Connect with us

Local News

Demonstrators protest Valley Health plan to eliminate local maternity ward

Published

on

Demonstrators want Valley Health to reconsider its plan to eliminate the labor and delivery unit from a new Warren Memorial Hospital. Photos/Roger Bianchini

FRONT ROYAL – Opponents of Valley Health’s plan to build a new Warren Memorial Hospital without a maternity ward to handle deliveries locally voiced their displeasure at the North Shenandoah Avenue entrances to the hospital on Wednesday, February 28. Protest co-organizers Michelle Matthiae and Melanie Salins said the demonstration was put together within two days working from a newly-formed Facebook group called “Save the Women’s Care Center at Warren Memorial Hospital”. Matthiae later informed Royal Examiner that the group had decided on the organizational name “Birth Local”.

The demonstration occurred from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and coincided with what was termed “a private luncheon” at which Valley Health officials would speak “to a select few of the community” about their plan for a new county hospital located off Leach Run Parkway. Organizers estimated a peak crowd of protesters numbering about 35 to 40, including about 15 children, a majority of the latter born at WMH. Organizers say their Facebook group membership has grown to over 1,000 within the two days preceding the Wednesday afternoon demonstration.

Between waving to passing motorists expressing support and helping keep track of the younger demonstrators Matthiae explained the impetus toward organizing against Valley Health’s plan to channel Warren County deliveries to Winchester Medical Center, some 23 miles from the current Warren Memorial Hospital on Front Royal’s northside.

“We’re out here because they’re closing our labor and delivery unit here – and it’s not just here, they’ve closed Luray and other surrounding counties and are funneling women to Winchester, which is an hour or more drive depending on where you live and might have to come down a mountain. So, what are you going to do in an emergency? And the solution was to have an ambulance, but what if that one ambulance is occupied?” Matthiae asks.

She pointed to a 2012 report of just such a circumstance where a woman in labor was having complications in a rural community where a maternity ward had been denied, in this case by the state health department, due to smaller community birth numbers. With just such a transport-by-ambulance to a distant facility plan in place – “The baby died,” Matthiae said, adding, “And we have many stories of women here, who if they had not made it to this hospital, their babies or they themselves would have died.”

Of the plan to handle such birthing emergencies in the new hospital’s Emergency Room, Matthiae wonders if that means an obstetrics physician will be on duty 24×7 or will they have to be called in, again creating a wait for specialized service situation.

Matthiae says as she has become involved in the issue locally, she has discovered that the Valley Health plan is indicative of a trend targeting rural areas nationally.

“We don’t want to cause a problem; we support the new hospital. But we just need to make sure that women’s rights are not stripped. And there is a trend in America that they are taking away rural hospital services and there’s been an increase of the maternal mortality rate of 64-percent; and infants are dying. So, this is not just our little town, but it’s finally affecting us and I think it’s time for us to say ‘STOP, we matter too,’ ” Matthiae says.

In a release by the group, Matthiae and co-organizer Salins wrote, “American women die in pregnancy or childbirth more than twice as often as in Canada. Even worse, the United States is one of only a few countries – including Zimbabwe and North Korea – where the (birth-related) mortality rate has risen since 1990. Is this our legacy?”

The “Birth Local” organizers are hopeful of meaningful dialogue with Valley Health officials, whom they noted have agreed to meet with them in the near future.

Local News

Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Director McDonald formed LLC, bought nearly $3 million in real estate

Published

on

Sheriff Danny McEathron, who announced March 18 he would retire May 1, has bought $2,849,700 worth of real estate with former EDA director Jennifer McDonald since 2016/ File photo

FRONT ROYAL – Since forming a limited liability company, or LLC in August, 2016, Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, who resigned via email in late Dec., 2018 as her board was meeting to discuss her performance, have spent nearly $3 million on real estate, sometimes paying as much as $1 million in cash for choice land in desirable locations.

BREAKING NEWS: Sheriff McEathron announces he’ll retire May 1

The duo’s first recorded transaction as business entity DaBoyz, LLC occurred in September of 2016 and lists both their names on the deed, recorded as Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016, at 3:38 p.m.

That first purchase would soon be followed by others, including a peculiar transaction in which McEathron and McDonald sold the property from the aforementioned first purchase back to the original owners at a staggering loss of $600,000.

Royal Examiner learned of DaBoyz shortly after it formed, and reached out to Ms. McDonald to discuss the LLC and how she might need to conduct business in order to prevent a perceived or actual conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety. We were told by then-director McDonald it was her private business, it was unrelated to her EDA business and any concern on our part was unwarranted.

We pressed, questioning Ms. McDonald as to why she held two real estate licenses. On May 25, 2017, the Virginia Department of Professionals and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) License Lookup database indicated that she held a real estate individual license, ranked as a sole broker. Her second license was for a real estate firm.

McDonald charged with filing a false police report
After an alleged May 18, 2017 break-in at the EDA office, located on Kendrick Lane, and the subsequent arrest nearly a year later of McDonald for filing a false police report regarding an allegedly staged incident at her home at 158 Faith Way in Front Royal, This reporter wrote to Warren County Sheriff McEathron, in a June 6, 2018 email:

“Sheriff McEathron:

“I contacted your office last fall regarding the call made to the Warren County 911 Center by Jennifer McDonald alleging an incident occurring at her home at 158 Faith Way.  The call came in on June 15, at approximately 21:02.

“Attached is the document that Lt. Foster forwarded to me in Sept. saying that information could not be shared at that time.  Are you now able to share any information in light of the warrant of arrest for Ms. McDonald, and her charge of filing a false police report?

“Has your office turned over files, and any information contained therein to the Virginia State Police?  The Front Royal Police Department was asked to cease its investigation by the EDA Board via a letter from Chairman Greg Drescher on behalf of the board, in July 2017.  Was your office also asked to stop its investigation?

“If it was, did your office cease its investigation?
“As you, your wife and Ms. McDonald appear to be business partners with real estate holdings in at least two counties, do you have a comment on how Ms. McDonald’s arrest and charge might affect that partnership?”

Sheriff McEathron’s reply, the next morning, June 19, 2018:

“Good morning Norma Jean,

“In response to your questions the case you have referenced was turned over to the VSP in March of 18, my office would have no comment on another agencies[sic] open case and no my office was not asked to “cease” our Investigation.

“As to your last question on what may ‘appear’ to you, I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.

“My wife has never been part or involved in what you call ‘business partners’!

“I have not been a ‘business partner’ as you say since September of 2017!
So, therefore, I do not have a comment on your last question.

“Thanks, Danny”

Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s response, Royal Examiner Editor Norma Jean Shaw replied on June 19, 2018, with the following email:

“Danny:

“Thank you for your prompt reply.  I appreciate it.

“I’m so sorry to keep bothering you, but I am confused regarding the DaBoyz business.  You say you have not had any “business partner” status with Jennifer McDonald since 2017…and that your wife never had any relationship with DaBoyz….yet you both listed it on your financial disclosures.

“Why would you list that, if you were not involved? Why would Mrs. MeEathron do so?

“Moreover, if that relationship ended in 2017, as you stated in the previous email, why would you have listed it on the financial disclosure required by the ethics council?

“My copy of your form was signed by you on January 24, 2018, and clearly shows you listed DaBoyz, LLC and also rental property in Virginia Beach, co-owned with Jennifer McDonald.  That would appear to make you and Ms. McDonald business partners, would it not?

“As you said, regarding me, ‘I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.’

“Thank you for your time,

“Norma Jean”

Sheriff McEathron replied the next day, June 20, 2018, with the following response:

“Norma Jean,

“Elected officials are required to report any information as it relates to the Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest forms from the Commonwealth. Those reports are submitted in the next calendar year for the previous year. Likewise elected Spouses are responsible for putting them on their forms as well even when they are not directly involved, just because a family member is so it discloses any information. When you look at my next SOEI/COI documents you will see what I was/was not in 2018. I won’t have any more comment on my personal life because it’s all in my disclosure forms as required by law.

“Thanks, Danny”

Following the paper trail

In March of 2018, Editor Norma Jean Shaw reached out to Mrs. McEathron, the sheriff’s wife and a Warren County School Board member, who is required by Va. Code to file an annual Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form.

The email, in part, stated, “Mrs. McEathron:

“In going over the financial disclosure of each member of the school board, I noticed that you had listed DaBoyz, LLC on your financial disclosure and that your husband had also listed the company on his.

“Having talked to Jennifer McDonald about her company, DaBoyz LLC last year, I was aware of its existence, but after she came to the Royal Examiner to share her story about her good fortune of winning a large sum of money over time at the Charles Town casino, I find it to be newsworthy that she has purchased real estate locally.

“I am working on a story currently and have the following questions for you:

“Are you a business partner of Ms. McDonald’s?

“If you are, what percentage of the company do you own?  If not, why is the company listed on your financial disclosure form?

“Have you invested any money in her company, or towards the purchase of land?

“I would appreciate a chance to speak with you.

Mrs. McEathron sent a terse response three days later, “I filed my 2017 Statement of Economic Interest report as every elected official is required by law, every year. I have no other comment.”

Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form, filed Jan. 29, 2019, he was, in fact, a business partner of Jennifer McDonald and also a part-owner of DaBoyz, LLC, in 2017 and beyond, despite his denials in the June 20, 2018 email to Norma Jean Shaw.

Sheriff Daniel McEathron’s Statement of Economic Interest Form 2019

Donna McEathron’s 2019 Statement of Economic Interest, signed on Jan. 30, also lists Jennifer McDonald as a business partner and similarly lists DaBoyz, LLC as an asset for the previous year, 2018.
McEathron Donna 2018_new

Despite Sheriff McEathron’s claims that he and the former Front Royal-Warren County EDA Director Jennifer McDonald parted company as business partners in 2017, the Virginia Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council online searchable database, which stores the Statement of Economic Interest forms for all Constitutional Officers in Virginia, says otherwise.

In fact, back on August 2, 2016, five months after EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and Warren County Sheriff Daniel MeEathron partnered up for several joint interviews regarding the anonymous benefactor who would fund a new $8 million regional justice academy in Warren County, (They were interviewed by this reporter in March 2016 on a radio news program which she hosted during the noon hour at a local station) they formed DaBoyz LLC, with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. DaBoyz LLC

Jennifer McDonald, showing off her gambling slips to reporter Roger Bianchini, She approached him about doing a story on her good fortune in winning big at a West Virginia casino.

9/20/2016
DaBoyz LLC purchased two contiguous pieces of property on Buck Mountain Road in the Bentonville area of Warren County.  The first, about 72.6 acres, was purchased from Rappawan, Inc., a local construction company, for $900,000. (Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016)

The second tract of land, about 73.3 acres, was purchased from William T. Vaught, Jr. (a local builder) for $1 million.   Some Vaught family members have ownership in Rappawan Inc.; William T. Vaught, Jr. signed the deed on behalf of Rappawan Inc.

10/27/2016
Just five weeks later, those two same land tracts were sold back to the original owners, Rappawan Inc., and William T. Vaught, Jr., for significantly less money.

The Rappawan property was sold back to Rappawan for $650,000; The William T. Vaught, Jr. property was also sold back to William T. Vaught, Jr. for $650,000.  Why did DaBoyz LLC spend $1.9 million to purchase these two properties and then, a month later, sell them back to the previous owners for a total of  $1.3 million? Why did DaBoyz LLC, seemingly give Rappawan/Vaught $600,000 for no discernible reason?

3/17/2017
Sheriff McEathron and McDonald, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 68 Pine Hills Road, in Front Royal, for $60,000.

4/12/2017
McDonald and Sheriff McEathron, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 41 acres of prime residential development land and a house at 1321 Happy Creek Road, Front Royal, for $1 MILLION CASH.

The property is near the recently-completed Leach Run Parkway, which happens to be an EDA project. Moreover, the property was listed by Century 21 Campbell Realty on 3/10/2017 and the contract was submitted on 3/12/2017. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.

