The GMGJ reports that retired Del. Harvey Morgan of Middlesex was given the Joseph V. Gartlan Award by the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards. The award is presented each year by the VACSB to an individual who most reflects the late senator’s advocacy for those Virginians served by the public system of mental health, intellectual disability, and substance use disorder services system, a release stated. A release stated that Morgan introduced or sponsored legislation and budget amendments totaling $434 million that sought to increase resources and improve the lives of individuals with a mental health, intellectual disability or substance use disorder.
Newport News Williamsburg International Airport began demolition on its front stairway last week to make room for a new escalator. The escalator is part of the airport’s renovation of Concourse B, which is estimated to cost $4.2 million. Short-term parking will be closed for about another month for heavy equipment needed to work on the escalator. It’s expected to be finished by late February.
Virginia is receiving a grant to participate in a National Governors Association program to reduce prescription drug abuse. Gov. Bob McDonnell says the state is getting a year-long $45,000 grant to participate in the Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Policy Academy. Officials say the grant comes at a time when prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem, especially among teenagers. The program helps states develop and implement comprehensive strategies to reduce prescription drug abuse. The work will include planning for full deployment of monitoring programs, tools to ensure safe online pharmacies, and development of educational resources.
Newport News City retirees under age 65 may owe back taxes to the federal government because of a clerical error on the city’s part. The city’s finance director, said that earlier this year, when changing tax software programs, officials noticed that the city had categorized pre-65 retiree health insurance benefits incorrectly. The benefits — worth about $5,000 to $12,000 per year to pre-65 retirees — were listed as pre-tax benefits, which are excluded from taxes. The IRS allows health insurance to be considered as a pre-tax benefit for current employees, but not for retirees. Officials say they don’t know how the city would respond if the IRS were to seek back taxes from the retirees, but their initial reaction is that the taxes owed to the federal government are the former employees’ responsibility.
Celanese Corp. is replacing coal-fired boilers with natural gas-fired boilers at its Giles County plant.
Governor McDonnell said it will create at least 22 full-time jobs and require about 200 construction workers. The Dallas-based specialty materials and chemical products company manufactures cellulose acetate tow at the 73-year-old Giles County facility, the material is used in cigarette manufacturing. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng said the project will reduce the company’s carbon footprint and ensure that Giles County retains a valued employer.