Over 70,000 sign petitions protesting pipelines in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. — Environmentalists on Tuesday dropped on Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk petitions signed by more than 70,000 people supporting stricter rules for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines that energy companies plan to build across Virginia.

One petition, signed by 10,000 Virginian residents, demands that the Northam administration immediately halt the tree-felling along the pipeline routes and let the public comment on the companies’ plans to control erosion and stormwater before they are finalized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Activists also gave Northam an online petition signed by more than 62,000 citizens from around the country calling on Northam to stop the pipelines, which they said would threaten the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and miles of national forest land. By late Tuesday, the number of signatures on the Change.org petition had topped 65,500.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club and other groups held a press conference on the state Capitol grounds the morning after the DEQ approved the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Outraged by that action, the environmentalists said the DEQ must require the companies to take better precautions when constructing the pipelines. The activists said that will happen only if Northam gets involved.

“It’s time for you to be the leader that we voted for,” LeeAnne Williams, a Virginia Sierra Club volunteer, said, addressing the governor.

Some activists said they have already seen negative effects of the pipeline from the cutting of trees. “The proposed pipelines have altered people’s lives, land value and emotional well-being,” said Lara Mack, Virginia field organizer for Appalachian Voices.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry natural gas 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline would run more than 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. If built as proposed, the pipelines would cross streams and other bodies of water more than 1,400 times, environmentalists say.

David Sligh, conservation director for Wild Virginia, said the state should review the environmental impact at each of those water crossings. He said pollution from the pipeline could cause “permanent damage to the aquatic systems.”

The companies that want to build the pipelines say the projects are crucial to meeting the energy needs of Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region.

“Demand for natural gas is growing across the region – to produce cleaner electricity and support economic development – but there is not enough infrastructure to deliver the supplies needed to meet this demand,” the consortium that has proposed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline says on its website.

The consortium, which includes Dominion Energy, says the pipeline construction would create 17,000 jobs and provide a “major boost to local businesses in every community.”

In a recent monthly newsletter, the company building the Mountain Valley Pipeline said it plans to have the pipeline in service by the end of the year.

This story was produced by the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Capital News Service.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Hawai‘i, Maui Benefits from Increased Federal Funding Bill

US Senator Brian Schatz. Photo Courtesy

Congressional appropriators released a bipartisan spending deal on Wednesday, March 21, that will increase federal funding for critical programs that benefit Hawai‘i for fiscal year 2018.

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, successfully advanced state priorities that are now included in the final deal during committee consideration.

“With this bipartisan deal, Hawai‘i will receive a sizeable increase in federal funding. This is the best appropriations bill that we’ve seen for our state since I got here,” Sen. Schatz said. “This appropriations bill will give our state funding to create jobs, help our veterans, protect our environment, and strengthen education and health care programs.”

The deal will increase funding for clean energy projects and VA clinics in Hawai‘i, as well as Native Hawaiian health and education programs. The bill also adds billions in funding for programs that support telehealth in Hawai‘i, affordable housing programs, and the Honouliuli National Monument.

New and Increased Funding for Hawai‘i

Environmental Restoration on Formerly Used Defense Sites— $248.7 million, a $26 million increase from last year. Hawai‘i will see a 10% increase in funding. Funding supports the US Army Corps of Engineers’ continued efforts to identify and remove unexploded ordnance at former military sites across the neighbor islands and to ensure that military training and activities remain in balance with Hawai‘i’s local needs. Sen. Schatz worked to secure an additional $7 million above the President’s budget.

Highway and Transportation— $177.4 million, a $3.5 million increase from last year. This estimated funding is distributed from the Highway Trust Fund to Hawai‘i for highway maintenance and new construction of bridges, roads, and bike and pedestrian paths.

Veterans Affairs—$81.5 billion (nationwide), a $7 billion increase from last year. Funding will be used to:

· Help fund the construction of new facilities, including a new 120-bed state extended-care facility in Honolulu. The agreement includes a provision freezing all existing projects on the VA’s priority 1 grant list in an effort to clear the existing backlog and fund more projects;
· Improve aged electrical systems and leaking roofs at the VA Pacific Island Health Care System;
· Help to finally make progress toward a long-overdue community-based outpatient clinic in Hilo and replacement clinic in Kona;
· Expand VA telehealth services in rural and remote areas; and
· Fund and expand VA projects aimed at closing gaps in access in rural, highly rural and remote areas.

