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Poquoson in the news...
     Poquoson schools identify budget shortage of $409,000

Poquoson City Public Schools is still developing its budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1, but projections show a funding shortfall of $409,000 because of anticipated new expenses and changes in state funding.

The shortfall is $162,000 more than the schools projected in January, according to Superintendent Jennifer Parish, who presented a budget update to the School Board Tuesday. She said the current projection is likely the worst-case scenario and acknowledged that it may change as the state establishes its budget.

The difference in the projections comes from a change in the amount the schools expect to pay for health insurance. Initial projections predicted an increase of 7 percent; new projections indicate an increase of 13 percent, Parish said.

Parish also listed expenses totaling $377,000 that the schools considered adding but will likely have to set aside. Those included higher pay for teacher and nurse substitutes, a 1 percent base pay bump for all employees and implementation of the second year of a teacher pay step plan.

Since the recession, Poquoson schools have cut 54.5 positions, reduced health benefit options and eliminated instructional programs, among other money-saving measures. Parish listed a further reduction of teaching positions and adjustments to insurance plans as possibilities to bring costs down.

She also said the schools may have to ask the city for more money, a request that's been made and met over the last several years.
  -[read the full story]-

   Daily Press      Wednesday - February 22, 2017

     Poquoson City Council to hear possibilities for Big Woods development

A study group made up of Poquoson officials and board members will present development possibilities for the city's Big Woods area at Monday's City Council work session, held at City Hall at 5:30 p.m.

The City Council endorsed five general development concepts and advised the group to keep in mind traffic impacts and the aesthetics of Victory Boulevard as the main entrance to the city, among other factors. The five development concepts were regional sporting goods stores, nautical-themed retail, professional office use, a recreational or cultural center and a high-tech manufacturing or medical facility.

The study group met on Jan. 31 to discuss development possibilities. Among the ideas were sports complexes, akin to the Boo Williams complex in Hampton and the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex, and senior living facilities.

Group members said they pictured any retail development being more upscale than a traditional strip development. They also pointed out shopping centers along Jefferson Avenue, such as Tech Center and Jefferson Marketplace, as good-looking developments the city could possibly emulate.

Members did not see manufacturing as a plausible use for the space for aesthetic reasons, and in discussion of office use, they pointed out that the small business park across the street frequently has vacancies.
  -[read the full story]-

   Daily Press      Wednesday - February 22, 2017

     Tabb edges Poquoson 40-39 to earn spot in 3A girls state tourney

For Tabb High, victory cleared the path to the state tournament.

For Poquoson coach Jeff Gross, defeat meant the end of the road.

Tabb defeated Poquoson 40-39 in a thrilling East Region girls basketball quarterfinal to earn a spot in next week's Group 3A state tournament for the first time in more than a decade.

With 36.1 seconds remaining, the Islanders (17-8) had a shot to regain the lead, but Natalie Erb, double-teamed by the Tigers’ Madison Clemons and Kenna Williams, missed off of the rim on her drive to the basket. Williams grabbed the rebound, and the Tigers ran out the final 10 seconds.

Having committed only three second-half fouls to that point, the Islanders could not foul enough in the final 10 seconds to get Tabb to the free-throw line, so the Tigers ran out the clock. The game was the final one for Gross, who will step down after 15 seasons, 210 victories and a state tournament trip as coach of the Islanders.

“I’m happy with our effort and proud of the girls,” he said. “They didn’t let me down because they left it all on the floor.”
  -[read the full story]-

   Daily Press      Wednesday - February 22, 2017

     Poquoson, Hampton, York County firefighters fight blaze at Langley Street home

Firefighters from three local departments responded to a house fire in Poquoson on Tuesday morning.

Crews responded to the blaze in the first block of Langley Street just before 11 a.m., Poquoson Deputy Fire Chief Mike Bryant said at the scene.

First-responding crews found fire in the attic, and firefighters from Hampton and York County were called to assist, he said.

The fire likely started while contractors were working on an addition in the back of the home, Bryant said. Officials believe the fire burned up a wall and into the attic, he said.

Homeowner, Helen Vartuli, and her aide were inside the home when the fire started. She said she was watching TV when she heard commotion and yelling coming from the people putting an addition on her home.

"All of the sudden (they yelled), "fire, fire, get out, get out,"' she said.

Everyone was able to make it out safely.

Vartuli said she and her two sons will be displaced until repairs can be made.
  -[read the full story]-

   Daily Press      Tuesday - February 21, 2017

     Poquoson's McCormick wins a third consecutive individual state wrestling title

Were state wrestlers honored like actors in Hollywood, the award for Best Performance in a Continuing Wrestling Drama Series would go to Poquoson High junior Patrick McCormick.

McCormick won his third consecutive Group 3A individual state title Saturday, and for the third straight time it was close.

At least this one didn’t go into overtime — like his state final victories in his freshman and sophomore seasons — as McCormick edged Cave Spring’s Zach Schmitt 2-1 for the 126-pound championship. The victory gives McCormick (43-5) the opportunity next year to become Poquoson’s first four-time state champ since Mike Akers in 1999.

“It’s always exciting to win in that (Salem Civic Center) arena with a lot of people in there,” McCormick said. “It was a tough match, but I thought I managed it well once I got the lead.”

McCormick was joined on the top tier of the podium reserved for champions by four other Bay Rivers wrestlers. Two of them, New Kent’s Caden Darber (132 pounds) and Smithfield’s Stan Smeltzer (182), won their second state titles, while Poquoson’s Robert Henesey (195) and New Kent’s Trent Ragland (220) came up big late to win their first state crowns.

Bay Rivers District fortunes dipped a bit on the team front this year, with Poquoson’s fourth-place finish in 3A and Smithfield’s fourth place in 4A being the best. The haul of five golds was impressive, however, because all but Smeltzer’s win were cliffhangers.
  -[read the full story]-

   Daily Press      Sunday - February 19, 2017

     Helsel blasts governor, VMRC over watermen bill

Del. Gordon Helsel teed off on Gov. Terry McAuliffe and his administration Friday, accusing them of going behind his back on a bill meant to soften penalties on watermen who break state regulations.

Helsel, R-Poquoson, has sought a number of changes for the industry this session, with mixed results. Three of his bills passed the House and all three are queued up for votes next week on the Senate floor.

But the administration doesn't care for House Bill 1573.

That bill would forbid the Virginia Marine Resources Commission from revoking more than one category of fishery license over a single violation. A violation of state oystering regulations, for example, would endanger a person's oystering license, but not crabbing or commercial fishing licenses.

The Commission is seeking amendments to keep full revocations in place, but also allow watermen to work under someone else's license if they lose their own. This potential language was discussed in House subcommittee, but Helsel's colleagues went with his version of the bill.

VMRC Commissioner John Bull pitched this amendment to Senate committee members before coming back to Helsel, the Poquoson Republican said Friday during a speech on the House floor.

"I am appalled at the actions of the governor and appalled at the actions of the commissioner that took place yesterday," Helsel said. "It was a cheap, cheap shot. ... Not once have I found the need to try to hijack anyone's bill by going behind someone's back."

Molly Ward, McAuliffe's secretary of natural resources as well as a former mayor of Hampton, said she was "deeply sorry for any misunderstanding."

Bull and Ward said the administration is sticking to its guns on the bill, though. Helsel said he "will not yield" to the governor or the commissioner. He expects a veto, should his bill pass in current form.
  -[read the full story]-

   Daily Press      Saturday - February 18, 2017

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