Drop Box Donations Hurting Local Charities

Local charities are being hurt by clothing collection bins placed in parking lots advertising charitable benefit. Ernie Carnavale, Jr., Executive Director of Blue Ridge Hospice, told the Berryville Town Council last week that the large blue or yellow drop-boxes are siphoning resources away from his charitable organization as well as others.

One of four clothing donation bins scattered throughout Berryville, Virginia – Photo Edward Leonard

“Blue Ridge Hospice, Salvation Army and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have all seen a drop in giving,” Carnavale said. “Donations that we would normally receive are being siphoned off by these collection boxes.”

Carnavale said the collection bins have no local affiliation with any local charity and that the donated clothing is actually shipped to a nearby warehouse where it is processed and resold. A blue clothing donation bin located in an east-end of Berryville parking lot appeared to confirm Carnavale’s claim.

A sign on the bin states:

“The donated items deposited will be sold and after expenses Charity receives a guaranteed fixed monthly revenue without risk of financial loss. This revenue helps to further Charity’s charitable purpose.” (sic)

Carnivale, whose 200-member hospice staff provides care to over a thousand clients in eight Virginia counties and the City of Winchester, asked the Town Council to take immediate steps to ban the clothing bins.

“These bins create an eyesore and litter,” Carnavale said. “I request that you prohibit placement of the bins on private property.”

Assistant town manager Christy Dunkle told Council Members that town staff is working on zoning language to address the bins. Dunkle said that she plans to present the proposed ordinance for consideration soon.

Collection box in Berryville, Virginia offers only a vague description of who donated items will benefit – Photo Edward Leonard (click to enlarge)

Supervisors Approve Financial Incentive Package for Berryville Graphics

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors cleared the way for on Tuesday for a $467,200 combination of state and local funding for Berryville Graphics. The funds are being offered as an incentive to the German-owned multi-national corporation to strengthen its position in Virginia.

“The owners of Berryville Graphics, Bertelsmann AG, also own other printing companies in Virginia and other states,” said Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood). “Last fall Bertelsmann looked into consolidating some of its smaller operations into other existing facilities. Senior management at Bertelsmann narrowed the choice for that consolidation down to two possible locations, Louisville, Kentucky and Berryville, Virginia.”

At yesterday’s meeting Staelin said that the Virginia governor’s office knew there was a competition between Kentucky and Virginia for where to locate jobs and equipment used in the company’s printing business.

“If the Kentucky facility had been chosen not only would 84 New York jobs have gone to Kentucky – rather than Virginia – 102 Frederick County jobs would also have been lost as well,” Staelin said. “The Berryville plant could have also been affected in the longer term due to the competitive nature of the industry. Members of the Governor’s office studied the economics of the situation and decided the Commonwealth should offer a total of $467,200 in grants to Berryville Graphics if Clarke County and the Town of Berryville would provide $200,000 of the funds. By State law these offers require a set local match. It was announced that of the State funds, it $67,200 of the grant was to come from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program and $200,000 was to come from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.”

Staelin said that the Board of Supervisors approval means that Clarke County will spend $106,000 to aid the Governor’s efforts to support Berryville Graphics’s expansion in Clarke County. The Town of Berryville will invest an additional $94,000.

“The County’s share of the funds will come from the ‘profits’ the County received in the past from the sale of Business Park lots,” Staelin said.

Staelin said that the deal will have a positive impact both for Virginia as well as Berryville.

“A total of 186 new jobs will be created at the Berryville facility within three years,” Staelin said. “These jobs must be in addition to the number employed as of January, 19, 2012. At least 84 of those jobs are to be new jobs in Virginia – not jobs transferred from other Virginia locations – and at least 30% of the new jobs must be offered to Virginia residents.

Staelin said that the average wage of the new Clarke County jobs is to be at least $41,584.

Staelin explained that Berryville Graphics will make its investment at the Berryville facility over a three year period and that added tax revenues derived from that three-year expansion is expected to pay back all the local taxpayer funds expended during that same three-year period. “After that, it is expected that the Town and County will receive a total of about $100,000 annually in new tax revenue from the facilities and equipment associated with the expansion,” Staelin said. “That is an annual return of about 50% on the original $200,000 investment in addition to the many other local benefits received by the community’s retention of a fortified Berryville Graphics.”

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors were unanimous in their support of the proposed grants.

“It makes sense to me to encourage a business to stay here and expand in Clarke County,” said Supervisor David Weiss (Buckmarsh).

