By Cathy Kuehner
Thanks to one county resident who is passionate about recycling and reusing material rather than adding it to landfills, other residents can now drop off glass for recycling at the Clarke County Convenience Center on Quarry Road
Christi McMullen, who lives in the northeast part of the county near the facility for household trash, recently purchased an Expleco glass bottle crusher. It cost her about $7,000. She also purchased a small trailer and heavy-duty liners that make it easier to remove bottles from the trailer. Currently, she sifts the crushed glass by hand, but hopes to one day buy a mechanical sifter for $11,000.
Each weekend in May, McMullen placed her trailer at the Convenience Center as part of a county-approved pilot program. The two unknowns were the level of community support for recycling and the cleanliness of the glass deposited in the trailer.McMullen and county administration are thrilled with the initial results.
Over four weekends, residents placed 2,413 clean glass bottles and jars in McMullen’s recycling trailer. This represents about 2,000 pounds of recycled glass. Those bottles did not go to the landfill; they were ground into reusable sand, and those repurposed bottles saved money for the county.
Joey Braithwaite, county maintenance director, explained, “When the trash compactor is pulled and taken to the Frederick County landfill, Clarke County is charged by weight. With a glass recycling program, the dumpster’s weight will be significantly reduced, which reduces expenses for the Center’s operations.”
Reducing county expenses is good but keeping recyclables out of the landfill is even better. “Clarke County was never able to recycle glass, and when the Convenience Center opened in January 2019, there was no place locally that accepted glass,” Braithwaite said.
Glass is 100 percent recyclable, and it is infinitely recyclable without loss in quality; however, only about 33 percent of glass is recycled in the U.S. Virginia recycles about 10 percent. Why? Glass is heavy and expensive to transport to recycling centers. When glass is tossed into recycling bins, it breaks into bits that are difficult to separate out for recycling. And, since China stopped accepting U.S. recyclables in 2018, recyclers here are increasingly focused on quality and reducing contamination to maintain the value of their recyclable materials.
Many people feel good about placing paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass into recycling bins. But, when other people place materials contaminated with food residue and other trash into recycling bins, it all becomes trash and it all goes to the landfill.McMullen wants to improve the glass recycling rate — at least in Clarke County. “Anyone could buy a glass-crushing machine and do this, too,” she said. “It isn’t hard, but it requires community support.”
Glass is made from sand, and using the glass-crushing machine, McMullen can turn glass bottles and jars back into sand. Once McMullen unloads bottles at home, she sorts it by color, and removes any metal rings that may still be on bottle necks. She places one bottle at a time into the crusher and sifts the crushed glass into different grits or “cullet.” Larger cullet is good for art projects or decorative concrete. Finer grit — coarse sand — can be used in gardens to keep soil moist. The finest cullet is sand, which can be used for children’s sandboxes, flood-prevention sandbags, sandblasting machines, and replenishing beaches affected by coastal erosion. It takes 160 bottles to fill a 5-gallon bucket with fine sand.
Since purchasing the glass crusher in April, McMullen has given away most of the cullet she has made. “We hope to get sand to people who can use it, but it will take a lot of people and more machines to crush all the bottles and jars that would otherwise would go to the landfill,” she said. “I’m not doing this to make money,” McMullen said. “I’m doing this to make
McMullen wants to be clear. “This is not a recycling business. It is a volunteer project because I love recycling.”
McMullen and her husband John used to move every four years or so because of his work. Now that John is retired, the McMullens have called Clarke County home for the past six years. “We try to give back to our community wherever we live,” she said.
“We are grateful to Christi for coming forward with this idea and being willing to volunteer her time and resources,” said Clarke County Administrator Chris Boies. “This is still a pilot program. At this point we are still evaluating the need and various logistical components of the program.”
Still, Boies hopes McMullen’s glass recycling trailer becomes a fixture at the Clarke County Convenience Center.For the glass recycling project to be successful and continue, all glass deposited in the trailer must be clean. All lids, caps, and corks must be removed. Paper labels are OK. Do not put mirrors, windows, heat-tempered glass such as Pyrex and mixing bowls, ceramic mugs and plates, wine glasses, etc., in the trailer.“
Anybody can reduce the amount of glass that ends up in landfills,” McMullen said. “We can make a big impact in a short amount of time.”
