A look at the rapid-fire evolution of cybersecurity through the lens of a veteran cybersecurity journalist who has been covering this space for more than two decades. Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor of Dark Reading, will share a historical look at how the industry has evolved – or not – over the years and why, and give the scoop on the biggest and hottest cybersecurity stories Dark Reading is chasing and covering today. Learn about what it’s like to be a journalist in the field, how the industry isn’t just for techies but also requires liberal arts skills, and what the major cybersecurity topics, technologies, and challenges will be next – everything from cybercrime and nation-state hacking to the state of the modern security operations center (SOC).
Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise Magazine, Virginia Business magazine, and other major media properties. Jackson Higgins was recently selected as one of the Top 10 Cybersecurity Journalists in the US, and named as one of Folio’s 2019 Top Women in Media. She began her career as a sports writer in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and earned her BA at The College of William & Mary.
Register today for this November 13 presentation that starts at 1:00p in Room 300, Fairfax Hall.
Town Talk: A conversation with Tim Ratigan – support our local law enforcement officers
In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Tim Ratigan. Tim has started a movement in our community to support our local law enforcement officers from the Front Royal Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Our local law enforcement officers serve to defend the freedom, fairness, and individual liberties that our forefathers fought and died. These brave men and women risk their lives every day to maintain a civil society and the rule of law.
On Friday evening, July 3rd, another group of community supporters are meeting at the Gazebo in Front Royal from 5 pm to 7:30 pm. Come show your appreciation, support, and respect for local Law Enforcement, Fire, and Emergency Personnel along with the flag of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA! This is a free informal gathering for those interested in showing their support and to say thanks.
No frills, nothing more than thank you to those men and women who serve our community. You are free to wear a mask, practice distancing, bring “Old Glory” (lots of them), bring a lounge chair, sing the National Anthem, God Bless America, etc, stroll along Main Street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic for outdoor dining and shopping. Come and enjoy yourselves and be thankful for those who simply wish to “Serve and Protect”.
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
Front Royal Unites seeks teamwork with Warren County School Board
Two organizers of Front Royal Unites, a newly formed nonprofit working for the lawful and equal treatment of all races and ethnic groups, on Wednesday, requested that the Warren County School Board work with the organization to address any racial disparities in Warren County Public Schools (WCPS).
A few of the School Board members agreed that the group’s request was reasonable and warranted.
“The reason we have come to you today is that in the past… we’ve had some racial disparities that we’ve experienced within the school system,” said Stevi Hubbard of Front Royal Unites.
Hubbard reminded board members that she previously appeared before the School Board to raise related topics, and told them during their Wednesday, July 1 meeting that the board has not addressed those concerns “in any way shape or form, which is pretty upsetting.”
Since her earlier visits, Hubbard said data has been collected on how students feel like they are being disproportionately punished or not included in certain programming based on color. And she noted that racial slurs have been painted on school buildings.
“We hope we can work with you on these issues this year, and we would like to see those changes made this year,” said Hubbard, adding that she doesn’t want to have her child or other students and staff attending school and seeing racist comments or graffiti on school properties.
“It is our hope that you will take us seriously now,” said Hubbard, pointing out to the School Board that Front Royal Unites now has 2,500 members supporting the group.
Samuel Porter, the spokesman for Front Royal Unites and a 2011 graduate of Skyline High School, said he wanted to ensure that “we’re all very cognizant” about the racial comments that sometimes might be made at school or online.
“There are some bad people. We are just trying to make sure that our students are going to safe environments, and they don’t have to worry based on what they look like on the outside,” Porter told School Board members during the community participation segment of their regular meeting on Wednesday.
Warren County School Board member James Wells, who represents the Happy Creek District, told the Front Royal Unites representatives that he was on board with their request.
“Whatever you need,” Wells told them. “I’ll give you my phone number. I’ll give you my emails. I would be glad to meet with you at any time because your cause is just, and I’d be more than happy to work with you.”
School Board Chairman Arnold Williams, Jr., agreed. “As Mr. Wells said, we will work with you guys,” he told Porter and Hubbard.
Formed in May, Front Royal Unites in June quickly organized and held two local peaceful civil rights marches.
Porter and Hubbard also recently spoke during the June 22 Front Royal Town Council meeting, where they applauded Front Royal Police Chief Kahle Magalis and the department for proactively working with the group to support those marches.