Affordable Housing— $41.4 million, a $5.8 million increase from last year. This estimated funding supports the HOME Investment Partnership program, which provides resources to help communities build and maintain affordable housing. It also supports the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program, the Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, and HUD Homeless Assistance grant programs.

Native Hawaiian Education— $36.4 million, a $3 million increase from last year. This funding supports programs that strengthen Native Hawaiian culture, improve levels of educational attainment, and enhance family and community involvement in education. President Trump proposed eliminating funding for Native Hawaiian education programs in his budget.

Regional Coastal Resilience Grants— $30 million (nationwide), a $15 million increase from last year. The spending deal doubles the FY17 funding for this national program from $15 million to $30 million. The program funds projects that help coastal communities and ecosystems prepare for extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions. In Hawai‘i, it has funded projects to improve high wave and king tide forecasts, to plan and prepare better for extreme coastal weather, and to restore native Hawaiian fishponds.

Coral reefs are often called the rainforests of the sea. They support various marine life while only comprising a small area of the ocean’s surface. With vast number of species living within and around them, they are regarded as the most diverse marine habitat. Credit: Micki Reams/NOAA

Coral Reef Conservation— $26.6 million (nationwide), a $600,000 increase from last year. This funding supports NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, which addresses the top threats to coral reef ecosystems in Hawai‘i and across the country. Working with partners, NOAA develops place-based strategies, measures the effectiveness of management efforts, and builds capacity among reef managers globally.

Clean Energy Research for the Military— $25 million, a $5 million increase from last year. Hawai‘i continues to lead in clean energy technology and implementation, which will pay dividends to our state, our economy, and our national security. This funding supports the Navy’s alternative energy research programs, including those in Hawai‘i that are working to make the Navy and its installations more resilient and less reliant on fossil fuels. Senator Schatz worked to secure $25 million in funding for the Navy’s alternative energy research and development, which was not part of the president’s budget.

National Estuarine Research Reserve including He‘eia— $25 million (nationwide), a $1.5 million increase from last year. Funding includes a $1.5 million increase, which will be used, among other things, to support the newest Reserve in the system: He‘eia. This site demonstrates the value of Native Hawaiian taro cultivation and fishpond aquaculture to maintain a healthy ecosystem. It is viewed by NOAA to be a model site because of its seamless integration of science and culture.

Telehealth Addressing the Opioid Epidemic— $20 million (nationwide), new funding. This funding supports telemedicine and distance learning services to help address the opioid epidemic in rural America.

Native Hawaiian Health Care— $17.5 million, a $3.1 million increase from last year. Native Hawaiian Health Centers, run through the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems program, provide critical access to health education, promotion, disease prevention, and basic primary care services for thousands of Native Hawaiians. This funding will support five health centers on Hawai‘i Island, Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu.

Native American Language Preservation— $14 million (nationwide). This funding includes $12 million for Native American language preservation activities under the Administration for Native Americans and $2 million in new funding for Native American language immersion schools as authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Senator Schatz co-authored the legislation to create new grants for Native American immersion schools and programs.

Hakalau Forest and Haleakalā Conservation— $13 million, an increase of about $800,000 for Hawai‘i projects. The bill includes $7 million for Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge and $6 million for Haleakalā National Park, which will allow those federally protected areas to expand and thrive.

Bus and Transit— $7.6 million, a $2.6 million increase from last year. This estimated funding is distributed among the state and counties for the operation and capital costs associated with operation of public transit systems, including the Maui Bus, TheBus, Kaua‘i Bus, Hele-On Bus, and TheHandi-Van fleets.

Native Tourism— $4.4 million (nationwide), new funding. Funding includes $1 million from transportation and $3.4 million from community and economic development accounts within the Department of the Interior to implement the Schatz-led NATIVE Act, which was signed into law in September 2016. Senator Schatz authored this law to empower native communities, including Native Hawaiians, American Indians, and Alaska Natives, to tell their own stories and share in the benefits of heritage and cultural tourism in the United States.

