Randolph-Macon Academy invites you to come discover what “The Power of Rise” can do for your child at the next open house on Monday, February 18th. Tours begin promptly at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Families interested in applying for the summer session or the 2019-2020 school year are invited to come visit with admission counselors, teachers, and students. Middle School (grades 6-8) and Upper School (grades 9-12) tours will include classrooms, athletic and dining facilities, and dorms.
Randolph-Macon Academy students take advantage of small class sizes, faculty mentoring, and tutorial sessions offered four times per week. They earn college credit in AP classes and dual-enrollment courses. They thrive in the challenging college-prep academic environment, and their 100 percent college acceptance rate includes some of the top schools in the country—from the University of Virginia to UCLA. The integrated STEAM curriculum ensures students engage their curiosity and connect their learning across multiple disciplines.
To RSVP to the open house, visit www.rma.edu/open-house, or call 540-636-5484.
Derrick Leasure of R-MA assumes Front Royal Rotary presidency
Randolph-Macon Academy Assistant Dean of Students Derrick E. Leasure officially took over as president of the Rotary Club of Front Royal at an “actual” ceremony in the town’s community center on Friday, July 10.
Outgoing president Bret Hrbek passed the gavel after his year in office, made more challenging when interrupted by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, which sent its regular weekly meetings since March to the internet via “Zoom.”
The real-life meeting that greeted Leasure, attended by a dozen past presidents from John Marlow (1977) to the retiring Hrbek, likely will return to “Zoom” as Leasure begins his tenure. After the gavel was passed, Leasure swore in members of the new board of directors, including Hrbek.
“He has a difficult task before him,” Hrbek had said earlier. Like other local organizations, Rotary has taken a hit in its fundraising activities but nevertheless managed to take in $126,000 last year for local and international projects.
Leasure, who came to R-MA’s middle school in 2008, earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Ohio State University and a Master’s in History from the University of Arizona. He is an active member of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, serving on the education committee. Outside his teaching and later administration posts at the Academy, Leasure has been a student mentor and head coach in golf as well as his promotion to assistant dean.
Married to Michelle Cantlebary, the couple has two children. He joined Rotary shortly after arriving in Front Royal 18 years ago.
(Malcolm Barr Sr., our contributing writer, is a member of the Rotary Club of Front Royal)
Negotiating tips for buyers and sellers
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you can find something good about the current real estate market.
Interest rates are low, making for more appealing mortgages (and an abundance of available loans). And inventory is a little tight, making for less competition.
So if you’re a buyer, you can find a ready loan at a good rate. If you’re selling, you’ll probably have less competition.
All of this begs the question: How do you negotiate in this climate? Or do you even try to negotiate?
That might depend on where you live. Always consult a real estate agent before making an offer.
As a buyer, remember the number of houses for sale is low nationwide. Even in the coronavirus crisis, median home prices have increased. It’s probably not true that most sellers are desperate because of job losses or financial hits. Buyers really should not expect to get a lot for a little.
In fact, you can easily lose your dream house by bidding low, even in the crisis environment. If supply is low, make a robust offer. Sometimes it makes sense to bid for higher than asking price. Just be sure your price makes sense to you and the bank, as the property will need to be appraised prior to a mortgage gets approved.
Sometimes a personal letter will go a long way to forwarding your offer. Children selling the family home might be encouraged to know that the buyer will love it, for example.
You can also consider requesting repairs, credits, or adjustable deadlines if you offer full price.
As a seller, even if you are in a hurry to sell, resist the urge to lower your price. Home prices are not declining, they are generally rising.
Remember that creativity can make or break a deal. Rather than reduce your price, seek other incentives that appeal to buyers like credits, improvements, furnishings, or more flexible closing deadlines.
A counteroffer doesn’t need to be in the middle. If a potential buyer offers $10,000 less than asking price, the temptation is to split the difference. Consider countering at the price you want, and offering incentives. Or hold firm.
Some real estate pros recommend asking for solid earnest money of up to 5 percent to ensure the buyer is serious.
How to live a long and healthy life
If you want to increase your lifespan, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help prevent illness and injury. Here’s what you should do to live a long life.
An abundance of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish packed with omega-3 fatty acids are vital components of a healthy, balanced diet. You should also limit your consumption of trans fat, salt, and refined sugar.
Watch your weight
If you’re overweight, you risk developing a range of health problems such as cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. You’re also more likely to experience joint pain and reduced mobility.
