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ATF K-9 Training Facility move – a BAD, DESTRUCTIVE & EXPENSIVE idea

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Judiciary Committee Chair Robert Goodlatte promises a hearing start in short order after a slightly late arrival – the ATF handlers and dogs, including Sara pictured left and Able, the dark blur at right bottom, were on time. Photos/Roger Bianchini

A reduced U.S. House Judiciary Committee comprised of Chairman Robert Goodlatte, 10th District Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and a committee attorney heard from one witness at a Monday morning, July 16 field hearing at the Warren County Government Center.  That witness addressing a proposal to move the Alcohol-Tobacco-Firearms (ATF) Canine Training Center from Front Royal-Warren County to the Redstone Arsenal site near Huntsville, Alabama was Deputy ATF Director Thomas Brandon.

Brandon’s assessment based on experience with the Front Royal-Warren County ATF training site since its inception here in 2012 and a study of the proposed new site was – well, this story’s headline says it all.

In addition to the $40-million price tag in federal tax revenue placed on the move to Alabama, an environmental assessment study commissioned by the ATF of the proposed new site found circumstances that will have a negative impact on ATF dogs training, rendering them essentially unable to perform crucial portions of their assigned tasks.  Those tasks include helping solve and prevent weapons and explosives-based attacks, not only in the U.S., but with international allies of the United States.

“It is truly a world-renowned program, a program that has been very productive and successful throughout the years,” Goodlatte observed, adding, “The training facility in Front Royal provides the clean air and quiet location the dogs need in order to learn how to do their job, but there has been a proposal to move the facility to a place that could adversely impact the canines’ ability to detect explosives and keep the public safe.”

ATF-trained dogs’ roles in solving and preventing explosives and firearms-related attacks were cited during Deputy Director Brandon’s testimony.  They included helping local authorities solve the Austin, Texas serial bombing case; work on the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting; and on the preventative end Brandon noted that ATF dogs are now an annual presence at the Boston Marathon and all Super Bowls.

Six-year-old Able looks somewhat distressed after ATF handler/Special Agent Randall Dockens told him what the hearing was about.

The primary negative training impact Brandon cited are consequences of two nearby explosive and weapons research facilities, the Redstone Arsenal now apparently a federal Superfund site, and the active Corkern Range.

As for Redstone, both Goodlatte and Brandon referenced the findings of a 2016 Senate Appropriations Committee-financed feasibility study ATF was directed to conduct.

“The study found that building a comparable canine training and kennel facility at Redstone would cost millions of taxpayer dollars, require intensive talent recruitment for the new facility, and result in the loss of key National Canine Division personnel due to the move.  Altogether, the study concluded that the move would substantially disrupt continuity of operations and mission readiness,” Goodlatte read in prepared statement to open the hearing.  Brandon elaborated that cost estimates for the move included about $37 million for the move and new construction, and another $3-million in recruitment and training expenses.

Hot on the heels of that report ATF commissioned an independent environmental evaluation of the proposed Alabama site by AECOM Technical Services.  ATF Deputy Director Brandon explained that ATF wanted a finding that could not be accused of internal manipulation or influence by the agency.

“My agents love being out here; heck, I love being out here,” Brandon said at one point in his testimony, drawing appreciative laughter from Town and County officials present for the hearing.

Two-year-old Sara and handler Michael Hodnett join Able and Dockens in pouting about the proposed move to an Alabama site where the ambient explosives smell could negate ATF training methods enabling their K-9s to detect miniscule amounts of explosive and firearms residue materials.

Brandon elaborated that he was not only referencing the quiet, rural setting at the ATF facility on a portion of 150 acres sublet from the longer-standing local Customs-Border Patrol Canine Training Facility in Harmony Hollow, but also the positive working relationship with the Front Royal and Warren County business community that financial and training arrangements have been established with over the years.

Those relationships and mutual trust and benefit are not things that are established over night, but over years, Brandon testified.

The second study of the proposed move from Virginia to Alabama, the independent environmental assessment, focused on three categories: surface soil assessment; noise evaluation; and air dispersion modeling.  And with both the past and present explosives development and research facilities presence in the Huntsville area, the conclusions weren’t positive about the impact on training ATF dogs to detect explosives.

“The canines will become unreliable … You can’t train a bomb-sniffing dog at a place where everything smells like a bomb,” Brandon and Goodlatte concurred of a short version of the study’s conclusion.

From left, Barbara Comstock, Robert Goodlatte and Judiciary Committee attorney mingle after the hearing’s adjournment.

Specifically, Brandon elaborated that the levels of explosive contaminants in the soil “present obstacles that are likely insurmountable to the initial imprinting of the canines to detect explosives and accelerants.”  He explained the importance of “initial imprinting” as “absolutely essential” to ATF’s well-established and internationally-recognized training regimes.

Brandon said the concern was that young dogs beginning their training would associate the pervasive amount of explosive contaminants remaining in the environment with the “target odors” they are being trained to detect in order to save lives or solve crimes in order to prevent further loss of life.

“This isn’t a game, this is real life.  We have situations where we are catching killers from the bombings in Austin to the case I just mentioned …It would set us back,” Brandon said of the proposed move.

The previously-mentioned case Brandon referenced was a 2017 case in New Jersey.  He used it to illustrate ATF-trained dogs’ ability to detect exceptionally small traces of those “target odors” involved in firearms cases, often some time after they occur.  Called by New Jersey State Police to a traffic stop, ATF dogs were able to find two well-concealed guns.

“Our dog got on the trunk of the car; and within that trunk were two firearms that would never have been detected because of such a low level (of target odors) … And those guns turned out to be murder weapons,” Brandon said.  Those weapons were taken off the streets because of the initial target odor imprinting that ATF dogs receive at the Harmony Hollow training facility.

The noise issues comes from blasting at the active Corkern Range “that has a clear potential to affect dogs at the proposed kennel site, especially if the dogs are outside at the time of the blasting activity.”  It was noted that ATF dogs are outdoors for approximately six of their eight-hour training shifts.

“So, why are we even talking about this?” was the post-meeting, parking lot assessment of one journalist and a spectator from one local business, AirServe, who observed the hearing.

Apparently because some politicians in Alabama would like the peripheral economic benefit such a facility would bring to their community – estimated at over $300,000 annually by the local Chamber of Commerce – not to mention the prestige of such a vital national security agency’s presence there.

Chairman Goodlatte, in whose Sixth Virginia Congressional District Front Royal, Warren County and the ATF Canine Training Facility in Harmony Hollow all lie, predicted charges of district protectionism in his effort to keep the facility here.

However, based on the ATF assessment of the impacts of the proposed move versus the success of their facility’s six-year training experience in Front Royal-Warren County, it would appear the district “nepotism” and attempt to hijack a federal agency that is perfectly comfortable where it is, lies a bit further southwest.

And we doubt Huntsville has the proud war dog-training heritage that Front Royal has dating back to World War II as is commemorated annually at the town’s Memorial Day ceremonies that include a salute to the dogs of war.

Cheer up, Sara, they’ll never move us after this info comes to light – Able tries to console a still-distressed ATF Canine Training Center pal.

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Downtown business, property owners offer Main Street wish list

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A written suggestion (above) for Front Royal’s downtown historic district that received several dots (a.k.a. votes) from business and property owners attending a January 16 town forum. All photos by Kim Riley. Video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

FRONT ROYAL — Historic Front Royal property and business owners on January 16 submitted their suggestions for what Town officials should consider in drafting policies and procedures for events held in specific public spaces in the historic district near and along Main Street.

Their ideas will help inform the Front Royal Town Council’s establishment of policies and procedures for use of the Village Commons area, parades and Main Street events and road closures, said Interim Town Manager Matthew Tederick, who helped lead the Thursday night meeting held at the Warren County Community Center.

“The Town Council for many years has been struggling to find the right policies and procedures for the utilization of the Village Commons area, various events and parking,” Tederick said during his opening remarks at the forum. “Over the last year, there’s been multiple business meetings and I think it’s culminated in this meeting tonight.”

Hopefully, at the end of the three scheduled meetings — the next two being held at the community center on January 30 and February 13, both at 6 p.m. — Tederick said the suggestions submitted by the property and business owners will become part of a draft he submits to the Town Council to consider as it sets policies and procedures for the historic district.

