Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Gloucester Magazine, Vol. 1 Issue 2 - 7th Virginia Regiment

The Gloucester Magazine Vol 1 Issue 2 from Chuck Thompson

The Gloucester Magazine, volume 1 issue number 2.  This month we feature the 7th Virginia Regiment who will be here this coming weekend for Memorial Day weekend.  36 pages of American Revolutionary delight for those who like a bit of history.  We have more advertisers for this issue and we have managed to come up with even more for next months issue.

  You can download free copies of this magazine through SlideShare or you can share the link for the magazine or even embed the magazine on other websites.  To download a free copy all you have to do is sign up with SlideShare for a free account.  Once you have that you can download any of our works for free.

  Other magazines in the works include the American Revolution, Civil War, pirates and more.  We also publish the Official Unofficial Photo Magazine of Colonial Williamsburg.  We will also be creating special one time magazines of historic Yorktown and the battlefields.  Early American history and Tall ships are also being planned.  These magazine are not sold in stores.  They are strictly online editions.  The good news is they have an indefinite shelf life because of this.  

Accident On 17 North, Hayes May 15th, 2015: Man Hit While Riding Bicycle

An accident on route 17 North Bound occurred on Friday afternoon, May 15th, 2015.  A man was riding his bicycle along the shoulder of the highway.  From what we have been able to learn he was trying to avoid debris along the shoulder when he accidently pulled out in front of traffic getting hit.  Luckily as we understand it, the man hit on the bicycle did not sustain any life threatening injuries.  The accident happened just across the street from the Tidewater Motel.

  Sheriff's deputies responded along with local paramedics and one State Police officer.  The man's bike was going to be left standing against a telephone pole along the highway but good neighbors have moved it across the street and put it into storage inside a commercial building located at 3682 B George Washington Memorial hwy.  Next door to the Tidewater Motel.  The bicycle is still in very good shape except the seat was destroyed by the accident.  The owner of the bicycle can pick up the bicycle anytime by visiting the location listed above.

  The driver of the vehicle that hit the bicycle is not identified as it was one of those very unfortunate accidents that from what we have learned, was not the drivers fault.  The vehicle did sustain some damage to the front end.

It proved to be a bad day for two people.

Dr Walter R Clemens On School Board Issues, May, 2015

Greetings Dr. Clemons,
Let me start off by welcoming you to Gloucester County. Granted it is a bit late for such a gesture, but due to circumstances that manifest well before your arrival; many of us have become mistrustful of anything or anyone associated with our school administration and School Board. My intent is not to ridicule, but rather to share insight from another perspective. Since your arrival here; I have heard you remind everyone numerous times that you have no control over that which happened in Gloucester before your were hired. I agree with you 100%, however replaying that statement does little to mitigate the problem of mistrust. During the May 5th Board of Supervisors meeting you said the BOS needs to trust you and the School Board. I absolutely believe the BOS should be able to trust the Superintendent of our school system and the School Board. More importantly the people and citizens of Gloucester County should be able to have trust in our school system. Unfortunately, and due to circumstances that predate your arrival here, we do not have the pleasure of such trust at this time. You have likely received a large helping of stories about what occurred in the past and my story is way too large and detailed to get into here. Therefore, I will only offer a few suggestions that may help you get the bridge of cooperation built.
During the last two budget processes, the County has taken great steps towards enhancing transparency. Among other things the BOS required just about every entity requesting money to appear before them to justify their requests. We asked that the budget work sessions be televised and they were. On the other hand; when you folks do your budget, it is all done in secrecy. There are limited documents associated with the school budget, but most importantly, none of us know or understand where any of the money is going or what we are getting for it. Mr. Bazzani’s question pertaining to floating teachers is a good example of something that should be vetted in public during the school system budget process. Conducting the people and citizens business this way will provide clarity and enhance our faith and trust.
Another way to help restore trust would be for all school administration and School Board email communications to occur utilizing only school system email accounts. Attempts in the past to obtain school system email information under FOIA from School Board members’ and school system employees’ private email accounts have had negative results. We all have a constitutional right to know what is going on in our school system and local government. Likewise, our elected officials and employees have a responsibility to ensure accountability of government communications/documents and to ensure our unfettered access to such information authorized by FOIA.
I have submitted numerous FOIA requests to the school system and have been charged considerable fees for information. In fact I was informed that it would cost me in excess of $800 to obtain activities funds accounting information. I could not afford that one. I have also requested considerable information from the County and have been charged very little if any. In the eyes of the people and citizens; the excessive fees charged by the school system are viewed as retaliation and as a deterrent mechanism. Facilitating and welcoming other insight on what is going on in the school system would certainly help to establish trust.
The ineffective and community splitting relationship between the School Board and BOS continues to cast a negative shadow over Gloucester County as a whole. Some people say it is the BOS fault while others say fault lies with the School Board and school administration. The finger pointing and blaming should stop immediately and be replaced with consolidated and focused efforts to ensure the academic success of Gloucester’s children above all else. Such cannot be accomplished by merely throwing money at it, causing negative media attention and splitting the community. It will take everyone working together without distracters like power struggles, politics and secrecy being included in the equation. Potentials for consolidating services with the County and other potential cost saving measures should be thoroughly investigated and vetted. Committees that include members of the community could be formed to gather and format various types of data the two Boards will need in order to make informed decisions.
To sum it all up; the number one thing we all want is transparency. We want to see and hear discussions on where all of the money is utilized. We want to hear and see. It appears most of the BOS does too.
Thank you for your efforts since becoming a member of the Gloucester Community. I firmly believe after observing you over the past several months that with your expertise, our school district can achieve many great things. That is if the County, school system and community start working transparently together.
Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr.

And the response?

Dear Mr. Hogge:

Thanks for the email and welcome. I greatly appreciate it. Also, thanks for the suggestions. I look forward to continuously working with the School Board, Board of Supervisors and the entire community in building relationships that foster trust and collaboration. That is why we started the process this year on developing a Comprehensive Plan that sought community input. I definitely want the community to be aware of what direction the school division is taking, what it needs and how we can work together to accomplish those goals. It will be an ongoing process and I welcome your participation. As far as the budget is concerned, I believe we have expressed our needs appropriately to the Board of Supervisors regarding our current request as this information has been previously shared (since my arrival) that dates back to September of 2014. I also know that the School Board had discussion with the BOS about the operating costs of reinstituting two middle schools before my arrival. In addition, I have also had conversations with the BOS about our needs and why we need the items requested. However, with that being said, we will be looking at revamping and refining our process next year for greater clarity. Specifically, our final budgets (2014-15 final is online on our homepage/2015-16 will be forthcoming later this spring) are much more detailed than what is initially shared with the BOS as they see the line items by categories without detailed explanation. This is the way that it has been done by GCPS over a number of years and I did not change that process this year. Next year we will provide a detailed version at the beginning instead of afterwards as we all want the process to be as transparent as possible. Please know that we will make every effort to be good stewards of all money that is appropriated to us. In closing, thanks so much for your time and have a great weekend!

Walter R. Clemons, Ph.D.
Division Superintendent

From About One Year Ago, Gloucester School Board - What Has Changed?

Gloucester CountyVirginia’s Board of Supervisors seems to be headed in a more sensible direction than it has been for many years.  If this governing body continues to make decisions on the side of what makes sense things will become better for Gloucester as a whole. However, there is one significant area where the governing body has little or no ability to apply sensibility or even successfully encourage it at this point.  That area is the Gloucester County public education system. 
The School Board is also a governing body whose primary function is to oversee the application and function of an effective public education system.  Many sensible thinkers believe the fateful aspects of Gloucester’s public education system stem primarily from the fact that Dr. Howard Benjamin (Ben) Kiser was hired and allowed to manipulate the School Board into a tool to facilitate his own aspirations, desires and gains.
The Kiser’s, record in Gloucester includes; ignoring negative disciplinary trends within the school system; failing to ensure the effective administration of mathematics at Gloucester’s only public high school; creating an atmosphere of un-trust and low morale among Gloucester’s teaching staff; turning Gloucester’s public school system and School Board into political tools; creating animosity and dysfunction between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board; disregarding input from the Gloucester Community after a tornado partially destroyed Page Middle School; allowing the unnecessary and unwarranted demolition of needed and usable infrastructure; excessive and disproportionate spending; creating biased and non-transparent citizen committees; sending Freedom of Information Act and Records Retention Act protected information to more than one of his private email accounts and failing to provide such emails in response to FOIA requests; 
manipulating Commonwealth of Virginia and Gloucester County Professional Service procurement procedures; placing his personal gain and ambitions above administering a quality public education program; failing to examine and correct significantly flawed accountability procedures intended to protect approximately 1.4 million dollars annually in school activities funds; and the list goes on and on. 
Now the rest of the Commonwealth of Virginia will have the opportunity to witness the workings of a Virginia K-12 public education administration failure as The Kiser now becomes Director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.  This non-governmental position will enhance his ability to distort the sensible mind sets of public school Superintendents in every district throughout the Commonwealth. Well done Dr. Howard Benjamin (Ben) Kiser.  Well done.  As a member of the sensible thinking Gloucester Community I thank you for the excessive debt, the unfocused School Board, the disruptive school environments, the inadequate teaching at Gloucester High School and all of the other many wonderful knife in the back gifts you are leaving Gloucester County as you continue your journey to self gratification utopia.
Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr

Our Notes:  We were asked to review an article posted last year and ask everyone the simple question, what has changed?

Gloucester: Potential Fake Warrant Leads To Potential Continued Harassment By County Officials?

Are Gloucester County officials trying to harass us?  Are they attempting to break the law in order to force us to comply with some hidden agenda they may have of trying to silence us?  We are going to show you a letter county officials recently sent to us and the response back.  Then we are going to show how they obtained access to private property with the use of a highly questionable warrant in debt for some person who does not live on this property and has not been on this property for over 5 years.

Gloucester County Complaint and Response from Chuck Thompson

Above is a copy of the letter sent to CRF Ventures LLC.  This is a 4 page document.  The first two pages contain the alleged county complaint and the last 2 pages are CRF Ventures LLC's response to the county.  Now how did this all come about?

The above is a copy of the Warrant in Debt that a Sheriff's deputy had that he used to intimidate some commercial tenants on the property stating they had to let him onto posted private property because he had this warrant to serve.  He told them, according to their own words, that he would charge them with obstruction of justice, if they did not let him onto the property.

  Here is a major issue.  The person on this warrant, does not and has not lived on this property in over 5 years.  That in and of itself is bad enough, but it gets worse.  The date this was attempted to serve this warrant on the property was two days after the court date listed on the warrant.  There is an arrow to show that the case was being continued on May 22nd 2015 at 9:00 AM in the General District Court.  But the question must be asked.  Where was the original warrant served before the first court date of April 24th, 2015?  It was not served anywhere on anyone on this property.  So why all of a sudden was it attempted to be served on April 26th, 2015 on this property?

  We gave the deputy a very difficult time as we had told him that there was no one here by that name and that he was in fact trespassing on the property.  He said he did not see a sign that said no trespassing.  He drove right by a very large sign that states such and has been there for years.

  Deputy John Doe threw the warrant out his vehicle window at me and said I was served.  He served me knowing full well I can not be mistaken as a female.  But he must be legally blind and he is driving on the roads?  So if the source of the complaint came from Deputy John Doe, it was not valid.  I complained to Sheriff Warren and also explained to Sheriff Warren that his deputy did not know how to conduct a proper service as the deputy failed to sign the back of the Warrant as required by the rules of the court.  (An indication that the Warrant was possibly a fraud just to get on the property?)

  Also, Deputy John Doe, throwing the warrant out his window at me, and it landing on the ground, he littered on private property.  After Deputy John Doe left I contacted Sheriff Warren as already stated and he had another Deputy come out and pick up the original warrant that Deputy John Doe came on the property with.  But not before I made multiple copies of it front and back.

  Deputy John Doe also threatened me with charges of Obstructing Justice.  I know what it lawfully takes to obstruct justice and was not committing any such act, so I told Deputy John Doe he had better look up the code and make sure he fully understands it.  He then threatened to conduct an illegal search and seizure on private property without a warrant to do such.  You bet I gave this guy a very hard time.  So it was not long afterward that the County complaint came in and that looks like its in retaliation to these events of Deputy Jon Doe.

  What was the threat of illegal search and seizure?  He said he was going to run a plate on a vehicle in our driveway to see if the name for the owner of the vehicle came back as a match for the name on the warrant.  (No it did not).  Did he conduct that violation?  I can only imagine that he did.  I can not prove it without records from the Sheriff's office.  I trust that Darrell Warren has taken care of retraining this deputy or getting rid of him.

  Had the name of the owner of the vehicle actually matched, then I would have been possibly guilty of obstructing justice.  If the person actually lived somewhere on this property and I did not inform Deputy John Doe of such, then I may have been guilty of obstructing justice.  Without those two facts, I was being threatened by an armed thug after he was told that the person named on the warrant did not reside here.  That in my book is criminal behavior by someone who is charged with holding higher standards of conduct and is being paid to serve us, not threaten us.