Effective in August 2014, Dean C. Rodgers began serving as the new Amherst County Administrator.
Most recently employed as the General Manager for the Louisa County Water Authority, he was able to increase the operating budget with community buy-in, complete multi-million dollar system upgrades to comply with more stringent environmental standards, settle long-standing citizen lawsuits, and develop and implement a strategic plan to guide the Water Authority to self-sufficiency. Prior to joining the Water Authority, Mr. Rodgers served for 28 years as a Judge Advocate, United States Air Force, during which time he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and served in diverse communities throughout the world.
Mr. Rodgers holds a business degree from Baylor University, a law degree from the University of Utah School of Law, and a Master of Environmental Laws degree from George Washington University.
Asked what he likes best about Amherst County, Mr. Rodgers replied, “my most favorite aspect of Amherst County is how friendly and helpful the people are. There is a culture of graceful living here.”
Centra Health, of Lynchburg, recently announced that a new medical facility is planned to open in the Town of Amherst in September, 2016.
The 17,500 sq. ft. ambulatory care center will be built behind the Ambriar Shopping Center. Centra expects to spend at least $9 million on the facility.
As an urgent care center, it will function for the treatment of non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses. The facility also would provide primary care services, X-rays including digital X-rays, laboratory services and physical therapy. Patients would not need to have an appointment to be seen.
According to Centra spokeswoman Diane Riley, the Amherst facility will address a shortage of primary care providers in central Amherst County. An older population requires more medical services, and Centra expects the demand for doctors to increase as the population of Amherst County continues to age, based on census data.
While Riley was unsure as to how many physicians would be housed at the Amherst center, she wrote that because of its size, the new facility potentially could house multiple physicians.
“Our commitment to this region is to provide access of care to our neighbors,” Riley said.
“We will work closely with the physicians already in the area to help address the [community’s] unmet medical needs due to the shortage of
The new Amherst Town Hall, located at 174 S. Main St., less than one block away from the old location, recently opened. The 3,000 sq. ft. building, purchased by the Town in August 2013, accommodates the Amherst Police Department, Town office staff, and chambers for the Town council.
The same building (located next to the Bank of the James) once housed a donut shop and, most recently, a chiropractic office. The old Town Hall building will be for sale.
Outside renovations on the Amherst Train Depot (as of August 2014) was going through Phase II, including new wooden siding and clay tiles for the roof, according to Zoning and Planning Director Jeremy Bryant.
Historically accurate windows now stand in the place of old, boarded up ones. With the second phase almost complete, the third and last stage, the interior renovation, is still preliminary. Although Amherst County was awarded a $618,671 grant from the federal Transportation Alternatives program to complete the project, it has still not been determined what organizations will locate there, and exactly how the 2200 sq. ft. of space will be utilized.
So far (as of 8/20/14) both the Amherst County Chamber of Commerce and Amherst County Economic Development Authority have requested space, but no definite plans have been made as to when Phase III will begin. Part of the space allotted to the ACCC would be used as a Visitor’s Center. For more information, call Jeremy Bryant at 946-9303.
Thanks to a collaborative effort between Amherst County High School art teacher Maryellen Barron, a group of 11 students, Amherst Town Council, arts promoter Suny Monk and others, a large mural honoring the Age of Jazz was constructed in Oct. 2013 on the building where Traveler’s Restaurant is located.
More murals are planned in the future!
Sheila Justice opened her grooming facility in the Town of Amherst, across Rt. 60 from the Food Lion shopping center, in Nov. of 2013. A groomer for20 years, she started her business in the basement of her home in 2005.
Sheila graduated from Canine Clippers School of Pet Grooming, and is certified in Terriers (Schnauzers) and Non-Sporting Breeds (poodles).
The Old 97 Restaurant opened in November of 2013. Life-long Amherst County residents and successful business owners Matthew Cox and Tracy Sprouse have transformed this landmark into a quality restaurant where one can relax with a nice meal and entertainment without being afraid to bring the whole family.
Live music, including bluegrass, classic country, blues and jazz, is featured at least weekly, and there is also a weekly family-friendly karaoke night. A favorite place for Amherst County High School class reunions, The Old 97 is a popular venue to celebrate birthdays for the young and old alike. For more information, see the ad on page 36.
After having served Amherst and the surrounding communities for 18 years from their present S. Main St. location, the Harman Eye Center will be relocating to 204 Ambriar Plaza in December 2014.
The same staff, led by Tabitha Combes O.D., will continue offering their professional services from a larger, more convenient and patient-friendly space, across from What A Blessing Bakery. For more information, see the ad on page 5.
Tweedy’s Produce, originally located behind the Apple Market shopping center at the corner of Rt.s 151 and 29N., moved to the other corner of the same intersection in January of 2014. Owned and operated by Amherst natives Brenda and Ricky Tweedy, their floor space is now doubled, allowing them to become a country store.
Besides their fresh local produce, they now offer country hams, rolled bologna, salt fish, cheeses, jams, jellies, spices, Atkinson’s Milling Products. See their ad on page 57.
Tim and Joyce Boggs started Virginia Plaques and Trophies from their home, back in 2009.
Business was so good that they moved it to a location on Rt. 29 in Madison Heights the following year, and again in 2013 to their present location at 3690 S. Amherst Hwy., Madison Heights. They have quadrupled their workspace from their previous Rt. 29 shop. They now have a larger showroom and capacity for all services and products, including uniforms and Dixie Outfitter shirts. See the ad on page 7.
River’s Edge Pet Grooming opened March 1, 2014, at 4124 S. Amherst Hwy., near Rt. 130 and the pawn shop. Affordable and compassionate care in a convenient location is offered, along with skilled breed-specific dog grooming, basic shave downs, baths and nail trimming.
Owner/groomer Jennifer Sigmon has over 20 years of experience working with animals, and a Bachelor’s of Science, Equestrian Science degree. She is an Amherst County resident and 1987 graduate of ACHS. For more information, see the ad on page 55.