- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:38
- Published on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:38
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King George Middle School has club day once a month at the end of the school day for kids to explore their interests and learn new things. This school year, the first club day was Sept. 23. The King George Outdoor Club started the year with a brief introduction of the club and possible activities that might be held during the year, and then the meeting moved right into a presentation by the guest speaker.
Jim Harper of Jim’s Taxidermy in King George, took a day off work and prepared his presentation for the King George Outdoor Club at the middle school. Harper became interested in taxidermy as a teenager because he wanted to preserve the game animals he harvested. His love for the art of taxidermy grew to the point he actually attended school for taxidermy and earned a diploma and ultimately the status of master taxidermist.
Harper’s attention to detail is well known and his customer list is extensive. He has done work from around the country for hunters and anglers. It may be hard to believe that someone in King George has a clientele spanning the country, but it is true.
Harper began his presentation by explaining to the youth how he got started and how he does his work. He shared a few tricks he uses to make his mounts lifelike, and he expressed how important it is to have a good work ethic and make the customer happy.
The youth were able to actually see the muscle lines in the neck and shoulder of a deer mount he brought to show the kids. They could see the veins in the face of the deer and the exact coloration of the antlers matching when the deer was harvested. Harper tans the hides of the mounts he does and the furs are incredibly soft.
In addition to being able to see the deer mount, Harper also had a fox mounted, a fox kit that was unfortunately killed on the road did not go to waste because he mounted it; a largemouth bass that Harper caught, which was gorgeously depicted in an underwater scene complete with driftwood, vegetation and the lure; and a fox hide and a coyote hide.
Harper also had examples of lifelike eyes that he uses for his mounts for the kids to see. The youth were full of questions about his work and stories of animals they had taken. Some kids wanted to see if Harper might mount future animals they are able to harvest.
For Harper, the mounting process is about preserving the memory and the time afield for the customer. He wants his work to realistically appear just like the moment his customer saw it in the field or on the water. He expressed that to the students as he explained more attributes of his profession.
At the end of the presentation, the youth came up and were able to touch and examine the mounts he brought with him. More questions were asked and answered and much interaction took place with our guest speaker.
At the very end of the time allotted, the students were seated again, and Harper reminded the students that the care that they take in the field of the animal, can impact the outcome from the taxidermist. He offered some handouts of how to properly field dress a deer to the students since deer season is literally upon us.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:37
- Published on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:37
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The King George Board of Supervisors is eager to adopt an ordinance to fine residents $250 for each owned vehicle they fail to register in Virginia.
The county has to wait until it gets an ordinance on the books, which was requested on Sept. 20.
Following development, it will be authorized for public hearing and subsequently adopted.
The new ordinance was discussed by Supervisor John Jenkins who said he had communicated it to board members and been in contact with Commissioner of Revenue Judy Hart.
He said a new section of state law had caught his eye in August at a Virginia Association of Counties transportation steering committee, when a list of recent state legislation was distributed.
The new law, state code §46.2-662, allows for up to $250 to be imposed as a fine on new residents who fail to register their vehicles after 30 days of moving to the county.
“It is not right that so many people take the time to do the right thing and register their vehicles properly while others simply ignore that responsibility. Hopefully this ordinance is a deterrent,” Jenkins said.
The $250 penalty would be on top of taxes owed for the current year and for those going three years back.
Prior to the state enacting the fine legislation, Hart had already been on the case to track down residents who have not registered their vehicles, so she could assess their current year’s personal property taxes, and those for three years back.
Hart was at the meeting, saying she had started working on the registration issue shortly after taking office in January.
She said it would help if the board went forward to attach a fine to those who don’t follow the law.
“The is the one thing during my campaign I heard the most from the public, about people living in the county who have vehicles registered elsewhere,” Hart said. “They own their homes or rent here and they have several vehicles parked in their garage and driveways and they’re from Maryland or somewhere else.”
She got concurrence on that topic.
“That’s the biggest complaint I get from my constituents,” Supervisor Jim Howard said. “That’s a lot of money we’re losing. I’m very much in favor of it.”
Hart says she uses state code § 58.1-3511 as her backup for assessment and taxation. Any vehicle or watercraft that is “garaged, docked or parked,” in the locality is subject to King George personal property taxation.
“That includes if a vehicle or watercraft is registered in another locality and garaged, docked or parked in King George, you will be assessed and taxed in King George. It’s that simple,” Hart said.
She said she is getting a lot of cooperation from departments and agencies.
