Tag Archives: David Karaffa

There’s More to the Courthouse Issue Than Many Realize

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Guest Post

[Editor’s Note: The ongoing Augusta County courthouse issue is once again in the news. The Staunton News Leader’s articles (see County approves courthouse referendum petition, Staunton responds to county courthouse decision, County approves courthouse referendum petition, and New courthouse would not serve the greater good) are helpful for background in the ongoing discussion as well as those from LynnRMitchell.com writers (see Augusta County Courthouse: ‘This is the song that doesn’t end‘ and Augusta County Courthouse moving forward, Staunton counters and The Augusta County Courthouse decision and Augusta County: Renovate courthouse in Staunton or build new one in county?) in this two-year-old issue. Former supervisor David Karaffa, who was very involved in the courthouse issue, provides background in a less-confined way than when he was on the board. Originally published May 16, 2016.]

I have been reading the online News Leader and other news sources as the Augusta County Courthouse issue heats up again and I feel the need to tell the truth about the discussions that have been taking place for years between Staunton and Augusta County about it.

First, the News Leader is incredibly biased (if you didn’t know that already). When I was in my first or second year on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, we opened a dialog with Staunton to discuss the overwhelming issues we were having with the courts. We also reminded the Staunton City Council of the many promises and deals that were made in good faith to keep the facilities up and running and in Staunton at a shared expense.

The Board of Supervisors, the courts, and the citizens of Augusta kept up their end of the deal for decades (yes — decades; you read that right), and the Staunton City Council never moved forward on their end of the deal. Shameful. Now, of course, over the decades many of the people on the council and board have moved on, but some are still there. So that is some deep background.

Augusta County CourthouseNow for the more recent history that needs to be told….

As I said before, I was on the Board when we reminded Staunton of its past agreements with the county. We invited Staunton into the discussion as we moved forward with Frazier & Associates on what the cost would be to renovate the court building to provide another couple of decades of use. The numbers were out of this world high and still didn’t address all the issues. The Board of Supervisors gave all the information to the Staunton City Council and they basically said, “It’s not our problem.” (Thanks for that, by the way.)

At that point and after many discussions the idea was dusted off that the courthouse should be and was always planned to move to Verona when the county’s other services moved there (novel idea!). So the board hired an architect to look into what it would cost to move and build a new courthouse that could last for some 75 years (remember our current one has been in use for more than 110 years).

A plan was delivered. It was also shared with Staunton, and another round of talks with them about other options took place.

Staunton then hired Frazier & Associates to come up with another plan (yes, the same firm the county hired). Another plan was delivered, more tailored towards Staunton’s requests. We all got to see it and it included a SKYBRIDGE! Wait … what? A SKYBRIDGE that was going to cost like a MILLION dollars or something (I cannot remember the exact figure but it was out there; like, in orbit out there).

Staunton City Council’s Miss Dull said she couldn’t justify spending Staunton taxpayer money on the Augusta County Courthouse, but she was sure willing to spend it on a SKYBRIDGE! Then it involved demo of other buildings downtown at even more cost. Needless to say, it was not a plan that the Board of Supervisors could sign on to and not a good fiscal plan for the county taxpayers.

Now we have arrived at the current plot. The county exhaustively has discussed this with the City of Staunton, an agreement cannot be made because all the options to staying downtown don’t meet all the needs, and the costs are way too high for the short amount of time that it could all be jury rigged (pun intended) to work in downtown Staunton.

The best option is to build a new courthouse in Verona. It will save a ton of money in the long run, be better access for the public, safer for the citizens with more secure transfer of prisoners, and consolidate services for Augusta County residents all in one place, and you don’t have to pay to park. Ah! That’s nice.

Now it’s up to the citizens of Augusta to answer the Board of Supervisors’ question: Would you like a new courthouse in Verona?

Just one more thought. The News Leader opinion piece that basically demoralized every citizen of Augusta County was absolutely inappropriate and rude toward you all. I was very disappointed. Funny thing is, if Staunton City Council had just kept up their end of the deal DECADES ago we wouldn’t be talking about this at all. Just goes to show you, keep your promises…. (Drop the mic.)


David Karaffa is a former Augusta County supervisor for the Beverley Manor District (2011-15) who now lives with his three daughters in Palm Coast, Florida.

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Karaffa: A Well Informed Electorate

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Guest Post

As naive as we are, I am still an optimist when it comes to this country. We hear repeatedly that America is in trouble, that we are facing our most perilous times, that we are being over run by ideology, and a sense of fear for the future is stoked in us all.

And while there are threats that this country faces, social hardships to overcome, and an economy that struggles; there is hope for this young nation.

This is not to say that hope alone will solve our problems and deliver us from the issues that we currently face. It will take an individual effort to become informed and act. Not just about the issues we face, but we need to become informed about ourselves. Too many of us have only heard the superficial talking points about issues that only scratch the surface of their complexity.

If you are asking yourself how we got here as a nation, it is vitally important that the answer begin with an honest look in the mirror and accepting of our own faults. So before we dive into the issues of national interest, time must be taken to form a foundation of beliefs that we hold to be self truths. Who are you as an individual? Don’t start by saying you are a Republican or a Democrat, Conservative, Independent, or Liberal. It’s truly silly to accept one of these labels when we are all different shades of red and blue.

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Karaffa: There’s more to the courthouse issue than many realize

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Guest Post

[Editor’s Note: The ongoing Augusta County courthouse issue is once again in the news. The Staunton News Leader’s articles (see County approves courthouse referendum petition, Staunton responds to county courthouse decision, County approves courthouse referendum petition, and New courthouse would not serve the greater good) are helpful for background in the ongoing discussion as well as those from LynnRMitchell.com writers (see Augusta County Courthouse: ‘This is the song that doesn’t end‘ and Augusta County Courthouse moving forward, Staunton counters and The Augusta County Courthouse decision and Augusta County: Renovate courthouse in Staunton or build new one in county?) in this two-year-old issue.]

I have been reading the online News Leader and other news sources as the Augusta County Courthouse issue heats up again and I feel the need to tell the truth about the discussions that have been taking place for years between Staunton and Augusta County about it.

First, the News Leader is incredibly biased (if you didn’t know that already). When I was in my first or second year on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, we opened a dialog with Staunton to discuss the overwhelming issues we were having with the courts. We also reminded the Staunton City Council of the many promises and deals that were made in good faith to keep the facilities up and running and in Staunton at a shared expense.

The Board of Supervisors, the courts, and the citizens of Augusta kept up their end of the deal for decades (yes — decades; you read that right), and the Staunton City Council never moved forward on their end of the deal. Shameful. Now, of course, over the decades many of the people on the council and board have moved on, but some are still there. So that is some deep background.

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Augusta County: Terry Kelley for Beverley Manor District

1By Lynn R. Mitchell

Terry Kelley has no opposition for his first run for public office after his opponent dropped out of the race this summer. So why would I endorse a candidate who is not in my district, and is a shoe-in for the job?

I’ve known Terry and his family since my family moved to Augusta County 20 years ago and became involved in the local homeschool organization, Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes (PEACH). His wife Denise and I served side-by-side on PEACH’s board for years, heading up field trips and meetings and consulting with new folks as they joined our ranks. More recently we both served together on the Augusta County Library Board of Trustees. Our children grew up together … their son Lee was part of the homeschool teen group that was at my house for many events, and son Tommy was a political junkie and Bill Bolling supporter when he was about 12. We’ve spent time at their house … they’ve spent time at ours.

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It’s gonna be Jim Webb

Jim WebbBy David Karaffa
Guest Post

Not a lot is known about Jim Webb outside the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, for Jim Webb this is the perfect time to run for president.

The first question that most readers are asking themselves is why not Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Vice President Joe Biden? Well, quite simply, Hillary Clinton’s numbers are falling to a self-proclaimed socialist. Her reaction and conduct about her personal emails, careless handling of classified communications, and overall attitude toward the press come across very badly and don’t play well for the general election. Bernie Sanders has actually done the most to excite the base. However, his views are way too left of center to attract enough support for the entire Democratic party, not to mention the general election. The Vice President is weighing whether or not he could handle the campaign since his son’s death. While I could never understand what he is going through as a father, I will say that the pressures don’t get any better once you are the nominee, much less the president. On top of that, the Vice President has made many gaffs over the years that will be drawn on to haunt him.

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Moderator baits candidates during CNN presidential debate

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Guest Post

The CNN-hosted GOP Presidential debate was an absolute disgrace to the process. I sat in my living room and watched as Jake Tapper opened the second debate with questions aimed at pitting candidates against one another. It was more a reality show than a program whose purpose was to help us get to know the candidates and their view on issues.

I wished a candidate, any candidate, on that stage would have said, “Jake, we have some honest-to-God problems in this country that need serious people with real solutions. We have Americans sitting in the audience and in their homes worried about their future, about their children’s future, and are increasingly horrified by what is happening around the world. They are looking for a leader, they are looking for a president, and if the substance of this debate is going to circle around what we as candidates have said about each other and how the other feels about it, than we are disrespecting the American people and the process. I could care less what that candidate thinks about me and they should care even less about what I think of them. We are running for President of the United States and will be seen as the leader of the free world. If you can’t take the heat of some negative comments then pack your bags and go home. Because if you get this job, then you will deal with that and worse for the next four years.”

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2016: The race is on!

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Guest Post

Last week I found myself in a very interesting circumstance. My 20-year-old sister had five friends visiting our home here in Florida, kind of an impromptu spring break. All of them except one are voting for the first time in the presidential race. So, I put some questions out there and listened to the responses.

I read out all the names of who has declared for president, both Democrat and Republican, and here is how the small poll worked out: 4 votes for Donald Trump, 1 vote for Rand Paul, and 1 abstention. Here are some of their thoughts on what they are looking for in a president.

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Augusta County Courthouse moving forward, Staunton counters

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Guest Post

Augusta County Supervisors are looking at court services like any other county service, with a business mind.

Supervisors spent money more than a year ago to research and gather solid data and plans for both the current historic courthouse and the proposed new Verona courts building. On the other hand, Staunton City Council spent a little money and gave Frazier & Associates two weeks to put together something that could curb the growing momentum to move the courts to a new Verona location. Supervisors will decide Wednesday whether or not to continue moving forward with putting the decision in the hands of the voters this November.

Here are some facts:

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David Karaffa steps down as Augusta County supervisor

David Karaffa

David Karaffa (photo by Lynn R. Mitchell)

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Beverley Manor District Supervisor David Karaffa submitted his resignation to Augusta County at Wednesday night’s meeting, citing relocation out of state with family due to family issues.

David, who was the youngest member of the board at 30 and was completing his first term with an eye to reelection in November, had been instrumental in bringing change to the board. That included staggered terms to bring the board in line with surrounding localities, funding fire and rescue, and working with fellow supervisors on the Courthouse issue.

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New bridge opens in Fishersville, named for Dennis Burnett

Augusta County mapBy Lynn R. Mitchell

There’s a new road in Fishersville that connects two main thoroughfares, and includes a bridge that is named for Dennis Burnett, the former economic development director for Augusta County who passed away last October (see Remembering Dennis Burnett 1964-2014) .

The dedication of the new road took place Friday morning, as described in a press release from the Augusta County Office of Economic Development:
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Augusta County Board of Supervisors organizational meeting votes in new chair, vice chair

David KaraffaBy Lynn R. Mitchell

First meeting of 2015 is the organizational meeting for Augusta County’s Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Mike Shull (Riverheads) was elected chairman and Supervisor David Karaffa (Beverley Manor) was elected vice chairman. Outgoing chairman Larry Wills (Middle River) was presented a gavel and thanked for chairing the board during 2014.

Congratulations to Supervisor Karaffa who is one of our contributors here at LynnRMitchell.com. He is the youngest supervisor on the board (31) and has been very effective in his district of the county as well as various boards.

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Happy New Year! 2014 year-end review from LynnRMitchell.com

This is our first year-end review at LynnRMitchell.com. We started up eight months ago as a group blog, providing daily posts that include opinion, information, and humor about politics and many other issues. It’s been a good year. Our readers have included everyone from politicos to homeschool moms to friends and neighbors. We are generally right-of-center but promote rational thought and discussion as part of the dialogue with our contributors and guest writers.

During our eight months, we’ve published over 900 posts from our four regular contributors — Kurt Michael who is our managing editor, David Karaffa, Daniel Cortez, and Lynn R. Mitchell who is executive editor — as well as 23 guest writers.  Our very first guest writer was Mike Thomas whose post zoomed to the top of the ratings and helped launch us into the blogosphere.

The Top 5 posts for 2014 covered a variety of topics:

Dr. Rob Marsh … Delta Force soldier finds peace as country doctor
Augusta County’s Dennis Burnett passes away
Summer 2014 … 40 things to do in and around Staunton, Virginia
Louisa tea party chairman wins 7th Congressional District chair
WSJ: ‘Health Care and the $20,000 bruise’

The next five posts were just as varied:

Afton’s 2014 Bethlehem Village and the greatest story ever told
Unaccompanied Child Immigrants in Verona, Virginia
Sabato: ‘This is not a good development for Mark Warner’
Did judge in McDonnell trial have conflict of interest?
Kay Coles James for RPV chairman: A visionary for the future of the party

We have been read all over the country and around the world, thanks to our readers and contributors, and we’re looking forward to what 2015 will bring. We hope you’ll continue the journey with us. Happy New Year!

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Dog barking ordinance passed for Augusta County

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Supervisor, Beverley Manor District, Augusta County

After much debate and delay, Augusta County now has a dog barking ordinance in place for residential neighborhoods. For many years I had received phone calls and complaints about neighbors who would leave their animals chained outside all night and allowing them to bark and howl for hours on end. Many folks spoke with the owners and tried to work this out themselves, and in some cases it worked. I have always encouraged this because it is the best way for disagreeing neighbors to work things out and keep the local government out of it. However, in other, more rare cases, the owners simply ignored the pleas of their neighbors and the barking of their animal. Therefore, after many years of requesting, the Board of Supervisors has put in place a tool for use by those folks who wish for some peace at night.

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from all of us at LynnRMitchell.com

Christmas 12 lanternThe reason for the season….

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.” Luke 2:8-20

The true meaning of Christmas … a time for the Christian world to pause and celebrate the birth of the son of God.

As 2014 comes to a close, we are thankful for a successful year and especially for our readers who contribute and share the posts we publish at LynnRMitchell.com.

It is a time to remember those who have special meaning in our lives. We are grateful to have our core group of contributors –Kurt, David, Daniel, and Lynn — working together as each brings a unique perspective that is shared in our writings:

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Happy Thanksgiving from LynnRMitchell.com

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Thanksgiving 2

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens

The writers at LynnRMitchell.com — Daniel Cortez, David Karaffa, Kurt Michael, and myself — extend Thanksgiving greetings with gratitude to our readers for helping us become a successful statewide voice in the Virginia conservative blogosphere. We wish you a joyful day with family and friends as America pauses to give thanks for the blessings we all enjoy. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Cross-posted

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