News & Articles

Hazard pay bonus for deputies lowered in final Va. budget bill

Posted on Aug 12, 2021

By CHARLES BOOTHE Bluefield Daily Telegraph Aug 12, 2021

 

RICHMOND, Va. — An amendment to Virginia’s biennial budget bill that would have given sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers a $5,000 hazard pay bonus was reduced to $3,000 in the final version.

State Sen. Travis Hackworth, R-Tazewell County, submitted the amendment for the $5,000 last week and it was passed by a voice vote in the Senate. Gov. Ralph Northam had proposed a $1,000 bonus.

But a conference committee later reduced the $5,000 to $3,000, funding that will come from Virginia’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Hackworth said he was disappointed in the change and joined other Republicans in opposing the state budget in the 2021 special session.

“I promised voters that I will always balance fighting for our region while also standing for our values,” he said. “The compromise necessary to support this bill would have forced me to support a slush fund for our Governor and Democrat majority to advance their progressive agenda with taxpayer dollars while exploring ways to take away our gun rights. While I am glad we made this bill slightly more palatable, I simply could not betray our values and region by supporting such a bill.”

Hackworth said in the end the overall budget was not acceptable.

“Even though we did get some wins out of the budget especially the Sheriffs bonus increase, ultimately there was too much bad for my taste,” he said.

Hackworth listed several particular spending items in the budget he opposes, including:

• $800 million discretionary fund for the Governor to spend without oversight.

• $2.5 million to fund a “Gun Violence Fund.”

• $4.5 million for “voter education” and expanding early voting on Sunday.

• Funding for special interest groups on monuments.

• Extending the eviction moratorium through June 30, 2022, “further placing hardship on landlords that depend on rental income to make their mortgage payments.

Under the passed budget, a committee must be formed and report back to the Virginia General Assembly by October 2021 on the Commonwealth’s law enforcement salary disparities.

But Tazewell County Southern District Supervisor Mike Hymes said the $3,000 bonus does not extend to locally funded deputies. The state pays the salaries for a majority of the positions, but not all.

“The bonus only goes to positions approved by the state compensation board which does not cover all our county deputies,” he said. “I plan to make the motion that we pay the 15 non-compensation board officers the same bonus out of our county ARP funds. This will be placed on the agenda for our September meeting.”

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Original article @ https://www.bdtonline.com/news/local_news/hazard-pay-bonus-for-deputies-lowered-in-final-va-budget-bill/article_b6fa1c99-7257-58ab-9816-a558537927ef.html

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VCEDA Closes $170,000 Grant with Tazewell County IDA for Medical Screening Convenience Kit Manufacturing Study

Posted on Jul 16, 2021

TAZEWELL, VA – JULY 16, 2021 — An up to $170,000 grant to the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to be used to finance a medical screening convenience kit manufacturing feasibility study and the build-out of a medical incubator site in Tazewell County was closed Wednesday by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

The Tazewell County IDA is partnering with Moein Health, LLC on the project and will utilize the grant for the renovations and furnishings needed at the incubator site; for equipment; medical kit materials for the pilot study project; assembly of the medical kits; and to deploy the medical kits in the region in association with health partners. According to the project application, a key to the success of the project is collaboration with Clinch Valley Medical Center. The project also seeks to provide the test kits it produces through the Health Wagon and Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinics.

Moein Health LLC is a California limited liability company founded by Dr. Sudabeh Moein, a practicing OB/GYN and a volunteer professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at the University of California San Diego Medical Center.  Dr. Susan Meacham has served as a consultant on the project.

Moein Health has developed a patented new screening method for cervical cancer which can be done in one clinic visit. The screening kits are cost-effective, not highly technical and designed for use in mobile units and mission clinics. With a potential market of billions of women, Moein Health sees great potential for the cervical cancer screening kits which could also save many lives by making the screening easier, more available and increase the likelihood of earlier screening, the application to VCEDA noted.

“If the pilot project is successful in the VCEDA region, the hope is that Tazewell County can become the location for mass scale production of the medical screening convenience kits which would lead to significantly more employment,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “We look forward to seeing the results of the feasibility study when it is complete.”

The feasibility study will look at the development and manufacturing possibilities for a cervical cancer medical screening convenience kit to improve health and foster economic diversification through new medical technologies.

“This is exciting news for our region,” said Virginia Delegate Will Morefield. “A healthy community is a strong community and we are making every effort to improve access to healthcare in Southwest Virginia. The development and manufacturing of medical devices used to improve the quality of life for women in Southwest Virginia and around the world will only help our efforts to diversify the economy.”

Virginia Senator Travis Hackworth agreed.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our region,” Hackworth said. “A pilot program such as this is more than just an economic development benefit, it also addresses a serious health concern for our community. I am hopeful for the many women who will benefit from these cervical cancer screening  kits and appreciative of the collaboration between VCEDA, Tazewell County, Clinch Valley Medical Center and Moein Health. Making our community healthy and creating jobs is a wonderful combination.”

According to the application materials presented to VCEDA, in 2018, cervical cancer ranked in the top three cancers affecting women younger than 45 years of age making cervical cancer a global threat to the lives of young women, negatively impacting the world economy.  In Appalachian states, rates of cervical cancer are higher than the U.S. average.

“On behalf of the IDA Board of Tazewell County, we are excited and pleased to support Moein Health and the medical needs of Southwest Virginia as well as the world,” said Kyle Hurt, chairman of the Tazewell County IDA. “We are excited that Moein Health, in collaboration with Clinch Valley Medical Center, is choosing Tazewell County as their location to begin US-FDA trials for the new medical screening convenience kit.”

Hurt continued, “we are confident that the Moein Health team will successfully establish the new cervical cancer procedure and begin the second phase of Moein Health growth within Tazewell County. This patented procedure will be a blessing for women’s health across the USA and indeed the world. With the assistance of VCEDA and the Tazewell County IDA, we expect great things here in Tazewell County from the Moein Health team.”

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Pocahontas ATV Trail

Posted on Jul 3, 2021

Pocahontas ATV Trail

During my time on the Board of Supervisors the county created the Pocahontas ATV trail and we recently added additional property which will expand the trail.

Today we re-opened the jawbone trail, which will bring more business to our county.

When re-elected I will continue to work on these types of projects and others to help our county.

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Hospital Staff Honored

Posted on Jun 30, 2021

Hospital Staff Honored

Last night I was excited to honor the staff of our hospital for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are so fortunate to have this facility in our community.

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‘Listen to us’

Posted on Jun 15, 2021

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