The area has become a hot spot among an array of business and property owners who remain challenged by road closures, parking lot shutdowns and other event-related consequences that have pitted them against one another over the years.

Tederick said he thinks the current framework “is too loose.”

“I’d like to see a better framework and a framework that would get majority buy in and consensus from the business and property owners in the historic district, but also from the citizens,” he said.

Interim Town Manager Matthew Tederick (center) mingled with historic district business & property owners during a January 16 forum held at the Warren County Community Center.

Local author Charles “Chips” Lickson facilitated the meeting, meaning he held court as a so-called forum cop tasked with setting the ground rules, managing the crowd, and keeping the process rolling. Similar formats will be used during the remaining two meetings.

A former practicing lawyer, federal judge’s law clerk, U.S. Army officer, mediator, and adjunct associate professor of political science at Shenandoah University, Lickson told forum attendees that he was hired “to run a tight ship,” which he said basically distinguishes regular meetings from facilitated meetings in that there’s a specific process established for participants to follow.

For instance, historic district property and business owners verbally participated in the Thursday meeting, while historic district residents were invited to submit their comments and contact information to Felicia Hart, the Town’s community development and tourism director.

And Lickson held the audience to the ground rules.

“We are soliciting your ideas with regard to the public spaces in the gazebo area — the historic area — and this includes closures of roads and closures of parking lots,” he said, instructing the property and business owners to not interrupt one another nor attack a speaker for his or her comments.

“This is not the place to make a speech about what your issue is,” said Lickson. “It is a space to make solid suggestions.”

Like Tederick, he called the current Town event process “flexible” and “less cumbersome” compared to some of Front Royal’s neighbors, a few of which charge organizers to hold downtown events to recoup the costs of providing associated town services.

But, Lickson noted, “the truth of the matter is, the Town has got to know what you need.”

Prior to collecting suggestions from the crowd, Tederick said the current process is that an application must be submitted for a special event under a section of chapter 7 of the Town Code, which outlines the related requirements. For example, for a full or partial closing of Main Street, the Town Code says such events may occur two times a month during one calendar year.

Tederick then shared data with forum attendees showing what it cost the Town to provide services during certain events held last year (Graph A); and a comparison of the numbers of events held from 2017 through 2019 in Front Royal’s historic downtown district (Graph B).

For example, he reviewed the total number of Main Street/Chester Street closures during 2017, 2018, and 2019 (top, Graph B) for the number of events held in each year, which totaled 16, 8, and 7, respectively.

“As Town Manager, what’s the right number?” he asked the crowd. “I don’t know what that number is. I’m hoping through this process that we can come up with what the right number is. Should it be 20 (each year)? Should it be five? I’m not here to provide input one way or the other.”

Graph A: The number of larger events held in the historic district of Front Royal during 2019 and the related costs to the Town for providing specific services. Source: Matthew Tederick, Front Royal Interim Town Manager.

Graph B: Comparison of the numbers of events held and related road closures from 2017 through 2019 in Front Royal’s historic downtown district. Source: Matthew Tederick, Front Royal Interim Town Manager.

Meeting organizers then distributed index cards for property and business owners to write down one suggestion per card about what they think is needed in public spaces in the historic downtown. The recollected cards then were tacked up so that each attendee could read the idea and vote only one time on each suggestion using a marker to place a dot or mark on the card. If a person didn’t like the idea written on a card, then no mark needed to be made.

Attendees then lined up at each board and began the voting process for each suggestion, which ran the gamut and included those such as:

 “Keep downtown events free from Town fees;”
 “Eat more ice cream;”
 “Limit Full Main Street Closures to One Per Month;”
 “Notify Main Street businesses when parking lot will be closed 2 days before event;” and
 “Street closures should be less.”

After voting, the forum organizers took down the cards, counted the marks on each, combined similar ideas, and then read the votes for each card having upwards of three votes.

Downtown Front Royal business and property owners lined up to vote on suggestions for Main Street.

The suggestions submitted by historic district property and business owners were varied. More suggestions will be collected during upcoming meetings on January 30 and February 13.

Ultimately, all the suggestions compiled from all of the meetings will be used by Lickson to write a report that he will submit to Tederick, who then will draft recommendations on policies and procedures to submit to the Town Council for possible action.

And the Town Council will be familiar with the process and the suggestions as several of them attended the meeting, including Front Royal Mayor Eugene Tewalt; Vice Mayor Bill Sealock; and Front Royal Town Council members Letasha Thompson and Gary Gillespie.

Some of the process items will be tweaked for the next two meetings, said Lickson, who thought the overall meeting was productive and informative.

Watch the Envisioning Town Commons meeting on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

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Front Royal Christian School Warriors split games with Fresta Valley Christian School

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Front Royal Christian School Warriors boys and girls basketball teams traveled to Fresta Valley Christian School Thursday, January 16, 2020. FRCS middle school boys defeated Fresta Valley Pioneers 43-17, with Braeden Majors scoring 10 points and George Kassel scoring 9 points. The FRCS middle school girls lost 11-16, with leading scorers being Emma Tutton and Mary Lindsey.

Front Royal Christian School Warriors / Photos courtesy of FRCS

“The boys rallied with good team effort and ball movement, with a lot of hustle” said FRCS Warrior Coach Bear Campbell. “Ethan Frost and Brady Knight led the offense, while Braeden Majors and George Kassel led the defense.” Emma Tutton was identified as the MVP for the girls game by FRCS Warrior Coach Scott Babcock. “Tutton was one of the leading scorers and strongest on rebounds.” Next FRCS middle school games are January 17th, starting at 4:15 p.m at Wakefield Country Day School.

Front Royal Christian School is a Pre-K through 12th-grade school in Front Royal, Virginia, that fosters your student’s innate learning potential. From special needs to gifted, FRCS is committed to the spiritual, moral, and intellectual development of its students and mediates a sense of competence, confidence, and belonging. FRCS provides the 21st-century learner, exceptional and challenging educational experiences, including college preparatory courses with a dual enrollment program with LFCC, performing arts, life skills, and athletics. For more information, call the school at 540-635-6799 or visit www.FrontRoyalChristianSchool.com.

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Skyline High School continues to fight chronic absences

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FRONT ROYAL— With schoolwide chronic absences reaching almost 30 percent last year, the administrators at Skyline High School (SHS) have had to come up with some creative solutions.
One of the most effective practices currently being used at SHS has been an administrator’s knock on the door at the home of a regularly absent student.

“We have gone to several homes of students who don’t want to come to school after we’ve called the parents, who say they just can’t get them there. So I said, ‘Do you mind if I come to your house?’” SHS Principal Michael Smith explained to members of the Warren County School Board during the work session portion of their January 15 regular meeting.

“It’s been pretty effective because the principal is standing there at the front door, almost at their bedroom door, opening it up and asking, ‘Why aren’t you at school?’ The parents get a good kick out of it and it works for the kids; they don’t want us coming back to their house,” said Dr. Smith.

SHS Principal Michael Smith

“Whatever works,” he added. “All of my administrative staff has had to do that, so we’re doing everything we can to get them to school.”

During his presentation to the School Board, Smith said that SHS had an academic review on November 6, 2019. The overall findings and problem identified during the review was that chronic absenteeism at SHS received a Level III performance standing, meaning accredited with conditions, he said.

Melody Sheppard, interim superintendent for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS), told School Board members on Wednesday night that SHS is one of the school district’s two schools dubbed accredited with conditions, and the board next month will hear from Principal Shane Goodwin about similar efforts under way at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School to curb chronic absenteeism.

Following the academic review, Smith said the subsequent SHS corrective action plan was submitted to the Virginia Department of Education on November 18, 2019, while essential actions to improve the chronic absenteeism rate have been added to the SHS school plan for the 2019-2020 school year.

Additionally, attendance expectations for accurate reporting of attendance were added to the staff handbook; an annual staff training was conducted on the attendance protocol; and attendance data will be reviewed monthly to identify students on track to be chronically absent and to prioritize students requiring Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels of support, he said.

Tier 2 level students are those who have missed nine days at the mid-school year point, while Tier 3 level students are chronically absent from school, said Sheppard, who noted that students are allowed a total of 18 excused absences in a school year.

And according to WCPS attendance policy, absences are excused for a funeral, illness, injury, legal obligations, medical procedures, suspensions, expulsions, religious observances, and military obligations that parents are aware of and support.

