Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Ambassadors for a presentation on the latest news in astronomy. Finish the evening by relaxing and enjoying the night’s beauty with the members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club for a tour of the night sky. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and/or blankets. Feel free to bring your telescope or binoculars for your own exploration.
Entrance gates close one hour after the program start time.
Laurel Ridge hosted College Night at Fauquier Campus
Hundreds of high school students came to Laurel Ridge Community College’s Fauquier Campus Tuesday night for the return of College Night following a two-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic.
Students from high schools in Fauquier County, Rappahannock County and beyond were able to meet with representatives from more than 75 colleges and universities from around Virginia and the nation – including Laurel Ridge, of course – to learn about their programs, admission requirements, financial aid, scholarships and more.
“This is an exciting time in the lives of high schoolers, a time when they are figuring out what their next chapter will look like,” said Dr. Caroline Wood, associate vice president for student services and academic support at Laurel Ridge. “We are excited to be a key resource in their planning, and pride ourselves on being the college of choice for so many who are a part of this event.”
College Night is sponsored by the Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and Laurel Ridge has been a part of it for more than a decade.
Colleges and programs represented included Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, Bridgewater College, Coastal Carolina University, Concord University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Institute of Technology, George Mason University, Hollins University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Johnson & Wales University, Mount St. Mary’s University, Ohio University, Regent University, Roanoke College, Seton University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, University of Kentucky, University of Virginia, Virginia State University and Virginia Tech.
“It was great to have this event back on campus,” said Laurel Ridge student life and engagement coordinator Chris Lambert. “Our four-year partners are always eager and excited to register for this event. Not only were we able to invite potential future students back to our campus, but we were also able to show off our new STEM and health professions building, Hazel Hall.”
College Night is part of a six to eight-week college transfer tour. It was on the Middletown Campus Wednesday afternoon and in the Apple Blossom Mall Wednesday evening.
Supervisors approve Outdoor Sports Facility over recommendation of County Planning Commission, add to the Short-Term Tourist Rental count
The Warren County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting September 27th, largely to process a list of nine actions that were not able to be covered during the regular meeting on September 20.
The Board quickly approved two leases of county property, one for a property at 229 Stokes Airport Road to Skydive Front Royal, LLC, for $600 per month, and the other for an apartment at 136 Hillidge Street for $725 per month to Raymond K. Freeman. There were no public comments on either lease, and the Supervisors approved both unanimously.
After a lengthy public hearing, on a 3-2 margin, the Supervisors approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Cole and Danielle Haase for an outdoor sports facility on their property at 19959 Fort Valley Road. In July, the County Planning Commission held a public hearing and ultimately recommended denial of the permit, citing traffic and neighborhood concerns. Since that time, the applicants have downsized the proposal and worked to allay the concerns of the neighborhood. They intend that the majority of the activities will be inside and scaled back outdoor activities to daytime only. The Haases are also local business owners. The property was formerly used as a church and multi-activity center by Master’s Touch Ministries.
Public comment was brisk with 24 individuals either speaking in person, or submitting letters, e-mails, or videos. Eighteen were in favor of the permit and six against. Neighbors inveighed against possible traffic increases near an accident-prone intersection at Fort Valley Road and Route 55. Supporters praised the applicants’ commitment to youth sports, as an important factor in developing teamwork, athletic and social skills for young people. Sue Russell, whose property adjoins the site, opposed the permit and is worried about the effect of any groundwork or excavations resulting in flooding on her property.
Some of the supervisors recalled when outdoor concerts and events were held at that facility. Supervisor Vicky Cook appeared to be the leading opponent of the proposed permit, calling into question the applicant’s parking and traffic estimates. At the end of the discussion, Supervisor Oates offered a motion to approve, seconded by Supervisor Mabe, and the motion passed, 3-2. Chairman Cullers, joined by Supervisors Oates and Mabe, Aye, Supervisors Cook and Butler, No.
Michelle Moriarty is requesting a CUP for a short-term tourist rental for the property at 96 Cappy Road that she recently purchased in April of 2022. The applicant will use a local property manager and local professional services for emergencies, maintenance, cleaning, garbage disposal, and guest screening/reservations. There was one speaker who opposed the permit on the grounds that the area is residential, not business. However, the Virginia General Assembly and the courts system have specifically determined that short-term rentals are a residential activity, rather than a business operation. Under questioning by the board, the applicant indicated that she had already spoken with all the nearby property owners and provided contact information should any need arise.
Planning Director Wendling indicated that there had so far been no complaints or calls related to these properties. Supervisor Cook questioned whether the County Sheriff would necessarily know if there was a problem with a short-term rental. County Administrator Edwin Daley suggested that the County could investigate developing a registry list for approved short-term rentals to allow law enforcement in the Public Safety Communications Center to know who to contact if there was a problem. Finally, on a motion by Supervisor Oates, seconded by Supervisor Mabe, the Board unanimously approved the permit.
Kendra Hansen, Kathryn Stuart, Simon Sarver, and Michael Cherubin have applied for a CUP for for a Short-Term Tourist Rental Located at 97 River Overlook Road. The owners plan to use the property themselves throughout the year, but they would also like to be able to make the property available for short-term lodging for visitors of the Warren County area when they are not occupying it. The applicants will manage the property personally. There were no speakers for or against the application, and no discussion from the supervisors. On a motion by Supervisor Mabe, and seconded by Supervisor Cook, the motion passed unanimously.
CAZA Legacy, LLC has requested a CUP for short-term tourist rental for the property located at 241 Wildcat Drive. The applicants, Robert Chevez and Erin Kavanagh, purchased this residentially zoned property as an investment property and currently are renting the property long-term for over 30 days since purchasing it in February 2022. They do intend to also use it for themselves as a get-away from their homes in Northern Virginia. The applicants are requesting a waiver to the setback requirement of 100-feet from dwelling to dwelling. The dwelling to the west is 50 feet and the applicants submitted a letter from their neighbor giving his support of the application. The applicants will be contracting a local property management company to maintain the property and as realtors they will be marketing and managing the rental. The property was the subject of an approved permit for short-term tourist use in 2018, however the use was never established and that permit expired.
Two letters from neighboring property owners were submitted. One was in favor of the permit issuance, and one was opposed. There were no speakers at the public hearing, and on a motion by Supervisor Mabe, seconded by Supervisor Cook, the Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the permit.
Matthew Williams and Jay Gilbert have applied for a CUP for a short-term tourist rental located at 244 Delicious Road, Linden. The applicants plan to manage the property personally with assistance from local professional services for cleaning and landscaping. The closest dwelling unit is 115 feet to the northeast. There were no comments from the supervisors or the public. One letter supportive of the use was submitted. On a motion by Supervisor Oates, seconded by Supervisor Butler, the Board unanimously voted to approve.
Matthew Williams and Jay Gilbert have also applied for a CUP for a short-term tourist rental in an agriculturally-zoned property located at 115 Lonesome Flats Road. The applicants plan to manage the property personally with assistance from local professional services for cleaning and landscaping. The closest dwelling is 313 feet to the north. The planning department provided a letter by a neighbor, John Croft, who opposes the permit. Mr. Croft alleges that the Road is private, on his land, and has not granted permission to use it for guests. After a discussion regarding the legal status of an access easement to the applicant’s property, the supervisors decided to approve the permit, subject to verification that an access easement does exist. Supervisor Cook made a motion to approve, seconded by Supervisor Mabe. The vote to approve was unanimous.
Thomas Pigeon has applied for a CUP for a Short-Term Tourist Rental Located at 540 Lakeside Drive. The applicant will contract a local property management company, Shenandoah Valley Property Maintenance LLC, to manage and maintain the property if the use is approved. The owners plan to manage the rental of the property through Airbnb and will review any renters for a positive online ranking. All the required conditions for permitting are complete. On a motion by Supervisor Butler, Seconded by Supervisor Mabe, the Board voted 4-1 in favor of approval. Chairman Cullers expressed her concern and continued opposition to properties being purchased by owners with no connection to the area for this use.
The Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Cities work to lure remote tech workers
Some tech workers are ditching San Francisco and other areas with high living costs and relocating to more affordable areas instead. And many cities are rolling out the red carpet, aiming to attract highly skilled workers, along with the knowledge and tax revenues they bring with them.
Many cities offer relocation bonuses and other perks to entice remote workers. Why should you choose Tulsa over Memphis? Well, for one, Tulsa could pay you $10,000 to move. The cities that are most aggressively courting remote workers have suffered contracting or slow-growing populations. By drawing in new workers, cities hope to grow their tax base and attract high-value industries, such as tech and engineering.
Tulsa is running one of the best-known programs, offering remote workers $10,000 grants and free access to co-working spaces. The local government also coordinates with other organizations to host events and to help newcomers feel welcomed. Since 2018, Tulsa Remote has drawn in over 1,200 remote workers.
Tulsa is far from alone. At least 70 cities and regions have set up similar programs. The Northwest Arkansas Council launched a Life Works Here initiative, also providing $10,000 grants. Tuscon, Arizona, provides $1,500 to cover relocation costs, plus other benefits. Meanwhile, Hamilton, Ohio, is offering STEM workers who relocate $10,000 that can be put towards paying off student loans.
Freelancing website UpWork estimates that 22 percent of the American workforce, over 36 million people, will be working remotely by 2025. An Owl Labs study found that 16 percent of companies are already fully remote globally. Even as offices open back up, the Pew Research Center has found that 61 percent of employees continue to work from home simply because they prefer to do so.
“My cat hates visitors!”
Does your cat run and hide every time someone comes over? Here are four steps to desensitize your feline to strangers.
1. Associate guests with something positive. For example, give your cat treats before visitors arrive and during their stay. At first, do this somewhere where your pet feels safe.
2. Over time, gradually lure your cat closer to your guests during their visit using its food bowl or treats.
3. Initially, ask your guests to ignore your cat if it approaches them.
4. Encourage your visitors to give your cat treats and play with it once it feels comfortable in their presence. Your cat will slowly understand that having guests over is fun.
Consult a feline behaviorist if you don’t see any improvement in your cat despite your best efforts.
Permaculture: farming inspired by nature
Unlike intensive agriculture, which destroys habitats, pollutes waterways, and decreases soil quality, permaculture aims to emulate natural ecosystems rather than trying to fight or control nature. Here’s what you need to know about this sustainable practice.
The permaculture principles were developed in the 1970s by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. They don’t solely focus on agriculture but on buildings, energy, and technology. Today, permaculture is a design approach that integrates land, people, and other resources to align with nature.
Permaculture is based on 12 principles, all focused on caring for the land and the people who live on it. These principles include observation, which aims to develop effective and intelligent strategies for each situation. Other principles include:
• Valuing renewable resources and services
• Zero waste
• Promoting modest solutions
• Incorporating diversity
In agriculture, permaculture practices focus on restoring soil health and fertility. In the garden, permaculture aims to maximize the use of water, sun, and other natural energies. Permaculture also involves building living spa¬ces with biodegradable and locally sourced materials with a low ecological footprint.
Permaculture aims to create productive ecosystems that are diverse, stable, and resilient. Supporting the companies that practice it supports everyone.
Judy M. Smith (1943 – 2022)
Judy M. Smith, nee Barnett, 79, of Front Royal, Virginia, and Pasadena, Maryland, passed away on September 27, 2022, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease peacefully in her sleep.
A graveside service will be held on Friday, September 30, 2022, at 2:00 pm at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Front Royal, with the Rev. Matt Waters officiating.
Mrs. Smith leaves her husband of 59 years, Sidney Smith; daughter, Stephanie Smith (Amy Thompson); sister, Roseanne B. Mobley; brothers, Frank H. Barnett Jr. (Cathy Steed), William P. Barnett Sr., and George E. Barnett (Connie) and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and innumerable friends.
Born in Front Royal on August 3, 1943, her father, Frank H. Barnett Sr., was instrumental in starting the predecessor to the current Warren Memorial Hospital. Her mother, Rose C. Barnett, was a devoted elementary school teacher.
For much of her career, Judy was a devoted federal employee. She was a team leader and manager in taxpayer services at the Internal Revenue Service and was in charge of cash management at the treasury department.
After leaving federal service, Judy went on to a successful commercial real estate and appraisal career. While Judy was very successful and focused on her business endeavors, she was most known for her devotion to her family and friends.
Judy’s passions included world travel, dancing, sailing, reading, music, and enjoying the view from her front porch. She enjoyed life’s moments big and small. Judy was a wonderful hostess and cook well before being a “foodie” was a thing.
Judy’s greatest gift was being a partner in a 59-year love story with Sid. Their marriage was built on love, caring, trust, and mutual consideration.
Judy’s starring role was being her best friend and mother to Stephanie.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Association in the name of Judy Smith.