Smithfield has tapped state money for variety of projects

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Smithfield town officials are citing its “urban fund” as a source of money for a few transportation projects, including a turn lane at the Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex and the Nike Park bike trail.

And while the town has turned to that pot of money in the past, the fund will eventually be exhausted as the state in no longer making new annual allocations, said Town Manager Peter Stephenson.

Fiscal year 2010 was the last year the state distributed money into the construction allocation known as “urban funds,” and the funding formula has since changed, to include Smart Scale, said VDOT spokesman Dave Forster.    

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Do they violate court guidelines?

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors is scheduled Thursday to discuss its meeting invocation practice — one that has often included a prayer invoking Jesus Christ.

The Board meetings begin with an invocation, rotated among the five supervisors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

One member of the Board, William McCarty, is a pastor at Healing Waters Worship Center — a Christian place of worship — but he is not the only supervisor to have included Jesus in the invocation. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Isle of Wight County is looking for input on what to do with 24 acres of private land previously used as a campus for the now-defunct James River Christian Academy.

The county was recently awarded a federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for $3,000, which it will use to fund a market analysis and feasibility study to help determine the best future use for the property, according to Economic Development Director Tom Elder.

The land, which is located along Benn’s Church Boulevard, was purchased this past spring by JVC Holdings LLC, a corporate investment and development company owned by Vincent Carollo, who is also the owner of Anna’s Ristorante in Smithfield. Carollo said that the property, formerly owned by the First Church Ministries in Newport News, had been on his company’s radar for a while since the Christian school closed down in the summer of 2008.

The county applied for the grant in January, according to Elder. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County’ former economic development director was awarded $747,320 in a federal civil suit over her termination three years ago.

Lisa Perry sued Isle of Wight County because officials told her she had “voluntarily resigned” after being out on leave due to a shoulder injury.

The trial was held in the Eastern District Court in Norfolk, and Judge Raymond A. Jackson ruled that Isle of Wight County had violated Perry’s right to return to work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. 

Under dispute was the day that Perry was to return to work under the auspices of FMLA, and if it was lawful for Isle of Wight County to terminate her employment for failing to notify the county of a change within a reasonable number of days. 

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The Summer Jones Band will make its first appearance in the Summer Concert Series Friday at 8 p.m.

Summer Jones is a trio of guitar, voice and percussion that plays songs ranging from the 1960s to today with that the band describes as a “jazz/funk twist.”

The band originated in Suffolk in 2012 and travels the East Coast performing. During the past five years, the trio has performed in Richmond, Danville, Asheville and Panama City Beach.

The Summer Concert Series is sponsored by The Smithfield Times and the Isle of Wight Arts League. Concert are underwritten by private donors and local businesses and are free to the public.

But county says it must build it to protect grant money

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Nike Park bike trail is slated to move forward while work on Route 620 (Broadwater Road), is being shelved until other funding options can be explored.

The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead Thursday to use funding that was slated for Route 620, among other sources, to make up a $2 million shortfall in funding— or 50 percent over budget — for the bike trail.

The original budget for the two sections of the bike trail construction was $4.1 million, but bids received, after two attempts, were about $2 million over that amount, according to Isle of Wight County Project Manager Jamie Oliver. 

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IW students opt for CTE courses

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The Isle of Wight County public school division is introducing three new Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses into its curriculum this year, and enrollment in all three has more than tripled from when they were previously offered at the Pruden Center for Industry and Technology two years ago.

Cosmetology, building trades and welding courses have enrolled 57, 62 and 42 Isle of Wight County high school students respectively so far, according to the division.

When the same courses were offered to Isle of Wight students at Pruden before the division announced it would be phasing out its relationship with the Suffolk-based center, only 24 students had signed up, 15 for cosmetology, four for building trades and five for welding. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Isle of Wight County Fair has for years used Amusements of America for its midway rides — the same company that provided the ride involved in the recent death of a young Ohio man.

“Their track record is one of the best,” said Danny Byrum, chairman of the Isle of Wight County Fair Committee about why Amusements of America has been awarded the contract to provide the rides at the fair.

New Jersey-based Amusements of America has provided the rides for years, with reference to its midway at the fair dating back to the 1990s, according to an old issue of The Smithfield Times. 

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Army brass will perform on the Gazebo Stage Friday.

That’s brass as in brass instruments. The Arsenal Brass ensemble, a component of the TRADOC Army Band of Fort Eustis, will be making its first appearance for the Summer Concert Series. The performance begins at 8 p.m.

Arsenal Brass performs hits from popular groups such as Youngblood Brass Band, Trombone Shorty and Bonerama, as well as classic hits from Michael Jackson to Amy Winehouse.

Summer Concert Series performances, which are “lawn chair” events, are free to the public. The series is sponsored by The Smithfield Times and the Isle of Wight Arts League, and underwritten by private and local business donations.

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Edna Felts Myers

 

Edna Felts Myers, 96, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 in her home. She is preceded in death by her husband, Luther Power Myers. Edna leaves to cherish her memories her son, Robert Hall. A graveside service will be held Friday, Aug. 7, 11 a.m. in St. Luke’s Memorial Park with the Rev. Mike Frank officiating. A special thank you to Marilyn Oliver and Joe Brown for all their love and support. The family request memorial contributions to VFW POST 8545, PO Box 461, Smithfield, VA 23431.

Service arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Carrollton, Smithfield, Isle of Wight and the surrounding communities.  Family and friends are encouraged to share condolences and remembrances at colonialfuneralhomesmithfield.com.

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