- Last Updated on Thursday, 28 July 2016 09:29
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:07
- Hits: 239
Wilson, a box turtle; Quinn, a great horned owl; and Delphine, a blind opossum were the star attractions at the
Cooper Library in Colonial Beach last week as the Wildlife Center of Virginia introduced children to some of the
wild animals that are found in the area.
"They are our educational ambassadors," said Raina Krasner, the wildlife center's outreach coordinator.
Krasner and Ashley Perry, a wildlife center volunteer, entertained and educated a packed room of children
eager to learn about the animals.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia, which is located in Waynesboro, was formed in 1982 to provide care for
Virginia's injured or ailing native wildlife. We have helped more than 1,000 animals this year and currently
have more than 140 patients at the center, said Krasner.
Krasner, who has been employed at the wildlife center for four years, said animals who have been injured or
are sick are rehabilitated if possible and then returned to the wild. "We rely on the public to give us a call when
they see an animal that needs help," Krasner said.
She said baby cottontail rabbits and deer fawns that have been abandoned or lost their mothers are among the
most frequent patients at the wildlife center. The center also gets injured eagles, hawks, snakes, bears, foxes
and many other animals as well opossums, turtles and owls.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 28 July 2016 09:12
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:37
- Hits: 251
Ellie Caruthers has been greeting people at Doc's Motor Court in Colonial Beach since 1951. Doc's is mostly
closed today, but Ellie, who is 89, still has room for old friends, many of whom have been coming to the little
beachfront motor court for decades.
Ellie likes to tell stories about times past in Colonial Beach and she remembers the heydays and the dark days
of the eclectic beach community that was once host to tens of thousands of visitors daily during the summer.
"Now people vacation anytime of year and they go anywhere they want," Ellie said.
"But in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s vacation time was from Memorial Day to Labor Day. That was when children
were out of school and that was when most people took their vacations."
"They came by ferry, by boat and by car, thousands of them would stroll the boardwalk, a lot of young women
in summer dresses and a lot of young men, many of them in uniform," Ellie said. "It was a wonderful time, you
could eat yourself silly and there were places to dance."
Ellie Caruthers, 89, has operated a motor court in Colonial Beach for 65 years. She said she finds the beach town "fascinating."
Ellie said the boardwalk during World War II and for decades after was a sight to behold. There were hotels,
bars, rooming houses, casinos, restaurants and shops selling ice cream, custard, popcorn and snow cones.
"And Colonial Beach had corn dogs before they were called corn dogs," Ellie said. "We called them corn
She remembers those days and the events that have occurred in Colonial Beach quite clearly. "Hurricane
Isabel in 1954 was something," Ellie said. "The municipal pier washed away, boats at the marinas on Monroe
Bay were dumped in the streets and the streets were flooded."
Another memory was the boardwalk fire in the late 1940s that burned down the Monte Carlo and Reno casinos.
"Someone left a burning cigarette in a back booth in the Monte Carlo and the fire just swept the boardwalk.
Firemen were running and jumping to get away from the flames and almost all the buildings along that part of
the boardwalk had blisters or damage from the fire."
Events like Hurricane Isabel and the boardwalk fire damaged Colonial Beach, but also showed the town's
character, according to Ellie.
"Back then people just got busy and built everything back again," Ellie said. "In those days people always
helped each other."
Ellie grew up in North Carolina during the depression. "My daddy was a brick mason, but during the depression
he lost everything: the car, the house and the money in the bank. So he came to D.C. and got a job with the
government, the WPA," said Ellie.
Ellie's father became a builder and eventually started his own business, which often did work for the
government. "Daddy got a contract for work at Dahlgren and he rented a cottage in Colonial Beach for our
family. And right here on the beach is where I met Doc Caruthers who was operating Doc's Motor Court on the
"We went out a few times. But I was working as a nurse in D.C. and I went back to work. We wrote a few letters
and he called a few times. And in 1951 we were married," Ellie said. Ellie's beloved husband passed away in
2010, but today she continues to operate the motor court at 11 N. Irving Ave., although only for a few select old
Although she misses Doc, who worked at Dahlgren and was a genius at computers and many other things
including boat building, Ellie is active in the community and visits frequently with her friends. "Colonial Beach
has been fascinating for me," she said.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 28 July 2016 09:13
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:33
- Hits: 282
Friends and customers of Vickie Coffman, who owns High Tides Restaurant in Colonial Beach with her
husband Bryan, are organizing a benefit to help defray some of the medical costs facing Coffman and her
family. Coffman, 58, is battling brain cancer and is currently an outpatient at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in
Coffman was diagnosed with two brain tumors on May 13 and underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins on May
"The doctors were unfortunately only able to remove most of one of the tumors. A biopsy was performed and
the tumors were found to be malignant," organizers of the benefit said in a letter to businesses seeking help
with the Aug. 13 event.