“I have wonderful help with the King George Sheriff’s department providing information I need to assess these individuals,” Hart said. “I’ve been provided license plates numbers and VIN numbers. We only have access to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in my office. But the deputies have access to other states with this information they can give me.”
She also gets annual lists of tenants, license plate numbers and other information from the apartment complexes in the county. Hart said her office has many ways to check residents’ addresses for vehicles with out-of-state tags.
“There are several avenues we are using to check or cross check their status,” Hart said.
Those include the Virginia Department of Taxation and King George County schools. She said they were also checking with other localities and have access to the National Auto Dealership Association.
“I’ve received anonymous letters and we are happy to get those,” Hart said. “It’s slow going. We have a lot of other work to do. But I bounce back and forth at it. We know where they live.”
“We need a name and address where this person lives, if they can provide information about the vehicles that would be very helpful,” Hart said.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:30
- Published on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:30
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King George County was cited by the Virginia Association of Counties as one of its 29 recipients for a 2016 Achievement Award recognizing model local government programs.
Larry Land, the association’s director of policy development, presented the award to the county at the Sept. 20 board meeting.
“The program recognizes counties who have adopted innovative programs and which can serve as an example for other counties to emulate,” Land said.
The county’s winning program is “My Vote Matters.”
The collaborative program was jointly developed in 2015 by Lorrie Gump, King George director of elections, and Dee Strauss, King George High School teacher and DECA club sponsor.
The submission by Gump notes the county has over 15,000 registered voters, but with only about 30 percent showing up for a nonpresidential elections.
“Our goal was to get the word out to all the residents to make the November 2015 election have more than 30 percent participation,” Gump said.
“In May of 2015 we were approached by Dee Strauss saying she had a group of student who wanted to get do a campaign to get the vote out. There were so many activities they did that promoted this,” Gump said.
“It was a great activity for all of us,” Strauss said.
Chairwoman Ruby Brabo agreed. “I think this is a perfect example of the way of how working with DECA and those students can benefit all departments in our county and benefit our community.”
Voter turnout increased to 33 percent for the 2015 local election compared to 30 percent in the 2011 local election.
Gump and Strauss said the ‘My Vote Matters’ campaign is continuing with an event planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 15 in the board meeting room of the Revercomb Administration building.
The event will offer absentee voting, voter registration, picture ID if needed, and information about the Electoral College and how it works.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:24
- Published on Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:24
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The King George Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Oct. 11 to take comments on whether to allow beekeeping in residentially zoned districts.
The commissioners had studied the matter for several months earlier this year at the request of the Board of Supervisors, honing wording to go into the zoning amendment to allow beekeeping in Residential-1 or Residential-2 zoning districts which have lot sizes of at least 15,000 square feet.
The proposal would allow a minimum of two hives in districts zoned R-1 and R-2, with up to three hives on lots with 20,000 square feet and a maximum of four hives on lots 25,000 square feet.
R-3 multifamily zoning is not being considered for beekeeping.
The property owner, operator or tenant would have to obtain a permit from the zoning administrator, along with other conditions, which would include no hives located closer than 10 feet to any property line or sidewalk and not permitted in any front yards.
A constant supply of fresh water must be provided on the lot within 20 feet of all hives.
Any hive within 25 feet of a property line, would require a flyaway barrier as a shield from a neighbor’s property, consisting of dense vegetation, a wall or solid fence at least 6 feet high.
County senior environmental planner Heather Hall had provided a thorough staff report to the supervisors about residential beekeeping in August.
Hall told supervisors some other localities were polled, with no issues regarding near neighbors with allergies or bees bothering pets. She said localities that had reported complaints were from those ignoring the permit conditions, as noted above.
Chairwoman Ruby Brabo saying she has subdivision neighbors who are already keeping bees and want to be in compliance, so would favor the ordinance amendment.
“I wouldn’t have a concern,” Brabo said. “We’ve not had any issues.”
The staff report provided honeybee facts.
•Bees are not generally aggressive and considered compatible with residential uses.
•Honey bees fly in a radius of about 2 to 5 miles from their homes to forage for flowers and food.
•Natural bees make their hives wherever they want without regard to zoning.
The ordinance amendment is due to King George resident Lonnie Williams, who successfully persuaded the Board of Supervisors to consider allowing backyard beekeeping, urging up to 10 hives be allowed in residential zones back on March 15.
She provided comments, saying she would like the county to reconsider allowing more than four hives.
“My request was for 10 hives. The Planning Commission recommended four. That’s better than none. I hope that in the future the maximum can be increased to 10hives,” Williams said.
