Archive for: March 2nd, 2018

Local News
Goodlatte speaks at Rotary luncheon, calls for better enforcement of existing gun laws
March 2, 2018

Above, Virginia Sixth District U.S. House Congressman Robert Goodlatte was the featured speaker at the Front Royal Rotary luncheon on Friday, March 2. However, Denise Eastham, pictured below, was the meeting’s emotional focal point announcing some endowments left by her late husband Jim. Photos/Roger Bianchini

WARREN COUNTY – In what some constituents might consider a rare sighting in the northwestern outreaches of Virginia’s Sixth U.S. Congressional House District, Congressman Goodlatte addressed the weekly luncheon of the Front Royal Rotary Club on Friday, March 2.

Goodlatte was the featured speaker, though for many the emotional high point of the noon gathering at the Blue Ridge Shadows Holiday Inn was the appearance of Denise Eastham, widow of long time Rotary member, former Front Royal mayor and local banker Jim Eastham, who passed last November after a courageous bout against pancreatic cancer. 

Mrs. Eastham announced some endowments to local agencies and Rotary left by her husband; and received a little help from her friends in tracking down a certain local tree cutter, whom she insists is going to get paid by her husband for including their property in some tree work, whether he wants to or not. 

But back on the political side, Goodlatte opened by acknowledging his post-2017 Election Day decision not to seek re-election in the 2018 Congressional mid-terms.  That November 2017 state election saw Democrats erase all but one of the Republican’s 16-seat majority in the State House of Representatives.  Citing his future political retirement, Goodlatte said he would miss his constituents, though he admitted some remained “grouchy about me”. 

Goodlatte then traced some recent actions and issues on the federal scene.  One presidential initiative Goodlatte reserved judgment on was President Trump’s plan announced in recent days to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.  The Sixth District delegate noted the plan was “making Wall Street nervous” as the specter of a trade war with China and Europe looms.  

Otherwise the House Judiciary Committee chairman generally towed the Trump Administration and Republican partisan line on things like tax reform and lowering corporate tax rates; what he termed “mandatory spending programs” like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – they will not be eliminated, but reformed he said; infrastructure spending – singling out nearby Interstate 81 as a target for major improvements; immigration reform, including a long-term fix for DACA addressing the situation of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, many of whom remember no other home and have become productive members of American society; and finally the issue at the forefront of many people’s minds after another mass school shooting – legislative action on gun control. 

In fact, the first three questions asked by Rotary members during a brief question-and-answer session following the delegate’s remarks were about access to semi-automatic weapons and school safety.  Goodlatte responded that he does not support a blanket ban on assault rifles of the kind used in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead.  Rather, the delegate said he thought Congress should focus on keeping such weapons out of the hands of people “who should not have them.” 

Instead of an emphasis on new laws limiting public access to semi-automatic weapons like those used in Parkland, Florida and last year in the Las Vegas concert shooting that was the worst mass murder in U.S. history; Goodlatte said he believed a “lack of enforcement of current laws” was the primary problem on the gun control front.  He called for increased prosecution of people who provided false information on gun purchase forms.  However, Goodlatte did indicate support for banning so-called bump stocks that essentially turn semi-automatic rifles into the machine guns they were designed to be used as in war zones. 

Asked what measures he would “support on Capitol Hill to protect students in school now” Goodlatte pointed to increased training to assure that existing response protocols during attacks were followed and met.   

The Congressman also dismissed the idea of raising the age at which semi-automatic assault weapons could be purchased from 18 to 21.  He noted states generally controlled age restrictions and observed that people are allowed to enlist in the U.S. military at 18. 

Congressman Goodlatte treads carefully on the volatile gun control issue, calling for better enforcement of existing laws and improved training of first responders.

Tax reform and loopholes 

During a brief interview with the media following the meeting, Goodlatte said he believed the boon to U.S. business from the Republican-Trump tax reform bill would eliminate the $1.5 trillion revenue deficit created by the bill’s largely corporate and top income bracket tax cuts.  Of the previous 35% U.S. corporate tax rate – a rate he called the highest in the developed world, reduced to about 21% by the Republican plan – Goodlatte admitted that some major U.S. corporations did not pay that rate when it was in place, at least on paper. 