Compact of Free Association Impact— $4 million (nationwide), a $1 million increase from last year. The United States has entered into the Compacts of Free Association with the governments of the Freely Associated States, which are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. These Compacts allow FAS citizens to live in the United States and receive certain benefits. This funding will help Hawai‘i provide those benefits to FAS citizens who live and work in the state.

Military Construction— $317 million, a $119 million increase from last year.

· $90 million for increment 3 of the Army’s command and control facility at Fort Shafter;
· $73.2 million for a sewer lift station and relief sewer line at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH);
· $5 million for the consolidated training facility at JBPHH;
· $19 million for LHD pad conversions to MV-22 landing pads at Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i (Kaneohe Bay);
· $5 million for the NSA Hawai‘i Kunia tunnel entrance;
· $65.9 million for a communications/crypto facility at JBPHH;
· $25 million for an operational readiness training complex at the Pohakuloa Training Area;
· $26.5 million for the Mokapu gate entry control antiterrorism/force protection at Kaneohe Bay.

The bill also funds two Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program projects to improve energy security and water conservation at military installations in Hawai‘i. These projects include:

· $6.2 million for HVAC upgrades at Kaneohe Bay; and
· $1.4 million for a salt water pumping system for the Navy at JBPHH.

Protected Funding

Tsunami Program—$31.6 million (nationwide), despite major cuts proposed by President Trump. The NOAA Tsunami Program provides funding to coastal states for preparedness activities such as inundation mapping, disaster planning, and tsunami education. Funding includes $12.2 million for tsunami monitoring, $13.4 million for forecasts, and $6 million for a grant program, which states can compete for, to prepare inundation maps and assist with outreach and education. Hawai‘i relies on all three components of the program. Despite deep cuts proposed by President Trump, Senator Schatz helped protect funding for this critical program.

East-West Center— $16.7 million, despite President Trump’s proposed elimination. The East-West Center directly supports the US rebalance to the Asia Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue with countries in the region. It is the only US institution that provides a multilateral approach through research and exchange programs.

Japanese American Confinement Sites including Honouliuli— $2.9 million (nationwide), despite President Trump’s proposed elimination. Funding will support Japanese American Confinement Sites grants. JACS grants support the preservation of Japanese American internment camps, including the Honouliuli National Monument, through partnerships with local preservation groups. Grants may also be used to encourage and support the research, interpretation, and preservation of internment camps to help prevent this injustice from being repeated.

Native Hawaiian Housing— $2 million, despite President Trump’s proposed elimination. The Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program provides financial assistance for Native Hawaiian families to obtain new homes, make renovations, build community facilities, and receive housing services, including counseling, financial literacy and other critical resources to address housing disparities.

Hansen’s Disease Treatment in Hawai‘i— $1.9 million, despite President Trump’s proposed elimination. Under this Health Resources and Services Administration program, payments are made to the State of Hawai‘i for the medical care and treatment of persons with Hansen’s Disease in its hospital and clinic facilities in Kalaupapa and Honolulu. Programs supported by HRSA to address Hansen’s Disease are particularly important in states like Hawai‘i that have large populations of immigrants from nations with high rates of the disease.

Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)— $1 million, despite President Trump’s proposed elimination. REACH is a national program to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities by providing grants to community-based organizations that work to reduce chronic illnesses and encourage healthy lifestyles in underserved populations. This estimate is based on last year’s allocation of $1 million in grants to Hawai‘i.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument— $500,000. The spending deal authorizes NOAA to make a competitive grant of up to $500,000 for research and management activities in Papahānaumokuākea. The funding is subject to a 100% non-federal match, and will bring new resources to keep our Hawaiian archipelago healthy and productive.

Science City at Haleakalā National Park. PC: Nikki Schenfeld

Other Highlights for Hawai‘i

Maui Space Surveillance System— $10.4 million. This funding supports DoD programs that help track, identify, and characterize space objects of interest, including the Dynamic Optical Telescope System.

