Community Unites to Find Stolen Dogs

At the October regular monthly meeting of Middleburg Town Council Police Chief A. J. Panebianco that two dogs stolen from a vehicle parked in Middleburg had been found and returned home, safe and sound to their grateful owners, Malicia von Falkenhausen.

The odds of finding stolen pets, which are all too often sold, abandoned or even killed, the Chief noted, are often all too high

He congratulated and thanked the entire Middleburg community, its news outlets, and Facebook for their critical roles in solving the case.

News of the disappearance of the dogs created an explosion of public concern, which spread far and wide.  Facebook alone, according to the Chief, spread the message to over 80,000 people

The people who took the dogs, Panebianco noted, soon knew all too well there was no way they could hide them.  Both were soon returned

Reportedly, Police Lt. Jay Hollins will soon be able to bring charges in the case.

Mayor Bridge Littleton thanked the Police Department and the community for a “phenomenal job of getting the word out.”

Safety Patrol Badge Presentations

Mayor Bridge Littleton, the entire Middleburg Town Council and staff, and Chief of Police Panebianco welcomed the new class of Middleburg Community Charter School Safety Patrol members and their families to Town Hall for official swearing-in and badge presentation ceremonies.

The Mayor reminded the new members of the Patrol of the great responsibility they were taking on and note that he was sure they did not do so lightly.

Chief Panebianco outlined the important role a safety patrol officer plays not only in helping their fellow students (and others) move safely through traffic, but help teach other students about safety.

Their training and work, he said, builds character, teaches good citizenship, community service and respect for authority.

Paving the way for VDOT

Town Administrator Martha Semmes recognized Stuart Will, of IES, for “going above and beyond the call of duty with regard to emergencies that have occurred due to the ongoing VDOT paving project.”

VDOT, she said, did not tell the Town that street levels would change, which necessitated the installation of special risers on critical utility valve boxes.

Mr. Will, Semmes said, “an admirable job.”

Town Planner Will Moore thanked Facilities & Maintenance Supervisor Tim Cole for this work during the VDOT paving project. The work, Moore noted,  “disrupted garbage collections and Mr. Cole was and is working hard to assure that trash is collected on time, including personally moving cans to accessible locations.

Sewage Issue

Mayor Littleton thanked Stuart Will for helping a Middleburg family, who found themselves facing a sewage back up in their home. Littleton noted that he and the Town Administrator are discussing whether or not Town could do anything else to assist the family since the back up was, in his view, clearly the result of the VDOT road work.

Branding

Business & Economic Development Director Jamie Gaucher reported that he was expecting a report within the week from the consultancy helping the town refine its “brand,” noting that he and

Councilmember Philip Miller “hoped to make a decision about testing their ideas in the Washington, DC market sometime next week.”

Council suggested that special attention is paid to the views of local businesses owners and residents in the process, because they, as well as anyone, “ knew why people came to Middleburg.”

Some members favored developing “incubators” in Middleburg to help attract small businesses and provide important guidance, especially with regard to business finances.

Council then directed the Town Staff “to prepare amendments to the ordinance that established Middleburg’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and an ordinance to establish a “cultural and community events committee” for consideration in October.

The new cultural and community events committee, it was noted, could “review and make recommendations related to the special events funding requests the Town received.”

Marshall Street Sidewalks

Town Planner Will Moore reported that the Town received five bids for the town’s Marshall Street Sidewalk Improvement Project

The apparent low bidder, he noted, did not submit a complete bid was not responsive; therefore, Town staff was recommending “the award go to the second lowest bidder.”

The two bids were close, Moore noted, but he recommended the award go to A&M Concrete.

The start date for sidewalk construction, Moore said, “would depend on the completion date of VDOT’s current street paving project.“

Moore estimated the Marshall Street sidewalk project would take around forty-five days to complete, “assuming VDOT issued the appropriate land use permit quickly” and temperatures remained within construction tolerance ranges

Moore also noted that it was critical that the timing of the work not interfere with Christmas in Middleburg.

Mayor Littleton asked Town staff to seek a firm VDOT commitment on timing.

Moore noted, that worst case, the work could be postponed until spring.

Semmes Successor

Town Administrator Semmes reported she was “continuing to support Springsted-Waters’ work on recruiting her successor.”

To date, she noted, the recruiting firm had received twenty-one candidates, with an additional three in the works.

The deadline for submitting an application is September 24th.

The Town’s goal is to have a replacement in place by November 1.

New Web Site

According to Town Clerk Rhonda, North Middleburg has received thirty-three responses to a request for professional website services.

The Town’s website committee is reviewing the applications and was scheduled to meet on September 20th “to identify which vendors to bring in for an interview.”

Business & Economic Development Director Jamie Gaucher reported that “he had read about half of the proposals and opined that the Town would not have a problem finding a qualified vendor.”

Murals in Middleburg

Town Planner Will Moore told Council that Middleburg’s Historic District Review Committee had heard a report from Patty Callahan, of Akre Capital, regarding what he termed “their mural project process.”

According to Moore, the Committee will have to  “discuss the possibility of amending the Historic District Guidelines in order to address murals”

The most important thing they learned from Callahan’s report, he said, was “the challenge of turning what the artist submitted on paper into art on a building.”

Moore suggested that a qualified artist to execute such a project would have to be found and recruited.