Archive for: January 8th, 2018

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!

Local News
R-MA Innovation Lab Sparks Creativity
January 8, 2018
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R-MA eighth grade student Cecilia Paredes works on a LEGO robot at the R-MA Middle School Innovation Lab.

It is a classroom that is never quiet. Students get up from their seats to obtain supplies, ask each other questions, and look for guidance on the internet. They question, collaborate, cooperate, and create. They identify problems and build solutions. Even during the periods when there are no classes scheduled, students from other classes appear in the doorway in need of various supplies for projects, their faces alight with excitement and their voices eager. This is the R-MA Middle School Innovation Lab.

The lab is the result of the work of many hands, including former R-MA Middle School Principal Derrick Leasure, current Principal Tony Ballard, Craig Campesi of the Technology Department, and Middle School teacher and Innovation Lab keeper Stephanie Wagner, whose enthusiasm is contagious.

The lab is full of various objects that engage the students: Ozobots, Little Bits, Spheroballs, iPads, Lego robots, and 3D printers, just to name a few. As Wagner describes her innovative classroom and its many components, a student wanders in to borrow clay and camera for a “Claymation” production, and before long an entire World History class joins her as they prepare to build chariots out of unusual objects. “They’re not allowed to use the wheels from Legos,” Wagner explains. “Some of them are building the chariots out of popsicle sticks and CDs.”

Wagner explains that the Innovation Lab environment is built on the idea of “constructivism.” “When you make it with your hands, you will remember it forever,” Wagner says. “These students will always remember that Greece and Rome had chariots.”

In addition to providing a place for other teachers to think “outside the box” and assign projects that are more than just poster board presentations, Wagner is teaching a Robotics class and two computer science classes that will become “Makers” classes for the spring semester. Her philosophy of continuous change and engagement for all is evident as she describes how she changes the groups around in the Robotics class every other week. “With different groups, students are given different jobs, and it helps get the quiet, reserved kids engaged,” she explains. For the computer science classes, the students are focusing on coding—and she found a way to challenge them early on, when she had the students create submissions for the Congressional App Challenge.

With a Lego wall, a robotic dog named Chip, TinkerCad programs, and dozens of other avenues for creativity and innovation, R-MA Middle School students are more engaged in their education than ever.

Local News
Shenandoah Farms house fire displaces occupant Monday
January 8, 2018
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Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze at a Shenandoah Farms home on Monday, Jan. 8. Courtesy photo.

WARREN COUNTY – A home in the Shenandoah Farms area of Warren County was destroyed by fire Monday morning, according to officials with Warren County Fire and Rescue.

A media release from Warren County Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie’s  office  says that  at  9:16 a.m. Monday, Warren County Fire and Rescue Units were dispatched for a reported house fire at 439 Young’s Drive in Shenandoah Farms.

The release states that, “Fire and Rescue units arrived on the scene to find a single story, single family home with fire throughout the first floor and through the roof.”

No one was home at the time of the fire according to Chief Mabie.  It took firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control, with firefighters remaining on scene for several hours to ensure the fire was fully extinguished.

The lone occupant of the home has been displaced as a result of the incident; he is receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Warren County fire marshal’s office.  There were no reported injuries to firefighters or occupant. The fire caused an estimated $180,000 in property and contents damages.

Firefighters from Warren County Fire and Rescue responded on the call with mutual aid assistance and 22 personnel.

Clarke County provided a Tanker truck to assist with extinguishing the blaze  and Fauquier County (Upperville) provided an Engine and Tanker on scene.

 

Town Notices
Voluntary Water Conservation of the Town’s Municipal Water System
January 8, 2018
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The Town of Front Royal has observed that as of December 17, 2017, the 14-day rolling average stream flow rate of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River has dropped below 400 cubic feet per second (cfs), or approximately 260 million gallons per day.

The Town’s permit for water withdrawal from the river issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality stipulates certain river flow rates require various conservation measures. As a result of this reduced river flow and in compliance with the issued withdrawal permit, all users of the Town of Front Royal’s municipal water system are requested to observe voluntary water conservation efforts.

