The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) will hold a public information meeting on March 5, 2015, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center, 620 Simms Avenue, Harrisonburg, Virginia, regarding I-81 Exits 245 and 247 Interchange Alternatives Analysis (IAA).
The purpose of the IAA is to evaluate interchange modifications on Interstate 81 at Exit 245 (State Route 253/Port Republic Road) and Exit 247 (U.S. Route 33/East Market Street). The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the City of Harrisonburg, and James Madison University (JMU) identified the need to undertake the study to address existing and future operational, safety, access, economic development, and system connectivity needs. Both interchanges fall within the corporate limits of the City of Harrisonburg and provide access to existing and developing commercial/employment and residential areas of the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County as well as the JMU campus. Additional information on the Interchange Alternatives Analysis Study including the proposed alternatives may be reviewed on the HRMPO website at www.hrvampo.org under Plans and Projects.
Meet Tracey Coltrain, our first-ever Agritourism Coordinator for the Fields of Gold program.
Tracey joined us on January 6th. She resides in the City of Staunton where she has lived for four years with her husband and two of their three daughters. She and her family chose to move from
Richmond to this part of the state,in large part due to their passion for the natural beauty, agricultural richness, and outdoor adventure that the Shenandoah Valley has to offer. In their free time you can often find them at one of the Farmers Markets or enjoying any one of the experiences that the many local farms have to offer ("pick your own" is a family favorite). Tracey is excited for this opportunity to share her love of our local farms with the rest of Virginia!
Tracey most recently worked for the Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF) as their Director of Business Development where she assisted aspiring and existing small business entrepreneurs in developing their business and marketing plans. Tracey will oversee the Fields of Gold program, carry out the marketing activities of the program, and provide business support services to our 180+ members in the eight-county region. For more information on Fields of Gold, please visit www.fieldsofgold.org.
Agritourism farmers, economic development staff, and local government leaders will gather on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10-11, at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, Virginia, to explore innovative ideas on agritourism at the 2015 Virginia Conference on Agritourism in the Creative Economy. This state level conference offers attendees two days filled with fresh ideas on event planning, marketing, regional networks, zoning and conservation, financing, legal structures, farm craft breweries, profitability outlook of wineries, bed and breakfast operations, food safety, and experience-based tips to make agritourism businesses a success in the rural economy.
Special guests include the Honorable Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade;
the Honorable Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry; Ms. Mary Rae Carter, Special Advisor for Rural Partnerships; and Dr. Ed Jones, Director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. On Tuesday, Shenandoah Valley’s Fields of Gold will sponsor farm tours featuring Cestari Sheep and Wool Company, Mt. Crawford Creamery, Polyface Farms, Meadowcroft Farm, and White Oak Lavender Farm. On Wednesday, attendees will meet agritourism entrepreneurs, share successes, and explore the challenges during the afternoon’s Agritourism Showcase.
Register on-line by visiting http://tinyurl.com/AgritourismConference2015 and completing the registration form before February 26. You may register for one day ($95) or both days ($135). For more information, contact Dr. Martha A. Walker, Virginia Cooperative Extension, by phone at 434-766-6761 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference is sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, Farm Credit, Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia FAIRS, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and USDA Rural Development.
The cities of Staunton and Waynesboro and Augusta County, in partnership with Blue Ridge Community
College, will be offering Community Emergency Response Training (CERT)starting in March 2015. The
course will be held on Thursday evenings, March 19 - May 14, from 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Plecker Center on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College.
This nine-week course uses a standard curriculum designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and teaches basic skills in disaster preparedness, fire safety, first aid, terrorism awareness, disaster psychology, and search & rescue. The CERT course is designed to give the average person tools to prepare themselves and their family during severe weather or other emergencies when emergency personnel are overwhelmed and may not be able to respond immediately. The course is free and open to anyone who either lives or works in Staunton, Waynesboro, or Augusta County. All materials are provided, but registration is required. To register, contact Blue Ridge Community College Continuing Education at 540-453-2215.
Staff members Erin Yancey and C.J. Mitchem, PE are now provisionally certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia to perform plan review for stormwater management plans submitted to Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) authorities. Staff will also attend the Stormwater Inspector course in December, and will soon take the exam for the Combined Administrator certification, which will allow the PDC to assist localities with their VSMP needs. The PDC is currently reviewing stormwater management plans for James Madison University. Additional information or questions should be directed to Erin Yancey at email@example.com.
Around the Region, the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission's monthly newsletter is available HERE.