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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lord Fairfax Health District offers free COVID testing session in Woodstock
The Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD) will offer COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, June 8, at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds, 300 Fairground Road, in Woodstock. Five hundred tests will be available.
Testing offered will be the nasal swab sample that looks for the presence of RNA from the actual virus. It will be offered in a drive-through format. Participants will be required to provide consent for testing and contact information so that proper follow-up can occur.
“We selected this location for our first community testing session, due to the presence of several outbreaks in Shenandoah County, and a desire to reach out to members of the medically underserved community, many of whom live in the area,” said Dr. Colin Greene, District Director. “We are very happy to be able to offer these tests at no charge to the patient.”
LFHD will offer testing on a first-come, first-served basis, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or until test supplies are exhausted, whichever comes first. Testing is available to anyone ages 10 years and older. All persons must remain in the vehicle, and no walk-ups will be tested. Those seeking tests should be seated near a window of the vehicle.
To protect yourself and healthcare workers, please wear a cloth face covering or mask. Please keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people at all times. Please tell the testing providers if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, deep cough, or shortness of breath, or believe that you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
For more information, call the Lord Fairfax Health District at 540-459-3733.
Town Talk: A conversation with Sgt Laura Gomez and Captain Jeff Holzbauer; new dogs tags, K-9 additions
In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Sgt Laura Gomez and Captain Jeff Holzbauer from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt Gomez is an Animal Control Officer and Captain Holzbauer is in charge of the Patrol Division.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division has the primary law enforcement responsibilities of providing a wide range of services and to initiate a proactive approach when assisting the community.
The Animal Control Division provides enforcement of all animal control issues within the County of Warren and the Town of Front Royal. Animal law enforcement, including the methods of capture, confinement, and disposition of nuisance animals, both domestic and feral, requires that the animals be treated in the most humane manner possible. Warren County or Town residents who require the assistance of Warren County Animal Control are to contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 540-635-4128 or in the case of an emergency, 911. This includes any questions dealing with wildlife matters.
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
Warren County Parks and Recreation reopening plans for summer 2020
This spring, in support of the Governor’s Executive Orders and in compliance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Warren County Parks and Recreation Department closed recreational facilities and canceled activity programs. Recently, the Governor announced that the implementation of Phase Two of Forward Virginia will begin on June 5, 2020, through Executive Order Number 65.
Warren County Parks and Recreation Facilities and Programs Phase Two Reopening Plan:
- Available for rent Thursday, June 11, 2020
- Capacity is 50 people or 50% of normal capacity per shelter, whichever is fewer.
- Social distancing guidelines are in effect. For additional details on making a shelter reservation, please call the RES Youth Center at (540) 635-7750.
Playgrounds, Skatepark, Trails, Tennis Courts, Disc Golf, and Open Spaces – OPEN
- No more than 50 people at once
- Social distancing guidelines in effect.
Baseball, Softball, and Soccer Fields
- OPEN Monday, June 8, 2020
- No more than 50 people per field.
- Rentals for practices only.
- Fields will not be lined until Phase Three or later.
Front Royal Golf Club – OPEN
- Golfing, cart rentals, pro shop, and boat ramp access are available.
- Clubhouse facility is closed to the public
- Banquet room reservations are unavailable.
Claude A. Stokes, Jr. Community Swimming Pool
- CLOSED AT THIS TIME (Opening Date To Be Determined)
- The pool will be opening soon with limitations in accordance with Executive Order Number 65.
Warren County Splash Pad – CLOSED Not opening during Phase Two.
Public Restrooms – CLOSED (Opening Date To Be Determined)
Outdoor Basketball Courts – CLOSED (Opening Date To Be Determined)
Warren County Parks and Recreation Community Center, RES Youth Center, and indoor recreation facilities – CLOSED (Opening Date To Be Determined)
Events and organized activities, including sports leagues – Cancelled at this time
The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department offices remain open (but closed to the public) to field your related questions via phone at (540) 635-7750 or (540) 635-1021 or via
email at email@example.com.
This is a rapidly changing situation, and the most current information is available on the following websites: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus or www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/. Please consult www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus for the latest number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia.
Additionally, you can find local information on the Warren County COVID-19 website: https://www.warrencountyva.net/coronavirus-latest-information, the County of Warren, VA Facebook page, or the Town of Front Royal COVID-19 website: https://www.frontroyalva.com/645/Covid-19-Local-Response.
Valley Health System welcomes new President and CEO
Mark Nantz, Valley Health System’s new President, and Chief Executive Officer began work Monday in true COVID-19 style: appropriately distanced, wearing a face mask, elbow bumping new colleagues, and joining more than 6,000 coworkers to report a daily personal health attestation for the safety of patients and colleagues.
Certainly, neither Nantz nor his predecessor, Mark Merrill, anticipated making this major leadership transition during a public health crisis. Merrill’s retirement farewells and Nantz’s welcomes are occurring via email and video until it is safer to meet face-to-face and travel to Valley Health sites around the region.
During the Valley Health Board of Trustees’ nationwide search and comprehensive interview process with system, physician and community leaders, Nantz stood out as an accomplished and visionary healthcare leader with an impressive record of building advanced clinical programs and successful physician and community partnerships and improving patient satisfaction, quality metrics, and employee engagement at the local, regional and system levels.
“From the moment I first met with the search committee and then stepped on the Valley Health campus in Winchester, I knew I had found a place where people shared my commitment to improving the health and well-being of the community, especially those who are marginalized and under-served,” Nantz says. “During my interview process, every board member, every provider, every leader, and every staff member demonstrated a dedication and commitment to Valley’s Health’s mission of “Serving our Community by Improving Health”. It was clear to me that I had found a new place to call home and caregivers with whom I could join in serving the community.”
Nantz previously served in executive roles with Bon Secours Mercy Health, most recently as Chief Administrative Officer and Atlantic Group President; before that as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Bon Secours. He has also held executive positions at Carolinas Healthcare System (now Atrium Health) and Carolinas Medical Center–NorthEast, and leadership roles in the audit practice of a Big 5 accounting firm. A certified public accountant, Nantz holds a Master’s in Health Administration from Pfieffer University and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.
In his first video introduction to Valley Health employees this week, Nantz touched on what motivates him personally and what his priorities are as Valley Health’s CEO:
“Winston Churchill once said, ‘Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.’ I believe that with all my heart and it’s why I have spent nearly 30 years in not-for-profit healthcare. It is at the core of my call to serve in the ministry of care delivery. To be sure, I feel that each of us has been called to serve others by providing access to high quality, affordable health care, and an exceptional patient experience, regardless of whether or not those individuals have the ability to pay. I think we are called to treat everyone who walks through our doors with dignity and compassion and that we must respect and appreciate the unique set of beliefs and experiences that they bring to our organization. That’s what drives me and what gets me up in the morning.”
“These are challenging times,” Nantz continued. “The COVID pandemic has changed much about the way we provide care, how our community views healthcare workers…and even the way we live. You can be confident that Valley Health’s medical and executive leadership have taken steps to ensure the delivery of safe, quality care as we diagnose and treat those with COVID, as well as care for our other patients with emergent healthcare needs. Our health system will continue to respond and adjust in these changing and uncertain times, and we will endeavor to ensure financial stability for both individual employees and the organization as a whole.”
Face masks are a labor of love for one local woman
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” may be an old adage to some, but to Warren County resident Redz Castro Downes, it is a way of life.
Castro Downes, a Certified Nursing Assistant, is known to her family and friends as a kind-hearted person who always looks for ways to brighten the lives of those around her.
While caring for her husband, local attorney David Downes, during a recent illness, Redz realized that the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic was making it harder to find the face masks that were now required for wearing. She was especially concerned that her husband have adequate face-coverings as he recovered.
Having always wanted to learn how to sew, Redz decided to purchase a brand-new sewing machine and try her hand at making masks for her own family. “I’ve always wanted to learn sewing skills, and maybe make clothes for myself,” she said in a Wednesday afternoon telephone interview.
Undaunted by the fact that she did not know how to sew, Castro Downes stocked up on fabric at a local store, and downloaded a pattern to make washable, fabric masks.
In a short time, Redz mastered mask-making, each one taking less than 20 minutes from start to finish. Husband David and step-daughter Gayle have joined in, creating an assembly line. Gayle cuts out the mask pieces, David measures and cuts the elastic that forms ear loops, and Redz stitches the masks together.
Since the family began wearing their stylish masks, friends have taken notice and are asking if they can purchase the washable, cotton face coverings. So far, the Downes’ cottage industry has produced over four dozen masks, and the orders are pouring in!
Customers, such as Front Royal business owner town council candidate Betty Showers says the masks are “light, comfortable, adjustable and absolutely adorable!” She added that the masks were a great price and “I would recommend them to everyone.”
Especially popular among Redz’s customers is the plain black mask, with or without a Virginia Beer Museum logo. The first one was made for David, proprietor of the only beer museum in the commonwealth.
Redz says the proceeds from her mask sales will be split 50/50, with half of the money going to her family, who live in the Philippines and have been hard-hit by the pandemic. The other half will go to the Virginia Beer Museum, which is slated to reopen Friday, June 5 at 5 PM after being shuttered nearly three months.
The masks will be available for purchase at the museum, beginning Friday.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced earlier this week that all museums, theaters, and other tourist attractions across the commonwealth can re-open for business.
To order a mask: Message Redz Castro Downes or David Downes on Facebook Messenger.
VBM fabric masks $10 each, fabric masks $10 each or 2/$15
Front Royal man sentenced for role in Baltimore-Front Royal heroin pipeline distribution conspiracy
Nikolai Hall-Andujar, of Front Royal, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to 46 months in prison for his role in a heroin distribution conspiracy that brought hundreds of grams of the drug from Baltimore to Front Royal between 2015 and 2018. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Field Division made the announcement today.
“The scourge of heroin and other illicit drugs entering the Northern Shenandoah County community has caused pain, addiction, and death for years,” First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said today. “Eradicating these potentially lethal substances remains a top priority for law enforcement and I am grateful to the Drug Enforcement Administration and all the agencies involved in the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force for continuing to embrace the challenge.”
“The effect that heroin has had on our communities and families across the DMV has been devastating. The sentencing in this case, along with the help of local and federal agencies across the DMV, is to be commended for the impact it’s had on communities across Maryland, DC, and Virginia,” Special Agent in Charge Fong said today. “The DEA Washington Division is dedicated to continuing combatting this deadly problem for our area by taking dangerous criminals and organizations like this off our streets and combatting drug trafficking across our area.”
According to court documents, Hall-Andujar, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, was part of the “Chris” heroin distribution organization based out of Baltimore. Between summer 2015 and spring 2018, Hall-Andujar was responsible for distributing no less than 400 grams of heroin to individuals in Front Royal and Winchester.
Hall-Andujar obtained quantities of heroin ranging from 4 to 5 grams at a time, every other day, and sometimes up to 10 grams, from the “Chris” pipeline in Baltimore. Once the purchase was complete, Hall-Andujar returned to Front Royal and Winchester to use and redistribute the heroin he obtained.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Winchester Office, the Front Royal Office of the Virginia State Police Northwest Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Frederick, Maryland Sheriff’s Office, the Loudoun County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office and the Howard County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Ronald M. Huber prosecuted the case for the United States.