2012-09-26 / News Briefs

Fort Lee contributes billions to area economy, report says

Michael Buettner

Following its recent expansion, Fort Lee contributes an estimated $2.4 billion a year to the economy in the surrounding region, according to a new study.

The recently released report, “The Economic Impact of Fort Lee on the Petersburg Region,” compiled for the Crater Planning District Commission, found that Fort Lee accounts for about one-seventh of the total economy of the area, which includes Chesterfield County.

With the expansion of the military post under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closing process, Fort Lee employs more than 12,700 people including military, Defense Department civilian employees, private contractors and other civilians.

More than $124 million in state and local taxes are generated each year through the post’s activities, the report found.

Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle, chairman of the Crater commission, said residents understand the “critical importance” of Fort Lee to the region.

“Every sector of our economy is impacted by the presence of Fort Lee,” Jaeckle said in a prepared statement. “Insuring its continued vitality is the most important economic development project that this region could possibly undertake.”

The full report is available on the Crater commission’s website at

County Fair attendance rises

The 99th Chesterfield County Fair drew a total attendance of almost 33,000 during its Aug. 24-Sept. 1 run this year, according to its organizer, the Chesterfield County Fair Association.

The total was a big improvement over last year’s draw of 25,000, which organizers said was limited by Hurricane Irene and its aftereffects, but was still below the record high of 40,000 set in 2010.

Chesterfield County Fair Association President Julia Williams said the turnout was good but could have been better if the weather had been more cooperative. On three of the five weekend dates this year, the area saw rain or a threat of rain.

Weekday attendance was higher this year because of a discount ride coupon promotion through Martin’s Food Markets offering midway riders $2 off the regular price of an unlimited-ride wristband. Nearly one-third of the total attendance visited the fair Mondays through Thursdays, the days when the discount ride offer was available.

Body of abducted businessman found

A body found in Richmond last week has been identified as that of a Chesterfield gas station and convenience store owner abducted the week before.

The Richmond Police Department said that around 4 p.m. last Thursday, it received a call reporting a person found in the parking lot of Ancarrow’s Landing, a boat ramp and fishing spot on the James River. Officers arrived and found an adult male near the Slave Trail section of the parking lot and began a death investigation.

The body was later identified as that of Paresh D. Patel, 44, who had been missing since Sept. 16. The Chesterfield County Police Department said Patel was abducted around 6 a.m. that day as he was opening his business, the Raceway gas station at 5600 Jefferson Davis Highway.

Police said a witness reported seeing two men wearing dark clothing force Patel into a dark-colored van.

Richmond police are leading the homicide investigation, with help from the FBI and Chesterfield police. Anyone who has information is asked to call Richmond Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or text 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by the tip.

County woman arrested in bank robberies

Police arrested a woman last week in connection with four bank robberies that occurred in the Chester area.

Touwana L. Tate-Edwards, 48, was arrested last Wednesday on charges related to robberies at the Wells Fargo bank branch at 4400 W. Hundred Road on July 12; at the Bank of Southside Virginia branch at 4310 W. Hundred Road on Aug. 6; at the Virginia Commonwealth Bank branch at 4600 W. Hundred Road on Aug. 13; and at the Virginia Credit Union branch at 13025 Jefferson Davis Highway at about 4:20 p.m. on Sept. 7.

Tate-Edwards, of the 13500 block of Evelyn Drive, was charged with four counts of robbery, four counts of entering a bank with intent to commit larceny, one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and one count of threats to bomb or damage a building.

She is being held at the Chesterfield County Jail. Her next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29.

Funds for ministers’ foundation

The Ministering to Ministers Foundation will hold its second annual Pansy Sale from Sept. 23 through Oct. 19. The 6-inch pansies will arrive on Oct. 19. Pansy orders may be placed online at The last day to order is Friday, Oct. 12.

Pick-up day will be Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 501 Branchway Road, just off Courthouse Road near Chesterfield Towne Center. For more information, call 594-2556 or visit

Wine-tasting benefit for foster children

KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs will hold its second annual Wine Tasting and Networking event today, Sept. 26, from 5-8 p.m. at Total Wine and More, 10036 Robious Road. Proceeds from the event will benefit the group’s local KEYS program, designed to teach children in foster care skills such as independent living, applying for jobs, filling out a job application, successful interviewing, opening a bank account and more. For more information, call Manny Ortiz or Jess Mendez at 594-7214 or (877) 293-7924.

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