Firefighters showed up Tuesday at UVA Dialysis. Here’s why.

Published 4:24 am Wednesday, January 25, 2023

FARMVILLE – The report went out over the scanner just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Members of the Farmville Fire Department were called out to the Centra Medical Group/UVA Dialysis building, after officials had concerns about some strange smells.  Also responding to the call were Prospect and Rice fire departments, along with Hampden-Sydney Fire and Rescue. 

One thing that should be pointed out. After the fire department arrived at the building, located at 937 S. Main Street in the Southgate Shopping Center, several Farmville residents started posting on social media, claiming to see smoke and fire. But according to fire department officials at the scene, there was no fire and very little smoke. 

“The building was not smoking,” said Farmville Fire Chief Daniel Clark. “It was just a heating issue.” 

Clark said the issue came from some heating, ventilation and air conditioning work happening inside. 

“(The work) caused an odor and a light haze,” Clark said. “Thankfully it was nothing major. We were able to turn off the heating and air to see what was causing the problem.” 

Within an hour, the problem was solved and things returned to normal. 

What was that in the sky? 

Also on Tuesday, if you looked up in the sky as dusk fell around 6 p.m., you might have seen something that looked like a bright, fast-moving star. That was actually a rocket, launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The California-based group known as Rocket Lab was behind the launch, with the goal of getting a rocket in orbit to deploy three radio-frequency surveillance satellites for the HawkEye 360 project. 

In a mission description posted on their website, Rocket Lab said their mission will help “better deliver precise mapping of radio frequency emissions anywhere in the world.” 

Originally, the launch was supposed to take place Monday, Jan. 23. Mother Nature, however, had different ideas.
“Weather conditions have deteriorated at Wallops, with rain and strong winds at LC-2 [Launch Complex 2],” Rocket Lab officials wrote in a Twitter post. “So we’re now targeting Tuesday, Jan. 24 for our first mission from Virginia.” 

Prince Edward County gets one step closer

The plan on how to pay for renovations at Prince Edward County schools took a step closer to becoming reality this week. 

The idea of increasing Prince Edward’s local sales tax by 1% was raised at the Board of Supervisors meeting in November, but it’s not a new conversation. Previous county administrator Wade Bartlett floated the idea in 2019. Over the last two years, supervisors also expressed interest in moving forward, with a bill getting filed in the General Assembly to make it happen. That bill failed, but now there’s a new possibility. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the Virginia Senate passed SB1408. That bill, sponsored by State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, would give all Virginia localities the option of increasing the local sales tax by up to 1%, as long as voters approved the decision in a referendum. 

In Virginia, a city or county has to get permission from the General Assembly to increase sales tax. First the Assembly has to pass a bill, then local residents have to vote on it in the next election. After last November’s elections, eight counties and one city have the authority to increase sales tax to fund school repairs. They include Charlotte County, Gloucester County, Halifax County, Henry County, Mecklenburg County, Northampton County, Patrick County, Pittsylvania County and the City of Danville.

McClellan’s bill would change that. But first, it has to pass through the Virginia House of Delegates. 

No permanent time zone 

Every year, there’s an argument for some folks when we switch back and forth with daylight saving time. That won’t change anytime soon. The Virginia Senate defeated a bill on Tuesday that would have required the Commonwealth to operate under Eastern Daylight time year-round.

By a 18-21 vote, SB1017 was defeated. The bill had been filed by District 28 Senator Richard Stuart, who argued it was needed. Stuart’s fellow senators debated with him for more than 30 minutes, with some pointing out the challenges Virginia would face if it operated under a different time zone than all of its neighboring states. 

District 15 Sen. Frank Ruff, who represents The Herald’s coverage area, was one of those who voted against the bill.


Reporter Rachel Austin contributed to this report.