State Police: Speed a Possible Factor in Crash that Killed Franklin Co. Teen

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

joshhodgesfacebookROCKY MOUNT - Franklin County High School students are being warned to slow down on the roads after the loss of their classmate over the weekend.

State police say speed may have been a contributing factor in a crash Saturday night in Henry that killed 16-year-old Joshua Lee Hodges.

Police say the 1999 Ford Ranger Hodges was driving was travelling north on Route 607 when it ran off the right side of the road, lost control, and hit a tree. 

Hodges was wearing a seatbelt but died at the scene. The crash happened at 12:57 p.m. south of Route 761. 

A post on the Facebook profile named "Memory Josh Hodges", says "This is for Josh's friends. Just a reminder to slow down. Please if not for me for him!" 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the post has had 261 shares on Facebook.

Students gathered outside the high school Monday to remember Hodges. His friends also held a memorial for him this week. 

Visitation will be Thursday, October 6 from 5-8 p.m. at Conner-Bowman Funeral Home. Hodges' funeral will be Friday at 3 p.m. at the Conner-Bowman Chapel. 


Virginia Western’s Expanded Offerings at Franklin Center in High Demand

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

frcenter1 largeROCKY MOUNT — Virginia Western Community College is celebrating the success of its expanded offerings in Franklin County in partnership with The Franklin Center in Rocky Mount and Franklin County Public Schools. A pair of grants from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) are helping high school students take college-level coursework and college students pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Healthcare (STEM-H) fields.


This Fall semester is the first time Virginia Western dual enrollment courses in biology and anatomy have been offered at the Franklin Center. Eighty-eight students from Franklin County High School are participating.


“Franklin County Public Schools is very pleased with our new partnership with The Franklin Center and Virginia Western Community College. The classroom/lab is designed for Advanced Placement Biology, Dual Enrollment Biology and Human Anatomy students,” said Dr. W. Mark Church, Division Superintendent. “The facility is outfitted with state-of-the-art lab equipment, and we are excited that our students have the opportunity to learn in this environment.”


Virginia Western received grants from the TRRC in 2015 and 2016 to equip the biology and the anatomy and physiology labs. This semester, the college’s evening lab classes are full at the Franklin Center with 28 students participating.


“We are thrilled that our students in Franklin County are taking advantage of the opportunity to take lab classes at the Franklin Center,” said Amy White, Dean of the School of STEM at Virginia Western. “They are receiving the same high-quality of education available on campus at a location that is more convenient to them.”


These classes are part of Virginia Western’s expanded offerings at the Franklin Center since it became the sole community college serving the county in 2015. Prior to that, Virginia Western and Patrick Henry Community College cooperatively served Franklin County. Students can now take all the coursework necessary for a Virginia Western general studies associate degree at the Franklin Center.


“We plan to continue offering more classes at the Franklin Center that meet the needs of our students as well as the businesses and industries in Franklin County,” said Dr. Elizabeth Wilmer, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Virginia Western. “The success of our current classes at the Franklin Center speak for themselves and we see many more avenues for positive growth.”


The Franklin Center has computer labs and Wi-Fi service, so students can take classes online, as well as services such as test proctoring, placement testing, assistance with admissions and financial aid.


“The partnership between The Franklin Center, VWCC, and FCPS has made it possible for students to take classes in a state-of-the-art facility while getting college credit,” said Kathy Hodges, Executive Director of the Franklin Center. “The teachers are outstanding and have students who should be role models for others. Thanks to the support from the VA Tobacco Commission, this is truly a match made in heaven.”


The center is also a resource for businesses seeking customized training or certification for their employees. Through Virginia Western’s Workforce Solutions, non-credit classes can be designed and provided to aid professional development and help the bottom line. To learn more about workforce training opportunities in Franklin County, contact Mike Greer at 540-857-6407 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



Weather Pattern Turns Very Active Late Wed through Friday

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

NAMMA con scp 021There is a threat for severe storms (even rotation) late in the day Wednesday, especially across Southside. The threat for very heavy rainfall in locally strong storms is also something to watch starting Wednesday evening lasting into Thursday and Friday. 

For those of you who haven't kept up with the forecast from only a couple of days ago, things are changing fast. It was just earlier this week when it looked like pleasant, fall-like air would keep us nice and quiet going into the weekend. Now all of that has changed.

The culprit is an upper level low, moving in our direction from the Great Lakes region. This low was earlier forecast to move east with time and usher in cooler weather for the end of the work week. While low temps will eventually get chilly late this week, the main issues for us our now severe storms and very heavy rain bands. 

Most computer models over the past 36-48 hours have been trending further WEST with the upper low. This pool of swirling cold air aloft will be cut-off from the main jet stream, but will also have its own wind field associated with it. 

Upper lows in the Spring and Fall are often behind periods of very active weather. That's because the circulation around the slow-moving lows allow for rain to develop day after day, forming in bands that sometimes train over the same areas. By Thursday night, the upper low for this week is forecasted to be centered in eastern Tennessee, with the circulation pulling in heavy thunderstorms into Virginia from the south Wednesday, Thursday, and even into Friday.

The other issue with upper lows, and the one this week is the cold air upstairs. When the sun heats the ground and the air near it during the day, the cold air sitting above us will make the air bouyant, meaning it can rise fast into strong and even severe storms. With colder air to work with upstairs, hail is possible with any strong storm. And since cold air is heavier, strong winds are possible as well. 

In fact, the winds will be blowing at different directions and speeds, something called wind shear, Wednesday and Thursday. This combination means we have to watch for severe storms with rotation for all areas, especially Southside VA late in the day Wednesday.

Rainfall amounts will range greatly through Friday, depending on where the heavier rain and thunderstorm bands develop. In general, .50" to 2" of rain are possible area-wide through the day Friday. However, amounts underneath heavier bands could exceed 3-4", with some models showing more than that. 

As this pattern sets up Wednesday, be prepared for rapidly changing weather. Have a plan of action in case warnings are issued. The threats are two-fold... severe storms and flooding in spots through Friday.