Author archive: Royal Examiner

Town Notices
Town has lifted the status of Voluntary Water Conservation
January 18, 2018
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The Town of Front Royal Public Works Department has observed that the average stream flow rate of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River has increased; therefore, the Town has lifted the status of Voluntary Water Conservation for its municipal water system users.

Thank you for your assistance in conserving the Town of Front Royal’s water resources during the most recent periods of low river flow. Please continue to monitor your local media sources for future reports of water conservation efforts in the Town of Front Royal if the average stream flow rate decreases.

If you have any questions about water conservation efforts and would like to learn more about conserving water usage, please contact the Public Works Department (540) 635-7819.

Joe Waltz
Town Manager

Town Events
Dozer: Pet of the Month
January 18, 2018
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Dozer is a 2 year old Pitbull terrier with brown and white markings. Dozer is already neutered and up to date on all his vaccines. He is a big, strong boy with tons of energy! Dozer needs a home without cats but can do well with other dogs and older children.

 

Our Westminster Dog Show Raffle is still going on!

Tickets are $10 a piece for a chance to win $500! Your ticket will be randomly assigned a dog breed and if that breed wins Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show, you’ll win the $500!

Tickets can be purchased at the shelter located at 1245 Progress Drive, Front Royal VA. Winner announced February 14th, 2018.

Legislative Update
House Judiciary Committee Approves the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act
January 18, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act (H.R. 4170) by a vote of 15-6. This bipartisan piece of legislation updates the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to improve the transparency and give enforcement authority to the Department of Justice. Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) is the chief sponsor of H.R. 4170.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement:

“The House Judiciary Committee voted today in favor of transparency and accountability. By closing the dangerous loopholes in the Foreign Agents Registration Act, this legislation gives the Department of Justice the crucial enforcement tools it needs to investigate foreign agents, identify fraud, and hold violators accountable. I appreciate all of the hard work that Representative Johnson has put into this bipartisan bill, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”

Background:

A 2016 OIG report regarding the Department of Justice (DOJ) National Security Division found that DOJ lacked a comprehensive enforcement strategy and the tools necessary to address abuse of foreign lobbying efforts. H.R. 4170 addresses the ambiguity in the existing law and increases transparency and oversight in DOJ enforcement efforts.

Community Events
Lord Fairfax Community College welcomes Disney Institute to Middletown, VA
January 18, 2018
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Middletown – For the eighth straight year, Disney Institute is bringing its renowned professional development course, Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement, to Middletown on March 29, 2018. Sponsored by Lord Fairfax Community College Workforce Solutions, the one-day event will help area professionals explore how to adapt training strategies that ensure employees are confident in their roles by creating a holistic plan that drives employee engagement. This day of Disney Institute training uses business insights and time-tested examples from Disney parks and resorts worldwide to inspire individuals and organizations to enhance their own customer experience using Disney principles as their guide.

Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement gives participants the chance to explore how corporate culture insights and time-tested examples from Disney parks and resorts worldwide can provide relevant illustrations and engaging stories to help organizations deliver the type of long-term results they are capable of delivering.

The Disney Institute at LFCC has been a big draw, with more than 1,300 participants from 13 states participating in prior institutes. Last year saw the biggest crowd ever, with 244 attendees.

Early Bird Registration is $445 and includes all course materials as well as lunch and light snacks. Price goes up to $495 after February 15, 2018. Employers, ask us about BOGO – Buy One Get One Free & Group Ticket Pricing. For more information or to register, call 540-868-7021 or visit LFCCWorkforce.com/DI

About Disney Institute
As the trusted, authoritative voice on the Disney approach to customer experience, Disney Institute uses business insights and time-tested examples from Disney parks and resorts worldwide to inspire individuals and organizations to enhance their own customer experience using Disney principles as their guide. For nearly three decades, Disney Institute has helped professionals discover ways to positively impact their
organizations and the customer they serve through immersion in leadership, service and employee engagement. Unique to Disney Institute is the opportunity to go behind the scenes in a “living laboratory” to observe firsthand how Disney methodologies are operationalized and how they can be adapted and applied to any work environment.
To learn more, visit www.disneyinstitute.com or call 321-939-4600.

Legislative Update
General Assembly Session Update – Senator Mark Obenshain
January 18, 2018
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We are almost one week into the 2018 General Assembly Session and it has been a productive one thus far.

The Senate of Virginia began with the same 40 senators on Wednesday of this past week.  All 40 senators are in the same seats and are members of the same committees on which they served last year.  That is about the only thing that hasn’t changed in Capitol Square since we concluded the 2017 session.

The House of Delegates is very different than it was last year.  They have a new Speaker, Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights, who was elected on the opening day of session.  And, they have 19 new delegates.  Of those new delegates, 16 are Democrats and 3 are Republicans, and the House’s partisan balance is now 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.  That’s a lot closer to the 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats in the Senate.

The opening day of session concluded with Governor McAuliffe delivering his final State of the Commonwealth Address.  We heard two speeches from newly-elected Governor Northam.  He delivered his Inaugural Address after taking the oath of office on Saturday and on Monday, he addressed a joint session of the House and Senate, outlining his plans and priorities for the 2018 session. I was disappointed in the tone of his speech before our body – I was hoping for a more bipartisan approach as we seek to enact substantive reforms this Session.

Despite the closer margins in the House and the start of a new Governor and new Democrat administration, I will continue here in the Senate to work with my conservative colleagues to prioritize legislative issues that will make life better for Virginians. I continue to serve as Chair of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and on Monday, we began to hear bills in committee. I was dismayed to see that the outside influences of Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group, among others, continues to make significant attempts here in Virginia to push through overburdensome gun control laws. On Monday we got off to a fast start. We heard dozens of new bills that would impose new restrictions on law abiding Virginians to keep and bear arms. Together with a majority of my colleagues, I was proud to have stood up for our Second Amendment rights.

