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November 28, 2019

Throwback Thursday: 1st black school board member

November 1994 — New Center District school board member John Williams chats with his grandson, seventh-grader Tyree Williams, during a visit to Warrenton Middle School.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of December 2, 1994


First black school board member tackles duties with vigor

None of his three children attended the all-black high school in Warrenton

But, for five years, John Williams served as president of Taylor High School’s parent-teacher organization. From 1959 to ’63, he went to a lot of school board meetings with one request: to fix a drinking fountain that ran hot water.

But the all-white, all-male school board “never did anything about it,” laments Williams, who in June became the first African-American member of Fauquier’s school board.

“I had to keep bringing that problem before the school board,” Williams says of the old water fountain. “Maybe that’s why I ran.”

The board of supervisors selected Williams among three candidates to fill the Center District seat. (Gary Watson decided not to seek reappointment so he could devote more time to his printing business.)

Instead of playing it safe and spending his first few months watching and waiting, Williams dove right into his new job, visiting schools and returning phone calls like a veteran.

“He seems to be very interested and enthusiastic about being places and doing things,” fellow board member Mary Charles Ashby (Scott District) says. “It helps a lot to get to know people in the system. I think it’s more important to be there (in the schools) . . . than to attend nine million meetings a week.”





Supervisors plan to hold the line on taxes in 1995-96

Board members call it a demand for fiscal responsibility.

Skeptics call it election-year politics.

Whatever the case, the Fauquier supervisors appear dead set against increasing real estate and personal property taxes next year.

As they prepare for another winter and spring of budget deliberations, board members hope to limit spending in fiscal 1996, which will start July 1, to avoid another tax increase.

Fauquier levies a real estate tax of $1.03 per $100 assessed value and a personal property tax (primarily on vehicles) of $4.90 per $100 assessed value.

The real estate tax rate has risen from 83 cents in 1990. Personal property taxes have risen 22 percent since 1991, when the levy stood at $4.


Dennis to resign as PEC president

The president of the Warrenton-based Piedmont Environmental Council plans to pack it in after 14 years on the job.

Robert T. Dennis this week said he expects to leave the post “sometime between now and April 1996.”

“There’s no schedule, there’s not date,” the 58-year-old Rappahannock County resident said. “It’s up to the board of directors.”

Dennis believes PEC “will be going through some changes and it’s probably a good time to be thinking about a change at the top.”

The board will set up a search committee in January, he said.


New hobby shop opens

The new Warrenton shop sells a pair of giant magnolia trees for just $2.80.

Or, investors can buy Madeline’s Deli — lock, stock, barrel and building for a mere $5.55.

It’s a small world at TSG Hobbies in Warrenton Center, where owner Tony Tripi offers hundreds of model railroad items, including trees and the deli in HO (1/87th) scale.

Tripi also caters to stamp collectors, model builders, game players and students tackling science projects.

The new retailer, who took early retirement last spring after 25 years as an electrical engineer with IBM, spent months pondering, researching and writing his business plan before taking the plunge.


Liberty’s first athletic trainer

She’s young, pretty and in great shape from daily workouts. In any other profession, her good looks probably would work to her advantage.

But, when Liberty athletic trainer Lisa Lindblad wants adolescent boys or burly football coaches to take her advice, she has to act twice as tough.

“It’s sad when you have to prove yourself. It’s hard to be a new trainer, but also being young and a woman . . . . But, you just have to do it. I’ve had to show the students, the parents, the coaches that I can handle,” the 26-year-old says in a serious tone.

During the Eagles’ first football season, Lindblad made it clear that she would be no pushover.

“It didn’t take them very long to figure out they were dealing with her as a trainer and that’s it,” LHS Activities Director Jerry Carter says.
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