The Julia Wagner Animal Shelter in Front Royal came within a whisker or two of its target on Saturday, August 17, by adopting out 26 animals on the annual “Clear the Shelter” Day, a result Executive Director Meghan Bowers said was “highly satisfactory.”
Bowers had set a high watermark for the special day with extended hours and a full staff on duty. In an interim report to me when I dropped by in early afternoon, she told me of six adoptions.
At the end of the day, when another Examiner staffer, Roger Bianchini, had stopped in to take photos, the totals stood at 15 “forever homes” for dogs and 11 for cats, just short of the target of 30 overall. Adoption fees were excused for the event.
Looking backward, then forward, Bowers reported a net total of $16,794 for last month’s “Waggin’ for Dragons” popular fundraiser.
“It’s not as much as previous years,” she said, but a healthy total since the event was dropped last year and the number of competitors – eight boats, 160 paddlers – last month was down by half.
She expects “Waggin'” will be back to a full complement of competitors in future years.
Looking forward, Bowers announced “Putt for Paws” at the Bowling Green Country Club on October 11. Teams of four compete on the 18-hole golf course, followed by dinner and door prizes. Price of entry for another key fundraising event is $400 per team.
Then the Humane Society of Warren County, headed by Ellen Aders, will stage one of its biggest attractions: “Tales & Ales,” a dinner – the 8th annual – with silent auction, cash prizes including $1,000 that goes to a lucky $35 entry ticket holder. “Tales & Ales, usually a sellout, is scheduled for November 16. More information on both these events will be reported here as they approach.
And remember, not all the shelter’s animals were adopted – some are still waiting for that special, loving person to take them home too…
VDOT: Warren County Traffic Alert for December 4 – 8, 2023
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
*NEW* Mile Marker 0 to 8, eastbound – Right shoulder closures for litter removal, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
*NEW* Mile Marker 3 to 1, westbound – Right shoulder closures for shoulder repairs, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.
*NEW* Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Shoulder closures for mowing operations, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through December 18.
Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Overnight lane closures and traffic-lane shifts as needed, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. through March 2024. Shoulder closures 24/7. Work zone speed limit: 55 miles an hour. Work is related to southbound acceleration ramp extension and bridge widening, with estimated completion in fall 2024.
No lane closures were reported.
No lane closures were reported.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
Preserving Heroic Legacies: National Court Reporters Foundation Collaborates with Library of Congress
Capturing the Voices of Valor: A Tribute to Veterans’ Sacrifices.
In a heartwarming initiative, an extraordinary effort is underway to honor the sacrifices and experiences of American veterans. Spearheaded by the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) in partnership with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP), this project seeks to immortalize the oral histories of combat veterans, ensuring their stories of valor and sacrifice are preserved for future generations.
Jill Parker Landsman from the NCRF and Tom LaCombe, a combat veteran and author, are at the forefront of this noble endeavor. Landsman’s involvement began serendipitously when a friend introduced her to LaCombe, a Vietnam War veteran from Browntown, VA. Landsman recognized the profound value of his experiences and knew his story deserved to be heard and preserved.
The process involves the invaluable assistance of court reporter Margary Rogers. Rogers will transcribe the conversation using her Stenograph, ensuring every detail of LaCombe’s service to the country is captured accurately. This initiative is not just about recording history; it’s about enhancing the legacy of those who served acknowledging their contributions to our nation’s fabric.
The Veterans History Project, a lesser-known but significant program of the Library of Congress, has been diligently working to collect these life stories, especially focusing on World War II veterans. The urgency of this task is underscored by the sobering reality that we lose these veterans daily, making the preservation of their histories all the more critical.
Tom LaCombe’s perspective adds a poignant layer to this project. Reflecting on his return from Vietnam, LaCombe shares the indifference he encountered, driving his desire to ensure the sacrifices and losses of his fellow servicemen are not forgotten. This project offers a platform for voices like LaCombe’s to be heard and appreciated.
The initiative extends beyond recording; it’s about acknowledging and respecting the service of our veterans. It’s a call to understand the profound impacts of military life and the unique experiences each serviceman and woman endures.
The Veterans History Project is a testament to American veterans’ enduring spirit. It’s a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedoms and a noble effort to ensure these stories of heroism and resilience are never forgotten. As we look forward to more interviews and the continuous growth of this project, it is evident that the legacy of our veterans will be preserved, thanks to the dedication of individuals like Landsman and LaCombe and the team behind this invaluable initiative.
Tom LaCombe is scheduled to visit the Royal Examiner studio next week to share his story and book, Light Ruck: Vietnam 1969.
Front Royal Welcomes the New Chapter of ‘Play Favorites’ Toy Store
A Fresh Start for a Beloved Local Business.
Play Favorites, a cherished local toy store in Front Royal celebrated its grand re-opening under new ownership. The event was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by community leaders and enthusiastic locals.
Nike Foster Cales, Executive Director of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, opened the ceremony, expressing excitement about the store’s future under the stewardship of Brett and Hannah Bement. Josh Ingram, a Town Council member, emphasized the store’s unique role in the community, highlighting its appeal to kids and adults.
Warren County Supervisor Walt Mabe praised Play Favorites for its blend of educational and fun offerings. The new owners, Brett and Hannah, shared their journey to acquiring the store, driven by a passion for preserving a local toy store in their community.
In an interview with publisher Mike McCool, Brett Bement discussed their unexpected journey into the board game business. Hannah Beeman, a teacher and local craftsman, continues her educational role while contributing to the store’s new look and product offerings.
Play Favorites stands out for its welcoming atmosphere and community engagement. The store offers game nights, collaborates with local game designers, and maintains a focus on educational toys. Under the new management, Play Favorites promises to be more than just a store; it’s a community hub that celebrates the joy of play across all ages.
Warren County High School Buzzing with Holiday Activities and Achievements
From Parades to Pancakes: A Community Engaged in Celebration and Success.
The festive spirit is in full swing at Warren County High School, as highlighted in a recent discussion with Mike McCool at the Royal Examiner’s studio. The school, under the leadership of Ken Kneash, the principal, and the energetic efforts of secretary Nora McMackin, is bustling with a series of events and accomplishments that showcase the vibrant school community and its commitment to student involvement and success.
A Parade of Pride and Pancakes
The excitement kicks off on December 2nd with the much-anticipated Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast hosted at the high school from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., a beloved event that brings together community members and students in a festive setting. This will be followed by the participation of both Warren County and Skyline High School bands in the local Christmas Parade at 4 p.m., a sign of the school’s revitalized involvement in community activities.
Third Annual Holiday Bazaar: A Community Hub
On December 9th, the school will host its third annual Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event, expected to be bigger than ever, will feature over 30 local vendors, making it an ideal spot for holiday shopping. The inclusion of unique offerings and the visit from Santa Claus adds a special touch to the event. DECA students, showcasing their entrepreneurial skills, will manage food services, offering breakfast and lunch and supporting the Toys for Tots campaign.
Student Achievements in the Spotlight
Beyond the festivities, the school is also celebrating significant student achievements. The band, having won second place in a recent competition, exhibits high talent and dedication among the students. Similarly, the theater group’s victory at the Region 3B Super Regional competition, earning them a spot at the state level, is a testament to their hard work and creativity.
Building a Strong School Community
These events and achievements are part of a broader effort to build a strong sense of community within the school. Initiatives like the Teachers for Tomorrow program address the national issue of teacher shortages by encouraging students to pursue careers in education. The program’s success is evident in its growth and the positive response it has received from the community.
Warren County High School is a hive of activity and achievement as it heads into the holiday season. From engaging in community events like the Christmas Parade and Pancake Breakfast to celebrating student successes in music and theater, the school exemplifies a strong, inclusive, and vibrant educational community. These efforts enrich the student’s learning experience and strengthen the bonds between the school and the wider community.
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied, but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
The Blue Ridge Arts Council launches its ‘Deck the Halls’ Christmas Tree and Festive Decorations sale Thursday and Friday
Blue Ridge Arts Council’s annual “Deck the Halls” — now in place in downtown Front Royal for almost two decades — opens today, Thursday, November 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and extends tomorrow, Friday Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the BRAC headquarters, 305 East Main Street, several doors west up East Main from the Gazebo.
A variety of decorated Christmas trees, holiday wreaths, and other seasonal items will be on sale throughout the month. Proceeds support ongoing programs of the arts council. For the first two days, refreshments will be offered.
This year the “Deck the Halls” display features an in-place art exhibit of the work of former Warren Sentinel Editor Kevin Seabrooke, “Browntown and Beyond”, that opened at the BRAC center October 14, running through January 12, 2024.
St. Michael Dojo Young Karate Stars Shine at National Tournament
Impressive Medal Wins for Local Dojo at Prestigious Karate Championship.
In a remarkable display of skill and discipline, fifteen members of the St. Michael Dojo, including a spirited group of fourteen youth, made their mark at the 43rd International Shotokan Karate Federation / US National Karate Championship Tournament. Held in Columbus, Ohio, from November 10-12, 2023, this event drew 180 karate enthusiasts from across the nation, spotlighting the rising talent of the local dojo.
The tournament kicked off with an impressive start for St. Michael Dojo, particularly through the performances of William and Warren Dooley, ages eight and eleven, respectively. These young brothers set a high bar, each securing gold medals in both Kata (form) and Kumite (sparring) events, showcasing the effective training and dedication nurtured at St. Michael Dojo.
While competing in intermediate categories, Fiona Riccio and Joseph Spiering continued this winning streak. Riccio’s grace in Kata and Spiering’s prowess in Kumite earned them gold, further cementing the dojo’s reputation for excellence.
Overall, the young participants from St. Michael Dojo bagged an impressive total of twenty medals, a tally that included six golds, eight silvers, and six bronzes across individual and team events. This demonstrates the breadth of talent at the dojo and the effectiveness of their training regimen.
Notably, silver medals were claimed by Samuel Fidero, Fiona Riccio, Joseph Spiering, and Agnes Cammack in various age and belt divisions. Additionally, bronze medals were earned by Dominic and Jonny Fidero, Isabella Fidero, Joseph Spiering, and Jacob Carlson, showcasing depth in both skill and competitive spirit.
The youth kata team, representing the East Coast Region and led by black belts Agnes Cammack, Gianna Parente, and Margaret Carlson, with Jacob Carlson as an alternate, battled against numerous teams from around the country, ultimately securing a well-deserved silver medal.
Behind these remarkable achievements is the guiding hand of Majal Colon-Cammack Sensei, who operates St. Michael Shotokan Karate with dojo locations in Front Royal and Fort Valley. Their affiliation with the International Shotokan Karate Federation, under the leadership of Shihan Hiroyoshi Okazaki, has been instrumental since 2007 in nurturing these young talents.
The national tournament’s success is a testament to the individual skills of these young karatekas and the community and support system built around them. St. Michael Dojo’s philosophy of fostering discipline, skill, and a competitive spirit shines through in these remarkable achievements. As these young athletes continue to train and compete, they raise the bar for themselves and set an inspiring example for their peers and the wider community.