Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Middlesex County Republican Committee - REGISTER TO VOTE, THEN VOTE!

Dear MCRC Members and Friends of MCRC,

At no time in our history has an election been so in jeopardy as what we're facing November 3.  Virginia county registrars are overwhelmed with extensive new regulations to which they must adhere.  Voter fraud is already being reported around the country.  Election Integrity must be first and foremost in our priorities! 

With thanks to MCRC member Elizabeth Johnson for putting this information together and Middlesex County Registrar Melissa Welch for confirming accuracy, attached are items we hope you will use in the coming days. 

Please take time to acquaint yourself with the details on Register to Vote, Then Vote.  If you or a member of your immediate family is not registered to vote, please follow the timelines given and get it done.  Then, VOTE!  If you can't vote in person (which is preferable), be sure to meet the deadlines for Absentee Balloting. 

Also attached is a Suggested Cover Letter (PDF and docx) that you may use to forward this information to friends, family and neighbors.  It isn't partisan, just what's needed to register and vote properly.  The VA Voter Registration Offices List is attached for you to send to anyone outside Middlesex County.  This is important because not every county may open their voting on Saturdays, for example, or at the hours Middlesex has made available.

This isn't a time to believe that "someone else will do it".  Please, please make an effort to do what you can to ensure America remains a free country. 


Trudy Feigum
MCRC Membership Chairman and
Immediate Past Chairman

Thursday, September 3, 2020

September 2020 District 5 Report and Crime Watch Update - By Supervisor Tom Shepperd

Dear Neighbors,


The purpose of the District 5 Report is to keep you up to date on activities in and around our area.  Residents and homeowner associations are encouraged to share the information with others in their communities.  For those who do not receive the report, I will gladly add you to the distribution list upon request to either tgshep@cox.net or shepperd@yorkcounty.gov.  Please include your name and address in the request.  Comments and questions are always welcome.  You can reach me at the phone numbers and email addresses listed below my name.* I greatly appreciate your help in disseminating the report to other residents of our communities.






Thomas G. Shepperd, Jr.

District 5 Representative

York County Board of Supervisors


(C) 757-903-1875

(H) 757-868-8591




---------------------------------September 2020 District 5 Report and Crime Watch---------------------------------


1.  Voting in the November 3rd General Election.  Go to www.yorkcounty.gov/357/voter-registration or call 757-890-3440 for more information.


a.  There are three ways to vote in Virginia.  In all cases, you must be a registered voter.  The last day to register to vote in the General Election is October 13th. 


(1) You can vote the traditional way on election day by going to your designated voting precinct.  Don’t forget your ID and mask.  The precincts are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.


(2) You can request an absentee ballot.  The last day to do so is October 23rd by 5 p.m.  You may use any delivery service you wish (USPS, FedEx, UPS etc.) to get the ballot back to the Voter Registrar’s Office.  You can even drop off the absentee ballot in person.  In every case the delivery envelope must be date and time stamped no later than November 3rd.


(3)  Starting September 18th, you can vote in person at one of York County’s two Central Voting Precincts.   October 31st will be the last day you can vote at the Central Voting Precincts.  The Central Voting Precinct in the lower part of the County is in Washington Square at 5322 Geo. Wash. Mem. Hwy, Yorktown, VA 23692.  In the upper part of the County, the Central Voting Precinct is in the Victory Village at 6614 Mooretown Road, Suite A, Williamsburg, VA 23188.


b.  Summary of important dates:


            September 18th – First day you can vote in person at a Central Voting Precinct


October 13th – Last day to register to vote in the General Election


October 23rd – Last day to request an absentee ballot


            October 31st – Last day to vote in person at a Central Voting Precinct


            November 3rd - General Election Day


c.  Question:  If someone mails in their November ballot, what safeguards are taken to assure that the ballot is recorded accurately?


Answer:  The safeguards begin with the Virginia Constitution and involve the Governor, the Board of Elections, a Commissioner of Elections, the Voting Registrar, the Officers of Election and the voters.  The Governor appoints the State Board of Elections, which is comprised of three people, two of which currently come from the Governor’s (Dem) party and one from the opposing party (GOP).  This structure is mostly represented all the way to the local level.  There are some very tight restrictions on who can serve in any of these positions.  For example, members cannot work for or serve on the staff of any elected official, nor can their family members. 


As for counting ballots, the process is even more restrictive.  Remember, citizens must register to vote to receive a ballot, which means they must prove who they are and where they live.  They then must request an absentee ballot, which is the same as a mail in ballot.  A ballot package containing instructions, several envelopes and the ballot is sent to the registered voter through the U.S Mail.  The voter can either mail the ballot back or drop it off at the Registrar’s Office. 


Once received by the Registrar’s office, the outside envelope is opened to confirm the proper paperwork, i.e. voter’s signature with witnesses and that the B envelope is present.  The outside envelope is date and time stamped and kept confirming that the voter had requested an absentee ballot.  If everything is in order, the information on the outside envelope is entered into the state voter registration system showing that the voter has voted.  This eliminates the possibility of voting more than once.   About a week before the election, a team of Assistant Registrars acting as Election Officials will open the absentee ballots to begin a count by voting precinct.  Ballots received after the election must be counted.  However, the date stamp on the envelope must be on or before November 3rd


Voting twice in Virginia is a Class 6 felony punishable up to 1 to 5 years in jail and a fine of $2,500.  


d. Question:  Besides the candidates running for office, are there proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot?