High Performance Computing Modernization Program— $221 million, despite President Trump’s $39 million proposed cut. This funding supports DoD’s regional supercomputing centers, including the Maui High Performance Computing Center. Working with Committee leaders, Sen. Schatz was able to increase funding for the program by $39 million above the president’s budget to ensure that DoD has the funding it needs to upgrade the technology at MHPCC so that it can continue to support the military’s current and future high-performance computing needs in Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals and Sea Turtles Protection— $8 million. Hawaiian monk seals are the only seal species in the world that live in only one nation’s territorial waters. Because these seals are an extremely endangered species, we have a responsibility to help them toward recovery. This funding will continue to support monk seal conservation and recovery. Funding will also support sea turtle conservation activities such as interagency consultation and technical assistance on marine turtle by-catch reduction strategies, cooperative conservation actions in the greater Pacific region, marine turtle stock assessments and scientific research projects.

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Areas of Prince William Forest Park will open

TRIANGLE, Va. — Areas of Prince William Forest Park in Virginia will open after a March windstorm.

A National Park Service news release says areas that are clear of fallen and hazardous trees will open Monday.

Visitors can enter the park from Park Entrance Road off of Joplin Road beginning at 9 am. Piedmont Forest Trail, Laurel Trail Loop, Birch Bluff Trail, and Crossings Trail will be open to the public.

The Pine Grove Picnic Area and Telegraph Picnic Area will also open Monday.

However, most roads, trails, campgrounds, and facilities remain closed due to safety concerns following the windstorm. Prince William Forest Park administrators plan to open additional areas of the park as storm damage is mitigated.

Prince William Forest Park is the largest protected natural area in northern Virginia.

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Story Of Real-Life Winnie-The-Pooh Forest Coming To Farmington

Kathryn Aalto will take guests through the story of the real-life Hundred Acre Woods, which served as a setting for A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories. This photo of the Poohsticks Bridge is part of that story. Aalto will share her story through words and visuals. (Contributed Photo)

The Farmington Garden Club has partnered with the Farmington Library to host Kathryn Aalto, the author of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood.

Aalto, who is from California but now lives in Exeter, England, will speak at the library on March 12 at 7 p.m. about her book, which explores the real life inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, the setting for his Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

Her children, she said, served as the main inspiration for writing the book. When they moved to England in 2007, they left behind a 20-acre farm in Seattle. She needed some place else for her children to roam.

"We had a salmon-spawning stream, meadows, and woods," Aalto said. "We had a tame flock of wild turkeys, a herd of horses along with chickens, cats, and dogs. The second day in living here, I stumbled across a book of walking public footpaths. If I didn’t have my farm where the kids could roam free, I thought to myself, then I would have to find another way."

To further acclimate her children to their big move to England, Aalto started reading them classic stories. Eventually, they asked if there was a real Hundred Acre Wood. Aalto wanted to find out.

And she had the background to do so. She describes herself as a "landscape designer, historian, writer, and lecturer on subjects related to people, places, and plants."

That dates back to Aalto growing up in the small farming town Escalon, California, where she and her father cared for their gardens.

"I grew up surrounded by orchards of walnuts, almonds, and peaches," Aalto said. "My father taught high school agriculture, farmed, and was a garden designer. He was clearly a big influence on me. As I girl, I gardened with him. Not surprisingly, I became a serious green thumb."

Aalto said people who attend her talk at the Farmington Library can expect to be transported back to their childhood.

"People will experience an unexpected journey into their own childhoods, into the English countryside and into literature in a way that they have never experienced before," Aalto said. "The book and talk appeal to a wide swath: gardeners, travelers, book lovers, and Anglophiles. And, of course, Winnie-the-Pooh fans."

Aalto tells the story through her words and visuals, using photographs she took and combining those with historical photos of A.A. Milne and his collaborator, E. H. Shepard.

"Being an oral storyteller is fascinating," Aalto said. "I am comfortable speaking and so as I talk, I can watch the journey taking place across the faces of my audiences. Occasionally, I make people cry, but it’s always in a good way. I take the art of storytelling seriously and am honored to have enriched peoples’ experiences of arguably the most beloved and iconic setting in children’s literature."

