10 YEARS AGO | 2010
• Virginia Advanced Study Strategies (VASS), part of the non-profit National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) headquartered at the SVHEC in South Boston, received the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Excellence in Virginia Government Award during a luncheon held Thursday in Richmond. Sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University, the award celebrates the accomplishments of Virginians who have made distinctive contributions to the practice of government and to the well being of communities and its citizens. Accepting the award on behalf of VASS President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Nichols III was W. W. “Ted” Bennett Jr., founding director of VASS. The statewide center for the VASS program, located in Halifax County, is funded over a six-year period by a $13.2 million national Exxon Mobil grant that is being matched by contributions from local and state businesses, Bennett explained. Since its inception VASS has raised $17.2 million including the $13.2 million grant from Exxon Mobil.
• “I’m looking forward to a long life,” said Halifax County Department of Social Services Executive Director Betty Gupton Wells, contemplating her impending retirement at the end of the year. “I have, I guess, a lot of longevity in my genes,” she continued. “I’ve known all of my grandparents and six of my eight great-grandparents in my time.” Wells is retiring after 33 years with social services. “I started out in Mecklenburg County Social Services on Oct. 1, 1977 and worked first as a social worker and then as an eligibility supervisor in the food stamp program,” she said. “I came here in February 1986 as assistant director and then was promoted to director in April of 1990.” A county native, Wells grew up in the Aarons Creek community and attended Virgilina Elementary School and Halifax County High School.
• The only thing you could see in the Halifax County High School basketball team’s locker room following Wednesday night’s season-opener against Amherst County High School was a bunch of wide-eyed smiles. There were plenty to go around. The Comets opened their season in a good fashion with a 51-42 win over Amherst County High School Wednesday night in Amherst. “They always say the first win is the best one,” remarked Comets junior center Keon Gutrich. “It’s a big win. This allows us to start the season off right.”
20 YEARS AGO | 2000
• The State Corporation Commission said Friday that Virginia’s 804 area code region will be split in April, with the western section – including Halifax County – to be assigned a new area code. The eastern section will continue using the 804 area code. When the area’s numbers run out in about six years, a new area code will be created for new phone numbers. Central and Southside Virginia – including South Boston, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Danville and Emporia – will receive a new are code. Although phone customers will experience a change in their area code, seven-digit dialing for most local calls will be preserved.
• With the sounds of the season streaming from a trio of bands and a bevy of carolers and Santa Claus making a gala arrival, the Christmas season was officially ushered in Saturday with the annual South Boston Christmas Parade. Several thousand people, bundled up in thick coats and blankets as protection from the sub-freezing temperatures, lined the streets of downtown South Boston for the 5 p.m. twilight spectacle. The parade featured 76 units and three high school bands, including the Bluestone High School band, which won first place, the Dan River High School band, which took second place and the Halifax County High School band.
• Halifax County made its curtain call over the weekend. And, the Comets rendered two pretty decent performances. The Comets picked up two wins in the season opening McDonald’s Tip-Off Classic at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, downing Gretna 59-42 Friday night and bouncing Liberty 71-63 Saturday night. “I’m very satisfied,” Comets coach Garrett Dillard said yesterday. “We had two wins, both were double figures or close to it. We got several guys involved in the scoring and four different players scored in doubled figures.” Dillard scored 12 points in Friday’s win over Gretna and divided 10 deep into the lineup Saturday night against Liberty. Carlton Roach, Sterling Williams and Terez Garland hit double figures in both games.
40 YEARS AGO | 1980
• A group of about 90 residents elected 11 directors Monday night to map the future course of the Halifax County Citizens Association, a group that would assume a “watchdog” role over the operations of county government. But, its leading organizer, E. Irving Anderson of Centerville, tendered an olive branch to governmental leaders when he suggested that his group “work with our local authorities.” The Ernie’s Restaurant gathering heard Anderson, who has been frequently critical of excessive governmental spending, state, “…and I can assure them that we will do so (work with them) if they will only give us the opportunity.”
• The long-awaited study into the potential for redeveloping the old South Boston warehouse – factory district will be delivered to the city tomorrow, with city officials and business leaders hoping it will point the way toward a reclamation of the now largely dormant area. Representatives of Economics Research Associates will present copies of their report, nearly a year in the making, to city council at the 9:30 a.m. meeting at United Virginia Bank downtown. The study cost $40,000, and was paid for by a grant from the Coastal Plans Regional Commission. City manager Aubrey Houghton said it was his understanding specific recommendations for the use of the property in the old factory district will be outlined in the report. Along that line, the report should recommend which buildings should be razed and which should be reclaimed for new uses.
• A late rally by Patrick Henry in the final three minutes of action vaulted the visiting Patriots to a 50-45 triumph over the Halifax County Blue Comet girls in the season’s opening cage tilt here last night. The Patriot rally unraveled a strong comeback attempt by the Comets who had at one point fallen 11 points behind at the beginning of the third period. Sparked by center Barbara Gunter and guard Robin Jones, the Patriots outscored the Comets six to nothing after Norma Crews had canned a ten footer to tie the game at 42 all with 2:55 left, and pulled to a comfortable 48-42 lead.