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Madeline's House SOS

Nottoway County is unlikely to be able to continue housing Madeline's House on property it owns at Fort Pickett. Even if the site weren't sold to the federal government for the proposed U.S. State Department Foreign Affairs Training Center (FASTC), according to County Administrator Ronald E. Roark, explosives used in the training would make being a close neighbor incompatible for those seeking shelter from domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Clearly, Nottoway County has done an outstanding job, mostly on its own, of providing Madeline's House with a home for more than a decade. Rent-free.

Just as clearly, it seems the time has come for the 11 other localities served so well by Madeline's House to step up to the plate and help find a new home for the life-saving shelter.

The need to maintain the services provided by Madeline's House is without question. Homeland Security does begin at home. But it is not fair to criticize Nottoway County for embracing the possibility of a project that could produce 1,000 jobs for the area and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment. And particularly given the County's support of Madeline's House to date.

The FASTC is not a done deal. There is a hurdle or two yet. But together the 12 counties-which include Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward-should begin working together to find and provide Madeline's House with a new location. It had seemed that the best alternative was for Madeline's House to continue occupying its current location, exempting its 500-foot footprint at the Fort Pickett site from the FASTC project. But if bombs are going to be exploding around it, the emotional and psychological wellbeing of the women and children seeking shelter there will be threatened.

A new home seems to be the only genuine alternative.

Together, the region can and must provide one. In 13 years, 1,093 women and children have found shelter at Madeline's House. In the years to come, we cannot allow numbers such as those to be reduced by fatalities, women and children killed because there was no shelter for them.

-JKW-