“I’m glad that an increased percentage of the jobs are staying here in Virginia,” said Supervisor Barbara Byrd (Russell).

“We owe a lot of thanks to John [Staelin] for all of his work to get this accomplished,” said Bev McKay (White Post).

“This is a good step toward economic development in this community,” said Supervisor Michael Hobert (Berryville). “This is an excellent investment for us and the town. This is the kind of partnership that we should be fostering.”

View the “Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund Performance Agreement” here: Berryville Graphics Performance Agreement

Read Supervisor Staelin’s complete statement here:  Staelin Statement Regarding Berryville Graphics Performance Agr


Wildlife Center Offers HOOT Fundraiser

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is offering its first-ever major public party and fundraiser in Clarke County. “The HOOT” will be held on September 22 at Woodley Farm near Berryville, Virginia. Proceeds of the event will be used toward the construction of a new facility and to expand the Boyce, Virginia organization’s outreach.

“The biggest challenges facing BRWC at the moment is the critical need for a new facility and increased funding,” said executive director Jennifer Lee. “We are an extremely successful organization as far as demand for our services but our present facility and funding can just barely meet that demand.  We are presently operating out of an 800 square foot, 18th century cottage and just this year have already rescued 1,600 animals from a wide array of different species – raptors and songbirds, rabbits, turtles, opossums, raccoons, foxes, squirrels – the list goes on.”

A rehabilitated barred owl that has served as an ambassador for the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center was recently released after regaining the competence to live in the wild – Photo Jennifer Lee

Lee said that with only one full-time veterinarian, Dr. Belinda Burwell, and just two full-time wildlife rehabilitators, BRWC needs more staff given its daunting workload.

BRWC has also seen an ever-increasing demand for educational programs.

“We presently reach about 5,000 people a year through our programs but the demand is much greater and we would love to be able to fulfill more requests from schools, organizations, camps, and events,” Lee said. “Education and awareness will go a very long way in protecting the future of wildlife.”

Lee said that BRWC currently is based in a small building at the Burwell-van Lennep Foundation’s property outside of Millwood but has recently been granted a generous lease to build a new facility on the property.

“The HOOT hopes to achieve three purposes for our wildlife,” Lee explained. “Spreading awareness about who we are, what we do in the 100-mile radius we serve in eastern WV, southern MD, and DC; giving people an opportunity to donate to the cause by their presence at the HOOT event and through their purchase of unique live auction items; and inspiring people to be more observant and aware of wildlife in their everyday routine and knowing there is a place to go to receive help and advice about wildlife issues.”

“It will also be a great party for people to HOOT it up in support and celebration of this beautiful place we share with our wildlife brethren!” Lee said.

According to Lee, the HOOT auction will include two beautiful oil paintings, a balloon ride for two, a necklace and earring set from a local artisan, a canoe trip for 10 and additional items.

Lee, who took over the financial helm of the BRWC earlier this year, is known for her ability to raise funds through well-organized and usually well-attended fundraisers. The Clarke County Historical Association’s annual “Art-at-the-Mill”, formerly chaired by Lee, has grown to become one of the mid-Atlantic region’s most successful art shows.

Lee hopes to replicate her CCHA financial success for BRWC.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve achieved for BRWC so far is just giving a more consistent, public presence for the Center through outreach – printed materials, on-line vehicles, organization of events – and by supporting the BRWC staff by taking some of the load off them. Planning events such as the HOOT increases awareness, raise funds, and brings the community together to lend a more powerful voice to a cause that many people really care about,” Lee said. “The community’s support is critical in this mission and we already hear them loud and clear and want to be able to respond in the most effective way we can and grow that community.

While BRWC cares for all kinds of injured birds and animals, the HOOT’s official face is that of an injured barred owl that was nursed back to health at BRWC.

“Owls are nocturnal and extremely stealthy and secretive, so people aren’t going to see them nearly as often as hawks and other birds. But they are also more susceptible to threats such as habitat disturbance, development, environmental toxins – like pesticides and herbicides – and certain viruses,” Lee said. “Owl populations are not as prolific and they are extremely territorial. They depend on a protected habitat with a steady food supply (mostly small rodents), and they cannot reproduce as effectively as birds with greater populations and more shared territory.  Measures as simple as not littering can help prevent the human-wildlife “conflicts” we see that result in owls becoming our patients.  Just throwing an apple core out your car window will bring a mouse to or near the road to eat the apple and that mouse brings the owl and then that owl meets your pickup.  A lot of things we do, even unknowingly, can have a profound and often deadly impact on one animal – one animal who is a link in the chain of the entire ecosystem.”

