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Local News
Samuels Public Library Adult Programming upcoming schedule
March 17, 2018

The Broken Brain: Creating the Ultra Mind

Samuels Public Library invites you to join us Thursday, March 29th at 6:30 pm for a program hosted by Winchester Brain Injury Group. This program will explore information from the 8 segment program “The Broken Brain”, learning how to “create the ultra mind” in an effort to address traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimers, dimensia and autism.

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.

English as a Second Language

Samuels Public Library invites you to register and attend the English as a Second Language course. This course will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. The ESL course is completely free. Learning English will not only enhance your quality of life but open many doors and present new opportunities.

Does Not Compute!

Need some help with your computer or a personal device? Come into the Library or give us a call to sign up for one-on-one help with reference staff between 10 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. on most Tuesdays. Patrons are limited to two 15 minute sessions unless time permits. This replaces our “Hello Computer” program.

Exploring Computers

Samuel Public Library invites you to attend our intermediate computer class and improve your skills. Each month explore a new computer program or application in a safe, friendly environment with other intermediate users. Classes are held on Thursdays at 1:00pm-2:00pm

Genealogy Nuts: Shake Your Family Tree

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. Classes are held Wednesday nights at 6:00pm.

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 (April 11th & 25th). All ability levels welcome.

SPL-Books and Beyond

Samuels Public Library invites you to join us for the Books & Beyond Book Club on Wednesday, April 18th at 10:00am, where The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff.

What the Tech!

Technology can be tricky! Samuels Public library invites you to come out and join us Thursday, April 26th at 4:00 P. M. so you can ask our teen volunteers for help with your personal devices. Bring phones, smart devices, tablets, laptops or e-Readers and plenty of questions. Let our teens update you on the latest tech tips and tricks! Be sure to register so we have enough teens to help!

Writers Support Group

Samuels public Library invites you to come out and join the Warren Wordsmiths, an informal writer’s support group that meets every fourth Tuesday of the month. Have a writing project you are working on? Need someone to bounce ideas or give constructive criticism? Than this is the group for you! This group will meet Tuesday, April 24th at 6:00 P.M.

Vibes in the Libes: Winchester Celtic Circle

Samuels Public Library invites you to join us for a special musical performance by the Winchester Celtic Circle, an established Celtic ensemble from the Winchester area that specializes in traditional Scottish and Irish folk music, on Friday, April 20th at 12:30 P.M. Bring your lunch tell a friend and enjoy.

Unaccompanied and Free: The Rise of A Cappella Pop Music

From Bach chorales to barbershop quartets to movies such as “Pitch Perfect” and groups like Pentatonix, a cappella music has undergone significant changes over several centuries and up to the present day. Join Michael DeMato, Choral Director and Music Instructor at Randolph-Macon Academy, on Thursday, April 26th at 6:00 P.M. for this discussion and performance as we track the progression of the unaccompanied voice to learn where we are today, and where we’re going tomorrow.

Local News
School safety and student support of Florida victims in Warren County 
March 17, 2018

Letasha Thompson addresses school safety during public participation portion of March 7 Warren County School Board meeting. Photos/Roger Bianchini

FRONT ROYAL – At its March 7 monthly meeting the Warren County School Board, administrative staff and several parents discussed the hot-button topic of school safety three weeks after the Parkland, Florida semi-automatic rifle shooting that left 17 students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School dead and 17 more wounded.  The Valentine’s Day school massacre in Florida and the aggressive activism launched by student survivors of Stoneman Douglas High School has intensified the gun law debate nationally. 

One week later on Wednesday, March 14, exactly a month after the Parkland, Florida school shooting, 242 students left four county public schools in support of a national student remembrance of the Parkland victims and a call for stricter gun control laws.  The demonstrations were slated to begin across the nation at 10 a.m. in each time zone and last for 17 minutes, one minute for each Douglas High victim. 

School Superintendent Greg Drescher said the head count of participating students was 120 at Skyline Middle School, 80 at Skyline High School, 30 at Warren County High School, and 12 at Warren County Middle School.  He said the school system neither discouraged nor encouraged the event, adding that students who did participate will face no disciplinary consequence for their action.  The two high schools have approximate student populations of 800 each; the middle schools about 600 students each. 

