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Dinwiddie sports complex transforms into holiday fun FROM STAFF REPORTS
DINWIDDIE — In the spring, summer and fall, the Dinwiddie County sports complex is ground zero for local and regional sporting events. But weeks before Christmas, it becomes a winter wonderland. The night the annual Winter Wonderland opened Dec. 6, Christmas carols poured out of one of the heated tents as The Virginians Barbershop Chorus sang. People crowded around the fire pits and roasted marshmallows, watching as children weaved their way though the Christmas light maze that serves as a baseball field in another season. Others snapped their picture with Santa Claus before watching Sparky with Sparky’s Ice Sculptures carve a giant reindeer. But most curled up in a nearby heated tent to end the night by watching the movie “Polar Express” on an 18-foot screen. It is one of three holiday-themed movies played in the tent each night. For Angela Powell and Ashley Judd, coming to Winter Wonderland was the start of a new Christmas tradition.
“I was looking for new traditions that we could and ld start t t for f Christmas, Ch i t d I saw this thi and d thought it was perfect,” Powell said. Journey Powell, 5, said the highlight of her night was the arts and crafts tent, where she was able to build a paper Christmas tree plus fine-tune her Christmas wish list to Santa. Reading from her wish list, Journey said she asked for a blue balloon, toy Santa and a kitchen set. “It is beautiful and kid-friendly,” Judd said of the event. Brian Mancini, director of Parks and Recreation, said the event has become more popular each year. “We originally wanted to find an event where people could come out and enjoy some music, watch a holiday movie, maybe watch a show during the holiday season,” Mancini said. “Now, we’ve got more people on opening night than we had last year.” Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill said admission and concession proceeds have enabled each Winter Wonderland to pay for the next one. Weekend performances include the Fort Lee band, Dinwiddie High School theater and Deborah’s School of Dance.
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Fire pits were set up in various places for kids to roast marshmallows during Dinwiddie’s 2013 Winter Wonderland.
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To spice up the evening, an ice carver from Colonial Heights gives a demonstration by fully carving a reindeer from a block of ice at Dinwiddie’s 2013 Winter Wonderland.
Dinwiddie football wraps up perfect season with Group 4A state title to see them reach their goal.” But it wouldn’t be an easy task as the LYNCHBURG — When Billy Mills first inWarriors were the first team to score a firstterviewed for the Dinwiddie football coaching half touchdown against the Generals in these job, he got a little lost. playoffs with a Daniel Eppard TD reception But as he waived the VHSL Class 4A from Reid Entsminger for 35 yards with 6 championship trophy above his head to minutes to go in the first quarter. honor the Generals fans and their community “We have resolve and we take pride at Williams Stadium on Dec. 14 after defeat- in that and knew that we needed to take ing Sherando 56-14, he was right where he control,” Dinwiddie senior captain Rashaad needed to be — at home. Goodwyn said. “It was a blow because we After eight long years and two trips to the hadn’t trailed all postseason, but that’s when state championship game, both Mills and his we had great leadership, went to the sideline players have finally reached what they had and made a couple of adjustments.” been searching for — a title. From that point on, that resolve, that Din“I’m just real proud of these guys. They set widdie pride, never wavered for the remainout this goal in January and never wavered, der of the Class 4A title game. they went to work,” Mills said. “I cannot exFor four seniors including Goodwyn, Saplain how special this is. It is real rewarding FROM STAFF REPORTS
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Dinwiddie’s team captains Rashaad Goodwyn, Ronald Kearney, Sadarius Williams, and Aaron Vaughan assemble before the first kickoff of the championship game against Sherando.
Please see FOOTBALL on page 4
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FOOTBALL: Dinwiddie Wins State Title
Continued from page 3
darius Williams, Ronald Kearney and Logan Harper, along with the rest of the team, they wanted to go out on top. They wanted to leave a mark on the Dinwiddie football program for both past and present. That mark started with a fake punt by Ja’Quan Poarch on fourth-and-7 from the 38 yard-line and the Generals were on their way. For the remainder of the game, the Generals went on to outscore the Warriors 49-7, finishing with five forced turnovers and eight touchdowns by six different Dinwiddie players. With a few minutes left in the game, Goodwyn along with his teammates took a moment and embraced the experience.
“With a couple minutes left, it just set in for us, we worked really hard and us seniors we worked hard all four years, I love all my seniors,” Goodwyn said. “We’ve all played football together since middle school and said that we wanted to be state champs and here it’s now come to fruition. When I wake up tomorrow it’s going to be surreal because we will be state champs.” And as Goodwyn embraced the moment along with his teammates, like Mills they were all at home. “Before I got this job, [former Principal] Barbara Pittman made a believer out of me and had me sold on Dinwiddie County.” Dinwiddie County and its residents can now say they are sold on Mills too.
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Dinwiddie’s Ronald Kearney is tackled by Sherando’s Isaiah Williams, ending his gain with the ball during the championship game.
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NCAA Baseball - St. Rose vs. Mercyhurst Sat, Feb. 22
NCAA Baseball - West Chester vs. Mercyhurst
Dinwiddie and Colonial Heights Bring College Baseball to the Tri-Cities DINWIDDIE, VA – Departments of Parks, Recreation and Tourism in both Dinwiddie County and the City of Colonial Heights are proud to announce two upcoming weekends of college baseball in the Tri-Cities. During the weekends of February 15-16, and 21-23, 2014, the Dinwiddie County Sports Complex and Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights will host teams from six colleges and universities from Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. Brian Mancini, director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Dinwiddie County stated, “We couldn’t be more excited about our newly established relationship with NCAA baseball schools from the northeast. These tournaments will showcase some of the best NCAA Division II baseball programs in the country, playing at two outstanding local facilities.” Chris Skalak, director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Colonial Heights echoed Mancini in saying “Colonial Heights is proud to partner with our friends in Dinwiddie County in bringing this quality baseball event to both communities.”
Black History: Author Gigi Amateau Visits 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Dinwiddie Library in the Historic Courthouse Complex Sun, Feb. 23
NCAA Baseball - Mercyhurst vs. Mansfield
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Just ask Bobby Perkins. obby Perkins is your typical proud family man. There is simply nothing more important than his son, Taylor, and daughter, Sydney. While Sydney was growing up, she spent her time cultivating a love for horses, while Taylor was practically born with a baseball in his hand. America’s pastime was Taylor’s passion from a young age, and when he started playing Dixie Youth Baseball and quickly emerged as a standout player. There was just one problem. As a farmer, the demands of Bobby’s farm often prevented him from being there to see his son play the game he loved.
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Bobby’s decision to entirely change the course of his professional life was, without a doubt, monumental. But it wasn’t as difﬁcult of a decision as you might think. “I was conﬁdent that the skills required to successfully run the farm all those years would serve me well in any business,” Bobby says. “And when it gave me an opportunity to be more involved with my family, it was a no brainer.” Professionally, Bobby combined his strong work ethic, his business sense built over decades of running the farm and his lifetime of local knowledge to establish himself as one of Dinwiddie County’s leading real estate professionals. The lessons about hard work and determination that Bobby learned from his grandfather still echo in his head today, resulting in an uncommon devotion to helping his clients achieve their real estate goals.
To understand the enormity of the decision Bobby was about to make, you must ﬁrst understand that farming was the only thing he’d ever known. He grew up right here in Dinwiddie County and worked side-by-side with his grandfather on the family farm from the time he was a very young boy. Rising before dawn and working well into nightfall was the norm for Bobby. But when Taylor earned a spot on that traveling team, Bobby knew he had to make a drastic change in order to be more involved in Taylor’s life. It was then that Bobby decided to give up farming. Everyone who knew him was shocked by his decision, but when Bobby found himself sitting in the bleachers at Taylor’s next game, he knew he’d made the right choice. He ended up traveling with the team frequently and was able to watch Taylor play in 11 different states, all before he went on to play college ball at VCU.
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Social Services in temporary home FROM STAFF REPORTS
DINWIDDIE — With its building deemed by the state as the most in need of renovation and repair, the Social Services Department packed its bags and moved to a temporary home. Social Services has relocated to the historic Southside High School Education Center, formerly the site of Dinwiddie Middle School. The middle school was closed in 2012 when the school system faced a $4.2 million shortfall. The extra room, handicapped accessibility and vacancy in the building made it the best option, county officials said. The center is 2 miles from where the department was located.
Social Services will occupy the firstt and d second d floors off th the ffrontt section of the building and will use one room of the basement for closed files. The school system, which owns the facility, will continue to use the annex, library, gymnasium and cafeteria for storage, training and other educational purposes. County staff projected $75,000 at most for the move. “The funds are associated with moving expenses and electrical work,” County Administrator W. Kevin Massengill said. Because the center has more square footage than the old Social Services building, the county’s share to operate the facility may increase, Massengill said. The school is asking $5,000 a month for use of
the building, a fee which the state c will help the county cover. sc “All the school is asking for is adequate ren rent. They want to be d whole,” wh l made Massengill said. County staff considered using the building as a permanent home for Social Services, but that would have prevented the building from being used as a school later on. “Once you change the use of the building, then you can’t use it as a school anymore,” Massengill said. Plans for a new government complex are in the works, but the Social Services Department could not wait until the plans came to fruition. Water infiltration, building cracks, a sagging roof and a cramped workspace for the department’s 30 employees were just some of the reasons a team of architects recommended the Social Services building be demolished by December 2014.
The Social Services building was the only building recommended to be demolished that was still occupied. “Our staff has grown, technology has changed ... our business model in social services has changed. We’re crammed,” Ray Spicer, director of SocialServices, said in July, referring to the old building. Local moving company Nelson Westerberg was hired for the move. “While a move of this magnitude is quite a daunting task, we are excited about our new, albeit temporary, space,” Spicer said in a press release. “The result is a facility that will allow us to better serve our customers and carry out the mission of Social Services.” Social Services’ new, temporary address is 12318 Boydton Plank Road.
McKenney develops strategic plan for revitalization FROM STAFF REPORTS
DINWIDDIE — McKenney has laid out a roadmap for revitalizing the town nestled in the southern end of the county. Nine meetings of a 15-member steering committee that spanned five months produced the 33-page plan that starts by highlighting 10 main goals for the community. Those goals included creating attractive gateway entrances, establishing a farmer’s market, increasing housing options, preserving the small character and charm of the community, providing more daily living options in the downtown area such as grocery stores, and establishing high-quality health care services. The plan also called for continually focusing on learning opportunities, providing recreational opportunities,
ensuring that the basic infrastructure of the town meets residential and b d and d increasing the h business needs, town’s job opportunities. The first actions needed to be taken to complete those goals have been placed on a timeline laid out in the strategic plan. Most are set to begin this year. Even though the Bank of McKenney has thrived with several branches and Sunnyside Elementary School remains the community’s “pride and joy,” vacant buildings line streets and a lack of money for economic development programs have hampered growth, according to the plan. The committee believes that checking off each goal will bring the town one step closer to another economic revival. The plan calls for expanding the town’s economic
development efforts that will once again bring life to the former thriving railroad-stop-turned-manufacturl d d f ing-hub. “The town has seen its manufacturing base leave to go to meet market demands. Even Interstate-85 has siphoned traffic off of Historic Route 1,” the plan reads. “The Town must undertake an aggressive economic development program in cooperation with the county to be able to bring the former glory of this proud community.” Among other things, the town plans to encourage new singlefamily housing construction, recruiting businesses to locate downtown, redeveloping vacant buildings downtown, recruiting a family practice doctor and provid ing affordable access to high-speed Internet services.
Presenting the strategic plan at a joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors and the McKenney Town Council on Jan. 16, McKenney Town Councilor Kristen Beekwilder said that the steering committee was pleased with the result. Recalling previous tensions between McKenney and the Dinwiddie over the possible closure of Sunnyside Elementary School, Dinwiddie County Administrator W. Kevin Massengill said the strategic plan was a terrific thing for the town. “Two years ago when this board was first elected, one of the first town hall meetings was held here in McKenney. I feel like this board is committed to help with this strategic plan,” said Supervisor Daniel Lee, whose district includes McKenney.
Dinwiddie upgrades security at courthouse FROM STAFF REPORTS
DINWIDDIE — The county is beefing up security at its courthouse, and has spent almost half a million dollars to do so. Since April 2013, the Board of Supervisors has poured a total of $441,943 into updating the building’s security systems, which were originally installed in 1998. “The old security was working to a certain extent, but it had just gotten outdated and it needed to be revamped,” Sheriff D.T. “Duck” Adams said. “With the way things are happening in this country today, I am glad that Dinwiddie County is working to provide a safe environment for the people that work and come to the courthouse.” Adams recalled a previous incident where an unfavorable outcome for a person in a high-profile murder case led to a firebomb being thrown the commonwealth’s attorney at th window. The firebomb did not comwind pletely work, and only some curtain plete windows caught fire. wind In December, about 2,329 people came into the courthouse. “You’ve got over 2,000 people in the courthouse over a 30-day period. It is important for the security to be top-notch,” Adams added. “Dinwiddie county didn’t cut corners with this.”
Using $126,943 in savings from two other projects plus $200,000 from the f h generall ffund, d the h county hired Elite Contracting Group in April 2013. At their Dec. 17 meeting, the county put another $115,000 into the project after “certain other areas of concern were identified by the security consultant,” a county staff report read. The additional funds brought the project’s tab up to $441,943. County officials did not elaborate on the upgrades in order to protect the security of the building. County Administrator W. Kevin Massengill said that the changes have to do with monitoring services and security equipment. “The courthouse system was put in place when it opened in 1998. Technology has changed tremendously over that time,” Massengill said. Efforts to update the courthouse systems began after a Circuit Court judge approached Adams when the sheriff took office in 2012. The judge expressed concerns he had over the building’s security. Soon after, the county hired security consultants W.H. Gordon to evaluate the building’s security needs. “When I took office in 2012, it was brought to my attention that the courthouse had not been updated,” Adams said.
