Author archive: Royal Examiner

Local News
Snow impacting commuters state police say
January 17, 2018

Snow-covered secondary roads have made for school delays, closings and commuter headaches, according to Virginia State Police. /File photo.

RICHMOND, VA. –Highways across much of  Virginia continue to be impacted by the falling snow in those regions, according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corrine Geller.

As 10:15 a.m., Wednesday (Jan. 17), Virginia State Police troopers are responding to 61 traffic crashes and 6 disabled vehicles statewide:

Division I–Richmond (Metro Richmond/Northern Neck/Tri-Cities)
Traffic Crashes= 7

Division II–Culpeper (Fredericksburg/Culpeper/Warrenton/Harrisonburg/Winchester)
Traffic Crashes=6

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville/Waynesboro/Staunton/Lynchburg/South Boston/South Hill)
Traffic Crashes=16

Division IV-Wytheville (Wytheville/Dublin/Galax/Bristol/Vansant/Wise)
Traffic Crashes=8

Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads/Tidewater/Eastern Shore/Williamsburg/Franklin/Emporia)
Traffic Crashes=2

Division VI-Salem (Lexington/Clifton Forge/Roanoke/Blacksburg/Bedford/Martinsville/Danville)
Traffic Crashes=17

Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William/Loudoun/Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax)
Traffic Crashes=3

The majority of the traffic crashes reported only involve damage to vehicles.

For road conditions, Virginians are reminded to use the VDOT 511 system. Please do not call 911 or #77 to ask about road conditions, as these are emergency numbers and need to remain open to emergency calls.

Those who do have to travel today are advised to…
1. Make sure all windows and lights are clear of snow before heading out.
2. Always buckle up – driver and all passengers.
3. Drive distraction free – put down the phone and coffee and keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
4. Slow speed for conditions.
5. Use headlights to increase your visibility and to help other drivers see you better.
6. Share the road responsibly with VDOT vehicles and emergency vehicles.

Interesting Things You Need to Know
Where are the parrots?
January 17, 2018

The beautiful and endangered Puerto Rican parrot should begin nesting this month in tree cavities throughout the El Yunque National Forest.

Except the forest is bare.

After two devastating hurricanes, the El Yunque forest of Puerto Rico is denuded of its canopy and, most ominously, it is silent.

No bird calls echo through the forest and none of the characteristic shrieks of the native Puerto Rican parrot.
The parrot, called iguaca, is found only in Puerto Rico. Once a million strong, by 1973 only a dozen parrots remained. Captive breeding programs have brought the numbers up to 500, more than half in the wild. An elaborate hurricane protection program saved 230 captive birds. But the double punch of two hurricanes in 2017, have left researchers wondering about the fate of the wild population.

Did they go elsewhere? Were they killed? And if they lived, where will they nest?

Since the storm, researchers have identified about 80 parrots, foraging for royal palm fruits, the last remaining of the scarce vegetation.

Some evidence hints that wild birds may have traveled away from the storm. One parrot was spotted miles away from the forest.

A few individuals were found dead.

What survivors there are will have to make a living in a forest without cover, at risk of attack by hawks. Artificial tree cavities are largely gone and trees are knocked down all over the forest.

Researchers fear an entire generation of parrots may be lost to the storms.
New York Times.

Legislative Update
Goodlatte Statement on DOJ/DHS Report on Immigration and National Security
January 16, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on the report issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”:

“The startling information in this report confirms what we already know: our current immigration system is broken, and it fails to protect the American people. America is a nation of immigrants, most of whom came to this country seeking a better life. However, the years of lax enforcement, weak border security, and chain migration have brought in dangerous foreign nationals who have conspired against and in some cases harmed Americans. Of the 549 terror-related convictions since the attacks on September 11, 2001, 73% of those convicted were foreign born.

“I appreciate the Administration’s efforts to reform our immigration laws and improve our national security. To that end, I have worked with my colleagues on the Homeland Security Committee to draft the Securing America’s Future Act. This legislation addresses many of the immigration problems identified by the Administration in October 2017, and it fixes the loopholes that allowed dangerous individuals to enter and remain in the United States as they planned to harm U.S. citizens. This bill is a necessary first step to fix our broken immigration system and protect the American people.”

Background: The Securing America’s Future Act bolsters enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, secures the border, and provides a long-term legislative solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The DOJ/DHS report was compiled in response to the President’s Executive Order 13780, and the full report is available here.

Town Notices
No yard waste collection on January 17, 2018
January 16, 2018

Yard waste collection was originally scheduled to stop on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Due to the holiday week, there will be no yard waste collection on January 17, 2018.

