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A Brand New Day – Signs of Afton redevelopment, clean-up of old Town Hall appear

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On Tuesday, August 10, some draping on the fence surrounding the Afton Inn shell appeared, along with a graphic post of plans for the redevelopment of the 153-year-old building site dating to its 1868 opening as the Montrose Inn during the Civil War “Reconstruction” era. A 2023 completion was cited for the building planned for redevelopment in a combination of upscale apartments on upper floors and commercial spaces on the first floor and in a building addition on the North Royal Avenue side. For Royal Examiner’s coverage of developer 2 East Main Street LLC’s plans for the site, see the linked late December 2020 story “From Town Eyesore to Downtown Anchor: Reimagining the Afton Inn”.

On Thursday, August 12, Front Royal Town Manager Steven Hicks issued a press release citing 2 East Main LLC’s movement into the second phase of its redevelopment plan, and current cooperation between the Town and developer. Were only that it had always been that way.

What a long, strange trip it’s been – After years of delays and aborted plans, Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Business District appears on the verge of getting a long-sought “facelift”. Below, a closer look at graphics illustrating the Afton Inn redevelopment plan. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

Coincidentally, the same day some cleanup work was seen at the old Town Hall building across North Royal Avenue, for which the Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) “swapped” to gain control of the Afton site for marketing for redevelopment in 2014. The move became necessary after then Afton owner Frank Barros decided to let the Afton Inn shell sit deteriorating after, in a questionable move, the Front Royal Town Council decided to sue its own Board of Zoning Appeals to reverse the BZA decision to allow Barros’s redevelopment plan, including a first-floor indoor fountain, to proceed. That 2007-08 BZA review was necessary because the plan would result in the renovated Afton Inn being about 10-feet taller than the Warren County Courthouse across the street. Building taller than the courthouse downtown was and is forbidden by town zoning codes.


His plans shelved by the Town’s legal action against itself, Barros refused to communicate with the Town, even threatening legal action for harassment if continued attempts to contact him were made. The EDA intervened on the Town’s behalf, gaining developmental ownership, and offering Barros the “swap” for the vacant old Town Hall dating to the late 1930s which the town government had recently abandoned as too small for its continued use as the town government center, though in much better physical shape than the Afton Inn.

Some cleanup work was spotted down the block on old Town Hall, the same day the new fencing draping and graphic plan appeared at the Afton Inn site. A promising sign, or just a reaction to a recent council call for agreed-upon maintenance? – Time will tell. Below, the County Courthouse played into an inexplicable 2007-08 council decision to sue its own BZA to halt Afton redevelopment plans of then-owner Frank Barros.

Current part-time Town “Business Development Project Manager” and recent Interim Mayor and Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick made several appearances before Town Council in 2014, vocally leading opposition to the swap. The current Afton redevelopment plan was delayed for a good part of 2020 during Tederick’s recent interim stint with the Town, as the Town claimed ownership of the Afton, blocking the EDA’s Afton sale to 2 East Main LLC. But eventually, with the EDA-2 E. Main LLC deal facing a deal-killing deadline and the Town’s $750,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and downtown façade improvement funding linked directly to Afton redevelopment plans, the town government relented, allowing the sale and planned redevelopment effort to resume after over six months of delay through 2020.

Another confusing, but not atypical chapter in the governmental soap opera sometimes affectionately(?) known as the “Helltown Chronicles”.

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Everyone age 12 and older can now get the COVID vaccine

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Here are the COVID-19 vaccine locations in Warren County.  Be sure to call and check on vaccine availability and appointment times.

Walmart Inc #10-5105
10 Riverton Commons Dr, Front Royal, VA 22630
540-635-4140

CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #17367
10 Crooked Run Plaza, Front Royal, VA 22630
(540) 631-3291

Warren County Health Department
465 W 15th St #200, Front Royal, VA 22630
(540) 635-3159


CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #07509
800 John Marshall Hwy, Front Royal, VA 22630
(540) 635-1601

Martins #6282
409 South St, Front Royal, VA 22630
540-635-3175

Check at https://www.vaccines.gov/ for other locations in our area.

Protect yourself and others. Remember the following when receiving your COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Wear a cloth face covering or mask in accordance with CDC guidance
  • Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people not in your household at all times
  • Respect the privacy of others when taking photos

 

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Warrior Psychotherapy Services opens on Main Street

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Niki Foster Cales of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, along with fellow Chamber members and Supervisor Walt Mabe welcomed Courtney Patti to the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Warrior Psychotherapy Services is located at 130 E. Main Street in Front Royal.

Courtney Patti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with over 15 years of practice working with the chronic medical and behavioral health population.

Her experience includes working in facilities such as Children’s National Medical Center, Washington Hospital Center Outpatient Behavioral Health, University of Virginia Medical Center, Sheppard Pratt Health System, and Ft Belvoir Community Hospital working in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Minor in Religion from Sweet Briar College in 2005. Courtney received her Masters of Social Work (MSW) from Catholic University of America: National Catholic School of Social Services in Washington, D.C.  in 2007.

Her specialty focuses on adults whose lives are impacted by depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and unresolved emotional issues. She is considered an expert in her field in formulating diagnostic and treatment recommendations, providing individual, couple, and family therapy.


Click here to find out more about Warrior Psychotherapy on their website.

 

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Motion to bar press from hearing on Luckey indecent sexual liberties with a minor charges delays hearing to January 6

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On Thursday, October 21, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Daryl Funk ruled in favor of a defense motion to bar the press from the courtroom during the hearing of accused child sexual abuser Dr. William R. Luckey. The ruling, at the request of Luckey’s defense counsel Shannon Johnson, resulted in a continuation of the scheduled hearing at which the alleged juvenile victim was expected to testify.

Court records indicate the hearing was continued to January 6 of next year on the morning docket with an anticipated start time of 10:30 a.m. The delay will allow press organizations to file responses to the judge’s ruling on their exclusion, making their case to be allowed in the courtroom for future hearings or trials where testimony by and about the alleged victim would be heard.

According to reports Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Samantha Meadows was poised to call at least three witnesses Thursday, including the alleged victim and case investigator Kristin Hajduk of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. However, the youth’s testimony would have been by remote video hook-up, avoiding the necessity of an underage witness having to be in the same room with their accused abusers as they testify.

As of a J&D Court ruling on Thursday, October 21, media was excluded from hearings where testimony by or about the alleged victim in the William R. Luckey sexual solicitation and indecent liberties against a minor case would be heard. Below, Luckey upon his June 25, 2021, booking into RSW Jail. Mug shot – RSW Jail website; Courthouse photo – Royal Examiner File Photo


 

On June 25, 2021, the 72-year-old, retired (in 2015) Christendom College professor of 33 years and more recent teacher at the Padre Pio Academy at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal was charged with one count of “Solicitation of prostitution from a minor less than age 16” and two charges of “Indecent liberties … of a child less than 15”. Court documents list all three offense dates as June 22, 2021, three days prior to Luckey’s arrest. Original presiding Judge Nancy Reed initially denied bond in the case on June 30. However, upon defense appeal citing health issues and his long-term ties to the community, Luckey was released on a $50,000 secured bond on July 12.

Copies of warrants on those charges offered additional detail. Of the two indecent liberties charges, Luckey is accused of “with lascivious intent knowingly and intentionally sexually abuse a (age withheld by paper) female …” and “that the accused feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of such child”.

Of the solicitation charge, the warrant alleges that Luckey offered “money or its equivalent to a minor under 16 years of age … with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify and thereafter perform a substantial act in furtherance thereof.” Commonwealth evidence indicated that money was ten dollars offered to the alleged victim to see and touch their “bottom”. The warrants indicate the money was refused by the child, but that Luckey followed through with the suggested behavior, leaving the ten dollars behind when he left the scene.

During initial hearings last summer the Commonwealth introduced recorded phone conversations between Dr. Luckey and his wife discussing her husband’s legal situation in the days following his arrest. Investigator Hajduk told the court that the couple knew they were being recorded on the phone line to the jail before introducing recorded segments of those conversations to the court and summarizing other sections. While the prosecution’s take on those segments was that they indicated an admission of some of the alleged behavior, the defense disputed that contention.
Rather, defense attorney Johnson argued certain conversational lines simply indicated Dr. Luckey’s reaction to the charges against him or social dynamics involved with those accusations. In fact, she told the court some of Dr. Luckey’s comments to his wife indicated a belief the charges “were invalid” and that his accuser could face the consequences of filing a false police report.

“This isn’t what happened,” Julie Luckey told her husband of specific sexual acts described in one of the warrants, later adding, “It’s not like you raped somebody.”

“No, it doesn’t say ‘Show me your hiney,’ Dr. Luckey seemed to laugh in response to his wife’s dispute over the content of the warrants. At another point in recorded conversations in the days after his arrest, Dr. Luckey told his wife his situation was a result “of 15 minutes of stupidity on my part.”

Whether that “15 minutes of stupidity” will be viewed as a criminal solicitation and abuse of a minor remains to be seen; as does whether future preliminary hearings or a potential trial will be viewed and reported by the media.

 

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I-81 southbound slow roll scheduled in Frederick County on October 26th

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A slow-roll is scheduled on Interstate 81 in Frederick County on Tuesday, October 26 at 11 a.m. This operation, managed by the Virginia State Police, will take place in southbound lanes between exit 307 at Route 277 in the Stephens City area and exit 302 at Route 627 in the Middletown area. All slow-roll activity will conclude by noon.

The slow roll is needed for blasting operations near I-81 that will take place on a developer’s construction site in the Middletown area.

All work is weather permitting.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at http://www.511Virginia.org.


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WCHS conducts National Honors Society induction ceremony

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On October 14, 2021, Warren County High School’s National Honors Society chapter held an induction ceremony. The chapter inducted twenty-six (26) new members. National Honors Society is a national organization dedicated to scholarship, character, service, and leadership. These new inductees will be a part of an organization of incredibly impressive alumni.

WCHS National Honor Society Officers (L-R): Cayla Kleinschmidt, Historian; Francis Treutlein, Vice-President; John Shultzaberger, President; and Kiersten Stives, Secretary.

All new members received a certificate and their membership cards. Mrs. Jyoti Vasishta, NHS advisor, stated in her introduction speech: “Our chapter is proud to have been inducting new members since 1963 and today’s ceremony indicates the continuing emphasis on excellence that we represent for our school and community”.

Last year’s new members were unable to receive an official induction ceremony due to the pandemic. A part of the ceremony was dedicated to recognize and honor these members. These members also received the certificate and the membership pin.


Mr. Kenneth Knesh, Warren County High School’s principal, delivered an inspirational speech to students and parents in the closing.

“Tonight you join judges, lawyers, teachers, military officers, Ivy League graduates and yes, even a current rocket scientist at NASA as members of our NHS fraternity. Now your name will be among those distinguished alumni who proudly call Warren County High School their alma mater. They went on to do great things and we believe that you are destined to join them in helping to shape the world we live in and become future leaders of this great country of ours. Be bold, be brave and be the light of someone’s world.”

New members include: Alyssa Albritton, Genevieve Blodgett, Anthony Carter, Zane Michael Clark, Nicholas Foltz, Amanda Genari, Lacie Glascock, Ginger Gouda, Ian Hoelscher, Arthur Kresge, Audrey Moya Machuca, Gabriella Mangene, John Martin, Emily Mawson, Haley Oyler, Cayden Patton, Mason Polk, Landon Pond, Nicole Ranney, Julianne Rappole, Mia Santillan, Sara Waller, Sebastian Ward, Leah Webster, Olivia Yates, and Brian Zook.

