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Forest Bathing Walk

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When:
April 18, 2021 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2021-04-18T09:30:00-04:00
2021-04-18T11:30:00-04:00
Where:
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln | Delaplane VA 20144
Cost:
$50 per person
Contact:
Sky Meadows State Park
540-592-3556

Join Kim Strader, ANFT Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, for a gentle walk (no more than a mile or two) where we will wander and sit. Through a series of invitations and prompts, we will reconnect or deepen our connection with the natural world in a way that supports overall health and wellness. Nature and Forest Therapy walks are inspired by Shinrin-Yoku, a term coined in Japan in the 1980’s, where it is a prominent feature of preventative medicine and healing.

All adults (12+ years old) are welcome. No prior outdoor experience or naturalist training required. Wear shoes or boots with good tread, and bring water to drink and a camp stool or sitting pad. COVID-19 guidelines will be reviewed and practiced during this walk.

Registration required by each individual due to “COVID-19 Participant Agreement/Waiver.” Ticket cost is $50 per one person. Cost includes park information packet and entrance fee. This walk will take place rain or shine but will be cancelled in the event of dangerous weather conditions. Registration closes the Monday prior to the workshop date.

Pre-register for this program HERE.

Local Government

Supervisors approve flurry of CUP requests, okay Marlow-Silek proffer amendments, and acknowledge new planning director

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When:
April 18, 2021 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2021-04-18T09:30:00-04:00
2021-04-18T11:30:00-04:00
Where:
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln | Delaplane VA 20144
Cost:
$50 per person
Contact:
Sky Meadows State Park
540-592-3556

Despite five public hearings and two “unfinished business” matters, the latter requiring staff reports and board decisions on previously tabled items, a lack of public comment or opposition to those seven agenda items and minimal board discussion led to adjournment of the 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting after less than an hour-and-a-quarter.

“Did we just hit a world’s record on that?” Board Chair Cheryl Cullers asked Board Clerk Emily Ciarrocchi of the 8:13 p.m. approval of Walt Mabe’s motion for adjournment.

Board Chair Cheryl Cullers was thrilled at the pace at which Tuesday’s five public hearing meeting agenda was conducted. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

And while the clerk’s immediate and perhaps grateful “Yes” may have been an exaggeration, the meeting certainly deserved recognition as a contender for efficient brevity on the world stage of 12-item municipal business agendas, plus staff and board reports. Included in those board and staff reports was acknowledgment of Zoning Administrator Joe Petty’s elevation to Planning Director in the wake of Taryn Logan’s recent promotion to Deputy County Administrator. Logan had been serving in both roles pending the decision on her replacement as planning director. See related County press release for additional information on Petty’s appointment.

Taryn Logan, addressing the board during last night’s meeting, will no longer have to pull double duty as Deputy County Administrator and Planning Director with the elevation of Zoning Administrator Joe Petty to head the Planning Department.

But back on the “world record” effort of the four supervisors present, minus Happy Creek’s Tony Carter, were post public hearing approvals of four Conditional Use Permit (CUP) requests for Short-Term Rentals by Frank O’Reilly; approval of a CUP for Private Use Camping by George Lombardi to round out the five public hearings; approval of a three-item Consent Agenda with one item removed by Interim County Administrator Ed Daley for public informational purposes; approval of that removed item notifying the public of an upcoming public hearing on approval of an ordinance “Delaying Penalties and Interest on Certain Local Taxes” to June 22 due to the I.T. issues the County has encountered in the wake of the software “intrusion” discovered in early March; approval of financial accounts; hearing of two public comments; and a presentation on a recommended change to the County’s Health and Dental coverage to United Enrollment from Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield forecast to save the County a little over $346,000.

The first of the previously tabled matters was a revisiting of the Marlow-Silek Proffer Amendments on a commercial property in the Route 340/522 North Corridor to facilitate a storage unit business to the rear of the property. After assurances that future road improvement plans would not be negatively impacted, the board approved the proffer amendment request by a 4-0 vote, on a motion by Mabe, seconded by Archie Fox.

