Archive for: January 4th, 2018

Local Government
Valley Health rep addresses absence of maternity ward in hospital plan
January 4, 2018

Two views of the existing WMH, which has served the Warren County community for 65 years since the early 1950’s. Photo/Roger Bianchini

FRONT ROYAL – As referenced in our story on the first Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting of 2018, the plan for a new Warren Memorial Hospital to be constructed off Leach Run Parkway between the new Warren County Middle School and John Marshall Highway does not contain a maternity ward.  See story here.  It is a fact raising alarm bells with some county residents.

Following the county supervisors January 3 meeting, at which a request for a Letter of Support for Valley Health’s Certificate of Need for a new facility, the Royal Examiner spoke to Valley Health representative Terry Mayes about the decision to build a new hospital in Warren County designed to serve the community’s needs, one might guess for at least a half century or more – the existing Warren Memorial Hospital is 65 years old according to the county report on plans for a replacement facility.

Mayes said the decision was based on existing birth numbers at WMH over the past five years. Annual births have averaged 333 over that five-year period, less than one a day. Mayes said the last time she checked the suggested annual average to justify maintaining a hospital maternity ward was 500 births.

“The planning team and Valley Health Board took this decision very seriously, it was not taken lightly,” Mayes says. She said the low volume of births at WMH has created recruiting difficulties for medical personnel with a focus on maternity.

In second row, Valley Health’s Terry Mayes listens to county supervisors’ discussion of the new WMH plan.

Of a concern the absence of a maternity ward at a new WMH would result in births occurring in the hospital’s emergency room, Mayes said Valley Health planned additional training and staff in the new facility’s ER to address that likelihood. She added that coordination would occur with Winchester Medical Center’s maternity staff and local emergency services to accommodate future births originating in Warren County, planned for transport to WMC about 25 miles away. The new hospital is slated to open in 2020.

Mayes also observed that prenatal care provided in Warren County by Valley Health’s Obstetrics and Gynecology departments and Front Royal Family Practice would be utilized to identify any potential complications that might suggest early transport for a pregnant mother to the Winchester facility. – “We will be proactive if a need is identified, pre-birth evaluations, planning transport ahead” all will be applied to Warren County’s maternity needs, Mayes said.

Of the likelihood planned future growth – there are residential development plans for as many as 1138 new homes on about 750 acres on the town’s east side by Front Royal Limited Partnership alone – will result in an increased county birth rate, Mayes said the new WMH campus will have space to expand services if necessary. However, in the agenda packet summary of the new hospital plan it is noted that Valley Health believes
much of future Warren County residential development will target “senior adults” with “a nominal increase in women of childbearing age”.
While there is not space in the new hospital design to add a maternity ward, a wellness center also planned for the hospital campus could be physically expanded if necessary, Mayes said.

The project summary presented to the county board of supervisors on January 3 states that “the new hospital campus will occupy approximately 28 acres of the 150-acre parcel” Valley Health acquired for the project in 2008.

What IS planned for the new hospital are:
· 36 private inpatient rooms;
· 18 Emergency Department rooms, with space for four additional rooms;
· Three operating rooms;
· Two endoscopy/procedure rooms;
· A cardiac catheterization lab;
· And green space and walking trails to encourage staff, patients and visitors to down-time, healthful, outdoor activity.
AND that wellness center that could be, or has adjacent land upon which a maternity ward could be added, if and when necessary.

OPINION: County Administrator replies to Silek letter
January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018
David Silek, 8500 Leesburg Pike, Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182

RE: Letter of December 27, 2017

Dear Mr. Silek,

I am writing to follow up on your letter of December 27th, specifically your concerns relative to your inaccurate assertion that the County is spending taxpayer money to supply NARCAN and on the associated training costs for the administering of such. I am not sure where you received your information, but please be assured that Warren County does not spend any taxpayer money on the purchase of NARCAN.

If first responders from the Warren County Fire and Rescue Department use NARCAN, whether transporting the patient or not, the hospital replaces what was used at no cost to the County. If the patient is transported, the hospital then charges the patient on the hospital bill. Like any other call, the County will only charge for the transport of the patient based on the level of care.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office recently implemented a program for deputies to carry NARCAN. The NARCAN was purchased through a grant and was provided at no charge to the Sheriff’s Office. Training for our officers to administer NARCAN was also provided at no charge.

As far as your comments regarding the Economic Development Authority, the Board of Supervisors has a great deal of faith in the individuals that it has appointed to the EDA Board of Directors. Among those appointed include the de facto CEO of the largest employer in the County, the Vice President of Facilities Management and Safety for the largest employer in the region, and the former head of the Town’s community development program. While not everyone on the EDA Board of Directors currently works in the private sector, the Board of Directors, like the community, needs to have diverse representation to market the community and to run the various programs of the EDA. The success of the community in the 1990’s for economic development was buoyed by the County providing land either at no cost or at a reduced rate and with considerable Governor’s Opportunity Fund and Enterprise Zone incentives. The opportunities are no longer there for these incentives in the manner in which they were, and the County, unfortunately, does not have large (100+ acre) tracts of buildable land with which to recruit the larger industries. That said, the EDA continues to make progress utilizing the assets that our community does possess in marketing for investment and jobs.

As far as getting rid of the “crappy hotels” in our community, as an attorney I am sure that you are aware of the fact that effective January 1, 2013; Article 1 Section 11 of the Constitution of Virginia was amended to read:
“That the General Assembly shall pass no law whereby private property, the right to which is fundamental, shall be damaged or taken except for public use. No private property shall be damaged or taken for public use without just compensation to the owner thereof. No more private property may be taken than necessary to achieve the stated public use. Just compensation shall be no less than the value of the property taken, lost profits and lost access, and damages to the residue caused by the taking. The terms “lost profits” and “lost access” are to be defined by the General Assembly. A public service company, public service corporation, or railroad exercises the power of eminent domain for public use when such exercise is for the authorized provision of utility, common carrier, or railroad services. In all other cases, a taking or damaging of private property is not for public use if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development, except for the elimination of a public nuisance existing on the property. The condemnor bears the burden of proving that the use is public, without a presumption that it is.”
Accordingly, condemning and tearing down hotels, or in this case motels, for redevelopment would be against the Constitution that we swear to uphold and defend.

The EDA does have a plan for economic development in our community, which was last updated in 2014 and can be found here. StratPlanUpdate2014

David, I trust that I have been able to provide some information of which you were not aware when writing your letter and hope that I have been able to set your mind at ease with the spending of precious taxpayer resources on NARCAN. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Douglas P. Stanley, AICP ICMA-CM
County Administrator

Editor’s Note:  The above letter was copied to the Chairmen and Members of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron, Warren County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Mabie and to Royal Examiner staff reporter Roger Bianchini.

Local Government
WATCH: Town FY2019 initial departmental budget requests
January 4, 2018

Staff is providing council with a list of FY2019 initial departmental budget requests for capital items, staffing, and other items impacting the budget prior to being incorporated into the FY2019 proposed budget.

The list includes departmental requests that will likely be deferred for the future and are not planned to be included in the FY2019 budget at this time. Staff anticipates that additional items will need to be deferred in order to provide a balanced proposed budget.

Click to download Work Session Agenda.



Local Government
UPDATE: On IT Federal and Royal Phoenix.
January 4, 2018


The purpose of this agenda item is to provide an update on IT Federal and Royal Phoenix.

• IT Federal. Site Plans and permits have been issued and utility connection fees where paid in the amount of $39,638.

• Pump Station. Pennoni Associates is presently working on a pump station plan for the Royal Phoenix project and a design for the initial pump station. Pennoni is looking into options to relocate the first pump station and to determine if a pump station is even needed at all for the first building at IT federal. Town Staff requested that Pennoni Assoicates complete this work as soon as possible.

• Royal Phoenix. The Planning Commission met in work session with a representative of Pennoni Associates about the Master Land Use Plan and Traffic Study for Royal Phoenix (everything beyond IT Federal). The Planning Commission identified a number of concerns about impacts of the project on the Town. The most significant concern raised by the Planning Commission was: Who will be paying for the proposed infrastructure? A follow-up work session was scheduled for January where the EDA would be requested to attend to answer questions.

Click to download Work Session Agenda.

Town Notices
Town Council searching to fill vacancies
January 4, 2018

The Front Royal Town Council will accept resumes from citizens who are interested in serving on the Urban Forestry Advisory Commission (UFAC) or the Front Royal Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to fill unexpired terms. Please read information below for each committee:

UFAC is a 6-member panel appointed by Council and is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of an Urban Forestry Management Program; for the education of the general public about proper tree care practices; and to support the efforts of other groups interested in urban forestry in the Town. The panel meets once a month in the Town Hall. Citizens must be a resident of the Town of Front Royal or the County of Warren. The vacancy is to serve an unexpired term ending December 20, 2021.

BZA is a 5-member board appointed by the judge of the Warren County Circuit Court to hear and decide appeals from any order, requirement, decision and determination made by an administrative officer. Town Council makes the recommendation to the judge. The board meets once a month (as needed) in the Town Hall. Citizens must be a resident of the Town of Front Royal. The vacancy is to serve an unexpired term ending May 1, 2022. Members on the BZA are compensated in an amount determined by Town Council.

If you are interested on serving on either of these boards please complete an application and/or send a resume with a cover letter to:

Jennifer Berry, Clerk of Council
P.O. Box 1560
102 E Main Street
Front Royal, Virginia 22630

Applications are available at

Cure for type 1 diabetes? New business aims at trials
January 4, 2018

A new startup company has raised $114 million to develop a treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Semma Therapeutics will use the new funding to begin human trials of their stem cell therapy, which has already been tested on animals.

Semma plans to use stem cells to make beta cells, which manage blood sugar. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks cells that are responsible for sensing glucose in the blood. Today, management of diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, is done through insulin. However, this new effort would effectively cure type 1 diabetes by replacing the beta cells in the body, which would start the production of insulin.

Diabetes affects more than 300 million Americans. About 1.25 million have type 1.

These new beta cells would be built from embryonic stem cells. Embryonic cells have the potential to become any type of cell found in the body. In this new method, embryonic cells are exposed to growth factor to make them grow into beta cells, according to Business Insider.

Semma would take the newly grown beta cells and insert them into an implant about the size of a plastic bandage. The implant could then be placed under the patient’s skin. Since the cells stay in the device, they wouldn’t interact with the immune system which might kill them. However, they would spark the production of insulin to control blood sugar.

This cell therapy could reach far into medical treatment, creating all sorts of regenerative medicine.