, 2014


www.whereiswhitestone?
Some say town needs a web presence

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

WHITE STONE—It’s time for White Stone to join the computer networking community, according to business owner Pam Sawyer and town resident Roy Carter. 

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Sawyer urged the town council at its meeting last Thursday to start a town website or Facebook page and volunteered her time to help get the task accomplished. 

“White Stone doesn’t have a presence on the internet,” said Carter. 

Sawyer, who owns the Country Cottage, said she was first reluctant to start a Facebook page for her own business but did so at the urging of her younger, teenage and college-age employees. The decision was one of the best she’s made, said Sawyer. 

Carter said when searching for White Stone on the internet, a directory is the only listing available. He noted that Kilmarnock, Irvington and Lancaster County all have websites, which pop up with a Google search. 

“I think [a website] is going to be a tremendous help for our town,” said Carter. “We’re not in the 1950s anymore...People don’t go to print to find information anymore.” They don’t use the yellow pages, he added. They go to the internet for information. 

“Who is going to keep up with it?” said councilman David Jones. “That was our problem before. Nobody would keep up with it.”

According to Jones, the town had a website before but it was unsuccessful.

Jones added he is “all for anything [council] can do to help the businesses,” but he is concerned about people posting negative or derogatory comments on a Facebook page and the manpower needed to monitor that page or a town website. 

“We tried it before and we didn’t get any hits and had old, outdated information on it,” said Jones. “It didn’t work.”

Jones was also concerned about the financial burden of paying someone to update and monitor a website, noting the town has limited resources. 

Sawyer said she could devote some time to monitoring a Facebook page and she was sure she could convince other business owners to help. 

Jones said he would want a town employee or council member to monitor the page. 

Ginger Philbrick, who serves on the town’s planning commission, suggested checking with Rappahannock Community College’s IT department or computer students to see if someone would volunteer to build a town website. 

“If this gets into the newspaper, maybe someone in the community would come forward and be able to help us,” said Philbrick. 

Town attorney Matson Terry agreed a website would be helpful for “people with questions about an ordinance.” All the information could be right there online for them to read, he added.

During his report, town manager Patrick Frere recommended council form a committee on marketing in the new year. The committee could decide how to best handle internet advertising of the town. 

“We just really need to remember we don’t have a tax except our cigarette tax,” said Jones. “We’re unlike Kilmarnock and Irvington, which has a lodging tax. They benefit from advertising.” 

Jones suggested to council that the town’s business association design a website or manage a Facebook page. 

Hubbard asked Frere to investigate the management and cost of Kilmarnock’s and Irvington’s websites and said council would revisit the issue at its next meeting. 

Other business

With only one comment from the public and no discussion, council unanimously adopted an updated land use and water quality plan. The revised comprehensive plan, which was first adopted by the town in 2000, includes updated census information, charts and maps. 

The only comment during a public hearing on the plan came from planning commission chairman John Taliaferro, who said he recommended council adopt the revisions. 

Irving Brittingham made the motion to adopt the plan with Blair Kenyon making the second. Voting to adopt were Brittingham, Kenyon, Jones, William Hubbard, Joe Sliakis and Jennifer Hodges. Councilman Randy Reeves was not in attendance. 

Council also decided to reschedule its January meeting to Thursday, January 9. Council will hold a public hearing on a rezoning request at that meeting. It also will hear a presentation from Davenport LLC on possible financial investments for the town.


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