The second “Unfinished Business” was consideration of a CUP request for a Short-Term Tourist Rental by Justin and Felicia Katzovitz on Liberty Hollow Road in the South River District. That request drew the only non-unanimous vote as Board Chair Cullers, the South River District’s supervisor, dissented on the 3-1 vote on Delores Oates motion, seconded by Archie Fox, for approval. Cullers did not appear satisfied with staff assurances that were all conditions attached to the permitting approval not met, particularly as they apply to access and egress to the property from Liberty Hollow Road, the Short-Term Rentals could not be initiated because the permitting would not be issued by the County to conduct the operation.

With the Katzovitz public hearing previously adjourned, one of two Public Comments speakers, James Pritchard, spoke against the CUP for the Liberty Hollow Road Short-Term Rental due to traffic and speed concerns on that road. Planning Department staff noted that the applicant had agreed to the mandated accessway alternations and would alert all guests once the business was up and running to “take extra caution while using Liberty Hollow Road and should drive no faster than 15 mph”. The staff summary noted a “statutory” speed limit of 35 mph on the road, which did not qualify for VDOT Rural Rustic Improvements because it did not meet the average minimum trips per day requirement of 50. Liberty Hollow Road’s average daily trip count is 40.

The other public speaker, Tom Wallenius, expressed concerns related to vehicular travel in and out of the county due to the designation of a Spotted Lanternfly-infested community. While he said he was not against efforts to control the infestation that is seen as a major threat to a variety of agricultural endeavors, he worried that some rules on having vehicles inspected or certified for travel in and out of the county could be somewhat “Draconian”.

“Frankly, that creeps me out – you’re going to have to have an authorization statement to drive out of here,” Wallenius said of his reading of implemented regulations. He wondered how it could impact, not only commuters, but tourists and the county as a tourist destination.

Chart of life cycle of the Spotted Lanternfly Warren County is now officially infested by. How restrictive will private vehicular travel in and out of the county be now, one citizen asked. The board agreed to seek answers.

Chairman Cullers called Wallenius’s concerns “valid” and suggested a future board work session to address exactly what the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine rules are and how they will be implemented on non-commercial, as well as commercial vehicles.

The board clerk read a third message into the meeting record commending the board for its denial of the Sheetz proposal at the foot of Apple Mountain in Linden. That message was signed by five citizens, Sara Sullivan, Stephanie Manuel, Deanne DePyper, Jackie Miller and Margaret Melberg.

See the linked County video of the meeting, which was live-streamed for the first time since the post-intrusion shutdown of much of the County’s software in early-mid March, for details on all these agenda actions, reports and concerns.

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Local Government

County announces Zoning Administrator Joe Petty as new Planning Director

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on

When:
April 18, 2021 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2021-04-18T09:30:00-04:00
2021-04-18T11:30:00-04:00
Where:
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln | Delaplane VA 20144
Cost:
$50 per person
Contact:
Sky Meadows State Park
540-592-3556

Warren County is announcing the appointment of Joseph W. Petty as the new Planning Director for Warren County. Mr. Petty has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from George Mason University and 10+ years of experience in community development. Mr. Petty’s new position with the County became effective April 15, 2021. He will fill the vacancy created by the promotion of former Planning Director, Taryn Logan, to Deputy County Administrator effective February 1, 2021.

Joe Petty, County Zoning Officer selected for new Planning Director for Warren County. 

 

Mr. Petty began working for the Warren County Department of Planning and Zoning in January 2018 when he was hired as Zoning Officer. In July 2019, he was promoted to the position of Zoning Administrator. Prior to becoming a full-time County employee in 2018, Mr. Petty worked with the Warren County Parks and Recreation Department from 2000 to 2005 before leaving to attend college. Following graduation, Mr. Petty worked for a Business Improvement District that was integral in revitalizing a commercial and residential community. Mr. Petty will continue to serve as the County’s Zoning Administrator and assume the role of Subdivision Administrator. He will be the lead staff support for the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Well and Septic Appeals Board, Development Review Committee, and Agricultural and Forestal District Committee.

Taryn Logan, Deputy County Administrator and former Planning Director, stated, “Mr. Petty will move seamlessly into the position of Planning Director. He has the knowledge, enthusiasm, and care for the Warren County community that makes him the right candidate for this position. Mr. Petty will continue to guide the Department forward in a positive manner.”

Delores Oates, North River Supervisor, was part of the interview and selection panel for the Planning Director position. Mrs. Oates stated, “The announcement that Joe Petty has been chosen for the position of Planning Director is another example of the County’s commitment to excellence. Joe’s enthusiasm for our community and its future is obvious in one conversation. I wish him all the best as he takes on this new challenge!”

