News Updates for Wednesday, Feb. 15: Burn ban goes into effect

Published 3:17 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

CUMBERLAND – We start off with a reminder that as of today, there’s a burn ban in effect across the region and the Commonwealth. Virginia’s 4 p.m. burn ban took effect at midnight. Everyone is encouraged to check with their county before starting any outdoor burning.

The burn ban prohibits open-air burning prior to 4 p.m. if the fire is within 300 feet of the woods or dry grass, which could carry fire to the woods.

 Burning is allowed between 4 p.m. and midnight as long as the person takes proper precautions and attends the fire at all times. That means you can’t leave a fire going and head to town for supplies. The burn ban runs through April 30. 

Prince Edward gets some help from Assembly

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Switching to the General Assembly, last week, Prince Edward County came one step closer to getting approval for a sales tax increase. 

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.

Prince Edward officials find themselves facing a need to renovate the elementary school at an estimated cost of $30 million. Currently, that sales tax increase seems to be the only viable option, but that’s not a guarantee. Previous county administrator Wade Bartlett floated the idea in 2019. Last year, supervisors also expressed interest in moving forward, with a bill getting filed in the General Assembly to make it happen.

But where the previous bill failed, it looks like the Assembly has had a change of heart. SB1408 has passed through the Virginia Senate by a 26-10 vote, with local senator Frank Ruff voting in favor. Now it’s been assigned a committee in the Virginia House, meaning there’s a strong possibility it’ll come to a vote in the next two weeks. The bill would give all cities and counties in Virginia the option to increase sales tax by up to 1% to fund local schools. 

A new ‘blessing box’ gets installed 

Last month, we told you about the Blessing Box set up by Farmville United Methodist Church in front of the sanctuary. Now another group in town has followed suit. The Pregnancy Support Center, located at 1101 East Third Street in Farmville, has set up a blessing box of their own outside of their building. Anyone can take goods or food they need and others are welcome to donate or drop off supplies to go inside it. 

Middle school students aim high 

Speaking of positive news, let’s focus on Prince Edward County Middle School for a minute. The school recently held a food drive, hoping to help support the district’s partnership with the Feed More food bank. In Prince Edward County and the surrounding area, 1 out of every 9 people struggle to find food. According to Feed More, an estimated 50,500 of those, or 1 in every 6, are children. 

Over the last few weeks, middle school students have been collecting cans of food to donate. The final total, as of last week, stands at 700 pounds of food collected. That food will now be distributed during the district’s giveaway. 

On the last Tuesday of each month, beginning at 4 p.m., people can come get food at Fireman’s Sports Arena, located at 1328 Zion Hill Road in Farmville. Families in Prince Edward County students can drive up in their cars and get a free bag of food. Those who come can remain in their vehicle as a volunteer comes to bring the bag to the car. PECPS has partnered with Feed More to provide these meals since 2020, sparked by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Longwood gets ESPN spotlight

Lancer fans will have another chance to watch Longwood on ESPNU, the network announced this week. Longwood’s men’s basketball game vs. Gardner-Webb will be the focus of the network’s Big South Wildcard broadcast on Thursday, Feb. 23. The game itself will tip at 7 p.m. from Paul Porter Arena in Boiling Springs, NC and pregame will start roughly 30 minutes before that. 

Longwood defeated Gardner-Webb, 64-59 on Jan. 18 and has won the last five match-ups.  The Lancers are looking to sweep the season series for the first time since 2020-21, and the Feb. 23 match-up will mark the first meeting between the squads as part of the league’s Wildcard series on the network.  It will be Longwood’s third ESPNU appearance this season, and second for Gardner-Webb.

Longwood is third in the Big South standings at 10-4 — just two games ahead of the 8-4 Runnin’ Bulldogs.  The Lancers are currently first in conference-only games in scoring margin (+6.9), rebounding margin (+5.2) and offensive rebounds (11.1), while ranking second in scoring defense (61.8 points allowed), rebounding (34.8), fewest rebounds allowed (29.5) and turnover margin (+2).  Isaiah Wilkins paces the Lancers with 12.5 points and 6.4 rebounds in Big South action.