A look back at 2021
Published 8:05 am Friday, January 7, 2022
Throughout the month of January each edition of The Charlotte Gazette will highlight the events of 2021 as they appeared each week. This week’s edition takes a look back at the months of January through March 2021.
• The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) will begin a new year with a new chairman at the helm.
The BOS held its organizational meeting Monday, Jan. 4, and voted 5-2 to elect
Supervisor Gary Walker as the new chairman replacing Garland Hamlett Jr.
Walker had previously served as vice chairman.
Supervisors Donna Fore and Kay Pierantoni voted against Walker as chairman.
• The Town of Keysville is taking steps to show visitors and residents it’s committed to embracing its historic roots.
At its January meeting, the Keysville Town Council voted to proceed in making portions of the town a historic district with funding from the Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund offered through FEMA.
The Keysville Historic District would be located in several parts of the town, including the Downtown District, Hill Avenue, Wilson Street Neighborhood, Church Street, and a large portion of King Street. The town and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) sought to find houses and buildings that contributed to the historic and architectural quality of Keysville.
• Health officials warn it’s still too early to tell if the area is on the verge of another large COVID-19 surge after cases declined Piedmont Health District Director Dr. H. Robert Nash said during a Wednesday morning, Jan. 27, interview, cases in the health district were seemingly on a downward trend following a record-breaking peak seen Jan. 17.
“Up through yesterday, I would have actually said we’re demonstrating a nice downward trend,” Nash said.
• Broadband internet has made its way to the southern end of the county.
A fiber broadband-enabled internet hot spot was recently installed at Bacon District Volunteer Fire Department as part of a $72,017 broadband funding grant Charlotte County was awarded in December.
County officials sought the grant application due to the increased distance that leaves individuals in the Bacon District area of the county especially susceptible to the adverse effects presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need for telehealth, telecommuting, and distance learn
A major ice storm over the weekend froze most of Southside Virginia, including Charlotte County, leaving an accumulation of ice on trees and downed power lines and more than 5,000 residents without power.
Monday morning, Feb. 15, 90% of Charlotte County residents remained without electricity while crews from Southside Electric, Mecklenburg Electric and Dominion Energy worked to restore customers.
• Ten days without electricity has left citizens with spoiled food and no heat. Fuel levels are running low, and emotions are running high.
Charlotte County residents have been dealing with outages stemming from a Valentine’s weekend storm that left thousands without power for more than a week
• Gov. Ralph Northam spent some time handing out meals to those without power and in need Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 23, in front of the Charlotte Court House Town Office.
Northam made several stops in Charlotte County Tuesday, including at the town office where disaster relief volunteers were headquartered from American Red Cross Disaster Relief and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Disaster Relief. Northam was in the area to tour Archlynn Farm but also surveyed some of the relief efforts put in place for county residents following the Valentine’s weekend ice storm that caused widespread power outages in the area.
• Piedmont Health District Director Dr. H. Robert Nash, who has helped to lead mitigation and vaccination efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic retired.
In discussing the reason behind his departure, Nash said he had been communicating his plans of retirement with the health department’s central office in Richmond since the beginning of December 2020.
• Charlotte County officials hope to receive federal assistance to help with funding costs associated with the Valentine’s weekend storm that left thousands without power and tons of debris behind.
Charlotte County Administrator Dan Witt said the February ice storm has cost the county $356,953 in cleanup to date.
That includes county costs, volunteer hours, fire department costs, and town costs.
According to Witt, funds were used for overtime costs, canopies for food distribution, eight chain saws for the fire departments and county staff, some prepared food for the incident management team, and generator fuel costs.
Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) has begun inspections of its utility poles and overhead lines.
In response to the significant damage that SEC experienced during the February ice storms, the company has recently contracted with Osmose Utilities Services, Inc. to perform line patrol inspections on portions of its overhead electric system.
According to Jennifer Wall, communications specialist with SEC, Osmose will be performing visual inspections of the poles and overhead lines and the overhead meter services on areas of the system that were particularly hit hard during the ice storms.
• With around 20% of Piedmont Health District residents at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, local COVID-19 numbers are continuing to look hopeful.
The health district has seen many large vaccination events in the past several weeks, quickly adding to the number of inoculated citizens.
• Once again, the Charlotte County Electoral Board is on the hunt for a new location for the Bacon/Saxe District voting precinct after learning the current location is no longer an option.
According to Interim General Registrar Eric Goode, Shiloh Baptist Church informed the board the church would no longer be available for use as a polling place.
Goode did not elaborate as to why the church had rescinded its offer.
Shiloh Baptist Church was first used as the Bacon/Saxe voting precinct in November 2020 after the electoral board spent months searching for a new location.
The relocation of the precinct to Shiloh Baptist Church took months to finalize after several meetings between both the electoral board and board of supervisors in 2020.
The relocation of the precinct gained attention during a July 2019 meeting of the Charlotte County Electoral Board when members were made aware of issues at the Southhall Community Building, the original Bacon/Saxe voting precinct.