Thursday, October 29, 2015

Reading, writing, 'rithmetic, and real world skills

Chef Stephanie Charns and student in the CTE commercial kitchen

Dr. Antionique Jones and student in the Nursing Aide lab. The manikins simulate real patients.

Mark, a student in the Heavy Equipment and Construction Management program explains the backhoe exercise.

The career and technical education center at Goochland High School held a community open house on Sunday, October 25. If you missed it, weep.

The CTE program currently offers classes in several areas including: practical nursing; heavy equipment operation; Marine Junior ROTC; and culinary arts.
Students completing studies in these areas are well- equipped to continue their education and have marketable job skills.
Bruce Watson, CTE Director, contended that students who successfully complete the heavy equipment operator program are qualified to hold jobs paying $60,000 out of high school.

Palpable positive energy flowed freely during the open house as students demonstrated their learning paths.

In the practical nursing classrooms, regulation hospital beds are occupied by lifelike training manikins that students use for hands on experience. Another manikin has speakers so students can hear heart sounds as they learn to take blood pressure the old fashioned way with a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer.

Head of the Nursing Aide education faculty, GHS alumnus Dr. Antionique Jones, is a graduate of the VCU School of Nursing, and holds a doctorate in Nurse Anesthesia from the VCU School of Allied Health Professions. Upon successful completion of this CTE course, students are equipped to sit for the national exam for nurse aides and secure employment.

Jones believes that her program also provides students with exposure to a wide range of jobs in the medical field that could lead to satisfying and successful careers. Second year students assist the staff at the Meadows nursing home in Sandy Hook for hands on experience. Still actively employed in the health care field , Jones enjoys combining her professional skill and passion for education.

The Marine Junior ROTC program is also part of the CTE program. Cadets learn and practice important life skills including leadership, organization, personal discipline, and management. Not all marching and physical fitness, the MJROTC course has a cyberwar team that participates in simulated cyber-attacks.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Strong, lead instructor in the Marine JROTC program, said that, in addition to preparing students for military service, the JROTC program makes cadets proficient in areas including personal accountability, organization, and management that enable them to secure team leader jobs.

Food prepared and served by Chef Stephanie Charns’ Culinary Arts students filled the Goochland Tech facility with delicious aromas during the open house. A state of the art commercial kitchen AKA the food lab and a dining room gives students in this program hands on lessons in many facets of food preparation.

Chef Charns acknowledges that not all of her students will pursue food related careers. Students who complete the culinary arts program, however, will know how to work a restaurant food preparation line and always be able to find a job.

Students in the heavy equipment and construction management program helped renovate existing buildings that now how the CTE program.
The heavy equipment “lab” includes welding equipment and industrial ventilation systems. Ditch digging rises to a new level as students must demonstrate their proficiency with backhoe by excavating a straight trench of a certain length and uniform depth to pass the class.
Goochland Tech’s heavy equipment program is only the second to be offered in Virginia.

There are many more components to Goochland’s CTE program. Our high school students sample a wide range of career options and master real world skills so they can hold the jobs that build America. The program is a good investment in the future of our students and country.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

District 4 Town Hall HIghlights

Bob Minnick, who represents Goochland’s District 4 on the Board of Supervisors and Beth Hardy, his counterpart on the School Board, held their fall town hall meeting on October 22.

Qiana Foote, Director of Information Technology gave a brief overview of the new county website. She encouraged everyone to visit the site ( and contact her with questions or comments.

Minnick said that in addition to the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which will build a $28 million facility in West Creek, site work has begun for the Audi dealership just east of Rt. 288. Minnick said that outparcels on Audi site are also being developed for restaurants.

An arterial management plan (AMP) was completed and approved earlier this year for the Ashland/Broad Street Road corridor. Minnick explained that transportation—read roads—improvements to come out of this are expected to include extra lanes and traffic signals at the Broad Street Road/ Rt. 288 intersection.

Application of Biosolids--residue from wastewater treatment plants--on local farmland has also been on the supervisors’ agenda. Goochland, said Minnick, has some real concerns about exactly what this stuff contains and the possible cumulative consequences of its use as a soil amendment. To that end, the county has worked with citizens to share information about pending application permits.

As part of its legislative agenda—matters of special local concern shred with our delegation to the Virginia General Assembly—the supervisors will request that an impartial multi-year detailed study about the practice be undertaken. A list of specific substances to be tested is included.

Under current state law, localities have no power to stop the practice.

