Governor McAuliffe Kicks off Back-to-School FAMIS Enrollment Campaign

 RICHMOND– Governor Terry McAuliffe today kicked off the Virginia Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) program’s back-to-school enrollment campaign at a press conference at Virginia Commonwealth University’s McGlothlin Medical Education Center.

In his “A Healthy Virginia” plan announced last fall, Governor McAuliffe set a goal of enrolling 35,000 additional children in the FAMIS program by the end of 2016. Family Access to Medical Insurance Security is Virginia’s health insurance program for eligible children,

“I am excited to say today that we have enrolled 17,000 children in FAMIS since I launched ‘A Healthy Virginia’,” Governor McAuliffe said. “That’s almost halfway to our goal. But we cannot rest. A healthy state needs healthy children, and our back-to-school awareness campaign will help ensure that more children get the medical and dental care they need.”

FAMIS is part of Virginia’s Medicaid program. The back-to-school campaign launch also coincides with this week’s 50th anniversary of the signing, by President Lyndon Johnson, of legislation creating the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

To reach the FAMIS enrollment goal, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services has increased regional field outreach activities, and expanded its contract with the Virginia Health Care Foundation to pay for five additional Project Connect application assistance and outreach projects.

The FAMIS back-to-school campaign will distribute more than 1.5 million flyers, in English and Spanish, to children in public schools around the state. In addition, nearly 550,000 FAMIS back-to-school Free and Reduced Lunch inserts will be sent to parents by school nutrition supervisors throughout the state.

Beginning in August, television ads will air in local media markets to let parents know about the FAMIS program, and to tell them that they can enroll through the Cover Virginia website ( or telephone number (1-855-242-8282).

The 30-second ad, with the theme “Parenting Challenges,” will air beginning in early August in Southwest and western Virginia, and in September in the central, eastern and northern parts of the state, as schools start.

Obituary for Thomas Jackson “Tommy” Sheets

Thomas Jackson “Tommy” Sheets, age 72 formerly of Dublin away Monday, July 27, 2015 in Hillsville, Virginia.

Born September 11, 1943 in Smyth County, he was the son of the late Charlie Victor Lee Sheets and Blanche Virginia Campbell Sheets. He was also preceded in death by one brother, Billy Lee Sheets and many aunts and uncles.

He is survived by his

Brother- James “Jim” Sheets- Dublin.

Several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Thursday 11:00 AM, July 30, 2015 in the Bower Funeral Home Chapel, Pulaski with Pastor Wes Spence officiating. Interment will follow in the Azen Missionary Baptist Church, Konnarock.

The family will receive friends Thursday one hour prior to service hour at the Funeral Home

To send online condolences to the family, visit Bower Funeral Home, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the Sheets family.

Virginia home sales post strongest second quarter in 7 years

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia residential real estate market saw its strongest second quarter since the 2008 recession, according to recent report.

Multiple media outlets report that the Virginia Association of Realtors released a report Tuesday that said sales reached $10.6 billion, up 11 percent from the same period a year ago.

The median price rose in six of seven regions, including central Virginia, where it ticked up 5.7 percent in the second quarter to $219,000 from a year ago. The report considers central Virginia to include Richmond, the Tri-Cities and 18 surrounding counties. There, overall sales numbers rose 13.9 percent from a year ago.

The Hampton Roads/Chesapeake area reported the only decline in median sales price — $202,000, down 5.4 percent from the year-ago period.

Average US vehicle age hits record 11.5 years

DETROIT (AP) — In the age of Apple’s CarPlay, a lot of cars on the road still have tape decks.

The average vehicle in the U.S. is now a record 11.5 years old, according to consulting firm IHS Automotive, a sign of the increased reliability of today’s vehicles and the lingering impact of the sharp drop in new car sales during the recession.

Drivers behind the wheel of older cars aren’t enjoying some of the latest advanced safety features or infotainment systems that effectively turn cars into cellphones on wheels. Then again, they don’t have to worry about hackers finding their way in to the car’s computer network through the cassette or CD player.

IHS said U.S. registrations grew to a record 257.9 million cars and trucks, up 2 percent from a year earlier.

The average age of vehicles has been climbing steadily since IHS began tracking the number in 2002. As quality and reliability have improved, people have been holding on to their cars and trucks for longer. The average length of ownership for a new vehicle is now almost 6.5 years, IHS said. For a used vehicle, it’s five years.

Cars and trucks now have the same average age, says Mark Seng, IHS Automotive’s global aftermarket practice leader. For many years, cars had shorter lifespans than trucks, but their quality has now caught up.

Experts say there’s no rule for how long to hold on to an old car or truck. A car with good reliability can go for 200,000 miles or more, which can easily last a decade for some motorists, says Doug Love, a spokesman for Consumer Reports.

The magazine doesn’t recommend driving older cars without two key safety features introduced more than a decade ago: electronic stability control and side curtain air bags.

