This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with watercolors, and meets once a week for five weeks. Each week we will work to build a solid foundation in technique. Materials are provided, but feel free to bring your own if you prefer. All skill levels are welcome. Instructor: Michael Budzisz
Thursday mornings from 10 am – 12:30 pm, Jan. 24th – Feb. 21st. Classes will be held in our studio at 205 E. Main St., Front Royal, Virginia. In case of inclement weather, we will reschedule the class. Please check our Facebook page for updates on class cancellations due to weather.
Class policies: We understand that scheduling conflicts do happen. You may cancel your class for a full refund up to 48 hours before the first class, by phone or in person.
Legislative Update from Senator Mark Warner
This week the Senate considered a series of executive branch nominations and began preparations for a vote next week on the annual defense bill, known as NDAA.
Here’s your Warner Weekly Wrap-up:
VIRGINIA BEACH STRONG
After the tragic shooting on May 31 that took the lives of twelve people in Virginia Beach and injured four more, people across the Commonwealth stepped up to provide financial relief for victims and their families through the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund.
Unfortunately, due to a technicality in the way the fund was set up, those donations aren’t considered tax-deductible by the IRS. To fix this issue, Sen. Warner, along with Sen. Tim Kaine and Rep. Elaine Luria, introduced the Virginia Beach Strong Act. This week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the legislation, sending it to the President’s desk for his signature.
Sens. Warner and Kaine, along with Rep. Luria, have been fierce advocates for the victims and families affected by this mass shooting. In June, Sens. Warner and Kaine wrote to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to verify that victims and families were not being taxed on the contributions they were receiving. In August, the President signed into law legislation the Senators introduced to rename a Virginia Beach post office after Ryan “Keith” Cox, a longtime public utilities employee who, alongside other victims, sacrificed his own life to save others during the shooting. Additionally, the Senators secured unanimous passage earlier this year of a Senate resolution honoring the 12 victims of the Virginia Beach shooting.
SERVE WITH COURAGE
This past weekend, Sen. Warner was in Newport News, where he spoke at the christening of the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier at the Newport News Shipyard. In his remarks, Sen. Warner celebrated the work of nearly 5,000 Virginia shipbuilders who worked on the carrier, as well as the sailors who will serve aboard the Kennedy and the legacy of the ship’s namesake.
You can watch Sen. Warner’s full remarks here and highlights from the event below.
The christening of the USS John F. Kennedy comes just days after the Navy signed a contract to “block-buy” nine Virginia-class submarines, five of which are expected to be launched from Newport News. Sens. Warner and Kaine have been strong supporters of the stability and savings to the taxpayer generated by the block-buy process.
On Monday, Sens. Warner and Kaine welcomed veterans from across the Commonwealth to the Capitol for their annual Veterans Commonwealth Coffee. During the event, Sen. Warner participated in a ceremony awarding the Legion of Merit to Woodbridge, VA resident Major General Phillip Churn, Commanding General of the Army Reserve’s 200th military Police Command.
Due to administrative errors and a delay in processing, Major General Churn’s Legion of Merit award was not issued within the two-year window from the date of recommendation in May 2014. As a result, Major General Churn contacted Sen. Warner’s office for assistance in receiving his rightfully earned recognition. After Sen. Warner intervened on his behalf, Sen. Warner was able to present Major General Churn’s rightfully earned award two months after resubmitting his award package in October 2019.
The Legion of Merit is one of the U.S. military’s most prestigious awards, given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The Legion of Merit ranks just below the Silver Star and ahead of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
This week, Sen. Warner welcomed students from Richmond’s Peter Paul Development Center to his office for the annual Warner Christmas tree trimming party.
Sens. Warner and Kaine spoke at U.S. Capitol reception this week celebrating passage of bipartisan legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to pioneering ‘Hidden Figures’ Dr. Christine Darden, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson for their work at NASA Langley during the Space Race.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award in the U.S. It is awarded to those who have performed an achievement that has had an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized in the recipient’s field for years to come. The Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, cosponsored by both Senators, was signed into law by President Trump on November 8, 2019.
