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WCPS superintendent’s salary under fire again; School Board approves new CTE classes

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James Harper tells Ms. Bower as School Board Chairwoman I’d learn how to spell the superintendent’s last name. It is Drescher. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

FRONT ROYAL — Three new Career and Technical Education (CTE) course offerings on Wednesday received approval from the Warren County School Board, whose members also heard a request for sitting Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) Superintendent Greg Drescher to rescind his recent salary increase.

“Mr. Drescher has been most kind in responding to my requests and I have no doubt that he’s a wonderful person,” local resident James Harper said during the board’s community participation segment of its August 7 regular meeting. “But in my opinion … he’s paid entirely too much money.”

Harper asked any of the School Board members who have received a cost-of-living raise that equaled $12,000 — which was the amount of Drescher’s most-recent raise — to raise their hand.

He waited, looking at each of them.

None raised a hand.

“It’s one thing to give a small raise but to go from $154,000 to $165,837 — plus $8,000 deferred compensation and $3,000 car allowance, plus insurance and paid sick time — you must think the county has planted money trees outside of each school,” said Harper. “This is what makes people upset.”

Harper asked Mr. Drescher “to do the right thing by the county” and give back his cost-of-living raise so that he would be earning his previous yearly salary. “This will still make you the highest-paid person in the county,” Harper told Drescher.

In his opinion, Harper said a superintendent shouldn’t earn more than $150,000 a year, while the assistant superintendent should be paid a yearly salary of roughly $135,000 to $140,000.
Harper also chastised Drescher for belonging to too many outside organizations that likely take Drescher’s time away from his superintendent’s duties, particularly when WCPS has some struggling schools.

Citing Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) accreditation data, Harper said that in school year (SY) 2014-2015, Ressie Jeffries Elementary School received accreditation with a warning. In SY 2015-2016, Harper said the data showed that Ressie Jeffries was partially accredited, as was Skyline High School. Ressie Jeffries again was partially accredited in SY 2016-2017 and then was denied accreditation in SY 2017-2018. That year Skyline High School also received partial accreditation.

Considering such data, Harper commented that Drescher should have enough work to keep him busy at WCPS.

Click here to download letter sent to WCPS and their response.

During the School Board’s action agenda, members unanimously approved three new CTE courses to be offered by WCPS.

Jane Baker, WCPS director of Career and Technical Education, briefed the board members on the course offerings prior to their vote.

“We are growing,” Baker said. “When I started five years ago, we had almost 395 students who came through the door. We now are just shy of 600.”

With additional county funding and extra teachers, Baker said the CTE program has room to expand and therefore staff wants to add:

1.) Welding III, which would offer instruction on the industry’s emerging technologies and how to demonstrate gas tungsten arc welding and shielded metal arc welding. Baker noted that the class would utilize different metals and more refined equipment.

2.) Carpentry III, which would be an advanced class that allows students to gain in-depth knowledge and hands-on skills in construction. Work-based learning methods of instruction for this course would provide students with practical, real-world experience that continues students’ course work in Carpentry I and Carpentry II classes. Baker said students would use newer machinery to learn more modern techniques, and there also would be some cabinet making.

3.) Computer Integrated Manufacturing Systems, a specialized course in which students would be taught concepts of robotics and automated manufacturing by creating 3-D designs with computer modeling software. Students also would produce computer-controlled models of their designs. Baker said one of the CTE teachers this summer completed specialized training to teach the class. “We’re very excited about offering it,” she said.

Baker added that VDOE also has granted approval for the CTE course offerings, which will be added to its trade and industrial category of classes. WCPS offers CTE classes across a total of eight areas. In addition to trade and industrial, there are CTE classes in agriculture, business and information technology, career connections (education-related coursework), family and consumer science, health and medical science, marketing, and technology education.

Baker said that virtually all of last year’s graduating WCPS students enrolled in the trade and industrial category of classes — which includes welding, carpentry, electricity and automotive technology — had full-time jobs right after graduation.

“It’s important that everyone knows what we have to offer” by way of CTE classes, said School Board Chairwoman Catherine Bower.

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Crime/Court

Clear Brook woman charged in South Royal Avenue traffic incident

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A 44-year-old Frederick County woman has been charged regarding a Monday evening traffic incident on South Royal Avenue in Front Royal. According to the RSW Jail website, Susan Miller Harbaugh, from Clear Brook, Virginia, was booked on two charges, Driving While Intoxicated and Vandalism, Intentional Destruction of Property (monument).

Harbaugh was booked into the jail at 12:29 a.m. Tuesday morning, December 10, and released at 5:28 p.m. that afternoon.

Susan Miller Harbaugh at time of processing into RSW Jail – Photo RSW Jail website

According to Front Royal Police Sgt. Jason Winner, “On December 9, 2019, at approximately 9:50 p.m. FRPD officers were dispatched to the area of the 200 block of South Royal Avenue for a report of an accident. While responding to the area, officers were informed that a vehicle had left the scene of that accident and was traveling North on Royal Avenue.

