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A look at a family’s journey of adopting amid a pandemic

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Dillion Hopson Allen still remembers the first time Rosa stayed with him and his parents for short-term care. The house was packed with kids running around, laughing, screaming, and playing.
Rosa, however, was lying down on the floor. Wrapped in a plush blanket, the teenager looked peaceful, but alert – as if she were feeling the room a little before breaking out of her shell, Dillion said.

Now as Brown’s foster child two years later, Rosa has more spunk. She is a high-school-age, sweet and lively girl who loves dresses (the pink one is her favorite).

She is also about to be adopted by Dillion, who is 23, and his mother and stepfather, Zina and Michael Brown. Adding their last names to Rosa’s is important to them. Having the courts honoring the kinship matters, Dillion said. But because of the pandemic, the process is taking longer than usual.

In her free time, “Rosa,” the Browns’ foster care child, likes to draw. (Photo courtesy of Dillion Hopson Allen)


Capital News Service is not disclosing Rosa’s real name to protect her identity and privacy. She was not interviewed because she is a minor.

Before the pandemic, the process of adopting a child took six to nine months. But now, it may take up to a year, according to Stephanie King, program manager for the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s therapeutic foster program in Baltimore.

Slower judicial proceedings are just one of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the foster care system, King said.

It was in the middle of last summer when Maryland had surpassed 45,000 COVID-19 cases, that the Browns decided they wanted to adopt Rosa, who was by then their foster child. They were on their back deck, with Rosa’s social worker — all wearing masks and social distancing.

There was a lot of discussions involved, Dillion recalled. His parents are in their 50s. At some point, Rosa, who has autism and epilepsy, will have to move in with Dillion.

So he wouldn’t just be her brother; he would be a parent, too. But their hearts are set on it. Rosa already feels like part of their family.

“I really couldn’t see my life without her,” Zina Brown, 57, said. “I really couldn’t.”

While Dillion, Zina, and Michael started the adoption process in July, they didn’t sign the paperwork until Oct. 12, when they sent a letter signaling their interest in adopting Rosa to the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. They had their first court session on Zoom on Jan 15.

Amid the pandemic and the start of the adoption process, the Browns hosted five other children. Some stayed with them for one week. Others stayed longer, up to four months. Dillion would give them nicknames based on their personalities, he said.

Two high-energy, elementary school boys stayed with the Browns in the fall. It was a lot to walk them and Rosa through online schooling.

Zina often took the schooling duties because Michael was a lead worker for Johns Hopkins Health System while Dillion had his own online classes to attend at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Zina arranged the three laptops, running three different instructions, in the dining area. She made three partitions, forming mini desks, one for each of the children.

“It was like a marathon,” Dillion said. “She might as well have a teacher status herself because she was definitely running around like she was in the classroom.”

But with time, it got easier, Dillion said.

When December came, it was just the Browns, Dillion, and Rosa again. They were set to receive another child, who was supposed to stay with them for a week.

The day after Christmas, Michael started to feel muscle aches and realized he had a reduced sense of taste. So, Michael and Zina decided to get tested.

The same day Zina tested positive, another child arrived and roomed with Rosa. Michael moved to the guest room. A couple of days later, he also tested positive.

For the next two weeks, Dillion, a pre-med student at UMBC, took the lead in taking care of the household.

When Rosa finally realized that Zina and Michael were sick, she would ask Dillion multiple times a day — are they okay?

And then, on the last day of Zina and Michael’s quarantine, Dillion came to a somber realization that he couldn’t taste.

The next day, he tested positive.

In total, the Browns, Rosa, and the second child were in quarantine for a month. But neither of the children contracted COVID-19.

“It was just a strange ordeal,” Dillion said.

The last day of quarantine was a special date. It was Zina’s birthday and the first online court date for Rosa’s adoption.

At 10 a.m., Zina and Rosa sat at the dinner table, their laptop in front of them. Zina was wearing a shirt that said, “it’s my birthday.” Rosa was dressed up too, wearing a flowing dress, necklace, and earrings.

Zina had thought about becoming a foster parent since her early teen years. Her mother, who worked with special education students, would often bring children to their home.

“I always wanted to help,” Zina said. “I just wanted to be able to make a difference in a child’s life.”

Michael, on the other hand, initially wasn’t as confident. He tends to overthink things, he said, stressing about what could go wrong. At first, when Rosa would call him “dad,” Michael would correct her.

“No, call me Pop-Pop,” he would tell her.

Until one day, he told her – okay, you can call me dad.

“She’s part of my heart now,” He said. “She’s like the daughter I never had… she was placed here for a reason.”

