Local News

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.

Local News
Local artist Sarah Miller is a hit at MAGfest convention
January 16, 2018
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Artist Sarah Miller signs a print for a fan at the MAGfestConvention, held recently at the National Harbor, MD. / Photos provided by Sarah Miller.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – If you haven’t heard of local artist Sarah Miller yet, that may change in the near future. The digital painter recently displayed and sold her artwork at MAGfest, a music and gaming convention held annually at National Harbor, MD.

Ms.Miller’s illustrations were quite popular amongst the thousands of people who flock to the yearly event to celebrate a shared love of visual and game art. She nearly sold out of some of her work, she said, which she markets under her business name, Sarah Miller Creations.

“It was an amazing weekend and I am still just beyond humbled from the support and love my work received,” Sarah said of the Jan. 4-7th, 2018 event. “I got to meet so many wonderful people, talented artists, and even some famous voice actors! It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

Sarah’s colorful portfolio focuses on character design and fantasy illustrations, and explores a variety of imaginative and surreal concepts. Her artwork–as well as her print shop–can be found online: Sarah Miller Creations.

National Media Services was happy to supply Sarah with the prints she needed and can’t wait to see where her creations take her in 2018, according to Mike McCool, company owner.

Seeds of Power, by artist Sarah Miller.

Local News
Town of Front Royal awarded $700K interview with Jeremy Camp and Felicia Hart
January 16, 2018
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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: https://frontroyalva.com/Search?searchPhrase=envision

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

Local News Town Events
Free community breakfast Saturday open to all, aims to identify, assist homeless
January 15, 2018
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A volunteer serves a meal at a previous event. /File photo.

FRONT ROYAL – A free community breakfast will be held on  Saturday, Jan. 20 from 8 a.m. to noon at the  Calvary Episcopal Church, Parish Hall (2nd St. behind Church) at 132 North Royal Ave. in town.

Linda Allen, coordinator for the event, said in a media release,  “All are welcome. We want the breakfast to be a meet-and-greet vehicle to strengthen the community, pool info on how we can identify and assist those going through a homeless experience, and get word out about the ‘Point in Time
Count,’ which is the collection of data HUD uses to allocate funds to our region.

These funds go to housing assistance, mental health services, and shelter placement. Funds are allocated by the ‘Continuum of Care,’ which doles out the money to local, approved organizations.”

The purpose of the ‘Drop-In Café’ , which operates under the nonprofit Center for Workforce Development, is to feed, listen and talk with those experiencing hardships.

Ms. Allen said that in cooperation with other organizations, the group will  “assist in submitting local and state forms to connect individuals to resources for financial help, food, and job training.”

She said the group can also assist with  resume writing, helping the homeless keep medical appointments and manage medical records,  provide
assistance in finding jobs and can provide clothing and sleeping bags, if needed.

“The short term goal is to keep people warm and dry. The long term objective is to develop a shelter for women and families as well as a thermal shelter during the winter months,” the release states.

Linda Allen said in an interview Monday morning that, “This winter has been particularly brutal.  We have homeless who are living outside and something MUST be done!”

She says that donations of items such as tents, warm socks, gloves, thermal underwear, personal care/hygiene items for men and women and gift cards (from local stores where needed items can be purchased) are currently needed and greatly appreciated.  Monetary donations are also appreciated, and tax-deductible, as the Center for Workforce Development is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

For more information, or to volunteer or arrange pick-up of a donation, contact Ms. Allen at 540-550-0110.

Local News
National Park Service waives entrance fees on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 15, 2018
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Mary’s Rock/ Photo provided by U.S. National Park Service

The National Park Service is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by waiving entrance fees.

The “fee-free” day on Monday covers entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees, though camping and tour fees may still apply.

National Parks in Virginia waiving fees on Monday include:

•Assateague Island National Seashore
•Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
•George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park
•Prince William Forest Park
•Shenandoah National Park

A full list of National Park sites is available on the Find Your Park website.

Local News
Warren County Democratic Chair urges citizens to keep pressure on elected officials
January 15, 2018
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FRONT ROYAL – The Warren County Democratic Committee held a party caucus in town, on Jan. 6, 2018 at which time officers were elected. Warren County resident Steve Foreman was re-elected chair. Also elected were Meredith Parnes, vice-chair, Diane Demarcus, secretary, and Barry Gaffney, treasurer.

Foreman said by email Saturday, that in light of the latest remarks from the President and  near total silence from both the Republican leadership and Republicans who attended the meeting, he is urging voters to contact their legislators.

“Our members of Congress will not respond unless we pressure them. The only thing they understand is power, and our power is at the ballot box,” Mr. Foreman said.

A  letter Foreman wrote to Rep. Bob Goodlatte, (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who was present at that White House meeting is below:

“Unless I have somehow missed seeing a comment from Rep. Goodlatte, I am dismayed to see that the Representative has not gone on record opposing the consistent stream of hate and disinformation that continually issues from President Trump. At the beginning, and throughout his presidential campaign, we saw a constant stream of racism, which came to what appeared to be a crescendo in the wake of the events in Charlottesville last fall. “Unfortunately, this was not the worst of it. We now have the president spewing more hate during a meeting at which Mr. Goodlatte was present (on 1/11/2018). Our elected representatives are not only supposed to be working for us, but should project the best that we can be as a nation.

“We can only assume that the Republican Party is in tacit agreement with the President in his indiscriminate hatred for those different from him and that they do not disagree with the image of America projected worldwide, identifying with the worst common denominator that exists in this country. I wish that I could believe that the Republican Party did not support these dangerous views, but failing any public disassociation with them, I must conclude that they share these beliefs. This failure of leadership suggests the lack of a moral compass and a willingness to subvert principles in exchange for political power.”

Royal Examiner reached out to Rep. Goodlatte’s office but received no response prior to publication.

Local News
Local Realtor/Philanthropist Beth Medved Waller Offers $5,000 Prize for Hero X Challenge
January 13, 2018
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Beth Meved Waller has started the new year with a twist–she’s offering a prize instead of seeking donations for a cause!  Inspired by the What Matters outreach trip to Africa, Waller and her children would love someone local to participate in their challenge so please spread the word about their endeavor outlined below (taken from https://herox.com/Whatmattersfund)...

Saving without Sacrifice!  This mobile application will make it REWARDING to save for WHAT MATTERS:  a special cause, vacation or purchase!  My children and I have started a family fund we call, “The Africa Jar,” in an attempt to save money for Light up Life Foundations, a team that helps youth in the slums of Uganda (I just returned from Africa before Christmas).  When we are out and about and making purchases throughout the day, we think twice about our spending and often put the item back or refrain from ordering extra at a restaurant.  Rather than feel like we are “pinching pennies” or missing out, this jar now turns our “sacrifices” into happy moments when we smile and blurt out, “AFRICA JAR!”  Instead of missing that soda, candy or coffee we pass up, we feel excited that the money we would have “swallowed away” will now go to help starving children on the other side of the world!

Everyone has something that matters to them that they’d love to save money to fund.  Perhaps it’s not a cause.  It could be a dream vacation or a longed-for purchase, or someone could set up multiple funds.  My kids and I want everyone to be able to feel like we feel when our jar effortlessly fills EVERY SINGLE DAY with savings from needless purchases we would normally not think twice about.  We’ve issued a $5,000 HERO X Challenge for a brilliant mind to create a mobile application that will make it easy and even more exciting to save for “What Matters.”

We would like the application to be a simple way for individuals and families to log onto a virtual savings account (that could be linked to a checking account for real-time transfers if savers desire OR if that’s too complicated it could be just an online tally). To add to the account, users will click on a button and enter the amount saved and why. For example, at the McDonald’s drive-through we didn’t purchase the soda and opted for a water, saving $1.  There are many options/ideas we have to create a fun application that is simple to use.  The concept is very social-media friendly as well and it would be easy for nonprofits and those who support them to spread information about funds over social media to encourage others to participate.  Sponsors could even be solicited to have special “What Matters Match” campaigns to match every dollar saved up to $x for a certain cause that participants have pledged to support with their fund.

This application has great potential to teach children about savings in an interactive and fun way.  It also has the ability to help people of all ages save small amounts of money that add up to support amazing causes around the globe.  We look forward to working with whomever takes our challenge to help us challenge the world to start “Saving without Sacrifice.”  My philanthropic company, What Matters, will help spread the word about this tool because “What Matters is your heart……Let It!”

Local News
Strong turnout for Thermal Shelter meeting
January 11, 2018
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A large number of local residents turned out for a meeting to discuss the need for a temporary thermal shelter in the county. / Photos by Jennifer Avery

FRONT ROYAL – The first Thermal Shelter meeting was held Thursday evening, Jan. 11 at New Hope Bible Church, to discuss the serious need for a temporary thermal shelter in Warren County.

Hollis Tharpe, Town Mayor, was in attendance and was able to help answer a variety of questions. Approximately eight churches were represented in the meeting, in addition to several other individuals and organizations who are heavily involved in working with the local homeless population, such as Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, the board of ROTH of FR (Roof Over Their Heads) and Linda Allen, a long-time local advocate for the underserved population.

Kathy Leonard (l), Vicki Davies, Michelle Smeltzer, Pam Williams and Roni Evans led the discussion at Thursday’s thermal shelter meeting.

One of the main goals of this meeting was to identify and recruit hosting churches and volunteers. Three churches stepped forward quickly once the question was posed to the crowd. Volunteers will be needed to supervise shelter and activities, fix meals, mentor and more. The group hopes that the public will be able to donate items such as linens, cots, chairs and self-sealing baggies.

Vicki Davies from St. Luke Community Clinic explained that nurses are ready to be available each night, as needed.

Kathy Leonard, Homeless Liaison for Front Royal and facilitator of the evening, explained, “More than solving someone’s problem, the single most important thing I have given someone is hope…people need hope.”

The meeting was also hosted by Vicki Davies of St. Luke Clinic, Michelle Smeltzer, with House of Hope, Pam Williams, from The Potter’s House and Roni Evans.

Local Government Local News
Front Royal benefits from additional CDBG funding found by State
January 9, 2018
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Looking west and east on Front Royal’s East Main St. – things are looking up with the influx of an unexpected $700,000 in state community development grant funding to Front Royal. Photos/Roger Bianchini

 

FRONT ROYAL – Sometimes it pays to be Number 2, well actually Number 16, just one position out of the money among applicants for State economic development grant money. As Front Royal’s Community Development Director Felicia Hart explained to council following the September 19 announcement of over $9-million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding announced for distribution to 15 Virginia municipalities, Front Royal was Number One out of the second group of municipal applicants – the group not getting money.

But being Number One out of the Number Two group paid off on January 5, when the office of Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the awarding of another $2,149,346 in CDBG funding to four more municipalities. Consequently Front Royal will receive $700,000 to foster economic revitalization to its business district.

Having faced the disappointment of being so close, yet out of the money less than four months ago, Royal Examiner asked town Community Development Director Hart about the unexpected good news to start the new year.

“We, as a town and community, feel very fortunate that additional State funds were found to help us secure this grant towards the economic revitalization of our area. In addition to all the volunteers who put all their time and effort into making this a success, Town Council should be acknowledged for their work in understanding the need for this grant and finding the funds to match the requested State funds.
“This grant provides us two years to implement, so our committee will be putting together an overall timeline – to-do’s, projects, fund allocations, etc. – as part of our entire game plan. I’m excited to see all the hard work of our volunteers rewarded. Now, we’ll be rolling up our sleeves and getting back to work – again.
“What a great problem to have!”

Now the positive movement on downtown Front Royal re-development from the private sector will get a boost from the federal government, by way of state government administration. Above, the Barnhart properties on the 100 block of East Main Street are undergoing external and internal overhauls; as is the Weaver building across the street – brew pubs, Thai restaurants, and more are coming.

In the governor’s Friday, January 5 press release, McAuliffe said, “This program has long been providing funding for projects that improve the quality of life for thousands of Virginians every year. Through Community Development Block Grants, we are able to address needs across the Commonwealth including critical infrastructure, such as water and sewer service, as well as improve economic development opportunities, ensuring job creation in rural areas. I congratulate the four grantees and look forward to the success of these projects in Virginia.”

The governor’s office release also traced the history of the program: “Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Nearly three hundred non-metropolitan cities, counties, and towns are eligible for this program in the Commonwealth. Most of the approximately $16.5 million Virginia receives annually is allocated among local government applicants through a competitive process using objective scoring criteria developed in consultation with eligible localities.”

Receiving the additional CDBG funds in addition to Front Royal ($700,000) were the Town of Narrows ($699,346) and the Counties of Scott ($250,000) and Amherst ($500,000). Awarding of the State CDBG funds mandates a matching investment, if not precisely 50/50 close to it, by the municipality to achieve its redevelopment proposal.

