Don’t miss The Nutcracker! This professional production of the seasonal classic ballet will be presented at Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA on December 15th and 16th, Saturday 2:30 & 7:00 pm and Sunday 2:30 pm.
National Ballet Company, based in Maryland, and Italia Performing Arts of Winchester and Edinburg, VA, are coming together to present a professional quality production of The Nutcracker in Front Royal, VA, in December 2018.
The National Ballet is Maryland’s oldest professional ballet company, founded in 1948. “Bringing the joy of dance to the people is why we exist.” For many decades the Company has presented The Nutcracker to audiences in Maryland and D.C. We are excited that this year they are bringing their production to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and giving a wonderful opportunity for the young students of Italia Performing Arts to dance with their professionals.
Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA
- December 15th & 16th, 2018
- Saturday 2:30 and 7:00 pm
- Sunday 2:30 pm
TICKETS ON SALE!
- Tickets: $35 and $25
- Under 16: $32 and $22
Tickets are for numbered seats. The $35 and $32 premium price tickets are for the front center block of seats, except for the back row of this block which is reserved for wheelchair users and those accompanying them.
Please buy tickets through our partner TutuTix, online at tututix.com/italiapa or through their toll free call center at 435-222-2849. Tickets are not on sale at our studios.
Discounts for groups 20+: adults $23, under 16 $20, for standard tickets only (no discounts for premium tickets), available only through the TutuTix call center on 435-222-2849.
EDA approves grant agreement with Backroom Brewery
The EDA Board of Directors convened a Special Meeting Thursday morning, October 29. Following a one-and-a-half-hour Closed Session, the Board approved a resolution to approve the Master Agreement between Warren County, the EDA, and Backroom Brewery for an Incentive Grant and Tourism Grant to Backroom Brewery as financial assistance to expand its operations.
The Backroom Brewery is the first farm brewery operation in the state of Virginia and boasts more than 25 unique approved recipes. The EDA is proud to work with Warren County and support this local business. Congratulations to proprietor Billie Clifton and we wish them continued success.
Memorials: A prominent place for honoring
For four decades we served our country, nearly 22 years stationed overseas. In many countries we visited memorials honoring those who fought and died for their home and country. While Germans share remorse for World Wars I and II, for example, they nevertheless honor their fallen soldiers with memorials that are often located prominently near the town center. The memorials, often decorated with wreaths or flowers, serve as a reminder of those who perished, the many lessons of humanity, and the consequences of wars.
The Civil War memorial in front of the Warren County Courthouse likewise serves to honor the fallen and the sacrifices of local families. It allows one to reflect upon the cost of war, the lessons of injustice, and the moral ills that plagued our country during those times. Although people interpret its symbolism differently, most see it for what it is: a memorial.
If one honestly supports democracy, then one should want the people’s voice heard. We believe the Board of Supervisors made the right decision to ask the citizens of Warren County through the ballot instead of taking unilateral action on a very politically and emotionally contentious proposal to remove the memorial.
Instead of the cost and emotional divineness of removing a memorial, maybe the citizens of Warren County could unite to erect a similarly prominent memorial to honor those who suffered under slavery in Virginia?
Dave & Toni Gosinski
Acting US Attorney Bubar announces over $3.4 million in Justice Department grants to combats addiction crisis in western district
Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar today announced awards of more than $3.4 million in Department of Justice grants to fight drug abuse and addiction in the Western District of Virginia. The grants were awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and are part of more than $341 million going to communities nationwide.
“The addiction crisis has taken an enormous toll on America’s families and communities, eroding public health, threatening public safety and claiming tens of thousands of lives year after year,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Through comprehensive measures taken by this administration, we have been able to curtail the opioid epidemic, but new and powerful drugs are presenting exceptional challenges that we must be prepared to meet. The Justice Department’s substantial investments in enforcement, response, and treatment will help us overcome these challenges and work towards freeing Americans from abuse and addiction.”
Illegal drugs and illicit drug use have claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 Americans since the turn of the century. Powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl are exacting an enormous toll on families and communities, and emergence in the use of methamphetamines and other psychostimulants is drawing drug traffickers and driving up overdose rates. Three years ago, President Trump declared a Public Health Emergency and initiated a whole-of-government approach dedicated to ending this national tragedy. The Department of Justice has invested unprecedented levels of funding in combating the addiction crisis. The awards announced today build on those earlier investments.
“If we hope to defeat an enemy as powerful, persistent, and adaptable as illicit drugs, we must be at least as determined and versatile, focusing our ingenuity and resources on curbing abuse and fighting addiction,” said OJP’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “These grants will enable criminal justice officials and substance abuse, mental health, and other medical professionals to pool their assets and bring the full weight of our public safety and treatment systems down on this epidemic that has already caused so much harm.”
