Admission is free. Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase.
Vendors include: Papparazi, 31, Scentsy, Avon, Tupperware, Wood Crafts, and Colorstreet, to name a few, along with homemade crafts and baked goods!
Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – May 28, 2020; Phase 2 could start June 5th
Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here are the highlights:
The Governor said that earliest the state could enter Phase Two would be Friday, June 5. Phase Two would look like this: stay at home for vulnerable populations, no social gatherings of more than 50 individuals, continued social distancing, continued teleworking, face coverings in public, and further easing business limitations.
He also mentioned the requirement to wear face masks starting Friday, May 29, people will be required to wear masks inside retail shops, restaurants, personal care, and grooming establishments, places people congregate, government buildings, and public transportation.
Exceptions will be allowed, including while eating or drinking, exercising, those with trouble breathing or health issues, and children under age 10. The governor stated enforcement would be done through the Virginia Department of Health, not by local Sheriff or Police.
Here’s the latest briefing:
Council approves FY21 budget appropriations – conditionally
At its May 26th meeting the Front Royal Town Council approved an appropriation of just over $48.6 million to fund its Fiscal Year 2021 budget. The first of two required votes was 5-1, Letasha Thompson dissenting as she has through the budget process due to ongoing concerns on portions of the proposed budget, specifically unanswered questions about how Tourism marketing and the Visitors Center operations will be funded.
The second, binding vote will come at the council’s next meeting on June 8.
The appropriation of $48,604,340 is projected to balance the Town’s anticipated expenditures and revenues as sub-categorized by departmental and General Fund uses. However, in the current uncertain COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic financial landscape such predictions can be very tenuous as municipalities wait to see the impact of mandated business closings and travel restrictions on their normal tax revenue intake in coming months.
Unfamiliar financial landscape
As was later explained, that is why the appropriation is being passed with a contingency qualification that it will be reviewed on a monthly basis to assure the revenue to support the FY-21 budget is, in fact, available in the coming fiscal year beginning July 1.
The Public Hearing drew the evening’s only two pre-submitted citizen comments to be read into the record of the still virtually conducted pandemic lockdown meetings. Those comments were from 2020 Council candidate and Fussell Florists proprietor Betty Showers and long-time council watchdog Linda Allen.
While those detailed questions weren’t immediately addressed, as below council and interim town manager comments indicate, the plan is to present answers to those two citizens and council prior to the second vote of approval on June 8 – within 48 hours was cited as likely response time.
“You know, right now we all know with the COVID-19 it’s a guessing game right now. And I just want to assure the folks that we’re going to keep a very close eye on any shortfalls and make the appropriate adjustments when needed,” Gary Gillespie observed after, like others, thanking the Town’s financial and administrative staffs for their budget preparation work under trying and unusual circumstances.
Gillespie then asked Interim Town Manager Tederick to work with staff to put together answers to the citizen questions submitted prior to the second vote of approval.
“That’s not a problem at all – Mr. Wilson (Finance Director) and I have already looked at those questions. We were prepared to answer them tonight if need be. It’s not going to take much time; we should be able to get that out in the next 24 to 48 hours to those individuals, and we’ll copy council on our responses. They are easy answers,” Tederick told the council and the mayor, adding that they were “good” and “understandable questions”.
As read into the record by Acting Council Clerk Tina Pressley, Showers opened her letter by observing that some of her questions have been previously asked, though not publicly answered by the town’s elected officials.
“We provide the money for you to spend and therefore expect full transparency. Therefore, I am raising the questions again,” Showers wrote in opening. Her questions were, as presented in ALL CAPS writing to council:
1. THE REVENUE PAGE HAS MANY INCREASES YET IN AN EARLIER WORK SESSION YOUR DISCUSSION INDICATED THAT THERE WOULD BE A DOWNTURN IN MANY REVENUE ITEMS. WHY IS THERE AN UPTICK IN EXPECTED FUNDING?
2. WHY IS THERE A $10,000 INCREASE FOR TOWN COUNCIL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES?
3. UNDER THE TOWN MANAGER, WHO HAS USE OF A TOWN CAR AND THERE IS NO MONEY LISTED FOR MAINTENANCE PROPOSED FOR 2021. AS THERE WAS NONE LISTED FOR 2020.
4. UNDER REVENUE, THE RENT FOR THE ADELPHIA BLDG IS $12,045 FOR 2021. ACTUALLY, IT SHOULD BE COMCAST WHO WILL NO LONGER HAVE A SPACE IN FRONT ROYAL AFTER JUNE. WHY IS THAT MONEY SHOWN FOR SOMETHING THAT WON’T EXIST?
5. WITHOUT A TOWN ENGINEER, THE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BUDGET SAYS $50,000. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE SPENDING A LOT MORE.
6. UNDER TOURISM, YOU HAVE LISTED BLIGHTED BLDGS AND TROLLEY SERVICE OF $93,860. THESE ARE NOT TOURISM BUDGET ITEMS. THEY NEED TO BE PLACED MORE ACCURATELY.
7. FOR POLICING EXPENSES, WHY WAS THE REQUEST FOR 4 PATROLMEN AND 4 VEHICLES TURNED DOWN????
Those were followed by Allen’s questions, again prefaced by noting they had been previously posed and left unanswered to the writer’s knowledge.
“I have asked questions about the proposed 2021 budget before without hearing any answers. Some questions will be repeated below with hopes that the next meeting, a work session, will provide those answers,” Allen began. And as again presented in ALL CAPS writing, those questions were:
1. UNDER PLANNING, WHAT IS THE $40,000 LISTED FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES TO BE SPENT ON?
2. WHY UNDER PLANNING IS THERE NO FUNDING FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLAN? IT IS REQUIRED BY VA LAW EVERY 5 YEARS.
3. WITH BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS THE EXPENSE IS DOWN BY $5,000. WHAT CHANGES CAUSED A REDUCTION OF THESE CITIZEN BOARDS?
4. UNDER HORTICULTURE, WAS A HORTICULTURIST HIRED? ALSO, YOU HAVE INCREASED PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BY $20,000. FOR WHAT REASON?
5. UNDER COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, THERE IS A LINE OF POLICE FACILITY OF $515,000 AS THE EXPENSE. WITH A LAWSUIT AGAINST EDA AND THE TOWN’S REFUSAL TO PAY THE INTEREST OR PRINCIPAL FOR THE POLICE STATION, IT SEEMS DOUBTFUL THAT THIS MONEY WILL BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE. WHAT EXACTLY ARE THESE FUNDS BEING USED FOR?
Contacted early Thursday afternoon, neither Showers nor Allen had yet received those written answers promised within 48 hours. Tick, tick, tick ………
The approximate 12-minute appropriations public hearing and discussion beginning about 40 minutes into Tuesday’s council meeting is available, along with the entirety of that 55-minute meeting in the linked Royal Examiner recordings tied to our series of three stories on that meeting:
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 email@example.com.
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.