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Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 26 16:42
by Juggler
Here's a good article on low head dams and their dangers, with excellent videos illustrating the problem.

Posted: 2008 Mar 26 19:26
by 10thFO
I'm sorry, but being a better than novice canoer, kayaker, I'm sad to say that their is no way that anyone who understands the tenacity and power of water should be well aware of it's power, and capability of claiming lives. If a teaspoon of water can drown someone, surely the Maury River can. If South River can get up and wash away homes and foundations then surely the Maury can drown.

I'm well aware of the problems with dams and the hydraulic pools after them, I'm also aware of the hydraulic pools that are in rapids such as the one that is being presented to replace the dam. If you want that area to be safe you need to remove the dam. Not just the dam as it stands but to also remove the debris that will fall into the river. I "almost" lost my brother on the old power station dam on the Maury River, that is located on the River Road towards Glasgow. My brother and I decided that we should go canoing in somewhat high water, a recent rain had swelled the river, but not by much. So off we went from a drop off onthe River Road. We flipped coming over the rapids where the old dam had been blown out. I was fortunate and floated downstream, by brother who was in the back of the canoe was sucked under, only each time he managed to push off the bottom to come up, he was an advanced white water person, he kept hitting the canoe and being sucked back down, on his 5th and final effort, luckily the canoe had been kicked out and he made it up. By this point in time, I was more than 500 yds. downstream trying to get to the shore to no avail.

Someone who is a certified diver and lived on the water should realize the danger of water and it's power. Just because it's in a lake, river, poll or bathtub doesn't make any difference to it's power to kill.

I am sorry that Charles died that day, but he wasn't the only one, and he is not the first to be killed in this county, with it's flood history, by high water.

Just like an undertow is so dangerous in the ocean, the hydraulics in the rivers are just as bad. That's how kayakers and canoers can go back into them, and surf the waves. It is very dangerous, but it is an inherent danger with water. Anyone who was so experienced with water, should have known better than to go in the water that day.

Sorry for your loss, but suing the city isn't going to bring your son back, or make you feel any better about the situation. The question will always be asked why did he go in the water that day. Someone as experienced as he, knew better than to get in, but he did it anyway, thinking he was wiser with his experience.


Posted: 2008 Mar 29 10:25
by Renegade Mom
10thFO wrote:I'm sorry, but being a better than novice canoer, kayaker, I'm sad to say that their is no way that anyone who understands the tenacity and power of water should be well aware of it's power, and capability of claiming lives. If a teaspoon of water can drown someone, surely the Maury River can. If South River can get up and wash away homes and foundations then surely the Maury can drown.

Someone who is a certified diver and lived on the water should realize the danger of water and it's power. Just because it's in a lake, river, poll or bathtub doesn't make any difference to it's power to kill.

I am sorry that Charles died that day, but he wasn't the only one, and he is not the first to be killed in this county, with it's flood history, by high water.

Just like an undertow is so dangerous in the ocean, the hydraulics in the rivers are just as bad. That's how kayakers and canoers can go back into them, and surf the waves. It is very dangerous, but it is an inherent danger with water. Anyone who was so experienced with water, should have known better than to go in the water that day.

Sorry for your loss, but suing the city isn't going to bring your son back, or make you feel any better about the situation. The question will always be asked why did he go in the water that day. Someone as experienced as he, knew better than to get in, but he did it anyway, thinking he was wiser with his experience.

10thFO, I am impressed with your bravery for posting this. I am surprised that you have not been attacked and shamed for your opinion. I have been disappointed by the tone of this entire thread. This is an important issue for our community and the parties involved have made it more difficult in my opinion.

I confess my own cowardice in putting forth the ideas that you did in your post. My heart is pained by the loss of a child and the grief of a parent. It is unpopular and politically incorrect (especially in this forum) to suggest that the victim held any responsibility for this tragic accident. But, I agree with you on this.

Yes, the Dam is a danger. Yes, it should be removed - but more because it is crumbling and that Chuck has sued the City and put them in the 'hot' seat than because of its inherent danger. I will miss it greatly. I do not buy into the environmental issues supposedly involved. Nature provides millions of 'natural' 'dams' on waterways, and this one has been here for about 150 years.

