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DiRosario jailed four days before Colonial Beach mayoral election

DiRosario jailed four days before Colonial Beach mayoral election

Wayne DiRosario, one of two candidates for Colonial Beach mayor in Tuesday's election, had planned t...

Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad earns VAVRS recognitions

Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad earned several individual and group awards at the annual conve...

Concerns about schools, taxes, growth highlight Beach forums

Candidates for Colonial  Beach mayor and town council participated in two separate forums held ...

Bids withdrawn for sale of Eleanor Park

The long-simmering tensions involving the sale of the Eleanor Park property in Colonial Beach has ca...

Colonial Beach’s Guadalupe Free Clinic serves area’s poor

Colonial Beach’s Guadalupe Free Clinic serves area’s poor

When the Guadalupe Free Clinic opened on the grounds of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Colonial Be...

Outdoor showing of Mamma Mia a big hit in Colonial Beach

It was so cool.  

Cheering, clapping and singing to music of the Swedish pop band Abba while w...

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Colonial Beach's JarretThor Gallery to present Small Works Exhibit

Beginning this weekend, Colonial Beach's JarretThor Gallery will present the Mid-Atlantic Pastel Society's "Small Works" Show. The show will run this month and through Dec. 18.

The Mid-Atlantic Pastel Society or MAPS is a regional not-for-profit organization of 65 members formed to promote pastels as a fine arts medium and to give members training at all levels and exposition opportunities.

At their Colonial Beach show, there will be over 50 small (under 16 inch) works portraying land and seascapes, flowers, still life and portraits among other subjects. The JarretThor Gallery will host an opening meet the artists reception Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. as part of Colonial Beach's Second Friday Art Walk. Refreshments will be served and the exhibit is open to the public free of charge.

Also on site at the gallery this week, located at 100 Taylor St., will be the Tarver Harris Design Studio featuring silk scarves and interesting art. Additionally, JarrettThor will have works by its permanent artists and decorative minerals, unique jewelry, wooden bowls and other holiday gift ideas. Hours are Thursday-Sunday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Richard Leggitt

American Legion Post 148 in Colonial Beach holds chartering ceremony

American Legion Post 148 in Colonial Beach on Nov. 5 welcomed over 200 people, many visitors both local and from around the state, to an American Legion Rider Chartering Ceremony. The American Legion Riders, a program of the American Legion and the only program that encompasses not only the members of the American Legion but also the Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary. The ALR, one of the largest programs in the American Legion, is for members of the organization who are motorcycle enthusiasts. Currently, there are over 2,000 ALR Chapters made up of almost 150,000 members. American Legion Riders chapters are well known for their charitable work, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local children’s hospitals, schools, veterans homes, severely wounded service members and scholarships. Since 2006, Riders nationwide have participated in the Legion Legacy Run, to annually raise money for the Legacy Scholarship fund, established to provide scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel killed since Sept. 11, 2001, and the children of 50 percent or more disabled veterans. This past year over $1.25 million was raised by riders for the Legacy Scholarship Fund.

Now, right here in Colonial Beach an American Legion Rider program was born at Post 148. It took quite awhile to get this off the ground, but thanks to Commander Trudy Stiles, Past state Commander Ron Miluszewski, Larry Allen the Director of the Post 148 Riders and James Harrison the Commander of the Sons of the American Legion and Assistant Director of Chapter 148. Over 128 American Legion Riders from all over the state of Virginia came to show their support for our American Legion Riders Chapter 148.  After a formal installation ceremony performed by The American Legion State Commander Dave Stein a celebration was enjoyed by all after unfurling the American Legion Chapter 148 banner.  Additional officers of the Chapter include Debbie Allen, L.J. Brady, Dave Cloniger, Al Charlton, Walter LeRoy, Paul Thompson, Cleta Thomas and Chris Fox.  Also in attendance on this historic day was Ron Miluszewski, Past Virginia State Commander and Past National Sergeant-at-Arms, Tommy Edwards; Town Councilman, Jimmy “JJ” Jones American Legion Riders Development Chairman, Bob Sussan; National American Riders Chairman and of course Mayor Mike Ham who addressed the assembly with welcoming words and wishes of success for Chapter 148.

If you are interested in becoming a member of our American Legion Family please stop by our Post Home on 27 Colonial Avenue and obtain an application for the Legion, Auxiliary, or Sons of the American Legion. You must be a member of one of the aforementioned groups to become an “AMERICAN LEGION RIDER!”

Mayoral candidate DiRosario remained in jail throughout the election

Wayne DiRosario, wearing a faded blue Northern Neck Regional Jail jumpsuit, remained in jail this week charged with malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.  DiRosario lost the Colonial Beach mayor’s race Nov. 8 to fellow councilman Eddie Blunt by 467 votes while sitting in his jail cell in Warsaw.

Supporters of the 63-year-old mayoral candidate were outraged that DiRosario was arrested the Friday before the election on charges stemming from an Aug. 24 incident. Colonial Beach council candidate Bill Flammer, who spent most of election day unsuccessfully trying to get his friend out of jail on bond, questioned the timing of DiRosario’s arrest.

“It happened at such an inopportune time,” Flammer said.  “It is very suspicious to me.”  Flammer, council member Wanda Goforth, former council member Linda Brubaker and citizen Walter Kerns were among a group of supporters who were in Westmoreland General District Court on election day for DiRosario’s arraignment.

A shaken and shackled DiRosario was brought into the courtroom to appear before Judge John Martin.  DiRosario entered a plea of not guilty on the charges and a trial date of Jan. 6 was set for trial.  Judge Martin initially granted DiRosario’s release on $10,000 bond, but on appeal from Westmoreland Commonwealth’s Attorney Julia Sichol withdrew the bond and set a new bond hearing for this week.

A multi-jurisdictional grand jury indicted DiRosario two weeks ago in connection with an Aug. 24 incident at his home in which a 28-year-old Colonial Beach man who had been living with DiRosario was beaten, allegedly by DiRosario. At the time of the incident DiRosario claimed he was defending himself.

In response to complaints from Flammer, Goforth and others that the charges were politically motivated, Colonial Beach Police Chief Danny Plott, in a letter to Goforth, said “Mr. DiRosario was treated as any citizen each of Colonial Beach and the Commonwealth of Virginia would be.”

“You and others called his arrest politically motive, a victim of people who didn’t want him elected,and a travesty of justice,” Plott said in the letter to Goforth.  “I take exception to those statements as they clearly appear to be directed towards the men and women of the department.”

“The men and women that work under my leadership endure long hours and receive fairly low pay, but strive daily to protect and serve the town to the best of their ability,” Plott wrote.  “I cannot stand idly by and allow you and others to besmirch the reputation of these fine men and women.”

In response to Plott’s letter, the Colonial Beach Town Council Thursday night passed a resolution noting the council “wants the officers in the Colonial Beach Police Department to know they appreciated … and are recognized for their outstanding service to the citizens of the town.”

Richard Leggitt

Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad adds ambulance, pickup truck to fleet of EMS vehicles

Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad (CBVRS) recently welcomed a new ambulance and a new pickup truck to its fleet of EMS vehicles.

The ambulance was purchased through a 50/50 grant from the Virginia Office of EMS Rescue Squad Assistance Fund. Some special features of the vehicle, which is made by Demers Ambulances, include:

•A high-tech power load cot fastener system manufactured by Stryker EMS

•Captain’s chairs (instead of bench seating) that allow the provider to sit facing forward while providing patient care

•Climate-controlled section for drug storage

•All LED lights

•Automated on/off capabilities when vehicle is on the scene of a call, based on the temperature and battery life of the vehicle

The pickup truck is a quick-response vehicle that will be used by Advanced Life Support providers to respond to calls or to provide assistance and additional help to reach the emergency scene more quickly.

“Demers Ambulances are rated as world-class by every measurement, and we are so excited to have such a versatile, high-performance vehicle right here in Colonial Beach,” said Wesley Melson, rescue chief of Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad. “Along with the ambulance, the new pickup truck will help us provide the best EMS care possible for all the communities within our wide-spread service area.

To get more information about joining the CBVRS family as an EMS volunteer, call 804-224-7750 or visit www.cbrescue.com.

