213 E. Main Street | Front Royal
WHAT MATTERS will be sponsoring an American Red Cross blood drive for the community on Saturday, March 2, 2019, on Main Street in historic downtown Front Royal. Members from The Area ONE|ders, a new Rotary Club forming in the region, will be showing their support. “As a soon to be new Rotary club in the region, we are eager to begin our commitment to Rotary’s Five Avenues of Service. This WHAT MATTERS initiative is a great opportunity for our involvement in Club and Community Service,” said Doug Sexton, who will be President of the new club. The drive will be held from 9am-2pm at OPEN HOUSE, the WHAT MATTERS community meeting space. Located directly beside the Daily Grind coffee shop, OPEN HOUSE is in the Middle of Main building at 213 E. Main Street.
Blood is routinely transfused to patients with cancer and other diseases, premature babies, organ transplant recipients and trauma victims, according to the Red Cross. “The short amount of time it takes to donate can mean a lifetime to a patient with a serious medical condition. We hope that our community will join us in this remarkably easy way to truly give the gift of life this weekend,” shared Beth Medved Waller, who is President Elect of The Area ONE|ders and Founder of WHAT MATTERS.
Donors of all blood types are needed, especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative. According to the Red Cross, type O negative is the universal blood type that can be safely transfused to anyone, and is often used to treat trauma patients.
Convenient parking can be found in Waller’s real estate office parking lot at 27 Cloud Street (located adjacent to the street directly behind the Middle of Main building) or along Main Street. For information about eligibility or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Red Cross at 1-800 RED-CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org. Walk-ins on the day of the event are welcome, but donors can save time by registering prior to the drive and are now able to speed up the process by filling out the health history questions online.
Annual membership tea party at the Warren Heritage Society
213 E. Main Street | Front Royal
On February 14, 2020, the Warren Heritage Society held their annual membership tea party. Dale Corey of the Colonel James Wood II Chapter, Virginia Sons of the American Revolution, was the guest speaker. Dale gave a presentation on the history of tea and its effect on the American Revolutionary War. One example: In Wilmington, the women collected tea from residents and had a bonfire in the town square to protest the tariffs on tea. At the Society’s tea party, a collection of tea was made and ceremonial burning of the tea was conducted by Jan Long of the Warren Heritage Society.
If you would like to attend our future events at Warren Heritage Society, please stop by our location, 101 Chester Street, in Front Royal, and become a member today! Our next event will be “Laura Virginia Hale Day” on April 11, 2020, at 2 p.m. This event is open to the public and will be held at the Ivy Lodge and the Archive building.
Brand new listing at 987 Auburn Court in Front Royal
213 E. Main Street | Front Royal
Sellers are offering a huge housewarming gift in the form of THOUSANDS in equity for the lucky buyers who snatch up this lovely home at such a bargain price! This spacious split foyer has a price tag far below a February 2019 appraisal and a dream location with a wonderful front and rear yard! As soon as you pull into the concrete driveway, you’ll notice the mountain views (enjoy great sunsets from the rear yard) and begin to appreciate the many qualities of this property from landscaping to a fenced backyard (complete with a shed that has an adorable upper playhouse).
This 2,100 finished square foot house has 4 traditional bedrooms plus a 3rd family room area (with windows) that could easily have a wall installed for a 5th bedroom! Finishing the large unfinished area would provide an extra 500 finished square feet and could even create a 6th bedroom (it has windows)! You’ll love the stainless appliances and corian counters in the large kitchen, the formal dining room (with doors onto a large Trex deck), over-sized main level and lower level family rooms, hardwood floors, custom blinds, electronic door locks, beadboard, chair railing, newer fixtures, ceramic tile, main level washer/dryer (there’s also a hookup in the basement adjacent to a utility sink), his and her closets, fantastic master bath (with granite sink and tiled shower), newer heat pump and updated roof (approximately 10 years old. Seller will consider closing credit for painting!
CLICK HERE to learn more online.
Listed by: Beth Waller, Associate Broker at KW Solutions – Keller Williams Realty
Local Office: 27 Cloud Street Front Royal, VA 22630
Northern Virginia Office: 8100 Ashton Ave #103 Manassas VA 20109
Licensed in VA
To learn more about my real estate sales or nonprofit (WHAT MATTERS), to book a time to utilize my free community meeting space (“Open House” in the Middle of Main building on Main Street), to schedule a no-cost social media video to promote your business/group or cause, or to discuss my listing your property (which makes all of my charity efforts possible), visit my website at www.whatmattersw2.com or give me a call at 540-671-6145!
American Cancer Society announces new hotel partners in Winchester, providing complimentary rooms to cancer patients
213 E. Main Street | Front Royal
If you’re a cancer patient, your treatment options may require you to travel a long distance from home. Since many cancer treatments require multiple outpatient visits, travel can be exhausting and arranging overnight lodging can be expensive. That’s why the American Cancer Society created the Hotel Partners Program, working with hotels across the country to provide complimentary rooms to cancer patients who need to travel for treatment.
The Society is pleased to announce three new hotels have joined the Hotel Partners Program:
- The George Washington A Wyndham Grand Hotel (103 E Piccadilly St, Winchester, VA 22601)
- La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham (1055 Millwood Pike, Winchester, VA 22602)
- Candlewood Suites (1135 Millwood Pike, and, US-50, Winchester, VA 22602)
They join Country Inn and Suites, by Carlson which has been part of the Hotel Partners Program for the past two years. These hotels offer accommodations for cancer patients who travel long distance from their homes in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland, to be treated at Valley Health Cancer Center at Winchester Medical Center. Patients come from as far away as West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The American Cancer Society is very grateful to our new and existing hotel partners in Winchester who are making a tangible impact on the community. Going through cancer is hard enough, but when patients need to travel far for treatment, there are huge roadblocks that can make it even more difficult to get treatment. That’s where our Hotel Partners program steps in – our goal is to provide lodging for patients who need to travel long distance so they can focus on getting the life-saving treatments they need and to help alleviate their financial stress,” says Anna Somers, American Cancer Society mission delivery manager. “The Hotel Partners program is a great opportunity for local hotels to give back to the community by helping cancer patients traveling for treatment.”
In 2018, the American Cancer Society provided more than 35,000 individual cancer patients and their caregivers with more than 543,000 complimentary nights of free lodging either through its 32 ACS Hope Lodges nationwide or through the Hotel Partners Program, saving cancer patients an estimated $59 million in hotel costs. Nationwide, more than 8,500 patients were served through the Hotel Partners Program with more than 66,000 provided through participating hotels which saved patients more than $9.6 million.
To be eligible to receive lodging through the Hotel Partners Program, patients must travel long distance for a cancer-related medical appointment that requires lodging near their treatment center, have a permanent residence, and either be able to care for their personal needs while at the hotel or travel with a companion who can assist them.
The American Cancer Society is seeking additional hotel partners for the program. If you are interested in partnering to provide complimentary rooms for cancer patients in the Winchester area, please contact email@example.com.
For information about American Cancer Society programs and services, including lodging, please visit cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.
Town Planning Commission, Town Council Advance A.S. Rhodes Temporary Classroom Project
213 E. Main Street | Front Royal
In a unique shared session, the Town Planning Commission and the Front Royal Town Council combined forces to quickly approve the temporary siting of modular classrooms at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School on Strasburg Road, as part of the larger renovation project that will soon be underway. There were no public comments regarding the request.
School officials and project managers answered questions from the Planning Commission and Council members regarding the temporary classrooms. Commissioner Dr. Cee Ann Davis asked if the Project Team had consulted with the County Health Department regarding the modular building. Acting Superintendent Melody Sheppard acknowledged they had not. Once the commission had completed its questioning, the Commission unanimously approved the request, leading to an unusual lateral pass of the request to the Town Council.
