King George Industrial Park under consideration for established Virginia business

Authorization to proceed with appraisal of a lot in the King George Industrial Park was provided on ...

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...


The Agency 1x3 class display 20161123






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

King George holds National Night Out against crime for 5th year

The King George Sheriff’s department hosted its fifth annual ‘Night Out’ against crime on Aug. 2, with Sheriff Steve Dempsey emceeing the event which also included King George Fire and Rescue personnel and equipment on display.

“National Night Out is a great opportunity for us to give back to the King George community for all the support they show and give us throughout the year,” Dempsey said.

“We all enjoy having the opportunity for the community to stop by and see and meet all our officers, and that also includes Fire and Rescue. We like to take this opportunity to display our equipment and demonstrate some of it.”

Other agencies and local businesses joined forces for the event at King George High School to promote police-community partnerships; crime, drug and violence prevention; safety; and neighborhood unity. Virginia Del. Margaret Ransone stopped by to greet constituents.  

Central again this year was the opportunity for parents to bring their children to get free Child I.D. kits, including fingerprints and descriptive information to have in case their child goes missing.

There was something for everybody, including fun stuff for kids, including a bouncy house and face painting by members of the King George High School Cheerleading squad, along with other exhibits, displays and demonstrations, and a free raffle.   

A big hit was the Sheriff’s K-9 Unit demonstrations, along with one from the Special Response Team and others by Fire & Rescue showing off a fire engine.

Many county residents came for a family evening out. That’s why Steven Berry came.

“We wanted to get the kids out of the house and do something together at the end of a long day,” Berry said.

Three generations of another family agreed. Audrey Durfee and her daughter are both alumnae of the county schools. “We come out for the community,” Durfee said.

Her daughter, Rachel Lopez, held her youngest while another of her children got his face painted, saying she found out about the event from seeing a ‘Night Out’ road sign and checked it out on social media to find out more.

“And Samuel wanted to see the fire trucks,” Lopez said of one of her boys.

That desire was echoed by Rod Sherman about one of his grandsons.

“Barrett loves fire trucks and wants to be a fireman when he grows up,” Sherman said.

Sherman, of Clearwater, Fla., is here visiting his daughter’s family and said she comes to this event every year.

Long-time county residents Nancy and Harry Vivian had heard about the event and stopped by.

“We thought we’d come out to see people, and just to check it out,” Nancy Vivian said.

“Everyone is having a good time,” Sheriff Dempsey said. That was after a free raffle giveaway with assistance from Sheriff’s office administrator Marilyn Johnson.

“And we really appreciate all of our sponsors,” Dempsey added.

Sponsors for ‘Night Out’ included Chick-fil-A, DASHPRO, Game Stop, InFirst Federal Credit Union, King George Family Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, Food Lion, NSWC Federal Credit Union, Pizza Hut, Rocky Top, Roma’s Pizza, King George Ruritans, Sheetz, Starbucks, Steamers, Subway, Sweet Frog, Tim’s II, UPS Store, and Vinny’s.

Other agencies and local organizations participating included King George Animal Control, Virginia State Police, Drive Smart VA, King George Family YMCA, Summer Lunch Bunch, Empower House, Caledon State Park and NSWC Federal Credit Union.

Phyllis Cook

Architectural standards, mixed-use zoning to be explored in King George

The King George County Planning Commission will be tasked to explore and report back on the potential adoption of architectural standards for new commercial buildings.

The commission is also being asked to take a look at the county’s zoning ordinance and see if it recommends any amendments to encourage more mixed use activity for buildings in the Courthouse area or other selected sections of King George.

King George County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Ruby Brabo placed the items on the Aug. 2 meeting agenda for discussion by the board.

Architectural standards for commercial buildings was the first listed.

“I’m looking for consensus to send to the Planning Commission the task of looking at our community and potentially setting some development standards for future commercial buildings to help ensure our community doesn’t just look like any other place in America,” Brabo said.

“I look at our Courthouse area, I look at the new Sheriff’s building, a look at the fire station and the new expansion at the library and I think, wouldn’t it be great, if, for example, any future commercial development in this area also had that same brick façade and fit in and kept that sort of feeling,” Brabo said.

She said she wanted the Planning Commission to suggest standards for pockets of the county, or possibly for the whole county.

Brabo said she learned from a workshop last year that when national or regional franchise businesses decide to build in a certain locality, they often have three sets of plans available.

She called them A, B and C plans, saying A is the cheap plan.

“And if they can get it through because you don’t have any standards, then you get the A plan,” Brabo said.

“When you drive to those other localities that have the really nice looking buildings and community, and you wonder, ‘Why doesn’t my McDonalds look that?’ or ‘Why doesn’t my Walmart look like that?’ The answer is that was the C plan, and that county had a standard.”

Supervisor John Jenkins said it was worth looking into.

Supervisor Richard Granger agreed.

“I like the look and feel of those kinds of counties as well,” Granger said.

“I think it’s a good idea to reach out to the Planning Commission and have them look into it and bring it back to us.”

The second task being sent to the Planning Commission is to examine the county’s zoning ordinance to see if they can recommend any amendments to encourage mixed uses in the Courthouse area.

Brabo said she wasn’t aware the county had any mixed use zoning.

“If somebody wanted to build a walkable area with shops, cafes, markets, and condos on top, we currently allow that?” Brabo said.

Jack Green, director of Community Development said the county allowed mixed use zoning but it wasn’t called that.

Brabo said the county’s Economic Development Authority will be looking at revitalizing the Courthouse area in that manner through a new program.

“It would be very beneficial if the Courthouse district were to allow a mixed-use zoning component, where you could have shops with residences above, and a walkable area here,” Brabo said.

Green said those uses are allowed under two types of existing zoning.

Commercial zoning allows for residential use as a secondary or ancillary use.

“They can have commercial use on the first floor and residence on the second floor or within it. We have some of those uses now in the Courthouse area,” Green said.

He also said Residential-3 zoning allows for a mixture of commercial, residential, and office space.

“You just haven’t had anyone coming in to make those applications,” Green said.

Green also said the county’s Comprehensive Plan recommends creating a village district for the courthouse area and for the Dahlgren area.

“And you could draft different zoning for the two areas,” Green said.

“Traditionally, localities rezone properties at the request. But you could also amend your commercial zoning ordinance to allow more types of residential uses.”

Phyllis Cook

King George to consider beekeeping in residentially-zoned districts

The King George Board of Supervisors voted to forward a case to the Planning Commission for consideration of an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow the keeping of honeybees on residentially-zoned property. The action took place on Aug. 2.

The proposed ordinance would allow beekeeping in zoning districts zoned Residential-1 or Residential-2 which have lot sizes of at least 15,000 square feet.

For those districts, they are considering two hives could be allowed, with up to three hives on lots with 20,000 square feet and four hives on lots 25,000 square feet in the larger lots zoned R-1 and R-2.

Residential R-3 multifamily zoning is not included for consideration for beekeeping.

The owner, operator or tenant must obtain a permit from the zoning administrator, along with other conditions.

Conditions include no hives located closer than 10 feet from any property line or sidewalk and not permitted in any front yard.

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, must have a flyway barrier as a shield from a neighbor’s property, consisting of dense vegetation, a wall or solid fence at least 6 feet high.

Senior environmental planner Heather Hall provided a thorough staff report, but Supervisor Jim Howard was not enthusiastic about allowing beekeeping on the residential lots due to their close proximity to neighbors.

Chairwoman Ruby Brabo reminded him this would start the process with two public hearings, and also talked about bee hives in residential zoning where she lives in Chatham Village subdivision zoned R-1.

“I wouldn’t have a concern. I already have neighbors who have hives and they’ve been told to get rid of them, and that’s why they want this. And we’ve not had any issues,” Brabo said.

Supervisor John Jenkins asked if other localities have similar ordinances and if they are successful.

Hall said various other localities were polled, with no issues regarding near neighbors with allergies or bees bothering animals.

She said localities reported complaints when beekeepers were found to not be complying with the permit conditions, as noted.  

Jack Green, director of Community Development also commented.

“Another thing, they would have the flyway barrier to encourage the bees to fly up if the hives are located close to the property line,” Green said.

The staff report further addressed the issue by providing honey bee facts, including the following.  

Bees are generally not aggressive and are generally compatible with residential uses.

Honeybees fly in a radius of about 2 to 5 miles from their homes to forage for flowers and food.

And, it’s recognized that natural bees make their hives wherever they want without regard to zoning.

The Planning Commission has already studied the topic during four meetings earlier this year after receiving direction to provide a report after supervisors heard from a county resident in March requesting beekeeping be allowed in residential zoning.

Now the actual legal process will begin with an advertised public hearing to be scheduled at an upcoming meeting of the Planning Commission.

Director Jack Green said the hearing will be 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in the ground floor board room of the Revercomb Administration building, located behind the King George Courthouse on Route 3.

After the Planning Commission finishes its deliberations, it will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to approve or disapprove, or could make recommendations for changes.

Next, supervisors will hold another public hearing, discuss it again, make any changes, then take a vote to adopt or not adopt.

Those interested in more information about local beekeeping, may go online to Gateway Beekeepers Association:  http://www.gatewaybeekeepers.org/

The association meets monthly, 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). Contact information is available on the website to find out about attending a meeting as a guest.

Phyllis Cook


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