Connect with us

Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch

Published

on

When:
July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2019-07-01T10:00:00-04:00
2019-07-01T17:00:00-04:00
Where:
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
111 Featherbed Lane | Winchester
VA 22601
Contact:
Lavenda Denney
540-662-8616 ext. 406

Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster a chair. All types of chairs welcome. Chairs must be completed by August 22nd.

For more information, and to sign up to participate in the SPCA’s signature event, please contact Lavenda Denney at 540-662-8616 ext. 406 or director@winchesterspca.org.

Local Government

With revenues up, expenses down RSW superintendent pursues bonuses for staff

Published

on

When:
July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2019-07-01T10:00:00-04:00
2019-07-01T17:00:00-04:00
Where:
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
111 Featherbed Lane | Winchester
VA 22601
Contact:
Lavenda Denney
540-662-8616 ext. 406

After a positive Finance Manager’s report on contracted bed rentals to non-member jurisdictions through the first two months of Fiscal Year-2021, Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County (RSW) Regional Jail Superintendent Russ Gilkison recommended a bonus plan for remaining staff at the jail. Pointing to the loss of 16 people due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the jail and its staff fighting its way through a COVID-19 outbreak impacting inmates and staff, the RSW superintendent told the governing RSW Jail Authority on Thursday, September 24, “I’d like to reward those for sticking with us through the good and the bad.”

Gilkison estimated a $126,000 cost to implement the bonus plan. New Authority member Ed Daley, Warren County’s Interim County Administrator, suggested establishing bonus program guidelines based on length of employment at RSW through the recent pandemic situation.

As RSW Finance Manager Stephanie Smith listens to his right, Jail Superintendent Russ Gilkison, center, explains how the jail is operationally surviving a jump in staffing vacancies. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini – Royal Examiner Video by Mark Williams

On the bright side of that situation, Gilkison reported “no active cases or symptomatic staff/inmates since June 15, 2020.” He also called a remote visitation system implemented on July 13, allowing family and friends of inmates to visit them virtually “a huge success – We went from no visits to more than ever,” Gilkison said of the IWeb Visit system that is averaging 45 remote visits per day.

On the not so positive side, Gilkison noted losses that have left jail 42 staff down, the largest number ever one authority member pointed out. Asked about safety concerns from the staff shortage, Superintendent Gilkison noted procedural adjustments in the COVID-19 pandemic environment that have reduced some oversight needs.

“It looks worse on paper because that number is going up. But we’re really sitting about the same as we always have because we just operate a little differently … overall we’re operating just like we normally do. We’re still maintaining our staffing standards that we did pre-COVID. I don’t feel like we’re at risk,” Gilkison assured the authority members. He added that were it to get to a point of overstretching remaining staff he would have to begin telling outside jurisdictions the jail could not accept additional inmate bed rentals from them.

Gilkison proposed a $126,000 allotment toward a bonus program for remaining staff who have performed admirably through personnel losses and a COVID-19 outbreak.

But with it not yet at that point, Finance Manager Stephanie Smith reported August contracted inmate bed rentals totaling $118,748.52, $74,723 from Culpeper County and $44,025.52 from Page County. That brought RSW’s two-month FY-21 bed rental revenue total, including medical, commissary, telephone and related housing expenses to $243,928.45.

Couple that number with reduced expenditures due to the smaller staff and Smith’s Finance Report noted that with 16% of the Fiscal Year gone, expenditures were at 12.4% and revenues at 18.5%.

Smith also reported RSW Jail’s receipt of a $49,963 grant from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) grant program made available through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. The grant was near the program’s ceiling amount of $50,000.

“To date, RSW has expensed $88,567.96 on materials, supplies, and services directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the funding from this grant significantly helps,” Smith wrote in her finance report.

See the full Authority and RSW Finance Committee meetings of about 20 minutes each in this Royal Examiner video:


Share the News:
Continue Reading

EDA in Focus

McDonald bankruptcy filing removes her from EDA civil suit – July 2022 dates set for remaining civil defendants’ trial

Published

on

When:
July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2019-07-01T10:00:00-04:00
2019-07-01T17:00:00-04:00
Where:
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
111 Featherbed Lane | Winchester
VA 22601
Contact:
Lavenda Denney
540-662-8616 ext. 406

The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority civil litigation now seeking about $26 million in asset recovery against 24 defendants including its former executive director was dealt a harsh blow the day before scheduled motions hearings Friday morning, September 25. That blow was a notice of former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing Thursday afternoon, September 24.

