Culpeper Times • August 30-September 5, 2018
Piedmont United Way to dissolve by Sept. 30
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Celebrating 25 years in Business! By Jeff Say Culpeper Times Staff Writer The Piedmont United Way will stop accepting donations Sept. 30. According to Piedmont United Way President of the Board of Directors Russell Houck, the PUW Board of Directors voted to dissolve the organization at their June 26 meeting. “Declining revenues for the last decade lead us to that decision,” Houck said. “We had sought since February of 2018 to merge our organization with either Rappahannock United Way based in Fredericksburg or Jefferson United Way based in Charlottesville. Neither organization showed an interest in a merger.” The Piedmont United Way sent out a letter to partner agencies, workplace campaign sites and donors announcing their dissolution last week. Houck said they will stop taking donations Sept. 30. “We will disburse any funds designated to partner agencies through October,” Houck said. The Piedmont United Way owns its office at 118 E. Piedmont Street, and plans to sell the property. Houck said that proceeds from the sale (after they pay any obligations) will be used to give grants to United Way partner agencies.
Culpeper Human Services will assume “First Call for Help,” a service provided by PUW staff and funded by the Culpeper Ministerial Association for people who need financial assistance in paying utilities. Former Piedmont United Way Executive Director Jack Garber retired from his position on May 31. In the letter distributed to donors, the PUW board described the declining contributions through their primary source workplace campaigns of employee payroll deductions and matches by employers. They detailed the “steady” decline of $454,931 in 2006-2007 to $266,001 in 2016-2017. “As contributions have declined, so have the administrative fees we collect which paid our employees and maintained our office at 118 East Piedmont Street in Culpeper,” the letter reads. “We have taken measures to cut our expenses, but we cannot offer competitive salaries to our employees, adequately maintain our property, nor operate with the monies we collect.” “We are appreciative of your past contributions to the Piedmont United Way and our partner agencies and we know your generosity to those in need in our community will continue after we close our doors,” the letter concluded.
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➤ Music, from Page 6 After 28 albums and 46 years, one would think Wenner could be slowing down, but he says he’s still going strong. “I’m just always thinking of cool stuff to do,” Wenner said. “I’m not good at writing, I wrote a little bit back in the day. I’ve got enough songs I’ve written that when we’re in a situation to showcase all original stuff, I’ve got enough out there.” An affable fellow with two long sleeves of tattoos on both arms, Wenner presents a commanding figure when he takes the microphone. Within seconds of the Nighthawks taking the stage on Sunday, people were up out of their lawn chairs and dancing. His deep growl gave way to a harmonica solo and the tunes echoed through the woods at Verdun. Wenner appreciated the audience participation. “It’s kind of weird how we do make the biggest money for the gigs where nobody is looking at you or listening to you,” Wenner said. “Then you get these incredible intimate gigs like this, and this is a charity gig.” Blues is growing and evolving, he said. He pointed out that when they started there were very few Blues societies or festivals. Now there’s hundreds of both.
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The Tom Robbins Band played the Blues Festival at Verdun Adeventure Bound. “It’s pretty special, it’s got a lineage and an addictive quality,” Wenner said of the genre. “I really started listening to rock ‘n roll radio in the 50s when there was still actually Blues being played. "As I started knowing the word the blues and realizing the elements in rock ‘n roll I liked were the bluesy elements.” Wenner is eyeing 50 years of making music, but it’s not the end of the road for him. Festivals like the one at Verdun keep recharging his batteries. “With 46 years and some new guys, I’m pretty sure I could do 50 standing on my head at this point,” Wenner said. “That seems not necessarily an end destination, just a get that far destination.”
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