Bethel Assembly of God (111 Totten Lane, Front Royal) is having a fundraiser dinner on Tuesday, Feb 19, from 4-7pm.
- Menu includes all you can eat tacos with fixin’s, desserts, and drinks.
- Cost is $8 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under. The public is invited, with proceeds going towards ministry in Front Royal.
Gainesville: University Boulevard Lane Closure the Week of August 26th
GAINESVILLE – The right lane of southbound University Boulevard is scheduled to be closed between Route 29 and I-66 from 9 a.m. Monday, August 26, to noon on Friday, August 30. The closure is needed so that construction crews can install curbs and gutters and pave the entrance to the new University Boulevard (Gainesville) Park and Ride Lot.
The first portion of the lot will open this October with more than 960 parking spaces available for carpooling, vanpools, and commuter bus service during construction of the Transform 66 Project. When fully completed in late 2022, the facility will provide over 2,000 park and ride spaces with access to and from the I-66 Express Lanes from University Boulevard.
All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.
Learn more about the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project and sign up for project updates and lane closure alerts at Transform66.org.
Republicans prep for mayoral forum; deal with Sayre-Mabe canvass backlash
Front Royal mayoral candidates Eugene Tewalt and Hollis Tharpe will have the opportunity to face off in a Candidates Forum held by the Warren County Republican Committee this Thursday, August 22.
However since by town charter and code Town elections are non-partisan – meaning candidates may not campaign under a party banner and their names may not carry a political party designation by them on the ballot – no party nomination is at stake. Rather candidates will simply be trying to court potential voters present for the event, and garner a Warren County Republican Committee endorsement.
Contacted two days before the mayoral forum scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Villa Avenue Community Center (aka the old library), former Mayor Hollis Tharpe said he planned to attend as a committee member but was undecided on participating in the forum surrounding a non-partisan election. Tharpe noted he remains a Republican County Committee member, an affiliation he said he has maintained since 2010.
The other person on the mayor’s ballot, Councilman and former Mayor Gene Tewalt said he would be present to participate. While a former committee member who noted he was endorsed by the local Republicans in his initial run for mayor, Tewalt said he let his Republican Committee membership lapse around 2010. He remains unaffiliated politically at this time.
Partisan pledge uproar
And while the Republican Committee waits to see how its planned mayoral pre-endorsement forum unfolds, it is also dealing with repercussions of the decision not to let independent
Shenandoah District Board of Supervisors candidate Walter Mabe’s wife vote in the party canvass of August 15.
Committee Chairman Steve Kurtz verified that Mabe’s Republican incumbent opponent Tom Sayre, present to help hand out ballots, identified Taffy Mabe entering the voting area. Sayre then approached Mrs. Mabe and asked if she was going to support Republican nominees in the November general election, which obviously include him as her husband’s opponent in the Shenandoah District supervisor’s race.
“Hell no,” was reported by observers as her answer, one might imagine pointedly directed Sayre’s way.
A source close to Mabe’s campaign said that Mrs. Mabe’s perception was that Sayre then declined to give her a ballot. However Kurtz said that Sayre looked his way for acknowledgement of a response and the committee chairman standing about 10 feet away, instructed that she not be given a ballot due to her response.
However Kurtz also said that Mrs. Mabe was the only person who showed up to vote in the canvass who was asked that question about general election party support. The committee chairman said he hoped to make a point that a Republican canvass should be for Republican voters.
However asked by this reporter at the canvass what the rules of participation were, Kurtz explained you had to be a registered voter and not show up online as having voted in a Democratic primary in the past several years.
We asked the committee chairman were it answered honestly, how many canvass voters of the nearly 600 who showed up he thought might have been lost had all been asked the same question Mrs. Mabe was about blanket party nominee support in November. In this volatile election season Kurtz admitted half, perhaps more.
Anything to be learned from this experience, we asked.
Not on the record apparently.
Republicans who have won their party’s nomination for the November ballot include Stephen Jerome, Circuit Court Clerk; John Bell, Commonwealth’s Attorney; Jamie Spiker, County Treasurer; Sherry Sours, Commissioner of the Revenue; Jason Poe for Sheriff; and Sayre, Delores Oates and Robert Hupman for Shenandoah, North River and South River County Supervisor seats, respectively.
Deputy Circuit Court Clerk Janice Shanks, who is currently serving as Circuit Court Clerk in the wake of Daryl Funk’s departure for a seat on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court bench, has filed enough signatures with the Registrar’s Office to be included on the November ballot as an independent.
In the wake of her 15-vote loss to Silek Law firm attorney Jerome in last week’s Republican Canvass, Shanks has not responded to Royal Examiner inquiries about whether she intends to campaign as an independent for that office in November. If she does it would make it a three-way race. Former County Deputy Clerk Angie Moore, now in the Frederick County District Court Clerk’s Office, is on the November ballot as an independent in the Circuit Court Clerk’s race.
Poe is in a four-way Sheriff’s race with Democrat Jorge Amselle, and independents Mark Butler and Mickey Licklider; Oates is facing off against independent and former Town Councilman and Vice Mayor Shae Parker in the North River District; and Hupman is taking on independents Leslie Matthews and Cheryl Cullers in the South River District.
North River Supervisor and Board Chairman Dan Murray (R) and South River Supervisor Linda Glavis (I) have both announced their retirements and are not seeking reelection.
So as summer and political temperatures rise toward triple digits, stay tuned as Warren County and Front Royal move through an already volatile 2019 election season in the shadow of public discontent over “business as usual” in the wake of the Town-County Economic Development Authority financial fraud investigation and consequent civil and criminal cases stemming from it.
FRIBA promotes Town with ‘Cardinal’ ornaments, annual Taste of the Town
There’s a fun new project in town featuring the beautiful Virginia state bird: the cardinal.
The Front Royal Independent Business Alliance (FRIBA) members with the assistance of American Business Alliance are partnering to help stimulate local business growth in town, and they are doing so with cute, kiln fired clay cardinals. The goal of their partnership is to continue to create unity within the community by celebrating the anniversary of the “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign. With the 50th anniversary of the campaign coming up, FRIBA wants to celebrate by creating clay Christmas ornaments in the shape of cardinals and invite the community to paint them for an $8 donation. The cardinals will be used to help fund community love letters to bring the community together and spread the love.
Arline Link with Explore Art and Clay at the Kiln Doctor and George and Karen McIntyre from The Apple House introduced us to the project.
Link also wants to spread the word about the Taste of the Town event. A family focused, non-alcoholic community event hosted on September 27 from 6-9 P.M. on East Main Street, Taste of the Town promises to bring the best culinary aspects of Downtown Front Royal to light. East Main Street will be closed off for the event and the night will promise hours of family friendly fun.
In addition, on August 22 at the Open House Middle of Main there will be another community event showing a series of films featuring the history behind the Save Your Town project.
To learn more about Cookie Cutter Cardinals you can contact Arline Link at the Explore Art and Clay at the Kiln Doctor, (540) 636-6016.
Watch Arline Link and George McIntyre walked us through the process of how the cardinals are made in this video:
Fairfax County teacher convicted of solicitation of a minor; jury recommends 7 years
HANOVER COUNTY (August 20, 2019) – Ryan Thomas Pick, 41, of Woodbridge, Virginia, was convicted yesterday by a Hanover County jury of two counts of Using a Communication System to Procure a Minor for an Unlawful Act and one count of Solicitation of a Minor Under the Age of 15, following a trial on the charges. The jury subsequently recommended that Pick serve a seven-year prison term for his offenses. Upon his release, Pick will be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives or works. He will be formally sentenced on November 22, 2019. Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia, made the announcement following the trial and conviction, which was presided over by Hanover County Circuit Court Judge J. Overton Harris.
“Individuals who sexually solicit children are robbing them of their childhood and their innocence, and what is even more troubling is that this man worked with children on a daily basis,” said Attorney General Herring. “Because of the work my team and local law enforcement agencies put into this, another dangerous predator is out of our community. My office will continue to seek justice against those who would exploit and harm children like this.”
The investigation of this case began in July of 2018 when an undercover officer with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office conducted an undercover chat investigation on the social networking site Omegle. While posing as a 12 year-old girl, the officer was connected with Pick, who chatted with the officer and made comments that were sexual in nature. During the conversation, Pick sent a video of himself to the officer engaging in sexually explicit conduct. He then made several statements about sex acts he wanted to engage in with the purported 12 year-old. An investigation revealed that Pick held several jobs including as a music teacher for Fairfax County public schools, the music director at his local church, a private music instructor, and a seasonal pizza delivery man. In August of 2018, officers executed a search warrant at Pick’s Fairfax County residence. During the execution, Pick admitted to using Omegle regularly and to chatting with the purported 12 year-old.
This case was investigated by the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Attorney General Herring’s Computer Forensic Unit provided digital forensic analysis of the evidence in support of the case. Assistant Attorney General Alexaundra Williams of Attorney General Herring’s Computer Crime Section prosecuted the case on behalf of the Commonwealth.
Governor Northam addresses Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today (August 20, 2019) addressed a Joint Meeting of the Senate Finance, House Appropriations, and House Finance Committees where he discussed the state of the Commonwealth’s finances and the Virginia economy.
“Over the last year we have worked together to maintain Virginia’s triple-A bond rating, put more money in our reserves, and made smart investments in our long-term growth,” Governor Northam said. “But as the global economy changes, we must be both cautious and strategic. During the next budget cycle we will continue laying a strong foundation for Virginia—preparing for a rainy day while investing responsibility in our long-term growth.”
Virginia ended the fiscal year with a surplus of $797 million, with much of that money already obligated for items such as water quality and taxpayer relief. The Commonwealth put $344.4 million into our reserves, which will bring total reserve funding to $1.6 billion—the highest amount ever—by 2021.
Governor Northam highlighted another important milestone for economic development in Virginia, announcing that his administration has secured $20 billion in investment since taking office in January 2018—more than any previous administration has announced in a full four-year term. This economic development has created over 51,000 new jobs across the Commonwealth.
Here is the Governor’s full remarks:
Good morning, Chairman Norment, Chairman Hanger, Chairman Jones, Chairman Ware, Speaker Cox, Members of the General Assembly, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the privilege of speaking with you this morning.
I would like to recognize Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, First Lady Pam Northam, and members of my Cabinet.
I am here today to update you on the Commonwealth’s revenues for the just-ended fiscal year, as we look forward to our next budget cycle and the choices we will make to ensure Virginia remains a strong and diverse place to live and work.
We start out this new budget cycle in a good place, and we all can, and should, take credit for that. We have accomplished a great deal working together.
We have maintained our triple-A bond rating, put more money in our reserves for a rainy day, and made smart investments in Virginia’s long-term growth.
We approved dedicated transportation funding this year, which will make I-81 safer and more reliable while providing much-needed revenue for transportation projects in other parts of the state as well.
We worked together to attract new business to the state—notably Amazon, which is ahead of schedule in hiring, and has submitted its development plans for its National Landing campus. Virginia Tech will offer courses in their new Alexandria location next fall. I want to thank Delegate Rush for his work with Tech, and thank all of you for the bipartisan work that went into this project.
We took a huge step to reduce the criminalization of poverty by ending the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid court costs and fees. As I have traveled the state to bring awareness to this issue, people have told me how much this means to them.
We found agreement on how to pay for a long overdue rebuilding of Central State Hospital.
We gave our teachers the largest single-year pay raise in 15 years.
We found a bipartisan resolution to the environmental challenge of what to do with 27 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash lying in unlined ponds near our waterways.
And we have now enrolled more than 306,000 additional Virginians in Medicaid through the expansion of that program. These people can now access the kind of health care many of us take for granted, helping them lead more productive lives. They can get treatment for chronic conditions.
They can get preventive care to help head off health problems before they become serious. And they can access treatment for addiction or other behavioral health issues. This access is saving lives, and we made this happen together.
We did all of these things together, working across the aisle, and put our differences aside to serve the people of Virginia.
We have opportunities to continue this good work in the session, and budget, ahead.
But first, let me update you on the financial health of the Commonwealth for the budget year that recently ended.
By and large, our financial health is good. We ended the year with a surplus of $797.7 million. But, as is often the case, much of that surplus is already obligated, for items like water quality and taxpayer relief. We also are putting $344.4 million into reserves, which means by 2021, we’ll have $1.6 billion in our reserves—approximately seven percent of our general fund revenue, the highest amount we have ever put in reserves.
This is something we all should be proud of. Last year I mentioned that putting 8 percent of our revenues into reserves is a goal of our administration, and we’re on the path to do so.
We expect revenues to grow in the coming year. I want to thank all of the economists, business leaders, and General Assembly members who volunteer to help provide our consensus revenue forecast. This is important work, and I thank Secretary Layne for his steady guidance.
While our revenues are positive, we also must plan for mandatory expenditures.
For example, we are due to rebenchmark our Standards of Quality in the coming biennium.
This is critical to ensure that our schools, and school funding, keep pace with our students’ needs, so every child receives a quality education. But it comes with a price tag.
We also know that our Medicaid program is likely to be more costly next year, as healthcare costs across the board continue to rise. Our administration is keenly aware of the issue of rising health costs, and will continue to work with you on solutions.
We also continue the work to build up our community-based behavioral health services, which provide critical support to many Virginians and their families, and we know there are costs to that work.
Over the past few years, we have invested, and will continue to invest, in strengthening our community service boards and ensuring that the services they provide are the same across the state. I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Hughes Melton for his work at our Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
That work must and will continue. I ask that we have a moment of silence in memory of Dr. Melton and of Hailey Green, who lost their lives in a tragic accident.
As we go into this new budget cycle, we must be both cautious and strategic.
Our unemployment rate remains at 2.9 percent. Our employers continue to add jobs. But because we are close to full employment, our job growth has slowed.
And though we are in the 12th year of economic expansion, we know that can’t last forever.
Federal policies continue to affect us. For example, the trade war with China and its resulting tariffs have already led to drastic cutbacks on purchases of American agricultural products, which hurt our farmers in Virginia.
China used to be the number one destination for Virginia’s agricultural and forestry exports, such as soybeans. In 2016, we exported nearly $700 million in those products to China.
But because of the trade war, our agricultural exports to China have lost nearly two-thirds of their value, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenue for Virginia farmers. Sales of soybeans are now just $235 million, and China has dropped to our number two agricultural trading partner.
Personally, we have soybeans growing on our family farm this year, and they may very well stay in the fields if we can’t sell them. The farmers I grew up with would much rather sell at a profit than rely on federal subsidies.
We live in a global economy these days, and that means what happens on a global scale also happens at the local level. As the national economy slows, Virginia’s economy is expected to slow as well.
We’re fortunate that Congress has resolved the issue of sequestration—for now.
But federal fiscal policy and the accumulation of significant federal debt—now over $22 trillion and growing—will continue to be a drag on consumers and the economy.
To best prepare the Commonwealth for the future, we must continue to protect our AAA bond rating, diversify our economy, and make strategic investments in our long-term success. We must ensure that Virginia has the strongest foundation possible.
In the 21st century, broadband is like electricity—it is a necessity of modern life.
The projects we have supported are bringing broadband connections to nearly 70,000 homes and businesses so far across the Commonwealth, and we will continue to work on this important issue.
I thank you all for the additional dollars we put into the Housing Trust Fund in the last budget. But we can, and must, do more for affordable housing.
We must continue our investment in education, from early childhood through higher education and skills training. Every Virginian deserves access to a high quality and affordable education.
Making sure that every child has access to opportunity means starting early.
Last month, I signed Executive Directive 4, establishing the Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness.
That team will work to ensure that all at-risk three and four year olds have access to quality, affordable early childhood education options. I want to thank the First Lady for her work and leadership on this issue.
There is an obvious overlap between investments in education and investments in our workforce.
My administration continues to work with our community colleges and the entire higher education system, to build bridges between education, skills training, and the high-demand jobs we need to fill and want to continue to attract.
We want Virginians to be able to get the skills they need for good jobs.
This fall, I’ll be having conversations about these workforce pathways in our communities, talking to our higher education partners, our businesses, and our local leaders to see what our communities need.
We want to make absolutely sure we continue to support our world-class workforce and educational systems—both of which helped make Virginia the best state in the nation in which to do business.
One of my proudest days as Governor was to be at Shenandoah River State Park for the announcement that CNBC had named the Commonwealth the best state for business.
Over the years, we have moved steadily from 13th, to 7th, to 4th, and we are now back to our rightful place at number one.
This is an achievement for every one of us, and it comes because we have all worked together.
My top priority as Governor is making sure that every Virginian—no matter who you are or where you live—is able to fully participate in our economic growth.
By diversifying our economy, investing in our workforce, and keeping a stable and open business climate, I am proud to report that my administration has secured extensive new investment and jobs across the Commonwealth.
That includes Premier Tech, in your district, Chairman Norment—20 jobs and almost $2 million of investment in King and Queen County.
It includes Merck in Chairman Hanger’s district—152 jobs and a billion dollars of investment in Rockingham County.
In an area of Suffolk represented by Chairman Jones, Target is investing $2.8 million to expand its distribution center, bringing 225 new jobs.
Volvo Trucks, in Delegate Rush’s district, plans to invest $400 million and create 777 new jobs in Pulaski.
In Senator Howell’s district, Appian invested $28 million to expand its headquarters to McLean, bringing 600 jobs. Senator Howell couldn’t be here today, but we wish her a speedy recovery.
In Chesapeake, in Delegate Hayes’ district, Cloverleaf Cold Storage invested $21 million to create 33 jobs.
In Senator Ruff’s district, in Dinwiddie, Richlands Creamery is investing $1.7 million and creating 17 new jobs.
And in Portsmouth, in Senator Lucas’ district, Preferred Freezer has invested $60 million to create 60 new jobs.
There are similar stories across the state. From a large company like Amazon, to a small-town Main Street shop with five employees, every business contributes to the fabric of Virginia.
Every dollar of investment, and every job created, means more Virginians can put a roof over their head, put food on their table, and sleep soundly at night knowing they are able to support themselves and their families.
That’s why I am thrilled to announce today that over the last 20 months, we have secured 378 new economic development projects that will bring over $20.3 billion in investment.
This is a record. The $20 billion of investment is more than any previous administration has announced in a full four-year term, and we have achieved this significant milestone in less than half that time.
I am proud of what this means for Virginia, and I am equally proud that $2.7 billion of this investment is in distressed communities around the Commonwealth that have often been overlooked by these types of investments.
These economic development projects will create more than 51,000 new jobs, including over 8,700 in distressed communities.
We couldn’t do this without our local, legislative, and state economic development partners.
I want to particularly thank Secretary Brian Ball and his Commerce and Trade team, as well as Stephen Moret and his team at VEDP, for their efforts to promote the Commonwealth and its communities as ideal locations for business.
And I want to thank all of you. We have done strong work to attract business and jobs, and ensure that we have a diverse economy that is strong enough to weather headwinds. As I travel the Commonwealth, businesses are excited about locating or expanding in Virginia.
We also must continue to do the work needed to make Virginia a more welcoming and inclusive place, ensuring that a person’s race, income level, or place of birth doesn’t keep them from accessing a world-class education, quality health care, or business opportunities.
I have spent the past several months traveling the Commonwealth listening to leaders and everyday Virginians share the daily inequities they face.
As we prepare this budget, I will prioritize initiatives that level the playing field for small-, women-, and minority-owned businesses, reduce the unacceptable racial disparity in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate, and ensure equal access to a world-class education.
Ensuring that Virginia is a welcoming place to live also means continuing to work to make sure this is a safe place.
As we meet here this morning, the Virginia Crime Commission has also been meeting to take up gun safety legislation that we have proposed for years, and introduced again for the special session I called earlier this summer, after the tragic mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
Universal background checks, extreme risk protective orders, one gun a month laws, and tougher penalties for people who leave loaded guns around children, are a few of the commonsense proposals that we have made.
I know where many of you stand on these issues. But I also know that we have an opportunity to come together to save lives. I hope we will seize that opportunity.
As we look to this next budget, we’re seeing larger requests for security funding, for state buildings and from outside groups. Already, for fiscal year 2020, we doubled the money in our School Security Equipment Fund. And we’ve had 133 state employees spend 4 hours each in active shooter training since July 1.
Those are resources we’d rather spend on other priorities, but our refusal to address gun violence requires us to instead prioritize self-protection.
We have made good choices together that led CNBC to award us that number one ranking.
And we have made good choices together, to invest in our infrastructure and our educational systems.
We can continue to make good choices.
From economic development to our spending priorities, we have seen that when we work together, we can build a better Virginia. When we invest in our people and our places, our roads, and the education and training people need to get good jobs, we thrive.
No matter what happens in the coming months and years, we are laying a strong foundation for Virginia to weather stormy days and prosper on sunny ones. I look forward to continuing to build upon that foundation in the upcoming session.
Adopting a tarantula: what you need to know
A tarantula can be a great pet for the right person. If these large and hairy spiders fascinate you, here’s what you need to know before adopting one.
They don’t like to cuddle
Some tarantulas have urticating hairs that cause irritation and itching. Though they’re usually docile creatures, tarantulas scare easily. When they feel threatened, they may bite or even pull out some of those hairs to fling at you.
They have specific enclosure needs
They eat live insects
Tarantulas are insectivores. Be sure to provide them with a steady supply of crickets and other insects. Never feed tarantulas anything you catch in your garden. Backyard critters can be contaminated with chemicals and other things that may be harmful to your spider.
As with many other types of pets, adopting a tarantula involves a long-term commitment. Some have been known to live for more than 20 years in captivity, so be prepared to care for your spider over the long haul.