The Dixie Pig was my grandmother's favorite restaurant on U.S. 1 formerly located across from Beacon Mall where a Rite Aid now stands.

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The Dixie Pig Blog

  • Hurricane Florence Approaching East Coast (UPDATES BELOW)

    Hurricane Florence Approaching East Coast (UPDATES BELOW)

    A powerful hurricane is on track to hit the east coast this weekend bringing heavy rain to our region.

    Monitor your local news sources for the latest weather conditions, and check the  National Weather Service  for up-to-date information.
    Here are couple important tips, websites and numbers to keep you safe:

    From the Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management:

    With Virginia under a state of emergency, and forecasts showing Florence zeroing in on the Mid-Atlantic, the time for all Virginians to prepare is now.

    While it is too soon to know the exact track that Hurricane Florence will take, the majority of forecast models are indicating significant potential impacts to Virginia in the form of coastal storm surge, catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages.

    Virginia emergency managers and first responders are already mobilizing to prepare for the storm. Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency late Saturday in order to mobilize personnel and resources for storm impacts, and to speed the response to those communities that are damaged by the storm. This includes resources from VDEM, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard and others.

    All Virginians should expect potential impacts and life-threatening conditions from this storm. Now is the time to prepare—Make a Kit, Get and Plan, and Stay Informed. To learn more, visit

    It’s Not the Winds, It’s the Water

    The largest threat to life from hurricanes is not the high winds. Flooding is the deadliest result of these storms.

    Current forecast models indicate that Florence could strike the Carolinas and enter Central Virginia, possibly stalling and dropping more than 20 inches of rain in some areas. This will lead to widespread and dangerous flooding, inundation of roads and damaged infrastructure. Potential widespread power outages are also expected.

    Citizens should prepare for rising waters, flash flooding, and remember to never drive across flooded roadways. Most injuries and deaths occur when motorists try to cross flooded roads. Roads and bridges can be damaged or completely washed away beneath flood waters, and a few inches of water can sweep vehicles downstream. Remember, turn around, don’t drown.

    From Dominion's Hurricane Preparedness Guide

    • Update the phone number on your Dominion Energy account. Login into Manage Account or call 866-366-4357 to change your phone number. In the event of an outage, this will help you report your outage.
    • Review evacuation zones. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has an evacuation zone look up tool to assist you in preparing for hurricanes.
    • If a family member uses medical equipment, review emergency plans to relocate if necessary.
    • If you own a generator, familiarize yourself with connecting and operating it before a storm arrives.
    • Make sure your cars have a full tank of gas and remember to fill extra gas cans for generators.
    • Tie down loose items outside or properly store them to prevent extra damage.
    Disaster kit items
      The National Weather Service recommends creating a basic disaster kit. Store the items in airtight plastic bags and put the entire kit in easy-to-carry containers (plastic bins, duffel bag). A basic kit could include the following items:
      • Water: one gallon per person per day (at least a 3 day supply)
      • Non-perishable food: canned meats and vegetables, protein or fruit bars, dry cereal, food for infants.
      • Battery-powered radio
      • Flash light
      • First Aid kit
      • Extra batteries
      • Manual can opener
      • Local maps
      • Cell phone chargers and extra battery packs
      Personal emergency items
        Along with the essential items, remember to pack your disaster kit for your individual needs.
        • Prescription and non-prescription medications.
        • Infant food, bottles, wipes, diapers, etc.
        • Food and water for your pet
        • Cash
        • Important family documents (insurance policies, IDs, bank records)
        • Blankets for each person
        • Change of clothes
        • Matches in water-proof container
        • Down time activities (books, games, puzzles).
          If you have lost power
            During a storm, if you have lost power, always report your outage. Along with reporting your outage:
            • Turn off major appliances such as air conditioners, water heaters and stoves.
            • Unplug TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers to prevent damage during possible overloads.
            • Leave a lamp or light on so you’ll know when power is restored.
            • Stay away from any downed lines. Always assume the lines are energized and make sure to report them by calling 866-366-4357. Refer to our Outage FAQs for answers to other common questions.
            Additionally, please use the link and the numbers provided below to stay up-to-date on current conditions or to report any power outages:

            Dominion Resources Power Outage Line

            Dominion Resources Storm Center Outage and
            Restoration Updates

            Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative 
            Washington Gas
            Columbia Gas

            Verizon Wireless

            Cox Communications

            Also, if you have any problems, you can always contact my office at 571.249.4484.  Stay safe!

