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26th District candidate April Moore worries over the direction of her former party

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April Moore lauds Front Royal’s Vigil for Democracy’s two-year commitment to political dissent. Photos/Roger Bianchini

As mentioned in Royal Examiner’s lead story on the launch of the third year of Vigil for Democracy demonstrations against the political agenda and lack of transparency of the Trump Administration, April Moore is positioning herself for a Democratic challenge of 26th District State Senate Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain in the upcoming election.

Vigil for Democracy launches into 3rd year in the populist political trenches

In the above linked story we alluded to a concern Moore shared with vigil participant and former Republican Jorge Amselle over what both see as disturbing trends in the Republican base and that base’s elected representatives.

Moore said it is personally painful to witness what she considers a Republican abandonment of inclusive and constructive conservatism in favor of bigotry-tinged extremism because like Amselle, she too has Republican roots.

“I used to be a Republican; I grew up Republican. My parents, I am sure, would just roll over in their graves if they could see what their party has become. And I am trying to help Republicans who don’t like what their party has become to see it and reject it, so they can get to work building a decent, constructive conservative party. Because I think American needs a conservative party that’s constructive.”

Or as conservative columnist George Will has observed, “The American Eagle needs a healthy left and right wing to fly.” But a healthy, constructive conservative voice is not what Moore sees in the current Republican Party, either in Congress, State Legislatures or at its base.

“We’ve all watched what the Republican Party has become right in front of our eyes – and the nomination and election of Trump are just the most visible symbol of that. I mean, this has been building for a generation. We’ve had people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity with this kind of drum beat poisoning people’s minds and getting people to believe things that just aren’t true – getting them to think Democrats are their enemies instead of just people who care about their country and might have different ideas,” Moore observed.

Moore addresses her own concerns about the current political climate to those present to launch the third year of weekly Vigil for Democracy demonstrations against the Trump Administration agenda.

“And a lot of people fall for it. They believe what he or they are saying. It’s very dangerous to our democracy that we have something like 40% of our fellow citizens liking what they see when they watch Trump. I mean okay, maybe people voted for him because they thought ‘Oh okay, let’s have a change’. Now we’ve had three years to watch him tell all these lies and threaten our national security by not even believing his own intelligence agencies – he’ll believe Putin or North Korea’s Kim Jung Un instead of what his own intelligence agencies are telling him. I mean, this is very dangerous. And we have to fight it and try to help people see that even after Trump leaves if you have 40% of our citizens liking what he did it will be an ongoing problem.”

Asked if the primary ongoing problem would be a significant, if at this point minority portion of the American public favoring a move toward authoritarianism based on cults of personality, Moore upped the ante on potential consequences.

“That’s very dangerous, yes,” she said of a rising tide of blind-faith political allegiance steeped in a vilification of enemies, real or imagined. “But even more dangerous than that is the threat of nuclear war. Because Trump has pulled us out of the intermediate-range nuclear missile treaty,” she noted of an agreement between the U.S. and Russia dating to the Reagan era that has kept mid-range nuclear weapons out of Europe on Russia’s western frontier.

It is a frontier many political and military analysts believe current Russian leadership, and we all know who that is, would like to see re-drawn toward former Soviet Union parameters across Eastern Europe.

Asked if a military, perhaps even nuclear, conflict broke out between Russia and the EU or NATO, which side she thought a Trump-led America might throw in with, Moore laughed nervously and moved on to another pending crisis – climate change.

“Climate change is really the biggest challenge confronting humanity. And the president pulled out of the (climate) treaty and he’s saying it’s fake news and fake science – and it’s so harmful. It’s at a time when we’re in great danger and we need to be moving full speed ahead (to correct things). What we really need on climate is a World War II-type effort. We need that big a mobilization; and meanwhile he’s dragging us in the opposite direction.”

We pointed to the negative Republican reaction and vilification of freshmen Democratic House membership rolling out the idea of a “Green New Deal” similar to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic New Deal that created jobs and helped push America out of the Great Depression.

“Yea, that it’s socialism or what is it going to cost,” Moore responded, adding, “Why don’t they consider the cost of doing nothing about climate change, with all the dramatic weather which is only going to get worse; creating many more refugees?”

So one underlying question for many, including former Republicans like Moore and Amselle, at the current political divide across Chester Street in Front Royal on Wednesday afternoons, as well as across Main Street America on any given day, is whether the Republican Party can regain a more moderate philosophical center or will continue a flirtation with political, social and economic extremism.

Ultimately it is a question only those choosing to remain Republican will be able to answer.

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Front Royal Cardinals at home loss to Waynesboro Generals

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Front Royal Cardinal Tre Dabney. Phoyo by Ken Pullen
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After losing Saturday night’s road game to Purcellville 4-8, the Cardinals returned home on Sunday to face the Waynesboro Generals. Despite being a hard-fought game where Cardinals’ pitching and hitting seemed to come together, the Cardinals lost to the Generals.