Education reform is one of the most pressing issues in which I believe. We have children in our district and around the Commonwealth who are trapped in failing school divisions. We must do more to ensure that every child has an opportunity to receive a quality education. That is why I have proposed a bill to create regional charter school divisions. The charter school model, allowing for more autonomy and innovation in the administration and the classroom, has been successful in states around our nation, both Red and Blue. I have listened to opponents and have carefully drafted the bill so that it will focus on regions with truly failing schools. However, we have met opposition, even to this model. We have just nine charter schools that serve 2,000 students. If we are serious about providing a lifeline for children and parents in failing school divisions then that has to change. I hope that our new governor, along with my colleagues in the Senate and the House, will join me in passing and signing this important piece of legislation.

Voter fraud is another issue of great importance to me. I have proposed Senate Bill 523, which establishes electronic pollbooks that contain photographs of voters. This commonsense piece of legislation will encourage cross-agency collaboration by requiring pollbooks to contain photographs of registered voters that are a part of voter photo identification cards or a voter’s Department of Motor Vehicles record. This will make the system more efficient but more importantly will improve the integrity of our voter system. If there is a photo from a state approved database, then a voter is not required to show another form of ID. Additionally, I have proposed Senate Bill 521, wherein local electoral boards are required to investigate the list of registered voters if the number of registered voters exceeds the population of voting age citizens in that locality. It makes no sense to me that in some localities, the number of registered voters actually exceeds the number of eligible voting age citizens. I hope this bill will improve our system by requiring an investigation when there are more registered voters than individuals of voting age.

In addition, I am working on a number of initiatives to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion on Interstate 81. This interstate has been overlooked for too long by state legislators and administrations alike. We must make substantive reforms to ensure that drivers can travel on this critically important interstate safely and efficiently. One bill I have proposed directs the Department of Transportation to conduct a pilot program establishing zones where trucks are required to travel only in the right lane. Ideally, these zones will allow the left lane to remain clear for passing vehicles, directly reducing congestion and keeping traffic flowing. This bill, by establishing the pilot program, is a part of a bigger effort and emphasis on improving Interstate 81. More on I-81 later.

To see the full list of over 20 bills I have patroned, please click here.

As bills begin to make it out of committee and onto the floor of the respective houses of the General Assembly, I promise to continue to fight with my fellow conservatives in the House and Senate to protect those beliefs for which I have always fought.

Each week, I will be sharing with you updates on the session and my legislative initiatives which I hope will continue to make life better for my constituents in the Shenandoah Valley. We have a new building here in Richmond while they tear down and build a new GAB. We are housed in the Pocahontas Building for the next four years and we’re settling in nicely here. If you are in Richmond during General Assembly, please stop by our new office, Room 502 on the 5th Floor – East Side. If you have issues you would like to discuss or if you would like to arrange a tour, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 804-698-7526 or email me at [email protected]. My legislative aide, Jenni Aulgur, and I stand ready to assist you in any way we can.

 

What Matters Warren
Town Tip Thursday: LIVE Rock n Roll Religion hosted by Pastor Marc, The River 95.3
January 18, 2018
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Pastor Marc with Riverton Church will be hosting his radio show, Rock n Roll Religion the first Friday night of each month downtown on Main Street from 6pm-8pm. This fun night is open to the public. Come out to enjoy some live music or join in an impromptu jam session with a little trivia challenge and Daily Grind action. Pastor Marc has fun with lyrics from some of our old Rock n Roll favorites by twisting in a bit of religion. Bring your own instruments or some will be provided for you with sheet music too!

LIVE Rock n Roll Religion
Starting February 2 (every 1st Friday after)
6pm – 8pm at Open House: Meet in the Middle
213 E Main Street, Front Royal, VA

Catch Pastor Marc on The River 95.3 on Thursdays at 6:50am and 6:50pm as he hosts Rock n Roll Religion.
Interview with Beth Waller, Pastor Marc and Lonnie Hill.
Town Tip Thursday – A What Matters Initiative

Community Events Health
Sign-up underway for Type 2 Diabetes prevention class to be held in Front Royal
January 17, 2018
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FRONT ROYAL – Do you need to lose weight to improve your health?  Has your doctor said that you are pre-diabetic and need to make some changes? Would you like to learn how to cook healthy meals? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you need to sign up for the two Prevent T2 Diabetes Prevention Programs beginning on January 25 in Front Royal. The group will meet from noon-1 p.m. at the Warren County Government Center, 220 North Commerce St.  For the first four months, the group will meet weekly, and then transition to bi-weekly, then  monthly meetings for a total of 12 months.

Class members will learn how to make diet  changes  and increase physical activity, as well as learn tips  best practices from others who have been  successful. Participants will receive a cookbook, weekly recipes and food samples, physical activity and food diaries, as well as other incentive items to help stay motivated and on the right track. The program is free for uninsured individuals or those receiving Medicaid benefits. Others may enroll for $90, and some scholarships are available.

Preregistration is required; the deadline to register is January 19. Class size is limited, so sign up soon. For questions and to register contact Rebecca Davis at [email protected] or call 540-665-5699.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services, or other accommodation to participate in this activity, please notify Rebecca Davis, Virginia Cooperative Extension – Frederick County Office, at 540-665-5699/TDD* during business hours of Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. *TDD number is 800-828-1120.

Virginia Cooperative Extension Programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and local governments.

Local News
Snow impacting commuters state police say
January 17, 2018
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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
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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.
Sources: AtlasObscura.com;
New York Times.

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