On March 26, 2020, Ben Cline announced that he has been officially nominated as the Republican candidate for election to Congress for the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia which will be decided in the general election on November 3, 2020. As the deadline to file for the Republican primary passed at 5:00 PM today, incumbent Ben Cline was the only candidate to file paperwork. Cline filed nearly 2,500 signatures, over twice the required minimum number of 1,000 signatures.
“I am honored by the overwhelming support and encouragement from the citizens of the Sixth District to continue serving as their Representative in Congress. For the last two years, I’ve focused on providing effective constituent services and a voice in Washington for the common-sense conservative values of the Sixth District. I’ve kept my campaign promises by legislating on the principles of transparency, fiscal responsibility, and protecting the essential liberties guaranteed by our Constitution,” said Cline. “My record during my first term in office shows that my team and I were able to hit the ground running becoming the first freshman Republican to pass legislation which was signed into law. I hope to continue offering effective representation to my constituents should they choose to re-elect me this November.”
Since taking office in January 2019, Rep. Ben Cline has sponsored or cosponsored nine bills that have become law and was the first freshman Republican to sponsor legislation that was signed into law. Among his enacted legislation was the Small Business Reorganization Act which streamlined existing bankruptcy procedures and provided new tools to increase a small business’s ability to achieve a successful restructuring.
Ben Cline’s voting record concluding his first year in office earned him high marks from several congressional observers and scorecards including Susan B. Anthony List, FreedomWorks, and Heritage Action for America which judge votes cast by members of Congress on their adherence to conservative and constitutional principles.
COVID-19 Updates for County, Health District, State, Nation and Global
Since our last update at the end of January, in the first three weeks of February 2021, Warren County has reported 236 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths, to 41 from 37, attributed to the Coronavirus pandemic. Twelve more people, to 88 from 76 were hospitalized here due to the viral infection.
And unhappily, as pointed out by reader Kelli Hart in an Open Letter to our county and town elected officials reprinted in our OPINION section, Warren County, including the Town of Front Royal, continues to report a higher death rate per reported cases (1.82%) than both the Commonwealth of Virginia (1.32%) and the nation (1.78%), as well as carrying the third highest deaths per cases ratio in the Northern Shenandoah Valley region, including our five fellow Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD) communities.
In the past four months since late October through the predicted Phase 3 and holiday COVID surge, Warren County has recorded 29 of its 41 fatalities. But as Warren County Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Farrall noted in his introduction to the February 21 numbers tabulated the following morning: “Good News: LFHD reports that both the COVID-19 case rate and associated death rate is finally declining in the District.”
We can only hope that trend continues as vaccine distribution becomes more available across the health district, state and nation.
A check of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website on February 22, at 6:30 p.m. indicated 111,434,130 reported cases and 2,467,481 deaths globally. The U.S. cases (28,409,397) and deaths climbing over half million at 504,012, continue to account for about 25% to 20% of the global cases and deaths, with the U.S.’s 4% of the world population. Note: local vaccination information will be reported in a companion report.
Below, see the full comparative COVID-19 statistics in several week increments as reported by County Emergency Services since the turn of the year:
- COVID-19 Information (Current Data, as of 2/22 at 8:56 AM):
- Good News: LFHD reports that both the COVID-19 case rate and associated death rate is finally declining in the District.
- Lord Fairfax Health District: As of today (per the VDH website), the number of total COVID-19 cases per locality are: Clarke 749, Frederick 6,673, Page 1,809, Shenandoah 3,669, Warren 2,249 (88 are/were hospitalized, 41 deaths attributed to the County; deaths 1.82% total cases), Winchester 2,447; the current status of these patients is unknown (admitted to hospital, discharged to home isolation/quarantine, departed the District/County).
- Commonwealth: 5,762,389 total people tested (PCR only); 565,270 total cases [8.3% positive rate (PCR only)]; 23,530 total hospitalized; 7,486 total deaths (1.32%total cases).
- United States: As of February 21, 2021, there are 27,882,557 total cases and 496,112 total deaths (1.78%total cases) attributed to COVID-19.
- Current CDC Guidance Regarding When to Quarantine/Options to Reduce Quarantine
- Updated CDC guidance as of February 11, 2020.
- Recommend everyone familiarize themselves with the updated guidance. See attached and website link below for details.
- COVID-19 Information (Feb. 1, 2021):
- Lord Fairfax Health District: As of today (per the VDH website), the number of total COVID-19 cases per locality are: Clarke 677, Frederick 6,023, Page 1,660, Shenandoah 3,417, Warren 2,013 (76 are/were hospitalized, 37 deaths attributed to the County; deaths 1.84% total cases), Winchester 2,301; the current status of these patients is unknown (admitted to hospital, discharged to home isolation/quarantine, departed the District/County).
- Commonwealth: 5,261,801 total people tested (PCR only); 507,640 total cases [11.7% positive rate (PCR only)]; 21,444 total hospitalized; 6,474 total deaths (1.28%total cases).
- United States: As of January 31, 2021 at 12:26 PM, there are 25,921,703 total cases and 438,035 total deaths (1.69%total cases) attributed to COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Information (January 15, 2021):
- Lord Fairfax Health District: As of today (per the VDH website), there are 12,733 confirmed COVID-19 cases (Clarke 491, Frederick 4,661, Page 1,289, Shenandoah 2,756, Warren 1,633 (71 are/were hospitalized, 36 deaths attributed to the County; deaths 2.20% total cases), Winchester 1,903); the current status of these patients is unknown (admitted to hospital, discharged to home isolation/quarantine, departed the District/County).
- Commonwealth: 4,730,680 total people tested (PCR only); 422,634 total cases [15.2% positive rate (PCR only)]; 19,741 total hospitalized; 5,656 total deaths (1.34%total cases).
- United States: As of January 14, 2021 at 12:16 PM, there are 22,965,957 total cases and 383,351 total deaths (1.67%total cases) attributed to COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Information (December 30, 2020):
- Lord Fairfax Health District: As of today (per the VDH website), there are 9,877 confirmed COVID-19 cases (Clarke 385, Frederick 3,703, Page 1,015, Shenandoah 2,186, Warren 1,321 (69 are/were hospitalized, 33 deaths attributed to the County; deaths 2.50% total cases), Winchester 1,637); the current status of these patients is unknown (admitted to hospital, discharged to home isolation/quarantine, departed the District/County).
- Commonwealth: 4,220,943 total people tested (PCR only); 344,345 total cases [12.7% positive rate (PCR only)]; 17,910 total hospitalized; 4,984 total deaths (1.45%total cases).
- United States: As of December 29, 2020 at 2:25 PM, there are 19,232,843 total cases and 334,029 total deaths (1.74%total cases) attributed to COVID-19.
Sheriff’s Office investigates virtual student threat to WCMS
The Royal Examiner received this press release on February 26, 2021.
On February 24, 2021, Warren County Sheriff’s Office received information referencing threats to Warren County Middle school by a virtual student.
The threats were immediately investigated and Warren County School Administration notified. Through investigation and consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, it was determined the threats were not creditable.
At no time was the safety of staff and students at Warren County Middle School at risk. Warren County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Warren County School Administration staff and Warren County Middle School staff for their assistance throughout the investigation.
Summary of the Warren County EDA Board meeting of Friday, February 26
The EDA Board of Directors conducted their regular monthly board meeting this morning, February 26, via Zoom. The Board welcomed Front Royal Town Manager Steven Hicks prior to going into Closed Session. Mr. Hicks noted that the Town’s budget proposal for the fiscal year 2022 was being prepared. A summary overview was included in the board packet and digital copies of the 32-page presentation are available from the EDA office. Please contact Administrative Assistant Gretchen Henderson at 635-2182.
Board Chair Jeff Browne congratulated Mr. Hicks on his appointment to Executive Director of the Front Royal EDA and stated that the Board of the Front Royal Warren County EDA is looking for working with him.
Following an approximately 30-minuted Closed Meeting, the Board approved a motion on the disposition of McKay Springs. In order to facilitate and expedite the sale of parcels at the McKay Springs location, the Board approved transferring the parcels deeded in the name of the EDA to Warren County.
Continuing in Open Session, Jeff Browne gave a report from the Executive Committee. He advised the Board and the public that Warren County will be designated as a Spotted Lanternfly quarantine locality in mid-March, along with Clarke and Frederick counties, and the City of Winchester. This will impact businesses located in and doing business in Warren County. For more information please visit www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plan-industry-services.shtml
Director Jim Wolfe shared information on the progress of the EDA Strategic Plan updates. He’s looking forward to feedback on the working document and completing a final draft for review.
Asset Committee Chair Greg Harold discussed a new development that will have an impact on the EDA-owned property on Royal Lane. He shared the news that the Town of Front Royal is considering updating the Town Code to allow a Conditional Use Permit to be bonded with the property rather than the owner. With this change, Harold expects to improve the successful marketing of this property for a developer of multi-family workforce housing. The EDA is very interested in selling this property and supports the Town Planning Department in its efforts.
EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons had several items of interest to share, including the launch of the renovated EDA website at www.wceda.com, and that the auditors are finalizing their report. Additionally, he reported that the proceeds of $323,179.18 from the sale of the Afton Inn have paid down the principal on the First Bank & Trust Line of Credit. This lowered the payment, saving the taxpayers $1,242.70 per month, or $14,912.40 per year.
Shower Trailer update for Warren County’s Thermal Shelter guests
The shower trailer will be available to the guests of our local Thermal Shelter during the winter. It will also be available in case of disaster and for emergency personnel. In the past we have borrowed shower trailers from other counties. We are finally filling a high demand need!
The goal is to have three separate shower stalls installed. The trailer will be complete with hot water heaters and toiletries. Each stall will have it’s own door for privacy and convenience.
In the links below, there are items that are needed for purchase if you would like to help in lieu of a cash donation. Links provided by Robert Hupman, the man with the plan!
- 275 Gallon Water Tank
- Fold Up Step for 30″ Door
- Roll A Ramp – portable ramp 16ft L x 26″W – Fill your cart with this item: A12615A19 ($1,469.99)
Story provided to you by the Rotary Club of Warren County. To learn more about Rotary visit our website!
United Way following through on $5,500 pledge to Blue Ridge Legal Services
The United Way of Front Royal-Warren County is making good on its promise to support Blue Ridge Legal Services with $5,500 in grant funding for this fiscal year. Many positive results have been achieved from the $46,052 given by the United Way to Blue Ridge Legal Services over the past seven years, and the community has benefited from this partnership. The United way hopes to renew and increase its commitment to this organization in the coming years.
According to Jennifer Locke, the Managing Attorney for Blue Ridge Legal Services serving Front Royal-Warren County, COVID-19 forced some changes for the organization in 2020. For example, the legal clinic is no longer accepting in-person applications. Additionally, since June 2020, the clinic has experienced an increase in demand for services.
The three biggest issues that the clinic works with clients to resolve are Domestic Violence (45%), Evictions (30%), and Bankruptcy (20%). The clinic closed 41 cases in Front Royal-Warren County in 2020, aiding 121 residents during this process. They achieved $500 in lump-sum judgments, $800 in monthly benefits, and $97,293 in avoidance of claims/liability for the clients they serve. Additionally, they achieved three bankruptcy discharges, three prevented evictions, and two delayed evictions.
In working to increase its efforts in the community, the clinic has has hired an additional attorney to help serve Front Royal-Warren County. They were able to accomplish this using a grant from IKEA and a dollar-for-dollar match from the Virginia Governor’s Office.
If you would like to partner with the United Way as we work to support our partner agencies, please visit the DONATE page on our website. Since 1950, the United Way has worked to advance the common good in Front Royal-Warren County. The community wins when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. The United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of the challenges we face. Living United means being part of the change!
To reach the United Way offices in Front Royal-Warren County (134-B Peyton Street, Front Royal, VA, 22630), please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-635-3636.
Valley Conservation Council helps protect land & expand the Shenandoah National Park
Valley Conservation Council (VCC), a Staunton-based nonprofit that preserves and protects the natural resources of the greater Shenandoah Valley region, recently aimed its conservation expertise to help bring protection to almost 1,000 acres of mountain land adjacent to the Shenandoah National Park that will eventually become part of its borders.
Throughout late 2020, VCC assisted the Shenandoah National Park Trust (SNPT) in the acquisition of 967 acres of land on Tanner’s Ridge in Page County in the largest land acquisition of its kind in decades that will eventually expand the Park into mountain land it currently borders.
SNPT, who had the necessary funds and a group of willing sellers, was looking for a land trust and called upon VCC for assistance last summer. In the months that followed, VCC assisted SNPT through the process of acquiring three properties totaling 967 acres.
The acquired land will eventually be conveyed to the Shenandoah National Park to provide public access for all to enjoy the breathtaking mountaintop views, strenuous hikes, and pure clean water. In the meantime, VCC has also accepted a conservation easement on the property and with it has taken on the responsibility for ensuring the land remains intact and unchanged until it is transferred to the care of the National Park.
By protecting this land, VCC is protecting the headwaters of Naked Creek, ensuring pristine water quality in the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The waters of Naked Creek flow from this newly protected mountain land into Hawksbill Creek, then to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, running through Page and Warren counties to join the main stem of the Shenandoah at Front Royal and on to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way, these streams and the groundwater that connects them provide drinking water to millions of people, from the town of Luray all the way to the DC metro area.
SNPT purchased the land with funds from a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that resulted from a settlement with a DuPont manufacturing plant in Waynesboro that was dumping waste into the South River, an upstream tributary of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The suit yielded a number of public benefits to make up for the damage, including $20 million to buy and protect land that would ensure better water quality in the future.