Kathy Lindroth, of the Farmington Garden Club, has had a part in planning Aalto’s visit.

The talk is free and open to the public, not just for members of the garden club. The garden club asks that people register ahead of time if possible, by calling 860-673-6791 or visiting http://bit.ly/2z5176V.

Aalto will also be signing copies of her books, which will also be for sale at the talk.

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Thursday night obituary update

The following obituaries have been provided by local funeral homes. Read our complete obituaries in The Herald-Dispatch on Friday and at www.herald-dispatch.com.

GEORGE WASHINGTON ALDRIDGE, 77, of Ashland, husband of Versell Blair Aldridge, died Feb. 27 in St. Mary’s Medical Center. He was a retired fire protection specialist with AirGas. There will be a Celebration of Life at 1 p.m., Saturday, New Beginnings Church, 2001 Fort Gay Rd., Fort Gay; burial will follow in Elmwood Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the church. Morris Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

MAE CAUDILL, 98, of Topmost, Ky., widow of William Caudill, died March 7 in Pikeville (Ky.) Medical Center. Funeral service will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Nelson-Frazier Funeral Home Chapel, Hindman, Ky.; burial in Rene Hall Cemetery. Visitation will be after 6 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday at the funerla home. www.nelsonfrazierfuneralhome.com.

ORA VIRGIE COLLINS, 75, of South Point, Ohio, died Thursday in Harbor Healthcare of Ironton. Funeral service will be 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Chapman’s Mortuary, Huntington; burial will be in Forest Memorial Park, Milton. Visitation will be after 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. www.chapmans-mortuary.com.

STEVEN EDWARD DALTON, 35, of Oil Springs, Ky., husband of Heather Stidham Dalton, died March 6 at home. He was self-employed at Broadway Exhaust. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Friday, Preston Funeral Home Chapel, Paintsville, Ky.; burial following in Dalton Family Cemetery, Oil Springs, Ky. Visitation will be after 9 a.m. Friday at the funeral home.

MILLARD F. DONNELLY, 74, of Kenova, husband of Pauline Blair Donnelly, died March 6 at home. He was a self employed roofer. Funeral services will be 3 p.m. Monday, Rollins Funeral Home, Kenova. Visitation will be two hours before the service. Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery, Kenova.

LEANNA KEY FORD, 102, of Kenova died March 5 in River’s Bend Health Care, South Point, Ohio. She had worked for Appalachian Power. There will be a celebration of life, 3 p.m. Sunday, Rollins Funeral Home, Kenova. Visitation will be two hours before the service. Memorial donations may be made to River’s Bend Health Care, 335 Jefferson Avenue, South Point, OH 45680.

HAROLD FRAZIER, 75, of Louisa, Ky., husband of Mary Frazier, died March 8. He was a retired inspector for AK Steel. Funeral service will be noon Saturday, Young Funeral Home Chapel, Louisa, Ky.; burial in Frazier Cemetery, Clifford, Ky. Visitation will be after 3 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

JERRY NEAL GALLIMORE, 71, of Huntington husband of Donna Keyser Gallimore, died March 3. He was a retired Master Sergeant with the United States Air Force. Funeral service will be noon Saturday, Henson and Kitchen Mortuary, Barboursville. Visitation will be one hour before service Saturday at the funeral home. www.hensonandkitchen.com.

JOHN "MIKE" GEE, 75, of Ironton, widower of Brenda Gee, died March 6 in Cornerstone Hospital. He had worked at Ironton Iron. There will be a memorial service at the convenience of the family. Donations may be made to Phillips Funeral Home, 1004 South 7th Street Ironton, OH 45638 to help with funeral expenses www.phillipsfuneralhome.net

JEAN PRESTON HATCHER of Ashland, widow of Robert E. Hatcher, died March 6. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, Steen Funeral Home Central Avenue Chapel; burial in Rose Hill Burial Park. Visitation will be one hour before service. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, Ashland. www.steenfuneralhome.com.

