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Stratford Hall program to highlight Virginia's enslaved cooks

Historic Stratford Hall, the Westmoreland County plantation that was home to the Lee family of Virgi...

St. James Episcopal Church in Montross holds homecoming

The Rev. Alan Hooker and the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church in Montross  welcomed f...

W&L Senior Night

Thirty seniors and their families attended the annual Washington & Lee High School senior night ...

Rain fails to dampen spirits at Montross Fall Festival

After receiving a midweek weather forecast that indicated clearing for the weekend, organizers of th...

W&L graduate sends inspiring letter from Iraq

A U.S. Army soldier serving in Iraq sent an inspiring letter last week to Washington & Lee High ...

Westmoreland artist shows rock ‘n’ roll art at General's Ridge Vineyard

Popular Westmoreland County artist Phil McKenney was featured at General's Ridge Vineyard over the w...

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Blunt wins Colonial Beach mayor’s race; Montross councilmen reelected

Eddie Blunt, a Colonial Beach councilman and local marina owner, was overwhelming elected the Potomac River town’s mayor in the Nov. 8 balloting. Blunt won 64 percent of the vote, defeating fellow councilman Wayne DiRosario with 973 votes to DiRosario’s 505.

Blunt, the owner of the Bay Side Marina, is a former Arlington firefighter who was one of the heroic first responders at the Pentagon on 9/11.  He campaigned on a platform of preserving Colonial Beach’s independent school system, reducing taxes and promoting economic growth.

In voting in Montross on election day, four incumbent town councilmen were re-elected, including Mayor Joey King and Vice-Mayor Terry Cosgrove. Cosgrove led the balloting with 113 votes, King followed with 112, councilman Larry Wheaton received 98 votes and councilman Jesse Ault received 88 votes.

In voting for the Colonial Beach town council, three new members were elected out of six candidates seeking office.  Dallas Leamon led the balloting with 645 votes, followed by Steve Cirbee with 622 and Frank Alger III, with 583.

Leamon is a former Colonial Beach police officer, Cirbee is a well-known businessman and builder and Alger is an employee of the Westmoreland Rehabilitation Center. All three are long-time Colonial Beach residents.

Two incumbent members of the Colonial Beach School Board were re-elected. Scott Foster, a former head coach of the Colonial Beach Drifters football team, and Tim Trivett, the current school board chairman, received 1,632 votes and 1,592 votes respectively.

Richard Leggitt

Stratford Fire Substation fundraising continues in November

The fundraising committee directing the efforts to raise funds for the new Stratford Fire Substation No. 7 has announced it has scheduled a Stratford Harbour holiday bazaar at the Stratford Harbour clubhouse for Nov. 19.

The bazaar will be part of the committee's continuing efforts to raise funds to help build the fire substation on Stratford Hall Road, which have so far has generated more than $145,000 in donations.

A recent raffle was very successful, raising more than $11,700 for the substation construction. "We could not have asked for more support," said Tom Crimmins, who led the raffle effort.  "Thank you to everyone involved."

In addition to the bazaar, the committee has also scheduled a January 21 pancake breakfast at the Stratford Harbour clubhouse and a April 1 gourmet multiple course dinner with wine called "The Titanic Last Dinner." Details for all three events can be obtained at stratfordfiresubstation.org.

Richard Leggitt

Cople Elementary's Crazy Hat Day raises funds for Heavenly Hats Foundation

You may hear “Crazy Hat Day” and think that it’s just a fun excuse to wear a silly hat to school.

At Cople Elementary, Crazy Hat Day takes on more significance as students work together to raise money for The Heavenly Hats Foundation. Heavenly Hats collects and distributes hats to all kinds of individuals who lose their hair due to cancer and other medical conditions.

Over the course of a week students, families, community members, and staff from Cople Elementary School raised over $600 to donate toward the cause. At the end of the week, the entire school participated in a Crazy Hat Parade and assembly. Individual students from each class were chosen to celebrate the wackiest creations. The class who raised the most money was awarded small prizes, and staff members even competed to see who had come up with the craziest hat.

In addition, to support individuals with hair loss, a student and teacher each agreed to cut and donate their hair during the assembly. Fifth-grade student Mackenzie Wilkins and third-grade teacher Mrs. Kristina Armbruster each let students cut off 10 or more inches of their hair to donate.

The entire experience had a great impact on the students at Cople Elementary and helped reinforce the idea that no matter your age, when people get together to support a good cause, big things can happen!

A shaken, shackled DiRosario appears in court

A shaken and shackled Wayne DiRosario appeared in Westmoreland General District Court on Tuesday, a day when DiRosario had expected to be campaigning at the polls as a candidate for mayor of Colonial Beach.

DiRosario, who was arrested four days before the election and charged with malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, entered a plea of not guilty and was arraigned on the charges before Judge John Martin. A Jan. 6 trial date was scheduled for Westmoreland Circuit Court.

Martin initially granted DiRosario's release on $10,000 bond, but after an appeal by Westmoreland Commonwealth's Attorney Julia Sichol withdrew the bond offer and scheduled a bond hearing for Nov. 15. DiRosario was remanded back to the Northern Neck Regional Jail.

DiDosario's supporters at the arraignment hoped outrage at the arrest of a candidate just days before the election would help DiRosario prevail in his mayoral race against fellow councilman Eddie Blunt.  But that was not the case. Blunt won the Tuesday election handily.

Colonial Beach council candidate Bill Flammer, who spent most of Election Day trying to get his friend out of jail on bond, questioned the timing of DiRosario's arrest.   "It happened at such an inopportune time. It's very suspicious to me," Flammer said.

Richard Leggitt

Stratford Hall program to highlight Virginia's enslaved cooks

Historic Stratford Hall, the Westmoreland County plantation that was home to the Lee family of Virginia, has scheduled a lecture to highlight the challenges and the lives of the enslaved cooks who created meals for the plantation families who enslaved them.

Dr. Kelley Deetz, an authority on 19th century African-American culture, will conduct the lecture on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. In Stratford's DuPont Library. Deetz is graduate of the College of William & Mary where she majored in African-American studies.

"We are very pleased to be able to bring Dr. Deetz to Stratford to speak on this important topic," said Jon Bachman, Stratford Hall's public events manager. "Enslaved cooks were highly skilled, trained and professional, creating meals that made Virginia known for her cuisine and hospitality."

Bachman said Dr. Deetz, who has written a book: "When Her Thousand Chimneys Smoked: Virginia's Enslaved Cooks and Their Kitchens" will offer a wide ranging discussion about the lives of the cooks who were enslaved in the kitchens of Virginia's plantations.

Bachman said Deetz's lecture, labeled Cooking for the Big House, will include a tour of Stratford Hall's historic kitchen, an outbuilding built in the 1700s.  "This lecture seeks to uncover the hidden voices of the men and women who cooked for their enslavers," said Bachman.

The cost of the lecture is $25.  For more information or to register to attend the lecture, contact Jon Bachman at 894-493-1972 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Richard Leggitt

St. James Episcopal Church in Montross holds homecoming

The Rev. Alan Hooker and the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church in Montross  welcomed former parishioners Sunday to a packed homecoming service that was celebrated with music, prayer and a buffet.

"The last homecoming was in 1989 to celebrate the church's 100th anniversary," said Hooker, the St. James rector. "This is an emotional and very special time."

Episcopal Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ted Gulick, was among those attending the service and celebration. Also attending were a number of former rectors, including the Rev. Timothy Steeves and the Rev. Peter Worthington.  Also in attendance was the Rev. Chris Agnew.

Julie Crews of Richmond, who attended St. James when she was living in Montross 12 years ago, said when she first attended the church a woman practically jumped over the pews to greet her.  

"It was that warm outreach that made me decide to join St. James," Crews said.

Dabney and Peggy Wharton of Alexandria helped celebrate their return by placing red carnations on the graves of those buried in the cemetery behind the historic church. St. James, which is located on Route 3 in downtown Montross, is known for its community outreach, including a monthly food pantry and the distribution of Christmas boxes to children in need during the holidays.

Richard Leggitt

W&L Senior Night

Thirty seniors and their families attended the annual Washington & Lee High School senior night on September 22, 2016. Sponsored by the W&L Guidance Department, the families were introduced to a myriad of activities and resources that will be offered to seniors in the upcoming months. Each student received a packet with a calendar of upcoming events, an Opportunity book, SAT and ACT information, an updated transcript form, GRASP information, FAFSA data, a student survey, and a military ASVAB data sheet. Guest speakers included Stefanie Payne, W&L Registrar who spoke about college searches and visits; Sue Straughan, GRASP advisor and Sarahbeth Vernon, College Advisor, who presented a program on FAFSA, Scholarships, Ms. Payne; ASVAB, Patricia Eddings, counselor; FAFSA Saturday, Carmen Crisco, counselor; and Ms. Vernon and Mrs. Straughan spoke about the upcoming College Rocks program. Patty Kelly Long, Home & PR Specialist at the school board office, brought additional information on the College Rocks program for the families. Carmen Crisco also reminded students and parents that College Application Week will be November 14-November 18 at Washington & Lee High School. The W&L guidance department works throughout the year in offering students information on college and career planning. The College Rocks program begins October 6 through, November 10, every Thursday from 3:30 pm to 5:15 pm. For additional information contact the W&L guidance department at 804-493-8015.

Patty Kelly Long

Westmoreland County Public Schools

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