Regarding his appointment as Planning Director, Mr. Petty said, “I am truly thankful for this exciting opportunity. I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of the community, and to uphold the integrity and professionalism that Mrs. Logan has brought to this position.”

The Warren County Department of Planning and Zoning is in Suite 400 of the Warren County Government Center, located at 220 N Commerce Avenue, telephone (540) 636-3354. Office hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

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Legislative Update

$6.5 million in Federal funds to support transportation to community vaccination centers announced

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on

When:
April 18, 2021 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2021-04-18T09:30:00-04:00
2021-04-18T11:30:00-04:00
Where:
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln | Delaplane VA 20144
Cost:
$50 per person
Contact:
Sky Meadows State Park
540-592-3556

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) will receive $6,505,200 in federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deliver individuals that have transportation needs to state-run Community Vaccination Centers.

“We’re glad to see these federal dollars go towards helping Virginians who have transportation needs get vaccinated,” said the Senators. “As Virginians 16 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, we remain committed to expanding opportunities so that all eligible students, workers, and residents can get their shots as soon as possible.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine strongly supported the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan, which included $7.5 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health departments to expand vaccine distribution and administration, and several billion dollars in additional funding for local community health centers and medical personnel to assist in administering vaccines.

 

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Community Events

Mountain Laurel Montessori School holds “Open House’ Sunday, April 25, 2021

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When:
April 18, 2021 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2021-04-18T09:30:00-04:00
2021-04-18T11:30:00-04:00
Where:
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln | Delaplane VA 20144
Cost:
$50 per person
Contact:
Sky Meadows State Park
540-592-3556

Mountain Laurel Montessori School is holding an ‘Open House’ on Sunday, April 25, 2021, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. to meet their teachers and tour the classrooms. They can help you start your application process for the 2021-22 school year, as well as sign up for Summer Camp! Their location is ideal for parents telecommuting from the D.C. area. They are located at 155 Biggs Drive, Front Royal, VA.

The mission of Mountain Laurel Montessori School is to provide ideal learning environments for each stage of a child’s development, adhering to the guiding principles of the Association Montessori Internationale. Above all, they are committed to an education that guides children to become joyful, lifelong scholars, and engaged, compassionate citizens of our diverse world community.

They are committed to fulfilling their mission by
• Facilitating cooperation and involvement of parents, teachers, students, and the greater community
• Fostering a caring school community that emphasizes respect for one another and celebrates diversity
• Providing an environment that supports life-long inquiry and exploration

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Regional News

Festival establishes and honors first-ever inductees into the Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame

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When:
April 18, 2021 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2021-04-18T09:30:00-04:00
2021-04-18T11:30:00-04:00
Where:
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln | Delaplane VA 20144
Cost:
$50 per person
Contact:
Sky Meadows State Park
540-592-3556

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival will honor six individuals who have had a lasting impact on sports across our region. The inaugural class includes the following:

Russ Potts

Russ Potts created the Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast along with Dick Kern in 1965. Former Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey was the very first sports celebrity to attend the Sports Breakfast.

Potts is a member of 6 Hall of Fames: National College Sports Marketing Hall of Fame, Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Handley High School Judges Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Potomac State College Hall of Fame, Shenandoah University Hall of Fame and the University of Maryland Phi Delta Theta Fraternity Hall of Fame

Russ is a former Executive Director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, serving from 1969 to 1970.  During his tenure he moved the Grand Feature Parade from Friday to Saturday attracting 86 bands in 1969 & 92 bands in 1970.

Potts was elected eight times to the Virginia State Senate from 1992-2008. He served as Chairman of the Senate’s Education & Health Committee.

Russ was the first Sports Marketing Director in the history of college athletics at the University of Maryland.  He was also the Director of Athletics at SMU. During his tenure, both universities set all time average attendance increase records-the only time in NCAA history.

Potts served as Vice President of Marketing for the Chicago White Sox.

Russ Potts headed up the capital campaign for the Handley High School renovation and creation of the Emil & Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center. Russ helped the school raise over $22M for both projects.

Over his career, Russ has staged, promoted, or organized over 1,000 athletic events.  He created the first Women’s College Basketball game on national television – Immaculata vs. Maryland in 1976, created the first Men’s College Basketball primetime television package, and organized the famous Georgetown vs. Virginia game featuring the battle of the 7 footers – Patrick Ewing vs Ralph Sampson which was televised on national TV.

Dick Kern

Dick Kern and Russ Potts were the Co-Chairmen of the very first Sports Breakfast featuring Jack Dempsey in 1965.

Dick passed away on October 1, 2020 at 100 years old and is represented by his grandson, Trey, Owner / Operator of Kern Motor Company. Both Trey and Dick’s son Rick were outstanding athletes at Handley. All three are members of the Judges Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Kern was one of the founders of the Judges Athletic Association – one of the nation’s most successful high school booster associations. Dick is a past President of the JAA.

Dick was an outstanding athlete having starred at Handley High School as a quarterback in the single wing offense and later at Virginia Tech as the starting defensive halfback and linebacker.

Kern won the Williams Award as the outstanding senior football player in 1941 and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was unable to pursue an NFL career because of serving in World War II.

Dick was a highly decorated war hero in the U.S. Army during WWII and one of the youngest company commanders in the nation with over 300 men under his command.

Dick created Kern Motor Company, the longest standing automotive agency in Winchester / Frederick County.

Kern served with distinction as Vice Mayor, Chairman of the City Finance Committee, and Councilman-serving for over 20 years.

Dick Kern will always be known as an outstanding community leader and philanthropist.

Walter Barr

Walter Barr’s coaching career bridged five decades.  Barr was a two-sport athlete at Shepherd University where he played football and baseball.  He graduated from Shepherd College in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science and received his master’s degree from James Madison University in 1970.

Walter’s teaching experience spanned from 1962 to 1998.  He taught at James Wood High School, Loudoun County High School, Broad Run High School, Sherando High School, and Lord Fairfax Community College.

Barr began his coaching career at James Wood High School where he was an assistant football coach and head track coach from 1962 to 1967.  In 1967, Coach Barr became the head football coach at James Wood and coached until 1971 where he went on to be the head football coach at Shepherd University until 1986.  In 1994, Barr became the first head coach of Sherando High School.  In 1999, Barr was asked to conduct a football program feasibility study for Shenandoah University which later turned into a head football coaching position with the University.  Coach Barr returned to James Wood High School in 2005 and turned around a program that had not had a winning record in 26 years.  Coach Barr concluded his coaching career with 210 wins, 94 losses and 5 ties.

Coach Barr has one of the most decorated football coaching records in the region.

  • 1966-71
    • James Wood High School (38-2-1)
    • 2 undefeated teams
    • Virginia AAA State Champions 1970
  • 1971-86
    • Shepherd University (104-48-4)
    • 3 WVIAC Championships
    • NAIA National Play-offs 1985
  • 1990-91
    • Loudoun County High School (5-5)
  • 1994-97
    • Sherando High School (38-13)
    • State Play-Offs (3 years)
  • 2000-01
    • Shenandoah University (9-11)
    • Start-up program
  • 2005-07
    • James Wood High School (16-15)

Barr has been induced into the NAIA Hall of Fame, Shepherd College Hall of Fame, Clarke County Athletic Hall of Fame, James Wood Athletic Hall of Fame and will soon be inducted into the Shenandoah University Hall of Fame in 2022 (postponed due to COVID.)Walter Barr is a 3-time WVIAC Coach of the Year and 4-time Winchester Star Coach of the Year.  In 2016 he received the Richard C. Shickle Award and in 2019 was bestowed the honor of having the James Wood High School Football Field named after him.

Coach Barr has been published in The American Football Coaches Guidebook to Championship Football Drills by Jerry R. Tolley 1984 and hosted many football coaches’ clinics while he was at Shepherd University and Shenandoah University.

Paul Wendell “Wendell” Dick  

Last year, on Friday, December 4, 2020, our community said goodbye to a beloved individual and friend to many.  To many of us, Wendell was the face of James Wood High School athletics even after his retirement in 1991.

Wendell grew up in Frederick County, VA and went to James Wood High School (5-12 grades) when it opened in 1950. He graduated in 1958. Dick was recognized as James Wood’s “Outstanding Male Athlete.” While in high school, he was 1stteam District 10 basketball player, earned 14 Varsity letters, and participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was one of the first James Wood High School graduates to have perfect attendance for all 12 years of schooling.

In 1958, Wendell enrolled at Potomac State Junior College in Keyser, WV, on a basketball scholarship where he led the team in free-throw shooting for two years. In 1960, he entered West Virginia University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education. He was a goalie on the WVU men’s soccer team and earned his MS Degree in Health and Safety. After graduating, he joined the Army National Guard in Winchester. While in Basic Training in Fort Jackson, he was selected as the “Outstanding Trainee” and was catcher of their undefeated softball team. Wendell enjoyed playing for a traveling semi-professional basketball team and fast pitch softball.  Wendell was a Cross-County and Track Official for 50 years (1960-2010). For many years, he was also a “Color Commentator” for 92.5 WINC-FM Sports with Joe Pasquali.

Wendell held lifetime memberships in the James Wood Athletic Association, the Potomac State College Alumni Association, the West Virginia University Alumni Association, the Virginia Retired Teachers Association, and the Greenwood Fire and Rescue Company Association.

For several years, he served as Co-Director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast.

In 1990, Wendell was inducted into the Fast-Pitch Softball Hall of Fame and in 2000, James Wood High Schooled honored Wendell by establishing the P. Wendell Dick Athletic Hall of Fame.

Russ Potts will accept the award on behalf of the Wendell Dick family.

Ken Mease

If you have attended the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast over the years, you will know that Ken Mease cherished the opportunity to visit and participate in the Shenandoah Apple Blossom. Ken began attending the Festival in 1999 where he emceed the Sports Breakfast.  There were only two years between 1999 and 2017 where he was not able to participate in our annual celebration. In addition to emceeing the Sports Breakfast, Ken spoke at the Festival’s Ladies Horticultural Luncheon and served as the Court Ambassador for the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah. In 2018, the Festival recognized Ken by presenting him with a life pass to the sports breakfast.  Ken returned to celebrate the Festival with us in 2019 but did not emcee the breakfast that year.  Ken loves the Festival and continually went out of his way to support the Festival in many ways.

Ken Mease has had a tremendous career in sports television and radio in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of the US for over five decades.

Ken grew up in Selinsgrove, PA and graduated from Selinsgrove Area Joint High School in 1960. In high school, Mease played basketball and baseball, was band president and served as Lt. Governor and International Trustee in Key Club International. After graduating from high school, Ken attended Susquehanna University from 1960 to 1964.  During college, Mease worked part-time for WKOK-AM-FM as a disc jockey, news, and sports reporter.

In 1963, Ken worked for WUNS-AM in Lewisburg, PA as an announcer and color commentator for Bucknell University Football for their ’64 and ’65 seasons.

Ken joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1965 where he completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.  He attended tech school as a communications specialist at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX.  Ken completed his Guard commitment in 1971.

Between 1965 and 1975, Ken continued his work in communications at radio and television stations in Harrisburg, PA, Charlotte, NC, Pittsburgh, PA, and Providence, RI.  While in Providence, Mease anchored sports six days a week and was recognized in 1973 with the Rhode Island Sportscaster of the Year award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

In 1975, Ken served as Director of Athletics for Robert Morris College (now University.)  Ken was instrumental in the University’s leap from junior college status to NCAA Division I.  Ken did play-by-play of Colonials basketball for three seasons, coached the school’s basketball team for one season. While at Robert Morris, Mease laid the groundwork for the school’s Sports Management program.

In 1979, Ken went back to news television as a sports anchor and weekday reporter in Pittsburgh, PA.  Ken was awarded two Golden Quill Awards (the Pittsburgh Emmy) for the “Steeler Monday” sports feature.

From 1986 to 2003, Ken was the sports anchor and reporter for WUSA-TV in Washington, DC.  Ken primarily worked as the station’s weekend sports anchor with weekday reporting duties. Ken covered Sunday night sports specials including Redskin shows. Mease also freelanced where he covered Navy Football radio and George Mason TV basketball play-by-play.

From 2003 to 2010, Mease joined CBS-Westwood One Sports Radio sportscasting including Redskins post game.

In 2010 Ken joined the Washington Freedom, an American professional women’s soccer club in Germantown, Maryland.

Rodney Cowley will accept the award on behalf of Ken Mease.

Tommy Dixon

Born in Winchester, VA, Tommy is the second youngest of seven children to Rachel and Clark Dixon.  Dixon attended first through seventh grades at Douglas School.  After integration, Tommy attended Handley High School from eighth through twelfth grades. While at Handley, Tommy was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and track and field.  He was voted 2nd team All-State in football and basketball.  After high school, Dixon studied health and physical education at Potomac State College in Keyser, WV and Berea College in Berea, KY.

During Tommy’s tenure, he coached football, track and field, and basketball.  Tommy coached football at Daniel Morgan Middle School for nine years where his team only lost two games and had one tie; the rest were wins.  Dixon was an assistant track and field coach when Handley won several state championships.  Tommy coached basketball for 36 years and compiled a record of 403-228.  Tommy coached his teams to nine regular season championships, 10 regional appearances, 3 regional championships, and 6 state tournament berths.  Coach Dixon was also recognized several times as Coach of the Year at the District and Regional level.  Tommy also was selected to coach in the state all-star game in 2000.

In 2001, Coach Dixon was inducted into Handley’s Hunter Maddex Hall of Fame and the Potomac State College Hall of Fame in 2010.  On Saturday evening, December 17, 2016, during a boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball game inside Handley’s Maddex-Omps Gymnasium, the school announced that the basketball court would forever be known as the Coach Tommy Dixon Basketball Court.

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Local Government

Plaintiff in Meza appointment challenge files for reconsideration of decision

Published

on

When:
April 18, 2021 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
2021-04-18T09:30:00-04:00
2021-04-18T11:30:00-04:00
Where:
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln | Delaplane VA 20144
Cost:
$50 per person
Contact:
Sky Meadows State Park
540-592-3556

In a motion for “Reconsideration” of the court’s April 7 decision that Town Charter Section 47’s one-year prohibition on “appointment or election” of former town councilmen applied only to paid staff positions and not reappointment to council, Plaintiff Paul Aldrich’s counsel David Downes challenges Judge William Sharp’s interpretation of inclusion of the word “election” in that charter section.

As previously reported, Judge Sharp pointed to the relevant wording: “No member of the council of the Town of Front Royal shall be appointed or elected to any office under the jurisdiction of the council while he is a member of the council, or for one year thereafter” as possibly being interpreted to prevent a councilman from running for re-election for a year following the end of their existing term on council. Noting that a one-year separation from council has not been seen as a requirement to run for re-election in general elections since the Town Charter’s 1937 adoption, Sharp ruled Section 47 did not apply to council appointments to fill a council vacancy, as occurred with the January 4 appointment of Jacob Meza to fill now Mayor Chris Holloway’s vacant council seat.

However, Downes counters that the words “appointed” and “elected” were seen by Charter framers as interchangeable references to council appointments with no intended application to General Elections by the public. Rather, the prohibition was intended to prevent the appearance or fact of cronyism within council, and not solely regarding paid staff positions, Downes argues.

To return to court or not to return to court, THAT is the question regarding court’s initial ruling on the Jan. 4 appointment of Jacob Meza to vacant council seat. Royal Examiner File Photos by Roger Bianchini

“And the corruption Section 47 attempts to preclude also includes the appointment of a councilman who would have been unable to win a public election but could win an election of a majority of councilman and then be appointed a councilman,” Downes reasons in explaining the plaintiff’s Charter interpretation as the basis for challenging Meza’s January 4, 2021 appointment after choosing not to run for re-election in the November 2020 General Election. It was a decision made after a year in which Meza faced mounting public criticism due to a key vote reversal of previous recusals from votes concerning his employer Valley Health’s plans for a new hospital without a Maternity Unit and other patient amenities not seen as providing patient numbers necessary to support those units financially.

Downes points to past state level interpretations to uphold his argument for reconsideration: “… the Virginia Constitution and General Assembly have consistently used the phrase “appointed or elected” to NOT reference a public election but rather, like here, an election of the individual legislators prior to appointing an officer under their jurisdiction.

