Category Archives: Local Government

School Closure Discussed Again

Many of you remember 2014 well. Our school was consolidated by a spite vote thrown by Rich Valley school board member, Mac Buchanan. Furthermore, his 11 minute speech about our community is still available on youtube for those who want to listen to it as well as the lackluster comments of our own Rye Valley school board representative.  This topic of discussion is being reactivated according to a recent article in Smyth County News quoting Buchanan on the topic.

The moment our school was consolidated, we lost a huge chunk of the student body and our school was permanently damaged at that point. It was well known that our enrollment would never come back up to what it was before, it was widely that the next move would be closure and now that discussion is beginning to come up again.  Well folks, Sugar Grove needs to discuss this issue as well and hold our school board member accountable for his past voting record and the votes he will cast affecting our school between now and the end of his term in 2018.

Sugar Grove cannot allow the school board to take another vote in favor of something that damages our community and economics the way consolidating our school has.  The time to begin taking action is RIGHT NOW. We all know that our school will be the one targeted for closure when this issue comes to a vote and we all know that despite 972 petition signatures which was more than 90% of the registered voters in our district, different options were not sought. Instead, a simple “no” vote was cast that didn’t matter at that point because of all of the “yes” votes that had been cast prior by our representative in compliance and favor of the Facilities Master Plan which has several scenarios for facilities management throughout the county that a majority of which result in closure for Sugar Grove School.

The Rye Valley District has two local elections coming up. The position of County Supervisor for Rye Valley will be up for grabs again in 2019. The position of School Board representative for Rye Valley comes up again in 2018.  Those are two very important positions for our community all things considered.

We should be using the next two years wisely, seeking out qualified people to fill these elected positions in such way so as to move our community forward and promote the best interest of our community’s future and economic development. What we shouldn’t be doing it sitting around thinking that something will happen. No, things don’t just happen by themselves. If you are interested in either of these two offices, ask questions, get the information you need and complete the paper work with the appropriate individuals to establish that you will be seeking an elected office. Sugar Grove deserves a bright future that we are never going to have if our school closes and other matters of local government are left hung out to dry as has been the case for the last several decades concerning our community.

Sugar Grove Property Re-Zoned for Dollar General

The Smyth County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission hosted a joint meeting concerning the property located at 5409 Sugar Grove Highway near the intersection of Flat Ridge Road for the purpose of re-zoning it commercial.  The lot was originally zoned Agricultural/Rural.

Tim Dunnaway spoke to the Board of Supervisors explaining to them that this store would be smaller and more compact than other stores is planned for this particular property. The property is .9 acres.

VDOT does not require a turn lane at the property since there’s deemed to be plenty of room to slow down and turn in the area. Filling and other grading was seen taking place earlier in the week on the property and is being done to correct flaws and prepare for construction.

There were no citizens present who spoke at the public hearing that took place. Furthermore, Clegg Williams has not had any public comment on the project.

Dollar General announced plans to build 1900 new stores by the end of 2017.

 

Smyth County Needs to Get On Board Early

Sunset Digital Communications is a name that may soon be familiar in households in our area. Why is that? It’s because Sunset just bought BVU’s fiber optic cable and the company is interested in bringing expanded services to our area and using the existing cable to facilitate it.

The fiber optic cable currently takes a right turn off of interstate 81 and runs along Highway Sixteen/Sugar Grove Highway through Sugar Grove and extends into Galax. It has great potential to be the delivery pipeline for improved internet and phone services as well as television options but that’s not all–this fiber optic has great potential to provide some of the technology necessary to support cellular service in Sugar Grove.

Presently, we have a limited number of service options in Smyth County because companies like Comcast and Century Link monopolize these services and therefore keep the prices higher. Fiber optic would allow higher speeds at lower cost which would be passed along to the customers in the end.