LILLIAN V. HENDRICKS, 91, of Huntington, widow of Forest A. Hendricks, died, March 7, Cabell Huntington Hospital. Chapman’s Mortuary is in charge of arrangements, which are incomplete.

TAMI JO HORD, 60, of Ironton, died March 7 in St. Mary’s Medical Center, Huntington. Slack and Wallace Funeral Home, South Point, Ohio is assisting the family with arrangements, which are incomplete. www.slackandwallace.com.

RUBY WRIGHT BRUMFIELD IRBY, 93, of Huntington, widow of Charley Brumfield Sr. and Alton Irby, died March 5 in Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, Rollins Funeral Home, Kenova. Funeral services will begin immediately following the visitation. Burial will be in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Huntington.

WILLIAM JOSEPH KAIRY SR., 76, of Barboursville died March 6 in St. Mary’s Medical Center. Funeral mass will be at noon Monday, St. Joseph Catholic Church; burial will be in the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar, W.Va. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday at the Wallace Funeral Home, Barboursville, with the procession to the church leaving at 11:30 a.m.

GORDON DALE KESLER, 59, of Milton, husband of Sharon Kesler, died March 7 in Cabell Huntington Hospital. Service will be noon Monday, Heck Funeral Home, Milton; burial in White Chapel Memorial Gardens, Barboursville. Visitation will be one hour before service. www.heckfuneralhome.com

KATHRYN LOUESE McCLUNG MERRY, 90, of Huntington, widow of Amos Gordon Merry Jr., died March 3 in Woodlands Retirement Community, Huntington. Funeral service will be 2 p.m., Saturday, Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary. Private committal service follows. Visitation will be one hour before service. Memorials may be made to an organization of your choice. www.klingelcarpenter.com

EMORY RIDENOIR OSBURN, 89, of Lavalette, husband of Dot Taylor Osburn, died March 7 in St. Mary’s Medical Center. He retired from the saw mill and timber business and was a minister for 70 years. He was pastor at Patrick Old Regular Baptist Church and at the Lavalette Baptist Church of Jesus Christ. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Sunday, Morris Funeral Home Chapel, Wayne; burial will follow at Community Memorial Gardens, Wayne. Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Morris Funeral Home.

ROSA DELORIS PATRICK, 51, of Logan, W.Va., daughter of Deloris June Criswell Hall of Whitman, W.Va., died March 8 in Genesis Healthcare, Logan, W.Va. She had been a restaurant worker. At her request, there are no services. Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chapmanville, W.Va., is assisting her family.

MORTON ANDREW PILCHER, 87 of Huntington, widower of Christine Pilcher, died March 1 in Wyngate at River’s Edge, Proctorville, Ohio. He was a retired real estate appraiser. There will be a memorial service, 5 p.m., Sunday, Reger Funeral Home. Burial will be 11 a.m. Monday, Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar, W.Va. Visitation will be after 3 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. www.regerfh.com.

MARY MARGARET PINKERMAN, 84, of Willow Wood, Ohio, died March 7 in St. Mary’s Medical Center, Huntington. Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Hall Funeral Home and Crematory, Proctorville, Ohio; burial in Perkins Ridge Cemetery, Willow Wood, Ohio. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. www.ehallfuneralhome.com.

GARY RAY PORTER, 52, of Wayne, husband of Laura Ross Porter, died March 7 in Cabell Huntington Hospital. He was a retired Home Confinement Officer for Wayne County. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Morris Funeral Home Chapel, Wayne; burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery Annex, Wayne. Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

IMOGENE RICHARDSON, 88, of Ona died March 6. Funeral services will be 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Wallace Funeral Home, Milton; burial will be in Forest Memorial Park, Milton. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. www.timeformemory.com/wallace.

JESSICA FAYE SHARROCK, 35, of Ironton, granddaughter of Joyce Faye Belville of Ironton, died March 2. There will be a graveside committal service, 1 p.m., Friday, Community Cemetery. O’Keefe-Baker Funeral Home, Ironton, is assisting her family.

