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Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Carolina Wren

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Help wildlife by keeping your cat indoors.

This Carolina Wren has been in care at the Center since early January after suffering a right radius (bone in the “forearm” of the wing) fracture as the result of a cat attack.

As with all confirmed cat interactions (finder saw the bird in the cat’s mouth), this patient immediately received antibiotics. Needle-like feline teeth pierce through the skin and when they pull out the skin tissue closes quickly, trapping bacteria from the cat’s saliva and increasing the chance of developing a fatal infection.

After more than three weeks in care, this patient is doing well on antibiotics but is still not fully healed or flying. With continued care, we are hopeful that they will be fully flighted and ready for release in the next week.

What kind of impact do domestic cats have on wildlife?

You may be surprised to learn that over a billion birds are killed by cats EACH YEAR in the United States (some studies estimate that that number is closer to 4 billion).

And between 6-22 billion mammals and hundreds of millions of reptiles are also killed annually by cats in the U.S.

In Virginia, it’s estimated there are 2.1 million free-roaming cats, and over 40% of them have an owner.

What is the solution?

There is no single solution to the free-roaming cat issue, though nearly everyone agrees that the population of free-roaming cats must decrease.

Along with other experts in wildlife conservation, veterinary medicine, public health and safety, we are honored to have been selected as part of a Virginia General Assembly workgroup to study problems associated with free-roaming cats.

The workgroup, appointed in 2021, has just released a comprehensive report detailing the impact of cats on wildlife and public health, as well as recommendations for reducing free-roaming cat populations in our state. (Read the full report here)

Help us help wildlife by committing to keeping your pet cats indoors and encourage other cat owners to do the same!


Looking for an easy way to help native wildlife? Become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.

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WCFR 10-A-Day smoke alarm challenge

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The Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services has renewed our partnership with the American Red Cross – West Virginia Region, Central Appalachia and will participate in their “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” campaign. The department will conduct a “10-A-Day Campaign” to assist in their endeavor.

Our “10-A-Day Campaign” will challenge each of our staffed stations to complete the following activities for each day during the week of April 2 through April 8, 2023, with the focus on:

  • Visiting a minimum of 10 homes each day.
  • Providing lifesaving education on smoke alarms to a minimum of 10 people each day.
  • Inspecting a minimum of 10 existing smoke alarms for their appropriate operating condition, placement, and adequate date.
  • Replacing a minimum of 10 out-of-date alarms or installing new alarms where needed.

Warren County Fire and Rescue is proud to collaborate with the American Red Cross and to have been part of the success of the “Sound the Alarm, Save A Life” campaign. The American Red Cross and its partners have installed over 2.5 million free smoke alarms, making over 1 million homes safer. The department plans to continue to assist with their goal of 50,000 smoke alarm installs during April by challenging our staff to install 80 smoke alarms a day, every day, during the week campaign, for a total of 560 smoke alarm installs.

According to the American Red Cross, “Home fires claim seven lives every day, but having working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death by half.” Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue is committed to further reducing this number by partnering with the American Red Cross, educating the community, and providing free smoke alarm installs.


For a free fire and life safety home evaluation and to receive your free smoke alarms, please contact us at 540-636-3830 or visit www.warrencountyfire.com.

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Crime/Court

McDonald criminal cases change of venue motion denied – Front Royal, Warren County residents will be excluded from federal jury pool

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On Monday, March 20th, United States District Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon entered an order denying Jennifer McDonald’s motion for a change of venue to Charlottesville for her criminal trial slated for Harrisonburg in a federal court in the 10th Western District of Virginia. That trial, on 34 criminal indictments related to the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority “financial scandal,” is scheduled for over a month from May 15 into June.

