Archive for: November 2017

OPINION: Thank you for reporting depth and quality
November 30, 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people at the Royal Examiner that work so hard to keep the citizens of Warren County and Front Royal apprised of the important issues facing our community.

I have noticed that the depth and quality of the reporting from the other news reporting organizations has declined greatly over the last several years. I appreciate knowing that there is a news service that takes the time to gather the facts and present them to the public; it is a necessity for a balanced community.

This creates an environment of accountability and transparency while holding the elected officials to the highest level of integrity for which they were elected to guide our town and county.

Again thank you for your dedicated service you provide for our community.


Michael Graham,  Front Royal, VA


Local News
‘Coats for Kids’ program hopes to winterize 150 kids in need this season
November 30, 2017

From left, Stanley, Cheatham and Novak display the program and the goods – and those coats on hand appeared to be well designed, insulated and WARM. Photos/Roger Bianchini

The Rotary Club of Front Royal and the Warren County Department of Social Services are teaming up to introduce “Coats for Kids” to the community this holiday season.  At a November 30 press conference at the Warren County Government Center, County Administrator Doug Stanley, Warren County Department of Social Services Director DeAnna Cheatham and current Front Royal Rotary President Rick Novak gathered to get that word out – and that word is that there are children in this community whose families do not have the resources to clothe them adequately against frigid winter temperatures.  AND “Coats for Kids” aims to help correct that situation.

Despite a late start – Stanley said development of the program here began just two weeks ago – the goal is to collect enough money to provide outdoor winter coats for 150 children before the year’s end.  As noted in their publicity signage, a $20 donation will provide the necessary funds to buy one winter coat through the program.  So, $3,000 will have to be raised to meet that goal.

Through Rotary Novak has committed a minimum $1,000 donation to “Coats for Kids” from the multi-sponsored “Embers” holiday season concert at the Warren County High School auditorium tonight, Thursday, November 30.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show, seen up and down the east coast, starts at 7 p.m. sharp – so don’t be late.

Winchester Rotary established “Coats for Kids” and Stanley said that club hopes to provide around 800 winter coats for that community’s children in need this year.

“We’d rather start modestly than skip an entire year,” Novak said of the initial goals for Front Royal and Warren County.

Stanley said the local “Coats for Kids” partnership will be doing fundraisers for the program and will have about 20 donation boxes placed throughout the community.

“I know this community is very giving and I don’t have any qualms about being able to raise the funding,” Stanley stated.  While the kickoff is focused on getting winter coats out this Christmas season, the long-term goal is a year-round effort.

“Unfortunately there are kids in our community that go without the basic needs,” Stanley observed.  Social Services Director Cheatham noted her department had already received a number of inquiries about the availability of such assistance in recent weeks as winter flirts with us – “Folks who are looking for coats, jackets, blankets for their children.

“So it’s really a blessing to be able to do this in the community; and all the proceeds that are raised in the community will help children that live in the community.  So again, we’re really fortunate to be able to take on this endeavor,” Cheatham said of the “Coats for Kids” Program.  Available coat sizes range from very young to young adult, high-school aged.

Warren County’s ‘Coats for Kids’ trio discuss a need within our community.

“And we’re going to kind of marry it up with our Doc Smith Christmas Basket Program,” Stanley added.  That program, which former Town Councilman Bret Hrbek is heavily involved in Stanley noted, provides food, including seasonal hams and turkeys for needy families in the community.  It is a long-established program started by a former town police chief that typically provides 125 to 175 food boxes of food to needy local families each Christmas.  So where the needs overlap some families may find winter clothes for their children coming with those seasonal meals.

Coats for Kids and the Doc Smith Christmas Baskets embrace the spirit of giving at the heart of the Christmas season.  And just like our “Coats for Kids” trio, we feel confident this community’s more fortunate will again embrace that spirit.

The top toys for Christmas, according to retailers
November 30, 2017

The hottest toy in 2016 is coming your way again.

A new Hatchimal, the toy egg that hatches a magical creature, is expected to be on the top of shoppers’ lists this year, according to Walmart. Order early if you want this item. The toy was gone from shelves in December 2016.

Most popular again this year are toys based on movies and television.

The Star Wars franchise keeps pumping out toys. This year, Littlebit company is introducing the Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, featuring a very talented R2D2 robot. Shoppers will also find tons of Lego and other kits for Star Wars characters.

Barbie debuts for the holidays with the DreamHorse and Doll, a pricey toy pushing $90. For $298, two kids, up to age 7, can fit in the Disney Frozen 12-Volt Ride-On Sleigh with speeds up to 2.5 mph. Flashing lights and magical tune included.

If the family enjoyed the pie-in-the-face game last year, try Soggy Doggy board game. The game centers around a spongy toy dog that gets increasingly wet as players move around the game. The key is to avoid being the one to make him shake and, naturally, get everyone wet.

Disney Princess fans might like the Enchanted Cupcake Party game. Fans of the book Flight of the Jaquins can also buy the board game.

Fingerlings are supposedly hot items. These little characters hold onto fingers and other objects.

Toys for boys feature lots of the usual cars and blasters.
Among them:
* Adventure Force Light Command Light-up Motorized Blaster
* Disney/Pixar Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway
* Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII
* Monster Jam Grave Digger

Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster leads crawlers on a merry chase, spitting balls and zig-zagging around.

FurReal takes stuffed animals a step further by making the toys interactive. The new Roarin’ Tyler, the Playful Tiger responds to sounds and motions. It even has its own play toy. The tiger retails for $117.

Local News
Lorraine L. Hultquist Music Park dedicated at Rockland Park
November 29, 2017

Sculpted Music Park benefactor Lorraine LeHew Hultquist shows how it’s done following the dedication ceremony. Photos/Roger Bianchini

At 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, November 29, County officials gathered to dedicate and officially open the outdoor music park created through a donation by Lorraine L. Hultquist.

County Parks & Recreation Director Dan Lenz moderated the event.  Ms. Hultquist and Supervisors Tony Carter and Tom Sayre made remarks.  Front Royal Mayor Hollis Tharpe, North River Supervisor Dan Murray and members of the Hultquist and LeHew families were among spectators.

Lenz explained how Ms. Hultquist brought the idea of an outdoor musical park to him after having seen one on a family visit out west.  The sculptured, all weather instruments are described as “Multigenerational Interactive Play” designed for “all abilities, all ages – Everyone Can Play” the dedication program observed.

Views of the dedication through a percussive array of tubular bells, gongs and what have you.

The “all abilities, all ages” description was proved true as two local reporters who will go unnamed – I won’t give you up, Josh – tried every instrument out in an impromptu jam upon their early arrival to the event.  The performance even motivated colleague Malcolm Barr Sr.’s Husky Pola to add a showcase howl or two between belly rubs from County Administrator Doug Stanley’s son Whill.

Youngsters of ANY age were attracted to the sculptural instrument garden – below, Doug and Whill Stanley get in tune.

And while it is a long drive from town out to Rockland Park – I want to play some more (oops, I gave myself up too, Josh) – there was some talk of additional music parks on the horizon in the county system. – And the in-town Eastham Park near the river walk and county dog parks seems an appropriate destination, the county administrator hinted.

Thank you, Ms. Hultquist for a wonderful addition to the county parks system.

The Lorraine LeHew Hultquist Music Park sign is unveiled; and the family is coaxed forward for a group portrait.

Music Park howler Pola the Husky gets a rewarding belly rub from Whill Stanley during pre-dedication down time.

Legislative Update
House Judiciary Committee Approves Bills to Protect the Second Amendment & Curb Gun Violence
November 29, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved two bills to protect the Second Amendment and curb gun violence, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 and the Fix NICS Act of 2017. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded today’s Committee approval of these bills in the statement below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Today the House Judiciary Committee took action to protect Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms and enhance public safety. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act ensures that law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right does not end when they cross state lines. Citizens with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, should not have to worry about losing these rights when entering another state that may have different rules and regulations.”

“Further, the Fix NICS Act strengthens our nation’s existing laws by ensuring criminals are reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Tragically, our nation has all too often witnessed heinous acts of violence by criminals who should never have been able to purchase a firearm. We must ensure that both federal and state authorities are properly and accurately reporting criminals to NICS so that we prevent crime and protect lives.”

“I thank Representatives Hudson and Culberson for their work on these important bills and look forward to the House of Representatives taking them up in the coming weeks.”

The House Judiciary Committee first approved by a vote of 19-11 the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38), sponsored by Representative Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). This bill allows people with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, to conceal a handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry, as long as the individual follows the laws of that state.

The Committee also approved by a vote of 17-6 the Fix NICS Act of 2017 (H.R. 4477), sponsored by Representative John Culberson (R-Texas). This bipartisan, bicameral bill ensures federal and state authorities comply with existing law and report criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The Fix NICS Act also penalizes federal agencies that fail to report relevant criminal records to the FBI, incentivizes states to improve their reporting, and directs federal funding to make sure domestic violence records are accurately reported to the FBI. Further, the bill requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics to report to Congress within 180 days the number of times that a bump stock has been used in the commission of a crime in the United States.

What Matters Warren
Town Tip Thursday: Bea Sweet ‘n Sassy – Beautiful cookies and more!
November 29, 2017


Bea Sweet ‘n Sassy cookies will be sure to complete any special occasion.  Stop by City National Bank on Commerce Ave to see the Spotlight Business display and sample a cookie!  Tammy Carlyle has followed a demand that she discovered after making cute cookies for her granddaughter’s birthday party.

Watch this video to learn more! Exciting additions to her product line for the new year.

Tammy Carlyle | Bea Sweet ‘n Sassy | | (540) 252-6812

Be sure to contact City National Bank to learn more about their Spotlight Business display that is available to all local small businesses.  In addition, during the month of December, there are opportunities to have your Shop Local material displayed around the bank.

600 N Commerce Ave | Front Royal, Virginia 22630 | (540) 635-4137

Community Events
Selah Theatre Project presents GLORY BEA!-A SHENANDOAH CHRISTMAS
November 29, 2017

Selah Theatre Project presents GLORY BEA!-A SHENANDOAH CHRISTMAS, written by Rich Follett and Larry Dahlke. Directed by Rich Follett.

Event Details: A Shenandoah Valley Christmas Tradition Returns About The Play It is 1933 in the Shenandoah Valley and the Depression has hit valley residents hard. Families need work and the CCC is providing jobs by creating the Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Pineville Christmas Eve pageant will not be complete without its Christmas Cedar Tree. But, the blizzard of ’33 is wreaking havoc on the family members trying to get home for Christmas through the blinding snowstorm. Christmas Eve- anything is possible on Christmas Eve. Hard times, an argument over a tree, a baby born at Christmas, a little girl lost in the snow, redbirds and angels…and a miraculous homecoming.

About Selah’s Production Selah Theatre Project is proud to bring back a beloved Shenandoah Valley holiday tradition. GLORY BEA!-A SHENANDOAH CHRISTMAS STORY, a Wayside Theatre classic, is a heart-warming Christmas musical written by Larry Dahlke and much-loved local author, actor, musician, director, drama instructor and High School Drama teacher Rich Follett.

La Tasha Do’zia-Earley, Selah Theatre Project’s founding artistic director, enthused, “We are so excited to bring back a Valley holiday tradition. Even better is having Rich Follett here to direct his Christmas classic!”

WHEN: Fridays: December 8th and December 15th at 7PM
Saturdays: December 9th and December 16th at 7 PM
Sundays: December 10th and December 17th at 3 PM

TICKETS: General Admission: $12 online/$15 at the door
Students/Seniors: $8 online/$10 at the door

WHERE: 30 East 8th Street, Front Royal, VA 22630

MORE INFO: Phone: 540-686-5185

Local News
CHRISTMAS PARADE: Street Closures and Parking Restrictions
November 29, 2017

The Front Royal Police Department has announced street closures and parking restrictions
in conjunction with Front Royal’s Annual Christmas Parade.

On Saturday, December 2, 2017, parking restrictions and street closures will be in effect
beginning at 3:00pm. There will be no on-street parking permitted on the following streets:
• Luray Avenue from W. Criser Road to Kilby Drive
• Kilby Drive
• West Stonewall Drive
• South Royal Avenue from Stonewall Drive to Main Street
• East Main Street from Royal Avenue to Blue Ridge Avenue
• Chester Street from East Main Street to 3rd Street
• 3rd Street from Chester Street to North Commerce Avenue

Royal Avenue is scheduled to close at approximately 3:40pm in anticipation of the parade,
which will start at 4:00pm. Motorists shall detour the parade area via the truck route, which is South Street and Commerce Avenue.

Participants in the parade are required to enter the Luray Avenue lineup area from W. Criser Road or Kerfoot Avenue to avoid congestion. Luray Avenue will be marked as an eastbound only one-way street during the parade preparation and lineup.

The parade route will start from Luray Avenue and proceed onto Stonewall Drive then north
on S. Royal Avenue; east on E. Main Street; north on Chester Street, and continuing until
turning onto 3rd Street and ending at the Warren County Government Center.

The Front Royal Police Department advises that motorists should add a little extra time to
their travel plans and to be patient as we assist in this Christmas celebration. For the safety
of the participants and the spectators, if you encounter a barricade or traffic control device
please obey it and redirect your route. It is illegal to move, go around or through barricades or to disregard traffic control devices.

Let’s make this a safe and happy holiday season for everyone.

Local News
Local elementary school artists paint Town Hall windows
November 29, 2017

FRONT ROYAL – A group of fifth grade artists, under the direction of Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary’s Laura Walthall and A.S. Rhodes Elementary’s Caitlin Himelright, spent Monday afternoon painting the windows of Town Hall on Main Street.

“This activity allowed the students to provide a service to the community as well as learn to work together as a team to achieve a common goal,” said Jennifer Avery, mother of painter
Shiloh Avery.

The painting creates a stained-glass window effect, with winter themes on each panel.

Photos & Video by Jennifer Avery

Drones might be the next medical transporter
November 29, 2017

From breathtaking videos to Amazon deliveries, people have been finding more and more uses for drones. Because they are small, unmanned, and able to cover any terrain while flying, these aircraft are especially good at delivering small things from one place to another.

According to The Verge, hospitals are currently testing them as a form of medical transport that could dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes to deliver medical supplies to the field or recover samples to take back to a laboratory.

These hybrid drones combine the helicopter-like ability to vertically launch with an airplane’s ability to fly longer distances to make them as flexible as possible in the field. Coupled with a special foam-cushioned cooling compartment, these drones are capable of keeping samples cool during a three-hour flight over the Arizona desert.