- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 July 2010 14:29
- Published on Wednesday, 07 July 2010 14:29
- Hits: 952
The Journal submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Town of Colonial Beach for documents pertaining to the negotiation of an employment agreement between the town and Christopher Hawkins on June 25.
On Friday, July 2, The Journal received a request to extend the deadline by seven days for the FOIA request citing the town had “experienced issues with our server this week delaying the completion of your request.” The Journal was also informed by Town Clerk Barbara Goff that the costs had risen to more than $200 because of the amount of staff time spent in working on the request.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 June 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 30 June 2010 05:00
- Hits: 941
Resident’s emergency injunction denied
Three months ago, on April 22, council approved changes to Ordinance No. 585, Amendment to Town Code of Ordinances, Article III, Noise Ordinance, which were recommended by the Public Safety and Economic Development committee, with the understanding that this was a “temporary measure,” as noted by committee chair Karen Payne.
The amendment deleted Section 15-26, Loud Noises Prohibited or “plainly audible” standards; Section 15-27, Exemptions, such as fire alarms, athletic contests, and school bands; and Section 15-28, Penalty and Enforcement.
What is left is: Replacement Section 15-26, “Loudspeaker permit required,” which makes it unlawful to make amplified sound without first having received a permit from the town manager; and, replacement section 15-27, “Issuance of loudspeaker permits,” which directs residents and businesses to make application to the town manager accompanied by a fee of $50 for every day the permit is required.
The new pay-to-permit noise ordinance has caused an overwhelming outpouring of comments from citizens and businesses in light of the fact that there are no time restrictions and no measurement of noise language contained in the ordinance. Also troublesome to citizens is that there is no separation of residential noise and commercial noise in the ordinance.
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 05:00
- Published on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 05:00
- Hits: 965
At a special meeting on Monday, June 28 at 10 a.m., which was recessed and reconvened at 6 p.m. Tuesday June 29, the town council named G. “Butch” Wells to serve as Interim Chief of Police. (Click Here to view video from the special meeting.)
Wells previously served as Chief of Police in Staunton, Va., for 17 years, from 1986 to July 2003, at which time he retired. Wells also served as president of Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police from 2000 to 2001. The city of Staunton is located in Augusta County with a population of 23,853 according to the 2000 census and operates under a council-manager form of government.
Major Kenneth Blevins has been in command of the police department as of June 28, which was the last day former police chief Christopher Hawkins served. Blevins indicated the department is the “best its ever been” and they were ready to handle expected crowds over this weekend’s Fourth of July festivities. The Virginia State Police, Westmoreland County and Charles County will assist in crowd control.
- Last Updated on Friday, 25 June 2010 02:12
- Published on Friday, 25 June 2010 02:12
- Hits: 803
The rumors circulating around town apparently are true. Effective this coming Monday, June 28, Christopher Hawkins will no longer serve as Colonial Beach Police Chief.
Although no official word was spoken by council members at Thursday night's meeting, Town Manager Val Foulds said "Chief informed me last night he was no longer interested in negotiating the contract."
Negotiations had been taking place between town attorney Andrea Erard, Foulds, Hawkins and council members in e-mails and meetings this past week.
In a telephone interview, Hawkins expressed that the breakdown of negotiations "had nothing to do with money" but in "caveats not in the previous contract."Only Mayor Fred Rummage was forthcoming in response to a query of what new terms were included in the contract. He noted that the only additional language he wanted to see added to Hawkins' contract was to "clarify that the police chief answers to the town manager."
Council member Burkett Lyburn said he was "disappointed" and that Hawkins was "a good chief." Council member Karen Payne referred this reporter to the town attorney. Members David Coombes and Trish King made early exits, member Sparky Ridgely was not available, and member Steve Kennedy was not in attendance.
Hawkins further stated "the council has been very good to me; the town manager has been very good to me. I think everybody was trying to do the right thing, trying to do what they think is right."
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 15:43
- Published on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 15:43
- Hits: 1040
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
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:54
- Published on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:54
- Hits: 1125
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.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 18:03
- Published on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 18:03
- Hits: 940
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.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 14:27
- Published on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 14:27
- Hits: 1059
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.