“We come to the table very peacefully… to build bridges, not burn them,” Porter told the council members.
To hear the comments given by the Front Royal Unites organizers during the School Board meeting, watch the Royal Examiner video below.
Warren County School Board OKs new transportation slot, Bradd scholarship
The Warren County School Board on Wednesday unanimously approved both a new special transportation route assistant position and the forthcoming Dr. Tripp Bradd Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded to local high school students in honor of one of the area’s most well-known physicians.
WCPS Personnel Director George “Bucky” Smith asked board members to approve the new Special Transportation Route Assistant position for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) to meet the significantly increased demand for special transportation services in the school district.
Currently, transportation department staff must attend Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings for students with disabilities; coordinate special transportation routes that also include students experiencing homelessness; and accommodate additional daily changes as they arise, among other functions, Smith explained.
At the same time, transportation staff also has been and will be expected this school year to transport students during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by utilizing social distancing and re-organizing staff, placing even heavier workloads on them.
The new position will include fulfilling those duties, as well as creating transportation plans for students with special needs; building positive relationships with parents and students with special needs; analyzing special needs routes and schedules and making recommendations for changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the special transportation program; assisting in the interviewing and hiring recommendations of special transportation drivers and aides; driving a school vehicle as needed, transporting students to and from school; observing safety precautions while loading and discharging students and while the bus is in motion; inspecting equipment and reporting defects to shop foreman or director; completing trip logs, reports, and timesheets; and complying with and supporting school and division regulations and policies, among other tasks, according to Smith.
“This position will greatly assist the department in covering their 11 to 12 hours of operation, which they are currently doing with a staff of three,” Smith told School Board members during their July 1 regular meeting.
Separate from general transportation routes, WCPS special transportation routes go in all different directions, Smith said. For instance, to Stanton, Va., West Virginia, and Manassas, Va., as WCPS works out routes with other school divisions, meeting them halfway to pick up or drop off students from both districts that may be attending the same school program or facility, for example. It’s a complicated system.
“We have had multiple situations over the last year or so where there have been a lot of communication issues between our division and a particular facility,” said Smith. “Just imagine that you have a child with special needs. If that child isn’t on time or doesn’t get home on time, it creates a lot of stress” for both the student, the family, and the district.
And while WCPS has tried during the last five years to get ahead of this situation, Smith said budget constraints have put the school district “two steps behind where we need to be.”
Now, however, the position is more urgently needed as the COVID-19 pandemic could mean that WCPS will be transporting even higher numbers of medically vulnerable and fragile students, he said.
The position also will ensure consistent services for students with special needs and does not create an additional cost as the funds for the position are included within the 2020-21 school year transportation budget, Smith said.
School Board members Arnold Williams, Jr., Catherine Bower, James Wells, Ralph Rinaldi, and Kristen Pence voted unanimously to approve the new position. Advertisements for the position will begin immediately so that the new hire may assist with the demands of the upcoming school year, said Smith.
In the other notable action agenda item, Mr. Smith presented the School Board members with a request from Jan Bradd, wife of local physician Dr. Floyd “Tripp” Bradd III, who died on May 3 following a long illness.
On behalf of their family, Jan Bradd in a May 13 letter to the School Board requested that members approve the establishment of a memorial scholarship at both WCPS high schools in her husband’s name.
“My family and friends would like to honor a graduating senior student-athlete pursuing a career in the healthcare field,” wrote Jan Bradd, who lives in Lake Frederick, Va.
The Dr. Tripp Bradd Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one male or female Warren County High School student, and one male or female Skyline High School student, according to Jan Bradd, who said the scholarships will be awarded beginning with the 2021 graduating class. The amount and the longevity of each scholarship will be determined, she said.
The criteria for winning a scholarship will be that a student must be accepted to a two-year or a four-year college; has plans to go into any healthcare profession, and is a WCPS student-athlete.
During the School Board meeting, Jan Bradd said she and her husband have always loved Warren County and were very involved with WCPS athletics and the school system, from which their four children graduated.
“I know this would make him very happy to honor our students here,” she said.
Dr. Bradd worked in emergency rooms throughout North Carolina before coming to Front Royal in 1984 and joining the Front Royal Family Practice, according to information provided by WCPS Director of Secondary Instruction Alan Fox.
Dr. Bradd then worked at Warren Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room for two years. Because the doctor missed family medicine, he then opened Skyline Family Practice in 1994.
Since 1986, Dr. Bradd was the team physician on the sidelines for the football teams at both Warren County High School and Skyline High School. He was the original coordinator of the county-wide athletic sports physicals.
In his personal life, Dr. Bradd was an athlete and swam the Chesapeake Bay Swim and the Potomac River Swims for many years and also competed in multiple triathlons.
The School Board voted unanimously to accept the scholarship.
“This dedication is phenomenal,” said School Board Vice Chairwoman Catherine Bower. “We went to a lot of football games and always saw [Dr. Bradd] there.”
School Board member James Wells, a former colleague of Dr. Bradd at Warren Memorial, wrote a statement that he read to Jan Bradd expressing his admiration for her husband, whom Wells called “a man of integrity” who was especially supportive of WCPS.
Dr. Bradd was instrumental in assisting WCPS in addressing and creating concussion protocols and testing, Wells said, noting that the doctor’s volunteerism and support of WCPS also helped earn him induction into the Warren County High School Hall of Fame.
Donations to the scholarship fund may be sent to Mrs. Tripp Bradd, 127 Cabbage White Dr., Lake Frederick, VA, 22630.
Wells motioned to accept the scholarship request, which was seconded by Bower and then unanimously approved by the board.
In other action on Wednesday night, School Board members also unanimously approved the $45,348 purchase by WCPS of 60 Dell personal computers for staff and student use.
“These computers were bid through a state contract,” WCPS Technology Director Timothy Grant said. “The funding for these computers will come out of the WCPS technology budget,” which includes funds from a state technology grant.
The Warren County School Board also unanimously voted to approve participation by Ressie Jeffries Elementary School in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP participation means all students who attend Ressie Jeffries Elementary School are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch at no charge.
The Virginia Department of Education first identified Ressie Jeffries Elementary School as CEP eligible and approved Ressie Jeffries to receive the federal funds to cover the program for a four-year cycle, according to WCPS Assistant Superintendent Melody Sheppard.
Additionally, School Board members unanimously approved another contract for the A.S. Rhodes Elementary School renovation project, this one totaling $310,100 and awarded to Lantz Construction of Winchester Inc., which will provide and install windows, marker boards, tack boards, and roller shades at the school.
During his first report to the School Board, WCPS Superintendent Chris Ballenger — who started his first day on the job yesterday — said that virtual summer school begins on Monday, July 6 for elementary and middle school students. He noted that high school summer school already is underway.
Kindergarten in-person registration also starts on July 6 at the elementary schools and “will capture a lot of those parents who may have been a little reluctant to utilize the [new] online format” or who prefer face-to-face interaction, Ballenger said, adding that he’s going to take the opportunity to visit those schools to meet staff and parents next week.
Athletic conditioning for fall sports also will begin on July 6, he said.
“Moving forward,” said Ballenger, “there are some things in process” that WCPS central office staff will continue to work on, a likely reference to the forthcoming plan for holding school this fall during the pandemic.
To watch the entire Warren County School Board July 1 meeting, click on the Royal Examiner link below.
Front Royal/Warren County public safety agencies urge compliance with fireworks laws and safe practices this 4th of July
The Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office, Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the Front Royal Police Department are urging all citizens to practice safety this 4th of July Holiday and utilize only lawful fireworks.
With the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in Virginia cancelling many of our traditional festivities, residents have taken a DIY (do it yourself) approach to some things we’re missing out on. This will likely be the case with the cancellation of many of our local fireworks events. As a result, it may be tempting to light your own pyrotechnic display.
According to Warren County Commonwealths Attorney’s Office, it is unlawful to possess, use, sell or store any firework that travels into the air or explodes. Any person in violation of this law by selling or using illegal fireworks may result in a criminal penalty of a class 1 misdemeanor; punishable with a fine up to $2,500 or up to one year in jail. Any fireworks discovered to be unlawful may also be seized and destroyed.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Front Royal Police Department and the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office will be out patrolling our communities and ensuring the safety of our citizens this holiday weekend. Sheriff Butler, Chief Magalis, Fire Marshal Maiatico and Commonwealth Attorney Bell appreciate your assistance in ensuring the safety of our community.
Fireworks should be handled and used in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and all warning labels. “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them,” says Fire Marshal Gerry R. Maiatico, “For those who use lawful fireworks in their backyards, never allow children of any age to use them without an adult present”.
Recently, a 57 year old linden man was airlifted to a local trauma center when an illegal firework discharged in a close proximity to his hand causing significant injuries. 91 illegal fireworks were confiscated as a result of the incident.
By following these Fireworks Safety Tips, you and your family can have a safe 4th of July Holiday:
- Use only lawful fireworks that are permissible in Virginia. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burns and injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths. For more information on fireworks safety, visit www.warrencountyfire.com or call 540-636-3830.
New Business in Warrenton, VA: Upcycling warehouse Remix Market now open
Remix Market in Warrenton, Virginia, is now open and is giving old furniture a brand new life. Rediscover, reimagine, repurpose: That’s the name of the game for Remix Market, the sister company of eco-friendly junk removal service, The Junkluggers of Gainesville VA®. Remix Market is a novel concept that is simultaneously a resale shop, upcycling warehouse, creative space, and professional fundraiser.
What’s a junk removal business doing selling furniture and other household items? The answer is simple: a shared mission of saving the planet and helping communities. The Junkluggers know it feels good to do good. And they’ve been doing good since 2004, striving to eliminate 100% of reusable waste from landfills by the year 2025 by donating and upcycling used home goods.
The Remix Market contributes to the “upcycling” component of The Junkluggers’ mission. The Junkluggers franchise owner Mark Harrington, opened a Remix Market in Warrenton, Virginia, located at 6632 Electric Avenue. The Warrenton warehouse is stocked full of gently used and affordable items including antiques, household goods, quality furniture, outdoor equipment, rare books, collectibles, wall art and much more. Beyond helping the environment, sales from Remix Market help fund the franchise’s 2020 Charity of Choice: Mikey’s Way Foundation and Inova Children’s Hospital.
Remix Market Warrenton is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., servicing a variety of needs—from shoppers looking to furnish their homes for less, interior designers looking for a unique piece for a client, to DIYers who want to upcycle vintage furniture. Plus, Remix Market offers community workshops on painting, upcycling, and other furnishing techniques. Both The Junkluggers and Remix Market strive to rescue perfectly good, reusable items from being thrown away, and are working together everyday on a mission to directly help the local environment and community.
Tederick contract extended through council’s town manager search
At its special meeting of June 30th the Front Royal Town Council approved a new contract extending the service of Matt Tederick beyond his previous contract’s end of the fiscal year termination date. The new contract commencing July 1 is on a month to month basis and differs from Tederick’s previous contract in that it is with him as a person, rather than a business entity.
That adjustment led Councilman Jacob Meza to comment prior to the unanimous vote of approval. Meza observed that the previous contract’s structure which did not deduct taxes or include benefits “saved” the Town what he estimated at $50,000. The new contract is at the same monthly rate of $12,500 as Tederick’s previous contract, but notes that the $12,500 “shall be paid net of any applicable withholding or deductions required by Applicable laws and Authorities.”
Without deductions Tederick’s contract equated to $150,000 take-home pay annually. Despite the lost “savings” Meza said he would support the new contractual arrangement.
The new contract observes that Tederick’s tenure will continue “until such time as a new Town Manager is appointed” and the “new Town Manager assumes his/her duties … following a suitable and appropriate transition period for the new Town Manager to familiarize himself/herself with the position …”
As previously reported, council adjourned to closed session Tuesday evening for a “personnel” matter believed to be the first of two interviews of town manager candidates scheduled this week.
Tederick’s initial interim town manager appointment was approved by a 5-1 vote, Tewalt dissenting, in October 2019, effective November 9, the day after Joe Waltz’s resignation took effect. The October majority council vote to transition Tederick from interim mayor to interim town manager coincided with its vote, also 5-1 Tewalt dissenting, to hire the Damiani & Damiani law firm that shares an Alexandria business address with Tederick, to handle the Town’s civil litigation against the Town-County Economic Development Authority (EDA).
Perhaps ironically, Tuesday’s extension of Tederick’s contract coincided with council’s unanimous approval of a “Reservation of Rights Agreement” concerning its EDA litigation and claim of no liability to compensate the existing EDA for its financing of the Town’s new $9-million police headquarters.