Century 21 Campbell Realty is owned by Walter and Jeanette Campbell, McDonald’s aunt and uncle, the couple who announced they were donating land for an EDA “workforce housing” project. Royal Examiner broke the story that the gifted land would cost taxpayers a hefty sum. (Link)

4/27/2017
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, again through their company, DaBoyz LLC, purchase a home and 102 acres at 2951 Rileyville Road in Page County, Va. for $550,000. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.

5/15/2017
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald purchase a house at 5617 Larry Avenue, Virginia Beach, Va. for $339,700.

3/22/2018
EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald creates a new LLC called Moveon8 LLC.

5/23/2018
The two properties in Warren County and the properties in Page County are transferred from Daboyz LLC to Moveon8 LLC.

7/9/2018
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald list the Virginia Beach property for sale, asking $359,900. Over the next 5 months, they gradually lower the price. The home would eventually sell at a loss.

9/19/2018
The property at 68 Pine Hills Rd, in Front Royal is transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.

9/24/2018
The properties in Page County, Va. are transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.

1/20/2019
The property at 5617 Larry Ave. in Virginia Beach, owned by Sheriff Daniel McEathron and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, is sold by Kristina McEathron, Sheriff McEathron’s daughter-in-law, for $320,400, nearly$20,000 less than the DaBoyz, LLC owners purchased it for in 2017.

Now that McEathron has announced he’ll retire on May, 1 of this year, could a real estate career be in his future?  That’s hard to predict, though he and McDonald do appear to have a substantial portfolio of properties betwixt the two.

Continue Reading

Crime/Court

What do the Sayre-McDonald lawsuit and the Titanic have in common?

Published

on

A photo Tom Sayre had taken of himself with Jennifer McDonald on June 18, 2018 celebrating the ITFederal groundbreaking behind EDA headquarters. Social Media File Photo

FRONT ROYAL – “This will be a damaging loss for whoever loses,” Judge Ian Williams observed Wednesday of the time, effort and expense being put into the Tom Sayre defamation lawsuit against former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jennifer McDonald at the General District Court level – a level where the maximum award is $25,000. 

It’s very curious but I’m giving you more time to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic,” Williams added of additional time he granted Sayre attorney Tim Bosson and McDonald counsel Lee Berlik in an attempt to reach a legal consensus on filings in the case. – “There will be no more hearings on this,” the judge warned of dueling evidentiary motions before the new trial date of August 2, at 1 p.m. The Winchester-based judge explained he had to change the original trial date from June 21 due to a conflicting trial assignment. 

As the March 20th motions hearing drew to a close after an hour-and-forty-five minutes, Judge Williams bemoaned the time and legal effort being put in on preliminary motions. He asked the attorneys what they made an hour. Bosson replied $350, Berlik $425 (I’m definitely in the wrong line of work). 

Noting that amounted to $775 for every hour put in by both sides on the case, the judge marveled at the work being done on a case with a $25,000 award cap. 

The most recent result of all that legal work was plaintiff Tom Sayre prevailing on a series of evidentiary motions argued Wednesday afternoon in his $25,000 defamation suit against McDonald. 

Overruled by Judge Williams on March 20 were defense motions to: 1/ a “plea and bar” which would have essentially thrown the plaintiff’s case out as having not established the grounds, including malice, upon which the civil suit is based; 2/ to further reduce the number of complaints on statute of limitations violations; 3/ remove additional detail on specific complaints in the case added since the initial filing; 4/ and prevent any plaintiff subpoena of records of EDA/McDonald Private Investigator Kenneth Pullen as privileged information. 

On that latter issue, plaintiff counsel Bosson told the court that he had verified that the EDA Board of Directors had initially hired Pullen in the wake of the May 17, 2017, EDA office break in. However, he said the EDA board had turned the private investigator’s contract over to its then executive director as incidents of alleged trespass and vandalisms reported by McDonald at her home escalated over the following month. 

The fact that then-EDA Board Chairman Greg Drescher requested Town Police to drop their investigation of the EDA office break in, in favor of the EDA’s private investigator’s handling of the case has been a sticking point for EDA critics, particularly former Town Councilwoman Bébhinn Egger’s father Mark Egger. The elder Egger has repeatedly questioned the board of supervisors on lapses in county oversight of the EDA; as well as seemingly conflicting stories regarding who hired the PI and why Drescher, speaking for the EDA board, sent a letter asking for a halt to the FRPD investigation. 

Jennifer McDonald and EDA board Chair Greg Drescher fielded some tough questions from County Supervisors Tom Sayre and Archie Fox at a June 6, 2017 joint work session of the supervisors and EDA. Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

Judge Williams authorized a subpoena of Pullen and his records from June 6 to August 16, 2017. However, Bosson told the court he had been informed by the EDA that they do not have any documents related to Pullen’s investigation; and that either “Ms. McDonald has them or they’ve been destroyed.” 

But the court ruling on Pullen and his records will allow information in a series of July 14, 2017 emails between McDonald and this reporter subpoenaed by the plaintiff and referenced several times in Wednesday’s hearing, to be corroborated or not corroborated by the private investigator, if not on paper, on the witness stand. 

As Bosson noted during Wednesday’s hearing, in those emails McDonald alleges “a culprit” in the alleged June 15, 2017 rock-throwing vandalism at her home had been identified and was being approached by Pullen to wear a wire on a suspected accomplice in an alleged plot to terrorize her. Bosson told the court that based on information from the recipient of those McDonald emails the references to “the first Putin” and “our photo boy” as a director of the operation against her are references to Mr. Sayre. The alleged plot to terrorize McDonald was outlined in the crumpled, typed note the WCSO incident report indicated was pointed out in her yard to sheriff’s office first responders investigating the June 15 vandalism reported at 9:02 p.m. 

As Royal Examiner previously reported, that note investigators assumed to be dropped by the vandal at the scene contains two phone numbers, Tom Sayre’s office number and former Town Manager Michael Graham’s cell phone number; as well as references a “Matt” being run off by a barking dog of McDonald’s; getting “files to the Examiner” because “Norma Jean will be waiting for them”; and instructions “not to call Tom during business hours…” and, drum roll please, “Do not take this sheet with you …” 

The incident report appeared to indicate no fingerprints found on the note. 

All those implicated by name and known to authorities testified at McDonald’s misdemeanor false police report trial that they had no knowledge of the note or any plot against McDonald. While dismissing the case against McDonald on October 31, 2018, General District Court Judge W. Dale Houff commented that there was something “terribly wrong” about the note. However, Houff ruled that Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden had not established enough evidence or motive as to why McDonald would fabricate such a situation.* 

As for defense attorney Berlik’s complaint that plaintiff counsel Bosson has not been responsive to subpoenas of plaintiff records in a timely manner, Bosson noted that many of the responses were being delivered to the McDonald team in Circuit Court where the defendant has become the plaintiff in filing a $600,000 defamation suit against Sayre. 

“They filed the exact same thing in circuit court and will receive them there – I don’t understand why we are here,” Bosson said of the defense’s beef over the subpoena responses. 

“Do you think the two of you can agree on anything,” Judge Williams asked the attorneys. When Berlik began, “Not now,” the judge countered, “If you can’t do it, I can go through all of (the subpoenas) and choose (what’s in and what’s out) and you can live with it … we’re not having another hearing on this.” 

In making his case to reduce the scope of the defense subpoena submission, Sayre attorney Bosson pointed to his own four subpoenas totaling 20 specific requests in the wake of the judge’s earlier hearing admonishment to the attorneys not to turn evidentiary subpoenas into fishing expeditions. Bosson compared his numbers to the defense filing of seven subpoenas totaling 89 specific requests. 

While setting a series of dates for submissions and responses approaching the new trial date, the judge set May 10 for the final product – “either separate orders or one agreed-upon order,” Williams observed, adding, “If you achieve that (an agreed order) I may invite you all up here for champagne.” 

Williams then glanced to his left at Front Royal Town Attorney Doug Napier listening to the proceedings, offering to include him in the celebration of functional legal compromise; leading Front Royal Police Captain Crystal Cline to Napier’s left to inquire if she might be included in that celebration as well. 

Back on the serious legal train, Napier told the court that the town government could not respond to a defense subpoena of town personnel text messages because “we just don’t have them.” 

Napier was also present representing the Town in attempting to join the plaintiff in the effort to quash certain defense motions on the table that day. However, Napier acknowledged that two attempts he had made to notify Berlik of the Town’s planned joining in that motion had failed to reach McDonald’s attorney. During the hearing Napier simply deferred to the plaintiff’s arguments on the motions to quash. 

FOOTNOTE: Despite McDonald’s criminal case acquittal, it is noteworthy as previously reported by Royal Examiner, that the prosecutor did not call the Town Police investigator who developed the false police report case against McDonald, nor the State Police officer who filed the warrant, nor an EDA employee whose recorded FRPD interview appears to corroborate this reporter’s timeline on meeting with McDonald about incidents at her home prior to the report of the vandalism rather than the following morning as asserted in her criminal case defense. Madden also did not present evidence regarding motive given to him by one prosecution witness – Royal Examiner Editor Norma Jean Shaw’s exploration of McDonald’s use of large amounts of cash in purchases and down payments in her personal real estate business; as well as Shaw’s inquiries into the identify of a “secret investor” in the since-aborted police academy project slated for EDA land in the Happy Creek Technology Park. That investor was believed to be ITFederal principal Truc “Curt” Tran. Tran has since said such an investment was discussed, but never agreed to. A file containing that information stored in an obscure place in McDonald’s office was the only thing she reported missing from the May 17, 2017, EDA office break in. Without a shovel being turned on the site, the EDA reports it spent over $500,000 on the police academy project before its abandonment. 

Tom Sayre and ‘Curt’ Tran in EDA parking lot on Dec. 20, 2018, the day Jennifer McDonald resigned via email during extended EDA board review of her job performance. Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

Continue Reading

EDA in Focus

8 million reasons for a Special Grand Jury

Published

on

Local attorney, John S. Bell, calls for Special Grand Jury to investigate the EDA


Attorney John S. Bell

Front Royal, VA — Former Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John S. Bell, Esq., is demanding a Special Grand Jury be impaneled to investigate the alleged rampant financial discrepancies and possible fraudulent activities at the Front Royal/Warren County Economic Development Authority under former Executive Director, Jennifer S. McDonald.

Bell commented, “The local EDA’s financial irregularities have been the subject of a steady series of revelations over several years, culminated in the news reporting of last week. Some of the troubling allegations reported are: $540,000 blown on a Police Academy that will never be built and another $8 million in a loan that appears to be lost. The only proof that either of these projects were legitimate and not fraudulent, was supposedly stolen in a “break-in” of the EDA office. We have already had one criminal trial from the fallout of these incidents, to say nothing of the continuing public recriminations and dueling lawsuits making their way through our Courts. And this is what has been officially reported, it does not include the countless other rumors swirling around our community.”

Bell continued, “Many people I speak with have lost confidence in the very government and public agencies that are supposed to be investigating this situation. A Special Grand Jury is made up of ordinary citizens who are not and have not been part of the problem and who would have the independence to conduct a fair, unflinching, unbiased and complete investigation. Because they work in confidence, they can protect the good name of those who are innocent of any wrongdoing. We cannot allow even the appearance of a cover-up and corruption to cast a cloud over our hometown. Our hardworking men and women demand one rule of law for everyone, no matter who you are, no matter rich or poor, no matter young or old, no matter elected or not – justice must be fair and justice must be blind. The EDA must be investigated from top to bottom, inside and out, and if crimes have been committed by anyone, justice must prevail. A Special Grand Jury is the best and most fair way to investigate an organization as complex and connected as the EDA. The Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney has the authority to request a Special Grand Jury and I call upon him to do so.”

Continue Reading

Local News

Daytime Lane Closures on I-66 Between Gainesville and I-495

Published

on

FAIRFAX, Va. – Rolling double-lane closures will take place on eastbound and westbound I-66 between Route 29 in Gainesville and I-495 during daytime hours on Tuesday, March 19, and Wednesday, March 20. Crews will be refreshing pavement markings as part of the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project. Details include:

Tuesday, March 19, and Wednesday, March 20

• I-66 East from Route 29 in Gainesville to Route 29 in Centreville from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• I-66 East from Route 29 in Centreville to Route 50 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• I-66 West from Route 50 to Route 29 in Centreville from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• I-66 West from Route 29 in Centreville to Route 29 in Gainesville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Drivers are advised to use caution and expect potential travel delays.

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

Overnight Stoppages, Lane Closures On I-66 This Week For Overhead Sign Gantry Removal 

Tuesday, March 19: Westbound I-66 Between Gallows Road and Route 243 (Nutley Street)
• Three right lanes will be closed between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
• Periodic stoppages of up to 20 minutes between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead sign gantry supports.

Wednesday, March 20: Eastbound I-66 Between Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and Cedar Lane
• Three right lanes will be closed between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
• Periodic stoppages of up to 20 minutes between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead sign gantry supports.

Thursday, March 21: Eastbound I-66 Between Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and Cedar Lane
• Three right lanes will be closed between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
• Periodic stoppages of up to 20 minutes between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead sign gantry supports.

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

The I-66 Outside the Beltway Express Lanes are expected to open in December 2022.

Continue Reading

Local News

New school house in view for needy kids of Ghana

Published

on

Michael Williams self-described ‘favorite moment’ of his 13 days in Ghana with the Rotary International mission to bring a safe, central well to Adedease Junction, population about 100. Courtesy Photos/Rotary International

In less than six weeks since his arrival back from Africa, Warren County Rotarian Michael Williams has raised most of the cash or commitments he needs to complete the building of a six-room school house in a poverty stricken area of Ghana.

During a whirlwind public speaking tour to service clubs, schools and anywhere anyone would listen to him, Williams says he is within $3,000 of the $40,000 in donations needed to complete the village school project he set for himself while working on a Rotary International Africa project earlier this year.

Williams, a local chauffeur, was one of eight Rotary club members from Florida, Virginia and West Virginia, who traveled some 13,000 miles to dig a functioning well to provide the village of Adedease Junction (population 100) in Ghana with drinkable water.

While there, Williams, who has worked with children for most of his adult life, including counseling needy kids at a summer camp called Alkulana near Staunton Virginia, saw the need for a six-room school house to replace the current four-room elementary school that was virtually open-air, no walls, just a thatched roof for shelter from monsoon rains.

The existing elementary school house

Already under construction, the school needs the additional money to complete cement block construction, an adequate water supply, electricity (from solar panels), and to provide equipment necessary for effective teaching of the 70-80 children who live in the village.

Williams, who returned from Africa February 9 as a “man with a mission” said he hopes the job can be completed by April of next year. It, too, will continue under the auspices of Rotary International. Meanwhile, he remembers fondly the village children who accepted him as the “broomi,” the bald headed white man, who loved him while he loved them back.

“Generally,” said Williams, who is still available for his entertaining presentation on his recent trip, “despite the poverty and all of that, these were happy kids, happy parents, lovely people making the best of their lives.”

The new elementary school site

See Related Story:

Poverty stricken African nation leaves indelible mark on Front Royal visitor

Continue Reading

Local News

McEathron explains process leading up to early retirement announcement

Published

on

Sheriff McEathron behind his desk at the county Public Safety Building – Photos/Roger Bianchini

Royal Examiner sat down with Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron Monday afternoon in the wake of his announced retirement effective May 1, 2019. Sheriff for the last 16 years of a 37-year career at the department, McEathron announced August 1 of last year that he would not seek re-election this year. His final four-year term expires on December 31.

BREAKING NEWS: Sheriff McEathron announces he’ll retire May 1

So, why the early exit, we asked.

“After the last election, which was 2015, right, and I took office in ’16, my wife and I both sat down and talked about it – I was going to leave January 1, 2019. I was going to retire early. So, we decided as a family together two-and-a-half, three years ago,” the sheriff said of the hatching of a family plan to exit his last term as sheriff as much as a year early.

“But the more I got to thinking about it, that’s right when you submit your budget and it’s extremely important to any office. So I felt it was important for me to go ahead with that,” the sheriff observed of preparation and submission of the annual departmental budget. “So this decision, the first phase of this decision was made last year as far as leaving prior to the expiration of my term. But I felt it was important to submit my budget, present my budget and get through that process, which is usually April.

“And the office is running great, running smooth – this will be the first time in I guess four to six years where we’ll be totally full staffed. We won’t have the amount of vacancies we used to have; so we’re right where we need to be in the staffing. Everything is running good,” McEathron said of what he sees as an opportune moment to enact that early exit strategy developed on the home front in recent years.

The sheriff also joked that perhaps it is advisable to “retire” early on a chosen date, rather than see one’s contract “expire” for a final time as sheriff’s office contracts do at the end of the calendar year – “And this is not a joking matter… but it’s that word ‘expire,’ ” McEathron laughed.

Hey, having almost “expired” myself on a past December 31, I think it’s a GOOD CALL, sheriff.

“Personally everything’s great, the kids are doing good – why not take advantage of the summer; get ahead a little early. Professionally everything is going a way I can’t ask for it to go any better – we have a great staff here. So nothing’s going to change really, other than I won’t be sitting here,” the sheriff said looking around his office.

Standing by memorabilia including partners from his sheriff’s office K-9 corp days.

“But do you know what the most important part of today is?” the sheriff asked of the day he announced his pending retirement, “It’s my mother’s 86th birthday.” – GO mom.

And don’t worry, the soon-to-be-retired sheriff will be visiting much more frequently in no time.

Since his August 1st announcement he would not seek another term as sheriff, three people have declared as candidates to replace McEathron. Those include one from within the department, Michael “Mickey” Licklider, county resident and Winchester City Police Officer Jason Poe as well as county resident and Fairfax County Police Officer Mark Butler.

The press release announcing McEathron’s intention to step down noted that Major Michael Arnold will serve as sheriff for the remaining eight months of the incumbent’s term, which as noted above, “expires” December 31, 2019.

“By code the chief deputy, which is Major Michael Arnold, automatically takes over,” McEathron explained of the short-term succession plan.

Does Arnold’s appointment to complete Sheriff McEathron’s final year in office mean that a fourth candidate may emerge into the race to replace him?

“No, he’s not going to run – in three years he can retire too,” McEathron said of his immediate successor.

The sheriff outside the public safety headquarters building he pointed out benefited from excellent construction prices acquired during a down regional and national economy.

Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Upcoming Events

Mar
22
Fri
all-day 2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
Mar 22 all-day
2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
PURPOSE: We are seeking nominations for someone in need of a good, used vehicle to get back and forth to work, school or medical appointments, who can afford to own a vehicle, but can’t afford[...]
Mar
23
Sat
11:00 am 1 Year Anniversary Celebration @ River & Peak Outfitters
1 Year Anniversary Celebration @ River & Peak Outfitters
Mar 23 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
1 Year Anniversary Celebration @ River & Peak Outfitters
RAFFLE DRAWING 1st Prize: $200 River & Peak Gift Card 2nd Prize: Canoe Trip from Skyline Canoe FREE PIZZA RIBBON CUTTING SIDEWALK SALE 100% of proceeds from the raffle ticket sales will benefit the Potomac[...]
1:00 pm Armand Cabrera Lecture and Demon... @ Art in the Valley
Armand Cabrera Lecture and Demon... @ Art in the Valley
Mar 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Armand Cabrera Lecture and Demonstration @ Art in the Valley
Join us at Art in the Valley on Saturday, March 23rd from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a FREE lecture and painting demonstration by Virginia artist Armand Cabrera. Space is limited for this event.[...]