LEXINGTON, Virginia — In what has been a whirlwind of activity since his election to Congress on November 6th, Representative-elect Ben Cline has hit the ground running following orientation last month for new Members of Congress in Washington, D.C. He submitted his top requests to Republican leaders for House Committee assignments, he has filled his senior staff positions for both his Washington and Virginia offices, and with the number one pick in the Congressional office drawing for the incoming freshmen class, he has selected his office space in the Longworth House Office Building.
Knowing the importance of agriculture to the 6th District, Cline requested appointment to the House Agriculture Committee in the 116th Congress. He has also sought appointments to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. His legal background and experience in the House of Delegates would bring invaluable experience to the Judiciary Committee. Cline also understands the importance of Interstate 81 to the region and would seek improvements to the interstate as a member of T&I. Committee assignments will be announced in coming weeks.
Representative-elect Cline has also been busy interviewing and selecting senior staff since the November election. He has named Matt Miller as his new Chief of Staff, Debbie Garrett as District Director, Nicole Manley as Legislative Director, and Ryan Saylor as Communications Director.
“Representing the great people of Virginia’s 6th Congressional District is a tremendous honor. Constituents deserve the best in public service, which I have worked hard to provide for them as their Delegate in Richmond. In the upcoming 116th Session of Congress, I am confident that this team will provide outstanding constituent service and strong legislative performance for the citizens of the Sixth Congressional District,” Cline said.
Matt Miller joins Representative-elect Cline’s office after serving the last year as the Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Veterans Employment and Training. He has more than two decades of experience in the legislative and executive branches of government. Miller is a Navy veteran and has served in civilian and military roles in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Iraq; and Afghanistan. Additionally, he served as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Assistant Secretary, U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and for several Members of Congress. Prior to assuming his current role, Miller served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Labor from June – November 2017. He was the National Director of Veterans for Trump and the Pennsylvania State Director during the 2016 Presidential Primary. Miller is resident of Arlington, Virginia, and is the proud father of daughters Reagan and Madison. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Mars Hill University.
Debbie Garrett brings to Representative-elect Cline’s office prior experience as District Director. She joined outgoing Representative Bob Goodlatte’s office as Staunton District Representative and subsequently was promoted to District Director. In this capacity, she was responsible for all constituent service and outreach operations in the 6th District while managing the district offices. Prior to entering federal service, Debbie held positions as Constituent Service Director and Legislative Aide to Delegate Ben Cline for Virginia’s 24th House of Delegates district. She has experience in economic development and as a small business owner. She continues to reside in her hometown of Buena Vista, where she previously served as Vice-Mayor. Debbie received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the College of William and Mary.
Nicole Manley served for eight years as Legislative Assistant to Representative-elect Cline during his tenure in the Virginia House of Delegates, and for the last five years as a Legal Assistant and Associate Counsel at Ben Cline, Attorney at Law, PLLC. Her ties to the 6th District run deep. She is a native of Lynchburg and a graduate of E.C. Glass High School. Nicole also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Lynchburg College (now the University of Lynchburg) and a Juris Doctor degree from Liberty University School of Law. Prior to her appointment as Legislative Director, she lived in Lexington for the last five years.
Ryan Saylor of Forest joins Cline’s office as Communications Director. Ryan previously served as Communications Director for Representative Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, joining his office in January 2015. Prior to government service, he worked as a journalist. Ryan was the primary political reporter for The City Wire in Fort Smith, Arkansas, from January 2013 until December 2014 where he covered the 2014 Election and local and county government. In 2012, he served as the lead reporter for the Paragould Daily Press in northeast Arkansas. His work there garnered national headlines after it was discovered city leaders had proposed implementing martial law to combat crime. Ryan has also worked in the non-profit sector, previously serving as Communications Director for a mid-sized Methodist church.
Cline, who assumes office officially on January 3, 2019, will keep district offices in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Staunton, and Harrisonburg. His Washington office will be located at 1009 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20003.
Cajun cuisine, donuts and bagels coming to Front Royal’s East Main Street
Following a closed session at its monthly meeting Friday morning, January 24, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors confirmed what had been hinted at during the open portion of the meeting.