Since 1950, Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad has served the Town of Colonial Beach and Westmoreland County. Currently, the organization has over 30 all-volunteer personnel that operate five ambulances covering 240 square miles and a 22-foot rescue boat covering the Virginia waters around the area. For more information, visit www.cbrescue.com.

DiRosario jailed four days before Colonial Beach mayoral election

Wayne DiRosario, one of two candidates for Colonial Beach mayor in Tuesday's election, had planned to spend the time leading up to Election Day campaigning for votes.  Instead, he was an inmate at the Northern Regional Jail.

Rosario, 63, a former two-term mayor and a former member of the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, was arrested at his Colonial Beach home just four days before the election and charged with two felonies: malicious assault and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

A Westmoreland County grand jury last week indicted DiRosario on the two charges in connection with an Aug. 24 incident at his home. Witnesses said several Colonial Beach police cars arrived at DiRosario's waterfront home on Monroe Bay Avenue Friday to serve arrest warrants based on the indictments.

"There were a lot of policemen. They pulled up as he was mowing his lawn," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified. "They were expecting trouble, but he just turned and put up his hands. They handcuffed him and took him away."

DiRosario remained in the Northern Neck Regional jail pending arraignment on the charges, which was scheduled before Judge John Martin on Election Day in Westmoreland County General District Court as voters were casting the final ballots on the hotly contested mayoral race.

After previously serving as mayor of Colonial Beach and as a Westmoreland County supervisor, DiRosario was elected to a two-year term on the Colonial Beach Town Council in 2014. As a candidate for Colonial Beach mayor this year, he was opposed by another member of the council, businessman and retired firefighter Eddie Blunt.

Officers were first called to DiRosario's home in August after allegations that DiRosario had assaulted a man who lived with him. DiRosario claimed self defense at that time.

"We investigated and then turned the case over the the Westmoreland County Commonwealth's Attorney," said Colonial Beach Police Chief Danny Plott, a former Virginia State Police commander.

Westmoreland County Commonwealth's Attorney Julia Sichol made the decision to bring the charges before a grand jury, which returned the indictments that led to DiRosario's arrest Friday. The arrest just days before the election roiled Colonial Beach and was a widespread subject of discussion in the Potomac River town.

DiRosario has claimed self-defense in connection with the charges, which is the reason the police department referred the case to the Commonwealth's Attorney. As recently as Oct. 28, DiRosario responded to an online forum critic on Topix, who accused him of "beating a young man with a gun."   "You are grossly misinformed," DiRosario wrote in a post in the online forum. "A 28-year-old man broke into my house in the middle of the night."

Whatever the end result of the charges, DiRosario is not a stranger to Colonial Beach law enforcement. He was arrested in November of 2005 and charged with seven counts of sexual assault, including six charges of rape and sexual molestation of minors after indictments were returned by a Westmoreland grand jury.

All of the charges were dismissed in 2008 after the victims refused to testify. "I have been through 34 months of hell," DiRosario said at the time. "It's a terrible thing to face charges like this when you know you are not guilty."

According to some election observers, DiRosario had been favored to win election as Colonial Beach mayor prior to the arrest based on the new indictments. DiRosario, a lifelong resident of Colonial Beach, had campaigned as a "pro-business, pro-growth, environmentally friendly" candidate.

"One of my main objectives is to promote a positive, open, accessible atmosphere of trust and collaboration at all levels of Colonial Beach town government," DiRosario said in a recent campaign handout. "I will display integrity and honesty in all my interactions and treat all that I encounter with the utmost respect."

Richard Leggitt

Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad earns VAVRS recognitions

Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad earned several individual and group awards at the annual convention of the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads, held September 20 to 24 in Virginia Beach.

According to a CBVRS news release, recognitions to the whole squad included Website of the Year – second place; and Emergency Vehicle Operator Competition – third place

In addition, Wesley Melson, Rescue Chief of CBVRS, was honored with the District Vice President Award. The award was based on the district’s achievements in participation, growth and special events.

Two CBVRS members will serve VAVRS 10th District in the following capacities:

Makayla McMahan was re-elected to serve as the Junior Association Chaplain.

Wesley Melson was re-elected to serve as the 10th District Vice President.

“Our organization serves communities located throughout the broad geographic area of Colonial Beach and Westmoreland County, and we couldn’t do it without the dedication and commitment of our members, juniors and support team,” said Wesley Melson. “We are proud to be recognized as a high-performing squad within VAVRS. Also, Makayla and I look forward to another year as leaders in the 10th District.”

To get more information about joining the CBVRS family as an EMS volunteer, call 804-224-7750 or visit www.cbrescue.com.

Since 1950, Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad has served the Town of Colonial Beach and Westmoreland County. Currently, the organization has over 30 all-volunteer personnel that operate five ambulances covering 240 square miles and a 22-foot rescue boat covering the Virginia waters around the area. For more information, visit www.cbrescue.com.

Concerns about schools, taxes, growth highlight Beach forums

Candidates for Colonial  Beach mayor and town council participated in two separate forums held last week.  The forums, sponsored by the Colonial Beach Foundation and the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce, drew packed crowds to the Colonial Beach Town Center.

Questions and concerns about schools, taxes and growth dominated the two forums.

Mayoral candidates were asked if they wanted to keep the Colonial Beach schools independent as they are currently, or study the possibility of consolidating them with the Westmoreland County school system.

Councilman Eddie Blunt, the owner of the Bayside Marina who is seeking to be elected mayor in the Nov. 8 election, said the Colonial Beach school system adds vitality and vibrancy to the town.  "Without the school system here, what you would have is an empty town," Blunt said.

Councilman Wayne DiRosario, a former two-term mayor who is a candidate for mayor, again this year, said "I am a strong supporter of the Colonial Beach school system." DiRosario said people look at whether or not the town has a strong school system when trying to decide whether to move to Colonial Beach.

Candidates for the Colonial Beach town council, in their separate forum two days earlier, were also asked about keeping the school system separate. Several of the candidates said they would like to see a study done by an independent consultant on the question of whether or not to merge the school system with the county.

"The possibility of school consolidation is a very longstanding, controversial issue, said candidate Steve Cirbee, the owner of Trinity Building Co. "It cannot be answered without a professional third-party evaluation."  Cirbee said he favored hiring a consultant to analyze the issue.

Council candidate Phil Rogers, an accountant, said any study about a possible merger should consider things like busing and community when analyzing the possibility of a merger.  "I agree that there should be an independent study," Rogers said.

"As a graduate, I think we need to keep the school system independent," said Frank Alger III, a Westmoreland Rehabilitation employee who is seeking election to the town council.  

Candidate Bill Flammer, a U.S. Army veteran, said said he supports an independent school system, "But we cannot keep raising taxes to support it."

Increasing taxes were a concern for many of the candidates.  

"Taxes have gone up," said mayoral candidate Blunt. "Our taxes are as high as Fairfax County"  

Mayoral candidate DiRosario said the town can reduce tax increases and bring in more revenue by promoting growth.

"We need to increase the tax base," said council candidate Bill Dellar, who suggested selling or leasing some of the town's vacant properties to raise revenue instead of raising taxes.  

Former Colonial Beach police officer Dallas Leamon, said the town is not making prudent spending decisions currently and criticized the town's payment of $267,000 a year for Westmoreland County to operate the town's 911 emergency system.

Mayoral candidate Blunt said growth will increase the tax base and touted the town's many attractive qualities.  "When people come here," Blunt said, "it's hard for them to get the sand out of their shows. We have had an awesome growth spurt in recent years, let's continue it."

"We have 600 buildable lots," agreed DiRosario.  "And we have a great group of volunteers who can help bring people into our town.  DiRosario said the town can also benefit from its marinas, beaches and boating activities.  

"It is a great town," said Blunt.  "There is something for everybody, everybody is friendly.  Just drive up and down our streets, and watch people wave at you. We have great way of life here in Colonial Beach."

Richard Leggitt

Bids withdrawn for sale of Eleanor Park

The long-simmering tensions involving the sale of the Eleanor Park property in Colonial Beach has caused the two bidders seeking to purchase the block, located on Irving Avenue on the Potomac River, to withdraw their bids.

Read more: Bids withdrawn for sale of Eleanor Park

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