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Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020

The administrator and director of nursing of Blue Ridge Therapy Connection, a troubled long-term care facility in Stuart, appear to be no longer working there. The Martinsville Bulletin reports today that their phones don’t work, and emails sent to their addresses are not answered and the jobs of administrator Anthony Brunicardi, and director of nursing Holly Lambert are listed as available on various job-search websites. The Bulletin had reported since this summer about multiple problems at the facility, including improper care of the residents, hiding outbreaks from the Virginia Department of Health, which are required to be reported, and not answering phone calls.

A new interstate bus service is operating in Martinsville and a second new line has been added in Danville. Virginia Breeze Bus Lines began service in the Commonwealth at the end of 2017. It has been so successful, the new routes were added and began service on Aug. 7. The service runs seven days a week, 365 days a year. A modern bus equipped with a restroom, baggage storage, free Wi-Fi and in-seat power outlets begins each day collecting passengers at the Village of Martinsville at the outer parking lot of the Belk department store at 6:45 a.m. The first stop occurs 55 minutes later in Danville and other stops include South Boston, Farmville, Richmond, and finally Washington, D.C. at 1:30 p.m. A return service with identical stops ends in Martinsville at 7:40 p.m. each evening. A ticket costs between $15 and 50, depending on where you go.

Heavy rainfall is possible Friday. Localized flooding may occur in poor drainage areas. The remnants of Beta will spread rain into the region today into tonight, then push east of the area by Friday night. Weak high pressure builds in after Saturday. There is a 20% chance of isolated showers today, otherwise cloudy with a high of 69. 80% chance of rain tonight with a low of 56. 90% chance of rain Friday with a high of 66.

Inmate labor is big in Martinsville. Based on minimum wage and the number of hours provided, the savings to the city was estimated to be nearly half a million last year, but much of the skilled work could not be found at minimum wage. City Manager Leon Towarnicki said it was equivalent to 25 or 30 employees and would cost 1.2 million.

Finance Director Linda Conover described the accounting for CARES Act funding as “a crazy mess” and said that, out of more than $2 million the city received, $335,000 is “still left after what is not encumbered or committed.” Conover said the money is scheduled to be spent by Nov. 30 in order to complete and file the necessary paperwork by Dec. 30. Of the money already disbursed, 62% has been allocated to individuals and small businesses.

The city is working with the county again this year to jointly award an outstanding military veteran on Veterans Day. Applications are available online or at the city municipal building and county administration building. A ceremony will take place on Nov. 11 at the John D. Bassett Event Center in Bassett.

The city utility department had been installing a new water line on Cherokee Trail when a raw water line from the reservoir blew out and a sewer line on Askin Street collapsed. Because of the unexpected emergency repairs, installation on the water line at Cherokee Trail has been halted. Work will resume when the emergency projects are complete.