Caroline County has the lowest SAT scores in the region…

From The Free Lance-Star: Local Sat Scores Drop College Boards Area Schools Behind State, U.S. Average:

Average SAT scores dropped this year for Fredericksburg-area school divisions, all of which received lower marks than the state and country as a whole.


Culpeper County was the only local school division to see improvement in all three of the Scholastic Aptitude Test’s categories: math, critical reading and writing.


Meanwhile, the private Fredericksburg Academy in Spotsylvania County increased its scores for the fifth straight year. It’s average of 1760 is 240 points higher than the state’s.


Administrators from Spotsylvania, Caroline and King George could not be reached for comment on SAT scores.

Not only were they the lowest, but they were 25.06% off of Fredericksburg Academy’s average, 13.22% off the Virginia average, and 12.71% off of the national average. Meanwhile they’re paying $7,952.68 per student (operating budget only) and they have the lowest SAT scores in the area.

Here’s a .XLS (Excel worksheet) with the scores since you can’t see the image at

Would you like a side of mercury with that light bulb?

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Kaine unveils energy plan [emphasis mine]:

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today unveiled an energy plan designed to promote the state’s energy independence and educate citizens on conservation.


Kaine released the Virginia Energy Plan at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Stephen Walz, Senior Advisor for Energy Policy to the Governor, presented the University with 1,800 compact fluorescent bulbs for installation on campus.

Virginia recently purchased 27,000 compact fluorescent bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs in state facilities. The bulbs should save Virginia taxpayers over $125,000 per year, and reduce electric use equivalent to the amount used by 1,300 homes. Their use will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 1,100 metric tons per year.

The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy will be distributing 20,000 additional compact fluorescent bulbs at the State Fair of Virginia as part of Energy Conservation Awareness Week and to highlight Virginia’s first Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday from October 5th through October 8th.

One problem that isn’t addressed, from National Public Radio: CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury:

But the bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, a neurotoxin, and the companies and federal government haven’t come up with effective ways to get Americans to recycle them.

“The problem with the bulbs is that they’ll break before they get to the landfill. They’ll break in containers, or they’ll break in a dumpster or they’ll break in the trucks. Workers may be exposed to very high levels of mercury when that happens,” says John Skinner, executive director of the Solid Waste Association of North America, the trade group for the people who handle trash and recycling.

Skinner says when bulbs break near homes, they can contaminate the soil.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and it’s especially dangerous for children and fetuses. Most exposure to mercury comes from eating fish contaminated with mercury,

Some states, cities and counties have outlawed putting CFL bulbs in the trash, but in most states the practice is legal.

Pete Keller works for Eco Lights Northwest, the only company in Washington state that recycles fluorescent lamps. He says it is illegal to put the bulbs in the trash in some counties in Washington, but most people still throw them out.

“I think most people do want to recycle, but if it’s not made easy, it doesn’t happen,” Keller says. “And they’re small enough to fit in a trash can. So by nature, I think most people are not recyclers. So if it’s small enough to fit in a trash can, that’s where it ends up.”

Experts agree that it’s not easy for most people to recycle these bulbs. Even cities that have curbside recycling won’t take the bulbs. So people have to take them to a hazardous-waste collection day or a special facility.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency program concedes that not enough has been done to urge people to recycle CFL bulbs and make it easier for them to do so.

“I share your frustration that there isn’t a national infrastructure for the proper recycling of this product,” says Wendy Reed, who manages EPA’s Energy Star program. That programs gives the compact bulbs its “energy star” seal of approval.


Reed says the agency has been urging stores that sell the bulbs to help recycle them.

“EPA is actively engaged with trying to find a solution that works for these retailers around recycling the product, because it’s really, really important,” Reed says.

But so far, she says the biggest sellers of the bulbs haven’t stepped up to the plate.


EPA also has asked retailers to sell the lower mercury compact bulbs that some manufacturers are making. Engineers say you can’t cut mercury out completely.

Some other big companies have started paying attention to the recycling problem.

General Electric has been making compact fluorescents for 20 years. Now the company admits that the little bit of mercury in each bulbs could become a real problem if sales balloon as expected.

“Given what we anticipate to be the significant increase in the use of these products, we are now beginning to look at, and shortly we’ll be discussing with legislators, possibly a national solution here,” says Earl Jones, a senior counsel for General Electric.

Besides the mercury, why is the state government spending approximately $70,000 (20,000 bulbs at $3.50 a piece) to hand out light bulbs when the Governor has already asked state agencies to cut their budgets by 5%?

What an idiot…

From Percy Ashcraft’s Message from the County Administrator September, 2007:


All county residents are encouraged to register for the new Caroline Alert System. The system will notify residents of emergencies and other government news through their cell phones and desktop computers. This is a free service offered by the Board of Supervisors. Click on to register.

“[O]ffered by the Board of Supervisors”? Are they paying for it out of their own pockets? No! The service is being offered (via tax payers) by Caroline County (specifically Director Ed Fuzy and the Caroline County Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Management).


Here is a capsule glance of other activities that will be happening in County government during the month of September:


  • Renovations to the Animal Shelter will be completed this month and the improvements will bring the facility into compliance with state regulations.

We’re still waiting on that new animal shelter we been promised for years. Maybe if you laid off the trips to Hawaii, the $1,100,000 visitor’s center [see below], and the $17,460.20 salaries for supervisors we might be able to afford one.

  • Construction of the new Visitor’s Center along Route 207 will continue this month. The developer of Belmont contributed $1.1 million to help construct the facility, with the remainder of the funds coming from TEA 21 appropriations.

Nice use of proffer money that should be going to roads, schools, and public safety (maybe even an animal shelter).


  • County staff and consultants continue to work on a proposal that will allow the County to withdraw water from the Rappahannock River in the future. The Department of Environmental Quality must grant its approval before water can be withdrawn.

Because it’s a brilliant idea to run water lines across a county from Port Royal to Ladysmith for salt water that will need to go through desalination and be repressurized repeatedly.


  • Construction is underway on the new Ladysmith Elementary School.

What about the repairs/upgrades for Bowling Green Primary School, Bowling Green Elementary School, and Ladysmith Primary School?

  • Construction is underway of a new skateboard park to be located at the County Park across from Caroline Middle School.

Skateboard park? $45,000 for a skateboard park? Good use of tax payers’ money there.


  • Officials of the Rappahannock Community Services Board are building a new facility in Caroline County across from Caroline High School. The property was donated by the Board of Supervisors.

Did the Board of Supervisors own the damn property? No! The property belonged to Caroline County!


  • A cost analysis and design of the new Sparta Fire Station will continue this month.

That was requested and approved last year and you haven’t even finished the cost analysis and design?

  • The Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of the Union Bankshares building in Bowling Green at its June 26 meeting. Moseley Architects will begin final design of the floor plan for the offices which will include housing the Commissioner of the Revenue, Treasurer, County Administration and possibly the Registrar.

First, it’s Commissioner of Revenue, not Commissioner of the Revenue. Second, I don’t see the seventy-five (75) personnel there that you talked about previously. In fact, I only see twenty (20) to twenty-one (21) full time positions period. Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Services have eighty-eight (88) full time positions that could have used a public safety building.

  • A Tea 21 grant to fund landscaping improvements in and around the courthouse complex was announced in May by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The improvements will improve safety for pedestrians walking between buildings and should provide additional parking.

Closing Ennis Street is going to increase safety for pedestrians? How are the prison transport vans supposed to get into the Circuit Court building? Now you’re going to have people that are being held on felonies out in the open where God only knows what could happen.

“[S]hould provide additional parking”? It either is or isn’t; you already paid for it and you don’t know?

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 11, the Lawyer Full Employment Act

As mentioned by a lawyer previously, it’s the Lawyer Full Employment Act.

From The Washington Post: Armed With Checkbooks and Excuses, First Casualties of Va. Fees Go to Court [emphasis mine]:

Those lucky enough to live out of state or to have been pulled over before the fees went into effect July 1 — the “magic date,” as one judge called it — escaped the penalties, as did many who hired attorneys who were able to argue for lesser charges or continuances.


Norquest, who works for Fairfax County Family Services, also said she did not see the point of hiring a lawyer at a cost of hundreds or thousands of dollars. “You’re either paying for one or you’re paying for the other,” she said.

For those who didn’t know, Delegate David B. Albo (R-Fairfax), one of the sponsors of the bill, is a lawyer, and co-founder of a law firm that specializes in the defense of traffic offenses. No conflict of interest there, eh?

Hat tip: Matt “threat to democracy” Drudge

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 10, the pièce de résistance

From the AP via NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.: Va. Driver Fees Snag Woman In Labor [emphasis mine]:

Jessica Hodges was on her way to the hospital with labor pains when she got stopped for speeding. She thought she had a pretty good excuse, but the law didn’t see it that way.

The 26-year-old bank teller from Hodges became one of the first people slapped with Virginia’s new “abusive driver” fees. She was ordered to pay $1,050 on top of a $100 fine and court costs.

The new fees were passed by the General Assembly in the spring as part of a package aimed at funding transportation projects. The idea was to raise money by targeting those who commit severe traffic offenses.

But the fees have sparked widespread outrage.

Hodges said she has no regrets about speeding on July 3. She said having a baby is more important than staying within the speed limit.

Her labor pains that day turned out to be a false alarm, and daughter Alessandra was born July 19.

Let’s see, a woman having labor pains gets a reckless driving ticket for going 57 mph in a 35 mph zone, along with failure to report a change of address for her operator’s license, gets $188 in fines and court costs, and has to pay $1,050 in “abusive driver’s fee”.

Damn fine job there, Officer (or Deputy, or Trooper) J. R. Vesper, damn fine job Fairfax County Police Department (or Sheriff’s Office, or Virginia State Police), and damn fine job Virginia General Assembly.

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 9

From NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.: Abusive Driver Fees Face Tough Opposition [emphasis mine]:

A Navy veteran who was ticketed for reckless driving on his way to reserve duty at the Pentagon is suing state of Virginia over its abuser fee program.

Charles Mason is asking an Arlington General District Court judge to declare the civil remedial fees unconstitutional. The fees ranging from $750 to $3,000 for various serious driving offenses were enacted as a funding source for new transportation projects.

Courts in Henrico County and Richmond have already ruled the fees unconstitutional, but the rulings apply only in those jurisdictions.

Mason was stopped July 8 on Interstate 395 for driving 20 miles an hour over the speed limit. He faces a $1,050 civil remedial fee if convicted of reckless driving.

Mason has a clean driving record and no criminal record. One state lawmaker said that had Mason contested the ticket in court, he wouldn’t be convicted of reckless driving.

He shouldn’t have to contest it in court, you weasel (who they don’t even bother naming).


Defense attorney Craig Cooley argues that legislators had no rational basis for exempting out-of-state drivers from paying fees as high as $3,000. The fees are assessed on Virginia drivers only, in addition to fines and possible jail time.

Prosecutors, however, argue lawmakers did have a rationale for passing the legislation this year. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Duncan Reid says Virginians use their roads more than non-residents, they benefit more from the roads and it’s impractical or almost impossible to collect the new fees from non-residents.

Wait a second, I thought the fees were designed to stop bad driving, and that it was impossible (not “almost impossible”) to collect on out of state drivers?

Can you please make up your mind on what lie you’re going to use?

Virginia state Sen. Edd Houck said he wants the state’s new abusive driver fee laws to be stopped and refunds be paid to those who paid any portion of a fee.


Houck will introduce the repeal bill in the 2008 session or in special session, if one is called.

At least someone is offering to do something to fix this and not BS around.

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 8

I need to think of another title, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: No ruling in Henrico driver-fee case [emphasis mine]:

A Henrico County Circuit Court judge today heard arguments but did not rule on the legality of Virginia’s much-debated new law covering abusive driver fees.

The case ended up in the court of Circuit Judge L.A. Harris Jr. after a Henrico General District Court judge last week ruled the law unconstitutional because it has no provision for Virginia collecting fees for various driving infractions from out-of-state residents. As passed by the 2007 General Assembly, the measure applies only to Virginia drivers.

This morning, Harris heard arguments and took written briefs from both sides in the case of Anthony Price, who was arrested in Henrico for driving without a license July 2, the day after the new Virginia law took effect.

Harris asked a number of questions about Virginia’s law applying only to residents of the state. The judge said Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Texas also have abusive-driver fee programs but require non-residents to pay the fees as well.

Harris said he would try to rule on the matter within a week.

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 7

Out of Star Wars titles, from NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.: Judge Strikes Down Va. Abusive Driver Fees [emphasis mine]:

A Henrico County judge declared the state’s new abusive driver fees unconstitutional on Thursday.

General District Court Judge Archie Yeatts issued the ruling in the case of Anthony Price, who was facing his fifth charge of driving on a suspended license.

With his order, Yeatts instructed Henrico General District Court clerks not to collect civil remedial fees that can reach $1,000 or more for certain driving offenses.

The ruling is binding only in Henrico County but is being immediately appealed to Circuit Court and could eventually reach the Virginia Supreme Court.

The fees have prompted protests from Virginians outraged that they apply only to state residents. Price’s lawyers argued at a hearing last week that forcing him to pay $750 in fees that don’t apply to people who live outside Virginia violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Since the fees took effect July 1, critics have called for their immediate repeal in a special legislative session. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine opposes a special session but has suggested legislators revisit the law in the regular session that begins in January.

Kaine said in a statement released Thursday that whether the courts find the law constitutional, he is “committed to addressing the concerns Virginians have raised about this law.”

Then you aren’t committed to addressing the concerns of Virginians, you liar.

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 6

Return of the Jedi, from Kaine says abusive driver reimbursements are ’08 option [emphasis wholly mine]:

Amid ebbing legislative support for the state’s new abusive driver fees, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Friday that reimbursing those who have paid them is an option the General Assembly can consider in 2008.

“We have a chance to fix it,” the Democratic governor told reporters.

“Look, we might have the ability to do reimbursements,” he said. “I’m not going to commit to that, but if there’s a decision made by the legislature, that’s one option they could consider.”

Virginians statewide have responded with outrage to the “civil remedial fees” payable in three annual installments that can range from $750 for driving with a suspended license to $3,000 for a driving-related felony. Nonresidents are exempt from the fees.

The possibility of refunds is a trade-off that may help Kaine and other supporters of the fees resist calls for a special legislative session to repeal the law this year. Kaine favors mending its flaws after the regular 2008 legislature convenes in January.

Refunds are possible, Kaine said, because the revenue from the fees has not been budgeted.

“The dollars from the abuser fees were not scheduled to be used for another year-and-a-half,” he said. Besides refunds, legislators could decide to suspend payment of the second and third installments of the fees, he said.


Kaine’s remarks came one day after Sen. Charles J. Colgan called for not only repealing the prohibitive surcharges Virginia began imposing on its worst drivers July 1, but refunding the fees to all who have paid them.

“I’ve thought this was a lousy bill all along,” Colgan, D-Prince William, said in an interview Friday. He voted against it consistently, but supported the amended version the House and Senate accepted in April.

Then you didn’t vote against it consistently, you moron.

Colgan and other legislative Democrats have parted with Kaine over the abusive driver provisions in the past three weeks. Unlike many of them, Colgan does not favor a special legislative session this year.

In a news conference with House and Senate Republican leaders last week, Kaine resisted growing calls for a special session to repeal the bill, asking for more time to study the effectiveness of the fees in reducing traffic accidents and dangerous driving.

In addition to political opposition to the fees, the first effort to have courts declare them unconstitutional got on track Thursday. A Henrico County General District Court is expected to render the first ruling on the law by Aug. 2, the first step toward a state Supreme Court decision.

Virginia modeled its penalties against egregious driving on those already in effect in Michigan and New Jersey. But there is no data in either of those states that conclusively demonstrates that roads became safer as a result.

Kaine on Friday cited unspecified “anecdotal evidence” since July 1 that he said suggests the fees are working.

Uh, Kaine can you open your mouth without removing any doubt that you’re an idiot? What “anecdotal evidence”? Do I have to file a freedom of information act (FOIA) request for it?

I have a question, Governor, are you going to pay interest for the reimbursements? How much will it cost to reimburse people in administrative fees for the original collection and then reimbursement?

You sir, are a bold face liar, you have not intention of repelling the law, otherwise, you would have requested a special session. You’re hoping that people forget completely about by January. I, for one, won’t have.

Remember this crap in November people.

Let’s screw the businesses so we can get reelected in November…

From Stafford tries tax districts again:

Stafford County could soon tax businesses to pay for the widening of two congested roads.

The Board of Supervisors approved a measure last week to create service districts for State Route 610 and U.S. 17.

But one business owner, who successfully sued the county before, said he plans to fight the measure again.

Attorney Richard Nageotte runs a law practice along 610. He sued Stafford in 2001, and again in 2006, to block the creation of the 610 service district.

In the last Circuit Court decision, the judge ruled that Virginia’s service district law excludes roads under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

But the General Assembly has since clarified the statute, giving Stafford the green light to try again.


Although he hasn’t filed suit yet, the attorney said he plans to challenge the measure because it’s unfair to small-business owners.

“The bottom line is the business community shouldn’t be taxed for what is necessary for the entire community,” he said. “If we need improvements to 610, then everyone should pay for them.”

Improvements planned for 610 include widening it from four lanes to six lanes, beginning at Interstate 95 and ending at Onville Road.


Planned changes to U.S. 17 include lane expansions and additional sidewalks. A federal highway, U.S. 17 is used by thousands of out-of-town motorists each day, noted Falmouth Supervisor George Schwartz.

“We’ve got truck traffic coming up and down, tourists, everybody uses that road,” said Schwartz, who was the only supervisor to oppose the service districts. “It’s unfair to tax only the local business to improve that road.”

Funding from VDOT and revenue from the gas tax have helped pay for some road projects. But local officials say more funding is needed to ease congestion on Stafford’s busiest roads.

The levy against businesses is the only viable available option for now, according to Hartwood Supervisor Joe Brito.

“As far as I’m concerned, the service district is the last resort,” he said.

Why is it that only businesses are going to be taxed? How many subdivisions are on these roads that probably account for the majority of traffic on them? The businesses wouldn’t be there if the people didn’t live on the road.

From what I can see on Google Earth of the area, there has to be over a dozen different subdivisions on a couple mile section of 610 (Garrisonville Road). Expert planning there Stafford County.