Summer Newsletter 2019 – Part One
Caroline Honors Veterans, Welcomes Broadband Opportunities, The Meadow Plans to become National Tourism Destination
The Spring 2019 Newsletter was devoted to the annual budget process. Issues before the board and other events since the start of 2019 can be found here.
Caroline Woodland Trail-In a true community effort on March 23rd, over 70 volunteers from all across the county joined Caroline County Public Works, Caroline Parks and Recreation and Supervisors Forehand, Long, Black and myself to begin construction of the new Caroline Woodland Trail. This 2 mile hiking/running/biking trail is located behind the High School on Rt 207. County staff began the initial construction in the months before, grinding through brush and stumps to establish the basic layout. Volunteers worked many hours driving equipment, working the big shredders, cutting trees, and removing limbs and debris from every part of the path, over several work days going forward into April and May. Volunteers operated concrete buggies to move the crushed stone along the trail, while others cooked and served food, and made sure the workers were hydrated. This supervisor got a work out using his chain saw on some big Oak trees, but the effort was well worth it and it was my honor work alongside so many dedicated volunteers. My sincere thanks to them all.
Supervisor Forehand with his family and friends built five new benches which were placed along the trail. The bridge over the creek was built by county Building Inspector Kevin Wightman, Sheriff Tony Lippa, Major Scott Mosher and several other volunteers including Ted Lambert. We are grateful to Luck Stone who donated the 400 tons of surface material. We are also grateful to Mr Joey Schiebel, our County Utilities Director for his hard work on the project and coordination of staff efforts, and to Billy Holland, for his considerable work and organizing efforts as well, and to our maintenance staff. Under their direction staff spend hundreds of hours cutting trees, grinding stumps and laying surface stone.
A special thanks to volunteer Jamie Schumann, and the Caroline Recreation Department who helped promote and support the construction and to the Caroline HS football coach and team members who helped move and set the large bridge beams. A local business, Delta Prime Fitness and their team under the direction of Michael Penney organized the labor for getting our sign posts installed. The grand opening of the trail was held on June 22.
Honoring our Veterans-On May 27th, as a member of the Caroline Board of Supervisors, it was my honor and privilege to attend and to photograph a Memorial Day event which is unique to Caroline County. Thanks to VFW Post 10295 and their Commander Gerry Gunn, and Mrs. Barbara Allen for their ongoing commitment to honor both our fallen and the warriors who live on today. These service men and women represent the defenders of our freedom and all that is the best and brightest in our blessed country. The program was a true tribute to all as it honored Gold Star families, WWII Veterans and Vietnam Veterans, as well as those from the wars which followed and active duty Service members.
A special moment in the ceremony honored two fallen heroes who gave their lives in the conflicts following Vietnam, Stacey Allen Mills whose life was lost in the Persian Gulf in 1992, and Michael N. “Chip” Manns Jr. who was killed in Operation Desert Shield in 1990. Their names were added to a new plaque to be placed along side of others commemorating WWI, II and Vietnam veterans. Watching the faces of these families as they received these posthumous awards was nothing short of profound. All those involved in these ongoing efforts are to be commended. A special thanks to Mrs Kathy Beard, our Director of Tourism for all her support in these veteran’s efforts, helping to ensure the award certifications are so beautifully done, and to my fellow Board members for their support of this endeavor.
Schools-In March, I again attended and photographed Family Fair, an important annual outreach of Caroline County Public School’s Parent Resource Center. Family Fair gathers dozens of resources in one place in the way of workshops, classes and vendors, which represent support services for our citizens of all ages.
One of my favorite programs at Caroline County Public Schools is our award winning JROTC. I attended the end of the year awards ceremony to congratulate and photograph the graduates, and the rising juniors and sophomores as well. I am very proud of this entire group who consist of stellar young mean and women who have a bright future.
On May 27th I was honored to attend the 2019 graduation of our Caroline High School students at the University of Mary Washington. This year marks my 20th year attending graduation. I enjoyed photographing the seniors and their families, and the ability to congratulate many of them in person.
Other Items and Events of Note
Black History Month-In February, a Resolution in honor of Black History Month from Caroline County was presented to the Reverend Duane Fields and the Caroline NAACP. Congratulations also to Rev Fields who is the new NAACP President.