As noted in the filing and as discussed in Warren County Circuit Courtroom “A” Friday, the bankruptcy filing essentially removes McDonald from the civil litigation process. McDonald’s bankruptcy filing included one of her two real estate companies, MoveOn8 LLC.

“As a result of the institution of the bankruptcy proceeding, all actions to collect a debt from Jennifer McDonald, or to recover property from the bankruptcy estate of Jennifer McDonald, have been stayed by reason of the applicability of Section 362(a) of the United States Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. 362(A)),” McDonald attorney Peter Greenspun wrote in the filing received in the Warren County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Thursday afternoon. The same holds true as to a stay on asset recovery in the MoveOn8 LLC filing.

Jennifer McDonald’s Thursday bankruptcy filing has essentially STOPPED her involvement in the $26-million EDA civil litigation swirling around her alleged embezzlements. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

With EDA lead attorney Cullen Seltzer acknowledging the stay on civil action against McDonald involving her now bankruptcy-trustee seized assets, a scheduled 9 a.m. motions hearing seeking financial sanctions against her for attempting to move a piece of property frozen by the court near the outset of the April 2019 EDA civil litigation filing was removed from the docket. Judge Bruce D. Albertson adjourned the 9 a.m. proceedings 10 minutes after they began.

Motions hearings on the remaining defendants’ cases commenced shortly after 10 a.m. as scheduled. Two defense attorneys connected by remote audio hookup told the court they were likely to file similar “interlocutory appeals” motions to the one April Petty and Jesse Poe attorney William Shmidheiser informed the court in person he would be filing. Those petitions will seek to have defendants removed from the single “mass trial” the plaintiff is seeking in alleging a wide-ranging conspiracy of McDonald and associates to profit from the alleged McDonald-directed embezzlements and misdirection of EDA assets.

Before making his case that his clients should be removed from the single trial of all defendants, as the 10 a.m. hearing began Shmidheiser called McDonald’s bankruptcy “the elephant in the room” that should be discussed with all involved defense attorneys linked in. That led EDA attorney Seltzer to repeat his acknowledgment that the case against primary defendant McDonald was stayed from further action due to the bankruptcy process.

Several times during subsequent discussion McDonald was referred to as “the hub” of the conspiracy “wheel” the plaintiff is alleging existed between the former EDA executive director and those believed to have benefitted financially one way or another from her alleged misdirection and embezzlement of EDA assets.

While criminal charges related to the EDA civil suit have been dropped against McDonald and others due to speedy trial statute concerns, the threat of refiling remains, leading to possible invocation of 5th Amendment rights if called to testify or be deposed in other defendants’ cases.

Former EDA and McDonald Administrative Assistant Michelle Henry’s attorney John Cook told the court the McDonald bankruptcy filing made his client’s case problematic, in that Henry has filed to force McDonald to pay for her legal fees in the civil case.

Also on the table Friday was McDonald’s ability or willingness to testify as a witness as the civil cases proceed in the wake of her bankruptcy filing. That she could be deposed as a witness in other cases seemed agreed upon. But whether she would quickly choose to invoke her 5th Amendment right not to self-incriminate, with the refiling of criminal charges also still a possibility, remained at issue.

Judge Albertson took defense counsel concerns about the bankruptcy filing’s impact on the other defendant’s cases under advisement, observing, “I think we can proceed with (setting) dates in the event I rule the stay is not warranted.”

EDA attorney Seltzer noted the large number of witnesses to be deposed, over 50 he acknowledged; as well as the limited days per month, three, available for those depositions, depositions he predicted would at a minimum take a full day due to the number of defendants and their counsel involved. Due to those factors, coupled with lingering pandemic limitations on court processes, Seltzer raised an eyebrow or two predicting the civil trial wouldn’t happen before July of 2022.

That prediction led to an added sense of urgency by Petty and Jesse Poe’s attorney. Responding to a question, Shmidheiser told the court he probably would file his interlocutory appeal by the end of the week, as he sought a November date for a hearing on the appeal. Judge Albertson set November 23, at 3:30 p.m., for what is anticipated to be a 30 to 40 minute or so hearing.

Shmidheiser also told Judge Albertson that one of his primary hopes for the day’s hearing was that specific dates would be set for the lengthy deposition process of witnesses, as opposed to the vague “three days a month” tag currently on the table. Agreeing that pinning down dates for depositions was a preferred course of action, Albertson set about finding dates all attorneys could be available for.

Due to varying attorney’s schedules, preferences and other court variables, Tuesdays-Wednesdays-and-Thursdays were set between January and May 2021 to get the deposition ball rolling. Deposition dates agreed to were January 13-14-15; February 16-17-18; March 30, 31, April 1; and May 11-12-13.

Acknowledging the process would likely continue through the remainder of the year, Albertson set a pre-trial motions date of February 19, with a 24-day trial scheduled 4-1/2 months later from July 5 to 29, 2022.

Some of us may need an ambulance to get to the EDA civil trial now scheduled for 24 days in July of 2022.

Seltzer did acknowledge it was possible some defendants’ motions to be removed to individual trials could be successful, leading to earlier trials for those defendants.

As for the bankruptcy situation, one attorney present familiar with bankruptcy cases, later explained to the media that the EDA could file to have certain McDonald assets separated from the bankruptcy sale process to accommodate creditors, citing her alleged embezzlements. However, without a conviction in support of those allegations that filing might be hard to get approved by a bankruptcy trustee, Shmidheiser said. He added that the bankruptcy transfers McDonald’s liability from the EDA civil case now in Warren County Circuit Court to a judge-overseen trial in a Harrisonburg U.S. Western District of Virginia Bankruptcy Court.

According to the McDonald Bankruptcy Docket posted by the U.S. Western District of Virginia Court:

The First Meeting of Creditors is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday, November 13, 2020 (by telephone);

Deadline for filing Proofs of Claims has not yet been set, because McDonald filed her case as a “No Asset Case”;

Deadline for filing Complaints for Exception to Bankruptcy Discharge is Tuesday, January 12, 2021. The Warren EDA will have to file a Complaint for Exception to Discharge case by the deadline, or its claim will be discharged in bankruptcy, we were told;

McDonald ‘s Bankruptcy Schedules are due to be filed by October 8, 2020 – but if time extensions are requested, they are generally liberally granted.

The Trustee is listed as Bob Stevens of Charlottesville, along with the Office of the U.S. Trustee, with a Roanoke address.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

Front Royal man arrested on three outstanding indictments, multiple drug charges

Published

on

When:
July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2019-07-01T10:00:00-04:00
2019-07-01T17:00:00-04:00
Where:
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
111 Featherbed Lane | Winchester
VA 22601
Contact:
Lavenda Denney
540-662-8616 ext. 406

Dontreal Trevaun Arrington. Photo/RSW Regional Jail

On Thursday, September 24, 2020, the Front Royal/Warren County team of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force (NWVRDTF) arrested Dontreal Arrington on three outstanding indictments for violations of Virginia Code section §18.2-248 distribution of schedule I or II controlled substances. These indictments stemmed from previous drug distribution incidents that occurred within the Front Royal/Warren County area. Arrington, who is the subject of an ongoing investigation involving the distribution of cocaine and marijuana within the Town of Front Royal, was also found to be in possession of cocaine at the time of his arrest.

Following Arrington’s arrest, agents with NWVRDTF obtained a search warrant for his residence in conjunction with the ongoing investigation into his drug distribution activities. A search of the property, located at 19 East Prospect Street in Front Royal, led to the seizure of approximately four ounces of cocaine, which has an approximate street value of $4,400.00. Additionally, over $35,000.00 in cash was also seized from the residence in addition to firearms, ammunition, and paraphernalia associated with illicit drug sales and distribution.

Following the search warrant, additional charges were placed against Arrington in connection with the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant. These charges include one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine (§18.2-248(A)) and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm while simultaneously possessing a controlled substance (§18.2-308.4(A)). Arrington was held without bond and is scheduled to appear in Warren County General District Court on September 29, 2020, at 10:00 am in relation to these offenses.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

EDA in Focus

Report on EDA’s regular meeting of September 25

Published

on

When:
July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2019-07-01T10:00:00-04:00
2019-07-01T17:00:00-04:00
Where:
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
111 Featherbed Lane | Winchester
VA 22601
Contact:
Lavenda Denney
540-662-8616 ext. 406

The EDA Board of Directors met for their regular monthly board meeting. Following a 1-hour Closed Meeting session the Board heard from Committee Chairs and Interim County Administrator Ed Daley.

Executive Committee Strategic Plan
Jeff Browne reminded the Board that the initial work on the EDA’s strategic plan will start October 9-10. Led by new EDA Board member, Jim Wolfe, community leaders are being asked to participate in the October 9th session and share their vision for our community. The session on October 10th will include a series of exercises to help Board members articulate goals and plans.

Finance Committee  – Financial Audits

Chair Jorie Martin’s Finance Committee report noted that the auditors from Brown Edwards are finishing up their examination. The committee is expecting the draft audit for 2018 by the end of October at the latest. The Finance Committee will meet and review the draft audit and present to the board if all goes well at the November meeting to finalize.

