Henry County Enterprise

(USPS-6) www.henrycountyenterprise.com • $1.00 Saturday, October 17, 2020 0 51497 10908 0 County to receive $1.5 million for CCBC improvements The Appalachian Re- gional Commission (ARC) awarded $1,500,000 to Henry County for natural gas service to the Com- monwealth Crossing Busi- ness Centre (CCBC). Henry County Admin- istrator Tim Hall said the grant represents a piece of the funding and project to provide natural gas service. But, once the service is available, the CCBC will be positioned to offer “ev- ery utility that advanced manufacturing needs or wants. That could elevate us in the eyes of potential clients,” he added. U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R- Salem, said the CCBC “is an important part of Henry County’s economic development strategy. ARC’s grant of $1.5 million to connect the site to natural gas service will make it more attrac- tive to manufacturing op- erations, which will create jobs and support the local economy. I am excited by this big step forward.” U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner, D-Alexandria, and Tim Kaine, D-Rich- mond, announced a total of $3,910,184 in ARC funding for communities in Southwest and South- side Virginia. The fund- ing, awarded through ARC’s POWER (Partner- ships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, will go towards addressing substance-use disorders, improving broadband connectivity, strengthen- ing rural economies and improving local infrastruc- ture. “We are thrilled that these federal dollars will go help fund some of the top priorities for commu- nities in Southwest and Southside Virginia,” they said. “As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it’s essen- tial that we keep bolstering rural economies, ensuring internet reliability, and supporting some of the most vulnerable Virgin- ians.” ARC Federal Co- Chairman Tim Thomas said “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Ap- palachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic op- portunities through inno- vative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.” In addition to Henry County, other projects slated to receive funds are: *$1,494,000 for the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Devel- opment Area Consortium Board in Radford, to tackle the substance-use disorder problem by coordinating the healthcare sector and the economic develop- ment and workforce sector to build a recovery ecosys- tem. *$793,500 for St. Mary’s Health Wag- on in Wise County to es- tablish a substance-use dis- order treatment program using medication-assisted treatment. PressGlass, Inc. is the first company to locate in the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre (CCBC). NCI to serve as host institution in wind workforce training collaborative Gov. Ralph Northam announced the formation of Virginia’s first off- shore and onshore wind workforce training collaborative, the Mid-At- lantic Wind Training Alliance. The program will offer industry required certifications that are criti- cal to the operations and long-term maintenance of wind projects, ac- cording to Northam, who made the announcement Wednesday while addressing the 2020 Offshore WINDPOWER Virtual Summit hosted by the American Wind En- ergy Association. The New College Institute, which will serve as the host insti- tution, is joining forces with Cen- tura College and the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy to create the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alli- ance (the Alliance). This partner- ship will bring courses certified by the Global Wind Organization and National Center for Construc- tion, Education, and Research wind technician training to onshore and offshore wind projects to Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. “Building a strong wind energy workforce will give the Common- wealth a significant competitive advantage in attracting onshore and offshore wind projects,” said Northam. “There is currently mas- sive potential for offshore wind up and down the East Coast, and we look forward to working with our partners across Virginia and in neighboring states to grow this Potential violation of federal law alleged at council meeting The legality of a Martinsville City Council member’s job as an enu- merator in the nationwide census was called into question Tuesday by a fellow council member. Jim Woods alleged at an Oct. 13 council meeting that Danny Turner violated the 1939 Hatch Act by working as an enumerator for the Census Bureau. Woods said his own experience prompted him to initially raise the issue at a previous meeting. “I tried to re-up with them” as an enumerator, after serving in a simi- lar capacity in 2010, Woods said. When filling out the application, Woods said he was asked if he held an elected post. “I clicked ‘Yes,’ and it said I was disqualified,” he added. Woods said he also contacted an official with the Census Bureau and was told “that no elected official could do it (participate) because of the Hatch Act. I sent an email, and he said ‘no, you’re restricted by the Hatch Act.’” In a Sept. 22 email to Michael Stowers, Senior Partnership Special- ist with the