- Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 14:56
- Published on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 14:56
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The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors and the Westmoreland School Board are steadily proceeding toward the building of a new Washington & Lee High School and sports complex in Montross. But the cost of the project remains a question.
"I have been going to all of the meetings, but I have yet to hear a price," said Westmoreland Supervisor Woody Hynson. "We are waiting to see what the school board comes up with."
"We have seen concepts and we have seen drawings," said Supervisor Russ Culver. "[The Westmoreland County School Board] are moving along with it, but we haven't seen the cost yet."
Culver said Northumberland's new high school cost $43 million and King George's high school had a price tag of $52 million."Whatever the school board finally comes up with will probably be greater than what we can afford," said Hynson. "They are working on it, but the final decision will be up to the board of supervisors."
"We are in the early stages of laying out the site for sports complex and high school for the board of supervisors’ initial review," said Westmoreland County Administrator Norm Risavi. "Our engineers will be preparing an additional environmental review of the property required by the financing agency. I hope to have this initial information for the board of supervisors in late October or early November."
"We are also meeting with some state agencies related to possible grants to assist with outdoor recreation and road assistance to reduce the overall local cost," Risavi said. "Unfortunately this takes time to gather the information and obtain their input on items their programs would participate."
Risavi said the board of supervisors is trying to time the new school construction with the expiration of much of the existing school debt to minimize the impact of having to increase taxes to pay for this project. "The school administration and county staff have been working to provide the information to the consulting engineers and architects to complete various reports required to move forward," Risavi said.
Culver said it is important to keep the price of the school reasonable, because state law requires the county to pay Colonial Beach funding equal to 18 percent of the cost of the new high school to offset tax dollars used for the project that have been paid by Colonial Beach taxpayers.
"We will be looking for ways to reduce the costs," Culver said. "One way might be to use funding from grants to pay for the construction of park the sports complex. It we build sports facilities that are available for public use, we might be able to use grant funding to pay for those."
"I am 100 percent for that idea," said W&L Athletic Director Malcolm Lewis. "We don't need specific fields for sports like baseball and softball, we could share fields with the Little League, for example. We have been doing some of that anyway."
"For some of the sports fields, and some of the roads and infrastructure, there may be some other sources of money available," said Hynson. "But there are no gift horses out there that I know of. In the end, the majority of the cost is going to be up to us."
School Board Member Patricia Lewis said, "My hope is that the new school will be a facility that will bring the community together; ball fields and walking trails, as well as multipurpose rooms and an auditorium for the arts; a meeting place for generations, with cutting edge secondary education at the core, but also adult wellness and enrichment potential as well."
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 14:55
- Published on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 14:55
- Hits: 407
Paul Mountjoy of Kinsale, a well-known journalist who was recently elected president of the Montross Tea Party, died suddenly last week of a heart attack. Mountjoy was a former editor and columnist at the Washington Times.
A big, gregarious guy who loved to tell a funny story and loved to hear one, Mountjoy was seen frequently bouncing around Westmoreland County in his old SUV with his dog, Dogbert, at his side.
Mountjoy was a determined journalist and had served as a reporter and columnist for the Westmoreland News and more recently was the publisher of the Northern Neck Free Press. He was also noted for frequently helping the less fortunate.
"Paul had a powerful way of helping people, sometimes without them even knowing he was helping," said Darlene Nichols of Warsaw, a co-worker at the Free Press. "If Paul was your friend, you had a friend for life."
"I just can't believe he is gone," said Nichols. "The world is going to be a sadder place without Paul."
Mountjoy died Thursday after he suffered a heart attack in Oak Grove. Fire and rescue officials were on the scene almost immediately, but he had already passed.
Mountjoy, 62, was a health and science columnist for the Washington Times. After moving to Westmoreland, he frequently covered the police and courts for the News and frequently often wrote columns about seniors and their health problems.
He was known for making homemade peanut brittle as well as his penchant for helping those in need, including animals. He recently had talked about taking a cross country campaign trip with his dog and had been shopping for a recreation vehicle he could use for the trip.
He is survived by his son, Craig of Colonial Beach, his brother and three grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be held at Coles Point Marina on Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. The Welch Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 11:05
- Published on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 11:05
- Hits: 346
Photo by Richard Leggitt
Westmoreland Supervisor Larry Roberson, right, of Colonial Beach was in RIo de Janiero, Brazil, last week
attending the Olympics. Roberson and his brother, George, left, have attended every Olympics games since
Atlanta in 1996.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:16
- Published on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:16
- Hits: 388
For years some citizens of Westmoreland County have complained they have had to drive as many as 40 miles round trip to cast their ballots on Election Day. Thanks to the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors that will no longer be the situation.
Last week the board voted unanimously to add two new polling places beginning with this fall's elections.
"There has been a long distance for people to travel for both of those polling places," said Westmoreland General Registrar Kris Hicks. "We are trying to make it more convenient for people."
The two new polling places will be added in District 2 and District 3, Hicks said. The additional voting location for District 2 will be at the Currioman Baptist Church at 2383 Zacata Road, and the new polling place for District 3 will be located at the Family Life Center of the Oak Grove Baptist Church at 8096 Leedstown Road.
"We want to encourage people to get out and vote and we want to make it easy for them to vote," Supervisor Russ Culver told a large crowd that turned out last week for the polling place vote.
"We would like to express our appreciation to the board," said District 3 resident Odell Johnson. "Thanks to you, we do not now have to travel up to 40 miles to vote."
"It has been a long time coming," said Butch Foutch, a resident of Ebbtide Beach.
"Anytime you can make voting easier, we should do it," said Supervisor Woody Hynson and Supervisor Dorothy Tape expressed her appreciation to the crowd that turned out for the vote. "Your presence means a lot."