To purchase HOOT tickets visit www.BlueRidgeFallRaces.com. Tickets are $35/person if purchased by September 15, $40 thereafter.

“Kids are welcome and $10 each – pay for them at the gate,” Lee said. “I’m encouraging people to get tickets ahead of time so I can get an idea of how much food & drink to order but people are always welcome to at the last moment and purchase tickets at the gate.”

“Join us!”

Click to enlarge


Clarke County Octogenarian Benefits on National Day of Caring

Wednesday was a day of caring for Clarke County’s Agnes Boggs. Although the 83 year-old widow had had plans to mow her yard, pick up the many fallen tree limbs that had accumulated over the summer and paint her porch, she also admitted  that summer’s heat and humidity seemed to be taking more of a toll on her stamina this year than they did last year.

“Marie called last week and offered to bring some people here to clean my front steps, mow the lawn and pick-up the yard,” Boggs said earlier this week. “I had wanted to get out there and do it myself last week, but she told me to wait.”

Clarke County Rotary member Marie Murphy and eleven other Rotary members spent Wednesday cleaning, mowing and sprucing up for Boggs as part of the United Way National Day of Caring

Agnes Boggs (center) and caring Clarke County Rotarians – Photo Marie Murphy (click to enlarge)

“We had a very successful work party yesterday,” Murphy said at the end of the work day. “Mrs. Bogg’s house now looks wonderful thanks to 12 folks working for three hours with numerous chain saws, brooms, paint brushes, weed eaters, shovels and wheelbarrows”.

Earlier this week, thousands of volunteers across Virginia along with millions of people nationwide participated in what the United way says is the single-largest annual charitable service effort in the U.S. The goal of the annual September National Day of Service and Remembrance is to bring Americans together in the same spirit of compassion, unity, and service that existed after the 9/11 attacks. The Clarke County Rotary’s effort on behalf of Boggs was the local example of that outreach effort.

“I think that it’s just the most wonderful gift,” Boggs said.

Rotarian moves brush on the United Way Day of Caring- Photo Marie Murphy

Boggs and her late husband moved to Clarke County in 1980. After her husband passed away in 1988 Boggs continued to work in the kitchen at Rose Hill Nursing Home. She is also a member of Marvin Chapel and maintains an active circle of friends in Clarke County.

While the twelve volunteer laborers provided the goodwill and elbow grease necessary to help spruce up Boggs’s Clarke County home, Marie Murphy said that several local businesses also played an important role by donating materials.

“We’re very thankful to Nalls Farm Store, Berryville True Value, and Anderson’s Nursery for contributing equipment and supplies,” Murphy said.

“We donate to just about every not-for-profit cause in Clarke County,” said Nall’s Farm market David Nalls. “We have been very fortunate to have had this community’s support for the last 17 years. I feel strongly that small businesses need to give back so that’s what we are trying to do.”

“It’s great to live in a community where people give time and help to those who are less fortunate,” Nalls said.

Lee Bowen, owner of the True Value hardware store in Berryville echoes Nalls’s sentiments.

Photo Marie Murphy

“We’re providing a rototiller and powerwasher for use by the volunteers,” Bowen said. “We’re also donating paint and some other items.”

“I think that this is a really worthwhile project,” Bowen said. “Helping people in need, helping people who are less fortunate – demonstrates that we live in a caring community and that is important to me.”

Bowen also owns the Front Royal True Value and has contributed similar support to volunteer efforts there.

Wednesday’s United Way work party included many people who already give tremendous amount their personal time to make Clarke County a great place to live. Dale Coumes, Jim Coumes, Ann Lesman, Lisa Cooke, Gerald Dodson, Clyde Lamond, Rieman Royston, Jim Wink, Chris Rosen, Dianne Lasky, Mike Murphy and Marie Murphy all joined together on Wednesday to touch Boggs’s life.

“I have a great life because I’m a Christian and I believe in the Lord,” Boggs said. “I see the Lord’s hand in this and that is very pleasing to me.”

Editor’s Note: A previous edition of this story cited Marie Murphy as Clarke County Rotary president. Murphy is actually the former president. Chris Rosen is the current president through July,  2013

Photo Marie Murphy

Tea Party Marks Constitution Day

by Jay Marts

Monday September 17 is Constitution Day. This marks the observance of the adoption of our founding document.  Two Hundred and Twenty Five years since 39 men signed this first draft at the Convention in 1787.  I would be nine months later on June 21, 1788 it was put into effect after the 9th State, New Hampshire ratified it.  It has served us well as it is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. 