Sunset is now asking everyone to fill out their survey to show interest in their services. You can find that form here.  Sunset has already scheduled meetings with the board of supervisors in Dickenson, Tazewell, Buchanan and Russell counties. There are plans in the near future for meetings with Washington county officials. An inquiry was made to the company recently to ask whether or not they would be visiting Smyth County–they indicated that they would be interested but had not yet been contacted or placed on the agenda. In other words, no interest was shown at this time.

If you want more services and to establish cellular service, you need to let your county administrator know that we will settle for no less than an active attempt to attract these services. Please fill out the form and send an e-mail to your representative on the Smyth County Board of Supervisors requesting that they show some interest in Sunset Digital Communications. This is yet another window of opportunity that will close and pass us by if our leaders fail to show some interest!

The next meeting is scheduled for April 12 at 5 PM. Please take the time to show up at these meetings and demand that interest be shown so that Sugar Grove can have the same access to services and resources as the rest of the county.

Sunset Digital Communications Wants to Hear From You!

Sunset BVURemember all of those fiber optic cables that took a right turn off exit 45 and came across the mountain right through the middle of Sugar Grove several years back?  Those lines are owned by BVU and are presently being purchased by Sunset. Sunset is interested in who wants services in our area and they are currently accepting responses from interested people via their online form here. Please take a moment and provide your name and address where you’d like to see this service available and submit it so that our community can develop its infrastructure on the same levels as the rest of the county and greater Southwest Virginia. This could be the start to bringing a wider variety of services to our community as well as more competitive pricing. An introduction package form for our area is available at THIS LINK with more details about pricing, services and coverage.

Sunset provides not only residential services but also a wide variety of business services. This is important to Sugar Grove because we presently do not have a service provider who can offer this type of service in our area. Having these services available as an option may attract businesses to our community and will most certainly have a positive effect on property values, population growth and economic development for the future.

Most importantly, the more services that are available in our area and the more technology that exist, the better our chances are of establishing cellular service. Each new technology that’s available here is an attraction point for cellular providers that can be added to existing efforts to establish service.

Special thanks to Ken Heath for bringing this information to my attention to share with our community.

An Update on Sugar Grove’s Cell Tower

A little over one year ago, the Smyth County Board of Supervisors were able to engage Mid Atlantic Broadband and get a commitment from the company to place a cellular tower in the Sugar Grove Community. Many citizens are wondering about those efforts and where we are presently in that process. We haven’t seen any visible progress or updates on this topic in quite a while however it’s important for the community to know that this is still something that is being followed closely by the BoS and others who are leading Sugar Grove into the 21st century with this effort.

While there’s not been any visible progress for us to watch in our community, it should be noted that contact has been made with both the BoS and Mid Atlantic Broadband for an update. It has been confirmed that discussions are in progress with an undisclosed property owner about a tower location. The company will soon be checking the location more thoroughly for compliance and to confirm that it meets all of the necessary criteria for a tower.

While we may see a tower soon in the community, this does not mean that we will automatically have cellular service. We still have to attract a provider to install their equipment on the tower and make services available in our community. This effort is also ongoing alongside the effort to erect a tower.

Let The Facts Be Your Voting Guide

If you missed The Lincoln Theatre’s “Meet the Candidates” event hosted by the Smyth County Chamber of

Commerce on the evening of October 15th, you may have missed out on some pretty interesting commentary from our currently elected school board member, Jesse Choate who is seeking re-election in the Rye Valley District.

Let me clarify nature of this article–I am writing it because I truly have concerns about the future of our school and community in relation to some of Mr. Choate’s remarks at last night’s event. I’ve added a video clip to further validate this article for anyone reading who was unable to attend the event. I would ask that you at least watch the video in its entirety even if you choose not to read the article and allow yourself to be open minded.