C&C Frozen Treats owner William Huck is poised to purchase the vacant Stokes Mart building at 506 East Main Street. By a 6-0 vote, Jorie Martin by phone, Mark Baker absent, the board authorized the sale at a price of $185,000. The EDA purchased the property including a detached, three apartment rental building, at the east end of Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Business District for just over $398,000 in 2014, during the executive directorship of Jennifer McDonald.
Current EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons has repeatedly expressed a desire to divest the EDA of the property, particularly due to the presence of the residential building on it, noting the property is generally not the type an EDA would invest in for economic development purposes.
Huck said the plan for the building after some maintenance and remodeling work is for a café featuring Cajun-style food common to his native state of Louisiana, and freshly-made donuts and bagels, with accompanying non-alcohol liquid refreshments. Huck said he hopes to close on the purchase within the next few weeks so that he can begin needed maintenance in February.
“Yes, the building needs work like every building on East Main Street,” Huck told us, adding that he did not consider needed repairs, including to a leaking roof, too severe.
Huck will be partnering with brother-in-law John Politz – “I’m known as Farmer John around here” – Politz alerted us during a photo op walk to the property several doors down and across East Main Street from C&C Frozen Treats, shortly after the EDA meeting’s adjournment. Not to be outdone on nicknames, earlier during the EDA board’s closed session Huck regaled media and citizen observer Linda Allen with impersonations of a proposed “Crazy Willie” cartoon character he has been approached about as an additional marketing tool for his downtown business interests.
As to those interests Huck said his focus will remain with C&C Frozen Treats, with Politz taking the lead on the Cajun food and accoutrements enterprise. Politz, appropriately attired in an NCAA football national champion Louisiana State University hoodie and jacket, and Huck helped this reporter with the spelling of “kolache”, a Cajun-style wrap that will be a key part of getting the café’s Alligator Sausage and other home-made Cajun delicacies to your palate.
Huck and Politz, or should we say Crazy Willie and Farmer John, explained that the production of the kolaches lends itself to adding fresh donuts and bagels to the menu.
Huck’s enthusiasm for his adopted hometown was apparent as we awaited his wife, Nina’s, arrival after she spotted us heading for the Stokes Mart property while driving by on East Main.
“I’ve said it over and over, this is the best community in the world – I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I am invested in this town 110%,” the founding organizer of Downtown Front Royal’s “Family Fun Day” enthused, adding, “2020 is going to be a good year”.
How To Series: Use Libby at the Samuels Public Library
In the first video of the How To series, we learned how to get a library card to the Samuels Public Library.
Now let’s start learning about all the wonderful benefits the library has to offer. Ebooks with Libby is an awesome benefit available to card holders. Watch this video to learn more! Thank you to Barbara Way for helping to share this message about Libby.
How to use Libby:
1. Download the App
2. Locate your library.
3. Put in your library card number.
4. TAP through and enjoy!
Click this link to visit Samuels Public Library online: www.samuelslibrary.net
Click this link to get the Libby App: meet.Libbyapp.com
Visit the library today!
Samuels Public Library
Mon – Thur 10am – 8pm
Fri & Sat 10am – 5pm
330 E Criser Rd, Front Royal, VA 22630
Merikit Uganda Rotary Global Grant – Water!
Kathy Napier, member of the Rotary Club of Warren County, presented “Uganda 2019” a voyage to Africa with George Karnes, Ron Napier, Beth Waller, Liz Gibbs, and other Rotary International Rotarians. The main purpose of the trip was to attend the dedication of the Sam F. Owori Memorial Wash Global Grant Project.
The idea of a project in Uganda began at the Governor’s training, where 30 rising district governors from Zone 29 and 30 met and decided on a project to honor the incoming Rotary International President, Sam Owori, who was from Uganda. Sam, who had been elected to serve as president of Rotary International in 2018-19, would have been the second African Rotary member, and the first Ugandan, to hold that office. The idea was to construct a well for a school in Uganda to honor Sam. And George, as the incoming District Governor for District 7570, was put in charge of obtaining a global grant for this purpose. Sam was thrilled at the idea of the project.
Unfortunately, after surgery, Sam died, and it looked like the project would pass with him. There was a groundswell of support for a project in Uganda to honor Sam’s memory and the proposed project in Merikit. George expanded plans for the original project to bring a much larger water system to Merikit, and enlisted the aid of other Rotary Districts and Clubs, to support the larger project. As a result, more than $228,000 was raised from 42 Rotary Districts and 22 Rotary Clubs. Rotary International partnered with the Clean The World organization, and the project became the Sam F. Owori Memorial Wash Global Grant Project.
Merikit, the remote village where Sam had grown up, is a community of 4,000 people which grows to 10,000 during the day. The grant provides a solar-powered pump water system for more than 3,000 homes and the local maternity ward. On one of his visits to the village with Walter Hughes George found that the local medical clinic required the presentation of 100 liters of water during the dry season before they would allow pregnant women to enter the facility and have their babies. As a result, many babies were born on the steps of the clinic.
Also sanitation was a problem, with the lack of latrines. This all would change as a result of the grant: the new system pumps water into the huge steel water tank, which holds more than one hundred thousand liters of water. The project also provides five schools in the area with disposable toilets, and the village received two micro flush toilets. The maternity ward now has a hot shower for its patients. No longer would pregnant women deliver their babies on the steps.
The grant also provided for the training of forty-eight toilet makers, giving these craftsmen a source of income. Thirty school teachers and ten health workers have been trained as trainers, in order to improve on sanitation, health, and menstrual hygiene for girls. A water users committee has been trained and equipped to maintain, sustain, and manage the distribution system.
On October 26, 2019, a day-long ceremony was held to officially transfer the project to the villagers, with Sam’s wife Nora in attendance, along with Kathy, Ron, and George, Rotary Club members from Kampala, and Ugandan governmental officials. It was a joyous occasion and a lot of fun, culminating with everyone dancing. Kathy said that she was struck by the friendliness of all the people in Uganda. Known as “the Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is a developing country with a bright future. After presenting a brief history of the country, she noted a striking statistic about Uganda: the media age in Uganda is 16.7. Forty-six percent of the population is 14 or under; and another twenty-one percent is aged 15 to 24.
During the trip they also visited the Light Up Front Royal Academy, a school started by Beth Waller in December 2017 in the remote village of Bunyade,Uganda. It provides educational facilities for the children of the village. The school, which has an excellent reputation, now serves more than 200 children, and Beth is actively working to improve the school.
Message from Beth: “I’m so honored to be a part of the Rotary family and to witness the amazing work they are doing in Uganda, all over the world and in my own community. I’m looking forward to an even brighter future of global impact work now that I am a Rotarian and connected with fantastic like-minded individuals working together to make more of a difference on our planet.”
Finally, after the celebration, they toured the Murchison Falls National Park, where the animals were more than happy to greet and perform for visiting Rotarians.
Watch this video of the entire presentation:
Watch this video by Beth Waller and George Karnes:
For more information, please go to www.warrencountyrotary.org
This story is a collaborative effort by Hank Ecton & Jennifer Avery.
Photo credit: Kathy Napier (picture quote by Jenspiration)
Economic Development Authority Board of Directors Meeting – January 24, 2019
The Economic Development Authority held their monthly Board of Directors meeting on January 24, 2020.
One of the topics was the sale of the Stokes Market (most recent the Main Street Market) to William Huck, owner of C&C Frozen Treats on Main Street in Front Royal. Huck has been trying to remodel the property he owns adjacent to C&C but because of costs higher than anticipated and issues with zoning and permitting, he has been exploring other options to open his newest business known as My Lagniappe – it’s a Louisiana expression that means ‘An extra or unexpected gift or benefit, such as that given to customers when they purchase something.’ If you know Huck, you know he always offers his customers a little lagniappe.
The solar panels on the roof of the EDA office building was also a point of discussions. The EDA is advertising for any party interested in purchasing the solar electric system currently stationed on top of the EDA Building at 400 Kendrick Lane, Front Royal.
The RSW Jail has said they are not interested in the solar panels. The cost of installation and unknown purchase price makes the project not cost effective.
Discussion also included workforce housing, the 2018 audit, Afton Inn renovations and the big one, running out of money by March.
Watch the EDA Board at work in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
EDA warns – Beware the Spotted Lanternfly: identify, report & kill
The threat to the county, regional and even state economies is huge, despite the tiny size of the bringer of that threat was stressed by Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors Vice Chairman Jeff Browne during a Communications Committee Report Friday morning, January 24.
The size of the economic threat from the spread of the 1-inch by half-inch Spotted Lanternfly was vividly indicated by Browne’s report of a $500,000,000 (or half a billion dollar) impact on Pennsylvania’s economy last year. The distinctive and tiny bug normally indigenous to China dating to the 12th century and also found in India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, was first reported in the U.S. in September 2014 in Pennsylvania.
It was first reported in Virginia in Frederick County in 2018. In 2017 it was identified in single counties in Delaware and New York. It was also reported in New Jersey in 2018, the same year it was identified on 2,080 acres in Frederick County across our northern county border.
To illustrate the Spotted Lanternfly’s threat to Warren County from our north, Browne noted that by 2019 it had spread to 8,000 acres in Frederick County with a projection of infestation of 40,000 acres there in 2020.
Browne’s inclusion of the Spotted Lanternfly in his Communications Committee Report came just two days after a multi-agency presentation at the Virginia Inland Port on the presence and threat to agricultural industries here from the Spotted Lanternfly. It is believed the bug’s ability to rapidly spread comes from a variety of factors, including its wide range of host plants (70 species); a lack of natural native enemies in newly invaded areas; and an ability to hitch rides on vehicles and on shipping packaging.
“The lanternfly’s sustenance is the sap in plant vines – favorites are the Tree of Heaven and grape vines, but they can also be found on black walnut, apple and cherry trees,” Browne reported. He pointed out that parts of Pennsylvania and Frederick County are currently under quarantine requiring physical inspection of commercial vehicles leaving those designated areas.
Involved in that Wednesday afternoon presentation at the Inland Port in northern Warren County were Amanda Bly of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs; Mark Sutphin, Extension Agent for Warren, Clarke, Shenandoah and Page Counties; as well as two landowners from Winchester and Frederick County.
“The focus was on getting the word out on how to identify the lanternfly in its four stages and informing businesses and homeowners what to do when they are found,” Browne told his board and three county supervisors present, Walter Mabe, Cheryl Cullers and Delores Oates.
Browne acknowledged Front Royal Community Development Director Felicia Hart’s role in the Wednesday lanternfly presentation at the Virginia Inland Port. The presence of the inland port here, and the port’s connection to Interstates 66 and 81 for truck transport of Virginia-based goods regionally points to the potential danger of the Spotted Lanternfly’s arrival in Warren County.
“We were glad you could work with the Town on this,” EDA Board Chairman Ed Daley told his vice chairman, though there were no representatives from the Town present to hear that sentiment expressed. Following County Administrator Doug Stanley’s monthly update on County projects, it was asked if a PDF or hard copy of the monthly Town Report generally presented by the Town Manager had been sent to the EDA office for the meeting. EDA Administrative Assistant Gretchen Henderson indicated she had not received one.
Spotted LanternFly Forum
On January 22, 2020 a forum was held at the Inland Port in northern Warren County regarding the Spotted Lanternfy. Amanda Bly of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs; Mark Sutphin, Extension Agent for Warren, Clarke, Shenandoah and Page Counties; as well as two landowners from Winchester and Frederick County presented to 30+ county employees and two Warren County supervisors. The Royal Examiner was the sole representative from the press.
The focus on this forum was on getting the word out on how to identify the lanternfly in its four stages and informing businesses and homeowners what to do whey they are found.
The Spotted lanternfly (SLF) was first detected in Frederick County in northern Virginia in January 2018. SLF is native to China, where it has been documented in detail dating as far back as the
SLF is highly invasive and can spread rapidly when introduced into new areas. The invasiveness of SLF is attributed to its wide host range (more than 70 host plant species) and a lack of natural native enemies in invaded areas. SLF has overwintered successfully, and its geographical range in the Mid-Atlantic states is expected to expand.
Watch and learn in this exclusive Royal Examiner video: