Tag Archives: Fishersville

Favorite 2015 yard sign

Donald Smith election, mtns 012By Lynn R. Mitchell

The “LYNN” jumped out at me every time I saw one of these signs along the roadways in the 25th House District. My son and others took note because of the last name. If anyone sees one of these in the landfill, I want one! For the record, Democrat Angela Lynn ran against Republican Steve Landes.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Summer storm clouds over Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1Summer thunderstorms were developing over the mountains Tuesday afternoon as we drove to Fishersville to visit friends. Turning into their neighborhood, the clouds over the Blue Ridge were beginning to build …

2… and a storm could be seen along the Skyline Drive just north of Afton.

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Kurt Michael for Wayne District supervisor?

Dr. Kurt Michael and his family. Election Day 2011.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The grape vine is working overtime these days with phone calls and inquiries from folks asking if Dr. Kurt Michael is running for Wayne District supervisor in Augusta County. He was approached weeks ago and asked to please run for the position that he had almost won four years ago.

In 2011, then-chairman of the Augusta County GOP Bill Shirley would not even talk with Kurt about seeking the Republican nomination and, as a result, he had to run as an Independent candidate. Never mind that he had been active in the Republican Party for over 20 years and had served as GOP chairman in Fairfax City while in his 20s, and as Augusta County chairman from 2002-08. Shirley recruited a candidate who had not been involved with the Republican Party before running for supervisor. Kurt lost on election day to voters who walked in and asked, “Who is the Republican candidate?” without knowing either one.

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Fishersville welcomes Lifecore Drive, new Rt. 608 bridge to fast-growing area

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Dennis Burnett bridge dedication

Dennis O. Burnett bridge dedication with local elected officials. March 13, 2015. Photo by Augusta County Economic Development staff.

Amanda Glover, Augusta County Economic Development Director, who had to twice cancel the dedication of the Dennis O. Burnett bridge due to wintry weather, noted after the March 13, 2015, dedication:

We’re gaining sunlight each day, and spring will officially be here in three days – this provides us with bright light and the promise of warmer weather. Augusta County is fortunate to have bright lights and new roads leading us into Spring 2015.

The weather finally allowed for the opening of Route 636/LifeCore Drive to the public! LifeCore Drive provides Fishersville with an added traffic corridor and connection to Augusta Health and the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences. The road will also allow for further planned development in a growth area of Augusta County. To learn more about the project, click here.

Celebrating with a ribbon cutting on March 13, LifeCore Drive was officially opened for traffic. The celebration also included a Bridge Dedication in memory of Dennis Burnett, Augusta County’s first Economic Development Director and a huge proponent of LifeCore Drive.

The ribbon cutting and bridge dedication were shining moments for Augusta County as we look forward to future development of this robust life sciences corridor, and we honor those who helped us get where we are today.

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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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Schedule for 2015 Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline open houses

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Dominion has scheduled the next round of informational open houses for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. These informational, come-and-go open houses will be identical to the ones that occurred in September, with display tables staffed by subject matter experts, project overview and county-level maps showing the updated proposed route and informational materials about the environment and other topics of the project.

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Augusta supervisors deliver resolution asking for more info, Dominion says 75% of landowners in pipeline path agree to surveying

Pipeline mapBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Hundreds of landowners turned out Monday night to attend an open house held by Dominion Virginia Resources at Fishersville’s Expoland. On hand were maps, information, and experts to talk with resident who turned out to learn more about the proposed natural gas pipeline.

Augusta County supervisors passed a resolution last week that was delivered to Dominion asking them “to submit to a mock rezoning in the county designed to minimize the impact on landowners, water supplies, schools and the county’s economic development plans.”

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Augusta County Library features Business at Breakfast with the Chamber of Commerce

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The Augusta County Library has so much to offer families but did you know it has tools that are helpful to the business community? Join us for the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business at Breakfast on November 19 in Fishersville for good food and insightful information useful to business leaders. It will be a great way to start your day!

 

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Augusta County’s Dennis Burnett passes away – updated with obit, memorial service

Dennis Burnett

Dennis Burnett (1964-2014)

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Dennis Burnett, the sunny, all-smiles, friendly and outgoing executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, a position he took over on September 1, 2013, and former Economic Director for Augusta County, Virginia, has passed away from a brain aneurysm. He was 49.

As news of his passing spread through the community on Tuesday, there was a shock to all who knew the gregarious man who worked at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave before taking on the economic issues of the area.

In August he was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Manufacturing Development Commission.

