Despite assurances from leaders of the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) that the organization’s advocacy efforts are bipartisan, the Warren County School Board during its Wednesday, August 17 work session unanimously voted again to table action on whether to remain a VSBA member.
Following a motion to table three related VSBA items made by School Board member Melanie Salins, with a second by Board Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi, the members voted 5-0 to wait until the board’s September 17 meeting to decide on VSBA membership for 2022-2023; to select a delegate and alternate delegate to the annual 2022 VSBA convention; and to renew the VSBA Policy Services Agreement for the upcoming school year.
Board members who voted along with Rinaldi and Salins included School Board Chair Kristen Pence and board members Antoinette Funk and Andrea Lo.
The vote followed a roughly 45-minute presentation from VSBA President Teddy Martin II, who is also a school board member from Henry County, Va., and VSBA President-Elect David Woodard, who has served on the Tazewell County (Va.) School Board since 2008.
Via Zoom, the VSBA leaders answered pre-submitted questions to provide clarity on any concerns the Warren County School Board has about remaining a member of VSBA. They also responded to questions presented during the board’s meeting.
The only board member who asked questions was Salins, the loudest voice on the board against the Warren County School Board remaining a VSBA member, claiming it is a partisan organization that should not receive money from Warren County, Va., taxpayers for its left-leaning political lobbying efforts. VSBA’s Martin explained, however, that the VSBA is divided into regions and each locality — or school board in the state — gets one vote when it comes to adopting new policies, for example.
“Each locality has the exact same amount of say whether it’s in Tazewell County or Fairfax County,” said Martin, who added that the VSBA has voted to oppose proposed policies from members of both political parties. “We work with both Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan way,” he said.
Once the VSBA does adopt policies, school boards across the state then may choose to fully adopt the same policies in full or in part, amend them, or reject them, Woodard explained.
“We value one thing,” said Woodard, “we value every member of the VSBA. We realize a lot of times that there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach and answer that makes everybody happy all of the time. We don’t lean in one direction or the other.”
Woodard also said that even though the Warren County School Board has already paid its dues to be a VSBA member for 2022-2023, if the board decides that it no longer wants to be a member, “we’re not… trying to make you stay; we want you to stay but we’ll be happy to send that check back.”
“We’re not about forcing anybody to do anything,” added Martin.
Salins said she still has unanswered questions that aren’t being addressed by VSBA, some of which she said have come from parents of students in Warren County Public Schools (WCPS).
Martin said the VSBA would provide School Board members with answers as soon as possible. School Board Chair Kristen Pence — deciding that the board had taken up enough of the VSBA leaders’ time, and in an effort to move the work session forward after almost an hour and a half — said board members would submit any new or unanswered questions in writing to the VSBA.
Then, prior to the board’s vote on its three VSBA-related action agenda items, Pence asked if anyone in the audience wanted to speak about the items. More than a dozen people addressed the Warren County School Board’s membership in the VSBA. Members of the Warren County Board of Supervisors also attended the board’s meeting but did not speak.
One anti-VSBA-membership speaker, for example, said “it’s been proven that VSBA is partisan and pushes democratic policies” and Warren County therefore shouldn’t receive legal services from the VSBA because they are “slanted.” He also called the information provided by VSBA’s Martin and Woodard “propaganda.”
Bruce White, a Warren County resident since 2005 who moved to the area after retiring from working in special education in another state, said that during his years in education, he has found that state school boards associations “offer very valuable services” to their school board members and to their educators.
“I think you would be very hard pressed — especially given that the [WCPS] budget has not been fully funded at this point — to get the same benefits that are offered by VSBA… for the membership fee that you’re paying,” White told School Board members, referring to this year’s annual cost of $9,521.19. “So, I would encourage you to continue your membership with VSBA.”
Front Royal, Va., resident Mark Egger spoke against both the School Board retaining its VSBA membership and renewing its VSBA Policy Services Agreement, saying to board members “ya’all are too stupid to read the English” in whatever laws are enacted by the Virginia General Assembly and then decide how to abide by them rather than paying VSBA to provide advice. “I guess it’s rocket science; I’m not sure,” he said.
A South River District resident said the VSBA is not a lobbying group for liberal causes. “If they were a left-wing lobbying organization,” she said, “why would every school board in Virginia be a member? If the organization lobbies — and it does — it does so apolitically on behalf of public schools for educational programs that we believe in because their opinions are based on our input.”
(above) also pointed out — as he did during the School Board’s August 3 regular meeting when the board first voted to table action on the same VSBA-related items — that the VSBA provides school boards with numerous services, including:
• A strong lobbying and advocacy voice locally, statewide, and nationally;
• Publications, daily news, webinars, podcasts, virtual meetings and trainings, and regular updates about important education issues;
• High-quality conferences, webinars and meetings, including one of the largest annual education conventions in Virginia;
• School board development and training programs on a variety of topics;
• Access to policy services that meet the specific needs of school board members; and
• Professionals to assist with superintendent searches, communications and public relations, legal concerns, and other school board needs.