Councilman Lori Cockrell informed the Mayor that she would be abstaining from discussions or votes regarding the School request due to her 30-year career in the School Department. Councilman Chris Holloway voiced concern about student traffic between the modular classrooms and restrooms in the school itself. He questioned the WCPS representatives closely about the location of restrooms in relation to the proposed structure. When a council motion for approval was offered By Councilman Letasha Thompson, seconded by Councilman Bill Sealock, Councilman Holloway offered an amendment to the approval motion that would have required School Officials to add the requirement for restrooms within the modular structure itself. His amendment died for a lack of votes before the original motion went on to approval.
Following the approval of the A.S. Rhodes project by both the Planning Commission and the Town Council, Chairman Doug Jones, and Mayor Eugene Tewalt adjourned their respective bodies, and each met separately for work sessions.
The Town Planning Commission Work Session was largely devoted to a preliminary review and discussion of a potential new facility for the House of Hope, a service to homeless men in Front Royal. The commission received a presentation on the mission and objectives of the Program, feedback from the Commission members regarding necessary steps in working with the town to provide an improved facility for its services. Commissioner Daryl Merchant urged the House of Hope representatives to seek a location that was compatible with Town zoning ordinances. Planning Staff was asked to research property and zoning to support the commission in evaluating future requests.
Aaron Hike from Hike Construction then addressed the commission regarding a project to build a set of townhouses on a lot currently occupied by a blighted house. The lot proved to be slightly smaller than would allow the construction, and the company hoped to either to reduce the side setback through a zoning variance or to propose a zoning ordinance amendment to reduce the minimum width of a townhouse from 20 to 18 feet. They had also initiated an action with the Board of Zoning Appeals for the variance in addition to their presenting a proposal to the Planning Commission to amend the zoning ordinance.
Commissioner Merchant clarified that amending the zoning ordinance to accommodate a smaller lot size would conflict with the requirement for each townhouse to provide two parking spaces a minimum of 10 feet in width. The discussion then centered on the need for planning staff to research what an amendment to the zoning ordinance would entail. The commission agreed that language for an ordinance change would be the likely next step for the Commission to consider. Commissioner Davis reminded the attendees of unintended consequences of ordinance changes.
The commission members then discussed various strategies for helping continuing services during a period of reduced staffing at the Town Planning Department. The town is currently recruiting for a Director of Community Development and Planning.
Watch the joint meeting in this first Royal Examiner video and the Planning Commission work session in the second.
Council majority moves to lock in half-cent real estate tax decrease
213 E. Main Street | Front Royal
Perhaps the most telling moment in the Front Royal Town Council’s multi-faceted Wednesday evening did not occur at a Special Joint Meeting with its Planning Commission called to facilitate permitting to allow the installation of modular classrooms to allow A.S. Rhodes renovation work to proceed on schedule, nor during a dizzying council work session discussion of financial variables that threaten to jeopardize a $700,000 matching State/Federal funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) committed to physical redevelopment of downtown business frontages and the Village Commons and Gazebo area.
While those two discussions dominated much of the council’s attention, it was a third discussion near the work session’s end related to the funding of the coming Fiscal Year 2021 budget that was an eye-opener on the council’s thought process for the coming budget cycle.
Despite ongoing uncertainty among some on council about the plan to privatize and outsource the Town’s Tourism marketing function in the wake of scathing public and impacted business owner criticism of that plan; and the seemingly unavoidable presence of $29 million in physical capital improvements in the coming budget year, a 5-1 council majority committed to advertising a Real Estate Tax Rate of 13 cents per $100 of assessed value in the coming year.
That rate will maintain Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick and the council majority’s desire to implement a half-cent Real Estate Tax rate cut in next year’s budget. Tederick has commented that implementation of a tax cut despite the coming capital improvement needs will be a sign of the Town’s economic strength despite the $15 million in lost assets it has thus far claimed in the Economic Development Authority (EDA) financial scandal.
Only Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock asked that council at least keep the option of maintaining the existing 13.5-cent Real Estate Tax Rate and Town governmental revenue stream where it is. Sealock explained he had serious concerns about the plan to outsource the Town Tourism function and suggested the $64,000-plus of revenue that half-cent of Real Estate Tax would provide could help fund Visitors Center operations in the next budget year.
As Mayor Gene Tewalt noted in also expressing a desire to keep the flat tax rate option open, once advertised a tax rate can be adjusted down, but not up. Following the work session, Town Finance Director B. J. Wilson told Royal Examiner that one option available should it become apparent that the Town will need to keep its current revenue stream to fund coming fiscal year capital improvements and operations, would be to re-advertise a tax rate higher than the 13-cent one currently poised to be put forward.
However, several council comments seemed to indicate that as an unlikely option.
Newly-appointed Councilwoman Lori Athey Cockrell said she was in favor of “keeping taxes as low as they can (be)” in voicing support for the half-cent real estate tax decrease being committed to this early in the budget process.
Then Jacob Meza pointed a path forward for council should it do an about-face on the Tourism Department – that path cuts to other town governmental functions to allow the half-cent Real Estate Tax reduction to stand.
“If the council wants to change something, I’d rather instead of keeping tax rates high or increasing taxes, figure out what other areas of the budget need to go … I want the council to find the areas that we’re willing to do without or willing to change. So again, if Tourism is the hot-topic button right now if that’s the direction the council wants to go, fine. Let’s figure out what other reductions we can have in the budget … because I can support some of the changes that we’ve made whereas the justifications were reducing some of our tax bases, not find other reasons to spend the money and increase it again,” Meza said.
Following Meza’s call to reduce the town governmental function in some, even as-yet-undetermined way, rather than keep tax revenue at existing levels, Mayor Tewalt polled council on its preference on a rate to advertise. And as noted above, only Sealock expressed support of keeping the option of a flat Real Estate Tax open to the council as a means of funding the Visitors Center function.
Beginning with Cockrell’s call to keep tax rates as low as possible in support of the 13-cent rate advertisement, Gary Gillespie, Letasha Thompson, Meza, and Chris Holloway all concurred to advertise the 13-cent rate, cementing in the $64,629 of lost Town revenue in the coming budget year.
The following day we called Town Finance Director Wilson to see where the Town of Front Royal ranks statewide with its municipal real estate tax rate. While he did not have specific rankings, Wilson noted that the Median Real Estate Tax Rate for Virginia towns is 17 cents per $100 of assessed value. So, the Town’s existing 13.5-cent rate was 3.5 cents below the Virginia town median; the proposed cut will take that to 4 cents below the median level.
According to staff numbers included in the work session agenda packet, the revenue produced at the 13.5-cent real estate tax rate in FY 2020 was $1,744,970. The proposed FY 2021, 13-cent rate will provide $1,680,341, or as observed above, a $64,629 reduction.
Council decided to keep the Personal Property Tax rate flat at 64 cents per $100 of assessed value. That rate provided $597,872 of tax revenue to the Town last year.
See the full Town Council-Planning Commission Special Meeting and council work session in linked Royal Examiner videos:
National Read Across America Day event at the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke
213 E. Main Street | Front Royal
Monday, March 2nd, 2020, is National Read Across America Day. Students of all ages are invited to come to the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke’s pet adoption center, located at 111 Featherbed Lane, Winchester, to read “What Pet Should I Get?” to the shelter pets and enjoy Seuss inspired refreshments and activities.
Doors open at 10 a.m. with ½ price adoptions. The main event begins after school at 3 p.m.
“What Pet Should I Get?” is a collaboration between Gifts Giving Back and the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day, encourage reading, enhance the human animal bond, and have some Dr. Seuss inspired fun!