Get enough sleep
Adults should sleep between seven and nine hours every night. To optimize your rest, establish a consistent sleep schedule, and invest in a quality mattress and pillow. You should also avoid eating and limit your use of electronic devices before bed.
Health experts recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise every week. In addition to providing physical benefits, an active lifestyle helps boost your mood, improve your memory, and reduce stress. Choose an activity you enjoy ensuring you stay motivated.
Exercise your mind
To delay or prevent cognitive decline, you should challenge your brain on a regular basis. Reading, learning new skills, solving puzzles and playing games are all great ways to stimulate your brain.
Maintain your social circle
Regularly visiting friends and family helps decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. Social connections can also strengthen your immune system and lower your risk of developing dementia. Plus, group activities are often a great source of entertainment and laughter.
Learn to manage stress
From ulcers and irritability to migraines and high blood pressure, stress can have serious consequences on your health. Explore various ways to relax and reduce stress such as breathing deeply, listening to music, and practicing yoga.
Consult health professionals
Depending on your age and health, you should visit your doctor, dentist, optometrist, and other health-care specialists every few months or years. If you experience any concerning or persistent symptoms, schedule a consultation right away.
In addition to adopting these healthy habits, you should avoid smoking and limit your alcohol consumption to the recommended amount.
LFCC Professor Mark Sunderlin receives statewide recognition
Professor Mark Sunderlin recently received the George B. Vaughan Leadership Award for Outstanding Adjunct Faculty from the Virginia Community College System with support from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education.
Earlier this year, Professor Sunderlin was named the 2020 LFCC Distinguished Faculty Award winner.
An adjunct faculty member for the past eight years, he spent many years working for the federal government, before serving as the senior technical manager of AOL for seven years. Currently, Professor Sunderlin is principal data engineer for Verizon Media Services.
United Way welcomes Shane Goodwin as new president for 2020-21
Shane Goodwin has been elected the new President of the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County, and will serve through the 2020-21 fiscal year. Mr. Goodwin is the Principal at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School.
Mr. Goodwin arrived in Front Royal from York, SC, where he served on the Solid Waste Advisory Board (2003-04), the PTO Board (2003-19), and the Boy Scouts of America Board (2002-18). During his time in South Carolina, Mr. Goodwin was also involved with the Regional Aids/Interfaith Network, Family Promise, the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Since arriving in Front Royal, Mr. Goodwin has continued to demonstrate a desire to work in his community, and has been involved in the Thermal Shelter, Shred Day, the Rotary Club, the Elks Club, Church Choir, and Boys Into Gentleman (B.I.G.).
Mr. Goodwin joined the United Way Board in August, 2019, out of a desire to “help our community connect and thrive.” Since joining the Board, he has taken on many community projects, including serving on the Community Impact Grant Interview Committee, which leads the way for local United Ways in providing grant funding for community agencies. This committee approved $35,000 in grant funding for eight community agencies over the coming year, including Blue Ridge Legal Services, House of Hope, The Laurel Center, Phoenix Project, St. Luke Community Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, Cars Changing Lives, and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.
In looking forward to the upcoming year, Mr. Goodwin has several goals for the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County. These include the following:
- Increase Corporate Funding/Partnerships
- Increase Board Member Involvement On United Way Committees
- Set In Motion Processes To Increase Credit Scores/Net Worth Among Front Royal-Warren County Community Members
- Begin Working Toward A Facility To Allow Children Quality Exercise And Mentoring
Since 1950, the United Way has worked to advance the common good in Front Royal-Warren County. The community wins when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. The United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of the challenges we face. Living United means being part of the change!
To reach the United Way offices in Front Royal-Warren County (134-B Peyton Street, Front Royal, VA, 22630), please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-635-3636.
Town Manager search back to square one: Council majority rejects ‘great resume’ on ‘intangibles’
It seems the $24,500 the Front Royal Town Council spent to have a private-sector executive search firm seek out qualified municipal management candidates has been taxpayer money thus far ill spent.
That is because from an initial field of 49 candidates assembled by executive search firm Baker-Tilly since they were contracted on February 13, none survived the initial selection process. As previously reported by Royal Examiner, two final candidates chosen from that field of 49, were brought into town for face-to-face interviews last week.
It appears neither was found acceptable to a majority of the Town’s elected officials – though it may have been a close call on one, according to Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock. Sealock serves as council liaison to the executive “headhunting” firm as some, including the vice mayor, colloquially call such executive “hunt” professionals. However, it appears a council majority of four rejected the preferred of the two final candidates as not bringing quite enough to the table to replace Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick on a permanent basis.