Find more information on McMullen’s Facebook page: Glass Recycling Clarke. Contact her at email@example.com.
Read more about the Clarke County Convenience Center, including its hours of operation, at www.clarkecounty.gov/
My son and I were watching Doctor Who. It was an episode with Daleks. The Dalek armor, he said, always reminded him of Roman shields, a technology the Romans used pretty much unchanged for hundreds of years. “That’s just weird,” he said. “Now things change every year.” He is 15 years old.
It does seem sometimes like things change overnight, but more often a tipping point is reached after years or decades of incremental advance. The efficiency of solar-electricity generation has improved exponentially over four decades. Now look.
In 2021, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar made up more than half of all new electricity generated in the U.S. during the first three quarters. By 2050, renewable energy will make up nearly half of all electricity generation, and half of that will come from solar.In Virginia, 416 projects are awaiting review by relevant agencies. Those projects have potential power capacity of 22,679 megawatts (enough to power 3.7 million homes), according to a recent article in Bay Journal. PJM, the manager of our regional grid, is so swamped with applications from operators to join the grid that it has had to pause the process to come up with a plan. Clearly, the solar future has arrived.
There is a Wild West atmosphere in solar development. In the name of sustainability, developers have cleared thousands of acres of forest to plant “clean energy.” This, while federal, state, and local governments are spending millions on tree plantings to clean waterways and mitigate global warming.
There are questions about compatibility with the agricultural landscapes that many private and public entities have worked to preserve. And questions about how the massive introduction of pervious surfaces will impact water quality — again, when so much is being invested to manage stormwater runoff that destroys rivers and streams.
There is a lot we must figure out, with not much time to spare. This year, the Virginia legislature, supported by conservation organizations, passed a measure establishing reasonable standards in the permitting process, recognizing the importance of farmland and forests, and requiring mitigation when significant impact occurs. A good start.
These are exciting times. Solar and wind energy are accelerating. Major carmakers are moving toward all-electric fleets, which will increasingly be powered by electricity from cleaner sources.
After all these years, the large-scale use of solar energy to power our homes and businesses is not a technological quandary. It’s a planning challenge and, for now, a race to manufacture and deploy as quickly as we can.If we’re lucky, time travelers like Doctor Who will one day visit 2022 to see our exciting beginnings, as we created the systems that gave them the wonderful planet they inhabit.
— David Lillard
Clarke Monthly asked the staff of Commonwealth Senior Living for advice on how to plan for a loved one’s transition from living alone “at home” to a community setting. We appreciate them providing the information below which was a guest blog post by Mindy Godding of Abundance Organizing. The original post can be found here.
You may have noticed signs a loved one is struggling to maintain the demands of their home while you were visiting over the holidays. Many of us agonize over the uncertainties of approaching our loved ones about these concerns or with suggesting the idea of senior living. Perhaps you’ve tried to broach the topic with family members in the past, only to have the dialogue break down in frustration. While it might be easier to avoid the topic, doing so can lead to bigger challenges. Like returning an overdue library book, today’s fine is better than tomorrow’s compounded fees. Seems logical, yet we all can get caught walking the path of least resistance. If we know it’s best to act, why do we leave the “elephant in the room?
”Here are a few reasons:
We think it’s too far in the future. The longer you delay, the harder these conversations become because options be- come more limited. Don’t wait for a triggering event. Crisis is the absolute worst time to have this discussion. Focus on building a plan, rather than jumping into action.
We think it’s depressing or upsetting. These conversations don’t have to be heavy or sad. Instead of steeling yourself for a moment that’s formal or stiff, let your curiosity be your guide. Resist allowing fear to drive your agenda or tone.
Our loved one is afraid to lose control. Make sure your loved one knows they are firmly in the driver’s seat during discussions impacting their future. Even if you have no concerns and your loved one doesn’t need to move any time soon, it’s valuable to have a plan. The most productive dialogue happens when every- one feels safe and secure. For someone who values control, the worst thing you can do is avoid the opportunity to share your feelings and advocate for yourself while you have the time and space to reflect with- out stress.Understanding everyone’s concerns and interests around this sensitive topic can lead to a more meaningful conversation. Sometimes we must start gently or be prepared to circle back to the topic con- sistently over time. When everyone has come to the table, here are tips on maintaining a meaningful dialogue.