Federal court-appointed defense counsel for McDonald, Eric Trodden, filed the change of venue for trial in February. He asserted that his client is not likely to get an unbiased jury in Harrisonburg due to Shenandoah Valley regional media reporting about McDonald and other related civil cases in which she was a witness or topic of legal arguments pointing a finger at her alleged role as the central figure in the estimated $26-million financial embezzlement and misappropriation of FR-WC EDA and municipal funds scandal.

However, after a detailed review of applicable law and circumstances of the press coverage by local and regional media, specifically citing Royal Examiner coverage dating back to 2018, the judge ruled the coverage as essentially non-biased and factually based. The judge did rule that residents of the Town of Front Royal and Warren County would be excluded from the federal jury pool.

“It is HEREBY ORDERED that defendant’s motion to transfer venue (Dkt. No. 45) is DENIED, but the court will exclude residents of the Town of Front Royal and Warren County. Warren County has no cities, and only one recognized town, Front Royal, from the jury pool. The clerk of court is directed to transmit a copy of this order to all counsel of record,” Judge Dillon wrote in concluding her review of the issues surrounding the defense motion.


In examining the circumstance of media coverage, Judge Dillon wrote: “Press coverage of this matter has been primarily from the Royal Examiner and the Northern Virginia Daily. (Dkt. No. 47.) Both papers are local to the Strasburg/Front Royal Area. The majority of the press coverage is from 2019, two years before the indictment in this case, although the media covered this case and related civil lawsuits into 2021. Defendant herself initiated the press coverage in 2018 when she reached out to a local reporter (yours truly) with an allegedly false story about winning money at a casino.

EDA Director Jennifer McDonald parlays casino winnings into real estate investments

Photo from a 2018 Royal Examiner story by this writer cited by the judge in a change of venue ruling. Judge Dillon noted that in certain instances like this one, McDonald had reached out to the media for news coverage. Royal Examiner File Photo Roger Bianchini

In her analysis of the McDonald defense motion, Judge Dillon observed: “Rule 18 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure governs the appropriate place for trial. ‘Unless a statute or these rules permit otherwise, the government must prosecute an offense in a district where the offense was committed. The court must set the place of trial within the district with due regard for the convenience of the defendant, any victim, and the witnesses, and the prompt administration of justice.”

And Judge Dillon ruled that with the exclusion of residents of Front Royal and Warren County, about an hour north of Harrisonburg, who have been most exposed to media coverage going on five years, McDonald can get that fair trial from jurors further south in the Federal 10th Western District of Virginia, in a City of Harrisonburg federal courtroom.


McDonald faces 16 counts of money laundering, 10 counts of bank fraud, 7 counts of wire fraud, and 1 count of aggravated identity theft, the latter related to the Truc “Curt” Tran/ITFederal case.

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Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Golden Eagle

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“This is the FIRST Golden Eagle we’ve ever admitted!” Photos / BRWC

This immature Golden Eagle was found down in a field last week, very close to the Center. Staff followed the property owner to the found location and easily contained the extremely weak bird.

The intake exam revealed no obvious fractures or trauma, yet the eagle was very thin and covered in mites and lice.

In-house testing ruled out lead as the cause of the signs, though there was some lead in this bird’s system, but revealed a heavy burden of blood parasites, anemia (low red blood cell count), and an extremely high white blood cell count indicating infection. While we awaited results from additional laboratory testing, we supported this eagle with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.


Shortly after placing an intravenous catheter and starting fluids, this patient perked up a bit. We were hopeful they would continue to improve.

After hours of receiving fluids, this eagle attempted to stand, though you can see the bird was still too weak to lift their head.

Sadly, this eagle passed away within about 24 hours of care despite treatment.

While some diagnostics are still pending, we have since learned that this eagle was negative for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The patient did have mildly elevated levels of lead and mercury, but both were too low to be the cause of the signs we noted. In addition to the extremely high white cell count, indicating infection, the liver values were also astronomically high.


Based on the liver biopsy we obtained and a minimally-invasive examination of the surrounding tissues, we believe that this eagle died from coelomitis, an infection in the body cavity likely caused, in this case, by liver trauma and necrosis. This eagle was simply too far gone to recover by the time they were admitted.

Often mistaken for immature Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles can be identified by a few key characteristics.

Golden Eagles have smaller heads than our more common Bald Eagles, with more proportional beaks, golden feathers on the nape that do not change with age, and a bright yellow cere (base of upper beak).

Golden’s have feathers all the way down to their feet (unlike Balds that have naked legs). They are also more closely related to hawks than Balds, who are classified as “fishing eagles”. Check out the insane talons on this bird – no surprise they are a fierce hunter and predator!



Looking for an easy way to help native wildlife? Become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.

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Former FRPD Chief Richard Furr remembered fondly

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A Celebration of Life and Memorial Service for former Front Royal Police Chief Richard Furr was held Sunday afternoon, March 19th on the eve of the Spring Equinox, at Riverton United Methodist Church. Friends and colleagues – often both – and family bid a fond farewell to a friend and servant to his community and his family. Furr passed away February 27 at the age of 66.

A presenting of the colors by the FRPD Honor Guard set the celebration of the life of Richard Furr Sr. in motion… Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

Scheduled speakers in order of appearance included Chaplain Jackie Thurston of the Virginia State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, Chaplain Roger Vorous of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Captain, retired, Clint Keller formerly of the Front Royal Police Department, Sgt., retired, Jim Nicholson formerly of the Page County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Richard “Ricky” Furr Jr., son of the departed. A free, catered meal at the church, provided by employees of Samuels Public Library, awaited attendees following the ceremony.

As noted in his Obituary, the Page County born-and-raised Furr: “reached the pinnacle of his (law enforcement) career in 2009 when he was appointed Chief of Police (in Front Royal where he had served since 1982). Although Richard retired from duty in 2012, he remained active in law enforcement by continuing to serve in the Fraternal Order of Police at local and state levels. Richard is survived by his wife, Ruth; children, Richard “Ricky” Jr. (Amy) and Danielle; mother-in-love, Willie; sister-in-love, Robin (Gary); and half-siblings, Brenda (Larry), Christine (Jack), and David (Lori).”

The family has created a website for those who knew Richard to share stories and memories. It can be accessed at richardfurr.wixsite.com/memories.

Rest In Peace, Richard Harvey Furr Sr.

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Warren County Public Schools Kindergarten registration information for the 2023-2024 school year

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This is a reminder to parents with children that will be 5 years old on or before September 30, 2023.

WHO:

  • Children who will be 5 years old on or before September 30, 2023
    *Register at the school in which you are zoned to attend

WHERE AND WHEN:

Starting March 27, 2023 – Register online @ www.wcpsva.org


  • March 28, 2023
    4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
    Individual Elementary Schools – *Register at the school in which your child is zoned to attend

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Certified Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Parent/Guardian Photo ID
  • Physical Form (physical must be within the last 12 months prior to the first day of school)
  • Proof of Residence (utility bill, lease, mortgage statement)
  • A notarized residency affidavit is required if living in another household

PLEASE REGISTER YOUR CHILD EVEN IF ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION HAS NOT BEEN OBTAINED.

If you have any questions, please call your child’s school:

A.S. Rhodes Elementary School 540-635-4556
E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School 540-635-4188
Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School 540-622-8090
Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School 540-635-3125
Ressie Jeffries Elementary School 540-636-6824


Technical Questions:

Amy Himes (540) 635-2171, extension 46125
Kendall Poe (540) 635-2171, extension 34230

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Belle Grove Plantation opens for the 2023 season

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On Saturday, March 18, Belle Grove Plantation will reopen daily to the public. Guided tours of the Manor House are offered Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. at 15 minutes past each hour. The Belle Grove grounds and the Beverley B. Shoemaker Welcome Center (including the Museum Shop and exhibits) are also open during these hours.