Minnick reminded those present that the county earned a AAA bond rating—better than that of the Federal Government--from Standard and Poor’s earlier this year. This is the latest step in the Board’s efforts to restore financial stability, accountability, and public trust in local government. The rating, said Minnick will help the county obtain the most favorable terms when borrowing money in the future.

Goochland needs a new animal shelter, Minnick said. The current facility at the entrance to Hidden Rock Park is not adequate to serve the animal welfare population of our growing county. A new shelter is expected to be funded through a public/private partnership. A special person, with exception organizational and fund raising skills, is needed to lead private the non-profit part of this initiative. A two year commitment will be required.

Minnick declared that a District 4 Planning Commissioner will be put forward for appointment by the supervisors at their November 4 meeting, sworn in, and ready to deliberate on the November 5 Planning Commission agenda. No names were mentioned.

Any meeting in District 4, home of the Tuckahoe Creek Service District, would be incomplete without a discussion about public utilities, AKA public water and sewer.

Todd Kilduff, county Director of Public Utilities reported that, thanks to recent completion of a utilities master plan, problems with water odor and pressure in the Centerville area are being addressed, and should be resolved in coming months. The Utility Master Plan is posted in its entirety on the county website.

The ad valorem tax, currently an extra 32 cents per $100 of assessed valuation levied most burdensomely on homeowners in eastern Goochland, is not expected to increase, said Minnick. Nor will it decrease any time soon. The advent of new businesses will raise ad valorem tax revenue, but the TCSD debt service is also growing. About $100 million of new investment in the TCSD is needed each year to stay even.

Beth Hardy said that she enjoys the opportunity to share the good news about Goochland Schools. Because our school division has gotten so many accolades—a two pager—she mentioned the highlights.

Visit the schools website,, and download this year’s Explorations in Learning annual report for the whole story.

Outstanding test results, said Hardy, were achieved by not by focusing on SOLs but by “meeting the students where they are and getting them to where they need to be.” Empowering teachers to do what they need to do in the classroom is a very effective education strategy.

Hardy said that 73 percent of our high school students are enrolled in one or more of the Career and Technical Courses (CTE) and they love them.
She remarked that the great strides made by Goochland Schools in the past four years are in no small part the result of the collaboration between the supervisors and school board. The supervisors supported the CTE initiative, which includes the Marine Jr. ROTC corps, with additional funding for facilities and staff.

Good news travels fast, resulting in growth in our student population. Hardy reported that a “learning cottage” is being installed at Randolph Elementary School to accommodate its burgeoning student body.

School Superintendent Dr. James Lane, explained that the “trailer” at RES will be located on land adjoining the school, which will also provide space for additional parking.

The county had needed a new elementary school for a while. A $21 million “placeholder” is in the capital improvement plan to build this school sometime during the 2020 fiscal year. (To date, no specifics about the location or other details have been discussed. This needs to be moved to the front burner.)
Lane said that the successful programs in place at Goochland schools should be able to absorb additional students for at least two decades. He also said that the school division plans to teach computer coding—programming—at all grade levels in the near future. Lane said that will provide students with a skill very much in demand in the job market that requires no college degree.

Another evergreen subject in District 4, the bridge connecting Ridgefield Parkway in western Henrico with Tuckahoe Creek Parkway, was discussed.
District 2 Supervisor Manuel Alvarez, Jr., who represents the county on regional transportation boards, explained that construction of the bridge is unlikely in the near future because Henrico does not want it. While our delegation to the General Assembly will not intervene in the matter, Alvarez suggested that there may be a “backdoor” strategy to support the bridge. None of this will happen any time soon.

The hope that HCA, which operates the West Creek Emergency Center, would support the bridge so it could justify building a full hospital in West Creek will not happen. Minnick said that HCA leases the West Creek facility, which has attracted fewer clients than anticipated. Minnick does not expect HCA to renew its lease, preferring a presence in the Henrico Broad Street corridor.

A citizen questioned the assumption in the AMP that, by 2035, there will be 100,000 cars a day moving through the Ashland/Broad Street Road corridor and wanted to know where they were coming from. Minnick said that the AMP assumed that every parcel of land adjoining those roads would be “built out to the max.” He conceded the assumption is probably not realistic, “But we had to start with something.”

Several speakers addressed the proposed “Glenns” subdivision (see GOMM Back to the drawing board?) declaring it is not appropriate for winding country roads and would swamp our schools with a flood of new students.

Minnick said that he has not yet decided how he will vote on the proposal, but said that its impact on schools is part of the decision.

Kudos to our elected officials for meeting with their constituents on a regular basis. Citizens are beginning to understand that they can speak their minds at these sessions and be taken seriously.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back to the drawing board?

