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February 13, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Old Remington school could go

1995: “It’s a good old school, but it’s served its time,” M.M. Pierce Principal Betty Putnam says.
25 Years Ago
From The Fauquier Citizen edition of February 17, 1995

Bond would replace 1932 part of Remington school

The stark, red brick façade still stands at M.M. Pierce Elementary School.

But, the Remington landmark — built in 1932 as part of the Work Projects Administration program — seems beyond repair.

“It’s a good, old school, but it’s served its time,” Principal Betty Putnam said. “I spend so much time dealing with the building that could be spent working with teachers and students.”

The former John Barton Payne School will be demolished if voters approve a $13-million school bond referendum March 14. In its place, a 52,193-square-foot, one-story structure would rise.

At $5.8 million, the new school would cost the county more than the renovations planned at Coleman Elementary near Marshall and Fauquier High in Warrenton. But, it would add 25 classrooms, a new kitchen, cafeteria and library.

Pierce’s addition, built in 1981, would undergo minor renovation as well. With the old library divided into two classrooms, the wing would contain 10 regular rooms for regular instruction and six smaller rooms for special education, remedial reading and math and gifted and talented education.

D’Urso reluctant front-runner

Ross D’Urso knows that local political gossip mongers consider him the front-runner for the job of interim commissioner of revenue.

And, he knows that many view him as the man to beat next fall, when Fauquier voters will elect a new commissioner.

D’Urso, 40, hears the talk in the hallways of the county courthouse and in meetings of the numerous civic organizations to which he belongs. The talk makes him cringe.

The county’s deputy commissioner of revenue since 1990, D’Urso readily acknowledges his interest in replacing his “mentor,” Alice Jane Childs, when she retires at the end of the month.

“A lot of my friends have encouraged me to run,” D’Urso said. “But until things become official, it’s a different ballgame.”

In other words, he said, he takes nothing for granted until a circuit court judicial panel appoints later this month appoints an interim commissioner to serve through Dec. 31.

Warrenton lawyer Payne tops judgeship candidate list

Warrenton lawyer H. Dudley Payne Jr. received the lion’s share of attention as local judicial candidates faced General Assembly committees Saturday.

Payne, who lives near Orlean, and fellow attorneys John W. Wine of Marshall and Robert H. Kilma of Broad Run are candidates for the 20th District Juvenile and Domestic Court soon to be vacated by retiring Judge A. Burke Hertz.

The three candidates met separately with the Senate and House Courts of Justice committees in interviews that together ran less than an hour.

For Payne, the interviews seemed more a round of congratulations than a grilling. Del. John J. “Butch” Davies (D-Culpeper), a member of the committee, spoke of “literally a file full of letters” he has received supporting Payne.

Del. Jay Katzen (R-Markham) said he has emailed his GOP colleagues, urging them to support Payne, who has actively participated in the Democratic Party.

The legislature will fill the judgeship before it adjourns Feb. 25.

Earlier school opening possible

Fauquier’s school board voted, 4-1, Monday to seek permission from the Virginia Department of Education to start classes before Labor Day.

“Until all schools are air-conditioned, I don’t think schools should be open” before the September holiday, said Mary Charles Ashby (Scott District), who voted against the application.

The state board last year changed the policy, allowing any school system that missed five days of classes or more because of weather to request an earlier start.

Weather closed Fauquier schools an average of 9.8 days annually from 1986 through last year. The county system closed 20 times because of weather in 1993-94.

Ennis prepares for board run

After two months of “testing the waters,” Midland resident Dell Ennis appears ready to challenge two-term incumbent Wilbur Burton for the Cedar Run District seat on the board of supervisors.

Ennis, 36, has begun a petition drive to get his name on the ballot for the June 13 Democratic primary and may announce his candidacy by the end of the month.

“I can say confidently that the reason for this campaign is to move Fauquier County to an economic success with revenue-inducing decisions and to get our heads out of the sand and into the air,” Ennis said in an interview Monday.

The self-employed builder and developer said he “instigated” a meeting of Cedar Run Democrats last week, when party members decided to hold an open primary to choose the nominee.

2 more Big Mac outlets planned here

The McDonald’s Corp. plans to open two “limited edition” restaurants in Warrenton to make fast food even more convenient.

By early summer, the company expects to open storefront operations in Warrenton Center on Lee Highway and Warrenton Towne Centre on Route 211.

McDonald’s would lease about 1,000 square feet in each shopping center, where the eateries would have limited menus.

Fauquier already has three McDonald’s — one on Broadview Avenue, another at the Opal Truck Stop and a third at Bealeton.

“Lion in Winter” to open at The Loft

The Fauquier Community Theatre production of “Lion in Winter” will open Friday night at The Loft in Warrenton.

Award-winning Director Diane Hughes will oversee the production.

Her husband, Michael Hughes stars as Henry II, king of England.

Diana Morgan costars as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, a proud woman struggling to retain the power and love she once took for granted.

Married for 31 years, the couple grapple with the stresses that arise from the competition among their three grown sons, all of whom hope to inherit the throne.

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