Connect with us

Local News

Carson heirs located, will support FR Golf Club usage change request

Published

on

Honest, from this angle I don’t know why more people haven’t supported the Front Royal Golf Club as a scenic municipal golfing option. Photos/Front Royal Golf Club website

Warren County Circuit Court Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr. has ordered the addition of court representatives for both unidentified heirs of the family that donated land for the county’s first golf course in 1938 and for the citizens of this community to whose benefit that land was donated.

At issue is a County petition for a declaratory judgment to allow it to remove golf as a use on the 62-acre Carson parcel the County acquired in 2005.  That parcel contains what is now known as the Front Royal Golf Club.  The Carsons donated the land in memory of their son, a former student at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal who died prematurely in his early 20’s around the time of the gift.

“The Court will appoint one guardian ad litem for the unknown heirs of William and Agnes Carson and one guardian ad litem for the citizens of the Town of Front Royal and the County of Warren,” Whitten explained on June 29.


However, in a late-breaking development those “unknown heirs of Agnes H. Carson and William E. Carson” listed as “Whereabouts unknown” in the original county court filing, are no longer unknown.

County Administrator Doug Stanley told Royal Examiner on Tuesday, July 3, that he has made contact with some Carson descendants – and they have provided two letters of support of the county proposal that will be included in the court filing.

So it seems the case will not require one of those proposed guardian ad litems for persons or entities “unknown”.

As originally presented, the Warren County Board of Supervisors is listed as the petitioner against both the unknown heirs of the Carsons and the Front Royal Country Club (formerly known as the Recreational Center of Front Royal), the latter which were the original names of the managing entity for the golf club created by the Carson’s 1938 gift to the community.

A municipal ‘money-pit’

The fact the municipal golf club created in the wake of the 2005 acquisition of the riverside property has increasingly become a money pit has long been a sore point for some of the county’s elected officials (and I thought maybe they just didn’t like the name).

Fork District Supervisor Archie Fox has become increasingly vocal about the deficit the county has carried annually to keep the course open.  County Administrator Stanley estimated an average $110,000 annual deficit county taxes have gone to cover over the past five years.

Stanley said the club supported itself for the first several years of county ownership – “We were the low cost alternative” – but has increasingly suffered financially in recent years as golf courses around the nation have struggled to meet rising costs and competition.

From the banks of the Shenandoah River to the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge – just not a money maker

But as admitted in the County filing for a declaratory judgment to be allowed to remove golf as a use of the property, not only did the Carson family specify golf as a use to be maintained as a condition of the 1938 gift of the property; but a condition of the 2005 management agreement the County signed upon its purchase of the land ALSO specifies that “[t]he current nine (9) holes for golf located on the 62 Acre Parcel, will be used and maintained only for golf.”

However, the County contends that changing times make the golf designation obsolete.

Under the heading “The Restrictions on the Property are no Longer Needed” the County states 1/ “At the time of the conveyance of the Carson Property, there were no other golf courses in Warren County, and there was a need for a public golf course”; and 2/ “Currently there are four other golf courses in Warren County including Sly Fox Golf Club (18 holes), Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club (18 holes), Bowling Green Country Club (36 holes), and Shenandoah Valley Golf Club (27 holes).”

After noting that the Front Royal Golf Club is a 9-hole course that can be played as an 18-hole course by using varying tee positions, the county gets to its bottom line: “Membership at Front Royal Golf Club has declined since the County took over in 2005, and the costs are increasing to maintain the Golf Club to remain competitive with the other courses in the County,” adding that, “The Board has discussed closing down the Golf Club for the past several years during the budget process since the Golf Club has operated at a financial loss for the past several years.”

The Warren County Board of Supervisors and county staff have looked into outside management of the golf course for at least a year.  In its filing for the declaratory judgment allowing golf to be removed as a use on the property, the County notes that in 2017 it got one response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an outside individual, group or business “to take over operations of the Golf Club through a lease agreement … but was not able to come to an agreement with the offeror.”

Asked if money had been the bottom line in that failure to come to terms, Stanley said, “I think it is fair to say that the parties could not come to agreeable terms – what they wanted for what we were giving up didn’t mesh.”

Following the collapse of that negotiation, the county filing states it issued another RFP that left future recreational usage of the property on the table.  “I think ideally we have sought a way that would maintain management of the golf course but it just has not happened,” Stanley points out.

