2013-01-09 / News Briefs


Michael Buettner

Water restrictions lifted after Lake Chesdin refills

A combination of recent rainfall and seasonally low demand for water has led local governments to lift the mandatory water restrictions that were put in place in August.

The level of Lake Chesdin – the reservoir that supplies drinking water to about half the water customers in Chesterfield County – rose last week to the top of the George F. Brasfield Dam in Matoaca. That means the reservoir has completely refilled after dropping to nearly 5 feet below the top of the dam in August.

Roy Covington, utilities director for Chesterfield County, said the Appomattox River Water Authority, which operates the reservoir, noted that “At this time of year, typically demand is very low,” in particular because few people water their lawns during the winter.

This was the fifth year in the past six that the water authority – which supplies water to portions of Dinwiddie and Prince George counties and all of the cities of Petersburg and Colonial Heights, in addition to Chesterfield – has imposed some degree of water restrictions.

Last year, the authority imposed voluntary restrictions and then rescinded them on two separate occasions. In 2010, emergency restrictions were imposed for the first time in the authority’s 40-year history after the lake fell nearly 11 feet below its full level.

Bad wiring blamed for two fires at local businesses

County firefighters responded to fires at two businesses last week that both turned out to have been caused by faulty wiring.

The Chesterfield County Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded on New Year’s Day at 4:49 a.m. to a report of a building fire at the 360 Get-N-Go convenience store at 20100 Hull Street Road. Fire crews arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the rear of the building.

Officials said it took crews around 45 minutes to get the fire under control. Fire and smoke damage was heavy throughout the rear of the building.

Fire marshals concluded the fire was accidental and was caused by an electrical wiring problem in the ceiling of a storage room in the rear of the building.

On Jan. 2 at 9:35 a.m., fire crews responded to a report of a building fire at the Country Inn Suites at 2401 Willis Road. The crews arrived to find light smoke on the second floor of the hotel and a small fire in one of the rooms.

It took crews about 15 minutes to get the incident under control. All occupants were evacuated and no injuries were reported. Fire marshals determined that the fire was caused by a wiring problem.

Former teacher sentenced to year in jail

A former Cosby High School substitute teacher was sentenced last week to a year in jail after she pleaded no contest to reduced charges after she was accused of having sex with an underage male student.

Under a plea agreement, Michelle Catherine Walters, also known as Anna Michelle Walters, entered pleas of no contest to misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was originally charged with one count of “taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship” and one count of “crimes against nature to wit: carnal knowledge.” Both are felonies.

Walters, 24, was arrested in October after another former student posted nude photos of her on his Twitter account and accused her of having an affair with him. She was fired by Chesterfield County Public Schools on Oct. 12, the same day officials were made aware of the allegations.

Police said Walters’ subsequent arrest was not related to her relationship with that student, but that their investigation indicated that she had engaged in similar inappropriate sexual contact with another student – a juvenile – in a Cosby High classroom after school hours during the 2011-12 school year.

Walters must serve a minimum of six months and was ordered to undergo counseling. She will also be listed on the state’s sex offender registry.

A single-vehicle crash claimed the life of a county woman last week.

The Chesterfield County Police Department said a 2004 Nissan Xterra SUV was traveling in the 13000 block of Bundle Road around 10 p.m. last Friday when it ran off the left side of the road and hit a tree.

The driver, Tracy Parrish, 39, of the 15000 block of Pypers Pointe Drive, died at the scene, police said.

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