey (Bill) Graham, 74 of Pulaski, died Monday, July 28, 2014 in Heritage Hall Nursing Home in Blacksburg.  He was born on March 11, 1940 in Providence Rhode Island, and was the son of the late Mary Adele Herndon Graham and William Graham obitDewey Graham.  He was a member of the First Christian Church, (DOC).  Bill attended Pulaski County schools, and then granduated from New River Community College.  He was also a former employee of Kroger in Pulaski.  He is survived by nieces and their spouse:  Terri and Rick Spring of Salem, Amy Shoemaker of Salem: a nephew;  Gary (Bo) Graham of Pulaski:  Aunt;  Frances N. Herndon of Roanoke:  special school mates and friends;  Jerry and Betty Anderson of Goldsboro, NC, Charles and Jewel Cutlip Kelly of Smith Mountain Lake:  longtime girlfriend;   Carolyn Puckett of Grahams Forge.  In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents;  James E. and Alice Ratcliffe Herndon:  paternal grandparents;  Mrs. And Mrs. Charles W. Graham:  a brother;  James Wesley Graham. Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 31, 2014 at Seagle Funeral Home at 2:00 p.m.  Interment will follow in Newbern Cemetery.  Visiting with the family, will be Thursday from Noon until 2:00 p.m.  Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting   Arrangements by Seagle Funeral Home, Pulaski, VA.  540-980-1700

Mariners Win in Burlington 3-1

Three-Run Third Inning Propels Pulaski to Victory


Media Intern

The Pulaski Mariners (21-17) returned to winning form Tuesday night against the Burlington Royals (18-20). Pulaski took control of the game early on and never relinquished their grip.

Ricardo Pereira (2-2, 2.01) made his second start of the year for Pulaski. Pereira was nearly flawless—surrendering zero runs on three hits. Additionally, Pereira fanned six and earned the victory.

The Royals contributed heavily to their own downfall in the third inning. Errors on consecutive fielding attempts by Burlington starter Niklas Stephenson (1-3, 2.86 ERA) and a walk to Taylor Zeutenhorst loaded the bases.

With the bags loaded, Jay Baum singled into left field to score Zeutenhorst. Wayne Taylor and Daniel Torres brought home to final two runs on a walk and fielders choices, respectively.

Burlington scored once in the eighth inning against Jarrett Brown (1-1, 5.71 ERA), but Brown escaped with minimal damage. Peter Miller (2-1, 1.52 ERA) pitched a perfect ninth inning for his third save of the year.

The two teams play morning baseball tomorrow to decide the outcome of the series. The game is slated for an 11 am start.


Sheriff confirms death of 4-year-old passenger in crash

From Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office

A four year old female has died as a result of the injuries she sustained during the July 25th motor vehicle crash on Lowmans Ferry Road in Pulaski County, according to Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis.

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office was notified of her death late yesterday evening in Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

The investigation into the accident is continuing.

Suspicious substance found in Radford

From Lt. Andy Wilburn

Radford City Police

At approximately 10:30 am this morning, Radford Police were called to Harvey’s Collision Center at 1500 Tyler Avenue in reference to a suspicious substance found inside the bumper of a car that was brought in for repairs.

The Virginia State Police and FBI responded to assist in the investigation.

Testing done on scene as to the identity of the substance was inconclusive. VSP and FBI personnel have taken the unknown substance to be destroyed.

Employees of the facility were sent home for the day as a precaution.


Pre-Back to School Events in Pulaski County

August 5th

Open House at PCHS for 11th and 12th graders

August 7th
Open House at PCHS for 9th and 10th – 1 to 7 PM

August 11th
Open House at PMS and DMS (6th graders) – 4 – 6 p.m.

August 12th
6th Grade transition pool party – 7 – 9 p.m. – Randolph Park.
Open House at PMS and DMS (7th and 8th graders) – 4 to 6 p.m.

August 13th
Convocation – Edwards Hall at NRCC – 8:45 a.m.
Open houses for all Elementary Schools are at 4 to 6 p.m.

August 14th
9th Grade transition pool party – 6 to 8 p.m. – Randolph Park.
“Back to School Night” at Calfee Park – 7 p.m.

