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6th District constituents ask: Where is our country headed – and why are you a part of it?!?



We promised a follow-up on details of Sixth District constituent comments and questions posed on February 22, at the weekly Open Door meeting in Front Royal hosted by staff of Congressman Bob Goodlatte – and here it is.

Why additional detail on those comments?

Goodlatte staffer Emily Wicht, right, sets groundwork for Feb. 22 Open Door meeting, as portion of a record crowd of 31 constituents begins to settle in. Photos/Roger Bianchini

Because they reflect deep concerns that have driven an outburst of public anger at Town Hall meetings across the nation during the recent Congressional recess.  It has been Republican lawmakers like Goodlatte that have taken the brunt of that anger as a consequence of the first month of Republican Donald J. Trump’s presidency.  It is a presidency unusual on several fronts:

  • Trump lost the popular vote by three million votes, despite the disenfranchisement nationally of millions of traditionally Democratic demographic groups, including youth, blacks and the elderly based on new, more restrictive state-approved voter ID laws and rules – “It’s almost to the point you have to have a birth certificate to vote,” one person present at the Front Royal meeting observed (and that might not work since they don’t have photos attached).
  • At least in part, as a consequence of the difference between the popular vote and Electoral College result, Trump begins his presidency with the lowest approval rating – about 40 percent – in history;
  • Despite those numbers, Trump enters office with a decisive Republican Congressional majority, a majority whose approval rating has been worse than his, around 20 percent or lower for several years, in both the House and Senate. It is a conservative majority that seems determined to overturn a half century or more of federal labor, environmental and civil rights protections, as well as social safety-net programs enacted during Democratic administrations;
  • And the new president is poised to appoint a crucial tie-breaking US Supreme Court justice after those congressional majorities blocked the incumbent Democratic president’s ability to nominate a court successor to ultra-conservative Antonin Scalia in the final year of his presidency. – “It’s getting more like an oligarchy,” another person commented of defacto Republican-control of all three branches of the U.S. government.

And if Goodlatte personally managed to dodge the direct and often angry encounters many of his colleagues faced during the congressional recess by scheduling a trip to India to assure that government that our new president’s immigration policies will NOT impact that nation’s tech workers seeking employment here, his staffer Emily Wicht did not.  As we previously reported, a lengthy list of questions and complaints were submitted to her to be presented to her boss.

Near the top of that list was a request Goodlatte make himself directly accessible to face constituent questions about his and his Party’s support of the agenda of a president whose primary leadership experience is as a “Reality-TV” star; and a silver-spoon-fed businessman with a habit of declaring bankruptcy (four times), at least in part to avoid paying debts.  And with news reports escalating through February and beyond about “the Russian issue”, exactly how Trump’s path to the presidency was achieved, was not far behind accessibility and policy accountability on constituents’ minds in Front Royal that unseasonably warm February morning.

A double standard

“There is clearly a double standard here,” one of the 31 people who turned up to confront the absent Goodlatte, said.  The reference was to the reluctance of House Republicans like Goodlatte to pursue an investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian government personnel during the 2016 presidential race, after those same congressmen spent millions of taxpayer dollars on repeated and repeatedly fruitless inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi-related e-mails.

In fact, Goodlatte himself has co-sponsored (with Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah 3rd) a call for a Congressional investigation into the leaks surrounding evidence of those contacts, while ignoring the substance at the root of the leaks – leaks which subsequently led to the resignation of Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

As FOX News correspondent Sheppard Smith noted of such an inquiry based on President Trump’s allegations of “leaks” surrounding the Russia contact stories, “They are saying the news is FAKE, but the leaks are REAL – that is IMPOSSIBLE.”

The general mood of those present seemed reflected in the question, “I wonder what made Trump single out the Russians to hack his opponent’s e-mails during the campaign?”

Since the February meeting here, the Russian plot has thickened for the Trump Administration, if not piqued the interest of House Republicans to pursue it.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any potential Russian inquiry due to his own Russian contacts during the election, a fact he neglected to mention under direct questioning about Russian contacts during his Congressional confirmation hearing.

A crowd of 31 disgruntled, even angry constituents gathered inside and out of Samuels Library’s Baxter-Bowling Conference Room on Feb. 22.

“What’s disappointing to me is his (Goodlatte’s) support of Donald Trump,” John Cermak told Wicht.  “I met him and his wife; they seemed like nice people … but for him to support Trump on Party lines – I don’t understand it … Our disdain is generated by these Party-line stances.”