Dams have always been known to be dangerous along with myriad of other hazards associated with water, swimming, and the outdoors. I was taught as a young child never to walk on, play around, or swim anywhere near a dam. I taught my children the same. No special classes or training needed. LexMom made some good points on choosing to take risks in one's life - but she's been shouted down and mocked. She mentioned her child at RCHS. A classmate (I know well) of the dear boy who tragically lost his young and most promising life in this incident had a callous (read:immature) yet honest response when it was first announced that no swimming was to be allowed at Jordan's Point. While it came out harsh and blunt, even his peers recognized that Charles held some responsibility for his actions ("...maybe they should just keep dumbasses out of the river"...cringe). Some kids knew it was a bad idea despite the teary guitar-strumming now.

It is a terrible thing for a parent to lose a child. There is a great national organization that does meet in his area called "Compassionate Friends" that may be of help. It is a healthy thing to try to make positive change after we have suffered a tragedy. That Chuck is trying to create something positive out of his immeasurable loss is to be encouraged and supported.

They way Chuck presents himself and his viewpoints can be problematic. This has been true way before he lost Charles. He has carried a reputation for being divisive with business associates and in the past has clearly projected the attitude, "Either you are with me or you are against me". Now that he has a moral high-ground for his attitude, he can really make a person wince. Suing the City has had this effect on most of the people I know. While they sympathize and care about making positive change, having the community attacked with a huge lawsuit is offensive and hasn't made Chuck any more friends or supporters. Rather, instead, it has highlighted past memories of Chuck's battles within the community and his personality characteristics. Too bad...

Dr. Bob and Nancy Pickral set a great example for this community when they lost their precious 10 year-old in a gun accident many years ago. The man who accidentally discharged the firearm (a VMI gun instructor) that struck the child in the chest (with his mother standing nearby) and killed him was embraced by the family and given the great gift of forgiveness for his mistake. There was no lawsuit or public drama though there could have been a justifiable one. When mourners entered the filled to capacity Lex. Pres, Church, they found the gun instructor (hand bandaged where the bullet passed through his hand) sitting with the family in the front row of the Church. It was a beautiful and moving sight.

I am really glad that Bill Blatter has been so supportive and helpful to the Cause. He has indeed dedicated much of his time the past (almost) 2 years to work on this problem. He is a caring and dedicated man. But, he is no more the Saint that Chuck makes him out to be than Jon Ellestad is a demon as City Manager. I take exception to both of Chuck's characterizations. Bill is a man, a good man who has made plenty of mistakes and mis-steps. Jon Ellestad is a good man as well. He has a tough job and a lot of different people to answer to. He is a father and an involved and caring family man. I feel the need to speak up for him as he has been slammed here enough without any defense. I know both of these men personally and in excess of 15 years. This is a tough situation and the Blame Game is too easy (yet very typical for those who have lost).

So now, I'll wait to be attacked and labeled, but it's OK. I have been holding back for a long time as this thread as unfolded. Thank you 10thFo for giving me the courage to say what I think and put forth an unpopular idea on a very tender and delicate issue. We may disagree and scrap about some issues, but I'm with you on this one.

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 29 16:44
by Callyinva
10th and mom,
Between the both of you. well Said!

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 29 21:40
by needler
Ah, it's good to be back among the truly cruel and decidedly UN-Christian of this county. Thank goodness it's not as rampant a disease as say....bubonic plague, but hang in're getting there.

At the end of the day, it does not matter one tinker's that Charles SHOULD have known better; what does matter is that the City knew better (and THEY are the ones getting paid to take care of stuff like that), did nothing about it until it bit them in the butt, and then bravely soldiered on by denying responsibility for the dam and the unsafe conditions surrounding it. Well, good for them; they performed as all good politicians should: ignore it, cry "shame", and THEN say it wasn't THEIR fault anyway. Well done, City Council; it makes me all warm and fuzzy to know you have protected me from all the big, bad boogeymen by pretending they aren't there. If ONCE a sign saying "no swimming" had been posted, if ONCE a sign saying "dangerous undertow" had been posted, if ONCE ANYONE had said "maybe we should rethink swimming at Jordan's Point" maybe the Council could wriggle off this hook, but since no one ever did, I would say they are well and truly snagged on this one.