Former members include: Paige Arndt, Madeline Bryant, Aidan Grupac, Cayla Kleinschmidt (Historian), Griffin Martin, Maya McKean, Joanna Mendez-Dorado, Savannah Mitchell, Mavryck Lance Mora, Emma Mullins, Sydney Nalls (Treasurer), Margaret Plosch, Taye Russell, Nathalie Schelin, Jordan Searcey, John Schultzaberger (President), Kiersten Stives (Secretary), and Francis Treutlein (Vice President).


By Emily Mawson, NHS Inductee

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FR-WC Anti-Litter Council awards Fall 2021 Clean Business Award to Twi-Lite Motel

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On October 20th, 2021, Shiv Patel, co-owner and assistant manager of the Twi-Lite Motel located at 53 West 14th Street was presented with a framed certificate for the Fall 2021 Clean Business Award. The FR-WC Anti-Litter Council President, Justin Proctor nominated them for this award based on their efforts to maintain their parking and recreational pool areas clean and free of litter, cigarette butts and neatly presented to the public and their guests. They also were sited for having landscaping that accents and enhances the property as more than just another lodging facility in the entrance corridor to the Town of Front Royal. The ALC awards local businesses in the community with a framed certificate to recognize their contributions to protecting the environment through recycling and litter control and planting of landscaping and trees to improve the street views of the Town and County.

FR-WC Anti-Litter Council Clean Business Award for Fall 2021 was presented to Twi-Lite Motel assistant manager and co-owner, Shiv Patel by FR-WC ALC President Justin Proctor.

These contributions are made possible through a non-competitive grant from the Office of Environmental Education of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which promotes educational opportunities for the recycling, reusing, and reducing of litter and waste products in our everyday lives.

The Front Royal – Warren County Anti-Litter Council’s Mission is: “To educate, motivate and participate in the prevention of litter and to assist the citizens of Front Royal and Warren County to become better stewards of our environment.”


For further information on becoming a member or other ALC programs contact: Matt Wendling or Chase Lenz in the Warren County Planning Department at (540) 636-3354 or via e-mail: mwendling@warrencountyva.net  and clenz@warrencountyva.net

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Oct
24
Sun
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area.  During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and discover our links to historic[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]
6:30 pm Benefit Concert for Front Royal ... @ Riverton Church
Benefit Concert for Front Royal ... @ Riverton Church
Oct 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Benefit Concert for Front Royal Police @ Riverton Church
Riverton Church is hosting a benefit concert featuring the Mr. Ron Dye (director) and the Riverton Church Symphonic Wind Orchestra as well as Yesterday Swing Orchestra. Free Admission: Offering taken to benefit the Front Royal[...]
Oct
25
Mon
11:00 am Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Kindergarten and First Grade. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: Ages 5 and 6 Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at Strokes[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 2nd and 3rd. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 7 and 8 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]
Oct
28
Thu
10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 4th and 5th. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 9 and 10 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]
7:00 pm Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
Oct 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Haunted Tunnel Auto Wash @ White Horse Auto Wash
White Horse Auto Wash is excited for the first Haunted Tunnel at their new Front Royal location this year! Located next to Lowe’s at 214 Country Club Road, Front Royal, VA. The event will be[...]
Oct
29
Fri
9:00 am Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 29 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Volunteer Tree Planting @ Sky Meadows State Park
Edmonds Lane Field: Join The Piedmont Environmental Council, Friends of the Rappahannock, Goose Creek Association, John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District and We Plant Trees, for volunteer tree planting at Sky Meadows State Park![...]
6:00 pm Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Oct 29 @ 6:00 pm – Oct 30 @ 9:00 pm
Trunk or Treat @ Family Dollar Parking Lot
Non-profit organization Crown Vic Kiings & Queens, of Winchester, Virginia, is hosting our annual car club TRUNK OR TREAT, in Front Royal, on October 29th. The event is free but donations are greatly appreciated, as[...]