Constituent Meeting-With a highlight on schools, at my March 22 Constituent meeting, I featured the Caroline High School Robotics Club, as well as community leaders Jessie Rollins and Shermeka Baker Latney. Jessie helps to staff the Parent Resource Center at CCPS, and Shermeka is director of our county’s premier mentoring program, Caroline’s Promise. Jessie shared some of the tools she uses to help parents interact with their children, teaching them better ways to be involved and learn. Shermeka shared the many ways in which Caroline’s Promise fulfills five key promises to the children of Caroline, and information on events coming up in the future. A video created by Dawn Haun of Wagon Wheel Creations which includes a Robotics Demonstration can be found on the communicate tab of my website, jeffsili.org. On hand were many special guests including Dr. Monroe and Dr. Calveric (Assist. Superintendent and Superintendent of CCPS), Commonwealth Attorney John Mahoney, Bowling Green District School Board Representative, Mr. George Spaulding and our Virginia Senator, Ryan McDougle. The evening would not have been possible without the assistance of Mrs. Dawn Harris of the Flying Pig Stop.
County Drone Program-The Board of Supervisors received an update in conjunction with budget discussions. The County now has two drones (one with night vision and one with a spotlight) that can be used for search and rescue
Maintaining Our Emergency Radio System-The Board approved a four-million-dollar maintenance agreement for the Motorola Radio system for ten years which is a protection on our investment, and to keep our county emergency radio system updated.
Caroline County Tourism-In February, Marlene Jolliffe, Vice President of Operations from the State Fair reported an attendance for 2018 of almost 500K. The State Fair owned by Farm Bureau is located at the Meadow Event Park which was the birthplace of Triple Crown Winner Secretariat. Just a month later on March 31, plans were announced for a new Secretariat Heritage Center which will expand the current program and restore the original stables and barns from the 1950s still located there as a National Heritage Tourism destination and Educational Center. Kate Chenery Tweedy daughter of Secretariat owner Penny Chenery is spearheading the effort of this new 501(c)3 organization which will be dedicated to the legacy of events which happened there at Meadow Farm. The surviving buildings are already listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, and include the original yearling barns, tack room, the stallion barn and Secretariat’s foaling shed. In 1973, Secretariat became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, taking the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. He won the Belmont by a huge 31 lengths in a feat which would go down as one of the most amazing in sports history. A 2.5-million-dollar national campaign will be launched right away in order to begin the restoration of the barns by next year, the anniversary of Secretariat’s 50th birthday. The target completion date is 2023, the anniversary of his triple crown win.
Last but not least in Tourism News, Kudos to Mrs. Kathy Beard, County Director of Tourism and her staff for their involvement in our county’s participation in Historic Garden Week this year in April. Garden Week is the largest annual tourism event in the Commonwealth. While the event belongs to the Garden Club of Virginia, and Caroline properties are honored and opened by the Rappahannock Valley Garden Club based in Fredericksburg, our tourism staff sold tickets and acted in support of the marketing efforts to bring visitors into Caroline. There were two properties in Caroline open for this event, Jackson Shrine and the beautiful Chase’s End, home of the venerable Caroline Hunt.
June 11th Board of Supervisors Meeting-Discussion of Partnership with Atlantic Broadband
With the impending completion of a new expansion of broadband in the Sparta area discussed at my Constituent Meeting in the Fall of 2018, Atlantic Broadband met with County Administrator Charles Culley to discuss the opportunity to expand further broadband coverage in Caroline. They are willing to partner with the county to develop a grant application for state funds to assist with another expansion. On June 11th, the board authorized county staff to with work Atlantic to submit a grant application for state funds to expand in certain portions of the county adjacent to the current Atlantic Broadband service area.
Note: In addition, in a separate broadband effort, as discussed earlier in the year, Caroline has joined the effort of Pamunkey.net in their partnership with GO Virginia for startup funds for rural broadband, which if successful would first occur in the southeastern portion of Caroline County. The initial phase of this project is to design and implement a sustainable business model for high-speed broadband delivery to underserved areas of GO Virginia’s Region 6, of which Caroline is a part.
