Following is a review of the top stories from the Village News from 2018. The Matoaca Megasite was nixed after the Chesterfield Economic Development... Year in review: Megasite the top story for 2018
Bill Lloyd holds a sign with a cartoon drawing by Cornelius ‘Skeet’ Hill at an anti-megasite demonstration March 28 outside the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Following is a review of the top stories from the Village News from 2018.
The Matoaca Megasite was nixed after the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority voted May 3 to withdraw a rezoning application.

How to proceed with a 1,675-acre property now is “up in the air” following the Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority’s vote to withdraw an application to rezone the property from residential to industrial.

“It’s clear that this project is alarming to a lot of folks,” EDA board member Terri Cofer Beirne said. “This is a unique property, and the development pressure on it is tremendous. There are too many unanswered questions,” she said, adding that the county should consider purchasing the property from the Shoosmith family.

The EDA had planned to buy the property following Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement in August 2017 about a plan to develop it for industrial use.
The proposal generated significant opposition from local residents who protested the plan at several community meetings in 2017 and 2018.

A separate county plan to build an east-west freeway in the area has been placed on the shelf after county transportation director Jesse Smith announced concerns about that project last month (see letter to the editor in this week’s paper).

Cox and Wilson
Two area residents made news when they became top Republican Party officials. Del. Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights became Speaker of the General Assembly in January 2018.

Cox is the 55th speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. He will begin his 29 th year in the state Assembly this month. He was elected to the state House in 1989 and began serving in 1990 when the Republicans were “way in the minority.”

The former government and history teacher replaced Bill Howell, R-Stafford, who had been in the post for 14 years.

Cox noted that he is the first Speaker to have been in the teaching profession. He taught for 30 years, including 25 years at Manchester High School in Midlothian.

Cox said he wants to be known as a man of integrity who focuses on making policy.

Jack Wilson III was elected Sept. 8 to replace Loudoun County resident John Whitbeck as state GOP chair. Wilson has had a land use law practice in Chester since 2008. He plans to finish Whitbeck’s four-year term, which ends in 2020. He is unsure if he will run again.

Miles, Spanberger win for Dems
A 60-percent turnout of Chesterfield County’s registered voters yielded an upset Nov. 6 as Democrat Scott Miles defeated Republican John Childrey by 2,731 votes, or 1.9 percentage points.

The men were vying to fill the remaining year left on the term of former commonwealth’s attorney Billy Davenport, who resigned July 1. The seat will be up for election for a full four-year term in November.

“In the coming weeks, we will stop treating non-violent residents as felons,” Miles said. “We will also work … to reform the cash bail system and to begin tearing down the school-to-prison pipeline.”

The Nov. 6 election was not without controversy; some Chesterfield precincts had long lines, as each precinct reportedly had only one ballot scanner.

In another race, Abigail Spanberger knocked off Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Brat in Congressional District 7 by 6,784 votes, or 1.9 percentage points. Chesterfield County, traditionally a Republican area, gave Spanberger a 10,619-vote margin, or 9.4 percentage points.

Notables die
Several notable people died in 2018, including Roger H. Habeck, Pat Holdren, David Creasy and Ernest P. Gates.

Habeck, 77, formed the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce in 1999. For many years, he produced the Chesterfield Journal, a lifestyles publication.

Holdren, 73, was the first woman athletic director in the county. She taught and coached for 35 years at Thomas Dale High School. She led the TDHS girls softball team to a state championship in 1975.

Creasy, 67, worked for Chesterfield Fire & Rescue for 28 years and had 50 years combined in fire and rescue in the region.

Gates, 94, served more than 60 years as a public official in Chesterfield, including 44 years as a circuit judge.

Tragic deaths
May was a rough month for some local families. Two teens died after being hit by an Amtrak train May 9, and two five-month-old twins died May 10 after being found in a black sport utility vehicle in the 2400 block of Alfalfa Lane. The teens were Presley A. Trent, 13, and Samuel W. Rivas, 18.

Sentenced
Christopher Gattis was sentenced to 58 years in prison in mid-August for three Thanksgiving Day murders in 2017. Jeanett L. Gattis, 58, Candize L. Kunze, 30, and Andrew Buthorn, 36, were found dead with gunshot wounds at a house in the 14900 Dogwood Ridge Court. Gattis was sentenced as part of a plea agreement.