The speech begins with some rather mundane points and biographical information as per the usual candidate’s speech however it grabs my attention 40 seconds in where we hear  a very negative statement “the school board has had some rough times, we have had shortfall from the state and from the county.” This statement is presented as though it were designed as an excuse to vote for him rather than a good reason–in other words, it is as though Choate is shifting the accountability from himself and the school board for the events that have recently befallen our community to the county and state rather than accepting accountability and responsibility for his previous voting record which is unanimous with the board. (You can access minutes dating back to 2002 online) (Related Article: Consolidation Apparently Unnecessary for Sugar Grove School.)

Later in the video at 1:45 Choate begins to brag about Oak Point Elementary School which is located in Marion and is not part of the Rye Valley District where he is currently seeking election. It’s fair to say that he seems to have a desire to take credit for this project as if it were some sort of  noteworthy accomplishment on his part when in fact, it was one of the biggest financial blunders the Smyth County School Board ever made and they made that blunder with Choate in the Chairman’s position bringing every single motion and vote to the floor and leading the way in consistent unanimous voting until the board got exactly what they wanted.

They wanted to spend an enormous amount of money constructing a school on a pile of rocks that first had to be removed at a substantial cost. Rock removal is one of the most expensive aspects of ground preparation. Other properties were available at better locations in the county. What Choate absolutely won’t mention is that Sugar Grove’s consolidation paid for the budget shortfall that occurred because of the construction of Oak Point Elementary.

For Choate to claim credit for this and cast it in the light of an accomplishment and basis for re-election is appalling at best considering the negative impact it has had on our community that he was elected to represent. There are two buildings in Rich Valley that aren’t being efficiently used. One of those could have been consolidated without losing a portion of a school in a community. Choate never brought this idea to the table during the discussion of consolidation of our school but he did ask for the motion to vote on the consolidation. (see here) This is the only vote that turns up that is not unanimous but at this point in time, it’s a little too late. I recall that he was presented with 971 signatures of registered voters from the Rye Valley District requesting alternative action that he ignored. The above suggestion involving Rich Valley’s two schools would have been a good starting point rather than consolidating Sugar Grove.

At 2:14 in the video after all of the bragging about Oak Point Elementary and after having nothing positive to say about Sugar Grove School or the community, we finally get to the real reason why Choate is asking for our vote in the upcoming election and it’s pretty simplistic: “The reason I am running for the school board again is because I’ve been here for 24 years and I’d appreciate it if you’d send me back for another 4 years…I know we had some bad times there last year when we lost our middle school but we kept our elementary school and as long as we keep a school in Sugar Grove, that’s a hub for Sugar Grove so I just want you to vote for me November the 3rd…” 

Choate is running again because he feels entitled to the office. He states being there for 24 years and indicates that he wants another 4 years. In the past he’s been sliding into office term after term without opposition. Last year when he blatantly ignored 971 petition signatures presented to him concerning the future of Sugar Grove School, he made it pretty clear that he isn’t interested in serving the people of the community but rather is more concerned with what his buddies in Marion at the school board office think of him. It’s all about ego and popularity and that’s certainly not a good platform for any candidate to expect to use for the basis of a successful campaign and election.

I take issue with the glaring and obvious statement of entitlement and outward show of ego which seems to be prevalent in our community. If you look around and take into account the number of campaign signs and print ads in the Rye Valley District it’s pretty obvious that the basis for an ego fueled campaign of entitlement does exist.

Friends, I dare say that the enormous funding that has been spent on re-election mirrors  spending habits with your tax dollars and the school board’s budget. It’s extensive and quite unnecessary but we have to remember one important fact: Signs do not vote. Registered voters go to the polls and vote.

I believe the future of our community and Sugar Grove School depends on change and that change begins one vote at a time. I encouraged you to watch the video earlier even if you didn’t care to read the points I have made in this article but if you did read this far, you’ve probably been given a few things to think about in the days leading up to this election. I urge you to let the facts, not opinions or a lack of valid information guide you to vote for a change on election day. Our community deserves a new representative that will listen to the voice of our community where our school and children are concerned and act on it in a way that is productive, not detrimental to the social and economical development of our community for the future.

I believe based upon available documentation, facts and other information existing as a matter of public record at Smyth County School Board and also based upon recent events in our community that if we place Choate in office for another 4 years, we will see the closure of our school in that time frame. As a community, we shouldn’t allow this to even be a possibility. Right now it is a very real possibility.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This article is not approved by or endorsed by either candidate seeking election for Rye Valley School Board Representative on Smyth County School Board and solely represents the views of the author.

Some Facts Before You Elect a School Board Representative

Get Te FactsGetting the facts before you vote is a very important aspect of deciding who you will vote for. First of all, you should never ever vote solely based upon party. That’s an old school game and a misconception particularly where local offices are concerned. The office of school board should be neither a Republican or Democratic office. This is a position where emphasis should be placed upon concern for the schools represented, those attending the schools and the communities they serve. Every community has a diverse issues that must be tackled by school board representatives as well as other local elected officials and these issues should be approached each time in a way that is the most beneficial to these communities. Sugar Grove, Virginia’s Rye Valley District is no different.  This being said, the community website would like to offer some factual and referenced information for your consideration before you cast your vote in 2015 for a school board representative. This year Jesse Choate is seeking re-election and is being opposed by Stuart Orr.

The 2015 election for Smyth County School Board is a pivotal one coming a little more than a year after Sugar Grove School was consolidated by the current Smyth County School Board. The term of a school board representative is 4 years. The next 4 years for Sugar Grove will be crucial to keeping the school in our community. As we all know, if the situation is not properly managed and actively represented in the community, the next step is closure.

Choate’s Votes

For the record, these are the facts that have taken place under the current school board prior to the upcoming election in 2015 for your consideration:

  • The board considered a called school board meeting to be held on Monday, April 21, 2008, at 5:00 P.M., for the purpose of hearing a proposed Facility Master Plan as presented by MGT of America. On motion by Mr. Choate, seconded by Mr. Coulthard, by 5-0 vote, the meeting was approved. (Reference 2/11/2008 Smyth County School Board Meeting Minutes)
  • The board considered bids for the Facility Study. On motion by Mr. Choate, seconded by Mr. Doane, by 6-0 vote, the board approved the bid from MGT of America, Inc., Olympia, Washington, in the amount of $132,570.00 as recommended by the superintendent. They will provide a presentation for the board at the August 13, 2007, meeting. (Reference 7/16/2008 Smyth County School Board Meeting Minutes)
  • Sarah Combs, a resident of the Sugar Grove community, presented Chairman Choate with a notarized petition containing 971 signatures in opposition of closing Sugar Grove Combined School. (5/12/2014 Smyth County School Board Meeting Minutes) No further discussion or consideration of this petition was made by Mr. Choate or the rest of the board. The petition was also not in favor of consolidation and requested that the school board, specifically Mr. Choate, seek other alternatives that do not harm the community long term.
  • Mr. Buchanan, Mr. Marion, and Mr. Choate expressed their concerns about the budget and decisions the Board would need to make to balance the budget for 2014-2015. (5/27/2015 Smyth County School Board Meeting) You can listen to the details in this audio: CLICK HERE where you will note that Rich Valley board member Mac Buchanan rants and insults the Sugar Grove Community blaming us for the consolidation of our school all the while, Chairman Choate, Rye Valley Representative sits idly by allowing this inappropriate insult to take place. His little hate speech toward Sugar Grove was then followed by his spite vote which sealed the deal for Sugar Grove’s middle school. No intervention or action on the part of our current representative there!
  • Also at the meeting, Chairman Jesse Choate asked if there would be a name change for Sugar Grove Combined School since the middle school division has closed. He asked what it would take to change the name to Sugar Grove Elementary School. (Reference Smyth County News & Messenger, July 14, 2014)
  • Sarah Combs, a resident of the Sugar Grove community, requested that the community have an opportunity for input in changing the name of Sugar Grove Combined School. (Reference July 31, 2014 Smyth County School Board Meeting Minutes.)  After an enormous documented blunder of numbers, the school board renamed the school against the community’s wishes and seemingly on the sole suggestion made by Mr. Choate above.
  • On motion by Mr. Grinstead, seconded by Mr. Veselik, by 6-0 vote, the Board in recognition of Dr. Robinson’s outstanding performance and with Dr. Robinson’s concurrence, terminated the division superintendent’s current appointment and employment, effective September 8, 2014; appoint and employ him to a term of four (4) years as division superintendent beginning July 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2018; and authorize and direct the Chairman to finalize and execute on behalf of the Board a new contract with Dr. Robinson on terms substantially consistent with terms negotiated and agreed to by all parties. (Reference September 8, 2014 School Board Meeting Minutes.)  No explanation has been given to date as to why the superintendent’s contract was renegotiated. Only vague commentary found in November 10, 2014 School Board Meeting minutes.

The current school board member has demonstrated a unanimous voting record for the past several years even when not in the best interest of our school in our community with his only NO vote being on the consolidation of the school during the May 27th meeting however it’s important to point out that the unanimous voting that took place up to this point included the very plan of action that the board is following to consolidate and eventually close Sugar Grove School–this is of course a reference to the MGT Facility Master Plan.

You can also reference in this article published in Smyth County News & Messenger where the school board claims to have saved $130,000.00 from “personnel changes” and another $30,000 from last year’s savings. With these figures being documented in August 2015, perhaps we should review last year’s school consolidation and commentary made by our current school board member to determine whether Sugar Grove may have paid the price unnecessarily. The answer to this question is a resounding “yes” because our community did pay the price and it has become apparent at this point that the Smyth County School board and our current elected school board member seemed to have a different set of numbers they were presenting just a little over a year ago to accomplish their agenda of consolidating the school.

Choate can also be heard in a recent campaign speech bragging about Oak Point Elementary School which has nothing to do with Sugar Grove except that our community and school are paying for that school with the consolidation of ours.

Remember, these facts when you go to the polls and vote accordingly for what’s best for our community. A 4 year term represents an adequate time frame for positive change or plenty of time to accomplish the current mission of closing Sugar Grove School.

It’s better to vote informed than to vote opinionated.

Disclaimer: This article is not approved by or endorsed by either candidate seeking election for Rye Valley School Board Representative on Smyth County School Board and solely represents the views of the author.

Consolidation Apparently Unnecessary for Sugar Grove School

the-truthIn May of last year, Sugar Grove School was consolidated on a 7-4 vote by the Smyth County School Board. We were told that financial shortfall was the reason.

That decision was not thought out. That much is clear if you listen to the available audio of the school board meeting from May 27, 2014. In it you can hear Mac Buchanan’s 11 plus minutes of ranting, laying blame and hateful comments later followed by his deciding spite vote to consolidate our community’s school. Meanwhile, the Chairman, our elected representative, sat in silence, apparently and evidently in full support of these hateful comments toward the Sugar Grove Community. There was no intervention or calling out of order on the part of the Chairman during Buchanan’s excessive commentary.

Even more alarming is the way our elected school board member, Jesse Choate, is blaming our community for what is the fault of the school board. He states beginning at 15:26 in the provided video: “I’m afraid that it is too late. I do wish all of you could have showed up for the school board and board of supervisors meetings and maybe that would have ….[garbled]… maybe they could raise taxes but everybody feels like they’re paying taxes enough.”

To this statement, there’s only one response–it wasn’t too late when the unanimous votes were being cast by the school board over the past 10 or more years for everything designed to close and consolidate Sugar Grove School. It wasn’t too late when we all realized that the MGT Facilities Master Plan was not working to the favor of our community or school and it still wasn’t too late when 971 petition signatures were presented to Choate at a previous school board meeting which represents the majority of the Rye Valley District requesting an alternative course of action that did not involve closure or consolidation. This petition was never brought to discussion or mentioned to date. To those 971 individuals who signed that petition, I encourage you to exercise your voting rights accordingly in November. You are the majority of the Rye Valley District and your input will not be ignored at the polls the way it was by the school board and Mr. Choate.

Choate is quoted May 27, 2014 as follows: (audio linked above) “I understand that money now is tight and I wish somebody would donate us , you know, if they would give us a hundred and fifty more thousand dollars we probably could have saved the school but they didn’t so I’ll have to call for a vote.” (37:34 in Audio)  This of course is referencing the consolidation vote brought to the table by Choate who is Chairman of the board and had the option of seeking out other alternative action such as personnel changes and looking for left over money in the slush fund or wherever it happened to be sourced before this vote was cast. This was precisely what the petition presented containing 971 signatures was requesting–alternative action that did not involve the closure or consolidation of our school.

Now that everything is said and done and the dust has settled around what is left of our school, an article appears in the local paper documenting this interesting and well-timed accomplishment of the school board. (read article here) They’ve managed to come up with $160,000.00 suddenly and only $150,000.00 was necessary according to Choate’s own commentary at last year’s consolidation meeting as documented in the audio mentioned above to keep Sugar Grove School in tact. The money magically turned up that would have kept our school in tact and just in time for November elections too! $30,000.00 was left over from last year while $130,000.00 was rounded up from “personnel changes.” Also one of last year’s big concerns was enrollment numbers at Sugar Grove. This year as documented in the above mentioned article, it seems that class sizes are increasing particularly at Sugar Grove School.

Please don’t let anyone convince you that because this money turned up all of a sudden that it will have any bearing on whether our school stays open or not in the future nor should this weigh on your vote in November when you head to the polls to elect a school board representative for the Rye Valley District. This is a classic example of “too little too late” and it’s the fault of our school board and current representative for allowing it to proceed in the manner that it did without appropriate action to keep our school in tact. If that wasn’t enough, it was Chairman Choate who brought up the first motion to rename our school which was then justified by a rigged and erroneous online voting poll designed to suit the school board’s needs to reclassify our school as “elementary” so that it would fit into the MGT Facilities Master Plan’s model for a consolidated school system.

Don’t forget to register to vote and show up at the polls if you want to keep our school open and functional in our community. This is an important non-partisan issue for everyone. Remember, campaign signs don’t vote, people do! If you need to register to vote, please do so BEFORE elections. If you will be 18 years of age on or before election day, you are eligible to pre-register to vote. YOUR VOTE MATTERS AND CAN MAKE CHANGES!

 

Disclaimer: This article is not approved by or endorsed by either candidate seeking election for Rye Valley School Board Representative on Smyth County School Board and solely represents the views of the author.

Why Grovers Need To Organize For Community Improvements

There are so many positive things that could be happening in Sugar Grove that we aren’t seeing in our community because it is happening everywhere else around us and we are allowing it to happen and pass us by repeatedly.

Just this year, we saw a manhunt for a sex offender and a missing child take place mostly in our community while everyone else across the region watched the news learning more and more about our community. I am of course referring to the search for Benjamin Shook and Hayleigh Wilson. The topic of the lack of cellular service and communications was the thing that kept coming up over and over again. It was even suspected that the offender may have chosen our area in particular for a hideout location particularly because of the remote location and known lack of cellular service.

Just recently, 6 Million dollars was awarded to schools across the state for security upgrades from school security grants. Out of this money, Smyth County received $64485.00 for Chilhowie High School, Northwood High School and Atkins Elementary School. The rest of the list can be viewed here.   As you’ve probably already noticed, Sugar Grove did not receive any grant funding for security upgrades even in spite of what happened in our community earlier in the year and the possibilities of what could happen as a result of this ongoing lack of communications in our community. One would think that Sugar Grove would be one of the top schools on the list for security upgrades given the location and circumstances that exist in the community and the disadvantages we face as a result. The schools who received money not only have reliable cellular service available in their respective locations, they are also considerably closer to law enforcement in the event of a security emergency.

What does all of this mean for Sugar Grove? It means that it’s past time for our community to make an organized push for tax dollars to be spent in our community. It’s not been that long since you got your tax tickets in the mail. You’re going to have to pay those before December. While you’re writing that check you should think about how much you’ve paid over the years in taxes and when the last time was any of those dollars were appropriated for our community. I can tell you the last time tax dollars were appropriated for Sugar Grove. It was in 1980 in the amount of 1 million dollars which was for the construction of the shop at Sugar Grove School. Yes, folks, this was in fact the last time any tax dollars were spent on a sizable project in Sugar Grove and that’s just sad that one community in the county has been lacking for so long and asking our local government to bring about some change, bring us a cell tower so that our community can be developed economically alongside other small communities in the area.

Early in 2015, the Smyth County Board of Supervisors announced that Mid Atlantic Broadband had made a commitment to place a tower in Sugar Grove however, no timeline was given for this initiative and to date, no progress has been made toward this goal. It’s time for us to start asking questions, find out what the hold up is and what our community may need to do in order to make this a reality within a reasonable period of time. At the same time, we need to let our elected officials know that another decade is not an acceptable period of time in which this should happen. It should happen sooner than later. Sugar Grove Lifesaving Crew has reported to the Board of Supervisors that they have updated their equipment and are waiting on cellular service to be made available before they can use the updated lifesaving equipment they now have.  All the while, tax dollars and attention are being given to other areas within the county while Sugar Grove seems to consistently come in very low on the list of priorities for tax dollars.

It’s been 35 years since tax dollars were spent on a project in Sugar Grove. When we look at the last time tax dollars were spent in every other area of the county, we can point to recent projects like the upcoming bridge project in Marion’s Hall Addition. Yes, this is something that’s far past due but it’s getting attention and the point to be taken here is that it is getting attention because of the people who live in that community and how they have been consistently demanding action from our local government to fix a problem. Grovers, if we do the same thing and keep at it, we too will get some of the much needed attention and tax dollars in our community from our local government.

Remember, we pay taxes too.

Voter Registration Information

voteMany members of the community residing in the Rye Valley District are already registered to vote and have been for years. This number accounts for the majority of residents in our district. There’s another smaller population who may not be registered. This group would include those who will be 18 years of age on or before election day and those who may be new to the area. If you fall into either of these two categories, keep reading! You wouldn’t believe how easy it is for you to register or update your registration online so that your vote will matter come election time in the Rye Valley District.

The Virginia Department of Elections will allow you to register to vote online right from their website or update your current voter registration. All you will need to do is respond to a few questions about eligibility to vote. The criteria to register is as follows:

  • To register you must be a US citizen, be a resident of Virginia, be 18 years old by the next general election, had voting rights restored (if convicted of a felony or declared mentally incapacitated).
  • You will need your social security number or DMV ID number
  • Name, current address, contact, etc.

Once you fill out the information and it is verified by the Virginia Department of Elections and the local Registrar’s office, you should get your voter identification cards in the mail.

If you are currently registered to vote and for some reason haven’t been out to vote you really need to consider voting this time around because there’s so much at stake in our community. This year we will not only be electing a Sheriff in Smyth County but the Rye Valley District in particular will be electing a school board member and thus determining the the very uncertain future of our school.

Later on, information will be provided on this website and potentially the local newspapers about each candidate seeking election. You are encouraged to vote based upon facts rather than the opinions of others. Sugar Grove cannot afford to lose its school and your vote CAN make a difference in this year’s election.