Both teams had a surge in the second inning, when Jackson Tate scored a two-run homer to spark the Generals’ offense. They scored four runs in the visitor frame of the inning. The Cardinals answered with three runs of their own, when Patrick Baggett and Cardinals’ newcomers Tre Dabney and Brody Shoupe all scored. The inning set the stage for the remainder of the contest.

While Cardinals pitching staff of Cade Middleton and Shane Scott kept the Generals to only four hits through six innings, Waynesboro managed another big inning in the seventh. The Generals scored four runs on four hits and took a seven-run lead. The Cardinals did not give up. Outfielder Trip Willis sent a 1-1 pitch well over the center field net in the eighth inning. Hopes of a comeback grew in the ninth, when Arrison Perez scored on a wild pitch, and Carson Bell scored on a sacrifice fly. Alas, down to their final out, the Cardinals ran out of opportunities and fell to the Generals with a final score of 10-6.

Cardinals’ offensive highlights of the game featured Trip Willis, who had two hits in four at-bats, including a solo home run. Defensively, pitcher Henri Pratt stood out in the game, collecting two strikeouts and allowing no runs in his one inning of work.

The Cardinals play on the road Tuesday, against the Winchester Royals, and Wednesday, against the Strasburg Express. The next home game will be Thursday, June 27th, against the Covington Lumberjacks. First pitch is at 7:00 pm.

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Crime/Court

BREAKING NEWS: Former EDA administrative assistant Michelle “Missy” Henry arrested by VSP

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Missy Henry, the second person to be arrested in connection with the EDA embezzlement investigation. / RSW Regional Jail
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WARREN COUNTY – Michele “Missy” Henry, who worked alongside former EDA Director Jennifer McDonald, who is currently jailed on a number of charges related to embezzlement of funds from the entity, was arrested Monday (June 24) without incident at her home by the Virginia State Police.

Henry has been charged with two counts of felony embezzlement and is currently being held without bail.  She is scheduled to appear in Warren County Circuit Court on Tuesday, June 25 at 9 a.m.

This is a developing story that will be updated as information warrants.

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Crime/Court

Defendant attempts to flee courtroom after drug case bond revoked

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While the temperature took a pleasant turn downwards on Friday, June 21, things heated up inside the Warren County Courthouse the afternoon of the Summer Solstice when a defendant appearing on a bond appeal hearing brought by the commonwealth did not take his bond revocation well.

During the afternoon docket around 2:30 p.m. 34-year-old Ray Martin Johnson decided to bolt from Circuit Courtroom “B” after the commonwealth’s motion to have his bond revoked on two drug charges was upheld by Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr.

As he exited the courtroom, Johnson met a Virginia State Trooper headed into court in the small ante-room area between the smaller circuit courtroom and outer door to the second floor hallway. That unexpected encounter initiated a scuffle reportedly resulting in someone’s head’s contact with a wall. Johnson’s attempt to leave the courthouse was quickly aborted by the trooper and a combination of Warren County Sheriff’s Office bailiffs and law enforcement personnel in the courtroom for other cases.

Ray Martin Johnson – Mug Shot RSW Regional Jail website

Johnson’s ill-advised exit attempt resulted in additional charges of “Escape-not convicted escape from custody by force or violence” and “Simple Assault-law enforcement officer, judge or fire & rescue personnel” being added to his previous charges. According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Samantha Meadows, who noted she had left the courtroom before Johnson’s flight attempt, the bond revocation involved two felony distribution charges, one for Schedule 1 and 2 drugs, the other for Schedule 4.

According to RSW Regional Jail inmate records, Johnson’s previous criminal record includes “Vandalism-intentional damage of property”, “Traffic-driving on a revoked license, third or subsequent offense” and “Contempt of Court-Failure to Appear”, as well as the two “Narcotics” charges, “Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine” and “Distribution, sell a Schedule 4 drug”.

Johnson is scheduled back in court at 9 a.m., tomorrow morning, Tuesday, June 25.

Why do I have this feeling it’s going to be a long, hot summer both inside and outside of the Warren County Courthouse?

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Local News

I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes Week of June 23, 2019

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Project construction continues throughout the corridor during daytime and overnight hours. Current activities include:

• Constructing bridge foundations at I-495, Route 28, and Route 234 Business interchanges and Bull Run Drive overpass
• Constructing retaining walls along I-66 and Route 28
• Demolition of structures

• Small charge dynamite operations at the Route 28 interchange
• Clearing trees and brush, grading, and installing drainage throughout the corridor
• Demolishing closed ramps at Route 123 interchange
• Grading and installing drainage at the future park and ride lots at University Boulevard (Gainesville) and Balls Ford Road (Manassas)
• Grading and excavating for the new E.C. Lawrence Park Access Road and temporary realignment of Braddock Road
• Relocating underground and overhead utilities along I-66 and Route 28
• Corridor-wide roadway maintenance as needed

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project will add express lanes stretching 22.5 miles from the Capital Beltway to Route 29 in Gainesville, rebuild major interchanges along the I-66 corridor, create thousands of new park and ride spaces, and expand trail options for cyclists and pedestrians. Learn more at Transform66.org.

Upcoming Lane Closures and Traffic Changes
The following planned lane closures are expected to have significant traffic impacts. All work is subject to change based on weather and schedule. Find the latest information on travel conditions and work zones by visiting 511virginia.org or downloading the Virginia511 app.

ROUTE 29 / GAINESVILLE
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 234 BUSINESS (SUDLEY ROAD) / MANASSAS
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 28 (SULLY ROAD) / CENTREVILLE
Route 28 North at ramp to I-66 East
Route 28 South at Braddock Road
Ramps from I-66 East and West to Route 28 North
Ramp from I-66 West to Route 28 South
Monday, June 24 through Friday, June 28: 11 a.m. to noon
Temporary stoppages of up to 15 minutes on Route 28 North and South at I-66 for small charge blasting. Additionally, the ramps from I-66 East and West to northbound Route 28, and from I-66 West to southbound Route 28 will be temporarily closed for up to 15 minutes during the same time period.

ROUTE 286 (FAIRFAX COUNTY PARKWAY)
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 50 / FAIRFAX
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 123 (CHAIN BRIDGE ROAD) / OAKTON – CITY OF FAIRFAX
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 243 (NUTLEY STREET) / VIENNA
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

I-495 (CAPITAL BELTWAY)
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Commuter Alternatives
VDOT and the project team have invested in a broad range of programs to help commuters and others stay mobile and safe during construction. Learn more about carpool, vanpool, telework, and commuter bus alternatives.

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Warren County School Board Meeting: June 19, 2019

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Superintendent Greg Drescher updates the School Board on the delay in renovations at A.S. Rhodes. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

At the June 19th Warren County School Board meeting, Superintendent Greg Drescher did update the Board on the A.S.Rhodes project but there is always more to learn. The Clerk’s Report includes expenditures made and the personnel report lists resignations and appointments. It’s interesting to see how our tax money is spent each month.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there. Watch your School Board at work:

Here’s the link to view the agenda and documentation provided the School Board.

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It doesn’t happen often, but …

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Cardinals first baseman Levi Leisenring. Photo by Ken Pullen.

A no hitter is rare in baseball, and the Front Royal Cardinals were able to experience that infrequent event last night. Unfortunately, it was for the other team. The Cardinals lost a defensive showdown to the Strasburg Express 5-0.

It was a beautiful night for baseball, and the Cardinals’ largest crowd of the season came out to cheer the hometown team. The excitement was palpable when both teams took the field. The Express took an early lead in the second inning, when Nicholas Toney took a 3-2 pitch over the left field net for a home run. There would not be another run scored until the eighth inning. Strasburg pitching was dominant, securing 18 strikeouts, and the Cardinals were only able to put the ball in play seven times over the course of the game. The Cardinals only base runners came when Easton Waterman was walked, and Arrison Perez was hit by a pitch. The Cardinals defense was exceptional through most of the game, securing 11 outs and only committing three errors. Third base man Patrick Baggett led the defense, making five assists and running down two Express baserunners for the tag. The Cardinals pitching staff, comprised of Kyle Turner, Sean Miller and Henri Pratt, executed seven strikeouts and only walked five batters throughout the game. The Express managed to tack on four more runs in the last two frames, including an extremely close call at the plate that didn’t go the Cardinals way. When the dust settled, the Express shut out the Cardinals 5-0.

Although the Cardinals couldn’t get their bats going in this game, Coach Tony Hurla believes that their pitching and hitting will come together. He said, “We pitched a lot better tonight, but didn’t have the offense to go with it. We’re a little inconsistent in both areas, but if we can start to put both together, then I think things could turn around for us.”

The Cardinals will try for a win tonight at Purcellville, against the Cannons. Their next home game is Sunday on June 23rd at 7:00 pm against the Waynesboro Generals. Dominion Health & Fitness is sponsoring the game.

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Upcoming Events

Jun
27
Thu
6:00 pm Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Jun 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Sip & Glaze at The Vine & Leaf! Join us for an evening of good company while you glaze your own lunch set (bowl and plate).
Jun
29
Sat
1:00 pm Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Jun 29 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing Workshop - Summer 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This weekend workshop will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings of leaves, flowers,[...]
Jun
30
Sun
1:00 pm Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Jun 30 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing Workshop - Summer 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This weekend workshop will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings of leaves, flowers,[...]
Jul
1
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jul 1 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
Jul
8
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jul 8 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 8 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jul
9
Tue
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 9 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]
Jul
10
Wed
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 10 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jul
11
Thu
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 11 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]