According to our contributing writer Malcolm Barr, Sr. complaints were already showing up about Goodlatte’s inaccessibility since he managed to earn the ire of President Trump on the ceremonial opening day of the 2017 Congress.

On that day, Goodlatte led a tribe of rank-and-file Republican lawmakers, who’d voted in a secret House Judiciary Committee meeting to dismantle the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.  In the midst of a public and media firestorm, Trump Tweeted his displeasure, suggesting Goodlatte and company focus on “other more important things” and the House Republican Caucus immediately back-pedaled in the face of Trump’s objection and the growing public outcry.

It appears Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte will remain reclusive during public backlash toward the Trump Administration agenda and congressional support of it.

“I don’t think I’ve heard a peep directly out of our congressman’s mouth since January 20,” Barr said; adding that he was told by one of our town’s leading citizens who asked not to be identified, about being “stood up” by Goodlatte last month.

Meanwhile, letters to the editor in other publications around the Sixth District have lodged similar complaints, which apparently led to a press release from the congressman’s office saying Goodlatte would not appear publicly either at town halls or with individuals for an unspecified time.

Health Care

If he did, another overriding concern he would have heard at the February 22 Open Door meeting was that Republicans NOT rush into repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  The overwhelming consensus of those present was that the reduced-cost health care coverage implemented by President Obama under the ACA be maintained until Republicans come up with a BETTER alternative.  And those addressing this issue, like Christine Ilich, Rea Howarth, Frederic Tagg III, Kathleen Roush and Diane Demarcus made it clear they did NOT view “better” as an alternative geared to simply restoring un-regulated corporate health insurers’ profits, thus making health care coverage unaffordable, even for many working Americans.

In fact, Rea Howarth said her daughter had begun a small business that would not have been possible without ACA help with health insurance coverage – “People overlook the positive impacts of the ACA on small business,” Howarth stated.

Her husband Tom Howarth cited his own work at health clinics, pointing out that people with any income, no matter how small, could not qualify for ACA-associated Medicaid coverage in Virginia because the Republican-controlled General Assembly had refused to adopt Medicaid Expansion, a key element of the Affordable Care Act.  It is an element a U.S. Supreme Court majority in 2012 ruled that each state had the option of approving or rejecting, despite its connection to a federal program they deemed legal.  Estimates are that the Virginia General Assembly’s rejection of Medicaid Expansion pushed by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe has kept as many as 400,000 Virginians from Medicaid eligibility and reduced ACA health insurance costs.

At least if you’re approaching WMH from this side, you’re able to walk in.

“Medical expenses can send people into bankruptcy overnight if a child is born with or comes down with a serious disease,” Rea Howarth stated, asking, “Why are we against socialized medicine and health care? Other countries do it and make it work.”

“Because we’re Americans, and we believe in FREEDOM!!!” one man said pounding the meeting room desk, drawing some laughter for his delivery of an obviously facetious remark.

Christine Andreae cited her work on the Warren Memorial Hospital Board.  She pointed to the high amount of debt the hospital takes on because of patients who can afford NEITHER health insurance or large, unexpected medical expenses.

“It seems Republicans are more interested in Party than people,” Howard Morton commented.

“I don’t understand putting Party over the general good,” one young woman said, adding of Goodlatte, “What are his morals if he supports Trump?”

Immigration policy

And on the topic of morals, the president’s attempt to institute an immigration policy based on stereotyping of ethnic groups and nationalities came under heavy fire.  Eleanor Miller said she taught an ESL (English as Second Language) class at Samuels Library, coincidentally site of the Goodlatte-less Sixth District Open Door meetings.

“The numbers have been dropping off in recent months – these are mostly moms trying to better themselves and the opportunities for their children.  But they are afraid to drive now,” she or someone next to her said of a growing fear of immigrants that things like routine traffic stops could lead to incarceration and deportation, potentially separating them from their children.

“All I see are increases for the police and the military.  ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) and the Border Patrol are becoming our Brown Shirts,” one woman said of Trump budget proposals and immigration policies (Brown Shirts being a reference to militarized German police of the fascist, Nazi era of the 1930s and 1940s).  “We’re not the home of the free, home of the brave anymore – we’re home of the scared; and they are doing everything to promote that fear,” she said of the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans walking in lockstep on immigration with it.

“I don’t want one cent spent on building a wall,” Tom Howarth added to his previously expressed concerns about health care.  Of Trump’s immigration policies and deportation plans, Howarth cited the plight of a Salvadoran friend in Arlington.  He said if that person was sent back to Salvador in the wake of the most recent coup there, they had told him, “We will be killed.”

