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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Bids withdrawn for sale of Eleanor Park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 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

Beach planning commission wrestles with possible murals regulations

At its regular August meeting last week, the Colonial Beach planning commission wrestled with whether or not the town needs an ordinance regulating the murals that have begun appearing around Colonial Beach this summer.

Some members of the commission are concerned that the half dozen murals that have appeared on the sides of buildings and businesses this year have the potential to damage the community's welcoming image. "It’s too much, it's distracting," said Diana Clopton, a commission member who is a landscape designer.

"Can there be too many murals?," asked commission member Robert Busick. "Regulation and order are not necessarily bad." Bowing to the obvious concerns of some of the members, the commission decided to obtain more research before making a recommendation on the matter to the Colonial Beach Town Council.

"The August meeting was just an initial conversation and we have asked the planning department to provide more insight on it," said Robin Schick, the commission's chairwoman.

"The commission will discuss it further at the next meeting with another level of research into the matter," Schick said.  "I hope the art community and public comes to weigh in on the subject."

An internationally known artist, who helped revitalize Montross with colorful, detailed acrylic murals depicting the town's history, is painting murals in Colonial Beach as a part of the Beach's current revitalization effort.  Melanie Stimmell Van Latum of Los Angeles has painted four murals in Colonial Beach and is planning a fifth mural.

Van Latum, who has painted a total of 11 murals in Montross over the past two years, has painted colorful, historical murals on the sides of the Colonial Beach Town Hall, the Coldwell Banker Elite building, Colonial Beach Real Estate and the Renaissance Condominiums. In addition she is scheduled to paint a fifth mural on the new beach public restroom building.

In addition, other artists have painted two murals on the sides of Pearson's seafood on Colonial Avenue, a shark lifting weights has been painted on the side of the River Gym on Washington Avenue and two large beach-style murals have been painted on the fence of the St. John's Condominiums, also on Washington Avenue.

Across Virginia, there are only three jurisdictions that have ordinances regulating murals. One of those is Montross. The Montross regulation defines a mural, as opposed to a sign, sets regulations for businesses or property owners seeking to place a mural on their property and requires that all murals be approved by a review committee.

Several of the commission members last week appeared to believe that guidelines for citizens and business seeking to place murals on their property would be more appropriate than ordinance language.  "I am concerned we are creating a monster here," said commission member Pamela Toler.

Richard Leggitt

Crepe Myrtle fails to make Colonial Beach's landscaping list

Pity the poor crepe myrtle.  

When Robert Busick, a member of the Colonial Beach Planning Commission, proposed adding the colorful crepe myrtle last week to the list of native species on the beach town's approved shrubs and trees for landscaping, he ran into a buzz saw.

"Crepe myrtles are so passé now," declared fellow commission member Diana Clopton.

"The crepe myrtle is not a native species," Clopton told the commission as it worked on recommendations to amendments to a landscaping ordinance for the Colonial Beach Town Council.

"There are four or five other things that are 10 times prettier and have beautiful blooms," said Clopton, a landscaping designer, as the commission conducted its August meeting Thursday.

Clopton's resolute comments on the crepe myrtle will be sadly received by the hundreds of Colonial Beach residents who have flowering crepe myrtles growing in their yards or on their property. Crepe myrtles have been a constant for landscapers and gardeners in the Northern Neck for more than 200 years.

Crepe myrtles, which feature brilliant clusters of orange, red or purple blooms each summer and fall, have been a staple of southern living since the late 1700s. Originally from China and Japan, the crepe myrtle was introduced in the United States in Charleston, S.C., in 1786.

Whatever the case, unless the Colonial Beach Town Council sees it differently, the crepe myrtle will no longer be an approved landscaping tree or shrub at the beach. The planning commission voted unanimously to recommend to the council an amendment to include 25 trees and shrubs on the town's landscaping list -- but not the colorful crepe myrtle.

Richard Leggitt

Recent weather yields stunning sights

The recent, hot humid weather has produced a series of breathtaking sunrises over the Potomac River, like this one seen from Colonial Beach this week.

Richard Leggitt

Traveling Colonial Beach photographer captures vibrant digital images

Rob Rudick, a talented international photographer from Colonial Beach, travels the country and the world capturing vibrant, colorful digital images. His stunning work is on display at the JarrettThor Fine Arts gallery in Colonial Beach through Aug. 7.

"My journey as a photographer traveled from black and white street film photography to digital photography with an emphasis on color, shape, sheer beauty and whimsy," Rudick said.  

Rudick's colorful images from recent trips to Southern Utah and to Spain are part of a JarrettThor gallery exhibition called titled "Color Connections" that showcases Rudick's work along with the work of his friend, Northern Virginia painter Bill Firestone.

"Our use of color is similar," Rudick said. "So we decided we ought to have a show together. You can see the interplay of color and shapes as our work wraps its way around the gallery."

Rudick works part time as a data analyst for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "I have always taken pictures.  But the digital cameras are very powerful and you can control the process. When I started using one, I was hooked."

Rudick, and his wife, Joyce Reimherr, also maintain a home in Takoma Park, Md., and travel whenever they have the opportunity.  His current Colonial Beach exhibition displays his unique use of color and composition in images of starkly beautiful Southern Utah landscapes and colorful street images from Catalonia, Spain.

Among the images on display at the JarrettThor gallery are scenes from a Spanish street, a historic church and an old cathedral as well as a uniquely arranged bakery display. "We travel a couple of times a year," Rudick said. "We are going to China in October."

"The challenge for me as a photographer is to accurately replicate the feeling I had when I took the photograph and to provide a perspective that attracts the audience's attention repeatedly," Rudick said.

"I take the same approach when photographing landscapes, architecture, interiors, flowers, cars or objects that we see every day," Rudick said. "I see the world around me as if it was through then lens of a camera.  Pictures leap out at me."

Richard Leggitt

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