Connect with us

Local News

A letter to the citizens of Warren County and the Town of Front Royal



From the Warren County Office of Emergency Management:

The County and Town have received several inquiries from the public asking how they are prepared for this crisis. The County can only be as prepared as its citizens are, and the country has not experienced an emergency like this in decades. There is currently no approved vaccine or medication to treat the Coronavirus, and everyone must do their civic duty to limit the spread of this highly infectious disease. The simplest of things, like staying home if you are sick, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces will have a huge impact on limiting the spread the virus.

Both the County and Town governments are as prepared as they can be, given the present circumstances, to weather this storm. At present, both government centers are operational, but closed to the public, in order to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. All essential services remain fully operational, and first responders are accordingly prepared.

Many of you are concerned and simply want to know if you have the virus or not. While this is a valid and real concern, please realize that the County currently does not have the resources to test everyone. In order for this three-fold testing process to work, there need to be test kits (swabs), a viral transport media (special sample mailing container), and testing reagents at the State and private labs in order to derive test results. If any of these three components are out of stock in the national supply chain, the medical system will be unable to produce test results. While the production of these supplies continues to improve daily, it cannot keep pace with the spread of the virus. This is a nationwide supply chain issue, and is being addressed at the highest levels of our government.

In the coming days, it is likely the County or Town will see its first confirmed COVID-19 case. With this, it is absolutely imperative that everyone does their part, as discussed above. During this time, citizens are urged not to overwhelm the local medical system. There is a great team of medical providers at the local Valley Health offices and Warren Memorial Hospital, as well as local independent physicians. They are all prepared to provide the highest quality of care during this crisis. However, as good as they are, their resources are limited. Please call a Primary Care Physician if you are sick, to include having COVID-19 symptoms, and reserve the Emergency Room for only the most critically sick and injured patients. This will be a great help in enabling emergency care providers to assist those most in need in a timely and effective manner.

The Virginia Department of Health (Lord Fairfax Health District) has a local call center for general questions regarding COVID-19: (540) 771-3992. The call center is staffed by Health District nurses, and its hours of operation are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. This call center gives residents the option of speaking with a local nurse for general questions instead of calling 1-877-ASK-VDH3 (1-877-275-8343). As always, if you are experiencing a true medical emergency, call 911 or report to the closest hospital’s emergency room for emergent treatment.

In the coming weeks, many residents may begin to experience cabin fever, and it is healthy to get outside and talk to neighbors, provided proper social distancing is ensured. The County’s local parks and trails are still open and provide a great opportunity to exercise and get some fresh air. Additionally, citizens can all help each other by only purchasing what they need for the near-term. This will increase the opportunity for everyone to be able to get the minimum essential supplies they need to get by. Residents are also encouraged to support local businesses and the local economy by continuing to utilize the expanded carry-out and delivery options provided by restaurants in the community.

Everyone needs to be physically and mentally prepared for this situation to continue through the end of summer. While not an official government release, a recent Columbia University research study indicates that if Virginians adhere to some control measures, the effects of the virus will peak in mid-June and taper off by August, though other studies indicate the timeline may be longer. This is what the President and Governor are talking about when they reference “flattening the curve”.

This is a rapidly changing situation, and the most current information is available on the following websites: or Please consult for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia. You can also visit the Warren County website information for the latest local COVID-19 information, as well as Like the County of Warren, VA Facebook page.

Thank you all for what you are doing to keep Warren County residents healthy – economically, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Let’s take care of each other and weather this storm together.

Share the News:

Local News

Workers urge Northam to sign minimum wage bill



RICHMOND, Va. — Workers and advocates are urging Gov. Ralph Northam to sign a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $9.50 at the start of next year. The General Assembly will reconvene on April 22, and lawmakers will reevaluate recently passed legislation as the state’s economy takes a blow and unemployment climbs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Northam and state leaders anticipate the state’s economy will suffer a major hit from the coronavirus outbreak. Northam didn’t respond directly to whether he is considering delaying the increase in the minimum wage when asked at a recent press conference.

“There are a number of pieces of legislation that we are looking at regarding our business environment, and I haven’t made any definite decisions, but we are talking to the patrons of those pieces of legislation,” Northam said. The governor said he will “make a decision in the best interest of Virginia and the best interest of our economy.”

Workers on the front lines of essential businesses continue to serve the public during the COVID-19 outbreak, including many workers who earn minimum wage–currently $7.25 in Virginia.
Employees at a Virginia Kroger grocery store and Amazon distribution center recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Many essential workers have asked for an increase in pay to reflect the increased need for their services and the elevated risks they take while working.

Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia, an advocacy organization, said that raising the minimum wage is necessary to allow these workers to raise their families with dignity.

“That’s especially true now when grocery store workers, delivery drivers, home health aides and so many more are going to work for low wages and putting themselves at risk of getting sick so that we can stay home and healthy,” Scholl said in a press release.

The group is asking Northam to sign House Bill 395 into law without amendments or delays that would water down the bill. HB 395 would raise the minimum wage to $9.50 in 2021, $11 in 2022 and $12 in 2023. The minimum wage could go up to $15 by 2026 if approved by the General Assembly.

Photo by VCU Capital News Service

Some essential workers also argue that they are not being provided adequate protective gear and supplies to keep them safe from the coronavirus, another reason they are pushing for a guaranteed wage increase.

Lisa Harris works at Kroger in Mechanicsville and is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. She has been with Kroger for 13 years and said in a press conference organized by Progress Virginia that she would benefit directly from HB 395. She is urging Northam to sign the bill with no weakening amendments.

“I find it fascinating how fast grocery store workers like me have gone from being considered unskilled labor to being recognized as essential personnel,” Harris said.

She compared workers dealing directly with an increasingly infected public to being on the front lines like first responders and said: “it would be nice to be paid accordingly.”

Harris said Kroger is not observing the proper social distancing recommendation of 6 feet or providing workers with personal protective equipment. She said the staff is required to wipe down the self-checkout scanners and screens every half hour but argues that this is impossible with the influx of customers visiting the store. Harris said the staff is given Windex to clean equipment and not a proper disinfectant. The company has given full-time workers a $300 bonus and part-time workers a $150 pay boost, but that’s not enough money, Harris said.

“It means barely being able to support myself, it means making tough decisions about whether to pay a bill or skip a meal, it means calling on my family members to help me as I’m attempting to be a fully enfranchised 31-year old,” Harris said.

Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger, said the grocery chain provided all hourly workers with a $2 pay increase for hours worked March 29 through April 18. McGee also stated that all Kroger stores in the Richmond area have been provided with Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectants to wipe down counters and cash registers. She said employees are required to wipe down surfaces frequently and extra hand sanitizer bottles have been provided at each checkout station.

“As far as PPE, we are encouraging our associates to wear protective masks and gloves, and we’re working hard to secure these resources for our associates,” McGee stated in an email. “Supply has started to arrive for our associates, and we anticipate all locations having personal protective equipment within the next several weeks.”

Kroger said on its website that they want healthcare workers to get a hold of protective gear before they can properly distribute it to their workers. For now, employees have limited access to such PPE and are encouraged to use their own.

Beginning April 7, Kroger will also start to limit the number of customers to 50% of the building code’s calculated capacity to allow for proper physical distancing in stores, the company announced this week.

Michael Cassidy, executive director of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, said that the coronavirus is a reminder many essential workers are also minimum wage workers.

“These individuals are providing a vital service to us right now and they deserve more than $7.25 an hour,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy said if the minimum wage increase were to go into effect in January, it would help 46,000 healthcare workers, 100,00 retail workers and over 100,000 restaurant and service industry workers. He said this would allow people to buy more and contribute to businesses and the economy as a whole.

Photo by VCU Capital News Service

“That’s important because consumer spending is the foundation of our economy, it’s about 72% of Virginia’s gross domestic product,” Cassidy said.

Del. Danica Roem said in a tweet that she is extremely disappointed to see groups advocating for bills like HB 395 to be watered down or delayed.

“We’re $1.50/hr behind West Virginia right now,” Roem tweeted. “You don’t see an uprising of West Virginian business leaders demanding the government lower their minimum wage to match ours.”

Cassidy said history shows that increasing the minimum wage during a recession has been successful in bringing the economy back.

HB 395 is currently pending signature by Northam with a deadline of April 11.

By Ada Romano
Capital News Service

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

QuaranTEAMing: Ways to GIVE during the COVID-19 Crisis– featuring George McIntyre and Pam Waters



These two Warren County residents are embracing their own ways to support their community and use their resources to help others during the crisis. George McIntyre (of The Apple House in Linden, VA) and his devoted team are delivering free donuts and offering complimentary meals to area nursing homes, medical personnel, and others. Pam Waters (of Front Royal) is making masks to donate to offices in need as her way of helping others and herself during this challenging time.

They exemplify the “what matters is your heart” philosophy, as do many local residents who are stepping up even when we are limited in stepping out. Let’s stop talking about fear and discouragement and start talking about the opportunities to make a positive impact and the silver linings in the cloud of the COVID-19 crisis.

Beyond the clouds overhead now and somewhere over the rainbow, this challenging period of our lives will be in the past, so let’s make some memories to cherish–memories that prove that kindness, generosity, and compassion can have even more of an impact on our world than a deadly virus.

Trade your Quarantining for QuaranTEAMING–there’s only one team in this game of life, and we’re all on the same one. Let’s remember that and use our positions to play our best however we can where we are.

Have you seen an inspiring act of selfless giving? Share in the comments below and inspire others to make time each day to take even a small action to brighten the life of another.

Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and Youtube.

Learn more about Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at–check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or

WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent raised goes to the cause she’s promoting and most are matched by Beth. If you’d like to get involved with her local or international nonprofit work or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

Attorney General Herring seeks extension of utility disconnection suspensions through duration of State of Emergency



~ Herring filed an emergency petition on March 13th to halt disconnections for non-payment and suspend late charges during the state of emergency ~

RICHMOND (April 7, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has asked the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to extend its utility disconnection suspension through at least June 10th when Virginia’s state of emergency is currently scheduled to end. Last month, the SCC halted utility disconnections for non-payment and suspended late charges following Attorney General Herring’s emergency petition requesting a freeze on disconnections.

“As we continue to grapple with the health and financial crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that this extension is needed to make sure that all Virginians have access to water, power, and gas during the entirety of the state of emergency,” said Attorney General Herring. “This extension is especially important for hourly wage earners and those who work in the service industry who have been particularly affected by social distancing efforts and stay at home orders. I hope the SCC will continue to give Virginians some peace of mind during this time while we continue to ask them to stay home to prevent further spread of this virus.”

As Attorney General Herring explains in the filing “the temporary suspension of service disconnections for the reason of non-payment is needed to minimize adverse impacts on the public health and safety during this period of health and financial crisis.” Additionally, he adds that “during the immediate time of this emergency, the public interest requires that basic needs such as power, heat, and water go uninterrupted for all customers.” The Attorney General has sought the suspension of late fees during this time, but it is important to note that customers will eventually have to pay for the utilities they use during this time. If customers are able to, they should continue to pay their utility bills to avoid higher balances in the future.

In addition to extending the utility disconnection suspensions, Attorney General Herring also asks the SCC to consider the following:

• Reconnect service for any customers who request reconnection who had it disconnected for non-payment before the Suspension Order

• Waive any requirements that would make it harder for utilities to reconnect service

• Suspend late fees

• Provide for any other relief the Commission deems appropriate and necessary

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

Second Saturday night fire causes flame jetting phenomenon, injuring two



On Saturday, April 4, 2020, at approximately 7:40 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services were dispatched to the 200 block of 19th Street, Front Royal for a reported
explosion with people injured.

Fire and EMS units along with units from the Front Royal Police Department quickly arrived on the scene to discover that an outside fire pit had been extinguished prior to their arrival. Two patients were noted to have sustained burn-related injuries. One patient was treated on the scene and transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Burn Center via helicopter with significant burn injuries. A second patient was treated at a local medical facility for minor burn injuries.

The incident which was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office was determined to be caused by a phenomenon called “Flame Jetting”. Flame jetting happens when a container of flammable liquid meets an ignition source, causing flames to shoot out of the container for distances of 15 feet or greater. This type of event is often unexpected and extremely dangerous. This blowtorch-like effect can engulf bystanders in flames, leading to serious injury or even death.

Photo courtesy of Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.


In this incident, a container of “weathered” gasoline was utilized in an attempt to accelerate the combustion within the outdoor fire pit. As the vapors ignited, the fire traveled into the container causing an over pressurization and rupture of the container resulting in the flame jetting event to occur. This caused the significant burn injuries to the bystander, burn injuries to the victim holding the container and damages the home ten feet away.

Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico stated, “while this event is certainly unfortunate, it should serve as a reminder that flammable liquids and open flames are a potentially deadly combination.” The Department of Fire and Rescue Services urges the following safety precautions when conducting fire pit activities:

• Never use gasoline as a starter fluid for any type of fire.

• Never leave a fire pit unattended.

• Never leave children or pets unattended near a fire pit.

• Consider investing in a wire mesh cover to keep embers inside and help prevent children
or pets from falling in.

• Limit the amount of fuel you put in the fire—just put what’s necessary to keep it burning

• Don’t put garbage or paper products into the fire. They can easily spark and throw off
embers or burning remnants.

• Don’t wear flammable or loose-fit clothing while near the pit.

• Don’t burn softwoods like pine or cedar. These can “pop” and throw sparks.

• Even if you follow all of these guidelines, accidents still happen. Keep a container of
water and a hose nearby in case of an emergency.

For more information with regards to the flame jetting phenomenon, visit or visit

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

Saturday night fire destroys home, cause remains under investigation



Photo courtesy of Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.


On Saturday, April 4, 2020, at approximately 8:00 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services received a report of a residential structure fire located in the 1000 block of
Harmony Orchard Road, Front Royal.

Units quickly arrived on the scene to discover a two-story, single-family home with significant fire conditions throughout the structure. The home appeared unoccupied at the time of the fire
and based on the number of fire conditions and structural instability, fire suppression efforts were executed from the exterior of the home for safety concerns. It took firefighters approximately 40
minutes to bring the fire under control. The home was rendered a total loss.

During the course of the incident, a firefighter sustained a traumatic injury and was treated on the scene and transported to Warren Memorial Hospital for further treatment and evaluation.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office with assistance from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.

Anyone with information with regards to this incident is asked to contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or email or contact Sheriff’s Office
Investigator Scott Baker at 540-635-7100 or email

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Local News

Randolph-Macon Academy offers virtual Q&A sessions




Randolph-Macon Academy will host a Virtual Q&A Session on Thursday, April 16th, at 7:00 pm.

The session hosts will be the Director of Enrollment Management, Clare Dame, and the Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Amy Harriman. Families interested in applying to Randolph-Macon Academy, or those having questions about the private school admission process in general, are welcome to attend.

To register, visit, or email

Share the News:
Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Front Royal
Light Rain
06:4419:43 EDT
Feels like: 56°F
Wind: 8mph NNW
Humidity: 84%
Pressure: 29.6"Hg
UV index: 0