Don’t go in with an agenda. It helps to gather facts and in- formation first, however the primary goal is to initiate a dialogue, answer questions, or problem solve. If you have concerns, state what you’re observing without assigning judgement. Ask lots of open- ended questions. Park your emotions at the door. Stick to the facts, and be ready to listen.
Be prepared to have these conversations any time. Listen for relevant anecdotes about family friends, neighbors, or others in casual conversation. If you get deflected, ask: “If not now, when?” These conversations tend to get easier the more you revisit them. Many people need to process for a while before they feel confident making what they perceive to be a big or high
Use whatever tools you need. There are many helpful tools online like conversation-prompting flashcards, note-taking worksheets, and topic checklists to help guide
Involve a professional. If emotions run high, a neutral third party can often diffuse tricky situations and distill a conversation down to actionable steps. This could include someone from the senior living community you are considering or a councilor who
specializes in transitions.
Stay present. Concentrate on listening to understand versus listening to respond. Listen for themes in your loved one’s stories and repeat key points backtoconfirmeveryone’son the same page. Record the conversation so you can focus on listening, not taking notes.
Focus on areas of agreement, not dissent. Many of us tend to back our position so rigorously we can’t see the forest for the trees. Meaning we risk losing creativity that could lead to compromise. Find areas of common ground and leverage those as your starting point for building further consensus.
These conversations are never predictable and can seem daunting, however they may be easier than you think. Reaching understanding can give everyone a sense of deep relief but getting started is often the hardest part. For more information, visit www.commonwealthsl.com.
Story and illustration by Doug Pifer
It sounded like springtime in December. Three dozen robins were singing and scolding on Christmas morning. They had gathered to feed on the fruits of Bradford pear, an ornamental tree that was the darling of landscapers thirty years ago and is now black listed by many gardeners and nature lovers.
Bradford Pear, Pyrus Calleryana, has an interesting history that began early in the 1950s when pear orchards in the Pacific Northwest were decimated by fire blight, a disease that kills fruit trees. Agricultural researchers discovered that the Callery pear, a thorny wild tree native to China, had rootstocks highly resistant to the disease. They grew imported Callery pear trees in nurseries where branches from choice pear varieties were grafted onto their roots. This eventually saved the commercial pear business from being wiped out by fire blight.
Meanwhile, one agricultural nursery grew a Callery pear tree that was sterile, had a beautiful shape, profuse flowers, and no thorns. This cultivar was named “Bradford” after its discoverer. Bradford pear became the ideal landscaping tree in the 1980s. It had a lovely, symmetrical shape. It thrived in a variety of climates and soils. It even tolerated the polluted air and compacted soil next to city streets, shopping centers, business parks and parking lots. Its shiny green leaves turned from yellow to orange to deep red and stayed on the tree until late fall. Its white blossoms made a spectacular show in early spring.
As they matured, Bradford pear trees became problematic. They were short lived. Their narrowly forking branches and soft wood were prone to breakage. A windy spell would
frequently tear a large Bradford pear tree apart. The clouds of white blossoms, while stunning, smelled bad to some people. While the original Bradford variety was sterile, most trees you see now have been cross pollinated and bear small, pinkish brown “pears.” Most of these trees also have thorns. If you park your car under one of the fruiting trees after a night of heavy frost, you may return later to find your windshield smeared with their thawing, fallen fruit. Robins, starlings, and other fruit-eating birds gorge on these little pears during late fall. The birds, in turn, disburse the seeds.
Now Bradford, or rather Callery, pear trees grow everywhere.
Localities in several states have banned Bradford pear trees. People are urged to dig up and destroy Bradford pear trees on their property. Disposing of them isn’t easy. After a tree is cut, its roots must be destroyed before they send up new shoots everywhere. A tractor brush hogging a field can get thorn-slashed tires. Putting cut branches though a wood-chipper creates mulch which may contain pear seeds that sprout in the spring.