In addition to the impromptu at-home visits, Smith said another current practice is to assign teacher mentors to Tier 2 and Tier 3 level students for daily and weekly contact. “It’s usually their first block teacher or another teacher they’re comfortable with,” he said, adding that the goal is for the teacher mentor to get information from the student about why he or she isn’t attending school.

The subsequent data that the teacher mentors put into an online Google form describes when they met with students, what they talked about, and what they determined were some possible solutions. Smith said this data also provides useful evidence for future decision-making around making individualized attendance plans, for example.
Smith outlined several other current practices that are ongoing at SHS to stem the chronic absenteeism problem.

Every Sunday, for instance, Smith sends out a weekly phone blast to relay pre-recorded information about the upcoming week, as well as the importance of regular attendance.

Other practices include what Smith called “simple things,” such as teachers greeting students as they enter the classrooms and administrators greeting students in the morning as they enter the school building. These are county-wide policies aimed at fostering positive relationships across an entire school, he said.

“I actually have two assistant principals at the entrances to the school,” Smith told School Board members. “They open doors and greet every single kid who comes into the school.”

There also has been an attendance committee with parents developed at SHS that already has met twice. “Parents were surprised at the number of students who miss substantial amounts of classroom time,” said Smith.

During the attendance committee meetings that Smith holds with students and their parents, they develop an Attendance Success Plan for each student. He’s so far held 66 meetings.
Second attendance meetings also are held between Smith, the parents, students, and the SHS truancy officer, with 15 having been held thus far. “It’s nothing punitive, it’s just about getting students to realize the importance of what they’re missing when they’re not in the classroom,” said Smith.

Smith also sent out 890 letters to every SHS household asking parents to come in and discuss the chronic absenteeism situation. The parents who did respond to the letter, he said, were the ones whose kids regularly attend school, but who said they wanted to learn how to share the value of coming to school with other families and students.

Additional current practices include a Principal’s Cabinet that consists of class officers who discuss the atmosphere of the school and what incentives might help improve attendance.
During the last meeting, Smith said cabinet members commented that for those students who regularly miss school, they likely wouldn’t attend “no matter what incentive we have.”

The SHS attendance secretary also notifies parents every day to determine why students are absent.

Going forward, Smith told School Board members that SHS will continue to: run the teacher mentor program; meet with students and parents; and send the Sunday phone blasts.

Warren County School Board Vice Chairwoman Catherine Bower asked what the most common reasons are for the chronic absences. Smith said there’s a wide array of excuses.

For instance, many students say they just don’t want to get out of bed or that they’re bored at school, which essentially relates to instruction, said Smith.

Sheppard pointed out that all the current practices at SHS to fight chronic absenteeism are evidence-based practices. “It’s all about building positive relationships with kids,” she said. “Whenever a student comes to school, they have somebody there that they can have a conversation with and not feel uncomfortable.”

“It is about the relationships, the rapport and the trust,” agreed School Board Chairman Arnold Williams Jr., who told Smith to “keep doing what you’re doing. Keep moving forward. I know you can get there.”

“We will,” Smith told him, noting that last year, SHS was at 29 percent chronic absenteeism and this year’s goal is to reduce that mark to 24 percent. “If we can get there, that would be a huge decrease.”

Watch the latest Warren County School Board work session where SHS Principal Michael Smith discusses this problem with the board:

Chronic absenteeism impacts accreditation at Skyline High School

Warren County School Board hires superintendent search firm

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Front Royal Christian School Lady Warriors score high

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Front Royal Christian High School Lady Warriors hosted Eukarya Christian Academy Lions in girls high school basketball. The final score was 63-10, with leading scorer Nichole Hillaert at 20 points, an all-time career high for Hillaert. Emma Tutton surpassed her record on rebounds. This brings the Lady Warrior season record of 3 wins and 1 loss. Additional scorers were seniors Baily Coughenour with 12 points and Hannah Johnson with 8 points. Senior Hannah Fletcher scored 7 points and freshman Audrey Moya scored 8 points. Next FRCS Varsity Girls home game is January 29th at 4:30 p.m. The Lady warriors will face off against Virginia Academy.