“Are we that hard hearted that, that’s the best we can do?” Howarth asked the absent Goodlatte, who as House Judiciary Chairman sits at one focal point of immigration reform.

The narrative & the media

Melissa Ricks recounted helping take a group of children to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.  She said that when one of the children asked how something like that happened, she responded that Hitler and the Nazis “controlled the narrative” about what was happening at the hands of their government, and why.

A master of narrative control – German “Minister of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda” Josef Goebbels, circa 1933-1945. His book on narrative control, aka propaganda, is still referenced by right-wing extremists around the world. Public Domain Photo

That observation led to some group back and forth about Trump’s vilification of the media, most famously as the “enemy of the people”, exactly because they do not accept the president’s often unsubstantiated or even verifiably false narrative on myriad issues.

Trump’s assertions about the media were recently contradicted by a perhaps to many, unexpected source – former President George W. Bush.  In response to a direct question from the “Today Show’s” Matt Lauer about Trump’s “enemy of the people” comment, Bush said he considered the media “indispensable to democracy.”  The 43rd president then added, “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account.  Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.”

WHAT is going ON?!!? – I have quoted Fox News’s Sheppard Smith AND Texan George W. Bush in one article – QUICK, someone get me the vapors before I expire!

Ah, that is better.  A quick count of “narrative” issues involving either Trump or Congressional Republicans in general included in and after the February 22 Goodlatte-less Open Door discussion were:

  • Actual crime rate numbers;
  • Immigrants’ impact on crime rates;
  • The president’s rationale for proposing huge increases in military and law enforcement spending;
  • The necessity of cutting social safety net programs to achieve other budgetary goals;
  • And even things as trite as the attendance at the president’s inauguration.

In the administration’s first month, Trump spokesmen or women were forced to create a term to explain gaps in the president’s statements and reality – “alternative facts”.  It is a concept that Miriam Webster’s Dictionary online has noted “does not exist” – facts are facts, the “alternative” is non-facts, as most five-year-olds are probably beginning to understand.

“We have to contradict that narrative every chance we get,” one person said of the Trump and Republican Congressional majority’s narrative about the state of the nation and world.

“I hold him personally responsible for violating citizens’ civil rights,” another commented – and it wasn’t clear at that point, at least to this reporter, if “him” was President Trump or Congressman Goodlatte.

Time will tell…

There was more, including Administration and Republican Congressional weakening of environmental protections, including offering federal lands for sale to corporate interests at the state level; the diminishing of science as a basis for governmental decision making on things like energy, the environment, climate and human health; corporate profiteering off student loans to cover soaring college costs; why Goodlatte as House Judiciary Committee chair had rejected some comprehensive immigration reform plans, then excluded Democrats from a meeting with ICE officials; and even a general Trump Administration assault on the function of federal agencies, including the EPA, Education and even the State Department.


But I know I’m probably boring the county’s Republican majority, though perhaps NOT. – As several people present on February 22 said, “I used to be a Republican” or “If you take Republicans for granted you are making a BIG mistake.”

However, there were also questions as to whether Party-line supporters of Trump, or Goodlatte for that matter, understood that they, not to mention their children and grandchildren, ALSO benefit from things like affordable health care reform; affordable college tuition; federal land and national park protections; and moves toward sustainable energies from highly polluting fossil fuels.

As my friend and colleague Malcolm Barr, Sr. said in a recent Opinion piece involving a Goodlatte-sponsored economic development initiative here, I guess “time will tell.”

(Malcolm Barr Sr. contributed to this story.  His appraisal of Goodlatte’s effort to remove independent ethics oversight from himself and his colleagues is posted in our OPINION section.)

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Sons of the American Revolution celebrate signing of the Declaration of Independence



The Declaration of Independence, submitted to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776, approved on July 2 and declared on July 4, is the document in which the 13 American colonies formally stated their independence from Great Britain and set forth the ideas upon which the U.S. government would be based.

On July 5th at 2 pm, the public came to the Warren County Government Center to hear the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) read the Declaration of Independence. Along with the reading, reenactors fired off a musket salute.

Remarks were given by Dale Corey, Mark Robinson, and Nathan Poe, members of the SAR Chapter. Larry Johnson provided the invocation. The reading of the Declaration of Independence was done by Marc Robinson, Brett Osborn, Bill Schwetke, Sean Carrigan, Chip Daniel, Erick Moore, and Dale Corey.  The ceremony also includes presenting two wreaths to honor the signing of the document. Closing remarks by Dale Cory and benediction by Larry Johnson.