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People walk out of Dinwiddie County Courthouse.
A security committee composed of Adams, Massengill, county staff, Elite Contracting Group and W.H. Gordon placed the identified security needs into three priority categories. Adams said that those needs in the top priority category have been completed, and Elite Contracting Group will be working over the next couple of years to complete those needs in the county’s “wish list.” “Let’s just say, the security has improved greatly,” he said. Elite Contracting Group is a locally-based technology group that recently purchased the site of the former Rohoic Elementary School for $541,000. The former school will become the company’s
new headquarters and the site of a 21,750-square-foot warehouse and a 15,000-square-foot building, according to a master plan. The company has completed a number of projects for the state and the Department of Defense. Elite provided security services for multiple bridges and tunnels across the state for the Virginia Department of Transportation and outfitted the Virginia State Police headquarters with security features such as 5,000 feet of perimeter security. They also provided perimeter security support to the Department of Defense at multiple facilities including Fort Lee and Fort Pickett.
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Dinwiddie Chamber of Commerce BOARD MEMBERS: Kevin Perry - Dyeco Insurance Becky Hammond - Whiz Bang Promotions Tori Abernathy - Container First Services Linda Davis - Weathers Auto Supply Joy Marshall - Alpha House Barbara Pittman - Dinwiddie County Public Schools Janet Harrison - Bank of Southside Virginia Pam Adams - Harris & Associates Realty Stephen Perry -CPA
Pictured above, from left: Becky Hammond-Whiz Bang Promotions, chairman of the board; Theresa Crowder- Bank of Mckenney, outgoing board member; and Kevin Perry-Dyeco Insurance, president.
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Former Dinwiddie school to become new headquarters of local company FROM STAFF REPORTS
DINWIDDIE - A Dinwiddie County elementary school that was vacated back in 2007 will become the new company headquarters for a locally-based technology contractor. Elite Contracting Group purchased the 21-acre site that includes the old Rohoic Elementary School building for $541,000. The 17-acre school site was assessed at $3.5 million, according to Dinwiddie County records. The sale price was closer to the property’s land value, which was $680,000. “This hasn’t been on the tax rolls for years. We would have incurred costs to renovate the property,” said Morgan Ingram, Dinwiddie County economic development manager. “This allows a property that would have cost the county money to return to the tax rolls and generate future revenue.” Next to the Amazon facility and just off U.S. Route 460, the site will allow Elite additional space for future growth, as well as visibility on a major thoroughfare, the county said in the announcement of the sale. The company will invest $1.5 to $2 million over the next 36 months to transform the old school into their new headquarters. According to a master plan, they also plan to build a 21,750-square-foot warehouse and a 15,000-square-foot building next to the old school building. The company is expecting an additional 25 jobs with the move and to open their new headquarters in 2015, Ingram added. In the meantime, the company will maintain their operations from their nearby headquarters on Airpark Drive. The company began simply as a local fencing company. Since it opened its doors in Dinwiddie in 2001, it has grown from 12 employees to over 100. Elite has worked on a number of projects for the Virginia Department of Transportation including one that provided security services for multiple bridges and tunnels across the state. The company also outfitted the Virginia State Police headquarters with security features such as 5,000 feet of perimeter security. The company also provided perimeter security support to the Department of Defense at multiple facilities including Fort Lee and Fort Pickett. “We are extremely proud to have this growth here in our hometown,” said Scott Wray, president and CEO of Elite, in a press release. “Elite owes this growth to the men and women who are the most dedicated employees you will find anywhere in the world. The word ‘elite’ represents them, the best of the best.”
“We are extremely proud to have this growth here in our hometown.” Scott Wray President and CEO Elite Contracting Group County Administrator W. Kevin Massengill said that the former school has come a long way from the time that the Board of Supervisors were looking at grants to help with demolishing the building. After the Rohoic Elementary School was emptied in December 2007 when it was beyond capacity at more than 500 students, a committee suggested a mixed-used purpose for the facility. But when a $3 million estimate came back for the project, the mixeduse purpose for the property was abandoned. The arrival of the neighboring Amazon site brought new life to the idea that the site should be used for business. “Dinwiddie is proud to have one of our homegrown businesses experience such outstanding growth,” Board Chairman Dr. Mark Moore said in a press release. “We are grateful for the investment and job opportunities such a project represents, and continue to be committed to supporting Elite locally.” Elite’s local expansion represented the sixth business opening or expansion project in Dinwiddie County for 2013.
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