By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Isle of Wight County schools Superintendent James Thornton wants to allow the completion of a class project to be eligible to count as a “final exam” for high school students.

However, a School Board policy that permits students to be exempt from final exams under certain circumstances prevents it, mandating that there be an exam that students can be exempt from, according to Thornton.

To overcome the roadblock, the division’s staff submitted a proposal to change the terminology of the existing “exam exemption” policy to instead be called a “culminating activity” policy. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

RESCUE — Jeff Knutson has lived across the road from the Rescue Community Hall for 37 years, and for as long as he’s been there, it’s been used for a variety of events, ranging from meetings to wedding receptions.

Recently, the owners of the building, the Rescue Community League, posted a letter to Rescue residents stating that the building will be sold and that the Rescue/Battery Park Ruritans are dissolving.

Knutson is concerned over what comes next — will it be a hectic business with a lot of traffic? 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

A Rushmere woman was arrested on multiple charges in connection with the double homicide of an elderly woman and her son.

A juvenile living in her home was also issued petitions on similar charges in connection with the Sept. 23 murders of Nancy and Kenneth Starnes.

Sharon Galvin, 37, was arrested Oct. 4 on a felony charge of buying or receiving stolen property. She was released on bond, but was arrested again Oct. 11 with conspiracy to commit a felony and obstruction of justice. She was again released on bond. 

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DNA test says Singer slayer was Hispanic

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The man who killed Carrie Singer was not her boyfriend but an unknown Hispanic man.

That’s the conclusion presented last week by the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office concerning the unsolved 2004 murder of Singer, 28, whose body was dumped in a farm field off Blount’s Corner Road.

The revelation was part of the Discovery Channel’s series, “The Killing Fields,” which will feature the Singer’s unsolved murder this season.

Isle of Wight County Sheriff Mark Marshall said his investigators had tools available to them now that did not exist 13 years ago — namely DNA phenotyping that can pinpoint a person’s ancestry, coloring and some semblance of facial features based on DNA evidence.

That same technology was also able to eliminate Singer’s boyfriend, Robert Dezern, as a suspect. Dezern died in 2013. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

A dog got into a fight with a raccoon that ended up testing positive for rabies on Oct. 5 near Morgart’s Beach Road.

The dog, which had been vaccinated against rabies, was given a booster vaccine and will be under a 45-day observation period, according to the Isle of Wight County Health Department.

This is the tenth case of rabies reported in Isle of Wight County this year, according to Jay Duell with the Isle of Wight County Health Department. Other reported cases occurred in Zuni, Central Hill, Days Point Road and Sugar Hill Road and involved four raccoons, two skunks, two foxes and two feral cats. Raccoons usually top the list, said Duell.  

The number of rabies cases reported this year is considerably higher than the previous two years, where four cases was reported in 2016 and two in 2015. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Economic development around the new Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex has been predicted ever since the town began planning the facility. That prediction is now coming true.

The Smithfield Recreation Association’s softball commissioner, Tom Dawson, plans to open a brewery across the street from the sports complex. Down the street, Jignesh Nisar is opening the “Main Street Food Mart” in the former Hearn’s Bait Barn building.

757 Brewing Company plans to offer a tasting room for craft beer, live entertainment and food via a food truck, said Dawson.

Nisar plans to operate a mini-restaurant, offering burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and submarine sandwiches along with convenience store sundries, bait and gasoline. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

SURRY — For years, Surry County’s emergency dispatch center has operated under two managers: the county sheriff, and an emergency communications manager employed by the county.

The Board of Supervisors is now looking to change that.

At a recent work session, the Surry County Board of Supervisors discussed cutting the sheriff’s control of the dispatch center, and moving the operation over to a new Emergency Operations Center currently being planned for the county.

“I don’t think you can have two managers,” said Emergency Services Coordinator Ray Phelps in a presentation to the Board regarding the dispatch center. “You can’t. It just doesn’t work.” 

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Pair lived near slaying victims' home

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

“We got ’em,” Isle of Wight County Sheriff Mark Marshall proclaimed from a podium at a press conference this past week.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rushmere residents Kareem Jamar Mitchell, 29, and Richard Alexander Holmes, 19, for the murders of Nancy and Kenneth Starnes in their home, concluding an extensive five-day hunt for the suspects.

Mitchell and Holmes were taken into custody early Thursday, Sept. 28, at their Stonehouse Lane residence, just about a mile away from the Starnes’ Ennisdale Drive home.

Nancy, 80, and Kenneth, 58, a mother and son, were discovered slain with multiple gunshot wounds in their home Saturday, Sept. 23, officials pinpointing their murders to have taken place sometime in the early morning the day before. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

East West Communities wants to build 231 additional housing units at Benn’s Grant.

Faced with the proposed housing increase, homeowners already settled in the young development say they’re feeling gypped.

“Had I known he was going to continue to add on to the property, I would have never, ever bought a home out there,” said Shaniea Adams at a recent Isle of Wight County Planning Commission meeting. “We were promised open space.”

A rezoning application from East West for the new units at Benn’s Grant sparked a flurry of fierce opposition from residents of the neighborhood during the Isle of Wight County Planning Commission meeting Sept. 26. 

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Edna Felts Myers

 

Edna Felts Myers, 96, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 in her home. She is preceded in death by her husband, Luther Power Myers. Edna leaves to cherish her memories her son, Robert Hall. A graveside service will be held Friday, Aug. 7, 11 a.m. in St. Luke’s Memorial Park with the Rev. Mike Frank officiating. A special thank you to Marilyn Oliver and Joe Brown for all their love and support. The family request memorial contributions to VFW POST 8545, PO Box 461, Smithfield, VA 23431.

Service arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Carrollton, Smithfield, Isle of Wight and the surrounding communities.  Family and friends are encouraged to share condolences and remembrances at colonialfuneralhomesmithfield.com.

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