Warren County’s Department of Parks and Recreation is excited to invite everyone to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Warren County Splash Pad on Saturday, October 12, 2019, at 1:00 pm. The ceremony will be held at Dr. Saul Seide Memorial Botanical Gardens (beside Raymond E. Santmyers Youth Center).
Following the ceremony, the Splash Pad will be open for play and water fun until 5:00 pm. Please join us to celebrate an exciting addition to Warren County!
Town Talk: A conversation with Lt Robbie Seal and Capt Jeff Holzbauer; August update
In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Captain Jeff Holzbauer and Lt. Robbie Seal from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Seal is the Community Resource Officer and Captain Holzbauer is in charge of the Patrol Division. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division has the primary law enforcement responsibilities of providing a wide range of services and to initiate a proactive approach when assisting the community.
Lt Seal brings us up-to-date on the Sheriff’s Advisory Council and Capt Holzbauer asks the community to help locate two fugitives in Warren County. Please reach out to Warren County Sheriff’s Office if you have information to share or need assistance. Lt Seal can be reached at email@example.com or Captain Holzbauer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their phone number is (540) 635-4128.
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
How to encourage kids to keep learning
It’s normal for children to be a little rusty when they head back to school. If you’d like to help them get ready beforehand, here are some ideas.
• Get them to read. This can include novels, comic books, magazines, and nonfiction books.
• Do math on the fly. Encourage kids to add, subtract, multiply, and solve other equations throughout the day. They can do this while you prepare dinner, go for a walk or wait in line at the grocery store.
• Create a vacation album. Put together a collection of pictures taken during the summer and get your child to write short descriptions under each one.
• Practice another language. Watch movies or television shows in their second language.
There are many ways to encourage children to keep learning, and even a small amount of time engaged in educational activities can motivate them.
Beautify your balcony or deck
If you’d like to give your balcony or deck a makeover, here are some simple upgrades that will spruce up even the smallest of spaces.
Purchase outdoor furniture with clean lines, neutral tones, and natural fabrics. Add visual interest with bright-colored cushions and blankets. If you have space, hanging chairs, hammocks and swings are great options.
If you have space, install shelves to display your choice of outdoor decorations. You can also add a touch of color with an outdoor rug. An umbrella or curtains can be included to provide you with shelter from the sun.
If your balcony/deck has a roof or overhang, use it to display hanging plants. If not, let vines twist around the railings. For a rustic look, consider growing herbs and flowers in wooden crates.
It won’t take much to transform your balcony into an outdoor haven. With a little effort, you can create a beautiful space to enjoy all summer.
How’d graduation go? Decreasing COVID deaths? And removal petition expense draw supervisors attention
Board comments and questions revolving around a variety of financial issues were heard at the August 4th Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting, as was one apology concerning a previous complaint about pandemic-altered high school graduation plans.
“When I’m wrong I’ll admit I was wrong – and I was wrong on graduation,” North River Supervisor Delores Oates said during her member’s report after attending the Skyline High School graduation the morning of Saturday, August 1st, one day after Warren County High’s somewhat wetter one.
Oates said the football stadium parking lot-centered event utilizing the new Hawk tunnel and allowing family members to accompany their graduates for photographs was a rousing success and would likely lead to some permanent changes in the future, post-pandemic graduations – changes she called in some ways an improvement over traditional graduation ceremonies.
“I have a senior. And I was disappointed that we were going to do drive-in graduation. I had no idea, however, of what they had planned to accommodate our family so that we could get up-close and personal graduation with our senior,” Oates began, adding, “In fact, it was better than conventional graduation. And I have to take my hat off to everybody involved with the planning and execution of the graduation.”
She then observed, “The irony of COVID is that through social distancing, we were able to get closer to our graduate. And, so I agree with Ms. Cullers that graduation likely will change because parents enjoy close-up and personal graduation. So, I would like to thank the school system for what they did to make it a memorable day.”
GO Public School Administrators – let’s give them a run through that Hawk tunnel too.
Have they risen?
Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter then began with a question revolving around another COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-2019) impact on the community, an apparent statistical anomaly indicating a reduction in the reported number of COVID-19 deaths in Warren County.
“One of the questions I’ve seen – why have the numbers kind of gone down? I think at one point there were 8 deaths, then it was 7 and now it’s 6,” Carter noted of a decrease in fatality numbers.
And while Carter directed his question at Deputy County Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Farrall, present for a number of COVID-19 related agenda item reports, Board Chairman and
County Pandemic Emergency Response Team Chair Walt Mabe stepped in.
“I can do that,” Mabe said of shedding light on the reverse trend in fatalities. “When we have a death that’s actually reported, that death is reported in Warren County. After a period of time, we come to find out that, that person that died is really from Shenandoah County or from Page County or wherever. And when that’s found out, we adjust the numbers – ours goes down, theirs go up.