Obituary for Mary Josephine Giles Bruce

Mary Josephine Giles Bruce, age 93, of Belspring, died at home on Monday, July  28, 2014.  She was born on April 12, 1921 in Parrott and was the daughter of Effie Mae Hamilton Giles and Atlas Burnett Giles.  She was employed for many years at Kollmorgen from where she retired and returned to work part time until the age of 80.  She was a Bruce, Mary Josephine 07282014member of the Belspring United Methodist Church and a member of the former Eastern Star in Radford.  In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband, Clyde C. Bruce; brothers, Claude Giles and Herman Giles; sisters, Helen G. Blair, Gerlene G. Bruce, and Cova G. Graham.  She is survived by two sons:  C. Wallace Bruce and his wife, Judy, and C. Wayne Bruce and his wife, Connie, of Dublin:  a daughter, Nellie Jones and her husband, Jerry of Radford.  She is also survived by seven grandchildren:  Carla Thompson and her husband, Dr. Donnie Thompson, of Birmingham, AL; Michelle B. Tarasidis and her husband, Dr. Charlie Tarasidis of Radford;  Wayne Bruce, Jr. and his wife, Samantha, of Jonesborough, TN; S. Todd Bruce and his wife, Tracie, of Pulaski; Adam A. Bruce and his wife, Amy, of Hardy, VA; Cindy Jones of Radford and Amy Lambert of Dublin. She is survived by one brother, Harry Giles and his wife, Shirley, and  sister-in-law, Dallas Giles, of Belspring.   She is also survived by 15 great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins.  Funeral services will be held Wednesday, July 30 at 2:00 P.M. at the Belspring United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dr. Fred Austin  officiating.  The family will receive friends from 12:00 noon to 2:00 P.M. at the church prior to the service.  The family would like to thank Intrepid Hospice, especially Barbara, Sue, Jacqui, and Dr. Charles Judy.  Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting   Arrangements by Seagle Funeral Home, Pulaski, VA, 540-980-1700.

Dollar Tree steps up fight, buys Family Dollar

NEW YORK (AP) — The fight for penny pinchers is intensifying.

Dollar Tree said Monday it is buying rival discounter Family Dollar for $8.5 billion, significantly broadening its reach as it looks to fend off Wal-Mart, which has been stepping up its courtship of lower-income customers

The deal makes Dollar Tree the biggest player in the dollar store segment, with its more than 13,000 combined locations eclipsing current leader Dollar General Corp., which has about 11,300.

Dollar stores grew during the recession as people across income groups searched for cheaper options. To attract a broader array of customers, dollar stores also expanded their offerings to include more groceries and brand-name products, instead of just the party favors and other knickknacks people often associated with them.

More recently, however, sales at dollar stores have been suffering because the lower-income customers who go to them are facing persistent job instability and slow wage growth in the aftermath of the recession. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co. also have been opening smaller store formats to directly compete with dollar stores.

Brian Sozzi, CEO and chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors, said Dollar Tree’s deal will allow it to ultimately lower prices because it will be able to cut expenses by merging some operations. That will enable it to better compete with Wal-Mart, which built its business on having everyday low prices.

“Now they’re going to take the fight back to Wal-Mart,” Sozzi said.

The deal gives Dollar Tree more flexibility.

Dollar Tree is true to its name, with everything in its stores costing just a buck. The fixed pricing has helped attract more customers and boosted sales, but it also puts the company in a tough spot as inflation pushes up its costs and pressures profit margins. Family Dollar is far more flexible in its pricing, which allows it to sell a greater variety of items, including Kraft cheese and Tide laundry soap, at various price points.

Still, Family Dollar, which has more than 8,000 locations, has been shuttering stores and cutting prices in hopes of boosting its financial performance. Last month, investor Carl Icahn urged the company to put itself up for sale. Icahn has built up a stake in the company of more than 9 percent, according to regulatory filings. Based on his purchase price at the time, he stands to make nearly $200 million from the deal.

On Monday, Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser said that the two companies “co-locate really well” and offer complementary merchandise.

The companies did not say if any Dollar Tree or Family Dollar stores would be closed. Dollar Tree, which has about 5,000 locations, will continue to operate under the existing Dollar Tree, Deals, and Dollar Tree Canada store banners. It will keep the Family Dollar brand as well, with Chairman and CEO Howard Levine reporting to Sasser.

Representatives for Wal-Mart and Kroger weren’t immediately available for comment. A representative for Dollar General, which last year reported sales growth of 9 percent, was not immediately available for comment.

Stockholders of Family Dollar Stores will receive $59.60 in cash and the equivalent of $14.90 in shares of Dollar Tree for each share they own. The companies put the value of the transaction at $74.50 per share, which is an approximately 23 percent premium to Family Dollar’s Friday closing price of $60.66.

Including debt and other costs, the companies estimate the deal to be worth more than $9 billion.

Family Dollar stockholders will own somewhere between 12.7 percent and 15.1 percent of Dollar Tree’s outstanding common shares at closing. Dollar Tree plans to finance the deal with available cash, bank debt and bonds.

The boards of both companies unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close by early next year. It still needs approval from Family Dollar shareholders.

Shares of Family Dollar Stores Inc., which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, surged $14.89 to $75.55 in premarket trading. The record high during regular trading is $75.29.

Shares of Dollar Tree Inc., based in Chesapeake, Virginia, jumped 10 percent, or $5.50 to $59.72. The all-time high for that stock is $60.19.