Newspaper Archive of
The Westmoreland Journal
King George, Virginia
January 21, 2015     The Westmoreland Journal
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January 21, 2015

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SEASON SWEEP CLUTCH FREE THROWS LIFT COLONIAL BEACH AGAINST KING GEORGE. PAGE 5 DUCK LUCK MOTHER NATURE MAY HAVE COOPERATED, BUT THIS OUTING WAS FOR THE BIRDS, PAGE 7 REMEMBERING THE LOCALS GATHER TO HONOR THE REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. ON HIS BIRTHDAY. PAGE 10 ) MIXED AOC 2O7 0000 9 ?OOOO1 SMALL TOWN PAPE 217 W COTA ST |_ SHELTON WA 98584- 2f(3 I illlh,,hh,,,II,lhhd,lhli,IIh ',llh'h'"hh'lhll VOLUME 39, NUMBER 4 HELPING YOU RELATE TO YOUR COMMUNITY WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21,201 5 50 CENTS RICHARD LEGGITT Westmoreland County Superintendent of Schools Rebecca Lowry resigned suddenly last week. Lowry submitted a letter of resignation to the county school board declaring her intention to leave her post effective June 30. Lowry has been under increasing criticism from county officials, parents and educators in recent months for a number of management problems that have beset the school system, including late payments to the Virginia State Retirement System. "There is a lot of concern about the management of the school system, including late Lowry payments to VSRS and to the IRS" said a county official, who asked not to be identified. "It really borders on incompetence:' The official said the county has been notified by the Internal Revenue Service that the Westmoreland school system is not current with its required federal tax payments and state officials have complained to the county the school system is not current in its required payments to the retirement system either. The Westmoreland Board of Supervisors provides an estimated $7.9 million a year to the school system, but has no authority to order the school said they have met with school officials more than a half dozen times recently in an effort to get the school system to address their financial problem. The past due payments were not mentioned in Lowry's letter of resignation nor in the school board's acceptance of the resignation. School Board Chairwoman Iris Lane said in a statement, "We are appreciative of Dr. Lowry and value the work she has performed with the system to make the payments on time, school board, administration, teachers, according to sources. County officials staffand students:' Lowry has served as the Westmoreland County superintendent since July 2011. In addition to criticism in connection with the management of school finances, Lowry also was criticized last year, along with the school board, when she failed to act after the principal of Washington & Lee High School, Andrea Roane, was arrested for drunken driving. After several months of angry complaints by parents, students and teachers, Roane submitted her resignation. "This is the biggest business in the county" said a member of the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors, who asked not to be identified. "Managing the school system's money has been a continuing problem, but we at least need to get somebody over there who can count past two plus two:' The search for Lowry's successor will begin immediately. The school board said it would start the process to select a new superintendent with a goal of having that person in place by July 1. Famed Civil War general honored by hundreds undreds of area residents and visitors attended the Jan. 17 birthday celebration of Robert E. Lee at historic Stratford Hall, the 18th century plantation that was the birthplace of the Civil War general and home to several generations of his family. There were free tours of Stratford Hall's Great House, a scavenger hunt for children with prizes from the Stratford Hall gift shop, a birthday cake, cookies and cider and the musical group Marshall and Company performed. Activities also included a History Mobile, a museum on wheels operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia that presented stories from the civil War and those who experienced the conflict, including soldiers, civilians and slaves. Many of the mobile's exhibits were geared toward children. Stratford Hall is one of the most celebrated, historic plantations of its time and was the home to two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, as well as Robert E. Lee and "Light Horse Harry" Lee, Robert E. Lee's father. Stratford Hall celebrated Robert E. Lee's birthday Jan. 17 with free admission, food, drink and music from the group Marshall and Company, above. L e's birthday cake, left, was popular with children at the event. Richard Leggitt photos RICHARD LEGGITT Westmoreland Supervisor Rosemary Mahan is exploring a race for the yirginia State Senate. Mahan has told several county officials she will not be a candidate for re-election to the board of supervisors this year and she hopes to vie for the 4th District state senate seat held by Republican Ryan McDougle McDougle. "I am exploring my options;' Mahan said. I have not officially announced, but I'm looking at the numbers. It's a big senate district and I'm trying to Mahan figure out ff the numbers are there to win" Mahan, a Democrat who represents the 2nd district, has been a member of the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors since 2011. An employee of a civilian defense contractor at Dahlgren, she also is a former member of the Westmoreland County School Board. A resident of Coles Point, Mahan is married with three daughters and two granddaughters. McDougle is the chairman of the Senate Republican caucus and also is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. The 4th District, which includes parts of King George and Westmoreland counties, stretches from the Northern Neck to Hanover County in the Richmond suburbs. Mahan has been actively involved with a number of issues as a member of the board of supervisors, including education, tourism and business development. She served on the Westmoreland County School Board from 2008-11. Mahan said education, Medicaid Other state races The 4th district state senate race is one of three state offices that will be on the: ballot in Westmoreland ::and King George this year. The others include the 28th district senate seat current held by Republican Richard Stuart and the 99th District house seat currently held by Delegate Margaret Ransone. and the environment will be among the issues she will concentrate on if she decides to make the state senate race. "I am concerned about fracking" she said. "We've done so much to protect the Chesapeake Bay and now we're talking about drilling right through our aquifer:' Mahan is a graduate of Old Dominion University. She also has attended the University of Virginia's Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership and done professional studies at MaryWashington University. She is a graduate of Washington & Lee High School. McDougle was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2002, and then won election to the state senate in the 4th District in 2006. A native of Hanover, McDougle is a graduate of James Madison University and the School of Law at William & Mary. McDougle lives in Mechanicsville. He is married with one daughter. McDougle, a former Hanover County prosecutor, also lists education and the environment as his issues of concern. He also is a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and worked for passage of bills to reduce taxes and improve Virginia's business climate. When asked about Mahan's candidacy, McDougle said, "My focus right now is passing a state budget that does not indude a Medicaid expansion and working on issues that will help Virginia and the Northern Neck." LINDA FARNETH The Colonial Beach Planning Commission is looking into drafting and adopting ordinances concerning breweries and wind turbines, in response to customer inquiries. Acting Zoning Administrator Brendan McHugh said no ordinances in the town currently cover breweries. He presented the commission with sales, non-keg sales, off-premise, on- if the restaurant closed, somewhat controversial since Colonial have height limitations that may draft resolutions and ordinances from premise, etc. Commissioner Steve Cirbee thinks Beach has a high population of osprey prevent homeowners from installing a neraby Spotsylvania County. McHugh told the commission that the town should focus only on and people worry that they will be According to Spotsylvania's in drafting and adopting regulations res,!dential wind turbines, hurt if caught up in a wind turbine. Director of Planning and Zoning, for zoning the town needs to explore We dont have enough consistent The commission discussed putting See RJ:GULATI:, page 4 Jeffrey Harvey, the majority of sizes ofbreweries that will be allowed, winds here"he said. There's no sense in small units n tP fhmes" McHugh I i~iI microbreweries are small operations if they will be stand alone or be spending a lot oft!me on commercial suggested putting turbines under that produce less than l5,000 barrels of combined with restaurants and, if energy because we re not in ,a spot that accessory use. Cirbee warned to be beer each year. Virginia law separates combined, what regulations will is favorable for that anyway, careful where the regulations are licenses into various categories -- keg govern continued brewery production McHugh believes the issue isplaced because some accessory uses 6