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

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