Twin Hickory Lake Drive is what a connector road should look like

A community meeting to gauge community reaction to a pending rezoning application for parcels of land with frontage on both Manakin and Rockville Road filled the fellowship hall of Goochland Baptist Church on Monday, October 19.

The Planning Commission deferred action, at the request of the developer, on the application, originally scheduled for October 1 for 30 days. It is currently scheduled to be heard at the November 5 Planning Commission meeting.

Before we get any further into the weeds of this subject, a couple of things must be said. Any land owner has the right to apply for rezoning or other land use changes. That does not mean the change will happen. The Planning Commission is an appointed advisory body that has only the power to recommend land use action. The final say rests with the Board of Supervisors.

A citizen contended that any action on the pending application should be deferred until the vacant District 4 seat on the Planning Commission is filled to ensure that those who live in District 4 are represented.

That is a valid point. However, it would not be the first time that District 4 had no Planning Commission representation on an important zoning matter.

Several years ago, during the previous regime, the Planning Commission held a public hearing, and voted, on rezoning applications for several parcels of land around the Interstate 64/Oilville Road interchange, also in District 4. One of the two District 4 commissioners—Goochland had a 10 member Planning Commission then-- was unable to attend the meeting, and the other, a realtor representing some of the land in question, had to recuse himself from consideration of the matter.

As District 4 will be ground zero for many near term land use changes, it needs a planning commissioner immediately if not sooner.
Back to the meeting.

Developers did not seem to expect a standing room only crowd for the discussion. Their remarks seemed tailored for the planning commission rather than for the neighbors.

The condensed version is that the developer hopes to build no more than 191 homes on 97 acres. The subdivision will be configured in two “wings,” one with a main access to Manakin Road the other off of Rockville Road. Separating the wings is a creek that will be crossed via a bridge that the developer plans to build.

As planned, the proposed subdivision will be nicely done, well landscaped, and have walking trails and a gazebo! It was a little hard to digest the protestations that the houses will not be of the “cookie cutter” variety when renderings showed homes that look very similar as to mass, height, and color pallet.

There was a lot of discussion about the cost of the bridge, but the neighbors, who have gotten along just fine without a bridge over that creek all these years, were not impressed.

During the presentation, the county’s recently revised comprehensive land use plan was cited. Comp plans tend to be documents that can be used to support or refute any argument. In this case, the Centerville Arterial Management Plan (AMP) was referenced.

The AMP is the result of a year-long study of actual and anticipated traffic in and around the Centerville area. One of its elements is a connector road between Manakin and Rockville Roads well north of Broad Street Road. The intention of this connector road is to move traffic from the Manakin Road corridor to Ashland Road and I64 without going through Centerville.

As presented in the rezoning application, the “connector” road would be essentially a neighborhood street with driveways every 75 feet or so. Given the small lots, expect cars parked in the street. This road was touted as necessary to reduce response times between the Centerville Company 3 fire-rescue station and Rockville Road. A Company 3 volunteer pointed out that St. Matthew’s Lane, an existing road, already provides fast access to Rockville Road.

Although the AMP shows the connector road between Manakin and Rockville Roads as a “cut through,” the developers insist it will be just a neighborhood road. At some point, the intersection of Rockville and Ashland Roads would be signalized to ease movement of traffic northbound to I64.

The developer’s engineer did say that they planned to mitigate as many of the site distance issues as they could on land they control. This includes shaving hills and humps near the entrances on both Rockville and Manakin Roads.

Another speaker on the developer’s team addressed the benefit to the Tuckahoe Creek Service District, even though he kept referring to the eastern Goochland public utility as the Tuckahoe Service Creek. Citizens in the room, who probably have well and septic at home and have been assured by the supervisors that the TCSD debt is under control, do not give one hoot about helping out the TCSD by putting more traffic on roads they travel daily. They also do not care how many houses need to be built to make building the bridge economically feasible.

GOMM did not stay for the entire meeting, but it was pretty clear that the developer needs to rethink some portions of the proposal. If the connector road will not be used as a “cut through” why bother with the bridge?

Why not just build two separate smaller subdivisions and leave the creek and wetlands alone? The developer seems to suggest that it should be granted higher density development in return for building the connector “road” and cash proffers in the application are reduced accordingly.

If indeed, the developer builds a true connector road, higher density credit should be considered. As presented, this proposal does not fit the bill.

Friday, October 16, 2015

About the Clerk's race

The Goochland Republican Committee and Tea Party—the two groups are very cross-pollinated—have joined forces with the anti-sheriff contingent to defeat the incumbent Clerk of Court because she is married to the sheriff. The "RepubliTeas" are quite willing to trade decades of experience, attention to detail, and spotless audits, for someone with no relevant work experience.

The incumbent Clerk, the Hon. Dale Agnew, who was sworn in as Clerk last December to complete the remainder of the term of the Hon Lee G. Turner, has served a 32 year apprenticeship, becoming familiar with each of the 800 sections of the Code of Virginia that govern the duties of the Clerk’s office.

She is being challenged by Keith Flannagan, a founder of the Goochland Tea Party who keeps bees, is a master gardener and naturalist, and has worked hard on various rural preservation groups.

The "RepubliTeas" are trying to capitalize on expected low voter turnout and “little town hate” to defeat a competent and experienced Clerk. In spite of their best efforts, they can find no evidence of error or complaint. Indeed, Dale Agnew is responsible for decades of clean audits of all financial duties of the Clerk’s office, so the RepubliTeas resort to vague allegations so ugly they are almost laughable.

Duties of the Clerk of Court require meticulous attention to detail to ensure accurate recordation of a wide range of public documents from deeds to marriage licenses.

Flannagan contends he has this skill. However, while touting service on the Goochland Electoral Board on his website, he referred to his predecessor as Herb “Griffin”. The surname of the gentleman in question, who Flannagan has known for years, is “Griffith”.

His campaign has ginned up numbers contending that Dale Agnew is mismanaging the clerk’s office by having too many employees, citing the same office in Powhatan as reference.

GOMM took a field trip south of the James and met with the Hon. Theresa Hash Dobbins, Powhatan’s incumbent Clerk. She graciously spared a few minutes to help set the record straight.

Her staff, said Dobbins, consists of five full time employees and one part time worker. She said that she needs two additional employees, which the Powhatan supervisors declined to fund.

Flannagan cites, as evidence of mismanagement, State Compensation Board staffing formulas, which are designed to reduce the amount of state money that flows to jurisdictions to fund Constitutional Offices, forcing localities to pick up the slack.

Dobbins pointed out that Comp Board starting salaries are roughly equivalent to that of fast food workers. To hire competent employees capable of providing adequate service to the citizens, local supplements are needed, she said.

A significant difference between the Goochland and Powhatan Clerk’s office that has an impact on staffing, is physical layout.

In Powhatan, the county records room, where vital documents including deeds, wills, and plats are kept, is accessed via a single hallway that passes in front of the service desk and can be monitored by staffers performing other tasks.

In Goochland, the Clerk’s Office is on two levels, with the records room on the ground floor near a parking lot. While it is monitored by cameras, a staffer must be in or near the record room during office hours to ensure that documents are not removed or damaged. Currently, staffers performing other duties on the lower level are available to assist those seeking access to the records room.

In Goochland, as in Powhatan, deputy clerks specialize in different areas, but the entire staff is cross trained, so everyone, including the Clerk, can pitch in to help people when thing get busy.

Dobbins explained that a knowledgeable and experienced Clerk is needed to ensure that the duties of the office, as decreed by the Code of Virginia, are properly carried out. She said that the Clerk cannot forward the agenda of any particular group.

Flannagan seems to believe that the Clerk’s function is to simply “manage” the staff as though it were a fast food franchise.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As Dobbins, the Powhatan Clerk, told GOMM, the Clerk is a working administrator who must be very familiar with each of her duties as specified by the Code of Virginia. She said that the Clerk is accountable for all errors committed by the staff.

The Clerk is the probate judge for the county; issues marriage licenses; certifies people to perform marriages; issues concealed carry permits; and records deeds, to enumerate a few of her responsibilities.

Circuit Court is not a party room. It is a serious place where serious business is conducted.

Flannagan said that if elected he “would make sure that everyone gets a fair shake in court,” which further illustrates his ignorance of the Clerk’s responsibilities.

The Circuit Court Judge, not the Clerk, rules the courtroom and has final say on everything, down to thermostat settings. The Clerk is responsible for administration of court records, preparation of orders on the instruction of the judge, and swearing in jurors.

Digitization of Goochland’s records is an ongoing process, funded by grant money. It is expensive, cumbersome, and time consuming. One does not wave a magic wand at the records room and chant “digitize thyself” to get the job done, as Flannagan seems to believe.

Flannagan compares his inexperience to that of the supervisors who took office four years ago.

