The Daily News Leader from Staunton, Virginia (2024)

i. If. Local State A3 Local Edttor Eric Schroeck 1 213-9182, Wednesday, March 19, 2008 JbcXcuis taller i f- AG's office adds anti-gang prosecutor Staff and Wire Reports WEYERS CAVE A special prosecutor assigned to fight gang activity in the Shenandoah Valley will continue his work with the Virginia attorney general's office. The prosecutor, Phillip 0. Figura, was added to the regional anti-gang effort in May 2006 through a federal grant set to expire in June.

At a news conference cost cutting and a shuffling of resources in his office. "My foremost commitment is to ensure the safety and security of all the citizens of Virginia, and in the Shenandoah Valley that means finding a way to keep our anti-gang efforts underway and fully funded. We have done that," McDonnell said in a written statement. McDonnell's comments Tuesday, Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced the new arrangement, which takes over funding Figura 's position through the attorney general's office. McDonnell also announced state dollars for a crime analyst, who had been paid through the same expiring grant.

McDonnell said the spending for the gang task force was realized through about the creation of Figu-ra's position in 2006 also referenced two murder cases in the Augusta County area that were attributed to gang violence: In 2005, David Pannell Jr. was shot and killed at a Staunton gas station by Bloods member William "Tim-Tim" Jones Jr. In 2003, Christopher Scott Kennedy was stabbed to death by fellow Crips gang members. Four local Crips later were convicted in the slaying. Officials said the anti-gang initiative has resulted in more than 90 state and federal indictments against suspected gang members.

Local law enforcement agencies estimate there to be more than 300 gang members and affiliates in the Shenandoah Valley, according to a press release. Police Briefs Downtown business reports burglary STAUNTON A downtown in the American Hotel reported a burglary Monday, the Staunton Police Department said. Management at Wedding and Things located at 128 Augusta St. reported more than $200 stolen from the premises between Saturday and Monday when the business was closed. There were no signs of forced entry, police said.

No arrests were made. Woman charged in appliance theft STAUNTON Authorities on Monday arrested a woman who is suspected of stealing a washer and dryer from a rental property, according to the Staunton Police Department. Shawn M. Connolly-Kelly, 37, is charged with grand larceny. Police said the appliances were taken from a home in the 400 block of Winthrop Street between March 1 1 and Thursday.

Connolly-Kelly is free on bond. Staff Reports 11 I I ft wx if A iv 1 I I 'Mill ffr.V-'iSyiai"" HlfihMUCi lliMIIHi Mill Mil Briefly Mike Tripp Pat JarrettThe News Leader Nick Baldwin, 12, works out on the shoulder press machine at the Staunton-Augusta YMCA on Monday. Expansion of the weight room is one of the areas that will be improved in a planned expansion of the facility. YMCA plans still on track BBS lhJX- XA I 4i r. Applications accepted for youth program Shenandoah National Park is accepting applications for its summer Youth Conservation Corps program.

YCC provides gainful employment and an educational experience in the conservation of the park's natural and cultural heritage. YCC enrollees work to maintain park trails, roads, buildings and campgrounds while learning about the park. YCC enrollees work 40 hours per week and earn minimum wage. This year's YCC program runs for eight weeks from June 16 to Aug. 8.

Applicants for YCC crew member positions must be aged 15 to 18 during the enrollment period. Applications are available in the guidance offices at Page County, Luray, Spotswood and Rappahannock, Greene and Madison county high schools, at the park's personnel office or online at Completed applications should be mailed to YCC Program Coordinator, Shenandoah National Park, 3655 U.S. Highway 211 Luray, VA 22835. Applications must be postmarked by April 18. For more information, call 999-3300.

Staff Reports (I. Facility approaches $4M goal for renovations By Mindi Westhoffstaff STAUNTON With $3 million of its $4 million raised, the Staunton-Augusta YMCA is on track to finish its renovations by its proposed completion date of June 2009. In addition to the $3 million in private donations, the YMCA may receive $250,000 from the city of Staunton, which Executive Director Morris Peltz said is awaiting approval, likely to be decided in May. "The community has been very supportive," he said. "I can only hope the city will be as supportive." The YMCA also has teamed up with the Waynesboro location to petition Augusta County for an additional $300,000, which Peltz hopes will happen in the next few weeks.

