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A conversation with WC School Superintendent Greg Drescher

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Photo and Video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Greg Drescher, Superintendent of Warren County Public Schools dropped by the Royal Examiner’s studio on Friday, May 10th and had a conversation with our publisher Mike McCool. Several topics including the recent budget were discussed.

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READY, SET, SUMMER! Memorial Day Weekend kicks off busy travel season

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RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is making your Memorial Day weekend travel easier by suspending most highway work zones and lifting most lane closures on interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon Friday, May 24, until noon Tuesday, May 28.

While lane closures will be lifted in most areas, motorists may encounter semi-permanent work zones that remain in place during this time. A full list of those lane closures can be found on VDOT’s website.

VDOT’s travel-trends map helps plan around historically-congested times.

TRAVEL-TRENDS MAP HELPS PREDICT PEAK CONGESTION

VDOT’s online, interactive travel-trends map shows peak congestion periods on Virginia interstates during the three previous Memorial Day holidays (2016-2018). While it cannot precisely predict when congestion will occur this year, it can help plan travel around historically busy times.

According to the map, periods of moderate to heavy congestion will occur:

Between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. on both Friday and Monday
Saturday and Sunday midday
In addition, congestion is expected:

I-95 south and I-64 east from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon
I-95 north and I-64 west on Monday from around noon to late in the evening

NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE (HOV) SCHEDULE AND OTHER INFORMATION:

On Monday, May 27, HOV restrictions on I-66 and I-395 and rush hour tolls on the 66 Express Lanes Inside the Beltway will be lifted.

Go online to find directional schedules for the reversible 95 Express Lanes. The free 495 and 95 Express Lanes app lets drivers check real-time toll prices and live traffic updates. Once drivers are on the road, pricing and traffic updates will be available on overhead signs; updates will be available online via Twitter (@VAExpressLanes).

HAMPTON ROADS HOV SCHEDULE, TUNNELS AND OTHER INFORMATION:

I-64/I-264/I-564 HOV diamond lanes and 64 Express Lanes: HOV restrictions and express lanes tolls are lifted on Monday, May 27. The 64 Express Lanes in Norfolk are free and open to all motorists outside of normal operating hours, including weekends. To learn more about the 64 Express Lanes, click here.

REAL-TIME INFORMATION TRAFFIC INFO IS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

VDOT’s free mobile 511 app offers information about construction, traffic, incidents and congestion as well as access to traffic cameras, weather and more. Traffic information is also available at 511Virginia.org, or by calling 511 from any phone.

To report a road problem or get answers to your transportation questions, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.

SAFETY FIRST

Be cautious behind the wheel and remember that your actions impact yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road. Do your part in making travel safer for everybody:

If you plan to drink, have a designated driver or use a ride service
Buckle up
Keep your eyes on the road
Take a break if you are drowsy
If you are a passenger, speak up if someone is driving distracted

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I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes Week of May 19, 2019

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What’s Happening

There will be no lane closures from Noon on Friday, May 24, through Noon on Tuesday, May 28, for the Memorial Day weekend.

As weather conditions allow, crews will continue corridor-wide roadway maintenance and address issues as needed, with daily multi-lane closures during daytime and overnight hours on I-66 East and West. Additional 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
• Clearing trees and brush, grading, and installing drainage throughout the corridor
• Demolishing closed ramps at Route 123 interchange
• Grading, installing drainage at the future Gainesville/University Boulevard Park and Ride Lot
• Grading and installing drainage at the future Manassas/Balls Ford Road Park and Ride Lot
• 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

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
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

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

ROUTE 50 / FAIRFAX
I-66 West from Waples Mill Road to Monument Drive
Sunday, May 19: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed to implement long-term lane shifts for construction. Drivers should expect occasional 20-minute stoppages and slowdowns along westbound I-66.

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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R-MA Soccer wins DAC Championship, qualifies for state tournament

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R-MA Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team. Photo courtesy of R-MA.

When the R-MA girls’ varsity soccer won against Fredericksburg Academy by a score of 1-0 in their first game of the season, Head Coach Brandy Hudson took it as a good sign.

“I felt, “There’s definitely opportunity here, because Fredericksburg Academy is in a higher division within the DAC, but I knew it would be a challenge,” she said.

The team benefited from the core group of long-standing veterans such as Josey Mbakassy ‘19, who has been a part of the team since her eighth grade year. A talented group of newcomers bolstered the team up to the point where Coach Hudson had trouble naming outstanding individuals, because her bench was so deep. In fact, five of the girls were recognized for being named First Team, All-Conference within the Delaney Athletic Conference: Rana Diallo ‘19 (the powerhouse defensive player who was also named R-MA’s MVP), Sophia Wagner ‘23 (who was also honored with the R-MA Coach’s Award), Maggie Acquaah ‘20, Cecilia Paredes ‘22, and Abigail Stewart ‘21. The Yellow Jackets had more All-Conference players than any other team in the conference.

