The year in review: A look back on 2016 events in Mathews
JANUARY: 40+ volunteer bird enthusiasts record nearly 19,500 birds in annual bird count; higher than usual count may be partly due to a couple flocks of migrating ducks … Four Mathews High School wrestlers place at MHS invitational … Edwina Casey is elected chairman and Jack White, vice chairman at the annual organizational meeting of the Mathews County Board of Supervisors … Judge Jeffery Shaw denies a motion by Bay Aging that it be removed as a party to the lawsuit brought against the County of Mathews by Wade and Susan Brooks; the Brooks home is razed … Donk’s Theater in Hudgins, one of Mathews County’s most iconic landmarks, collapses under the weight of snow … Mathews supervisors unanimously endorse a new logo for the county, to be used in promoting Mathews as a destination for visitors … Mathews Director of Social Services Jo Ann Harfst accepts a new position as Eastern Regional Director of Social Services; receives certificate of appreciation for 17 years of service from Mathews supervisors.
FEBRUARY: Retired music teachers Rosalind Knight and David Shuber are honored at the THMS third annual Founders Day program … Mathews is losing population since the 2010 Census according to official population estimates just released … Mathews residents Barbara Tiffany Ratliff and Grace Metzger Forrest launch their new children’s book series with a signing at Dilly Dally Emporium … Twenty-seven students are taking part in the Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy; MHS is the first school to implement this program on the Middle Peninsula … MHS is welcomed into the NFL’s Super Bowl community as Stuart Anderson, 1978 MHS graduate and member of the 1983 Super Bowl-winning Washington Redskins, presents a special Wilson golden NFL football to the school … After property owners and businesses on Queens Creek raise concerns, channel markers that were changed to warning signs will be reinstalled … Donk’s Theater finds a new, temporary home for 2016—the Harry M. Ward Auditorium at MHS … The Bay School Community Arts Center announces that it will demolish the old L.M. Callis home sitting behind the center, which Bay School purchased last year, because of the cost of renovations and the lack of suitability for the center’s growth … U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 6 presents Tom Edwards the Auxiliarist of the Year award for 2015 … Thomas Hunter Middle School Junior Beta Club students take first place in Living Literature category, second place in the Tower of Power category and third place in scrapbooking at the Virginia Junior Beta Convention; the school also wins the Developing Leadership Award … MHS varsity wrestling team is crowned Conference 42 champs. The team places third in the Region 1A East tournament and six wrestlers advance to the VHSL state tournament at Salem … Antioch Baptist Church, Susan, is featured in a display at the annual Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference in Houston, Texas … The MHS indoor track and field teams compete at the state championships; boys’ relay team takes second place.
MARCH: Bay School listens to concerns from the Mathews community, postpones demolition of the L.M. Callis home behind the center … Gwynn’s Island native Jonathan Putt is named executive director of MCVIC … A fire, caused by propane heaters left in the house to dry recently-applied sheetrock, destroys a Cobbs Creek home under construction … Town Point Landing has a new, larger pier and improvement to the boat ramp and bulkhead with recent renovations; state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and VMRC contribute funds towards the $245,000 project … Mathews High School senior Joshua Foster receives the Good Citizen Award presented annually by the DAR Cricket Hill chapter … Robert Roland Hudgins is presented a 60-year pin by the Oriental Masonic Lodge … Tiffany Gordon of Gloucester is appointed director of the Mathews County Department of Social Services … THMS Junior Beta Club doubles in size as 40 new members are inducted … Gary Wayne Brownley marks the 50th anniversary of his Port Haywood business, Colonial Wood Shop … Facing mounting costs and a budget deficit, Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad makes a plea for an additional $40,000 in county funds … A new book, written by Bill Geroux, documents the sacrifice of the large Hodges family and other mariners and their families in “The Mathews Men, Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-Boats” … Supervisors pursue historic district designation for downtown Mathews … MHS Team 1137 Rocket Sauce places second in the FIRST Chesapeake competition … Cathy Mise is promoted to vice president at Chesapeake Bank.