“… the Court’s conclusion is based on an erroneous interpretation of the phrase ‘or elected’ in Section 47. By using the context which it is found and the historical context from how the phrase ‘appointed or elected’ has been used in the Virginia Constitution and Virginia Code, this Court should apply a plain contextual meaning of Section 47 to read as follows: Because Defendant Meza was a member of counsel within one year of his appointment, he was prohibited from being appointed by the Town Council to the office of council, which is under the jurisdiction of the council. Moreover, the specific members of town council were prohibited from electing Defendant Meza to the office of council before attempting to appoint him.

“This ruling harmonizes Section 47 with Sections 6(D) and 9 along with the historical interpretation of the phrase ‘appointed or elected’ as used by the Virginia Constitution.”

To run or not to run for re-election, THAT was the question facing Jacob Meza in the fall of 2020. He chose not to run, ostensibly if we recall correctly, due to work and family time commitments. However, he ended up back on council four days after his term expired.

In responding to the plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration, Defense counsel Heather Bardot stands by her original arguments that it is primarily Charter Section 6D with support from Section 9 that should hold sway, as it did in the court’s initial ruling in support of dismissal of the challenge of Meza’s appointment four days after his term’s end to fill Mayor Holloway’s vacant council seat.

Section 9 notes that the seat of a council member who is elected mayor will become vacant with their elevation to the mayor’s chair. And as previously reported, with no reference to a one-year hiatus, Section 6D states that, “The council may fill any vacancy that occurs within the membership of council for the unexpired term, provided that such vacancy is taken within 45 days of the office becoming vacant.” As for time constraints, only the court’s authority to make the appointment were council to deadlock and be unable to fill the seat within the prescribed 45 days, is acknowledged.

Of the plaintiff motion for reconsideration, Bardot argues it, “… does nothing more than reargue points already raised on brief and argued at the Demurrer (defense motion to dismiss) hearing. Plaintiff presents no new arguments, no new authority and no reason why the court should reconsider its decision to sustain the Demurrer and dismiss this case with prejudice.”

And there you have dueling legal perspectives on the court’s original ruling on the Meza appointment, and why it should or should not be reconsidered by the judge who made that ruling.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
36°
Fair
6:25am7:56pm EDT
Feels like: 30°F
Wind: 5mph WSW
Humidity: 57%
Pressure: 30.03"Hg
UV index: 0
FriSatSun
63/39°F
64/50°F
66/41°F

Upcoming Events

Apr
20
Tue
all-day Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department Mad Science Kit contains experiments that focus on fun, interactivity, and entertainment. Participants ages 6-12 will be able to perform four (4) experiments, including Dyed Carnations, Lava Lamps,[...]
Apr
24
Sat
10:00 am Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 24 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
On this Earth Day, celebrate safely by doing your part to restore our earth and joining the Great Global Cleanup. Stop by one of our tables at the Explorer Outpost, Picnic Area, or Lost Mountain[...]
12:00 pm Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Come out to enjoy our favorite fundraiser to benefit the House of Hope, the Empty Bowl Supper “TO GO”! DATE: Saturday, April 24 from 12noon-3pm Ticket Link: eventbrite.com/empty-bowl-supper LOCATION: Main Street & Downtown Market Check in near the[...]
12:00 pm SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Join us for an afternoon of golf at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club in Front Royal! 1 pm Shotgun, Registration from 12pm – 12:45pm. $85/Player $340/Team Help us celebrate Skyline High School Band’s success while[...]
12:30 pm Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Apr 24 @ 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Save Our Children Front Royal is hosting a Color Run/Walk to raise money for The Child Safe Center, located in Winchester, Virginia. The Child Safe Center is a local non-profit who supports sexually abused victims[...]
Apr
25
Sun
4:00 pm Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
Apr 25 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
$30 per painter or 4 painters for $100. Bring the whole family and save! Join us for a special Paint with a Superhero event! Be sure to dress up as your favorite hero or villain[...]
Apr
27
Tue
10:00 am Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 27 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Players will enjoy several hands of Mah Jongg against skilled opponents. This club meets on Tuesdays from April 6, 2021 through April 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Warren County Community[...]
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 27 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
May
1
Sat
8:00 am 2021 Apple Blossom Wine & Hard C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
2021 Apple Blossom Wine & Hard C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 1 @ 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
2021 Apple Blossom Wine & Hard Cider Challenge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Come enjoy the challenging routes at Sky Meadows State Park and Valley View Farm, home of the Gnarled Orchard. These courses are knotty, knot nice at the farm as they are a mix of cross[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 1 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]