Posts belonging to Category Local



The proposed sand/gravel extraction site at Black Marsh Farm and the idiocy of Gilbert Shelton and others, part deux.

Editor’s Note: Another guest blog from “notgilbertshelton”:

In my previous blog post, I did not touch on all the comments made during the Planning Commission meeting due to the length of the article. I want to continue and discuss a few more.

After being assured by that infamous multi-named poster from Bowling Green, Paul Reilly/oharascarlett/nativetxlady/Jason Soiman/Susan Sili, that Gilbert Shelton was not confused at the Caroline County Planning Commission meeting, I acquiesce and state emphatically: Gilbert Shelton does not have any problems with old age or confusion. He has absolutely no excuse for his remarks. I guess he just lied—about the reclaimed land not being farmed at Flintsher and stating Vulcan was investing $2,000,000 instead of $10,000,000 and about a bird refuge being on White Marsh which is actually rented for hunting. I guess suggesting that Vulcan would barge all their equipment out before January 1 so they would not have to pay taxes that year is rational. I guess talking about the fictional elderly Raines couple is okay, too. And I guess there is some logical reason he referred to the “Kelo case” twice. (And if anyone out there can figure out why, please post a comment so that I will know.) One thing I want to note, Gilbert Sheldon (to his credit) said “to ensure full disclosure” he noted that the company that he had previously worked for had audited Vulcan Materials Company. (Even after that, Nancy Long, mayor of Port Royal, did not disclose that her husband, Alex Long, is suing Albert Wachtmeister, owner of Black Marsh.)

Wayne Rogers, the general manager at Four Winds Campground, and some other lot owners spoke against the mine. One thing Mr. Rogers was concerned about is the Four Winds Golf Course being adjacent to the mine. I want to note that the driving range at New Post was beside one of Mr. M. R.  Fulks’s mines and that the many people who used it did not seem to mind. (The mined area was reclaimed a few years ago and the driving range moved last year a mile or so south on Rt. 2.) But in response to any other complaints from Four Winds, oh my, where do I begin? Four Winds is supposed to be a campground for temporary camping with no permanent structures. Each lot measures 2000 square feet. But guess what? There are year round residents and homes built in this campground. I do believe Mr. Rogers lives there year round. The lot owners who have buildings or additions have not applied for building permits so buildings and additions are not calculated in their property tax (and then of course, the county does not get any money for building permits.) Most trailers are registered in other places so they do not pay personal property to Caroline for these. There are children, whose parents own or rent a campsite, going to school in Caroline County. Who do you think is paying for the overwhelming majority of the cost of the numerous emergency calls to this campground, their children attending school in Caroline, and their part in the deterioration of the roads in Skinkers Neck? Well, that would be Mr. or Ms. Caroline County Average Homeowner, not the residents of Four Winds.

And then there were the two owners (I did not get their names) of a previous section of Four Winds that borders Black Marsh. They are doing business as Four Winds Plantation and they want to have 211 acres with 2181 plats rezoned. For what?  Do they want another campground (that is what it is zoned for now) or maybe a mobile home park? I think that is enough said on that subject.

Concerning Senator Warner’s opposition, I did not mention before that his property is 1.5 miles from the proposed Black Marsh mine site and around a bend in the river. He has two King George mines closer (at 0.5 miles and 0.77 miles, respectively) than the Black Marsh site and he is trying to influence what goes on in another county.

John Clarke, a partner in Haymount, spoke against the mine, and said that Mr. Wachtmeister had not approached anyone at Haymount about the proposed mine. And then he turned around and said that Mr. Wachtmeister had spoken to him about it in December at the grocery store. It is my understanding that Mr. Wachtmeister approached all homeowners in Skinkers Neck and the Four Winds management to tell them about the project in December and January. Mr. Clarke is concerned about the Haymount “development” which I restate has not built a single structure since final approval on January 26, 1993. The money held in an escrow as a bond for highway maintenance has been depleted, according to VDOT. The closest point of Haymount to the proposed mine site at Black Marsh is 0.92 mile and the closest point of Haymount to the nearest King George mine is 1.02 miles. As a side note, I was against the Haymount project at the beginning. I was against it for a simply selfish reason: I did not want to live in a town. I acknowledged that George Fisher (the original owner and now a partner) had the right to do what he wanted with his land as long as it did not physically harm his neighbors but I did not want to live in a town. I even went to two meetings about it and then I just decided, “What will be, will be.” The attacks on 9/11, then the economy, then the decision of the first developer, and again the economy have put a hold on this project.  I empathize with John Clarke because I know he has put a lot of time, effort, and money into this project but he certainly should know how it feels to have people trying to dictate what you do with your own land.

These comments in The Caroline Progress were attributed to Gilbert Shelton, of the Caroline County Countryside Alliance: “In addition to evidence that Indians inhabited the area, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson had extensive fortifications throughout Skinkers Neck to ward off possible attack by Union forces, noted Shelton.” Kay Watson, who spoke in favor of the mine, repudiated (or as you Palin fans say, refudiated) the claim of any Civil War fortifications near the river by referring to maps made by Jedediah Hotchkiss, General Stonewall Jackson’s cartographer. She said his maps show no camps or emplacements near the river, only on the hills around the river where there are still remnants of gun emplacements. Also, she acknowledged finding Indian artifacts on Black Marsh Farm (where she said her father and uncle were born) but that Indian artifacts are not exclusive to Black Marsh. Mrs. Watson said, “My father found Indian artifacts all along the river from Spotsylvania to Port Royal.” Mr. Jim Raines, who spoke against the mine, supported this statement when he said that he and his father would find them when working the fields on the farm where they lived (Jane Raines Kizer’s farm). I guess the next thing that the socialists decide to do will be to stop farming along the Rappahannock River because of destruction of the Indian artifacts.

Most of the speakers who spoke against the mine were from King George or Port Royal or Portobago, not local residents. I certainly hope that the Planning Commission can see the forest for the trees.

“Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.” -Ayn Rand

Cross-posted at On the Right and Virginia Virtucon.

The proposed sand/gravel extraction site at Black Marsh Farm and the idiocy of Gilbert Shelton and others.

Editor’s note: On March 16, 2011 the Caroline County Planning Commission had a public hearing regarding a proposed special exception permit to allow the extraction of sand and gravel at Black Marsh Farm in Skinkers Neck in northern Caroline County. Here is a guest commentary from “notgilbertshelton” since I have been too busy to write anything about the hearing:

I want to make some observations about the comments made during the March 16, 2011, meeting of the Caroline County Planning Commission.

Gilbert Shelton, who spoke for the Caroline County Countryside Alliance, stated that the reclaimed area that was previously mined at “Flintsher” [sic] (evidently referring to Flintshire Farm) was not being farmed now. He claimed that “Joe [Holloway] told me no one will farm it.” Someone is lying because James Richard Garrett and his sons are farming that land. Mr. Shelton was really absurd when he suggested that Vulcan would “move their equipment out each year before January 1 so they would not have to pay taxes” on it that year. And he stated that there is no way that the county will receive almost $100,000 in tax revenue if Vulcan is only investing $2,000,000 at Black Marsh. Did he purposely misrepresent the fact that Vulcan plans on investing $10,000,000, which Vulcan had specifically stated prior to Shelton’s diatribe? Some banker he must have been. Mr. Shelton also referred to “the Raines” as “an elderly couple”. Was he confusing Jane Raines Kizer and her cousin, Jim Raines, as a couple? Mr. Raines (who lived on the land adjacent to Black Marsh as a child) is a widower and Jane Raines Kizer (who owns the land) is married to Wade Kizer. It pays to know your allies and not call them elderly when they are ten to fifteen or more years younger than you (maybe Mr. Shelton’s advanced years are the problem.)  Mr. Shelton referenced the “Kelo case” at least twice in his speech. The last thing he said before he left the podium was to tell the Planning Commission, “Remember the Kelo case.” I have no idea how he thinks that the case about “the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development” pertains to this. Was his reference meant as some kind threat? (The situation in the “Kelo case” cannot be duplicated in Virginia. Kudos goes to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and also Senator Creigh Deeds for that.) Mr. Shelton has become the local bully since moving here. He uses lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits to try to intimidate the locals.