A wild Chinese pear tree once saved the American pear industry and then became a favorite landscaping tree. Now reverted to its Callery roots, it has become what many would call a scourge.
In the Spring of 1951 the student body of Robert Russa Moton High School, in Prince Edward County, Virginia, walked out in protest of unequal educational facilities. The resulting school desegregation lawsuit was part of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which concluded that “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.”
These are the opening lines of the “Moton School Story: Children of Courage,” the remarkable story of courageous high-school students who wanted nothing more than equal treatment under the law. Farmville, Virginia’s former Robert Russa Moton High School, now a National Historic Landmark and museum, is the birthplace of America’s student-led civil rights revolution. The 1951 Moton Student Strike produced three-fourths of the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the landmark Supreme Court decision desegregating U.S. schools.
From 1959 to 1964, Prince Edward County closed its public schools to avoid integration.
Cameron Patterson, executive director of the Robert Russa Moton Museum, visits Berryville to share the story of the students of Prince Edward County who helped to expand the meaning of equality for all — see advertisement on page 17.
The program will highlight the lock-out generation of students, who were impacted when public schools closed in 1959 in Prince Edward County for five years. You can learn more about this chapter in Civil Rights history at https://motonschoolstory.org/home.
By Cathy Kuehner
Charles “Chuck” Johnston, who served as Clarke County Planning Director for 22 years, was honored February 11 with the Wingate Mackay-Smith Clarke County Land Conservation Award.
The award recognized work he did in the early 2000s that continues to support property owners who want to preserve their land from future development.
In the early 2000s, Johnston began designing the county’s Conservation Easement Purchase Program (CEP Program) which was ultimately created by ordinance by the Board of Supervisors in 2002. The CEP program helps preserve land with significant agricultural, natural, scenic, and historic resources. As the CEP program begins its 20th year in 2022, the Conservation Easement Authority wanted to recognize Johnston as the staff person who largely developed the program. He researched conservation easements, established criteria for acceptance, and wrote the code sections for the creation of the Conservation Easement Authority (CEA).
Johnston left Clarke County in late 2011 to take a similar position in Calvert County, Md. When he announced his departure, Johnston told The Winchester Star how impressed he was by the county and town officials who worked together to create the Berryville Area Plan to designate future growth areas. “[Clarke County and the Town of Berryville] had an urban development area before urban development areas were thought of in Richmond,” he said.
Today, Johnston is director of the Community Planning and Building Department for the City of
Fredericksburg, Va.In 2012, Governor Bob McDonnell honored Clarke County’s CEA with an Environmental Excellence Award for its successful efforts to protect and preserve land. The CEA was honored also for filling an important niche by enabling landowners who might not meet the criteria of other programs to place smaller parcels of land in easement.
Easements are voluntary agreements negotiated between landowners and public agencies in which the landowners agree to place specific restrictions on the use and development of their property in exchange various income and estate tax benefits. In the case of the CEA, there are also payments to the landowner. Clarke County Conservation Easement Authority recorded its first easement in 2003.
When CEP Program properties are included with other conservation holdings, such as those held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, about 25 percent — 26,790 acres — of Clarke County is permanently protected, and hundreds of dwelling unit rights have been retired as of January 2022. At 178-square miles (113,920 acres), Clarke is the eighth smallest county in Virginia. The county also maintains a sliding scale zoning policy that preserves large tracts of land by permitting fewer dwelling unit rights per acre for larger existing parcels.
Since 2015, the Wingate Mackay-Smith Clarke County Land Conservation Award has honored individuals, groups, and organizations for their significant contributions to the preservation and protection of open spaces in Clarke County. The award also draws attention to the need for land conservation and the role easements play in preserving natural and historic resources.
Mackay-Smith was the first recipient of the award as she was instrumental in helping the Board establish the Clarke County Conservation Easement Authority, and she helped negotiate the authority’s first easement purchase — historic Greenway Court — the colonial-era home of Sir Thomas Fairfax. Other Wingate Mackay-Smith Clarke County Land Conservation Award recipients are: Holy Cross Abbey (2015); G. Robert Lee, Margaret Maizel, Robert Mitchell, and A.R. “Pete” Dunning (2016); Melvin Kohn (2017); Joe and Denise Sipe (2018); J. Michael Hobert (2019); and the American Battlefield Trust and Shenandoah University (2020).