Chuck, as a citizen, has every right in the world to sue the City of Lexington because he sees their actions as negligent; so do I. Chuck has the right to raise pluperfect hell over this; whether or not Charles behaved as a normal teenager (which he apparently did), the City has an OBLIGATION to warn its' citizens of danger and to protect them from it as best it can..... that's why we have traffic lights and stop signs, and bells and whistles at railroad crossings (OK, that's NOT a City job, but you get my drift). If a place requires warnings to prevent injury or death, like the Old BV Road and Route 11 intersection, then you PUT UP TRAFFIC LIGHTS. You don't say "well, there have only been 14 killed there so that shouldn't require the expense of a traffic light. Nah, let's wait until we have 25 bodies on that corner and THEN we'll talk about it again." Implementing safety standards is part of doing business as a city, and as responsible "caretakers" of the voters' trust that is the job with which the council is charged. THAT'S IT. If it costs something to keep citizens safe, then what the hell... do it. The very first time any mother's son dies at the intersection of BV and 11, because the lights weren't working, just stand back and watch it hit the fan.

All Chuck has done is grieve, grieve some more, investigate, research, talk to riparian specialists all over the country --including the Corps of Engineers -- offer an idea to the council that would eliminate a dangerous situation AND help Lexington become an attraction to more than those who wander the Civil War trail. We live in a beautiful place; why not take FULL advantage of that by making the Maury safe for EVERYONE, and accentuate the beauty of Jordan's Point by taking away the hazard of the damn dam?? There is all sorts of money available to remove the thing; why not be constructive rather than nay-saying DEstructors?

The "it's always been there", "it's an historic thingie", " "it will make the river do funny things", "we shouldn't take it away just because some people died there", or (my personal favorite) "it might cost something" arguments are rubbish, and you all know it. I can't for the life of me, figure out why EVERYONE is not on this particular band wagon. What else could we ask?? Safety, beauty, more tourist dollars, and a bit of peace of mind ... yup, sounds all bad to me! AARRGGHH!

OK, that's it, and that's all; I'm back to my multi-devil friends and I probably won't be back (for which I'm sure a LOT of you are grateful). I just couldn't believe this junque was still going one ....actually, I still don't. Obviously the disease is still with us, and after reading the recent posts, I can think of a couple of reasons why.................

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: needler :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 29 21:52
by needler
And RenegadeMom, from me to you, your reporting of the Pickral tragedy bears NO similarity to this one. A dumbass with a gun shot a child....accidentally or not...and should be required to pay for that. FORGIVENESS?? NO WAY! And accepting an apology doesn't bring back the child, either. A VMI instructor?? Good grief?? HE, of all people, should have known what a gun in the wrong hands can do.

OR, maybe I'm completely wrong...that's been known to happen.......maybe the situations are exactly the same; HOWEVER, you may remember that NO ONE ON THIS DAMN CITY COUNCIL SAID "I'm sorry for your loss" when Charles died. NOT ONCE; they didn't show up at Jordan's Point, either. Same situation?? Nah, maybe not.

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 08:12
by Callyinva
In my opinion, a lot of the problem seems to be the fact that we have two seperate issues. Chuck seems to have always defended Charles actions of entering the water that day, yet claims how knowledgeable he was about the water and safety. He started out blaming the dam and anyone and anything in his path. In time of grief I hold no one accountable for their actions. But to this day I don't ever remember seeing or hearing him state Charles screwed up. Your son was a human and he made a mistake. There is no shame in that. But to defend his actions, that in itself put alot of people on the defensive.

Then there is the issue of the dam and not having the proper postings. If your so sure the proper signage would prevent such tragic accidents, then why advocate the removal of the dam. The dam killed no one! It did indeed add to tragedy. But every death at Jordans Point has not been because of the dam and soley the dam.

I agree that we should have proper posting at Jordans Point. But in no way will I fool myself into believing that everyone will abide by the signage, preventing any more deaths in the river at Jordans Point, Dam or no Dam,

I listened to a conversation concerning the young gentleman who died last weekend at Crabtree Falls. While my prayers are with his wife and family. I listened in dismay to the thinking of several who though the trail and falls should be shut down. People should not be allowed to visit it as it is dangerous. One who obviously had never visited was yapping about how there should be signs and barriers or railings. EXCUSE ME! HE CLIMBED OVER THE RAILING! He disregarded postings! He did what he wanted to do! He made a mistake.

Crabtree Falls

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 09:17
by Wise One
This place appears to have both similarities and differences to the Lexington dam, in regard to attractiveness, danger, and the degree to which the controlling public authority acknowledged danger and erected barriers and signage to deal with it.

It seems that Chuck Volpe has a cause of action in this case and is within his rights to seek redress in the courts.

Whether he will prevail will depend on the actual facts, details of law, and how the judge (and jury, if the defendant elects to impanel one) reacts to the arguments that will be made by both sides.

