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Colonial Beach Briefs - June 23, 2010

Police Chief

This Thursday, June 24 at 4 p.m., at a special meeting, the Colonial Beach town council will present a new contract to Police Chief Christopher Hawkins. The meeting will be held at Town Hall. Because contract terms are still under review by council, it is not clear at press time if Hawkins’ contract will contain changes to salary, benefits or other terms or restrictions.

The current employment agreement provides that Hawkins perform the functions and duties specified in Section 4 of the Colonial Beach Town Code, as amended, which states in part “Section 4(b). The council may establish and maintain a police department which shall be under the supervision of a Chief of Police, who shall serve continuously after appointment by the town council, subject to dismissal by the town council, only because of: inefficiency; malfeasance; misfeasance, and/or nonfeasance in office; other acts unbecoming a Police Officer; poor health or retirement, which dismissal, if any, may be made only after an appropriate investigation and hearing before the town council according to rules and regulations set up by the town council.”

School Board Appointment

At a special meeting on Wednesday, June 16, Colonial Beach School Board unanimously agreed to appoint Michelle “Shelly” Jenkins Payne to fill the remaining two-year term of school board member Anne Congdon who resigned her seat in May. Payne ran in May for School Board and received 23.06 percent of votes, coming in third. Payne will serve on the school board beginning July 1, 2010, through June 2012.

Council approves tax rate

At a special town council meeting on June 16, and in possibly the shortest council meeting on record, members voted to not change the tax rate for fiscal year 2010/2011. The real estate tax rate will remain at 60 cents per $100. The projected revenue from real estate taxes for 2010/2011 is $2,793,597, which shows a $91,864 increase from fiscal year 2009/2010 based on recent real estate assessments.

— Kathy Flanagan

Giving back at the Beach

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles focused on volunteerism in the Town of Colonial Beach. Watch future editions to see men and women who are doing their part (and often more) to benefit their community.

You’re invited to walk with The Journal on a literary journey to find the heart of Colonial Beach.  Emotions run strong when people talk about the beach.  It’s either a great place to live or a small town that can’t seem to find its way — a small town that saw its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s when it was known as “The Playground of the Potomac,” a place that has not yet been able to recapture that title.  
Colonial Beach has always been a town driven by a citizenry split along two lines, the “been heres” who miss the old days and oppose change and the “come heres” who are looking for the amenities a beach community offers, while demanding convenience and a higher level of services.  These days the town struggles to fund the school system, maintain infrastructure and create and implement local regulations that maintain the quest for a better quality of life while not discouraging tourism.  

Read more: Giving back at the Beach

Parking problems plague the Beach

Issues include the location of the kiosk and handicap spaces

Pay to park at the Wilder lot gets bad reviews from one local realtor, prompting questions of why?  Why is the kiosk located at the back of the lot? Why are there no designated handicap spaces?  Why are there no designated spaces at all?  And, finally, why was a town employee seen writing with a permanent marker on the brand new signs?
Local commercial real estate agent Ralph Peregory, an agent with Exit Realty Expertise in King George, and his wife, Mande, came to Colonial Beach Saturday to celebrate his birthday at the Riverboat.  Peregory, who uses a wheel chair to get around has never been one to back away from a challenge.  But maneuvering his wheel chair across the gravel to get to the kiosk located on the back right side of the lot, and then maneuvering back to his truck to place the ticket on his dashboard, and then blazing a trail to the Riverboat, has Peregory rethinking future visits to the beach.

Read more: Parking problems plague the Beach

Pier accident leads to loss of young life

A friendly game of tossing the football on the beach led to a tragic event that changed the lives of many people in Colonial Beach.
The May 23 accident started with the ball going into the river. Steven Biggins, an 18-year-old Colonial Beach senior, who, according to his mother, Angie Brann, was an excellent swimmer, tried to retrieve the ball by reaching down from the dock. When Steven could not reach it, he tried to climb back over the railing. He slipped, hitting his chest on the way down. It is believed he was knocked unconscious by the blow and was unable to come back up.

Read more: Pier accident leads to loss of young life

Chief Hawkins Resigning

Police Chief Christopher C. Hawkins has resigned his position by way of a letter delivered over the weekend to Town Manager Val Foulds, effective June 28.   Hawkins has accepted a position as assistant police chief in Portsmouth, Va.  
Hawkins was selected and began serving as Police Chief in Colonial Beach on January 3, 2008.  Prior to that he had served for 13 years as a Virginia State Trooper.  Chief Hawkins effectively guided the department through a move to new headquarters.  More recently he led the department through a rigorous accreditation process before the Virginia Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, which resulted in Colonial Beach Police Department becoming one of 79 departments out of 400 total law enforcement agencies in Virginia that have gained accreditation. In a recent report to Town Council, Hawkins was pleased to note that 2009 crime rates have shown a decline in every category.  

Read more: Chief Hawkins Resigning

 

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