The Blue Ridge Singers presents its 2019 Christmas concert titled “Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song” featuring some of the finest Christmas choral music across the centuries at one of the most popular events in town for the season.
Free admission. Reception afterwards.
Virginia War Memorial announces 2020 Marocchi Memorial College Scholarship recipients
The Virginia War Memorial has announced the 2020 recipients of its Marocchi Memorial College Scholarships. Receiving $2,500 college scholarships each are:
Ava Mister, a graduating senior at Lee-Davis High School in Hanover County, Va., who will attend Christopher Newport University this fall and enroll in the Army ROTC program;
Derek Sprincis, a graduating senior at Clarke County High School in Berryville, Va., and Mountain Vista Governor’s School in Warrenton, Va., who will attend the University of Virginia this fall and enroll in the Air Force ROTC program.
The names of both recipients were announced as part of the 64th Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond on May 25. Because of COVID-19 emergency restrictions, the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony was held as a virtual livestreamed event and the students were unable to attend to be recognized in person.
The scholarships were established in memory of the late Rear Admiral John Marocchi by his family and are administered by the Virginia War Memorial Foundation. Admiral Marocchi served in the United States Navy for decades in a career that spanned World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Legion of Merit and was one the few Navy officers to complete Army Airborne training. He was also a member of the Virginia War Memorial Board of Trustees for over fifteen years.
Two $2,500 Marocchi Memorial Scholarships are awarded annually. Students enrolled in the senior class of an accredited public or private high school or home school program in the Commonwealth of Virginia and who are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident at the time of application may apply. Applicants must also plan to pursue a program of study in a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at a Virginia public or private university that will lead to service in the Armed Forces of the United States. He or she must also possess an unweighted minimum Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) of 2.75. A committee reviews the applications and chooses the two top applicants.
Applications for the 2021 Marocchi Memorial Scholarships will open in September 2020.
Complete details, including application forms and a list of required documents, are available online or by contacting Morgan Guyer, Assistant Director of Education at the Virginia War Memorial, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Virginia War Memorial
The mission of the Virginia War Memorial is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Inspire Patriotism in All. Dedicated in 1956, the Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the Global War on Terrorism. The Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who have served in our military. It is located at 621 South Belvidere Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220. For more information, please visit www.vawarmemorial.org.
About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) 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, VDVS 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 two long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; and provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It also oversees 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.
A successful Memorial Day commemoration ceremony held at Veterans Memorial Park, Middletown
On May 25, 2020, Middletown conducted a commemoration ceremony for Memorial Day at the Veterans Memorial Park. The ceremony was held to honor the members of the US Military who lost their lives in service to their country. Participating in the event with the town were the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2123 and the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution. Because of the restrictions due to the Coronavirus, the event was live streamed via the town’s facebook.
Ray Steele as emcee welcomed all to the event. The Colonel James Wood II Color Guard presented the colors and remained in place for an invocation by Danny Hesse, a rendition of the National Anthem by Melissa Legge-Mauck and the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by a presentation by Sheriff Lenny Millholland.
Memorial Day has its beginnings founded in the Civil War as remembrance of those gave their lives in that conflict. Starting out as Decoration Day, it was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic to be a date “with the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country in the late rebellion.” After World War I, it came to reprdecoratesent a day to remember the deceased veterans of all wars. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which decreed the last Monday in May to be the National holiday Memorial Day.
Mayor Charles Harbaugh and Sheriff Millholland presented a wreath to honor all those who served and died the all of our wars. This was followed with a moment of silence. Taps was played by Andrew Paul which was followed by a rifle salute fired by VFW Post 2123 Honor Guard with support from the Colonel James Wood II Musket Squad. The ceremony concluded with a benediction from Danny Hesse to close out the event.
Randolph-Macon Academy hosts virtual graduation Saturday
Randolph-Macon Academy’s 56 soon-to-be-graduates successfully navigated a rapid transition to online learning in March. Now, having earned a combined total of 211 college acceptances and over $5.2 million in college scholarship offers, they are about to celebrate their graduation online and on time. R-MA’s graduation was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 30th, and the Academy is able to adhere to that date thanks to the quick pivot to online learning in mid-March.
The guest speaker for the event is Rear Admiral John Stufflebeem, USN, Retired, a 1970 graduate of Randolph-Macon Academy, and the Chairman of the R-MA Board of Trustees.
During his Naval career, Rear Adm. Stufflebeem commanded Fighter Squadron 84 and Carrier Air Wing 1 during combat operations in the Balkans and Persian Gulf and Carrier Group 2/Task Force 60 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His assignment prior to returning to Washington was Commander 6th Fleet, Deputy Commander Naval Forces Europe, Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe, Commander Strike and Support Forces NATO, and Allied Commander Joint Command Lisbon.
Additionally, Rear Adm. Stufflebeem served in staff assignments including Military Aide to President George H.W. Bush, Deputy Executive Assistant and later, Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. His first assignment as a flag officer was Deputy Director for Global Operations (J-3) on the Joint Staff during Operation Enduring Freedom. Subsequent to Operation Iraqi Freedom he was the Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information, Plans and Strategy.
Stufflebeem is now an independent consultant and sole proprietor of the NJS Group LLC, a strategic and crisis communications consulting firm in Alexandria, VA, established after he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2008. He is also a life member of the National Football League Players Association, having played football for the Detroit Lions in the late 1970s.