          • Weekly Column: Labor Day 2018: Virginia Has a Long Way To Go

            Weekly Column: Labor Day 2018: Virginia Has a Long Way To Go

            The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, and Potomac Local in the week of September 3, 2018.
            Labor Day 2018: Virginia Has a Long Way to Go

            Labor Day this past Monday was a fitting reminder for us to work harder to not only honor working people in the United States and Virginia, but to strengthen our economy and supports for employees.  Virginia has a long way to go.  
            Last week Oxfam America released a study that found that Virginia ranked #51 out of 51 as the best state to be an employee – yes, dead last.  This included rankings of #48 in worker protections, #49 in the right to organize, and #51 in wage policies.   This is troubling news. 
            Virginia has done nothing to raise the minimum wage since 2009, when Congress increased it to $7.25 per hour or about $15,000 per year without time off.  In Northern Virginia, anyone earning $7.25 per hour has to be either supported by someone else or on government assistance.  

            Only 13 states, including Virginia, still adhere to the paltry $7.25/hr federal minimum wage. This means 37 states have increased their minimum wage beyond the federal and Virginia rate. 
            Numerous studies have shown that raising the minimum wage does not adversely affect jobs.  In fact, I have spoken to many constituents who actually commute to Washington, D.C., to earn $14.20 per hour.  If minimum wage in Virginia was higher, they would probably take jobs closer to home.  
            Some Virginia’s leaders tout our state’s “Best State to Do Business” rankings by CNBC, which rose to back to #4 in 2018 after declining during the McDonnell Administration.  This year, we were beaten by Washington State, ranked #2 with a minimum wage at $11.50, slated to rise to $13.20 by 2020.  We barely squeaked by Minnesota and Colorado with minimum wages at $10.20 and $9.65.  A higher minimum wage seems to be a very minor part of being a “best state to do business” in the eyes of CNBC.   
            Virginia’s hostility to unions is also not good for working people.  A recent Stanford University study found that children whose non-college educated fathers were union members earn 28 percent more over their lifetimes than children of non-union member fathers.  Additionally, every 10 percent increase in union density correlates with a 4.5 percent increase in childrens’ income and other studies have found that strong union membership in communities raises wages for all workers – even non-union workers. In other words, unions increase economic mobility and opportunity for everyone. 
            A recent Harvard University study found that between 1973 and 2007 the decline of labor unions explains up to one-third of the decline in male wage inequality in America.  As we debate the economic dislocation and labor disruption around the United States, including areas like, such as Southside and Southwest Virginia, we should explore whether Virginia’s ongoing imbalance in bargaining power plays a role.  
            Virginia’s last place ranking as a state to be an employee was a function of over a dozen factors.  Virginians have no right to accommodations for pregnant workers, no protections for workplace breastfeeding, no provisions for paid family or sick leave, no prohibitions on pay secrecy practices, no collective bargaining for teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees, and no provisions for project labor agreements to ensure fair wages on public contracts.  As a practicing attorney who receives many requests from people who feel they were wrongly fired, I rarely have good news for them.  There is minimal recourse.  Virginia’s workers have few rights – especially compared to other states. 
            While having a competitive business environment is important for job growth, we also must have an economy that is fair.  Today’s Virginia economy is clearly out of balance with the United States if we come in at the bottom, number 51 out of 51. 
            If we want a Virginia that produces fair wages, good jobs and economic opportunity for everyone, we have a long way to go.  A rising tide lifts all boats and providing basic protections and higher wages for all Virginians will help everyone, especially the working families of our state. 
            It is an honor to serves as your state senator.  Please email me at if you have any feedback.