Last updateThu, 29 Sep 2016 2pm



King George man sentenced for chase, eluding police

A King George man, who was pursued by police officers in a chase through two jurisdictions last year, has been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison after appearing in Stafford County Circuit Court last week.

Ronnie Lee Berryman, 47, of King George was convicted earlier this year in Stafford Circuit Court for felony eluding and possession of cocaine. Berryman was also convicted for violating probation from a previous police pursuit conviction.

The high­speed chase began in the early morning of Sept. 5 when a Stafford deputy sheriff's officer began pursuing a vehicle with a missing headlight near the Chatham Bridge over the Rappahannock River.

According to officers, Berryman sped up, drove up a side street and made a U­turn back onto Ferry Road in Stafford. He then turned west across the bridge into Fredericksburg.

Stafford officers gave up pursuit and broadcast a lookout for Berryman's vehicle after the suspect fled the wrong way on a one­way street.

Other officers spotted the vehicle a short time later driving more the 100 miles an hour north on U.S. Route 1.

After a high speed chase, officers said Berryman wrecked his vehicle in the 400 block of Forbes St. in Stafford.

Arresting officers confiscated a small amount of crack cocaine and charged Berryman with use of an illegal drug, eluding police and driving with a suspended license. In addition to the prison sentence, Stafford Court Judge Michael Levy ordered Berryman into a treatment program while he is incarcerated.

Richard Leggitt

Cameron Hills Golf Club has closed

Cameron Hills, the links style golf course that has offered playing opportunities to King George and Westmoreland county golfers of all skill levels and economic backgrounds for 23 years closed Sunday.

"It's very sad," said Nathan Ferlozzo who has worked at Cameron Hills, where his dad served as the course superintendent. "But with the state of the industry right now, you just have to move on and have some great memories going down the road."

The closing of the 18­hole, par 72, 6603­yard championship course, which also had a putting green and a driving range, creates a void for area golfers who loved the natural beauty of Cameron Hills, which was designed as a true links­style course where no fairway was adjacent to another.

General Manager Jason Hill said the death last year of Cameron Hills' founder, Bill Jones, was the beginning of the end. "He was in construction and he wanted a place where everybody could play even if they were in T-shirts and jeans, a links style course that allowed golf to be a game for everybody."

Jones, who was Hill's father­in­law, and Hill's uncle, Luke Hill, designed and built the course off of Route 3 in King George, in 1993. "They used the natural landscape, they didn't try to change too much. They didn't put water where there wasn't any and they didn't change the directions of slopes or hills."

Hill said Jones just wanted place that was affordable and "for golfers who loved the game. But now without him, the passion is gone." Jones is already missed and Cameron Hills Club will be missed as well, especially by the King George High School golf team, which practiced and played at the course.

"The best thing are the relationships we have made in the area," said Hill, noting that for years the Nick Mason and Jermon Bushrod charities of King George held annual events at Cameron Hills, which also hosted tournaments for the YMCA as well as local volunteer fire and rescue departments. "All of those events have been our blessing."

"Christine, Carley and I are sad to see the Cameron Hills golf course close," said King George Circuit Court Clerk Vic Mason, whose family has annually hosted a fundraiser for the Sgt. Nicolas C. Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund at Cameron Hills.

"With the support of Cameron Hills and the community we have been able to award $130,000 in scholarships to graduating King George High school students," Mason said. "Many thanks to Jason Hill and the staff of Cameron Hills for their support over the years."

The Cameron Hills' clubhouse manager, Patty Fletcher, who has worked at the course for 17 years, said golfers who had purchased club memberships would be receiving refunds for their payments. "I am just devastated," Fletcher. "We all are just stunned."

Richard Leggitt

U.S. Navy Submarine History Makes 'Deep' STEM Impact on Students

WASHINGTON--The deep­diving research vessel that took two hydronauts to the deepest point of the world's oceans 56 years ago is still diving ­ in many ways, deeper than ever.

The Trieste ­ a Swiss­designed, Italian­built bathyscaphe acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1958 ­ first made history by reaching the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean's Marianas Trench on Jan. 23, 1960.

U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh and scientist Jacques Piccard traveled nearly seven miles ­ precisely 35,797 feet ­aboard the Trieste to prove that humans could safely explore the deepest ocean depths.

Now, the Trieste is making history with deep dives into the dreams and imaginations of students visiting the Undersea Exploration exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Navy.

"I really loved getting into the submarine that went into the deepest part of the ocean," said Tre, 11, who was briefed on the Trieste and its achievement ­ the equivalent of putting a man on the moon.

Tre was among 29 middle and high school students from Camp Dogwood Summer Academy visiting the museum with their scientist and engineer mentors from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division July


"This camp is a great opportunity for students to learn more about all of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) opportunities within the Navy," said Brittany Noah, an NSWCDD human factors

engineer. "It's also a great way for the Navy to pique the interest of bright minds for active duty and civilian service in the future."

Retired Navy officers Richard Bryant and Rodney Luck piqued students' minds with presentations that included the science behind how a submarine submerges, dives, and rises to surface.

"I learned about buoyancy and how a submarine operates," said Jasmine, 12.

"Being able to interact with all the exhibits really caught my imagination and showed us what things were like a long time ago, and how they are now," added Amir, 12. "I really want to design a future sub. My favorite activity

was being on the guns."

Amir, Jasmine, Tre and their peers also learned about navigation, fire control, torpedoes, propulsion plant, and sonar.

"The highlight of the tour was when we were able to move the big guns around," said Brianna, 12. "I would love to join the Navy after I do sports. I learned about how many people fit in different types of submarines and how

they have improved over the years."

What's more, Bryant and Luck shared sea stories about operational aspects of submarine life, explaining how the crew ate, sleep, trained, and enjoyed morale activities like pizza night, movie night, and Xbox challenges.

"My favorite part was when we learned about the submarines and how many people can fit in them," said Delonte, 11.

The students were briefed at exhibits ranging from a diving capsule, torpedo room, and periscope to 40mm anti­air guns and Arctic undersea operations, including ice breakthroughs.

"I loved when we saw the submarine jump out of the water," said Tre. "I thought it was really cool."

The museum's Undersea Exploration Exhibit highlights the U.S. Navy's involvement with undersea exploration for navigation, scientific research, strategic, and educational purposes. By 1958, the Navy ­ often a catalyst for

innovative research ­ funded nearly 90 percent of all U.S. oceanographic ventures. It enabled scientists to explore the deepest regions of the oceans and to design increasingly sophisticated remotely operated vehicles

that could observe the depths without risk to human life.

"The students saw how submarines have been with the U.S. since the start of our nation and that we are still innovating submarines today," said David Barker, the museum's deputy director of education and public

programs. "They loved the story about the Trieste and how deep it went."

Improvement of naval operations and equipment continues to be largely dependent on the discoveries made through oceanographic research. The Navy's undersea operations have ranged from diving to the collection of

scientific data, to the investigation of shipwrecks such as the Titanic.

Camp Dogwood Summer Academy is one of many programs sponsored by the AnBryce Foundation philanthropic organization to promote social change by building a community of global citizens through education, career, cultural, and leadership opportunities to under­resourced young people.

The academy offers distinct summer experiences for young people ages 7­18: Camp Dogwood for rising 2nd through 9th graders; Rites of Passage for rising 10th through 12th graders, and the Staff Training Enrichment

Program for rising 11th and 12th graders. For over a decade, the ratio of one counselor for two campers ensures individualized mentoring and instruction. At the end of every session, each camper is evaluated on

academic performance and overall character development.

The Naval Sea Systems Command and its warfare centers, including NSWCDD, offers STEM internships for high school students via the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program. Civilian employment opportunities are also available for college students via the Navy Pathways Internship Program which provides degree­seeking students with exposure to public service while enhancing their educational experience, and possibly providing financial aid to support their educational goals.

NSWCDD is a premier research and development center that serves as a specialty site for weapon system integration. The command's unique ability to rapidly introduce new technology into complex warfighting systems is based on its longstanding competencies in science and technology, research and development, and test and evaluation.

John Joyce, NSWC Dahlgren Division Corporate Communications

Design costs for new King George courthouse approved as part of $3.26 million that will partially fund 15 capital projects

The King George County Board of Supervisors took action on Aug. 2 to start the ball rolling to build a new courthouse.

The project was one of 15 receiving appropriations totaling $3.26 million for the current fiscal year, 2016-17, for single-year or multiyear projects.

A total of $950,000 had been requested for design of a new courthouse, with the project receiving funding of $135,000 expected to go toward preliminary conceptual design.

The estimated cost for a new courthouse is currently listed in the request at $13.7 million for a 30,000-square-foot building. The estimates for both cost and size of a new courthouse could go up once conceptual design options are explored with an architect.

Travis Quesenberry, county administrator, said it’s estimated to take four years for design and construction of a new courthouse.

Another project for the existing courthouse was fully-funded with $140,000 on a request by the county administration to go for purchase and installation of a large geothermal system for interior humidity control.

Thirteen of 30 other projects also received funding for the current year and listed on the five-year Capital Improvement Program adopted the same evening.

That list of 30 projects estimated at $68 million was approved without discussion. Discussion had already taken place at three work sessions held earlier this summer, and consensus had been reached at the final session on July 27.

“There are some significant projects on this five-year CIP,” Quesenberry said.

“The middle school expansion with the auxiliary gym, a new courts building and two new fire stations are included, among many other projects.”

The fire station projects did not receive funding for the current fiscal year as part of the appropriations for the capital projects.

There has been previous public discussion of those projects being funded by $3 million in new landfill money expected to come in from Waste Management.

The additional landfill money is to be paid in increments of $500,000 annually over six years beginning as soon as it receives state approval for a permit amendment to allow for vertical expansion of the existing landfill.

The other 13 projects receiving funding for the current fiscal year include:

•Four projects requested by the School Board: $400,000 for additional costs for design of a middle school expansion and renovation project, $64,000 for various engineering services and design for renovating the existing running track, $185,114 for expansion of the division’s fiber system to replace leased Internet connections, and $537,441 to go to school bus replacement.

•Two projects requested by Parks & Recreation: $128,000 for refurbishing fields at Sealston Park, and $185,000 for an addition to the Citizens Center building.

•Two other projects requested by the county administration: $65,000 toward Ralph Bunche School    renovation project, and $885,000 for construction of a water line to extend from the Sheriff’s office to the intersection at US 301 and Route 3.

•Two projects requested by Information Technology Department: $100,000 for computer replacement and software, and $65,000 for a new county website.

•Three projects requested by the Emergency Services Department: $185,000 for its ambulance replacement program, $88,000 for defibrillator replacement, and $100,000 for a diesel exhaust removal system for Company 1.

The funding sources to pay $3,262,555 for the projects listed above was approved to come from various county funds, including from a surplus amount unspent in the last fiscal year, reappropriations of unspent and redirected funds in the county capital fund, and from the county’s general undesignated fund balance.

Phyllis Cook

As school days near, YMCA's Bright Beginnings provides for children

The King George Family YMCA, along with sponsors and volunteers, helped 100 at-risk children get ready for school days last week by providing backpacks full of school supplies and a shopping trip to the Walmart in Dahlgren.

"This was the fourth year of YMCA Bright Beginnings," said Elizabeth Taylor, executive director of the King George Y. "This is a wonderful program with so much community support from businesses, private donors and volunteers. It was like Christmas but better."

Joining the YMCA in helping prepare children for success at school were over 200 volunteers from the community including the King George Sheriff's Office and the King George school system, along with members of the King George Foxes varsity football team.  

Sponsors for the event, which included the Walmart management and staff, the Birchwood Power Plant, Moore Dentistry, NSWC Federal Credit Union, Rotary Club of King George and Subway.

The excited schoolchildren participants were provided backpacks full of school supplies. "More than 100 backpacks were donated," said Taylor. "Local businesses donated over half of the backpacks and the rest were donated by King George County citizens."

"King George County is a county that cares and puts their caring into action!," Taylor said. "The Y was able to distribute any extra backpacks to children on the waiting list for the program."

"Every year we try to do some kind of community service project," said King George High School football coach Jeff Smith, as he watched his players in their blue and gold football jerseys interact with the young Bright Beginnings participants. "This was a great event for us and for all of the children."

In addition to the backpacks of school supplies, the children selected to participate in the Y program were paired with volunteers, including sheriff's officers and King George football players, and received escorted trips around Walmart to shop for school clothes.

Many of the children brought shopping lists. With their shopping buddies, the children excitedly selected $100 worth fall and winter clothing including coats and shoes. "This program not only provides these children with two new outfits, shoes and supplies but something more: time with a caring adult," said Taylor.

"An adult who takes the time to listen, talk and let them know they are valued. That is something that a child will never grow out of or ever forget. You can never underestimate the power of the human spirit when it reaches out and gives with only a caring heart," Taylor said.

"Aug. 15 is the first day of school," Taylor said. "It is a day the children from the YMCA Bright Beginnings Program will be ready to learn. A day that all who helped with this program can smile because they know they made a difference in the life of a child."

Richard Leggitt

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