T he POSTAL CUSTOMER Colonial Beach • Westmoreland Volume 38, Number 8 Wednesday, February 19, 2014 50 Cents helping you relate to your community Council and School Board discuss funding for school move The Colonial Beach School Board and Town Council met on Feb.12 to hold a joint meeting concerning the move of the elementary school campus to the high school campus on First Street. This is the first time both entities have met jointly since the students were moved to the Oak Grove Baptist Church following the fire on Jan.5 of this year. After the early morning fire on Jan.5 that gutted the old two-story brick building on the elementary school campus, school officials were faced with many challenges. The fire raged swiftly through the building; the fire crews 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 had been closed in 2011, for safety reasons after two large storms and a rare east coast earthquake rocked the building and left water damage in the onestory section that housed the building’s restrooms. Upon inspection in 2011, the building’s roof structure revealed buckled rafters, that inspectors said had resulted from improper supporting that dated back to when the building was first built. Over time, these structural beams have continued to buckle. As a result of the findings and for safety reasons, the building was deemed unsafe and abandoned. The two-story structure, at the time of its closure, served as the middle school building. After the closure, a mod pod was placed at the high school campus on First Street. The rest of the elementary students remained on the current campus which fronts on Douglas Ave. After the recent fire, the students and staff were displaced. They were relocated to, and are currently being housed at Oak Grove Baptist Church. However, come the first day after Labor Day in September (the first day of the 2014-2015 school year), the School needs to have these students and staff somewhere else, according to Superintendent Kathleen Beane. For over a year now, the School has been Leonard Banks Drifter power forward, Lamar Lucas (center) leaves nothing to chance as he battles for a loose ball against Raider defenders. Richard Leggitt Robert Ray Crouch, convicted of defrauding grieving cemetery customers in King George County earlier this year, is scheduled to have a bond hearing Friday before King George Circuit Court Judge J. Martin Bass. Crouch, a resident of King George, has been held in custody since he was sentenced to five years in prison, fined $35,000 and ordered to pay more than $84,000 in restitution for defrauding customers of the former MeadowBrooke Memorial Gardens cemetery. Crouch has appealed his See School Move, page 3 Council and School Board draft memorandum of (mis)understanding Power Forward Crouch Scheduled for Friday Bond Hearing in Circuit Court trying to find a way to fund relocation of the elementary students to the high school campus. Conditions at the elementary school campus have been steadily deteriorating since the old two-story building was closed, back in 2011. During previous meetings, Councilman Gary Seeber suggested the Town take out a bond to cover the expenses of the move and renovations to the current high school building. On Feb. 17, the Colonial Beach Town Council and School Board reconvened their previous joint meeting from Feb. 12, to discuss the issue of funding the move of the elementary school. The group was scheduled to receive an update from Town Manager Val Foulds on the $1 million bond the town is seeking from VML (Virginia Municipal League) and to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between the School and the Town to fund the move of the elementary school to the high school campus. Before Foulds could update the group on her findings, a set of misunderstandings consumed a great deal of time during the meeting, which had been scheduled to last for half an hour. Town staff presented the school board with a draft MOU (memorandum of understanding) which would obligate the Town of Colonial Beach to front nearly half a million dollars to Colonial Beach Schools to fund the move. However, School Board Chairman Tim Trivett began the meeting with reservations concerning the conditions of the MOU. Trivett’s concerns centered around the memorandum’s requirements concerning payback of the loan Council praises Town’s snow removal efforts Linda Farneth A significant snowstorm hit the little Town of Colonial Beach beginning on the evening of Wednesday, Feb.12. And town crews began plowing just after midnight. Residents woke up to plowed roads, but a few people were in disbelief. Some residents complained about the high snow left in front of their driveways by the plows, but for the most part, many residents were very pleased with the town’s response to, and management of last week’s snow. Council members praised the town employees for their swift work, and Mayor Mike Ham felt the road would be in good enough condition on Thursday to hold their two meetings scheduled for that evening. However, Mother Nature had another hit of snow in store for the sleepy town and delivered just enough of it to make officials cancel the Thursday meetings. By Friday night, roads were plowed again, but walkways and the threat of more bad weather forced which stated, “In the event that the school board shall fail to repay the $448,565 within one year of the date of this agreement, the parties agree that the town shall withhold the sum of $448,565 from the next year’s appropriation of funds by the town to the school board.” Trivett began by reminding the council that when the groups first talked about moving the elementary school to the high school campus, there was no mention of paying it back. The groups had discussed turning over school property (at the current elementary campus site) to the town to be sold, to offset the cost of moving. “This is a legal document that I don’t think anyone on this board is prepared to accept until our attorney can review it,” Trivett said, adding, “We have no way of knowing when that insurance money will come in.” Trivett added, “If you cut $448,000 from our budget, the School closes. We don’t have a half a million dollars to cut from our budget. I don’t see how we could agree to this, at all. I haven’t read the whole document, but I just know it would be a disaster to have to cut our budget by $500,000,” Trivett said. See MOU, page 3 W&L Principal arrested for DWI The principal of Washington & Lee High School has been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, as well as two other charges. Andrea Michelle Roane was charged after the Nissan Altima she was driving skidded off the road during a snowstorm just before midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Roane, one of Westmoreland County’s highest paid officials, was due to appear in Westmoreland County General District Court this week for arraignment on charges of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and use of a handheld device while driving. See roane, page 3 Although streets were plowed, some citizens complained about snow left in intersections. See Snow, page 3 See CROUCH, page 10 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. Applications for new credit cards must be submitted no later than February 15, 2014 to qualify for the promotional rate. Programs, rates, conditions and terms are subject to change without notice. Credit Union membership is required. Visit NSWCFCU.ORG for details on current rates, terms and conditions.