Award-Winning Professional Artist Opens Gallery in Downtown Amherst

Born in the outskirts of Paris, France, Maryvonne LaParlière spent her early years in Rueil-Malmaison near Malmaison Château, home of Empress Josephine the first wife of Napoléon. She admired Josephine’s interest in nature, architecture and decorative painting and has carried with her the image of Josephine’s lovely  rose garden, immortalized by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. It was also the place where Monet and Renoir depicted so well the boating, picnicking and dancing along the charming  banks of the Seine. LaParlière says, “those childhood influences were imprinted on the canvas of my soul as an artist.”

At age 16, LaParlière’s family moved to France’s Loire Valley, with its beautiful châteaux full of art and charming villages. She pursued her love of painting in Tours where she studied at the prestigious art school, Les Beaux Arts.

In 1988, LaParlière came to America’s west coast where she began restoring furniture and painting full scenes on them, exhibiting and selling her work, and being featured in the media. Her talent was noticed by Beverly Hills celebrities, and she was commissioned to do furniture, paintings, trompe l’oeil and murals in the homes of celebrities including, Priscilla Presley (her main collector for many years), Larry Hagman, Steven Seagal and Kelly LeBrock to name a few. LaParlière became adept at translating a family’s history and dreams into a perfect mural, or turning an armoire, desk, table or cupboard into a beautiful work of art that was personal to her client.

As LaParlière’s career progressed, she moved to Santa Barbara, California, where she exhibited and was active in the art world. The stunning 70-feet of murals she completed at the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara illustrates perfectly the unlimited dimension of her talent.

For more than 30 years, LaParlière has built an acclaimed career, with both international and American clientele. She has done work on site at home and abroad for the Orient Express Hotel Chain, several universities and hospitals, in the homes of diplomats, and at beautiful estates and châteaux. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and in local, national and international media.

In 2010, after a solo exhibition at the French Embassy, LaParlière was decorated by the French Ambassador as a “Knight in the Order of the Palms” in recognition of her talent and for bringing French culture to so many in America. She continues to explore the field of decorative art, creating wall frescoes in the Greek and Roman style, faux finishes and decorating old wood with angels and other figures. She works to transform furniture with even more unique, intricate hand-painting to create pieces of museum quality.

After living in California, LaParlière moved to the east coast opening galleries in Charlottesville and Gordonsville, Virginia. And now with the acquisition of an historic building in Amherst, LaParlière has been able to collect many examples of her work in one place and is realizing a dream of opening a “museum of decorative art.”

As she says, “My mission is not yet complete!”

News and Notes

Amherst County Welcomes Back Ron Campbell

The Amherst County Information Technology Department is pleased to welcome Ron Campbell. After owning his own business, Ron returns to the IT Department as a Network Specialist.

He brings eighteen years of IT experience to the job, including three years of previous experience with the County. Ron will work with the IT department to maintain and fix problems with the County computers, printers, e-mails, and website as well as troubleshoot network related issues. “I am excited to use my experience and diverse skill set to fill this position and work with everyone in the County of Amherst again.”

Ron studied Business Information Systems at Averett University where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science. He has worked in many areas of IT from entry level jobs to Database Administrator. He has lived in Nelson County for over 30 years and is pleased to be back working for Amherst County.

High Peak Tower First with Broadband Access

Amherst County and SCS Broadband of Nelson County recently announced that the High Peak tower is equipped with Broadband access as of June, 2019. This marks the first tower out of seven that will be fixed with SCS’s broadband equipment. The other six towers will be furnished with broadband equipment in the coming months. The county, through a competitive process, awarded low-cost access to its 5 public safety broadcasting towers to SCS. In order to ensure a broadband signal is strong enough for your home or business, call SCS at (434) 263-6363.
SOURCE: Amherst County

Amherst County Welcomes New Deputy Director of Public Safety

Emergency Medical Services Captain, Jarred K. Scott, has been promoted to the rank of Deputy Director effective July 1, 2019. Jarred has long standing experience in the Fire & EMS Services community starting over 16 years ago as a volunteer EMT and Firefighter. He also has experience in neighboring jurisdictions and has worked with Amherst County Public Safety since 2013.

Jarred holds National Registry and Virginia certification as a Paramedic and attended the Jefferson College of Health Sciences graduating in 2007. He became one of the area’s first Advanced Practice Paramedics in the Blue Ridge Emergency Medical Services region. Jarred was promoted to the rank of Emergency Medical Services Captain on C-Shift in 2015. He also holds numerous Virginia Department of Fire Programs Certifications.

Jarred’s family includes his devoted wife Mel and their five children. SOURCE: Amherst County

Amherst County Hires New Public Information Officer

The Amherst County Administrator’s Office is pleased to welcome Joy Niehaus to its staff. Joy will be filling the role of Public Information Officer,  which means that in addition to being the voice on the County’s main telephone line, she will be handling all press releases, and updating the county website while serving as the coordinator and contact person for the county’s Facebook page.

Joy studied at Liberty University and received her Bachelor of Science in Communications in 2006. She is currently working towards a Master of Arts degree in Strategic Communication and looks forward to finishing this December. Joy has worked with local businesses, nonprofits, and publications as a freelance writer and social media coordinator for the past five years. She and her family have lived in Amherst County since 2010.

In addition to her communications duties, Joy will serve as an administrative assistant in the County Administration office. SOURCE: Amherst County

Amherst Chamber of Commerce Names New Office & Events Coordinator

The Amherst County Chamber of Commerce announced in Aug. 2019 that
Lauren Huffman is the new, full-time Office and Events Coordinator! Lauren recently graduated from Longwood University with her Bachelor of Arts in History, with a concentration in Public History and a double minor in French and Anthropology. She can be reached at her office in the Amherst County Visitor’s Center at 434-946-0990 for any assistance.

Lancers Tech Club Receives Donation From Greif

The members of the Amherst Lancers Tech Club said “Thank You” to Greif Riverville for their $4,000 donation. They are excited about the new opportunities these funds will allow their student members to experience in learning about drone technology and aerial photography and are thankful for Greif’s generosity!

Sweet Briar’s Financial Position Strengthens

It was recently reported in a press release that S & P Global Ratings, for the third consecutive year, has upgraded the rating for bonds issued for Sweet Briar College.

Last year Sweet Briar was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the most innovative schools in the U.S., and most recently was listed, along with 400 colleges and universities,  as “best-value” schools by Kiplinger Magazine.

Second Stage Amherst Receives Grants From Both the Greater Lynchburg Community & Centra Foundations

The Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation awarded a $6,000 grant to Second Stage Amherst to fund the buildout of the coffee shop, which is now leased and operated by Baine’s Books and Coffee. Internet connectivity in the building was upgraded as well. The money was used to complete the building project for the new coffee shop and install new equipment to augment the existing internet and Wifi currently in the building.

The Centra Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to Second Stage Amherst to fund a new outreach program, Second Helping.

The money will be used to purchase fresh foods from vendors at the Second Street Farmers’ Market at the end of each market on Thursday afternoons. The food then will be distributed to people who would otherwise not be able to access fresh foods through partnerships with Blue Ledge Meals on Wheels, Neighbors Helping Neighbors and the Pleasant View Food Pantry.