Pence said the option to hire an attorney to handle for the School Board what the VSBA provides would cost an estimated $50,000 for the first year. Salins countered that the VSBA could keep increasing its fees.
Additionally, Salins called the VSBA “a divisive group” that’s pitting community members against each other and the only way to heal is to leave the group. In making her motion to table the three VSBA-related action items, she said the board needs to “take its time on this and really explore other options.”
The vote to table the items means that the VSBA issues will be revisited again for potential action at the School Board’s September 21 meeting.
Humane Society of Warren County opens thrift store
On November fourth of last year, the Humane Society of Warren County opened a thrift store located at 450 S. Commerce Avenue, adjacent to On Cue and the CVS. As the proceeds go to support homeless animals, Pick of the Litter Thrift Store comes at a time when the HSWC greatly needs it.
“It took a lot of work to put the planning process together,” executive director Megan Bowers explained. Previously HSWC hosted a yard sale once a year in June that generated four to five thousand dollars, but it proved to be lacking due to the requests they were receiving from the community for a place to bring donations.
“We could not have asked for a better community,” store manager Jessie Moore exclaimed. “Every day feels like Christmas!” Her positive outlook characterizes the store she runs, where a patron can help himself to a complimentary coffee and browse the collection of books, DVDs, rows upon rows of clothing, and the occasional odd item like a set of glassware.
Jessie said each day is different, and she never knows what will come in. It is all about “the fur babies,” as she jovially put it. She expressed relief that HSWC has finally generated a more reliable source of funding than the yard sale. Watching Jessie move around the store with her assistant Laura Hickman and interact with customers, it is obvious that they are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Of course, it is all about the fur babies.
This is an establishment that welcomes animals. Anyone browsing the goods is welcome to have their pet alongside them.
“They’ve done really well over there,” Megan said in praise of the Pick of the Litter team. HSWC has three branches: the shelter, the clinic, and the thrift store.
As proud and fond as many are of their four-legged family members, it is a consolation in this cold season to know that such a capable organization is doing everything possible to keep Warren County’s domestic animals on the warm side of the front door.
As an ongoing consequence of pandemic impacts, fitness programs will end this month but rehab services will continue at Valley Health’s Outpatient facility here
Royal Examiner asked Valley Health Public Relations Manager Carol Weare about planned service cuts locally as a consequence of the COVID pandemic outbreak of the past few years. This is what she told us:
“Due to unprecedented financial challenges related to the effects and after-effects of the pandemic, Valley Health has been taking steps to limit additional losses by evaluating all programs and services we offer. Like fitness facilities nationwide, Valley Health’s fitness programs experienced a decline in membership during the pandemic and never rebounded.
“As a result, we made the difficult decision to end our fitness membership programs in Berkeley Springs, WV, Front Royal, VA, and Woodstock, VA, effective Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Members are being notified and any membership balance or un-redeemed personal training or massage gift cards will be refunded promptly.
“We regret the disruption this decision will create for community members, whose fitness commitment and ongoing health are important to us.
“In our assessment, we carefully evaluated each program’s unique operational situation, including finances, building lease contracts and the availability of local fitness facility alternatives within the community.
“The fitness programs in Berkeley Springs and Front Royal are co-located with outpatient physical rehabilitation; those services will continue uninterrupted.
“As Valley Health continues to feel the lingering financial impact of COVID-19, we are evaluating where, when and how healthcare services are provided to ensure our stability as the region’s top care provider and employer of choice well into the future.”
Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Line of Duty Death – Funeral Notification
With great sadness, we announce the passing of District Fire Chief Homer Larry Cross (Age 74) of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department.
On Monday, January 23, 2023, members of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department discovered District Chief Cross unresponsive at the Fire Station and began life-saving intervention procedures, but unfortunately, the Chief was pronounced deceased at the station.
Chief Cross began his career as a firefighter with Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department in 1983. Later serving his community as a long-tenured District Chief, he dedicated himself to saving lives and helping those in need. Through his years in the fire service, Chief Cross felt honored to work alongside a fantastic group of men and women, many of whom serve in various fire service leadership capacities across the Commonwealth’s Fire Service today.
“District Fire Chief Homer Cross was an inspiration for our Department and a fixture on almost every fire ground,” stated Fire Chief James Bonzano. “He was a dedicated fire officer but, above all else, a great friend whose legacy will certainly live on through the care and compassion he instilled in the next generation of our Fire Department.”
Arrangements for District Chief Cross are as follows:
Family Night will be held Monday, January 30, 2023, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. at Maddox Funeral Home at 105 W. Main Street, Front Royal, VA.