Answer:  Yes


            (1) Amendment #1 proposes to establish a redistricting commission, consisting of eight members of the General Assembly and eight citizens of the Commonwealth that will be responsible for drawing the congressional and state legislative districts.  The General Assembly will vote on the proposed change but cannot change the proposal.  If passed, the redistricting will be enacted without the Governor’s involvement.  Failure of the General Assembly to redistrict will result in the Supreme Court of Virginia taking up the responsibility.   Go online to www.yorkcounty.gov/357/voter-registration for more information.


            (2) Amendment #2 proposes that an automobile or pickup truck owned and used primarily by a veteran of the US armed forces or the Virginia National Guard who has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be free from state and local taxation. Go online to www.yorkcounty.gov/357/voter-registration for more information.


2.  Sheriff’s Department Incident Reports - For 19 years, I have provided you with details of incident reports from the Sheriff’s Office.  While the focus is on incidences that occur in and around District 5, I occasionally write about crimes such as burglaries, murders, home invasions etc. in other areas of the County.  My hope is that you will gain some insight in how not to become a victim.  You can see a full list of the incident reports by going to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page at https://www.yorkcounty.gov/1022/Arrests-Incidents-and-Warrants.


Between August 14th and 20th, citizens of Woodlake Crossing, Meadowlake Farms and the Belmont Apartments reported 16 incidences of someone tampering with their vehicles.  Larceny from a motor vehicle is the most reported crime in York County.  These crimes are usually committed by a group of burglars from outside the County.  They enter our neighborhoods during the early morning hours and walk from house to house looking for vehicles that are unlocked.  Seldom will they try and open a locked vehicle.  They then proceed to quickly riffle through the vehicle looking for anything of value.  Loose change, wallets, purses, computers, cell phones, guns, golf clubs, CB radios, power tools, and cameras are the most common items reported stolen.  Law enforcement agencies across Hampton Roads work together to catch these thieves.  Recently, several cases of larceny from a vehicle in York County were partially solved.  Two individuals were arrested when a patrol deputy came across them in the act of breaking into cars.  During another situation in which a resident called 911 to report suspicious activity, a deputy responded, and a chase ensued into the City of Hampton.  Four people were caught and arrested by the Hampton Police.  


Relatively speaking, York County is a very safe place to live but you still need to be aware of your surroundings and be proactive in protecting your valuables.  Remember, remove valuables from your vehicle, lock your car doors, and do not hesitate to call 911.


On August 26th, while driving southbound on Victory Boulevard I noticed a large passenger van on fire in the northbound lane.   The van was stopped just short of the traffic light near the Hardee’s entrance.  Flames and black smoke were billowing out from under the engine area and a man, I presumed the driver, was standing near the driver’s door.  He appeared to not understand the danger he was in, i.e. standing in traffic next to a burning vehicle.  An SUV pulled up next to the burning van and a woman jumped out.  I’m not sure what she thought she could do. She may have thought the van had passengers and the man needed help getting them out.  However, I saw no action by either person to move to the passenger side of the van.  Then, other cars began stopping close behind the burning van and SUV.  As I drove passed in the other direction, I thought that surely someone had called 911 but then, knowing people’s hesitancy to dial 911, I decided to make a call.  I’m very glad I did.  No one had called 911 and by the time I had finished answering the dispatcher’s questions, I was at the Kiln Creek Golf Course.  Fortunately, the fire truck and ambulance were scrambled at the very beginning of my call.  So, what will you do if you are in a burning vehicle?  York County Fire and Life Safety recommends that if possible, you should quickly pullover, stop the vehicle, turn off the motor, quickly and safely get everyone out and move at least 100 feet away from fire, and dial 911.  The Fire Chief believes that people assume that someone else has dialed 911.  He recommends you not make this assumption.  If you see an emergency, dial 911.  I was briefed later that the van was an automotive repair transport and the driver was the only one in the vehicle.  The Fire Department quickly arrived, extinguished the fire, and the van was removed from the scene by the car dealership.  No one was hurt.


3.  Animal Control – This year, more than in the past, wildlife has become a problem for many residents in our district.  Squirrels living in attics, foxes building dens under sheds and in crawl spaces, the increased sightings of coyotes, deer eating flowers and shrubs, and the ever-present racoons and opossums rummaging around homes have raised concern.  I thought it might be useful to share with you what York County’s Animal Service Bureau can and cannot do to assist in resolving animal control problems.  First, York County’s Animal Services Bureau, which is part of our fire department, consists of two Animal Control Officers. They are required to respond to domestic animal related incidences. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is responsible for wildlife situations.  The County’s Animal Control Officers may respond to wildlife incidents only when the animal is reported to be sick, injured or when there is a question of citizen safety.  For example, if you have squirrels in your attic, raccoons in your chimney, or foxes living under your porch or shed, the County will not remove them.  Animal Control Officers can provide you with advice on how to keep wildlife away from your property.  They may even loan you a trap.  However, it is your responsibility to remove the animal.  Animals that are considered a public danger and that are captured by our Animal Control Officers cannot be relocated and are euthanized.  To obtain more information about animal licensing, request an animal trap, or find answers to many animal control question by going to www.yorkcounty.gov//442/animal-services or calling Animal Control Services at (757) 890-3621.  For wildlife related questions, call the VDGIF at (804) 367-1000 or the VDGIF Hotline at (855) 571-9003.


4.  Road maintenance and major ditch work:


            a.  Wythe Creek Farms and Running Man Path - The contract work being done on the path between the two neighborhoods is designed to bring the entire right of way into the VDOT Secondary Road System.  Originally, the right of way was to be a street connection.  Due to requests from the neighborhood the right of way was restricted for use as a bike/walking path and emergency vehicles only.  The original path created by the developer was not built to VDOT road standards.  The work that is being done now will correct the situation.  The turnaround area will be extended eight feet into the path so that larger vehicles can turnaround.  The crepe myrtles will be replaced with new one.  New signage will be installed to clarify that the path is not a cut though.  The area will receive a new overlay of asphalt.


            b.  Kiskiac Turn in Running Man – This street leads to the new 14-unit subdivision called Tequesta Village.  As we expected, Kiskiac Turn did not hold up well under all the heavy construction traffic and as a result the Running Man residence were living with some pretty rough road conditions.  None of the attempts to patch the street worked and finally the DOT Resident Manager in Williamsburg required the developer to do a curb to curb patching.  The street is now in much better shape.  However, I anticipate that when the streets are finished in Tequesta Village, Kiskiac will need to be completely repaved.


            c.  Meadowlake Farms – The stormwater ditch repair behind the homes on Kyle Circle is still ongoing.  The ditch is about six feet deep and runs to the large lake in Woodlake Crossing. The project was originally estimated to cost around $40,000.  Unfortunately, the first repair work did not hold up due to the sandy soil composition.  The revised estimated cost now stands at approximately $150,000.  The current effort includes the installation of Flexmat, which is a mat composed of netting interwoven with concrete blocks.   If the weather stays good, the project should be completed in three to four weeks.


            d.  Hampton Highway - Estimated completion date for the bridge repair and replacement is December 2020.


            e.  Wythe Creek Bridge - The project to widen and elevate the bridge between the cities of Poquoson and Hampton was rescoped and is now back on track.  The project will include a traffic light at the intersection of Carys Chapel Road and Wythe Creek.  The project should go to bid in about six months.


5.  Recycling and trash- Just as a reminder, not all #1 and #2 plastics are recyclable. If the plastic container does not have a neck, it is not recyclable.   Aerosol cans and any paper product that have been in contact with food are not recyclable.  Do not crush cans.  If you do, the real-time camera used in sorting recyclables will identify the crushed cans as paper.  Metals found in the paper bins at the factory are discarded as trash, which is a very expensive way to dump trash.  Finally, if you want to keep the trash down in your neighborhood, please put your trash in a bag before putting it in the trash bin.  Light and loose items such as paper, plastic bags, and Styrofoam will often blow free during the weekly trash collection process.


6. Action by the Board of Supervisors


The Board of Supervisors meetings have been held virtually since March 13th.  This is not an optimal way for residents to express their thoughts on issues of concern.  For this reason, the Board has held off on addressing issues of significance to various parts of the County.  To give residents a direct opportunity to talk to the Supervisors, the September 15th meeting will be held live at York Hall.  Seating in York Hall has been cut in half to meet COVID-19 requirements.  The Board meeting will start at 6 p.m. and the public hearings will start at 7 p.m.  As for the Board’s work sessions that occur on the first Tuesday of each month, these meetings will continue to be held virtually.


As expected, COVID-19 significantly impacted County operations.  To counter this impact and not knowing how long the pandemic would last, the Board directed the County staff to moved forward very conservatively with our spending.  For example, the original proposed operating budget for FY 20-21 was reduced from $150.8 million to $143.7 million, a $7.1 million reduction.  Deferment of Capital Improvement Projects  (CIP) was even a larger cost reduction. For both the County and Schools, the deferment was approximately $20 million.  Thankfully, the CARES Act allocated $13 million to help offset some but not all our expenses.  Office retrofits, citizen and employee safety measures, technology to support work from home requirements and help for remote learning by the School Division are just a few of the categories the CARES Act helped to address.  Hopefully, next year the economic environment will improve, and the County can restore the operating and deferred CIP funding.  


The staff has done a tremendous job in overcoming many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Keeping our government operating in the face of a serious health hazard has been no simple task.  They have really stepped up to support our businesses and residents.  We will continue to cautiously open County departments as we recently did with our Library Services and Parks and Recreation Department and do our part to support a healthy, open, and responsive local government.


* Comments and opinions expressed in the District 5 Report are authorized and approved by me and do not necessarily represent the position of other elected representatives.  All email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and to the Virginia Public Records Act, which may result in monitoring and disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement.