Sept 2008

KEEPING IN TOUCH IN VIRGINIA

We held a potluck lunch at Cheswick Park, adjoining the Virginia State Office, on Wednesday, June 25, 2008. Attending were Iris Royster, Ruth Carter, June Hogg, Mary Ramey, George and Rachel Hollins, Harold and Dorothy Crowder, Norm Wilson, and Helen and Arzie Jeter. Attending from the State Office were Pat Bragg, SAO, and Ken Carter, ASTC (Programs). As Acting State Conservationist, Ken gave an update of budgeting frustrations resulting from the multiple extensions of the Farm Bill, which had finally been signed.

Dwight and Dianne Towler were in London for a week before going to Piza, Italy. They were spending two weeks touring the Tuscany region before returning to London for a final week. They expect to return home on July 23.

J. B. Swiger asked about a few retirees, and I was able to put him in touch with them. In return A. J. Ramey provided the following information about Mr. Swiger: "I used to keep up with J.B., since I'm from Scott County. J.B. is from West Virginia, but has spent most of his life in Scott County; he has been a great asset to the County and its people. We got him to sing at several of our family reunions, but that has been a few years ago. He has also made photographs of several historic sites in the county. He sold several of these, along with his CD's, at the reunions." A. J. is a wealth of SCS/NRCS memory.

Melvin Hawkins: "I really don't have any recent news for you. I retired from the SCS a good number of years ago and have been working part time with a surveyor here in Gloucester.  I see David Lipps from time to time, he is doing well.  We do a lot of camping in the summer but I am afraid we are the type that parks the old camper when it starts getting cold.  We are also enjoying our 16 month old granddaughter, she has given us a new lease on life." 

Ruth Carter volunteers at a nursing home. As of June, the residents were excitedly monitoring the site of some turtle eggs that they saw the "mom" deposit and cover up. Ruth, is there an update on this?

Vickie Botkin is busy caring for her mother. She did hurt her back lifting her mother and is now having physical therapy. No information on how long this might last.

Wade Biddix said he saw Herb Gillispie at a UVA baseball game in May. He said Herb never ages and is doing very well.

Mike Fisher reports: "I am doing great taking it easy and we are having fun here (Michigan) with family.  We brought some bikes and we do a lot of camping and biking now." Mike sent pictures of him snowboarding and mountain biking, which I shared with some of the Virginia folks who have e-mail.

Billy Bear: "Hi Rachel, thanks for the pictures of Mike.  Don't think I'm as energetic as he is.  I'm enjoying my time with Levi and Little Miss Anita (6 months) (grandchildren).  I know why you went back to work - to rest!!!  Oh well, I could be stuck in a office somewhere.  I like being retired.  Karen only works 3 days a week - It's great!!  Just can't go anywhere because of the fuel prices.  I'm have'n fun though." Shortly after this note I received an e-mail saying they were headed to Alabama to visit Karen’s family.

Another note: "Thank you for the updates and info you send regarding VA SCS Retirees. I have been retired in VA for 13 years now. I enjoy hearing the news of VA retirees and worked with several when I was in Syracuse. Since my kidney transplant in Dec 2004, my energy level is unbridled. When I was doing a presentation at our Stamp Club, one of the men asked if there were several clones of me at home. Church activities are a full time job, and more so now that our pastor was called to a pastorate back home in Oklahoma. I am chairman of deacons and that means, being on the Pastor Search Committee as well as being administrator of our 1400 member church. We did buy a condo on Smith Mountain Lake, so I do get relaxation time with family and grandchildren. I also get the headaches of being Association President and we released our Property Manager. Until we hire a new one, I have been getting all the phone calls and emails. Fun! Blessings Ed Moldenke"

I love getting those notes and e-mails. An item from my family: George is now radioactive. He was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in June and had radioactive seeds implanted July 23. For three months he cannot hold a baby on his lap for more than 5 minutes at a time. He is also supposed to stay at least three feet away from pregnant women for six months if at all possible. Thank goodness I am not pregnant—I have trouble staying away from him. One advantage of the seed implants is that there are minimal side effects and it is a very easy procedure. He is doing fine and there will be total recovery.

George Strother will be 65 on November 15. If you would like his mailing address, let me know.

