Come join us with this weekend’s theme, “ART”! We are working with local artists & artisans to bring art to our Main Street.
We will have artists setup along Main Street creating, painting, and making! This is a free community activity. We are looking for ways to enjoy the open air and stay safe. Come watch our local talent do what they do best! If you are an artist that would like to participate, please message us to get on the list.
An Art Walk is where local artists come setup in front of or in businesses and create art. They usually bring an array of art to sell and show what they can do. It’s interesting and fun to watch, and a great way to introduce our community to our local talent!
Warner applauds $161 million investment in George Washington Memorial Parkway; made possible by his landmark National Park law
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today applauded $161 million in federal funding to rehabilitate the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP). This historic funding was made possible by the Great American Outdoors Act, a once-in-a-generation law authored and championed by Sen. Warner. The funding will come to Virginia by way of a contract issued by the National Park Service (NPS) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
“When we passed the Great American Outdoors Act, we knew it would help enable historic investments in national parks throughout the nation. Today, I’m proud to see these dollars come to Virginia to help rehabilitate one of the most important parkways in the nation,” said Sen. Warner. “Along with the funding that’s coming through our bipartisan infrastructure law, I look forward to seeing how these investments strengthen our Commonwealth, create local jobs, and reinvigorate our local economies.”
The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a scenic roadway that honors the nation’s first president and preserves cultural and natural resources along the Potomac River from Great Falls to Mount Vernon. The northern section of the parkway – from Spout Run to Interstate 495 – is the busiest section of the parkway and serves about 26 million drivers annually or roughly 70,000 vehicles per day. This section, which opened in 1962, has never undergone a major rehabilitation. The first phase of the project will be project design, and park visitors and drivers will experience little or no change to their routines. Construction, which is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2025, will impact drivers. Before construction begins, the NPS will provide detailed information to help drivers plan their trips.
Championed by Sen. Warner, the Great American Outdoors Act is a landmark law that preserves and protects our country’s national parks and public lands. The bipartisan law provides permanent and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and helps address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks and other land management agencies. It also tackles $1.1 billion in deferred maintenance at Virginia’s national parks.
Sen. Warner’s effort to address the deferred maintenance backlog began in March 2017, when he worked with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to introduce the National Park Legacy Act. That same year, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced its own proposal, drawing heavily on the initial proposal from Sens. Warner and Portman. However, the Administration proposal would not have established a dedicated funding stream for NPS maintenance. In March 2018, after extensive negotiations, Sen. Warner and a bipartisan group introduced the Restore Our Parks Act, a consensus proposal endorsed by the Trump Administration, to invest in overdue maintenance needs at NPS sites.
In March 2020, following the President’s announcement that he would back the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act, as well as full and permanent funding for LWCF, Sen. Warner and his colleagues, introduced the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law in August of 2020. According to the Park Service, approximately $249 million in funding from the Great American Outdoors Act has been allocated to national parks in Virginia thus far.
Subcontractor Pleads Guilty to Felony Worker Misclassification
RICHMOND (December 8, 2021) – Richmond Drywall Installers Inc., a subcontractor that has been working on the new General Assembly Building, has pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement charges based on worker misclassification brought by Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s Worker Protection Unit, following an investigation by the Office of the State Inspector General. In October, Attorney General Herring’s Worker Protection Unit brought the first worker misclassification-related charges against the subcontractor for allegedly misclassifying their employees as independent contractors to avoid paying state taxes. As part of the plea agreements, Richmond Drywall Installers Constructors Inc. will pay a total of $21,000 in fines and restitution.
“Businesses that take advantage of their workers through misclassification, wage theft, or payroll fraud are not only stealing from their hardworking employees, but they are also stealing from the Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Herring. “I am committed to rooting out worker exploitation in Virginia and protecting our workers from abuse and mistreatment by their bosses. I want to thank both my Worker Protection Unit for their hard work, as well as our partners over at the State Inspector General’s office for their help on investigating this important case.”
In Richmond City Circuit Court today, Richmond Drywall Installers Constructors Inc. pleaded guilty to five felony embezzlement counts and were ordered to pay a $2,500 fine for each of the five counts and $8,500 in restitution.
“It is the first time worker misclassification charges were brought by the OAG’s new Worker Protection Unit, and I am proud that our special agents were part of the investigation that brought this issue to the forefront,” said State Inspector General Michael C. Westfall.