That’s comparing apples to antelopes. The supervisors operate as a board of directors that sets policy for the county. They had, in place, a competent chief executive officer-the county administrator—to tend to the nuts and bolts of county operations. The supervisors are also advised on what they can and cannot do by the county attorney, whose salary combined with that of the county administrator, probably equals or exceeds the entire Clerk’s office budget.

Flannagan, who seems to be unemployed, said he wanted to “help out the county” by running for Clerk. Seems like he’d be helping out himself collecting a handsome salary--$106,000 plus benefits -- while trying to figure out how to be clerk.

When people deal with the Clerk of the Court, they want courteous, competent service. They do not care who the Clerk’s spouse is. Please take the time to vote for Dale Agnew’s legitimate competence and relevant experience. Don’t be taken in by the hysterics of the haters.

This is the entrance to the Powhatan Clerk's Office

The Powhatan Records Room access can be monitored from the service counter in the Clerk's Office.

This is one of two exits from the Goochland records room.

The Goochland Court of Clerk is located on two different floors.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October Board highlights

Goochland’s Board of Supervisors began its October 6 meeting by approving a resolution in support of domestic violence awareness month. Ending domestic violence, said the resolution, requires active collaboration among the Goochland Free clinic and Family services; Goochland Social Services; the Goochland Sheriff’s Office; Goochland Victim Witness Assistance Program; the Goochland Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office; the 16 District Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court unit; and other area partners. Sally Graham, Executive Director of GFFS introduced its new domestic violence coordinator. Graham said that the new program expected to serve approximately 38 clients in its first year and had already interacted with 40 people. May domestic violence soon be just a horrible memory.

Sheriff James L. Agnew explained that the hand guns used by county deputies are nearing the end of their useful life. He outlined a plan to replace them with Sig Saur P320 weapons. The Sig Saurs said Agnew, are easier to clean, have grips that can be changed out to accommodate different sized hands, and the ammunition is easier to obtain. The costs for the upgrade is approximately $24,000, which will be paid for by drug asset forfeiture funds at no cost to the taxpayers.

The 2015 Goochland Observer, which is essentially the county’s annual report to its shareholders—citizens--is available on the county website Please take a few minutes to read this.

Fire-Rescue Chief Bill MacKay said that new building codes require smoke alarms inside bedrooms. As many of the materials used to build and furnish homes are now essentially “solidified gasoline” early warning of fires is crucial to survival. MacKay said that most fire fatalities occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Marshall Wynn of VDOT said that the River Road bridge over Tuckahoe Creek is expected to reopen around October 23. There may be some periods of single lane access as the finishing work is completed.

A preview of the recently completed Parks and Recreation Master Plan was presented by Derek Stamey, Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management. The board voted to place it on the agenda for its November 4 meeting.(NOTE, DUE OT ELECTON DAY, THE SUPERVISORS WILL MEET ON A WEDNESDAY IN NOVEMBER) Stamey reported that attendance at programs rose 32 percent in the last year.

Full implementation of the plan, which includes creation of new facilities including dog parks, is estimated to cost $1,790.00 over five years. This total includes $575,000 already funded in the Capital Improvement Plan.

Goochland’s school enrollment grew beyond projections, especially at Randolph Elementary School. The Supervisors approved a request from the School division for 181,600 from accumulated cash proffer funds to cover the cost of acquiring a parcel of land adjacent to RES to accommodate a mobile classroom and additional parking. The mobile classroom is being leased from Louisa County. The expense of two additional teachers was absorbed by the school division through use of additional non-county budget supplements. (See page 94 of board packet for details.)

The Board set public hearings on November 4 for proposed changes to the land use application deadlines, and a leash law for animals on public property other than service dogs and those engaged in hunting and obedience trials under the control of their owners.

A closed session for the purposes of conferring with counsel (Norman Sales, county attorney) about probably litigation regarding zoning enforcement was convened by the supervisors at the end of the afternoon meeting.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hard vote

The Goochland Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a conditional use permit to allow the construction of a 199 foot communications tower on the site of the new Company 6 Fire-Rescue Station in Hadensville at its October 6 meeting. The tower will be roughly opposite the entrance to the Royal Virginia Golf Course and way too close for comfort for nearby homeowners who live in its shadow.

The approved CUP contains a provision requiring a public hearing before leasing space on the tower for purposes other than public safety communications. The county would receive any fees generated by such a co-location.

Although the matter was on the September Board agenda, the vote was deferred for 30 days to allow the county to reevaluate the situation. The tower is the last piece in a multi-million dollar upgrade to the county’s public safety communications system, which is required by an unfunded federal mandate.

One of the many bitter lessons of 9/11 was that disaster scenes were all too often “Towers of Babel” as first responders could not communicate with each other, with deadly consequences. In Goochland, deputies and fire-rescue responders are far too familiar with radio dead spots all around the county.

Goochland has been working on to update its public safety communication system for nearly a decade. In addition to new equipment using frequencies that can “talk” to other agencies and fill signal gaps, the system requires new communications towers. These have already been approved and sited throughout the county in accordance with the overall plan.

Jennifer and Michael Mazza, who live very close to the Hadensville tower, contended that the county did a poor job of revealing the height and location of the tower. While they understand and support the need for emergency communication, the adamantly oppose use of the tower for cell phones, citing health concerns.

Board Chair Susan Lascolette, District 1, supported the deferral. However, a review of the communications plan yielded no other options for the tower site. Moving the tower would delay implementation of the plan for many months and void guarantee provisions in the county’s contract with Motorola.

Changing the appearance of the tower from a metal monopole to a faux tree or flag pole design would drastically increase the cost and not support the necessary equipment.

Jennifer Mazza was not pleased by the county’s response and took the Board to task, contending it was not living up to its promises of transparency and accountability.

“I thought I had a neighbor looking out for me,” she told the Board. “But I was wrong. Six children( who live in homes near the tower site) should not have to grow up living under a tower. Making something right is being accountable, regardless of the cost. It will be a long time before I trust another politician.”

County administrator Rebecca Dickson said that the person who sold the land to the county for the new Company 6 station knew that there would be a high tower on that property for about nine years. She also said that, at this time, no cell provider has expressed interest in locating on the Hadensville tower.

Board Chair Susan Lascolette, District 1, which includes Hadensville, said that she knows some people are unhappy with this decision. She said that the county looked hard for an alternative location, but the communication system serves the entire county, which will benefit from the upgrade.

Manuel Alvarez, Jr,. District 2, said that the tower near Central High School is also in someone’s backyard and is a lattice, rather than monopole tower. Others are located at Creekmore, a subdivision next to Richmond Country Club, and Company 4. As he has lead the efforts to expand Broadband coverage, Alvarez said he could not vote against this tower. He contended that property values are not negatively affected by the proximity of cell towers, citing Rivergate, an enclave of expensive homes just south of West Creek, as an example. Alvarez said that he grew up under the 500 foot WTVR tower in Richmond.

Making hard choices is part of the duty of elected officials.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cyber Security Presentation in Goochland

Robin Hillman asked GOMM to pass along this notice.

Greetings everyone,

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Goochland's Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) has invited guest speaker, Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon with VCU to speak at their meeting on this topic. The meeting is open to the public. Citizens, county agencies and local businesses are all invited. Please RSVP your attendance to Robin Hillman, LEPC Chair, at

Guest Speaker: Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon

Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon is Professor of Information Security at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA and a Guest Professor at ISEG, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal. He has a PhD in Information Systems from the London School of Economics, UK. He has authored thirteen books including Principles of Information Systems Security: text and cases (John Wiley, 2007) and over 150 research papers. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Information System Security. His research has also been featured in various academic and commercial publications and his expert comments have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, Business Week, NBC News, NPR, among others.

Presentation Description: Cyber Security

Over the past few years, cyber attacks have been on an increase. However, organizations seem to be underprepared. Several questions need addressing:
1) understand where the attacks are coming from
2) assess what the impact of the attacks are
3) how the attacks have are conducted
4) when would the next attack be
In this presentation, these questions are addressed in a succinct manner. Key challenges and ways and means to overcome the barriers for successful mitigation of attacks are addressed.

Meeting Date and Time: October 21 at 3:30 PM

Meeting Location: Board Meeting Room 250 in the County Administration Building. Address is 1800 Sandy Hook Road, Goochland, VA 23063

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Biosolids part next

The comment period for the permits to land apply biosolids in Goochland runs from October 9 to November 9. Please see for details. (For additional resources please visit Goochlanders Against Sludge on Facebook.)

Melissa Hipolit of WTVR minced no words when reporting about a sludge laden dump truck overturning on Maidens Road last week. She labeled the substance that spewed out of the truck as “human waste”. The truck was headed for a storage facility south of the James, its load secured only by a tarp.

The county has no power to stop land application of human waste, or industrial residue, which seems to be the by products from processing chicken and pork and paper mill gunk. At the October 6 Board of Supervisors’ meeting, a detailed request for a study was discussed. This will likely receive the highest priority in Goochland’s Legislative Agenda, which informs our delegation to the Virginia General Assembly in their assessment of issues.

At the same time that the biosolids permits are pretty much considered a done deal, the state is implementing storm water management regulations to mitigate water pollution. This means that anyone who disturbs more than one acre of land must install some sort of mechanism to prevent runoff, which must be designed and installed according to detailed regualtions. Yet, the same Department of Envrionmental Quality and Water Control Board are giving the green light to dumping truckloads of biosolids on fields. While biosolids applications are also supposedly governed by detailed regulations, these are too many questions about air, water, and soil pollution for comfort.

Please see the board packet for the complete study resolution and DEQ requests.

The study request includes long term effects of biosolids and industrial residuals on health including its impact on all water sources. It asks for analysis of pathogens, heavy metals, personal care products residue, pharmaceuticals, prions, and other pollutants that might be present.

Existing testing looks only at heavy metals, nutrients—especially nitrogen and phosphorous—as the substance leaves the originating facility.
Nutrient management plans are part of the application regulations. Ideally, the amount of biosolids applied to a particular parcel of land is just enough to ensure optimal supply of nitrogen and phosphorous for a particular crop, including pasture and timber.

County Administrator Rebecca Dickson said that the community meeting held on September 21 yielded a great deal of useful information on the subject. An item differentiating between classes of sludge was also added to the study request. Class A sludge can be well-cooked like the substance sold in garden centers. Class B is less processed and its degrading is “finished in the field” during the 30 days after land application when livestock must be kept off fields.

The requested study would be ongoing over several years. It also requests a cost analysis of requiring Class B producers to upgrade to Class A. Currently, only biosolids produced in Virginia must report testing results. The study request asks that test results be reported regardless of the place of origin. Some sludge being applied here originates in Maryland or D.C.

Disclosure of the sites of application of biosolids, in the request, would be similar to those required concerning lead paint.
Keep in mind that this is a request and the General Assembly could, as it has done in past years, fail to take any action.

Land application of biosolids is not a new practice in Goochland. It has been going on for decades. At the community meeting, Owen Lanier, who applies a good deal of the biosolids in Goochland, contended that he knows of no ill effects of the practice.

During citizen comment at the start of the evening session, Valeria Turner of Crozier read from a Richmond newspaper article from 1984 that contended that state monitoring of sewage sludge and hauling is largely self-policed. The story advocated requiring sludge haulers to transport the substance only in trucks with water tight metal tops instead of tarps—just like the one that spilled on Maidens Road last week.
“And we’re still dealing with this,” said Turner.

The county is resisting suggestions to do testing and compile a baseline for future reference contending it would be a futile--and expensive—gesture because DEQ would ignore the results.

Farmers who use biosolids believe that it is a cost-effective way to improve the soil.

The fact is, we just do not know enough about the stuff to make a good judgment one way or the other. The truth probably lies somewhere between benign and poison. Impartial data on the matter is long overdue.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The grown up in the room

Ohio Governor John Kasich, one of many republicans seeking that party’s 2016 presidential nomination, held a town hall event at the University of Richmond on October 5. Although he was overshadowed by the snarky food fight of the recent CNN debate, his low key common sense approach to hot button issues could resonate with the electorate.

Free of the distraction of the traveling circus created by more colorful candidates, Kasich presented a very compelling talk to a standing room only crowd. Grey heads and curious students listened attentively as Kasich addressed a laundry list of issues.

Kasich served for 18 years in Congress and worked as an investment banker before running for governor.

Experience in federal and state government, as well as in the private sector, gives him broad knowledge of complex issues—especially the federal budget process--and, just as important, perspective on ways to bring about meaningful change.

Kasich began his remarks by contending the country needs a true uniter. “I’m not interested in hot rhetoric and I’m not playing to the cheap seats. I’m interested in being a leader, not a warrior.”

He believes that the country needs to embrace a set of values that transcends time. America was built by “people working together where we live doing simple things in everyday life.” As Kasich spoke, rays of sun—welcome after too many rainy days-- filled the room.

During the televised “debates” held earlier this year, which quickly degenerated into snarky food fights, Kasich seemed to be the only grown-up on stage. While others promised to fix this and that on their first day in office, Kasich offered thoughtful, low key responses to hot button issues.

Kasich outlined his no-nonsense approach to governing. When he became Governor of Ohio, the Buckeye State, plagued by mounting debt, rising unemployment, and few prospects for improvement, was dying. He got to work, walking “the lonely road” of the reformer. By the end of his first year in office, he was the most unpopular governor in America. Yet, four years later, he was reelected by a 30 percent margin. Ohio now has a budget surplus and low unemployment.