Going into the DAC Tournament week, the Yellow Jackets were seeded at #2 because they had one more tie than the #1 seed. “When we played Foxcroft in the semi-final on Thursday, I just felt, ‘They’re peaking right now. This is it, they’ve come so far,’” said Coach Hudson. “I felt like I had found all the correct positions everyone should be in.”

After defeating Foxcroft 2-0, R-MA went on to play Tandem Friends at home in the Championship on Friday, May 10th. “Tandem came in as the number four seed,” Coach Hudson explained. “They beat Quantico on Tuesday to win the quarterfinals. They moved onto the semifinals to play the number one seed, winning that game. So they’ve got the momentum and we only beat them 3-2 during the regular season, it wasn’t like it was a big win. It was only a one goal differential.”

That knowledge kept Coach Hudson and her team on edge. “At halftime, it was two-nothing, but that’s a very dangerous place to be,” she said. “When we played them at their place, we were down one-nothing, and then we tied it one-one, then we went up two to one, then we went up three to one. Then they scored right away, it was three to two. So you just don’t know.”

When the score remained at 0-0 about ten minutes into the game, Maggie Acquaah ‘20, who had scored both goals in the game against Foxcroft the day before, was already thinking ahead to the end, wondering if they were going to end up deciding the championship by PKs (penalty kicks). So when she went for the first goal, she put the pressure on herself. “I was thinking, ‘I gotta do this, I gotta get this goal right now,’” she recalled later. “That’s when I fell. I was right by the goal and I kicked it, and I fell. I didn’t know if it went in, I was just looking up. And that’s when I heard the crowd go crazy.”

Maggie’s shot had indeed gone in, and she managed a second goal before halftime. When Maggie put in her third goal of the game, Coach Hudson breathed a slight sigh of relief, but she recognized that Tandem was determined to score, and that kept her from completely relaxing. Her worry was needless. The Yellow Jackets won the game 3-0.

Having the home field advantage definitely helped keep the momentum going in the Yellow Jackets’ direction, according to Maggie. “When you score, or do something that makes an effect in the game, the crowd goes crazy. Knowing that you have your friends that you go to class with, and your closest peers with you, that they support you and they’re cheering you on, it makes it ten times better,” she said. “The energy is so different. It’s positive regardless of if you miss the shot or you make a bad pass. You have more than just your team to fall back on after.”

The girls’ season wasn’t over with the DAC win. For the past ten years, Coach Hudson has had a personal objective of getting her girls’ team into the VISAA (Virginia Independent School Athletic Association) State Tournament. For the first time, the Yellow Jackets earned that honor, with a ranking of #11 in the state. Though they lost in the first round to North Cross School in Roanoke, with only two seniors on this year’s team Coach Hudson is hopeful that the girls will see a return trip to the State Tournament next year. With her leadership as a coach, they have a strong chance of doing so.

“Every year, it’s about having them understand commitment and dedication,” said Coach Hudson. “The first week, I send out the schedule for the whole season, where they’re supposed to be and when. It’s about being on time. Just being firm about my expectations. It’s a culture that’s just been built up over the years. It’s like this every year. It’s just an awesome group of girls. They get along. It makes it more fun, and easier for me.”

“We were all positive most of the time,” said Maggie. “We all bring different personalities. Some of us are loud, some of us are quiet, but I definitely think that we bring each others’ personalities out more. We really got the quiet ones to talk more on the team.”

Coach Hudson’s high expectations include Sunday evening practices starting in December. While she didn’t expect athletes involved in other sports to play, those who were available usually made the effort to attend. The Sunday practices continued through the winter, with a few more held during the regular season when there were Monday games. Even on Friday mornings, when other cadets were enjoying a sleep-in, the varsity girls’ soccer team could often be found persevering through another extra practice.

“She definitely pushes us to our limits,” said Maggie. “But at the end of the day, it’s all with the purpose of making us better athletes. Whether it’s soccer or whatever sport that we play, she just wants us to be good at what we do. For example, when she makes us run, we’re not too happy about the running, but she always reminds us, ‘Conditioning. It’s conditioning. We need it for the game.’ And we noticed that it helps us during the game, so we’re not as tired and we have more energy to run back down the field if we need it. She’s definitely a good coach for us. She pushes us to keep playing.”

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Defense motions filed in Biggs Drive massage parlor case

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Mayor Hollis Tharpe speaks with constituent following March 25 council meeting, three weeks prior to his indictment and five weeks prior to his resignation as mayor. Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

On Friday, May 17, just two days after her arrest the attorney for a woman facing multiple charges related to an alleged prostitution operation being run out of a massage parlor at 312 Biggs Drive in Front Royal has filed Discovery Motions on his client’s behalf. Cynthia Atkinson Bailey attorney David Downes also questioned whether dates referenced in the complaint against his client might indicate a one-year statute of limitations on at least some charges may have expired.

Later on Friday Downes issued a press release in which he called his client’s prosecution “retaliatory” and “selective” due to her assertion to authorities that she would plead her Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate if asked to testify regarding clients, one in particular (see related story).