The Town of Front Royal has extended yard waste collection and will end on Wednesday, January 24, 2018.

Christmas Tree Collection will still end Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Public Works 540-635-7819

Community Events
Local Pastors and Citizens to Remember Peter Muhlenberg, the Fighting Parson
January 16, 2018

The Rev. Larry Wilson Johnson will lead prayers of thanksgiving and remembrance at the Peter Muhlenberg statues at the courthouse in Woodstock, Virginia, at 11am on this Saturday, January 20. Johnson, a descendant of several great grandfathers who fought in the Revolutionary War, will be joined by local pastors and citizens. The public is invited.

This is the 242th anniversary when 300 Shenandoah Valley men assembled at the intersection of the court house to go to war on January 21, 1776. Their leader was the Rev. Col. Peter Muhlenberg a young Lutheran/Anglican pastor who was asked by Patrick Henry and General George Washington to form a regiment and join in the fight for American Freedom. Peter would become known as the “fighting parson.” The story of the sermon he gave that day is recorded in history books worldwide. Muhlenberg and his regiment were at Valley Forge the following year, 1777-78 during a most awful and deadly winter where nearly 3,000 soldiers died of starvation and disease. He was with Washington when British General Cornwallis surrendered at York Town, Virginia in October1781. This ended the war and secured American Independence.

This is the fourth year Johnson and others have assembled to mark this historic day. The Rev. Larry W. Johnson is a past president of the Col. James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. For information call Johnson at 540.454.4129. Johnson is known for his presentations on Revolutionary War History.

Historical Background

The Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, 242 years ago on January 21, 1776, incited 300 men of his congregations in the Shenandoah Valley to join the American Revolution. He was a minister serving at least seven churches in the Valley at Woodstock, Strasburg, Shenandoah County and what would be Page County. The Rev. Muhlenberg first received a commission as a Colonel in George Washington’s Army and served until the end of the War when British forces at Yorktown under Lord General Cornwallis surrendered. Earlier he was with Washington at Valley Forge. He is especially remembered for the sermon he delivered on 21 January, 1776, in his Woodstock Church, where he preached from Ecclesiastes the Third Chapter, which starts with “To everything there is a season….” After reading the eighth verse, “a time for war, and a time for peace,” he declared, “and this is the time for war.” With this he whipped off his clerical robe to reveal his Revolutionary War uniform. General Washington, his good friend, had asked him personally to take this commission so Muhlenberg joined him in what would become the most epic war ever fought for freedom. The Rev. Muhlenberg rose to the rank of Major General and is a role model for ministers and all Patriotic Americans today.

Legislative Update
Warner & Kaine ask DHS to reverse decision ending protected status for Salvadorans
January 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined a group of 27 Senate Democrats in a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen urging DHS to reverse its decision to end Temporary Protection Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador.

Earlier this week, DHS announced it would be ending TPS designation for the nearly 200,000 Salvadorans working and living under TPS protections in the United States today. Ending the TPS designation will not only uproot thousands of lives, disrupt communities across the U.S. and remove much-needed workers from important sectors of the U.S. economy, but it will also harm progress made to improve conditions in El Salvador.

“We believe that conditions in El Salvador remain unstable, and that continued TPS designation is warranted for the country,” the senators wrote. “In June 2017, the Trump administration held a conference to promote prosperity, governance, and rule of law in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America—including El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. While progress has been made under the Alliance for Prosperity in reducing gang violence, improving rule of law, and addressing root causes of migration, considerably more work needs to be done as conditions remain dangerous and the economic situation tenuous. The decision to end TPS for 200,000 Salvadorans and needlessly subject these immigrants to deportation stands to threaten, not further, this progress.”

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the letter was signed by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The letter is available here. The text of the letter is below.

Local News
Town of Front Royal awarded $700K interview with Jeremy Camp and Felicia Hart
January 16, 2018

Beth Waller interviews Jeremy Camp, Town Director of Planning & Zoning and Felicia Hart, Town Director of Community Development & Tourism.  They discuss the big news about the Community Development Block Grant of $700,000!

Click this link to go to the Envision 2.0 presentation:

Read more here. 

Anyone interested in learning more about the project may contact Jeremy Camp at (540)635-4236 or by email at [email protected].

Interview with Beth Waller, Jeremy Camp and Felicia Hart
A What Matters Initiative

Legislative Update State News
Latest update from Richmond from Delegate Chris Collins
January 16, 2018

The 2018 General Assembly session is officially underway. This year will be a long session (60 days) where we will tackle important issues such as healthcare, the opioid crisis, and the teacher shortage across Virginia.

