East Lexington's Dam

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Should the East Lexington low-head dam be removed within 5 years?

Total votes: 40

Lexington Taxpayer

Postby Lexington Taxpayer » 2007 Sep 15 09:39

Can you straighten out something here for me in fairness to all those being blamed for this tragedy? They are meant to help clear up some questions, in no way point fingers. Was this the very first time that these kids had been the water around the dam where the drowning occured? Was there any reckless behavior at the scene prior to the incident, i.e. in the area at the dam? Was there an autopsy done? I know these are tough questions but part of the public record that will eventually come out.



Postby ChuckVolpe » 2007 Sep 15 09:46

Define reckless??

Lexington Taxpayer

Postby Lexington Taxpayer » 2007 Sep 15 09:59

Sounds like it's time for the lawyers. Somebody else will have to determine this, it's the fair way to get a picture of that day. Prior events and actions do come into play in most all of these cases sadly enough.

Wise One

Postby Wise One » 2007 Sep 15 10:09

To Livelearn101 (Cassie Benton): What a nice person! We can only aspire to the level of graciousness and intelligence you have displayed so well.


Lexington Taxplayer

Postby ChuckVolpe » 2007 Sep 15 10:26

If you can't define it, why ask the question - and furthermore there were witnesses all day long. You have a kid with nearly a 4.0 average his entire school career, AP courses throughout highschool, athlete (JV Baseball, and Tennis Team), Natl Honor Society, drove a diesel Jetta, not a souped up sports car, worked for a surveying company, never in trouble his entire life, did community service whenever he could, never broke curfew, never a moving violation - should I go on...give it up - you are grasping at straws. You can't blame the kid except for being deceived by the Public Servants paid to protect us.

Lexington Taxpayer

Postby Lexington Taxpayer » 2007 Sep 15 12:21

Why ask a relevant question you ask? Mr. Volpe you are seeking a substantial sum of money from our small town and it is important that all citizens know the truth on what happened that day. Now you have chosen this forum as a venue to express your side and build your case but I think most Lexingtonians are due at the very least an accurate account of all the goings on that day. This will involve other parties of course. I know it hurts but emotions have to thrown aside here. We'll let the lawyers hash over all the word meanings, etc. but this is the very least we are due because we will all be impacted whether through higher city insurance premiums, etc., how we use future town facilities. Maybe we will have to sign liability waivers to use them in the future or take training courses. I'm not sure many of the respondents to these forum -topic are Lexington citizens but I think in fairness to both sides we need to know the truth. We need to be ''clued'' in from everybody who has an interest here in the lawsuit.


Here's a clue

Postby ChuckVolpe » 2007 Sep 15 14:21

Vote in some City Council persons who will hire a City Manager who will do their job. I vote no confidence and have for the last ten years. Way before the dam issue. I will not discuss that here and I will not answer anymore of your questions. My suit against the City is my business. If your City Manager did the right thing we wouldn't be here today. And if you have children, how much money would you take for one of them?
Hey, I have a question for you. Do you think it was right for Larry Mann to sue the Greyhound Bus Company on behalf of the Lomax family when Mrs. Lomax was hit by the bus in BV and subsequently died. Maybe that suit raised their premiums and that raised the ticket prices and now there are people that can't ride the bus. Hell, they don't even serve this area anymore. Maybe that's why. That's your City Attorney at work! Just a thought. It was about $3.5M for the life of a 70 year old women.


I'm out

Postby ChuckVolpe » 2007 Sep 15 14:23

Taxpayer - I'm out - if you want to continue this, call me or come by my office. I would be happy to have this conversation in person.

Posts: 35
Joined: 2007 Aug 20 11:01

Postby needler » 2007 Sep 15 15:41

Taxpayer? You're worried about the cost to the residents of the town or the county or whomever? The cost can never be measured in dollars, but that's the only thing that councils and boards and committees understand. The city of Lexington chose NOT to spend a few bucks to prevent an accident like this, the council chose to ignore the problem until it jumped up and bit it in the butt, and now it has. It is the duty of the council to run the city in the best interests of the citizens who voted for them. It is NOT the duty of the council to ignore dangerous situations in order to save a few bucks. If that were the case, we should ask for IMMEDIATE dismissal of all cops, EMT's, firefighters, road crews, etc. We should also ask for the removal, from the budget, of any monies allocated to maintenance of roads, sidewalks, traffic lights or public parks.....well, they already did that, so I guess we're partially there in this drive for economy. In your way of thinking, the dangers are ours to discern and avoid, and we damned well had better NOT spend money on keeping ANYONE safe. FULL STOP.
I really hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, taxpayer, but there are expenses involved in the overall maintenance of any city. There are innumerable expenses that need to be dealt with, and one of those expenses is making that city (or town or village or hamlet) SAFE for everyone. I wonder how this discussion would be progressing if the death on 23 April had been that of an out-of-town visitor? I daresay, circumstances would have been a bit different, and the FIRST thing that would have happened would be that this "city" would have been slapped with a much bigger lawsuit than it's facing now.........AND DID NOT NEED TO FACE AT ALL, IF THE RIGHT THING HAD BEEN DONE WAY BACK WHEN.

