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Demonstrators seek dialogue on national incidents of excessive police force against people of color



Royal Examiner spoke to event organizer Laura Cascada of Northern Shenandoah Valley Unites about the message approximately 25 sign-bearing people gathered to make at noon on Saturday, April 17, in front of the Warren County Courthouse grounds. Cascada explained that while the presence of the Confederate soldier’s statue at the courthouse remains an organizational concern, equal justice and treatment under the law was the focus of Saturday’s peaceful demonstration, not statues.

Northern Shenandoah Valley Unites demonstrators seek local dialogue on national civil rights concerns. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

“We are out here to speak up for black lives and speak up against injustice and police brutality against black people and other people of color. And we are speaking out in the wake of Dante Wright’s murder (Minnesota officer mistakes her gun for taser during a traffic stop) and amidst George Floyd’s ongoing murder trial (of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin) and just to bring this message close to home and let our community know this is not okay, and we need to end this violence.”

That message comes amidst, not only the two specific police officer killings of black men cited but an ongoing rash of officer-involved incidents, including in the Tidewater region of Virginia (Windsor), where undue, seemingly excessive force has been initiated against people of color even during traffic stops from which no charges were forthcoming.

Laura Cascada, far right with megaphone, directs equal justice demonstrators positioning as some drivers honked support.


As to the choice of a location for the April 17 civil rights demonstration under the gaze of the nearby Confederate soldier’s statue on the Warren County Courthouse grounds, Cascada explained:

“As many know, this was the site of controversy last fall over the long-standing (placed 1911) Confederate Monument we have here, which nearly a quarter of the county actually voted to remove or replace to another location. And even though the statue still stands – it’s a great space to open this dialogue and talk about and reflect on our long history of oppression here in Virginia and in Warren County … and today we’re just out here opening the dialogue in a peaceful, positive and uplifting way, talking about valuing black lives and ending the violence.”

In addition to some passing motorists’ apparent honks of support, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Unites demonstration drew one familiar counter-demonstrator, Gary Kushner who faced off with his own signage across East Main Street from the equal treatment under the law demonstrators.

Differing perspectives on a national debate over equal treatment under the law: at issue – All lives won’t matter unless ALL lives ARE valued and treated equally.


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Community Events

Family Fun Day draws enthusiastic crowd to downtown Front Royal



Saturday, May 8th, wasn’t the warmest Spring day for the sixth annual Family Fun Day in Historic Downtown Front Royal, Virginia, but it was pushing 60 degrees under partly sunny skies – and rain of the previous night was long gone thanks to some still brisk winds whipping through town, so who could complain?

The annual array of classic cars dominated the northwestern portions of the Village Commons parking lot, with food stands, specialty stands, and games highlighting the southeastern, East Main Street side of the lot and surrounding grassy areas.

Live music was presented by John Landis and his From the Heart bandmates, as John took a little break from his nearby barbershop at 8 Chester Street.

You could complain about the weather not being warmer – but why? Below, From the Heart takes the Gazebo stage. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini



Royal Examiner tracked down the driving force behind Family Fun Day, this year dressed as King Crawdad – as the line was long in anticipation of bags of fresh crawfish being ready for sale, along with the other food options available. We spoke with King Crawdad’s alter ego, C&C Frozen Treats’ William Huck, about the sixth incarnation of this now-familiar downtown event.

“Here we have the community coming together to celebrate life and to celebrate mother (on Mother’s Day weekend) and celebrate community right here in Front Royal, Virginia,” Huck began with a nod to Town Manager Steven Hicks: “We couldn’t have done this without the help of Steven Hicks, who was instrumental in getting me the permit I needed. He was down earlier, and I had a nice visit with him today as the festivities were going on. So, I want to say thank you to our town manager.”

Of his costume and about-to-be-consumed brethren, King Crawdad observed with a nod to his wife Nina’s assistance, “It’s crawfish – crawfish is family coming together and having a good time. And Front Royal and Warren County is our family.”

King Crawdad appeared momentarily torn as his brother crawfish prepared to transition to food for Family Fun Day’s heartier eaters. – Sometimes there must be sacrifices for the greater good as the patiently waiting crawfish line proves.



Of the “fun” aspect of the day geared toward that family’s younger members, Huck pointed out, “We’ve got games and activities for the kids to play back here to win some prizes – stuffed animals, beads, and baubles.” And of the day’s “fun” aimed the bigger boys and girls way, he added: “The classic cars show, which we’ve had included in Family Fun Day from year one.”




Above, toys for the big kids to admire; below, games and other adventures for the younger kids.



“It’s an honor to be here for six years and next year will be lucky seven. And I promise next year we will have a carousel. And we’ll turn this into something that everybody else will be jealous of,” Huck forecast of a future another year removed from the COVID-19 pandemic and its public safety health measure restrictions on public gatherings.

