Monthly Archives July 2013

New Neighborhood Planned in Fort Chiswell

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Helping Overcome Poverty’s Existence (HOPE), a Wytheville based organization, recently acquired over 36 acres of undeveloped property, located approximately three miles south of Interstates 77 and 81 in Fort Chiswell, Virginia.

Speaking from his Wytheville, Virginia, based office, Andy Kegley, Executive Director of HOPE stated that his organization plans to develop the 23 parcels of land, set to be known as Long Meadows, in an effort to provide affordable homeownership to qualifying individuals.

HOPE’s Homeownership Program is geared toward assisting lower-income families in achieving their dream of homeownership.

Qualifications to be eligible for the 33-year mortgage include a credit score of 640 or better, a maximum income no greater than 80% of the median income of the area, require...

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Wythe County Begins Major School Renovations

Sheffey Elementary - Inside

In 2011 the Wythe County School Board contracted OWPR, an architectural and engineering firm based in Blacksburg, Virginia, to perform a facility study on public schools in Wythe County.

The study’s goal was to identify and pinpoint the individual structures that stood in the greatest need of repair.  The report deemed Sheffey Elementary School and Rural Retreat Middle School most in need of renovations.

Dr. Wesley Poole, Director of Facilities and Operations for Wythe County Public Schools, says the findings were based upon “a number of qualifiers.”

Following the study’s release, the Wythe County Board of Supervisors authorized $9 million to be spent in updating the two buildings.

Soon afterwards, the Wythe County School Board named R.L. Price Construction, Inc...

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Elevated Water Levels Creating Roadway Ponding

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The heavy rains which have fallen on our area in recent days have caused elevated water levels to saturate certain local roadways. This saturation has created instances of roadway ponding.

Though most, if not all of these roadway ponding areas have since been cleared of water, the county wishes to remind local motorists to exercise caution when approaching these areas.

According to the National Weather Service, “Most flood-related deaths and injuries could be avoided if people who come upon areas covered with water followed this simple advice: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

The county, in collaboration with VDOT is monitoring known roadway ponding areas in order to establish a plan to alleviate this problem in the future.

Should local residents know of specific areas prone to roadway pon...

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Heavy Rains Do Not Dampen Spirits At Dixie Youth All-Star Tournament

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Despite what were at times torrential downpours, Wythe County Parks and Recreation officials remain honored to be hosting this year’s District 1 Dixie Youth All-Star Tournament.

The ongoing event at Ager Park is now entering its fourteenth day and has been delayed numerous times by inclement weather.

Just hours after the most recent flashflood watch had expired, a very resolved Wythe County Parks & Recreation Director, Gary Cody, stated, “We’re excited to be hosting the tournament. It’s given us an opportunity to showcase Wythe County to hundreds of people throughout our region.”

Sixteen teams total have been competing in the event, participating in one of two tournaments – the AAA tournament for those aged 9-10 and the OZONE tournament for players 11-12 year...

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County Launches Inmate Litter Pick-Up Program

Orange Bags

At the request of the Wythe County Board of Supervisors, a greater number of inmates from the New River Valley Regional Jail will be spotted picking up litter alongside county roadways.

According to Keith Dunagan, Chief Deputy for the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, the Board has secured as many as eight inmates from the regional jail to work six hours every Saturday along county roads.

In the past, inmates from the regional jail have typically worked in Wythe County only one day each month.  Dunagan says, “If the weather holds up, local residents can now expect to see inmates working every Saturday – year round.”

“In the days to come, as new inmates become qualified to work outside the jail, we hope to expand the program to include additional litter pick-up days.”

The program ...

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Board of Supervisors Meeting Notes from June 28, 2013, Meeting

IMG_0010On the morning of June 28, 2013, the Wythe County Board of Supervisors held its bi-monthly meeting inside the Wythe County Administration Building.

Following citizen’s time, the Board voted to adopt the proposed tax rates for calendar year 2013. The rates leave real estate, merchants’ capital and machine & tools taxes at their present rates. The personal property tax rates, however, were slightly increased from $2.08 to $2.27 per $100 of assessed value.

Sam Crockett, Wythe County’s Treasurer, gave his monthly report to the board.

“Overall, our collection rates are fairly good this year,” says Crockett.

Board members then discussed ongoing issues within each of their districts.

Joe Hale, representing the Fort Chiswell District, stated that he has received complaints from residents...

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Max Meadows Volunteer Fire Department Meets New Challenges

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Dave Morris, Chief of the Max Meadows Volunteer Fire Department has watched Wythe County transform throughout the course of his lifetime.

Growing up in a very different era in Wythe County’s history – a time when the county was without a completed interstate highway and boasted of only two-thirds its present day population – the Max Meadows resident reminiscences about how different things were in the early 1960s.  “Back in those days we didn’t have a local fire department.  When we had a fire, firefighters would have to come all the way from Wytheville.”

Though they were fully committed to battling blazes throughout much of the county, the long and winding country roads, sometimes dozens of miles away, left the Wytheville Fire Department stretched thin in many areas.

“In 196...

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County Animal Shelter Using Social Media to Save Lives

When your goal is reaching as many people as possible, Facebook is a pretty good place to start – with over one billion users, the website has a larger population than all but two of the world’s countries.

Tabitha Jackson, a worker at Wythe County’s Animal Control Building, has been taking advantage of social media in an effort to ensure the greatest number of dogs in the county’s care are adopted.

Since Jackson came onboard in January 2012 the county has worked to create an active presence in online communities – a move she says has helped tremendously in reaching perspective pet owners.

“Facebook has allowed us to reach out to a larger network of people than we ever before thought possible...

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PHOTOS: Foster Falls, Virginia

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Wythe County’s Claim to Texas Fame

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Millions of Americans are familiar with famed Texan Stephen F. Austin, the man who secured his place in history as the “Father of Texas.”

Most people, however, are unaware that the “Father of Texas” not only hails from Virginia, but also Wythe County.

 Born November 3, 1793, in what is now Austinville, Virginia, Stephen Fuller Austin was the second child of Moses Austin and Mary Brown Austin.  Moses, born in 1761, was originally from Connecticut.  He and his brother moved to eastern Wythe County in August 1789 with intentions of founding a lead mines on the banks of the New River.

The two worked to establish several smelters, furnaces, commissaries, blacksmith shops, liveries, and mills...

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