“There are many, many, many companies that pay the full 35%. But there are some big ones, like GE (General Electric), that some years don’t pay any corporate tax. So, that’s also part of the tax reform – they will be paying more under this system.  Not as much more as I think they should have been,” Goodlatte said, stating he would have liked to have seen more in the way of closed loopholes in the tax reform plan, but believes overall the plan “will be better for the economy.” 

He added that he still believed spending cuts, including for programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that he mentioned earlier, must be addressed or “shame on us.” 

Trump tariff threat 

Of the Trump tariff plan, Goodlatte elaborated, “I’m still looking at them – it’s a decision that the president gets to make.  Congress can respond and we’re looking at whether we should respond.  I am very concerned about these huge trade deficits that we run year after year after year.  It hurts the U.S. economy greatly when other countries send their products here and they set up barriers of various kinds to keep our products out of their countries.  And this is one response that the president has identified that he is taking.  But, as I mentioned in my remarks, it has some repercussions for doing so.  So, I think we need to look at this.” 

And the elephant on the Hill 

He also said that as Judiciary Committee chair he and his committee were keeping up with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

“We have followed the matter very, very closely.  But we have said we are not going to try to duplicate, replicate the investigation,” the congressman began, then pivoting toward other investigations and investigative agencies.  “We have been very concerned about FBI actions taken in their investigation of wrongdoing of former Secretary Clinton and her affiliates.  And we’ve been very concerned about potential misuse of authority by the FBI in their seeking to do the investigation here in regard to the so-called Russia influence matter. 

“However, we have always said that Mr. Mueller should continue his investigation and that I support that investigation.  When he files a report we will certainly look very carefully at what he has to say.  But I also will say that there has been nothing that he has shown us so far that would indicate collusion by the Trump campaign with whatever involvement Russia had with attempts to influence our election, which I do think took place.” 

Just as images of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and happy-hour FBI employee “secret societies” began dancing in this reporter’s head, Goodlatte Chief of Staff Pete Larkin interrupted to say it was time for the congressman to “get going” – which is obviously why he is chief of staff, and a timely one at that.  However, he did leave me a staff press contact point by which to submit any follow-up questions.

Perhaps surprisingly, Congressman Goodlatte said he supported the special prosecutor’s investigation and believes there were Russian attempts to meddle in our electoral processes. However, he added he has yet to see any incriminating evidence of Russian collusion here.

Local News
Gov. Northam declares State of Emergency as high winds bring power outages, dangerous travel
March 2, 2018

Town of Front Royal linemen work on power lines Friday afternoon at the intersection of 6th St. and Virginia Ave. / Photo by Roger Bianchini


UPDATED:  RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency late Friday afternoon to address the effects of the severe weather impacting communities across the Commonwealth. The order is designed to help Virginia mitigate any damage caused by high winds and to streamline the process that the Commonwealth uses to provide assistance to communities impacted.

It will remain in force until further notice from the Governor.

Read the full text of the Executive Order here.


FRONT ROYAL – As a nor’easter sweeps up the east coast, residents from Virginia to Maine are experiencing strong gusts of wind up to 70-miles-per hour.  Some school systems and governments kept students and workers home, and officials have urged those who do not have to travel to simply stay put.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning until Saturday at 6 a.m. The region can expect high winds northwest 25 to 40 mph with gusts 55 to 65 mph in the valleys and 60 to 75 mph along the ridge tops. The strongest winds in the valleys are expected through Friday evening. Strong winds will continue through the night along the ridge tops.

Widespread power outages are occurring. Travel is dangerous, especially for high profile vehicles, and motorists need to be aware of rapidly changing road conditions due to the potential of downed trees and power lines. Pedestrians will face very hazardous conditions, and need to be aware of wind-borne projectiles.

People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your homes during the windstorm, and avoid windows. If a portable generator is used, follow manufacturer`s instructions and do not use inside homes, garages or apartments.

In Front Royal and Warren County, electric power crews were busy Thursday evening and into Friday.

