hazel20160120

King George Ruritan Club honors county veterans

The King George Ruritan Club’s annual Veterans Day program proudly recognized five King George...

South Korean minister of national defense tours directed energy facilities at Dahlgren base

U.S. Navy scientists and engineers briefed a delegation of defense officials from the Republic of Ko...

King George School Board honors its longest-serving bus drivers

Four senior school bus drivers for King George County Public Schools were honored for their excellen...

Complaints over dirt bike noise at Cleydael, again

Complaints over noise caused by dirt bike events adjacent to Cleydael subdivision in King George hav...

State update on gas and oil drilling regulatory process

The King George Board of Supervisors heard a report from Michael Skiffington, Policy and Planning Ma...

King George man jailed after high speed pursuit

A King George man is being held in the Rappahannock Regional Jail after leading King George sheriff'...

 

The Agency 1x3 class display 20161123

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YMCA goes to the dogs

About 20 dogs and their owners accepted the King George Family YMCA’s invitation to enjoy the swimming pool for $10 for up to two hours Aug. 20. Like anyone who doesn’t swim very often, some of the pet participants were shy about getting in the water, with others happy to jump right in. Ginger seemed to find the pool great fun with owners Donna and Tamara Wheater.

Canines Bella and Max also appeared enthusiastic with their people, Terry Rollins and Katie Jenkins. But Jazzy was a little shy of the water and preferred to hug the pool edge with owner Joyce Harmon. The ‘Drool in the Pool’ event was the last scheduled activity in the pool prior to its closure for nine days for its five-year thorough cleaning and maintenance, according to YMCA swim lesson coordinator Tarina Silvis. Silvis said the pool will reopen on Aug. 29.

Phyllis Cook

King George standardized test pass rates indicate noteworthy improvement

King George students’ test scores are looking up.

Virginia’s Standards of Learning standardized test pass rate scores were released last week by the Virginia Department of Education for the state and all schools and divisions on Aug. 16.

Complete accreditation and federal accountability reports for schools and divisions will be released later in the year. State and federal officials continue to revise benchmarks and various factors contributing toward accreditation of individual schools.

Like the state’s results, King George’s pass rates indicated more students passing the tests overall than in the previous year. The test results are from the 2015-16 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Rob Benson said there is plenty to be happy about.

“We are very pleased to learn that our students continue to perform at high levels on the Virginia Standards of Learning tests,” Benson said. “This year's results are useful in verifying that our instructional program is tightly coupled with the learning expectations embedded in the Virginia Standards of Learning for each grade level or course content area. The SOL testing results helps verify that our teachers and instructional leaders continue to elevate the knowledge and skills of our students.”

•Information on the performance of students on Standards of Learning tests during 2015-2016 is online at the Virginia Department of Education website: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/statistics_reports/school_report_card/index.shtml

Raw test scores for each school are available online in report cardsat https://p1pe.doe.virginia.gov/reportcard/. Reports may be viewed and downloaded as PDF files or Microsoft Excel files.

Revised school report cards incorporating the current test data will be re-issued later this fall, along with analysis of the pass rates for each school and with additional information about student achievement, accountability ratings, attendance, program completion, school safety, teacher quality, and other topics.

Benson made a prediction on Aug. 8 at the Welcome Back event for instructional staff the week prior to school starting.

“While not yet released publicly, we believe the increases in Standards of Learning (SOL) test pass percentages this year will qualify all King George County Schools to be recognized as ‘Fully Accredited’ by the state.”

He provided examples of some of the noteworthy increases within the King George division in school test scores, as follows.

•King George Elementary School increased the Science SOL pass rate from 78 percent in 2015, to 82 percent in 2016.

•Sealston Elementary School increased the Math SOL pass rate from 85 percent in 2015, to 87 percent in 2016.

•Potomac Elementary School increased the Math SOL pass rate from 86 percent in 2015, to 94 percent in 2016.

•Potomac Elementary School increased the Science SOL pass rate from 80 percent in 2015, to 94 percent in 2016.

•King George Middle School increased the Science SOL pass rate from 77 percent in 2015, to 86 percent in 2016.

•King George High School increased the Math SOL pass rate from 67 percent in 2015, to 74 percent in 2016.