We are saddened to report that David Lee Racey, 61, from Woodstock, passed away Monday, June 16.  He worked for the Soil Conservation Service as a soil scientist mapping in Rockingham, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties. He was the only non- professional soil scientist in the State of Virginia. His official title was Biological Technician-Soils, apparently one of three folks who held this title.  David was also a Soil Conservation Technician in the Woodstock Service Center after completing the soil surveys in Frederick and Warren counties. He began his career as a WAE assisting the survey parties working on the many watershed dams constructed in Rockingham and Augusta Counties.


   June 2008

KEEPING IN TOUCH IN VIRGINIA

Our March meeting was held at the State Office in Richmond on March 26. Attending were Iris Royster, Dorothy and Harold Crowder, Elaine Alley, Ruth Carter, Norman and Shirley Wilson, June Hogg, Greg Moser, Dwight Towler, and Rachel Hollins. Since we were at the State Office, we had a few employees attending: E. J. Fanning and Pat Bragg, Acting STC. Shirley Wilson made the most delicious chocolate cookie sheet cake.

Wade Biddix reported that he saw Herb Gillespie at a UVA baseball game in May. Said Herb never ages and is doing well.

Was that our A. J. Ramey who had a Letter to the Editor published in a recent edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch? A. J. is requesting a light at the intersection of Patterson and Westbriar because those drivers coming east off of Route 288 don’t seem to realize the speed limit has dropped from 65 to 45 mph.

George Strother dropped by the State Office on June 22--a most pleasant surprise for those of us who happened to be in the office. It is always nice to hear from or see former co-workers. George is losing weight, and the doctors can’t seem to find a reason. He is walking with a cane, but says he doesn’t feel any pain; just sometimes his right leg gives out. Until the doctors can find a reason for his health problems, they can’t work on correcting them.

Eugene Morris had his right hip replaced for the third time. This one corrected some problems that were caused by the first one. He sent the following: "I am getting stronger every day. The new hip is almost pain free. However, I cannot take my RA medicine and I am hurting in my shoulders and elbows. Could be worse. I hope to get back on my medicine when I come off the blood thinner. I have heard from several people from the SO and FO's. George Norris called when I was in Hanover County (daughter's). Good to hear from these folks."

 From Carol Lipinski: "I am not working right now, and hope to attend a meeting soon.  However, I will be in Missouri March 10-29 to help my sister care for our mom, who has Alzheimers.  It has sure been hard watching my mom deteriorate with this terrible disease."  Vickie Botkin is also taking care of her Mom so she was unable to attend. Please say a prayer for both of these families.

From Helen Jeter: "I just returned from physical therapy.  They could not change my appointment for Wednesday so we will not be coming to lunch.  We will miss seeing everyone.  Please tell them hello!  We'll look forward to the next time." Helen Erdman has been under the weather and on antibiotics so she was unable to attend the luncheon.

From Denise Doetzer: "I'm sorry that I will not be able to attend the retirees meeting in March. Stu and I are going to Arkansas to take care of mom while my sister Elaine and her husband go on a vacation for spring break. My mom is doing pretty well mentally as well as physically. Stu and I are enjoying our farm and being retired. Stu volunteers a lot as a master gardener, and gives a lot of talks on landscape design, and what flowers to use in the garden year round. I am working as a natural resource consultant and currently representing Sand County Foundation. As for volunteer work, I am on the Board for the Center for Rural Culture, the State Fair Natural Resource Committee, and President of Earth Care Connection. Please say hi to everyone for me and give my regrets for not being able to attend. I will be close to home this summer as mom will be spending the summer months with us. Hopefully, I can catch up with you all at the next meeting."

It is June so Rachel Hollins is busy with fundraisers for the American Cancer Society and participating in the Louisa Relay for Life event which is being held at the Louisa County High School in Mineral on June 14 and overnight. Please stop by. Rachel is participating in the Relay; therefore George will be busy putting up tents and taking them down. That is also why most of this newsletter is in purple (if you receive it over the internet).

Ann J. Owen, 88, passed away January 13. She had been in failing health for about six months. Many of her former co-workers attended the funeral service, and her daughter, Jackie Stallings, has expressed her appreciation.

James (Jim) Edward Martin, 93, of Concord, died Saturday, April 12, 2008, in Lynchburg General Hospital. In addition to his wife Avis Mills Martin, he is survived by one son, two daughters, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren. Thanks to everyone that provided information regarding Jim’s passing. Jim worked on the Watershed Planning Staff as an Engineering Technician. He worked on the Potomac Basin Project (PL 534) in Harrisonburg for close to 10 years. He transferred to Richmond and served in the same capacity on PL 566 projects. A.J. Ramey worked with him at both locations and remembers Jim as an outstanding employee who was well liked by everyone who knew him.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

There has been a suggestion that we consider having a program and several possibilities have been put forth. I would like a volunteer to work on this. THIS WAS IN THE LAST TWO NEWSLETTERS, BUT I’VE HAD NO SUGGESTIONS NOR VOLUNTEERS.

Some have suggested holding a meeting nearer to them. If you would like to make arrangements for and host the meeting, please let me know at least a month before the meeting (I am willing to travel). AGAIN, I HAVE NOT HEARD FROM ANYONE ABOUT THIS YET.

In an attempt to have better attendance, maybe we should consider reorganizing to have someone plan the luncheons/meetings and someone to plan at least one formal program a year. I would be willing to do the newsletter and mail out the meeting notices. VOLUNTEERS?

If you are receiving this newsletter by regular mail and have an e-mail address, please provide me the e-mail. If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please let me know. If you know anyone who is not receiving this information, please have them contact me.

IF YOU HAVE ANY NEWS, PLEASE SUBMIT IT TO ME AT 1637 BUCKNER RD., BUMPASS, VA 23024 OR E-MAIL rhollin@louisa.net.

BELIEVE ME YOUR FORMER CO-WORKERS ARE INTERESTED IN WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
IN THIS CASE, NO NEWS IS…………..NO NEWS.


   March 2008

KEEPING IN TOUCH IN VIRGINIA
HAPPY EASTER TO EVERYONE .

VIRGINIA SCS/NRCS RETIREES, FORMER AND CURRENT EMPLOYEES
We have another get-together planned as follows:
PLACE: NRCS State Office, Richmond, Virginia
DATE: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
TIME: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (set-up begins at 11:00 a.m.)
WHAT: Pot luck lunch. Contact me in an effort to avoid duplications.
We will invite the State Conservationist or an acting to give an update.
DEADLINE: Monday, March 24, 2008.
ALSO: Please submit items for Virginia’s June Newsletter and the next ARSCSE Newsletter-- recent activities, travel, celebrations.
Spouses, widows, associates, friends and other family members are also invited and urged to attend. If you talk to anyone who has not heard from me, please give them my phone number, etc.
If you have questions, please mail, e-mail, or call me at contact points shown in the header above. I am also in the office at 804-287-1630 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday most weeks.

We did not hold a December meeting; however several retirees did attend the State Office Christmas luncheon at Skillagalee on Glenside Drive.

Eugene Morris was recently elected to the Southside SWCD as a director. He was appointed two years ago to fill out a term when a director retired, and is now looking forward to four more years with Southside. He recently signed an agreement with NRCS as Vice-Chair. Eugene’s wife Winnie likes to travel. Sometimes she lets him go with her.

On December 10, Billy and Karen Bear added another grandchild—Anita Charlotte Bear born to BJ and Michele.

As of January 3, Noah Mullins is retired Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations in Farmville.

Also retiring on January 3 was Bill Patterson, DC, Harrisonburg. He has plans to hike the Appalachian Trail starting in March. Jerry Hughston attended Bill’s retirement party. He said he couldn’t believe Bill had so many friends—there was one fellow that Bill has known since before grade school.

Another retiree as of January 3 is Joe Wentz who last served as District Conservationist in Lebanon.

Donna Alvey retired effective March 1, 2008. Donna Was the Accounting Technician, and was stationed in our Culpeper Service Center. The Financial Management Team will miss her help—the staff at the State Office will be absorbing her work. The rest of us will miss her friendly voice when we screw up an invoice that she had to schedule for payment. We hope she will keep in touch.

Brian and Alex Ganoe were in the Leesburg and Winchester areas for Christmas, and headed home on December 29. They got to Sacramento about the time the bad storm hit so things were just a little hairy from there home, but they got home before the worst of the storm hit. He can’t wait to get back to mining as soon as the snow melts in the mountains. He is probably going to strike the mother lode long before any of us win the lottery.

The first week in February Rachel and George Hollins took a cruise of the Southern Caribbean to celebrate George’s 75th birthday.

I did hear from Julius Toenniessen. It was during the few days in January when it did not snow, and he was enjoying the weather.

Willis and Gladys Miller are doing fine although Gladys has been having some shoulder problems. Gladys works part-time at the Biltmore Estates in Ashville. She really enjoys it and keeps adding more work time. Willis is working two days a week for the Mountain Valley RC&D under the ACES program. He says he really enjoys seeing what is going on in NRCS now and talking to some of the NC employees that he has know for a long time.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

There has been a suggestion that we consider having a program and several possibilities have been put forth. We can discuss this at the September meeting. I would also like a volunteer to work on this. THIS WAS IN THE LAST TWO NEWSLETTERS, BUT I HAD NO SUGGESTIONS NOR VOLUNTEERS.

Some have suggested holding a meeting nearer to them. If you would like to make arrangements for and host the meeting, please let me know at least a month before the meeting (I am willing to travel). I agree that it would be great to try to meet in the Blacksburg, Winchester/Leesburg, and Smithfield area sometime. We try to meet the last Wednesday of March, June, and September. AGAIN, I HAVE NOT HEARD FROM ANYONE ABOUT THIS YET.

If you are receiving this newsletter by regular mail and have an e-mail address, please provide me the e-mail. If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please let me know. If you know anyone who is not receiving this information, please have them contact me.

IF YOU HAVE ANY NEWS, PLEASE SUBMIT IT TO ME AT 1637 BUCKNER RD., BUMPASS, VA 23024 OR E-MAIL rhollin@louisa.net.

BELIEVE ME YOUR FORMER CO-WORKERS ARE INTERESTED IN WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING. IN THIS CASE, NO NEWS IS…………..NO NEWS. I MIGHT HAVE TO START MAKING UP THINGS AND RENAME THE NEWSLETTER THE NRCS ENQUIRER.

RACHEL E. HOLLINS
State Representative


   December 2007

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AS WE
KEEP IN TOUCH IN VIRGINIA

Our September meeting was held at the State Office in Richmond on September 26. Attending were Iris Royster, Niles and Jane McLoda, Dorothy and Harold Crowder, Woody and Mary Frances Hall, Helen and Arzie Jeter, Elaine Alley, Ruth Carter, Niles and Jane McLoda, Norman and Shirley Wilson, June Hogg, and Rachel Hollins. Since we were at the State Office, we had a few employees attending: Ray Dorsett, Wade Biddix, E. J. Fanning, and STC Jack Bricker.

We were all glad to see both June and Dorothy since they had been sick-see last newsletter.

Jack gave an update on closing out FY 2007 and the budget for 2008 and how our programs/personnel will be affected. There have been a few office consolidations and others are planned. We need to hire some engineers and technicians for CO work. An estimated 10 employees are considering retirement by January 3. We hope that will mean a few new members. Information has been provided to the Human Resources Team to pass on to these individuals with their retirement packets since some don’t want their retirements announced.

Vickie Botkin was unable to attend the luncheon. Her mother is 92 and her health has been failing all year, then she fell and broke her arm. Vickie is her caregiver. George Norris sent his regards, and Greg Moser was unable to attend due to a doctor’s appointment.

George Strother (former mail clerk) is now a grandfather. On September 21 his daughter delivered an 8lb 11oz, 20.5" son. Congratulations to George.

Brian Ganoe and two partners have been prospecting and mining in Oregon and just into California and they now have three claims. He and wife Alex camp along the Scott River in California, he prospects and mines with his partners and friends-I hope Alex isn’t stuck with the cooking. Brian is doing exactly what he planned to do. He is enjoying the adventure and hopes to make a little money to boot.

Every time I send out a newsletter I hear from another retiree or two. Paul Swecker, former Soil Scientist in Rocky Mount retired again-this time from Wal-mart after 10 years. He has two granddaughters that keep him busy, and he attends all of the Virginia Tech football and basketball games.

Wilson Parker sent a note. He said he never worked in Virginia, but worked at NHQ from 1975 to 1987. After retiring he moved to Spotsylvania. All of his children married Virginia residents, so this has become home for he and his family.

I heard from Will Garrett-he wanted to ensure he remains on the mailing list for the Virginia newsletter. He worked mostly with engineers while employed with SCS, and said he has a good story on most of them so if you are an engineer and worked in Virginia you might want to be nice to this guy. He has a son, William Garrett, who is an anesthesiologist at MCV in Richmond.

Ruth Anderson has been unable to make many of our meetings. She volunteers with the county library, clothes closet, county fair, State Fair, Historical Society, and Angel Tree during the Christmas Season. She is also a member of the Red Hatters. She says she does not run around all of the time. She still lives on the farm and has lots of yard and house to take care of. She does travel also-in June she spent a great two weeks in Nova Scotia.

Jim Hale sent a note (and postage-thanks). He retired in 1984 with 38 years of Government service, including 4 years military. He was a Conservation Technician in Madison, Greene, and Orange Counties. After retirement, he was elected to the Culpeper SWCD and served just 2 years as he was then elected to the Madison County Board of Supervisors where he served for 18 years (several as Vice-Chair). He retired from that job in 2006 due to health complications from a parachute accident in 1952. He and wife Ruby still live on J-R Farm in Old Pratts. He goes out every day to the local Co-op to have coffee with the boys, pick up the mail, and read the paper, and he does a little consulting work and dowsering for wells. As with most of us, there is also the yards and bushes. A quote, "The beauty of retirement is staying busy as you want to be, whether it amounts to anything or not. As of now I’m a retired farmer, retired SCS Technician, retired county supervisor, and just plain tired." It was a pleasure reading his letter.

Mike Fisher who worked out of the Christiansburg office in Virginia for many years, retired on November 2. At the time of his retirement he was working for NRCS in Salisbury, NC. He and Jean moved to Michigan the next day. They will be living with and taking care of Jean’s parents. Mike said it will be good to be back in Michigan, but he is not looking forward to the cold!! They plan to be back in Blacksburg each year for Mission board meetings and will stop and visit everyone. When in Virginia, Mike was one of our "go to" persons for many details. After hurricanes and floods he traveled to Puerto Rico and a number of states to help with EWP work. We wish Mike and Jean the best, and we wish Jean’s parents a long healthy and happy life.

As of mid-November, the doctor released June Hogg to return to work in her ACES position as Volunteer Coordinator. She is feeling fine and we are glad to have her back.

Todd Thurston, 44, of Hutchinson, Kansas, died on March 4, 2007. He leaves a wife, two sons and numerous other relatives. Todd was an Engineer in Virginia in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Basil "Buster" J. Lucado passed away on July 25 at the age of 94 after slowly declining health over the past couple of years. At the time of his death he was living on Bald Mountain Farm where he had lived since 1918. He was retired from SCS and from farming. He was a WWII (Army) veteran. In addition to three children, several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even two great-great-grandchildren, He is survived by Lorene, his wife of 65 years.

Talmadge T. (Tap) Weddle, 84, of Floyd, died Saturday November 17, 2007 at his home. He was a veteran of World War II, a Life Member and Past Commander of Floyd VFW Post #7854 and Past Commander of American Legion Post #127. He retired from SCS with 45 years service assisting farmers and landowners in Floyd and surrounding counties. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Edna Keith Weddle, several children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

There has been a suggestion that we consider having a program and several possibilities have been put forth. Please submit suggestions to be discussed at the next meeting. I would also like a volunteer to work on this.

Some have suggested holding a meeting nearer to them. If you would like to make arrangements for and host the meeting, please let me know at least a month before the meeting. We try to meet the last Wednesday of March, June, and September.

If you are receiving this newsletter by regular mail and have an e-mail address and Microsoft Word, please provide me the e-mail. If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please let me know. If you know anyone who is not receiving this information, please have them contact me.

IF YOU HAVE ANY NEWS, PLEASE SUBMIT IT TO ME AT 1637 BUCKNER RD., BUMPASS, VA 23024 OR E-MAIL rhollin@louisa.net.

BELIEVE ME YOUR FORMER CO-WORKERS ARE INTERESTED IN WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING. THEY ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHAT IS NEW WITH NRCS.