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.
Warner & Kaine announce more than $2.1 million in funding to address COVID-19 in rural Virginia communities
On August 12, 2022, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $2,124,300 in emergency rural health care funding to bolster federal support in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be provided to the Ledwith-Lewis Free Clinic in Tappahannock, Page Memorial Hospital in Luray, Tazewell Community Hospital in Tazewell, and Wellmont Health System in Big Stone Gap. This funding was awarded through the Community Facilities Emergency Rural Health Care program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“As Virginia communities continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that we provide resources to help protect Virginians,” said the Senators. “That’s why we are pleased to see these grants go towards COVID vaccination and testing, telehealth and food assistance services, ventilation systems, and financial aid.”
The funding will be awarded as below:
- $36,800 for Ledwith-Lewis Free Clinic in Tappahannock, VA, to provide COVID-19 testing kits, rapid testing supplies, and vaccinations, as well as additional staffing to meet the needs of the rural counties served. This investment will benefit approximately 27,350 residents.
- $1,000,000 for Page Memorial Hospital in Luray, VA, to purchase telehealth, remote monitoring systems, COVID testing, a mobile clinic, and food assistance. In addition, the funds will be used to train current nursing staff. This project aims to connect rural patients to Valley Health telehealth services and Page County internet infrastructure. This project will benefit approximately 24,042 residents.
- $335,000 for Carilion Clinic (Tazewell Community Hospital) in Tazewell, VA, to upgrade the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The HVAC system will follow the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 operational protocols for health care and will service the lab and patient care areas, as the current HVAC system is old and unreliable. This investment will benefit approximately 45,078 residents.
- $752,500 for Wellmont Health System in Big Stone Gap, VA, to replace lost health care revenue and help with financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment will benefit approximately 70,997 residents.
The USDA’s Community Facilities Emergency Rural Health Care program is designed to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, rural health care services, and food assistance through food banks and food distribution facilities.
Senators Warner and Kaine have been strong advocates for rural communities and health care access in the Commonwealth. Last year, both Senators helped pass the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief bill that provided $20 billion to improve vaccine distribution, $10 billion for the Defense Production Act to procure essential medical equipment, and $50 billion for virus testing, genomic sequencing to detect new variants, contract tracing, and additional PPE. Additionally, Senator Warner introduced legislation, cosponsored by Senator Kaine, to expand telehealth services through Medicare, connecting patients to doctors and cutting costs for patients and providers. Senator Kaine also introduced legislation to expand health care to rural areas through telehealth as part of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019. The bill was passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee as part of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019.
August recognized as Hidden Heroes Month in Virginia
Governor Glenn Youngkin has officially recognized August as Hidden Heroes Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia to honor the millions of military and veteran caregivers in Virginia and throughout the United States who care for those wounded, ill, or injured who have served our nation throughout wars and conflicts.
“Virginia is proud to partner with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and their Hidden Heroes program to support and acknowledge caregivers that receive little support or acknowledgment for their selfless sacrifices,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “In fact, most of these Hidden Heroes simply consider the challenging work they do as unconditional love or carrying out their civic and patriotic duty, without realizing they should be categorized as caregivers. I call on all my fellow Virginians to join me in thanking and supporting them. They deserve nothing less.”
“As a veteran, I have seen the devotion that these caregivers provide every day to their loved ones who sacrificed so much for our Nation,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Craig Crenshaw. “If Virginia is going to remain the best state for veterans and their families to live, work and thrive, we must never forget how important these Hidden Heroes are and provide them with the support they need and deserve. This we pledge to do today and always.”
“I’ve seen first-hand the tremendous impact 5.5 million young spouses, mothers, dads, siblings, and other loved ones make in the lives of wounded warriors every day, in neighborhoods large and small, in states like Virginia and across the country,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, Founder of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “Today, we are one step closer to ensuring that these caregivers are woven into the fabric of our nation’s appreciation of the military. My heartfelt thanks to Governor Youngkin and his team for their strong support of military caregivers, America’s hidden heroes.”
“For those Hidden Heroes throughout Virginia who would like to know what resources are available for them in their community and for others who wish to help these caregivers, all of us at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) stand ready to assist,” said Daniel Gade, Commissioner of DVS.
In the Certificate of Recognition, Governor Youngkin recognizes that many of these caregivers are the parents, spouses, siblings, and friends of these wounded, ill, or injured men and women. Their daily tasks can include bathing, feeding, dressing, and dressing grievous injuries, administering medications, providing emotional support, caring for the family and home, and working outside the home to earn essential income.
For more information about the Hidden Heroes Program and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, go to www.HiddenHeroes.org or www.elizabethdolefoundation.org.
About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. VDVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans. Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education, and other programs. The agency operates long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.
For questions regarding caregiver programs in Virginia, email email@example.com, or visit your local DVS office.
County Planning Commission: No letup in Short-Term Tourist Rental Permit Requests
The Warren County Planning Commission held a work session prior to their regular meeting on August 10. The work session focused on the ongoing work on the County Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Department staff provided a variety of demographic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, which will be updated and included in the plan. Unfortunately, 2020 Census Data, which was scheduled to be released in April 2022, has now been delayed until November, and at the same time, decisions about growth and direction must be made. When asked if the final Comprehensive Plan would be able to incorporate the new Census data, Planning Director Matt Wendling said, “The data in the plan will be the most up-to-date we can get.”
The work session included an extensive discussion of the wage range and population makeup statistics that did not yet include an age breakdown, which, as Vice Chairman Hugh Henry pointed out, is vitally important when planning land use. Senior housing needs are significantly different than working families, and understanding trends will help the County and potential developers find the right mix of homes and employment opportunities. Planning Director Wendling acknowledged that a good part of the analysis of available data is data mining, which is time and labor-intensive. Commissioner Kersjes suggested that the planning staff investigate enlisting help from local colleges as a useful project, perhaps as an internship. Given that current projections indicate Warren County will near 50,000 population by 2040, housing, infrastructure, and employment opportunities will have to grow along with it.
Still with four members since June, when former Shenandoah District Commissioner Joe Longo resigned, the commission convened its regular monthly meeting following the work session. They heard from Planning Director Wendling that a proposed new member is pending approval by the Board of Supervisors. That would bring the commission back up to full strength.
The Commission held six public hearings for Conditional Use Permits (CUPs). All six were applications for short-term tourist rentals. They included:
Michelle Moriarty – A request for a Conditional Use Permit for a short-term tourist rental at 96 Cappy Road. The property is zoned Residential One (R-1), located in the Happy Creek Magisterial District. With no public objection, the commission unanimously voted to recommend approval.
Kendra Hansen, Kathryn Stuart, Simon Sarver & Michael Cherubin – A request for a CUP for a short-term tourist rental on R-1 zoned property located at 97 River Overlook Road in the Shenandoah Magisterial District. During the public hearing, one neighbor, Claire Fay, objected to the presence on the property of several fire pits, and expressed concern about the fire danger if guests were to carelessly use them. Applicant Simon Sarver responded that they had already removed all but one of the fire pits, and the remaining one was a moveable metal one. The commission members discussed the challenge of enforcing what is already prohibited (open fires) in the supplemental regulations for short-term rentals. Eventually, Vice-Chairman Henry asked the applicant if it was possible to lock up the moveable fire pit when guests would be present, and the applicant agreed that it could be locked in a storage building. With no further objections, the commission voted unanimously to recommend approval.
CAZA Legacy LLC – A request for a Conditional Use Permit for a short-term tourist rental for a property at 241 Wildcat Drive. The property is zoned Residential One (R-1) and located in the Shenandoah Magisterial District. This application contained a waiver request to reduce the required setback from neighboring properties from 100 feet to 50 feet. In support of the request, the neighboring property owner had submitted a letter supporting the permit and the requested waiver. With that support from the impacted neighbor, the commission voted unanimously to recommend approval.
Matthew Williams & Jay Gilbert – A request for a Conditional Use Permit for a short-term tourist rental at 244 Delicious Road on Residential One (R-1) zoned property in the Happy Creek Magisterial District. The commission heard comments from the planning director that all requirements had been met, but an Apple Mountain Lake Subdivision Home Owners Association letter of “no objection” had not been received. The commission then unanimously voted to recommend approval.
Matthew Williams & Jay Gilbert – Their second request for a conditional use permit for a short-term tourist rental was at 115 Lonesome Flats Road. The property is zoned Agricultural (A) and located in the Fork Magisterial District. This application had generated a single letter objecting to the use from Jim Croft, who lives on the same road. His objections fall along familiar themes – short-term rentals are bad for the neighborhood, short-term tenants are not good neighbors, dangers from shooting, noise from parties, or other illegal activities. The Chairman pointed out that these concerns were why the County added supplemental regulations for short-term tourist rentals to prohibit these and other problematic activities. He noted that the permit can be revoked if a property owner fails to inform guests and enforce the regulations. The commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the request.
Thomas L. Pigeon submitted a request for a CUP for a short-term tourist rental at 540 Lakeside Drive. The property is zoned Residential One (R-1) and located in the Fork Magisterial District. This application drew two speakers who raised concerns about the on-site septic system. Barbara Sealock also acknowledged that the supplemental regulations answered some of her questions, but she also remained concerned about whether guests’ pets would be unconstrained in the neighborhood.
Katsiaryna Holder told the commissioners that she owns an adjoining property and is building a house there. Her concern was the septic system as it was built could have an impact on her home, for which a building permit was just issued.
The commissioners reviewed the documentation provided with the application that identified the alter native discharge system on the applicant’s property, and it is a state-regulated system that mandates additional maintenance and monitoring. Properly maintained, it should have no impact on other properties. The commissioners discussed the permit requirements, including continued compliance with State and local Health department testing and reporting. Concluding that sufficient safeguards were in place, the Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval.
The Commission’s Consent Agenda consisted of authorizations to advertise public hearings for Conditional Use Permits for five short-term tourist rentals and two private use camping:
- Gillian Greenfield & Richard Butcher – CUP for a short-term tourist rental at 1164 Riverview Shores Dr. in the Shenandoah Magisterial District.
- Elizabeth A. Saman – Conditional Use Permit for a short-term tourist rental at 431 Cindys Way in the Shenandoah Magisterial District.
- Jaden & Tori Walter – A request for a Conditional Use Permit for a short-term tourist rental at 80 River Oak Drive in the South River Magisterial District.
- Vesta Property Management – Conditional Use Permit for a short-term tourist rental at 194 Venus Branch Road in the Shenandoah Magisterial District.
- Vesta Property Management – Conditional Use Permit for a short-term tourist rental at 86 McCoys Ford Road in the Fork Magisterial District.
- Stacy L. Lockhart – Conditional Use Permit for Private Use Camping (non-commercial). The property is located at Harris Drive in the Shenandoah Magisterial District.
Jeffrey Steven Taylor – Conditional Use Permit for Private Use Camping (non-commercial) on Howellsville Road in the Shenandoah Magisterial District.
The Commission unanimously approved the Consent Agenda, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Robert David Simpson (1978 – 2022)
Robert David Simpson, affectionately known as “Rob,” 44, of Bentonville, Virginia, passed away on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
Rob was born on May 14, 1978, in Falls Church, Virginia, to Donald and Karen Miller Simpson. Rob was a devoted father, brother, son, uncle, and adoring and loving husband. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hiking, fishing with his brother and father, and his annual family canoe trip with his son, father, brother, uncles, and nephews. Aside from being outside, Rob loved working with his hands and renovating the home he shared with his wife.
He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Jane “Bam Bam” Miller. Surviving along with his parents are his wife, Julia Simpson; son, Tyler Simpson; three daughters, Adriana Simpson, Karissa Rodriguez, and Olivia Simpson; brother, Daniel Simpson; four sisters, Michelle Anderson, Christine Simpson, Jennifer Jackson, and Catherine Jackson; stepmother, Valerie Simpson; nephews, Jacob Sterner and Mason Simpson and nieces, Ella Simpson and Abigail Anderson.
Rob spent his younger years in Clifton and Burke, Virginia, with his dearest friends and spent the majority of his adult life in Manassas, Virginia, raising his children before moving to Bentonville, Virginia, to live out his dream of living near the Shenandoah River. He enjoyed spending his summers camping, canoeing, and floating on the river with his family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial donations be made to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), 199 Water Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10038, or online at supporting.afsp.org.
Real Estate and Community News (July/August 2022) with Jen Avery, REALTOR
Check out Facebook page to read about a great mentor and resident story.
Waggin’ for Dragons
August 6, 2022 – River Access at the Front Royal Golf Course
We brought in over $19,000 for the Humane Society, Chamber of Commerce, and United Way. Rugged Terrain Crossfit WON the boat race bringing home the trophy! The Rotary River Rats won Team Spirit and Most Funds Raised awards.
After Hours will be hosted by City National Bank this month on August 23. Come out at 5:30pm to enjoy networking, snacks, and maybe a little live music by House of Hope resident Ed McCurdy!
Warren County Market Report for July 2022 with Jen Avery, REALTOR
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for July 2022. There has been a jump in listings.
In general summary:
1. New Listings are UP 17.2%
2. New Pending DOWN -19.63%
3. Closed sales are DOWN -19.2%
4. Average Median Sold $320,000
5. Average Days on Market 23
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resource: July 2022 Market Stats by ShowingTime
Bright MLS: Statistics calculated August 2022.
Jennifer Avery, REALTOR® “Your Happy Home Expert!”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
email@example.com | 540-683-0790 | www.jenaveryrealtor.com
CRUM REALTY, INC| 318 S Loudoun St, Winchester VA 22601 | 540-662-0400
#JenAveryRealtor #WinchesterRealEstate #FrontRoyalRealEstate #ShenandoahValley #WarrenCounty #HopeHappinessHome #ListWithJen #crumrealtyinc
West Virginia roadwork may produce Interstate 81 Northbound delays in Virginia
Roadwork on northbound Interstate 81 in West Virginia at the Virginia state line will potentially cause traffic delays in Virginia.
Motorists should be alert for delays on I-81 northbound in Frederick County, VA., during two periods of pavement repair work in West Virginia. The first period is for preparation work, and the second is for pavement work.
The first work period is 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Wednesday, August 17. Significant traffic delays are not anticipated during this time.
The second work period begins on August 17 around 6 p.m., extending into Thursday, August 18, possibly into the midday hours. Significant traffic delays may occur throughout this period.
In Virginia, traffic accessing I-81 northbound at Exit 323 off of Route 669 (Rest Church Road) will be stopped at the end of the on-ramp before entering I-81. This will accommodate anticipated slow or stopped traffic on I-81 at this location.
The Virginia Department of Transportation will monitor traffic back-ups. If back-ups become significant and sustained, the following alternate routes will be recommended.
- Interstate 66 or Route 7 to Route 340 northbound through Warren and Clarke counties
- I-81 exit 310 to Route 37 (Winchester bypass) to Route 522 northbound in Frederick County.
Variable message boards along the northbound I-81 and westbound I-66 corridors will alert drivers of traffic delays and alternate routes as needed.
Additional roadwork on northbound I-81 in West Virginia is anticipated to occur in the coming weeks, with potential traffic delays into Virginia.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at http://www.511Virginia.org.
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 https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton. VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at http://www.VirginiaDOT.org.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany, and Bath counties.