APRIL: No tax increases are planned for 2016-2017 as supervisors vote unanimously to keep rates unchanged from current year … Mathews Family YMCA board member Carolyn White embarks on a 1,000-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in California, credits the support and training received at the Y … MHS and Mobjack rowers host the first of four spring regattas held at Williams Wharf … MVRS installs an automated external defibrillator (AED) at Mathews Memorial Library … James W. Bass of Onemo opens The Forensic Solution, LLC, a home-based business specializing in forensic technology … The opening day ceremony for Mathews County Little League pays tribute to Jordan Hale Stewart, a THMS seventh grader and longtime participant in Little League, who died in a hunting accident in November 2015 … Peer-nominated 2015-2016 Teachers of the Year—Kris Long at Lee-Jackson, Leslie Hudgins at Thomas Hunter and Steve Casper at Mathews High—are honored by the school board … Sheriff Mark Barrick asks supervisors to fund three new digital consoles after his office’s 11-year-old dispatch console crashes leaving dispatchers to use a back-up console that also has problems; the board complies with the request … One home in Mathews, Sweetwater owned by Andrew and Sherry Curtis, is on the local annual Historic Garden Week tour … Mathews Memorial Library staff members are scanning World War II archival material held at the library and making it available to the public in response to interest in the recently published book, “The Mathews Men” … The school division’s Student Technology Assistants program is featured in the 2016 Virginia School Boards Association Showcase for Success directory … MHS students selected to attend Girls State are Casey Kelly, Madeline Brown and Gracie West; selected for Boys State are MichaelDion Davis Ruskovitz, Scooter Ransone, Jacob Maggioncalda and (alternate) Edwin Hudgins.
MAY: Brothers Jason and Jordan Podd, who grew up in Mathews, purchase old Army LARC, hope to convert it into an oyster business in the East River … MHS Robotics Team 1137, aka Rocket Sauce, closes out its 2016 season ranking 14th at the World Robotics Competition held in St. Louis, Missouri … Former MHS graduates and baseball standouts Keith Atherton (1978), Jeremy Elliott (1999) and Jonathan Dehoux (2006) have MHS ballpark signs dedicated in their honor and are held up as examples for current and future Blue Devil diamond stars to follow … Madison South pitches a complete-game no-hitter for the MHS varsity softball team … Three MHS crew shells compete at Occoquan in the Al Urquia Regatta; women’s varsity double takes bronze … Hands Across Mathews receives $1,180 gift from the Improved Order of Red Men (Omaha Tribe No. 92 of Mathews and Sioux Tribe No. 9 of Achilles) … Chimney Corner Lawnmower, Inc., marks 55 years in business … C-3 Automotive, owned by master mechanic Dave Skirvin of Gwynn, opens for business on Route 198 between Cobbs Creek and Hudgins … The first Maritime Recognition Weekend, coinciding with Mathews Heritage Day, honors and remembers Mathews County’s rich maritime history and the contributions of the U.S. Merchant Marine … Kingston Parish Preschool turns 40 years old … Lee-Jackson Elementary School raises $9,167.18 for the American Heart Association in Jump Rope for Heart event … The White Dog Bistro, Mathews, is voted the best in the “Fresh Catch! Oysters and Seafood” category in the 2016 Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Challenge … 50-60 people attend the Law Enforcement Memorial Service held in memory of the men and women who died while serving their communities in 2015 … MHS girls’ tennis captures team, doubles and singles Conference 42 titles … MHS boys win district track crown, girls place second; later boys place second and girls take third at the Conference 42 Championship … Lee-Jackson Elementary students hold penny war raising nearly $1,500 for the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society … Mathews County, Mathews County Visitor and Information Center, and Mathews Land Conservancy team up to host the 18th annual Tour de Chesapeake; turnout is significantly hampered by poor weather … An assembly is held at MHS in connection with National Maritime Day … $66,000+ in grants are awarded to projects in Mathews County Public Schools by the White-Hudgins Charitable Trust in its 25th year … Ken Hardcastle is appointed head coach of the MHS varsity football team … About 50 people attend the Mathews Memorial Day program hosted by American Legion Post 83; military historian John Quarstein is guest speaker.
JUNE: Mathews supervisors decide to seek a qualified engineering firm to inspect the damage to the Lee-Jackson Elementary School gymnasium roof and make a recommendation on whether it should be repaired or replaced … After winning the Conference 42 tournament, MHS varsity soccer team advances to Region 1A East semifinals … Following a closed session meeting, supervisors vote to hold a public hearing on a proposed contract to lease the Seabreeze Restaurant to Mac Casale, owner of the White Dog Bistro in Mathews … Mathews Ruritan Club celebrates the 85th anniversary of its founding … MHS varsity softball team claims the Region 1A East Title after shutting out Essex, beats Galax 8-0 in the state semi-finals, then falls in the state championship game; Lady Devils Madison South and Lexi Miles are named second-team 2016 VHSL Group 1A All-State selections … Blue Devils’ baseball season ends in the first round of the regional tournament; all-conference selections are Brian Owens, Reggie Johnson, Jalen Matthews, Cody Tunstall and Payton Blake, first-team; James Cook, second team. Owens is also honored with a first-team All-Region … MHS girls’ tennis team plays in the state championship game, falling to Radford; Lady Devils doubles duo of Ashley Hudgins and Morgan Johnson earns the Group 1A state champion title; Johnson also ends her high school career as state runner-up in singles play … Mathews Community Foundation awards $84,500 in community grants … 2014 MHS graduate Airman Shanice Williams is named Sailor of the Day aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower … Adelle Hudgins of Cobbs Creek, showing her dogs Kipper and June Bug, is named Junior Champion and tied for State Agility Champion in the 2016 Virginia 4-H dog agility trials … Chesapeake Bank announces the promotion of Dianne Hall of Mathews to executive vice president … 103 graduate from Mathews High School; Maria Spadaccini is valedictorian and Stacey Abernathy is salutatorian … Two Mathews men, 24-year-old David Michael Burruss of Dutton and 58-year-old Dennis W. Vandivender of Foster, die in separate traffic accidents … Site improvements to the East River Boat Yard are the topic of a special meeting … Competitive swimmer Ryanne Tyler of Bavon wins a gold and two bronze medals at the Virginia Special Olympics summer games … With near-perfect weather, thousands flock to the Gwynn’s Island Festival … Gwynn’s Islanders turn out en masse at board of supervisors meeting to express their anger at the board’s decision to issue a request for proposals for the county-owned Seabreeze Restaurant, a favorite gathering place for the island community … Breakwater system is proving inadequate for the job; Haven Beach loses sand … Riverball 2016 brings in $22,000 to be used for downtown Mathews improvements … County officials inspect newly built pier at New Point Lighthouse, it’s the first project paid for with Hurricane Sandy relief grant funding … MHS soccer forward Stuart Anderson Jr. is a first-team VSHL Group 1A All-State selection; second-team selections are Ricky Rutter, Kevin Jenkins and Mark Wright.
JULY: The William F. and Catharine K. Owens Foundation, originally established in 1962 to benefit Mathews County churches and nonprofit organizations, is dissolved; $2.4 million of the foundation’s assets go to set up Mathews Community Foundation endowments … After a day of soaking rain, the July 4 fireworks go as scheduled … The Coast Guard surveys the channel at Hole in the Wall as part of the project to place new channel markers … The county receives a $14,563 grant from the Library of Virginia that will cover the cost of preserving three of the county’s aging record books … Mathews Junior Little League (ages 12-14) All-Stars capture the District 15 crown … 2016 MHS graduate Mariah Robinson commits to play volleyball at John Wesley University in North Carolina … Hampton Roads Sanitation District confirms that it is in negotiations to purchase a piece of property on Main Street and install a pump there … A group led by Tim Hill trying to save the L.M. Callis house receives a letter from the Bay School Community Art Center’s attorney giving them a four-month deadline to accomplish its goals … On the 100th anniversary of her death, Capt. Sally Tompkins, the only female Confederate-commissioned officer during the Civil War, is remembered in a pair of ceremonies; her newly restored coat is unveiled … Mathews County and Bay Aging settle with Wade and Susan Brooks five years after they sue to recover their losses from a failed FEMA home elevation project … The iconic Mathews-built workboat the Linda Carol, built in 1931 and now owned by Billy Mullis of Gloucester (formerly of Mathews), is completely renovated and made seaworthy … Kaitlin Eriksen of Mathews, a Coastal Carolina University graduate, is named to the 2016 National Club Softball Association first-team All-American as an outfielder … 2012 MHS graduate and former Blue Devil gridiron standout James Pavik is one of seven University of Richmond football players named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s pre-season all-conference team.
AUGUST: Dr. Leonard L. Edloe of Cobbs Creek and Mechanicsville receives the Chauncey I. Cooper Award from the National Pharmaceutical Association for sustained and distinguished service to the profession of pharmacy … The Peggy of New Point, owned by the Mathews Maritime Foundation, takes part in the Summertime Buyboat Tour … Mary Herz’s painting depicting a water scene at New Point is chosen as the winner of the Mathews Market Days Poster Contest … A structure fire on Dyers Creek Road claims the life of 81-year-old Edward B. “Buck” Webster Jr. of New Point and Richmond … Alandus Ware of North hosts a “Cure for Cancer” benefit show to raise money for the fight against cancer … The group formed with a mission to save the L.M. Callis house changes its name to Preservation Mathews, expands its mission to save other historical structures in the county … Mathews Rotary Club members build eight benches at the YMCA soccer fields at Hudgins, plan to install temporary fencing to keep soccer balls from going into the woods.
SEPTEMBER: Ten county churches come together during No Walls Community Day to get students ready for school; more than 300 book bags filled with supplies are distributed to children … Dr. Allison-Bryan of North is appointed to a second term on the Virginia Board of Medicine … VDOT prevails in Mathews Main Street drainage suits, compensation to be determined pending the result of an upcoming jury trial … A grant from the Mathews Rotary Club to Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad provides funds for three new automated external defibrillators to be placed in outdoor locations at Moon, North and Bohannon … Hot and humid weather did not deter large crowds from coming outdoors and enjoying the 42nd annual Mathews Market Days … A dedication ceremony of a new handicapped-accessible van for Alyssa Briggs is held at the culmination of a year’s $42,000 fundraising effort by Mathews resident Amy Ashberry … Angela Sale, who grew up in Mathews, is hired as new unit director of the Mathews Boys and Girls Club … 48 take part in 10th annual Wharf to Wharf swim … Sterling Hudgins and his wife, Kathryn Tatterson, purchase Best Value Supermarket; Steve Wiseman stays on as a store manager … Cardinal resident Monique Flowers is charged in the stabbing death of her husband, 58-year-old Gary Flowers … The county is awarded two $30,000 grants by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for its pending emergency shelter … 1999 MHS graduate Willie Brown is named August Employee of the Month at the Charlotte Motor Speedway; Brown is the video production manager for all events at the speedway … Mathews supervisors approve the lease for the use of the not-yet-constructed YMCA; the lease calls for the county to pay $20,000 per year for 10 years to use the building as a shelter during emergency situations … The county signing of a lease for the former Seabreeze Restaurant is awaiting resolution of septic system issues … Bill Davis joins Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home as an associate; the company adds a new van to its fleet.
OCTOBER: The Mathews Film Society dissolves after nearly seven years; merges with Arts on Main in Gloucester … Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad sponsors countywide AED (automated external defibrillator) training sessions … John Lee Callis marks 35 years as church organist at Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church … During Hurricane Matthew residents experience isolated power outages, a few downed trees and the usual minor flooding residents have learned to work around … Stuart Anderson Jr. and Casey Kelly are crowned king and queen; Bill Vrooman is grand marshal for parade as MHS celebrates homecoming … Six years after being awarded a $776,000 Virginia Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant, Mathews County has finally received VDOT’s approval to request bids for construction of the first phase of a major Main Street improvement project … Harriet Whitener is recipient of the Virginia High School League’s 2016-2017 Award of Merit for Region 1A East … Mathews native Grace Miller celebrates her 100th birthday at Riverside Convalescent Center, Mathews … Mathews property values drop 3.2 percent following countywide real estate reassessment … MHS Team Rocket Sauce takes first place in the IROC: ILITE Offseason Challenge in Haymarket … In its final regular season meet the MHS girls’ cross country team takes first place with a perfect score, boys take second … MHS volleyball coach Pat Moughon surpasses 300-win milestone … Dora Holdings of New Jersey purchases Hudgins Pharmacy; Diana Bandurco is now lead pharmacist, Robert May switches from principal pharmacist to relief pharmacist.