Right now, the adoption process is set to be finalized in May, 10 months after the Browns started.

As for Rosa, she has gotten a new teacher, whom she really likes. When she is not tuned into her online classes, she is dancing or making necklaces. Rosa puts them together in bright, happy colors and gives them to her family.

Once the public health crisis is over, the family is going to throw a big party celebrating the adoption, the Browns said. And while right now that’s still a bit in the air, one thing is for certain.

Rosa will have both Zina and Michael Brown’s and Dillion’s last name — Rosa Hopson Brown.

While Dillion sees why people may view Rosa’s adoption as a big decision, he says it really isn’t. Any sense of burden or fear of what the future holds are outweighed by one simple fact.
Rosa is his sister, he said.

By CLARA LONGO DE FREITAS
Capital News Service Washington Bureau

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Fauquier Health Wound Healing Center recognized nationally for excellence in healing

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Physicians, leaders and clinicians at Fauquier Health’s Wound Healing Center gathered to celebrate their recent achievement of receiving the Robert A. Warriner III, M.D., Clinical Excellence Award. The Wound Healing Center, located in the town of Warrenton, has scored in the top 10 percent of eligible Healogics® Wound Care Centers® on the Clinical Excellence measure, which is the Comprehensive Healing Rate weighted by wound mix. The Center was awarded this prestigious honor by Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. This award is named for Dr. Robert A. Warriner III, a pioneer in wound care and the former Chief Medical Officer for Healogics.

Only 10 percent of Healogics® Wound Healing Centers (out of 600 nationwide) receive this recognition. Pictured from left to right is Shannon East, RN Case Manager, Stephanie Supon, RN Clinical Nurse Manager, Betty Simpson, HBO Technician, Mendy Huff, LPN, Milly Byler, Front Office Coordinator, Beth Conover, RN Case Manager, and Gloria Hoobler, RN Case Manager.

Simultaneously, the Fauquier Health Wound Healing Center was also a recipient of the Center of Distinction award by Healogics®. The Center of Distinction award is given to Centers who achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for twelve consecutive months, including patient satisfaction rates higher than 92 percent and a minimum wound healing rate of at least 92 percent within 28 median days to heal. There were 555 Centers eligible for the Center of Distinction award and only 278 achieved the honor.

Holding up their distinction proud (from left to right) is Stephanie Supon, RN Clinical Nurse Manager and Sarah Bales, Program Director.


Sarah Bales, Program Director of the Fauquier Health Wound Healing Center, commented on the momentous occasion, “Achieving the 2020 Clinical Excellence Award and the 2020 Center of Distinction Award deserves celebrating. This recognition is only provided to the top 10 percent of nearly 600 Healogics® Centers nationwide. Despite the challenges of 2020, our team focused on maintaining patient-centered care and the quality outcomes our patients expect and deserve. To say I’m proud of this team is an understatement.”

Dr. Joseph Brown, board-certified general surgeon, has a subspecialty focus on general surgery and wound care. He is often found visiting with patients at the Center.

The Fauquier Health Wound Healing Center is a member of the Healogics network of over 600 Wound Care Centers® and offers highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections and other chronic wounds which have not healed in a reasonable amount of time.

Advanced wound care modalities provided by our wound care experts include negative pressure wound therapy, total contact casting, bio-engineered tissues, biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies. The Center also offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which works by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen to help progress the healing of the wound.

Dr. Lynn Samuel, Medical Director at Fauquier Health Wound Healing Center, is proud to represent this great accomplishment.

Dr. Lynn Samuel, MD, Medical Director at the Fauquier Health Wound Healing Center, shared “The 2020 Clinical Excellence Award is another indication of the exemplary care provided by our multispecialty physician panel and experienced nursing team.”

About Fauquier Health

Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, Virginia, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises: Fauquier Hospital, a fully-accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs.  Fauquier Health also operates nine physician’s offices, including primary care and specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling 540-316-5000.

About Healogics

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., Healogics is the nation’s wound healing expert. Last year over 300,000 patients received advanced wound care through a network of over 600 Wound Care Centers. Healogics also partners with over 300 skilled nursing facilities to care for patients with chronic wounds and provides inpatient consults at more than 60 partner hospitals. As the industry leader, Healogics has the largest repository of chronic wound-specific patient data in the country. The Healogics Wound Science Initiative offers peer-reviewed research and advanced analytics in the pursuit of not only better outcomes, but a better way to provide care.

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Biden: ‘America is on the move again’; wants $2 trillion to aid families

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In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged Congress to pass a nearly $2 trillion plan to help American families – spending that would build on his administration’s efforts during his first 100 days in office to end the coronavirus pandemic and restore the American economy.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made history as the first women, next in line to the presidency, to occupy the two prominent seats on the dais behind Biden.

After inheriting “a nation in crisis,” Biden told the Congress that a day shy of his 100th day in office, “America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”

Only 200 members of Congress viewed the address in-person due to COVID health and safety regulations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III stood in for the rest of the cabinet, while Supreme Court Justice John Roberts represented the high court. The House chamber normally holds about 1,600 people.


The nationally televised Biden speech mixed reminders of what his presidency already has tried to achieve with calls to go bigger – and spend bigger – on a host of new programs.

The centerpiece of Biden’s address was a proposed “American Families Plan,” which would expand pre-K education by two years and make community colleges free; provide affordable child care to lower- and middle-income families; allow up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, and extend a series of tax credits and tax cuts for millions of families.

“When this nation made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated and best-prepared nation in the world,” Biden said, adding “the world is catching up. They are not waiting.”

To pay for his plan, the president has proposed increasing the tax rate for the top 1% of earners back up to 39.6%. It was lowered to 37% by former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in 2017.

“I will not add to the tax burden of the middle class of this country. They’re already paying enough,” Biden said. “What I’ve proposed is fair. It’s fiscally responsible. It raised the revenue to pay for the plans I’ve proposed that will create millions of jobs and grow the economy.”

Biden’s speech also asked Congress to pass legislation on police reform, just one week after former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three charges stemming from the murder of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis.

“We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black America,” Biden said. “Now is our opportunity to make real progress.”

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed in the Democratic-led House in March and is awaiting action in the Senate.

The president also repeated his call for lawmakers to pass election reform and voting rights laws, both of which are being resisted by the GOP.

“More people voted in the last presidential election than ever before in our history – in the middle of one of the worst pandemics ever,” Biden said. “That should be celebrated. Instead it’s being attacked.”

A bill to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans also must get to his desk, Biden said, adding that he wanted transgender people to know “the president has your back.”

In support of the right to unionize, Biden called on the members of Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. He also urged them to pass the $15 minimum wage and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure equal pay for women.

The president reiterated his determination to pass a $2 trillion infrastructure package, which he called “a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America” and the greatest job plan since World War II.

He said he welcomed Republican ideas on infrastructure spending, but warned: “doing nothing is not an option.”

Biden said he wanted to expand cancer research, a topic close to Biden’s heart, as his late son, Beau Biden, died from brain cancer in 2015. He said the National Institutes of Health should embark on a massive effort to create a new center focused on breakthroughs for preventing and treating diseases including not only cancer but also Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

“I can think of no more worthy investment. And I know of nothing that is more bipartisan,” the president said. “Let’s end cancer as we know it. It’s within our power.”

Biden also urged Congress to tackle a host of issues that have eluded resolution for years: stricter gun laws, reform of immigration laws, and lowering prescription drug costs.

While Democrats generally applauded the president’s proposals, Republicans were highly critical.

“Our president seems like a good man. His speech was full of good words,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, said in the official Republican response.

“Our nation is starving for more than empty platitudes,” he said. “We need policies and progress that bring us closer together.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called Biden’s speech a “bait and switch.”

“The ‘bait’ was he was going to be a moderate, a unifying force and bring us all together,” the senator said. “The ‘switch’ is that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, for all practical purposes, won the debate in the Democratic Party over what it ought to look like.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, tweeted after the address: “This whole thing could have just been an email.”

But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, called Biden’s speech “an agenda of justice, equality, security, and opportunity.”

“I was glad to hear President Biden set out his vision and call our country to the higher purpose of living up to the promise of its Founders: that all our people must not only be treated equally under our laws but that all equally deserve a chance to make it In America,” Hoyer said.

Pelosi characterized Biden’s remarks as a “unifying message of resilience, resolve and hope.”

“The Democratic Congress looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to enact this historic vision for lower health care costs, for bigger paychecks, for cleaner government, for the people,” the speaker said.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, praised the president’s address, saying Biden “spoke to the country with confidence and conviction; seriousness and resolve; realism about the challenges we face; and optimism about America’s future.”

“The best way to face these challenges is together. President Biden has already worked to bridge the divides of this nation, and we must forge ahead,” Van Hollen said.

Biden began his address by marking his administration’s progress in the first 100 days in fighting the pandemic.

“After I promised 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 days, we will have provided over 220 million COVID shots in 100 days,” Biden said. “Our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history is one of the greatest logistical achievements our country has ever seen.”

By LOGAN ARNESON, HANNAH FIELDS, ANEETA MATHUR-ASHTON and JENNIFER MANDATO
Capital News Service Washington Bureau

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Extraordinary registered nurse recognized at Fauquier Health

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Nurses at Fauquier Health are being honored with The DAISY Team Award For Extraordinary Nurses. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day.

The first DAISY Team award recipient for 2021 is Registered Nurse, Meghan Bonner. A strong nomination that came in for Meghan consisted of a special moment that she shared with a patient. The patient, who struggled with dementia and difficulty of hearing, experienced an episode of confusion and frustration. The patient became increasingly scared and Meghan knew she had to act quickly to help calm them. Meghan comforted the patient, put on an old classic movie, and took a seat. As fellow staff members walked by, they witnessed Meghan next to the patient watching the moving, holding their hand. The patient’s whole demeanor changed to a much calmer and happier state.

Meghan Bonnor, RN, was presented with the DAISY Award Certificate. From left to right, Jessica Randall (Director of Acute Care Services), Meghan Bonner (RN), Christine Hart Kress (CNO), Chad Melton (CEO), and Steve Wojcik (Board Chair).

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.


Meghan Bonnor, RN, received her DAISY pin from Fauquier Health CNO, Christine Hart Kress.

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses has been adopted by healthcare facilities around the world to celebrate nurses for their extraordinary care and compassion.  The DAISY Team Award is for nurse-led teams of two or more who come together to solve a specific situation by going above and beyond.  Nursing teams may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of nurses at Fauquier Health to receive The DAISY Team Award. The DAISY Team Award is presented by Nursing Leadership at a surprise presentation.  The DAISY Award winner receives a certificate commending them for being an “Extraordinary Nurse.”  The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are and the incredibly meaningful difference your teamwork makes in the lives of so many people.”  The DAISY Award winner also receives a specially engraved plaque engraved with the name of the Team.

Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation said, “When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do.  The kind of work the nurses at Fauquier Health are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

Chad Melton, CEO, and Steve Wojcik,, Board Chair, presented DAISY Award recipient Meghan Bonnor, RN, with the DAISY banner that will be hung in the hospital front lobby. All DAISY Award winners will sign the banner.

Christine Hart Kress, Fauquier Health’s Chief Nursing Officer said, “We are proud to be among the healthcare organizations participating in the DAISY Award program.  Nurses are heroes every day.  It’s important that our nurses know their work is highly valued, and The DAISY Foundation provides a way for us to do that.”

To honor these special nurses at Fauquier Health, a banner has been hung in the main lobby entrance for all to see as they enter the hospital facility. Each DAISY Nurse will have the opportunity to sign the banner recognizing them for their commitment and dedication. For a complete listing of healthcare organizations currently running the program, please go to http://DAISYfoundation.org.

Meghan Bonner, RN, DAISY Award winner for Quarter 1 at Fauquier Health had the opportunity to sign the banner that will hang in the front lobby entrance of the hospital.

The DAISY Award and DAISY Team Award are initiatives of The DAISY Foundation in service to the nursing profession.  Additionally, DAISY offers J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects, The DAISY Faculty Award to honor inspiring faculty members in schools and colleges of nursing, and The DAISY in Training Award for nursing students. More information is available at DAISYfoundation.org.

Meghan Bonnor, RN, proudly held up her banner. Accompanying her, from left to right, was, Christine Hart Kress (CNO), Steve Wojcik (Board Chair), Sean Thomson (CFO), Jessica Randall (Director of Acute Care Services), Kevin Sale (COO), and Chad Melton (CEO).

About Fauquier Health

Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, Virginia, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises: Fauquier Hospital, a fully-accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs.  Fauquier Health also operates nine physician’s offices, including primary care and specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling 540-316-5000.

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Festival establishes and honors first-ever inductees into the Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame

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The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival will honor six individuals who have had a lasting impact on sports across our region. The inaugural class includes the following:

Russ Potts

Russ Potts created the Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast along with Dick Kern in 1965. Former Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey was the very first sports celebrity to attend the Sports Breakfast.

Potts is a member of 6 Hall of Fames: National College Sports Marketing Hall of Fame, Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Handley High School Judges Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Potomac State College Hall of Fame, Shenandoah University Hall of Fame and the University of Maryland Phi Delta Theta Fraternity Hall of Fame


Russ is a former Executive Director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, serving from 1969 to 1970.  During his tenure he moved the Grand Feature Parade from Friday to Saturday attracting 86 bands in 1969 & 92 bands in 1970.

Potts was elected eight times to the Virginia State Senate from 1992-2008. He served as Chairman of the Senate’s Education & Health Committee.

Russ was the first Sports Marketing Director in the history of college athletics at the University of Maryland.  He was also the Director of Athletics at SMU. During his tenure, both universities set all time average attendance increase records-the only time in NCAA history.

Potts served as Vice President of Marketing for the Chicago White Sox.

Russ Potts headed up the capital campaign for the Handley High School renovation and creation of the Emil & Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center. Russ helped the school raise over $22M for both projects.

Over his career, Russ has staged, promoted, or organized over 1,000 athletic events.  He created the first Women’s College Basketball game on national television – Immaculata vs. Maryland in 1976, created the first Men’s College Basketball primetime television package, and organized the famous Georgetown vs. Virginia game featuring the battle of the 7 footers – Patrick Ewing vs Ralph Sampson which was televised on national TV.

Dick Kern

Dick Kern and Russ Potts were the Co-Chairmen of the very first Sports Breakfast featuring Jack Dempsey in 1965.

Dick passed away on October 1, 2020 at 100 years old and is represented by his grandson, Trey, Owner / Operator of Kern Motor Company. Both Trey and Dick’s son Rick were outstanding athletes at Handley. All three are members of the Judges Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Kern was one of the founders of the Judges Athletic Association – one of the nation’s most successful high school booster associations. Dick is a past President of the JAA.

Dick was an outstanding athlete having starred at Handley High School as a quarterback in the single wing offense and later at Virginia Tech as the starting defensive halfback and linebacker.

Kern won the Williams Award as the outstanding senior football player in 1941 and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was unable to pursue an NFL career because of serving in World War II.

Dick was a highly decorated war hero in the U.S. Army during WWII and one of the youngest company commanders in the nation with over 300 men under his command.

Dick created Kern Motor Company, the longest standing automotive agency in Winchester / Frederick County.

Kern served with distinction as Vice Mayor, Chairman of the City Finance Committee, and Councilman-serving for over 20 years.

Dick Kern will always be known as an outstanding community leader and philanthropist.

Walter Barr

Walter Barr’s coaching career bridged five decades.  Barr was a two-sport athlete at Shepherd University where he played football and baseball.  He graduated from Shepherd College in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science and received his master’s degree from James Madison University in 1970.

Walter’s teaching experience spanned from 1962 to 1998.  He taught at James Wood High School, Loudoun County High School, Broad Run High School, Sherando High School, and Lord Fairfax Community College.

Barr began his coaching career at James Wood High School where he was an assistant football coach and head track coach from 1962 to 1967.  In 1967, Coach Barr became the head football coach at James Wood and coached until 1971 where he went on to be the head football coach at Shepherd University until 1986.  In 1994, Barr became the first head coach of Sherando High School.  In 1999, Barr was asked to conduct a football program feasibility study for Shenandoah University which later turned into a head football coaching position with the University.  Coach Barr returned to James Wood High School in 2005 and turned around a program that had not had a winning record in 26 years.  Coach Barr concluded his coaching career with 210 wins, 94 losses and 5 ties.

Coach Barr has one of the most decorated football coaching records in the region.

  • 1966-71
    • James Wood High School (38-2-1)
    • 2 undefeated teams
    • Virginia AAA State Champions 1970
  • 1971-86
    • Shepherd University (104-48-4)
    • 3 WVIAC Championships
    • NAIA National Play-offs 1985
  • 1990-91
    • Loudoun County High School (5-5)
  • 1994-97
    • Sherando High School (38-13)
    • State Play-Offs (3 years)
  • 2000-01
    • Shenandoah University (9-11)
    • Start-up program
  • 2005-07
    • James Wood High School (16-15)

Barr has been induced into the NAIA Hall of Fame, Shepherd College Hall of Fame, Clarke County Athletic Hall of Fame, James Wood Athletic Hall of Fame and will soon be inducted into the Shenandoah University Hall of Fame in 2022 (postponed due to COVID.)Walter Barr is a 3-time WVIAC Coach of the Year and 4-time Winchester Star Coach of the Year.  In 2016 he received the Richard C. Shickle Award and in 2019 was bestowed the honor of having the James Wood High School Football Field named after him.

Coach Barr has been published in The American Football Coaches Guidebook to Championship Football Drills by Jerry R. Tolley 1984 and hosted many football coaches’ clinics while he was at Shepherd University and Shenandoah University.

Paul Wendell “Wendell” Dick  

Last year, on Friday, December 4, 2020, our community said goodbye to a beloved individual and friend to many.  To many of us, Wendell was the face of James Wood High School athletics even after his retirement in 1991.

Wendell grew up in Frederick County, VA and went to James Wood High School (5-12 grades) when it opened in 1950. He graduated in 1958. Dick was recognized as James Wood’s “Outstanding Male Athlete.” While in high school, he was 1stteam District 10 basketball player, earned 14 Varsity letters, and participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was one of the first James Wood High School graduates to have perfect attendance for all 12 years of schooling.

In 1958, Wendell enrolled at Potomac State Junior College in Keyser, WV, on a basketball scholarship where he led the team in free-throw shooting for two years. In 1960, he entered West Virginia University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education. He was a goalie on the WVU men’s soccer team and earned his MS Degree in Health and Safety. After graduating, he joined the Army National Guard in Winchester. While in Basic Training in Fort Jackson, he was selected as the “Outstanding Trainee” and was catcher of their undefeated softball team. Wendell enjoyed playing for a traveling semi-professional basketball team and fast pitch softball.  Wendell was a Cross-County and Track Official for 50 years (1960-2010). For many years, he was also a “Color Commentator” for 92.5 WINC-FM Sports with Joe Pasquali.

Wendell held lifetime memberships in the James Wood Athletic Association, the Potomac State College Alumni Association, the West Virginia University Alumni Association, the Virginia Retired Teachers Association, and the Greenwood Fire and Rescue Company Association.

For several years, he served as Co-Director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast.

In 1990, Wendell was inducted into the Fast-Pitch Softball Hall of Fame and in 2000, James Wood High Schooled honored Wendell by establishing the P. Wendell Dick Athletic Hall of Fame.

Russ Potts will accept the award on behalf of the Wendell Dick family.

Ken Mease

If you have attended the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast over the years, you will know that Ken Mease cherished the opportunity to visit and participate in the Shenandoah Apple Blossom. Ken began attending the Festival in 1999 where he emceed the Sports Breakfast.  There were only two years between 1999 and 2017 where he was not able to participate in our annual celebration. In addition to emceeing the Sports Breakfast, Ken spoke at the Festival’s Ladies Horticultural Luncheon and served as the Court Ambassador for the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah. In 2018, the Festival recognized Ken by presenting him with a life pass to the sports breakfast.  Ken returned to celebrate the Festival with us in 2019 but did not emcee the breakfast that year.  Ken loves the Festival and continually went out of his way to support the Festival in many ways.

Ken Mease has had a tremendous career in sports television and radio in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of the US for over five decades.

Ken grew up in Selinsgrove, PA and graduated from Selinsgrove Area Joint High School in 1960. In high school, Mease played basketball and baseball, was band president and served as Lt. Governor and International Trustee in Key Club International. After graduating from high school, Ken attended Susquehanna University from 1960 to 1964.  During college, Mease worked part-time for WKOK-AM-FM as a disc jockey, news, and sports reporter.

In 1963, Ken worked for WUNS-AM in Lewisburg, PA as an announcer and color commentator for Bucknell University Football for their ’64 and ’65 seasons.

Ken joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1965 where he completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.  He attended tech school as a communications specialist at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX.  Ken completed his Guard commitment in 1971.

Between 1965 and 1975, Ken continued his work in communications at radio and television stations in Harrisburg, PA, Charlotte, NC, Pittsburgh, PA, and Providence, RI.  While in Providence, Mease anchored sports six days a week and was recognized in 1973 with the Rhode Island Sportscaster of the Year award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

In 1975, Ken served as Director of Athletics for Robert Morris College (now University.)  Ken was instrumental in the University’s leap from junior college status to NCAA Division I.  Ken did play-by-play of Colonials basketball for three seasons, coached the school’s basketball team for one season. While at Robert Morris, Mease laid the groundwork for the school’s Sports Management program.

In 1979, Ken went back to news television as a sports anchor and weekday reporter in Pittsburgh, PA.  Ken was awarded two Golden Quill Awards (the Pittsburgh Emmy) for the “Steeler Monday” sports feature.

From 1986 to 2003, Ken was the sports anchor and reporter for WUSA-TV in Washington, DC.  Ken primarily worked as the station’s weekend sports anchor with weekday reporting duties. Ken covered Sunday night sports specials including Redskin shows. Mease also freelanced where he covered Navy Football radio and George Mason TV basketball play-by-play.

From 2003 to 2010, Mease joined CBS-Westwood One Sports Radio sportscasting including Redskins post game.

In 2010 Ken joined the Washington Freedom, an American professional women’s soccer club in Germantown, Maryland.

Rodney Cowley will accept the award on behalf of Ken Mease.

Tommy Dixon

Born in Winchester, VA, Tommy is the second youngest of seven children to Rachel and Clark Dixon.  Dixon attended first through seventh grades at Douglas School.  After integration, Tommy attended Handley High School from eighth through twelfth grades. While at Handley, Tommy was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and track and field.  He was voted 2nd team All-State in football and basketball.  After high school, Dixon studied health and physical education at Potomac State College in Keyser, WV and Berea College in Berea, KY.

During Tommy’s tenure, he coached football, track and field, and basketball.  Tommy coached football at Daniel Morgan Middle School for nine years where his team only lost two games and had one tie; the rest were wins.  Dixon was an assistant track and field coach when Handley won several state championships.  Tommy coached basketball for 36 years and compiled a record of 403-228.  Tommy coached his teams to nine regular season championships, 10 regional appearances, 3 regional championships, and 6 state tournament berths.  Coach Dixon was also recognized several times as Coach of the Year at the District and Regional level.  Tommy also was selected to coach in the state all-star game in 2000.

In 2001, Coach Dixon was inducted into Handley’s Hunter Maddex Hall of Fame and the Potomac State College Hall of Fame in 2010.  On Saturday evening, December 17, 2016, during a boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball game inside Handley’s Maddex-Omps Gymnasium, the school announced that the basketball court would forever be known as the Coach Tommy Dixon Basketball Court.

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Regional News

LFCC and Rotz Pharmacy team up to vaccinate nearly 5,000 at the college

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A public health effort by LFCC and Rotz Pharmacy has resulted in more than 5,000 vaccines against COVID-19 being administered at the college’s Middletown Campus in the past five weeks alone.

Rotz Pharmacy began offering vaccines at its Amherst Street location in mid-January. When he knew he would be getting in a large batch of the Moderna vaccine – more than his independent pharmacy had the capacity to administer – co-owner Jason Rotz reached out to LFCC.

“Of course we said we would be happy to provide the space and the student nurses and the volunteers to pitch in with this massive public health effort,” said Whitney Miller, who as LFCC’s director of facility planning and auxiliary services, has been heading up the volunteer effort.

At the first joint clinic on March 5, LFCC and Rotz got shots into more than 800 arms. There has been a clinic at LFCC every Friday since then.


As of April 16, Rotz Pharmacy had administered a total of 6,800 vaccines, with nearly 4,700 of those at LFCC. About 1,450 people have received both their first and second doses of the vaccine at the college.

The vaccinations are being done by LFCC nursing students, under the supervision of faculty members. LFCC faculty and staff members, and some members of the public, have been volunteering at the clinics, checking in those getting their shots, shepherding them to the correct stations and ensuring they’ve waited 15 minutes post-vaccination before leaving.

“I’m so proud of the time and energy our faculty and staff – and our wonderful nursing students – have given to this effort to bring the COVID pandemic to an end,” said LFCC President Kim Blosser, who will be volunteering at this Friday’s clinic with her teenage son. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the college to contribute to the health and wellbeing of our community. The clinics are also invaluable teaching moments for our nursing students, many of whom have had a hard time getting in their mandatory clinical hours due to the pandemic.

“This week is National Volunteer Week, and I’d like to take this chance to say thank you so much to all of you who have helped at these clinics. You truly are making our community a better and a healthier place.”

Rotz said his pharmacy would continue administering second doses of the vaccine at LFCC until at least May 12, and would offer more first-dose clinics if the demand is there.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said of the partnership with LFCC. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without the participation and all the help that the college has contributed.”

It takes about 70 volunteers to put on each clinic, so “it’s a massive undertaking,” Rotz said.

He noted that the commonwealth is now offering COVID vaccinations to all those aged 16 and over. The vaccine offered by Rotz, Moderna, is only approved for those 18 and older. Go to Rotz Pharmacy’s Facebook page to get the link to sign up for your vaccine.

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Community Events

Local educator along with US Women’s National Ice Hockey team member announced to speak at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast

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Retired teacher and decorated coach, Tommy Dixon, will join pro football legends Joe Theismann and Santana Moss as sports guests at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on Saturday morning, May 1, 2021, from 8 – 10 am, at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.

Born in Winchester, VA, Tommy is the second youngest of seven children to Rachel and Clark Dixon. Dixon attended first through seventh grades at Douglas School. After integration, Tommy attended Handley High School from eighth through twelfth grades. While at Handley, Tommy was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and track and field. He was voted 2nd team All-State in football and basketball. Coach Dixon credits three great coaches to his success-James Omps, Ron Rice and Don Welch. After high school, Dixon studied health and physical education at Potomac State College in Keyser, WV and Berea College in Berea, KY.