She also recommended mandatory training for applicants prior to requesting a beekeeping permit.
“I see belonging to a club or association as connecting with continuous education and a group of knowledgeable school masters who genuinely care about the maintenance of the hives,” Williams said.
Those interested in more information about local beekeeping, may go online tGateway Beekeepers Association: http://www.gatewaybeekeepers.org/
The association meets monthly in King George, 7 p.m. on the third Thursdays of the month at the American Legion Post 89 on Dahlgren Road at Indiantown Road (Routes 206 & 610).
The Planning Commission’s public hearing is 7 p.m. Oct. 11 in the ground floor board room of the Revercomb Administration building, located behind the King George Courthouse on Route 3 (Kings Highway).
After the commission finishes its deliberations, it will take a vote on a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to approve or disapprove the amendments, or recommend some changes.
After that, supervisors will advertise and hold another public hearing, discuss it again, make any changes, then take a vote to adopt or not adopt.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2016 13:58
- Published on Thursday, 29 September 2016 13:58
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A third meeting for anyone interested in helping to pinpoint locations and give information about sites of African-American one- and two-room schools and training schools in the Northern Neck prior to desegregation will take place 11a.m. Oct. 14 in Warsaw.
The meeting will be at the Northern Neck Enterprise Center, 483 Main St. in Warsaw.
It’s located in the regional center complex of buildings, across the parking lot from the Hunan Chinese Restaurant, a landmark easily seen from Route 3/Main St.
Lisa Hull, Economic Development & Tourism Coordinator for the Northern Neck Planning District Commission, has been facilitating the mapping sessions.
The purpose is to provide an online mapping tool for an African-American Education Trail in the Northern Neck with photos, and other available information to be added.
“This project is an opportunity for the African-American community to insert placeholders on the map of the Northern Neck that speaks to the aggressiveness and tenacity of the African-American citizenry who dared to educate their youth — while forced to sidestep obstacles and face struggles in doing so,” Marian Veney Ashton said. Ashton is director of the A.T. Johnson High School Museum in Montross. “Upon completion, the objective is to have most of the early African-American schools that populated the Northern Neck identified, and moving those historical footprints into a forever-living electronic world.”
Ashton said the previous meeting on Sept. 13 was a big success and was very informative and productive. She hosted it at the A. T. Johnson Museum.
“I was most pleased with the number of schools identified while we know there are still more, and still much work to do. But it is an excellent beginning. And the excitement is building,” Ashton said. “That was the second of several planned traveling collaborative sessions designed for the purpose of identifying and populating the online tourism map with the locations of those educational facilities for the African-American youth of the Northern Neck.”
Those at the meeting included several from the first session held in August in King George, hosted by Claudette Jordon. It also included former A.T. Johnson High School students and some who had attended some of the one- and two-room schools that dotted the 229 square miles of Westmoreland County.
An A.T. Johnson delegation arrived from Washington D.C., with others coming from several Maryland counties. Ashton spent time during the meeting phone-conferencing with others from Virginia and Pennsylvania to help with accurately mapping school sites.
The lively fact-sharing session, scheduled for an hour and a half, expanded to three hours, adding more than two dozen school sites to the map.
The map will not be promoted until after it gets into a more finished state. But Hull has loaded the unfinished map onto the Northern Neck website to more easily gather information from anyone with knowledge of locations and/or names of educational sites of any type for African-Americans prior to actual desegregation.
The direct link to the map site is: http://www.northernneck.org/african-american-education-in-the-northern-neck/.
“The African-American Education map is taking shape with 37 identified schools or school sites thus far,” Hull said.
“The map is a framework for additional information and photos to be added to these locations and way to preserve and promote this narrative of Northern Neck heritage.”
- Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2016 13:57
- Published on Thursday, 29 September 2016 13:56
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The King George Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead for the School Board to proceed with a proposal by Honeywell Building Solutions for an energy performance contract.
The approval was provided at a meeting on Sept. 20, following a detailed presentation by Kyle Laux of Davenport Associates, and despite being informed the cost would add $4 million to the amount of the county’s debt portfolio.
The School Board will to take action at this week’s meeting on Sept. 26 to authorize Superintendent Dr. Rob Benson to execute a contract with Honeywell after it is developed and approved by the county attorney, with financing by Davenport.
But at last week’s meeting it was clear supervisors had angst over giving its okay.
Supervisors’ Chairwoman Ruby Brabo had wanted to hear from the county’s financial advisors before proceeding.