Bailey, 55, was arrested by Front Royal Police along with three other people on May 15, and charged with maintaining a “bawdy (defined as gross, indecent or overly graphic) place”, receiving money from earnings of prostitution, prostitution, and cruelty to children. According to the felony warrant the latter charge involved the presence of a juvenile in the residence who “answered phone calls, arranged appointments and walked clients to the rooms.”

Also arrested on similar or related charges were Brandy Nicole Atkinson, Jesse Thomas Atkinson and Joshua Allan Stamper. According to Bailey attorney Downes, Brandy and Jesse Atkinson are his client’s daughter and son and Stamper is her son-in-law. The referenced juvenile may be a grandchild.

Courtesy Photos FRPD/Regional Jail System

According to an FRPD press release issued on May 16, coincidentally Cynthia Bailey’s 55th birthday, the arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation that began in late January of 2018.
It appears that investigation also resulted in the charge of solicitation of prostitution against former Front Royal Mayor Hollis Tharpe. Tharpe’s April 15, 2019 Grand Jury indictment, perhaps ironically signed by Tharpe’s old political adversary Matthew Tederick as grand jury foreman, references a May 31, 2018 incident in which Tharpe allegedly offered “money or its equivalent to another for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts … and thereafter did a substantial act in furtherance thereof against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth …”

Bailey was initially arrested one week after the referenced Tharpe massage parlor incident, on June 7, 2018 on a charge of prostitution. That charge was dropped by the commonwealth on October 2, 2018.

Tharpe has identified Biggs Drive to this reporter as the location of the massage parlor involved in the charge against him. While maintaining his innocence, Tharpe initially placed himself on administrative leave the day the indictment was handed out. Then four days later on April 19, Tharpe announced his resignation effective May 2. In both his leave and resignation decisions, Tharpe expressed a desire not to create an undue distraction to the conduct of town government business while the prosecution is hanging over his head.

As press releases fly, plot thickens in Tharpe sex solicitation case

In fact, Bailey’s June 7, 2018 arrest for prostitution plays into defense counsel Downes’ motions filing for his client regarding the Statute of Limitations issue. Citing a one-year statute of limitations related to at least some of the charges, defense counsel notes the current charges filed on May 15, 2019, cite activities occurring between May 1 and June 7, 2018.

“Where the alleged offenses, in part, supposedly occurred two weeks after … the expiration of the statute of limitations, does the Court bar the prosecution of all or some of the Commonwealth’s case?” Downes asks, presenting two possible courses of action.

“If the Commonwealth were to amend the warrants to reflect that the offense occurred on or about May 15, 2018 to June 7, 2018, that would be in compliance with Virginia Code § 19.2-8. However, if the warrant of arrest was filed in good faith and the affiant, Detective D. L. Fogle, was unable to more precisely identify when the illegal conduct occurred, than the entire prosecution should be barred without probable cause to believe that the subject offenses occurred within the one-year statute of limitations.”

Downes may see the writing on the wall, or more precisely in the Criminal Complaint tied to Bailey’s felony warrant of receiving money “from the earnings of a person engaged in prostitution.” The complaint specifies the visit of undercover operative to the massage parlor on June 7, 2018.

So were the statute of limitations issue resolved as Downes predicts it could be, he continues to request Discovery regarding the allegations against his client, including her receiving earnings from prostitution from others; as well as raising the possibility his client is facing unconstitutional double jeopardy in being charged a second time for the same offenses leading to her initial indictment last year.

“Without identifying the specific date, or dates, that the Defendant is alleged to have committed these offenses, the Commonwealth may be unconstitutionally subjecting the Defendant to multiple punishments for the same offense,” Downes writes of the vagueness of the “on or about May 1 to June 7, 2018” timeframe cited in the warrant and her June 7, 2018 arrest.

The Criminal Complaint attached to the May 15, 2019 warrant describes Bailey and Brandy Atkinson meeting an undercover operative who was given “a menu that laid out prices and services” for hand massages by “a topless and/or panties only” masseuse “which included a ‘happy ending’.” The undercover operative then asked about “additional sexual activities such as oral sex” leading to a $150 price offer involving both women, the complaint states.

“Once the terms were established and agreed upon units converged on the residence,” the complaint describes how the police operation of June 7, 2018 concluded.

The involvement of the men charged is explained as providing security for the massage parlor operation and it is noted in parentheses “Joshua drove Brandy to the appointment on 6/07/19” though the year appears to be a typo since that date has yet to occur unless you have a time machine like famed British TV character Dr. Who’s TARDIS.

It is elaborated in the criminal complaint that Jesse Atkinson used the Biggs Drive address to obtain a business license for a “handyman/landscaping service” under the name Blue Valley Services.

That business license expired in 2017 but according to the Criminal Complaint the massage parlor advertised its services at various online sites at the Blue Valley Services business address.

“During the investigation several ads were located on Craigslist and Facebook pertaining to the massage parlor. During the investigation it was revealed that additional activities were taking place at the ‘massage parlor’,” the complaint states. One hint may have been an employment post on Craigslist noting, “Let’s face it, if you are young and pretty you will make more money here.”

