Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia on February 1, 2003 · 17
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Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia · 17

Newport News, Virginia
Issue Date:
Saturday, February 1, 2003
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vvp (&) Saturday, February 1 , 2003 C3 mo LOCAL & STATE Groups to share grant for shelter, feeding By Beverly N. Williams Daily Press The expensive gifts weren't wrapped in a box or tied with a bow. But they were appreciated just the same and each will help support emergency shelter and feeding programs in Newport News, Hampton, Suffolk and Williamsburg. About 30 agencies serving the needy in those cities learned Thursday that they'll share some of the $175,000 in the grant money recently awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. The good news comes less than a month after local FEMA boards received the grants from FEMA's national board. Newport News was awarded $80,325, Hampton $61,763, Williamsburg $8,079, and Suffolk $26,467. Unlike FEMA's disaster grants, food and shelter grants are given each year based on an area's population, poverty rate and unemployment "It's terrific," Avalon Executive Director Barbara Seibert said of the $2,000 share her agency is getting. The money will be used to support the agency's domestic-violence and sexual-assault crisis center for women and children living in Williamsburg, James City County and York County "Charitable donations are down considerably" Seibert said. "And with all of the human service agencies in the area, money is always an issue." That's especially true now with the state's current budget crisis, she said. But in areas like Williamsburg and James City County, Seibert said the problem is exacerbated because they have lost big employers including John Deere and BP Solar. "People think Williamsburg is affluent," Seibert said. "But we have people who are underemployed or unemployed, and we are often called upon to house women and children who are homeless." Williamsburg's grant will be divided between Avalon and The Salvation Army, which received $6,000, said Joyce O'Brien, administrator for that area's local FEMA food and shelter board. In Newport News and Hampton, more than $140,000 was divided among several community organizations. They include Hampton Ecumenical Lodgings and Provisions (HELP), the Office of Human Affairs, The Salvation Army, St. Paul's Episcopal Church's A Safe Place program, Transitions Family Violence Services, Friends of the Homeless, the Hampton-Newport News Community Service Board, Living Interfaith Network and The Road Ahead Center (TRAC). "We will use it primarily for our food pantry where we pass out more than 300 packages of food a month to poor and needy people," said Bill Day, HELP'S executive director. "About 99 percent will be used for the pantry and 1 percent will go for our A Night's Welcome' shelter program. Carolyn Kincaid, administrator for the local FEMA board serving Newport News and Hampton, said the Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula received a little more than $46,000. Half of the funds will support food assistance programs for nine area agencies, she said. Another $46,415 went to support emergency shelter programs run by the Friends of the Homeless, The Salvation Army, HELP, the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board and Transitions Family Violence Services. To provide rent, mortgage and utility assistance, the Office of Human Affairs in Newport News received $26,239 and $20,176 went to The Salvation Army in Hampton. In Suffolk, eight South Hampton Roads agencies providing services there also received money. But Charlene Elam, the local FEMA board administrator, refused to say how much each received until FEMA's national board approves the amounts. Organizations could apply for the grants if they were private nonprofits and were not churches. States are expecting another round of food and shelter grants in March or April. Each state, using its own criteria, will determine which localities are eligible for funding. "This money is extremely important to us," said Day of HELP. "Besides churches donating food, the largest portion for us comes from FEMA and we can order specific things we really need like canned meat supplies and peanut butter" ; Beverly N. Williams can be reached at 247-4755 or by e:mall atbwilliamsdailypress.co Police search for missing 9-year-old AIDS victim The Associated Press RICHMOND Police and social service officials are searching for a 9-year-old giii with AIDS whose guardian said she gave the child to friends two years ago but this week refused to tell authorities the friends' names or address. A Henrico County juvenile court judge placed the missing girl in the custody of the local Social Services Department on Wednesday and told the agency to work with police to find the child. "It is a very unusual, even bizarre situation," Gordon Ragland, director of the social services department, said Friday. "There is an active investigation going on right now in an effort to locate this child." Brittany Williams lived with Kim Parker in Henrico County from age 2 until August 2000, when Parker said she sent the girl to live with two women in California. Parker said the girl's mother gave her legal custody of Brittany in March 1996, shortly before dying of AIDS. A lawyer, Theresa Rhinehart, was appointed by the court some time ago to represent the child's interests. Ragland declined to say when or why she was appointed. . Rhinehart did not return a telephone message Friday. Rhinehart subpoenaed Parker to appear in court Wednesday and provide the names and address of the child's caretakers. When Parker refused to comply, Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge Willian G. Boice ordered the investigation and transfer of custody A message left at a listing for a Kim Parker was not returned Friday She told the Richmond Times-Dispatch after the closed hearing that she does not know where Brittany is living and has no way to contact the women. Parker, 47, met Brittany's biological mother through Rainbow Kids Inc., an AIDS-related charity she operates to provide respite and long-term care for children whose parents have AIDS or are HIV-positive. Parker also cares for children who are infected with the disease or have other disabilities. She currently has two children, ages 22 months and 14 years, in her care. Parker said she asked her friends, who had moved from Richmond to California, to take Brittany because caring for her had become stressful. Ragland said authorities have been unable to determine where in California the women were living. Parker told the newspaper that she knew the women's temporary address in California, but she and the women agreed that Parker would not receive future addresses or telephone numbers to prevent Brittany's incarcerated father from finding her. Ragland said he had no details about the father Parker said that about a month after Brittany left, the women sent Parker a legal document to sign, giving them full custody of the girl so they could get medical care for her. Parker told the newspaper she still expected Brittany to return to her home and she continued to take Brittany's approximately $500 a month in Social Security payments until last summer. She used the money to renovate her three-bedroom ranch home to accommodate the girl's special needs. She said she last heard from the women in October, when they left a voice-mail message saying they were traveling to Ohio for Christmas and would bring Brittany home soon. Parker told the newspaper she was floored when the judge questioned whether she was committing fraud. V ... , W t '3 . f'..U vXrvT iMfhlrf i mmim i aa tfniiBii itfraiiinni in-mM BitKi mwtMmitiiwi ii lugm' II Brittany Williams was 6 when this photo was taken in 1999. Police and social service officials are searching for the child. AP Sunday ABC sales may be tested The Associated Press RICHMOND A House committee has endorsed a bill that would allow state-operated Alcoholic Beverage Control stores to open on Sundays in some areas. "We're trying to see whether or not this makes money," Del. David B. Albo, R-Fairfax, said of the bill, which would open stores in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and northern Virginia. Albo's bill originally would have allowed for ABC stores across the state to open on Sundays, but he narrowed its scope after encountering opposition in some regions. The House General Laws Committee voted 12-7 Thursday in favor of the bill. Virginia Beach Republican Terrie L. Suit noted in supporting the bill that military stores already are allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays in Hampton Roads. Other supporters suggested the measure said they hope it would give tourism a boost in the region. Twenty-three states permit liquor sales on Sundays, lobbyist Reggie Jones of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said. Panel approves 2 helmet bills The Associated Press RICHMOND Two proposals to loosen restrictions on wearing helmets on motorcycles advanced out of a House committee Friday One bill, submitted by Sen. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, would make helmets mandatory only for riders under the age of 21. It passed on a 12-7 vote in the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee. The other bill, sponsored by Sen. Sam Nixon, R-Chesterfield, would relax the state's helmet law on all scenic highways and Virginia byways. The bill failed by one vote on the House floor last year. It moved out of committee on a 13-5 vote. 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