Participants in the celebration included Dr. Darden (pictured above); Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race; and Donna Gigliotti, producer on the 2016 film based on the book, which was nominated for ‘Best Picture’ at the 2017 Academy Awards.
- VIRGINIA CHAMBER: Sen. Warner addressed the annual luncheon of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce at the Capitol on Thursday.
- STOP STUPIDITY: With the end-year-funding deadline looming, Sen. Warner spoke with the Christian Broadcasting Network about his legislation to abolish government shutdowns, known as the Stop STUPIDITY Act.
- NOVA Chamber: On Monday, Sens. Warner and Kaine spoke at the annual Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Senatorial Forum.
On Monday, Sen. Warner will be in Hampton, where he’ll visit the Hampton VA and meet with the facility’s new director and get a report on progress to reduce the facility’s wait times. The Senate will be in session next week and is expected spend much of the week considering end-of-year funding legislation, as well as the annual defense bill known as NDAA.
Update: EDA Board grills Tederick on Town’s intent toward this EDA
The gloves came off at Friday morning’s Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority meeting. A hint of things to come was alluded to at the 8 a.m. meeting’s outset when Asset Committee Chairman Greg Harold made a motion to add a statement on the status of the Front Royal Police Department construction project and the town government. Harold’s agenda addition passed unanimously.
As Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick completed his report on Town business, EDA Board of Directors Vice Chairman Jeff Browne questioned Tederick on several matters related to the status of negotiations with ITFederal on a drainage line through that property; and the Town’s intent as it builds a “war chest” to fund its civil suit against the EDA and discusses creation of a second EDA while the Town-County one continues to exist.
See that exchange and other EDA board member questions to Interim Town Manager Tederick in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
In response to Browne’s opening question on the Town-ITFederal drainage dispute Tederick reasserted the Town’s stance that it is the owner’s responsibility to install the drainage system across its property, but had no update on that impasse with Tran.
Then Browne asked the interim mayor about his sense of the town council’s attitude in its recent decision to divert scheduled debt service payments to the EDA totaling $282,000 into “the Town’s legal war chest” for its civil suit against the EDA. The Town has filed litigation seeking recovery of “up to $15 million” in allegedly misdirected or promised Town assets from the EDA. The EDA has a civil action against 14 people and business entities for recovery of $21.3 million in misdirected EDA assets at this point.
Browne pointed out that initial statements from Town Attorney Doug Napier at the time the Town suit was filed indicated it was done as a precautionary measure against Statute of Limitations running out on unknown and still unspecified Town assets involved in the EDA financial scandal.
“Do you have a sense where you all are going with all of this?” Browne asked the interim town manager about the Town’s evolving and seemingly more contentious legal stance against the EDA.
“I do have a sense but I’ll have to refer you to our counsel, related to that,” Tederick replied, without elaborating if he was referring to the town attorney or the Alexandria law firm of Damiani & Damiani council authorized payments of up to $200,000 in legal fees to related to its suit against the EDA on November 25. Council also approved $45,000 of those diverted EDA debt service payments to Mitchell & Company for auditing services related to its EDA litigation.
“How do town residents feel about paying double legal fees when the EDA is willing to sit down and figure out the differences with you?” Browne continued – later elaborating that as dual Town and County citizens, town residents’ tax payments to the County are helping fund County financial support of EDA legal expenses, including in defense of the Town civil action against it.
“I can’t speak for town citizens,” Tederick replied.
About this second EDA
“Then finally on another issue, could you explain the reasoning behind your attempt to create a second economic development authority?” Browne asked, this time eliciting a more detailed response.
“The town council I believe, is of the belief that the EDA is going to be insolvent in February or March based on public comments of the EDA members and Mr. Parsons has made based on financial records. So, we want to be in a position that in the event of the … EDA does become insolvent, we want to be able to have an economic development authority to promote business and to get appropriate financing.
“So, there’s been no decision by the Town to do that,” Tederick added, then describing the process chosen on advice of the town attorney to lobby the State General Assembly for a Code change permitting the Town of Front Royal alone, to be able to create a second EDA while the existing one it created with the Warren County Board of Supervisors in the 1960’s, presumably will still exist.
“A strong argument can be made that until all the debts and bonds of the existing EDA are paid, the existing EDA must remain in existence,” Napier wrote in his agenda summary of December 2.
“It’s not uncommon, there are a number of towns in the Shenandoah Valley that have Economic Development Authorities,” Tederick continued of the second EDA initiative, adding, “So there hasn’t been a firm decision that we actually are going to get one.”
“How many towns have two economic development authorities?” Browne queried Tederick.
“I don’t think any towns have two, no sir, and neither is the Town of Front Royal going to have two – we’re going to have one,” Tederick asserted.
With the town attorney’s recommendation that the Town maintain its founding co-membership in the existing EDA due to the potential of receipt of half of EDA assets if and when it is dissolved, we asked Tederick about his assertion of only one EDA as he was leaving following his presentation and Q and A with the EDA board.
The interim town manager said he meant the Town would have only one solely-created “Town EDA”, not that it wouldn’t still have its membership in the existing Town-County EDA.
Harold then asked Tederick if the Town was in communications with ITFederal and Tran regarding the drainage impasse.
“I know they’re not communicating with me,” Tederick said. However, he added that he was aware of a recent communication with a staff member whose identity he did not know, regarding whether the Town would contribute to the drainage pipe costs.
“I can find out, I’ll go back and ask,” Tederick told EDA officials.
“I think it would be very helpful, sir, if correspondence between the Town and ITFederal on this thing, if we could be included in that … as part of our negotiations with ITFederal … so we can tell if he’s telling the Town one thing and telling us another, just kind of playing the two off there,” EDA Board Chairman Ed Daley told Tederick of re-opening lines of communication the Town seems to have been pulling back from as it strikes a more aggressive litigious stance.
Afton Inn status
The conversation then concluded as the EDA board and Tederick discussed the physical and ownership status of the Afton Inn. A scheduled post closed meeting two vote on terminating the lease/purchase agreement between the EDA and Afton Inn developer 2 East Main Street LLC was tabled to the January EDA Board meeting.
Following the meeting’s adjournment, EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons said he and the board were holding out hope the redevelopment project, derailed by the civil litigation and the uncertain EDA financial situation, might still be saved.
The developer has not been implicated in any of the alleged financial misdeeds; however, it is alleged that McDonald used the Afton Project to move EDA funds to her personal benefit, including payment of credit card debts and attorney fees.
Following the old Town Hall/Afton swap, circa 2014-ish, the Town transferred ownership of the dilapidated 151-year-old Afton Inn building to the EDA for marketing. Friday there was brief discussion of the process of transferring ownership back to the Town should the EDA/2 East Main redevelopment partnership be terminated.
Changes coming to North Royal Avenue
The former Title Max building (and for some us the old Hardees) is coming down. Dupont Credit Union has purchased the property. So we’ll see if we’ll have another credit union in town soon. Also changes coming to to the other end of town too. CVS is moving into the RiteAid building, Big Lots to the old Food Lion and rumors that Starbucks in looking at the current CVS space. Now everyone is asking where will Chick-fil-A go?
Thermal Shelter of Front Royal will open on December 21st
The Thermal Shelter of Front Royal will open on December 21st and will be open every night until April 4, 2020.
The Thermal Shelter is a non-profit organization, non-denominational, low barrier, overnight shelter for homeless adults (over 18) men and women. The Thermal Shelter works in partnership with local churches, during the winter months. Their guests are provided a hot dinner, bed and a packed breakfast & lunch in the morning.
Free transportation to Shelter is provided each night. Guests are picked up between 6:30pm – 6:45pm at the CCap office, which is located behind St. Luke’s Community Clinic at 316 N. Royal Avenue in Front Royal.
Mike McCool, the publisher of the Royal Examiner spoke with Michele Smeltzer along with Jim Bunce from Marlow Heights Baptist Church, Eric Repleog from Virginia Hills Church and Bobby Stepp from New Hope Bible Church in the exclusive video:
Here is the list of local churches and times when they will be the host for the Thermal Shelter:
Saturday, December 21, 2019 New Hope Bible Church – 80 N Lake Dr., Front Royal
Saturday, December 28, 2019 Dynamic Life Church – 1600 John Marshall Hwy, Front Royal
Saturday, January 4, 2020 (Fauquier) Linden United Methodist Church 13466 John Marshall Hwy, Linden
Saturday, January 11, 2020 First Baptist Church – 14 West 1st Street, Front Royal
Saturday, January 18, 2020 Front Royal United Methodist Church- 1 West Main St. Front Royal
Saturday, January 25, 2020 Calvary Episcopal Church- 132 N. Royal Ave, Front Royal
Saturday, February 1, 2020 Riverton Methodist Church – 55 E. Strasburg Rd, Front Royal
Saturday, February 8, 2020 Marlow Heights Baptist Church – 517 Braxton Rd, Front Royal
Saturday, February 15, 2020 Marlow Heights Baptist Church – 517 Braxton Rd, Front Royal
Saturday, February 22, 2020 Virginia Hills Church – 737 Rockland Rd, Front Royal
Saturday, February 29, 2020 Virginia Hills Church – 737 Rockland Rd, Front Royal
Saturday, March 7, 2020 First Baptist Church – 14 West 1st Street, Front Royal
Saturday, March 14, 2020 Church of the Rock – 620 Virginia Ave, Front Royal
Saturday, March 21, 2020 Church at Skyline – 7655 Stonewall Jackson Hwy, Front Royal
Saturday, March 28, 2020 Front Royal Presbyterian Church- 115 Luray Ave, Front Royal
For more information, please visit their Facebook Page here. Also you can contact: Michelle Smeltzer (540) 892-6108
Donation are accepted (and needed) and can be mailed to :
Thermal Shelter of Front Royal
PO Box 454
Front Royal, VA 22630
5 benefits of using cork in your home
Cork is a stylish and sustainable material that can be used for a variety of home renovation projects. Here are five benefits that come from using it around your house.
1. It’s renewable. Made from the bark of cork oaks, this material is harvested without harming trees in any way. The trees, which can live up to 250 years, are continually growing new bark, which can be harvested once every nine years.
2. It’s sanitary. Cork is a great option for people who suffer from allergies. It’s naturally mold and mildew resistant and has anti-microbial properties.
3. It’s easy to maintain. The material is extremely water resistant, making it ideal for kitchen and bathroom applications. When used as flooring, it’s easy to clean. Wear isn’t an issue, as it can be sanded and refinished.
4. It’s supple. Cork is full of microscopic air pockets that allow it to easily compress and expand without causing damage, making it a comfortable surface to stand or sit on.
5. It’s safe. Cork is fire-resistant. If it does catch fire, it generates less smoke and releases fewer toxins than other materials commonly found in homes.
The best part about cork is its versatility. It can be used in many different ways, from providing insulation and wall coverings to making furniture and flooring. If you’re ready to bring cork into your home, the options for doing so are almost endless.
Is your pet at risk for diabetes?
Did you know that dogs and cats can get diabetes too? Here’s what pet owners should know about this disease.
Just like people, dogs and cats can be affected by two different types of diabetes. Dogs are more likely to have type 1, which occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce the hormone insulin. Cats usually suffer from type 2, which is characterized by the body’s inability to properly metabolize insulin.
Diabetes generally affects middle aged or older pets but can occur in young animals as well. Dogs and cats that are overweight, inactive or have inflammation of the pancreas may be predisposed to the disease. Here are some signs to look out for:
• Increased water consumption and urination
• Weight loss combined with an increase in appetite
• Decreased appetite
• Cloudy eyes (more common in dogs)
• Chronic or recurring infections
• Decrease in energy
• Dull or dry coat
Type 1 diabetes is incurable, but it can be treated with regular insulin injections and a high-fiber diet.
Type 2 diabetes can be treated with insulin treatments, daily exercise and a diet that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
In all cases of diabetes, early detection is paramount. If you notice the signs of diabetes in your pets, bring them to their veterinarian as soon as possible.