Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Bits and Pieces

Rappahannock at City Dock

The river’s up!  I took this very amateur cell phone picture last night at City Dock…although you can’t see City Dock because the river’s up over it. Recent rains have water levels high, and public safety officials are warning that the river is not safe right now for swimming or tubing. You couldn’t even see the rocks last night from Fall Hill Avenue. Reporter Ellen Biltz filed this report about calls for river rescues, and included some river safety tips.

Budget - The City Council won’t sit down in a work session to talk about the budget again until May 26. In the meantime, Matt Kelly wrote this Op-Ed and this blog post this week. Kelly writes, among other things, about the need to prioritize the city’s spending on outside agencies, or partner or affiliate agencies, or whatever the nom du jour for these groups is. (Remember, this is a really small percentage of the city budget, but it takes up most of the council work session time year after year after year after year.) Kelly brings back up the question of funding human-services focused agencies versus cultural groups. Mayor Tom Tomzak said this kind of prioritization was going to be necessary at the city budget hearing, but he’s since expressed a desire to be done with thinking about nonprofit allocations for the year. Meanwhile, Brad Ellis was on Ted Schubel’s morning show on WFVA last week saying he’d like to see the City Council establish a set policy for funding these groups–beyond just maintaining some level of a prior year’s funding–before voting on this budget. Amid all of this, the Fredericksburg Area Museum is lobbying its members to ask council members to give it more money. (I’m sure they’re not the only group doing this, and if you want to pass along other correspondence you are getting along these lines, please do so.). Read the museum’s pitch here

Downtown moves- Ben Franklin’s closing, but downtowners could soon get a few steps closer to not having to cross U.S. 1 to get groceries when Lee Russell opens his Olde Towne Butcher on William Street. I’m also still trying to track down the folks behind Las Palmas Cafe, which has signed a lease to open in the space that the Olde Towne Wine & Cheese Deli vacated in March. See our business story on these happenings here

Historic Half – The second annual Marine Corps Historic Half marathon is next Sunday. I’m working on three different stories about this for different sections of the paper. If you know of any cool tidbits having to do with the race, whether it’s businesses doing different things to promote Fredericksburg, local runner stories, etc., let me know at