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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Yard sale

…well, not exactly.

This is a light-hearted way of announcing that this is my last week covering Fredericksburg city government for The Free Lance-Star, and my last week authoring the City Beat Blog. In a little more than four years, the 1,035 posts I’ve made to this blog have garnered 1,024 (and counting) comments, by more than 300 different aliases.

I’m stepping away from the city beat to take care of my daughter while she’s still a baby, but before I leave, I’ve gotta clean out my desk. Five and a half years of city government coverage will load you down with what we’ll call “valuable mementos.”

Here are a few I don’t seem to have room for at home, and am offering up to the first takers:

Press passes from the McCain/Palin, Obama/Biden and Mark Warner Senate campaigns. Package also includes a White House press pool pass from the George W. Bush administration.

Post cards — an inch-thick stack of them — from former Fredericksburg City Council candidate John Moss, who I believe has since moved out of state. They feature pictures of Historic Fredericksburg and assorted shots of river trash and roadkill, along with witty messages with no relevance to anything whatsoever.

Tape recordings (remember tapes?) of interviews with candidates in the 2006 City Council ward races, including Marvin Dixon, John Harris and … wait for it … Matt Kelly. I am shocked that the Library of Congress has not requested these yet.

Bumper sticker. This is from the 2008 mayoral election, but who knows? It could come in handy next year if Clay Jones pulls the sloth out of retirement.

Vintage government documents! Quite compelling.

Memorabilia from the Obama inauguration, including a letter to the president from a city resident whose handwriting some readers of this blog probably recognize. The writer closes the letter with, “Good luck, dude, I’ll try to write more later.”

Saltines of unknown age.

In all seriousness, thank you all for reading this blog over the years. I have enjoyed having a more direct way to interact with my readers, and I have appreciated your comments and questions. I’ll continue to post updates on city matters through the end of this week.

After that, I’ll be devoting the time I have for work to building up the Front Burner blog, which started recently. I hope to make this an interactive, useful home for news about local farmers markets, cooks and other food news, and I welcome your suggestions. Look for updates there in the coming days, and some new features as the area farmers markets open.

I promise, no stale Saltines.


  • Mary katherine


    We will miss you.


  • LarryG

    First Kelly, now you. OMG. I can’t begrudge you wanting to raise your daughter Good luck and the best to you and I hope the newspaper bug ha bitten you enough that we’ve not seen the last of you.


  • Robin


    Thank you for your friendship and fair reporting during your assignment as the City government reporter. We will miss you around here and wish you and your family the best of everything.

  • Andrew


    Thanks for stellar reporting and timely updates on your blog. I’m not a frequent commenter, but I do enjoy reading the sometimes lively discussions that you inspire here.

    And . . . any chance I can get my hands on your press-pass package?! I’ve got a collection going and would love to add to it!


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  • The Christian Family

    U will be missed by sooo many! Enjoy the time with your family!! Wishing the best for u!

  • Karen Hedelt

    Thanks for the fariness and intelligence you brought to the City beat, Emily. We will miss you at City Hall but look forward the development of Front Burner.

  • TPKeller

    You will be greatly missed, but I predict you will find these next few years with your daughter to be the most valuable time you spend in your entire life. She will be the better person for it.

    I’m sure you won’t be able to resist following some of the bigger city news stories, maybe you should write a guest column once in a while!

  • Natatia Bledsoe


    I will miss your City Beat very much! Enjoy this time with your daughter, it’s priceless.

    All the best.

  • John Moss

    Thanks Ms Emily . . . for your fairness and friendship.

    Former City Council Cand.

    John E. Moss
    in self-imposed exile in Kentucky

  • Mary BoweT

    i agree with all the abvove. who could go a day without checking in with you, Emily. Time flies, and you will most certainly be having all kinds of fun.
    i will continue to follow you on your food blog.

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