According to Front Royal Town Manager Joe Waltz, midmorning Friday, “We currently have crews working on numerous down trees along the public right of ways and dealing with numerous power outages caused by the wind. We are currently fully staffed along with a tree contractor assisting us with tree removal.”

County residents, who have electric service with either Rappahannock Electric Coop or Shenandoah Valley Electric Coop, have been facing outages during this windstorm as well. According to the REC outage website, “Crews restored service to several thousand members overnight, however trees are falling and creating outages faster than repairs can be made. Right-of-way contractors are assisting, and additional help has been requested from other cooperatives. Restoration times are not being provided at this time.”

At 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, about 37,000 REC customers were without power. To report an outage to REC call 1-800-552-3904. The company asks that customers not use email or social media to report outages.

Shenandoah Valley Electric had about 7,500 customers in the Shenandoah Valley without power Friday afternoon, though there were only about 40 in Warren County. SWEC customers can report an outage by calling 1-800-234-7832, by using the MYSVEC app or by visiting the outage center.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is advising motorists to be on alert as they travel. High winds are expected to continue in most areas through Saturday morning.

VDOT crews are working to clear trees and debris as quickly as possible, according to spokesperson Shannon Marshall.  She said, as a reminder, drivers who encounter an intersection with a non-working signal should treat it as a four-way stop.

Also, motorists are reminded to  move over–when safely possible–for emergency responders with blue, red and amber lights, including VDOT and utility crews.

Local News
R-MA cadets claim top honors at 42nd Military School Band & Choir Festival
March 2, 2018

R-MA sophomore Jacob Gehly of Front Royal leads a group of drum major competitors during the drum major contest at the Military School Band and Choir Festival.

Fifteen select members of the Randolph-Macon Academy Band and Chorus traveled to Missouri Military Academy for the last weekend of February, to attend the 42nd Military School Band & Choir Festival.

The festival featured a concert band composed of military high school and college cadets under the direction of WO2 Bandmaster Freddie Lomas, Royal Marines, UK (ret), Director of Music at Missouri Military Academy. There was also be a cadet choir directed by a former Royal Marine, Rob McGrath, Choir and Jazz Band Director at Missouri Military Academy. Senior Chief Musician Michael P. Bayes, Drum Major of the United States Navy Band, conducted a clinic for military high school and college drum majors.

“This event is a highlight of the year for our better musicians,” said R-MA Band Director Ed Richards. “It is an opportunity to perform with a high quality band and choir composed entirely of the best musicians from military academies and colleges from across the nation. For our drum majors, it is an opportunity to train with the drum major of one of our nation’s premiere military bands, the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC.”

Several R-MA students won honors during the festival, including sophomore Alan Williams of Front Royal, who received a silver medal for earning first chair flute, and senior Ziyin “David” Chen of China, who received a silver medal for earning first chair alto saxophone. Chen also had a featured co-solo during the concert held on Sunday.

The much-anticipated drum major competition was held over the weekend as well, with R-MA sophomore Jacob Gehly of Front Royal winning the gold medal (first place).

The combined concert—in which Chen’s co-solo can be heard at 19:30—can be heard here.

Local News
Replacement Warren County decals arriving with April’s 2018 tax bill
March 2, 2018

Courtesy photo/ Virginia State Police

FRONT ROYAL – When Warren County residents receive their first-half 2018 tax bills next month, there will be a little something extra tucked inside the envelope. Taxpayers will find a shiny, new replacement County vehicle decal.

Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley said recently, at a regular Board of Supervisor’s meeting, that the reissue of decals was necessary after a December, 2017 memo from the Virginia State Police stating Virginia state inspection stickers will no longer be affixed to the bottom center of a vehicle’s windshield.

The move is because of state inspection stickers being relocated to the bottom left corner of the windshield (in front of the driver’s seat). The relocation stems from automobile manufacturers now offering crash avoidance technology in many of their vehicles, which uses the center of the windshield.

The Warren County vehicle decals will also be relocated to the bottom left corner of the windshield to the immediate right of the inspection sticker when viewed from inside the vehicle.

As vehicles are inspected throughout 2018, the Virginia inspection stickers will be relocated to the new location in front of the driver’s seat. Residents may ask the individual at the inspection station to place the County decal in its new location at the same time as the Virginia inspection sticker is placed.

A Virginia State Police Safety Division media release states that certified inspection stations began relocating inspection stickers on Jan. 1, 2018.   The new County decals must be placed in the new location, per Virginia code, by December 31, 2018.

Freedom Unmasked – Down and Dirty (episode 4)
March 2, 2018

Down and dirty.  No doubt about it.  This team practiced hard, showed dedication & determination, and took direction from Coach Donna like true champions.  It was not always pretty, but routines were worked over and over again striving for perfection.  A few of these girls really had to dig deep, focus, and breathe to make it through the next move.  But when they did, they nailed it!  So exciting to watch!  Please note, this video was created from just one practice.   The title for this episode is named down and dirty for a reason!

We have a cheer gym here in Front Royal that is doing some amazing things.  Each week Jenspiration goes out to film the cheer squad, Freedom, in action during practice.  The videos are authentic and show real situations the team experience. They do not always agree but work together to resolve disagreements.   The athletes know, working “together” they can accomplish anything!  Divided they are limited….

All Star Legacy Front Royal is a positive program for our children to experience tumbling and cheer at all ages and levels.  Watch the real stories of Freedom Unmasked on the Royal Examiner!

“FREEDOM” isn’t FREE, it’s paid for by many. – a reminder from Coach Rogers


Created by Jenspiration, LLC

Moneywise: Put retirement before future college funding
March 2, 2018

It is more important to securely fund retirement accounts than to save heavily for a child’s college education, according to USA Today. This might sound selfish to those who think preparing their kids for the future is a more noble goal. But, in fact, it is wise. While children can take out student loans to pay for college, it is unlikely that parents can finance their way through retirement.

College students have many options to pay for their education and having a fully funded savings account might tempt the family to place less importance on free grants and scholarships that will often require more work up front but don’t have to be paid back.

Financing Options For Small Businesses
March 2, 2018

For many start-ups, funding their businesses stands as one of the key obstacles to getting their companies off the ground and moving forward. According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, small businesses seek financing for four primary reasons:

1) Starting a business
2) Purchasing inventory
3) Expanding the business
4) Strengthening the business

What approach to funding will best suit the intent and needs of your small business? Understanding what types of financing is available is a good first step in figuring that out.

There are two major categories of financing—debt and equity—and other options exist as well.

Debt Financing

This involves borrowing money that you must repay (usually with interest) over a period of time. Generally, some or all assets of your business will be used to secure the loans. To protect them from default on a loan, lenders commonly require borrowers to personally guarantee repayment (i.e., to have a sufficient personal interest at stake).

Banks have been the major source of small business debt financing, but some have become more reluctant to offer long-term loans to smaller companies because of the risk involved. Fortunately, the Small Business Administration’s SBA 7(a) program has helped fill the void by encouraging banks to issue long-term loans to small businesses unable to get financing on reasonable terms through conventional lending sources.

Equity Financing

With equity financing (or equity capital), a small business raises money by offering shares of ownership in the business. Investors’ equity investments give them ownership stakes in the business and allow them to share in the company’s profits.

Equity capital may come from a variety of sources—such as your own personal savings, your life insurance policy, family, friends, employees, customers, government grants, venture capitalists, or angel investors.

Equity investors will naturally expect to get a return on their investments. Some might also require that they have a hand in your company’s decision-making.

Other Funding Options

These other financing and cost-sharing options also exist.

  • Partnerships
  • Joint ventures
  • Alliances
  • Crowdfunding

And you might also consider researching business incubators. While they typically don’t offer cash, they do provide some combination of valuable support in the way of free or discounted administrative services, an affordable workspace, shared office equipment, and even management guidance.

If you’re seeking funding to start or grow your small business, reach out to your local SCORE chapter for guidance. SCORE mentors have expertise in all aspects of business, and they can help guide you to resources that might best fit your financing needs. Also, check out the free Financing For Small Businesses e-learning course on the SBA website.

Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at