There was celebration:

John Adams referred to the Constitution as “the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen” and George Washington wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette that “It (the Constitution) appears to me, then, little short of a miracle.”

There was dissent:

“My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorized them (the framers of the Constitution) to speak the language of ‘We, the People,’ instead of ‘We, the States’?”
— Patrick Henry, 1788

There was speculation:

“The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
— Thomas Jefferson

There was prophecy:

“I am exceedingly distressed at the proceedings of the Convention—being … almost sure, they will … lay the foundation of a Civil War.”
— Elbridge Gerry (Massachusetts Delegate), 1787

Please join your fellow citizens and the Northern Shenandoah Valley TEA party for a “Conversation on the Constitution” @ The House of Light & Cafe,  13 E. Main Street, Berryville  22611.  We will gather @ 6:30p, meeting begins at 7:00p.  Our featured speaker will be Delegate Randy Minchew and special guest Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter.

Jay L. Marts is the chairman of the Northern Virginia Tea Party.


National Back to Church Sunday

by Van Welton
This Sunday, September 16 is National Back to Church Sunday.  It is a national campaign to encourage church attendance.  According to the national website, last year “7600 churches participated from 34 denominations and together gave millions of invitations to church. Churches responding to a post-event survey welcomed an average of 34 new visitors and increase of 25.4 percent in attendance. Survey results also show that 96% of participating churches would take part in Back to Church Sunday again.”  
Participating churches may be discovered at www.backtochurch.com .
Locally, Apple Valley Baptist is participating in the campaign.  It has coordinated the Annual Church Homecoming to coincide with the national campaign.  Those attending the homecoming worship service are invited to enjoy a free Fried Chicken meal at the Clarke County Fair Grounds immediately following the service.  Apple Valley Baptist meets at D.G. Cooley Elementary School on Sundays at 10 am for its Family Worship Celebration.  All are welcome.
Van Welton is the pastor of Apple Valley Baptist, a Southern Baptist Convention church plant meeting at D.G. Cooley Elementary.  Information about the church and National Back to Church may be found at www.applevalleybaptist.com.

Town Authorizes Cash Infusion for Berryville Graphics

Berryville Graphics is a step closer to receiving over $400K in taxpayer funding thanks to a vote by the Berryville Town Council last night. The $467,200 in public grants includes a combination of state and local funding and comes with the expectation that the German-owned company will hire 85 new employees and invest in equipment at its Berryville location.

“Berryville Graphics is the largest employer in town,” said Berryville mayor Wilson Kirby after last night’s unanimous vote to authorize $94K of town funding for the matching grant. “The town of Berryville will benefit and we want to see them grow.”

Berryville Graphics is part of Bertelsmann AG, a German-owned worldwide corporation with interests in entertainment, publishing, printing and distribution. Berryville Graphics produces nearly 120 million books each year at its manufacturing facility in Berryville, Virginia.

Under the proposed cash infusion, which must also be ratified by both the Clarke County Board of Supervisors and the Industrial Development Authority of Clarke County, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s “Governor’s Opportunity Fund” will provide the Berryville Graphics with $200K along with $67K from the “Virginia Jobs Investment Program”.

The $200K of Commonwealth funds must be matched by local funds in order for the deal to happen. Last night’s $94K authorization represents 47% of the required matching funds with the remaining $106K to be considered for approval by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors next Tuesday.

The Clarke County Supervisors and Town officials met in closed session on Monday to discuss the deal but took no action following the meeting. Last night’s Town council meeting was the public’s first glimpse at the agreement between the Town, County and Commonwealth.

Photo Edward Leonard

Under the resolution passed last night, the Town of Berryville will receive $94K from the Industrial Development Authority of Clarke County (IDA), which will act as the fiscal agent for both the state and local funds, to pay for its share of the deal. The funds will then be repaid by the town to the IDA over the subsequent three years beginning in 2013.

Town council member Mary Daniel (Ward 3) said that the Town would make the money back in three years based on economic benefit based on the additional hiring and taxes from new equipment that Berryville Graphics plans to install.

But while the 85 additional jobs will add a welcome boost to the local economy, the new hiring still places Berryville Graphics 33 employees below its 2009 employment position.

In January 2010 Berryville Graphics, eliminated 68 positions in a move designed to cut operating costs. The job cuts were aimed at shoring up the firm’s struggle to remain cost competitive in the global publishing industry. The company also released approximately 50 workers in May 2009 after a smaller layoff in January.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement between the Town and the County, Clarke County is tasked with monitoring Berryville Graphics for compliance with its investment and employment promises.

Terms of the performance agreement with Berryvillle Graphics were not disclosed at last night’s meeting.

Comprehensive Plan Review Likely Complex and Controversial

The Clarke County Planning Commission began the long and arduous task of revising the County’s Comprehensive Plan earlier this week. As Brandon Stidham, Clarke County’s new Planning Director, prepares to hire a planning consultant to provide the County with a fresh look at the County’s land use ordinances and approach, Planning Commissioners began staking out their positions on what they would like the revised plan to look like.

(Click to enlarge)

On Tuesday the Planning Commission used its regular briefing session to kick-off the Comprehensive Plan review process. Stidham provided the Commissioners with a draft timeline for completing the revised land planning document sometime in June, 2013.

“Staff has developed a draft schedule for updating the Comprehensive Plan based on the draft scope of work that the Commission accepted by consensus in July,” Stidham said. “The draft schedule is aggressive with the goal of completing a large portion of the substantive work prior to the holiday season in December and producing a first draft for public review by Spring, 2013. Staff proposes making use of the Planning Commission briefing meetings as workshops and also proposes one special workshop on Wednesday, October 10.”

In August the Clarke County Board of Supervisors passed a motion authorizing an economic development consultant to assist with the Comprehensive Plan update. The move came after a discussion of the Planning Commission’s Double Tollgate report.

The Comprehensive Plan review will look at a variety of issues including the County’s sliding scale zoning ordinance, land use easement policies as well as development both inside and outside of the Berryville area. Stidham and the Planning Commissioners hope to select the consultant in the next several weeks so that the review process can commence by the beginning of November.

At Tuesday’s meeting the Planning Commissioners began framing their expectations for the new Comprehensive Plan.

“Residential development has centered around single-family homes,” said Commissioner Robina Bouffault (White Post). “As Clarke’s population continues to age the lack of affordable housing for younger couples is being felt.”

Bouffault said that it was time to look at developing areas where condominiums and townhomes can be built in Clarke County. Bouffault suggested that the County consider a transferrable development rights (TDR) program.

In general terms, a “transferable development right” program allows property owners in areas targeted as agricultural or low-density to effectively “sell” their development right to property owners in targeted growth areas. A TDR program, in theory, focuses density in targeted areas and can reduce ‘per-user” infrastructure costs making such areas more economically attractive for development.

“A TDR program can be done either by re-defining existing undeveloped residential areas in the Berryville Area, or by adding some areas which could receive TDR’s from outlying County areas, reducing the number of development unit rights (DURs) outstanding in the County.”

In his briefing to the Planning Commission Stidham said “The County does not expect dramatic changes to the land use strategies with this update project but is interested in exploring innovative, ‘outside of the box’ approaches to economic development at or near the County’s public infrastructure – the Towns and intersections of major primary routes (including Waterloo and Double Tollgate). Any strategies that are proposed, however, must be consistent with and complement the County’s existing land use policies and strategies.”

But Planning Commissioner Chip Steinmetz (Berryville) expressed frustration with Stidham’s proposed mandate for the planning consultant’s work.

“Sounds to me like we’re saying ‘Please don’t change anything’,” Steinmetz said. “There are people driving through here from Frederick County and Loudoun County every day. We’re missing the boat here.”

Clarke’s historic approach to land use planning was also questioned by Commissioners Tom McFillen (Berryville) and Richard Thuss (Buckmarsh).

“I have to wonder if we are approaching a threshold on easements in our County,” asked McFillen. “I know that we have benefited in some ways from conservation easements, but have we been hurt in other ways?”

“Something like 25% of the County’s conservation easements are in place to protect against future subdivisions,” replied Planning Commission Chairman George Ohrstrom (Russell).

“I’ve never seen the any numbers that support the economic value of conservation easements,” added Commissioner Thuss. “Maybe the numbers are out there but I haven’t seen them.”

Other Planning Commissioners expressed their concerns about how the limited planning consultant budget will be used to address the County’s land use goals.

“I want to exclude Double Tollgate from the economic review because we know that it doesn’t work,” said Commissioner Scott Kreider (Buckmarsh). “I don’t want to spend money there when we know that we don’t have much money to begin with.”

“What are the needs of this County?” asked Commissioner Clay Brumback (White Post). “Is this consultant going to take a look at that?”