And we can’t wait.

Beyond the White Picket Fence ‘Family Fun Day’ specials sign a dog waits patiently in food line with owner. Below, that dog is rewarded for his patience.



Not only games for the kids, but other booths with adventures to share.


The town caboose is a familiar play stop for the kids, making any day ‘fun day’.


And toward the new town pavilion, Josh Ingram hosts Pablo Guittierrez and internationally known Chihuahua Rico at his classic Jeep.


A classic Mustang and an apparently ‘classic’ electric car side by side. Well, that’s not exactly under the hood, explaining that lack of one at left in third photo.




What did I just see, indeed!


Above and below, more traditional classic cars, including from the ‘Helltown Cruisers’, all with hoods and engines under them.




Above, King Crawdad returns to the festivities from his headquarters at C&C Frozen Treats. Below, getting in the ‘Family Fun Day’ spirit White Picket Fence offered a number of event and Mother’s Day-themed specials.


What’s not to LOVE about Family Fun Day, from any direction?


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Winchester man dies in traffic accident while attempting to flee police



On May 8, 2021, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Deputy R.W. Marcelle observed a 2003 Cadillac passenger vehicle being operated in a reckless manner on Route 11 North in the area of Welltown Road. The Cadillac was observed accelerating rapidly, clearly traveling well above the posted limit of 40 mph, before merging onto Route 37 southbound.

Deputy Marcelle, caught up to the vehicle without activating his emergency lights and siren to establish an accurate speed. Marcelle caught up to the vehicle, prior to the Route 522 exit, where he estimated the Cadillac’s prior speed to be over 100 mph and now slowing on the exit ramp before stopping at a red traffic light.

Deputy Marcelle decided he would stop the vehicle in the area of the Sheetz in Sunnyside, once the light cycled green, so both vehicles could clear the ramp and intersection. Upon the light turning green, the Cadillac made a left turn South onto Route 522 and accelerated rapidly. Marcelle now activated his emergency equipment to pull the subject over only to have the Cadillac accelerate and pull away from him. Deputy Marcelle next radioed that he had a subject attempting to flee a traffic stop and tried to catch up to the suspect. Marcelle noted that the Cadillac was now traveling above 100 mph and headed towards the city limits of Winchester.

The driver of the Cadillac had created distance between himself and the deputy and was coming up the bend of Route 522 where the 4-lane divided roadway transitions down to a 2-lane non-divided configuration. The Cadillac’s momentum carried it across the centerline and partially into the northbound lane where it side-swiped a 2016 Honda Civic operated by Jeremy Nicely of Winchester. The Honda was struck along its driver’s side before spinning across the northbound lanes and coming to rest on the southbound edge of the road facing south.

The Cadillac now continued south, in the northbound lane, and hit a 2003 Chevy Trail Blazer, operated by Zachary Harner of Winchester, head-on. This impact pushed the Blazer back approximately 50 feet and caused the Cadillac to spin 180 degrees, flip onto its roof, and come to final rest next to the Blazer.

Deputy Marcelle, still attempting to overtake the Cadillac, witnessed the Honda come spinning across his lane where he was able to avoid a crash with it. Once clear of the Honda, Marcelle saw the aftermath of the second event, between the Cadillac and the Blazer, and radioed in requesting an appropriate emergency response. Marcelle and other responding deputies used fire extinguishers to contain a small fire that was coming from the exposed undercarriage of the Cadillac. The positioning and condition of the Cadillac prevented deputies from gaining access to anyone in the vehicle.

Frederick County Fire / EMS arrived at the scene and began extrication procedures on the Cadillac in addition to the treatment of serious, but apparently non-life-threatening, injuries to Harner in the Blazer. Once access to the cockpit of the Cadillac was made, it was clear that the driver had not survived and was pronounced deceased on scene.

Lt. Warren Gosnell and members of the FCSO Traffic Division responded to the scene to handle the fatal crash investigation. The driver of the Cadillac was identified as Kondwani Rogers with a Waterford Lane address in Frederick County where personal notification was made to Rogers’ family of his death. Harner was transported to Winchester Medical Center and underwent surgery for various fractures and injuries as a result of the crash. The driver of the Honda refused medical treatment.

All three vehicles are considered to be total losses. Members of the FCSO Patrol Division, VDOT, and Virginia State Police all assisted on this call. The roadway was shut down for approximately six hours during the investigation, and it was noted that this is the second major crash at this location in the past 10 days.

Press Release from Frederick County Sheriff’s Office

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Lord Fairfax Health District offers multiple locations to obtain a free COVID vaccine



The Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD), in collaboration with community partners, is pleased to offer several opportunities for COVID-19 vaccination over the next few weeks.

“We are delighted to offer several locations and venues to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Lord Fairfax Health District Director Colin Greene. “We need to continue our progress toward protecting our community through vaccination. Our intent is to provide a location where every person can receive a vaccine while feeling safe and comfortable.”

The clinics below will all offer Moderna vaccines to anyone 18 and older. You may come for your first or second shot at these locations. If it’s your second shot, you must have received Moderna for your first; please bring your vaccine card.

• Tuesday May 11, Frederick Douglass Park, Winchester, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This clinic is mostly booked, but it will have some room for walk-up vaccines while the clinic is operating.

• Wednesday, May 12, at the 15th Street Gym, 465 West 15th St., Front Royal, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments can be made at, but walk-ins will be accepted between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

• Thursday, May 13, at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds, 300 Fairgrounds Road, Woodstock, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Appointments are available at, but drive-ins will also be welcome.

• Wednesday, May 26, at the 15th Street Gym, 465 West 15th St., Front Royal, 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Appointments ( and walk-ins welcome.

High school students 16 and older, along with their families, will be offered opportunities to receive the Pfizer vaccine through their school districts. These clinics will not be offered to the general public, so interested persons should contact their schools for potential dates and times. Should the FDA approve in the next week, the Pfizer vaccine would become available for students age 12 and older.

Vaccination remains our most certain track out of this pandemic. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been given to hundreds of millions of people with no serious side effects, and have been shown to be highly effective against all known strains of the COVID-19 virus.

If you have any questions, please call your local health department, or visit the LFHD website:

The Lord Fairfax Health District serves residents in the city of Winchester and Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren counties. For more information, visit

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VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for May 10 – 14, 2021



The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.

*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new entry or a revised entry since last week’s report.

Mile marker 7 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Overnight mobile lane closures for pavement marking, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. through May 9.

No lane closures reported.

Route 340 (Stonewall Jackson Highway) – Shoulder closures for tree removal operations between Criser Road (Front Royal) and Skyline Drive entrance, Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Route 340/522 (Winchester Road) – Overnight mobile lane closures for roadside weed control between Route 637 (Riverton Road) and Clarke County line, Monday to Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

*NEW* Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) – Flagger traffic control for paving and drainage project between Route 645 (Manassas Run Road) and Front Royal town limits, May 10 – December 10 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at

The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Humane Society welcomes new veterinarian to clinic team



The Humane Society of Warren County is pleased to welcome Dr. Alicia Pownall of Martinsburg, West Virginia to their HSWC Spay Clinic Team.

Dr. Alicia Pownall

Dr. Pownall graduated Magna cum Laude from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and will be joining the Humane Society of Warren County’s staff on June 14th. Dr. Pownall will lead the HSWC’s new project, the HSWC Spay Clinic, which is under renovation at 840-B John Marshall Highway and slated to open later this summer.

Dr. Pownall comes with valuable experience in a high-volume, high-quality spay and neuter clinic, and is enthusiastic to begin working to make a difference in our local community. She is Fear-Free Certified, and spent time traveling to rural Washington to the Native American Reserves setting up mobile clinics for wellness exams, vaccinations, and spay/neuter at no cost to the low-income area.

The HSWC Spay Clinic, Linda R. Lorber Campus will be a low-cost spay, neuter, and vaccine clinic available to our local community, as well as rescue and TNR groups. This undertaking is the next big step towards the animal shelter’s vision of living in a community where every pet is a wanted pet.

For more information, please contact Meghan Bowers at 540-635-4734 or by email at

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Residents urge School Board against pandemic precautions



Mike Mayer of Front Royal, Va., wearing a head band but no mask, referred to the audience attending the Warren County School Board’s Wednesday, May 5 regular meeting as “fellow lowly commoners,” setting the tone for his subsequent contribution during the community participation portion of the meeting.

Mayer’s prepared statement, which he read aloud to the board members, took a meandering path to make a point, using language laced with insults that seemingly were meant to chastise local responses by Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) and the School Board, among others, to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — although Mayer never mentioned the words ‘COVID-19’ or ‘pandemic.’

The Pebble Lane resident started off by saying that while he should have participated earlier in a School Board meeting, it has gotten to the point “where sitting on the sidelines and complaining about it is no longer a viable option.”

Mayer continued: “For the last year, our children have been held hostage by teachers’ unions and elected officials at every level — most of whom have shown blatant disregard for the best interests of our children at every opportunity.

“This school year has been a joke, a sham, an embarrassment, and a slap in the face all rolled into one neat package,” he read. “The damage done to our children both in terms of their education and social growth will not be fully realized for years, but hopefully it is not too late to crawl out of our hole that we’ve dug ourselves into.”

Mayer acknowledged that area schools appear to be getting ready to start the next school year with a pre-pandemic schedule, “hopefully… minus the nonsensical plexiglass paneling, the dehumanizing and misery-inducing face coverings, weird markings on floors telling you where to be, social distancing, and everything else this year has introduced that has reduced our vibrant and enthusiastic children into something more closely resembling the sheep who have implemented these theatrics into our classrooms.”

Calling the required precautions taken to reduce the spread of the pandemic “symbols of compliance, conformity and submission,” Mayer said they’ve “done nothing quantifiable to improve the lives of our children.”

And he said people are getting fed up with it.

In fact, another community member sent in correspondence that was read aloud into the record during the meeting by Robert Ballentine, WCPS finance director and clerk of the School Board.

Specifically, Billy Robinson of Front Royal, who was unable to attend the meeting, wrote the letter to express his objections to WCPS continuing to make students wear masks outside during recess.

“I think I speak for many parents when I say that it is ridiculous for our children to wear masks while having to recess outside, especially now that the temperatures go past 80 degrees on a regular basis,” Robinson wrote. “Not only is this wrong, but I think it is child abuse.”

Robinson asked School Board members to let parents have the choice to decide whether their children wear a mask. “I ask that you please exercise some commonsense and get rid of the mask mandate for our children while having recess outside,” he wrote. “Please stop this madness.”

Mayer concluded by urging board members “to consider the path forward very carefully and with laser-focused clarity.”

“If you are not willing to take the best interests of our children as your top priority and only true focus,” he said, “we will remove you from your positions and vote in people who are willing to do so.

Appreciations also noted

Kim Oakland, a music teacher at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School, also spoke during the community participation portion of the School Board’s meeting. In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, she expressed appreciation for teachers and other County employees, including the Warren County Board of Supervisors, which funds WCPS, and School Board members, whose tireless efforts helped hold together a school division that, like thousands of others across the nation, has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

“Regardless of what is on Facebook or other social media, you do put our children first,” Oakland told the board. “You can only do what the law and guidelines allow you to do.”

Oakland also reminded those in attendance that WCPS elementary students have been in school since the beginning of the pandemic, attending four days per week. “We all do the best that we can do,” she said. “It’s not just Teacher Appreciation Week. We teachers also appreciate all of you.”

WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger also acknowledged Teacher Appreciation Week during his report to the School Board and said that everyone has been through a lot during the current school year.

“I appreciate every single teacher that has been out there on the frontlines this year and making sure that our students are getting the best that they can under the circumstances that we are in,” said Ballenger, noting that teachers have “grown leaps and bounds this year,” with many having to try new ways to educate.

Ballenger also provided School Board members with an update on COVID-19 numbers in WCPS. He said that there are currently 19 active student cases, and 59 students are quarantined. There are also two active staff cases, and two staff members are quarantined.

On Wednesday, WCPS also offered a voluntary vaccination clinic at Skyline High School for students 16-years-old and up and their family members. More than 280 people signed up for the clinic, Ballenger said, adding that another clinic may be planned once new vaccines are approved and available for students ages 12 and up.

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Upcoming Events

6:30 pm Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
May 13 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service @ Front Royal Gazebo
Please join Warren County/Front Royal Back the Blue, in partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police and Front Royal/Warren County Lodge #33, during National Police Week as we honor our local Law Enforcement Officers who[...]
12:00 pm Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
May 14 @ 12:00 pm
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Join us for the 2021 Millionaire Maker held at award-winning Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club. The Millionaire Maker is a combined golfing and networking experience! Serious, amateur, and novice golfers are welcome. *Four golfers who[...]
7:30 am Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
May 15 @ 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Please join us for the Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the Linden Volunteer Fire Department. The event will be held Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Bowling Green Country Club South (768 Bowling[...]
10:00 am Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
May 15 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Bring the family and enjoy a fun day learning about the history of the French & Indian War era at the site of Colonel George Washington’s headquarters for the Virginia Regiment. Meet living history interpreters[...]
11:00 am National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 15 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Children’s Discovery Area: This National Kids to Parks Day, join us for fun-filled activities and music at our interactive discovery stations. Kids, pick up a scavenger hunt brochure and hike on the Track Trail. Just[...]
9:00 am Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
May 16 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Psychic Fair for both those who are serious and for those who are just curious. Event can be a life changing experience or just a fun time! Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers, and[...]
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 16 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects of beekeeping from hive construction to[...]
12:00 pm Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
May 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Many business owners struggled with the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020. Now, more than a year later, many of those same business owners have turned chaos into creativity finding new opportunities for growth. The Fauquier[...]
10:00 am Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn in Historic Area. Connect with the park’s landscape and get a taste of the skills you need to thrive in the backcountry. Participants will join experienced outdoor skills instructor Tim[...]
10:00 am Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Six-Button Mess – Civil War Enca... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Six-Button Mess - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the Six-Button Mess as they perform daily tasks of the Confederate soldiers. See[...]