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



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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Gainesville: University Boulevard Lane Closure the Week of August 26th



GAINESVILLE – The right lane of southbound University Boulevard is scheduled to be closed between Route 29 and I-66 from 9 a.m. Monday, August 26, to noon on Friday, August 30. The closure is needed so that construction crews can install curbs and gutters and pave the entrance to the new University Boulevard (Gainesville) Park and Ride Lot.

The first portion of the lot will open this October with more than 960 parking spaces available for carpooling, vanpools, and commuter bus service during construction of the Transform 66 Project. When fully completed in late 2022, the facility will provide over 2,000 park and ride spaces with access to and from the I-66 Express Lanes from University Boulevard.

All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.

Learn more about the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project and sign up for project updates and lane closure alerts at

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FRIBA promotes Town with ‘Cardinal’ ornaments, annual Taste of the Town



George McIntyre and Arline Link walked us through the process of how the cardinals are made.

There’s a fun new project in town featuring the beautiful Virginia state bird: the cardinal.

The Front Royal Independent Business Alliance (FRIBA) members with the assistance of American Business Alliance are partnering to help stimulate local business growth in town, and they are doing so with cute, kiln fired clay cardinals. The goal of their partnership is to continue to create unity within the community by celebrating the anniversary of the “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign. With the 50th anniversary of the campaign coming up, FRIBA wants to celebrate by creating clay Christmas ornaments in the shape of cardinals and invite the community to paint them for an $8 donation. The cardinals will be used to help fund community love letters to bring the community together and spread the love.

Arline Link with Explore Art and Clay at the Kiln Doctor and George and Karen McIntyre from The Apple House introduced us to the project.

Link also wants to spread the word about the Taste of the Town event. A family focused, non-alcoholic community event hosted on September 27 from 6-9 P.M. on East Main Street, Taste of the Town promises to bring the best culinary aspects of Downtown Front Royal to light. East Main Street will be closed off for the event and the night will promise hours of family friendly fun.

In addition, on August 22 at the Open House Middle of Main there will be another community event showing a series of films featuring the history behind the Save Your Town project.

To learn more about Cookie Cutter Cardinals you can contact Arline Link at the Explore Art and Clay at the Kiln Doctor, (540) 636-6016.

Watch Arline Link and George McIntyre walked us through the process of how the cardinals are made in this video:

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Invitation to bid: WCPS A.S. Rhodes Elementary School Renovation



A. S. Rhodes Elementary School

You are invited to bid on a general contract for Warren County Public Schools, A.S. Rhodes Elementary School Renovation for the Warren County School Board. This project generally consists of approximately 21,070 SF of renovations, including but not limited to new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. All bids shall be on a lump sum basis.

Bids shall be received until 2:00 P.M. local prevailing time on Thursday, September 19, 2019, to the attention of Melody Sheppard, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, in the Board Room of the Warren County Public School Administration Building, 210 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630, at which time they will be opened publicly and read aloud. Bids received after this time will not be accepted. All interested parties are invited to attend.

Drawings and specifications may be examined at the Office of the Architect/Engineer, the Warren County School Board office, and at the following locations:

Valley Construction News
426 W. Campbell Avenue
Roanoke, VA 24016

Alex Gugliada | The Blue Book Bldg. & Construction Network
800 E. Main Street
Jefferson Valley, NY 10535

Builders’ Exchange, Inc.
3207 Hermitage Rd.
Richmond, VA 23227

DODGE Data & Analytics
3315 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71913

30 Technology Parkway South | Suite 100
Norcross, GA 30092-2912

Construction Journal
400 SW 7th Street
Stuart, FL 34994

Plans and specifications can be obtained via download from ShareFile upon receipt of a nonrefundable check in the amount of $25.00. Contact for ShareFile access. Upon receipt of check and valid email address, OWPR will provide a password with instructions on accessing and downloading plans and specifications. Hard copies of plans and specifications can be obtained from OWPR upon receipt of a nonrefundable check in the amount of $400.00. Plans and specifications can be shipped for additional charge. Contact OWPR for further details.

Bids shall be accompanied by a bid guarantee of not less than 5% of the amount of the bid, which may be a certified check or cashier’s check, or a bid bond of 5% of the amount of the bid, made payable to Warren County School Board. A performance bond, payment bond and a material and labor bond will be required and the cost shall be included in the bid price.

Bidders are required under Title 54.1, Chapter 11, Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, to be licensed as a “Class A Contractor” before submitting a bid of one hundred twenty thousand ($120,000) dollars or more; or to be licensed as a “Class B Contractor” before submitting a bid of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars or more but less than one hundred twenty thousand ($120,000) dollars; or be licensed as a “Class C Contractor” before submitting a bid of no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Each Bidder will be required to give their State Registration Number on their proposal. All non-resident contractors and subcontractors bidding the work described herein shall register with the Department of Labor and Industry under the provisions of Section 40.1-30 of the Code of Virginia.

The Owner reserves the right to waive irregularities and to reject any or all bids.

A pre-bid conference will be held on September 12, 2019 beginning at 2:00 P.M. at the Warren County Public School Administration Building, 210 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630 with a tour of the school afterwards. The school is located at 224 W. Strasburg Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630. This will provide an opportunity to answer questions and explain any items requiring further clarification.

Bids shall be binding for a period of sixty (60) days from the date on which bids are opened.

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Lucky Star Reunion packs Front Royal Brewing Co. with memories of times past



Above, co-owner Trevor Lipton invokes the sense of family The Lucky Star Lounge achieved during its fondly-remembered East Main Street lifetime; below, members of that family record and celebrate the moment. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

As former Lucky Star Lounge co-owner and oft-bartender Trevor Lipton said Saturday evening, August 17 at the Front Royal Brewing Company in introducing the newest incarnation of the first and last band to play at his establishment, this reunion was more than a reuniting of former clientele and staff of a fondly-remembered eating, drinking and entertainment establishment, and more like an extended family reunion.

And to the backdrop of headliner AfterSHOCK, formerly known as The Shockers, formerly known as EyeSoar – happily reunited with guitarist Pat Flowers and often guest singer Renee Flowers – the evening had exactly THAT feel, as old friends and acquaintances embraced and reminisced about good times, lost times, and times to come wherever and whenever they might be encountered.

The Lucky Star spanned a nine-year period between 2005 and 2013, at 205A East Main Street, not far from the site of the Front Royal Brewing Company-hosted reunion event – and a shout out to the staff for its handling of the large, occasionally-demanding and hungry, and thirsty on a steamy night, crowd. The entrees, appetizers and home-brewed craft beers kept the enthusiastic crowd fueled for more.

Faces past and present, above a projected video collage; below Lorena Lipton, left, greets old friends Terry, Alison and Ruth back for a hug down memory lane…

Thank you to Lucky Star founding partners Trevor and Lorena Lipton; absent out west but fondly-remembered co-owners Patrick and Shawn Patterson; Star “spiritual advisor” Roxanne Bauserman, family and friends; past and future Zombie Walkers; and everyone else for the memories and opportunity to reunite and fondly recall the bonding characteristics of a true English and early Americana-style pub and eatery – the kind where revolutions, or at least minor rebellions, are planned.

…As did Ludie and Laura

Above, AfterSHOCK launches the musical memories of The Lucky Star’s tradition of nightly live musical entertainment; below, Reno Vaughan takes the helm in helping Uncle Dewey Vaughan front the band.

We are family – the years haven’t lessened the bond former Lucky Star patrons, owners and employees feel.

Guitarist Pat Flowers, aka ‘Keith’ in the foreground light, launches EyeSoar into a Stones-fueled trip down memory lane.

The band takes a shot at its ‘Rumors’ period with the aid of Renee Flowers

The current duo of Lindsay and Stevie, I mean Pat and Renee, take center stage

Wonder where Reno got those pipes, mom, uncle and dad???

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‘Clear the Shelter’ day sees 26 animals in ‘forever’ homes



Above, one lucky cat is about to find its Forever Home; as is Arya the cat, below, with her new mom. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

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.

And there was good news for Ginger the dog and several others whose adoptions were pending

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…

There was much excitement among the Wagner Shelter tenants as people came to find their newest family members

Saturday’s event at the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter was part of a yearly nationwide ‘Clear the Shelters’ event…

But not everyone was adopted – and everyday can be a ‘Clear the Shelter a Little More’ each day for those looking for grateful, loving and kitten-playful animal companionship.

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Fireball Arcade finally has its Grand Opening



Fireball Arcade has been open for about a year at 218 East Main Street in Front Royal, but is just now getting around to their Grand Opening.

On August 17th the Fireball Arcade held its Grand Opening with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony by the Front Royal Warren County Chamber of Commerce.

The Fireball is an 80’s themed Pinball and Video Game Arcade. They also have a Birthday room rental available! Share your childhood arcade experiences with your children.

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Upcoming Events

5:30 pm Medicare Basics Educational Pres... @ Samuels Public Library | White Meeting Room B
Medicare Basics Educational Pres... @ Samuels Public Library | White Meeting Room B
Aug 22 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Medicare Basics Educational Presentation @ Samuels Public Library | White Meeting Room B
Come learn the basics of Medicare including: Eligibility, Important Dates, Medicare Coverage, Medicare Parts A,B,C, and D and Supplement Options. No Cost No RSVP required Walk-ins welcome For Educational purposes only For accommodations of persons[...]
8:00 am Safe Driving Class for Seniors @ Front Royal Police Department
Safe Driving Class for Seniors @ Front Royal Police Department
Aug 24 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Safe Driving Class for Seniors @ Front Royal Police Department
Hosted By: Front Royal/Warren County S.A.L.T./TRIAD Are you a senior 50 and over in need of learning current driving trends, traffic laws and just an overall overview of driving safely? If so, AARP provides a[...]
10:00 am Sample an Irish Dance Class @ Jig 'n' Jive Dance Studio
Sample an Irish Dance Class @ Jig 'n' Jive Dance Studio
Aug 24 @ 10:00 am – 10:45 am
Sample an Irish Dance Class @ Jig 'n' Jive Dance Studio
Sample an Irish Dance Class at the Jig ‘n’ Jive Dance Studio. Saturday, August 24th. 10:00 – 10:45am. $2/dancer. Boys and Girls. No experience or registration required.
4:30 pm Front Royal Salvation Army Corps... @ Salvation Army
Front Royal Salvation Army Corps... @ Salvation Army
Aug 24 @ 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Front Royal Salvation Army Corps BBQ Cookout @ Salvation Army
The Front Royal Salvation Army Corps will host a BBQ Cookout on Saturday, August 24, 2019, from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm at 296 South Street, Front Royal. A BBQ chicken meal, including chips and[...]
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Aug 27 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with the instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply[...]
1:00 pm Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Aug 29 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
The McShin Foundation and RSW (Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren County) Regional Jail would like to invite you to our substance abuse and recovery summit to be held on August 29, 2019, in Front Royal, Virginia.[...]
1:00 pm DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Aug 31 @ 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
DJ Skyhigh's End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Come join DJ Skyhigh for his end of summer blast. Lisa Bell will be hosting wine tastings (at an additional charge) of over 50 international wines. Wines may also be purchased by the bottle to[...]
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Sep 3 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor Elena Maza will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance.[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Sep 4 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
10:00 am SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
Sep 7 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundraiser @ Skyline High School
Skyline High School Marching Band is having a mattress sale fundraiser on Saturday, September 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Skyline High School (151 Skyline Vista Drive, Front Royal, Virginia). There will[...]