Voluntary water conservation practices include the following:

Watering shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, or any other vegetation from Town water supplies (except indoor plantings, greenhouse and commercial nursery stocks, and new plantings less than one year old) before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.

Limit washing automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, airplanes, or other types of mobile equipment to only once a week and only before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. Use of a commercial vehicle wash facility does not need to follow these time restrictions.

Washing of private streets, driveways, parking lots, service station grounds, or other paved outdoor surfaces before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.

Limiting the operation of any ornamental fountains, unless the water is recycled.

Limit filling of swimming and/or wading pools, except that filled pools may be topped off to maintain the appropriate levels for use.

Serving drinking water in restaurants only upon patron request.

Thank you for your assistance in conserving our water resources during this low river flow time period.

Please monitor your local media (Royal Examiner) sources for future reports of water conservation efforts in the Town of Front Royal.

If you have any questions about this voluntary water restriction, please contact the Department of Public Works at (540) 635-7819.

Local Government
Downtown Revitalization Plan: Envision 2.0
January 8, 2018
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Joe Waltz, Front Royal Town Manager

FRONT ROYAL, VA – With great pleasure and anticipation, Town Manager, Joe Waltz, has announced that the Town of Front Royal has been awarded $700,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the Town’s Downtown Revitalization Plan: Envision 2.0. The news arrived late Friday afternoon by announcement from Governor Terry McAuliffe. Governor McAuliffe congratulated the Town and the three other grant recipients for projects that will foster economic development in the Commonwealth.

The Downtown Revitalization Plan, Envision 2.0, was approved by Town Council about a year ago. It was developed under the leadership and direction of the Project Management Team. The Project Management Team consists of a group of local citizens, local businesses, organization heads, and local officials that represent the community (Town and County). The project was organized by the Town Director of Planning & Zoning, Jeremy Camp, who oversaw the meetings and drafting process. The Town Director of Community Development and Tourism, Felicia Hart, also played a significant role in the process. In addition, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) provided technical assistance.

The plan for Envision 2.0 includes several different project activities. A list of the project activities is shown below. Most notably are the Façade Improvement Program and Branding Program. The Façade Improvement Program will assist property owners with grants to help them renovate the exterior of facades of their buildings in the downtown revitalization area. The Branding Program will include marketing strategies and signage to help attract tourists to the community.

Façade Improvement Program
Branding Program
Parking and Alley Improvements and Design
Planning & Design for Streetscape Improvements
Public Restroom and Drinking Fountain
Multi-Purpose Open Air Gathering Space / Pavilion
Artistic Mural Program
Criser Road Trail (already under construction)

The Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Todd Haymore, said that “We are able to leverage this program together with local and private resources to maximize opportunities and ensure that all communities have tools they need to flourish in the new Virginia economy.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the project may contact Jeremy Camp at (540)635-4236 or by email at jcamp@frontroyalva.com.

State News
Governor McAuliffe Unveils New Unified Workforce Brand – Virginia Career Works
January 8, 2018
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RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe joined Governor-Elect Ralph Northam today to unveil a new brand to unify Virginia’s workforce development system. The system, which includes a network of state and local partners and 62 One Stop Career Centers, will carry the name Virginia Career Works once the brand is fully activated later this year.

“We have tremendous resources to help connect employers and job-seekers in the Commonwealth, but our research shows that many Virginians are not aware of these important programs,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at the announcement event. “We’ve made great strides to enhance our workforce development assets by building a demand-driven workforce system, engaging and building a skilled workforce, and activating our network. Now, it is time to put Virginia to work. With today’s announcement, we are stepping up our game and delivering these resources to market under a consistent and exciting new brand.”

The McAuliffe administration has transformed Virginia’s workforce development system by making it more responsive to the needs of business, creating new capacity to train in critical high-demand areas, and aligning the system’s programs and resources towards a set of shared goals. The Governor established a first-in-the-nation performance-based grant program to create and sustain a supply of credentialed workers who meet the needs of high-demand jobs. The New Virginia Economy Workforce Credentials Grant Program covers 166 different programs in Virginia geared toward providing credentials at one-third of their former cost. Since the program’s inception, the grant has supported the attainment of 4,000 industry-recognized credentials, licenses, and certifications needed for high-demand careers. The program has nearly tripled the number of people who earned credentials at Virginia’s community colleges and higher education centers.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward as we move to activate fully our network of workforce development resources across the Commonwealth,” said Governor-Elect Northam. “This new brand and the services it represents is a commitment to building stronger communities, growing economies, and more competitive industries in Virginia. I thank Governor McAuliffe and his team for everything they have done over the last four years and look forward to utilizing this new brand in the years to come.”

Workforce, education, and economic development leaders from across the state have been fully engaged in the six-month branding process and participated in multiple work sessions to clarify the system’s strength and opportunity, as well as identify the brand’s key characteristics. The process was predominantly guided by market research, polling a cross-section of hiring managers representing a range of business sizes and industries, along with a geographically diverse group of residents, to establish a benchmark of awareness and knowledge. Roughly 50 percent of employers surveyed were able to recall with accuracy a local or state workforce organization; 25 percent of job-seekers were able to do the same.

Later in the branding process, employers and job-seekers were polled again to test potential names and brand marks or logos. Based on the market research, Virginia Career Works was selected due to its strong appeal with both customer groups.

“Having a unified brand for Virginia’s workforce development system is a critical, but positive, step in our efforts to have trained and ready-to-hire human talent pool in Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Right now, employers are looking to fill more than 150,000 high-quality jobs across the Commonwealth, and we’ll need to fill an approximate 1.5 million over the next ten years. To leverage fully that growth, our workforce system must engage and develop talent with the skills to fill those jobs. And now, thanks to the successes achieved under Governor McAuliffe, working in collaboratively with the General Assembly, the private sector, and other state government partners, we’re going to do that together, as Virginia Career Works.”

“As we learned during the development of our Blueprint Virginia 2025, the ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce is the number one issue facing Virginia businesses,” added Barry DuVal, President of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “This unified branding initiative demonstrates another significant step towards a more cohesive, strategic approach to workforce development in the Commonwealth as we work to advance the system in a way that benefits both businesses and job seekers.”

Over the next nine months, local workforce boards will update their websites, social media channels, and business materials – including business cards and forms – and facilities will have new signage to activate the new brand. A comprehensive activation plan is in development to guide partners through the implementation process, and Governor McAuliffe has committed federal funds to assist local partners with the costs associated with the transition.

Town Notices
Town Office Closed on MLK Day
January 8, 2018
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The Town Business Offices will be CLOSED Monday, January 15, 2018 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

The Town Hall Drive-Thru will be CLOSED Saturday, January 13, 2018.

Trash/Recycling will be collected Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

Business
Importance of a business credit score
January 8, 2018
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New business owners need to work on building their business credit score, which is similar to a personal score.

According to popular money-centric blog Nerd Wallet, a business credit score is measured by a range of numbers that indicate how creditworthy a business is and the higher the number, the better. The ratings are generated by the three major credit bureaus: Dun and Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax and typically range from zero to 100 rather than 300 to 850. Just like the personal FICO score, the single most significant influencer of this score is the ability to make on-time payments to lenders who regularly report on that history. The score will typically only be affected by accounts in the business’s name, but it should be noted that many small-business lenders will still take a look at an owner’s personal score as well.

Aside from payment history, these bureaus use other information to determine the overall score of a business. Experian, for example, uses credit information from product suppliers and money lenders, any filings from the courts, public records about the company, and any open or past collections. Taking things a step further, they also check current loan balances, liens, bankruptcies, and judgments against the business as well as how large and how old it is. That’s a lot of things to consider, and for a small business owner, it is important to remember that these agencies are watching every financial move they make and each one can have ramifications long into the future.

Just like a personal credit score, it is essential to check a business credit score frequently to see which direction it is moving as well as to monitor for fraud and inaccuracies that need to be corrected. Unlike the personal score, however, the major bureaus don’t hand out the information for free, and there will be a fee involved ranging from $39.95 to $99.95 each time it’s checked.