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March 14, 2019

Throwback Thursday: Race track proposals vetted

Virginia Racing Commission member Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel of The Plains checks soil at the proposed race track site near Haymarket on Monday.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of March 18, 1994

Haymarket, Loudoun horse track plans reviewed

The Virginia Racing Commission, which includes two members from Fauquier, on Monday toured a Haymarket farm, one of six sites proposed for the state’s first pari-mutuel horse track.

During public hearings in Leesburg and Manassas, the commission heard from horse breeders and trainers who think a Northern Virginia track would give their industry a shot in the arm. And, the five commissioners heard from angry opponents who loathe the thought of having a horse track in their “backyards.”

Middleburg developer James J. Wilson leads a group touting the 647-acre site near Haymarket, just east of the Fauquier County line. Maryland racing magnate Joe De Francis and another group want to build a track near Dulles Airport in Loudoun County.

Ernie Oare of Warrenton and Arthur Arundel of The Plains, along with their fellow commissioners, will conduct a site visit and public hearing Wednesday in New Kent County. They will hold additional hearings June 6-8 in Richmond before awarding a single license later this summer.

General Assembly OKs Disney bonds

For Del. Jay Katzen (R-Markham), the General Assembly’s approval of a $163-million bond package Disney’s America means the fulfillment of a campaign pledge last fall to support measures to rebuild Virginia’s sputtering economy.

State Sen. Russ Potts (R-Winchester) and Del. Kevin Miller (R-Harrisonburg) also supported the package that Gov. George Allen (R ) proposed. But, Del. Joe T. May (R-Leesburg), who also represents part of Fauquier voted against it.

Legislative approval represents a major setback for the Warrenton-based Piedmont Environmental Council, which has helped organize opposition to the history theme park and mixed-use development on 3,000 acres.

“We were surprised with the outcome,” said PEC staffer Chris Miller. “We were surprised they gave Disney everything they asked for.”

Troubled students would get second chances

Assistant Superintendent Becky Sutherland wants to save some students’ lives.

“I want to give kids another chance,” Mrs. Sutherland said.

To help those students, usually labeled “at risk,” she wants to reincorporate an alternative education program for those “who cannot function in a normal educational setting.”

The school board has included $100,000 for the program in its budget request. Potentially housed in a trailer at Fauquier High School, the program would be a strict, “heavy work” class with individualized instruction.

Heilig-Meyers makes a fast start

The nation’s fastest-growing furniture chain, Richmond-based Heilig-Myers has brought its formula of low prices, broad selection and easy credit to Warrenton.

The store opened March 4 in part of the remodeled Ames space in the Towne Centre shopping plaza on Frost Avenue.

“We’re doing better than they expected,” Manager Lyman Ange said of corporate officials’ expectations for the 20,000-square-foot store.

Ange added: “We gear to middle class America. We’re not real high; we’re not real low.”

Teens to stand trial in shotgun incident

The three boys charged in a Feb. 7 gun-toting incident near Warrenton Junior High School will stand trail April 27.

Their cases may be heard jointly in Fauquier County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, depending the defense lawyers’ wishes, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jonathan Lynn said Monday.

Police charged one of the 17-year-olds with two counts of brandishing a firearm and possession of a handgun. Another teen faces two counts of brandishing, while the third has been charged with possession of a handgun and marijuana.

The boys allegedly threatened two 14-year-old WJHS girls on a warm afternoon last month. Police said the Fauquier High students skipped school and stopped in front of the junior high school while driving around after a party.

Local philanthropist dies

Margaret Spilman Bowden, 96, of Warrenton, died at her home, “The Oaks,” on March 13.

Born in 1896, she was the daughter of Gen. and Mrs. Baldwin Day Spilman of Elway Hall and granddaughter of Sen. and Mrs. Johnson Lewlon Camden of Parkersburg, W.Va.

Mrs. Bowden attended National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. She was the wife of the late Rev. Paul D. Bowden, who was rector of St. James Episcopal Church for more than 40 years. She was known for her philanthropy throughout Fauquier County.

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