“Some people were offended by it, but for me it was more of a respect thing with 17 minutes of silence for the 17 victims in Florida,” Skyline High sophomore Sophia Conrow said of her participation. 

“We want to give students an opportunity to express their opinions and for some it was really, really important to participate,” Drescher observed, adding, “But we want it understood that education is our primary function, so it’s not something we would expect to occur every week.  But we’ll continue a dialogue so our kids understand our perspective that disrupting class may not be the best way – and I think the kids understand that.” 

A week earlier at the school board meeting, several parents addressed the issue of what Warren County Public Schools are doing to address the ongoing public danger of mass shootings that have all too frequently targeted schools.  The discussion spanned the meeting from public participation at its outset to an informal discussion after the meeting’s official adjournment. 

The latter conversation came when several people unfamiliar with the meeting format rose to ask if they might speak to the matter following the adjournment.  Drescher invited the parents forward to continue discussion of the topic. 

Letasha Thompson was first to address the issue during the public participation segment near the meeting’s outset.  Among her comments Thompson suggested metal detectors be placed on school doors throughout the system as one immediately-available safety implementation.  During the later, post-meeting informal discussion Chris and Melissa Cubbage and Mike Mayer added their thoughts.   

Mayer, who said he had a daughter at Ressie Jeffries Elementary, made an interesting suggestion on a middle ground this reporter had yet to hear on the idea of arming teachers.  That idea was arming some school staff with what he called “bear” or “wasp spray” – essentially a mace designed to shoot a tight stream as far as 30 feet, and which he observed would blind and drop a human to his knees at that distance. 

An ongoing concern appeared to be that locking classroom doors and telling students “to get down and hide” may not be enough.  And Drescher’s earlier remarks on school safety during his Superintendent’s Report indicated school administrators may be on the same page. 

Above, Chris and Melissa Cubbage discuss school safety with school board and staff following the meeting’s official adjournment; below, Mike Mayer raises potential of non-lethal arming of school staffs with ‘bear spray’.

Drescher opened his report on school safety by observing, “The recent school shooting in Florida sparked a series of threats across our nation” before launching into a summary of threats dealt with by Warren County Public Schools on February 21-22, a week after the Parkland school shooting.  During his report Drescher noted that school officials and law enforcement have already met several times in recent weeks to review the system’s emergency procedures and see what kind of improvements can be made.  He also pointed to an increased law enforcement presence “at all our schools” including an added sheriff’s deputy’s presence during school lunch hours. 

Drescher added that he believed procedures in place “were good” and would be implemented if necessary by “good people” but did add that he would be making “further recommendations” in the near future. 

Of the threats to Warren County Public Schools previously reported on by Royal Examiner, Drescher noted that it had eventually been determined the February 21st social media post against “SHS” that led to searches of everyone entering Skyline High School the following day had originated in Ohio and was not targeting Warren County’s SHS. – “I imagine that SHS’s across the country dealt with this,” Drescher said. 

The system also dealt with a threat made against Warren County High School and two directed at Warren County Middle School, the latter situation leading to the evacuation of the middle school the morning of February 22. 

“Our crisis plans were initiated and the evacuation, subsequent searches all went well. I want to thank our students for handling it so well; our parents for coming through a scary situation; our schools’ staff that did a fantastic job at all levels; and all the law enforcement that supported us,” Drescher said. 

“In the cases of all these threats we know who did them. In no case was the threat a real threat.  I would define them all as individuals saying very foolish things.  All have been turned over to law enforcement and all have gone through our disciplinary procedures; and we have followed our threat assessment and mental health assessments as appropriate,” the school superintendent reported. 

And so it goes locally and nationally in the eighteenth year of the 21st Century. 

Local News
Front Royal Lions Club dedicates bench at Warren County Middle School
March 16, 2018

Lions Club members pose outside the Warren County Middle School with some of the students who will enjoy the new bench. / Courtesy photo.

FRONT ROYAL – As part of its on-going commitment to community service, members of the Front Royal Lions Club participated in the dedication of a new bench for the use and enjoyment of students at the new Warren County Middle School. This donation will be recognized as a “Centennial Service Project” by Lions Clubs International as part of its one hundred year anniversary.

Speaking on behalf of the Lions, Lion President Daryl Funk gave a brief presentation on the history of “Lionism.” Funk stated, “In response to the call to service by Helen Keller, the famous advocate for the disabled, Front Royal Lions have provided thousands of free sight and hearing exams and glasses and hearing aids for Warren County residents.”

Funk continued, “Lions fill a critical gap in healthcare. Medicaid and Medicare do not pay for glasses and hearing aids, only exams; and we are the only entity filling this need. Further, this bench represents our continued commitment to youth. This year, our club purchased a Spot Vision Screener, which is a handheld, portable device designed to quickly and easily detect vision issues in children as early as six months. We intend to use this device to offer screenings in our local preschools and other schools lacking sight programs.”

In accepting the donation, WCMS Principal Amy Gubler said, “The Front Royal Lions Club were gracious enough to purchase the bench for our new school, and I want to thank our partners for the donation of this beautiful bench.” Several WCMS students and staff gathered to participate in the dedication.

Founded in 1934, the Front Royal Lions Club meets every second Tuesday at 6:15 PM at the Oak Grill, 107 Water Street, Front Royal. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information on the Spot Vision Screener, click here.


Local News
Local service agencies holding volunteer fair to find those interested in giving back
March 15, 2018

FRONT ROYAL – Area residents who are interested in volunteering will be able to “shop” amongst local agencies and nonprofits that need volunteers during a first-ever upcoming Front Royal event.

The first of its kind “Volunteer Fair” is slated to be held Friday, April 20 , from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Community Center, located at 538 Villa Avenue in Front Royal, according to a press release from Dawn Graves, executive director of the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County.

The release states that local nonprofits and agencies are cooperatively sponsoring the event that will allow citizens to find the for which they would like to help give back to their community.

County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Mabie noted, “There isn’t really a competition between fire and rescue and other agencies for volunteers because each program has a unique mission and requires different interests and skills.” Chamber of Commerce President Niki Foster agreed, saying that a coalition of agencies and programs has been assembled to address the need for connecting volunteers with service organizations in the area.

Area agencies and nonprofits may reserve a space at the upcoming Volunteer Fair by contacting:

Dawn Graves, Executive Director
United Way of Front Royal-Warren County
Phone: 540 635-3636 office or 540 931-2306 cell
Email: dawn@frontroyalunitedway.org

The reservation fee of $25 will be refunded to agencies or nonprofits who exhibit.

Local News
Want to save America’s wildlife? Call your congressional representatives
March 14, 2018

The U.S. Congress is on the cusp of voting on a bill that could have life-and-death consequences for animals and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is asking people of Warren County, and, indeed, the nation, to urge their legislators to protect America’s horses and wildlife.

The legislation is the spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018. The national Humane Society urges support for legislation that would, in part, ensure:

— The ban on operating horse slaughter plants in the United States is maintained.

— America’s wild horses and burros remain protected from mass killing.

— Harmful wildlife provisions are excluded, particularly language that would allow cruel trophy hunting methods on some National Park Service lands in Alaska.

–Congress maintains critical Endangered Species Act protections for species such as the gray wolf.

The number to call in Washington is (202) 224-3121, leaving a message for Congressman Bob Goodlatte and Virginia U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to the effect that they work with leadership to ensure that the Final FY18 spending bill protects America’s domestic and wild horses from slaughter and mass killing.

Additionally, request the delegation’s help in safeguarding America’s wildlife from harmful changes to the Endangered Species Act and provisions allowing extreme methods of killing grizzlies and wolves on some Alaska Park Service lands.

Local News
Winchester attorney dead from apparent suicide
March 14, 2018

GREAT CACAPON, W VA – A Winchester attorney was found dead Tuesday evening in a vehicle in a remote area of Great Cacapon, W.Va., in Morgan County. Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer said Wednesday the man had been identified as Christian J. Griffin, 58.

Bohrer said sheriff’s deputies responded to investigate a call regarding a deceased male found in an SUV Tuesday night off W.Va. 9 under the bridge where the Cacapon River empties into the Potomac River.

Bohrer said Griffin died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The witness who discovered the body told police that he first had saw the vehicle Monday evening and then saw it again on Tuesday morning. It was only after taking a closer look at the vehicle that the man saw the body inside the SUV and alerted authorities, Bohrer said.

A Morgan County medical examiner investigated the scene and police have no reason to believe that a suspect is at large in connection with the death, Bohrer stated.

Griffin’s license to practice law was active and in good standing on Wednesday, according to the Virginia State Bar. Griffin’s license was issued on April 28, 1988.

Local News
Kiwanis Club of Front Royal helps celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday at Samuels Library
March 13, 2018

Dr. Seuss’s birthday was recently celebrated at Samuels Public Library. Portraying the famous cat was volunteer Nathanael Jacob. / Courtesy photos.

FRONT ROYAL – The Youth Services Department of Samuels Public Library  recently celebrated the children’s success during Winter Reading Club. Over 350 children and teens participated, reading almost 10,000 books.

The Kiwanis Club of Front Royal joined in the celebration of Winter Reading Club and Dr. Seuss’s birthday with breakfast for all during a special family story time. Kiwanis members were readers during the story time and Samuels Library volunteer Nathanael Jacob portrayed the Cat in the Hat.

“We are grateful for all of the support that we receive from the Kiwanis Club of Front Royal,” noted Michal Ashby, Youth Services Supervisor at Samuels Library. “They have been serving the children of our community through their service and donations to the library for years. Today they not only donated the food for the breakfast, but they brought volunteers to be a part of this event, which was a huge success.”

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Kiwanis members help shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, mentor the disadvantaged, and care for the sick. They develop youth as leaders, build playgrounds, raise funds for pediatric research, and much more. Locally, they also offer college scholarships to graduates of Warren County High School and Skyline High School.

Samuels Public Library is a community resource which enhances the quality of life for residents of Warren County/Front Royal by fulfilling their personal, occupational and recreational needs through services, programs, and a collection of materials that is current, balanced and responsive to those needs. The Library strives to stimulate and broaden community interests in literature, reading and learning, and has been doing so for more than two centuries.

Further information about Samuels Library is available here or by calling (540) 635-3153.


Local News
UPDATE: 10 children transported to hospital following Monday Warren County school bus accident
March 12, 2018

This Warren County Public School bus was struck by a car  Monday morning as it traveled along Royal Avenue. /Photos by Mike McCool


This 2017 Subaru struck the bus after failing to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of 2nd Street and Royal Avenue.

FRONT ROYAL – A Linden man, Donald G. Muterspaugh, has been charged with reckless driving after failing to stop at a stop sign and striking a Warren County school bus Monday morning as it traveled along Royal Avenue.

Front Royal Police Department spokesperson Captain Crystal Cline said Muterspaugh, of 200 Freezeland Manor Rd., Linden, was traveling west on 2nd St. around 10:43 a.m. and did not stop at the stop sign at its intersection with Royal Avenue. The front end of Muterspaugh’s 2017 Subaru struck the rear driver’s side of the 2002 school bus, just forward of the wheelbase.

25 students were on the bus. Cline said 10 children were transported to the Emergency Department of Warren Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Sherry Pugh, of Linden, was the driver of the school bus; she was not injured. Muterspaugh refused to be examined by Warren County Fire and Rescue EMTs.

Local News
Loaded Warren County school bus struck by car Monday morning
March 12, 2018

This Warren County Public School bus was struck by a car (below) Monday morning as it traveled along Royal Avenue. Below: ./Photos by Mike McCool


FRONT ROYAL – A Warren County school bus was involved in a crash with a passenger vehicle  Monday morning at the intersection of Second Street and Royal Avenue.  The bus was carrying about 20 students, according to a first responder at the scene.

None of the students appeared to be injured in the incident and the car’s driver, whose identity has not been confirmed, refused treatment at the scene.

A witness who saw the accident occur, who asked not to be identified, said the car that struck the bus failed to stop at the stop sign on Second Street and “t-boned” the bus as it  traveled south on Royal Avenue.

Warren County Public School Transportation Director Aaron Mitchell, who was on the scene of the accident, said a statement would be forthcoming from Superintendent Greg Drescher.

Local News
Gun violence vigil, counter-demonstration go off civilly
March 11, 2018

Two perspectives on the right to bear arms versus the right to a safe public environment, especially for school-age children – Photos/Roger Bianchini

FRONT ROYAL – A total of nearly 100 people gathered peacefully in the Front Royal Village Commons area Saturday afternoon, March 10, despite several days of sometimes inflammatory social media posts suggesting an armed counter-demonstration to the planned “Vigil and Protest for Victims of Gun Violence”.

As reported by Royal Examiner on Friday, several aspects of the anti-gun violence vigil involving local high school students and the Selah Theater group comprised primarily of area teens were cancelled due to the tone of some gun-rights posts on the “What’s Up Front Royal” Facebook page and the call for anti-vigil demonstrators to show up with open carry firearms.

And while two of the approximate 15 to 25 gun rights advocates did show up with openly-displayed semi-automatic rifles, including an AR-15 like the one used in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, those demonstrators, Emmy Bossung and Todd Kern, told us their weapons were unloaded and they did not want to create any undue anxiety among the vigil participants gathered to pay homage to gun violence victims. Rather, Bossung and Kern said their appearance with the weapons was intended to illustrate the right of Americans to bear arms within local and federal legal parameters.

Above, Emmy Bossung, far left, and Todd Kern, center, said they came with unloaded semi-automatic rifles to make a point, not intimidate anyone; below, an anti-gun violence participant chats with “new gun laws may not be the answer” advocate Gary Kushner prior to the beginning of Saturday’s dueling demonstration – dialogue is always good.

And it is the idea of strengthening those legal parameters, particularly as they apply to background checks, waiting periods on gun purchases, age, and increased emphasis on mental health parameters as a viable part of background checks that separated the approximately 60 anti-gun violence demonstrators from the 25 to 30 gathered to emphasize their right to bear arms as American citizens.

And there was some civil discussion across those opinion lines and the barricades put in place by Front Royal Police prior to the 1 p.m. start of official anti-gun violence vigil activities. And other than a few isolated yells and some passing motorist horns momentarily drowning out some of the vigil speeches, for the most part the opposing sides remained civil, if separated philosophically.

Sixth Congressional District candidates Jennifer Lewis, Peter Volosin and Charlotte Moore appeared in support of the anti-gun violence vigil, while the county’s three state delegates though invited, did not. Those delegates, Chris Collins (29th), Todd Gilbert (15th) and Michael Webert (18th), Webert particularly, drew the ire of organizers for pro-NRA stances and past votes against gun law reform.

One local teen did speak and another’s essay was read at the anti-gun violence vigil. Madeline Phoenix, 14, read an essay written by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student and shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez; and Ell Phoenix read an essay penned by a local high school student who
elected to remain anonymous in the wake of the sometimes ominously-worded social media posts in recent days.

One the gun violence vigils most emotional moments was when participants went to the microphone at the Gazebo to take turns reading names of the deceased at recent mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14 and at the Las Vegas musical concert on October 1, 2017.

As anti-gun violence advocates supporting stronger laws regarding gun purchases gather within the FRPD fenced in perimeter, anti-new gun legislation advocates gather at the edge of that perimeter.

As Heather Davis kicks off the WC Va. Indivisible anti-gun violence event, participants on both sides of the barricade reflect varying perspectives. Some gun rights advocates, including AR-15-packing Emmy Bossung with ‘Gun Free Zones create victims’ sign carrier below, carried their message around the Vigil Against Gun Violence perimeter – not sure if that made those inside feel safer or not.

Towards the end of the organized WC Va. Indivisible anti-gun violence event one pro-gun rights advocate unveiled a Confederate flag emblazoned with an AR-15 . Anti-gun violence demonstrators took a different view on civil rights, quoting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student survivors’ statement ‘We call BS’, as illustrated here surrounded by photos of the Parkland, Florida high school dead.

With a little support from a friend, teen Madeline Phoenix reads from essay by Parkland, Florida high school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez; below vigil participants line up to read the names of the dead at Parkland, Florida and last year’s Las Vegas concert shootings. Below the honoring-the-dead line that saw 75 names read from those two shootings within the last 6 months, pro-gun rights advocates at the police perimeter and across Chester Street; and one family inside the perimeter’s take on the issue.