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$13M construction project bid approved for LFK Elementary School renovations

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The Warren County School Board, on Wednesday, August 24, voted unanimously to approve a roughly $13 million bid by Lantz Construction Winchester (LCW) for renovations at Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School in Front Royal, VA.

Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) staff are now authorized to prepare a board approval contract with LCW, the lowest bidder of the two.

During its special meeting — which followed a Warren County School Board building committee special meeting related to the same topic — the School Board approved the building committee’s recommendation to accept the LCW renovation project base bid of $12,329,700 (which includes replacing the school’s HVAC system) and six alternate bid items totaling $675,900.

Board members present for the vote were Chair Kirsten Pence, Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi, Andrea Lo, Antoinette Funk, and Melanie Salins.


The board-approved six “add-on” alternate bid items from LCW for the LFK project are:

1) Upgrades to the gymnasium and stage;

2) Installation of solar daylighting devices in each classroom pod;

3) Replacement of existing exterior windows;

4) Kitchen upgrades, including new flooring and appliances;

5) Cafeteria modifications, such as removing the existing stage and installing new flooring; and

6) Library improvements.

WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Administration George “Buck” Smith explained that the alternative bid items on that list are ranked by their pre-determined value or need. The board voted to go with LCW’s base bid plus the alternate bid items. So, once the first item on the list has been completed, then the project contractor can move on to the second alternate bid item on the list, and so forth, completing them in order. “We can’t go on to the second item without first saying okay to the first one,” he explained prior to the board’s vote.

Almost $10.2 million in WCPS grant funds will help cover the renovation costs, according to Smith, who said there’s also another $2.3 million in WCPS surplus funds from fiscal years 2021 and 2022 that will be used.

Additionally, Smith said that Warren County has appropriated $2,271,617 for the project in its Capital Improvements Plan, bringing the total identified funding for the LFK project to approximately $14.77 million.

The actual remaining funds available for the LFK project are $12,355,516 once identified costs of about $2.4 million are subtracted from the $14.77 million total, Smith explained in an email to the Royal Examiner this morning. According to Smith’s renovations spreadsheet, such identified costs include an estimated contingency fund, estimated costs for cabling and technology, and architect and engineering costs.

Because the LCW bid is higher than what WCPS has available — creating a difference of about $650,000 — WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger explained that the school division will make up the available funds for the project largely by “value engineering” those funds to meet the approved budget.

Value engineering is basically a cost-cutting strategy. It’s a systematic and organized approach to providing the necessary functions in a project at the lowest cost, according to Investopedia, which says value engineering promotes the substitution of materials and methods with less expensive alternatives without sacrificing functionality. So, WCPS will work with the contractor to bring down costs, for example.

Similarly, Child Nutrition Funds could be used to pay for new cafeteria equipment, Ballenger said during a separate meeting on Thursday, August 25, held by the joint budget committee of the Warren County Board of Supervisors and the School Board. The school division would need to ensure that purchasing certain kitchen equipment or specific upgrades would be an allowable use of those funds, Ballenger said.

“There are a lot of avenues to get to where we need to be,” said Ballenger.

The LFK renovation project is slated to begin in January 2023 and to be completed in fall 2024, according to WCPS Maintenance Director Greg Livesay, who added that it’s paramount to begin the project as soon as possible considering the potential impacts of ongoing national supply chain issues, fluctuating transportation and fuel costs, and material shortages.

Taft Construction Inc. of Culpeper, VA, was the other bidder on the LFK project, with a base bid of $12,173,000 and $865,000 in alternate bids for a total of $13,038,000. LCW’s total bid came out to $13,005,600.

Following the School Board’s 5-0 vote to accept the LCW bid, the board went into a closed meeting to discuss “consultation with legal counsel” regarding a contract.

Click here to watch the School Board Special Meeting on this exclusive Royal Examiner video.

Click here to watch the School Board Building Committee Meeting of August 24, 2022, on the exclusive Royal Examiner video.

Click here to watch the Board of Supervisors/School Board Joint Meeting of August 25, 2022, on the exclusive Royal Examiner video.

 

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National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – Flags to be flown half-staff

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This December 7, we remember the world-changing event known as Pearl Harbor Day, or as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his December 8, 1941 speech declaring war on Japan, “a date which will live in infamy.”

Early on Wednesday morning, December 7, 2022, many will gather at Pearl Harbor National Memorial for the 81st Commemoration. The early start marks the moment to the minute 81 years ago when Japanese warplanes descended on Oahu, killing 2,403 service members and civilians, injuring thousands more, and dealing a near-fatal blow to the Navy’s fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Most young Americans who died that day, along with those who served in uniform during World War II or on the home front war effort, are collectively known as the Greatest Generation. Their sacrifices reflect the theme of this year’s Commemoration:  Everlasting Legacy.

The focus is the importance of remembering Pearl Harbor and how the Greatest Generation saved us from tyranny and brought us peace through reconciliation.


Governor’s Order for the Commonwealth of Virginia

In accordance with the authority vested in me as Governor, I hereby order that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia to be flown at half-staff at all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth in solemn respect and memory for the nearly 4,000 American service men and women killed or wounded in the early morning of December 7, 1941, at the United States Navy Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

I hereby order that the flag shall be lowered at sunrise on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, and remain at half-staff until sunset.

Ordered on this, the 6th day of December 2022.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Glenn Youngkin

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Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: American Goldfinch

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Photos / Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

These two American Goldfinches hit the same window at the same time and ended up here at the Center for care.

Though both are currently having breathing difficulty, and the male has significant head trauma with bleeding from the left ear, neither sustained any fractures. They are recovering together while they receive supplemental oxygen and pain medications.

Do you know what to do if a bird hits your window?


Though it was once standard to contain a window strike bird and let it rest for a few hours before attempting release, research has now shown that this is inadequate. Many of the issues we see with window strikes manifest 24+ hours after the strike, long after the bird can fly off.

If you see a bird hit a window, contain it right away and call the closest permitted rehabilitator. Do not release it! In the meantime, take steps to break up the reflections on your windows with tape, paint, or decals spaced no more than 2” apart. Prevention is better than treatment!

A new record!

Yesterday we surpassed last year’s intake number with this window strike pair. We are hopeful that they will soon be released together to enjoy the rest of their wild lives!

If you are looking for an easy way to help native wildlife become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.

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Local grandma steps out of shower, holds intruder at gunpoint until police arrive

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A Warren County family had an exciting Monday morning after the family’s matriarch thwarted an intruder who may have intended to steal a family vehicle.

Tricia Montoney told Royal Examiner Monday evening that an eagle-eyed neighbor noticed a man in the family’s driveway, around 7 a.m. standing beside a Ford F-150 pickup truck belonging to Tricia’s daughter, Rachel Montoney.

Rachel said in a phone interview that “once our neighbor told me about the man attempting to enter my vehicle, I ran to get my mom.”

Tricia was in the shower but quickly put on a robe and grabbed the Smith and Wesson 9 mm handgun she keeps for personal protection. She then went outside to confront the intruder. By then, she said, the man was sitting inside the pickup with the door closed.


Interrupted during her morning shower, Warren County resident Tricia Montoney was able to confront an intruder and hold him at gunpoint until deputies could place him under arrest. Photos by Rachel Montoney.

Rachel says her mom yelled to the intruder, “What are you doing? Get out of the truck and on your knees!” The man, later identified by arresting officers as Larry Huyser, exited the truck and complied with Tricia’s instructions while a neighbor called 9-1-1.

Huyser, who was dressed in a fluorescent green sweatshirt, jeans, and a black hat, said that he had gotten into the unlocked truck “because I was cold.”

Warren County deputies who arrived on the scene found Tricia holding Huyser at gunpoint. He was taken into custody without incident.

Huyser was booked into the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail (RSW) and charged with vandalism, damaging property, tampering and entering a vehicle, and breaking and entering an auto.

Thanks to Tricia Mohoney’s quick action, Warren County deputies were able to take an intruder into custody Monday morning. Larry Huyser, below, was booked into the RSW Regional Jail.

LARRY HUYSER

He is being held without bond. Online court records show that Huyser has been arrested before for similar offenses.

Both Tricia and Rachel expressed their gratitude for their neighbor and his assistance in contacting the police and for staying with Tricia as she held the intruder at gunpoint.

The Montoneys also appreciated the deputies, who arrived quickly and transported the intruder to RSW.

Asked if she would now lock her truck at night, Rachel said, “Absolutely!”

Both ladies expressed their gratitude that no one was injured and said they were especially grateful for their close friendship with their neighbors. “We take care of each other out here,” Tricia said.

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Congressman Ben Cline holds Town Hall meeting in Warren County

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Residents of Warren County were invited to a town hall event with Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) on December 5, 2022. This town hall event was an opportunity for residents of Warren County to engage in a dialogue with Rep. Cline about important issues in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.

