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Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation couldn't afford director

By Sally Voth

The latest battle being fought at Cedar Creek is budgetary and its casualty is John Christiansen.

Hired as the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation's executive director in September 2011, Christiansen was laid off March 15.

Foundation President Mike Kehoe said there are no plans to fill the vacancy at this time.

"A lot of nonprofits are not having the best revenue streams right now, so for the time being we're just going to operate without a director at this time, which we did a couple of years ago, too," he said Wednesday afternoon. "[We will] rely on the board members and volunteers."

Kehoe said there was concern that the town of Strasburg would move its visitors center from the Hupp's Hill Civil War Park to a house on U.S. 11 near the Interstate 81 interchange -- a proposal the Strasburg Town Council opted not to pursue earlier this week.

The town and the battlefield foundation jointly operate the center, which has an adjoining museum.

"We're glad [the center is staying put]," Kehoe said. "We think we can further improve the museum as time goes along."

He said the museum remains open at the visitors center.

"We've been open all winter except on Wednesdays and Thursdays," Kehoe said. "It's starting to pick up now already. Tourist season is beginning."

During the winter, the foundation "mothballs" its other site, on U.S. 11 south of Middletown, according to Kehoe. He said that will hopefully be opened up again in April.

While Christiansen is still associated with the foundation, not having him as executive director "makes everything more difficult," Kehoe acknowledged.

"It was a financial-based decision," he said. "In the past after the re-enactment, we pretty much close shop for the winter anyway, then start opening up again in spring."

Event planning continues, including preparations for the 150th anniversary of the battle next year, Kehoe said.

He said donations and volunteers are both needed. For more information, visit www.ccbf.us.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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