A Funeral Service with Fire Service and Military Service Honors for District Chief Cross will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at noon at Riverton United Methodist Church at 55 E. Strasburg Road, Front Royal, VA.
A procession from the church to Panorama Memorial Gardens will be conducted, where final respects will be paid.
The Cross Family will receive guests following the service at the Front Royal Volunteer Fire Station at 221 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA.
The Trust Deed Pledge Plan: An investor’s greatest investment aspiration
REAL ESTATE INVESTORS AND REAL ESTATE AGENTS
An original Trust Deed Pledge (TDPP) to help property owners from losing their entire property equity due to a foreclosure has been developed. By rescuing the equity and turning the owner into a qualified investor in plan, the owner continues to grow the funds rescued.
THE SECURED CASH INVESTOR POSITION IN THE TDPP INVESTMENT
The desire to be protected in a safe rewarding and timely investment is what the investor wants and needs and receives in the TDPP.
- Investment amount required? – Ans: ($60,000 total in small amounts by a group of investors)
- What is the reward? – Ans: (Pre-agreed fixed amount of $25,500 up to $42,500)
- What is the timing of investment? – Ans: (Estimated one-year)
- Amount of protection? – Ans: (Collateral exceeds invested amount)
- How is the investor “protected”? – Ans: (With a very strong superior legal position)
REAL ESTATE ACTIVITY EARNINGS
The TDPP offers a way to achieve an exclusive listing to sell (foreclosure free) for the agent/broker finding and introducing the necessary material to the foreclosure owner. There is strong competition, in the regular market place for exclusive listings, that makes it a challenge to accumulate enough listings for the average licensee to earn and build a personal lifetime wealth of a million dollars plus. It is fair to say the TDPP can do it.
The TDPP offers new type real estate earnings, separate from and in addition to a 6% sale commission.
- Introducing an original way to earn 1% of the sales price of a property and a second way to earn 5% of the net sales price of the property.
- There are other original ways to earn a fee of $9,000 and one of $15,000 for new type activity in the TDPP.
- Achieve an exclusive foreclosure free exclusive listing for the person processing the property owner joining the TDPP.
- Other unique exciting opportunities are available to earn profit in original ways within the TDPP!
Go to http://investmentrevelation.com for more information.
Robert L. Evans, President
Foreclosure Answer Affirmed, Inc.
Concern Hotline named beneficiary of Ride with Rotary
Rotary Club of Warren County is excited to announce their beneficiary for the Ride with Rotary 2023 is Concern Hotline! Watch this video with Executive Director, Rusty Holland, as he shares a little about who the Concern Hotline is and what they offer to Warren County and surrounding counties.
Learn more about Concern Hotline: www.concernhotline.org
Concern Hotline is a free 24/7/365 anonymous information & referral, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention hotline serving the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
For Concern Hotline calls, dial any of these local numbers:
- CLARKE, FREDERICK, WINCHESTER COUNTY – 540-667-0145
- SHENANDOAH COUNTY – 540-459-4742
- PAGE COUNTY – 540-743-3733
- WARREN COUNTY – 540-635-4357
Ride with Rotary 2nd Annual Bike Event
- April 29th – Check in starts at 8am Rockland Park
- Register Today!
- Interested in being a sponsor? Call Jen Avery at 540-683-0790 to learn about sponsorship options.
Super Bowl LVII fans don’t let fans drive drunk
During Super Bowl LVII, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office to remind football fans everywhere that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. Super Bowl LVII is on Sunday, February 12, 2023. If you’re heading out to a Super Bowl party and plan to drink alcohol, make sure you plan for a designated driver to get you home safely at the night’s end.
In 2020, there 11,654 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Drunk driving can have many consequences, including possibly causing a traumatic crash. These crashes could cause you, someone you love, or a total stranger to suffer serious injuries or even death.
We want our community members to enjoy Super Bowl festivities and responsible drivers on our roads. If you are planning to be away from home during Super Bowl, make a game plan to ensure you don’t find yourself without a designated driver if you need one. If you’re hosting a party, make sure you take care of your designated drivers. Remind your friends and family: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.
Be the DD MVP
If you plan to be a designated driver, know that you’re the night’s MVP. Commit to a sober evening — people are relying on you. If you are attending a party or are at a bar or restaurant, enjoy the food, the company, and the nonalcoholic drinks. Encourage other designated drivers on social media by using the hashtag #DesignatedDriver. Your positive influence could help keep them on the right track. If someone you know has been drinking and tries to drive, take their keys and help them get home safely. They may complain, but they’ll thank you later.
Have a Game Plan Whether you are attending a party or going to a bar or restaurant, make a game plan and follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver, plan to use a ride service, or call a taxi sober friend to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
Make a commitment today to refrain from drunk driving. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving