12 The Hampton Roads Messenger

Volume 14 Number 5

Around Hampton Roads Chesapeake Company to

Participate in VALET Program RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) today announced the acceptance of INIT Innovations in Transportation Inc., a City of Chesapeake company, into its two-year Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program. The VALET program assists companies in the Commonwealth that are committed to international exporting as a growth strategy. To participate, each business must meet both quantitative and qualitative selection criteria. Participating firms are chosen based on their dedication to growing export sales. To date, 348 Virginia companies have been accepted to participate in the VALET program.

“Increasing trade and trade-related jobs in Virginia are among VEDP’s top priorities,” said VEDP Executive Vice President Jason El Koubi. “Executed by our world-class International Trade team, the VALET program has a proven track record of helping Virginia businesses increase their export sales, contributing economic growth and ensuring that Virginia remains competitive in the global marketplace.”

“The VALET program puts participating companies on the fast track to international business growth by connecting them with the necessary tools for successful international sales,” said Stephanie Agee, Vice President of International Trade. “We are excited to welcome INIT into the VALET Program and look forward to working with them over the course of the next two years.”

Currently, the VALET program has 44 companies as participants. The program provides participating companies with export planning services and assistance from a team of experienced international service providers to help meet the companies’ international business goals. These private sector service providers contribute essential expertise to assist companies in executing export plans and include attorneys, web designers, bankers, translators, accountants, and freight forwarders.

The Commonwealth of Virginia exports more than $35 billion in goods and services annually. Exports of Virginia’s products and services to the world are vital to the growth of the Commonwealth, supporting more than 257,000 jobs and generating $2 billion in annual tax revenue. VEDP offers numerous programs to assist Virginia companies with selling into the global marketplace and has a network of international market research consultants covering more than 70 countries around the globe.

Applications Available for Youth Violence Prevention

February 2020

Application Period Opens for

Real Estate Tax Relief NORFOLK, VA – Homeowners have until June 1, 2020 to apply for Norfolk’s Real Estate Tax Relief and Deferral Program for Seniors and Disabled Citizens. To be eligible: Residents must be age 65 or over or totally and permanently disabled. Homeowners must live in the property. The combined income of owners and relatives living in the home cannot exceed $67,000 per year. Net worth, excluding the home, cannot exceed $350,000. A new application must be filed each year.

Community Information Sessions are available to residents who have questions and may need assistance with filling out their application. These sessions hosted in venues around the city are from 10 a.m. to noon on the following dates:

Workforce Development Center, 201 E. Little Creek Road, February 18, March 12, April 21 and May 14; Pretlow Anchor Branch Library, 111 W. Ocean View Ave., February 27, March 24, April 9 and May 26; Janaf Branch Library, 124 JANAF Shopping Center, March 31, April 28; Berkley Neighborhood Service Center, 925 S. Main Street, April 6.

Applications are available online at or at any Department of Human Services location. For more information about the Real Estate Tax Relief and Deferral Program for Seniors and Disabled Citizens, call 823-1130 or email

Nation’s Largest Free, Volunteer-Run Tax Assistance

Service Returns to Portsmouth Portsmouth Public Library announces that the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program wil return to Churchland Branch this tax season. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service of the AARP Foundation. The program helps low to moderate-income taxpayers have more discretionary income for everyday essentials such as food and housing by providing preparation services and assistance, ensuring that they receive applicable tax credits and deductions.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is available FREE to taxpayers with low and moderate income, with special attention to those ages 60 and older. Tax preparation hours will be from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, beginning February 4th through April 15th, at the Churchland Branch Library located at 4934 High Street West.

Mini-Grants Program Applications are available Jan. 27 for Hampton’s Youth Violence Prevention Mini-Grants program, which helps pay for projects that support positive activities, services and programs addressing youth violence. Eligible applicants include grassroots organizations, community-based organizations or neighborhood groups. The mini-grants are not open to local governmental agencies, schools or fee-for-service based businesses. The application deadline is March 2. A special information session on the program will be held Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Ruppert Sargent Building, 1 Franklin St. You can go online to RSVP for the information session. You can also go online to see more information about the program and general grant policies.

Crime Down in Newport News During a year-end press conference earlier this week, Police Chief Steve Drew announced that overall crime in Newport News decreased by 9% in 2019. Chief credited this reduction to the dedicated men and women, both sworn and civilian, who make up the Newport News Police Department (NNPD), as well as citizens who are becoming more engaged in addressing crime in their neighborhoods and throughout the city.

Chief began the press conference with a moment of silent for Officer Katherine “Katie" Thyne who was killed in the line of duty on January 23, 2020. Chief Drew thanked the community for their support after Officer Thyne’s death. The NNPD will hold a Memorial Service for Officer Thyne at Liberty Baptist Church on Monday, February 3 at 6:00 p.m. The public is invited to the memorial.

During his presentation, Chief Drew highlighted the department’s key successes in 2019, including: themed citizen academies, youth forums, adopt a school, and the Homicide Support Group. He excitedly shared that the NNPD’s largest Basic Law Enforcement Academy class ever graduated in December. Chief Drew also recognized the strong partnerships the NNPD has developed, which contributed significantly to the decrease in crime.

The NNPD’s key areas of focus in 2020 include addressing domestic violence, fully staffing the 911 center, hosting additional trainings on human trafficking, outreach to youth, and the expanded use of technology throughout the department. For more information on the NNPD, visit www.

A sign-up sheet will be posted every day at approximately 8:30 am. In addition to a W-2 from each employer, the following documents are important to bring with you:

· Government-issued identification · Last year's tax return

· Social Security cards or other official documentation for yourself and all dependents

· Checkbook or pre-printed direct deposit information for your reloadable prepaid card showing routing number and direct deposit account number if you want a direct deposit of any refund(s).

For more information, contact AARP Foundation Tax-Aide toll free at 1-888- 227-7669 or visit them on the web at AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in cooperation with the IRS.

Acesur to Invest $11 Million to Locate First U.S. Production

Facility in City of Suffolk The State of Virginia recently announced that Acesur, an international olive oil manufacturer, will invest $11 million to establish its first U.S. production operation in the City of Suffolk. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina for the project, which will create 29 new jobs. The new facility, which will handle the company’s bulk oil imports from Argentina, Australia, and Spain, will operate under its subsidiary, Acesur USA LLC.

“Virginia has a strong workforce and a world-class transportation network that allows businesses to easily import and export their products through the Port of Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “These and other advantages continue to attract global companies that want to launch in the United States, and I welcome Acesur USA to the Commonwealth.”

Established in 1840, Acesur has been active for more than 150 years producing, packaging, and marketing olive oil, and has a long history in the vegetable oils sector. A leader within the national olive oil industry in Spain, Acesur also exports its products to more than 90 countries around the world. Acesur is a vertically integrated company that controls the entire process from ground to bottle, allowing it to have one of the largest ranges of products in the industry, with established brands in the United

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