“One had a poor interview,” Sealock observed, adding that while the other candidate had “a great resume” and was generally “liked” by all his council colleagues, was found by that majority to not have the necessary intangibles for the job. The primary intangible may have been age, as in the early ’30s being too young or not allowing for sufficient experience in municipal management.
“I could have voted yes; I think two, maybe a third could have,” Sealock said without naming names, “I really wanted to meet that 90-day time-frame,” the vice mayor added of making the choice by the end of the Fiscal Year 2020. However, with the potential of throwing a deciding vote Mayor Gene Tewalt’s way for an almost sure deciding 4-3 vote in favor of replacing Tederick at the helm of the town administration, any potential 3-3 tie evaporated.
“We didn’t want to do that,” Vice-Mayor Sealock said of having the mayor, rather than council have the final word on the decision.
Of the town manager search and restart of that process in the wake of the early July failure to make an appointment after a three to five-month process, Sealock said executive search consultant Baker-Tilly had informed him that “a couple” in the initial pool of candidates might re-apply.
Over half withdrew from consideration
Of the 49 original candidates provided by Baker-Tilly, Sealock said that 27 had dropped out, taking the field to 22. Those 22 were narrowed by council to a pool of nine, which jumped to 11 with two late additions. Council then narrowed the finalists down to three, one of whom removed them-self from consideration, leading to the final two candidates being brought in last week.
Sealock noted that part of the Baker-Tilly contract states that if an appointment is made and that appointee is terminated with cause within two years, Baker-Tilly will be responsible to assist in a new town manager candidate search at no additional cost to the original contract.
So, a young, likable candidate with a “great” resume – what have you got to lose?!?
Of on-the-street “conspiracy theories” that the consultant search is more show than substance, and that Tederick will eventually be offered the job on a permanent basis by his council and County Republican Committee allies, Sealock pooh-poohed that notion.
“I talked to Matt this morning (Thursday, July 9) and he’s not interested in the job permanently. Could we hire him under other circumstances? – Yes, but he’s not interested. He’s done an exceptional job. No one else could have come in and been dead on, on services like he has,” Sealock observed.
If lauded inside Town Hall for his job as interim town manager, Tederick has drawn some pointed public criticism, including from council candidates Bruce Rappaport and Betty Showers. Most prominently that public criticism has focused on two council decisions many see the interim town manager’s influence on the front end of.
One was Tederick’s late January 2020 dis-assembling of the Town Tourism Marketing function in the wake of the firing of five department heads, as part of his FY-2021 town budget preparation and plan to downsize or “right-size” as he termed it, the town governmental function in favor of private-sector outsourcing.
The second was the decision to sue the existing Town-County EDA and apply to the state government for authority to become the first municipality in Virginia to be allowed to create a second Economic Development Authority while technically remaining a part of the existing EDA it has chosen to litigate against, rather than negotiate with to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution on any misdirected assets from the previous EDA Administration’s financial scandal.
For a council and interim town manager focused on reduced governmental costs, many have questioned the long-term financial impacts on town taxpayers of those two decisions.
Also as reported last week, Tederick’s contract as interim town manager was extended on a monthly basis past its June 30 end of the fiscal year term, as well as adjusted to a less complicated legally, personal rather than LLC hire, as council ponders life without its interim man.
As readers will recall, council first appointed Tederick interim mayor in the wake of Mayor Hollis Tharpe’s April, effective May, 2019 resignation to deal with legal issues.
Contacted by phone shortly before publication Friday, Tederick confirmed Sealock’s perception and reinforced his own previous comments that he is not interested in, and will not seek the town manager’s job on a permanent basis. He noted that restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic response delayed planned business activities on his part, allowing him to continue in the interim role longer than he might have.
“But there will be a time when I’ll have to say ‘I have to move on’. So, I’m hoping to see this resolved in the next two to three months … There was a lot of time invested in this process. Both of those final candidates were brought in for 11-hour days around their interviews,” Tederick observed of the conclusion of a five-month process since Baker-Tilly was contracted by the Town.
Tederick noted that he was not in the room for the town manager candidate interviews, nor was he privy to details of those interviews. However, as to the observation about “age” being a determining factor in the rejection of the stronger of the two candidates interviewed last week, Tederick suggested perhaps limited “experience” as a preferable choice of words.
Attempts to reach other council members and the mayor for comment on this story were unsuccessful over a two-day period prior to publication.