April 21, 7:30 p.m.
- Front Royal Presbyterian Church
115 Luray Ave. | Front Royal, VA 22630
April 23, 4:00 p.m.
- First Baptist Church of Winchester
205 W. Piccadilly St. | Winchester, VA 22601
April 25, 7:30 p.m.
- All Saints Catholic Church
9300 Stonewall Rd. | Manassas, VA 20110
April 30, 4:00 p.m.
- Trinity Episcopal Church
9108 John S. Mosby Hwy | Upperville, VA 20184
Virginia Proposes Adding 12 Plants, Including Kudzu, to Noxious Weeds List
Virginia is considering adding 12 more plants to its noxious weeds list, a compilation of species that are banned from use in the state because of the damage they provide to ecosystems.
On Thursday, the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services held a public hearing on the proposed additions. No one spoke during it, but one comment was submitted via the state’s online regulatory Town Hall website from Chesapeake resident Rogard Ross, who said he “strongly agrees” with the additions.
“You should also add English Ivy, Japanese Stilt Grass, and Linden Viburnum,” wrote Ross. “These are all terribly invasive plants in our local parks in Chesapeake, Virginia.”
The public comment period is scheduled to end Friday, Dec. 8.
The plants proposed to be added to the list are:
- Two-horned trapa
- Garlic mustard
- Chinese yam
- Autumn olive
- Lesser celandine
- Bicolor lespedeza
- Amur honeysuckle.
- Japanese honeysuckle
- Common reed
- Japanese knotweed
- Siberian elm
Two-horned trapa would be added as a “tier 2” noxious weed, a classification given to plants that can be suppressed or eradicated. The rest would be added as tier 3 noxious weeds, those that experts say can’t reasonably be wiped out.
Virginia also compiles an invasive plant species list that is used for informational purposes. There’s no restrictions for the vast majority of plants on that list if they are deemed “commercially viable.” But when the negative ecological impacts of an invasive plant are deemed to outweigh its economic benefits, officials can place it on the noxious weed list.
The state began the process of considering the latest additions in 2021. Larry Nichols, director of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Consumer Protection, said the species were recommended by the state Noxious Weeds Advisory Committee.
The 12 plants “are highly adaptable to their environment, are copious seed producers, and can overwhelm native plant species through rapid growth and spread, resulting in the displacement of the native, desirable plant species,” Nichols said. “Controlling these plants is costly and long term once they become established.”
Following the public comment period, the Board will vote on the regulation, and pending approval, it will continue through the review process.
This article was updated with information on the next steps for the regulation to be enacted.
by Charlie Paullin, Virginia Mercury
Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: email@example.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.
School Board Bids Rinaldi Farewell; Votes to Lengthen Contract for Truancy Prevention Officer
The Warren County School Board on Wednesday, December 6, unanimously voted to extend the contract length for a secondary truancy prevention officer from 10 months to 12 months and said goodbye to one of its own members, who is leaving at the end of the year.
School Board Chair Kristen Pence, Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi, and board members Antoinette Funk, Andrea Lo, and Melanie Salins were present during the board’s final meeting of 2023.
The meeting was Rinaldi’s last as a School Board member as his term expires at the end of the year, and he decided against running for re-election.
“It’s been a great four years,” Pence told him. “I don’t think either of us could have known when we sat in our training in December of 2019 exactly what the four years were going to look like.”
Pence acknowledged Rinaldi’s passion for WCPS, the students, and the teachers. She also highlighted his work on the board’s Facilities Committee and his input on the renovation project at Leslie Fox Keyser (LFK) Elementary School.
“We’re all very appreciative of all of the work and dedication that you’ve done here,” said Pence, who presented him with a wall clock made by students at the Blue Ridge Technical Center and a brick of dedication from the LFK project.
Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) Superintendent Christopher Ballenger thanked Rinaldi for his efforts.
“I want to say thank you for your leadership,” the superintendent told Rinaldi. “I appreciate the wisdom you’ve been able to share and your dedication to students and to the schools of Warren County.”
Rinaldi told his colleagues he appreciated being part of a “good team.”
“It’s great to work with people who are on the same page,” he said. “And this board has been on the same page.”
While he admitted the board has faced some “rough spots,” Rinaldi said the School Board has achieved many goals and it’s been his pleasure to serve on it.
“Dr. Pence and I came on, and then COVID hit, and then we had to hire a superintendent,” he said. “I mean, we were really kind of slammed. So, I appreciate her leadership more than you know.”
Tom McFadden, Jr., elected to replace Rinaldi as the School Board member representing the Shenandoah District, spoke during the community participation portion of Wednesday’s meeting to introduce himself to the community and thank residents for their votes.
McFadden (above), the vice president of enrollment at Christendom College since 2014, has lived in Warren County for 23 years with his wife and 11 children. He noted that prior to his election in November, “there was a lot of chatter on social media about me — continues to this day — and what agenda I may hope to bring to the schools here in Warren County.”
McFadden said that while people didn’t ask him what his agenda was, they assumed certain things about him “due to my affiliation with the Catholic Church.”
“The fact that my children are homeschooled and I did not have any children enrolled in the school system, they wondered what agenda I might be trying to impose,” McFadden said. “I’m here to tell you that my only agenda is to provide a quality education opportunity for every student to achieve their highest academic learning potential, develop positive core values, reflective of our community, and enter higher education or the workforce, their choice, being well-prepared.”
The incoming board member said he also wants to help further the mission of WCPS by enhancing the community’s support of sports, increasing active parental involvement, and providing “clear, concise, and frequent communication.”
During the last few weeks, McFadden said he has met with WCPS principals and learned what they think the School Board can do to assist them with policies or what topics the board should be focused on.
“I’ve told each of them the same thing: my only agenda is to help them,” McFadden said. “I look forward to our working relationship over the next four years.”
The School Board also took several actions during its meeting, including unanimously approving the Secondary Truancy Prevention Officer position from a 10-months to a 12-month contract effective January 1, 2024, and scheduling its 2024 organizational meeting on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at 5:30 p.m., in the Board Room of the Warren County Government Center.
To watch the December 6 School Board meeting in its entirety, go to: https://wcps.new.swagit.com/videos/283684#
Festive Flights of Fun: Front Royal-Warren County Airport Hosts ‘Breakfast for Dinner & Reindeer Games
A Unique Evening of Holiday Cheer and Community Engagement.
The Front Royal-Warren County Airport is all set to host an evening that promises to blend festive joy with a delightful twist. On Saturday, December 9, 2023, from 3 to 6 pm, the airport will transform into a Christmas-themed playground, offering an event titled ‘Breakfast for Dinner & Reindeer Games.’ This unique event is geared towards bringing families and community members together for an evening of fun, food, and holiday spirit.
The event is designed to offer something special for every attendee. The highlight is the ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ menu featuring mouth-watering reindeer-decorated pancakes alongside classic breakfast favorites like bacon and sausage. At an affordable cost of just $5 per person and free entry for veterans, this event makes for an inexpensive family outing.
But the excitement doesn’t stop at delicious food. The event has lined up a ‘Reindeer Games’ series to keep everyone entertained. Activities include ‘Shrinky Dink Ornament Making,’ where attendees can craft their own festive decorations, and ‘Pin the Nose on Rudolph,’ a holiday twist on the classic party game. Additionally, families can participate in spreading ‘Reindeer Food’ on the lawn, a magical way to guide reindeer to your home the night before Christmas. For those who love a keepsake, there’s an opportunity to get ‘Reindeer Portraits’ done, capturing the holiday spirit in a memorable way.
The Front Royal-Warren County Airport, typically known for its aviation services, has increasingly become a hub for community events. This holiday-themed event is a testament to the airport’s commitment to serving and engaging with the community in fun and innovative ways.
‘Breakfast for Dinner & Reindeer Games’ at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of community spirit and the joy of the holiday season. It offers an opportunity for families to come together, enjoy good food, partake in festive activities, and make lasting memories. This event is a shining example of how community spaces can be creatively used to bring people together and spread joy.
Fauquier Health Hosted Pink Out Mammography Nights for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October
During the month of October, Fauquier Health partnered with Fauquier County Government and Public Schools to host its first series of “Pink Out” mammography events. The events spanned two weeks in October where after hours appointments were offered to government and school system employees. These Pink Out events were created to provide ease of access when it came to scheduling a screening mammogram. The events took place after hours on October 18th and October 25th. Altogether, 30 screening mammograms were provided to women who work in Fauquier County.
In addition to providing screening mammograms, attendees were also invited to join various educational presentations on women’s health from providers, including Dr. Victoria McDonald, OB/GYN, Dr. Kearn Ghuman, DO, Primary Care, and Mandy Colegrove, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Free chair massages were offered by a Wellness Center massage therapist as well as delicious refreshments, pink hair tinsel extensions, and raffle prizes that made the evening fun for all attendees. Raffle items were donated by local community organizations including Carter and Spence, Latitudes Fair Trade Store, Appleton Campbell, Village Flowers, Mary Kay, Black Bear Bistro & Brick Oven, Cast Iron Craft House, and more.
According to Sarah Cubbage, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, “Fauquier Health hopes to expand mammography event offerings such as these. Our team feels strongly that breast cancer awareness should not be limited to just one month. The level of demand for the Pink Out events was a very successful start. With the recent welcoming of a second mammography machine, we would like to see these events turn into a more frequent offering. We are grateful to our community partners for helping us make these events a success.”
Pink Out events are an important focus for Fauquier Health to initiate as the rise in breast cancer rates continue to grow year after year. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., behind skin cancers. In fact, the ACS puts the average risk as a one in eight chance that a woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. And according to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is now the most common cancer globally, claiming 12 percent of new cancer cases. Breast cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer death in women, superseded only by lung cancer.
There is, however, some positive news. Those death rates have been steadily dropping. Statistics show that the overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by one percent each year from 2013 to 2018. This decrease can be attributed to several factors, including better treatment for those with cancer, early detection, and advanced technology to detect cancer at early stages.
Mammograms help detect breast cancer earlier than waiting for symptoms to appear. That’s an incredibly important weapon in the fight against breast cancer because that early detection can result in an more effective treatment and a dramatic increase in survival. To schedule a mammogram today, call our central scheduling line at 540-316-5800 or visit us online at FauquierHealth.org/imaging.
About Fauquier Health
Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, VA, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises: Fauquier Hospital, a fully accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs. Fauquier Health also operates several physician’s offices, including primary care, general surgery, OB/GYN & Midwifery, and other sub-specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling 540-316-5000.
Eloise V. Mauck (1929 – 2023)
Eloise V. Mauck, 94, of Front Royal, Virginia, passed away on Monday, December 4, 2023, at Warren Memorial Hospital in Front Royal.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, December 18, at 11:00 a.m. at Maddox Funeral Home with The Rev. Rachel Plemmons officiating. A luncheon will follow at Front Royal United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. The inurnment will be private.
Ms. Mauck was born January 6, 1929, in Detrick, Shenandoah County, Virginia, the daughter of the late Estern and Elva Williams Mauck. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family.
Mrs. Mauck worked for Avtex Fibers and the Department of Agriculture. She was a Front Royal United Methodist Church member and the Marthas Circle of the Church.
Surviving is a very special friend, Teri Moore.
She was preceded in death by her parents: two sisters, Beatrice Shofner and Geraldine Pomeroy, and one brother, Angus Mauck.
Memorial contributions may be made to Front Royal United Methodist Church, 1 West Main Street, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, or the Marthas Circle of the Church.
Wildlife Center’s ‘Patient of the Week’ highlights importance of protecting region’s wild animals
It’s been a few years since Royal Examiner representatives visited the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center (BRWC) in Boyce, and most of that time our online newspaper has been pleased, and honored, to publish each week the photo and story behind injured animals that are delivered, now by the thousand each year, for treatment and, unfortunately for some, the benefits of euthanasia.
Many of these animals, however, are treated by not one, but now two, on-site veterinarians and their helpers, some volunteers among them, as the center has developed from its original old, old house, to a modern hospital enabling staff to admit and provide urgent medical care for hundreds more animals, birds and reptiles annually. Staff has increased exponentially over the past decade also, including the doubling up of veterinary care, as earlier mentioned.
Many of these unfortunate wild animals, indigenous to our region, are struck by vehicles or by victimized by garden tending materials accidents, others are poisoned by the effect of hunters’ lead bullets left in abandoned portions of carcasses left in the wild. Readily available unleaded ammunition is recommended regularly by BRWC. The injured may be operated on for the most serious and painful of injuries, and hopefully recover enough to be released back into the wild.
Some that are left with tended injuries that nevertheless make them unable to return to their habitats, are carefully housed in outside viewing areas, in airy cages, are labelled “ambassadors” and are used as educational tools in schools, service and other organizations, taking to the road almost weekly to spread the word about what the center, which is not subsidized by government entities but operates only on donated funds, does and how it does it. The weekly publication of the “Patient of the Week” and its photograph, has steadily shown the public the how and the why protection of our local wildlife is so important to ours and neighboring counties, and perhaps why we should give consideration to donating to the cause.
We’ve noticed over the months how owls appear to be one of the more common intakes among all animals, birds and reptiles, including the handsome old boy featured in the following “Patient of the Week” report from the center. We take the opportunity to wish him well, and welcome his eventual release to his home environment. Important to his recovery was the center’s new X-ray machine that a spokesperson said “could never have been purchased without the amazing donations made at this past fall’s fundraising gala!”
This owl, with broken metacarpals (“fingers”), is expected to recover well enough not to join others of his kind as a permanent resident “ambassador”. As with all the wildlife that arrives at the center, the vets and the center staff rejoice upon their patient recoveries that allow them to be released back to their natural habitat to begin life anew. So, off he will fly in the New Year.
We hope you will read through and study the photographs of this wise old owl, and follow our weekly series with interest and feeling for our native animal friends.
To contact BRWC, at 106 Island Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620, call (540) 837-9000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Malcolm Barr Sr., contributing writer for the Royal Examiner, is a lifelong friend of all animals, wild, domestic, great and small!)