Watch the Town Hall meeting on this exclusive Royal Examiner video.

 

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Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputies help rescue horse after fall into pool

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On December 2, 2022, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Deputy’s responded to a residence on Green Springs Rd. in Frederick County. This was regarding an 1800-pound draft horse that fell into a swimming pool. Once on the scene Deputies determined that the horse had knocked over the top rail of the fence around the pool, jumped the fence and walked out onto the nylon pool cover causing the horse to fall into the water. However, its head and part of the body remained above water.

The Draft Horse was in the 9-foot end of the pool. Deputies Cram, ACO Deputy Tasker and Sgt. Hawse started cutting the pool cover away from the horse. Once it was clear of the cover and haltered, the horse was pulled to the shallow end of the pool where it was able to stand and catch its breath. Deputies were able to guide the horse up the stairs to the pool deck and into the yard.

The Veterinarian who handles the horse was called and advised to dry the horse as good as possible, feed it hay and keep it moving. That information was passed on to the owner’s children that arrived on scene. At the time of this email the horse was doing fine.

“You just never know what type of calls we respond to every day. This is one for the books. We are happy that it was witnessed, and we could respond to assist. Deputies were ready to go in the water if needed to make sure the horse stayed above water,” Sheriff Lenny Millholland observed of the incident.


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Local doctors take time out to again treat third world country residents of Honduras

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For the past 14 years, local Dr. Thomas (call me “Tommy”) Ball has ducked out of Front Royal Family Practice to spend up to two weeks leading a medical team to serve the people of Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Dr. Ball – okay, we’ll call him Tommy from here on – has always considered serving the under-served a core mission of his medical practice.  For the past 20 years Valley Health has recognized and supported that mission as part of his faculty position at the Shenandoah Valley Family Practice Residency.  “Valley Health recognizes that young doctors want to understand Global Health and want to contribute internationally.  They allow me to devote time as a teacher to global health issues and they support our work overseas,” he told us.

Dr. Ball examining a patient in Honduras clinic. – Courtesy Photos Dr. Ball/SAGE

Medical faculty from around Virginia have formed a nonprofit organization, SAGE (Students And Global Engagement), focused on introducing trainees to a small community in rural Honduras.  As Tommy describes it, “We attempt to foster better health among the Hondurans and to expose Americans to the needs people face in a third world setting.  It is a two-way street in which both parties benefit.”


SAGE helped build a small mountainside clinic in the village of Pinares, Honduras.  They send medical teams for one to two-week stretches three times a year at four-month intervals.  The area they serve is approximately the size of Warren County, with similar mountainous terrain.  Average take-home pay for the mostly agricultural workers around Pinares is about $3-dollars a day (yes, a day, emphasized Ball).

Medication, some donated by Valley Health, helps patients cope with a variety of diseases including familiar problems such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis, as well as problems uncommon here such as parasites caused by contaminated water.  SAGE tries to go beyond just medication and address the underlying social factors that foster illness.  In recent years they have donated monthly food packages to families with young children and filters to improve the safety of drinking water.

This fall the team included Dr. Paulius Mui and Dr. Sean Sutphen from the residency training program and seasoned local physician Dr. Shyama Rosenfeld, as well as support personnel in pharmacy, emergency transport, and anthropology.

Dr. Shyama Rosenfeld, left, leads a team visiting a handicapped young woman in her mountainside home near Pinares, Honduras.

Tommy has developed close ties and friendships in the community SAGE serves.  He notes that he is older than most volunteers, but hopes he still has a few more years left of visiting and doing his best to improve health conditions in Pinares. “We have the personnel who want to help, but we are always struggling financially,” Tommy said, hoping that local service clubs and other non-profits might see their way to help support SAGE.

If you, the reader, are interested and require additional information, email Tommy at Front Royal Family Practice (taball@valleyhealthlink.com) or visit the SAGE website (sage-community.com). And yes, you may call him Tommy!

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Upcoming Events

Dec
7
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 7 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
10
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10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 10 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
Dec
14
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 14 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
17
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1:00 pm The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
Dec 17 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of the seasonal ballet The Nutcracker, to be presented in Front Royal, VA, on Saturday December 17th 2022. Tickets: $35 and $25 Under 16:[...]
Dec
21
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 21 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
28
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 28 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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5:30 am First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jan 1 @ 5:30 am – 3:00 pm
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. While the American tradition of celebrating the New Year occurs at midnight on New Year’s Eve, other cultures celebrate by enjoying the sunrise on New Year’s Day. As part of the continuing American[...]