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2019 Virginia Beach Elections: Questions for candidates for Virginia Dare Soil & Water Conservation District Director

[Rick Friday/The Independent News]

THE INDEPENDENT NEWS

Ed. — The following are responses to questions posed by The Independent News to candidates for two seats as Virginia Dare Soil & Water Conservation District Directors in the election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Answers to our questions in this series generally are not edited, aside from obvious punctuation issues, spacing and formatting, or for clarity. Our full voter guide is now on stands.


JOHN DICKIE

Residence: Thoroughgood

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired Military, Retired Financial Advisor

Military Service/Education Completed: Retired US Navy Lieutenant Commander; Bachelor of Science, Analytical Chemistry, Duke University; Master Business Administration, Golden Gate University

Phone: (757) 642-8406

Email: j.a.dickie@hotmail.com

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I am a long time resident of Virginia Beach, 45 years. I have a strong background in science and business. Twenty year career in the United States Navy.

Please explain your specific experience in conservation practices, water or soil science, or agriculture. My experiences as a long time resident of Virginia Beach both while I was in the US Navy, and as a businessman in private business and as a small business/ practice owner are the strengths I bring to the table.  Having recently retired, I believe I can devote my full efforts to the position of Director.  I have experience working in the community with the PTA at Independence Middle School as a past President, Boy Scouts of America as a Scoutmaster while assigned to duty at Dam Neck, and as a Committee Member (Treasurer) for the Boy Scout Pack in Thoroughgood.  I have also served for a number of years as the Treasurer for the Thoroughgood Civic League.

How will you work to support best practices that help prevent soil erosion and lessen the toll of flooding? I will work overall to help preserve and conserve our soil and water assets in Tidewater and seek to see that they are utilized for the good of all in our community both residents and business.  In general, I would work to help prevent soil and land erosion as well as protect our aquifer.  Specifically, I want to help resolve flooding issues that have impacted a number of communities including my own in Thoroughgood.  Second, I will work to see that best practices are applied to existing and new businesses.


FRANCIS J. “FRANK” DRUMM JR.

Residence: Great Neck area

Age: 73

Occupation: Retired (but substitute occasionally with VB schools)

Military Service: 7.5 years active duty in USN; 22 years in USNR (retired MCPO)

Education Completed: AA, BS, JD

What are your specific qualifications for this office? In my then hometown of Rocky Hill, CT, I asked the Town Council for appointment to a vacancy on the Open Space and Conservation Commission. I was appointed for a period in the 1970s and then again in 1994, serving until 2002, the last two years as Chair. The Commission also served as the town’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency.

Please explain your specific experience in conservation practices, water or soil science, or agriculture. In part, the Commission, described above, received applications for activity in or having an impact on protected wetlands. With the assistance of Town engineering staff, we reviewed supporting topographical maps and environmental studies, visited sites, held hearings, applied statutory criteria, and made decisions. Decision-making was often difficult; what was available for development in our 13 square mile riverfront town was either ridgeline, hilly or wet, each affecting downstream stakeholders. 

How will you work to support best practices that help prevent soil erosion and lessen the toll of flooding? Always mindful of our fragile environment, if elected a Director, I hope to make more people aware of what the District does through its conservation, cost-share and educational programs. Education, adult and child, is of particular importance; from awareness springs action. BMPs, i.e., action, are the result of testing and study.

Another goal is not to lessen the toll of flooding but to minimize or eliminate flooding itself.  Soil management (BMPs) plays an important role in doing that.  I would encourage more of our agricultural and urban residents to avail themselves of Virginia Dare managed cost-share programs.

Although Virginia Dare cannot legislate change, it can advocate for flood control measures and I intend to do that.


BILL W. FLEMING

Residence: Trant Berkshire area

Age: 71

Occupation: Semi-retired. Currently investing. Previously VP of MILCOM Systems Corporation. Previously a research scientist at IBM Almaden Research Lab.

Military Service/Education Completed: Commissioned in U.S. Army (Signal). BS/PhD in Physics (N.C. State University)

Campaign website: strongvirginia.us

Phone: (757) 450-4084

Email: Bill.Fleming@strongvirginia.us

Social media: @BillFlemingVA on Facebook

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I have a science background that has been reinforced with training in soil microbiology, large scale composting training, soil science, agricultural nutrient management, water quality training, and farming practices that do not use fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc. 

Please explain your specific experience in conservation practices, water or soil science, or agriculture. Specific experience includes courses in soil biology, master gardening, soils and soils fertility, soil nutrient management, best composting practices, water quality testing, several courses on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Wetlands with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Lynnhaven River Now. I have had an oyster lease on the Lynnhaven River for several years. I have been actively composting and improving soils in my gardens and property. I have helped The Nature Conservancy with sea grass restoration on the Eastern Shore, helped harvest long leave pine cones for forest restoration, and monitored restored wetlands. 

How will you work to support best practices that help prevent soil erosion and lessen the toll of flooding? The Soil and Water Conservation District has focused on farm cost share programs and VCAP programs to partially reimburse rural home owners for best management practices, but this I not enough. Soils, waters, and property will not be conserved or restored if Virginia Beach and Chesapeake continually suffer with recurrent flooding or sea level rise. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) must take a proactive role in protecting our area by being involved in establishing wetlands-friendly water barriers to water intrusion. Virginia soils have been eroding ever since the English settled in Virginia, and only a few percent of our soils is made up of organic matter. We need to include incentives to restore organic matter in our soils via aerobic composting. The increase of organic matter in our soils will greatly improve soil health, filter contaminants in our soils so that they do not enter our waters.


DOREEN BENDER JACKSON

The candidate did not respond.


LESLIE A. JONES

Residence: Charlestowne Lakes,  in the Centerville District of Virginia Beach.

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired Certified Pharmacy Technician at Southeastern Virginia Training Center for the Developmentally Disabled in Chesapeake Virginia. I worked there for 33 years, retiring in 2010.

Military Service/Education Completed: Princess Anne High School graduate with computer classes at TCC and Certification for Pharmacy Technician.

Endorsements: John Moss- current Virginia Beach City Councilman; Jessica Abbott current Virginia Beach City Councilwoman; Flanagan Farm

Campaign phone: (757) 217-7825. Text me anytime, it’s the fastest ,easiest way to reach me, but I tell people to leave their name and a brief message so I can return the inquiry and place them in my cellphone contact lists. Once I identify a constituent, I can respond, as I get so many unsolicited scam calls on my phone, as we all do.

Email: LeslieJones4conservation@cox.net

Campaign social media: @lj4conservationvadare on Facebook

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I was in the Virginia Beach 4-H program for most of my youth, in the 1970’s. I participated in many suburban and agricultural activities. I was inducted into the Virginia All-Star program upon completion of my years of participation in the program. This is what initially drew me to run for this office.

I have always had passion for the proliferation of small family farms. I am interested in local suburban flood mitigating practices that happen to be a big issue in our area. I have lived in Virginia Beach since 1961. I have lived most of my life here. I consider it my home. I am retired and have the time to serve voluntarily in this capacity, giving back to a community that has given me so much. I have served on this Soil and Water board, as Vice Chairman for most of the volunteer four year term and would like to again serve for another term as a Director. In the four years participating on the board, I have only missed two meetings.  I have gotten along well with the other Board members and if elected, look forward to doing so again with them or any new member that joins this Board.

I hope the voters in Virginia Beach will consider me again for this position of honor.

Please explain your specific experience in conservation practices, water or soil science, or agriculture. I have served on the board for four years, participating in reviewing and approving best management practices for our local farmers and approving VCAP (Virginia Conservation Assistance Programs) for our suburban participants to mitigate local flooding.  

I have participated in our yearly Fall Farm Days program held at Hunt Club Farm, assisting in educating hundreds of first grade students about the fundamentals of agriculture and forestry.

I have participated in reviewing and rewarding college-bound student  with Cynthia Pridmore  Scholarships to those seeking degrees in agricultural or forestry related studies.

I am passionate about the conservation of our environment, by leaving it in better condition for our posterity.

How will you work to support best practices that help prevent soil erosion and lessen the toll of flooding? I will, with the help of the other Board members, Conservation Specialist and the District Manager/Education Coordinator monitor and approve Best Management Practices followed by our Virginia Beach farmers. I will also do the same with suburban citizens that participate in the VCAP program by the monitoring of their respectively approved practices. I will participate by consistently by attending meetings to the best of my ability and continue to monitor pertinent zoning and city council issues as related to those practices as they present themselves.


RUSSELL H. MALBONE

Residence: Southern Virginia Beach (Pungo)

Age: 57

Occupation: Farmer 40 yrs

Military Service/Education Completed: High School /Some college 

Endorsements: Flanagan Farms, Robert Kovacs Jr, John Wilson

What are your specific qualifications for this office?  I am a long time farmer in the southern end of Virginia Beach with my father (Horace Malbone) for many before his passing. 

Please explain your specific experience in conservation practices, water or soil science, or agriculture. I have used no-till farming practices for many years. Just a few years back, I started cover crops to help soil erosion and to help savage fertilizers and to keep them from getting in our ditches and other bodies of water.

How will you work to support best practices that help prevent soil erosion and lessen the toll of flooding? On the flooding issue doing the same things over and over and expecting different results? We all know the answer to that question. That being said the southern end of Virginia Beach shouldn’t be the catch all for the rest of the city but it is and that mentality needs to change.


MARSELLA S. SANDERS

Residence: Aragona section of Virginia Beach

Age: 59 

Occupation: Owner of Mimmie’s Learning Academy and a retired Special Education Teacher for VBCPS. 

Military Service/Education Completed: I have 37 credits toward a master’s degree in Special Education with endorsement in ED, LD and MR, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Saint Leo University and an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development from Tidewater Community college.

Phone: (757) 816-1872

Email: mvlc127@gmail.com

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I have none, therefore I will be the perfect candidate; I will earnestly listen to ideas and 

concern of the people and the team I will work 

with.    

Please explain your specific experience in conservation practices, water or soil science, or agriculture. Very little.  

How will you work to support best practices that help prevent soil erosion and lessen the toll of flooding? I believe, erosion is the loss of soil, to prevent this from occurring there are several things we can do.  

The first would be to plant grass and shrubs around the area of concern. We can also apply blanket control which will allow vegetation to grown back into the land.   


© 2019 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

The Independent News

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