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Warren County School Board Meeting May 15th: With budget approved, money starts to flow

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Superintendent Greg Drescher. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

At the Warren County School Board meeting on May 15, 2019, the board approved the consent agenda which included expenditures of $372,923.13.

As a result of the FY2019-2020 budget being approved on May 8, 2019, salary scales were approved. Positions on all scales except the Miscellaneous and Supplement Scales will receive a minimum of a 3% salary increase. Other revisions are as follows:

Implementation of phase I–Teacher scales as recommended by Paypoint’s Compensation and Classification study. Phase 1 includes addressing years of experience 11-25. Increase ranges from 7 % to 13% in order to be competitive within our region.

Implementation of phase 1—Bus Drivers as recommended by Paypoint’s Compensation and Classification study. Phase 1 includes addressing entire scale to be competitive within our region and provides a step to each returning contracted driver.

Click here to download the 2019-2020 salary scales.

Superintendent Greg Drescher requested and was approved to assign four previously unassigned positions in FY2020 budget as follows: two as English Language teachers, one as a middle school reading specialist, and the fourth be held pending the opening of school and an assessment of class sizes. Also that a fifth grade teaching position at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School be reclassified as a Dean of Students position at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School and that a fourth grade teaching position at A. S. Rhodes Elementary School be reclassified as a full-time Guidance position at that school.

Drescher also requested that the Board of Supervisors be requested to appropriate $491,226 of the FY2018 School Operating Budget surplus to the FY2019 Operating Budget. The proposed uses of the $491,226 available surplus are:

$225,000 to cover expected utility costs that are in excess of the current budget
$176,000 to cover the cost of the 1 to 1 technology initiative in grades 6-12
$ 90,226 to cover projected maintenance costs in excess of the current budget
$491,226 Total

The Board also discussed the Renewal of Maintenance Service Contracts for 2019-2020 School Year. Warren County Public Schools, Facilities Management Office contracts or outsources various building related services that are necessary for the continuous operation of school facilities. These contracts are awarded with a base performance period of one year with four (4) one year renewals with agreed upon annual price increases. The Facilities Management Office requested approval for annual price increases for the FY19-FY20 school year for eight (8) service contracts including elevator service, solid waste removal, pest control services, school intercoms and bell service, energy management systems, security systems monitoring, LP gas and heating fuel oil supply.Staff had reviewed all the service cost price increase requests from the vendors and where applicable, all price increase are within range of the CPI (Consumer Price Index) or All Urban Consumers dated March 19, 2019.

Superintendent Greg Drescher also discussed the Paid School Meal Prices for 2019-2020.

The Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires school divisions participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure sufficient funds are provided to account for meals served to students not eligible for free or reduced price meals. Schools charging less than $3.00 for paid lunches are required to adjust the full meal price to cover the difference.

Warren County Public Schools’ current lunch price for elementary students is $2.00 and $2.10 for middle and high school students. Based on the food services fund balance and the increased cost of food, we recommend increasing lunch prices by ten cents for elementary, middle, and high school students. The recommended new lunch prices for the 2019-2020 school year would be $2.10 for elementary students and $2.20 for middle and high school students. This will be the first time school lunch prices have increased since the 2016-2017 school year. The recommendation is to leave the breakfast price at $1.25. The last time the breakfast price was increased was the 2014-2015 school year.

In the personnel report, the following resignations and appointments were presented to the School Board:

The following resignations and appointments are to be presented at the Warren County School Board meeting on May 15, 2019.

RESIGNATIONS:

Jacylyn Balancia-SMS – Cross Country Coach – Effective – 05/08/2019
Morgan Briggs – SMS – Cheer Coach – Effective – 05/08/2019
Candice Henry – ASR – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019
Caitlin Himelright – ASR – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019
Leah Martin – Accepted Teaching Position BF – Instructional Assistant – Effective – 06/30/2019
Jerry Moore – MAINT – Maintenance – Effective – 05/17/2019
Lauren Paquette – WCHS – JV Soccer Coach – Effective – 06/01/2019
Katherine Smith – SS – Physical Therapist – Effective – 06/30/2019
Alexis Stiles – ASR – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019
Heidi Trude – SHS – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019
Heidi Trude – SHS – Academic Coach – Effective – 06/30/2019
Megan Windham – SMS – Cheer Coach – Effective – 05/06/2019
Phillip Barnes – SHS – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019
Anne Cobb – SMS – Dean of Students – Effective – 06/30/2019
Gwendolyn Edwards – SMS – Dean of Students – Effective – 06/30/2019
Bethany Kelly – SMS – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019
William Martin – WCMS/SMS – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019
Amy Sealock – WCHS – Teacher – Effective – 06/30/2019

APPOINTMENTS:

Dorthy Marshall – FS – Cafeteria Substitute – Effective – 05/09/2019
Selissa Blakely – TRANS – Car Driver – Effective – 05/16/2019
Donald Bradner – Replaced Jonathan Murphy WCMS – Band Director – Effective – 08/05/2019
Mary Buchanan – Replaced David Templeton – WCMS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Anthony Clingerman – Replaced Hunter Stewart – SHS – JV Basement Coach – Effective – 05/16/2019
Gwendolyn Edwards – Replaced Melissa Ritter – SMS – Assistant Principal – Effective – 07/01/2019
Melissa Fox – Replaced Ethan Mummert – SHS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Kaitlyn Gerber – Replaced Alexa Vadala-Schaffer – LFK – School Counselor – Effective – 08/05/2019
Kari Gershon – Replaced Amanda Zangari – SHS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Windy Glahn – Replaced Phillip Barnes – SHS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Eric Jones – Replaced Russell Bryant – SHS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Gwynnavier Jones – Replaced Erin Rainard – WCHS/SHS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Kaitlyn Kitchen – Replaced Eric Michael – HJB – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Jaclyn Lawall – Replaced Haley Coloso – WCMS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Brittany Lewis – Replaced Linda Kroll – SHS – Instructional Assistant – Effective – 08/08/2019
Leah Martin – Replaced Tara McKechnie – BF – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Darren McKinney – Replaced Michael Abel – BRTC – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Julie Morton – Replaced Megan Windham – SMS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Emily Roy – Replaced Elizabeth Comstock – WCMS/SMS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Allison Rudacille – Replaced Jessica Campbell – LFK – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Krystina Sasser – Replaced Amanda Purrier – SMS – School Counselor – Effective – 07/10/2019
Sara Sullivan – Replaced Pamela Foster – HJB – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019
Graeme Wright – Replaced Heidi Trude – SHS – Teacher – Effective – 08/05/2019

Title IV Summer Programs

Rita Werner – Title IV Summer Program Director
Jessica Ryan – Title IV Summer Program Director
Jaimie Marion – Title IV Summer Program Staff
Melanie Catron – Title IV Summer Program Staff
Krystal Hall – Title IV Summer Program Staff
Rebecca Hutson-Hodge – Title IV Summer Program Staff
Melissa Hammond – Title IV Summer Program Staff
Amanda Jenkins – Title IV Summer Program Staff
Candace Ferst – Title IV Summer Program Staff
Jennifer Cameron -Title IV Summer Program Staff

Released to WC Government Grounds

Kenneth Baker – MAINT – Grounds Maintenance – Effective – 06/30/2019
Leonard Weaver – MAINT – Grounds Maintenance – Effective – 06/30/2019

Also some 50+ cafeteria employees were released due to outsourcing with Sodexo, Effective on June 30, 2019.

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Kristie Atwood vs. Warren County Building Department

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Victor and Kristie Atwood talk to their attorney David Silek on the phone. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

After some exchanges in a “loud tone” over the phone with Ms Atwood’s attorney David Silek over not properly notifying him of the hearing, the meeting was started. Two Board members, George Cline and  David Buracker recused themselves and stepped down from the platform. After nearly an hour of discussion, the appeal was postponed until July 18, 2019.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there:

Here’s the report from ABLE Building Inspection:

First, David P. Rushton from ABLE provided a summary list for the appeal session on a few of the report item numbers that he believed would be of concern to David Beahm County Building Inspector.  Mr Rushon stated that Mr. Beahm would not interested in cosmetic or aesthetic concerns as a building official, that he would be primarily concerned with construction deficiencies and possible code violations. Rushon said, “Of course, Mr. Beahm will have his own thoughts about the issues in your home. This is just my idea of the issues that may be of concern to him”.

These numbers reference the main report provided below:

2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 31, 33, 37, 38, 40, 41, 43, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 63, 69, 70, 76, 79, 80, 82, 84, 85, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 106, 111, 116, 118, 119, 120 and 125.

This is the first report provided by ABLE Inspection on September 11, 2017:
Time Start: 9:45 AM Time Finish: 6:15 PM
Weather: Cloudy, temperature about 65⁰ F.

Click here to download photos.

General Notes
A. Directions, e.g. front, rear, left and right, are as viewed from the street facing the front of the house.
B. The inspection was limited by belongings and storage in the home and garage.
C. This report was prepared with the following information:
i. Meeting with Kristie Sours Brown on September 20, 2017,
ii. Copy of construction plans provided by Ms. Sours Brown,
iii. Copy of construction plans files and approved by Warren County, VA,
iv. LP SmartSide Install Instructions Strand,
v. LP SmartSide Trim and Soffit Install Instructions, and
vi. The 2009 Virginia Residential Code.
D. The final building inspection was issued on July 18, 2016.
Contract Administration
1. The construction contract was issued by Buracker Construction, LLC, and signed by Martha A. Buracker. Buracker Construction, LLC, is not registered as a licensed contractor in Virginia.
2. The building permits for the construction of the home were issued by the Warren County Building Department on or about July 22, 2017 to the applicant, Buracker Construction, LLC, a business entity that does not have a valid contractor’s license.
3. The construction contract calls for written and signed change orders for all contract changes. There were numerous plan and material specification changes through the course of the contract. No written changes orders were provided by Buracker Construction, LLC.
4. The construction contract specifies an initial draw payment, a payment when the house is one half complete and a final draw upon completion. Overages or refunds were to be adjusted at closing. Eight actual draws were provided during the course of construction.
Structure and Framing
5. The garage roof trusses are not 12 in 12 pitch as shown on the building plans. OSB flooring was installed on the roof trusses for storage accessed by pull down stairs into the garage. Per information from Ms. Sours Brown, the attic storage room and stairway shown in the original plan were to be installed with conventional framing. The finishes for the garage storage room were the only items that were to be deleted from the construction specifications. All other construction in this area was to remain as originally specified. No change orders were provided to document this construction change.
6. Diagonal bracing is recommended for the garage roof truss system and the upper, main attic conventional framing system.
7. The upper roof framing is 16” on center. 24” on center was specified for the framing in the plans.
8. There were signs of moisture through the foundation walls in the cold cellar. The foundation insulation installed on the inside of the basement walls limited the inspection of these walls for moisture penetration concerns.
9. Cardboard was visible under the cold cellar roof structure steel pans. This may cause settling of the concrete slab above and be an attractant for termites. The cardboard should be removed and metal shims or non-shrink grout installed in any openings created by the cardboard removal.
10. The joist hangers are missing fasteners and adhesive at the basement stairway.
11. The floor and roof support beam bearing is inadequate at the right side porch. The design size of this beam should be confirmed by a registered design professional.
12. The post for the porch roof is not properly supported on the beam below the porch floor.
13. The support for the ends of the diagonal beam under the front deck is inadequate.
14. Joist hangers are missing at the diagonal beam at the front right corner of the porch floor.
15. The porch posts have no restraint against vertical uplift or horizontal forces at their connection to the patio slab.
16. The porch posts have structural screws installed diagonally as restraint against vertical uplift at the lower connections to the deck. Are these screws rated for uplift in this installation? Evaluation by a registered design professional is recommended.
17. The porch posts and diagonal bracing are secured to the roof beam with finish nails. No structural fasteners are visible in these connections. Evaluation by a registered design professional is recommended.
18. One support post was cut too short for the beam under the front porch. Shims were installed under the beam. These shims were not installed vertically and will shrink allowing the beam to settle more at this post than the others.
19. The access to the rear attic is not a minimum of 20” wide.
20. A ceiling joist is cut with no header at the fireplace chimney through the rear attic.
Exterior
21. The installation of the exterior LP Smartside siding and trim materials does not comply with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
22. The concerns with the LP Smartside installation are:
a. Flashing is missing at the horizontal siding joints on the gable ends,
b. Some fasteners do not appear to be galvanized or stainless steel in an exterior installation,
c. The fastener installation for the trim does not comply with the manufacturer’s nailing instructions,
d. The fasteners for the trim were not installed flush but were overdriven in past flush,
e. 1” minimum space was not provided between the concrete patio, the siding and trim,
f. The required 3/8” space at butt joints in the siding and at joints between the siding and window and door trim, and inside and outside corner trim has not been provided,
g. The cut ends of the siding and trim have not been sealed,
h. The siding and trim joints have not all been caulked,
i. A minimum clearance of 6” between the siding and grade has not been provided,
j. The siding projects past the corner trim on the garage,
k. The siding trim is in direct contact with the stone veneer of the fireplace chimney, and
l. The gutters do not terminate at least 1” away from the siding. The siding and trim installation problems will affect the manufacturer’s warranty on the products.
23. The porch guardrail posts do not extend through the decking and are not fastened to the structure except with diagonal finish nails. Finish nails are not considered to be structural connectors in guardrail applications. The wood members of the guardrail have shrunk and are no longer tight. The guardrail should be designed to withstand 200 pounds of horizontal force at any location and 50 pounds of horizontal force per linear foot of railing.
24. The porch floor trim boards are loose and twisting.
25. Siding batten spacing is 24” apart. Ms. Sours Brown was shown several houses by Martha Buracker and was told that the siding and trim installation would match that of the other houses. The example houses had the battens spaced 16” apart per Ms. Sours Brown.
26. Board and batten siding was not installed on the right garage gable wall. Horizontal siding was installed on this gable wall.
27. The aluminum cap trim is not cut tightly to the wood posts. The gaps have not been caulked.
28. The aluminum trim is wavy and loose.
29. The cap trim repair where the posts were relocated on the rear and right side porches does not match the other trim.
30. The aluminum trim is buckled and dented on the garage door frames.
31. The flashing is lifted and loose at the chimney.
32. The stone veneer and mortar on the chimney is bleeding onto the chimney and the adjacent roof shingles. The stone veneer is bleeding onto the porch floor.
33. Head flashing was not found above the front circle head window. Water stains are visible in the interior finishes around this window.
34. The pre-finish on the LP siding has been damaged in numerous locations.
35. The touch ups of the LP siding paint do not match the original finish.
36. Sealant is missing on the left side of the right front dormer.
37. The stair stringer attachment at the both porch steps is inadequate. The front porch steps are settling and pulling away from the porch. Metal stair hangers are recommended. This is a safety concern.
38. No foundation was provided at the stair stringers to support the stairs.
39. The front porch steps do not flare out as specified in the construction contract addendum.
40. Some fasteners in the cedar porch posts and trim appear to be corroding prematurely. Stainless steel or double dipped galvanized fasteners are recommended with cedar due to the natural acids in the wood that contribute to its’ weather resistance.
41. No foundation to frost line was found below the rear patio slab that was poured between the basement cool storage room and the garage.
42. The right side porch floor does not overhang the concrete block foundation wall. Water is running from the floor and wall above down the foundation wall. The parging on the wall is subject to freeze/thaw damage in this area.
43. No drain holes were found at the base of the masonry wall on the rear porch.
44. The cap has not been installed on the right side rear porch wall.
45. The front entry door latch is broken.
46. The master bathroom exterior door knob handle is loose and comes off.
47. The master bathroom exterior door deadbolt does not lock.
48. The rear porch has no screened in section as shown in the plans.
49. The rear porch has no bay style bump out for the roof and floor as shown in the plans.
50. No windows were installed in the garage upstairs gable end walls.
51. The basement entry door lock is damaged.
52. The basement door threshold has not been secured or sealed to the concrete floor.
53. The rear garage entry door threshold has not been secured or sealed to the floor.
54. The rear porch concrete slab projects past the end of the side deck.
55. The rear left corner of the patio by the garage is settling excessively.
56. Grading and drainage at the front does not slope away from the foundation a minimum of 6” in the first 10’ especially under the front porch.
57. The stone veneer is set tightly to the roof shingles at the chimney. A minimum space of 1” is recommended in these intersections. Weep screeds were not found at this location.
58. Kick out flashings are missing at the breezeway roof into the garage and house walls.
59. The openings in the basement foundation wall at the door and windows have not been covered with stucco. The stucco mesh does not extend over the joints between the foundation wall and wood frame. This joint will crack immediately and re-crack after every repair.
60. The rear entry door is scratched.
61. A concrete form board has not been removed outside the basement entry doors.
62. The contract plans call for cedar ceiling on the porch. Vinyl ceiling panels were installed.
63. The dirt and masonry demolition and construction debris was pushed over a hill. It does not appear to be buried. Large pieces of concrete and concrete block are visible in the debris.
64. The driveway does not have the final grading completed. The front lawn drains across the driveway causing erosion and chronic maintenance in this area.
65. Final grading, seeding and straw cover were completed but the grass failed to grow. The final grading was not completed per the discussion between David Buraker, George Cline, the excavating subcontractor, Vincent Atwood, Jr.and Kenny Sours, Kristie’s father. The yard has areas that remain wet in spring and wet weather.
Roofing
66. The left side porch roof shingles are stained from the air conditioning condensate draining onto the shingles. Replace the stained shingles is recommended.
67. The roof flashing has been sealed with roof cement at the lower ends of the front dormers.
68. The downspout is dented at the front left corner of the garage.
69. A roof/ wall vent has not been installed at the front porch per the plans.
Plumbing
70. The plumbing vent pipes should be supported every 4’ through the main attic and pitched to drain down into the drain system.
71. The tub faucet spout is loose in the upstairs right bathroom.
72. The front shower handle is loose in the master bathroom.
73. An access panel was not found for the tub motor.
74. The toilet seat is broken in the master bathroom.
75. The laundry and whirlpool tub plumbing are located on exterior walls and subject to freezing.
76. A tempering valve was not found for the master bathtub. This is a potential scald hazard.
77. The two stage toilet in the powder room does not refill properly.
78. The upstairs bathroom toilet was running during the inspection. It needed the handle to be jiggled to stop the water flow.
79. The basement floor drain is not accessible under the heat pump air handler. This is a maintenance concern.
80. The frost-free hose bib near the basement entry door freezes in winter. The bib is not pitched to drain water down and out of the fixture.
81. The foundation drain outlet is damaged and restricted in the right side yard.
Electrical
82. A single, small gauge copper wire is running through the garage attic to the electrical panel. This may be a bonding wire for the whirlpool tub. Small gauge wires are required to be protected with running boards when installed across framing members through an accessible attic.
83. The electrical panels were installed in the side wall of the garage rather than in the basement per plan/contract reference.
84. A GFCI receptacle is recommended in the basement for the water conditioning equipment.
HVAC
85. The exterior fireplace glass doors were binding and not closing. The fireplace doors shattered during the third use of the fireplace.
86. The fireplace in family room is different manufacturer and model than shown on the receipt from Acme Fireplaces.
87. Family room fireplace damper is damaged and not closing tightly.
88. The interior of the family room fireplace is damaged and bent at the damper/ chimney pipe connection at the top of the firebox. This is an unsafe condition (fire hazard).
89. The family room fireplace refractory lining is significantly damaged and cracked.
90. Significant smoke evidence and heat damage is visible on the exterior metal and stone veneer of the family room fireplace.
91. The glass doors are not installed on the family room fireplace. The doors were damaged during the second use of the fireplace.
92. The family room fireplace chimney system does not match fireplace itself but is made by a different manufacturer. Metal fireplace and chimney systems are tested and listed as complete systems. This is an inappropriate installation and an unsafe condition.
93. There is less than the 2” required minimum spacing between the living room fireplace metal chimney system, the roof framing and fiberglass insulation in the attic.
94. The upstairs heat pump primary condensate drain in the attic discharges through the attic side wall and onto the porch roof below. The condensate drain line should be brought down through the interior of the home and discharge into the sump pump or outside onto the ground.
95. The insulation is incomplete at the refrigerant line to the air handler in the attic.
96. The flexible duct in the basement was not fully extended. This is a manufacturer’s installation instruction and system efficiency concern.
97. The heat pump disconnects are located behind the exterior equipment. Access to the disconnects is restricted.
98. The wood fired boiler noted in the extra cost addendum was not installed.
Interior
99. The stair riser heights differ by more than 3/8” from the house into the garage. The top riser height exceeds 8 ½” measured to the top of the door threshold.
100. The attic pull down stairs are missing fasteners to secure the stair frame to the garage ceiling framing. This is a safety concern.
101. The attic stairs, wood corner trim and plastic access panel breech the fire separation between the garage and the attic. This is a fire safety concern.
102. The access to the rear portion of the upper attic should be at least 20” wide.
103. Have the garage roof trusses been designed to accommodate anticipated storage loads?
104. 7/16” thick oriented strand board has been installed for storage across the garage ceiling trusses spaced 24” apart. This material is not intended for use as flooring. It may break under storage or personnel loads creating a safety concern.
105. No shelving was installed in the basement or garage.
106. Firesafing material has not been installed in the following locations:
a. At the fireplace chimney firestops in the attic, and
b. The electrical cables into the attic (visible above the main panel), and
c. At the tub drain in the basement.
107. The interior drywall finishing and painting is incomplete at the upstairs left bathroom and the upstairs family room wall. Touch up of all drywall and paint was to be provided by Buracker Construction LLC per Kristie’s conversation with Martha Buracker.
108. A square shoe molding has been installed throughout the house at the base moldings on the hardwood and tile floors. This square profile is difficult to clean. A ½ x ¾” tapered shoe molding is typically installed at this location.
109. The entry foyer wood floor is stained in front of the powder room wall from a toilet that was stored on the wood floor.
110. The ceramic tile is loose at the rear of the master bathtub platform.
111. The master walk-in closet does not have adequate space between the rods and shelves to hang clothes and walk between the clothes.
112. Several windows are stuck and/or binding. Adjustments are recommended.
113. Three pocket doors were specified in the contract. No pocket doors were installed in the home.
114. The tile work in all the bathrooms was repaired several times during the final completion of the home. The tile in the master bath shower is misaligned and out of square. The niche in the shower wall has a joint at the sill that will permit water to enter the wall behind the tile.
115. The root cellar in the basement measured 6 x 6 ½’. The contract calls for a 6 x 8’6” room.
116. The door thresholds were not cut out in the basement interior walls. This is a trip hazard.
Kitchen, Baths, Insulation and Ventilation
117. The insulation has been displaced in the garage and upper attics. This lessens the performance of the insulation and increases the heating and cooling costs of the home.
118. The bathroom fans from both upstairs baths vent into the upper attic. Exterior terminations are required for both fans.
119. No exterior termination was found for the master bathroom exhaust fan.
120. Insulation is missing on both attic hatches and the bathroom bay cantilever.
121. The floor is loose in the kitchen cabinet mounted over the refrigerator.
122. The right side of the kitchen cabinet over the refrigerator is damaged by a nail.
123. An anti-tip bracket should be installed on the kitchen range. This is a safety concern.
124. The flexible dryer vent is restricted behind the dryer.
125. Foam insulation is exposed on the basement wall behind the heat pump air handler. Foam insulation should be covered per the manufacturer’s requirements.
126. Foam insulation should be installed on the ceiling and walls of the root cellar and covered with 1/4” tile backer board to provide a non-combustible, water and mold resistant finished surface.
If you have any questions about the above information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
David P. Rushton
President
ABLE Building Inspection, Inc.
(540) 636-6200
Virginia Licensed Home Inspector
New Residential Structures License #3380 000161 NRS

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Board of Building Code Appeals

Pursuant to Section 36-105 of the Code of Virginia, there shall be established within each local building department a local board of Building Code appeals which hears and determines appeals from any order, requirement, decision, or interpretation made by the Building Official or his agent in the administration or enforcement of the Virginia Statewide Building Code. Any person aggrieved by the local building department’s application of the Building Code or refusal to grant a modification to the provisions of the Building Code may appeal to the local board of Building Code appeals.

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May
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all-day Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
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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
May 20 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
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1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
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May
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6:30 pm Rose Wine Class @ Element
Rose Wine Class @ Element
May 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
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9:30 am Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
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