The Town’s original application sought one-million dollars from the State under a special exception of need. The projects cited in that application included six focused on downtown. The first of those sought exterior improvements to privately owned business properties in the Downtown Historic Business District:
· Façade improvements, $365,000 State/$350,000 Town;
The other five downtown projects cited physical improvements to publicly owned Town property, including:
· Physical improvements, public restrooms and drinking fountains, to the Town Gazebo area, $125,000 State/$26,180 Town;
· Multi-purpose Open Air Gathering Space, Gazebo area, $137,500 State/$114,500 Town;
· Sidewalk and streetlight upgrades on East Main Street, $25,000 State/$13,500 Town;
· Improvement to Jackson Street parking and side street and alley enhancements, $40,000 State/$16,500 Town.
· A sixth project, the Royal Shenandoah Greenway tied to the Criser Road Trail Link, was proposed at no cost to the State, with all $400,000 funded by the Town.
So, including the Greenway project funded in total by the Town ($400,000) and the façade improvements for private businesses ($735,000 total State and Town), the total amount of funding proposed for Public Improvements in the original million-dollar funding application was $898,180, with $327,500 from the State and $570,680 funded by the Town.

Other costs included:
· Administrative ($87,350 total – $79,800 State/$7,550 Town);
· Signage ($190,500 total – $156,000 State/$34,500 Town);
· and Branding & Marketing ($74,900 total – $51,700 State/$23,200 town.

If you glazed over by ALL those NUMBERS, the grand total of the originally-submitted Town of Front Royal CDBG application was $1,985,930, with $1,000,000 even coming from the State and remaining $985,930 funded by the Town.

Hart told Royal Examiner on Monday, January 8, that the Towns’ Project Management Team for the grant will have to reappraise its priorities to determine how the $300,000 reduction in State funding will impact the revitalization plan.

As stated by Town Planning Director Jeremy Camp during a Monday night council meeting power point presentation on the CDBG program and the Town’s most recent visioning statement related to the grant application, communities receiving CDBG funds have two years to complete their redevelopment project utilizing the State money. As for potential cuts to the plan, Camp pointed to a pavilion included as part of the Gazebo
area public improvements as a “large-ticket” item cost-wise that might be a prime candidate to be deferred five or so years into the future.

Then there are old favorites like Royal Cinemas and not-quite-as-old Brooklyn’s Marketplace under the tree next door. Will there be façade improvement money coming all these new and old business’s way?

Local News
Jan. 9 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
January 8, 2018
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FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis accepts an honor from Warren/Page N.A.A.C.P. President A.D. Carter in the Blessing of the Badge ceremony in Nov. 2017. (Courtesy photos)

Across the United States, on January 9, citizens will use the day,  National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.), to honor and thank Law Enforcement Officers.  National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day grew out of negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, according to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), an organization begun in 1984 to honor and remember fallen officers and to assist their families.

Law Enforcement Officers of every rank and file have chosen a career that puts their life on the line every day for their communities.
They’ve answered a call to public service that is demanding and often unappreciated. On National Law Enforcement Day, the community has an opportunity to thank the officers for their service and offer a token of respect.

In a number of communities, such as Front Royal, there is not an atmosphere of disrespect and distrust for law enforcement officers that sometimes occurs in other parts of the country.

Front Royal Police Chief Kahle Magalis said, “We are very fortunate to work in a community that is supportive of law enforcement. We are so appreciative that the citizens of Front Royal and Warren County are in tune with our mission. It is always refreshing to hear those words of encouragement from the public.”

On January 9th of each year citizens who appreciate law enforcement and are discouraged about the negative attention being given to law enforcement are encouraged to take time to show their support. Citizens can show their support in a number of ways:

• Change your profile picture on social media to the .jpg image provided at www.facebook.com/nationalcops.
• Wear blue clothing in support of law enforcement.
• Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency.
• Share a story about a positive law enforcement experience on social media.
• Ask children in your community to write letters in support of law enforcement.
• Participate in Project Blue Light – Proudly display your blue light in support of law enforcement.
• Use the hashtag #LEAD2018 when sharing posts on social media.

The Talbott family delivered these cookies to the FRPD to say “thank you” for the kindness shown to them by an officer. 

Most importantly, if you see an officer, thank him or her!