For information about conservation easements, contact Clarke County Easement Authority Specialist Alison Teetor at (540) 955-5177 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at clarkelandconservation.org.
By Cathy Kuehner
When the Circuit Court established the Clarke County Board of Supervisors in 1870, the county was divided into four townships for representation: Battletown, Chapel, Greenway, and Long Marsh. Over the past 152 years, townships became districts, district names changed and, in 1991, a fifth district was added as the result of Census data and a growing population.
One thing has not changed: Where you live determines where you vote and in which election districts you vote.
A mayor and Town Council represent everyone who lives within Berryville and Boyce town limits. All Clarke County residents, including those who live in Berryville and Boyce, are represented by one of five Supervisors, who collectively make decisions for the county and voice local concerns to elected officials in Richmond. Members of the Virginia General Assembly (delegates and senators) and Congress represent the residents from their districts at the state level.
Virginia General Assembly and congressional districts were recently redrawn based on 2020 Census data. The Virginia Supreme Court approved this redistricting on Dec. 28, 2021. Clarke County was in state Senate District 27, represented by Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, and the 10th Congressional District, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton. Parts of the county also are in two state House districts: the 10th, represented by Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Boyce; and the 33rd, represented by Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton.
With redistricting, Clarke County, surrounding counties, and the City of Winchester are in state Senate District 1 (a new district) and House District 31. Clarke County is also part of the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District.However, the elected officials who currently represent Clarke County — Vogel, Wexton, Gooditis, and LaRock — continue to represent the county until their terms expire; that is January 2023 for Congress and January 2024 for the state house and senate.
At the county level, the Board of Supervisors has determined that Clarke’s population has increased proportionally across the county, so its district boundaries will not change.
Census data shows that Clarke County’s population increased from 14,034 in 2010 to 14,807 in 2020.
According to County Administrator Chris Boies, each of the county’s five voting districts should have an “ideal population” of 2,961 based on population growth and state laws. Specifically, districts must be within plus or minus 5 percent of that number, or have a population between 2,813 and 3,109, he said.Each Clarke district is within that range based on 2020 Census data.
• Berryville District has 2,997 residents (2,852 in 2010)
• Buckmarsh District has 2,827 residents (2,854 in 2010)
• Millwood District has 3,021 residents (2,729 in 2010)
• Russell District has 3,082 residents (2,896 in 2010)
• White Post District has 2,880 residents (2,703 in 2010)
As this edition of Clarke Monthly went to press, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on Feb. 15 to make two changes to the Code of Clarke County. The first change simply updates the population for each district using 2020 Census information. The second is technically a correction, changing the “voter election district” to the accurate term “voter election precinct” for the central absentee voting.
Except for occasional special elections or primaries in the spring, all voters go to the polls in November to elect officials who begin serving their terms in January.
Director of Elections & General Registrar Barbara Bosserman said the Clarke County Office of Elections will send letters to all registered voters prior to the next election. The letters will outline changes to election districts and remind voters where they cast their ballots. Polling locations are not changing, Bosserman said.
The next election for Clarke County Supervisors is November 2023; their four-year terms begin in 2024.
“Supervisors are the governing body for the county,” explained Boies, who as county administrator oversees the day-to-day operations of county government and reports to the Board.
The Board is responsible for the budget, ordinances, land-use decisions, and it sets priorities for county government. Supervisors also correspond with state and federal officials to make the needs of Clarke residents known.
Individually, each Supervisor responds to constituent concerns and requests. If warranted, a supervisor will take concerns to the full Board.Residents also can express concerns during each monthly Board meeting. Regular meetings on the third Tuesday of the month include Citizens Comment periods, when individuals may speak for three minutes on any subject.
David Weiss, who was first elected to the Board in 2003, has served as its chair since 2015. He represents the Buckmarsh District. Buckmarsh was carved out of the Berryville District after the 1990 Census and redistricting in early 1991.
At its January organizational meeting, the Board unanimously elected Millwood District Supervisor Terri Catlett to serve as vice chair. She was first elected in 2015.