Front Royal Christian School is a Pre-K through 12th-grade school in Front Royal, Virginia, that fosters your student’s innate learning potential. From special needs to gifted, FRCS is committed to the spiritual, moral, and intellectual development of its students and mediates a sense of competence, confidence, and belonging. FRCS provides the 21st-century learner, exceptional and challenging educational experiences, including college preparatory courses with a dual enrollment program with LFCC, performing arts, life skills, and athletics. For more information, call the school at 540-635-6799 or visit www.FrontRoyalChristianSchool.com.

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Wagner Animal Shelter counts noses – ‘No Kill’ status retained in 2019

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The year 2019 at Front Royal’s Julia Wagner Animal Shelter was a busy one in terms of intake – 1,216 animals from dogs and cats to rabbits, horses and a couple of pigs – and fundraising, more than $200,000 including $22,000 from the revived Waggin’ for Dragons boat race last August, and $80,500 from its annual donation program, the Save the Paws Alliance.

Shelter Manager Kayla Wines also reported 887 adoptions completed and 200 lost animals returned to their owners in her Community Impact Report at year’s end – though the shelter’s two big ol’ pigs are still there, she noted.

Pigs need loving homes too – well-dressed Petunia is one of two pigs currently housed at the Wagner Shelter. Courtesy Photos/Wagner Animal Shelter

A highlight of her report, although relegated to the penultimate paragraph, was the shelter’s protection of its “no kill” status in 2019, a milestone emphasized by Humane Society of Warren County Executive Director Meghan Bowers at a recent “Yappy Hour” event. Also, Bowers said registrations for the shelter’s major fundraiser, the August boat race, are already being taken (wagginfordragons.com/team-registration) and sponsorships are well in hand for the upcoming Polar Plunge into Culpeper Lake February 1 at the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Harmony Hollow (contact the shelter at 635-4734, area code 540, for sponsorship information).

Bowers, who completed her first year on the job in December, also reported a joint partnership with the Middleburg Humane Foundation and the “For the Cats’ Sake” group in Front Royal to address Warren County’s cat over-population issue.

Meanwhile, a leap into the 21st century by the shelter was reported by Wines. The shelter on January 1 opened an online store through a website called Bonfire. The store features one of a kind HSWC merchandise including shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs and so on.

Wines took a practice shot with Bonfire towards the end of last year. “I believe there is a little something for everyone (at the store),” she said. “Each product has a different slogan or quote on it, some funny, some more serious… to include the importance of spay and neuter, fostering, or volunteering.”

Above, Petey competes with Petunia for best dressed adoptable pet; below, Peaches and Graham the cats seem more skeptical of the ‘best dressed’ competition.

The return of the weekly “Yappy Hour” at East Main Street’s ViNoVa last September has also resulted in $1,615 being donated to shelter operations, Bowers said. The event is held each Friday, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Izzy, Raeven and Rain, respectively, display varying levels of interest in the ‘best dressed” adoptable pet competition.

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I-81 Lane closures and slow rolls will be part Crossover Blvd bridge work

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WINCHESTER – Frederick County is proceeding with the construction of the Crossover Boulevard bridge over Interstate 81. The construction site is located south of I-81 exit 313.

During late January and early February, crews will be installing bridge beams, which will require some lane closures and slow roll operations.

· Monday, Jan 27 – Beam placement operations. From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. northbound and southbound left lanes closed. Bridge beams will be staged in the left lanes. From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. four slow rolls conducted by Virginia State Police from I-81 exit 310 to exit 315. All I-81 northbound and southbound lanes will be closed simultaneously in the slow roll area. I-81 exit ramps 310, 313 and 315 will be closed as the slow roll passes by. Ramps will reopen after slow roll is clear of the ramp area. Beams over I-81 left lanes will be placed.

· Tuesday, Jan 28 – No lane closures. Crews working in median.

· Wednesday, Jan 29 – Beam placement operations. Northbound and southbound left lanes closed 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Bridge beams will be staged in the left lanes. From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. four slow rolls conducted by Virginia State Police from I-81 exit 310 to exit 315. All I-81 northbound and southbound lanes will be closed simultaneously in the slow roll area. I-81 exit ramps 310, 313 and 315 will be closed as the slow roll passes by. Ramps will reopen after slow roll is clear of the ramp area.

