TODAY'S NEWS

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

Library to create facilities master plan

EDINBURG — The Shenandoah County Library System’s Board of Trustees is creating a master plan that focuses on improving library facilities. During its quarterly meeting on Aug. 8, the 13-member board approved the creation of a master plan to incorporate into the current five-year plan, which outlines the system’s intentions for employment, technology and services. The board approved a new five-year plan in July 2016, Sandy Whitesides, the library system’s director, said on Aug. 25. The board is required by the Library of Virginia to form such a plan, he said. The master plan will outline what trustees hope to do to improve the interior and exterior of the system’s main branch in Edinburg during the next 20 years.

Shenandoah County to combine tourism, economic development offices

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County officials are combining the offices of tourism and economic development under one name – and one person – following the departure of the Director of Community Development. Jenna French, the county’s director of tourism and marketing, will become the Director of Tourism and Business Development today. Bradley Polk, who joined the county in April 2016, resigned his position on Aug. 1 to take a job in Loudoun County. French, 37, joined the tourism office in 2013. She will continue to oversee tourism initiatives like the Route 11 Yard Crawl and the Shenandoah Spirits Trail.

Free clinic to open at elementary school

QUICKSBURG — The Shenandoah Community Health Clinic is opening a free clinic for children who attend school in the county’s southern campus on Sept. 11. The clinic, called the Wellness Center, will offer free medical, dental and mental health care to low-income students. Services include physicals, fillings, sealants, fluoride treatments and counseling sessions, according to Deborah Litten, student services supervisor for SCPS. A nurse practitioner from the Woodstock-based clinic will offer medical check-ups on Sept. 11, with a clinical psychologist providing mental health counseling on Sept. 18 and a dentist arriving on Sept. 25. After that date, the Wellness Center will be open during school hours Mondays through Fridays, Pam Murphy, the Community Health Clinic’s director, said on Tuesday. The center will be in a former classroom at Ashby Lee. Because of space constraints, clinic staff will offer a different service every day, Murphy said. No hard schedule has been set on which services will be available when because staff doesn’t know how many patients to expect, Murphy said. Services will be restricted to students at Ashby Lee, North Fork Middle and Stonewall Jackson High at first, she added, but the clinic hopes to eventually expand the center’s outreach.

Foundation to hold bus tours of battlefields

NEW MARKET — The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation is launching its Fall Bus Tours program with sojourns through northern Shenandoah County in September and October. Scott Patchan, a Civil War author and historian, will lead tours of the Fisher’s Hill battlefield on Sept. 23 and the Cedar Creek battlefield on Oct. 21. Bill Miller, author of “Decision at Tom’s Brook,” will lead a tour of the Tom’s Brook battlefield on Oct. 7 to mark the 153rd anniversary of the Battle of Tom’s Brook. The tours will focus on the strategies and impact of U.S. Gen. Phillip Sheridan’s 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, during which he and his troops set fire to farms, mills and buildings in the area in a series of events known as “The Burning.” The Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek tours cost $50 for foundation members and $60 for non-members. Between Patchan’s “encyclopedic knowledge” of the campaign and the unveiling of recently-preserved areas of both battlefields, participants will see more than the usual sites, according to Terry Heder, the foundation’s director interpretation, education and history.

Mount Jackson asked to help buy mountain land

MOUNT JACKSON — A national environmental group is asking Mount Jackson for help in preserving a piece of area property, but disagreement exists over whether the town should be responsible for it. Heather Richards, senior representative of The Conservation Fund, asked Town Council during its meeting on Aug. 8 to consider contributing all or some of the $50,000 the group is trying to raise to purchase a 137-acre parcel of the Massanutten Mountain ridge colloquially known as “The Knob.” The Culpeper-based nonprofit must raise $75,000 by the end of the year, Richards told council.The amount represents a gap between what property owner Patricia Blackbourne is asking for the land and what the nonprofit can pay, she said. The group has received $25,000 from a private donor in Northern Virginia, she said. Blackbourne lives in Kingsbury, Texas, and no longer wants to maintain the property, Richards said. The land is valued at $383,900, according to Shenandoah County land records. Richards declined to reveal the sale price as it is a private real estate transaction.

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