Get over water temp, other kids hanging around, and whether or not there were any witnesses. The city is on the hook for bad judgment, for ignoring danger, for being complacent, and for being cavalier with the lives of its' citizens. And, at the end of the day, the city council is on the hook for costing its' citizens a whole load of money....NOT Chuck. If the council had dealt with the issue before it with a MODICUM of good sense, there would have been NO deaths and NO lawsuit.

I'm with Chuck; I really am out of here so I'm saving my finger muscles and my temper.

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: Judith the needler :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

Pro Bono

East Lexington Dam

Postby Pro Bono » 2007 Sep 15 17:48

I have kept up with the issue of the Dam since Charles Volpe's unfortunate accident/death. I knew Charles as well as the Volpe family. Thru the years I developed a friendship with Chuck. He is not a born VA Lexington resident nor am I. But how dare this outsider try and make changes to our historical Dam. He came to Lexington worked hard and has developed a good business, friends and respect from Lexington citizens.

But he also moved to Lexington to raise his son's in a safe and wholesome community. Well the jury's in, Boman Engineering has pretty much condemned the Dam. Looks like it has to go or the good citizens can keep patching it up and attending more funerals and memorial services. There is one characteristic that Mr. Volpe has, he not going away, he is not withdrawing his legal action unless some positive action is taken with the Dam. Most men would have mourned their son's death and gone on. No not Chuck. This is his community, his town were he lives with his wife and son. He drives by that Dam every day on the way to his office.

Every day he looks at were his son"s life was ended by a Dam that had claimed other lives and nothing was done. So he decided to do something about it. Looks like he has made progress thru tons of local government apathy. As far as his lawsuit,he has every right. But he sure got everyones attention with the suit. He doesn't want the money he wants the Dam and the park made into a safe recreation area. He simply wants a death trap removed from his citys park. It's easy to say that's a shame about that young man drowning at the park and then our lives goes on. Being Lexington's insurance probably wouldn't cover a wrongful death suit of this magnitude,it would behoove the good fathers of the city to work out financial aid agreement with the state and remove the Dam. It would save the City alot of tax payers money in legal fees and Mr. Volpe won't have a lien on the Courthouse and the Park. One man stood up and said this needs to be fixed. And he not going away until it's fixed. You can take that to the bank. When you drive across that bridge look to the Dam and see what Mr. Volpe does everyday. It's our city lets fix it. Regards, Pro Bono


Two Words - DAM DIVING !

Postby LexMom » 2007 Sep 16 15:28

As a resident of this community who was aware the others had so recently drowned why would you not have told your son to absolutely stay away from swimming there if you knew he swam there? Also, I hope to see you win your suit and invest a good portion of those monies back into what you preach and you can be the funds behind all of your great ideas from tearing the dam out to putting this waterpark in place.


Postby harleygrl35 » 2007 Sep 16 16:20

So, mother-to-mother--are you always aware of where your child/children are? I'm willing to bet money that you think you will always have control over where your kids are and what they are doing.

I'm sure it's easy to present yourself when you can still hug your child/children every day. When you can still watch them, as they lie sleeping at night. It's really easy to claim what your child/children will or will not do. BUT, what if this had been your child? Would you really be appreciative of someone saying the things to you that you say to Chuck? I don't think so. I think or would hope that you would be an advocate of all the children out there whose lives are at risk if this dam stays. As Chuck has been.

Did you know the Back boys personally? If this dam is not removed, how are you going to feel if by some twist of fate one of your children, grandchildren, etc. loses their lives there?? I'll bet then you'd wish someone had listened to the things Chuck has not only told us, but posted information to back it up. God forbid it happen, but I truly hope LexMom that if it would no one would point fingers at you and question your parenting skills.


Jump in again

Postby ChuckVolpe » 2007 Sep 16 18:58

Well - I have to jump in here again - You do not have the facts. You and I and all of Rockbridge County were told that lightning killed those boys. Do you recall that? Not a drowning, lightning. Where did that rumor come from? The City maybe. And for your information, my father-in-law knows Mr. Back quite well as he does diesel truck work for him in Mt. Sidney. Many condolences were passed back and forth.

Part of my coming out about the dam was to try to put a period on the end of their sentence as well. The Backs supported me and I will support them through all of this. A relative of theirs told me that the boys had water in their lungs, and no sign of lightning. Who covered that up? And by the way while everyone in the City kept saying that it wasn't the dam that caused their death, I stood in front of the City Council, Mayor Knapp and John Ellestad and explained to them that the tangle of trees under the rope swing was there because of the dam. The younger of the two got caught, his older cousin tried to save him, and he approached him from the front. The younger boy got him in a death grip and wouldn't let go and they died in each other's arms. This is supported by the police report and the coroner's report, which I have read. I have emails written by John Ellested proclaiming that the water above the dam is safe. Is it? Do you think it is?

When there are unsafe structures underwater that cannot wash downstream because of the dam, then I will blame the dam indirectly. When you have a rope swing in a tree and don't cut it down, you are inviting danger just like the dam. Those boys shouldn't have died either. Do you think that my family is so callous that we wouldn't have sent a message, a card or flowers. The Backs have supported us and we will support them. And as bad as it was for them, Mr. Smith was a Great Uncle to one of those boys. Tragedy struck that family three times down there.
So to warn my son to stay away from the dam, when the other boys didn't get swept over the dam, and Mr. Smith was below the dam, what would give me the information that the dam was dangerous? That it was a low-head dam with dangerous hydraulic currents. Had we had that type of death before? NO. That in certain water conditions it appeared calm above the dam, but was at it's worst fury if you went over. None of us really knew that until Charles died.

The heavy rain you are talking about actually occurred a few days before they went in the water. The fact that the water above the dam was calm and serene, the fact that other kids were swimming, the fact that there were canoes and kayaks in the water gave them a false sense of security.
So thanks for your condolences and smart answers. I would suggest a little additional research.

And thanks harleygrl35 for your support -- aren't you amazed??


Postby LexMom » 2007 Sep 16 19:33

It is an old dam, stay off it, stay away from it, do not swim anywhere near it or any other dams ! Dams overflow into very turbulent waters, Class. I think we covered that in 5th grade. Common Sense and if you think what I have to say is harsh then wait until you sit in court being hounded by the hounds. This forum is to express public opinion and I have stated mine standing behind it 100%. Differing opinions do not mean those people are related so be prepared for many more differing opinions.

Lexington Taxpayer

Postby Lexington Taxpayer » 2007 Sep 16 20:05

I'm not buying the notion that those kids did not know the danger of the hydraulics during times of higher water flows, its sounds like they had been jumping off the dam before and surely had a sense of danger around the dam. The current above the dam has always been one of movement in nature and certainly a potential user would know they would be carried downstream into this previously recognized danger. Wasn't there signs stating ''No Jumping"posted by the City? Lexington citizens are due the 2 sides to this story.

Pro Bono

After the Dam

Postby Pro Bono » 2007 Sep 16 21:16

I have read all 6 pages of this forum. Most of the keep the Dam proponents have been converted by Chuck Volpe's research he has provided this forum. These converts could read and retain what "facts" they have read,and have come to a intelligent decision concerning the Dam.Some but not all ( including those with multiple personalities and sign in handles) are behaving like school children and acting like there is no Ice Cream in the school cafeteria any more. I think these children should go to the school playground and finish these cruel, insensitive, heathen, insults in the sandbox. And they can scrap it out in the sand box if they don't agree with each other.

The issue of the Dam is over, it's all but removed. Mr. Volpe has opened a new Forum named "After the Dam" perhaps those of you that are interested in your city should express your views and ideas for the park there. Chuck Volpe's litigation with the city is his business. This type of litigation takes years.I doubt that the city would want this case to go to trail. A first year law student would have a jury in tears in 7 mins. The city's negligence is pretty cut and dried.

So why don't we all let Volpe family deal with their issues with the city of Lexington and move on. I'm sure if you were in his position he wouldn't berate you or your deceased child. There have been some really cold comments made in this forum. Some have actually turned my stomach. There is going to be a new water recreation area, that has some great benefits to our children and tourism. Oh' any of you guys at the sandbox get tired of repetition,and name calling, maybe just maybe you can add some constructive ideas to the "After the Dam" Forum, but please bring in the ideas of just one of your personalities. When Its Over Its Over


Postby nonova » 2007 Sep 16 21:39

1. Water don't kill people, dams kill people.
2. George W. from Washington is posting now.
3. Now it's only one person killed by the dam.
4. There was no reason for Chuck to warn Charles of the
dangers of the dam, but it was the City Managers job to do so
with a sign.
5. Instead of Bob Marley playing at the dam smashing, it will be
the Five Man Electrical Band singing, you got it, Sign Sign
Everywhere A Sign.
6. Don't go out until you read the sign.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?


Postby resigned » 2007 Sep 16 21:43

I looked at the website you posted and found the whole project astounding. Wow not only is it beautiful the way they placed the rocks but wouldn't this be a great venture for Lexington to get tourists in Whenever we get a sizeable rainfall or early in the Spring it seems that lots of people go to Goshen Pass to ride the kayaks down the river. Whenever there is a lot of water in the river, they come by the droves. With this in mind it would seem to be a great draw for Lexington to have a white water park and Jordon's point would be beautiful Seems like a great idea to me.

If a white water park is established I would imagine it would have to be managed or course and also provide lifeguards. I don't know a thing about these things, but find the concept really interesting.


Postby harleygrl35 » 2007 Sep 16 22:01

Well, LexMom good for you. Good for you for standing behind your opinion. Which is exactly what the rest of us have done as well. As for your little "lesson", just because you warn your child of the dangers that are out there, doesn't mean they'll always abide by your rules. Whoa, imagine that!

Pro Bono

Postby Pro Bono » 2007 Sep 16 22:33

Actually, Chuck does have a couple of Bikes and yes one is a Harley. He is devoted to his wife and son,doesn't drink hardly at all. And doesn't go to bars. He is trying to keep his family together as there is a empty bedroom in his home. He is hoping for time to heal his family and their loss.