U.S. Census Bureau, Woods wrote, “I was checking to see if local politicians are allowed to Study sheds light on local housing needs The findings of a comprehensive housing study unveiled at Tuesday’s Martinsville City Council meeting show a demand for new units. City Manager Leon Towarnicki said “the conclusions were that there is a substantial demand in the market for newly-constructed units.” He added that the area median in- come can add up to hundreds of new units. Approximately 32.3 percent of to- tal households in Martinsville-Henry County are renter-occupied, accord- ing to Towarnicki. He said a majority of those sur- veyed indicated that rental housing is needed more than owner-occupied. The findings showed affordable hous- ing options have substantial waiting lists. Additionally, there is a demand for one, two, and three-bedroom op- tions, at average prices of $465, $577 and $711 a month, respectively. Towarnicki said he found one sta- tistic particularly interesting. “The average vacancy rate was 1.3 percent,” he said. “If you have 300 City Manager Leon Towarnicki (right) presents findings from a housing study to Martinsville City Council. Also pictured from left to right are Danny Turner, Vice-Mayor Chad Martin, Mayor Kathy Lawson, Jennifer Bowles and Jim Woods. Edwards seeks to fine-tune the city in council bid With Election Day less than a month away, a former music instructor is mak- ing his pitch to serve on Martinsville City Council. Nelson Edwards, 68, says he is look- ing to bring an alternate perspective to the city’s governing body. As a retired music educator with Henry County Public Schools, Edwards thinks his background is needed to change the rhythm in council chambers. “I have worked with the youth my entire professional career as a music teacher and band director in public schools, and I would be entering this job with an optimistic and positive belief in our future,” Edwards said. Part of that optimism starts with hav- ing a bright vision for the city, he said. “My vision is of a small city that has all the perks of a big city -- a quality of life that attracts people to come here to raise a family or retire,” Edwards said, and added the city should have the in- frastructure to attract small and large businesses and be a place “where an en- trepreneur would want to start his or her business.” To accomplish that vision, Edwards said the city needs to be “user friendly” Nelson Edwards is seeking a seat on Martinsville City Council. and supportive of business growth, in part by “keeping taxes low and services strong. The city schools need to be one of the best in the state with a thriving uptown and lots of activities.” Edwards said he views the city revert- ing to a town as inevitable. “With less and less funds to transfer from the city Enterprise Accounts to the General Fund, we are at the point we need to start down the reversion path,” Brandon Martin Staff writer Pearson bucks reversion as Election Day nears Tammy Pearson’s mot- to in her campaign for a seat on Martinsville City Council is “For a Better Community.” As the only candidate not in favor of a city rever- sion, Pearson said she isn’t afraid to stand up for her ideas. Pearson, 54, said the city needs to thoroughly consider all options -- not just reversion. “I am very concerned because, if we revert, we could easily see an increase in property taxes as well as the doubling of Machinery and Tools tax and BPOL (Business, Professional and Occupational License) tax,” she said. “This is far too harmful for small busi- nesses and it negatively impacts property owners. This is also a detriment to bringing in new busi- nesses.” Pearson, a small busi- ness owner, said that rever- sion may also result in an increase in taxes for county residents. “We need a positive, not adversarial, partnership with the county,” Pearson said. “Let’s come to the ta- ble and discuss services we can consolidate that would be a good move for both the county and city.” Pearson said that it ap- pears that the city is sol- vent rather than bankrupt, and she proposes attacking the root of the problem by focusing on bringing in new sources of revenue through economic devel- opment efforts; keeping businesses thriving and located in the city; attract- ing new residents who will benefit from the city’s fi- ber network, outdoor sur- roundings and activities. Additionally, Pearson said there may be room to “cut fat” by renegotiating/ reconsidering contracts like the one the city made with AMP Ohio. While she would be in the minority on council Tammy Pearson in terms of reversion, Pear- son said she is “not afraid to go against the status quo, stand up for what is right, and voice issues and concerns of private citizens and businesses.” If elected, “I will garner support and consensus to push forward ideas and programs,” she said, and added that having an open ear is an advantage when speaking with constitu- ents. “People listen to people who listen,” she said. “You Brandon Martin Staff writer See Pearson , page 2 See Edwards , page 3 See Housing , page 2 See Violation , page 3 See NCI , page 6 See CCBC , page 3 Debbie Hall and Brandon Martin Staff Writers Brandon Martin Staff writer