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Museum funding restored

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Board also agrees to buy battered women's shelter

By John Barnhart

    The Bedford County Board of Supervisors voted, Monday night, to restore money cut from the Bedford Museum’s request when the current fiscal year’s budget was adopted in the spring and also agreed to purchase the local battered women’s shelter.

Bedford Domestic Violence Services
    The Monday night meeting was well attended and most of the audience was there to support a proposal that the county purchase the facility currently used by Bedford Domestic Violence Services as a battered women’s shelter.  The audience included Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Louis Harrison and Andrew Crawford, the county’s director of social services.
    Debbie Rhodes, a volunteer with       Bedford      Domestic Violence Services, spoke in favor of the move during the citizens’ comment period and said it costs $2,350 a month to rent the facility. The facility is ideal for a battered women’s shelter because it’s easy for both town police and state police to get to it. It’s been set up with an alarm system and the interior has been arranged to provide a comfortable place for these women to take shelter.
    County Attorney Carl Boggess said $287,000 would be needed from the county. Volunteers have already raised $100,000.
    The supervisors voted unanimously to purchase the facility.
    The supervisors also voted unanimously to designate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Restoring money to the Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library
    The museum’s original request was for $60,000 but the supervisors reduced it to $50,000. Monday night, the supervisors unanimously voted to restore the $10,000.
    Doug Cooper, the museum’s manager, gave the supervisors a presentation on how the museum’s software allows museum staff to search a database of items in the museum’s large collection. Copies of photos can be printed from a computer, if somebody requests it. Cooper said this eliminates the need to pull the actual photo to copy it, saving wear on the picture. They can also bring up documents in their collection.
    That collection is large. According to Cooper, the museum has 2,081 historic documents, 3,446 books, 5,432 objects and 5,001 photos. There are folders on 2,000 Bedford County names as well as folders on churches, businesses and communities. There are 15,000 marriage bonds, dating from 1754 through 1899 and these are catalogued and this database can be searched by the man’s or woman’s name.
    The collection includes oral histories and these recordings can be retrieved by searching the database.There are also records from the county’s graveyards, catalogued in a searchable data base. Cooper said volunteers have been collecting information from headstones for 40 years to compile these records.
    The collection grows. Cooper said the museum received a lot of scrapbooks. Staff and volunteers catalogue all of these and scan every photo in them.
    Cataloguing all this information is labor intensive. Cooper said one person can do 10 items per day. He said the museum currently has 20 volunteers working there, along with a small staff of part-time employees.
    Because of the size of the database, the museum has what is probably the largest fileserver in the county, and it’s backed up every day. Cooper said the 4 terabyte file server is backed up daily to two locations, one off site and one at the museum.

In other action
    Also on Monday the supervisors unanimously voted to amend the bylaws concerning the citizens’ comment period. This amendment eliminates the restriction limiting citizens’ comments to items on the agenda. The new rules will be printed on the comment period signup sheets.
    “This brings our written policy in line with our current practice,” said District 4 Supervisor John Sharp, who initiated the amendment.
    In other business, the supervisors voted to provide $7,500 to complete the restrooms at Moneta Park. Michael Stokes, the former director of parks and recreation, spoke in favor of this during the citizen comment period. Stokes said that the Moneta community has already raised close to $700,000 for the park.
    “There are other areas that have not given a dime to their park,” Stokes said.
    The supervisors moved the Woodhaven Road relocation project forward by awarding a contract to Counts & Dobbins for $637,000. According to Deputy County Administrator Frank Rogers, this is a savings of $158,000. The project is a revenue sharing project with the cost being split between Bedford County and the Virginia Department of Transportation.