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January 1, 2018

2017 Fauquier County headlines in review

January

• Jan. 1 — Devon Settle succeeded Mary Tarr as Fauquier SPCA executive director.

• Jan. 5 — The county board of supervisors elected Rick Gerhardt (Cedar Run District) as chairman and Chris Butler (Lee) as vice chairman for 2017.

• Jan. 5 — The Warrenton Town Council considered installation of a roundabout at Falmouth Street and East Shirley Avenue near Walmart to improve traffic flow and safety.

• Jan. 6 — LifePoint Health names Chad Melton the next CEO of Fauquier Health, succeeding Rodger Baker, who will retire after 40 years with the local hospital.

• Jan. 6 — Local law enforcement officials announced that drug overdose deaths hit a record 22 in Fauquier County last year.

• Jan. 9 — The county school board re-elected Brian Gorg (Center District) as its 2017 chairman.

• Jan. 10 — The Warrenton Town Council met in an unusual closed session to discuss the five-member Architectural Review Board’s treatment of applicants who want to build or remodel structures in the historic district.

• Jan. 12 — German grocer Lidl unveiled its plan to build a 36,000-square-foot store at 394 Broadview Ave. The store would require rezoning part of the four-acre site from residential to commercial.

• Jan. 12 — The board of supervisors agreed to spend $1 million for its Purchase of Development Rights program to eliminate 42 potential building lots on 899 acres of Southern Fauquier farmland.

• Jan. 12 — The supervisors gave County Administrator Paul McCulla and County Attorney Kevin Burke $12,000 raises after their first performance reviews in a decade. The board raises Mr. McCulla’s salary to $188,502 and Mr. Burke’s to $159,579.

• Jan. 14 — The Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County Museum and Research Center in The Plains began a year-long series of events to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

• Jan. 16 — About 400 people attend Mount Zion Baptist Church’s 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Warrenton.

• Jan. 17 — Main Street Warrenton restaurant owner Todd Eisenhauer announced he will open Black Bear Mercantile/Butchery around the corner on Culpeper Street in the spring.

• Jan. 18 — Virginia’s General Assembly unanimously re-appointed Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker and General District Court Judge J. Gregory Ashwell to eight- and six-year terms, respectively.

• Jan. 19 — Superintendent David Jeck proposed a $136.5-million school budget for fiscal 2018. The budget calls for an increase of $2.8 million but includes no raises for teachers or other employees.

• Jan. 19 — Center District Supervisor Chris Granger expressed concerns about the proposal to build a $55-million consolidated middle school on East Shirley Avenue in Warrenton. A 40-member task force, which included Mr. Granger, developed the proposal to merge Taylor and Warrenton middle schools.

• Jan. 20 — Warrenton lawyer Jud A. Fischel entered “Alford pleas,” acknowledging enough evidence to convict him on misdemeanor charges of sexual battery against two former clients. Sentencing will take place March 20.

• Jan. 21 — An estimated 1,600 people visited the new Wort Hog Brewing Co. in downtown Warrenton after the ribbon-cutting.

• Jan. 24 — “The Barn,” the original building on Fauquier’s Lord Fairfax Community College campus, reopened after a $600,000 renovation.

• Jan. 26 — The Greater Warrenton Chamber of Commerce, founded in 2009, announced it will change its name and focus. The Warrenton Regional Chamber will concentrate more on business training and support and less on events, President Brian Roeder says.

• Jan. 26 — The FBI arrested two suspects — Gabriel Hermon, 39, of Stafford County, and James Wingfield, 24, of Triangle — in Saturday’s strong-armed robbery of the Boost Mobile store in Warrenton.

• Jan. 27 — A second man involved in a large-scale heroin ring” near Catlett pleaded guilty to a felony count of possession with the intent to distribute the drug. Facing five to 40 years in jail and a $500,000 fine, Ellis Watson will be sentenced Monday, April 4, in Fauquier County Circuit Court.

• Jan. 28 — A clerk at Boost Mobile at 294 W. Lee Highway fired “several” shots at a robber who fled the store with cash Saturday, according to Warrenton Police Chief Louis Battle.

• Jan. 29 — The Big Skate and Events Center near Bealeton went out of business Sunday afternoon, reportedly because of a lease disagreement. Hugo’s Skateway opened in the large building on Route 17 in 1978.

• Jan. 31 — Fauquier’s school board voted, 5-0, Tuesday night to seek $55 million to build a 1,000-seat consolidated middle school in Warrenton.


February

• Feb. 1 — The State Corporation Commission approved of Dominion Virginia Power’s plan to build a $46-million solar electricity generating facility near Remington. Ruling the utility failed to explore other options, the SCC rejected a similar plan in October 2015.

• Feb. 1 — Fauquier’s board of supervisors asked for an alternative to the plan for a $55-million consolidated middle school in Warrenton. All five board supervisors expressed reservations about the proposed 1,000-student school during a “retreat” to discuss construction projects.

• Feb. 1 — Fauquier’s school board will seek $55 million to build a 1,000-seat consolidated middle school in Warrenton. The five board members unanimously agreed to that plan.

• Feb. 4 — About 400 people attended the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy’s “Rally for Unity” in downtown Warrenton on Saturday. Though speakers repeatedly stressed the rally had no political agenda, they clearly directed their criticism at President Donald J. Trump and his executive order banning immigrants and refugees.

• Feb. 7 — Andy Budd, the owner of Country Chevrolet in Warrenton, announced the purchase of Star Buick-GMC in Leesburg. The deal will close Feb. 15.

• Feb. 10 — Warrenton-based Fauquier Bankshares Inc., The Fauquier Bank’s parent company, reported a profit of $3.67 million for 2016, compared with a net loss of $612,000 for the prior year.

• Feb. 14 — Fauquier sheriff’s detectives charged Theodore Roosevelt Bailey, 62, of Capitol Heights, Md., with the recent, daytime burglary of a home near Upperville. A rash of similar crimes recently has occurred in the region.