The aging car population could mean that Americans will be slow to adapt safety and semi-autonomous features that have car company executives and experts heralding a new age of the automobile. Adaptive cruise control arrived in the U.S. market in 2006, for example, but nine years later only 6 percent of all cars have it, according to a recent report from Boston Consulting Group. It will also take longer for much-hyped advances like CarPlay — which gives drivers access to their apps through the dashboard — to become commonplace.

But Seng says the auto industry should take heart. Even though the average vehicle age shows no sign of reversing, it is starting to plateau, since buyers have returned to the car market in big numbers. Sales of new cars rose from 12.7 million in 2011 to 16.5 million last year and are expected to reach or exceed 17 million this year. IHS thinks the average vehicle age will hit 11.6 years in 2016 but won’t climb to 11.7 years until 2018.

Seng says that’s a more normal rate than the industry saw in the years after the recession. Vehicle age increased rapidly between 2008 and 2013, since more people were keeping older cars. In 2008, the average age of cars and trucks in the U.S. was 10 years; by 2013, it was 11.4 years, or 14 percent higher.

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Obituary for Mary “Lois” Nester Morehead

Tuesday, July 28, 2015, Mary “Lois” Nester Morehead went to her heavenly home surrounded by her family.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Abie and Mary Nester; husband, Earl T. Morehead; and brothers, Howard and Milton Nester.

She is survived by her daughter and “son”, Mary Vivian and Tommy Rash, of Dublin.  Also surviving is her granddaughter and husband, Vivian Ann and Brad Shaver and great-grandchildren, Rex and Analee Shaver of Lyman, SC.  Other surviving family includes her sister, Edith N. Edwards, and brother, Ronnie Nester, of Belspring, as well as many nieces, nephews, friends, and the ladies of the Heart and Hands Ministry Group.

Lois was enjoying her annual beach vacation time with her family and passed away unexpectedly.  She loved all the children and youth she came in contact with.  Many of those affectionately called her “Nanny.”  Church was very important in her life and the family requests that all memorials be made in her memory to Mountain View United Methodist Church, 6648 Wilderness Rd., Dublin, VA, 24084.

All services will be held at Mountain View UMC on Friday, July 31, 2015.  Visitation will be held 4:00-6:00pm.  A celebration of her life will be held at 6:00pm, followed by burial at the church cemetery, with Rev. Paul Goshorn officiating.

The Morehead family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford.

Two troopers suffer minor injuries in accident today on I-81 in Pulaski County

The vehicle driven by Trooper W.L. Stumbo III sits along I-81 earlier today. (State Police photo)

The vehicle driven by Trooper W.L. Stumbo III sits along I-81 earlier today. (State Police photo)

By Corinne N. Geller

Public Relations Director

Virginia State Police

Two troopers are recovering from minor injuries sustained in a crash on Interstate 81 Tuesday morning in Pulaski County.

At approximately 5:30 a.m., a tractor-trailer traveling north on I-81 became disabled and had to stop along the left shoulder and travel lane at the 96 mile marker. Virginia State Police Sr. Trooper R.W. Hughes stopped out behind the tractor-trailer for the safety of the tractor-trailer and northbound traffic. Sr. Trooper Hughes’ patrol vehicle had its emergency lights activated and was parked in the left lane behind the tractor-trailer.

Trooper W.L. Stumbo III, pulled in and parked his marked state police patrol car approximately 500 feet behind Hughes’ vehicle, so as to provide northbound traffic more advance warning of the lane closure. While parked in the left lane with its emergency lights activated, the state police 2013 Ford Taurus was struck by a northbound 2002 Chevrolet Silverado at about 6 a.m. The Silverado then struck a 2015 Kia Forte that was traveling north in the right lane.

Trooper Stumbo was seated in his patrol car at the time of impact. Stumbo was wearing a seat belt. Stumbo was transported to New River Valley Medical Center, and has been treated and released.

Sr. Trooper Hughes was outside his patrol car and on foot when the crash occurred and was forced to leap over the guardrail to avoid being struck by the vehicles. Hughes suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

The driver of the Silverado, Andrew B. Caldwell, 41, of Elk Creek, Va, was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seat belt. Caldwell was charged with reckless driving.

The driver of the Kia, a 54-year-old woman from Alabama, was transported to Lewis Gale Hospital in Pulaski for treatment of minor injuries. She was wearing a seat belt.

$9.4 million price tag put on middle school work



$9.4 million – that is the amount Spectrum Design estimates it will cost to replace windows and make necessary electrical and HVAC improvements at both Pulaski and Dublin middle schools.

The Pulaski County School Board and Board of Supervisors commissioned Spectrum Design, out of Roanoke, to conduct a study at both schools on the feasibility and probable costs to make the upgrades.

Following the decision to move forward with the $3.4 million project currently underway at Dublin Elementary School – which involves a classroom expansion, window replacement, electrical and HVAC improvements – both boards expressed the desire to take a look at what could be done to improve conditions at the middle schools.