A fixture at Augusta County supervisor meetings and throughout the economic and tourism community, it’s hard to come to the realization that we will no longer see Dennis, reading glasses jauntily propped on top of his head, smiling and laughing at events in the area. What a loss.

Friends are leaving condolences and remembrances on his Facebook page. While all are poignant and touching, one written by Deona Landes Houff stood out:

At 4:30 p.m. today I realized I’d never had lunch. I had been too pre-occupied with Dennis. He was such a supporter when I published eightyone, and I know many a business person can say the same about Dennis’ help with their endeavors. What an amazing man. I have funny memories, too. Don’t we all?

When I got home from work, I headed to the basement and dug out the old eightyones. I first interviewed Dennis in 2000 for a story on the airport. Gerald Garber’s thoughts at the time: “Dennis reminds me of a wind-up toy that has a extra strong spring. It’s just a breath of fresh air to have someone that exuberant in their job. He just doesn’t give up. I think it’s easier to say yes to him than to say no.”

I also interviewed Dennis in 2005 when he left the airport for Colgan. I headlined that little story “Hot Air.” Ha! Get it? The first line was “Dennis Burnett can talk. Ask anyone who’s ever met him. Heck, ask him.”

Elsewhere in the piece, he shared these words of wisdom: “The impossible just takes a little longer.”

And here’s the last paragraph of that story:

“Does he like his new job? ‘I ab-so-lute-ly love it,’ he declares. When accused of loving everything, he cops to it. ‘I do love everything. I’d have a good time in a shoe box.’ ”

Dennis, to you tonight, I raise my a glass and eat a good supper, extra salty with tears. And worry not. I’ll have dessert. We all love you. We are better, as a community and as individuals, for having known you. Thanks, Dennis. For everything.

Our thoughts and prayers go to his family as they try to make some sense of this unexpected loss. As arrangements are announced, they will be posted here.

MORE ABOUT DENNIS in the articles Cherish sunsets, friends, and memories … ‘the moment might be gone too soon.’ and Remembering Dennis Burnett 1964-2014.

UPDATE #1: Among the dozens and dozens of comments left on Dennis’ Facebook page — all touching and remembering a man who radiated warmth and kindness, was this one from Tara Todd, photojournalist and reporter with NBC-29. Her retelling of Dennis’ anecdote about the “dash” in our lifelines really hit home for me:

I am so sad tonight… like so many of us who knew Dennis Burnett.

I got to know Dennis over years of interviews. A sharp dresser, always with a smile, boundless positive energy and for nearly a decade still offering to carry my tripod. Dennis was the kind of person that you just felt better being around.

I’ll never forget something Dennis told me. He said when you look at a headstone it always has a person’s birthdate, a dash, and then the day they died. He said the part that matters is the dash.

Dennis, your dash was entirely too short, but it was impressive!!! I will miss you!

“The part that matters is the dash.” What a reminder to make your dash count….

UPDATE #2: Valley Partnership director dies unexpectedly by Laura Peters at the News Leader.

UPDATE #3: From reporter Laura Peters: “His family has established a memorial fund with the Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation in his name. Burnett attended BRCC and was a member of the foundation’s board of directors. Contributions may be made to the Dennis Burnett Fund, c/o BRCC Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 80, Weyers Cave, Va., 24486.”

UPDATE #4: Political reporter Bob Stuart has a wonderful article about Dennis’ professional side in the News-Virginian (Local residents mourn loss of economic development leader) and how he brought badly-needed jobs to Augusta County. Talking with local leaders, Stuart included this from Supervisor David Karaffa:

There are stories about Burnett’s commitment to people. Beverley Manor District Supervisor David Karaffa said he first came to know Burnett when he was running for a supervisors seat in 2011.

Burnett introduced himself and “would answer my questions.” Once elected to the board Karaffa said he would bombard Burnett with questions. “I had a million questions. He would come over to my house after hours and go over something with me even if it wasn’t in my district,’’ he said.

UPDATE #5: Shenandoah Valley Partnership director dies at 49 by Sean Cudahy and Tara Todd, NBC-29.

UPDATE #6: Honored to have WHSV AM 550 use my post in their tribute of Dennis: Dennis Burnett Remembered.

UPDATE #7: Valley Economic Development Leader Dies, WHSV  TV-3

UPDATE #8: Chris Graham at Augusta Free Press has an endearing remembrance of Dennis that taps into the exuberant man whom we were lucky to have known (see Dennis Burnett: A bright light extinguished too soon): “Dennis Burnett cannot be gone. He would be a bright light on a star in the sky; he could serve as a source of energy power for a small town. People like that don’t die; they don’t even fade away.”

UPDATE #9: Staunton News Leader Editorial: Grief for a gifted man that began: “Dennis Burnett was gifted. Positive, solutions-oriented, generous and gregarious, he shared those gifts with this community in economic leadership roles that helped us survive the recession and recover.”

UPDATE #10: Obituary for Dennis….

Dennis O. Burnett

Dennis Owen Burnett, 49, of Staunton passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Born Nov. 9, 1964 in Waynesboro, he is the son of Vernon M. Burnett and the late Mary (Mills) Burnett. On Nov. 7, 1987, he married the love of his life, Cynthia (Quick) Burnett. The two shared a blessed union of 26 years together.

Dennis was a graduate of Fort Defiance High School. Following high school, he attended Blue Ridge Community College and currently served on the Board of Directors of the BRCC Educational Foundation. He was currently serving as Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley Partnership. Being an active member of the community, Dennis was involved with the Greater Augusta United Way, Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Staunton-Augusta, International Economic Developers Council, Virginia Economic Developers Association, Virginia Agricultural Directors Association, and the Virginia Manufacturing Development Commission.

In addition to his mother, he was preceded in death by his sister, Patsy Painter; father-in-law, Harry A. Quick III; nephew, Christopher Norene.

In addition to his loving wife and father, survivors include his sisters, Denise F. Brugler and husband, Tom, and Sandy Skillman Rooney and husband, Mike; brothers, Larry A. Skillman and Michael J. Skillman; mother-in-law, Charlotte Quick Hodge; brother-in-law, Jeremy Quick and wife, Teresa; sister-in-law, Brenda Norene and husband, Kevin; as well as a number of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and extended family.

A private service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, for family only at the Waynesboro Chapel of Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes, 618 W. Main St. A public memorial service for friends, colleagues, and the community will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences/Mary Baldwin College, 100 Baldwin Boulevard, Fishersville, VA.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Dennis Burnett Fund, c/o BRCC Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 80, Weyers Cave, Va., 24486 or a charity of your choice.

Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family online by visiting http://www.reynoldshamrickfuneralhomes.com.

UPDATE #11: Bob Stuart, political reporter with the News-Virginian, covered the memorial service (see Hundreds remember economic development leader Burnett).

UPDATE #12: Laura Peters with the News Leader also covered the memorial service (see Hundreds mourn Burnett’s death).

 

Cross-posted at SWAC Girl

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Celebrate autumn with Augusta County Library’s Fall Fun Days

??????????By Lynn R. Mitchell

Fall! Cooler temps, colorful leaves, and fun Saturdays with the Augusta County Library and its branches. To celebrate this exciting time of year, there are free Saturday events going on throughout the county.

Fall Fun Day will take place at 1 p.m., Saturday, October 18 at the Churchville Branch Library and 1 p.m., Saturday, October 25 at the Fishersville Library. Children of all ages will decorate locally grown pumpkins, play games, and make a scarecrow. Participants should bring old clothing for their scarecrow—the library will provide the stuffing.

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Cole Brothers Circus and Staunton City councilwoman remember Eva Clark 108 years after her death

Cole Brothers CircusBy Lynn R. Mitchell

We don’t often associate the fun and excitement of the circus with tragedy but that is exactly what happened in Staunton 108 years ago.

In 1906, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, now known as the Cole Brothers Circus, was in Staunton on its annual visit to entertain the community when catastrophe struck.

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Augusta County Library expands services

Library booksBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Returning books to the Augusta County Library just got easier.  Thanks to a partnership with Blue Ridge Community College, county library users can now return items to the Houff Library or its book return on the Weyers Cave campus. In addition, materials checked out from Houff Library can now be returned to any ACL location. A courier will shuttle the materials to the correct location on a weekly basis.

Later this year, library users will be able to reserve ACL books from home for pickup at Houff Library.

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Augusta County Library trustees elect new officers

??????????By Kurt Michael

Thursday during its July meeting, the Augusta County Board of Trustees met with director Diantha McCauley to elect officers for the 2014-15 year and welcome a new member to the board. In their tradition of rotating among the various branches, this month the meeting took place at the Churchville branch.

Susan Thacker, Middle River District representative, was elected president and Lynn Mitchell, Pastures District representative, was elected vice-president. Trustees welcomed a new member, Carol Anne Turrentine, representing Riverheads District. Last meeting we welcomed Doran Stegura of South River District after the death of long-time trustee Terry Sumey.

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