Vickie Coffman has been a popular fixture at High Tides Restaurant, which she owns with her husband Bryan. Coffman is suffering from brain cancer and a benefit will be held for her on Aug. 13.
Coffman, who is known for her generosity to Colonial Beach schools and other local events, is seeing a loving
return of her many good deeds over the years.
"Just about every business in town has donated something," said Charles Pompell, Coffman's son.
The benefit will be an allday affair with top flight bands, a silent auction, a golf cart poker run and a motorcycle
poker run. "There is going to be a lot of stuff going on," said Pompell.
Music at the event will feature the bands Radio Redline, the Night Hawks and the popular Australian band
Longreef, which has performed frequently in Colonial Beach in recent years at High Tides and the adjacent
Black Pearl Tiki Bar. Tickets for the music, which will begin at 3 p.m., are $15 per person.
The organizers are seeking donations for the silent auction. Items can be anything from a gift card, a gift
basket, or anything that can be auctioned off on the 13th.
"All money raised will go directly to Vickie Coffman towards her medical costs," the organizers have pledged.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 28 July 2016 09:15
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 11:50
- Hits: 242
Her dream was to become a hairdresser and open up her own salon.
From there, she hoped to branch out and eventually have stores operating across the country. But in 2014, 18-year-old Chandale Dillon was killed the morning of Jan. 8 while traveling along State Route 3 in King George County when her car struck a dump truck head on.
In the years since the Colonial Beach High School graduate’s death, friends and family have stayed close and reunite each year to honor the memory of the talented athlete who was also a student at the Paul Mitchell Academy in Woodbridge and had attended a modeling and fashion academy for six years.
“She always said when she made it in life she was going to have her own stores scattered across America,” Roby Dillon, Chandale’s father who calls his daughter “Chany,” said. “She was just a big thinker.”
On Saturday afternoon, those close to Chandale were able to make her dream a reality with the opening of Chany’s Shear Shot, a hair and photography studio dedicated to the memory of Chandale.
Left: The storefront of Chany's Shear Shot is located off Euclid Avenue. Right: Tara Seeber, owner of Chany's Shear Shot, and Roby Dillon, father of Chandale Dillon, who the studio was established to honor, cut the ribbon during the grand opening ceremony Saturday.
The grand opening included a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Colonial Beach store, which was conducted by studio owner Tara Seeber and her two sons, Dillon, stylists Jaime Trowbridge and Summer Trivell and other friends of Chandale.
Seeber, whose daughter was best friends with Chandale, said she worked with Roby to open the studio.
“I was a hairdresser years ago and got out of it and when I got laid off from the government a couple years ago I just did odds and end jobs,” Seeber said. “Me and Roby talked about opening a salon and I do photography so we just incorporated that too.”
Since the salon’s opening, about two weeks prior to the grand opening, Seeber said business has been nonstop.
“I’m excited to be working in my hometown and to breathe some life back into the town … and to bring people from out of town into town, stylist Jaime Trowbridge, who had previously worked in King George County for about 13 years, said. “I’m very excited and overwhelmed with the amount of support that we’ve gotten from everyone from King George to Colonial Beach to Westmoreland County in general.”
Left: People gathered together Saturday afternoon for the grand opening of Chany's Shear Shot, a hair and photography studio in Colonial Beach that was established to honor Chandale Dillon, who was killed in a 2014 crash in King George County. Right: Jaime Trowbridge, far left, walks to the front entrance of Chany's Shear Shot to greet new arrivals of the studio's grand opening Saturday in Colonial Beach.
Trowbridge said she met Chandale as her hair stylist, when Chandale was in high school. Stylist Summer Trivell said she also knew Chandale - they both attended Paul Mitchell Academy, a 10-month program based in Woodbridge together.
“We drove everyday. [Chandale] rode with me a lot,” Trivell said. “It was five days a week, Tuesdays through Saturdays, just like a regular salon. It was nerve wrecking at first. There were so many girls there who already had a lot of experience.”
Trowbridge said with both Trivell and herself working at the studio and both having daughters of their own, the studio is a very “family-welcoming place.”
“It’s exciting to do this and start this journey with [Trivell] because I’ve known her since she was nine and we’ll have our kids kind of grow up in this shop together,” Trowbridge said.
Seeber said the studio won’t operate like other salons.
“[The studio] is very needed here in Colonial Beach and I think we’re not going to be the normal,” Seeber said. “We’re going to have friends that stop by all the time to just chat and hang out and be close knit. Chany’s picture is right out there in the front so we talk about that all the time and who she is and keep her memory alive.”
Dillon said he remains impressed by his daughter’s accomplishments and hopes to expand the business to more locations in the coming years, further fulfilling his Chandale’s vision.
“Chany had somehow, amazingly made a huge impact on a lot of people,” Dillon said. “They all stay close with us. It’s comforting to know that a child at such a young age was able to impact so many people.”