:| I make no predictions. :|

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 09:46
by 10thFO
Crabtree Falls is definitely a dangerous place, it is also a beatiful place. I have been there and jumped off the falls myself as a youngster. I'd probably be dumb enough to do it again.

Wise One you are correct that Chuck has every right to sue the city. It's just not the way I was raised. It's not the way my wife was raised.

Needler, I don't know what in the world your alluding to, but you can call me Un Christian all you want, I go to church most Sunday's, not just Easter and Christmas when everyone else shows up to be Christians, but going to church once a week doesn't really make one a Christian now does it?

I have compassion for Mr. Volpe, his wife, and his other son. My brother that almost drowned that day with me, later died in another accident. I haven't lost as a parent, but I have lost as a brother, and I can feel that pain. If Mr. Volpe could get the water park in that would be great. More people would die there too though.

Sorry if you thought my post was in distaste, but to be honest, there are many in the county who think the lawsuit is in distaste, and haven't spoken out because of the loss of a life. Silent majority doesn't mean they aren't thinking it, and speaking it behind doors and in public. Good day.

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 10:24
by LexMom
How is the irresponsible behavior of a teenager the fault of the city? We all know that every other death at the dam was not the fault of the dam itself, they were swimming accidents with the possible exception of the older gentleman who was washed away when the waters were released upstream.

Needler, you are out of line to say we are not Christians for feeling that our city is being attacked, and one of our most beautiful historic spots will be torn down because Chuck wants the Volpe name to live in infamy around here.

Renegade Mom, thank you for the support. Here you have two mothers who know and love these RCHS kids because we have watched them grow up with our children. However, we know in our hearts that this lawsuit is wrong, for the wrong reasons with the wrong accusations against our beautiful historic town.

As far as the waterpark, who takes legal liablity for that idea when someone gets hurt there as well? The city ? It appears the best option would be to just remove the dam and remove liablity for everyone, but what a shame for such a beautiful historic spot in Lexington.

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 11:15
by Trekkin
Dear Mr. FO,
Anyone that has been on the upstream side of that dam, knows that it is extremely deceiving with regard to the current. And we now know that the water was clocked at approximately 12 knots at the Beans Bottom Bridge. However after speaking to several engineers we discover that because of the sediment build up the water gets shallower at the dam which increases the water speed dramatically. This is what happened the day Charles died. Charles was a Dive Master and I am as well. Never in all the years I have been diving was I ever informed of "low-head" dams as I don't spend any time on fresh water streams or rivers. I was trained on ocean currents and after speaking to several experts in the field of low heads, it is impossible to compare the hydraulic pressure of a low head to the simple hydraulics that might occur in a river from a rock formation or other structure. It lacks the sophistication of the dam structure. I think that Charles had absolutely no knowledge of low-heads because it is not taught in a dive course, or in a school course. We do teach hunting, but no water safety. In Florida the school system teaches the hazards of Sand Pits. They are equally as dangerous. Other states like Ohio teach the dangers of low heads.
What would have been the indicator for those kids not to go in the water that day? Look at the upstream side after a hard rain on the second day and it is absolutely calm on the surface. Below the surface you have a current that is imperceptible. I have an idea - How about warning signs? The ones that are up there came form PA. All their dams are marked. Ohio, Wyoming, California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maine, and on and on - they are all marked and have warning signs. The City was warned by a member of the JP Planning committee to post signs and put up buoys, but they didn't. Why? Too much money. Now you have a dead child and I can tell you he would not have entered that water that day if it was marked and signed. He was a safe kid and taught kids to dive. If you are not familiar with kayaking and canoeing, you wouldn't know one of these dams, or the danger of it. The City placed this swimming area 50 yards away from this "Killing Machine" - The City is culpable. ... 9391034920 Watch this video -

