ck out the T he ENE POSTAL CUSTOMER Colonial Beach • Westmoreland Find your inner foodie check out the LOCALSCENE Page 6 Volume 38, Number 3 helping you relate to your community Westmoreland Board votes to increase funding for at-risk children 1,000 point milestone Richard Leggitt Dramatic increases in the need for comprehensive services for at-risk youth forced the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors Monday night to vote for a $450,000 increase in funding for this fiscal year. The unanimous vote came after several of the supervisors expressed their concern about the growth of the program. “The taxpayers are at their limit,” said Board ViceChairman Woodrow Hynson. “We need $450,000 to meet our budget needs,” said Kathryn Knoeller, the Chair of the Community Policy Management Team, who noted $313,000 of the needed funds would be provided by the state. “It is not easy to come and ask for more money. But foster care in the county, for example, has increased three-fold.” “The numbers are growing,” said Knoeller. “We are mandated to provide services for children who are at risk. These are children we cannot turn our backs on.” Board Chairman Darryl Fisher noted that funding for the county’s comprehensive services would exceed $1.3 million this fiscal year. “It is a lot of money,” said Fisher. “But I believe there is a need.” In other board news from the Monday meeting, David CB Elementary school’s back in session at Oak Grove Baptist Church Just ten days after the fire, Colonial Beach Elementary School re-opened on Wednesday, January 15, at its regular time at Oak Grove Baptist Church. An Open House was held on Tuesday, January 14, at the church from 3:006:00 p.m. to update parents on the new location. School staff said that children who normally walk to school would be included in bus pick-ups, and parents were instructed to check the school’s website for the location of the nearest bus stop. The Colonial Beach School Board voted unanimously at their work session on January 8 to begin preparations to resume classes for Pre-K through grade 5 at the Oak Grove Baptist Church. School officials received offers from several non-profits, neighboring school systems and Riverboat on the Potomac, as well, to house the students temporarily. The best option presented to the school board was the Oak Grove Baptist Church, which already has exactly the number of needed classrooms available. Four options were presented by school staff to the school board: Oak Grove Baptist Church; the old King George Middle School; utilizing multiple locations around town; or holding staggered classes at the High School on First Street in town. King George Middle School has been vacant for almost six years and would require a great deal of preparation to be utilized again. The options of splitting the children to utilize multiple locations would cause too much disruption for children and staff, and staggered classes would cost a considerable amount of money to implement, and school officials feared it would generally disrupt family life. School staff has been working all week since the meeting to move supplies, records and other needed materials. Principal Mary Fisher stated that the teachers have been planning for this and have addressed all issues that have come up. Many of the records are available electronically, and those will be accessible at the new location. Nursing will be available at all times, either by the staff nurse on hand, or kids can be transported to nearby Washington District School a half-mile away. The phone systems are in place, and the numbers for the elementary school remain the same. Staff can be reached at the Oak Grove Baptist Church at the regular school numbers 804-224-9897 or 804-224-2727. Brown, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Regional Administrator, told the board that the VDOT work on the Nomini Creek Bridge on Route 621 is expected to be completed in October. Brown said work would begin this spring on a new bridge on Route 205 over Mattox Creek near Oak Grove. Brown said the Route 205 bridgework might continue for as long as two years necessitating one-lane traffic on the bridge for part of that time. In other business, the board voted to approve a zoning permit to allow the location of a new roadside stand and retail greenhouse business on State Route 205 north of Colonial Beach. The owner of the new business, James Kirtley, said he and his family sold Christmas trees at that location during the holidays. “We wanted to see how it went,” he said. “We sold every single tree. We had a lot of support from the community.” Finally, the board voted to reelect Fisher as chairman and Hynson as vice chairman of the Board of Supervisors for another year. Colonial Beach Supervisor Larry Roberson voted against the re-elections. “It’s nothing personal,” Roberson said. “I just feel the chairmanship should rotate around.” Planning Commission forges ahead despite lack of new floodplain maps —Linda Farneth Leonard Banks The Colonial Beach Planning Commission has conducted its organizational meeting, electing Maureen Holt to continue to act as chairperson for another year and selecting Robin Schick as vice chair. The commission also welcomed new members Maureen McCabe and Robert Busick. A public hearing was also conducted regarding changes that must be implemented to the floodplain overlay district. Changes involve additional regulations to any new construction within the floodplain areas. The need for these changes came to light in response to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) updating the current floodplain maps (also called Flood Insurance Rate Maps) in Westmoreland County and Colonial Beach. FEMA regulates flood insurance rates, which are expected to increase with the new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Not only do town officials anticipate a larger floodplain area, but areas with a 500-year flood risk are expected to be raised to a higher risk of 100-year or less flood risk, due to more frequent occurrences of flooding. Existing homes will be grandfathered in, but any rebuilding of damaged properties or additions to existing structures will be required to follow the new guidelines. One of the most significant changes in building standards requires new construction to build residential structures with the lowest floor, including basements, elevated to at least three feet of the flood depth specified in the Flood Insurance Rate Map. New construction plans, whether in or out of a floodplain district, must prove that any changes to the land will not cause additional flooding during runoffs. For example, runoffs that would increase the water surface elevation of that flood event more than three feet, at any point, will not be allowed. During a phone interview on Monday, Colonial Beach Building and Zoning Director Gary Mitchell explained that with the new regulations in the floodplain ordinance, if a home is destroyed by 50% or more, it will be held to the new standards when rebuilt. In some cases, he said, it might require a structure to be built, maybe twenty feet in the air at the lowest point, to avoid future flooding. Mitchell explained that this would be too costly for homeowners. Although Mitchell did not mention current height restrictions, they too, could play a factor in rebuilding for some structures. Mitchell stated that a public meeting would be held to notify residents of changes in the floodplain maps. Residents who will be directly affected by FEMA’s new maps will be notified personally, as well as be invited to attend the meeting. Mitchell is hoping to schedule this meeting in February, but the town must first wait for FEMA to issue the new maps. Although the new maps have not yet been released by FEMA, the town must be proactive and act quickly. The council will need to hold public hearings, as well, and implement the changes in order to keep See maps, page 3 Wednesday, January 15, 2014 50 Cents On Friday night, in front of adoring Drifter fans, Colonial Beach senior Monte Gould eclipsed the 1,000 point milestone as he scored 12 points against Lancaster. Colonial Beach Town Council gets organized The Colonial Beach Town Council conducted their organizational meeting on Jan. 9 at the Town Center. Tommy Edwards was appointed Vice Mayor for another year, new bylaws were adopted and meeting schedules were set for the year. The council adopted Resolution 5-14, a blanket resolution which adopts the design of several programs and policies and authorizes the town manager to publish the appropriate notices, complete all self-evaluations and execute all certifications listed in the resolution as required by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), in order to successfully apply for a revitalization grant. The DHCD Community Development Block Grant, if awarded, would total almost a million dollars to make physical and economic repairs within the target area from Boundary St. to Colonial Ave., and from the Boardwalk to Washington Ave. Two programs’ designs were presented in the resolution-- the Revolving Loan Fund and the Façade Improvement Program. The Revolving Loan Fund will be a business assistance program. A $50,000 revolving loan fund will be dedicated to this program, which will give nano loans in the amount of one to five thousand dollars. The program will help new businesses become established, as well as help existing businesses to grow. The goal is to create jobs for low-to-moderate income individuals. These small loans will be available to businesses within the revitalization target area and may be used for: building and land acquisition; leasehold and site improvements; new construction and rehabilitation costs; purchase of fixtures, machinery and equipment and associated installation costs. These loans will offer low interest rates and repayments will go back into the loan fund to continue to be utilized for future applicants. The Façade Improvement Program is designed to help make the area, as a whole, more attractive, as well as improve each building’s appearance. Recipients will have free architectural services provided to them and funded through the grant. A façade committee with the help of architects will decide how the money can be best spent to make the greatest impact on the area as a whole. The businesses chosen to participate in the program will match loan money 50/50, set aside from the Revitalization Block Grant, to upgrade the façades of their businesses. So a $5,000 investment will result in $10,000 worth of improvements. The loan portion is “forgivable” in five years, meaning each year the upgrades are maintained, the loan portion will be forgiven by 20 percent. See Council, page 3 Trivett updates public on matter concerning the elementary campus Linda Farneth After the early morning fire on Sunday, Jan. 5 that gutted the 100-year-old two-story brick building on the Colonial Beach Elementary School campus, school officials were faced with many challenges. Beginning a little after 4 a.m., the fire raged swiftly through the building, and at around 5 a.m., firefighters were given the command to evacuate, just minutes before the roof collapsed. Fire crews from 19 localities in the Northern Neck, Northern VA and Southern MD came to help put out the blaze. Thankfully, no one was injured during the fire. The building was closed in 2011, after two large storms and a rare east coast earthquake rocked the building, leaving water damage in the one-story section that housed the building’s restrooms. Upon inspection in 2011, the building’s roof structure revealed buckled rafters that inspectors said resulted from improper supports that dated back to when the building was first built. Over time, these structural beams have continued to buckle. As a result of these findings and for safety reasons, the building was deemed unsafe and abandoned by faculty and students. It has been used for storage purposes only since that time. Because the entire campus was deemed unsafe after the fire, school officials responded quickly to come up with solutions for housing the elementary students as quickly as possible. A special public school board meeting was held at 2 p.m. that Sunday, just as fire crews were wrapping up at the scene. Officials took time to update the public on what had taken place that morning. They accepted public comments and suggestions, and even took criticism from a select few. The public outpouring of support has been overwhelming to the school board, however, and board members spent considerable time thanking everyone who had helped out. At the January School Board Work Session, Chairman Tim Trivett quashed rumors that the board was trying to vote to tear down the building by stating that the board will not make any decisions about what to do with the building in the near future. Trivett explained that the investigation is still ongoing. Once the investigation is complete, the insurance company will then have to conduct its procedures. After the fire was extinguished on Sunday, firefighters discovered hazardous chemicals inside the building. Trivett explained at the Sunday meeting, “We did have an old lab in that building that had never been removed. In that lab is hazardous chemicals. Some of them are pretty serious.” The old science lab had been left with some old chemicals. One chemical, in particular, was ether. Ether is relatively safe, but over time, Trivett explained, it becomes highly volatile, and even opening the lid could cause an explosion. At the Wednesday work session, Trivett updated the public, revealing See update, page 3 Now you can follow local breaking news daily on our website at www.journalpress.com The ONLY credit card you need – a NSWC Federal Credit NSWC Federal Credit Union Visit nswcfcu.org for details. Union Credit Card SPECIAL Promotional Rate %APR at 3.9 through February 28, 2015 for balance transfers made between December 1, 2013 and February 28, 2014 After February 28, 2015 rate will revert to the existing non-variable rate of 9.9% APR or 12.72% APR depending on card product. Rates are current as of November 1, 2013. 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