After college, Dixon returned to Winchester seeking a job. Mr. Clarence Hunter helped Tommy land a substitute teacher job which later turned into a full-time position with Winchester Public Schools. Tommy taught and coached in the city school system for over 39 years.

During Tommy’s tenure, he coached football, track and field, and basketball. Tommy coached football at Daniel Morgan Middle School for nine years where his team only lost two games and had one tie; the rest were wins. Dixon was an assistant track and field coach when Handley won several state championships. Tommy coached basketball for 36 years and compiled a record of 403-228. Tommy coached his teams to nine regular season championships, 10 regional appearances, 3 regional championships, and 6 state tournament berths. Coach Dixon was also recognized several times as Coach of the Year at the District and Regional level. Tommy also was selected to coach in the state all-star game in 2000.


In 2001, Coach Dixon was inducted into Handley’s Hunter Maddex Hall of Fame and the Potomac State College Hall of Fame in 2010. On Saturday evening, December 17, 2016, during a boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball game inside Handley’s Maddex-Omps Gymnasium, the school announced that the basketball court would forever be known as the Coach Tommy Dixon Basketball Court.

Tommy is married to Sharon Wilson Dixon and they have been together for 42 years. They have a daughter Kara, who is a proud Handley and University of Maryland graduate.


The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is also delighted to announce that Haley Skarupa, US Women’s National Ice Hockey team member and Olympic gold medal winner will join Joe Theisemann, Santana Moss and Coach Tommy Dixon to speak to local sports fans on Saturday morning, May 1, 2021 from 8:00-10:00 am at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.

Haley Skarupa was a member of the 2018 United States Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team who took home a gold medal from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. She is a three-time World Champion and a Four Nations Cup Gold Medalist for Team USA as well. Haley graduated from Boston College in 2016, majoring in psychology. While at Boston College, she was a four-year starter and named an All-American Collegiate Athlete.  Skarupa is currently the second highest points leader in Boston College hockey history, men or women, with 115 goals and 244 total points in her four years.

Out of college, she was drafted 5th overall into the National Women’s Hockey League and was a unanimous All-Star Selection her rookie season for the Connecticut Whale. Haley is originally from Rockville, Maryland and graduated from Wootton High School in 2012. She joined the Washington Capitals organization as their Hockey Ambassador for the 2019-2020 season to help promote the growth of the game in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. Currently, she is a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) where she participates in weekend-long hockey events across the USA and Canada year-round.  Haley works full-time in business development for Klaviyo, an ecommerce, email marketing and SMS marketing company.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

May
13
Thu
6:30 pm Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
May 13 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service @ Front Royal Gazebo
Please join Warren County/Front Royal Back the Blue, in partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police and Front Royal/Warren County Lodge #33, during National Police Week as we honor our local Law Enforcement Officers who[...]
May
14
Fri
12:00 pm Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
May 14 @ 12:00 pm
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Join us for the 2021 Millionaire Maker held at award-winning Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club. The Millionaire Maker is a combined golfing and networking experience! Serious, amateur, and novice golfers are welcome. *Four golfers who[...]
May
15
Sat
7:30 am Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
May 15 @ 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Please join us for the Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the Linden Volunteer Fire Department. The event will be held Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Bowling Green Country Club South (768 Bowling[...]
10:00 am Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
May 15 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Bring the family and enjoy a fun day learning about the history of the French & Indian War era at the site of Colonel George Washington’s headquarters for the Virginia Regiment. Meet living history interpreters[...]
11:00 am National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 15 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Children’s Discovery Area: This National Kids to Parks Day, join us for fun-filled activities and music at our interactive discovery stations. Kids, pick up a scavenger hunt brochure and hike on the Track Trail. Just[...]
May
16
Sun
9:00 am Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
May 16 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Psychic Fair for both those who are serious and for those who are just curious. Event can be a life changing experience or just a fun time! Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers, and[...]
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 16 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects of beekeeping from hive construction to[...]
May
19
Wed
12:00 pm Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
May 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Many business owners struggled with the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020. Now, more than a year later, many of those same business owners have turned chaos into creativity finding new opportunities for growth. The Fauquier[...]
May
22
Sat
10:00 am Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn in Historic Area. Connect with the park’s landscape and get a taste of the skills you need to thrive in the backcountry. Participants will join experienced outdoor skills instructor Tim[...]
10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]