NOVEMBER: Site work begins for the new YMCA … Iron Skullz MC donates $4,250, proceeds from the club’s seventh annual poker run, to the Gloucester/Mathews Boys and Girls clubs … A community labyrinth built for all faiths is dedicated at Kingston Parish … On Election Day in Mathews, voters approve the referendum on creating a meals tax, President-elect Donald Trump captures 67 percent of the vote to 29 percent for Hillary Clinton with third-party candidates receiving less than 6 percent; incumbent Rob Wittman (R-Montross) captures 72 percent of overall vote … After 21 years, construction of the rowing center at Williams Wharf is underway … THMS sixth graders celebrate Chesapeake Bay Day for the 11th year with community volunteers teaching new skills and by-gone ways … “A Powerful Legacy” is the theme of the annual Mathews Chapter NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet … Wade Brooks of Mathews is one of 11 blacksmiths chosen for inclusion in a book about blacksmiths around the world by author and blacksmith Vince Nakovics of Albania … MHS senior Alexis Miles signs a letter of intent to play softball for the University of Virginia-Wise … Five generations of Nina Smith’s family gather to celebrate her 100th birthday … After a stellar season, it is an emotional end for the Lady Devils as they fall to Rappahannock County, 3-1, in the VHSL Group 1A state volleyball championships … THMS seventh grader Carson Brown wins a Scripps National Spelling Bee school competition for the third year in a row, advances to the regional competition.
DECEMBER: The county board receives detailed report from Timothy Jester of TAM Consultants on how to proceed with repairs to the roof at Lee-Jackson … Mathews Ruritan Club Christmas Blessing Fund’s honorary chairman is Cathy B. Rowe; this year’s goal is $25,000 … Fire causes extensive damage to two manufactured homes in separate incidents: Cobbs Creek residence fire started in a receptacle where a Christmas tree was plugged in; a man is burned when a propane tank explodes at Bohannon residence … MHS Scholastic Bowl team stands atop the Conference 42 standings after beating Middlesex, 200-185 … Three members of the MHS volleyball team receive All-State honors; junior Anne Stewart and senior Keely Crittenden win First-Team All-State honors, senior Madison South receives Second-Team All-State … A holiday light show at the Tyler Ford family’s home in Susan is set to benefit Hands Across Mathews … 65+ units participate in Mathews Christmas Parade, “Christmas Melodies”; Jimmy “Uncle Jimmy” Smith is honored as grand marshal … Jen Little resigns from the Mathews School Board … Planning and zoning director John Shaw retires ... The commissioner of revenue identifies 25 businesses that are subject to collecting the new 4 percent meals tax that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 … Jeannie H. Tatterson, 68, dies in her home after calling 911 to report that her kitchen was on fire … MHS graduates LTJG Christopher Braden Miller and LTJG Patrick Sopko earn their Navy aviator wings … Queens Creek resident Jim Warwick and two fellow advanced paddling instructors revive interest in Mathews Blueways Water Trails, kayak trails around the county’s shoreline … Lee-Jackson students hold a penny war collecting nearly $900 for GMHS … The L.M. Callis house, behind the Bay School in Mathews, moves to a nearby lot on Main Street; Ian Morse plans to renovate the house for a bed and breakfast … The nine-member Mobjack Rowing Association board partners with Mathews Land Conservancy’s capital campaign for funding to complete the Owens Community and Rowing Center.
--Compiled by Patty Strigle