This essentially would be a future partnership with the federally-recognized Pamunkey Indian Tribe and relies on a technical study of last-mile broadband deployment options in Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, and then brings them together with other studies that have been completed for localities in Region 6 who partnered in support of the project. In short, it is a project of multiple locality partnerships which is the most cost-effective way to bring broadband to the citizens of our county.
This sustainable business model can provide a new plan for an internet service provider and is a strong move forward for affordable broadband infrastructure. I will be partnering with Manager Bill Newburg and Atlantic Broadband for this fall’s Constituent meeting sometime in October, when the new expansion is ready to go live for a celebratory event kick off as well as update to citizens of progress on this issue. Stay tuned for the date TBA.
June 19-22 Caroline County Agricultural Fair-Attendance-Over the past several decades I have literally taken thousands of pictures of the fair. In fact, so many that it takes an extra hard drive to help with storage. I have been a fair committee member for many years, and so have had the privilege of watching and participating in its progress from dream to reality. Watching buildings appear where once there were only fields and experiencing all of the events and programs that happen within this four-day event, I realize just what an amazing and ongoing journey the Caroline Agricultural Fair has become, as every year there is always a new aspect for families to enjoy. It is also my privilege as a member of the Caroline Board of Supervisors to be able to provide a part of the funding and other support for this, our signature annual event drawing people from all over the state. In case you were not aware, our Ag Fair is one of the most decorated in the Commonwealth, winning multiple statewide awards annually in all categories. The Fair Board and the committee that accomplishes this endeavor every year are a hard-working group of volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity-On June 24th, I was pleased to attend and witness the signing of the grant agreement for the USDA 523 Mutual Self-Help Grant awarded to our local Habitat for Humanity. This grant, in combination with the USDA 502 Direct Loan allows the local Caroline Chapter of Habitat for Humanity to build 10 affordable homes over the next two years. I joined Habitat Director, Jason Tickle and other local leaders, and representatives from the USDA for the signing ceremony. The Board of Supervisors contributed $30,000 dollars toward the total award of 2 million dollars as Caroline’s match.
20th Annual 4th of July Celebration in Port Royal –As Caroline County’s 4th of July Celebration comes to a close for this, the 20th Year in the Historic Town of Port Royal, we hope you will mark your calendars for next year. As Vice Chairman of the Caroline Board of Supervisors, and a longtime supporter, I was honored to help again open this one of a kind living history celebration in a real life 17th Century Colonial Seaport. The event was attended by hundreds and featured many new living historians from our nation’s illustrious past including Benjamin Franklin. Historic Port Royal volunteers determine every year to enlarge and enhance the educational opportunities and activities of the celebration which includes reenactors from different eras, colonial dancers and a period market. Congratulations on another job well done!
Summer Newsletter Part 2-2019 Business Announcements
Our Spring newsletter was devoted to budget. Part one of the Summer letter covered a number of issues and events as well as prospects for Broadband. Part Two of our Summer Communication bellow will recap some business highlights for the first half of 2019 and some contacts for employment.
Accuracy International-As the new year of 2019 approached, Caroline County approved a site plan for Accuracy International, a U.K.-based firearms manufacturer, to build an assembly facility with an underground testing range. The property located in the Mattaponi District is already zoned M-1, or industrial, and the company’s planned use for the facility is designated by right, so a public hearing was not required.The plan calls for an Office/Assembly facility with an ancillary underground testing facility. For more on how to inquire about employment visit www.accuracyinternational.com/contacts.html
Coastal Belt Sunbelt-On Feb 13th, we announced that Coastal Sunbelt Produce, LLC planned to expand its regional presence at the 123,575 square foot building previously occupied by Russell Stover Candies in Carmel Church. Coastal Sunbelt Produce will hire 50 employees over three years and invest approximately $6 Million in Caroline County. Coastal’ s truck fleet serving the facility will also be domiciled here. Average salaries will exceed the County annual average and provides benefits for their full-time employees. Founded in 1992, The Coastal Companies has emerged as a major distributor of fresh produce and dairy and as a leading regional processor of fruits and vegetables. Based in Baltimore/Washington, The Caroline County distribution center will be The Coastal Companies’ second operational facility and will enable the company to expand its already strong regional presence. www.indeed.com/q-Coastal-Sunbelt-Produce-jobs.html www.coastalsunbelt.com/careers/
Luck Stone-Doug Quarles of Luck Stone was present at the February 13th Board meeting to ask for a special exception to continue to allow the company to operate and move to a new adjacent parcel, as the present parcel is nearing its end of life and will be reclaimed with vegetation. This was approved www.luckstone.com/careers
March 13 The M.C. Dean Expansion-M.C. Dean, a nationally known electrical design-build and systems integration firm for mission-critical organizations, will invest $25.1 million to incorporate a new product line at its fabrication and distribution facility in Carmel Church. The company which employs 100 presently has been located in the county since 2006. They originally chose to build in Caroline because of the convenient location to customers and suppliers and reasonable land costs. The expansion planned for the summer of 2019, calls for hiring 100 additional workers and doubling the manufacturing capacity for customers which include data centers, airports and healthcare facilities. The site of the expansion was renamed the Caroline County Center for Innovation and Industry and adds more than 220 new acres of ready-to-develop land to support future expansion. “The Center for Innovation and Industry is a strategic investment to grow our modular production and manufacturing capabilities to meet customer demands for speed to market, improved quality, and more reliable pricing,” said Bill Dean, CEO of M.C. Dean. The VEDP (Virginia Economic Development Partnership) teamed up with Caroline’s Economic Development office to win a grant for $500,000 from Virginia’s Opportunity Fund to help with the project. New Employee training classes will be supported through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. Chairman of the Caroline Board of Supervisors, Clay Forehand said, “By facilitating the expansion of infrastructure to M.C. Dean’s fabrication site, Caroline is investing in 100 well-paying technology jobs, strengthening the company’s ability to grow its facilities and enabling the recruitment of allied industries to the site.” www.mcdean.com/careers/careers.htm
Your Just Desserts-March also heralded the long awaiting opening of Your Just Desserts on Main Street in Bowling Green. Owner Angie Smith has been famous for some years for her top-notch wide variety of desserts at the local Farmers Market and for special orders for events. Many have looked forward to her new venture which is not “Just Desserts,” but much more. Angie has opened a new establishment in town which serves breakfast and lunch and is playing to amazing reviews both for menu selections and taste. Many of the menu items are named after local folks and places known and loved. “Zack Smith,” is a fried egg with cheddar cheese and bacon on a croissant with a fruit cup side. The Bowling Green BLT features large slices of choice Applewood Smoked bacon which can be paired with items like Cheddar and Broccoli or Garden Vegetable Soup. The shop itself has been updated wonderfully making use of light and decor which is very 2019, and really looks like a small specialty restaurant you find in a big city. Check out the fabulous art work by local artist Barbara Bryd.
April Small Business Update-Supervisors considered and approved a review of a special exception granted to Haus Luc LLC one year ago to operate a dog boarding and training facility in Sparta. This small family owned business has been extremely successful and is drawing clients from other states to do business in Caroline.
C.C. Carpentry-On June 12th the headline read “Successful Builder to occupy Coop building.” C. C. Carpentry, a residential framing contractor, was given approval to utilize the Coop Building on Rt. 1 and Rt. 207 by the Board of Supervisors after a successful Special Exception hearing on June 11. C.C. Carpentry is owned by Chet Cary, and has been in operation since 1991. The business is currently located in Fredericksburg and the company will move to the Coop Building. Additional acreage around the Coop Building may also be developed for other business uses by late July. C.C. Carpentry, Inc. prides itself on consistently meeting code and regulatory requirements, builder specifications and exceeding builder/homeowner expectations. The Coop Building is a 29,000 square foot building that housed the Culpeper Farmer’s Cooperative agriculture center prior to the last recession. The structure was designed for both warehouse and retail operations, making it especially challenging to market to compatibility. cccarp.com/
Snip-N-Trim Anniversary-Coming up in August, I would like to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the new location of Snip-n-Trim, one of our town’s longest running and very successful small businesses. Last year owner, Anna Dawn Swink made the decision to move from a side location without road frontage to the vacant Penney Real Estate Building on Main Street in the Town of Bowling Green. The space was attractively renovated inside to reflect a hair salon for both women and men and new signage added to Main Street to advertise the business. I was honored to attend the ribbon cutting and glad to see the new location doing so well. Congratulations Snip-N-Trim!
205 Travis Street