99-year-old recalls active life

Time may wrinkle the skin, but lack of enthusiasm for life will wrinkle one’s spirit. Ruth Wooldridge, who celebrated her 99th birthday this year, has her ideals intact and spreads enthusiasm to her family extending through five generations.

Born on Oct. 24, 1911, at Fighting Creek in Powhatan County, Wooldridge gained her ideals naturally; her father worked the land, and the Wooldridge children saw how hard he worked and how all the neighbors pitched in and helped each other at harvest time.

When she was old enough to work in the city, Wooldridge moved to Richmond, finding work at American Tobacco Company. Eventually, she met her husband with whom she spent 52 years. "I was working at this little place on Hull Street called the Derby Inn and he would come in delivering blocks of ice." His name was Horace Wooldridge.

Wooldridge has led a very active life that she attributes that to her faith and clean living. "I'm very active. I've never been a person to sit down," she said. Her granddaughter Brenda Dority added, "Yesterday I caught her out here raking leaves."

Her brothers and sisters are now deceased. "God has a reason and maybe there was something he left me here to do. He has been good to me in my life," she said. "I've never regretted one minute of my life and I've raised three children and they never gave me one bit of trouble"

Military helicopter makes emergency stop in Chester

A military helicopter experiencing technical problems hovered above Thomas Dale High School one afternoon before descending directly onto the athletic field of the ninth-grade campus. Spencer Phillips, 16, a sophomore at Thomas Dale, saw the helicopter’s descent. His curiosity got him close enough to take a picture of the incident.

Fourth District voters choose Forbes

Dale voters prefer Waugh for 7th District seat

Countywide, roughly 47 percent of Chesterfield’s voters cast ballots in November’s elections. In the Fourth Congressional District’s November election:

  • Just over 44 percent of Chesterfield County voters cast ballots.
  • Incumbent Randy Forbes, a Republican, received 28,273 votes.
  • Democratic challenger Wynne LeGrow received 15,942 voted.

In the Seventh Congressional District’s November Election:

  • Dale District voters preferred Democratic challenger Rick Waugh to incumbent Republican Eric Cantor.
  • Cantor received 1,364 votes.
  • Waugh received 2,395 votes.

Blast from the past

In a dimly lit room at Marguerite Christian Elementary School, the sound of snaps filled the air as students clad in black responded to a poem read by one of their peers.

The event, Beatnik Day, was the culmination of the fifth grade, Center-Based Gifted writing class’ unit on poetry, teacher Christine Henry said. “It was a lot of fun,” said student Melody Franco, 10.

Draft of county’s comprehensive plan bound and ready for review

By November, a draft of Chesterfield’s countywide comprehensive plan was ready to be introduced to the public at community meetings in January.

“There are many groups on this list,” said Barbara Fassett, project manager for the comprehensive plan, referring to civic, business and community organizations. “We are interested talking with all of you. Any groups who might be interested, we’d love to come out and talk to you.”

In November, most comments relating to the new countywide plan pointed to transportation, the concept of 25 acre minimum parcels in part of the county and how community comp plans recently completed would be incorporated. According to the draft plan’s executive summary, entire plans have not been embraced verbatim, although “all components of past plans were evaluated, and specific relevant details incorporated.”

Planners, through the introduction to the draft plan, also indicated that the plan should not only be only advisory but be followed with policies and actions that achieve the plan’s goals but remain fluid enough to initiate new ideas quickly.

Earth moves at Meadowville

A collection of county, state and federal officials took up shovels in November to break ground at the site of the new Meadowville interchange on Interstate 295. The new diamond interchange, which will provide access to the 1,300-acre Meadowville Technology Park, will cost about $11.7 million and should be complete by December 2011.

Athletes chosen to represent area’s best and finest

In November, the Village News announced 15 high school athletes as its Athletes of the Year and Scholar-Athletes of the Year in each of the five fall sports.

Athletes of the Year include:

  • Meadowbrook High School running back Domico Phillips.
  • Matoaca High School cross country runner Joel Reynolds.
  • L.C. Bird High School cross country runner Nichelle Scott.
  • Thomas Dale High School golfer Griffin Clark.
  • Thomas Dale High School field hockey center midfielder Hailey Flores.
  • Matoaca High School volleyball player Matt Harper.
  • Thomas Dale High School volleyball player Jake McCall.

Scholar-Athletes of the Year include:

  • L.C. Bird High School volleyball player Katie Hall.
  • L.C. Bird High School field hockey player Tracy Cole.
  • Thomas Dale High School field hockey player Kim Church.
  • Thomas Dale High School offensive lineman Adam White.
  • Thomas Dale High School cross country runner Jonathan Fox.
  • Matoaca High School cross country runner Emily Bell.
  • Matoaca High School golfer Tyler Hancock.
  • Matoaca High School volleyball player Ethan Bickford.

Supervisors OK one-time payments for employees

In a 4-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors approved using part of a roughly $28 million surplus from fiscal 2010 for one-time payments to qualifying county employees.

The bulk of the surplus, $10.3 million on the county side and $9.5 million on the schools side, was set aside for future use. About $4.75 million would fund the one-time payments.

Allan Carmody, the county’s budget and management director, said the one-time, performance-based payment would be tied to employees’ “satisfactory” performance of their duties. Carmody said the county’s performance evaluations have five levels and the highest three levels would qualify as “satisfactory” performance. The proposal did not provide for bigger payments for employees with higher performance ratings, he said.

 “I don’t really agree with that, quite frankly,” Bermuda Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle said. She later added: “I think the public has this idea that public employees  just bump along, and no matter how hard they work they all get the same raise and they all are kept forever. And I’d really like to dispel that myth, because anyone here sees how hard our employees do work and I think they’re entitled to being rewarded accordingly.”

The supervisors voted 4-1, with Jaeckle in dissent, to approve the plans for the surplus.

BOS sends tattoo parlor back to Planning Commission

After hearing passionate pleas from residents, the Board of Supervisors sent the case of a proposed tattoo parlor on Iron Bridge Road back to the Planning Commission.

Eric C. Waite and Eddie J. Espada asked for a conditional use permit allowing a tattoo and body piercing parlor in Water Tower Shopping Center. The Planning Commission approved the request at its Oct. 19 meeting, at which no one spoke against the proposal.

During the public hearing, opinions on the proposal differed.

“The tattoo industry is different now,” said Vincent Ferraiolo, a Thomas Dale High School teacher who owns an exotic pet store in the shopping center. “It’s not Easy Rider.”

“I think it’s just an inappropriate business for this particular area,” said Phil Lohr, a resident of Wellington Farms.

Sparks flew at a community meeting on the matter on Dec. 6, when a man was asked to leave the meeting.

Lohr and another resident said they’d been receiving threatening phone calls at their homes. Lohr said the residents would not be intimidated.

Commission Chairman William Brown said he hoped no one would be intimidated, which began an exchange with resident Bill Baker. Baker had earlier said Brown was brushing him off when he asked whether the tattoo parlor on Hull Street Road had caused area crime to increase.

Brown said civility and decorum would prevail, and asked Baker to leave. When Baker refused, a deputy asked him to leave. Bermuda Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle asked Baker to move to another seat and allow the meeting to continue, which he did.

Thomas Dale loses a Knight in shining armor

Former Thomas Dale High School football coach Vic Williams died on Saturday, Nov. 20, after a drawn out battle with cancer.

“His legacy of setting a winning tradition as a Thomas Dale Knight was secondary to his setting of high expectations for his athletes and students to continue excelling in their academic careers, while striving to be their very best in their athletic endeavors,” said Judy Crocker, a 1972 Thomas Dale alumna.

Williams lived and breathed the sport of high school football and accomplished his dream of a Virginia High School League Group AAA, Division 6 championship at the culmination of the 2009 season. He won 213 games and seven Central Region championships during his 23 years as head coach.

His strength was in his relationship to his players. Williams’ ability to relate to his Knights may have come from his time as a quarterback at Thomas Dale. His coaching produced at least 100 college scholarships and three NFL players – William Henderson, Rudi Johnson and Ken Oxendine.

In October, the Chesterfield County School Board voted to name the field house at Thomas Dale the Vic Williams Field House.

After the Associated Press and the Virginia High School Coaches Association named him “Coach of the Year” last year, Williams finished his career on top and he resigned at the end of the school year in May.

Williams is survived by his wife, Lyn, and his two children.



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