Deric Demetrius Colander, 54, an Army veteran with no prior convictions but with a recent history of mental illness, was sentenced Oct. 19 to 50 years in prison with 15 suspended for killing his wife May 25, 2017. Colander was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his estranged wife, Tina M.

Colander, 54, at the Days Inn of Chester. Tina M. Colander was also an Army veteran. According to reports, Colander smothered his wife and stabbed her six times in the neck before turning the weapon on himself. Deric Colander was found unconscious and covered in blood in the Days Inn parking lot. He was treated for multiple wounds and spent weeks in intensive care following the incident.

Arts center construction
Construction of the Chesterfield Center for the Arts is scheduled to begin in the spring.

The supervisors voted 3-2 in late June to spend $5.1 million on the arts center, which will be built next to the Chester Library and the Chester Village Green.

The Economic Development Authority previously issued $6.89 million in bonds and the county $2.67 million in bonds for the 22,000-square-foot arts center, which would include a 350-seat theater. Together with the new revenue bonds, the combined total would be about $14.66 million.

At the June 27 meeting, county official Matt Harris said the construction project would take 14 months. He estimated the building would cost $16.8 million. Some $2.1 million in private funds has been raised as well.

The gallery and lobby of the facility will be named after longtime volunteer Betty Matthews, the theater in honor of Jimmy Dean and the facility itself after Baxter Perkinson.

Quarry nixed for landfill
At the end of a marathon seven-plus-hour meeting July 25, the county supervisors voted unanimously to deny a request from Shoosmith Bros. Inc. to use a rock quarry as a landfill.

Supervisors were swayed by fears that a liner that would encase the 83-acre, 200-feet-deep quarry could fail due to heavy rainfall, an earthquake or other reasons.

However, Shoosmith’s attorney, Andrea Wortzel, filed a lawsuit against the county Aug. 21. That and a lawsuit the company filed June 19, 2017, are the next steps in a battle between the county and Shoosmith over whether the company can use a rock quarry as a landfill once its current landfill is full.

Shoosmith’s vice president of operations, Fletcher Kelly, said the landfill has seven or eight years of life left. Once that happens, the company would like use the quarry to add another 15 years of life to the 180-acre landfill.
Shoosmith and the county are at odds over whether one of the conditions of Shoosmith’s conditional use permit (No. 19) requires additional county approval. Shoosmith applied for and received that permit in 1997.

20 years and a new editor
The Village News was founded by Mark and Linda Fausz in 1998. Mark Fausz was replaced by Caleb M. Soptelean on March 1. Linda Fausz remains on staff in a limited role serving some business clients. The couple’s son, Elliott Fausz, is the owner of the weekly.

Sporting successes
Matoaca High’s Maiya Pencile set a new Virginia High School League girls soccer record for goals scored among Richmond-area players in late March when she scored her 127th career goal in an 8-3 win over L.C. Bird.

L.C. Bird High’s boys track team won the Class 5 state title last spring. Jaden Payoute won the 100-meter dash with a personal-best time of 10.67 seconds. He also ran on the winning 400-meter relay team with Lamar Davis, Jemourri La Pierre and Jevon La Pierre. The Skyhawks relay teams also won the 1600- and 3200-meter events.

Cinema Café on the way
After years without a movie theater, one is planned for Chester. A new Cinema Cafe complex, located off Route 1 in the Bermuda Crossroads Marketplace, is scheduled to open later this year.

The free-standing establishment will also feature a spacious bar and lounge located in the lobby, which will provide guests an ideal hangout before and after the movie where they can enjoy one of 20 different beers on tap or a signature cocktail.

The movie theater will boast nine full-service auditoriums with hand-crafted American food favorites. The nine-plex will be 45,000 square feet with 1,400 seats.

Central Library reopens
A $3.8-million renovation of the Central Library caused one local resident to gush when she saw it.

“I’m really impressed with how they spent my tax dollars,” Chester resident Janet Bishop said. “It’s beautiful. I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it. Nobody should complain.”

The building – which now has an address on Lucy Corr Boulevard – opened July 30 after an 18-month renovation. The county’s Cooperative Extension moved into the remodeled library building in February, having previously been housed in the old clerk of court’s office in the county governmental complex.