In January, Peltz and the rest of the YMCA board hired J.M. Turner and Co. to rework some of the board's original design ideas. Though the YMCA owns several thousand square feet beyond their current facility, Peltz hopes to expand the center iv I (, imm ilr tV m'jA MW Mike Tripp Pat JarrettThe News Leader Andrew Hanco*ck-Hall, 9, shoots for the basket as Don Hall watches while at the Staunton-Augusta YMCA on Monday. A new gymnasium is included as part of a planned expansion of the facility.

month. A multipurpose room for senior activities, a more open front desk area and a regulation size gymnasium also will be part of the final design. Peltz hopes to begin renovation by the end of the year, aid he said the YMCA will consider borrowing the funds if it does not reach its $4 million goal in time. without excavating a very large rock on the property. "There's some creative architecture going on," he said.

The renovated YMCA will feature an expanded teen center and child care area to accommodate the more than 1,700 children who frequent the areas each Preacher finds inspiration in beekeeping Lottery Pick 3 Day: 3-2-5 Night: 6-8-6 Pick 4 Day: 7-5-3-8 Night: 6-6-8-6 Cash Five Day: 5-14-22-23-32 Night: 4-11-16-17-19 Mega Millions 13-15-20-25-44 Mega Ball: 37 The Associated Press Campbell County beekeeper Albert Allen Blanks shows off some of his honeybees on Monday in Lynchburg. been busy. So far, so good. Born in Halifax County, Blanks lives in a house off Candlers Mountain Road. Blanks bought a farm in Halifax County after he got back from serving in World War II.

"At one time, I had right many cattle," he says. He pauses. "Grew some tobacco. Share-croppers did most of the tobacco work." Blanks still owns the farm, but he rents out most of the land to a farmer, who raises cattle and grows timber. To supplement his farm and beekeeping, Blanks sells honey from his home.

He puts up a plywood sign in the yard when he's stocked up. Blanks has been a Baptist preacher for almost as long as he's been keeping bees. He stopped preaching in August, but he still performs weddings, funerals and other services. his bees. Under normal circ*mstances, bee populations fluctuate throughout the year.

They die off in the winter months and repopulate in the spring, reaching upwards of 60,000 bees to a hive by summer. The constant battle with mites forced Blanks to downsize over the years. Even today, he must take preventive measures against the mites. Last year's mysterious loss of honeybee colonies, which afflicted hives throughout the country, did not affect Blanks. The cause is still unknown.

Blanks pauses from his work to check the status of one'of his hives. Hands steady, he slowly pulls out a comb encased in a wooden frame. Some of the worker bees have gobs of pollen on their legs. The tiny white eggs are visible in some of the cells. The queen bee has The News Advance LYNCHBURG Allen Blanks works a knife into an old honeycomb to scrape off excess wax.

It's mundane work, but it must get done. Soon, Blanks will drive his truck from the Lynchburg area to Georgia to pick up three pounds of bees to repopulate his hives. (At 2,000 bees to a pound, that's roughly 6,000 honeybees.) Later this spring, Blanks will let them loose on farms throughout Virginia to pollinate fruit and vegetable plants. Blanks has been a beekeeper since 1948 and a preacher for almost as long. The 84-year-old intends on keeping bees for as long as he can.

"I don't know how much longer I have to live," he says. "But I really do get enjoyment out of it. I feel like it's something that is useful Getting It Right thickening the combs. But it takes years before the combs are uninhabitable. "Bees reuse their combs until they get so dark and heavy that they can't be used anymore," he says.

At the height of his beekeeping career, Blanks had 500 hives. But in the 1980s, his bee populations started to dwindle. Tiny pests, var-roa mites and tracheal mites, were killing off to mankind." Blanks sits in the shadow of his carport, which is stacked high with crates and boxes. He wears a white jumpsuit over a collared shirt. The skin on his hands is rough and cracked.

Blanks cleans the combs methodically, with a smooth dip of his knife. Each bee leaves a cocoon-like shell in its cell after birth. These shells add up over time, The News Leader strives to be accurate in its news columns. If you believe we have made an error of fact, please call Executive Editor David Fritz at 213-9116 or (800) 793-2459 ext. 116..

The Daily News Leader from Staunton, Virginia (2024)
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