Nancy Long spoke, supposedly in the capacity of the mayor of Port Royal. (As an important note: some of the King George mines are closer to Port Royal than Black Marsh!) I understood her to say that “everyone who signed the [petition] list supporting Black Marsh Mining had something to do with gravel.” I know that there are signatures from people not having anything to do with gravel on those lists. Mrs. Long also expressed concern for the affect of the proposed mine on Haymount, which is laughable since she was an ardent protester of this development that received final approval on January 26, 1993. (And still has no houses.) But the most important thing was what Mrs. Long has not said: She has not disclosed that there is an ongoing lawsuit between her husband, Alex Long, and Albert Wachtmeister. Mr. Long filed a lawsuit against Mr. Wachtmeister for breach of contract in 2009. Mr. Long, while acting as Mr. Wachtmeister’s real estate agent, obtained a contract for the sale of some of Mr. Wachtmeister’s riverfront property near Moss Neck to Ennstone, Inc. (that is right, the sand and gravel company!). (This property is now in a conservation easement.) Could animosity from this lawsuit be fueling Mrs. Long’s zealous protests of Mr. Wachtmeister’s proposed mine? It is my understanding that she has gone to all the meetings concerning the Black Marsh Farms mining proposal including the work sessions with the county.

John Mitchell, who I think said he was from King George, was irate because he said if Black Marsh is mined then the mine might flood and he might not have access to White Marsh which he rents. White Marsh is lower in elevation than the proposed mine site so, duh, it would flood before the mine. As a side note there was some mention, I believe by Gilbert Shelton, of a “bird refuge” or “bird sanctuary” at White Marsh, which I find pathetic since Mr. Mitchell rents the land to hunt game and birds!

Vivian MacDonald who is ill and evidently cannot think clearly said that Vulcan and Mr. Wachmeister “are murdering me.” She said that she they “are basically holding a gun to my head.” She also said she “would not be able to open her windows” because of the mine. (She does not live near the proposed mine. She lives in Port Royal! And I reiterate, some of the King George mines are much closer to Port Royal than Black Marsh.)

John Lampman, president of the Portobago Homeowners’ Association, is worried about “the barges pushing silt into the channels of the river’s bays and creeks” so he proceeds to tell about the barge that went into Fredericksburg and got stuck in the sand and was fined for dredging the Rappahannock without a license. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? I was on a 16 foot outboard ski boat in Fredericksburg a few years ago and we went a little ways above the city dock (but still below the Chatham Bridge) and got the boat stuck on a sandbar. We had to get out and push the boat and turn it around. The river is entirely different at Skinkers Neck than it is at Fredericksburg. (By the way, Mr. Lampman is considering running for the Republican nominee for delegate of the 99th District. I certainly hope not. That could make me support Catherine Crabill.)

There was a man (whose name that I did not get) who claimed to be an archeologist or knowledgeable in that field. He was concerned about Indian, and I think, colonial and antebellum artifacts on Black Marsh farm. He referred to “Townfield” at least twice and the “manor house and out buildings”. There has never been a home named “Townfield” in Skinkers Neck and there was never a “manor house” or “out buildings” on Black Marsh, only a farm house and a tenant house.

Mr. Tippett from the Friends of the Rappahannock went on and on about Canada geese and their droppings causing nitrogen and phosphorous in the river after Vulcan stated that the pond will be a closed pond. It will have no outlet to the river or any other streams. (There are at least five or six ponds and a lake in Skinkers Neck which all have outlets to the river.) Does he think that the geese that are here are notifying their pesky relatives in Canada to come on down as soon as there is another pond? Or are they just already here and breeding? Maybe Mr. Tippett should petition the Virginia Game Commission to lengthen the goose season and increase the bag limits and not pick on land owners. What next, land owners being told, “No pond for you!”

The caretaker of Senator and Mrs. Mark Warner’s property in King George read a prepared statement because Senator Warner was unable to attend. I did not agree with the statement but the Planning Commission gave the King George residents permission to state their views so they had that right, but I think perhaps Senator Warner should have someone else read his statement from now on. The caretaker’s petty, snide remarks that he added after he read the statement not only put the caregiver in a bad light but also Senator Warner. There was no reason to say something about how his “wife was a pretty good photographer” and that he “should have had her take some pictures of kids like the ones that were in the PowerPoint presentation so I could have shown them to the Planning Commission.” (Vulcan had shown some pictures of their community involvement in their presentation.)

The residents of King George need to stop moaning and groaning and take care of their own mines and landfill. (We had to put up with the methane smell from the landfill for a couple of years and it just recently got better. Some years ago we had to put up with the stench of the pigs at the meat packing plant. Did we go over and complain to the King George officials?) Do you realize that the mines in King George are closer to some of the Skinkers Neck residents than the proposed Black Marsh site is to Senator Warner’s house and some of the other King George complainers?

All the protesters need to get over it. Black Marsh is not their land. The deed does not have their names on it. We are supposed to be living in the United States of America not the United Socialist States of America.

Cross-posted at On the Right and Virginia Virtucon.

Caroline County Redistricting Numbers

County Population: 28,545

Ideal Board of Supervisors district size (population / 5): 5,709 (districts need to be within 10% to survive Justice Department review and any possible court challenges)

Current District Population:

Bowling Green district 4,641
Madison district 9,818
Mattaponi district 4,988
Port Royal district 4,435
Reedy Church district 4,663

Not many surprises there, Madison had obviously grown significantly over the last ten years. Only real surprise to me is that I thought Mattaponi would have grown more than it has.

The real question is where are the districts going to go to make up the necessary population. The Bowling Green District can’t go very far south otherwise Supervisor Floyd Thomas will end up in that district and I have heard no indications that he isn’t planning on running for reelection at this point.

If the Bowling Green goes north, which was the consensus among the Board from what I had heard, it still needs to add 1,000 people and I don’t know if Port Royal and the surrounding area has enough people. It would probably need to take everything east of Route 2 to the Spotsylvania County line too. Unfortunately, given the limited amount of data that the Census Bureau has released, and its complete user-unfriendliness when it comes to accessing it, it is hard to tell right now.

The “Port Royal district” would then become the “Woodford district” and cut into the current Madison district and so on for the Mattaponi and Reedy Church Districts.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Delegate Chris Peace is an embarrasment to Caroline County and Virginia.

Delegate Chris Peace (R-97th), who represents the southern portions of Caroline County, including Ladysmith, has a brilliant idea: he’s going to run those damn Hispanics illegals out of state colleges and universities.

When did he turn to promote his bill to keep Hispanics illegals out of college? “World Net Daily” (WND).

What is “World Net Daily”, you may be asking? Well, it is the clearing house of hundreds of different crazy conspiracy theories, including being one of the main sites responsible for the “Birthers” who allege, despite the voluminous evidence to the contrary, that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. In all, it is a bunch of crazies that write a bunch of nonsensical drivel.

Did he solicit an interview from WND or did they contact him? In any case, why did he agree to have an interview with them? Is he a Birther? If I was a politician and WND contacted me to do a story about a bill that I had sponsored, it was force me to do a little rethinking about my position. But for Chris Peace? He is more than glad to do an interview with a bunch of nuts.

Illegal aliens are already not eligible for in-state tuition (see Va. Code § 23-7.4), but now Chris Peace wants colleges and universities to conduct full background checks on applicants to see if they are in the country legally.

How about we just call this the “Bureaucrat Full Employment Act”? I thought Republicans were supposed to be for limited government or something?

Here is to hoping that someone runs against him this year. Chris Peace should not be in any position of elected office in this state.

What the hell is wrong with The Caroline Progress?

They had front-page coverage of the Clyde Davenport case and they actually gave the name of his stepson, the victim of sexual abuse? What the hell is wrong with that paper? Are they the only newspaper in the United States that still names the victims of sexual abuse in articles? Every newspaper that I know of has a policy that prohibits doing exactly that.

Testifying in front of a jury and other people in a courtroom is traumatic enough, but then to have some rag of a newspaper give your identity to the whole world? Worst newspaper in Virginia.

BREAKING HARD: DONNA BLANTON’S APPEAL DENIED, CONVICTION AFFIRMED.

From the Supreme Court of Virginia’s website:

091878 Blanton v. Commonwealth 09/16/2010 In an appeal arising from a prosecution for murder and felonious use of a firearm, defendant’s failure to make a timely motion for a cautionary instruction or mistrial concerning the prosecutor’s comment about the defense evidence failing to show that the defendant was not guilty precludes consideration of the merits of her assignments of error regarding this comment. With respect to the prosecutor’s subsequent comment about the defendant being in jail several days after the events, it cannot be said that the circuit court erred as a matter of law in denying defendant’s mistrial motion. Considering the innocuous nature of this comment under all the circumstances of the case, the circuit court’s cautionary instruction to the jury, and the prosecutor’s corrective statement, the defendant’s rights were clearly not so indelibly prejudiced as to necessitate a new trial. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

Will update when I have a chance to read through the opinion.

Abduction in Stafford County not really an abduction.

According to WTOP:

An Amber Alert has been cancelled and the 17-year-old girl has been found safe and unharmed in Florida.

An Amber Alert was issued after witnesses saw the teenager being forced into a van at a Target store located at 25 South Gateway Drive in Fredericksburg around 11:30 Saturday morning.

Stafford County Sheriff’s Office says what the witnesses saw was the girl kicking and screaming as she fought with her family members because she did not want to move to Florida.

The family told the Jacksonville Police Department that they stopped in Stafford County on the way to a move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The 17-year-old was found with her family in Jacksonville, Florida at 12:20 a.m. Sunday.

The Free Lance–Star accuses two Caroline County Sheriff’s Deputies of police brutality using the word of someone charged with a felony.

Because he’s so damn believable, right?

For those that haven’t been following this story, a student along with her father and grandmother were arrested at Caroline County High School last week following an incident where they allegedly assaulted two sheriff’s deputies, as well as school administration personnel.

According to a reporting by WRIC (Channel 8) in Richmond, the father had previously been arrested twice on school grounds after refusing to leave. According to online court records he already has a pending assault and battery charge as well.

But that doesn’t stop esteemed local reporter Portsia Smith from repeating his claims that the sheriff’s deputies attacked his mother (the student’s grandmother) without provocation, and that’s when he stepped in to help his mother:

The father said everything was fine and they were leaving until his daughter realized she left her purse in the building.

He said his mother and daughter went back to get it while he stayed behind talking to one of the officers.

Then he said he saw his 69-year-old mother thrown to the ground by a sheriff’s deputy. His mother said she didn’t know what was going on.

Did our esteemed local reporter seek comment from the Sheriff’s Office or the deputies involved? Nope.

Did she ask for a copy of the surveillance tape, which captured the incident, from either the school system or the Sheriff’s Office? Of course not.

Did she bother contacting any of the people who witnessed the incident, such as the administration personnel? Nah, that’s too much work.

Hopefully, the deputies sue the father, as well as this incompetent ‘reporter’, for libel when this is all said and done.

When does a company’s “goodwill” create a conflict of interest?

Someone sent me a copy of a flier for the Caroline County Optimist Club’s Winter Sports Festival. For those unaware, the Director of the Optimist Club is County Administrator Percy Ashcraft and the club’s President is Percy Ashcraft’s wife. Its Recording Secretary is Karen Jenkins, who is the county’s “public information officer” as well.

Now, if you look at the sponsors of this event, you might recognize some of the names:

  • Amerigas
  • Jarrell Properties, Inc.
  • Utility Services, Inc.
  • Diversified Ambulance Billing
  • Clark’s Cut II
  • World View Solutions
  • E.M. Gray & Son, Inc.
  • Dominion Resources, Inc.
  • Massey Enterprises
  • Purvis Ford
  • Rosner Toyota
  • Virginia Sports Complex
  • Computer-Telephone Technologies
  • Linda Perry Taxes

Jarrell Properties, Inc., whose commercial rezoning application was approved by the Board of Supervisors on January 26th of this year.

Diversified Ambulance Billing? Those are the folks responsible for billing county citizens for the EMS fee program. It also turns out that they’ve fleeced county residents out of $39,000 over the last two years.

In addition, while I can’t find any connection between “Massey Enterprises” and the county, their offices are one suite over from where Diversified Ambulance Billing is located in Virginia Beach.

Clark’s Cut II is the controversial sand/gravel extraction site off of Route 17 whose approval by the Board of Supervisors has prompted legal action against the company as well as the Board (full disclosure: I supported that special exemption permit application and still do).

World View Solutions? They’re a geographic information system (GIS) provider…who just happens to be doing the county’s GIS project.

Virginia Sports Complex, who in 2009 was granted a special exemption permit to serve alcohol at their facility.

So, when does the “goodwill” from these companies become a conflict of interest (or create the appearance of a conflict of interest), especially when the group receiving the money is ran by the County Administrator and his wife?

And as a side note, is the County Administrator’s Office so pressed for work they are selling tickets to an event for a third-party, non-governmental organization? I smell some room for budget cuts there, maybe we can rededicate that money to something important, like education.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Donna Blanton’s petition for appeal hearing granted by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Why? Because apparently the prosecutor isn’t supposed to refute the defendant’s bizarre arguement that the prosecution is supposed to do the defense’s job.

Or something like that. You can read the defendant’s appeal here and the Commonwealth’s response here.

Frankly, Bob McDonnell needs to clear the Supreme Court of these idiots. That’s what you get when you have “Democratic” “leadership” for eight years.


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