“The crisis of addiction—particularly caused by opioids—has affected Virginians of all walks of life. Addiction doesn’t care about race, religion, socioeconomic status, or age,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar said today. “This grant money will ensure that those groups providing recovery services for the brave men and women fighting addiction will have the funds they need to continue that fight.”
Funding is made available through OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The following organizations received funding:
• Augusta County $600,000
• Page County $500,000
• Smyth County Board of Supervisors $499,776
• Fluvanna County $499,876
• City of Charlottesville $827,973
• Total Action Against Poverty in the Roanoke Valley $474,820
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years
Voters worry about voter suppression despite recent legislative changes
Despite the commonwealth recently passing a number of laws to make it easier to vote, some Virginians are concerned over voter suppression.
Michael Fauntroy, an associate professor of political science at Howard University in Washington, said political campaigns have a long history of trying to suppress Black voters.
“I think it happens in every election,” Fauntroy said. “The extent to how sophisticated an operation it is will depend on the sophistication of the campaign and the resources they have to go out and identify voters and try to discourage them from voting.”
Carlette Bailey, a Richmond resident, said she fears ballots will be lost, stolen, or disappear before they have a chance to be counted.
“My main concern is the mail-in votes and making sure they’re there on time,” Bailey said. “The votes have to come from our mailbox and be where they have to be on Election Day so they can be counted.”
The Democratic Party of Virginia recently sued the Richmond General Registrar, J. Kirk Showalter, over an effort to get a list of names whose absentee ballots were rejected because of ballot errors. The organization said they wanted to inform voters of the ballot errors and that other locality had provided similar lists.
Tony Whitehead, another Richmond resident, said he is concerned about the possibility of ballots being stolen from mailboxes by groups who want the opposing party to win.
In early October six outdoor mailboxes were broken into in Henrico and Chesterfield counties and Richmond. The United States Postal Service and Virginia Department of Elections are currently investigating the incident, but it is unknown if the mailboxes contained ballots.
“You can’t really point the finger as to whose doing it, but if my ballots are stolen, that’s voter suppression right there,” Whitehead said. “That one vote that’s been suppressed could be the difference between whom you want in office and who I want in office, and that’s just not right.”
Bailey and Whitehead are not alone. A number of Americans are concerned about their votes being accurately counted in this election. Democrats are more concerned than Republicans, according to the Pew Research Center. Forty-six percent of Democrats believe the election will be conducted fairly and accurately, while 75% of Republicans share the same sentiment.
Fauntroy said Black voters in Virginia will be subjected to less suppression than Black voters in states such as Georgia and Florida with majority Republican leadership.
“The Democratic governor, lieutenant governor, and other leadership in Virginia have been drawing enough attention to this that voters will know what’s at stake,” Fauntroy said.
The Virginia General Assembly has recently taken steps to make it easier to vote, including laws that allow no-excuse absentee voting, early voting that starts 45 days prior to an election and making Election Day a state holiday.
Legislators also passed a bill that repeals a 2013 Republican-backed law requiring a photo ID to vote. The new law also makes additional forms of identification acceptable, such as a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government documents that shows the name and address of the voter.
Fauntroy said that photo ID bills are an example of Black voter suppression.
Fauntroy said voter suppression has occurred more frequently since the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County V. Holder, which found part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. The decision struck down a formula that required certain states which had discriminatory laws, such as requiring tests to vote, to obtain federal approval before changing voting laws.
Fauntroy said that almost immediately after the ruling North Carolina moved forward with voter ID laws that would not have passed if the preclearance provisions had remained.
“In the 2014 elections, we saw a number of Republicans winning seats because of redrawn districts and voter ID laws that they would not have won,” he said.
Fauntroy said national voter suppression in this election will be a multifaceted effort coming from different levels. This could include litigation, reducing the amount of early voting locations, and moving or eliminating polling locations that could make it harder for people of color to vote.
With no formula dictating which states obtain federal review, communities or individuals who feel they are being targeted by discriminatory voting laws must file lawsuits themselves or rely on ones filed by outside advocates or the Justice Department, according to an opinion piece in The Atlantic. This often happens after laws have been passed.
Federal legislators have introduced bills to establish new criteria for determining which states and political subdivisions must obtain federal approval before changing voting laws, but the measures haven’t advanced.
Local Majority, a progressive political action committee, said common voter suppression strategies include restricting absentee voting, reducing the number of polling places in a jurisdiction, and disenfranchising citizens with past criminal records.
A joint resolution introduced in the 2019 General Assembly session that would allow felons to vote was continued until the 2021 session.
Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, noted that the challenges the country faces aren’t new. The fate of the country is on the line and with that, Black voters and voices matter now more than ever, McClellan said.
“When we have gained social, political, and economic power, there has always been a swift and violent backlash, but we cannot and have not been deterred,” McClellan said. “We owe it to our ancestors, our children, and their children, to vote and help shape the future of our country because democracy and our very existence are on the ballot.”
By Brandon Shillingford
Capital News Service
Political stereotyping by Republicans called out by Democratic reader
I met a Republican the other day who said he was left-handed. Employing the logic of the Republican Party, I can reasonably conclude that all Republicans are left-handed: If one is, they all are.
I am a Democrat. I am not a socialist. Joe Biden is a Democrat. He is not a socialist. Bernie Sanders does not belong to the Democratic Party. He says he is a democratic socialist and ran for the Democratic nomination as such. He was soundly defeated by Joe Biden. The Democratic Party chose a moderate to be their standard bearer.
I have even heard Democrats say that they have found Biden to be too conservative for their taste.
But the “left-handed” Republicans have become experts at setting urban against rural, black against white, and now in desperation as the election approaches, they are trying to sell the notion that all Democrats are socialists.
Democrats are no more all socialists than all Republicans are left-handed.
I first met Joe Biden in 1973. I have followed his career with great interest. Joe Biden has the temperament and ability to find the good in people, even those who oppose his views. He is a healer not a divider.
Warren County, Virginia
Ophelia’s lifetime as a ‘dog for the ages’ immortalized by her owners
Ophelia, a black miniature pug, has died at the age of 12 years. She was deaf when my wife, Carol and I adopted her from the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter, and blind and otherwise infirm when advanced age caught up with her earlier this week.
Me: It never gets easier – 15 of my best friends to date have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to see them again someday. Or, so they say.
Carol: There’ll never be another Ophelia. She became “my dog” from the start. She was constantly in my lap and would follow me around up until her vision and hip problem made it difficult to move around. She enjoyed her life and did not hesitate to let us know when she was hungry or wanted to go to bed. I will never forget her sweet little face.
Ophelia was about 10 weeks old, and I was 75, when she was plopped into my lap on a busy Saturday morning at the Wagner Animal Shelter. The staff and I (then president of the Humane Society of Warren County) were asked by executive director Jane Johnson to foster a pet over the weekend because of shelter over-crowding. That “weekend” lasted 12 years.
At the time we adopted the pup, we had a Japanese Chin named Hamlet and were trying to come up with a name for her.
“The answer is simple: You have a Hamlet and there’s no question that you should have an Ophelia.” This suggestion came from our Rockland neighbor and friend, Susan O’Kelly, a Brit who is well versed in the volumes of England’s William Shakespeare, including the play, “Hamlet,” and Hamlet’s love for Ophelia. Hamlet, the dog, died a year or so later, his final months made more tolerable by his chunky little girlfriend.
The diminutive Ophelia made her mark in the local community by helping establish “Yappy Hour”, a fundraiser for the animal shelter, 10 years ago at Vino E Formaggio on Front Royal’s Main Street. About that time, she was “bridesmaid” to restaurant entrepreneurs Rachel and Christian Failmezger, as they strolled down Main Street to their marriage ceremony at the Gazebo. Ophelia trotted proudly behind, a well taught (by me) publicity hound.
Ophelia’s “mid-life crisis” came when our son, then Staff Sgt. Malcolm Barr, Jr., U.S. Air Force, volunteered for duty in Iraq, leaving two huskies, Alfie and Lola, in our care while serving abroad. Asserting herself as only small dogs are prone to do, she became the unchallenged head of the (canine) household, a 15-pound bundle of energy versus two 70-pound invaders of her space.
Our friend, Dr. Roger Wilkes of the U.K, remarked via e-mail following her death that Ophelia was “a great character and very much the grand dame of the canines” at our home.
Aside from her adopted parents, Ophelia leaves behind two large four-footed friends, La Diva, a Siberian Husky, and Goose, a German Shepherd mix. Diva continues as a “hostess” at the newly evolved “Yappy Hour” each Friday at the ViNoVa Tapas Restaurant on East Main Street, from 6 to 8 p.m., to raise money for the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter.
Ophelia has been immortalized in paintings by local artists Kelly Walker and Helga Heiberg, which we proudly display in our home.
R.I.P. dear Ophelia.