And it could work the opposite way,” Mabe explained of the nation’s nearly 160,000 pandemic deaths being tabulated by the home community, not the place where the pandemic victim died.
Queried by Mabe, Farrall concurred with this explanation.
We are still seated – at what cost?
Carter then segued into another item of personal and political interest to him, the June 23rd court order of dismissal of all portions of the grassroots citizen county board Removal Petition spearheaded by Bonnie Gabbert and others against the supervisors seated through 2019. Carter and Fork District incumbent Archie Fox, whose seats were not up for re-election in 2019, are the only two targeted supervisors over the EDA financial scandal still seated after the 2019 election.
Two of the targeted supervisors, former Chairman Dan Murray and South River’s Linda Glavis did not run for reelection in 2019, and a third, Shenandoah District’s Tom Sayre was defeated by new Chairman Walt Mabe.
During his member report Tuesday morning, Carter queried Interim County Attorney Jason Ham on the case status and total costs to the County and its taxpayers of defending board members against that recall petition. That cost was $48,500, Ham replied.
And as he explained in a June 24th letter informing the current and past board members of the court action of the previous day, Ham noted that the portion of the suit against the no-longer seated members had been “dismissed with prejudice” meaning it could not be re-filed. And while the “Order of non-suit” and “Dismissal without Prejudice” against Carter and Fox would allow it to be re-filed in six months, Ham wrote that from the conversation with Harrisonburg Special Prosecutor Michael Parker, “I don’t think that is very likely.”
Carter noted that such a removal petition based around what is thus far considered unintentional lapses of oversight allowing alleged criminal behavior of others has rarely if ever been upheld in Virginia. The courts have indicated a preference to let such non-criminal legislative matters be resolved by impacted citizens at the ballot box, rather in another governmental branch’s courtroom.
Somewhat playfully perhaps, Carter wondered if a bill for the County Recall Petition legal defense expenses could be added up to be divided among the citizens who signed it seeking a judicial removal of local legislators for non-criminal behavior.
“And I assume there’s not a way … that the people who signed the petition, to send them a bill for 50 dollars each?” Carter asked.
Ham’s answer appeared to be that such a plan was not currently under consideration by him or his co-counsel on the matter.
“Anyway, I just thought I’d pass that information on,” Carter said in concluding that little legal-budgetary foray and notice of ALL those targeted by the Recall Petition’s survival of it.
View the Board of Supervisor meeting of August 4, 2020, in this related story.
Warren County fall reopening plan approved with in-person, virtual class schedules
The Warren County School Board last night unanimously approved the school year 2020-2021 reopening plan for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, instituting both a hybrid model that provides a combination of in-school and virtual instruction and a full virtual instructional model.
What that means is students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will begin attending school on August 27 for in-person instruction four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). On Wednesdays, all PreK-5 students will have virtual instruction. All students will receive laptops or tablets.
Fifth-grade students at E. Wilson Morrison, Hilda J. Barbour, and Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary Schools will report for in-person instruction at identified middle school buildings. Fifth-grade students at A. S. Rhodes and Ressie Jeffries Elementary Schools will continue at their own elementary schools. Classes will be taught by elementary teachers from their home schools.
For grades six through 12, students will attend in-person instruction one day per week and work remotely four days per week.
When receiving in-person instruction, each school day will consist of five and one-half hours of instruction at the elementary level and six hours at the secondary level. Specifically, in-person instruction will be provided from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for students attending E. Wilson Morrison, Leslie Fox Keyser, and Ressie Jeffries Elementary Schools. Students attending Hilda J. Barbour and A.S. Rhodes Elementary Schools will receive in-person instruction from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. High school and middle school students will attend in-person from 9 a.m. until 3:05 p.m.
“We had to be creative with the schedule,” he said. “There was really no way we could increase the numbers on our buses in order to equalize when school started so we had to be flexible to make sure we could maximize the number of students that we could put on a bus and get them in the classrooms.”
Due to the nature of certifications within the programs offered through the Blue Ridge Technology Center (BRTC), Ballenger said that WCPS now is exploring various options for instruction.
Currently, it has been decided that year two and year three students will drive to BRTC on scheduled days. Year one students will be transported to BRTC on Wednesdays.
Mountain Vista Governor’s School begins online instruction on August 24 and will provide virtual instruction to all students for the first quarter.
Here is the WCPS schedule for in-person instruction:
|PreK-5 in building||PreK-5 in building||Remote learning for all students||PreK-5 in building||PreK-5 in building|
|Warren County Middle School ‘A’ Day in building||Warren County Middle School ‘B’ Day in building||Remote learning for all students||Skyline Middle School ‘A’ Day in building||Skyline Middle School ‘B’ Day in building|
|Warren County High School ‘A’ Day in building||Warren County High School ‘B’ Day in building||Remote learning for all students||Skyline High School ‘A’ Day in building||Skyline High School ‘B’ Day in building|
Full virtual option available
Additionally, because some families may feel apprehensive concerning the opening of schools while there is no vaccine for COVID-19, Ballenger said that WCPS will offer a fully virtual option through each school site for all grades.
“This virtual option is available to all students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12,” according to the reopening plan. “Students will be assigned to a WCPS teacher and receive a learning device that will enable students to access the division’s learning management systems. Teachers will provide daily instruction via a learning management system so that students are provided quality instruction. Teachers will also assign daily/weekly lessons through the learning management system and support students through in-person and virtual meetings.”
Students who receive either the hybrid model of instruction or full-virtual students all will have access to new instruction, identification of instruction gaps, learning management systems, a laptop or tablet, and will remain eligible for participation in extracurricular activities, VHSL teams, and food services, said Ballenger.
Internet access variables
And while internet access continues to be a barrier for some families in Warren County, Ballenger said WCPS staff are working to provide potential solutions. Families who do not have internet access will receive their instruction through jump drives or packet-based instruction, he said.
“There was a lot that went into developing our reopening and instructional plan,” Ballenger said. “We had to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Virginia Department of Education.”
Additionally, WCPS had to take numerous items into consideration when developing its plan, including social distancing, face coverings, and daily health screenings for students and staff, among others, said Ballenger.
“As a division, we are going to recommend that students in grades six through 12 wear a face covering all day long – both students and teachers,” he said. “For elementary school students … we recommend that when they walk into the building or are in transition [in the hallways, for instance] that a face covering is on. But while the student is seated at their desk, they may be able to remove that face covering.”
Ballenger said WCPS also realizes there has been what is now being called “the COVID slide,” which relates to learning gaps that have developed during the last six months of pandemic quarantine, while also being concerned about students’ social-emotional learning and ongoing need for local, state and federal social services.
Nearly 3,360 parents responded to a recent WCPS survey on choosing an instructional model, while 498 staff members responded. In total, 60 percent of parents chose some type of in-person instruction, while 53 percent of staff opted for a virtual start to the 2020-2021 school year, said Ballenger.
According to the reopening plan, students in grades 6 through 12 are required to wear a face-covering at all times during the school day.
Students and staff must maintain the 10-feet of social distancing during physical education and recess. The mixing of different student groups will be avoided as much as possible. Playground equipment will not be used during recess at this time.
Temperature checks will be part of the daily routine. The temperatures of all staff, students, and visitors will be taken before entering the school building. Non-contact thermometers will be used at each location and school nurses will train personnel in temperature-taking procedures, as well as, what to do if the temperature is above 100.4°F.
All students will be required to complete work assignments and participate in class activities, regardless of hybrid or distance learning choice. Participation in school, no matter the mode of instruction, is required. Participation and attendance will be monitored.
Regarding student and parent technology support, Ballenger said that WCPS is developing a one-to-one initiative for all students PreK through grade 12 to have technology devices for home instruction.
“As we move to the possibility of virtual instruction for students, support for families will be necessary,” according to the plan details. “Our technology staff is in the process of developing online modules to help families understand the division’s Learning Management Systems (LMS), as well as the operation of the devices.”
Ballenger said that schools also will plan “Technology Sessions” so parents may meet in small groups to have hands-on training. In addition to learning how to operate the devices, parents will learn how to communicate with school staff using the LMS.
Special education services for students with disabilities may include increased time for face-to-face learning or/and direct instruction, as determined by their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Instructional delivery will be designed to ensure the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) as required by their IEP and IEP teams will review individual student data to determine the need for supplemental instruction. Students will continue to receive access to instructional materials for use at home, as needed, including assistive technology tools.
Solutions for childcare and after-school care are currently being explored, Ballenger said.
Transportation face coverings are required for students to ride on the bus and parents and guardians should not send their children to their bus stop if a child has a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or feels ill. “This will lessen the chances of an entire busload of children and bus driver being put at risk,” Ballenger said, noting that parents also should discuss bust stop social distancing with their children.
If a student refuses to wear a mask, Ballenger said that student will not be allowed to use the bus for transportation to school.
When the bus arrives at the bus stop, students must enter one at a time and load to the back of the bus first; vice versa once the bus gets to the school, where students will be unloaded or loaded one bus at a time.
Each bus will have a seating arrangement and students will sit in the same seat every day. Only one student per seat is permitted unless students are siblings or live in the same household; they may sit three to a seat.
Buses will be sanitized after each run and at the end of the day. Schools also will follow that protocol, with deep cleaning and sanitization scheduled for Wednesdays when all students participate in virtual learning.
Unanimity for plan
Following Ballenger’s presentation and comments and questions from the Warren County School Board members, the board voted unanimously to accept the WCPS reopening plan, with School Board Chairman Arnold Williams, Jr.; Vice Chairwoman Catherine Bower; and members Kristen Pence, Ralph Rinaldi, and James Wells voting aye.
“What we do is because of the students. That’s our future; that’s who’s going to be pushing my wheelchair one day and I want to make sure they’re educated,” mused Williams, who, on a more serious note, acknowledged the health concerns voiced by teachers.
“I understand health issues, trust me, everybody in this room does,” said Williams.
Bower and Pence said it is a well-developed reopening plan.
“I think our elementary school students especially need to be in the classroom,” Bower said. “They need the two meals they may not be getting at home, they need the support of teachers and staff,” and they need access to Child Protective Services.
Rinaldi agreed, saying the high schoolers and middle schoolers are likely better able to acclimate to online learning compared to the younger students.
“It’s an overwhelming job and it’s not one that we’ve seen in our lifetime,” said Wells. “You can’t believe how people will appreciate what you’ve done this year and in years to come – you’ve kept it rolling.”
Kim Oakland, president of the Warren County Education Association and a teacher at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School, apologized beforehand to the School Board members during the community participation portion of their meeting, noting that not everyone is going to be happy with the newly approved reopening plan. And Oakland said she was sorry that every WCPS student cannot be in school every single day without restrictions.
“So, thank you – thank you for being willing to make the hard decisions,” Oakland told the School Board members. “Thank you for caring about the well-being of our students and staff. Thank you for wanting to ensure teachers have the tools and the training they need to meet the challenges of this year. Thank you for ensuring our students have the resources that they need to be successful. And thank you for being the cheerleaders of our schools and not just fair-weather fans.”
To read the full WCPS reopening plan, go online to:
The Royal Examiner filmed the entire School Board meeting and you can watch it below:
Traczyk, Wiley jockey for Republican 29th District nomination
This Saturday, August 8, 2020, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Republicans will hold a FireHouse Primary at the Millwood Station Banquet Hall located at 252 Costello Drive, Winchester, Virginia. (Located across from the COSTCO).
District 29 includes the northern part of Warren County, which includes a small part of Front Royal, Winchester, and Western Frederick County. The winner of this primary will face the Democrat candidate Irina Khanin in the November 3rd election. That winner will be our new delegate in Virginia.
Bill Wiley and Richard Traczyk are in the race for the Virginia 29th District House of Delegate’s seat recently vacated by Delegate Chris Collins.
“I’m running for Delegate because we need someone in Richmond who will stand up for the citizens of the 29th District. We’ve had enough of Richmond’s liberal politics and it’s time to fight back on the unconstitutional overreach pursued by the Democrats who currently control the legislature,” said Richard Traczyk, former Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, and current resident of Frederick County,
Traczyk says that when he stepped down from the Board of Supervisors in 2015, “I thought I was done with politics; but now I’m seeing more than ever that we need representatives who care more about the citizens than about themselves. We need a representative who is not afraid to speak the truth and do what is right.”
As a pro-life advocate, Mr. Traczyk will oppose any law that would undermine the right to life, from conception to natural death. He will oppose raising taxes on Virginia’s families and push for laws that will once again make Virginia a great place to do business. “We stand at a cross-road of history and it’s time to choose the right path forward,” says Traczyk.
Bill Wiley is a current member of the Winchester City Council. He was first elected in 2014. Wiley also served on the Winchester Planning Commission for five years and was the Chairman for three of those years. He is the business development manager for Howard Shockey and Sons, Inc. and an associate real estate broker at Oakcrest Commercial Real Estate.
“I will fight for our fair share of tax dollars from Richmond, work to create a better job climate, and push for common-sense policies to make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work and raise a family. I will oppose any new tax increases and will fight to protect our Right to Work status,” said Bill Wiley
He went on to say, “I will oppose planned parenthood and other special interest that believe taxpayer-funded abortion and abortion in the 3rd trimester should be legal. I will always support our Law Enforcement Officers and I will NOT support any attempt to defund our police. I will fight for our fair share of tax dollars from Richmond, work to repeal unfunded mandates on our localities, create a better job climate, and push for common-sense policies that will make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Both candidates support Second Amendment Rights and will not support legislation that infringes on the constitutional right to bear arms and protect your family.
FIRE HOUSE PRIMARY
Election Date: August 8, 2020
Election Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Millwood Station Banquet Hall
252 Costello Dr, Winchester, VA 22602