At the meeting, the supervisors also voted to approve a resolution of service for Thomas Bondurant, the county attorney who is leaving his post after 11 years advising the board, to accept an appointment as a district court judge in Henrico County.
"I have enjoyed every minute of my service," said Bondurant. "And for that reason, I hate to leave."
Board members expressed similar sentiments. "He's been a friend," said Board Chairman Daryl Fisher. "You need sound counsel and he has done a great job."
"Tom has worked for the board and also the planning commission," said Culver. "It's good to have someone you can deal with on a serious matter but also keeps his sense of humor."
The resolution the board passed, noted "Mr. Bondurant has dedicated himself to an honorable career and has acted in all matters with honesty and integrity by maintaining fairness and a balanced approach in all transactions of the Westmoreland County government."
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 10:05
- Published on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 10:05
- Hits: 337
Law enforcement joined with citizens from the area last week to celebrate National Night Out in Westmoreland County and Colonial Beach as part of an effort to promote police and community relationships that have been strained recently in some parts of the country.
The two separate events were very successful, as families and children joined officers from the Westmoreland County, Colonial Beach and the Virginia State Police to renew, build and strengthen ties at that are essential to the community.
"The outpouring of support we have seen since Dallas and Baton Rouge has been great," said Colonial Beach Police Chief Danny Plott as he and his officers, along with members of the Colonial Beach Rescue Squad talked with interested citizens at the Colonial Beach Town Hall.
"Colonial Beach has been doing this for years," said Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O. Balderson. "This is our first year. Having so many people come out is heartfelt and greatly appreciated.”
"National Night Out is a great occasion to express the importance of law enforcement and community partnerships," said Balderson. “I want to thank those who attended as well as all of the agencies represented at this event. The fellowship and comradery shared throughout the evening is a true testament to the importance of law enforcement and communities working together."
In addition to the Westmoreland sheriff's officers and the Virginia State Police, talking with those who attended the Westmoreland County event at Stan's Skateland in Montross were officers from the Virginia Conservation Police, the Virginia Marine Police, the Virginia Parks Police and the Westmoreland Volunteer Department.
There was plenty of free food and drinks at both locations as well as law enforcement and rescue vehicles. Westmoreland County had a "Dunk the Detective" booth with a long line of youngsters lining up to participate. The Colonial Beach Rescue Squad demonstrated a CPR machine, which was especially intriguing to seniors.
At both locations there were games and activities for children and helpful brochures and safety information for parents. There were boats, motorcycles and various law enforcement vehicles, and Westmoreland County displayed the large black MRAP that it uses for special emergency situations.
"Any time you can have the citizens and the police get together in any kind of social situation that is a plus," said Plott. "We wanted Colonial Beach to know we are here to serve."
"A lot of the time when we interact with the public, it is in times of stress," said Westmoreland sheriff's Sgt. Greg Keyser. "This way they can come out and see what we do and how we do it.
"It is a good time to interact with everybody and answer questions," said Westmoreland Senior Detective William Lenko. "Today has been absolutely great, no question about it."
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:05
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:05
- Hits: 361
Historic Stratford Hall, the Westmoreland County plantation that was home to the Lee family of Virginia, last
week hosted more than two dozen high school teachers from across the state and from far away as Texas,
Ohio and California.
It was the sixth annual Stratford Hall Teacher's Institute and the subject this year was: The environmental
history of the Virginia Tidewater from the 1300s to the 1700s. "We were pleased and honored to host 25
teachers from around the nation," said Jon Bachman, Stratford Hall's public events director.
"If success is judged by the intellectual quality of the academic instruction, and the warm engaging
conversation then this year’s Institute was a striking success," Bachman said. The conference, which was held
July 20 through 23, was designed to help teachers who work daily to motivate and encourage students in
subjects like history and the environment.
The summer teacher institute is a sponsored educational opportunity on the grounds of Stratford Hall for public
school teachers of the social studies, geography, environmental studies, government and history in the fourth
grade through high school.
"The Teacher Institute presents nationally respected scholars and practical information for classroom teachers
offering engaging and insightful seminars," Bachman said. "It is our belief that through enriching subject areas
teachers can build memorable and useful lessons."
This year two historians and two geographers talked with teachers about the realities facing early English
colonists as they encountered the difficulties of survival against the backdrop of a climatic period known as the
Little Ice Age on Virginia 1300 AD to 1700 AD. The Little Ice Age period was one of drastic and dramatic
climatic swings, according to Bachman.
Bachman said It is believed that these swings in turn brought about significant historic changes to the
indigenous peoples throughout tidewater Virginia as well as well as adding to the difficulties of experienced by
the early English colonists.
"These drastic weather patterns affected almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to
use the fullseason warm climatic periods with the growing season shortened by one to two months compared
to present day," Bachman said. "To understand the history of a place is to understand the fundamental role
that geography and climate plays in the decision making of the inhabitants."
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:51
- Published on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:51
- Hits: 365
Parents and students celebrated the 2016 Matematica program at Montross Middle School on
July 20. Fiftyfour parents and students met to meet the teachers and look at the work the
students produced during the summer session. For the past 10 summers, ELL students have
studied a different country and explore its culture, history, language, and cuisine. This year the
students studied Mexico. The Montross Middle School food service department catered a
Mexican feast with authentic Mexican rice and salsa. After dinner, students displayed their work
in the cafeteria where parents could freely walk around and look at the progress they made this
summer. Additionally, the families received information about the upcoming school year and
each child received a book bag filled with school supplies and hygiene kits. Esmeralda Medina
is the ELL/MEP coordinator.
Patty Kelly Long
Westmoreland County Public Schools