Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fwd: New Press Releases from York County

York County Sports Complex to begin spring hours on March 1
Spring hours of operation will begin at the York County Sports Complex on Tuesday, March 1, 2011, and will continue until Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. 
The sports complex will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or will close later to allow daily and nightly activities to conclude. The park will remain subject to closure during inclement weather.
The park's 13 lighted athletic fields and three concession/restroom buildings serve as a hub for Parks and Recreation's fall and spring youth soccer and adult softball programs, York County Little League's fall and spring/summer youth baseball/softball program, and a number of other activities. The sports complex also includes two playground sites, numerous picnic shelters and a paved walking/bike path that are open daily for the public's enjoyment. 
For more information on the York County Sports Complex, please call Amy Rowley, Facilities Coordinator, at (757) 890-3511 or visit
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Special Election for 91st District set for March 8
A Special Election will be held on March 8, 2011, in Seaford, Harris Grove, and Dare precincts to elect a Member to represent the 91st District in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. A list of candidates is available on the York County Registrar's Web site,
The last day to register to vote for the March 8 election is Tuesday, March 1. The Constitution of Virginia requires that you be registered in the precinct in which you live in order to be qualified to vote.
Registered voters who need to change their address may do so by completing, signing, and submitting a voter registration application or their voter card. The deadline to change registration information prior to the March 8 election is March 1. If a registered voter's address has changed, the voter should update his or her address to ensure he or she remains qualified to vote.
Any qualified resident of Virginia may apply to register to vote or to update his or her registration information at the places and times listed below. Applications and updated information may also be mailed. Qualified residents who will be 18 years of age on or before November 8, 2011, may register and vote in the election.
Residents can register at these times and places: (1) Voter Registrar's Office, 224 Ballard St., County Admin. Center, Yorktown, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; (2) York County Library (Tabb Branch), 100 Long Green Blvd., Tabb; (3) York County Library (Yorktown Branch), 8500 George Washington Memorial Hwy, Yorktown; (4) Griffin-Yeates Center, 1490 Government Rd., Williamsburg, Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. – 5 p.m. At the Tabb and Yorktown branches of the library, applicants may register during library hours. On March 1, 2011, the Tabb and Yorktown branches will be open 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
If residents complete a registration application provided by a voter registration drive, they should contact the Registrar's Office to ensure that their application is received by the Registrar's Office in time. Residents can also obtain a registration application on the Registrar's Web site,
Residents can confirm whether they are registered to vote, as well as find out where they vote, by visiting the Registrar's Web site,
Absentee voting is available for those who will be out of their precinct on March 8, those who are unable to go to their polling place because of an illness or disability, and those who otherwise qualify to vote an absentee ballot. The deadline to apply to vote absentee by mail is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. The deadline to apply to vote absentee in person is 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, 2011. The Registrar's Office will be open the Saturday before the election—March 5th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—to accommodate those who wish to vote absentee in person.
For additional information, or to request an application for an absentee ballot, call the Registrar's Office at 890-3440 or log onto
Any voter age 65 or older or physically disabled may request a ballot from an officer of election outside the polling place but within 150 feet of the entrance to the polling place. On March 8, 2011, persons who fit these qualifications and who wish to vote outside the polling place can call the Registrar's Office at 890-3440, and we will alert the polling place that a voter who wishes to vote outside the polling place will be arriving.
Unofficial statewide election results – including York County election results – will be available on the State Board of Elections Web site at as they are reported after the polls close March 8, 2011. 
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Fwd: Watchable Wildlife Biologist to lead March Walk & Talk

February 22, 2011

Steve Living, Watchable Wildlife Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will lead a Walk and Talk at New Quarter Park on Saturday, March 5, from 10 a.m. until noon.
He will talk about identifying birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals by sight and by the signs they leave behind, such as scat, tracks, nesting places, markings on trees, or nibbled shoots. Bring you binoculars or borrow a pair from the park office, and come curious about nature.
New Quarter Park is located at 1000 Lakeshead Drive near the Queen's Lake neighborhood. Plan ahead and take an alternate route due to the Colonial Parkway closure between the Parkway Drive and Queen's Lake exits. From the intersection of Route 143 and Penniman Road west of Williamsburg, turn toward Magruder Elementary School on Penniman Road. Take the first left on Hubbard Lane and travel one mile. Turn right on Lakeshead Drive and travel 2 miles to New Quarter Park. For more information, call York County Parks and Recreation at 757-890-3513 Monday to Thursday or New Quarter Park at 757-890-5840 Friday to Sunday.
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Fwd: Press Releases from York County

Countywide High School Talent Show to be held Feb. 25


February 18, 2011



The public is invited to enjoy some of York County's finest high school singers, dancers, musicians and others who are scheduled to perform in the Countywide High School Talent Show at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 25 in the Grafton High School Auditorium.

