Highland County Authorizes Operation of Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad and Approves New Head Waters Polling Place


The Highland County Board of Supervisors discussed many items at their Tuesday, June 4, 2019 meeting. In Part 1 of our coverage, we’ll discuss the formation of a Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad and a new polling place in Head Waters.

At the April meeting of the Bolar Volunteer Fire Department, a motion was passed to form a Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad, which would be a separate entity from the fire department but house its facilities at the same location. Matt Ratcliffe spoke to the Board as a representative. In order to be properly licensed by the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services, Mr. Ratcliffe was first seeking approval by the Highland Board for authorization to operate in Highland County. The Bolar Squad would operate independently of the current Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad.

At the Board meeting, County EMS Chief Adam Gillispie said he and members of Highland’s Volunteer Rescue Squad support the decision for the creation of a Bolar Squad, with the more resources in the county, the better. He did request that the two squads would be dual-tone for any area in Highland County, so the service area for the Highland County Rescue Squad would remain the same and their mutual aid agreement with Bath County would not change.

Overall, the Board approved the request by passing a resolution to authorize the formation of a non-governmental EMS agency to be located in Bolar, Virginia and contingent upon meeting all other statutory requirements, be authorized to operate as licensed in Highland County. Moving forward, the Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad will seek approval to operate in Bath County, and the same resolution that was passed in Highland was offered to be given to Bath as a template. If the Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad does become operational, it could potentially add a resource of seven EMTs and several drivers to the area.

Also at the meeting, a public hearing was held to discuss the relocation of the Head Waters Polling Place, which is currently located at the Head Waters Fire House at 98 Lower Fork Road. Clay Hamilton of the Highland County Electoral Board presented information and answered questions, saying that the move was initiated by the fire station having its water facilities and bathroom torn out and disconnected. The new polling place was proposed to be at Rick Hoffman’s garage at 80 Cowpasture River Road, which was the only offer that was received by the electoral board. Mr. Hamilton said the garage is a much larger facility than the fire station. With no public comments, the Board voted to approve an ordinance to relocate the Head Waters Polling Place to Rick Hoffman’s garage. This will be in effect for the General Election to be held in November 2019.

In Part 2, we’ll continue coverage of the Board meeting, with information about surprise funding for Highland County Public Schools, ongoing discussion between the National Forest and Highland County regarding Shenandoah Mountain’s vault toilets, the announcement of a potential Recreation Director, a resident’s request for a proposed Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance and more.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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