“Second Stage has always been about building a stronger, better community,” Second Stage President Suny Monk said in a news release. “The funding we’ve received from the Centra Foundation will add a new dimension to the ways in which we’re able to collaborate with other hardworking groups to help our neighbors.”

In celebration of the new program, Second Stage has renamed the weekly farmers’ market to Market @ Second Stage.

For more information about Second Stage and the Market @ Second Stage, visit


Medical Center Opens Amherst Office

The Blue Ridge Medical Center, headquartered on Rt. 29 in Colleen, recently opened their new Town of Amherst location. They offer primary care and behavioral health services at their 210 S. Main St. location (near the Downtown stoplight). For more information, see page 11.

Protected Beach Approved For Swimming at Mill Creek Lake

The option to swim at Mill Creek Lake Park was recently announced to launch in September, 2019. The cost for the new beach and swimming area is expected to be between $8,000 and $10,000, according to recent reports.

The Amherst County Board of Supervisors voted Aug. 20 to authorize the county’s recreation and parks department to proceed with installing signs, a beach area, buoys and boundary ropes, other materials and grading. When the work is completed, public swimming can begin, according to the board’s action.

The signage states no lifeguard is on duty and those who swim are doing so at their own risk. Swimming at Mill Creek will be available year-round.

Local Businessmen Honored

Last Spring (2019) John Wall (right) of Wall Construction, located in Madison Heights, and designer Fred Oesch were honored by Viridiant, which operates Earthcraft Virginia Green Building Certification Program. They were awarded “Top Performance Home” and “Single Family Home of the Year”.

Customer Service Initiative Launched

Amherst County is committed to improving its customer service! A special button was created last summer and went live on the county homepage, for anyone to leave a rating and comment about their interaction with county employees. A link to the comment form is found below.

The comment form is simple, asking only three questions, one of which is a 5-point rating scale. It also provides a comment block for further explanation. The forms are collected daily and shared with department heads. The survey is completely anonymous.

The initiative was created by front line employees to motivate specifically identified customer service behaviors. It is through the public’s feedback that we are able to see progression and instill an increased value in Amherst County local government. The survey form will also be useful to address negative behaviors, as well. For more information, go to

All citizens, employees, vendors, and suppliers are encouraged to use the survey to share their feedback. SOURCE: Amherst County

Banners Raised Alongside Route 29 Business Corridor

In June and July of 2019, a total of 42 Amherst County banners were placed within Riveredge Park and installed alongside the Route 29 business corridor. An additional 22 banners are planned or are already in the process of being installed. This initiative is part of a greater objective sought through by the efforts of the Route 29 Business Beautification Committee. Their goal is to instill pride and appreciation of the citizenry in the attractiveness of their community. Amherst County funded 37 of the banners, while McBride Signs and the Bank of the James donated three and two respectively. If any businesses or individuals would like to sponsor an Amherst County banner, the total price of sponsorship is $280.00. Contact Community Development at (434) 946-9303 with any questions regarding banner sponsorship. SOURCE: Amherst County

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) Receives Funding for Gigabit Speed Broadband for Amherst County Residents

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is to receive $7,180,471 in funding to serve 2,200 Amherst County residents in voice-over IP (VOIP) phone service and gigabit speed broadband. Central Virginia Services, Inc. (CVSI), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) and does business as Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM, was awarded $28.6 million in funding in November 2018. Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized those funds to be paid out over the next ten years. Firefly will bring gigabit level internet service to homes serviced by CVEC. In addition, homes not serviced through CVEC but are within a limited mile radius, may also be able to purchase their Firefly service. The off-system builds focus on areas directly adjacent to where CVEC already serves electricity. This includes the Northwest portion of the county and a large portion off system along the James River in Amherst, west of Gladstone. Firefly Fiber Broadband will offer two speeds- 100mbps (unlimited and symmetrical download and upload speed) & 1gbps (unlimited and symmetrical download and upload speed). Anyone with questions concerning connection to CVEC’s services may contact them at 1-800-367-2832. SOURCE: Amherst County

Amherst County Alert System Available

Amherst, Virginia, June 10, 2019 — Amherst County Public Safety is now working with Everbridge, the worldwide leader in unified critical communications, to keep residents, staff and emergency personnel safe and informed with quick and reliable emergency notifications and public service announcements. The Amherst County Public Safety will begin using Everbridge Resident Alerts to communicate with citizens and businesses during emergencies and other critical events. Residents are encouraged to register immediately to receive these alerts:;id=4555

Amherst County Public Safety will use the Everbridge emergency notification system to alert residents about a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, fires, floods and other emergencies, to more routine announcements, such as road closures and water utility maintenance. Messages will be sent to residents on their preferred contact paths—cell phone, SMS, home phone, email, fax, pager and more—to ensure real-time access to potentially lifesaving information. Residents listed in the Amherst County 911 database will be automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, but Everbridge allows citizens to self-register, provide additional contact information or opt out.

“We have a commitment to ensure public safety, community awareness and emergency response. To uphold this, when critical information and public service announcements are available, we need to reach our residents as quickly and reliably as possible,” said Sam Bryant, Director of Public Safety. “The Everbridge emergency notification system allows Amherst County Public Safety to disseminate this information across all types of devices, ensuring residents have access to real-time public information when they need it the most.”

“A resilient, comprehensive critical communications system is an essential tool for Amherst County that need to notify thousands of residents and businesses rapidly and efficiently,” said Jaime Ellertson, CEO of Everbridge. “Everbridge is proud to have been selected by Amherst County as a critical component of its public safety and emergency response program.”

SOURCE: Amherst County

2nd Annual Amherst County Fair Another Success

According to County Fair Director Vanessa Angus, fair-goers at the 2019 Amherst County Fair enjoyed the addition of more rides, activities, and an expanded petting zoo, as well as fireworks and the headlining performance of rising country music artist and American Idol finalist,Gabby Barrett.Despite the heat index of 100+ degrees over the course of the 4-day event, approximately 10,000 people attended.Planning for the 2020 County Fair is already underway.For the latest information and details, visit the Fair website at

If you know of something new in Amherst County, please e-mail

Amherst County: Where We Value Our Volunteers & Their Work

By Danielle Verderame

Volunteers are giving back, even if they don’t have a lot of money to donate. Their time has a real value to organizations, both large and small. When someone volunteers for a nonprofit group, they are worth about $24.14 per hour, according to an Independent Sector Study. Those efforts, at both a state and national level, have an important impact on communities.

National Statistics (2018)

  • 77.4 Million Americans Volunteered
  • 6.9 Billion Hours Served
  • $167 Billion Estimated Economic Value

Virginia Statistics (2017)

  • 2.2 Million Virginians Volunteered
  • 232 Million Hours Served
  • $5.5 Billion Estimated Economic Value

For nonprofit groups throughout Amherst, this volunteer support is critical. In fact, many of these beloved, local organizations rely on volunteers to do their good work. By working together, these people make this “Perfect Slice of Virginia” better all the time.

The following organizations are listed in alphabetical order…they are all important! If your organization was inadvertently left out, please accept our apology in advance and e-mail your groups’ information to


Amherst Association for Family & Community Education

(434) 846-6255  Email:
Cordelia Greene, President

The Amherst Association for Family and Community Education strengthens individuals, families, and communities through continuing education, developing leadership, and community action. They are a grass roots, volunteer organization. Their county membership is also joined with other clubs in the state of Virginia, which is under the National Association for Family and Community Education, Inc. with international affiliates.