On Saturday, January 13 Governor-Elect Ralph Northam was sworn into office. He is a product of the Senate and someone who has worked well with governors and members of both parties. House Republicans are eager to work with Governor Northam on areas where there is bipartisan support.

House Speaker Kirk Cox
The 2018 House session was gaveled in on Wednesday, January 10th at 12 noon. It started with Republican Delegate Kirk Cox being unanimously elected to be the 55th Speaker of the House. Speaker Cox set a clear tone for the 2018 Session, pledging to focus on governing, work across the aisle, and lead with character and integrity.

Committee Assignments

Committee assignments were announced last week. I am honored to serve on the House Courts of Justice, Transportation and Education committees. I have served on Courts of Justice since the start of my first term in 2016 and was assigned to the Transportation committee during the 2017 session. I am a new member on the House Education committee and look forward to finding solutions to our public school teacher shortage.

2018 Legislation
During the 2018 legislative session, I will be carrying over 20 bills on topics ranging from distracted and improper driving to legislation related to the storage and preservation of adoption records. I am also carrying several bills for local municipalities and constituents in Virginia’s 29th District. I encourage you to view the full list of legislation by clicking on the link below.

Track Legislation

In summary, I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the coming months. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can email me at [email protected] or call my office in Richmond at (804) 698-1029.
Delegate Chris Collins
117 West Boscawen Street  Suite 1
WinchesterVA 22601


Food allergies are on the rise among American children
January 16, 2018

As modern medicine continues to find ways to treat and prevent illnesses from occurring, at least one issue affecting children is on the rise.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, food allergies in children have risen by 50 percent over the past couple of decades with peanut or tree nut allergies more than tripling during roughly the same period. Complicating matters further, about 30 percent of children with a food allergy are allergic to more than one type of food.

It’s important to identify food allergies so that steps can be taken to avoid that food and prevent harmful reactions. Food allergies can cause severe reactions like anaphylaxis, a serious, fast acting reaction that causes an itchy rash, swelling of the throat and tongue, breathing problems, vomiting and light-headedness. A dose of epinephrine is usually required to mediate the symptoms.

About 200,000 people seek medical attention for food allergies each year, and roughly 40 percent of children with allergies will experience a serious incident at some point. Events are most common outside the home when it is more difficult to determine the ingredients of prepared food and cross-contamination is more likely.

There are a lot of theories for why allergies are on the rise and one idea gaining traction is the hygiene hypothesis. CNBC explains that this theory speculates that a lack of exposure to allergens, bacteria, and other infectious agents early in a child’s life can cause the immune system to register food proteins as a germ in the body. Although not conclusive, the FDA is currently investigating this theory, along with others, to help explain the sudden rise in allergies among American children.

It is possible for many allergies, such as milk, wheat, and eggs, to resolve themselves during childhood, but it is uncommon for allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and fish to go away on their own. As of yet, there is no medical cure for food allergies at any age, and the only real way to avoid issues is to avoid the problem foods.

Why making websites mobile-friendly is important
January 15, 2018

People are more attached to their smartphones than ever but recent analysis from Alliance Data shows that although 63 percent of millennials shop on them every day, only 39 percent of their total purchases are actually made online.
This trend is alarming news for online stores and vendors that are eager to get this targeted demographic to follow through on their online purchases. This data is also a little puzzling because this same age group is much more likely to use their phones to research products, comparison shop, and look for coupons online before heading into the physical store to buy the merchandise.

According to recent data from Osterman Research, online security could play a significant role in determining whether or not someone actually buys their goods online. They cite the 42.2 percent of millennials in America that have limited their purchases due to security concerns. Any data shared over the internet carries with it some risk of identity theft or fraud. In this case, increased use of security-focused shopping portals, coupled with better transparency of the website itself could help pave the way for peace of mind.

Perhaps more likely, CNET argues that many people turn to physical stores to complete their purchases simply because it can still be quite frustrating to input all the required information on a tiny smartphone keypad. Names, email addresses, passwords, physical addresses, and credit card numbers entered during checkout is a tedious process for all but the savviest users. Even using a desktop makes the process much more comfortable and the pictures are easier to view and navigate to boot.

For online retailers to secure their shoppers’ attention and wallets, the process of adding items to carts and checking out should be as seamless as possible. Integrating many different types of payment options, such as Paypal or Apple Pay, would also help entice people who trust a dedicated payment platform over an online storefront.