• Feb. 14 — The Warrenton Town Council approved a 10,000-square-foot addition to the school at St. James’ Episcopal Church.

• Feb. 19 — Fauquier sheriff’s investigators charged Richard Turner MacDonald, 64, of Turkey Run Road, Warrenton, man with the predawn murder a neighbor, Larry Walker, 56.

• Feb. 20 — Retired Fauquier County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge H. Dudley Payne Jr., 71, of Warrenton, died after a long illness.

• Feb. 21 — The school board unanimously approved Kettle Run High Principal Major Warner’s promotion to associate superintendent for instruction. Mr. Warner, 47, will succeed Sandra Mitchell, who retired in January after 15 years in the school system’s second-ranking administrative position.

• Feb. 21 — Warrenton’s planning commission votes, 6-1, to recommend town council denial of rezoning for a 32-acre mixed use development along Walker Drive.

• Feb. 23 — Fauquier government would hire nine new employees and might raise the real estate tax rate 2 cents, under the County Administrator Paul McCulla’s proposed $310.9 million budget for fiscal 2018.

• Feb. 23 — The Virginia General Assembly elected Melissa N. Cupp, a 47-year-old lawyer from Sperryville, as Fauquier’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court judge. She Cupp succeeds Jonathan S. Lynn, who retired in February after almost six years on the bench.

• Feb. 24 — After just more than two years on the job, Warrenton Economic Development Director Heather Stinson announced she will resign March 24.

• Feb. 27 — A judge sentenced former Partnership for Warrenton Foundation Chairman Margaret L. McCann, 47, to 16 years in jail — all of it suspended — for embezzling $8,800 from the nonprofit organization. She must make restitution.

• Feb. 27 — The school board voted, 5-0, night to purchase a home and 1-acre lot next to Margaret M. Pierce Elementary in Remington for $165,000.


March

• March 2 — A Fauquier judge sentenced a woman to a year in jail for reckless driving in the November death of a 5-year-old New Baltimore boy. Stafford resident Felicia Arbujo’s SUV slammed into a van waiting for the light to change on Route 29 at Freeman’s Ford Road near Remington, fatally injuring Samuel Legg.

• March 3 — The warmest February on record has Fauquier orchardists and grape growers on edge. Bill Green expects his family’s peach trees at Markham will start blooming early next week, making them more vulnerable to a hard frost, which Northern Fauquier typically experiences in late April or early May.

• March 3 —Virginia Supreme Court expressed skepticism about the Town of Warrenton’s position that its longtime building official never had permanent employment status. In his lawsuit, Bob Hale contends town superiors demoted him without due process.

• March 4 — Fauquier sheriff’s deputies arrest Kara Rene Deans, 22, of Bealeton, on four charges after she allegedly drove her car into a funeral procession and hit one of the vehicles Saturday afternoon near Warrenton.

• March 6 — Fauquier’s school board Monday night cut $12 million from the estimated cost of one of the most expensive construction projects in county history. The board voted, 5-0, to ask the county supervisors to approve taxpayer funding for a $43.3-million consolidated middle school in Warrenton.

• March 9 — To help slow rapid turnover within the sheriff’s office, Fauquier’s board of supervisors increased the minimum salary for eight deputy classifications. Deputies will start at $41,500 a year — up almost $4,000.

• March 13 — A customer discovered a credit card “skimmer” on a gas pump at Trenis Exxon in Catlett. Sheriff’s deputies removed the device and release security system video of suspects at the station.

• March 14 — Warrenton’s town council voted, 4-1, to grant John McAuliff special permit to operate a four-bedroom inn at his family’s house at 97 Culpeper St.

• March 14 — The town council votes, 5-0, to approve Warrenton’s first roundabout on a major road, at East Shirley Avenue and Falmouth Street.

• March 17 — Inn at Vint Hill owners Dawn and Scott Donaldson unveiled their plan for a 110-room hotel on their 5.5-acre property.

• March 18 — Fauquier fire and rescue leaders dedicated the first three county-owned ambulances, replacing old volunteer company units with high-tech vehicles designed to improve safety for patients and medics. Custom built on Ford F550 chassis, the four-wheel-drive ambulances cost $264,481 each.

• March 20 — A judge sentenced Warrenton lawyer Jud A. Fischel to 60 days in jail for sexually assaulting two female clients in his law office last year.

• March 21 — Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, famous for its fried chicken, has applied for a permit to build a 2,397-square-foot restaurant at 286 Broadview Ave., near the old bowling alley, in Warrenton.

• March 21 — Lord Fairfax Community College dedicated the “Harvey L. Pearson Student Success Suite” at its Warrenton campus, honoring the 92-year-old World War II veteran and retired circuit court clerk.

• March 22 — Mayson’s Pharmacy opens in the Marshall shopping center on Winchester Road. Northern Fauquier has been without a pharmacy since the Marshall IGA supermarket sold its prescription drug business to CVS in May 2015.

• March 28 — Kathryn Sedam Lamonia and brother John Sedam announced they would close Piccadilly Ltd., one of downtown Warrenton’s oldest retailers, on Saturday, May 6. Their late mother Charlotte Sedam started the gift shop in December 1986.

• March 28 — Fauquier’s board of supervisors voted, 5-0, to adopt a $311-million budget requires no increase in the real estate tax rate, $1.039 per $100 assessed value, for fiscal 2019. The board pledged up to $20.6 million during the next five years to build a network that would extend broadband service to about 9,000 rural homes.

• March 28 — Sheriff Bob Mosier said his deputies would not go looking for undocumented immigrants under proposed participation in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program at the local jail. Fauquier officers, under ICE direction, simply would help federal authorities with cases in which illegal immigrants face criminal charges, according to the sheriff.

• March 31 — Town Manager Brannon Godfrey proposed a $24.9-million for Warrenton in fiscal 2019. That represents an increase of $2.6 million or 11.7 percent.


