Archive for: December 29th, 2017

Community Events
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center invites public to Jan. 13 Open House
December 29, 2017

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Clarke Co. will host an Open House Jan. 13. Photos/Dara Bailey Design

The two-year-old, state of the art, Blue Ridge Wildlife Center at Boyce in Clarke County will be open to the general public for the first time on Saturday, January 13 from noon to 3 p.m. Members of the public are invited to the Open House to learn about what goes on day-to-day behind the scenes of this amazing new hospital, only the second of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

A full time veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Riley, treats some 1,000 animals each year. While most are returned to the wild, those whose injuries are more severe are provided permanent shelter at the center. The facility has a $400,000 annual budget and occupies 17 acres of grass and trees immune to the traffic noise of nearby Route 50.

Waiting to welcome visitors to the Open House will be Wildlife Ambassadors such as Jefferson, the American bald eagle; Beeker, a striped skunk; an eastern screech owl named Dopey; Arctic Fox Snow; and a variety of other foxes, squirrels, turtles, possums; and even a black snake called Slim.

Above, Jefferson, the American Bald Eagle; below Rocket, the flying squirrel (he thinks he’s an eagle) – the pair will be among animals ‘meeting and greeting’ the public at Open House.


Jefferson is one of several raptors housed at the facility that were injured by collisions with vehicular traffic and left unable to fly after their treatment. All, or most, of the animals are used in an extensive educational program conducted in the Bradley Learning Center, as well as off site at schools and clubs in Clarke, Warren and other neighboring counties.

Hillary Davidson, the newly appointed executive director, who boasts an injured owl as a family pet, advises to call ahead (540) 837-9000 if the weather looks dicey, and for directions; or online visit Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.

The wildlife center/hospital is about a half-hour drive from Front Royal.

Education is a big part of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center – here, Heather Sparks shows young visitors an Eastern Screech Owl.


Local News
Official: Osage Street fire under investigation, seeking public’s help
December 29, 2017

Warren County Fire & Rescue personnel tackle a camper fire Thursday afternoon on Osage Street. / Courtesy photos.

FRONT ROYAL – Investigators from both the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Front Royal Police Department are seeking information regarding a Thursday afternoon fire on Osage Street that destroyed a mobile camper and damaged a nearby parked vehicle and apartment building.

In a media release Thursday evening, Fire Marshal Gerry R. Maiatico said that on Thursday, (December 28) at 4:38pm, first responders were alerted to a reported camper fire in the 300 block of Osage Street in town.

Arriving units found a mobile-type camper fully involved with fire which threatened a nearby apartment building. Maiatico said crews were able to quickly contain the blaze, but not before it destroyed the camper and damaged a nearby vehicle and apartment building.

Firefighters worked in bitter cold temperatures Thursday to contain a camper fire, before it could spread to a nearby apartment building.

Maiatico  said bystanders, along with Front Royal Police Department officers, helped evacuate the apartment building.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Maiatico stated in the release, saying that “while the fire was quickly contained, this fire incident could have quickly spread out of control and could have easily posed a serious threat to the occupants of the neighboring apartments.”

No one was injured in the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office at (540) 638-3830 or Detective David Fogle, with the Front Royal Police Department, at (540) 636-2208 or [email protected]

The nut that is never sold in a shell
December 29, 2017

It may never have crossed your mind: In the bags of mixed nuts in the shell, none of the nuts are cashews.

In fact, cashews are never sold in the shell — for a very good reason.

The cashew nut is actually a seed surrounded by a double shell. The shell contains oils related to the same chemical in poison ivy that causes skin rashes, according to The Nutcracker Museum. The toxic oils are easily roasted off, usually in outdoor settings since, like poison ivy, inhaling the burning oils causes severe lung irritation.

The toxic exterior of the cashew is not the only thing that makes it unique.

A cashew tree first flowers with a small, delicate green, then pink, five-petaled flower, less than an inch long. The cashew nut grows on the flower. Above the nut grows a juicy, pear-shaped, red or yellow pseudo-fruit up to four inches long. The cashew apple is popular in tropical countries where the cashew tree grows, but its waxy outer layer does contain skin irritants that must be steamed off then washed.

The cashew apple has never been suitable for export since its skin is easily damaged.
The evergreen cashew tree can grow up to 46 feet tall. The oldest and largest cashew tree in the world is found in Brazil. It covers an area of about 2 acres. The branches of the tree bend to the ground under an immense canopy of leaves. Each branch takes root where it touches the soil, making it difficult to see the main trunk of the tree. Thought to be about 1,000 years old, the ancient cashew tree produces about 60,000 fruits each year.