Kasich declared that the atmosphere of government must change in order to get things done. “You don’t go to war over an issue if it’s not necessary and you don’t hate people who don’t agree with you. Find things you agree on and get them done.”

Kasich contended that “politicians who spend their time being ideologues need to change; we’ve become a nation of yellers and screamers,” which also must change.

Although Kasich’s craggy visage gives him a somewhat grumpy appearance, he can be light-hearted. Learning that the first questioner, a student, was celebrating his birthday, Kasich led the assemblage in singing “Happy Birthday.”

Kasich addressed a laundry list of issues.

Had he been president, Planned Parenthood would be defunded by now, but he would not kill family planning.

Veterans would immediately receive vouchers for whatever medical services they need as a start to clean up the VA mess.

Kasich said he wrote America’s last balanced budget while in Congress. He believes that economic growth is vital to the success of the country, but is not an end in itself. “No one should be left in the shadows.” Kasich said that he worked to create emergency mental health beds in Ohio, which might have prevented the tragedy in Creigh Deeds’ family.

He defended his decision to accept federal Medicaid money as other states shun the practice. “Instead of incarcerating bipolar people, we used the money to get them proper medication so they could be functioning citizens, working and paying taxes. Without Medicaid funds, the poor clog emergency rooms, which helps no one.” Kasich contended that moving decisions like Medicaid to the state rather than federal level results in better use of the money and greater accountability.

He advocates less regulation and believes that things are built from the bottom up, not by mandate from Washington.

Kasich was clearly not pandering to segments of the audience. He told people from Virginia Beach concerned about reduction in military sending that the Pentagon needs to be reformed and that too much money has been spent on infrastructure.

Kasich claimed he had spoken at an early meeting of the Tea Party, but told that group to stick to the balancing budget and tax reform. This remark was greeted with enthusiastic applause.

He told the young people in the audience “don’t mess with drugs. I’ve known too many people who buried their kids.”

Kasich advocates a two pronged approach to Social Security that would hold older folks harmless but give young people other options.

The federal government, said Kasich, needs to get out of education. Local board of education know better how to teach their kids than Washington bureaucrats.
He said we need a border, something we presently do not have. Those here illegally should pay a penalty to be registered as a guest worker and become acclimated to our society. No one should be able to “jump ahead in line” of those working their way through the legal process for citizenship.

Kasich said that Isis fighters who rape children believe that action gets them closer to Allah. He said that if he were president, a red line would not be violated without consequences.

“If I become your president, tighten your seatbelts,” Kasich warned. “I was born to make trouble.”

It’s a long way to the presidential election, and too soon to predict the republican nominee. Will the election mimic America Idol, or will the voters select a grown up? Time will tell.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October events

In an effort to help get the word out about upcoming county events, GOMM offers the following list:

October 8- District 5 Town Hall meeting 7 p.m. Manakin Fire-Rescue Station. Supervisor Ken Peterson and School Board Member John Wright will share information about local government.

October 12- Columbus Day holiday Goochland County convenience centers closed.

October 13- last day to register to vote Call Registrar Frances Ragland at 556-5803 for information.

October 15- NAACP Candidate Forum with School Board, 7 p.m. Second Union Baptist Church, Hadensville-Fife Road.

October 18- Manakin Volunteer Fire-Rescue Company 1 annual barbecue fundraiser at the station, 180 River Road West (Route 6)from noon to 4. Tickets, $12 for adults, $5 for children 5-12 and free for under 5,may be purchased from any Manakin volunteer. They are also available at the station after 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; Portico Restaurant on River Road; or through the Company 1 website: A limited number of tickets will be available at the door, so plan ahead.

The event will also include HCA blood pressure checks; fire and life safety demonstrations; representatives from the Goochland Historical Society, Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District, and he county animal shelter.

October 19- Community meeting about rezoning of land between Manakin and Rockville Road for a subdivision. Goochland Baptist Church, Manakin Road, 6 p.m.

October 20- District 2 and 3 Town Hall Meeting, 7 p.m. Goochland Branch Library, Courthouse Village, featuring Supervisors Manual Alvarez, Jr., and Ned Creasey and School Board Members Kevin Hazzard and John Lumpkins.

October 22
- District 4 Town Hall meeting, 7 p.m., Grace Chinese Baptist Church, Broad Street Road. Featuring Supervisor Bob Minnick and School Board Member Beth Hardy.

October 26- District 1 Town Hall Meeting, 7 p.m. Byrd Elementary School, Hadensville-Fife Road, featuring Supervisor Susan Lascolette and School Board Member Mike Payne.

This list is by no means all inclusive.