Thu08252016

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Colonial Beach resident one of nation's first female national park rangers

Colonial Beach's Pocahontas Schuck, 76, was honored last weekend to work as a volunteer at the National Park Service's Humpback Rock Visitors Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, reprising the role she filled as a 29-year-old who was one of the nation's first female park rangers.

Schuck said she was inspired to take one last turn working for the Park Service because this year the NPS is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  

"The Park Service people are some of the greatest people on earth," Schuck said. "They don't make a lot of money, they do it for the love of people and the love of nature," Schuck said.  

A high school science teacher, Pocahontas joined the Park Service as a summer employee in the late 1960s at a time when the U.S. Department of Interior employed few woman as park service rangers.

"Our uniforms were hand-me-downs from Delta Airlines in the 1940s," Schuck said. "Later they put us in short skirts and go-go boots which were not what we wanted to wear."   

Pocahontas' first posting as a Park Service ranger was in Glacier National Park in Montana.

"I was assigned to take overnight tours on hikes to Granite Park Chalet, about seven miles," Schuck said. "I had no radio, no bear spray and no way to communicate. I asked what I was supposed to do if we ran into a bear? My superiors told me just to take it slowly so I did not surprise the bear."

"They weren't happy about having a woman as a ranger, but basically I was a naive person in those days," Schuck recalled. "I did not realize the guys didn't want me around."   

One of the first female rangers, Schuck said she faced challenges, but "times began to change when they saw how hard we worked."

"Today there are many women who are superintendents of parks," Schuck said. Her Park Service career, which was in two phases, because she took time out to raise a family, took her to seven national parks and included time working at the White House.

She also worked at George Washington's Birthplace as well as the Richmond Battlefield Park.

"I always enjoyed meeting people, answering questions and interpreting the history and the flora and fauna," Schuck said. Her Park Service career, which she fulfilled while also teaching high school in Virginia and South Carolina, included five years as a member of the Ranger Honor Guard where she carried the nation's flag in parades and ceremonies in Washington, DC.

"It was all very exciting," Schuck said.   

Richard Leggitt

Colonial Beach hosts 37th Rod Run to the Beach

Cars, cars and more cars.  

Colonial Beach hosted the 37th Annual Rod Run to the Beach last weekend. The event on Town Hill attracted large crowds of car enthusiasts to the Beach to examine, antique cars, classic cars, custom cars and hot rods from Virginia and several adjoining states.

The Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce sponsored the two-day event, and with the help of the original Colonial Rod Club raised funds for scholarships for graduating seniors from Colonial Beach High School. Over the years, the yearly event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help deserving students.  

"It was a very good weekend," said Westmoreland Supervisor Larry Roberson, who lives in Colonial Beach.  "Very pretty cars. There was a beautiful 67 Mustang fastback that looked great to me. The weather was sunny Saturday, just right for a car show. Sunday, there was some rain, but it was still pretty successful."

The Rod Run to the Beach attracted registered vehicles from as far away as New York and South Carolina. Vendors were on hand on historic Town Hill to provide food and music for the event. The crowds were large and happy.

The Rod Run to the Beach was started in 1978 by Steve Young, one of the founders of the Colonial Rod Club. When Steve passed away four years ago, his brother Al Young continued to work with Steve's wife, Linda, to keep Steve's hot rod car show dream alive.

The Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce, with the advice and guidance of Al Young, took over the sponsorship of the event this year.

"Al's wisdom and expertise are often called on and his wishes will always be followed," said Carey Geddes, president of the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce.

With the help of many volunteers, the Rod Run to the Beach is one of Colonial Beach's most popular summer events. Thousands show up to view the more than 130 cars on display and revive memories of their heydays.

This year vehicles from a 1904 Rambler to a wide range of classic Corvettes and Mustangs and classic cars from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s were on display. Judges at the car show awarded trophies for the Top 15 cars, Best in Show and a Founder's Choice Award.

Richard Leggitt

Fundraising benefit held for Vickie Coffman

Photos by Richard Leggitt

Chelsea Padgett of Daytona Beach, Fla., helps arrange the dozens upon dozens of donated silent auction items at the very successful Saturday fundraising benefit for Vickie Coffman of High Tides Restaurant in Colonial Beach, who is battling brain cancer.

There was a large crowd and a beach atmosphere at the Saturday fundraiser in Colonial Beach for the Saturday benefit for Vickie Coffman. Coffman, one of the owners of the High Tides Restaurant, is in a fight against brain cancer.

Colonial Beach council postpones Eleanor Park vote again

The Colonial Beach Town Council last week postponed until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 25 a vote on whether to sell the vacant Eleanor Park waterfront property on Irving Avenue to a developer who plans to build as many as a dozen new homes on the site.

Colonial Beach Mayor Mike Ham said the vote was being delayed to allow time for builder Randy Hirsch, who has bid $900,000 for the property, to respond to an offer by developer Roger Mattingly who recently submitted a $950,000 bid. The property has been appraised at $1.2 million.

The possible sale of the Eleanor Park property, the location of a former waterfront trailer park, has roiled Colonial Beach politics for months. Citizens, and some members of the town council, are divided on whether the property should be sold at all and, if it is sold, whether it should be to build more houses along the beachfront.

Because of the issue there was another packed and boisterous crowd at the Thursday's meeting and several of the council members reflected the anger of the citizens. Councilman Wayne DiRosario bitterly complained to Andrea Erard, the town's attorney, that members of the council were not getting full information about the sale of the property.

"You have an obligation to provide all of the information that is available," DiRosario declared. "You are playing politics with the majority. You ought to resign. DiRosario was joined in his complaint by Councilwoman Wanda Goforth who said, "We need more information."

DiRosario and Goforth argued that important information about the appraisal and the bids had not been available to them.

"You have an obligation to provide all of the information that is available," DiRosario told Erard.

"We should be getting more documents prior to the meeting," said Goforth. "How do we even know there is space for a developer to build 12 houses on the property,?" Goforth said.

"We are not going to guarantee the number of houses that can be built," declared Ham. "The town is selling the property as is."

After about 20 minutes of heated discussion and before the council voted to postpone the sale until Aug. 25.

the town's attorney, Erard, apologized to the council. "I will try to be more cognizant that everybody is aware of what has happened," he said.

Richard Leggitt

Harley Davidson motorcycle to be given to sheriff's office at CB grand opening

All American Harley Davidson of Hughesville, Md., which opened a store in Colonial Beach last year, will hold an official grand opening of the store Saturday and will donate a new Harley Davidson motorcycle to the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office.

All­American General Manager Steve "Smurf" Keene said this week that the grand opening of the Harley Davidson on Colonial Avenue will be held at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 20.

There will also be a raffle for those attending. Keene said All­American owner Geoff Wannamaker will attend to present the new motorcycle to Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O. Balderson.

Colonial Beach Mayor Mike Ham and Chamber of Commerce President Carey Geddes will also attend.

The public is invited.

Richard Leggitt

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