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 11:20
by Trekkin
R-Mom - I think it takes no bravery to write a post about the mistakes a dead child makes. It takes bravery to write about how you fix it so it never happens again, and act responsibly to help that cause. First of all R-Mom, this Dam was never on the State registry for safety until Chuck Volpe asked the State to look into the condition of the dam - At that time, it was discovered that it was never registered. The engineering firm that Mr. Woody hired found the dam to be in FINE SOUND CONDITION. Isn't that interesting? Because the second firm hired, which was a necessity in order to comply with certain bond requirements, found it falling apart. Chuck Volpe has worked hand in hand with Bill Blatter and these and any other issues and ideas have been done as a joint effort.
The statements you make about the pressure from Chuck has caused the dam to be removed or changed in some way came from the lawsuit might be true, but after 18 months and no viable solution or conversation with the powers to be left the Volpe's frustrated and disgusted with the method in which the City was being run. There were multiple requests for meetings, all of which were turned down. These were to clear the air and see why it was that the City was not interested in discussing the dam issue, the dangers surrounding the dam, and the lack of concern on the part of the City.
Your stand on the ecological issues couldn't be further from the truth. The Maury River had the American Eel and Shad coming up river to spawn until those dams were put in. This is true on any river with a dam, the fish ladders were a joke, none of which function today. If you would like to educate yourself, go to You will learn that ecologically speaking, the best thing you can do for a river is remove the dam.
Chuck is trying to fix a National problem, just like MADD did in the 80's. Last year over 2,130 people died in low-head dams. Is that enough people to make a change or should it be 5,000 a year or 10,000. Chuck had a bill passed into law in the State and is working on a Federal law to get rid of these killers. Is this a bad thing or the divisive guy you refer to later in your post. Someone who wants to make a change to help people.
Chuck is a business man, who represents your best interests if you are his client. That is his job. You either like him or you don't - but unless you know him and you make a character assassination without knowing him personally, then you are making a mistake. I would like to hear about Chuck's past battles with the community - can recite a few to the forum, since you are so well informed.
When you speak of the Pickral's, it indeed was a tragedy. We will never know how that was handled, so in the eyes of the public it was indeed a gift of forgiveness - but we shall never know what VMI might have done for the Pickral's in the name of their dear son.
In as far as Bill Blatter is concerned, he is a great man and was in charge of planning that park. He was aware of the concerns of the dam and the dangers. His hands were tied by the City Manager and the City Council on the expenditure for the safety gear and the signs. He embraced the Volpe's, and made a pledge to them that he would fix the problem. He was the only one from the City who reached out and touched them.
In as far as Jon Ellestad is concerned, I find him way past the limits of his employment. Lexington is in need of a change, the Mayor realizes this. Jon should as well. We need young blood, with fresh new ideas, and a better attitude.
See, no attack, no label - just another viewpoint - Have a look at the changes in Staunton and you will see the results of an effective City Manager.

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 12:01
by Trekkin
10th FO -
I am sorry about your brother - Derek Volpe has a tremendous battle ahead of him to get past his loss -

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 12:12
by Trekkin
Lexmom - I have been in the background watching all of this for quite some time. I haven't posted or registered, but it seems like the right time to do so - we are getting close to a decision and I want my voice heard. I am friends with the Volpes. Your accusations are without merit. Many kids have jumped off of that dam and it is about 100% safer than going over the dam. Because you stay out of the hydraulics and land in a deep pool on the other side. Even John Ellestad's kids have done it, I have witnessed it. But the problem is the dam itself and some education would have gone a long way. As I have posted above, visit the site and see what the experts have to say about it. And it's not just the swimmers, what about the boaters who get caught in the current and go over the dam. They are faced with the same problem, even wearing a PFD. In many cases the hydraulics are so powerful it rips the device right off of them, and they drown. You say every other death at the dam - how many years back are you going - it was a sewage treatment plant for years and years and there wasn't much swimming going on there. Mostly fishing (yum) and before that the records are sketchy but a friend in the newspaper business managed to turn up a few. There are ways to keep the dam and make it safe - go to the Forum and listen - but understand this - the City has no obligation to you to do one thing or another, They can elect to just take it down, which is something Volpe and Blatter have tried to not let happen - so there's your answer on that issue. Charles was an "adrenaline junkie"?? You know this how - That's a very slanderous statement that you really should stay away from. I remember reading somewhere earlier your daughter? told you this. You were also confused between the difference of tax revenue and tax burden. I think it's really important to get your facts straight before you sound off in a forum like this, especially when someone died.

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 12:17
by Trekkin
Sorry guys - I have one more post and then I am done - I hope forever here - Many intelligent folks, alot that aren't or very misinformed -
Callyinva - Take a $100 bill and go buy a clue - you are lost in the facts so deeply, you will never get out.

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 12:20
by needler
LexMom and 10thFO what defines a Christian is NOT how many times one attends church on ANY day, never mind Sunday. A REAL "Christian" tends to be charitable, kind, forgiving, understanding and all those other standards for behavior that a young Jew in Palestine talked about......oh, YES!! It's the guy after whom the faith is named. A real Christian does not require a building or an overt "advertisement" of faith to be the real deal. The lack of charity and understanding, of REAL sympathy and caring advertise the speakers as those who may talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. While I NEVER called anyone by name, nor will I, I figured that most would know what I meant. I am sorry if you took offense, but LexMom when you say that Chuck wants his name on something so that it can "live on in infamy", that is the most decidedly UN Christian thing I have ever heard; it is cruel, vindictive, vicious, petty and completely stupid. STUPID, not ignorant. An ignorant person can learn and do better, a stupid person is just that and ONLY that forever.

And how can a lawsuit be an attack on a "beautiful city"?? A lawsuit is a lawsuit (and nothing more), even if one was not "raised to sue" (whatever THAT means), there are times that call for legal action because the situation cannot be resolved any other way. While I do NOT speak for the Volpes, I would wager that they would not been half so angry at the city had even one representative offered a bit of condolence to them; that didn't happen. The city "fathers" behaved in a cavalier, uncaring, almost disinterested, manner and conveyed a message first unspoken, then spoken loudly, that it's "not our fault so go away". Never once did they say that addressing the problem of the dam might be a good idea. For a time, they even said the dam didn't belong to the city. Then the attitude became one of "we'll listen, but we're not going to change anything". We elected these yokels and we chose them to represent us....after the abysmal performance of the council over the last two years, one must ask WHY? The city council has been presented with VOLUMES of evidence from sources both within and outside the county, all of which says that low-head dams are dangerous, pointless, unnecessary and outdated by more than a country mile, AND that removal would only enhance the river, NOT destroy it's beauty.....yet they choose to adhere to the worn out reasoning that because "we have always done it this way" that's the best reason not to change. Good idea, guys .....well reasoned and thoughtful. This group of yahoos should be the permanent representatives of Ostrich City; they have the behavior down pat.

Yes, people do dumb things......teenagers do dumb things and so do adults. Babies and old people do dumb things....WE ALL DO DUMB THINGS. The hope is that once we have done a dumb thing we come out the other side with a bruise and a bit of dignity intact, AND that we learn something from doing that dumb thing. Charles Volpe did a dumb thing, but he didn't even have the chance to come out the other side because the people who run this place, this "beautiful city", and who are responsible for the safety of its' citizens .....NEVER mind the safety of visitors to this "beautiful city"...... did NOTHING to ensure the safety of those citizens who choose to go to Jordan's Point and enjoy a lovely stretch of water on a nice day. That's pretty dumb, too. The city knows the dam is unsafe, has been for many years and that it should be removed, as ALL low head dams should be. The city knows this and does nothing, much as it did before April 2006. The city failed in its' duty to its' citizens, and to the people who elected the eejits who run it. The city failed to provide the least measure of protection for a guest in its' public park...not one sign, marker or string of buoys. The city failed in its' responsibility to you, to me and to every other person who drives its' roads, and shops in it and plays in it, too. Now how beautiful is THAT city?

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

Re: The Great Needler

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 12:47
by Renegade Mom
Ah, it's good to be back among the truly cruel and decidedly UN-Christian of this county. Thank goodness it's not as rampant a disease as say....bubonic plague, but hang in're getting there.

Ah, Needler... we knew we could count on you... thanks for not disappointing. Your moniker does give fair warning and insight into your propensity for agitating rather than seeking understanding. What fun! Have at it.

You have repeated the same arguments over and over again, complete with jabs for those who may wish to consider more than one narrow viewpoint. Yes, since you have nothing new to add, nor seem interested in even trying to understand how others might see differently from you, it would be a good time for you to take a break. Thanks.

I find it curious that you attack my example of how another family chose to respond to their tragic loss by first saying that the situations are totally different, and then saying that you do not know about the circumstances. Perhaps if you do not know the circumstances then you may wish to hold off on your attack until you do. You appear harsh, un-Christian and cruel by your comments about the VMI instructor. You place your judgment over the judgment of the grieving parents yet seem compelled to defend Chuck at every turn. What's that about?

Since you seemed to miss or reject my point, I'll put it another way. Following the teachings of Jesus and how he taught his followers to deal with problems, the Pickrals chose forgiveness over attack. This kind of forgiveness does not excuse responsible parties for errant behaviors but rather frees all involved to seek the highest quality solution and resolution. The details do not really matter (at least according to the teachings of Jesus). Attack creates enemies of all kinds, every time.