Phyllis Cook

Tractor Supply, King George officials move forward with development planned for Route 3/US 301 intersection

Tractor Supply’s developer has purchased the property intended for its retail store in King George on Route 3 (Kings Highway), immediately east of the Sheetz gas/convenience store near the intersection with US 301 (James Madison Parkway).

County Director of Economic Development Linwood Thomas broke the news at a meeting of the Economic Development Authority on Aug. 11.

“The owner of the property tied to the Tractor Supply Project and Tractor Supply finally ratified their contract to move the project forward,” Thomas said.“And this past month we have seen final board approval on a water line extension for Tractor Supply.”

He talked about the possibilities for other businesses to also locate at the intersection.

“This is extremely exciting as the project is much bigger than one retail outfit. It includes over 15 parcels of commercially-zoned land that is slated for development in the Comprehensive Plan.”

The purchase of the property for Tractor Supply to build a 15,242 square foot building with 12,891 square feet of outdoor display area, associated parking and stormwater management facilities, took place after an agreement by its developer was unanimously approved by the King George Supervisors on July 19.

The agreement provides commitments by both sides to proceed with the project.

The county pledged to construct and install a water line extension within a year of the agreement’s execution, with daily penalties to be paid to the business if the scheduled completion date is not met.

The county has also agreed to extend a sewer connection to the Tractor Supply property, from its connection near the Sheetz business located at the corner of the intersection.

On its side, Tractor Supply agreed to pay the county $65,000 if its project to construct the business does not go forward for any reason. Tractor Supply is also obligated to pay water and sewer connection fees to the King George Service Authority totaling nearly $20,000 when it connects to the utilities, along with bi-monthly billing for its water and sewer usage.

Last week, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ruby Brabo commented on the county’s agreement with Tractor Supply.

“I believe an agreement such as this demonstrates the board’s willingness to work with businesses, within reason, for the benefit of our local economy in service to our citizens,” Brabo said.

Supervisor Jim Howard has also come around on the issue. His initial reaction earlier this year was to be against using money from the county’s general fund to pay for the cost of the water line extension originally estimated at near $1 million.

But he said in an interview he is now in favor of the plan.

“The more I think about it, the concept of the development of that intersection, the more sense it makes for economic development,” Howard said. “We’ve also talked about the possibility of siting a medical center there. And it may be by bringing water to the intersection, it will make a difference to other businesses looking for a site. And we have also considered it a good location for a possible medical clinic.”

In the meantime, Service Authority General Manager Chris Thomas provided an Aug. 2 update on the engineering design for the water line, which will run from the Sheriff’s office building on Route 3 east of Purkins Corner to the Route 3/US 301 intersection.

“The Service Authority has received the 90 percent plans and specifications for the project,” Thomas said.

“They are currently under review by staff and I have directed the engineering firm to go ahead and submit those simultaneously to the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Transportation as well.”

At that same meeting on Aug. 2, the board moved forward to officially allocate construction funding for the current fiscal year as one of the county’s projects in its Capital Improvement Program.

$885,000 was allocated to go to construction for the project.

Instead of running the line along either side of Route 3 or down its center median, it was decided in April the route of the water line construction will be along Mount Rose Drive.

Mount Rose is a loop road running south of Route 3 and roughly parallel to it, with one end across Route 3 from the Sheriff's office, and the other end just west of US 301, near the former pickle factory.

Phyllis Cook

Upcoming Event on the Dahlgren Trail (DRHT!)