Today’s AAFCE members promote literacy and volunteering. Some of the projects undertaken include: sewing and assembling bags for rescued, human-trafficking individuals; donations to Neighbors Helping Neighbors; sponsoring a child for Operation Smile surgery; donations to Patrick Henry Plantation, local elementary school teachers and Heifer International; collecting and assembling backpacks for Back Packs for School Children; and donations to help local children attend local 4-H Camp. They have also awarded scholarships to Amherst County High School seniors, given monetary donations to various ACHS clubs, and given monetary donations to Amherst County Fire and Rescue departments. Their main project is sponsoring the Amherst County Apple Harvest Festival!


Amherst Cares

(434) 946-7624    Email:
Beth Gamble, President; Marion Kanour, Vice President
Betty Hopkins, Secretary; Mike Stinnett, Treasurer

Amherst Cares is a nonprofit collaborative effort of school, church, and community to provide food to identified, food insecure Amherst County Public School students. They feed so that students may succeed. With this assistance, teachers report improved academic performance, decrease in absenteeism, closer attention to instruction, and a decrease in behavior issues in some students being served by Amherst Cares. For the 2018-2019 school year, Amherst Cares provided 18,454 bags of food to ACPS students. They have provided approximately 55,362 meals for the school year. They begin the program the first week of school.



Amherst County Habitat For Humanity Executive Director Debra Habel (standing, 3rd from left with several co-workers) was the 2019 recipient of the esteemed Harry L. Day Jr. Award, which honors the outstanding service of an individual to both the local business community and Amherst County Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented in May 2019 at the annual ACCC Awards Dinner.

Amherst County Habitat for Humanity

(434) 946-9596  Email:
Barbara Towler, Board President; Angie Johnson,Vice President; Matthew Cox, Treasurer; Noel De Palma, Secretary; Debra Babcock Habel, Executive Director

Board Members: Leon Parrish , John Gregory Brown, Sarah Ryan, John Batman, Joseph Campbell, John Grieser, Beatrice Booker, Tammy Knight, David Garrison and Stuart Jones.

Amherst County Habitat for Humanity offers a unique solution that reduces dependency on government programs and breaks the cycle of generational poverty.  They start by partnering with families. Their buyers complete 300 hours of sweat equity and homeownership and financial education classes before purchasing their homes. Buyers must have reliable income to be able to pay back the mortgage.

Then, they charge zero percent interest on mortgages. Amherst County Habitat for Humanity finances in-house, so families start building equity, confidence and stability from their first payment.

Also, they build with volunteer labor and some donated materials or discounts. This, coupled with their 0% mortgage, means affordability! When Habitat for Humanity sells homes to low-income families, lowering their monthly expenses and building wealth in equity over-time, families no longer need the food bank for groceries or housing vouchers for affordable housing. All of Amherst County Habitat for Humanity’s office and payroll expenses are covered by their incoming mortgage payments allowing all donations go 100% into their building program.



Amherst County Lions Club

(434) 277-5616 Email:
Ron White, President; Ann White, Secretary
Butch Hammett, Treasurer

Members: Robert Branham, Lyle Garrette, Ricky Brightwell, Robert Garrette, Sharon L. Cash, Mark Huffines, Carrie Davila, Bob Langstaff, Jose Davila, Tom Loftus, Robin Davies, Hunter Nash, Bonnie Ferguson, Ronnie Unrue, Jimmy Floyd, and Tom Wallace.

The Amherst County Lions Club was formed when the Madison Heights Lion Club and the Amherst Lions Club merged in 2011 in order to better serve Amherst County. The Lion’s Motto is “We Serve”. Lions International is the world’s largest service organization. 

Their five major areas of emphasis are sight, hearing, hunger, diabetes, and pediatric cancer. Their club conducts the vision screenings in the Amherst County Schools for grades K, 3rd, 7th, and 10th grade students with a PediaVision Camera. Additionally, the club collects used eyeglasses and they recently purchased the machine to read the prescription or score the glasses. The glasses are then packed for distribution both in the U.S. and internationally.

Amherst County Lions Club conducts fundraisers throughout the year to support their donations to local fire departments, rescue squads, food banks, ball teams, and provide eyeglasses for those in need. New members are needed to continue the work of the club.



Amherst County Public Schools Education Foundation, Inc.

(434) 316-3900    Email:
Beverly Jones, Chairperson; Cynthia Hicks, Vice Chairperson
Wanda Burley, Secretary; Dana Jackson, Treasurer
Jenna Foster; Executive Director

Board Members: Ron Rasnake, Dr. William Wells (Asst. Superintendent of ACPS); Chelsey Tomlin, Adrienne Allen, Nat Marshall, Stephanie Moehlenkamp, Dr. Rob Arnold (Superintendent of ACPS).

Amherst County Public Schools Education Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to enhancing education for the students and teachers of Amherst County. The Foundation’s goal is to secure resources from the community by raising awareness of the importance of education and developing partnerships with local businesses. With these resources, the Foundation enriches many classrooms by providing items not traditionally funded within the annual school budget.

Each year, the Foundation is in need of corporate and individual sponsors to underwrite their three main fundraising events. The Winter Luncheon in February showcases the talents of their Amherst County students. The Captain’s Choice Golf Tournament in June kicks off the start of summer with a great lunch and a round of golf at one of Amherst’s most beautiful courses. The Back-to-School Raffle in late August provides a great selection of raffle items, cash prizes, and a delicious dinner. For more information about upcoming events and grants for teachers, please visit


Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR)

(434) 989-3215  Email:
Lynn Kable, President; Lynn A. Hanson, Vice President
Edward Kable, Secretary & Treasurer

Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR) is an Amherst County non-profit arts and humanities organization. AGAR commissions, produces, and presents an annual Amherst Chamber music series by professional performers in local settings. In 2019-2020 AGAR inaugurates a monthly jazz series featuring local professional musicians with Second Stage Amherst and Baines Coffee. AGAR conducts a series of acrylic painting classes at Central Virginia Alliance Community Living Greater Lynchburg nutrition sites and at CENTRA/ Fairmont Crossing, Amherst. AGAR has produced 21 documentary films based on 133 interviews of teachers and students at Amherst County Schools, from 1915-1975.

The organization has presented history, video, theatre, poetry, and literature programs with Amherst County Museums, libraries, and Schools. AGAR’s board and administrative staff are volunteers. Current projects are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation and CENTRA Foundation. Learn more at


Amherst Mountain Biking Club

Alex Motley, President; Carter Massie, Vice President
Jason Buendorf, Treasurer; Justin Ware, Secretary

Directors: Mike Hansen, Tim Ware, Drew Ramsey, Matt Ramsey and Jon Schjonning

Formed in 2018, the Amherst Mountain Biking Club is a non-profit organization with the goal of igniting a healthy lifestyle in the community; by means of mountain biking and trail development. AMBC hopes to provide that energy. 

Amherst’s first bike park is currently underway! After working with the town, the club has secured land within the L. Barnes Brockman Industrial Park to build trails. By establishing destinations in the county for people to bike, AMBC provides opportunities for riders to immerse themselves in the area’s natural beauty and local economy.

By hosting all-skill level group rides, trail digs, and participating in public events; the club aims to continue building an all-inclusive, bike friendly community here in Amherst, VA.

To become involved, follow the club on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date announcements and volunteer opportunities. To join their mailing list, see the email address above.


Amherst Rotary Club

(434) 946-7657       Email:
Jim Glynn, President & Treasurer; Bob Hoffmann, Secretary
Jack Brandell, Foundation Chair; Ken Althouse, Membership Chair
Peter Bryan, Past President; J. Michael Gamble, President-Elect

The Amherst Rotary Club seeks to make a difference in the quality of life in their community, as well as, cooperating with Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation to improve conditions and understanding throughout the world.

Their major focus is on education. This is the 46th year that they have provided scholarships to graduating high-school seniors, which now approaches $250,000. For the last several years, they have provided a world globe to every 2nd grader in the Amherst school system.

Membership in Rotary is by invitation only, but sometimes they are not aware of a potentially great Rotarian in the community! They seek active and retired business and professional persons, who live or work in Amherst, and who are interested in making a difference in the community.


Blue Ledge Meals on Wheels

(434) 942-4864  Email:
Mike Mozingo, President; Amanda Hall, Treasurer
Kelli Hollowell, Secretary; Tammy Martin, Coordinator

Board Members: Nancy Banton, Food Service Coordinator; Joanna Harris, M.D., Client Liaison; Glen Mabrey & Brian Miles

Advisory Committee: Ashley Carter, Cindy Hart & Linda Zabloski

Blue Ledge Meals on Wheels supports the rural communities of Amherst County by delivering prepared meals to seniors and disabled individuals. By supplying food and daily contact with the outside world, they make it possible for homebound individuals to continue to lead independent lives and remain in their own homes. Their meals are prepared by local restaurants and churches. They receive no government funding, but instead draw support from individuals, businesses and religious and social organizations of the county. As a member of the Meals on Wheels Association of America, they embody the spirit of that organization’s Rural Initiative, striving to become an integral part of rural communities. The need is particularly great in Amherst County. To learn more, or volunteer, visit their website at

Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVaLC)

(434) 942-4320  Email:
Wendy Kendrick, President; James Fulcher, Vice President
Ed Foster, Treasurer; Susan McSwain, Secretary

Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVaLC) serves Amherst, Nelson, Appomattox, Campbell, and Buckingham Counties, and the City of Lynchburg. An all-volunteer organization, CVaLC promotes stewardship and conservation of central Virginia’s forests, farmlands, waterways and other natural and historic resources.

CVaLC assists landowners in creating conservation easements — a legal, binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that limits subdivision of land. A landowner maintains ownership and may live on their land, sell or pass it along to heirs, and use it for farming and forestry. CVaLC partners with area specialists and other organizations to ensure that landowners have the tools and resources to make wise decisions regarding preservation of their private land. Thousands of acres in central Virginia are now protected with conservation easements, ensuring for everyone that central Virginia remains a beautiful place to live! For more information, visit

Clifford Ruritan Club

(434) 826-1163 Email:
John Taylor, President; William Harlow, Vice-President
J.J. Montgomery, Secretary & Treasurer

Clifford Ruritan Club is a civic service organization with the purpose of creating a better understanding between people through volunteering in the community. The mission of Clifford Ruritan Club and all Ruritan Clubs is improving communities and building a better America through “Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service.” Each Ruritan Club surveys the needs of its community and then works to meet those needs. At Clifford Ruritan, they host several community events and fundraisers such as Easter Sunrise Service and their Sorghum Festival in October, which is their biggest fundraiser. With the funds, they can help neighbors in need, give scholarships to high school seniors, donations to area fire and rescue departments and much more. Ruritans believe the most important benefit of membership is the opportunity to work in fellowship with people who have a desire to make their communities better places to live.


Elon Ruritan Club

(434) 401-3834  Email:
Barry Tucker, President; John Oblinger, Vice President
Lynn Chaplin, Secretary; Jewel Newman, Treasurer

The Elon Ruritan Club was organized in 1968 as a civic organization which seeks to serve the community in ways that include support for local Fire and Rescue organizations, Hunters for the Hungry,  schools and scholarships for high school seniors. Members, men and women, young and old, enjoy fellowship at monthly meetings, cookouts, banquets, fundraisers and projects. Their overarching purpose is to create a better understanding among people and through volunteer community service, work toward making their community a better place in which to live and work. Club membership represents a cross-section of the community in which the club serves, and is not restrictive with regard to occupation, social position, or any other specific criteria. They’re always looking for additional members. They usually meet at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. Find them on

GFWC- Amherst Woman’s Club

(434) 946-1056
Dana Purcell, President

The Amherst Woman’s Club is a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs — an international organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service.

Members of the club support the areas of arts, conservation, education, home life, international outreach, and public issues.

The club partners with Amherst County Public Schools. They also provide scholarships to high school seniors, sponsor an essay contest for middle school students, collect Box Tops for Education, donate books to elementary students, and purchase a pictorial dictionary for every third-grade student in each of the six elementary schools in the county.

Since 1972 they have supported HOBI, Doctors Without Borders, CASA, Patrick Henry Family Services, local nursing homes, Canine Companions, YWCA, many food banks, and local rescue squads and fire department.

Membership is open to all women whose interests are consistent with the objectives of this club.

Website: VA Womans Club

Humane Society of Amherst County (HSAC)

318 Shelter Ln., Amherst
(434) 946-2340 After hours: (434) 660-2504
Adoption Center Hours: Monday – Friday 10am-4pm
Wednesday – 10 am-6pm; Saturday – 9am – 1pm
Sunday – Closed

Dedicated to humane rescue, care and treatment of homeless animals with the goal of finding them a loving forever home. New pets come in on a daily basis. They welcome you to visit them at the shelter to see if they have what you are looking for.  Please consider adopting an older animal that may already be housebroken, spayed or neutered. For more information, visit

IRON Lives, Inc.

1-(800) 288-IRON   Email:
Derrick Brown, Chief Executive Officer/Founder
Sabrina Marth, Chief Development & Operations Officer

Board of Directors: Joseph Tucker, Geoffrey Kershner, Monique Minnick, Thomas Brennan, Daryl Calfee, Charity Medina, Robert Scheppegrell, Marcus Thomas, MBA; Christopher Glover, PhD; Nathaniel Marshall, Alonzo Mathews, Laurie Gulluscio and Michael Elliott.

At IRON Lives, their vision is for Central Virginia to be a positive community with a skilled workforce full of engaged citizens and thriving families. Their mission is to be a bridge between students and the community by providing positive youth development, committed mentoring, and character-centered athletics.

They began in 2009 as a simple meeting with nine young men, led by Derrick Brown at Amherst County High School. The purpose was to build a community of students who were dedicated to bettering themselves and each other. From nine young men to over 300 young men and young women, the impact of IRON is still significant in the Central Virginia area. Middle school and high school students participate in positive youth development programming, positive mentoring, and character-centered athletics.


National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (Amherst Chapter)

434-929-4128 Email:
Regent Ellen Pettyjohn

The Amherst DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American’s history and securing America’s future through better education.  We partner with local historic preservation societies, schools and veterans organizations to fulfill our motto of service to God, Home and Country. Constitution Day/Week is observed beginning September 17th.  On 11-11, at 11 AM we hold an annual Veterans Day Service and (free) Luncheon at Ascension Episcopal Church. Other community and student events occur during the year. We meet monthly from September to May, on either the 2rd Tuesday at 12:30 PM or 2nd Saturday at 10:30 AM, the location varies. All women, 18 years of age, are welcome to join us with proof of ancestors in the struggle for American independence. Regular Membership Dues: $60, $18 for Associate. Contact Membership Chairman Anne Neff ( or Registrar Amy Whitaker ( for membership questions.  Additional information: under Chapters, District III and Amherst.

Website:, District III, Amherst

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

(434) 226-0019   Email:
Garry L. Friend, President; Charles Foster, Treasurer
Mike Ogden, Secretary; David Bryant, Director
Patsy Campbell, Director; Rev. Katharine B Chase, Director
Sonny Harvey, Director; Kelly Urbani, Director


Provide nutritious meals to the hungry of Amherst County

Educate the citizens of Amherst County on the needs of the hungry

Advocate for citizens in need

Promote self-sufficiency and improve quality of life for those in need.

Understand the challenges of poverty

Neighbors Helping Neighbors runs two food kitchens, open every Wednesday at Madison Heights Baptist Church 10:50am to 12:20 pm and Thursday at Ascension Church in Amherst 10:50 am – 12:20 pm. Both are sit-down meals.

They have a Food Warehouse Distribution (Client Choice) where clients come and shop for their groceries once a month. Open First & Third Saturday each month at 151 Mitchel Bell Road Madison Heights from 9:00am – to 12:00 noon. Read a summary of their activities online at with a video.

Pedlar Ruritan Club


The Pedlar Ruritan Club has a longstanding history in Western Amherst County. The club’s primary goal is to provide opportunities for members of the community to engage with one another. They host regular picnics and other community events such as their annual trick-or-treat and Christmas party. They also provide scholarship opportunities for young residents of the area who wish to pursue higher education opportunities. They meet on the second Monday of each month at New Prospect Baptist Church in Pleasant View at 7:00 PM. All are invited to attend their meetings. Look for their page on Facebook at

Second Stage Amherst

(434) 941-0997  Email:
Suny Monk, Board President; Michael Dowell, Treasurer
Penny Hawes, Operations Manager

Board Members: Chris Badgett, David Butcher, Monica Dean, Hazel Diggs, Cooke Harvey, John Patteson, Krista Templeton and Crystal Ungar

Their Mission is to inspire creativity and community by providing a place where the cultural, civic and economic vitality of Amherst County is encouraged.

Second Stage Amherst is a non-profit community cultural center housed in the former Amherst Baptist Church building on 2nd Street. They offer a gathering place for the community to enjoy music, movies, family events and more. From May – October, they host the Market @ Second Stage – a farmers market offering fresh, locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, meats, and artisanal gifts.

Second Stage is home to several small businesses including artists, a massage therapist, a yoga studio, a jewelry designer and more. Their public rooms are available for rent for special occasions.

They are excited to be welcoming Amherst’s first coffee shop, Baine’s Amherst, in late summer 2019, making Second Stage an even more important part of the community. For more information, visit

Village Garden Club of Amherst

(434) 922-7094 Email:
Colleen Martinez, President; Sue Piepho and Anne Neff, 1st VP 

Joyce Hoffman and Yukiko Byrum, 2nd VP Nina Garrett, Recording Secretary; Linda Gurtler, Treasurer Yukiko Byrum, Historian; Carole Humphreys and Ruth Ann Warner, Chaplain; Octavia Starbuck, Corresponding Secretary

Services: Encourages conservation, civic improvement, maintains gardens at the Town of Amherst Traffic Circle, Amherst County Museum, Village Garden Club Memorial Park, Town Hall, Main Street flower boxes and Amherst Post Office, decorates all of the above for holidays, donate funds at Christmas to Meals on Wheels, and donate coats, scarves, and money to Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Meetings at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Fees: Membership Dues annually



Other Community Organizations

Amherst Art Society

(434) 238-8452  Email:
Shannon Proffitt, President

The Monroe Community Center is the home of the Amherst Virginia Art Society. It offers a studio, classroom, and gallery where artists and members of varying skill levels share, create, and critique. Here some enjoy the company of other artists to help inspire and develop new art techniques at the weekly “Art Tuesday” between 10:00 a.m. and noon from September through May. Additionally, the studio is open to members five days a week from 8:30 to 5:00. Membership benefits include workshops in drawing, painting, lettering, alcohol inks, acrylic pouring, mosaics, encaustic, Zen drawing, art journaling, mono-printing and mixed media. Currently exhibit locations are at the Amherst Library, Madison Heights Library, Rehab Associates of Virginia, and the studio gallery. For additional information, visit

Save Our Animals Rescue  (S.O.A.R.)

(434) 907-9702  E-mail:
Amy L. Napior, Executive Director

An organization that seeks to help injured and sick animals in our community, Save Our Animal Rescues (SOAR) was formed to help animals in acute need of critical medical or surgical care. They seek to primarily help those animals in rescue situations, but also those belonging to individuals who prove financial need. They are currently limiting their services to Amherst County with hopes of expanding to other counties in the near future.

They ask that you refer those animal cases which meet our criteria for financial assistance. Applications are available at veterinarian offices located in Amherst County and their local shelter. Once approved, the requested funds are paid directly to the medical provider. Since their start in August 2011, they have provided assistance to over 125 animals (dogs, cats, a rabbit and even a parrot!) – all referred to them from local rescues and veterinarians.




Amherst County Churches Also Improve the Community

Coming alongside Amherst non-profit organizations are the local churches. Their activities mirror the work of religious groups across the country. Overall, churches take a role in addressing poverty, unemployment, educational issues in addition to serving youth, families and the elderly. According to a recent poll by Barna Group, a research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture, Americans perceive the impact of churches in several areas.

  • 29% identify addressing poverty and helping the poor as a way that churches help the community
  • 12% see the church as serving youth
  • 13% appreciate the church helping the elderly
  • 10% believe churches should assist through support groups or recovery programs
  • 7% think churches can assist in terms of financial, career-related or other educational programs

A study by The Pew Research Center revealed that about 60% of Americans believe churches are a positive influence. The study indicated “Among U.S. adults who are Christian, three-in-ten have a high level of congregational involvement, while 58% have a medium level and 12% fall into the low category.” Similar to secular organizations, churches rely on the activities of their members and volunteers to do their good work. Their faith-driven energy is the force behind many ameliorating initiatives.

A directory of Amherst County churches is on page 50.


Local Fair Renews Community Spirit

By Danielle Verderame


Everyone wants to stand in a place like the Amherst County Fair during the late summer. From the elevated fairground, you can view miles of mountains and feel the rush of wind on your cheeks. The sun is a little too warm, but it’s welcome on your skin.

Here the greens are greener, the blues are bluer and your eyes open a little bit wider.

Maybe that’s why the fair attracted 15,000 visitors, according to fair organizers.

Young and old, families and friends, put down their devices to breathe in a little hometown spirit.

A Fair to Remember

Lincoln Burris Wants One!

Visiting the Amherst County Fair was an experience that started by bringing visitors back to the days of school field trips. They parked in an open lot at a short distance from the original fairground near Sweet Briar College. Assembling into a cheery line, visitors stepped onto sunny yellow school busses.

From there, the volunteer drivers chauffeured attendees to the front gate.

Again, friendly volunteers greeted everyone, taking their crumpled bills and stamping their hands with a bright blue stamp in the shape of the county.

Inside, visitors were immediately greeted with a meaty smell of barbeque. It was not the only food available, as signs boasted funnel cake, fried pickles and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Barbeque was just the most distinct, local flavor.

To the left of the gate, the sound of dance music attracted people to a small stage with hay bale seating. All of the rows were filled, with many more standing to watch Mike Klee and his Awesome AG Magic Show.

He used a young boy from the audience like a ventriloquist dummy. The boy stood in front while Mike’s hands performed tricks such as pulling scarves out of his sleeves. The audience laughed and gasped along with the boy, enjoying the up-close and personal play on familiar sleights-of-hand.

Continuing in a clockwise manner, that scent of barbeque grew stronger. Food trucks and tents were clustered together to create a foodie’s dream. As Templeton, the rat from the Charlotte’s Web cartoon would say, “A fair is a veritable smorgasbord!”

Laughing It Up!

Nearby, two sounds competed: electric guitars and braying. One was an 80s rock cover band and the other was an assortment of farm animals on display from the local 4-H club. Both were welcome, and appropriate sounds, to serenade visitors as they viewed a gigantic American flag hanging from a tall crane.

As the flag flapped against that backdrop of mountains, a customized LOVE sign drew the eyes. The familiar shape was made from rustic items like a tractor tire for the O and corn stalks for the V.  It was definitely Instagram bait and everyone took a photo in front.

From there, the fair was all fun and games with bounce houses and a Kid’s Zone for the little ones and nostalgic rides, local artisan booths and carnival games for children and adults. The mainstays were there, like bumper cars and a carousel. A giant ferris wheel rounded out the fairscape.

Bringing the Fair Back

None of this could have happened without the support of the community, according to Dean Rodgers, Amherst County Administrator. From the beginning, multiple people and groups joined resources to bring the Amherst County Fair back.

Fair Committee Members (in alphabetical order): Vanessa Angus, Don Austin, Jade Brooks, Sam Bryant, Wayne Burnette, Sara Lu Christian, Alyssa Elliott, John Grieser, Lori Hussein, Taylor Johnson, Jeff Kessler, Cathy Mays, Kelly Mays, Rich Meyer, Dean Rodgers, Anne Richards, Anne Marie Roberts, Dottie Rucker, Karissa Shrader, Karen Tanner, Jeremy Thompson, Stacey Wilkes.

According to Rodgers, the idea began as a way to combine several local events into one community-minded festival. It was over 40 years since the last fair and the county was looking for a way to refresh community pride.

Rodgers explained, “The county staff wanted to show the Board of Supervisors and people of Amherst that we can do really big things, and do it well.  The fact that we had almost 250 volunteers willing to help demonstrates there is a lot of community spirited people who want to contribute.”

Indeed, volunteers and city workers created the backbone of the event under the supervision of Fair Director, Vanessa Angus. Angus explained that the goal was to, “…celebrate our roots in agriculture, showcase our businesses and local talent and bring the community together to celebrate all things Amherst.”

So, she brought together several key groups to ensure success. According to Angus, “The first order of business was to identify the appropriate departments that would be essential to making this a successful event. Those department leads would mostly comprise the 2018 Amherst County Fair Planning Committee. The professional knowledge and input of the Health Department, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, and Amherst County Public Safety was invaluable to ensuring a safe and logistically well-run event.”

Notably, Captain John Grieser, of the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, assisted as Logistics Manager for the fair by leading the team in preparing the site, planning the footprint and coordinating traffic, medical and other needs during the event. Grieser worked with several groups including the Amherst County Public Schools staff, Amherst County Building and Grounds, Amherst County Sheriff’s office and the inmate workforce members, Clay Thompson and Brian Drewry. He’s excited for next year saying, “We’re already looking at expanding it. It’s something we can continue to build on for our community. We want more agricultural exhibits, more rides and more to excite families.”


Overall, Rodgers was pleased with Angus and her team’s work saying, “I did all I could to support her as she marshalled the resources and did the heavy organizational lifting. She spent the past year meeting with other fair directors and county administrators, finding and contracting the midway rides company, soliciting sponsors and donors, selling the vendor spaces, finding the entertainers and getting all the logistics into place. It took a lot of people to get that fairground and event ready and she let nothing slip through the cracks.”

To Next Year and Beyond

Part of the fair’s success lies in the insurmountable buzz leading up to the event. In addition to an online presence on multiple websites and social media pages, local newspapers, television stations and radio segments covered the story.

Now, the fair poster, proudly displayed by many local businesses, has become something of a collector’s item.

It’s the first of, hopefully, more Amherst County Fairs to come.

Looking to next year, the Board of Supervisors can see that this year’s (2018) $60,000 investment paid off. The attendance, and boost in community pride, was unexpectedly high.

If it is approved for next year, the team that brought this fair to life can apply the many lessons they learned. These include:


Changes to the fairground layout to optimize flow

Adjustments to parking and money-handling

Reducing the hours on Thursday and Friday afternoon

Increasing the number of vendors

With the energy from this event, it wouldn’t be surprising if the community is once again gathering in late summer on that scenic knoll in Amherst, surrounded by family and friends.

News and Notes

New Director of Public Safety

The Amherst County Administrator and Board of Supervisors announced last summer that Sam Bryant is the new Director of Public Safety for Amherst County.

Sam started his extensive emergency services career at Amherst Life Saving Crew as a volunteer in 1983, where he remains a Life Member. He served over 20 years in the United States Army as a flight medic leading 30 soldiers and flight medics,and attaining the rank of Flight Platoon Sergeant.

Sam also had 21 years of service with the Lynchburg Fire Department, where he earned the rank of Captain. Sam served as an Engine Company Captain in fire suppression and EMS for 5 years as part of the Hazardous Materials Team. Sam was one of the original EMS Captains for Lynchburg Fire Department.

He has a multitude of certifications that include Nationally Registered Paramedic, Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Paramedic, Fire Instructor I, Fire Officer 2, various Technical Rescue and Hazardous Materials certifications along with a great deal of practical experience in both the Fire and EMS areas.

In 2010 went to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Physical Security Specialist performing paramedic support during national security missions and Hazardous Materials operations traveling abroad and across the United States. Sam was one of the original flight paramedics for the Virginia State Police Med-flight III program based in Lynchburg in 2001. Upon returning to this area in 2013, Sam has worked for Centra Health on the Centra 1 helicopter as a flight paramedic providing emergency air transport. He has been serving as the Deputy Director of Amherst County Public Safety since September 8, 2014. He has served as Acting Director since the prior Director’s departure April 27, 2018.




The New Amherst County School Superintendent

The Amherst County School Board announced last May that Robert Arnold, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent / Instruction for Campbell County Public Schools, has been appointed as the new Superintendent of Amherst County Public Schools. After an extensive three-month search process, the Board chose Arnold for his broad and established instructional leadership roles across all grade levels, strength in collaboration and focus on increasing student learning and achievement. His started July 1, 2018.

Dr. Arnold has been a passionate and committed educator for the past 25 years. His career has been dedicated to providing all students with the opportunities needed to reach their full potential and attain their future goals.

After graduating in 1993 from the University of Virginia, Rob started his career as a seventh-grade science teacher and a football, basketball, and baseball coach at William Campbell Combined School in Campbell County.

In 2009, Dr. Arnold was appointed Assistant Superintendent in Campbell County Schools and served in that position for nine years.

Dr. Arnold is most proud of the development of several programs that provide students with opportunities to become career and college ready upon graduation. These programs include Early College, the CTE Dual Enrollment Program, STEM Academy, and the Advanced Placement Initiative.



The Amherst County Visitor Center Is Now State Certified

The Amherst County Visitor Center has become a state certified Tourist Information Center. The center opened its doors at the Train Depot in August 2017. The depot was moved approximately a quarter-mile from its original location on Depot Street to its current location at 328 Richmond Hwy in 2008. Earlier in 2017, staff of the Amherst County Economic Development Authority and Amherst County Chamber of Commerce began using office space in the restored structure.

The interior of the visitor center includes a video that showcases Amherst County, brochures from area and regional attractions and numerous visuals promoting Amherst County locations and events such as the Clifford Sorghum Festival, the Virginia Wine and Garlic Festival, the Monacan Indian Nation Powwow, the town traffic circle and Sweet Briar College, among others.

There are many rules and regulations in order to become a state certified Tourist Information Center. The center must be open year-round and a minimum of five days per week, two of which should be Saturday and Sunday. There are also many benefits in becoming state certified. With the certification there will be high way signs denoting the visitors center. There will also be a brochure rack with the Amherst county Visitor Center information other certified centers in the commonwealth.

From August 26 to December 31st (2017), the visitor center had 679 guests from all over the United States and event residents from Sweden, Germany, the UK. The new tourism website,, has recently launched and there is now a Visit Amherst County Facebook page.

The Amherst County Chamber of Commerce manages the County’s tourism program and will serve as the official destination marketing organization (DMO). A destination marketing organization is an organization that promotes a town, city, region, or country in order to increase the number of visitors.


New Amherst Mountain Bike Club Formed

A new club has formed in Amherst to promote exercise and healthy family activities, and partner with local businesses to bring more trails and riding opportunities to Amherst.

Currently there are already over 50 members in the Amherst Mountain Bike Club, and the officers and directors are as follows. Officers:  President, Alex Motley;  Vice President, Carter Massie; Treasurer, Jason Buendorf; Secretary, Justin Ware; Director, Drew Ramsey; Director, Tim Ware.    

Club members can ride together as a group and trips are announced via email through their newsletters.

The bike club is seeking pledges towards becoming a non-profit organization, but this process can take 5-7 months.  They do accept donations, but they are not tax deductible at the moment.

According to Jason Buendorf, Secretary, they have been encouraged by the Amherst Town Council.  “We are working with the Town to determine the best place(s) for trails, proper use and access rights, and are working through the proper planning stages to make sure the trails are constructed properly,” Buendorf said recently.

How can one join or donate? Simply email to be placed on the mailing list or message them through Facebook.

Contact Tim Ware at Warehouse Antiques in downtown Amherst for general information.



Promoting Business in Amherst County


from July 2018 County Press Release

In August of 2017, the Board of Supervisors asked the county’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Planning Commission to look at the county’s reputation for being unfriendly to business and come up with recommendations to change that perception. The EDA held focus group meetings, conducted interviews of business owners in the county, and collected survey data. That information as well as the EDA’s recommendations for changes were presented to the Board.

Now underway are the following initiatives:

  • The county’s website has been completely revamped to make it easier for citizens and businesses to find what they need.
  • Building and zoning permit applications can be completed and paid for online.
  • Cell tower ordinances have been updated to make many approvals automatic (by right).
  • A county-wide broadband provider is being given access to county radio towers to get internet service into our rural areas.
  • An aggressive incentives program for new investment by existing businesses.

At the workshop, the Board of Supervisors heard comments from the EDA and almost a dozen members of the business community. The Board has asked staff to move a number of initiatives onto its business agenda. They are numerous and vary widely but here is a sampling:

  • Improve connectivity to the public with fillable PDF forms, live chat, unified online payment mechanisms and other technological improvements.
  • More advertising, spotlighting and promotion of local businesses.
  • Move away from regulatory controls toward policy guidance to give staff authority to say “yes”.
  • Have an outside consultant look at our tax structure and business incentives to encourage business.
  • Clear out old regulations and modernize the rest to increase ease of use and understanding.
  • Find ways to reduce the burden of water/sewer availability fees.
  • Equip staff to be friendlier and more supportive as they guide businesses through government processes.

The goal of the workshop was find ways to improve the county’s reputation for business friendliness. The community wants the government to honor its mission statement, that it is “open for business”, by developing a reputation of speed, convenience and cheerful assistance to business owners. It wants Amherst to be a place where businesses can expect to hear “yes” from local government when they want to move projects forward.

Over the past year, Amherst County has incentivized over $51,974,000 in reinvestment by local businesses. Developers are pursuing purchase and redevelopment of the County’s Winton Country Club. A repurposing of the Phelps Road School into apartments is underway. The first water-powered brewery in the nation is under construction by Waukeshaw Development LLC, the parent company of the Trapezium Brewery in Petersburg. The Riveredge Park trail continues to receive grants and local funding to extend its reach down the James River. Route 29 Business in Madison Heights is funded to receive shade trees and banners to promote beautification and pride throughout that corridor. These and other projects are in the works to move the County’s economic development goals forward.

Amherst County is working hard to demonstrate the County is, indeed, open for business.

Additional information may be obtained from Layney Sandifer at or (434)-946-9400.



Winton Country Club

Winton Country Club Opportunities

Two-hundred and 85 acres of extraordinary possibilities! Amherst County is seeking offers for redevelopment of the Winton Country Club property that provides the greatest amount of benefit to Amherst and its residents. For many decades Winton has been a place where the Amherst County community has enjoyed an 18-hole golf course, swimming, and events in a beautiful setting on Rt. 151. The property was bought with a gift in 1967 and given to Amherst County.  Unfortunately, it has become more and more of a struggle to financially operate a rural golf course. Winton continues to operate as a Club during this process.




The former Phelps Rd. School

The Phelps Rd. Project


The former Phelps Road School in Madison Heights, a historic property of significance to the Amherst community, will be redeveloped into 30-50 market rate apartments while maintaining the historic character of the building and incorporating modern conveniences. The construction is expected to begin in 2019 and is estimated to cost $5-7 million. This project will increase economic activity, employment, corporate investment in the County, and generate new local tax revenues for the County. The Economic Development Authority estimates Amherst County could gain tax revenue and jobs as a result, with the total economic activity projected to be $6,583,839.






Amherst County became the first Certified Entrepreneur Community in Virginia in November 2017. The certification shows that Amherst is open for business and small business is a priority. The process of becoming certified took 13 months and involved numerous people and organizations from the community.  A retreat was held at Sweet Briar College with business owners, community leaders and resource providers. From that meeting two initiatives were identified that would engage and support entrepreneurs. LINK Amherst was created because business owners wanted an all-inclusive network that allowed them the freedom to share their stories with each other while navigating business growth.  Business owners are busy growing their business and do not have time to track down a resource provider to ask for help and often multiple providers are needed. The second initiative introduced a matrix that puts all the resource providers in one easy location. Small businesses are the foundation of Amherst County economy. Almost 90% if the companies in the County employ less than 10 people and 25% are sole proprietors.

Courtesy of Economic Development Authority of Amherst County



Rockster North America Opens Amherst Location


An Austrian-based company, Rockster International, recently opened a sales and service office on Rt. 29 in Faulconerville.

According to a news release from the Amherst County Economic Development Authority, the company develops and manufactures mobile crushing and screening equipment for recycling of asphalt and construction waste, as well as the efficient processing of natural stone.

Rockster moved into the former Cottle building and brings four positions and hopes of growing the business, which has sales in the U.S., Canada and South America.

“Amherst County was an ideal location for our company,” said Daniel Civinski, Rockster North America Director, in the release. “With lower taxes and great accessibility, we are now able to keep our operating and transportation costs down.”

Since 2004, Rockster North America has grown into a worldwide company by saving space in landfills and reducing the amount of trucking to create a more environmentally-friendly earth, according to the press release.

Moore & Giles Expands into Amherst County


Amherst County, Va. – Moore & Giles, a luxury leather goods company, is expanding its operations into Amherst County. Old Dominion Footwear, a shoe manufacturer and distribution company, is selling its warehouse and land in the Amelon Commerce Center in Madison Heights to Moore & Giles. The 50,000 square foot distribution center and fourteen-acre property will be the second location for Moore & Giles, who currently warehouses a broad range of leather from all over the world in their Forest, Virginia headquarters. Plans are in place to begin operations in the new location as early as September 2018.

“We are looking to expand our tannery relationships to maximize their full potential in order to create better access across all markets we serve,” shares Sackett Wood, President. “This new location provides the perfect opportunity at just the right time for us. We are excited to be there.”

Amherst County welcomes Moore & Giles and is pleased they have chosen to expand their company in the Amelon Commerce Center. New businesses bring new investment and jobs into the community and that’s a major economic benefit to the Amherst community. “It’s exciting to see businesses expand into Amherst County. We are glad to have Moore & Giles grow their brand here and we look forward to working with them,” said Calvin Kennon, chairman of the Economic Development Authority of Amherst County.

“Old Dominion Footwear has been a wonderful business for 20 years with great employees and customers. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and it’s time for us to close the business,” said Malcolm Sydnor, President of Old Dominion Footwear. “We have thoroughly enjoyed being in Amherst County – it’s a great place to do business. We are happy Moore & Giles is buying our facility and this great company has come to Amherst.”

The Amelon Commerce Center is located two minutes from the US 29 bypass and has multiple lots for sale, including a graded 14-acre lot that can accommodate a 110,000 square foot building.

Courtesy of Economic Development Authority of Amherst County


A New Restaurant For “Dawg” Lovers

The Bunns gourmet hot dog establishment opened in Madison Heights last summer. Their 15  signature all-beef hot dogs come with a choice of 20 toppings, including tomato, salsa, Cheddar and cream cheeses, pulled pork, bacon crumbles and crushed chips.

Co-owners Yvonne and Chris Paige decided to open their unique restaurant after they determined there were none like it in the area. For more information, see their ad on page 43.


The Amherst County Chamber of Commerce Celebrated the
Move of Ladle & Blade Kitchen Supply Into Their Larger Location on S. Main St., Amherst

On the Move!

Freeman Miller moved his Amherst Corner Restaurant across Rt. 29 to a larger location at the corner of Rt. 130…Cascio and Sons has moved into their new Design Center at 3712 S. Amherst Hwy. in Madison Heights…Elizabeth Simms, Realtor is now working with Sam E. Davis Real Estate and ConstructionEl Mariachi is planning to open another location in Lovingston in the Fall of 2018…Hester Wholesale moved their store from Rt. 29 in Monroe to 4804 S. Amherst Hwy…The Ladle & Blade Kitchen Shop moved to a larger location at 243 S. Main St. in Amherst…Queen B’s Treasures moved their shop from the Seminole Plaza to the corner of Rt. 29 and Dixie Airport Rd. in Madison Heights…and Kim Z. Gardner has moved her State Farm Insurance Agency to the Amelon Square Plaza on Rt. 29 near Amelon Rd.


If you know of something new in Amherst County, please e-mail


Sweet Briar Offers Its Resources to the Amherst Community

Besides preparing young women to succeed in the modern world for more than a century, Sweet Briar College, throughout the year, hosts a number
of public events, including lectures, performances, a Writers Series and salons with fellows from the Virginia Center for the
Creative Arts.

Readings and lectures are frequently open to the public. Here, novelist Barbara Kingsolver addresses a packed house in Murchison Lane Auditorium during the 2013 Julia B. Waxter Environmental Forum.

The College also owns an impressive collection of art. The Anne Gary Pannell Center is the College’s principal art gallery. It is also a venue for lectures and classes as well as other educational programs and public events. This main gallery is supplemented by two satellite galleries, one located in the lobby of Benedict Hall and one adjacent to the theater and dance studios in Babcock Fine Arts Center. In addition to hosting exhibitions, both Babcock and Benedict galleries also serve as spaces for talks and social events. Learn more about the galleries at

Inside The Anne Gary Pannell Center

Sweet Briar is also a great place to explore the region’s history. Twenty-one of its campus buildings – designed by Ralph Adams Cram —are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sweet Briar House, though not generally open to the public, is home to the College president, and has been on the Virginia Landmarks Register since the 1970s. A cabin, located behind Sweet Briar House, is the only extant architectural remnant of the enslaved African-American community at the Sweet Briar estate. It is one of only a few such structures still standing in the region. The Slave Cabin is open to visitors for limited hours during the academic year. The Sweet Briar Museum maintains a permanent collection of historical decorative arts, photographs, archival documents and publications, clothing, jewelry and memorabilia associated with Sweet Briar. It is open by appointment only. Visit to learn more or schedule a visit.

Community members are not only invited to attend Sweet Briar College theatrical productions, but actors from the area are often welcome to audition for roles. Here, a production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” directed by William Kershner, and performed in Murchison Lane Auditorium.

Of course, the College’s beautiful 3,250-acre campus is well-worth a visit for prospective applicants and the public alike. The elegant and comfortable rooms at the Florence Elston Inn & Conference Center make the inn a great option for a trip to the College or for any number of day trips in the area and the full-service conference center hosts events from meetings to weddings to family reunions.

The Anne Gary Pannell Center

Like the inn, the dining hall, Prothro, is also open to the public. The College’s catering partner, Lynchburg-based Meriwether Godsey, is committed to sustainable practices and nutritious, made-from-scratch foods. Breakfast features fresh bakery items and a daily special entrée. At lunch and dinner, enjoy the salad bar, soups, comfort foods and dessert. If you’re in the mood for coffee, a smoothie, a sandwich or a snack, visit Daisy’s Café, also located in Prothro Hall. For menus, hours and rates, visit

Sweet Briar’s innovative curriculum prepares students to be problem-solvers and to learn by doing, and its academic calendar begins and ends with intensive three-week sessions designed to give students an opportunity to dive deeply into topics that interest them and facilitate active learning. To learn more about the College, its curriculum and its admission requirements, visit

The Florence Elston Inn & Conference Center

For a complete list of public events, visit

This content was provided by Sweet Briar College.

The Historic Sweet Briar House