T he POSTAL CUSTOMER Colonial Beach • Westmoreland Page 12 Volume 38, Number 11 Wednesday, March 12, 2014 50 Cents helping you relate to your community CB Town Council expected to announce a new police chief After two rounds of advertising and several meetings to discuss applicants for the position of Chief of Police for the Colonial Beach Police Department (CBPD), the town council is expected to introduce a new police chief at the March 13 Colonial Beach Town Council meeting. Although no one is talking openly to the press about the council’s choice for a new police chief, social media leaks are pointing to one person- Elizabeth “Libby” Legg, former Police Chief at Ferrum College in Franklin County, VA. In a phone interview with Town Manager Val Foulds on Monday, March 10, Foulds confirmed that the council is working with someone they want to bring onboard. The candidate is expected to attend the council meeting on Thursday, where the council is expected to make an announcement. Foulds said Interim CBPD Chief of Police William Seay is on the job and hard at work on the accreditation process. Reviewers for the accreditation were scheduled and started the accreditation review process at CBPD last Monday. Rumors abound say that the new chief of police will be a woman. “A first for Colonial From emergency management to fires and shootings Linda Farneth At the Feb. 27 Colonial Beach Town Council work session, emergency management discussions sparked council complaints that some members were “left out of the loop” the morning of the school fire on Jan. 5. In an attempt to prepare a shelter and an emergency plan for the town, the council had asked town staff to pursue actions that would allow the town to take advantage of state and county funds. However, town staff ’s attempt to update council on procedures during the work session quickly turned discussions toward who is responsible for contacting council members in situations of fires or shootings. Town Manager Val Foulds informed the council that under State Code 44-146.19, the town is currently not recognized by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) as a political subdivision for the purpose of emergency management, and the town is required to work with Westmoreland County to benefit from any funding or resources. However, if the town chooses an emergency management coordinator, it would then be recognized by the VDEM. According to State law, “A coordinator of emergency management shall be appointed by the council of any town to ensure integration of its organization into the county emergency management organization.” An emergency coordinator would have the power to control, restrict, allocate or regulate the use, sale, production and distribution of food, fuel, clothing and other commodities, etc. during an emergency, without the hindrance of following timeconsuming protocol required by law, except for mandatory constitutional See Emergencies, page 2 Beach,” as one anonymous social media blogger put it. Another goes so far as to name her as Elizabeth Libby Legg. The Journal asked Mayor Ham in a phone interview on Tuesday morning if Legg was their choice for chief of police. Ham stated he had no comment, but he did confirm that a decision had been made and the council was planning to introduce the new police chief at the Thursday meeting. However, WDBJ7.com posted at 6:52 p.m. on March 10, that Ferrum College Police Chief since September of 2009, Elizabeth “Libby” Legg, announced her resignation Council unable to decide “how” to decide To sell, or not to sell town-owned property? That [unfortunately] is not the only question. The Colonial Beach Town Council made it evident at the Feb. 27 work session that they are split on the decision of what to do with townowned property. Furthermore, they were also split on how to make that decision. What seems to be agreed upon is that small, un-buildable parcels should be offered for sale to adjoining landowners, but that would only be an assumption since several times, various members of council have argued that these properties should be open to the general public. However, after hearing that these parcels would be landlocked or only accessible by water to anyone other than adjoining landowners, no members have made protest to these types of sales on the basis of to whom Leonard Banks Now that Drifter sports legend Brent Steffey (front) has assumed command of the Drifters varsity baseball team, a new era in sports excellence has begun. Friday’s meeting of the commission. The mission of the bi-state commission is to manage and protect fisheries on the tidal portion of the River. The commission has been working for several years to re-establish oyster growing areas from the U.S. 301 Bridge, down river to Stratford Hall. The developer of the proposed project, Swan Point Development Co., has pledged to spend $5 million to stabilize the shoreline and plant wetlands vegetation to protect the River. The commission noted that permits for some of the Swan Point development were granted prior to recent oyster replenishment efforts, but urged caution because of the oyster beds in the River. The commission, to date, has invested $200,000 in the oyster replenishment project. —Richard Leggitt Sheriff thanks searchers who found body of missing Montross woman Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O. Balderson this week thanked searchers who found the body of a missing Montross woman in some woods not far from her home on Feb. 27. Balderson identified the victim as 85-year-old Francis Branson. “What started out as a search a rescue operation, unfortunately became a recovery effort,” said Balderson. Branson, who disappeared from her home about 36 hours before she was found, apparently died of exposure as a result of the frigid temperatures that blanked the area during the time she was lost. Weighing 100 pounds, she was clad only in blue jeans and a shirt when she was found. Authorities said she suffered from dementia. “We had a lot of anyone that day. Ham said that the Virginia Municipal League helped the council narrow the search to six or eight applicants. Ham did confirm that the council placed a second advertisement but pulled it after three days. When asked why he said the first list of eight was narrowed by the council to two applicants, but neither applicant was in a position to take the job, Ham said that recent events allowed one applicant the opportunity to take the position, but would not comment any further on the circumstances. —Linda Farneth A new season Fisheries Commission is concerned about proposed Md. development The staff of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission is scheduled to meet in Colonial Beach this week with a developer proposing to build a marina, a 143-foot pier and 1,500 homes on land directly across the Potomac River from Colonial Beach. Because of the anticipated shoreline work along several thousand feet of shoreline and the dredging of a creek to accommodate the marina, the commission is concerned about the impact of newly forming oyster beds on the River south of the 301 Bridge. Martin L. Gary, the commission’s executive secretary, said, “There’s potential impact on both sides of the River.” Gary saw a notice for a public hearing on the development two weeks ago and was concerned. He attended the hearing in La Plata, Md., and asked a consultant for the developer to speak at last to students and staff by email last week. WDBJ7.com also reported that Legg “listed no reason for her departure, but the college says it wishes her well.” When asked about the process, Ham said the first advertisement for chief of police for the town netted some 30 applicants, including current Interim Police Chief William Seay, named such in Jan. of 2013, when CBPD Chief Kenneth Blevins, Sr. resigned. Blevins’ resignation came in a handwritten one-line sentence after a closed meeting with council members in January. Former Chief Blevins left the meeting room without speaking to people looking for her, but unfortunately we were too late,” Balderson said. Balderson said more than 120 searchers took part in the effort to locate Branson, including sheriff ’s officers from King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Richmond and Westmoreland counties; fire departments from Cople, Westmoreland, Oak Grove and Colonial Beach; rescue squads from Colonial Beach and Montross. Also assisting were the Virginia State Police, Westmoreland Emergency Services, staff from Westmoreland State Park and Virginia Emergency Management. —Richard Leggitt Collecting for clothes for the homeless Sherry Lee, the Colonial Beach restaurant owner who collects warm coats, gloves, hats and scarves to help Westmoreland residents make it through the winter, is collecting again. This time, Lee is seeking donations of clothing to help the homeless. Lee opened her restaurant, Sher’s Snack Shack, last year after her father was killed tragically in a traffic accident. Retired police detective and onetime movie stuntman Paul Lee, 76, was killed when the car he was riding in was hit by a truck at the intersection of Routes 205 and 218 in King George. Lee dedicated her Colonial Beach restaurant to her father and has sponsored a series of benefits and other efforts to help those who need assistance. “I wanted to do something to honor him,” Lee said. “It is kind of like a living memorial.” “Now we are trying to help the homeless,” Lee said. “They need clothes, shoes, socks, etc. We will have the Sam Grow Band here on April 6 to kick off our collection of articles for them, so people can make a donation or bring items for the homeless.” The April 6 event for the homeless will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at the restaurant, which is located at 323 First Street in Colonial Beach. Donations can also be dropped off at anytime during the restaurant’s regular hours, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. —Richard Leggitt See decide, page 2 What’s the fracking problem? Recent water restrictions being imposed by DEQ and word of mouth talks over the negative affects of fracking have sparked the Montross Town Council to stand up and take notice of the practice, and to stand up against it in an effort to request more studies into the long- term effects left behind by the practice. Councilman Terry A. Cosgrove asked the council to consider sending a letter to the Governor, asking him to take a closer look at the impact that fracking has on the environment; not just in the operation itself, but also in the way trucks moving back and forth affect the roads and towns’ infrastructures. Cosgrove said, “Even if you take yourself out of whether fracking is good, bad or you’re indifferent to it, there’s a lot of side effects that are very real. Other municipalities are having extreme road damage. Each well requires 200 trucks.” Cosgrove said he personally felt there was a risk of contamination of the water basins where fracking is conducted, but added, “Regardless of my feelings, I think that this council should consider sending a letter to the governor of this state asking him to take a further study on the effects of fracking within the state of Virginia.” Both Cosgrove and Reamy have attended meetings on the subject of fracking and have found that a large percentage of land leased for fracking has been secured in Westmoreland and Caroline Counties. Wheaton asked if the companies had begun drilling the wells. Cosgrove stated they have not. So, what’s the problem? Critics are coming forward because some residents who have allowed fracking on their property have signed nondisclosure statements (during the negotiating process to lease the land), leaving them unable to speak out. Many residents report having their water contaminated by chemicals used in the process of fracking. Although you will be hard-pressed to find a case where either the mining company or any agency has blamed water contamination on the fracking procedures, many companies have settled with landowners, providing bottled water for drinking and other household uses. With fracking, the miners drill in a manner that captures the fuels still trapped within the layer of shale. The company drills a well straight down. When it reaches the layer of shale, the drilling takes a horizontal turn into the rock formations. High-powered jets use a mixture of sand, water and chemicals to fracture the rock. Sand deposits into the cracks, holding them open, allowing the gas and chemicals to be extracted. An average of 8 million liters of water, the equivalent of a daily consumption of around 65,000 people, is used for each drilling. The process also uses several thousand tons of sand and approximately See fracking, page 2 Now you can follow local breaking news daily on our website at www.journalpress.com NSWC Federal Credit Union Partners in Community Supporting our local community. NSWC Federal Credit Union Visit nswcfcu.org for details.