White Post District Supervisor Bev McKay was first elected in 2011, and Supervisor Doug Lawrence was elected in 2019 to represent the Russell District.In May 2020, Matthew Bass was appointed by the Board to fill the unexpired Berryville District Supervisor term of Mary Daniel after she was named a General District Court judge for the 26th Judicial District. Bass then won a special election in November 2020.
Clarke County was created on March 8, 1836, when the state Senate officially separated the new county from Frederick County. After the Constitution of 1870 established the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, the first to step up and serve were Philip H. Powers, John Morgan, John M. Gibson, and John R. Nunn.From the beginning, Clarke Supervisors have placed high value on the county’s natural resources and agrarian heritage. A March 1936 editorial in the Clarke Courier newspaper concluded, “The duty, therefore, has become ever more insistent upon the men and women of this generation in Clarke County to care well for this lovely land which is now observing its one hundredth birthday as a separate county. In fertilizing the soil they are preserving the interests of their children for the years to come so that its richness may be preserved forever like the grandeur of the Blue Ridge Mountains that encircle this county with their ageless might.”
What was true then, remains true now.
Find more information about your Board of Supervisors, including a district map, meeting agendas, and contact information, at www.clarkecounty.gov. Use the drop-down menu under “Government,” go to “Boards & Commissions,” and click on “Board of Supervisors.”
Story by Rebecca Maynard
Photo by Tricia Nalls
Clarke County High School senior Kaylee Anderson made the whole community proud on January 29 when she earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at the Virginia Girls’ Championship state wrestling tournament.
“I’ve never gotten one of those types of awards before, so it was pretty cool, and shocking,” Anderson said.
Anderson won the girls’ invitational in the 146 pound weight class. She won her first two matches on Saturday with first period pins. Leading by just one point while competing in neutral, Anderson scored a takedown with 18 seconds left and added two near fall points to win 6-1 over J.R. Tucker’s Victoria Harris.
Saturday’s tournament featured 11 weight classes and 13 divisions with girls from 58 high schools in Virginia. (The 100 and 127 classes had two divisions.) Anderson was the only girl from the five local high schools who competed.
The daughter of Tricia and Anthony Nalls, Anderson has been wrestling since 6th grade. “My cousin [Lexi Nalls] was on Team Virginia, and I’d heard about her doing big things in wrestling,” Anderson said. “At the time I was playing softball, but I was horrible at it and needed a new sport! I thought maybe I could try what she was doing.”
Anderson went to a wrestling practice at the middle school and the rest is history. She explained that currently, there is no sanctioned girls-only division in the Virginia High School League (VHSL). Girls wrestle male athletes during high school meets.
“Girls’ wrestling is growing really fast and we’re trying to get it sanctioned,” she said. “There are not many girls’ tournaments in this area, and I’m on Team Virginia, so I know when the tournaments are, but it’s harder for other girls who don’t have those people to talk to and figure out where the girls’ tournaments are.”
“Coach [Jon] VanSice has helped me a whole lot, getting me into tournaments, and his son Kyle VanSice has helped me a whole lot too, sticking up for me, and helping me with my confidence,” she said.
Outside of wrestling, Anderson said a memorable teacher for her is Mary Roberts. “She helped me whole lot, especially when we went virtual, with remembering to stay on task and get everything done and turned in,” she said.
Anderson plans to attend Shenandoah University in Winchester, where she hopes to study exercise science and/or nutrition, with the goal of becoming a personal trainer. She is close with Tim McGuire, Shenandoah’s wrestling coach, who helped train her for World Team Trials in Texas and flew out on his own dime to help coach her. She has been talking with him about trying to start a women’s wrestling team at Shenandoah.
“He said, ‘We’ll try to help you,’ so that’s my plan,” she said. “We’re going to have to start off as a club first, and build the program, but I’ll still be able to wrestle in women’s college tournaments and he’s going to recruit me to the men’s team.”
While she looks forward to a new chapter at Shenandoah, she currently has the goal to once again make it to boys’ state this year, after becoming the first girl from Clarke County to do so.
“I was really proud of myself when I made it to boys’ state as a freshman,” Anderson said. “It showed me that I was capable of doing anything.”