And so it was with the response to that second, open-ended property management RFP.  The county cites receipt of a proposal in response to that second RFP “that would entail permanently closing the golf course and creating a park open to the public on the Property which could include but is not limited to walking, horse and biking trails, river access, a boat landing, and a field for recreational purposes.”

As a final nail in the golf coffin, the County pleading states, “The former golf course’s cart paths would be open to the public, and numerous trees would be planted in the former fairways and greens.”

OUCH – and I don’t even play golf.

But on the bright side, Stanley points out the County maintains an easement with Allegheny Power that connects the Carson parcel with the 19-acre Rockland Park that has a similar mixed-recreational-use profile – “And this will give us riverfront property for those uses,” Stanley points out.

Did the County do all it could?

We asked the county administrator to address several questions raised by some Front Royal Golf course users over the past year.  Those questions included whether county employees were allowed to play the course for free and if any revenue generated by the property was diverted to other County uses.

Stanley said neither was the case.  He estimated $350,000 being collected over the 3-1/2-year Dominion Power Plant construction project from property rentals.

“Since we took over management in 2005, we sold off a small portion and some easements for the new power lines, we leased part of the excess property to Dominion for a lay-down area for the power plant construction, and we have leased two smaller areas to contractors.  Every dime received either repaid the County for paying off the Club’s debt, for capital improvements, or to meet the bottom line of the club.”

Stanley did observe that in the past golf club staff or the club manager have been allowed to play for free (a situation he believes typical at any golf course), but other than that, “All County employees, myself included, have to pay to use the club.  For a couple years we did offer ANY Warren County resident one free play at certain times.”

But the “free” teaser did not work to attract the necessary number of members to support the Front Royal Golf Club financially.

And so today the county government is seeking court relief to cut loose what has become a financial drain on it and its taxpayers.  And it would appear another piece of the county’s history will succumb to changing times and changing circumstances.

But as Stanley notes, the gift of the Carson property will be maintained to recreational uses for the community in memory of their son, who was lost too young 80 years ago.

Postscript

A golfer and his dog – and we are sure he has ‘doggie bags’

From the Front Royal Golf Club website:

“One of Virginia’s oldest, continuously operating golf courses continues to be one of the best golf values in all of the Shenandoah Valley. Under the operation, direction, and management of Warren County, Front Royal Golf Club’s 1938 nine-hole layout features dual tee boxes to create a true 18-hole feel.

“Front Royal has the old Scottish links-style feel that requires accuracy not length. Challenges come from small undulating greens and deep bunkering. Four holes border the Shenandoah River, more than any course in Virginia, with none more dramatic than the par 5 seventeenth hole that features a tee shot along the river’s edge.  Front Royal Golf Club brings back the 4-hour round of golf. It’s a fun and excellent test of golf you will surely enjoy.

“The facility was originally constructed in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps on land donated by William Carson with the course built to his design. The current club house, built in 1998 to replace the original rustic CCC clubhouse lost in the flood of 1996. It hosts a snack bar, commercial kitchen and banquet hall.”

Somehow it just seems a shame.

Share the News:

Local News

National school-choice advocate speaks in Front Royal

Published

on

The lady who engineered “the biggest school-choice victory in U.S. history in Arizona last fall” spoke on January 29, 2023, before more than a hundred people in Father Ruehl Hall at St. John’s Catholic Church in Front Royal. The subject was the “Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA)” program that went into effect in Arizona in September 2022.

The speaker was Christine Accurso, executive director of the ESA program for the Arizona State Department of Education. Accurso spoke for 20 minutes from a prepared script, then took questions for more than an hour and a half on how the ESA program works. The Front Royal Catholic Civic-Education Group sponsored the event.

Accurso made three main points in her presentation:
• Arizona’s new law makes all of Arizona’s 1.1 million school-aged kids eligible for $7,000 in ESA money that can be spent at any private or religious school. Since the program started last fall, the families of almost 50,000 students in Arizona have signed up for the program. About half have had some public school experience.
• Accurso expects the number of students signing up for the ESA program to double this year to approximately 100,000 students.
• Accurso repeatedly emphasized that ESA money does not go directly from the government to a school — but to a parent, who then decides how the money will be spent.

Accurso said this is exactly how many federally-funded programs —like the GI Bill, Pell grants, pre-K headstart, Medicaid, food stamps, and Section 8 housing — have operated for years. “For some reason,” Accurso stressed, “when it comes to K-12 education, teachers’ unions have built into our heads that it’s not right for public dollars to follow students. That simply is not true.”


Watch the event on this exclusive Royal Examiner video.

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Local News

Humane Society of Warren County opens thrift store

Published

on

On November fourth of last year, the Humane Society of Warren County opened a thrift store located at 450 S. Commerce Avenue, adjacent to On Cue and the CVS. As the proceeds go to support homeless animals, Pick of the Litter Thrift Store comes at a time when the HSWC greatly needs it.

Store manager Jessie Moore on the right, her assistant Laura Hickman on the left.

 

“It took a lot of work to put the planning process together,” executive director Megan Bowers explained. Previously HSWC hosted a yard sale once a year in June that generated four to five thousand dollars, but it proved to be lacking due to the requests they were receiving from the community for a place to bring donations.

“We could not have asked for a better community,” store manager Jessie Moore exclaimed. “Every day feels like Christmas!” Her positive outlook characterizes the store she runs, where a patron can help himself to a complimentary coffee and browse the collection of books, DVDs, rows upon rows of clothing, and the occasional odd item like a set of glassware.


Jessie said each day is different, and she never knows what will come in. It is all about “the fur babies,” as she jovially put it. She expressed relief that HSWC has finally generated a more reliable source of funding than the yard sale. Watching Jessie move around the store with her assistant Laura Hickman and interact with customers, it is obvious that they are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Of course, it is all about the fur babies.

 

This is an establishment that welcomes animals. Anyone browsing the goods is welcome to have their pet alongside them.

“They’ve done really well over there,” Megan said in praise of the Pick of the Litter team. HSWC has three branches: the shelter, the clinic, and the thrift store.

As proud and fond as many are of their four-legged family members, it is a consolation in this cold season to know that such a capable organization is doing everything possible to keep Warren County’s domestic animals on the warm side of the front door.

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Local News

As an ongoing consequence of pandemic impacts, fitness programs will end this month but rehab services will continue at Valley Health’s Outpatient facility here

Published

on

Royal Examiner asked Valley Health Public Relations Manager Carol Weare about planned service cuts locally as a consequence of the COVID pandemic outbreak of the past few years. This is what she told us:

“Due to unprecedented financial challenges related to the effects and after-effects of the pandemic, Valley Health has been taking steps to limit additional losses by evaluating all programs and services we offer. Like fitness facilities nationwide, Valley Health’s fitness programs experienced a decline in membership during the pandemic and never rebounded.

“As a result, we made the difficult decision to end our fitness membership programs in Berkeley Springs, WV, Front Royal, VA, and Woodstock, VA, effective Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Members are being notified and any membership balance or un-redeemed personal training or massage gift cards will be refunded promptly.

“We regret the disruption this decision will create for community members, whose fitness commitment and ongoing health are important to us.


Valley Health’s Outpatient Services Center in Front Royal on Commerce Avenue. While fitness programs will end February 1st, rehab services will continue uninterrupted.

“In our assessment, we carefully evaluated each program’s unique operational situation, including finances, building lease contracts and the availability of local fitness facility alternatives within the community.

“The fitness programs in Berkeley Springs and Front Royal are co-located with outpatient physical rehabilitation; those services will continue uninterrupted.

“As Valley Health continues to feel the lingering financial impact of COVID-19, we are evaluating where, when and how healthcare services are provided to ensure our stability as the region’s top care provider and employer of choice well into the future.”

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Local News

Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Line of Duty Death – Funeral Notification

Published

on

With great sadness, we announce the passing of District Fire Chief Homer Larry Cross (Age 74) of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department.

On Monday, January 23, 2023, members of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department discovered District Chief Cross unresponsive at the Fire Station and began life-saving intervention procedures, but unfortunately, the Chief was pronounced deceased at the station.

District Fire Chief Homer Larry Cross

Chief Cross began his career as a firefighter with Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department in 1983. Later serving his community as a long-tenured District Chief, he dedicated himself to saving lives and helping those in need. Through his years in the fire service, Chief Cross felt honored to work alongside a fantastic group of men and women, many of whom serve in various fire service leadership capacities across the Commonwealth’s Fire Service today.


“District Fire Chief Homer Cross was an inspiration for our Department and a fixture on almost every fire ground,” stated Fire Chief James Bonzano. “He was a dedicated fire officer but, above all else, a great friend whose legacy will certainly live on through the care and compassion he instilled in the next generation of our Fire Department.”

Arrangements for District Chief Cross are as follows:

Family Night will be held Monday, January 30, 2023, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. at Maddox Funeral Home at 105 W. Main Street, Front Royal, VA.

A Funeral Service with Fire Service and Military Service Honors for District Chief Cross will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at noon at Riverton United Methodist Church at 55 E. Strasburg Road, Front Royal, VA.

A procession from the church to Panorama Memorial Gardens will be conducted, where final respects will be paid.

The Cross Family will receive guests following the service at the Front Royal Volunteer Fire Station at 221 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA.

Share the News:

Continue Reading

Local News

The Trust Deed Pledge Plan: An investor’s greatest investment aspiration

Published

on

REAL ESTATE INVESTORS AND REAL ESTATE AGENTS

An original Trust Deed Pledge (TDPP) to help property owners from losing their entire property equity due to a foreclosure has been developed. By rescuing the equity and turning the owner into a qualified investor in plan, the owner continues to grow the funds rescued.

THE SECURED CASH INVESTOR POSITION IN THE TDPP INVESTMENT

The desire to be protected in a safe rewarding and timely investment is what the investor wants and needs and receives in the TDPP.

  1. Investment amount required? – Ans: ($60,000 total in small amounts by a group of investors)
  2. What is the reward? – Ans: (Pre-agreed fixed amount of $25,500 up to $42,500)
  3. What is the timing of investment? – Ans: (Estimated one-year)
  4. Amount of protection? – Ans: (Collateral exceeds invested amount)
  5. How is the investor “protected”? – Ans: (With a very strong superior legal position)

REAL ESTATE ACTIVITY EARNINGS

The TDPP offers a way to achieve an exclusive listing to sell (foreclosure free) for the agent/broker finding and introducing the necessary material to the foreclosure owner. There is strong competition, in the regular market place for exclusive listings, that makes it a challenge to accumulate enough listings for the average licensee to earn and build a personal lifetime wealth of a million dollars plus. It is fair to say the TDPP can do it.

The TDPP offers new type real estate earnings, separate from and in addition to a 6% sale commission.

  1. Introducing an original way to earn 1% of the sales price of a property and a second way to earn 5% of the net sales price of the property.
  2. There are other original ways to earn a fee of $9,000 and one of $15,000 for new type activity in the TDPP.
  3. Achieve an exclusive foreclosure free exclusive listing for the person processing the property owner joining the TDPP.
  4. Other unique exciting opportunities are available to earn profit in original ways within the TDPP!

Go to http://investmentrevelation.com for more information.

Robert L. Evans, President
Foreclosure Answer Affirmed, Inc.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Jenspiration

Concern Hotline named beneficiary of Ride with Rotary

Published

on

Rotary Club of Warren County is excited to announce their beneficiary for the Ride with Rotary 2023 is Concern Hotline! Watch this video with Executive Director, Rusty Holland, as he shares a little about who the Concern Hotline is and what they offer to Warren County and surrounding counties.

Learn more about Concern Hotline: www.concernhotline.org

Concern Hotline is a free 24/7/365 anonymous information & referral, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention hotline serving the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

For Concern Hotline calls, dial any of these local numbers:


  • CLARKE, FREDERICK, WINCHESTER COUNTY – 540-667-0145
  • SHENANDOAH COUNTY – 540-459-4742
  • PAGE COUNTY – 540-743-3733
  • WARREN COUNTY – 540-635-4357

Ride with Rotary 2nd Annual Bike Event 

  • April 29th – Check in starts at 8am Rockland Park
  • Register Today!
  • Interested in being a sponsor? Call Jen Avery at 540-683-0790 to learn about sponsorship options.
Share the News:

Continue Reading

 

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
46°
Cloudy
7:19 am5:32 pm EST
Feels like: 45°F
Wind: 6mph NNE
Humidity: 74%
Pressure: 30.16"Hg
UV index: 0
WedThuFri
41/27°F
48/28°F
34/14°F

Upcoming Events

Feb
1
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 1 @ 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[...]
Feb
4
Sat
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Feb 4 @ 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.
Feb
6
Mon
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 6 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
7
Tue
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 7 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
8
Wed
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 8 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 8 @ 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[...]
Feb
9
Thu
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 9 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
10
Fri
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 10 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
11
Sat
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 11 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
12
Sun
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 12 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]