April

• April 1 — Fauquier sheriff’s investigators charged Samuel Earl Perkins, 18, of Midland, and Anthony Tyrone Coachman, 18, of Warrenton, along with a 17-year-old boy with arson. They allegedly started a series of fires at abandoned buildings in Southern Fauquier and Culpeper counties.

• April 3 — Volunteers formally launched Experience Old Town Warrenton as the community’s Main Street program. It succeeds the Partnership for Warrenton Foundation.

• April 6 — A violent thunderstorm brought down trees and power lines, closing roads and forcing detours throughout the county. Almost 10,500 customers had no electrical service at 3:30 p.m., according to the three power companies that serve Fauquier.

• April 12 — More than 180 people attended one of Sheriff Bob Mosier’s routine town hall meetings that turned into a debate about his application to join a federal immigration enforcement program. “No!” shouted most of those in a tent at Vint Hill when an audience member asked if they support the program.

• April 13 — Vandals toppled more than 90 headstones and broke some of them in the historic Warrenton Cemetery.

• April 14 — The Foothills Housing Corp. rededicated The Oaks I, a 96-unit apartment building in Warrenton for low- and moderate-income senior citizens, to John Wayland and the late Maximillian A. Tufts Sr. They and the late Roland Tapscott in 1970 launched the effort to address substandard housing in the community.

• April 18 — The sheriff’s office announced a partnership with the Richmond-based McShin Foundation to provide support and training for intensive counseling of county jail inmates who struggle with substance abuse.

• April 19 — The National Weather Service determined that three tornadoes touched down in Fauquier County during the violent storm of Thursday, April 6. The twisters — all EF-0 at the low end of the tornado scale — touched down southwest of Warrenton, north of Airlie and in New Baltimore over a period of 41 minutes.

• April 20 — CBS-TV announced that a “60 Minutes” story this Sunday night will open with a scene from the jockey’s perspective, galloping around the steeplechase course at Great Meadow near The Plains. Correspondent Charlie Rose and his crew attended the International Gold Cup meet in October as they gathered material for a story on timber racing.

• April 21 — The owners announced that their new restaurant, Denim and Pearls, will open next month at 29 Main St. in Warrenton. Featuring Italian and American food, whiskey and wine, it will succeed The New Bridge.

• April 26 — Sheriff Bob Mosier has pulled his controversial application to participate in a program to enforce federal immigration law.

• April 27 — The Warrenton Architectural Review Board voted, 3-1, to grant a certificate of appropriateness for placement of the Warrenton Rotary Club clock. The 12-foot-tall timepiece will stand on the sidewalk in front of the post office at 53 Main St.


May

• May 2 — The Give Local Piedmont fundraising blitz for nonprofit organizations in the region collected $765,741 from 4,629 gifts in its fourth year. Donors made contributions to 151 charities in Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock and Madison counties during the 24-hour event on May 2. Highland School in Warrenton and the Fauquier Free Clinic led the campaign, collecting $79,378 and $49,360, respectively.

• May 2 — Candidates seeking the Republican nominations for governor and lieutenant governor debated the issues at a forum at Warrenton Middle School.

• May 4 — The county board of zoning appeals Thursday granted the Fauquier County Fair Inc. a special permit to continue to operate the fair at its 10.2-acre site along Old Auburn Road. But, that new permit prohibits tractor pulls — a staple of the four-day fair.

• May 8 — Local 4-Hers and FFA members sold $95,319 worth of prize livestock during the 58th annual Fauquier County Show & Sale. Fifty-three exhibitors took part in the event at the Fauquier County Fairgrounds.

• May 9 — A judge sentenced Ellis Watson of District Heights, Md., to 30 years in prison, with half that sentence suspended, for participating in “large-scale heroin ring” near Catlett. Upon his release, the 69-year-old Mr. Watson will be placed on 10 years of supervised probation.

• May 9 — The plan for a highway interchange near Lord Fairfax Community College’s campus south of Warrenton drew mostly positive reviews. Neighboring homeowners continued to press for a sound barrier — an unlikely component of the $26.9-million interchange project — along Routes 15/17/29, the busy, four-lane highway. Fifty-two people signed in during a two-hour public hearing the Virginia Department of Transportation conducted at LFCC.

• May 11 — Lord Fairfax Community College officials announced a $250,000 donation for construction of the Fauquier campus science and technology building, slated to open in 2019. Golden Rule Builders founder Joel Barkman and his wife Patricia have pledged that amount for Hazel Hall. The building’s conference center will bear the Barkman family name.

• May 12 — The Town of Warrenton said farewell to its longest-tenured employee Friday afternoon. His coworkers led a vehicle procession from the town shop to Moser Funeral Home for Richard “Rick” Wines’ memorial service. From there, they escorted Mr. Wines to his final resting place in the Jeffersonton Baptist Church Cemetery. Warrenton’s public utilities superintendent, Mr. Wines died suddenly Sunday night at 58. He collapsed after playing basketball at Jefferson Baptist, his church.

• May 12 — The PATH Foundation announced the award of a $90,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Fauquier. The grant will “assist with operations as they strengthen their board and organization,” PATH said in a press release.

• May 16 — Fauquier’s school board unanimously approved the hiring of Meaghan Brill as the second principal in Kettle Run High’s history. An assistant principal at KRHS for four years, Ms. Brill will start her new position June 5, succeeding Major Warner, recently promoted to associate superintendent of schools.

• May 17 — Citizens who favor restoring the Waterloo Bridge came in force to a public hearing in Warrenton. Ninety-four people signed in during the Virginia Department of Transportation’s two-hour event to solicit public comments. Because of safety concerns, VDOT closed the 139-year-old steel bridge over the Rappahannock River in January 2014.

• May 22 — A judge sentenced a man convicted of involuntary manslaughter and related charges in the November 2015 traffic crash that killed a Sumerduck woman to prison for eight years. Chelsea Stonemetz, 23, died “immediately” at the scene, according to investigators. Fauquier Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker afternoon sentenced Daniel Thomas Tolson, 33, of Spotsylvania, for convictions of manslaughter, driving under the influence and driving with a revoked license.

• May 24 — Fauquier High School awarded diplomas to 283 graduates during its 54th annual graduation ceremony on Falcon Field.

• May 25 — Liberty High School awarded diplomas to 265 graduates during its 23rd annual graduation ceremony at Jiffy Lube Live near Gainesville.

• May 26 — Kettle Run High School awarded diplomas to 313 graduates during its eighth annual graduation ceremony at Cougar Stadium.

• May 26 — This year’s graduates of the county’s three public high schools received $3.1 million in college scholarships. The total includes $1.69 million at Kettle Run, $749,017 at Fauquier High and $672,127 at Liberty High.

• May 27 — The Warrenton Volunteer Fire Co. presented its Lifetime Service Award to Samuel B. Tarr, who joined the organization in the late 1950s and served as chief from 1975 to 1983. Mr. Tarr became only the fourth WVFC member to receive the award.


June

• June 1 — Carl Leckner submitted a plan to build new Ford and Nissan vehicle dealerships on 8.1 acres at East Main Street and Old Stockyard Road in Marshall. Mr. Leckner, who bought the Ford franchise in Marshall last year, needs Fauquier County Board of Zoning Appeals approval to build the new dealerships.

• June 3 — The “Fresh Bucks” program that encourages children to make healthy food choices, started quickly. Children used $3,324 worth of the coupons, funded with a PATH Foundation grant, to buy fresh food at the Warrenton Farmers Market.

• June 5 —Fauquier Emergency Communication Specialist Kim Malloy coached a grandmother and her daughter through childbirth by phone. Medics reached the Remington home just after the baby’s early arrival.

• June 12 — Two people died of injuries suffered in a three-vehicle accident at 7:29 a.m. in the northbound lane of Route 29 at Freemans Ford Road near Remington. An SUV stopped at the traffic signal burst into flames after a Ford pickup truck struck it at a high rate of speed.

• June 13 — Republican Corey Stewart and Democrat Ralph Northam carried the Fauquier County vote in primary elections to select candidates for governor. Mr. Stewart got 51.3 percent of the Fauquier vote but lost statewide to Ed Gillespie in the Republican primary. Mr. Northam got 55.4 percent of the county’s vote in the Democratic primary and easily won statewide.

• June 13 — Upperville resident Jill Holtzman Vogel won a narrow victory Tuesday in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. Ms. Vogel defeated fellow state Sen. Bryce Reeves of Spotsylvania by almost 10,000 votes. She won the three-way nomination race with 42.7 percent of the vote.

• June 13 — Fauquier’s school board Tuesday night unanimously approved the hiring of Nicholas Napolitano, 39, as Taylor Middle School’s new principal. An assistant principal at Liberty High School for three years, Mr. Napolitano will start his new position July 5.

• June 13 — The Warrenton Town Council voted, 7-0, to grant Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen a special use permit for a drive-thru window in a new restaurant proposed at 286 Broadview Ave.

• June 14 — Troubled by a traffic accident that killed two people Monday just west of Remington, Fauquier’s board of supervisors wants state officials immediately to improve safety and reduce the speed limit along portions of Route 29 in Southern Fauquier.

• June 20 —The Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond approved another $5.4 million for safety improvements along Broadview Avenue in Warrenton. The state already had allocated about $1.6 million. The projects — a series of medians, pedestrian crossings and intersection improvements — will cost an estimated $8 million. The Town of Warrenton will spend about $1 million to complete funding for work along a one-mile stretch of roadway.

• June 22 — Walmart maintained its position as the leading grocery seller in Fauquier County. The Warrenton store last year sold $32.5 million worth of groceries. The county market totaled $158 million, according to Food World Magazine.


July

• July 6 — The Warrenton-based PATH Foundation confirmed that it will pay approximately $4 million for 20,000 square feet of an office building under construction at 321 Walker Drive in Warrenton. Old Town Athletic Club owners Kim and Mike Forsten last year started building the 34,000-square-foot structure. PATH next year will move there from office space it has rented at 98 Alexandria Pike.

• July 11 — Fauquier County’s crime rate continued its steady decline in 2016, according to a Virginia State Police report. Last year, the Fauquier sheriff’s office handled 1,599 “Group A” offenses — assault, larceny, robbery, fraud, drug crimes, sex crimes and other offenses. Based on sheriff’s office cases, Fauquier’s 2016 crime rate stood at 2,773 incidents per 100,000 residents. That rate has dropped steadily over the past five years.

• July 11 — Fauquier County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Administration Janice Bourne announced she will retire Aug. 4. Ms. Bourne has worked in that position 13 years.

• July 11 — A private bridge collapsed as a United Parcel Service truck attempted to cross it. The driver escaped injury in that accident on Longwood Lane off of Old Dumfries Road. The single-lane bridge has a metal truss system and wood decking.

• July 11 — After more than two hours of citizen comments, the Warrenton Town Council voted, 6-1, to approve the rezoning for a 32-acre, mixed-use development along Walker Drive. Fifty-three people spoke during the public hearing. The crowd overflowed Town Hall, where 50 people waited outside and listened on loudspeakers. The development plan calls for restaurants, offices, stores, condos, apartments and entertainment businesses, such as a movie theater and bowling alley.

• July 13 — Fauquier’s board of supervisors adopts a resolution urging the Virginia General Assembly to give local government and law enforcement officers the authority to get tough with distracted drivers.

• July 14 — Lord Fairfax Community College has received a $453,686 grant to train new heavy equipment operators in Fauquier. Students will train on state-of-the-art Vortext simulation equipment at LFCC’s Vint Hill center.

• July 17 — Remington’s council votes, 6-0, to award a $420,000 contract for construction of a new Town Hall at 105 E. Main St. Bealeton contractor Frank Poland will have 180 days to complete the project.

• July 18 — The Fauquier sheriff’s office charged an inmate and a Culpeper woman with distribution of methamphetamine in the county jail. The inmate, Jean-Paul George Deserres, 50, and Heather Renee Doty, 35, of Culpeper, allegedly worked together on the scheme, which attempted to deliver drugs by mail.

• July 20 — The county planning commission votes, 5-0, to recommend the board of supervisors approve the “form-based” zoning code for Marshall. The changes would put greater emphasis on traditional design and permit more flexibility on a building’s use.

• July 21 — Police discover the body of store Manager Rex Mack Olsen, 64, behind the CVS Pharmacy on Blackwell Road in Warrenton.

• July 29 — His fellow volunteers Saturday afternoon bade a fitting farewell to former Warrenton Town Councilman and Fire Chief Sam Tarr, who died July 25 at age 82. An antique fire truck carried Mr. Tarr’s ashes from Moser Funeral Home to the Warrenton Cemetery. The procession, which included other fire trucks, passed the volunteer station on Shirley Avenue, under a huge flag on Keith Street and the original firehouse on Main Street, where Mr. Tarr joined the department in 1959.


August

• Aug. 1 — Administrators released three new options for addressing two aging middle schools in Warrenton. An architectural firm produced two for renovating and expanding Warrenton Middle and one for a new school on the Taylor Middle campus along Shirley Avenue. Each option would result in a school for 800 students in Grades 6 to 8.

• Aug. 1 — About 80 people attended the dedication of a new home near Sumerduck for Larry Bailey, a former Marine corporal who lost both legs above the knee and his left hand when he struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan. After a long recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, he finally will be able to live with less help in the “smart home,” funded by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 

• Aug. 2 — Warrenton police charged Bernard Clark Duse Jr., 76, of Alexandria, with murdering the CVS Pharmacy manager the night of July 26. An employee of the pharmacy, Mr. Duse allegedly shot and killed Rex Mack Olsen, 64. Police found Mr. Olsen’s body near a dumpster behind the Blackwell Road store around 10:30 p.m. last Wednesday.

• Aug. 4 — The Fauquier school board’s position on how to address two aging buildings in Warrenton remains unchanged. The board Friday rejected two options for renovating and expanding Warrenton Middle School, at estimated costs of $33.5 million and $44.8 million. Although they took no vote, all five members remained steadfast in their support for construction of a new, 800-student building on the Taylor Middle School campus along East Shirley Avenue.

• Aug. 8 — After almost two years of deliberation, Warrenton’s town council voted, 4-2, to put Brentmoor up for sale. The town in 1999 bought the Italianate house at 173 Main St. for $460,000. It housed the John S. Mosby Museum, which operated from 2013 to early 2015.

• Aug. 10 — A group of Warrenton homeowners filed a lawsuit claiming the town council violated municipal and state regulations in approving a large, mixed-use project along Walker Drive last month. Filed in Fauquier County Circuit Court, the lawsuit seeks to void the rezoning, approved on a 6-1 vote. The 32-acre development along Warrenton’s eastern edge would include offices, shops, restaurants, 76 apartments, 40 condominiums and, possibly, a multiscreen movie theater and/or a bowling alley.

• Aug. 12 — The National Weather Service determined that a tornado briefly touched down east of The Plains, near Broad Run, on Friday night. The agency classified it as an EF-0 tornado — the weakest — with 75-mph wind. The tornado toppled trees and power lines in a path up to 100 yards wide for 1.2 miles, the agency reported early Saturday afternoon.

• Aug. 15 — Warrenton Mayor Powell Duggan announced he will not seek re-election next May. Powell Duggan, 64, will step down when his four-year term expires June 30, because of the time commitment involved. In 2014, he succeeded George Fitch, who served four terms (16 years) as Warrenton’s mayor.

• Aug. 15 — Thirteen of Fauquier’s 19 schools passed all of the Virginia Standards of Learning exams in 2016-17. But, two local elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school scored below state standards on reading, writing or math tests. 

• Aug. 18 — Fauquier County won a $2.6 million federal grant to hire 15 fire/rescue technicians for three years. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant requires a $1.6 million match from the county. After three years, the county will assume all the costs.

• Aug. 21 — After deliberating about 2-1/2 hours, a Fauquier jury convicted a Maryland man of two felonies related to the Feb. 8 burglary of a home near Upperville. The also sentenced Theodore Roosevelt Bailey Jr., 62, to 14 years for breaking into a home on Mount Airy Road and two years for possession of burglary tools. The judge on Oct. 23 will consider whether to suspend a portion the sentence.

• Aug. 22 — Partly because of the violent protests over Confederate monuments in Charlottesville and elsewhere, the organizer has cancelled the 13th annual Warrenton-Fauquier Heritage Day. A celebration of Fauquier’s history with emphasis on the county’s role in the Civil War, the event would have taken place Saturday, Sept. 30. The event traditionally has featured Civil War enthusiasts dressed as Confederate and Union soldiers, including Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

• Aug. 28 — A Warrenton woman will serve six months in jail for charges related to the disruption of a funeral procession near town in March. Kara Rene Deans, 22, in June pleaded guilty to felony hit and run, felony eluding and misdemeanor driving under the influence.


September

• Sept. 5 — Sheriff’s deputies discover a county jail inmate and a woman in the back seat her car in a public parking lot downtown. Authorities charged Teresa Jo Burchfield, 53, of McLean, with a class 1 misdemeanor for allegedly supplying the 23-year-old inmate with “suspected vitamin supplement pills and other unauthorized articles.”

• Sept. 5 — Virginia Hobbies Etc. owner Burrell Spindel announced he will move the business from the Warrenton Village Center along Lee Highway to 46 Main St. in November.

• Sept. 5 — A Stafford sheriff’s deputy charged Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker with assault after a disagreement with a Walmart clerk. Judge Parker, 65, found jewelry in the store parking lot and took it to the service desk. When the clerk refused to give him a receipt for the jewelry or return it, the judge allegedly grabbed her wrist. She pressed charges.

• Sept. 6 — The Vint Hill Economic Development Authority sold its last remaining parcel of the former 700-acre Army base near New Baltimore to private owners. A subsidiary of Vint Hill Village LLC, the developer that owns much of the former base, bought the parcel the 4.6-acre property for $5.2 million. The property includes a 19,000-square-foot warehouse/shop that Columbia Gas rents.

• Sept. 8 — A 4-year-old girl survived an accidental shooting in the back seat of vehicle parked at Quarles Truck Stop near Opal. Authorities charged Isaiah Marshall Davis, 26, of Winchester with three felony counts of abuse and neglect of children and with reckless handling of a firearm and allowing access to a firearm by children.

• Sept. 13 — The Piedmont District Boy Scouts announced that Fauquier schools’ Associate Superintendent for Instruction Major Warner next month will receive the 2017 Roland Tapscott Good Scout Award.

• Sept. 13 — Based on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests results, 18 of Fauquier’s 19 public schools have earned full state accreditation this year. H.M. Pearson Elementary near Calverton fell one percentage point short in English and received a “partial accreditation” according to the state report.

• Sept. 13 — The former president of a Culpeper County company will spend 51 months in federal prison for fraud that resulted in a $10.5 million loss to The Fauquier Bank. Michael P. Klekamp, 68, of Charlottesville, in December pleaded guilty to falsifying corporate financial records to obtain an $11.5-million line of credit in October 2015. Mr. Klekamp committed the crimes as president of Capitol Components and Millwork Inc. Based at Elkwood near the Culpeper airport, the company manufactured and distributed architectural millwork items for mid- to high-end residential and commercial buildings.

• Sept. 14 — Fauquier’s board of supervisors voted, 4-1, to approve construction of a new $6.9-million Orlean Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department station. The Orlean department has awarded a $5.6-million contract to Winchester-based Lantz Construction

• Sept. 14 — Fauquier’s board of supervisors has agreed to fund expansion and renovation of Warrenton Middle School — but not construction of a replacement. In an unusual proposal, the supervisors have conditioned their funding for the $33-million project on reuse of Taylor Middle School and the sale of other publicly-owned property.

• Sept. 14 — The county supervisors vote, 5-0, to award Lynchburg-based English Construction Co. Inca contract to design and build an alternative wastewater treatment system to serve the two Catlett and Calverton at an estimated $6.8 million.

• Sept. 14 — A Maryland company has proposed construction of a 129-mile fiber optic cable network to provide broadband service to rural areas of Fauquier County. The county supervisors voted, 4-0, to accept the preliminary, conceptual plan from Freedom Telecom Services Inc., doing business as FTS Fiber.

• Sept. 18 — Fauquier’s school board wants the funding but not the board of supervisors’ edicts on what to do about two aging structures in Warrenton. School board members slammed an unusual Sept. 14 letter from supervisors Chairman Rick Gerhardt (Cedar Run District) that pledges $27.5 million in debt financing for Warrenton Middle School’s renovation and expansion. The letter makes the offer with conditions that the school board sell surplus property and reuse Taylor Middle, also in Warrenton.

• Sept. 18 — The school board approved the promotion of its budget director to assistant superintendent. Prashant Shrestha, 37, started Tuesday as assistant superintendent for budget and planning.

• Sept. 19 — An overturned propane gas tanker closed Route 17 in both directions between Warrenton and Old Tavern for about nine hours. The tractor-trailer accident took place around 2 p.m., causing major headaches for traffic throughout Northern Fauquier.

• Sept. 19 — A Richmond-based nonprofit applied for a special permit to operate a 14-bed substance abuse recovery center in Warrenton. The McShin Foundation would need town council approval for a proposed 28-day recovery program at 30 John Marshall St.

• Sept. 21 — More than 200 citizens attended a two-hour Virginia Department of Transportation “outreach meeting” about proposals to improve safety on a three-mile stretch of Route 29 through New Baltimore. Under the plan, intersections at Broad Run Church, Telephone, Riley and Vint Hill roads would get redesigned to prevent left turns onto southbound Route 29. A series of planned “RCUTS,” or U-turns, would allow left turns across the four-lane highway’s median.

• Sept. 21 — The Warrenton Regional Chamber announced that it will merge with the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce in October.

• Sept. 21 — The Fauquier County Planning Commission unanimously recommended denial of a comprehensive plan amendment that could allow Vint Hill Village LLC to add up to 372 homes and relocate a planned “village center” at the former Army base near New Baltimore. Vint Hill Village’s “concept” for the project also includes 33,800 square feet of commercial space.

• Sept. 22 — A third drug dealer in a “large-scale heroin ring” near Catlett will spend up to 27 years in prison. Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. sentenced Bryant O. Banks to 57 years behind bars but suspended 25 of them.
The 42-year-old Catlett man pleaded guilty in June to two counts of felony distribution and failure to appear for a previously scheduled trial on the drug charges. Because Mr. Banks had been twice convicted of heroin distribution, he faced up to life in prison for both of the new drugs offenses.

• Sept. 27 — A Stafford judge dismissed the assault charge against Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker. The charge resulted from Judge Parker’s disagreement with a Walmart clerk after he brought in jewelry he had found in the store parking lot on Sept. 5.


October

• Oct. 2 — The Fauquier sheriff’s office launched an investigation of threats allegedly involving Liberty High School students. Posted in an online gaming application under the hashtag “operation will to kill,” the comments suggest an unnamed student has one month to live. One of the comments included a photo of an assault rifle.

• Oct. 2 — Deposits in Fauquier County banks increased by $206 million over the last year. That represents growth of 13.4 percent, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. annual report issued Monday. As of June 30, the 25 bank branches in Fauquier had total deposits of $1.74 billion, the FDIC reported.

• Oct. 2 — Warrenton’s new parking enforcement officer started writing warnings to those who violate the regulations downtown. For two years, the town has lacked an officer dedicated to parking enforcement.

• Oct. 3 — Because of mounting citizen opposition, Leckner Ford of Marshall’s owner dropped plans to build a two-dealership auto sales and service park in the Northern Fauquier village. Carl Leckner wanted special permit approval to build a 19,800-square-foot structure for the century-old business and a 14,300-square-foot structure for a new Nissan dealership at East Main Street and Old Stockyard Road. “The last thing we would ever do is build something people don’t want,” Mr. Leckner said of his decision to abandon the estimated $15-million project.

• Oct. 5 — Authorities had placed no charges against Liberty High School students who allegedly discussed killing one of their peers in a private, online chat last week. Fauquier school officials also refused to disclose whether they had suspended any of the students. School administrators and sheriff’s investigators learned of and began investigating the obscenity-laced threats Monday afternoon. But, they went public with information about the incident only after a parent posted screen shots of the discussion thread two days later on Facebook. The investigation started with Liberty’s School Resource Officer Chris Meyer, the first sheriff’s deputy to learn about the discussion among a group called “operation will to kill” on Discord, a chat application for online gamers.

• Oct. 9 — After 22 years in business on Warrenton’s Main Street, Fabric Emporium owners Maria and Joe Price announced they will close their interior design store and retire Dec. 15.

• Oct. 9 — Parents and teenagers blasted official response to online death threats involving Liberty High School students. Before an audience of about 150 and TV cameras in the LHS auditorium, administrators and law enforcement officials explained last week’s decision not to place criminal charges against the six students who took part in the online chats.

• Oct. 12 — Laying to rest one of Fauquier’s more divisive land-use debates in years, the board of supervisors approved zoning regulations designed to ensure that Marshall develops like a traditional town. The board voted, 3-1, to approve the “Marshall Code” — a 31-page document that includes new requirements related to building height and stories, lot size and width, setbacks, building footprints, parking, screening and landscaping.

• Oct. 16 — A 19-year-old man died Monday night when he drove his SUV into the path of a southbound train in Bealeton. The crash took place at approximately 6:15 p.m. in the 1100 block of Remington Road.

• Oct. 18 — Two men robbed the Circle K Exxon convenience store in Warrenton at 3:29 a.m., according to town police. The men — one with a semiautomatic handgun — fled the store at 309 W. Lee Highway with an undisclosed amount of cash.

• Oct. 25 — Fauquier County’s new, $5-million trash transfer station began operating at Corral Farm south of Warrenton. The county ships its trash to a Henrico County landfill at a cost of $45.67 per ton.

• Oct. 26 — State and local officials broke ground for the Puller Veteran Care Center on 30 acres at Vint Hill. The Virginia Department of Veterans Services plans to open the 128-bed center in late 2019. The project will cost an estimated $48 million.

• Oct. 26 — Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Dominion Energy officials dedicated the new, $46-million solar power generating facility on 125 acres east of Remington. The facility has more than 200,000 solar panels.


November

• Nov. 1 — Fauquier Hospital received the top grade for safety from a national, nonprofit healthcare rating organization. The Leapfrog Group awarded the hospital an “A” for safety. Nationwide, 832 hospitals earned the top grade for keeping patients safe and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S.

• Nov. 3 — A judge sent the Warrenton CVS murder case to a Fauquier County Circuit Court grand jury for potential indictment. An employee of the Blackwell Road pharmacy, Bernard Clark Duse Jr. on July 26 allegedly shot and killed store Manager Rex Mack Olsen, 64, at about 10:15 p.m. Authorities arrested Mr. Duse Aug. 2 and charged him with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of murder.

• Nov. 4 — The Fauquier Chamber of Commerce named Warrenton psychotherapist Marianne Clyde as its “Business Person of the Year.”

• Nov. 7 — Seven Warrenton residents lost Round One in their legal battle to derail a large mixed-use development project along Walker Drive. After an hour-long hearing, Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Jeffery W. Parker ruled the plaintiffs in a lawsuit failed to demonstrate that the project — if constructed as approved — would cause harm particular to them, not shared by the public generally. In doing so, Judge Parker agreed with the Town of Warrenton.

• Nov. 7 — Fauquier County voted solidly Republican in elections for the state’s top offices and the Virginia House of Delegates. But, Democrats Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring won the statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, respectively. Upperville resident Jill Vogel, a Republican, lost her bid for lieutenant governor. Dels. Michael Webert (R-18th/Marshall) and Mark Cole (R-88th/Spotsylvania) easily won re-election. But, Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-31st/Woodbridge), a 16-year incumbent, lost to Democrat Elizabeth Guzman of Woodbridge.

• Nov. 7 — Highland School in Warrenton recently “removed” three male students who allegedly hazed and had “inappropriate contact” with other male students in a school bathroom. Highland officials learned of the misconduct last week, Head of School Hank Berg and Assistant Head of School Cassin Bertke wrote in a letter to upper school parents.

• Nov. 8 — A California man pleaded guilty in Fauquier County Circuit Court to < sexually assaulting a woman near Catlett more than 10 years ago. Richard T. Murphy, 35, pleaded guilty to object penetration, forcible sodomy and abduction with the intent to defile. Each count carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

• Nov. 9 — To commemorate its 200th anniversary next year, the Warrenton United Methodist Church has offered to help fund construction of an amphitheater with a covered stage and audience seating in a town park.

• Nov. 12 — With a construction office trailer in the foreground and the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop, about 75 Orlean area residents gathered to break ground for a new, long-anticipated fire and rescue station.

• Nov. 14 — The Warrenton Town Council took Brentmoor, which formerly housed the defunct John S. Mosby Museum, off the real estate market for 60 days. Warrenton residents Kirk and Rebecca Goolsby have signed a letter of intent to purchase the 158-year-old home from the town for $595,000 — the asking price. The town will give
the Goolsbys two months to inspect the property and arrange financing.

• Nov. 18 — Two dozen canine constituents anxiously awaited the long-anticipated opening of Warrenton’s new dog. After a few words from Mayor Powell Duggan about his pet project, town council members cut the ribbon on the dog park at the end of South Fifth Street, along the Warrenton Branch Greenway. One at a time, dogs with their owners entered the first gate, shed their leashes and sprinted through a second gate onto 19,000 square feet of lush green turf.

• Nov. 21 — After a two-hour public hearing, the Warrenton Planning Commission voted, 4-0-1, to recommend town council approval of a special permit for the McShin Foundation to operate a 14-bed, residential addiction treatment center at 30 John Marshall St. Twenty-seven people spoke in favor of the application and eight against it.

• Nov. 28 — After five years of planning and fundraising, Lord Fairfax Community College broke ground for Hazel Hall, a $20-million health, science and technology building on the Fauquier campus.

• Nov. 30 — The Warrenton-based PATH Foundation announced that it will sell its 20-percent stake in Fauquier Health. The transaction — worth about $33 million — should take place early next year, giving Tennessee-based LifePoint Health complete ownership of the Warrenton hospital and related businesses. A publicly-traded corporation, LifePoint bought 80 percent of Fauquier Health four years ago. The foundation in late 2013 started with an endowment of about $150 million from Fauquier Health’s sale.


December

• Dec. 1 — A Gordonsville man convicted of reckless driving in a June crash near Remington that killed two people began a 12-month jail sentence. After a 2-1/2-hour trial in October, Fauquier General District Court Judge J. Gregory Ashwell convicted Jonathan Dodson, sentencing him to the maximum of 12 months in jail, fining him $2,500 and suspending his driver’s license for six months. Mr. Dodson, 34, appealed that verdict to Fauquier County Circuit Court. But, he dropped the appeal and started his sentence.

• Dec. 1 — An estimated 5,000 people packed the sidewalks along Main Street for Warrenton’s Christmas Parade. The parade drew 75 entries, including all three county high school’s marching bands. After Santa’s arrival at the old courthouse, the parade concluded with a bang — a fireworks display over the library.

• Dec. 5 — A man robbed the Payless Shoe Source in the Warrenton Village Shopping Center and fled with cash, according to town police.

• Dec. 7 — Fauquier Hospital produced a record profit of $22.7 million in 2016, according to the latest annual report from Virginia Health Information in Richmond. That represents a 15.5-percent “operating margin” — after interest, taxes and amortization — on net patient revenue of $146.3 million. Among Virginia’s 106 hospitals, Fauquier’s percentage of profit ranked 14th last year.

• Dec. 8 — Remington citizens celebrated their new Town Hall over a potluck lunch of deviled eggs, meatballs, cupcakes and other treats. About 40 people gathered for $420,000 building’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at 105 E. Main St. Since 1959, a former bank building just down the street has house municipal offices.

• Dec. 9 — As the season’s first snow began to fall, things got brighter for 71 children at the Walmart in Warrenton. With police escorts, the youngsters spread out through the store to buy $200 worth of Christmas gifts apiece for themselves and their families. Fauquier County’s annual Shop With a Cop event within two hours rang up $14,000 worth of purchases.

• Dec. 12 — Broadview Avenue businessmen said there could be a simple, cheaper way to fix traffic flow and safety problems than constructing medians along the busy Warrenton strip. In a meeting with town and state officials, about 20 Broadview Avenue business and property owners criticized the $8 million plan to build medians that would limit left turns along the busy strip.

• Dec. 13 — Margie Susie Ryder, 38, of Linden, pleaded guilty in Fauquier County Circuit Court to stealing $79,300 from a Warrenton heating and air conditioning business. Ms. Ryder faced five felony counts of embezzlement for taking the money from Warrenton Heating & Air Conditioning during a 22-month period, beginning in April 2015. As part of her plea agreement, four counts will be dismissed on Feb. 13, when a Fauquier County Circuit Court judge will sentence her.

• Dec. 14 — Vint Hill’s developer abruptly withdrew a controversial plan that would have paved the way for hundreds of additional homes on the former Army base near New Baltimore. Vint Hill Village LLC sought a comprehensive plan amendment from the board of supervisors to change the land-use designation for 61.9 acres from “Planned Industrial Development” to “Medium Density Residential.” That could allow a maximum of 372 new dwellings to the planned village center.

• Dec. 14 — Fauquier’s board of supervisors agreed to help the county school system address a bus driver “crisis.” The supervisors will provide an additional $80,000 to pay more for the balance of the fiscal year that runs through June. The school board will match that increase. The funds will boost starting driver pay to $16.50 an hour — up $2.52 — and will give current drivers raises.

• Dec. 14 — In a surprise move, Fauquier’s board of supervisors agreed to buy a downtown Warrenton building where a nonprofit foundation hopes to open a 14-bed addiction recovery center. The board will pay $650,000 for the three-story structure at 30 John Marshall St. and an adjacent parking lot from Mill Ponds Investment LLC owner Matt Iten. The property totals almost half an acre. Fauquier expects to close the deal within 45 days, County Administrator Paul McCulla said. County government has identified no specific uses for the John Marshall Street building, Mr. McCulla said.

• Dec. 14 — German grocery giant Lidl this week pulled its application to build a 36,000-square-foot store at 394 Broadview Ave. in Warrenton.

• Dec. 22 — Fires — all started accidentally — have destroyed three Fauquier County homes in the last two weeks. The most recent total loss resulted from a blaze reported early Friday morning on Catlett Road near Midland. The Dec. 11 fire that destroyed a Mosby Drive home in the Warrenton Lakes subdivision started with “electrical components running Christmas lights,” according to the sheriff’s office. The Dec. 20 fire on Kirkland Drive in the Lake Whippoorwill subdivision north of Warrenton and the Midland fire resulted from “the improper disposal of smoking materials.”
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