Bonds:
Bond payments are up to date: Royal Arms Housing bond fees are due every February. The payment for 2020 was paid. $20,500. Christendom College bond fees are due annually in September.

The 2019 fee was paid and the 2020 was just billed in the amount of $6,567.67. The calculation for payment is 1/8 of 1% of the loan balance.

Asset Management Committee:
Royal Lane Property/Workforce Housing Apartments
Committee Chair Greg Harold reported that there has been considerable interest from developers and investors in this property. Executive Director Doug Parsons has been fielding calls from interested parties as well. The RFDP is available in the EDA office. Please contact Doug at 540-635-2182.

Afton Inn
Harold updated the Board with news that the purchasers, 2 East Main, LLC, will not be closing on a loan in September. It is anticipated that closing will now take place by December.

EDA Office Building 400 Kendrick Lane
The staff has undertaken a clean out of the West Basement area. Warren County General Services department is handling the cleanup. All working tools and maintenance equipment were donated to their department and remaining items will be disposed of. We will be clearing out the effects and disposing of them in the proper fashion.

Kendrick Lane CDL Lot
The EDA has partnered with LFCC to provide the parking lot across the street from the EDA Office Building for their CDL Training program. In return, LFCC designed signs will be displayed in the area. There were two sign mock-ups to review by board members for the Workforce Development CDL Lot.

Executive Director
Doug Parsons reported to the board that the new EDA website development is proceeding and a promotional video of the EDA-owned property at 426 Baugh Drive is now available at https://youtu.be/W1EbBQ4avNs.

Many thanks to Brian Kelly of Randolph Macon Academy for his work in the drone footage and producing the video.

The Town of Front Royal Planning & Zoning Commission held a public hearing and then voted to approve the EDA to rezone two parcels in the Happy Creek Industrial Park to Industrial-2. The request will now be sent to the full Town Council for their approval.

The EDA Board of Directors will have their regular monthly board meeting via Zoom on Friday, October 23, 2020, at 8 a.m.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

EDA in Focus

County responds to Town announcement of FRPD financing

Published

on

When:
July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2019-07-01T10:00:00-04:00
2019-07-01T17:00:00-04:00
Where:
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
111 Featherbed Lane | Winchester
VA 22601
Contact:
Lavenda Denney
540-662-8616 ext. 406

Warren County released the following press release on Friday, September 25, 2020:

The press conference held on September 23, 2020, announcing that the Town of Front Royal has secured permanent financing for the Front Royal Police Department building is great news for the citizens of our community! It closes a chapter on one aspect of the lawsuit the Town of Front Royal filed against the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) and ends months of dispute between the EDA, the Town, and the County. It should be viewed as a path forward to a working relationship between the Town of Front Royal, Warren County, and the EDA.

As Warren County citizens, we were brokenhearted by the EDA scandal. The breach by those who were entrusted with our tax dollars and economic development is one that will take years to restore. Efforts taken by the Warren County Board of Supervisors to restore faith and oversight of the new EDA Board of Directors are well documented. Both the Board of Supervisors and the EDA Board of Directors have worked diligently to clean up the mess and recover the stolen assets for taxpayers.

The portrayal by some Town leadership that the County was unwilling to work with the Town to resolve the EDA issues could not be farther from the truth. The County has had every incentive to work with the Town to resolve the Police Station debt owed by the Town and has repeatedly approached the Town to work together on economic development issues critical to the success of our community.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Opinion

September 25th is the birthday of the U.S. Constitution

Published

on

When:
July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2019-07-01T10:00:00-04:00
2019-07-01T17:00:00-04:00
Where:
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
111 Featherbed Lane | Winchester
VA 22601
Contact:
Lavenda Denney
540-662-8616 ext. 406

Our Bill of Rights was approved by the Continental Congress 231 years ago today. It is the peoples’ protection, our protection, against tyranny. September 25, 1789, must never be forgotten.

Our Constitution and these “rights” defend us from oppression, and it is up to us to preserve and defend these God Given Rights. They were purchased by the shed blood of our forefathers and foremothers. Their blood screams out from our American soil… To Stand Strong, Resist Evil, and to Trust in God!

Larry Johnson, The Liberty Man
Front Royal, Virginia

Photo / Larry Johnson

Share the News:
Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Front Royal
63°
Cloudy
7:05am7:02pm EDT
Feels like: 63°F
Wind: 3mph SSW
Humidity: 96%
Pressure: 30.08"Hg
UV index: 0
FriSatSun
min 57°F
73/59°F
79/63°F