FRONT ROYAL – For the third year in a row, a group of Front Royal Police officers, accompanied by Front Royal Police Foundation volunteers and board members visited local nursing home residents, taking time to sit and chat, as well as bring gifts for the residents to open and enjoy.
Royal Haven Assisted Living, on West Criser Road, was one of the facilities visited. Karen Patton, Activities Director, said the residents were delighted to see the group. “We are so thankful for everything they did today and everyone behind the scenes that made it happen!! Seeing everyone was priceless! Thank you!”
Based upon the smiles of the officers and the patients, it is difficult to tell which group enjoyed the event more. Officer Crystal Cline said, “I was so fortunate to be a part of Operation Blue Christmas again this year! We were able to deliver presents to two local nursing homes and sit and talk with the residents! Every single person I talked to had a story to tell and a history that they were proud of!”
The group also visited Heritage Hall Health Care on West Strasburg Road Thursday afternoon.
Foundation President Patti Baggarly said, “The Officers are fantastic with the residents, sitting and talking to them and opening presents with them. There are great people at Front Royal Police Department. Two nursing homes in one day and we had so many officers there…it was amazing…lots of hugs and smiles. “
The Front Royal Police Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization comprised of citizens who work to raise funds for department needs that are beyond what the town budget can fully support.
The board spends 95-percent of all donated funds; the remaining five-percent is spent on overhead, such as stationery, postage, etc.
Items funded by the Front Royal Police Foundation in the past include: a K9 vehicle, K9 training and a kennel, defensive tactics training equipment, gym equipment and travel expenses for out-of-state training, as well as funding support for community projects such as National Night Out.
For more information about joining or supporting the Foundation with a tax-deductible donation, see the Facebook page here: Front Royal Police Foundation.
As Christmas 2017 approaches what is being wished for in the way of “presents” along Front Royal’s Chester Street political divide is VERY different.
Signs displayed December 13 on the Len Sherp-organized Vigil for Democracy side indicate a growing desire to see impeachment proceedings launched against the president as charges are leveled and guilty pleas entered amid mounting Special Prosecutor’s evidence of Trump staff and family pre-2016 election interactions with Russian operatives designed to help gain Trump’s election. A variety of other wishful issues are displayed toward the end of this story.
On the other side of the street, the pro-Trump contingent that joined original Trump supporters Ralph and Michael Waller in front of their pawn shop in late May had reduced its focus to prayers and honks of support for the president, with a nod toward prayerful swamp-draining. Of course that reduced focus could have been impacted by the fact there were only two members of that faith-based contingent present on a chilly second Wednesday of December. On the Vigil for Democracy side numbers were also down somewhat, but continued in double figures at a head count of 15.
The Wallers continued to sport the original Trump-Pence campaign sign they displayed in March after first Sherp alone on March 8, and then supporters appeared across the street at the Front Royal Town Gazebo. And this week Ralph added one sign reflecting the religious tone of the newer pro-Trump contingent negatively portraying liberals as “DESTRUCTORS OF GOOD GODLY MORAL ORDER” and “TERMITES IN GOVT”. If anything, that sign reflects the astonishingly-wide gap in perspectives of pro and anti-Trump citizens of this town and nation.
But despite that negative portrayal of anti-Trump liberals, both Ralph and Michael Waller crossed the Chester Street political divide to re-engage vigil organizer Sherp and Bob Hill in a conversation that began in early May. see related story
And as we have reported before – perhaps seeing opposing sides of such an emotionally-charged debate finding some common ground for discussion is the most promising development of Front Royal’s dueling political demonstrations.
But as for those Christmas wishes, there surely remains a divide …
Marvin Reifsnyder of Rockland chalked up another one December 10 – another birthday, that is.
On that day, World War II veteran Reifsnyder was 103 years old and celebrated with the visit of his son, Alan and his wife Libby, visiting from Florida, plus several neighbors who stopped by individually to say “Happy Birthday!”
“Uncle Marvin” who some call him (behind his back) was born in 1914, the year World War I, the “war to end all wars”, broke out in Europe. Unfortunately that assessment of an end to war was wrong, and Reifsnyder enlisted in the U.S. Navy after the U.S. entered World War II some 27 years later. He served in the Pacific aboard a destroyer, which was anchored off the island of Iwo Jima the day in 1945 the Japanese surrendered.
Marvin lives alone – or rather with a caregiver – at the home he moved into with his late wife in 1986. She died in 2006 after 69 years of marriage. He is a native of Pennsylvania and worked in the Department of the Army at the Pentagon almost 50 years.
Despite diminishing eyesight, he is driven to the American Legion in Front Royal each morning to play pool, and once in awhile takes his place at a poker table. “I’m having trouble sometimes, seeing the ball, but I still enjoy going there,” he said.
Marvin is well remembered at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club (SVGC) where he played the course into his mid-’90s. For exercise, he leaves his home for a daily stroll on the golf course, weather permitting.
“We still remember Marvin,” said Janet Maucione, banquet manager at SVGC, when told of his 103rd birthday at a Rockland Christmas banquet December 14.
SHENANDOAH VALLEY, VA – Blue Ridge Singers, a premier chamber chorus under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Alban in the northern Shenandoah Valley, are performing their annual holiday concerts this week.
This semi-professional and multi-generational ensemble will perform sophisticated arrangements of favorite carols, Renaissance selections, spirituals and contemporary Christmas ballads by composers and arrangers such as Hassler, Gjeilo, Runestad, Thomas, Soderberg and more. There is even a cover of a Pentatonix seasonal song in the mix.
Attending a Blue Ridge Singers holiday concert is rapidly becoming a treasured tradition for many in the region. One audience member recently stated, “Such beautiful singing and great selection of music. A delightful experience.”
Another concert-goer said, “Never boring. It gave me goosebumps. I’m always blown away by the quality of the choir. So together in everything. Excellent! Love it!”
Blue Ridge Singers Concerts:
•Friday, Dec. 15, 7:30 pm, Front Royal Presbyterian Church, 115 Luray Ave.
•Sunday, Dec. 17, 4:00 pm First Baptist Church, 205 W. Piccadilly St., Winchester.
Concerts are free to the public; a freewill offering will be taken.
The chorus will also present a concert at the Village at Orchard Ridge Retirement Community in Winchester on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7:00 pm.
Blue Ridge Singers is a 501(c)(3) exempt nonprofit that is based in Warren County, VA. For more information on the chorus, visit Blue Ridge Singers website.
Library closings Do to the New Year’s holiday the Library will be closed Monday, January 1st and Tuesday, January 2nd. The Library will also be closed Monday, January 15th in observance of Martin Luther King Day.
General Education Development Samuels Public Library invites you to register and attend the General Education Development course. This course will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 A.M-12:30 P.M (except on school holidays or closings). The GED course is completely free. Let this course be the stepping stone to your success. Classes resume Tuesday, January 9th.
Genealogy Nuts: Shake Your Family Tree Interested in learning about family history? Samuels Public Library invites you to a workshop for beginning to advanced genealogists. Discover your family roots with a team of genealogists who together have researched more than 50,000 names. This class meets every Wednesday night at 6:00 P.M
Genealogy Workshop Samuels Public Library invites you to come out Tuesday, January 9th at 6:00 P.M to learn about the library’s genealogy resources. Check out what online databases the library has to offer, what print resources we have in our very own Virginia history room, and how to start a search for those new to genealogy! Already done extensive research? Feel free to stop by and share your stories! This class meets on the second Tuesday of every month.
Crochet Group Samuels Public Library invites you to come out and learn how to crochet or share your talents. The group will meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 10:00 A.M (January 10th & 24th). All ability levels welcome.
Advanced Excel Samuels Public Library invites to come out and join us for our Advanced Excel class on Saturday, January 13th from 1:00 P.M – 3:00 P.M. This class is designed to introduce you to using common EXCEL built-in formulas in your spreadsheets and how to add graphs. Don’t miss out on this chance to have a better understanding on a widely used Microsoft application.
Digital Photography: A Hands-On Workshop Are you interested in taking photographs that tell a story, capture a moment, or express a feeling? Samuels Public Library invites you to come out and join us Saturday, January 13th from 1:00 P.M – 5:00 P.M for this awesome Digital Photography workshop. By learning a few fundamentals, anyone can create memorable photographs. This workshop reviews principals related to composition, exposure and focusing. Tips will include how best to photograph people, landscapes, flowers and wildlife. Finally, options for storing, editing, printing and sharing photographs will be explored. This introductory workshop is for people who want to move beyond simple point and shoot photography. Bring your camera, with charged batteries, memory and the camera manual (if possible). The workshop includes activities so you can learn by doing. Although any type of camera can be used, learning will be enhanced with cameras that allow for adjusting settings.
Kim Blosser, LFCC’s vice president of academic and student affairs, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Shepherd University Assistant Provost for Academic Community Outreach Virginia Hicks allowing LFCC graduates in the associate of science program to seamlessly transfer into Shepherd’s bachelor’s of science in chemistry program.
“We developed a pathway where they will accept all of our credits to transfer right into a bachelor’s degree in chemistry,” says Brandon Shaw, dean of science, engineering, math and health at LFCC. “With this, we know that our students won’t lose even one credit when transferring to Shepherd University.”
LFCC chemistry professors Sam Dillender and Ernest Grisdale worked hard on the joint venture, which will also see transfer students enjoy a significant discount on tuition.
“This is a win-win for our students, LFCC, and Shepherd University,” professors Dillender and Grisdale say in a joint statement. “It allows our students to continue their education at a school offering the same class size, experience, and caring faculty as LFCC. Shepherd University also has excellent research opportunities for chemistry majors, and is close enough that our students can either commute or live on campus. In addition, with the articulation agreement satisfied, Shepherd University will accept up to 72 credits, and can offer a minimum of a 25-percent tuition discount.”
Shepherd University, located in Shepherdstown, W.Va., has already had good experiences with LFCC graduate transfers, according to Hicks.
“This is so exciting, our first 2+2 (two years for an associate degree and two years for a bachelor’s degree) agreement with Lord Fairfax Community College,” she says. “We have examined Lord Fairfax’s associate of science programs and we are impressed.
“The professors and administrators from both universities worked hard together to make this happen.”
WARREN COUNTY – A Saturday evening fire at an unoccupied residence at the end of Shadows Drive in Blue Ridge Shadows subdivision caused about $100,000 in damages, according to Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.
The four-alarm fire was located through the subdivision into a farm owned by David Seekford of Headquarters Road of Stephens City. The blaze was discovered at 9: 24 p.m. by an off-duty Warren Sheriff’s Office employee who lives on Shadows Drive.
First responders arrived minutes later to find a large two story balloon frame residence with fire and smoke showing from the second floor and roof. Fire also broke through the second floor windows in rear.
Maiatico said an aggressive attack was made on the fire, which resulted in most of the first floor being saved from the blaze.
Mr. Seekford said the structure, which was built in the 1900’s, has been used as a hunting lodge for many years.
The cause of this fire is under investigation by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s office and is being ruled accidental from an apparent electrical short in the rear wall assembly.
Maiatico said in a media release that the “fire traveled up in the wall and out into the second floor storage room, until it entered the attic and out the windows, where the fire was seen from the adjoining subdivision.”
No one was injured in the incident; the loss is estimated to be approximately $100,000.
Warren County Fire and Rescue was assisted by Frederick County Fire and Rescue, according to the media release.
STAUNTON –Snow was falling on many parts of the Shenandoah Valley early Saturday morning and was forecast to continue through the afternoon. Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Sandy Myers says VDOT has crews deployed throughout the Staunton District to plow or treat roads as needed.
While roadways are primarily reported to be wet, some areas of snow or slush are possible – especially on elevated surfaces such as bridges and overpasses.
Myers said in a Saturday morning email that VDOT performed anti-icing operations on Shenandoah Valley interstate and some primary roads during the day on Friday.
The Staunton District, according to Myers, has a $15.6 million snow-removal budget, which is part of the district’s overall maintenance budget this fiscal year of $130.5 million.
While VDOT is responsible for clearing all state-maintained roads, interstates and major highways, such as U.S. Routes 340/522 have priority over lesser-traveled roads and streets. Myers said the VDOT goal is to make all roads passable within 48 hours of a storm’s end.
The Town of Front Royal is charged with clearing its own streets.
Clifton Balderson, VDOT’s Edinburg residency administrator, said in a recent visit to the Stephens City VDOT facility that snow removal crews work 24/7 to keep the commonwealth’s roads safe and passable under wintry conditions.
At the Stephens City location, VDOT produces salt brine, which prevents snow and ice from sticking to the pavement when used as a pre-treatment before the storm.
Salt is VDOT’s primary snow-removal and ice-control chemical, but it works at 27 degrees or above.. If the temperature dips below 27 degrees, the salt will not melt the frozen precipitation, and abrasives and calcium chloride must be used.
For winter weather road conditions go to 511 VIRGINIA, on the orange bar at the top of the page, click on “Text Views” and then click on “Road Condition Table”. Look at the pull-down box that lists all jurisdictions, then select a county to check road conditions.
VDOT offers a free 511 app for android or IOS mobile phones. Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Go to Free Virginia 511 Tools to get your 511 app.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can be accessed through its mobile-friendly website at VDOT website. Agents are on site 24/7 365 days a year to assist the public. Motorists can also call the VDOT Customer Service Center at 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623).
The Staunton District Snow Page is on the VDOT website under Travel Center Snow Emergency Pages. The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton.
FRONT ROYAL – Officers of the Front Royal Police Department and the nonprofit, volunteer organization the Front Royal Police Foundation are gearing up for two holiday events for which they plan all year long.
Operation Blue Christmas is a project that allows the FRPD to partner with the Front Royal Elks Lodge and provide a party, complete with gifts and a visit from Santa, for children who might not other have a Christmas gift. Officers will be at the Elks Lodge on Saturday, December 9th, helping pass out gifts, visiting with the children and their families.
Foundation President Patti Baggarly said that the children have already been identified and shopped for by the Elks, and the police officers would be on hand to help the Elks with the party.
“The Officers enjoy spending time with these young ones, the future of our Town, playing games and enjoying a meal together. Talk about smiles!” Baggarly said.
Captain Ryman said the officers enjoy meeting the families as they help Santa deliver gifts, and it demonstrates to the children that police officers are a part of the community and are not just there for when trouble occurs and help is needed.
For the third year, officers and board members will visit two local nursing homes, taking gifts to the residents and staff. Though it is difficult to schedule a time to visit –between shift-work, court appearances and days off – the past two years have seen a large contingent of officers who were delighted to visit the seniors, spend time visiting and posing for photos with the seniors.
The visits will occur on Dec. 14.
Captain Ryman said, “The nursing home visits made some of the officer’s Christmases. It’s clear to see that some of the seniors had not had a visitor for some time, and seeing the joy on the residents’ faces means a lot.
The staff is so welcoming and excited for us to visit their residents—it’s a small undertaking for us, in terms of time and resources, and it means a great deal to us and to those whom we visit. We couldn’t coordinate this without the great work of the foundation.”
The Front Royal Police Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 volunteer organization comprised of citizens who work to raise funds for department needs that are beyond what the town budget can fully support.
The board spends 95-percent of all donated funds; the remaining five-percent is spent on overhead, such as stationery, postage, etc.
Items funded by the Front Royal Police Foundation in the past include: a K9 vehicle, K9 training and a kennel, defensive tactics training equipment, gym equipment and travel expenses for out of state training, as well as funding support for community projects such as National Night Out.
FRONT ROYAL – The Warren County Educational Endowment awarded 12 grants this week totaling $41,590 to various educator projects in the Warren County Public School System.
Grants were awarded for the following projects:
Ø A.S. Rhodes After-school STEM CLUB – Charity Lease/A. S. Rhodes Elementary School – $5,000 – The grant will be used to establish an after-school STEM club for all grades. The club will offer a place to enrich minds and open up student creativity through hands on, rigorous, and fun STEM projects.
Ø Digital Science Lab Tools – Robin Jensen/Skyline Middle School – $3,995 – The grant will allow the Science Department to purchase 8-10 digital microscopes that are compatible with Google Chromebooks along with a subscription to ExploreLearning.com (Gismos) to provide students access to virtual labs that they would otherwise not be able to create in the classroom.
Ø Greenhouse – Grace Bucklen/Skyline High School – $7,500 – The project provides funding to construct a greenhouse at Skyline High School. With the greenhouse, agriculture students will be able to fulfill many state
competencies while gaining hands-on horticulture industry experience. Students will grow mums and poinsettias in the fall, as well as spring annuals, perennials, and vegetables.
Ø Hatching Chickens: The Experience – Laurel Gilliom/Brighter Futures Learning Community – $440 – The grant will fund the purchase of a Brinsea Classroom Egg Incubator kit that includes an automatic incubator, lesson plans, an egg scope to watch the stages of development, and a heater for the chicks when they hatch. Students will learn about animal cells as it relates to the development of the embryo in the eggs.
Ø Learning with a Focus – Jessica Hamilton/E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School – $775 – The project will provide funding for flexible seating (20 wobble stools) for the kindergarten classroom.
Ø Mindfulness and Theraplay Resources – Kristin Frankel/Ressie Jeffries Elementary School – $1,400 – Studies have shown a relationship between academic performance and discipline referrals. Also, studies have shown many benefits to incorporating mindfulness in schools, including a decrease in discipline referrals and an increase in academic performance. The project will purchase yoga mats, chimes, game activity cards, fidgets, play-dough, and stress balls in order to create a warm and nurturing atmosphere for Sunshine Circle Club for students.
Ø SLP Toolkit – Julie Haines/WCPS Special Services – Speech & Language Services – $180 – Project will provide software for effective and efficient caseload management, assessment, and reports for students receiving Speech-Language Services.
Ø STEM Lab – Beth Cayer/Ressie Jeffries Elementary School – $5,000 – The grant will fund materials for a room dedicated to STEM instruction for the whole school to utilize to enhance and encourage instruction of science, technology, engineering, and math, providing students with hands-on, real-life problem solving opportunities. Students will be able to use technology to develop design briefs and ideas, streamlining the process and providing them a learning springboard for using technology in future years for more complex projects.
Ø Division-wide Activities Director – Alan Fox/Central Office – $2,500 – The retention of quality teachers in WCPS has a direct impact on the instruction that the students receive on a daily basis. Unfortunately WCPS, like many neighboring school systems, has experienced a high teacher turnover rate. This grant will fund an Activities Director position to address teacher retention. The Activities Director will be responsible
for coordinating activities and social events to build connection between our newer teachers and the community in which they work.
Ø Wobble While Working – Moriah Rush/E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School – $1,600 – Research shows that movement during instruction improves focus, increases the oxygen to the brain, enhances engagement, and helps dispel excess energy. Project will purchase up to 20 wobble stools for a 4th Grade class as one of two system-wide pilot projects.
Ø Do You See What I See? The Google Virtual Reality Expedition and Field Trip – Heather Lupton/E. Wilson Morrison and Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary Schools – $10,000 – The goal of the project is to stimulate learning opportunities for students by traveling to new places and exploring new ideas through the use of Google Expeditions Virtual Reality devices. Project will purchase a Google Expedition Kit that includes 30 student virtual reality devices/viewers, teacher device, chargers, cart, and associated equipment. Equipment will be shared at EWM and LFK Elementary Schools and be available for use by other schools in the WCPS.
Ø Film Production – Chris Whitney/Warren County High School – $3,200 – Project will fund the purchase of a professional video camera, green screen, sound equipment, and computer and editing software to aid in the production of film and video projects. Students will learn how to run a production set and shoot film, creating video and film projects for class, WCPS, and the community.
In a media release, WCEE President Doug Stanley stated, “The Warren County Educational Endowment maintains its commitment to our mission of helping the local school system support high level and creative programs for our children. The Board was extremely excited to see the collaboration shown by the teachers in developing the grant proposals. With these twelve grant awards we feel that we have been able to provide additional tools to our dedicated teachers to continue to push innovation for our students in their Trek-to-Excellence.”
According to School Superintendent Greg Drescher, “The Warren County Educational Endowment provides funding for learning activities in our schools that often involve cutting edge technology or unique instructional practices that teachers are interested in trying in their classrooms. This funding allows our school system to try out something new before making a large investment. This year the Endowment is funding projects related to STEM, Agriculture, Film Production, Virtual Reality, Alternative Seating and activities that support our teachers. There is no doubt the Endowment has had a profound and important impact on our school system. They are a perfect example of the community support our school system enjoys.”
To date the Endowment has awarded 135 grants totaling $454,428.67. Anyone interested in supporting the Endowment can contact the Endowment or make a donation at: Warren County Educational Endowment.