Articles from February 2008



Fire Weather Watch for Caroline County

The National Weather Service reports a Fire Weather Watch for Caroline County:

Description:

…FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING… A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL APPROACH FROM THE WEST SATURDAY NIGHT…AND CROSS THE MID ATLANTIC REGION ON SUNDAY. A VERY DRY AIRMASS WILL FOLLOW…WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITIES DROPPING TO BETWEEN 15 AND 30 PERCENT BY SUNDAY AFTERNOON ACROSS CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA…AND NORTHEAST NORTH CAROLINA. THE VERY DRY CONDITIONS WILL BE COMBINED WITH SUSTAINED WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. FIRE MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS SHOULD STAY ALERT FOR POTENTIAL HAZARDS SUNDAY. A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE FORECAST TO OCCUR. LISTEN FOR LATER FORECASTS AND POSSIBLE RED FLAG WARNINGS.

[…]

Sent by Exchange Information to Severe Weather 24/7 for Caroline (e-mail accounts, pagers, cell phones) through Caroline Alert
… powered by the Roam Secure Alert Network

[…]

Tell a friend/co-worker about Caroline Alert! Forward this message to them and have them register for this free service at www.carolinealert.com

This puts the "idiots" in I’m Surrounded By Idiots.

The Free Lance-Star: Caroline seeking to boost tourism:

Caroline County expects more than 200,000 tourists will stop by annually once its visitor center opens at Carmel Church this August.

Based on what study?

They’re saying that 547.9 people a day are going to go to the visitors center!

They’re saying that eight times the county’s population will go every year!

How many of these people are just going to go in, go to the bathroom, and leave? How much money is that going to cost? This is going to drive customers away from McDonald’s and Burger King which actually bring money into the county!

So Caroline administrations are preparing by taking applications for the county’s first full-time tourism manager, a position that will probably be filled this month.

“By starting now, they can help get that space in working order so when the public comes they can have a wonderful experience,” said Gary Wilson, Caroline’s economic development director.

Caroline currently has a tourism director, who also manages the county’s tourism Web site. So far, about 65 people have applied for the additional manager position, which will pay between $36,145 and $54,468, plus benefits.

Whoever is hired will not only manage the $2.4 million, 5,000-square-foot center just off Interstate 95, but also help promote such attractions as the State Fair, which opens next year at The Meadow, birthplace of Triple Crown winner Secretariat.

Remember this when the county says they have to borrow money and raise your taxes to pay for a school! They had plenty of money for the visitors center!

There’s some serious money per square footage too:

Visitors Center: $2,400,000 / 5,000 square feet = $480 per square foot

Ladysmith Elementary School: $19,800,000 / 100,000 square feet = $198 per square foot

County Administration Building: $3,700,000 / 18,150 square feet = $204 per square foot

Of course, the county administration building will only hold 20 full-time personnel.

“The State Fair is not just two weeks a year, which is what most people think,” Watson said. “It will be doing fun things all the time.”

Uh…I’m going to assume that’s supposed to be “Wilson”; but I demand a correction nevertheless! :)

Really, what are the State Fair grounds going to do when the Fair isn’t going?

Hasn’t Fredericksburg resorted to subsidizing the Expo Center in Fredericksburg?

Other Caroline County attractions include the 40,000-square-foot Virginia Sports Center, a popular venue for youth sports tournaments; Pendleton and Mattaponi Springs golf courses; and the historic town of Bowling Green, which is near where Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth was killed.

What about the Four Winds Club’s Public Golf Course? It always seems that Port Royal is forgotten about (heck, Calvin Taylor took credit for Pendleton and Mattaponi Springs as the first golf courses in the county when Four Winds has been here for decades!).

What historic tourism events are there in Bowling Green? I can’t think of any. The Old Mansion is a bed and breakfast and isn’t open to the public.

The only historic site that I can think of is the Jackson Shrine (hey, isn’t that in the Port Royal district, too?).

There’s the Lyceum that hasn’t been restored in Port Royal too. There’s the two surviving chimneys of Dorothy Roy’s home. None of the historic structures in Port Royal are open to the public that I’m aware. All the old homes are currently occupied.

Uh…John Wilkes Booth was killed a heck of a lot closer to Port Royal than Bowling Green. Too bad the visitors center is on the other side of the county! Besides, all there is to see where Booth was killed is a sign by the road…

Looks like the visitors center was built in the wrong part of the county!

Wilson said there’s no way to predict the economic impact the new tourism manager and visitor center will have, but he expects the county will see an uptick in meals- and lodging-tax revenues. They’ll also make it easier to recruit new tourist attractions, as well as other businesses, since his office will move from Bowling Green to the center.

“Of course not, we can’t predict how much money this will waste.” Or as Jeff Sili has said, “[t]he Visitor Center does not have to be just a fancy office for Wilson and a way to move county employees out of our county seat to further undermine the business climate”.