DWIGHT A. SMITH JR., 87, of Ashland, husband of Geneva Duncan Smith, died March 6 at home. He retired from Ashland Oil. There will be a graveside service, 1 p.m. Monday, Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North East. www.steenfuneralhome.com

INEZ MARIE THOMPSON, 85, of Chesapeake, Ohio, wife of Lawrence Thompson, died March 7 in Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House. Funeral service will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Schneider-Hall Funeral Home, Chesapeake, Ohio; burial will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery, Huntington. Visitation will be one hour before service. www.schneiderhallfuneralhome.com.

DORIS JEAN WARD, 85, of Barboursville, died March 6. Funeral service will be 2 p.m., Monday, Wallace Funeral Home, Barboursville; burial in White Chapel Memorial Gardens, Barboursville. Visitation will be one hour before service. www.timeformemory.com/wallace.

MAXINE MARIE WILKES, 93, of Chesapeake, Ohio, died March 6 at home. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, Schneider-Hall Funeral Home, Chesapeake, Ohio; burial in Highland Memorial Gardens, South Point, Ohio. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. www.schneiderhallfuneralhome.com.

ANNA LOIS OAKLEY WITHERSPOON, 90, formerly of Huntington, died Sunday, February 25, 2018 in Covington, Ga. There will be a visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 9 at Ferrell-Chambers Funeral Home. Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10 at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Burial will follow at White Chapel Memorial Gardens.

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Forest Park veterans program teams up with Clayton County District Attorney to provide holiday cheer

Louis Dean, left, shakes the hand of one of the veterans in the Stephon’s House transitional housing program, which helps to get homeless veterans back on their feet. Program director Vivian Hughes looks on. (Special Photo: Stan Coleman)

FOREST PARK — When Vivian Hughes retired from the Georgia Department of Corrections after 39 years of service, she wanted to find another way to contribute to her Clayton County community.

She considered using her retirement money to fund housing for former inmates, but a suggestion from her fiance Louis Dean changed her mind.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you work with veterans?’” Hughes recalled. The suggestion seemed fitting, as many of Hughes’s family members served in the Army, and Dean’s family served in the military as well. But she had to do a little research on how to support veterans, specifically those who were homeless and without work.

“I know everything about corrections, but I didn’t know anything about veterans,” she said.

After speaking with several local veterans organizations, Hughes put her retirement money towards renting and furnishing 15 apartments and one house in Forest Park. For the past two years, Hughes has housed homeless veterans and helped them to get back on their feet, finding them meaningful work and long-term housing.

To date, 30 veterans are housed in Hughes’s program. Six have left to lead successful lives locally and in places as far-flung as Florida and Louisiana.

She named the organization Stephon’s House in memory of her brother Stephon Cushion, an Army veteran who was murdered in 2013 during a home invasion.

“He was military and he gave so much to the community,” Hughes said. “When he lost his life, I said this is the perfect way to honor him.”

Hughes said much of her work she’s had to learn as she goes, relying on guidance from established programs like Hope Atlanta, Another Chance and Fort McPherson VA Clinic. Though much of the funding comes from her own pocket, Hughes has sought help from local organizations. Last year, she connected with Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson at a breakfast for local ministries.

“From then on, she has been a blessing to our organization,” Hughes said of Lawson. The District Attorney’s Office has provided rent, food and small home furnishings, including toasters and dishes, to the organization this year.

Lawson’s office hosted a Christmas luncheon for Stephon’s House residents on Dec. 10 at the Forest Park Senior Center. Veterans were treated to a full meal catered by Big Daddy’s Dish on Old National Highway in Atlanta.

DA’s office staff loaded up plates with turkey, ham, and other traditional holiday fare. Lawson, Hughes and Dean also handed out scarves, gloves and a $20 gift card to Chick-fil-A to each veteran.

Though each of Stephon’s House’s 30 residents were invited, not all could attend the dinner, so to-go meals were prepared for veterans who were ill or working.

Shavon Hagger, director of program development and services in the DA’s office, said her office was more than willing to dish up some holiday cheer.

“They served our country and worked hard, and they have fallen on hard times, so we can definitely help them out,” she said.

“I’m not going no where,” she told the district attorney’s office, with a laugh. “They said, ‘Neither are we.’”

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