Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Remember all the concerns of Massaponax Church Road and Cedar Forest Elem?

Do any of you recall the hoopla over putting Cedar Forest Elementary on what some former and current supervisors believed was a dangerous road, without shoulders and some sharp curves.

Check out this accident that Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department volunteers were at with career firefighters on June 17.

I’ve driven that road numerous times, especially when the discussion about Elem. 17 was in its infancy. Former supervisor Vince Onorato would have vicious battles with School Board members, namely Gary Skinner, who eventually replaced Onorato on the Board of Supervisors and longtime Supervisor Emmitt Marshall.

Mr. Skinner argued that this was the best site for the elementary school. Mr. Onorato favored a 60-acre tract called the Greene Farm of Tidewater Trail that was surrounded by homes. That piece of property was very flat and inside a residential neighborhood.

The school system said this property had water table problems and a school could not be built on it. School officials also said the property owner, an elderly gentleman, did not want to sell and they did not want to use eminent domain.

Some improvements were made to the road, but last I saw in the archives, the road was never widened as originally proposed. Capital Projects Director Becky Golden would have more details, and I will try to find out what changes were made to the road since 2007.


  • havingfun

    I agree that this road is hazardous. Regardless of the ES being there or not, the road should have been addressed years ago. Now with the increased traffic, it should definitely be addressed.

    HOWEVER, people absolutely travel too fast for this road as it is now. They need to SLOW down as well and take extra caution regardless of the time of day.

    ALSO – why were the occupants from this accident taken to MWH and not the new Spotsy Hospital right down the road? Does the new hospital not have the ER setup to handle this kind of trauma case? Just wondering since I live in the area! :)

  • Mark McGraff

    I am not sure and do not want to answer until I know for sure.

  • Dan Telvock

    Mark and Having Fun,

    Our medical reporter is not in today. I will try to find out if the new hospital is equipped for trauma. Being that the hospital just recently opened, who knows, but like Mark, I need to find out before I can answer this.

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Ms. Golden and the County School Administration have most of the details.

    The road from Cedar Forrest Elementary to Rt 17 is winding, sharp curves, without guard rails, to keep motorist or school buses from the culvert drop off to the right as you’re going down the hill. The road was not only to be widened but also straightened.

    Bus drivers navigating down the hill could be easily distracted, or opposing traffic, because of the narrow lanes and sharp curves could at anytime come over into the school bus lane of travel and cause the driver to swerve or be forced by impact off the road.

    Planning Commissioners said it was OK because one member had a son who bused from Cedar Forest to home and relied on bus drivers who were allowed to speak said they had no problems navigating this part of Massaponax Churh Road.

    While lots of this rhetoric was consumed by politicians from all sides, they FAILED to appreciate where Vince Onorato was standing at the end of the day. The politicians, like most who voted for Skinner were looking for nothing more than polite conversation. Look at the POST project by TRICORD that failed, temporarily, when Onorato asked 3 very specific questions of TRICORD and how they were going to put $53 K back into the pockets of Spotsylvania County Citizens if the POST project were approved.

    Now the Post project is back, along with Summitt Crossing, which remain on the County’s drawing boards to this day, and now come disguised as Urban Development Areas the Planning Commission put on the boards long ago and waiting for legislation of ordinances, zoning rights and by-right construction rights the BOS have no say in what’s built, how its built, and where its built.

    Skiner is the facilatator, and Onorato was the negotiator. So, much for answering hard questions and getting an answer back that makes sense.

  • Sam


    It’s peculiar you ask that question. Someone a few days ago had asked why they (EMS) didn’t transport Deputy Ridings or Schroeder to the new hospital.

    Not sure who that was but in either and anycase…
    Yes, it could have to do with the level of care that a hospital is capable of delivering certainly. But it could also have to do with the County itself having a long standing relationship with a hospital. I personally cannot speak for either situation, but many times it is a judgement call of the EMS Officer in Charge and what they see as the best practice. Hope that helps.

  • getitstraight

    SRMC is not a trauma center (nor is Stafford, or the Free Standing ED). MWH is the closet level 2 trauma center requiring specific cases to be transported there due to it being the most appropriate facility for the patient.

  • getitstraight
  • DonnaMartin

    Vince was a visionary!

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    Back when it was first estimated, it was going to cost about 17 million to widen it ( not straighten it).


    I believe the school itself would cost in the 20 million range.

    Onorato’s angst was primarily along the lines of how and why you’d build a school on that road like that without a fiscal plan for upgrading it.

    but when they built Lancaster Gate on that road – it insured that a bunch of kids would have to be bused on the same road so 6 of one 1/2 dozen, etc…

    the other thing to make note of is the fact that Lancaster Gate has public water and sewer – the availability of that will enable further – more dense development along that road so expect a proposal that will include proffers for a road upgrade at some point.

    Some folks might be worried about a proliferation of so-called “Smart Growth” proposals in close proximity to the new VRE station.

    I would be more concerned with an explosion in more subdivisions like Lancaster Gate because that is the market that most commuters want – a home in a subdivision with a front and back yard… not living cheek-by-jowl in a “New Urban” townhouse development.

    Lancaster Gate and the thousands and thousands of undeveloped land are within a 5 minute drive of where the new station will probably be built – including in nearby Caroline County.

    and here’s a further irony – Stafford is now looking to expand UDAs around it’s VRE stations but chances are after Spotsy builds it’s station and all the new homes around it that the trains will arrive chock full in the mornings at the Stafford Stations.

    Has anyone asked how much available capacity VRE has on it’s trains BEFORE we decide how many new houses to approve?

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    note to Marty – “Summit Crossing” and a 1/2 dozen similar developments could be built right across the county line in Caroline without any Spotsylvania BOS or development focus groups having anything to do with it – right?

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Right, but what does that have to do with anything TRICORD and Cosner intend to build or rebuild in the Rt 17 corridor? Caroline County is just starting to make its way to the finish line. Spotsylvania gets penalized 15 yards for “back field in motion”

    This is about Spotsy and the UDAs the Planning Commission has identifed a long time ago or did you miss that meeting? I was there, but you weren’t.

    The Commonwealth of Virginia is the facilitator and guide to local governments taking control of their piece of the pie, with the assistance of federally funded Regional management agendas, such as those being developed by the GWRC, FAMPO and a select FEW of the County’s elected officials. Tell me it isn’t so, or didn’t you get your copy of the June 2010 postings of FAMPO’s Policy, Technical , and TAG (Transportation Advisory Group) meetings and documents? The meeting notes I have say you were at your appointed rounds on the TAG meeting at their June 2010 meeting. Didn’t you get your copy of the 2011 UNIFIED PLANNING WORK PROGRAM? I’m sure you got the May 17, 2010 Policy Committee Meeting. Even Mary Lee Carter showed up in her capacity as a member of Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) , not to be confused with conspiracy theories. It’s a fact Larry, not an accusation.

    Matt Kelly chairs the Policy Committee, and to name a few other in attendance were Ernie Pennington (for Doug Barnes), Jerry Logan, and BenjaminPitts. What kind of venom do you think I’m stirring up now? Once you get past the names, then comes the agendas and resolutions. But, you already know that. What member of the public did you share FAMPO’s adopted amendment to their “Public Participation Plan”?

    My question is, if you’re going to continue playing with the publics interest why don’t you come up with something more than just distractions, name calling, and web searches. If you know, don’t sit there saying “this is how it is” and at the end of your closing remarks say “I dunno”. This becomes one of those moments I don’t care to LISTEN to what you’re spinning. If you can’t bring yourself to connect the dots, then what good are you to anyone listening in?

    Simply said, if there’s something you fail to understand about my #4, maybe you should return to your post with the Committee of 500 and see how you fair with their version of the truth.

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    I think a point worth considering is that no matter what Spotsylvania and/or FAMPO does or does not do that Caroline also is involved in deciding about development in that area.

    just FYI Marti – Matt Kelly is no longer an elected official or represents FAMPO so you can scratch that conspiracy theory off your list.

    The FAMPO/MPO Unified Work Plan for those who care is a REQUIRED Annual DISCLOSURE document where the MPO (FAMPO) must by law disclose it’s major activities and where the funding comes from.

    The Public Participation Plan is another required document that the MPO must provide annually that details what it does to engage the public.

    but Marty will have to find other officials at FAMPO to implicate in nefarious schemology since Kelly and Connors will no longer be in residence there and Mary Lee is not eligible to serve.

    Her term BTW is decided by the Gov who will either have to reappoint here or name a new rep to scheme.

    I suppose in Marty’s eyes it really does not matter who is the current schemer-in-chief as long as he finally figures out who it is. You might have to contact FAMPO to get them to update the players, eh?

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Thanks Larry, but I have already called.

    “…Caroline is also involved in deciding about development in THAT AREA.” What are are you talking about? Spotsylvania County or Caroline or have they now been joined at the hip for land development purposes?

    Last time I read, at the joint meeting of GWRC, on JUNE 21, 2010 and called to order by Chairman Benjamin Pitts with newly elected officers Dale Sisson Chairman;Robert J Popowicz, 1st Vice Chair; Katherine Greenlaw, 2nd Vice Chair; Susna Stimpson, Treasurer and Jerry Logan, Secretary and made official by Mark Dudenhefer the curent Secretarty and effective on July 1, 2010 (Resolution 10-34). Meeting adjourned at 6:55 pm …when Matt Kelly, Chair of FAMPO opened their meeting. There was an election of new officers that would assume their role in FAMPO business effective July 1, 2010. The new officers were not named or included in the June 21, 2010 minutes. Maybe you know who they are, and how far could Connors be from FAMPO since he is a likely candidate for FAMPO’s TOLL ROAD AUTHORITY as soon as Fredericksburg signs on.

    You still haven’t answered my question. What member of the public did you share the contents of FAMPO’s (PPP) Public Participation Program with? Any one I know?

    Who’s going to announce the terms of Resolution 10-20, Authorizing Execution OF A TASK ORDER Under The CONTRACT with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. For The Caroline County Train Station Project? Spotsy is burning the same candle from one end and Caroline is anxious to get their ball rolling as soon as possible. Has Caroline County already joined VRE. If they have, I probabably missed their elected leaders vote.

    How do you arrive at the conclusion Matt Kelly and Supv. Connors are no long part of or associated the business of GWRC or FAMPO? Nothing could be further from the truth, So why even try this idea on for size when you know it to untrue?

    Larry, you’re really going to have to better than this.

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    No clue what you are yammering about… as usual Marti.

    what is the point you are trying to make ?

    Can you use plain English for a change?

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    That’s what I thought. You don’t have a clue, but I will give it you, when you close down you have more than your ears covered.. What part of the English language don’t you understand or do we now have to lead you by the hand through these uncharted waters?

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    I do have my problems with Grade A blather.. I admit it.

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    Glad you were able to admit to somthing, You had me worried there for just a moment.

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    By the way, does your version of VENOM have anything to do with your brand of blather? Aren’t their different grades of blather you use to make your points, or is it just the Grade A type that give you the most problem dealing with?