“Officers located the vehicle that left the accident and conducted a traffic stop. It was determined during the accident investigation that the vehicle had struck a light pole on the side of the road.

That pole was knocked down into the roadway and was struck by another vehicle.”

Harbaugh was apprehended on North Royal Avenue.

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Crime/Court

Front Royal man arrested after reported shooting in the 200 block of Cloud Street

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George Lee Good. Booking photo, courtesy of Front Royal Police Department.

On November 27, 2019, at approximately 11:55 pm, the Front Royal Police Department responded to a report of a shooting in the 200 block of Cloud Street. When Officers arrived on scene, they encountered a male subject with non-life-threatening injuries, including a gunshot wound to his inner thigh.

Based on investigative findings, a suspect was identified as George Lee Good, 28, of Front Royal. Warrants were obtained on Good for 18.2-51 Maliciously Shoot or Wound; 18.2-53.1 Use of a Firearm in the commission of a felony; and 18.2-308.2 Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Other charges may be forthcoming regarding other involved individuals.

George Good was taken into custody without incident by Winchester Police Department during a DUI checkpoint. Good is currently at Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center where he is being held without bond. This investigation is on-going and anyone with further information is asked to contact Detective D. L. Fogle at (540)636-2208 or via email dfogle@frontroyalva.com.

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Three hospitalized after Saturday night Route 55 East head-on collision

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A 20-year-old Front Royal woman has been charged with reckless driving in connection with a three-car accident at 10:53 p.m. Saturday evening, December 7, off John Marshall Highway near Linden. According to a Virginia State Police Press Release issued Tuesday afternoon, December 10, a head-on collision between two of the involved vehicles sent the three occupants of those cars to Winchester Medical Center with serious injuries.

The driver of the third vehicle, which was being passed westbound on Route 55/John Marshall Highway 100 feet west of Route 651 (Gore Road), was uninjured.

Virginia State Police Trooper D. Ayers is investigating the accident. That investigation is ongoing.

According to VSP, “A 2014 Chevy Cruze was traveling west on Rt. 55 when it crossed a double solid yellow line and attempted to pass a westbound 2006 Nissan Murano. The Chevy attempted to avoid an approaching eastbound 2006 Hyundai Sonata and collided with the Nissan. That impact caused the Chevy and Hyundai to collide head-on.”

Above, White’s Chevy Cruze, and below the Hyundai Sonata following Saturday night’s head on collision that seriously injured all three occupants who were, fortunately wearing seatbelts. The driver of a third vehicle the Chevy was attempting to pass and struck trying to avoid a head-on was uninjured.

The driver of the Chevy, Brittney N. White, 20, of Front Royal, Va. was charged with reckless driving (46.2-854) passing at a hillcrest. White, along with a 19-year-old female passenger in her car, were two of those transported to Winchester Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries. Both were wearing seat belts.

The driver of the eastbound Hyundai, a 17-year-old female of Front Royal, was also reported to be wearing a seatbelt and was also transported to Winchester Medical Center with serious injuries.

The driver of the Nissan that White was attempting to pass, a 58-year-old male, of Stanley, Va. was uninjured and was also wearing a seat-belt.

The crash remains under investigation.

The Virginia State Police were assisted by the Warren Sheriff’s Office, and Warren County Fire and Rescue.

According to a Warren County Fire and Rescue post on the incident one of the occupants of the head-on collision vehicles had to be cut out by responding units, a process that took 10 minutes. The other injured and uninjured parties were able to self-extricate from the vehicles. Of the incident Warren County Emergency Services wrote:

“Just before 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night, WCFR units were dispatched for a reported motor vehicle traffic crash in the area of John Marshal Highway and Faith Way.

“An EMS unit from Linden Station 4 quickly arrived on the scene to find two vehicles with major damage from what appeared to be a head-on type collision. It was determined that a total of three vehicles were involved in the crash which contained a total of four possible patients. Three patients were able to self-rescue from their vehicles, a fourth was trapped as a result of the crash.

“Crews began to treat the injured victims while firefighters worked to extricate the trapped driver. It took approximately 10 minutes to extricate the trapped patient.

“Three total patients were ground transported to Winchester Trauma Center, the fourth refused any treatment on the scene.

“Crews were assisted on the scene by Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police.

“Units on the call: Ambulance 4, Medic 1, Medic 10, Rescue Squad 1”

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Winter is coming and VDOT is ready

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While most in Virginia were enjoying extended summer weather, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has been making plans for snow. Staffing, equipment and materials are in place and ready to go once winter makes an entrance.

Snow by the numbers“Our top priority is to keep motorists safe,” said VDOT Chief of Maintenance and Operations Kevin Gregg. “The Commonwealth has a complex network of roads and bridges, and we prepare year-round to keep Virginia moving when winter weather arrives. Our crews are trained, experienced and equipped to get the job done when those first flakes fall.”

Readiness Resources On-Deck for Winter:

$205 million set aside for winter weather
More than 2,500 VDOT crew members and additional contractors available for snow removal statewide
More than 12,100 pieces of snow-removal equipment, including trucks, loaders and motor graders
Nearly 700,000 tons of salt, sand and treated abrasives and more than 2.4 million gallons of liquid calcium chloride and salt brine
VDOT Plows: Online Snowplow Tracker

Across the state, if snow reaches two inches or more, VDOT activates an online snowplow tracking map. VDOT trucks are equipped with automatic vehicle location technology and can be monitored on the tracker during snow-removal operations.

When Snowflakes Fall: Be Prepared

During winter, it is important to regularly monitor weather forecasts and have a winter weather driving plan ahead of time. When inclement weather arrives, motorists are encouraged to visit 511virginia.org or call 511 for up-to-date information on road and traffic conditions before travel.

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Jenspiration

Rotary connects our kids: Letters to soldiers for Christmas and a talk with the police chief

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Over the weekend, young people from Front Royal Interact/Early Act Clubs came together to write letters to soldiers who had just completed boot camp, and will be spending the holidays away from families. Many thanks to the Rotary Clubs of Warren County and Front Royal, and our good friends at Royal Family Bowling Center for a fun “HyperBowling” and pizza fest. Special thanks to Front Royal Chief of Police, Skyline Middle Interact Liaison and Warren County Rotarian, Kahle Magalis, for speaking with our young people about growing up in Warren County, and what being a leader in this community truly means (leading by example).

If you are interested in your child being part of this wonderful Service Above Self organization, please speak with the Principal at your child’s school or call/text Michael Williams at 540-336-3127.





To view the full photo album, click here.

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Gazebo rally for your 2nd Amendment rights

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Warren County Supervisor Dan Murray speaks at the 2nd Amendment Rally at the Gazebo in Front Royal. Photo and video by Mike McCool, Royal Examiner.

On a cold, dark and damp Monday night, more than 200 citizens gathered at the Gazebo in downtown Front Royal for a rally on 2nd Amendment rights. Ross McVey, Republican Chairman Steve Kurtz, Vice Chair Amber Morris, Warren County Supervisor Dan Murray, Virginia Delegate Michael Webert, representative from Congressman Ben Cline, Tyler Adams and Commonwealth Attorney elect John Bell all spoke at the rally. Comments were read from Town Councilmen Gary Gillespie and Jake Meza, and Delegate Todd Gilbert all in support of our 2nd Amendment rights. The Royal Examiner was there to capture the event:

In the wake of around one thousand people showing up for the Shenandoah County Board Public Hearing on a Resolution of Support for a municipal declaration as a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Community, the Warren County Board of Supervisors’ Public Hearing has been moved to a Special Meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Warren County High School’s auditorium. The board’s regular meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning at the Warren County Government Center.

See related story:

As 2nd Amendment ‘Sanctuary’ drive comes to Warren County, State Democrats have an opportunity to show they do listen – but will they?

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‘Tis the Season

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Dec
12
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 12 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]
Dec
13
Fri
6:00 pm Holiday Open House @ Ruby Yoga
Holiday Open House @ Ruby Yoga
Dec 13 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Holiday Open House @ Ruby Yoga
Ruby Yoga will host a Holiday Open House Friday, Dec. 13. Doors open at 6 p.m. with free gentle yoga starting at 6:20, followed by refreshments and door prize drawings.
7:30 pm Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
Dec 13 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
The Blue Ridge Singers presents its 2019 Christmas concert titled “Canticum Novum:  Sing a New Song” featuring some of the finest Christmas choral music across the centuries at one of the most popular events in[...]
Dec
14
Sat
11:00 am Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 14 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
December 14 is the 220th anniversary of George Washington’s death. Today we will learn more about this great leader of our country and celebrate his legacy. Refreshments will be served. For ages 7 to 18.[...]
1:00 pm “Clara, Little Mouse & the Golde... @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
“Clara, Little Mouse & the Golde... @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Dec 14 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
"Clara, Little Mouse & the Golden Key" @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Join us for this original version of the timeless story ballet The Nutcracker Suite. Follow Clara and Little Mouse on a journey to find what the Golden Key unlocks… Christmas will never be the same[...]
Dec
15
Sun
4:00 pm R-MA Hosts Community Christmas C... @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
R-MA Hosts Community Christmas C... @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
Dec 15 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
R-MA Hosts Community Christmas Concert @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
The local community is invited to join the Randolph-Macon Academy family for an afternoon of holiday spirit with the R-MA Band and Chorus! The annual R-MA Christmas Concert will be held on Sunday, December 15th,[...]
Dec
17
Tue
4:30 pm Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 17 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Tuesday, December 3: Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! After reading a Christmas story, we’ll discuss giving and how it affects us and the people around us.[...]
7:30 pm Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Dec 17 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Christmas Concert | Presented by the American Legion Community Band Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at 7:30 pm Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus in Front Royal, VA
Dec
18
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 18 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]
Dec
19
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 19 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]