Presenting of the Colors by the CJWII Color Guard. Photos and video by Mike McCool, Royal Examiner.

Dale Corey welcomes the public to the event.

Invocation by Rev. Larry Johnson

Thomas Jefferson on His Death Bed presented by Nathan Poe

Musket Salute

Watch this event on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton


John Hancock


Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton


Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross


Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

New York

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple


Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery


Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire

Matthew Thornton

Click here to see the Thomas Jefferson, June 1776, Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence

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Congratulations to Warren County High School Seniors – Class of 2020



Royal Examiner presents the Warren County High School Class of 2020. Congratulations to these wonderful seniors on their hard work and deserved accomplishments! We wish you the best in your next big endeavors. Photos courtesy of the Victor O’Neill Studios.

Tiffany Abbott

Matthew Adams

Alivia Agostini

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
—Benjamin Franklin

Jackson Arnold

Kara Athey

Caden Bain

Nathaniel Baker

Ethan Baldwin

Lara Ball

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
—B.B. King

Alegend Baltimore-Lane

Seth Barbee

Mariah Barber

Jeffrey Barek

Brooke Bargeron

Hannah Bates

“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.

Austin Baugher

Dylan Becker

Brent Bermanski

Gabrielle Bessette

Jessica Blankenship

Madison Booth

“The highest result of education is tolerance.”
—Helen Keller

Aston Bowman

Shawnee Boyd

David Boyles

Ryan Bradley

Lacie-Anna Bragg

Haley Brown

“The most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and to not give into peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not.”
—Ellen DeGeneres

Carlee Brownwell

Zamari Buchanan

Logan Burner

Ilanny Campa

Courtney Capozio

Yaritza Chevez-Hernandez

“Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”
—Senator Orrin Hatch

Alex Cockrell

Patrick Coffron

Abby Cook

Grace Critzer

Chelsey Cross

Syndi Davidsen

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
—Arthur Ashe

Katelynn Doyle

Jarod Ebersold

Tearyonna Flanagan

Isaiah Frame

Hannah Frost

Maria Fusto

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
—C.S. Lewis

Sean Gable

Shai Geiger

Emma Gershon

Kaila Gleason

Isaiah Glick

Isabelle Grupac

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Alejandro Guerrero

Jaydon Halter

Nikolas Hanscome

Dylan Hardin

Ethan Hardin

Katelyn Harold

“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.”
—Edward Koch

Jesse Harvey

Haruki Heath

Caleb Heflin

Brittany Heishman

Gregory Heishman

“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.”
—Jennifer Aniston

Kali Henry

Sage Henry

Brianna Hogan

Jeremiah Hogan

Karenzo Hogue

Trinity Holben

“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
—Dr. Seuss

Halea Hose

William Huerto

Ian Hurdle

Bailey Hutson

Tenaisha Jackson

Kelly Jacobs

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
—Albert Einstein

Matthew James

Rylee Jenkins

Nolan Johnson

Deandre Joseph

Joseph Joyce

Hannah Kekel

“Every person you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”
—H Jackson Brown Jr.

Osman Khan

Autumn Kibler

Joseph Kilgallen

Conner Knerler

Alexander Kubela

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
—Mark Twain

Ethan Kuhstoss

Rachel Larkins

Cameron Larson

Jaden Longmire

Nicholas Lowery

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
—Winston Churchill

Morgan Lynch

Emma Lynn

Nicholas Manfredi

Dylan Martin

Cameron Martucci

Brandon Mason

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
—Steve Jobs

Callista Mayberry

Alexis McCollum

Joshua McDonald

Maxwell McInturff

Nicholas Meidt

Alexandra Menacho

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
—J.K. Rowling

Madison Mosser

Lance Nalls

Ethan Neely

Jacob Norris

Donovan O’Reilly

Bailey Ontiveros

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
—Henry David Thoreau

Ethen Patton

Sabrina Perea

Jakob Perry

Olivia Phelan

Taylor Poletis

Molly Presley

“The most rewarding things in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.”
—Arnold Palmer