At least two Planning Commissioners suggested that the work of the proposed planning consultant be evaluated based on measurable results.

“What’s our economic target here? Do we have revenue goals?” asked Planning Commissioner Jon Turkel (Millwood).

“If we are going to spend $60K – $100K on a consultant we need to see performance data that their recommendations to other organizations resulted in a revenue increase,” said Richard Thuss. “I want to be sure that we’re not going out and recommending things that no one acts on.”

But Planning Director Stidham reminded the Planning Commission that the ultimate responsibility for designing an effective land use strategy for Clarke County ultimately rests with the Planning Commissioners.

“It’s ultimately the Planning Commission’s job to write the Comprehensive Plan,” said Stidham. “I’m going to be asking all of you to write the plan.”

Potomac Pedalers Hope to Avoid Bumps Caused by Earlier Bike Event

A Washington-area biking club is seeking to differentiate itself from another biking group that visited the Berryville area earlier this summer but failed to deliver much of the economic punch that area businesses had hoped for.

Organizers of Bike Virginia, a pedaling organization that spent five days in and around Clarke County in June, had said that the tour’s impact on local economies in rural areas brings over $2.8 million in spending and indirect revenue. But the high hopes for an economic bump to Berryville merchants from the event quickly evaporated as Bike Virginia riders apparently carried their wallets toward the bright lights of Winchester at the end of each day of biking.

Now another biking group, Potomac Pedalers which is planning its Back Roads Century ride through Clarke County on Sunday, September 23, 2012, is trying to smooth some of the feathers that may have been ruffled by Bike Virginia’s less-than-hoped-for delivery.

“We are a 501(c)(3), non profit, 2,500+ strong bicycle club in the Washington DC area,” said Potomac Pedalers chairman Robert Bernstein in a letter to area leaders and media outlets. “For the past number of years we have had our premier event, the Backroads Century in the Berryville/Clarke County/Jefferson County area. This is our major fundraiser, allowing us to give grants in accordance with our By Laws purpose. Having successfully grown this event over the past three years from 700 riders to 2,000 riders, we feel it is time to involve the community more. We have already begun reaching out to local businesses for the supplies we need, but we wish to do more.”

Bernstein said that unlike Bike Virginia, Potomac Pedalers returns to the Clarke County area every year and is “linked inexorably to the community and we wish the community to feel linked to us and to look forward to our ride.”

To ensure that Potomac Pedalers’s message reaches community leaders Bernstein  plans to meet with any interested parties at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville on Wednesday, 12 September from 7 to 9 PM.

“I will start the meeting with a short history of the Backroads Century,” Bernstein said. “I will continue with some of the challenges that we face and my vision of the future. I will then entertain questions. I hope that my vision excites you and that this, as Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, ‘is the start of a great friendship.’”

Bernstein said “We want our riders to savor the area and to return at other times during the year.”

Storm Water Pond Changes Good for Homeowners, Bad for Swans

Kayaker enjoys sediment retention pond earlier this year – Photo courtesy Maura Rhodes

A sedimentation management pond at the corner of Business Route 7 and Jackson Drive in Berryville, Virginia will soon be converted to a storm water management facility. The change will allow storm water to drain from the area more quickly now that construction runoff from the new high school has been mitigated.

The large water collection area just east of Clarke County High School has served as a collection area for sediment-laden water runoff while construction crews moved large amounts of soil during foundation and  landscaping work around the new school building.

Water from the site was routed into the collection are so that so that suspended soil could slowly settle out of the standing water. The result of the slow drainage was often a large, shallow lake much to the delight of neighborhood children as well as passing waterfowl.

Construction crews work to remove sediment from “Lac du Mosby” – Photo Edward Leonard

Two large swans were often seen on the pond.

But according to Berryville Town Planner Christy Dunkle, the engineering changes now taking place may make future lake appearances at the site a rare occurrence.

“The drainage pipe was originally placed so that water levels remained in the area longer to allow sediment to be trapped,” Dunkle told the Berryville Planning Commission on Tuesday evening. “The pond worked well and did its job. The crews are now working to lower the level of the drainage pipe so that the pond can be converted to its long term role of storm water management.”

It was not immediately apparent whether homeowners attempting to sell properties bordering the area will still benefit by advertising amenities such as “lake access” or “waterfront view”.

Berryville’s intermittent “Lac du Mosby” is being converted from a sedimentation pond to a storm water management pond now that completion of the new high school is complete – Photo Edward Leonard