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Eugene Tewalt sworn in as Mayor of Front Royal

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Janice Shanks administers the oath of office while Juanita Tewalt holds the Bible. Photos by Tim Tewalt.

Finally the votes are counted and verified. Janice Shanks, Clerk of the Court did the honors and administered the oath to Eugene Tewalt as Mayor of Front Royal. This was a special election and Tewalt will finish out the unexpired term of former Mayor Hollis Tharpe who stepped down earlier this summer. The Council now has 45 days to appoint a person to fill the seat vacated by Tewalt.

Tewalts children and grand children were at the courthouse to watch the ceremony.

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WATCH: Christmas Parade 2019

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Niki Foster Cales, Executive Director of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce and Mike McCool, publisher of the Royal Examiner at the 2019 Christmas Parade in Front Royal. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

If you missed the Christmas Parade or want to see it again, sit back and enjoy!

This year the Christmas Parade was Hosted by Mike McCool, Publisher of the Royal Examiner. Thanks to Mark Williams from National Media Services, Inc for providing the video.

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Boy Scout Troop 52 continues tradition of selling Christmas Trees at Royal Plaza Center

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Royal Examiner publisher Mike McCool on Boy Scout Troop 52 Christmas Tree lot speaking to Hoss Feldhauser. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Boy Scout Troop 52 has been selling Christmas trees for 51 years; it is the main fundraiser for the troop. It is estimated they have sold over 15,000 trees over the years; many Scouts have learned the basics of salesmanship, marketing, and commercial forestry through the Troop’s Christmas tree sales program.

Christmas tree sales were first introduced to the troop by the efforts of Ken Fortune, Assistant Scoutmaster and Ken Bovard, Scoutmaster in December of 1968. The troop purchased trees from a farm in Bentonville that first year and shortly after that we branched out and purchased some of our trees from the Rudacille farm.

During the first 20 years the troop bought the Christmas trees from various tree farms in Virginia and as far away as Pennsylvania. In 1979 Dr. Craig Zunka, a long time member and Eagle Scout from the troop, agreed that the Troop could plant trees on his farm in Browntown.

Depending on the variety of the tree it takes from 6 to as much as 12 years from the time a scout plants a Christmas tree and it is ready for sale.

Since then, Dr. Zunka has overseen the planting and care of the trees on his tree farm for the Troop. The number of trees the scouts plant every year as well as the number of trees harvested depend largely upon the weather and the type of trees.

The Scouts learned how to plant the seedlings, how to properly trim the different variety of trees and the need to keep the weeds from growing around the bases.

The first tree sales were held on the “Weaver lot” across from the old Front Royal Volunteer fire station that was beside what was then town hall. Peyton Street now runs through where the Troop had its first tree sales lot.

It was just after the 1969 tree sales that Bill Ollinger, manager of the Safeway store in the Royal Plaza shopping center invited the troop to set-up the 1970 tree sales next to his grocery store and they have been selling trees somewhere on the property of the Royal Plaza shopping center ever since. The Troop has enjoyed and appreciated the support from the merchants in the shopping center that we have received for all these years!

All of the profits from our tree sales goes into the Troops operating account to pay for advancement awards and activities of the troop. They also pay for the Scouts cost towards summer camp.

The Royal Examiner stopped by the lot and spoke to Ronald “Hoss” Feldhauser:

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Downtown Front Royal Christmastime Pop-Up Store

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The Royal Examiner stopped by the store and spoke to a few of the proprietors. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

They’re temporary and they seem to appear out of nowhere, Christmas pop-up shops are an iconic fixture of the holiday season. These shops that appear in empty storefronts are part of the national culture, with handcrafted items, gifts and decorations to make your house look like Christmas.  One such store has popped up on Main Street in Front Royal. Open everyday till Christmas.

The pop-up store is a collaboration of Strokes of Creativity Art Boutique & Studio and The Main Street Travel. This 2-month Holiday Market Pop-Up offers small business and artisans a brick and mortar to sell their items. The Holiday Market is in the Kibler Building at 206 E. Main Street, Front Royal, VA.

The Royal Examiner stopped by the store and spoke to a few of the proprietors:

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A sustained voice for conservation in Page and Warren counties

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Local conservation groups, Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley (Alliance) and Scenic 340 Project, are excited to announce a joining of forces to build on and continue Scenic 340’s great track record of land and water conservation in Page and Warren counties.

The Scenic 340 Project formed in 1999 to oppose a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) proposal to widen Route 340 from Front Royal to Luray to four and five lanes endangering scenic viewsheds, Civil War battlefields, productive farmland, community identity and a growing heritage tourism industry. For more than a decade, Scenic 340 members were deeply engaged in the transportation planning process, promoting alternatives guided by Context Sensitive Solutions. VDOT eventually abandoned the plan, opting instead to replace four bridges in need of repair.

Before joining forces with the Alliance this month, Scenic 340 continued to advocate to change road-building policy at the state level, partnered with community members to conserve more than 2,300 acres of forest and farmland, including a critical wildlife travel corridor linking Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest, and enhanced the scenic beauty of the historic Route 340 corridor with Project Redbud, replanting the native trees along the corridor.

“I am proud of all Scenic 340 has accomplished over the years,” says Christine Andreae, founding board member of both the Alliance and Scenic 340. “By joining forces, the Alliance can build on the strong foundation laid by dedicated Scenic 340 volunteers for future conservation successes.”

Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley is a regional conservation group working since its launch in 2018 to ensure the land and water resources and vibrant communities of the Valley are protected for the long haul. With dedicated staff in Augusta, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties, the Alliance follows the local issues unique to each county while also tackling issues that face the region, like safety improvements for Interstate 81.

“We are delighted to welcome Scenic 340 Project to the Alliance,” says Alliance Executive Director Kate Wofford. “We look forward to many years of impactful work protecting the extraordinary forest and farmland, clean streams and rivers and vibrant local communities that make Page and Warren Counties great places to live and work.”

The Alliance’s work in Page and Warren counties will be guided by a Page and Warren Advisory Council made up of with former members of Scenic 340 Project.

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Lord Fairfax Health District warns residents of rabies risk in bats

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Northern Long-eared Bat
USFWS

On several occasions starting on November 24, 2019, residents of a rural property in Warren County encountered bats inside their house.  Since that time, three of these bats were captured and two of them tested positive for the rabies virus.

 “Any physical encounter with a bat—a bite, scratch, or lick, a collision with a flying bat, or even finding a bat in a room with a sleeping person—should be considered a rabies exposure,” stated Lord Fairfax Health District Director Dr. Colin Greene, “and anyone so exposed should seek medical attention immediately.”

Rabies is a virus that causes a fatal brain infection in mammals, including humans.  Once symptoms begin, death follows in nearly all cases, but a series of shots given soon after a person is exposed can prevent the disease from occurring.  Rabies virus is spread through the saliva of an animal that is actively sick with the disease, transmitted through a bite or scratch, or a lick on broken skin or mucous membranes.  Unlike other common sources of rabies—raccoons, foxes, skunks, feral cats and the occasional ground hog—bats have a much higher level of mobility through flight, and their very small mouths make it possible for a sleeping person to be unaware of having been bitten.  Bats also present a rabies risk over a wide area, in every state except Hawaii.

Bats are a part of the natural environment and offer many benefits, including insect control.  Only a very small percentage of bats carry rabies at any one time, but it is not possible to tell by looking whether a bat has rabies, and bats in unusual places, such as inside a dwelling or outside in the daytime, are more likely to be affected.  Once again, any physical contact between a human and a wild bat, or a bat present in a room with a sleeping person, is a potential rabies exposure.  Affected persons should be seen by a healthcare provider right away.

The health department further advises:

  • Never approach or touch wild animals, especially any raccoon, fox, skunk or bat, especially if it is behaving oddly or if it is seen in the daylight.
  • If you find a bat in a room where a human has been sleeping, that person must be seen by a medical professional immediately.
  • If you have bats in your attic or other area where you may physically encounter them, strongly consider having them removed by a professional.
  • Avoid stray cats and dogs. Feral or unknown cats and dogs may also carry rabies. Report bites or scratches from these animals to your physician or the health department.
  • Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies (even if they don’t go outdoors) and keep their shots up to date. Vaccinate working barn cats as well, for their protection and yours.
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats or dogs.  Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.
  • If one of your domestic animals is bitten or otherwise interacts with a wild mammal, notify the local health department and animal control officer at once, and have the animal seen by a veterinarian.

 If you are bitten, scratched, or licked by any of these animals, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is fatal to both animals and humans once symptoms begin, but it can be prevented in humans if they receive vaccine and medication soon after exposure.

 Finally, if in doubt, or if you have a question, call your local health department, or the Frederick/Winchester office at 540-722-3480.

Additional information on rabies is available from the Virginia Department of Health at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/rabies-control/.

The Lord Fairfax Health District serves residents in the city of Winchester and Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties. For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lord-fairfax/.

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Retiring superintendent, school board members receive formal send-off

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Warren County School Board Chairwoman Catherine Bower (center) schmoozes with outgoing WCPS Superintendent Greg Drescher (left) and retiring School Board member Donna McEathron (right) during a December 4 School Board reception. Photos by Kim Riley, Royal Examiner.

FRONT ROYAL — Two outgoing members of the Warren County School Board and retiring Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) Superintendent Greg Drescher on Wednesday night received a formal goodbye from their School Board colleagues.

The School Board held a reception for the retiring public servants prior to their regular December 4 meeting at the government center and then during the meeting presented them with gifts and official resolutions recognizing the time they’ve worked for Warren County.

The last day for Drescher and the expiring terms for School Board members Donna McEathron and C. Douglas Rosen all fall on December 31.

Drescher, who has been the WCPS superintendent for five years following a 37-year career in education, on September 6 announced his retirement in a press release in which he cited his wife’s “serious health issues” as being a primary factor in his decision to leave WCPS early.

Shortly thereafter, the School Board during its regular October 2 meeting unanimously voted to put Drescher on paid administrative leave until his retirement after he was indicted along with more than a dozen other local individuals in the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) financial scandal. Those charges were all later dismissed when the presiding judge ruled there was no legal precedent making unintentional negligence a criminal offense in Virginia.

Drescher simultaneously was superintendent of schools and a member of the EDA Board of Directors. He served 12 years on the EDA board and was board chairman in 2017-2018 during the height of what has been shown to be when the financial scandal started to unravel. He resigned completely from the EDA board in March.

Meanwhile, both School Board terms for McEathron and Rosen are up at the end of the year and neither of them sought reelection during the November special elections.

Retiring Warren County School Board member C. Douglas Rosen has served on the board since October 23, 2014.

Retiring School Board members C. Douglas Rosen (left) and Donna McEathron (right) during the board’s reception honoring them last night.

Retirement reception revelers: (left to right) Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley, who attended the School Board reception and meeting as president of the Warren County Educational Endowment; outgoing WCPS Superintendent Greg Drescher; and interim WCPS superintendent Melody Sheppard.

The School Board noted during the presentations portion of its Wednesday meeting that since it was the final regular meeting for Drescher, Donna McEathron and Rosen, the board members wished to recognize their service to the citizens and students of Warren County.

A resolution in recognition and appreciation of their service was prepared for each of them and then adopted by the School Board. Chairwoman Bower read out loud each resolution to those in attendance at the meeting. Drescher received a standing ovation from the crowd following presentation of his resolution and gift.

Local resident warns School Board; extra special ed teacher approved

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‘Tis the Season

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Dec
8
Sun
2:00 pm R-MA December Open House @ Randolph-Macon Academy
R-MA December Open House @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Dec 8 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
R-MA December Open House @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Discover The Power of Rise at Randolph-Macon Academy! Join us for an open house on Sunday, December 8th, with tours beginning promptly at 2:00 pm. Families interested in applying for the second semester (January 27,[...]
3:00 pm Christmas Concert @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
Christmas Concert @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
Dec 8 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Christmas Concert @ Front Royal Presbyterian Church
The Valley Chorale of Front Royal (previously Front Royal Oratorio Society) presents its 2019 Christmas concert titled “HOME FOR CHRISTMAS” – a program of uplifting sacred and secular selections sure to brighten everyone’s yuletide season.[...]
Dec
10
Tue
4:30 pm Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 10 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Tuesday, December 3: Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! After reading a Christmas story, we’ll discuss giving and how it affects us and the people around us.[...]
Dec
11
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 11 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]
Dec
12
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 12 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]
Dec
14
Sat
11:00 am Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 14 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Celebrate George Washington @ Samuels Public Library
December 14 is the 220th anniversary of George Washington’s death. Today we will learn more about this great leader of our country and celebrate his legacy. Refreshments will be served. For ages 7 to 18.[...]
Dec
15
Sun
4:00 pm R-MA Hosts Community Christmas C... @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
R-MA Hosts Community Christmas C... @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
Dec 15 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
R-MA Hosts Community Christmas Concert @ Randolph-Macon Academy | Boggs Chapel
The local community is invited to join the Randolph-Macon Academy family for an afternoon of holiday spirit with the R-MA Band and Chorus! The annual R-MA Christmas Concert will be held on Sunday, December 15th,[...]
Dec
17
Tue
4:30 pm Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 17 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Tuesday, December 3: Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! After reading a Christmas story, we’ll discuss giving and how it affects us and the people around us.[...]
7:30 pm Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Dec 17 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA Campus
Christmas Concert | Presented by the American Legion Community Band Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at 7:30 pm Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus in Front Royal, VA
Dec
18
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Dec 18 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5: Gingerbread and Candy Canes will be the delicious theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week! Siblings welcome.[...]