Highland Supervisors Turn Down Request To Name Creek After Highland County Resident
Monterey, VA – The federal government imposes strict standards for the naming of natural geographic features, such as rivers, mountains and valleys. The Highland County Supervisors discussed these standards during a work session on February 15.
Westward expansion into the American frontier greatly accelerated after the Civil War. Numerous inconsistencies with feature names caused disputes and confusion for explorers, settlers, and surveyors. President Benjamin Harrison created a federal agency in 1890 – the Board on Geographic Names – to be a neutral arbiter of geographic names. States boards were created to assist the federal board, using national standards.
The supervisors considered Wes Maupin’s request to name a creek after Eugene Herbert Maupin, a Highland County native who was killed in action during WWII, at the age of 22. Maupin submitted the request to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which forwarded the request to the state board for recommendation. The state board, in turn, requested a recommendation from the Supervisors. County Administrator Roberta Lambert reads from a letter, from the Virginia board to the Supervisors.
“The person the feature is being named after must have some direct and long-term association with the feature, or have made a significant contribution to the area or state in which it is located,” she read.
The letter continues with the Virginia board’s conclusion regarding the request.
“The Virginia Board on Geographic Names recognizes the ultimate sacrifice given by Eugene Maupin for his country during WWII,” Lambert reads. “However, we find no record or indication that he made a significant contribution to the area, in which the stream is located, or that his contributions to Highland County meet the criteria established by the USGS Board on Geographic Names.”
The most important federal policy for naming geographic features is local use and acceptance of the name. Supervisor Kevin Wagner says three riparian landowners along the creek expressed opposition to the request.
“I’ve actually heard from three of the landowners, that are adamantly against it,” he said.
The Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to disapprove Maupin’s request, thereby recommending disapproval to the Virginia Board for Geographic Names.
The supervisors considered a request from Beth Armstrong for $3,000 for the local Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act program. The program provides alternatives to juvenile detention for the county court.
Wagner noted that juvenile detention would be more expensive for the county and supported the request. Board attorney Melissa Ann Dowd, who also serves as Commonwealth Attorney, noted that the program had not been a financial burden to the county and strongly supported the request.
“We do not provide her with office space,” said Lambert. “She does all of her work from home and we do not buy her equipment.”
“This is a very important program for the juvenile court system,” Dowd added. “There really isn’t anything out there like it. There isn’t anybody, right now, that substitutes for the services that Beth coordinates through this. So, I would, as Commonwealth Attorney, ask that you grant her the funding.”
The Board voted 3-0 to approve Armstrong’s request for $3,000.
Highland County has a deadline of March 31 to close and restore the MacDowell solid waste collection site. Lambert told the board that it has two options: advertising to soliciting bids or request for quotes. The county procurement ordinance allows requests for quotes for expenditures of less than $50,000. Board chairman David Blanchard says he would prefer to do business locally, especially with the short amount of time.
“We’re under the gun,” he said. “Rather than bids coming in from out of the county, we probably could come up with a list of local contractors that are capable of doing this work and contact them and have them put bids in on it.”
Wagner says the board should consider lowering the amount it can spend without a bidding process.
I really would like to start more of a competitive bidding for things and set a lower limit on this than $50,000,” he said. “I think that’s kind of high.”
The board voted 3-0 to authorize Lambert to locate a local contractor who can perform the site restoration, at a cost less than $50,000.