- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 16:09
- Published on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 16:09
- Hits: 471
The Northern Neck Regional Jail was one discussion topic that the Westmoreland Supervisors considered worthy of their highest praise when the time came to add their county’s approval of the facility’s upcoming budget to other participating jurisdictions.
Regional Jail Superintendent Jeff Frazier made his annual visit to the Westmoreland County Board’s June meeting and was enthusiastically received by Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher, a founding Jail Board member who currently holds the position of Northern Neck Regional Jail Board Chair.
Fisher was already well acquainted with the budget document that was before the Board of Supervisors for approval. He praised the long-serving Superintendent’s effectiveness in maintaining a self-supporting institution that required no financial support from the participating Northern Neck jurisdictions.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 20:27
- Published on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 20:27
- Hits: 381
O’Gara group has until July 1 to buy the properties from Bryan Chandler and the Westmoreland County government, but people are prepared to fight and lawsuits are being filed against key members of the county government.
On Monday Dennis and Norma McGuire began the action with a petition and affidavit for good cause and for writ of mandamus, alleging that county administrator Norm Risavi has violated Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. A mandamus orders a public agency to perform a duty, already required by law, that it has refused to or failed to do.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:23
- Published on Wednesday, 03 June 2009 18:23
- Hits: 447
O’Gara opposition may be on the rise
“This is the biggest thing that has ever happened in Westmoreland County,” a seasoned public official and Westmoreland County native told The Journal earlier this week. “I’ve never seen anything generate this level of passion and public outcry.”
This Monday night the Westmoreland County Citizens Association (WCCA) had a call for the O’Gara question. Treasurer Wallace McGuinniss had already left the meeting and only 2.5 of the attendees said O’Gara ought to come.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 18:43
- Published on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 18:43
- Hits: 288
Ever since the Westmoreland County public became aware of O’Gara Group’s intentions to bring its paramilitary training facility to a 350-acre tract that is currently owned by Bryan Chandler and the county government, public opposition has been on the rise.
A few weeks after the January 2009 meeting in which members of the local government ratified a contract to sell its unoccupied industrial shell building and surrounding 25 acres to O’Gara, O’Gara employee Jim Noe met with local residents and made a promise that O’Gara Group will not come to Westmoreland is enough county residents made it clear that O’Gara is not wanted.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 18:30
- Published on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 18:30
- Hits: 269
At a meeting last Monday, every public comment speaker except Bill Alverson had concerns about either about The O’Gara Group’s plans to locate its paramilitary consulting establishment in Westmoreland County or an already established bud-bog enterprise that disturbs its neighbors but which county officials appear unable to control.
Bill Alverson wanted to talk about roadside trash and grass that VDOT lacks the revenue to mow.
“I worry about safety with all the trash we have along our roads,” said Alverson. “Can’t somebody find a way to increase the fines for littering? Then we could get money for VDOT to mow the grass!”
Mud-bog neighbors Gerald and Sherry Fisher reiterated previously aired complaints about the disruptive mud-bog events and the county government's failure to enforce conditions it attached to that land use activity. As a result, the Fishers say disturbances associated with the mud-bog activities caused their home’s value to plummet.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 18:25
- Published on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 18:25
- Hits: 486
There were a few familiar faces in this Monday’s Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors meeting room. The rest of the Board’s unusually large audience never went to school with veteran Supervisors Darryl Fisher and Woody Hynson.
A substantial portion of the new faces that packed the May 11meeting room are recently retired urban professionals who now reside in the jurisdiction’s waterfront subdivisions. These are people skilled at utilizing cutting edge technology, intellectuals who don’t shrink from rolling up their sleeves to engage in grueling research as they pursue answers to the kinds of questions their elected officials hesitate to entertain.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2009 19:04
- Published on Wednesday, 06 May 2009 19:04
- Hits: 373
As an elected official, I am often asked to help with things that have nothing to do with my constitutional responsibility of acting as a representative.
Thus I, along with Senator Stuart, Sheriff Balderson and others, were recently asked to speak at a candlelight vigil at the Westmoreland County Courthouse. The vigil was in recognition of the victims of crime and was in direct response to recent unsolved violent crimes – including a murder.
The event was organized by Katherine Cross, whose son died after complications from a shooting and botched home invasion. Clearly, Ms. Cross is carrying the burden of a lost child, and she is channeling that sorrow into positive action by organizing the whole community.
Those who were at the vigil were young and old, male and female, black and white. Indeed, the cross section of the crowd represented a cross section of the county – proof that crime has no boundaries.
Indeed, to me, the effect of a violent crime is like that of a rock thrown into a pond. The initial splash might be the crime, but the waves and wake coming from that impact reverberate much farther than the splash itself. The larger the rock, the worse the waves. Similarly, the smoother the water – from smaller communities – means the wake has a disproportionate impact.
In my opinion, Virginia does a pretty good job of helping victims of crime and actually has a Victims Bill of Rights.
But that begs the question, who is the victim? Virginia’s Victims Bill of Rights and most other victims’ rights laws recognize the following individuals as crime victims: anyone – spouses, children, parents and guardians -- suffering emotional or financial harm as a direct result of a felony or certain misdemeanors. (The included misdemeanors are: assault and battery, assault and battery against a family or household member, stalking, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, and driving while intoxicated.)
To help to ensure that crime victims are informed of their rights, Virginia law actually requires that investigating law enforcement agencies provide victims with written information about their rights. Victims are given a telephone number to call in order to receive more information and assistance regarding their rights.
Crime victims, and certain witnesses, have the right to request that certain information remain confidential. For example, a crime victim may request that courts, police departments, sheriff’s offices, commonwealth’s attorneys and defense attorneys not disclose, except among themselves their home address, telephone number, or place of employment. This might be common sense but is not a rule that has always been followed.
Similarly, in Virginia, victims have opportunities to make the courts aware of the full impact of the crime, are informed of their rights, receive authorized services, and are heard at all critical stages of the criminal justice process. They are also informed of when the perpetrator of a crime is set to be released.
And while all of this is worthy, it can never undue the crime that is done. And, for that reason, I am always willing to travel to events like the one held at the courthouse – official duty or not.
Delegate Albert Pollard, Jr., represents the 99th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates. You may contact his office in Lancaster Courthouse at (804) 462-5940 or visit his website at www.albertpollard.com.
Delegate Albert C. Pollard, Jr.