With the completion of the trail races last month, it's time to look forward to the
next event: The Big WOW on Oct. 1.This is the second annual Big WOW (Walk On
Wilson's) held to increase awareness of this disease and to raise funds for
research.
The Big WOW is a nationwide event held in several cities simultaneously around the
country. Held for the first time last year in 16 host cities, the King George
event was one of the most successful. Nationwide 1366 people participated, along
with 104 dogs (yes, dogs can get Wilson's Disease too).
What exactly is Wilson's disease? The disease is genetic in nature and is an
inability of the body to properly process copper, leading to an accumulation of the
metal, resulting in liver and neurological damage. The disease is always fatal if
not treated. mThe disease is not widespread, affecting about 30,000 people around the
globe (and probably many more who aren't diagnosed), and treatments are not fully
mature. Last year, over $66,000 was raised for research in the Big WOW.
This year, the event will be at the Bloomsbury Road trailhead of the Dahlgren
Railroad Heritage Trail. There is a new E-911 address: 10341 Bloomsbury Road. The
time is 1 to 4 p.m.
The goal is a fun, family oriented event. The focus is a noncompetitive walk (as
implied in the name of the event!). Participants can walk over one of three marked
out-and-back courses on the DRHT. All participants will also be able to sign up for
free trail permits if they don't already have them.
Among other activities will be dog obstacle course, music (we'll welcome DJ Gerry
Bradshaw), food and drinks (donations welcome), hiking sticks made by the Veazey
Family Woodworkers (donations also welcome), exhibits by several community
organizations and information. Several prize baskets of goodies will be raffled off
to further support Wilson's disease research. Railroad hobbyists will have an
antique rail handcar, and one of our equestrian friends will be there with her trail
horse, Aunt Rennee..
The event organizers, Nichole and Constantin Langa (Constantin is himself a WD
sufferer) will welcome honored guests including other persons with Wilson's
disease, Hon. David Brickley, our host and owner of the trail, a Fall Festival
Princess, the King George High School cheerleaders, Helping Hand Pediatirc Therapy Services with their Sensory Carnival and others.
Register for the event at wilsonswalk.org (select “King George” after “Choose a
city”). Registration by Sept. 10 will guarantee you a high-quality, athletic T-shirt,
after that it's first come, first served. (The T-shirts from last year were pretty cool! I'm sure
the ones this year will be equally so!).
We always have a lot of fun on the DRHT, so come join us! See you on the trail!
Jim Lynch

New school year in King George offers new focus on teen drug prevention, mental health

It’s official – the 2016-2017 school year has started in King George County.  ‘Back-to-school’ is always an exciting time, facilitating many new experiences for kids, as well as parents and educators.   These can include the transition to middle or high school, new academic goals, extracurricular activities, different social expectations, pressure from peers, and, increasingly, offers to do drug and alcohol.  As was reported in February in The Journal Press, drug overdoses are on the rise in King George.  A story that is playing out across communities around the country – this is an issue that warrants much attention and our every consideration. A special Prevention Awareness Night has been scheduled for Thursday, September 15, 2016, from  5:30-8:00 at King George High School.  The evening will focus on the mental and physical health of King George youth and residents.  Child care and food will be provided.  The night will include a keynote speaker from the VA Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services, a number of information tables and breakout sessions for children and parents.  These will include representatives from: the King George County Sheriff’s Office, the Rappahannock Area Office on Youth, the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board, Empower House, the King George Health Department and other community agencies.  They will engage families in discussion alongside members of The PACT, a new, one-of-a-kind family focused teen drug prevention program. One of the hands-on sessions being offered is Hands-Only CPR.  With CPR more than doubling a person’s chance of survival in the wake of a collapse, Hands-Only CPR will show individuals the technique of pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest while beating to the classic disco song, “Stayin’ Alive.”   Representatives from The PACT will discuss their ‘real world’ prevention tool, ThePACT.com that actively helps teens resist the pressure to do drugs.  Designed as an online ‘contract’ between parents and children (with an important support role for schools, places of worship and other institutions), The PACT offers a four-step Connect + Pledge + Test + Reward process.  Program tools involve age-specific conversation guides, role-play videos, and other resources for parents; recurring hair drug testing; and monetary incentives for kids who make positive choices.  Recognizing the power of peer pressure, influences from social media and pop culture, difficulties at home and other factors, The PACT gives kids an ‘out’ and a convincing reason to say “no” to drugs, while allowing them to feel like they still fit in.  The PACT facilitates candid and ongoing conversation, factual knowledge and accountability, all enhancing trust within the family.  Says Robin Mitchell, Director of School Counseling at King George High School, “Approaching this critical issue from both sides – family and school – should yield the most positive, healthy behaviors among our teens.  In this instance, we want our kids to understand that they can have fun without resorting to drugs.”  Adds Diana King, LCSW, a school social worker at King George High School, “What I like about The PACT is the emphasis on upfront, transparent and ongoing communication.  Data shows that having regular conversations with children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol can reduce their chances of use by 42%.” (The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2015)  Having been founded by a New Orleans businessman and entrepreneur who witnessed firsthand the physical, emotional and financial toll of teen drug use through the experience of a close family friend when a teenager himself, followed by the drug overdose of his daughter’s eighth-grade classmate, The PACT is personal.  “I didn’t want other families to struggle the way I did,” says Jim Huger.  “I’ve been using The PACT with my two daughters since eighth-grade, and they’re now in college – flourishing and drug-free.”  “With its entirely novel approach to conquering the ‘epidemic’ of teen drug use, our kids, schools and neighborhoods can prosper,” adds Mitchell.  As a recent national study shows that 47% of middle and high school students report having used illicit drugs (Monitoring the Future, University of Michigan, 2015) – the issue needs to be addressed head on.  Says Mitchell, “We encourage families, youth and community advocates, and concerned citizens of King George to come out for this important prevention awareness evening.”For more information about the September 15 event, contact Diana King at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 540/775-3535, #3207 or Robin Mitchell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 540/775-3535, #3206.  

NSWC Dahlgren testing may produce very loud noise Aug. 18-19

Access to the Potomac River Middle Danger Zone To Be Restricted During Testing

DAHLGREN, Va. - The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) will conduct range testing from Thursday, Aug. 18, to Friday, Aug. 19, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. that may produce very loud noise in communities surrounding Naval Support Facility Dahlgren.

Access to the Potomac River Middle Danger Zone - as described in 33 CFR 334.230 - will be restricted during testing. To preview NSWC Dahlgren's range schedule, call the NSWC Dahlgren Range and Weapons Testing toll free hotline: 877-845-5656 or visit the Potomac River Test Range website: http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/WarfareCenters/NSWCDahlgren/NSWCDDRangeSchedule.aspx.

For more information on NSWC Dahlgren's range schedule, contact the Naval Support Activity South Potomac Public Affairs Office, (540) 653-8153.

King George County Public School division hosts Welcome Back program

Photo by Phyllis Cook

Elected representatives including King George School Board Chairman T.C. Collins, Virginia General Delegate Margaret Ransone and King George Supervisor Jim Howard were among the VIP guests providing welcoming remarks to instructional staff and administrators at the King George County Public School division's Welcome Back program on Aug. 8. The program preceded a full week of training and preparation by teachers and staff for students to return on Aug. 15 for the first day of school.

Innovation Grants available from KG Education Foundation

Competitive grants of up to $500 are available to any King George County Schools division employees for efforts to enhance the quality of education schools through innovation and creativity.

King George Education Foundation's 2016­2017 Innovation Grant cycle is now open for grant applications. Grant applications must be received by 4 p.m. Sept. 30.

Prospective applicants should go online to the Foundation’s website for the application, submission details and terms and conditions: http://www.kgeducation.org. Parents, community members and students may submit grant project proposals in collaboration with a division employee. Applicants may request funding up to $500 per proposal, though smaller proposals are encouraged.

This is the third year the King George Education Foundation is seeking proposals with promising ideas for achieving the district’s curricular goals, enhancing students’ personal development, and/or encouraging links with the community.

Proposals not selected to receive grant funding will be posted to the foundation's website for an opportunity to be directly funded by a community member, business or organization.

This year, funding is set aside to award a minimum of four grants, thanks in large part to support received from division employees electing to make a voluntary payroll deduction each month.

Winning grant proposals will be announced at the Nov. 7, 2016, school board meeting, with funds distributed to grant recipients by Nov. 22, 2016.

Questions about the Innovation Grant application process and/or selection criteria may be addressed to Annie Cupka, President of the Board of Directors of the King George Education Foundation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Three foundation Innovation Grant recipients were recognized last May for their selected projects earlier in the school year. Grant recipients were: •Division reading specialist Laura Jo Darcy for project, “Listening to Learn.” •King George High School physical education & health teachers Amy Carey and Thad Reviello, for project, "Physical Fitness Assessment." •Division coordinator of gifted services Amanda Higgins for “STEM Day: A Partnership between King George Elementary School &Commonwealth Governor School.”

Phyllis Cook

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