According to the Board of Supervisors, it will be several years before the county can afford the added expense of constructing a new, consolidated middle school to replace the two existing schools.

The boards sought cost estimates on replacing exterior windows in both middle schools; replacing HVAC systems in classrooms, computer labs, administrative offices and library facilities, and improving the electrical systems at both schools to support the new HVAC systems.

The study did not include the addition of new HVAC systems in auditoriums, gymnasiums, cafeterias and common areas at both schools – each of which were substantially constructed in the early to mid-1950’s.

Spectrum estimated the cost of work as follows:

Pulaski Middle School

-HVAC improvements: $1,717,500

-Electrical Improvements: $563,334

-Window Replacements: $2,929,980

Total Cost: $5,210,814

Dublin Middle School

-HVAC Improvements: $1,420,500

-Electrical Improvements: $456,523

-Window Replacements: $2,303,190

Total Cost: $4,180,213

School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Brewster said this week members of both boards have copies of the Spectrum report and are looking it over.

Brewster said he is hopeful the two boards can meet together in a future joint meeting to discuss where to go from here.

PCHS, LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski sign agreement for trainer, sports medicine services

7-24 PC Schools LG Hospital

Pulaski County School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Brewster and LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski CEO Derek Vance sign a Memorandum of Understanding for athletic trainer and sports medicine services for Cougar athletes during the 2015-16 school year. Also attending the signing ceremony were (front row from left) School Board member Joe Guthrie, Brewster, Vance and Dr. Michael Simpson. (Back row from left) Michel R. Heifferson, head of the VCOM Athletic Trainer division; Hospital Board Vice Chairman Angie Covey, Hospital Board Chairman Dr. Don Stowers, PCHS Principal Michael Grim, PCHS Assistant Principal Mark Hanks and PCHS Head Football Coach Stephen James. (Mike Williams photo)



Pulaski County High School and LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski have entered into an agreement that will enhance athletic trainer and sports medicine services this school year for athletes at PCHS.

School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Brewster and hospital CEO Derek Vance on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the partnership.

Brewster called the partnership “a tremendous opportunity” for the student athletes at PCHS.  Vance noted he is “super excited” about the partnership.

Both men agreed that the safety of students is the top goal at all times at the school and on the ball field.

The agreement calls for LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski to provide a certified athletic trainer full-time to PCHS to provide athletic training services to the school’s athletes, and to assist with injury prevention and recovery.

Those services begin August 1 and extend through the spring sports season during the upcoming school year.

The athletic trainer will be available on-site at mutually agreed upon activities that may include both practice and game coverage.

The agreement notes the hospital with provide on-site athletic support at all home football games this season, as well as sports medicine clinics on Saturday mornings during the football season to assist with sports related injuries.

A medical provider will visit the athletic training room at least weekly during the winter and spring athletic seasons to assist in the prevention and treatment of sports injuries.

The agreement also states that the hospital will ensure all support coverage necessary to complete the spring sports physicals for the 2016-17 school year, and will help to procure athletic training room supplies to support PCHS athletic programs.

In return to the services provided by the hospital, PCHS agrees to provide advertisements for LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski in event programs, public announcements during events and space for banners that display the hospital’s name during sporting events.

The school will also provide public announcements at each home game recognizing medical providers who are providing coverage for the game, and the partnership between the hospital and high school.

Pack the Bus events planned for August

From Pulaski County United Way

There are several opportunities this year to help Pulaski County students in need. These opportunities are a collaborative effort between Pulaski County Public Schools, Dublin Wal-Mart store, Pulaski County United Way, and Calfee Park.

There are three PACK THE BUS events scheduled for Pulaski County. The goal is to fill the seats of the bus with school supplies for Pulaski County students during these events.

A  Bus will be located at the Dublin Wal-Mart on:

 Saturday, August 1st from 1 – 5:00 PM

Tuesday, August 4th from 3 – 6:00 PM 

Thursday, August 6th from 3– 6:00 PM  

The Back to School Night at the Yankees game at Calfee Park will be on Saturday, August 15.  Donations of school supplies will be accepted and placed on buses.  Students will be admitted free.

The most needed supplies this year include the following:

Pencils and Pens                                                              Notebook paper

Glue sticks                                                                          Spiral notebooks

Highlighters                                                                       Crayons

Back packs                                                                          Hand sanitizer

Gallon size storage bags                                                               Quart size storage bags

Beach towels (kg)                                                            Lysol wipes

Wet wipes                                                                          Tissues

Pencil bags/boxes                                                           3 Ring Binders

Hand Soap                                                                          3 prong folders

Folders                                                                                 Pencil erasers

Scissors                                                                                                Dry Erase markers

Sharpie permanent markers

Having these supplies makes a big difference in a student’s school success. Let’s give our children the confidence to succeed in the new school year. The schools will distribute the supplies to needy children to help set them up for success after the start of the school year.

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