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T he Colonial Beach • Westmoreland Volume 37, Number 45 helping you relate to your community No new building, just more mod pods for now Running to the future Permanent structure for elementary school not an option at this time Linda Farneth The state of disrepair at both Colonial Beach Elementary and Colonial Beach High School was a major topic of discussion at the Colonial Beach Town Council/ School Board joint meeting held on Oct. 30. All members were in attendance except for Councilwoman Wanda Goforth. The crisis began with financial troubles dating back several years, resulting in physical blight on both campuses due to a lack of funding for maintenance. The situation became evident after the two namedstorms (Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee) and an unusual earthquake hit Colonial Beach in the fall of 2011. The aftershock of these events caused an already struggling school budget to operate in the red, in order to keep middle school students on academic schedule for the first half of the year. During investigations of water damage to the twostory structure located in the center of the elementary school campus, a serious structural error, made when the building was first built, was discovered. Issues with mold from the leaks, combined with the structural issue, forced the school to remove children from the building and pack them into other areas of the school during instructional time. Eventually, a new mod pod was placed behind the old high school building, which now houses the middle school students. But the elementary campus has been left with an array of old brick buildings, mod pods and old trailers on a campus which sits on a hillside. During heavy rain events, the hillside is slippery, and cracking sidewalks contribute to the tripping hazards. The elementary school cafeteria building is also in a state of disrepair. Food prep appliances are seriously outdated or barely operational in both the elementary and high school, resulting in long lunch lines and less than ideal menus. Superintendent Kathleen Beane was appointed to her position on Feb. 6, 2013. Beane had to address several ongoing issues at the time she was appointed. The schools’ budget was not approved by the town council until May. When the council approved the town’s budget in June, the town had removed $50,000 from the schools’ budget. The school board had previously presented two options to the council back in March, which would handle the problems the elementary school was facing. The second option, relocating the elementary school to the high school campus with mod pods would require and extra $250,000 for moving expenses and preparing the site to accommodate the new mod pods. The council asked the school to provide information and cost estimates for putting a permanent structure for the elementary students on the high school campus, as opposed to mod pod rental units. The council ultimately did not approve the extra $250,000 funding for the relocation project. At the October 30 meeting, Beane presented three solutions. Scenario I involves elementary students remaining on the elementary school campus and would cost the school an estimated $75,000 to remove old trailers and set up four new classrooms. In addition, the current rent expense for mod pods at the elementary school campus would increase from $13,200 per month to $15,950. Scenario I would cost the school a total of approximately $266,400 during this fiscal year, then a total yearly rental cost of $191,400 each year thereafter. Scenario II would include relocating the existing mod pods and adding additional mod pods to the high school campus. The rent expense would be $15,800 per month, but would include approximately $250,000 in moving expenses, totaling $429,600 for this fiscal year. Each year thereafter, the yearly rent expense would be $189,600. The monthly rent expense for relocation would be slightly lower, because the school would be able to use larger structures, thereby cutting down on individual units. Renting this way would reduce expenses. Scenario III would involve building a permanent structure to relocate the elementary school to the high school campus. Beane originally estimated to the school board that the cost would run around $4 to $4.5 million. After looking into additional classroom space, as instructed by the board, the figures have been raised. The cost estimate is now $7 to $7.5 million. Beane broke down the monthly payments at one, two and three-percent interest rates. The figures range from $22,514.77 to $29,512.38 at three-percent interest. Beane said in a phone interview that when she originally presented the options to the school board, the second floor was smaller. Following the board’s recommendations, the cost estimates added on classrooms and the multipurpose room’s height was extended for sports activities. Beane then presented a cost breakdown for repairs needed at the high school as requested by the board and council, which totaled $147,156 excluding lights for the ball field, which are estimated between $395,000 to $500,000. During the presentation Councilman Jim Chiarello gave an eightminute pep-talk to the school board on the importance of having scheduled maintenance, and his wanting to see a maintenance line item in the schools’ budget, which the school already has. School Board Chairman Tim Trivett responded by saying that you can’t catch up on all the neglected repairs on level funding. Trivett said, “There is no way any of this is going to happen, unless we generate funds through raising taxes or doing something. And that may be a bad word, but it’s a fact, I mean the money has got to come from somewhere. And we all know that the government is cutting things; the state is cutting things, and that puts it right back on the locality. So we have got to figure out a way, or we will have this same conversation five years from now, you know, and nothing will still be done. So I’m kinda of the opinion that we just need to make a decision once all this is presented- whether it is right or wrong, and live with it and go forward and do the right thing for our children.” Councilwoman Linda Brubaker defended the school by reminding the council that the town has many buildings in disrepair, as well. “I agree with you Mr. Trivett. We need to go ahead and get a game plan, stick to it and move forward. It’s going to take some drastic measures by this board, the council, your board. I was very adamantly opposed to raising taxes- I’m probably going to eat some crow over that. I’ve learned a lot over the last ten months. It might be a necessity. I’m not saying it’s going to be a necessity to keep the schools.” See mod pod, page 2 POSTAL CUSTOMER Wednesday, November 6, 2013 50 Cents Tension revealed during Council work session Linda Farneth Photo submitted by Ruth Daiger Jacob Daiger, captain of the W&L cross country team, is training this week for the regional competition and is hoping to take the team into the state cross country competition. Read more on page 9. The October 24 Colonial Beach Town Council Work Session was customarily long. As usual, it was not without its controversies. Some members of council were upset over citizen Jay Jarvis’ work on the Boardwalk Vendor Program. Jarvis, responding to repeated requests from the current council to all citizens to volunteer their expertise to help resolve issues in the town, took charge of researching and inquiries to vendors and business owners to revamp the Boardwalk Vendor Program. Jarvis planned to present his findings and suggestions to the entire council after coming up with a final draft. Some members of council and a few shop owners aired their frustrations that they had not been involved with the process. Late attendees were witness to the continuing breakdown of council relations, which seems to be a trend developing with the current council. In the last 17 minutes of the meeting, a few disagreements between council members and the mayor broke out, one lasting after the meeting with a council member continuing to call the mayor names and challenging The Journal to “put THAT in the paper.” The Journal reported in its October 30 edition the council members’ candid discussions concerning council’s attempt to force Westmoreland County Sheriff ’s Office to assume full responsibility for the town’s protection by at- tempting to disband or abolish the Colonial Beach Police Department (CBPD). Talk of exactly with what they would approach the General Assembly was unclear at the October work session. The council is scheduled to meet with Town Attorney Andrea Erard, who will give legal council on the matter on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 9:30 a.m. Perhaps the council’s intentions will become much clearer. When three or more council members gather to discuss public business, the meetings are, by law, open to the public and press. All interested citizens are encouraged to attend. Despite the controversies and arguments, the council did manage to discuss a few issues without opposition. At the Oct. 24 meeting, Councilman Gary Seeber reported that the town has no control over the progress of the road project on Meadows Ave., saying, “The understanding is now, that it will be done no later than Thanksgiving. We want to put a couple of pipes under the street before we pave, to control drainage problems.” Seeber asked for concurrence from the other council members to move forward with $50,000 worth of repairs to solve drainage problems on Meadows Ave. before the paving takes place. Councilman Tim Curtin presented an idea to council that he said would solve several problems with one solution. See WORK SESSION, page 2 Sherry Lee helping others prepare for the cold Richard Leggitt Forecasters are predicting a cold, wet winter season, and Colonial Beach resident Sherry Lee is helping residents get ready by providing free coats, gloves and scarves for those in need. “Several years ago, I saw a guy walking in Colonial Beach in the cold weather, and all he had on was a little windbreaker,” said Lee. “We helped him get a warm coat, and he was very happy.” For the last five years, Lee and several other volunteer Good Samaritans have been collecting donations of clean, warm coats, and giving them out to Colonial Beach residents in October and November, as the weather turns cold. “We also collect cash donations and buy new gloves and scarves to give to people,” Lee said. “People come in and then leave with good, warm coats. They are very pleased. It is just a good thing to watch.” The free warm winter coats, gloves and scarves are available to anyone in need at Lee’s restaurant, Sher’s Snack Shack, which is located at 323 First Street in Colonial Beach. The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Sat- urday.   The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays.   “There is no red tape; you don’t have to give us any personal information,” Lee said. “If you are cold, and need a warm coat, we will provide it for free. We also provide free coffee, hot chocolate and snacks for those in need.” Lee and her group of volunteers have helped keep hundreds of Colonial Beach residents warm over the last five winters. “This year, we still have about 40 warm coats. We also have brand new gloves and scarves and some hats,” Lee said. “And, we are still accepting donations so we can help even more people.” Among those helping Lee with the Coats for the Cold program is a Colonial Beach group of impersonators called Illusions of the Stars. The group appears at sponsored events in the Colonial Beach area and does impersonations of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Sonny and Cher, and Toni Braxton, among others. Lee’s restaurant is decorated in ‘50s memorabilia and Marilyn Monroe mementos as a memorial to her father, retired police detective and one time movie stuntman Paul Lee, 76, who was killed in a traffic accident on Route 205 last May. “It is kind of like a living memorial Photo by Richard Leggitt Sherry Lee and a group of Colonial Beach volunteers are providing free, warm coats for those in need. The Coats for the Cold program has been giving out free winter coats at the Beach for the past five years. to him,” Lee said. And, Lee is using the restaurant to reach out and help others who are hurting with pro- grams like Coats for the Cold, so the coat giveaway has become another way for her to honor her father. Barge proposal is a ‘no-go’ in W’md County Richard Leggitt At its next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 13, the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors will receive a report from the Northern Neck Planning District Commission that will mean the end of a proposal to use barges to transport logs from Maryland to Westmoreland County to be milled at Potomac Supply in Kinsale. The planning district commission was to have done a feasibility study in two phases. One report to determine whether the barge proposal was an economically viable method of transportation. If pursuit of barge transportation was feasible, then a second report was to have presented a plan for its implementation. The report to be presented to the board of supervisors next week will be the final document, ac- cording to Westmoreland County Administrator Norm Risavi. “It was determined not to proceed to the second phase of the study due to the significant cost for the shoreline infrastructure that was needed to complete the process,” Risavi said. “Basically the barging costs were less than trucking, but the infrastructure costs increased the total costs beyond the feasibility point,” Risavi said. “One of our goals was to look at possible landing sites on both sides of the river,” Northern Neck Planning District Commission Executive Director Jerry Davis said. “When you factored in the cost of constructing the landings sites on both sides, it wasn’t feasible.” Potomac Supply, a building supply manufacturer, has been hard hit by the current national economic struggles, and over the past several years has curtailed operations and lost more than 200 jobs. The company has been based in Kinsale since 1948 and the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors was hopeful the state funded study would produce a way to reduce Potomac Supply’s costs of operation and rejuvenate the firm’s operations in the county. “There just wasn’t any landing site for the barges that would work out financially,” Davis said. “We were tasked with finding a go or no-go conclusion and it was no-go.” Now you can follow local breaking news daily on our website at

11-06-2013 Colonial Beach/Westmoreland Journal

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