These were the first worker misclassification-related charges brought by Attorney General Herring’s Worker Protection Unit since its creation earlier this year. Worker misclassification – one of the most common forms of worker exploitation – involves falsely identifying individuals as “independent contractors” when they are really employees. This allows employers to avoid paying unemployment and other taxes on workers and to avoid the costs of covering the employees with workers’ compensation and unemployment insurances, and it has been consistently shown to drive down the wages of other workers.
Russell Lee “Bobby” Williams (1945 – 2021)
Russell Lee “Bobby” Williams, 76, of Stanley, Virginia passed away on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at Winchester Medical Center.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, December 13, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at Maddox Funeral Home,105 West Main Street, Front Royal with Sammy Campbell officiating. Burial will follow at Prospect Hill Cemetery.
Bobby was born on January 1, 1945, in Warren County, Virginia to the late William Russell and Isabelle Campbell Williams. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Sandra “Sandy” Kerns Williams; daughter, Angela Burge; brother, Gary Williams and three sisters, Barbara Clater, Norma Brown, and Charlotte Williams. He was an electrician for National Zoological and Conservation Research Center. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army serving seven years with two tours in Vietnam. He also owned and operated Bob’s Limo.
Survivors include four sons, Michael Williams (Jessica) of Stanley, Robert Williams (Pam) of Front Royal, Timothy Spiker (Pam) of Strasburg, Virginia, and Ashby Spiker Jr. (Leslie) of Front Royal; daughter, April Spiker of Front Royal; 19 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
Pallbearers will be Michal Williams, Donny Speakman, Brodey Williams, Kevin Patterson, Sean Benson, and Colt Wood.
Proposed budget to increase funding for regional trails, state parks, and Office of Outdoor Recreation
On December 8, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam continued the ‘Thank You, Virginia’ tour, announcing that he is proposing a two-year budget that will include nearly $245 million for outdoor recreation and Virginia’s world-renowned natural lands. The new funding will help significantly expand Virginia’s network of regional trails, Virginia State Parks, and the Office of Outdoor Recreation.
“Virginia is home to a robust outdoor recreation economy, with 41 state parks and more than 450 miles of recreational paths,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Our natural assets draw tens of thousands of visitors each year, opening up countless opportunities for economic development across Virginia. This increased funding will make significant progress towards both preserving the beauty of Virginia’s landscape and ensuring that this critical industry continues to thrive for years to come.”
This funding will go towards supporting existing trails as well as developing new trails like the Eastern Shore, Shenandoah, and Fall Line trails. The budget proposal will also ensure that the Office of Outdoor Recreation, launched by Governor Northam in 2019 with the goal of coordinating outdoor recreation efforts across multiple state agencies, will have funding to support two full-time employees.
“Active transportation is a critical component of our multimodal transportation network, providing the final link to schools, workplaces, and transit stops,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Not only do Virginia’s regional trails create safer alternatives for existing pedestrians and cyclists, they also attract thousands of non-local visitors each year, significantly enhancing economic development prospects for the localities they pass through.”
Outdoor recreation employs more than 197,000 people and contributes an estimated $22 billion to our economy. This industry also generates $1.2 billion in state and local tax revenues. Visitation to Virginia State Parks increased 13 percent in 2020, with nearly 8 million visits. Some of the Commonwealth’s natural area preserves doubled the number of visitors compared to pre-pandemic numbers, and these increases have continued in 2021.
Virginia is also home to a number of trails that have a sizable economic impact, including the Capital Trail, running from Richmond to Williamsburg, the New River Trail from Galax to Pulaski, and the Creeper Trail from White Top and Abingdon. The Capital Trail and the New River Trail generate $9 million and $28 million respectively in annual economic impact. More than half of the visitors to the Creeper Trail are coming from outside the area, boosting Virginia’s tourism revenue.
“Outdoor recreation provides an important boost to local economies,” said Senator Emmett Hanger, co-chair of the Outdoor Recreation Caucus in the General Assembly. “When a community has a multi-use trail, or a state park or forest, it is not only a draw for visitors, it improves the quality of life for those who live there. These investments will ensure more access to Virginia’s beautiful landscape for generations to come.”
“The pandemic has really highlighted how valuable our award-winning state parks and natural areas are,” said Delegate David Bulova, co-chair of the Outdoor Recreation Caucus in the General Assembly. “By supporting staffing and access, we ensure that Virginians and visitors can continue to enjoy all the outdoor beauty the Commonwealth has to offer.”
The Governor made the announcement on Brown’s Island in Richmond.
Sons of the American Revolution commemorate the Battle of Great Bridge
On December 4, 2021, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter and the Virginia State Color Guard of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution participated in a commemoration for the Battle of Great Bridge. The battle occurred on December 9, 1775, on the south branch of the Elizabeth River, approximately 12 miles south of Norfolk.
The British forces under Governor Lord Dunmore had a force of 670 men at Fort Murray on the north side of the Elizabeth River. These included the 14th Regiment of Foot commanded by Captain Samuel Leslie and sailors and marines from the HS Otter as well as loyalists from the “Queen’s Own Loyal Virginia Regiment”. They were further supported by a unit of runaway slaves designated “Dunmore’s Royal Ethiopian Regiment”. He was opposed by a force of about 900 men led by Colonel William Woodford with the 2nd Virginia Regiment, Major Thomas Marshall and the Culpeper Minutemen supported by militia from Norfolk and Pasquotank, North Carolina.
To open the battle, Captain Leslie directed the gunners from the Otter to open fire. Captain Charles Fordyce led British grenadiers of the 14th Regiment of Foot across the bridge with bayonets fixed towards Lieutenant Travis’ breastworks manned by 60 colonists. Heroic sentinel Billy Flora, a free black patriot, fired eight rounds at the British before retiring to the breastworks. Upon notification of the attack, Colonel Woodford sent reinforcements to bolster the position. Lieutenant Travis ordered his men to hold fire until the British were within 50 yards. The volleys at close range took a terrible toll, with a ball hitting Captain Fordyce. He waved his hat and encouraged his soldiers to continue on. He died about 15 feet from the breastwork, shot 11 times during his advance. British survivors retreated as Patriots continued to fire at will. The battle last about half an hour. Only one Patriot was wounded with the British losses at 102 killed and wounded.
After the battle, patriots and brave women assisted the wounded British, inducing Captain Leslie to come out of Fort Murray and bow in gratitude. The patriots buried Captain Fordyce under a cypress tree with full military honors. As a result of the battle, a critical Chesapeake Bay supply line was established to Washington’s Army.
The event was emceed by Kenneth Hawkins, Norfolk Chapter SAR and Bobbie Gribble, Regent, Great Bridge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. After the combined color guard presented the colors, guests were introduced and Proclamations read from the City of Chesapeake. The keynote address was made by Jon Stull, Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundation. Wreath layings were led by Leslie Miller, Great Bridge DAR and Tim Ahlgrim, Norfolk SAR followed by a musket salute.
The Color Guard was led by National Color Guard Commander Lou Raborg and the Musket Squad led by Virginia State Color Guard Commander Ken Bonner. There were 12 SAR, 10 DAR and 2 C.A.R. chapters represented at the ceremony. Other patriotic organizations included First Landing Company, The Jamestowne Society; French Society, SAR; Suffolk Chapter, Colonial Dames Seventeenth Century; Virginia Chapter Daughters of Founders and Patriots and the Virginia Society of the Order of Founders and Patriots of America.
Participating from Colonel James Wood II Chapter were Sean Carrigan, Dale Corey and Marc Robinson. Also were dual members Ken Bonner, Dave Cook, Charles Jameson, Bill Schwetke and Mike Weyler.
Upcoming Parks and Recreation events with Santa Claus
Letters to Santa:
Did you know that Warren County Parks and Recreation has a great relationship with Santa Claus? He will be stopping by the Warren County Community Center on December 19, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. to take pictures with you! This year Santa asked if we could help get letters from kids to him so he could respond back to them before Christmas. Of course, we said that we would be happy to help!
Visit our website for information on how to properly send your letter to Santa: parksandrecreation.warrencountyva.net
Letters to Santa will be accepted from December 6, 2021 through December 15, 2021, and letters are for children 10 years of age and younger. Letters must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.
Pictures with Santa:
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the North Pole’s jolliest elf, Santa! We have put together a box full of cheer for you to enjoy. The box contains seasonal crafts and holiday family fun! Photos with Santa will be taken and printed on site.
Pictures with Santa are for children under 10 years old and must be accompanied by an adult.
Cost for the pictures with Santa event is $15.00 per person.
Event is limited to 50 participants; pre-registration is recommended.
Pictures with Santa will be held on Sunday, December 19, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Warren County Community Center, located at 538 Villa Avenue, Front Royal, Virginia 22630.
More information on these events can be obtained by contacting the Warren County Community Center, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., evening and weekend hours may vary, at (540) 635-1021.