· Thursday, Jan 30 – Southbound right lane closure at bridge site south of I-81 exit 313. State trooper posted at lane closure. Lane closures will be 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Beams over I-81 right lanes will be placed. No slow roll closures.

· Monday, Feb 3 – Southbound right lane closure at bridge site south of I-81 exit 313. State trooper posted at lane closure. Lane closures will be 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Beams over I-81 right lanes will be placed. No slow roll closures.

· Tuesday, Feb 4 – Northbound right lane closure at bridge site south of I-81 exit 313. State trooper posted at lane closure. Lane closures will be 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Beams over I-81 right lanes will be placed. No slow roll closures.

· Wednesday, Feb. 5 – Northbound right lane closure at bridge site south of I-81 exit 313. State trooper posted at lane closure. Lane closures will be 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Beams over I-81 right lanes will be placed. No slow roll closures.

· Thursday, Feb 6 – No work

In case of inclement weather on Jan. 27 or on Feb. 3 the entire operation will be moved back a week. In the case of inclement weather on Jan. 29 the work will be done on Jan. 30. Inclement weather on Feb. 5 will move the work to Feb. 6

Changeable message boards will be posted along I-81 with messages announcing the lane closures. These boards will be displayed beginning on Jan. 20.

All work is weather permitting.

In March 2019 a contract valued at $17.6 million was awarded to Perry Engineering Inc. of Winchester, Virginia for construction of Crossover Boulevard.

Frederick County is constructing a new roadway and bridge over I-81: Construction began in March 2019 on the $20 million Crossover Boulevard project, which includes revenue sharing funds. Frederick County is administering the project. Perry Engineering, Inc. is the contractor. The project includes a new four-lane roadway and bridge over I-81 connecting Route 522 at the Airport Road intersection to Crossover Boulevard in the City of Winchester. This project will include a roundabout for future intersecting roadways and upgrades to the Route 522/Airport Road intersection to accommodate the new roadway at that location.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
18
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11:00 am Kooky Chefs Cook the World @ Samuels Public Library
Kooky Chefs Cook the World @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 18 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Kooky Chefs Cook the World @ Samuels Public Library
Alaska. What do people eat in the snowy, frozen state of Alaska? Come to Kooky Chefs to find out and help prepare some Alaskan dishes. For ages 8 and up. Registration begins December 18.
12:00 pm Peter Muhlenberg Commemoration @ The Historic Court House in Woodstock
Peter Muhlenberg Commemoration @ The Historic Court House in Woodstock
Jan 18 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Peter Muhlenberg Commemoration @ The Historic Court House in Woodstock
Program Moderator: The Rt. Rev. Larry W. Johnson Call to Order: Larry Johnson Posting of the Colors: James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard Pledge of Alliance: Dale Carpenter,[...]
3:00 pm Open a Book @ Samuels Public Library
Open a Book @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 18 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Open a Book @ Samuels Public Library
The award-winning team at Rainbow Puppets has created a new musical review that shares the joy of reading through music, dance, puppetry, and story-telling. It’s a travelling early reading program designed around our new children’s book. And thanks[...]
Jan
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9:00 am Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Jan 20 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast @ Esbie Baptist Church
Monday, January 20, 2020, starting at 9:00am, Esbie Baptist Church will be having their annual MLK Prayer Breakfast. The speaker of the hour will be Rev. Dr. Donald Reid, Pastor of Mt. Parah Baptist Church[...]
Jan
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2:30 pm Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith t... @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith t... @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
Jan 21 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Inspiring speaker Rodney Smith to visit R-MA @ Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy
On Tuesday, January 21st, at 2:30 pm, in Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), the public is invited to be inspired by Rodney Smith, a man who has chosen to make a difference in the[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 21 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, January 7 – Based on books about Balto, we will learn more about service dogs this week. For ages[...]
Jan
22
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 22 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
23
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 23 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
24
Fri
9:00 am Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Jan 24 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veterans Services Meeting at Able Forces @ Able Forces
Able Forces Foundation will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Danielle Cullers, Homeless Veteran Advocate-Volunteers of America[...]
Jan
25
Sat
11:00 am Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
A Story Ballet. Join us in a celebration of classic literature through dance! The whole family will enjoy this ballet performance, presented by the Northern Virginia Academy of Ballet.