“I just really have a hard time right now adding more to our debt. We’ve worked so hard and we’re actually cash-funding all of the capital projects right now that we’ve listed out. We’re cash-funding the water/sewer line. And a couple of us up here campaigned quite hard on trying to bring our debt down,” Brabo said. “But we recognize that with something like this, the end-goal is a cost savings.”
Supervisor Richard Granger had questions.
“This is a 15-year contract. The preschool is not optimal for the students right now, even if the HVAC is fixed. Would this mean we are now stuck in this building for 15 years with the preschool? Or does that mean we would have to carry that debt as well as pay for something new for a preschool?”
Superintendent Dr. Rob Benson responded.
“These are equipment needs we have to take care of one way or the other. It does not lock us into using a facility for the 15 years,” Benson said.
“We have the middle school expansion currently in the works, and that’s going to be a significant cost. I’m not trying to be pessimistic. But realistically, building another facility for the preschool might be a few years down the road.”
The Honeywell contract would cost roughly $4 million over 15 years under a lease purchase agreement to install new equipment to modernize some buildings and facilities, along with financing and maintenance and other charges by Honeywell.
But the program is endorsed and authorized by the state with 100 percent performance and financial guarantees.
If in any given year it costs more for the contract payment than the program generates in utility savings, Honeywell is to pay the difference to the division.
That appeared to be the clincher to sway the board to agree for the School Board to proceed. They directed the county attorney to work with Honeywell to draw up the contract with the School Board and asked Laux of Davenport to seek financing for it.
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry said late last week he would likewise review the Honeywell contract before it is executed. He also said he and county Director of Finance Robyn Shugart had had a conference call with Laux regarding the project’s financing.
“Davenport is proceeding with evaluating financing options,” Quesenberry said. “We hope to have a resolution relating to financing for the Board of Supervisors to consider at the next meeting.”
The supervisors will next meet on Oct. 4.
Part of the contract will be the cost of a yearly ‘measurement and verification’ to ensure projected minimum savings are realized at an annual cost to the division of about $22,000 per year over the 15-year time frame of the contract, along with about $15,000 per year for maintenance by Honeywell.
The contract is to provide energy efficient lighting upgrades estimated at $1.6 million, a replacement chiller at King George Elementary School estimated at nearly $213,000, replacement and additional heating-ventilation-and air conditioning (HVAC) units at the Pre-School and School Board office at $404,000, replacement of the building control systems at the middle school, King George Elementary School and Sealston Elementary School at about $553,000, building envelope improvements at $136,000, water conservation measures estimated at $232,000, vehicle maintenance facility waste oil furnace at $38,000, computer power management at nearly $23,000, with 12 percent charged for overhead at $384,590, and 5 percent profit for Honeywell at $179,500, and cost of the technical audit already performed at $30,246.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 September 2016 10:55
- Published on Wednesday, 07 September 2016 10:55
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Marjorie ChurchBorne of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognized and thanked King George County Public Schools for their participation in fundraising activities benefitting the organizations through heart-healthy activities.
“We would like to recognize your dedication and commitment to our mission of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke,” ChurchBorne said.
She related that in 2014-15 the schools raised $7,750 for the heart associations.
In 2015-16, with participation by 100 percent of the King George schools, they more than doubled the previous year’s fundraising, with $16,220 for the two associations.
“It is my honor to congratulate King George County Public Schools for receiving our full county 100 percent participation award this year through your schools’ participation and partnership in programs like Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart,” ChurchBorne told the School Board at its Aug. 16 meeting.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 September 2016 10:54
- Published on Wednesday, 07 September 2016 10:53
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King George Fire & Rescue Chief David Moody was praised by the Board of Supervisors for his award of the professional designation of “Chief Fire Officer,” held by only 1,132 people worldwide and 67 people in Virginia, including both active and retired personnel.
The achievement for public safety excellence was conferred by the Commission on Professional Credentialing following Moody’s successfully meeting their stringent criteria encompassing all aspects of his position in the job and in the community.
Supervisors Chairwoman Ruby Brabo congratulated Moody at the board meeting on Aug. 16.
Moody responded briefly. “I thank you very humbly,” Moody said.
Following the meeting, Moody said a little more about the designation and talked about the process. Once all the requirements are met, the application process takes about a year, including use of a peer review model to evaluate candidates.
“This CFO designation is a very thorough and stringent process. It seeks a combination of formal education, experience, and personal development,” Moody said. “I am proud to have received this national recognition, but more importantly I am very humble to have represented our King George Fire & Rescue team.”
Moody is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer program.
By Phyllis Cook