Austin Ramey

Abby Reed

Hannah Ren

Aimee Rich

Cassandra Riley

Dustin Robey

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
—Vincent Van Gogh

Rae Robey

Kyra Robinson

Elizabeth Roland

Chase Roltsch

Breelyn Romer-Wines

Russell Rowe

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
—Thomas Jefferson

Madison Salmons

Zairajael Sandoval-Sanchez

Dustin Settle

Sierra Sharp

Christopher Sherwood II

“You have to dance a little bit before you step out into the world each day, because it changes the way you walk.”
—Sandra Bullock

Cody Simmons

Noah Skube

Robert Sloat

Kristen Smallwood

Hailey Smith

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
—Dr. Seuss

Hanna Smith

Zackary Smith

Heavenly Sowers

Derek Staton

Kaleb Steele

Tyler Suflita

“I encourage you to live with life. Be courageous, adventurous. Give us a tomorrow, more than we deserve.”
—Maya Angelou

Sierra Summers

Hannah Sutphin

Rachel Sutphin

Brigid Tamas

Kiersten Tanner

Colton Taylor

Get busy living or get busy dying.”
—Stephen King

Andrew Thompson

Ashley Thompson

Dynell Thompson

Matthew Tieche

Morgan Tilley

Nikoandre Tolentino

“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
—Charles Swindoll

Robin Kier Tolentino

Kyra Treutlein

Madison Trump

Ariana Turner-Schaefer

Isabella Unrath

Clara Vassallo

“Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”
—Art Linkletter

Shannon Vernick

Nathaniel W. Smith

Aidan Ward

Holly Watkins

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”
—William Arthur Ward

Lily Wayland

Ewan Welch

Timothy Wheeler

Jazmine White

Nathan White

Brelyn Williams

“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”
—Bob Marley

Brooklyn Williams

Isaiah Wilt

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
—Dr. Seuss

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It’s burned up – forget it: Call dad and tell him his truck is toast in Front Royal



Mid-afternoon, Thursday, June 25, a vehicle fire was reported in the parking lot of the commercial strip anchored by Anthony’s Pizza on the 100 block of South Royal Avenue. First responders from Warren County Fire & Rescue and the Front Royal Police Department found a pickup truck with West Virginia tags parked on the street side of the lot with an engine fire engaged and no occupants apparent.

This reporter arrived after the fire had been extinguished and only one town police unit remained at the scene. That officer pointed out a thick fluid trail that appeared to run from the 1993 Ford Ranger pickup through a portion of the parking lot, perhaps indicating a fluid leak as a source or consequence of the engine fire.

The involved 1993 Ford Ranger pickup was abandoned at scene by occupants. Contacted, the Hampshire County, West Virginia owner said he had given his daughter permission to take the truck and had been alerted that it had been damaged in Front Royal. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

Our inquiry to responding agencies led to information from the FRPD Public Information Department’s Jessica Racer, who told us, “The incident was a vehicle fire, not arson and not suspicious in nature. The owner’s name is Roger Haines in Hampshire County (West Virginia).”

FRPD Captain Crystal Cline later told Royal Examiner that the truck’s owner was contacted by running the tags and requesting Hampshire County authorities to contact him. That route was required because apparently the truck’s driver and a passenger left the scene without ever making contact with local authorities, first responders, or potentially impacted businesses in the commercial strip.

Captain Cline reported that Mr. Haines “advised that the vehicle was not stolen, and he had given his daughter permission to drive the vehicle” and that he was “aware that the vehicle was broken down” and “had already contacted a towing company” about recovering it.

Fire & Rescue responders broke the driver’s side window to access the cab where a witness believed a gas can had been left inside.

This scenario seems to confirm information from a witness to the vehicle fire who told a Royal Examiner source that the vehicle’s occupants, described as a man and woman, left the scene on foot without contacting responders about their connection to the vehicle. According to the witness, the pair left the truck cab locked as they exited it with the engine smoking before walking to the adjacent Jack Evans Chevrolet lot to watch at distance as responders arrived to extinguish the developing engine fire. Eventually, they left the scene on foot down South Royal Avenue without any apparent contact with authorities, the witness reported.

That’s a long hitchhike back to Hampshire County – no time to waste apparently.

The gas can’s location following the fire was near the driver’s side, rear tire, fortunately unsinged. No further information on the can’s contents or original location was available.

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Music park at Burrell Brooks, Jr. Community Park ribbon cutting ceremony



On Friday, June 26, 2020, citizens, friends and family, Parks and Recreation Commission members, Warren County Board of Supervisors members, and County Administrator Doug Stanley gathered to welcome Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist’s generous gift to Burrell Brooks, Jr. Community Park.

This is Dr. Hultquist’s third music park donation to the Warren County park system. In 2017, Ms. Hultquist suggested the idea of adding a music park to one of the County’s facilities after visiting similar parks in Utah and Oregon, and the County celebrated the first music park addition at Rockland Park in November 2017. The following year, a second music park addition was built in Lions Park.

In late 2019, Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist donated the new Deluxe Collection music system to be installed at Burrell Brooks, Jr. Community Park. The mixed quartet offers a musical experience for all through a specially designed ensemble that delivers a variety of sound qualities and pitch ranges. The equipment is multi-generational, interactive, durable, and perfectly tuned. Everyone, regardless of age or ability, can play. Her generous support of the music parks will allow our community to enjoy the enrichment of music and will inspire future musicians.

At the ribbon cutting, long-time Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission member Ron Harvey provided a history of the Commission, recreation in the community, and how the generosity of the community has allowed the parks to flourish.

Board of Supervisors Vice Chair and South River District Supervisor Cheryl Cullers noted the importance of music in the development of children, who will now have the opportunity to enjoy this park and its new addition donated by Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist. She added, “The addition of this music equipment to Burrell Brooks Park will, I believe, give the children of the community at an early age, access to music as an avenue to hopefully start a lifelong love of music, as well as to have the experience to exercise their own creative musical talents.”

The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department is very grateful for Dr. Hultquist’s generous gifts to our local parks for the benefit of all citizens. County Administrator Doug Stanley, noting her previous donations, stated, “I would like to personally thank Lorraine for her kind and generous monetary gift for this magnificent music park for all of Warren County patrons to enjoy and for her support of the entire Parks and Recreation system. It is truly fitting that she is honored today for her gracious and kind gift!”

Music Park at Burrell Brooks, Jr. Community Park

Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist playing the new music park instruments

Warren County Administrator, Doug Stanley, welcoming attendees and expressing his gratitude to Dr. Hultquist

Cheryl Cullers, Board of Supervisors Vice Chair, speaking about the benefits of music for children

Ron Harvey providing historical context to the event on behalf of the Parks and Recreation Commission and focusing on the spirit of generosity in the citizens of Warren County

(L to R) Ron Harvey, Parks and Recreation Commission; Carolyn Kissinger, Parks and Recreation Commission; Cheryl Cullers, Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors; Dr. Lorraine LeHew Hultquist, benefactor; Walter Mabe, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors; Archie Fox, Board of Supervisors; and Douglas P. Stanley, County Administrator, cutting the ribbon

Friends and family of Dr. Hultquist celebrating the new music park

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Three words: The test of liberty or tyranny



“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Since 1776 when those words were written in the Declaration of Independence, the world has seen kings and tyrants who, fooling men with their sweet-sounding philosophies, tried to steal their rights and liberty, and many times succeeded.

Yet, in this famous sentence, Thomas Jefferson gives us three words that are the test for tyranny:


Jefferson said some ideas are obvious, so obvious that Americans don’t need a lawyer to explain them or a politician to debate them. The first obvious truth he sets down is this: All people are created equal. All are endowed with the same rights.

The Creator gives rights to men and women as a gift — an endowment — what the dictionary calls a ‘fund for permanent support.’ No man gives these rights to people, for these rights are already theirs. No king can decide which people get to exercise these rights because each person has been given the free gift of these permanent rights, not one more than another.

These obvious rights, given as a permanent gift from God, cannot be taken away by any person, and neither can a man surrender his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Town Talk: A conversation with Tim Ratigan – support our local law enforcement officers



In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Tim Ratigan. Tim has started a movement in our community to support our local law enforcement officers from the Front Royal Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.  Our local law enforcement officers serve to defend the freedom, fairness, and individual liberties that our forefathers fought and died. These brave men and women risk their lives every day to maintain a civil society and the rule of law.

On Friday evening, July 3rd, another group of community supporters are meeting at the Gazebo in Front Royal from 5 pm to 7:30 pm. Come show your appreciation, support, and respect for local Law Enforcement, Fire, and Emergency Personnel along with the flag of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA! This is a free informal gathering for those interested in showing their support and to say thanks.

No frills, nothing more than thank you to those men and women who serve our community. You are free to wear a mask, practice distancing, bring “Old Glory” (lots of them), bring a lounge chair, sing the National Anthem, God Bless America, etc, stroll along Main Street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic for outdoor dining and shopping.  Come and enjoy yourselves and be thankful for those who simply wish to “Serve and Protect”.

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to

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