A home water testing clinic is being held today for anyone in the region who draws their drinking water from wells, springs or cisterns. The Virginia Cooperative Extension will provide an opportunity for inexpensive water testing for those not hooked up to a public utility in Lynchburg and Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell counties. Today’s clinic will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Riveredge Park in Madison Heights. Those participating then can drop off their well water samples at the Amherst Public Library in Amherst on Wednesday. The water is tested at Virginia Tech. About four weeks later, participants will receive confidential test results at another educational meeting.
This has been the summer of high speed chases. State and local law enforcement agencies have initiated five high-speed police pursuits in the past month. Perhaps the most remembered is the chase in which a deputy in Amherst County tried to stop a speeding motorcycle July 13…an 18 year old passenger was killed in an ensuing crash. Authorities say, in a persuit, the officer must have his vehicle’s lights and siren on to warn other motorists. The first two vehicles involved in the pursuit must be “marked” vehicles. The Virginia State Police has been involved with two area pursuits in the past month. The Appomattox Division, was involved in 13 pursuits from Jan. 1 – Aug. 15…a decrease from 28 in 2012.
Local Sheriff’s Offices are receiving military surplus including a Humvee for Nelson County. The Humvee is one of more than 300,000 pieces of military equipment distributed throughout the United States as part of the Department of Defense’s 1033 Military Excess Property Program. The News & Advance reports, Amherst County received the most equipment in the area from the 1033 program, including computers and dozens of assault rifles. Appomattox County has signed up to receive several items over the years, such as night-vision goggles and winter clothing. The Bedford County received 14 rifles in 2006.Campbell County has limited its acquisitions from the military program to a few bulletproof vests and 5.56-millimeter rifles. The equipment is reserved for high-risk situations where extra protection or equipment is called for.
Moments of silence will continue to open meetings of the Amherst Town Council at least for now. The U.S. Supreme Court has given its blessing to sectarian prayers but, according to the News & Advance, Council members, last week, were reluctant to take immediate action involving a prayer policy. The guidelines suggest, while localities need not seek people to deliver the prayers outside its own boundaries, they should be certain to follow a policy of non-discrimination. Which means, practitioners of witchcraft and Satanists potentially could be invited to give an invocation. Council ultimately decided to table the discussion.
The results of a recent study of College Lake, means Lynchbug College and the City of Lynchburg have some decisions to make regarding the lake’s future. The study was prompted after a previous survey revealed the spillway near the entrance of the college was not large enough to handle the flow of water during severe weather conditions. In July, environmental scientists gathered information on the lake…the dam, and underlying soil. Not only does the 80-year-old dam NOT meet State regulations; inspectors found a large amount sediment. The information will be submitted to the state in December; and a decision will likely be reached by the end of the year.
Two more Schools in Bedford County are being eyed for closure as a means for the district to save about $1.6 million. Bedford County officials met with School board members on Thursday to discuss work planned, completed or underway as part of a recently released efficiency study. The item that creates the greatest savings, and listed by the district as a high priority—according to sources, is to close more schools. A decision already has been made to close Body Camp Elementary School after this school year—The News & Advance reports, a choice soon will likely be made between closing Bedford Primary and Thaxton Elementary schools. Tours of both schools are planned for next Thursday.
A new bridge spanning Campbell and Pittsylvania counties will replace an existing bridge that has been in use since 1929. The project is still in the design stage; but last week, the Department of Transportation announced that construction of bridge, which will connect Altavista and Hurt is scheduled to start in 2017. The current bridge, is classified as “structurally deficient,”… but according to officials, is safe for cars and trucks to use for the time being. The new vehicle bridge is expected to be completed by 2019. Sources say, a pedestrian walkway will also be installed. The existing walkway, which was added in 1948, has been closed since 2010.
The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company has added 200,000 new riders over the last year thanks in large part to local colleges. The bus company spent several years planning and building it’s new transfer station. GLTC’s general manager, Karen Walton, credits a new contract with Central Virginia Community College, students on the campus can ride for free. Similar deals are in place with Lynchburg College and Liberty University. Walton tells WDBJ-7 that the schools provide a key source of funding, which has allowed for expanding several routes in the city and surrounding counties. Sunday service was cut in 2011 when the bus company was having money problems– Nighttime service was recently restored –GLTC hopes full weekend routes will return within the next one to two years.