Manor House tours include touring the permanent exhibit, Unearthing Enslaved Lives at Belle Grove, which features the archaeology conducted at the Enslaved Quarter Site from 2015 to 2019. The 60,000 excavated artifacts and supporting archival research reveal details about the more than 270 men, women, and children the Hite family enslaved.

Also, on Saturday, March 18, Belle Grove will open a .75-mile walking trail that connects to existing trails on Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation’s property. Visitors may start the trail either at Belle Grove or the 128th New York Monument (on Route 11 near the intersection with Water Plant Road). The path is largely wooded and follows trenches dug by the US 19th Corps as they prepared for a possible attack. This ultimately happened in the initial stages of the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Hikers on the Belle Grove property should follow the yellow blazes along the trail. A map is posted at the trailhead and will be available in the Museum Shop.

In addition to offering daily tours, Belle Grove hosts school and group tours, event rentals, and special events.  Belle Grove has a full schedule of events for 2023, including the “Of Ale and History” Beer Festival on May 13. Now in its 28th year, this festival is Virginia’s longest-running Beer Festival, and tickets will go on sale in April. For more information about Belle Grove events, visit www.bellegrove.org/calendar


As a partner in Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Belle Grove is the site of free, 30-minute programs led by National Park Rangers. Cedar Creek & Belle Grove in a Box gives an overview of the Park at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays, March 18 and April 8, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, March 26 and April 2. Kneading in Silence: A Glimpse into the Life of the Enslaved Cook Judah, which discusses the life of Judah, the enslaved cook of Belle Grove, will be presented on Sunday, March 19, and Saturday, March 25, at 2:30 p.m. More information about the Park is at www.nps.gov/cebe.

About Belle Grove—Belle Grove Plantation is located off Route 11 at 336 Belle Grove Road just south of Middletown, Virginia, and is conveniently situated to I-81 (exit 302) and I-66. Belle Grove Plantation is a non-profit historic house museum, a National Trust for Historic Preservation historic site (www.savingplaces.org). It is also one of the partners in Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park (www.nps.gov/cebe).

 

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Mar
25
Sat
9:00 am FRUMC Book Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
FRUMC Book Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Mar 25 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
FRUMC Book Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
The Annual Front Royal United Women in Faith Book Sale will be held Saturday, March 25, from 9am to 2pm, in the Fellowship Hall of the Front Royal United Methodist Church. Books for everyone available:[...]
10:00 am Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Mar 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Take into your heart the peace of wild things. Absorb the transformative words of writers who loved the natural world, read aloud by two Shenandoah Chapter Master Naturalists. Walk in silence at[...]
1:00 pm Commemorate National Vietnam Vet... @ Veterans Park
Commemorate National Vietnam Vet... @ Veterans Park
Mar 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Commemorate National Vietnam Veterans Day @ Veterans Park
This event is being held to honor veterans of the Vietnam era for their service to the country during that time period.  There will be a formal color guard ceremony, wreath presentation and a firing[...]
Mar
29
Wed
11:00 am National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
Mar 29 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
This event will be held 11:00, National Cemetery, Winchester, Virginia.  It is to honor Vietnam Era Veterans for their service to the country.  It is being conducted by the American Red Cross and the Colonel[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Mar 29 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Mar
31
Fri
5:00 pm No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Mar 31 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
No Foolin' Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Warren Coalition’s No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks includes a team Scavenger Hunt for prizes! Top teams in each category will receive $25 gift cards for each team member, and the overall championship team will receive[...]
Apr
1
Sat
9:00 am Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Apr 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Living Water Christian Church will once again be hosting our Pancake Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on April 1, 2023, from 9am – 12pm. Come on out and enjoy a great breakfast, pictures with the[...]
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 1 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Log Cabin in the Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log Cabin to see what is cooking on the hearth. Immerse yourself within the 19th century enslaved culture and its foods. Explore the taste[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 1 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Apr 1 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.