I applaud Chuck (as I did in the original post) for working to make positive change for the community. Did you miss that? Try to remove yourself a bit from the emotional turmoil you seem to be experiencing and consider this: perhaps, just perhaps, Chuck could make MORE positive change, more quickly, if he engaged the community in a swell of pro-active energy had he chosen a different path other than attacking the community with a lawsuit. There seem to be other and perhaps more immediate things that could be done to improve the so-called terrible situation at Jordan's Point. Has anyone put up their own DANGER signs? How about a flag system that informs folks of the river conditions? A volunteer lifeguard or safety information guide? There are ways that people can take action if they choose to stop pointing fingers and do something.

Chuck has the right the to sue the City for sure. And they will probably be found guilty of negligence. In the very few years that Jordan Point has been a park where people even considered swimming (remember this was the site of the sewage treatment plant and no one 'hung out' there) the City failed to anticipate that something like this would happen. I drive by this spot multiple times a day. I was quite nearby the day Charles lost his life and commented that very day that there had never been so many young people hanging out at the park before and that it had really turned into a true park. That season was the first time this place became a social haven for youngsters. I do not presume to know "what the City knew" before this happened. I know that we had gathered there for many years at the conclusion of the annual Road & River Relay and there appeared to be a collective community understanding of the hazard that the Dam provided. While perhaps legally responsible, I can fathom how this could possibly have been a blind spot for the City government ( a collection of fallible human beings). Do you really think Bill Blatter would have only helped the Cause because Chuck is suing his longtime employer? I don't, but I'm sure this added extra motivation. Don't forget Bill is a big part of the City government..

Needler, you bring up the actions of the City Council. How would I know what or why they did or did not do? You are perfectly capable of contacting any and all of the Council members and asking them directly. Have you done this? What did they say? Easy to throw rocks sitting on your butt. And why should they attend the memorial or say they were sorry? Was this asked of them? Did they know Charles? Did anyone including the Volpe's give a crap about the 2 boys who died the year (or two) before Charles just up river? Were they or their families recognized or included in the huge hullabaloo? I wonder how they have felt considering their boys got no big community farewell. Rich kids are somehow more important? Hhmm...

I felt very badly for that family and the perceived lack of value of their loss. You may wish to consider for a moment that in this litigious world people in organizations (like city government) are trained and instructed to NEVER say they are 'sorry' or get involved with potential plaintiffs. Perhaps they felt that they could not express their personal feelings due to their civic obligations. And if Chuck was making threats (I do not know this - just supposing) this may have frightened them further. Again - ask those involved rather than vomiting bile on this forum.

Chuck chose to make this a public scandal. Chuck chose to come on this forum and be even more public. Part of putting yourself out in the public arena is accepting that you may be questioned, disagreed with and maybe even attacked for your words and actions. Chuck is a big boy and knows the ropes.He can dish it out, but is he really willing to take it without resorting to hostility. And when and if it makes it in the courtroom, Chuck better be prepared to hear from those whose mission it will be to tear down his position and perhaps say things about Charles's behavior and choices that he would rather not hear- fair or not, nice or not. Like LexMom, I have also heard from kids who were there and witnessed what happened (just hearsay I won't repeat). This is bound to get uglier and more painful for everyone, especially his poor mother. What does she think about all this? I'd like to hear from her heart directly. Will this lawsuit soothe her pain or magnify and prolong it?

This is a painful situation. My main idea is that perhaps there is a way to resolve this issue without so much divisiveness. How can we elevate the entire level of discourse? It is hard for me to understand how making enemies, attacking, and litigating will provide a solution for the highest good of the community. Your right Needler, I would not call myself a Christian but rather a devoted student of Universal spiritual principles including those of the great teacher Jesus of Nazareth. From your attitude here alone, I would not call you a follower of his teachings. I do not see the compassion, wisdom or forgiveness that are at the core of his teachings in your writings.

Lastly, forgiveness is required of us in rich measure, not because the inevitable hurts that come with being human are not painful, but because it is forgiveness that sets us free, that heals the unspeakable wounds, that allows us to grow in heart and spirit. The deeper the hurt, and the more powerful the injustice, the more we are invited to grieve, to sink into our pain, and to let go into forgiveness. Those who pray the Lord's Prayer ask God to "forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". This is not an easy task to be sure. Jesus taught "In the world you will have tribulation" and to love your enemy. The Buddha said that in this life we would experience ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows. He understood that suffering is a thread that runs through our entire lives. All that we have, including our own lives we will someday lose. Whatever we covet will pass away. This human suffering he named the "First Noble Truth". If we can meet each other in our humanity, perhaps great things can be accomplished. From the Dhammapada, a sacred Buddhist scripture (that mirrors Jesus' message) "Hatred never ceases by hatred. But by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law"


Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 13:23
by Renegade Mom
Trekkin -

The bravery has to do with entering a forum where there has been a real lack of discussion from different points of view without attack. Nice shot, though - you reveal your prejudice even before you admit you are a friend of the Volpe's. You were pretty insulting to CallyinVA and LexMom as well. This weakens what could have been an informative and helpful posting.

I'm so glad that Chuck has made such great progress on this issue that's great. As with so many things, as people come into better awareness of an issue, momentum can build to make those positive changes.

While I am grateful that you did not engage in actual name-calling and labels - BRAVO- you still base your argument on information coming from one side of the argument. You "know" so many things about what has been done and said and WHY. Until I hear testimony or have a conversation directly with David Woody, Bill Blatter or Jon Ellestad, forgive me if I don't embrace what you say as FACT. We, as the general public, do not know what has gone on. Meetings? Don't know why... Money allocations? I'd like to hear from some authority on that one too. You may have highlighted some very valid and key points that will come out eventually, but right know what you have to say is worth as much as mine - TWO CENTS. I say I do not know and that perhaps we should attempt to withhold judgement until we do.

I won't tear down Bill Blatter - I think he is a great guy - LIKE I SAID. The point was that I think it is unfair to polarize the people involve when they are not participating in this discussion and we are ALL projecting on to them. Again, I do not know exactly what Jon has or has not done, and am not willing to believe your assertions against him (or his kids) just because you say so. You do not present your ideas with the 'space' that would allow for adjustment or correction. You present a personal narrative as fact - it does not wash. But it sure makes you sound righteous!

You are correct that the City Manager of Staunton has done a good job (Is that where you live?). And yes, the average tenure of a City Manager is 10 years and Jon has been here longer. Do you know anything about his predecessor? And how would you evaluate the overall performance of a City Manager? Is this your professional area of expertise? Educate us please since you are sure enough of yourself to discount Jon's work. Again, you may be correct, but how shall we evaluate that - because you bully us and put us down?

You may indeed have facts and information that us "unenlightened" ones don't have. However, when you present them without any proof or accountability, they are of little value to the discussion and help to further inflame things. Your condescending attitude does not help either.This issue has started a rift in the community that I believe is counter-productive to the overall mission. Maybe you could consider trying to be a positive force toward resolution.

Re: After the Dam

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 15:16
by LexMom
Trekkin? As in Sea Trekkin ? As in the summer Camp Charles attended? Are you a camp counselor, a sailboat captain? ( that is laughable in itself ) Sounds a little Volpe to me or you are certainly not a member of this community.

Needler and Trekkin....there is not liability when one acts carelessly causing their own injury or demise. Point made and point will be proven in court. There are enough people who know the truth, and the actual circumstance of that day to bring all of this to a final end in the courtroom.

Needler, our beautiful city has been falsely accused. I work here, I live here, I have grown up here as have my children. I agree with RMom, your opinion for Chuck makes one go 'hmmmm?'.

to LexMom

Posted: 2008 Mar 30 15:34
by needler
Thanks very much for your insightful comments. As you suggest, perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the facts. As all this whirls around us, we do seem to be losing the entire point.

Maybe I'm being simplistic, but the point seems to be that the council knew the dam was dangerous, did nothing about it, and yet another person died. In court, the ONLY thing that matters is what the council knew, when they knew it AND what they did to fix the problem....all provable with real evidence. Charles' age doesn't matter, the beauty of Jordan's Point doesn't matter, what we remember fondly as "the ole fishin' hole" doesn't matter, nor do anyone's "feelings" matter.

Evidence matters, and that's all the courts will hear. That's what will decide this issue, and all the feelings in the world will not change the outcome. You had better get ready for an unpleasant verdict, and all your quotes and comments on religious teachings aren't going to make you like it any better. Apologies for bothering you again; but take heart, you can always say you have yelled at the biggest bitch in the county. You have, I am, and well done, you! BTW thanks for liking my screen name.

And, apropos of nothing, I am NOT a Christian; I recovered from THAT particular disease long ago because of meeting the LexMoms of the world. Thank goodness for small favors! My "bible belt rant" was simply a reminder of the few good things I learned in church long ago.

Have a great week, and peace to you, too. As per your suggestion, I am taking a break here, 'cause I learned very early on that talking with walls is seldom beneficial to either me or the wall.

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: needler :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: