Over a dozen homes threatened due to 500-acre wildfire in Buchanan County. The Virginia Department of Forestry reports that a 15-member crew responded to the fire at 4 p.m. Friday and are still fighting the fire. A helicopter doused the fire from above, allowing crews to build fire lines all the way around the flames that at one point threatened dozens of structures. Damage was prevented to any homes. Crews are now in the mop-up phase, which entails going back to the lines and looking for hotspots and other concerning areas. This is the third wildfire in Southwest Virginia recently, as last week there was a 400-acre fire in Lee County and another 200-acre fire in that area over the weekend. The VDF encourages community members not to burn anything outside, especially with dry weather and windy conditions.
Big Stone Gap man accused of setting a fire in bathroom at field in Pennington Gap. The Pennington Gap Police Department reports that 42-year-old Michael Newberry was found on video leaving a restroom at Leeman Field after setting a trashcan on fire. The footage also showed Newberry damaging Halloween lights on a nearby stage. He has been charged with arson to an unoccupied building, entering the property to damage, and destruction of property.
Three adults and a juvenile have been charged in Wise County assault investigation. The Wise County Sheriff's Office reports that their investigation into an assault that reportedly occurred on October 30 in the Mill Creek area of Pound has led to the arrest of four people on felony assault charges. Kennedi Addington,18, of Pound, Gage Alexander Bowman, 18, of Wise, and Desirae Brook Mullins, 25, of Wise, along with a juvenile whose name is not being released were charged. No further details have been released. The investigation remains ongoing.
Millions of Americans are bracing For higher winter heating bills this year due to inflation, the Biden administration has announced a 4.5 billion dollar funding to help Americans who are struggling, the money will go into nonprofits across all 50 states that provide assistance to those in needs if you're interested in applying you can contact the National energy assistance referral project at LIHEAP. Org or the National energy assistance referral project at 1 866-674-6327
Big Stone Gap man sentenced to 30 years in prison for child sex crimes. 31-year-old Christopher Davis Crowder was sentenced in connection to multiple charges of indecent liberties with a minor and aggravated sexual battery. The court decided to sentence Crowder to ten years in prison for each of indecent liberties charges and 20 years with ten suspended for his aggravated sexual battery charge. Crowder will also have ten years of supervised probation following his release. In July 2021, he became involved in the lives of a family friend and her children, offering help with transportation. Crowder did it all to gain access and trust in an effort to sexually molest and victimize young boys, according to Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Steven Davis. He remains in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail, awaiting transfer to a Virginia Department of Corrections facility.
There will be no charges filed after the death of an inmate at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield in May. 43-year-old Sherri D. Cook, of Whitesburg, Kentucky, was brought to the Duffield Jail on May 20 on charges of DWI and child neglect. Cook's behavior, along with self-inflicted injuries and refusal of medical treatment, led her to being placed in a safety chair. She was found unresponsive at 7:06 p.m. and CPR was immediately administered. Cook was transported to a hospital in Wise County where she was pronounced dead. Her body was then sent to Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke for an autopsy, which found that she suffered an acute subdural hemorrhage with contributing methamphetamine toxicity. Buprenorphine and Delta-9 carboxy THC were also found in Cook's system.
Dickenson County man facing six child porn possession charges. 52-year-old Brian Ray O'Quinn is accused of possessing explicit images involving a child in June. O'Quinn has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography and five counts of possessing child pornography second or subsequent offense.
Body found in Scott County mobile home fire. The Scott County Sheriff's Office and Virginia State Police report that a fire occurred in the Big Moccasin section of Clawhammer Drive at 12:41 p.m. Tuesday. A mobile home was completely engulfed in flames. Fire departments were able to contain the fire, but a body was found inside the residence. The body was sent to the Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke. The fire remains under investigation.
One person is dead following a fatal crash in St. Paul Thursday afternoon. The crash reportedly occurred at around 1 p.m. Thursday on Route 63 in St. Paul. One man died at the scene, while two others were taken to the hospital, but have been released. The name of the deceased has not been released pending notification of family. The St. Paul Police Department is conducting the investigation with assistance from Virginia State Police.
MECC Receives Federal Grant to launch Health Information Technology Data Analytics Certificate Program
Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College has received a $887,676 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to create and deliver a career studies certificate program in Health Information Technology (HIT) Data Analytics.
The HIT Data Analytics program is designed for health professionals such as health information management (HIM) and allied health professionals to develop healthcare business data management skills through database management, change and project management strategies. Health IT Data Analyst work in hospitals, healthcare clinics, insurance companies, clinical research, consulting firms, and many other health related facilities.
The HIT data analyst program is a two-semester program, 12 credits per semester and all courses are 8 weeks in length. The program is set to begin Fall Semester 2022. The aim of this program is to provide advanced data and project management training for HIM graduates so that they may advance their careers forward and make room for entry level HIM employees to enter the HIM and HIT industry.
“We are appreciative of the resources the HRSA grant provides in supporting our offering of this new program in an in-demand, highly employable, health information management profession,” said MECC President Kristen Westover. “It allows us to create an incredible opportunity for the citizens of our region, and I encourage all who are interested to contact us.”
MECC is the only community college in Virginia to receive the HHS award, which is part of nearly $60 million federal investment to grow the healthcare workforce and increase access to quality health care in rural communities, including nearly $46 million in funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
The new certificate program will be led by MECC Health Information Technology Program Director and Assistant Professor Nora Blankenbecler. Blankenbecler holds a master’s degree in Business Administration specializing in healthcare administration and a graduate certificate clinical research management and is a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). Her professional experiences include serving in organizations such as Duke University Medical Center, Cardinal Health, 3MHIS and Allscripts. Donna Owens is the program Assistant Professor, and her professional experience includes serving in organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic, Pikeville Medical Center and EPIC. Owens holds a master’s degree in Health Information Technology and Project Management.
The HRSA grant will fund faculty costs, curriculum development, and scholarships for students for a three-year period. The creation of the new career studies certificate in HIT data Analytics, and the college's workforce training efforts in health information management, revenue cycle management and medical coding, have helped the region hire and train personnel to meet the demands of federal healthcare business reporting requirements.
The Health Information Management Program and Health Information Technology Program at MECC is committed to improving health outcomes and promoting health equity in our SWVA region. The Health Information Technology Data Analysts is currently seeking students with working experience with electronic health record data as a healthcare technologist, nurse, or HIM professionals.
For more information on the MECC Health Information Technology Data Analytics program, contact Blankenbecler at 276-523-9054 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional program information can be obtained by visiting https://www.mecc.edu/pathways/health-information-technology-analyst/.