Archives for May 2020

A New Chapter For A Local Man

COVID-19 has created many challenges and uncertainties for a lot of people over the last 3 months here in the Highlands, but it’s given one local Master Plumber time to complete a continuing education course online! That Master Plumber is Dennis King, of Chapman Plumbing, Heating and Air in Covington.

Dennis King worked as a Millwright for 43 years at Westvaco Corporation in Covington before retiring on his 62nd birthday, July 31, 2008. Shortly after his retirement, Dennis’s Mount Hope High School sweetheart and wife Connie was diagnosed with cancer. He spent the next 10 months taking care of her. She lost her battle with cancer on August 12, 2009. Although his service at Chapman started out as a need for a day, he has served faithfully for the last 10 years. His late wife, Connie worked for Chapman Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. and purchased the company in 1990. Dennis would often help in the field when needed throughout the years, when he had a day off at the mill.

In December that same year, his daughter Tiffany Sanders and now owner of Chapman Plumbing, Heating and Air called and asked if he could help carry a furnace to a job site due to being short handed. Dennis came in that day to help and that turned into 2 days and that turned into 3 days. They both soon realized he was needed and from there he began his unexpected second career. King studied and passed the exam to become a Master Plumber in 2018. He holds a freon license, and has attended Ruud factory training in Atlanta, Georgia and Sterling water filtration training, Last month, while quarantined, he studied and did the online continuing education course to maintain his Master Plumber License.

Dennis King is a hard worker, determined and dedicated to helping others professionally. Dennis is also a life member of the Westvaco Rescue Squad, a member of the Masonic Lodge, 171, was a member of the Girl Scouts of America. Yes, he was a Girl Scout along with his wife, daughters Gina Dawn and Tiffany. He is a member of Edgemont ARP Church where he has served as a youth group leader, Deacon and member of the Session.

Friday PM Coronavirus Update

According to Dr. Molly O’Dell, Director, of Communicable Disease Control at the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, as of 5 p.m. Thursday, there are now 21 confirmed cumulative cases of COVID-19 in the Alleghany Highlands. Here’s the break down:

Alleghany County – 16
Covington – 5

According to our line list there are no current hospitalizations for citizens of Alleghany Highlands.
Active cases in Alleghany HIghlands is 11

In Botetourt County, there are 32 confirmed cumulative cases. Our newsroom continues to seek total number of hospitalizations by locality. We are hoping to have those numbers soon.

Total deaths being reported for each locality are:

Alleghany County – 2
Covington – 0
Botetourt – 2

For the most up to date COVID-19 Information, please visit our website at:

Tax Deadline Monday

If you owe individual income taxes in Virginia, Virginia Tax wants to remind you that the payment deadline – Monday, June 1, 2020 – is almost here.

Due to the COVID-19 response efforts, any individual income tax payments for Taxable Year (TY) 2019 that were due from April 1, 2020, to June 1, 2020, are now due on or before June 1. To avoid penalties, you’ll need to pay at least 90% of your tax liability on or before June 1 and pay any outstanding tax liability with a return filed by the extended due date.

Interest will also be waived on TY 2019 final payments and extension payments made by June 1, 2020, if at least 90% of the tax liability is paid by June 1.

Friday Coronavirus Update

There are now 41,401 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia including 4,442 hospitalizations and 1,338 deaths.

Looser restrictions on businesses and social gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic are still at least a week away in Virginia, the governor said Thursday.

Gov. Ralph Northam said current coronavirus-related trends are “encouraging” but more data is needed before the state can start its second phase of reopening. He said the earliest the state would move into Phase 2 would be June 5.

“We want to be very careful and deliberate as we move forward,” Northam said.

The governor has previously indicated that the second phase of reopening would allow for social gatherings of no more than 50 people. He also has said he would loosen other restrictions in Phase 2, but hasn’t provided specific details.

Greenbrier County has nine cases confirmed and no deaths. In West Virginia as a whole, there have been 91,036 total confirmatory laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 1,935 total cases and 74 deaths.

Covington City Public Schools Beginning Summer Feeding Program

Covington City Public Schools will begin their summer feeding program on Monday, June 1, 2020. Grab-n-Go bagged meals with milk will be available for pickup at Covington High School, in the teacher parking lot, from 11:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. Monday thru Thursday of each week until further notice. These bagged meals are free and available to children up to 18 years old. No meals will be served the last full week of the month.

Fatal Crash In Botetourt County

There were two separate crashes that took place this morning in Botetourt County and State Police say two drivers died.

At approximately 2:13 a.m., the first tractor trailer was traveling north on Interstate 81, when the vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway, striking the guardrail, causing the truck to overturn onto its side; blocking the roadway.

At approximately 2:15 a.m., the second tractor trailer, not seeing the first crash occur, struck the first tractor trailer; which was on its side. There were no lights visible for the second driver to see the first crash.

The drivers of both tractor trailers were the victims in the crash. One passenger sustained non-life threatening injuries.

State Police are working to make the next of kin notifications and more information will follow when it is received.

2020 Spring Gobbler Harvest

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) announced a harvest of
20,525 turkeys during the 2020 spring gobbler season. This is the second highest harvest
on record, with the highest occurring in 2015 when 20,580 birds were harvested. The 2020 harvest
was 14.5% higher than the 2019 harvest. The 2020 Youth and Apprentice weekend harvest
increased 40% from 2019 for a total of 890 birds. The opening weekend of the season was the
highest two-day period of harvest throughout the season, totaling 3,993 birds or 19.5% of the total

USDA Loan For Clifton Forge To Improve Dam

A loan for $404,000 has been approved by the USDA as part of its Rural Development program for the town of Clifton Forge to improve the town’s dam. In response to the award, Congressman Morgan Griffith issued a statement reading, in part,
“Repairing the dam at Clifton Forge is an important safety measure for the people of the region. USDA Rural Development’s support for this vital infrastructure project will guarantee the dam’s structural integrity and the protection of Clifton Forge’s water supply.”

Thursday Coronavirus Updates

Latest COVID-19 count for Virginia; 40,249 cases with 4,385 hospitalizations and 1,281 deaths.

Efforts are under way regionally with the local governments, the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corp. to apply for $1.5 million in emergency funding to assist small businesses and non-profits.

The money would be distributed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development through a grant.

Warnings have been issued to more than 100 businesses in Virginia about price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s attorney general said Wednesday.

Attorney General Mark Herring has sent at least 114 warning letters in light of complaints on products which include toilet paper, hand sanitizer and paper towels, among other things, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Herring said at the end of March, the first month of Virginia’s state of emergency, that his office had sent 42 letters to businesses in response to price gouging complaints. Spokeswoman Charlotte Gomer said that as of Tuesday, Herring’s office had received more than 500 price gouging complaints from across Virginia.

Coronavirus Update For Wednesday

Latest numbers from the state health department indicate there have been 39,342 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia with 45,325 hospitalizations and 1.236 deaths. Alleghany County now has 16 confirmed cases with four hospitalized and two deaths. Covington has three cases,according to state figures, and Botetourt County has 32 cases, nine hospitalized and four deaths. Reportedly, 2,051 have been tested in the Alleghany Health District.

Gov. Ralph Northam is ordering that Virginians wear masks while in public indoor spaces, saying the measure is needed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Northam said at a news conference Tuesday that he’s ordering masks be worn starting Friday inside all retail stores, while using public transportation, and in any other indoor places where people congregate.

“This is about protecting those around us, especially our workers,” Northam said.