I guess Gary Wilson needs a pretty nice office to spend time editing Wikipedia.

“I-95 is like a river with money rolling through it,” he said. “We need to be able to dip into that river and bring that money into the county. We’ve never had an opportunity to do that before.”

Eric Cantor (R-7th CD) has a challenger.

Fred2Blue: Hartke Running Against Cantor in the 7th

Raising Kaine: We Have a Candidate Against Eric Cantor

Analysis: Anita Hartke is going to have a hard time in a run against Eric Cantor. The 7th Congressional District went 61.05% for Bush in 2004, 56.71% for Allen in 2006, and 56.59% for the Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage.

She’s going to have to do more than “galvanize Democrats early through an energetic campaign” if she hopes to win.

Just pointing something out…

Something a commenter mentioned on my site: Cynthia Weaver v. Richard E. Lloyd, Record No. 0224-06-2:

Cynthia Weaver (mother) appeals an order of the trial court changing custody of the parties’ twin children to Richard Lloyd (father). She contends “the trial court erred in determining that when [mother], in good faith reported allegations made by her children that their father had sexually abused them, a material change of circumstances had occurred and [mother] had alienated the children’s affection from their father.” Upon reviewing the record and the briefs of the parties, we conclude that this appeal is without merit. Accordingly, we summarily affirm the decision of the trial court. See Rule 5A:27.

Background

Mother gave birth to twins, Katie and Kyle, on February 17, 2001. At the time, mother and father lived together. They were not then and have never been married. In May 2001, mother moved out of the shared house and moved in with her parents, where she continues to reside. In 2002, the juvenile and domestic relations district court (juvenile court) awarded mother primary physical custody of the children and visitation rights to father.

In July 2004, father filed for a change of custody of the children. By order dated October 20, 2004, the juvenile court awarded father physical custody of the children, and gave mother visitation rights. Mother appealed that decision to the trial court.

On April 28, 2005, the trial court trial conducted an ore tenus [oral] hearing. Father testified that he exercised his court-ordered visitation until February 2004, when mother unilaterally stopped bringing the children to visit with him. Father attempted to call mother several times, but she would not answer his calls. Father learned through the Sheriff’s office that mother made allegations that father had abused Katie. In May 2004, mother accused father of sexually abusing Kyle. Father stated that Katie would repeat negative things about him that mother told her. For example, father testified that Katie “would say something like, ‘my mama says that you are not very nice to me’ – talking to me – – she’ll say ‘my mama says you are mean.’ Things like that.” In October 2004, father asked mother to provide the children’s birth certificates and social security cards to him so he could enroll them in preschool. Five months and several requests later, mother provided copies of those documents.

Mother testified about the allegations she made against father for sexually abusing the children. According to mother, in February 2004, Katie “put her hands down her pants” and told mother that “my daddy tickles me and his fingernails are so hard.” Mother filed a complaint with the Sheriff. She did not contact father about the incident. Several months later, mother observed a blood blister on Kyle’s penis. According to mother, Kyle said that “daddy hurts my pee pee.” Mother contacted Kyle’s doctor, took him to the hospital, and again alleged sexual abuse by the father. Mother denied talking about father in front of or with the children.

A number of agencies investigated the two sexual abuse allegations, including St. Mary’s Hospital, Medical College of Virginia, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, the State Police Criminal Investigations Unit, and Caroline County Child Protective Services. All determined that the allegations were unfounded.

In March of 2004, mother started taking the children to Dr. Maurice Fisher, a social worker, for an evaluation regarding the allegations of sexual abuse. Following extensive interviews and discussions with the children, the parents, the police investigators, and social service agencies, Dr. Fisher informed mother that he found no evidence of sexual abuse. Moreover, Dr. Fisher was unable to find anyone involved in the case who could validate any complaints of sexual abuse by the children. Based on his conversations with the children, Dr. Fisher believed, from March until October, “there was a fair amount of conversation” in front of the children between the mother and the maternal grandmother concerning father and the allegations of sexual abuse.

After mother received Dr. Fisher’s findings, she sought a second opinion from Cassandra McClarin, a licensed clinical professional social worker. McClarin’s evaluation was based solely on discussions with mother and interviews with the children.

At the April 2005 hearing, Dr. Fisher opined that, “given the developmental age of these children,” it was not “a good idea” to have the children seen by another counselor because “it creates a set of contradictions for them in a situation where they are already struggling with trust issues anyway.” According to Dr. Fisher, the children do not need any further active counseling or therapy regarding mother’s unfounded allegations of sexual abuse, and he opined that continued discussion of the allegations could “pathologize” the children and cause a “false positive.” He found the children were more open and communicative than when they first began seeing him and indicated they were doing better because they have not been “as exposed” to the continued allegations of abuse by mother and maternal grandmother, which abuse Dr. Fisher ruled out “within a reasonable degree of clinical certainty.”

Peggy Lloyd, the children’s paternal grandmother, testified that Katie used to be withdrawn, but has been more outgoing since the juvenile court changed custody to father.

At the conclusion of the April 28, 2005 hearing, the trial court withheld ruling on custody and ordered no further testing of the children. The trial court also ordered father to undergo a psychosexual evaluation and mother to submit to a general personality evaluation.

On August 26, 2005, the trial court granted father’s petition and awarded him custody of the children. It noted that mother’s initial complaints “were unfounded” and “[t]hey were continually unfounded.” It found that mother’s “alienation was established” and that the children “appear to be thriving,” thus justifying a change in custody. The trial court also found that it was in the children’s best interests to change custody to father.

[…]

The record contains sufficient evidence of changed circumstances and that a change in custody would be in the best interests of the children. Mother is not being punished for reporting the allegations of sexual abuse. Rather, it was her unending attempt to prove allegations that were determined to be unfounded and her practice of alienating the children from father that convinced the trial court to award custody to father. Mother made two unfounded claims, months apart, that father sexually abused each child. Despite there being no evidence to support either allegation, mother persisted in questioning the findings of a number of reputable experts and agencies that are trained to investigate sexual abuse. In addition, she and the maternal grandmother routinely discussed and expressed their feelings about father in front of the children. Mother’s unending attempts to prove allegations that were determined to be unfounded and her continued comments against father in front of the children established a course of action, intended or not, that tended to alienate the children from the father.

Anyone notice a similarity here?

This is an article by Ellen Biltz that appeared in the February 1, 2008, edition of The Free Lance-Star: Spotsylvania deputy faces abuse charge in Caroline:

A Spotsylvania County sheriff’s deputy has been charged in Caroline County with sexually abusing a child.

Richard E. Lloyd Jr., 38, of Dawn is charged with aggravated sexual battery and taking indecent liberties with a child.

Spotsylvania Sheriff Howard Smith said Lloyd is on administrative leave from the office and that the issue was a personnel matter.

Lloyd was arrested Jan. 23 on the charges and was released from Pamunkey Regional Jail on a personal recognizance bond. The child is related to Lloyd, authorities said.

Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa said Lloyd’s arrest stemmed from a call from the Department of Social Services requesting assistance.

Online court records show that Lloyd is set for a jury trial May 28 in Caroline County Circuit Court.

A special prosecutor from the Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will be trying the case.

This is an article by Toni Stinson that appeared in the February 6, 2008, edition of The Caroline Progress: Spotsylvania Deputy arrested in Caroline:

A Spotsylvania County sheriff’s deputy has been charged in Caroline County with indecent liberties with a minor and aggravated sexual battery on January 23.

Lloyd is on administrative leave from the Spotsylvania sheriff’s office said a representative of the sheriff’s office and that the issue is a personnel matter.

Lloyd was arrested Jan. 23 on the charges and was released from Pamunkey Regional Jail on a personal recognizance bond. Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa said Lloyd’s arrest stemmed from a call from the Department of Social Services requesting assistance.

The incident originated as a call for service from social services. After the investigator assigned to the call completed her inquiry, direct indictments were sought and obtained from Caroline Circuit Court.

Online court records show that Lloyd is set for a jury trial May 28 in Caroline County Circuit Court.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer issued an information on Lloyd which allowed law enforcement to immediately pick him up without the preliminary hearing. The information is just like an indictment, but is signed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, which allows law enforcement to move quickly.

Originally assigned to the case was the new incoming Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Diane Abato. Abato had previously represented Lloyd’s ex-wife in a custody hearing, so a special prosecutor from the Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will be trying the case. Goochland’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Stokes has acknowledged that Nancy Oglesby will be assigned to the case.

For those out there that are dense, I’ll highlight the parts that are exactly the same, from Stinson’s story:

A Spotsylvania County sheriff’s deputy has been charged in Caroline County with [first paragraph of Biltz’s story -ed.] indecent liberties with a minor and aggravated sexual battery on January 23.

Lloyd is on administrative leave from the Spotsylvania sheriff’s office said a representative of the sheriff’s office and that the issue is a personnel matter. [third paragraph -ed.]

Notice that Stinson didn’t include paragraph two of Biltz’s story which identified Lloyd’s full name and residence. That’s usually something pretty important in a story, no?

Lloyd was arrested Jan. 23 on the charges and was released from Pamunkey Regional Jail on a personal recognizance bond. [fourth paragraph -ed.] Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa said Lloyd’s arrest stemmed from a call from the Department of Social Services requesting assistance. [fifth paragraph -ed.]

The incident originated as a call for service from social services. After the investigator assigned to the call completed her inquiry, direct indictments were sought and obtained from Caroline Circuit Court.

Online court records show that Lloyd is set for a jury trial May 28 in Caroline County Circuit Court. [sixth paragraph -ed.]

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer issued an information on Lloyd which allowed law enforcement to immediately pick him up without the preliminary hearing. The information is just like an indictment, but is signed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, which allows law enforcement to move quickly.

Originally assigned to the case was the new incoming Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Diane Abato. Abato had previously represented Lloyd’s ex-wife in a custody hearing, so a special prosecutor from the Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will be trying the case. [seventh paragraph -ed.] Goochland’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Stokes has acknowledged that Nancy Oglesby will be assigned to the case.

Notice that “sheriff’s deputy” is not capitalized in both stories, that Lippa is referred to as “Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa” in both stories, and that “Goochland County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office” is exactly the same in both stories.

Also notice that in the original mention of “January 23” that January is spelled out (first paragraph of Stinson’s story); however, in the copy and paste portion, “Jan.” is abbreviated just like in Biltz’s story (paragraph three of Stinson’s, paragraph four of Biltz’s).

Newseum to open April 11!

AP via WTOP: Newseum Set to Open in New High-Tech Home on April 11:

The Newseum is announcing an April 11 opening date for its new $450,000,000 home, allowing it to lure in tourists who will be in town for the cherry blossoms.

Admission will be free on opening day. After that, it will cost $20 for adults, making the Newseum the latest in a series of pricey new museums competing with the many free attractions in the capital.

Officials say they’re confident there is a market for the high-tech, interactive experience the Newseum promises to offer. It will have 15 theaters and 14 major galleries, as well as broadcast studios.

On the web: http://www.newseum.org/

Bye-bye proffers; hello impact fees?

The Free Lance-Star: Senate advances bill to replace proffers:

A controversial bill that would dramatically revamp the way localities get development to pay for itself won approval from a Senate committee yesterday, clearing the way for a vote from the full Senate.

Sen. John Watkins’ bill would replace the current proffer system with capped impact fees, something developers want but has local government leaders complaining.

Watkins told the Senate Finance Committee that the proffer system is “out of hand, it is out of control” because some localities charge proffers of up to $40,000 per new house. He said that raises housing prices, making homeownership less affordable, and artificially inflates real estate taxes.

Read the whole article, it’s pretty interesting (I’ll see how many cases of insomnia I cure).

I wonder what the Caroline County Board of Supervisors thinks of the proposal?

Reminder: Fish Fry to Benefit Yvonne Reedal on February 9th at Port Royal Volunteer Fire Department

Details

That’s a lot of tar…

Yeah, I know it’s Maryland, but still, NBC 4: Trooper Finds $4.4M Worth Of Heroin During Traffic Stop:

A Maryland state trooper seized 32 pounds of heroin worth $4.4 million on Tuesday during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 in Cecil County.

The heroin find is the largest in state police history, authorities said.

The trooper was on patrol just before 9 a.m. when he stopped a speeding Dodge Caravan minivan, officials said.

Suspecting criminal activity may be involved, the trooper called a state police drug dog, which detected the drugs, officials said.

Authorities said the trooper searched the van and found the heroin wrapped in plastic in a hidden compartment built into the engine.

The driver, Jose M. Gomez, 41, of Orlando, Fla., has been charged in federal court with importation of heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute and possession of heroin.

He has been turned over to officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Purely medicinal of course.

And from the Wayback Machine: Four teenagers caught with 33 pounds of marijuana.

“That’s a lot of dope, Mr. Peabody!”

“You can’t handle the truth!”

From The Daily Press‘s blog The Shad Plank: Payday lending in the … U.S. Senate:

After state lawmakers in the House of Delegates agreed on new restrictions for the controversial industry, Republican Jim Gilmore issued a press release to praise the plan. Gilmore noted that his opponent in the Senate race — frontrunning Democrat Mark R. Warner — signed into law the 2002 legislation that paved the way for an expansion of payday loans.

“Mark Warner’s decision to adopt this policy was wrong and ultimately the people of Virginia have rejected it,” Gilmore said.

Asked for comment, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall pointed out that the 2002 legislation came to then-Gov. Warner with “with a veto-proof mega-majority.” Warner tried to amend the bill to track the implementation of the new legislation, but that was also rejected.

So, Jim, how’s that car tax elimination going?

Didn’t spending grow more under you than it did when Warner was Governor?

Christ, if Gilmore gets the Republican nomination, it’s going to be a blow-out for Warner.

Has Gilmore been so out of it during his aborted run for President, that he hasn’t been paying attention to what’s going on in Virginia?

Here’s hoping that Delegate Bob Marshall gets the nomination for the Republican Party at the convention on May 31st.