Admission is $5 per person and spectators will be eligible to win door prizes donated by area businesses. Light refreshments will be sold in the lobby during intermission.


This event is sponsored by the York County Youth Commission, and proceeds will be used to support the youth programs at the new Yorktown Boys and Girls Club. For more information, please call the Parks and Recreation Office at 890-3500 or visit the Youth Commission's Web site at 


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Senior Center Announces March Programs


February 18, 2011




A variety of educational and entertaining programs are being offered at the Senior Center of York in March.

Participation is open to seniors age 55 or better and their spouses, regardless of age. The center is located in the Washington Square Shopping Center at 5314 George Washington Memorial Highway (Rt. 17), and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The center is closed all county holidays. 

Reservations are required for all sessions and are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, stop by the center or call 898-3807. For more information, please visit


Tax Relief for the Elderly and/or Disabled Filing Assistance, Wednesday, March 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Staff from the office of the York County Commissioner of the Revenue will be available to offer assistance with completing the application for this tax relief program available to real estate and mobile homeowners residing in York County. To be eligible, an applicant must either be at least 65 years old or permanently and totally disabled, and also must be a York County homeowner who resides in the dwelling. Applications must be filed by April 1. Call the Senior Center at 898-3807 to sign-up.


Tips to Prevent Medication Poisoning, Thursday, March 10 at 1 p.m. We've all heard about poisons such as poisonous poinsettia plants, powerful baby snake venom, and using milk as a good remedy for some swallowed poisons. But some of what you may think you know really isn't so. Join us to hear about common myths surrounding the fascinating topic of poisoning. We will also take a look at the very real poisons in today's world. Medicines kill many more adults than all other poisons. Learn important tips to keep safe from this danger. Kim Van Eck from SeniorNavigator and guest speaker Evelyn Waring from the Virginia Poison Center will be teaming up for this presentation which is the second part of the two-part program on "Aging Well: Healthy Choices Solution Center and the SeniorNavigator Aging Well Physical Activity Challenge." Kim will be updating you on SeniorNavigator and answering any questions regarding the Healthy Aging Challenge. Even if you did not attend the first program, you are still welcome to attend this second program for valuable information on Aging Well. Participants attending this presentation will receive a free daily pill minder box to help keep track of their medicines. Healthy refreshments will be served.  To register call the Senior Center at 898-3807.


Scrapbooking & Greeting Cards, Monday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to noon. Join us as Cathy Fowler of Creative Memories shows how to make beautiful cards and assists you with your scrapbook. These cards and your personalized scrapbook create lasting memories and make wonderful gifts for your loved ones. Note: Please limit to four cards. For more information and to register, please call 898-3807 by March 11.


AARP Driver Safety Program, March 14 & March 15. This program is designed for drivers age 50 or better, and will take place on Monday, March 14 from 12:45 – 4:45 p.m. and Tuesday, March 15 from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. The cost for this two-day program is now $12 for members of AARP and $14 for non-members. Fees should be paid by check and made out to AARP. Class registration may be made in person at the Senior Center, by phone, or by mail. Note: AARP membership, which cannot be processed the day of a class, is not required for class registration. There is no "behind the wheel" driving performed in this program. Drivers age 55 or better must attend both classes to receive the state mandated three-year automobile insurance reduction. Many insurance companies are giving insurance reductions to drivers age 50+ with the same attendance requirements. Those less than age 55 should check with their insurance company to see if they are entitled to the three-year insurance reduction. Class enrollment is limited to 25.


Culture Day, "More than You Ever Wanted To Know About the Bagpipe!"

Wednesday, March 16 at 1 p.m. In this engaging program, Facilitator Owen Brodie will play and tell of the history, stories, and jokes about the Great Highland Bagpipe. At the end of the program, Dr. Brodie will also take the bagpipe apart and show how it works. Please register by calling 898-3807 by March 14.


Poetry Appreciation, Friday, March 18 at 1 p.m. Do you have poems and/or readings that have inspired you? If so, we invite you to share them with us at this event. If possible, please submit your materials to the front desk prior to this event. Call 898-3807 to register by March 16.


Keeping Your Keys:  Strategies for Older Drivers, Wednesday, March 23 at 1 p.m. Driver safety is an important and often sensitive issue for seniors. The changes of normal aging can sometimes interfere with the ability to drive. Join Frank Kowaleski, Law Enforcement Liaison with the Virginia Highway Safety Office to learn how to reduce unsafe driving risk factors and be able to drive safely longer. The York-Poquoson Triad is sponsoring this program. Refreshments will be provided.  To register, call 890-3807 by March 22.


Birthday Bash, Friday, March 25 at 1 p.m. Come laugh and be mystified by the entertainment of Comedian and Magician Bill Warren. His shows are highly interactive and a lot of fun. Remember, you do not have to be celebrating a birthday to attend. Cake and beverage served. Please register by March 23.


Health Day, "Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction," Wednesday, March 30 at 12:45 p.m. Heart disease and stroke are the most common cardiovascular diseases. They are the first and third leading causes of death for both men and women in the United States. Joanna Ogbonna with the Peninsula Health District will share how you can reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases by controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol, monitoring your diet and weight, and not smoking. To register call the Senior Center at 898-3807.


Computer General Use. The computers are available for general use Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. unless the lab is reserved for programmed activities. To use the computers you must sign in at the Senior Center front desk. 


Craft Activities. Why not take advantage of some of the ongoing craft activities taking place at the center every month? Please call the center at 898-3807 for more details and space availability. The following is our current schedule of activities:

* Knitting and Crochet Class:  Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m.

* Art Classes:  Instructors Myrna Graham and Hazel Camp offer free art classes during the week. Their Intermediate/Advanced Class meets on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*Quilters: Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.              

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York fire officials issue immediate county-wide burn ban notice


February 17, 2011




York County has issued an immediate county-wide ban on all fires to include leaf burning, burn barrels, recreational fires and fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds and/or on private property.    


The burn ban makes it illegal to set outdoor fires but does not prohibit the use of charcoal and/or gas grills or other outdoor cooking appliances such as propane self-contained stoves. The ban will remain in effect until environmental conditions improve.    


Fire officials evaluate the county's wildfire risk based upon factors such as wind, temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric stability. Additionally, information available from the National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Forestry play a major role in determining the county's actual fire danger.


Fire officials urge all residents and visitors to be fire wise and refrain from improperly discarding smoking materials such as cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco. Improperly discarded smoking materials cause numerous fires in mulch beds and along the roadside causing property damage and placing peoples lives at risk.


Weather conditions have been abnormally dry and winds are predicted to increase by Saturday making fire conditions especially dangerous. Residents are asked to report any fire immediately to help prevent fire spread.     


For additional information, please contact the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety Monday – Friday between the hours of 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 890-3600.


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Fwd: County releases results of 2010/11 Public Opinion Survey

February 16, 2011
As part of its ongoing effort to gauge citizen opinions concerning a wide variety of county services, facilities and operations, York County recently completed a Public Opinion Survey.
This is the fourth Public Opinion Survey the county has conducted since the Board of Supervisors took on the initiative in 1998. Other surveys were conducted in 2000 and 2005.
The phone survey, conducted by a professional survey research consulting agency in December and January, polled 544 county residents in the Upper and Lower parts of the county, and asked citizens a series of standardized questions on a variety of topics. The completed interviews provide a statistically valid sampling of the county's population, accurate to within +/- 4.18 percentage points.
"Overall, I am pleased with the results from this year's survey," said County Administrator James O. McReynolds. "Virtually all the results show consistency with or improvement in the rankings from our previous surveys. All the information gathered in this survey will be thoroughly evaluated by myself and staff to determine how to maintain or improve our service to our citizens in the future."
This year's survey results showed that:
  • 99% of citizens give a positive rating to the Overall Quality of Life in York County
  • 98% believe that the county is a safe place to live
  • 91% of residents say they will likely be living here in five years
  • 86% think the county is staying the same or getting better
  • County staff's Responsiveness, Courtesy and Knowledge were all rated positively by at least 94% of citizens
  • 97% rated their interactions with staff positively
Not surprisingly, in light of reduced funding to the county's recycling program last year, only 85% of citizens gave the residential recycling program a positive rating, as compared to 96% in 2005.
"With the return to weekly pick-ups as of January 3, 2011, my hope is that those negative opinions will turn around," McReynolds noted.
The entire Public Opinion Survey results are online at
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Update On SB1190 from Thomas Shepperd

Dear Neighbor,

Senate Bill 1190, a bill to place aquaculture operations in the Right to Farm Act, passed in the Senate and is now up for consideration this Wednesday (February 16th) in the House of Delegates Agriculture Committee.   If you wish to express an opinion on SB1190, here is a list of Delegates that serve on the Agriculture Committee. 


I remain very much opposed to SB1190 for one simple reason.  It denies residents a meaningful way of commenting to their locally elected representatives about an issue that could affect their homes and neighborhood.  My opposition to this bill has nothing to do with oyster operations, the state’s constitution, or the proposal that was recommended for denial by the York Planning Commission.   It has everything to do with us (you and I) losing our ability to have a reasonable and effective way of expressing an opinion about a neighborhood business.  To put SB1190 into perspective consider this.  Your neighbor decides to establish a home business next door to you or somewhere else in or around  your neighborhood.   You are concerned that the business might negatively impact your property and community.  I suspect most of you would want to have the ability to address your concerns to your elected Supervisor and know that your comments could have an effect.   As it pertains to aquaculture, SB1190 denies us this capability, especially for residents along the waterfront.

Now in fairness, I must point out that SB1190 does not prohibit an appeal to the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) whose members are appointed by and responsible only to the Governor.  The VMRC conducts hearings during normal work hours and is located in downtown Newport News.   In my opinion, appealing to this appointed state board is an inconvenient and time consuming effort and, for these reasons, many residents prefer to engage their local government.

Again, this is your opportunity to express your thoughts on the SB1190, one way or the other.   


Tom Shepperd
Program Manager, Alion Science and Technology
Office - 757.240.5386
Mobile - 757.618.3335
Fax - 757.596.4014

Extract of my 2/5/11 email:

State Senate Bill (SB) 1190 needs your immediate attention and I recommend that you  write to the state senate and express your opinion on the issue.  SB 1190, introduced by Senator Norment, is titled “Aquaculture Production Activities: Authority of Local Governments.” The concern I have with the bill has nothing to do with aquaculture or farming, which I support.  My concern is with state government intruding into local issues.  

Here is some background on the situation leading up to SB1190.  In November, a resident applied for a Special Use Permit to conduct oyster farming from piers on residential property.  The application worked its way through the local planning process to a public hearing before the York County Planning Commission.  The public hearing was advertised by the County, the staff introduced the application, the applicant presented his points, residents were invited to make comments, which they did, and the Planning Commission asked questions of the applicant and staff before deliberating publically on the proposal.  After the deliberation, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny the special use permit.  At this point the resident withdrew the application and took the issue to Senator Norment, who in turn introduced SB1190.  If approved, SB1190 will prohibit local governments from requiring a special use permit for oyster farming.  In other words, local governments and its citizens will no longer be allowed to make input on the issue.  This is where I have a problem with the bill.

What bothers me most is why Senator Norment feels so compelled to act on an local issue for a single individual.  To give you some perspective, consider this.  There are over 8 million residents and just 40 state senators in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  This means that each senator represents about 200,000 citizens.  Yet, when the York County Board of Supervisors, which represents over 65,000 citizens tried to meet with Senator Norment on the County’s legislative program, which included issues such as funding support for education, transportation, and public safety, we were unable to meet.

Even more curious is that I cannot find a single instance where a local government in Virginia has requested that oyster operations be included in the Right to Farm Act.  No other county has brought this up.  To underscore this point, it is my understanding that the Virginia Association of Counties whose membership includes Virginia’s 95 counties, and possibly the Virginia Municipal League, will oppose SB1190.  Even the Virginia Marine Resources Commission has serious reservations, not only from a workload perspective, but also because of the potential negative impact the bill could have on the whole oyster industry due to health concerns.  One would think that a legislative action impacting a local government with over 200 miles of coast line would first be vetted with the local government.  It wasn’t. 

Local governments did not ask for this bill and I can tell you that residents near the site of the proposed oyster operation are very concerned about the scope of operations.  SB1190 will deny residents the ability to make meaningful input for future proposals.  And, if SB1190 goes unchallenged what’s the next intrusion by which the state government tells us what’s best for our communities?   Is this an overreaction?   Maybe, but for those of you who have fought and lost on the issue of street connections to neighborhoods because of state rules, you’ll know that it isn’t.