All of R-MA’s end-of-year events will be released via YouTube Premiere, culminating with the Graduation Ceremony on May 30th. YouTube Premiere will allow students, families, faculty and staff to watch the event as if it were live, and “chat” with each other as the video plays. The Graduation Ceremony Premiere will begin at 9:15am, with a series of tributes to the seniors from their teachers, parents, and even local businesses. The graduation ceremony itself will begin playing at 10:00am.
In addition to Stufflebeem, the Class of 2020 will hear from their Salutatorian and Valedictorian during the end-of-year ceremonies. Class Night on May 28th will feature Salutatorian Jonathan Bunker of Berryville, VA. Bunker is the third member of his family to graduate from R-MA and the second to earn Salutatorian honors. He has been a member of the R-MA Virginia State Championship Drill Team and is the Vice President of the Senior Class.
The Commencement audience on May 30th will hear from R-MA Valedictorian Benjamin Kopjanski of Boston, VA. Kopjanski holds the second-highest position in the Academy’s Air Force Junior ROTC program, and was recently recognized as the Top Cadet in the Nation by the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the U.S. He was also a member of the Academy’s championship drill team.
“We are incredibly proud of our graduates, and though we wish we could be together physically to celebrate their accomplishments, we are pleased to be able to offer this virtual way to celebrate together,” said R-MA President Brigadier General David C. Wesley, USAF, Retired. Wesley served in the Air Force for 26 years, most recently as the Staff Judge Advocate for Headquarters Air Force Material Command; his service also included time as an instructor at and the Commandant of the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. He has been Randolph-Macon Academy’s president since 2015.
The Class of 2020 college acceptances included prestigious universities such as University of Pennsylvania, Brandeis University, Duke University, Case Western University, Drexel University, Fordham University, George Mason University, James Madison University, New York University, Northeastern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of British Columbia, University of Virginia, University of Sydney and Virginia Tech. In addition, the eight postgraduate Falcon Scholars of 2020 all earned appointments to the Air Force Academy.
To access the YouTube Premiere videos, visit R-MA’s YouTube channel.
Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12. Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), and have the opportunity to learn to fly through a unique flight program. The Academy, which is one of only six Falcon Foundation Schools in the U.S., also offers several summer programs. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.
Downtown Rebound – Week 2
Once again the Town of Front Royal and specifically Family Fun Day, Inc. is excited to announce ‘Downtown Rebound’ – a plan to assist our beloved downtown businesses while adhering to safety guidelines, and mandates set forth by Phase One of the Governor’s “Virginia Forward” re-opening plan.
During this time, downtown businesses and restaurants will be able to expand their services, displays, and seating areas onto the sidewalks and Main Street. Additionally, the Royal Cinema will be showing an outdoor movie at 8:30 PM on Friday and Saturday, weather permitting.
There will be a temporary vehicular road closure of Main Street, Kidd Lane, and part of Chester beginning Friday, May 29, at 4:30 P.M. and ending on Monday, June 1, at 7 A.M. Parking will be available at the Gazebo entering from Virginia Hale Blvd only.
This is not a festival, but it is an opportunity for citizens to get out and visit our restaurants and businesses throughout Front Royal. All citizens are expected to maintain six feet social distancing and follow other guidelines as directed by Governor Northam’s Executive Orders. Restaurants may provide additional guidance as well.
Ask the Expert: I built equity in my house. Now how do I get rid of the PMI?
Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is required when you buy a house using a conventional loan and make a downpayment that’s less than 20 percent of the home’s price.
Naturally, most homebuyers want to get rid of that extra amount on their monthly mortgage payments.
You have the right to remove PMI in two ways: you can get ‘automatic’ or ‘final’ PMI termination at certain home equity milestones, or you can request the removal when you reach 80 percent home equity.
* Automatic trigger: This occurs when your mortgage balance reaches 78 percent of the purchase price or at a set time period of halfway through your amortization schedule. Payments must be up to date.
* You can request removal of PMI when the loan balance reaches 80 percent of the original value. Some homeowners hasten the process by making extra payments toward their principal. You make the PMI cancellation request in writing to the lender.
* You might be able to refinance out of PMI, which tends to apply when mortgage rates are low and values are on the rise. It usually takes two years before you can refinance.
* Get the home reappraised. Calculate the cost of an appraisal against your savings, but if your home’s value has risen appreciably, this could be a good strategy.
5 ways farmers can manage carbon
Agriculture contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions. However, the development of sustainable farming techniques may allow farmers to reduce emissions and even capture carbon dioxide in plants and soil. Here are five ways to improve carbon retention.
1. No-till farming
While tilling aerates the soil, it also releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. No-till farming can dramatically reduce these emissions. Studies indicate that no-till reduces emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, by as much as 70 percent.
2. Apply mulch
3. Plant cover crops
Fast-growing cover crops such as clover and alfalfa are a carbon trap. If combined with no-till farming, mulching, and composting, planting cover crops dramatically increases carbon concentration in the soil. When planted alongside cash crops, they prevent the soil from losing all of its carbon at harvest time.
4. Use compost
The carbon contained in compost is in a form that isn’t easily oxidized. This means it doesn’t need to be tilled into the soil and can simply be sprinkled on the surface. Compost helps replenish nutrients in the soil and, when used with cover crops, increases carbon content instead of depleting it.
5. Rotate grazing areas
Instead of grazing cattle in the same location, rotating pastures allows the soil to retain more carbon. This is because overgrazing slows down new growth and strips the soil of the plants that would otherwise help it hold on to carbon.
Carbon farming is likely to become more popular, and implementing the practices above is a good step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by the agriculture industry.