Learn how you can help ensure abused and neglected children find safe, loving, and permanent homes. The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to attend an Information Session. There, you will have the opportunity to hear about advocating for neglected/abused children in our communities. This is an ideal way to get all of your questions answered prior to submitting an application to our program.
Sessions on November 27th and December 17th. Please email email@example.com or call 703-330-8145 to learn more.
Town Council reviews $25 million in infrastructure improvements, recognizes scholarship awardees
At the regular Front Royal Town Council meeting on Monday, May 23, Mayor Holloway recognized the three recipients of this year’s Town Scholarship awards: Jocelyn Moyer, Skyline High School, and Anthony Carter and Ian Hoelsher of Warren County High School.
Scholarship Committee members Gary Gillispie and Letasha Thompson expressed their appreciation for all this year’s applicants and congratulated the winners. Councilman Gillispie said, “It’s one of the most enjoyable things we do as council members, and we know you all will hit it out of the park.”
Councilwoman Thompson, who, along with Gillispie again this year, oversaw the scholarship competition, agreed with Gillespie’s assessment, observing, “It’s almost like Christmas, and it’s tough to decide, but I’m very impressed.”
Due to a previously planned family getaway, Councilman Zach Jackson joined by teleconference the Front Royal Town Council for his first regular meeting after his surprise appointment by council at a May 9th special meeting (see report here). Mayor Holloway officially welcomed him to the council. Jackson, who announced a November run for council at a February Warren County Republican Committee meeting, will hold resigned councilman Scott Lloyd’s seat until a November Special Election allows voters to determine who will fill out the rest of Lloyd’s term ending December 2024.
With a happy holiday wish, Town Manager Steven Hicks reminded the Council that the town offices will be closed on Monday, May 30th, in observance of Memorial Day. He also reported that this year’s Wine and Craft Festival on May 21 was the largest on record, and he commended the Town Staff and the Chamber of Commerce, and all who assisted in making it a successful event the Town can look forward to a repeat of next year.
Hicks provided an overview of the infrastructure projects that are ongoing or soon to begin in town. There is a lot of preparatory work going on – repairing water lines and so forth, before the new asphalt overlay. “I call it ‘Pardon our dust,’” he said.
Over the past year, Council has committed to investing over $25 million in infrastructure projects – curb and gutter projects, crosswalks, line painting, and paving, many of which – including the infamous bumpy hill at Royal and Commerce Avenues, will be kicking off in June. He also listed the waterline upgrade project, sanitary sewer repairs, stormwater management systems, redundant waterline project scheduled to start this summer, and the continuation and completion of the Automated Meter Reading system.
Mr. Hicks concluded, “I know that it is sometimes inconvenient, and it may sometimes look that the roads don’t look good, but there is a method to the madness. At the end of the year, the town is going to look different.”
Vice-Mayor Cockrell commended the Town Planning Department’s Comprehensive Plan public engagement sessions – one on May 20 and two on May 21 during the festival, where a good crowd of citizens provided input with maps and forms and discussions. Material developed so far is posted on the Town’s Comprehensive plan website.
Councilwoman Thompson reminded the public to mark the date of Saturday, June 25, for a “Block Party” for George Banks Blvd. Last month, council unanimously voted to rename part of Edgemont Avenue and all of Scranton Avenue as “George Banks Blvd.” for the former mayor.
The council moved on to its consent agenda items, and Vice Mayor Cockrell asked that item “I” be pulled from the Consent Agenda – a Resolution Authorizing the Execution of the 2025-2028 Fixed Volume Energy Supply Schedule with American Municipal Power (AMP), the Town’s eastern regional municipal energy cooperative. Vice Mayor Cockrell indicated that since the subject of the supply schedule had been discussed at the Council’s work session, but the resolution was not complete at that time, the council might wish to discuss it prior to voting on it. Council unanimously agreed.
The remaining Consent Agenda items included:
A. Purchase of Bucket Truck for Department of Energy Services Department
B. Engineering for Design of Shenandoah Avenue Streetlights
C. Maintenance Agreement for Nutrient Analyzers
D. Septage Receiving Station Mixing System
E. FY22-23 Budget Amendment Engineering Consultant for Water Tower Antenna for T-Mobile
F. Revise Resolution “To Provide Water and Sewer Services to Certain Out-of-Town Lots”
G. Virginia Municipal League (VML) Policy Committee Nominations
H. Resolution for Solar Generated Energy Purchases/Execution of 2022 Solar Energy Schedule
J. Refer to Planning Commission an Ordinance Amendment to Town Code Chapter 175 re: Data Centers
The Consent Agenda, as amended was passed unanimously.
On the subject of the AMP power agreement, council declined to vote on that item until it can be further discussed at a work session. Despite a lengthy track record of reduced-cost energy purchases enabled by the AMP municipal cooperative’s group purchasing and production power, Councilman Gillispie observed that it would benefit the town to research other energy purchasing sources as well. Councilwoman Morris agreed, and the full council followed suit.
There being no other public business, Mayor Holloway then adjourned the open meeting, and the Council went into closed session.
Topics included the town attorney and town manager positions, as well as the dueling FR-WC EDA litigations with the County EDA and former Council Clerk Jennifer Berry-Brown’s federal discrimination lawsuit against the Town.
There were no announcements following the closed meeting.
Virginia to receive $384,736.40 from Ford Motor Company
Attorney General Jason Miyares announced that Virginia will receive $384,736.40 from a multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) to resolve allegations that Ford falsely advertised the real-world fuel economy of the model year 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of the model year 2011–2014 Super Duty pickup trucks.
“Virginians should be able to trust car manufacturers’ information as advertised about their vehicles. Ford exaggerated the C-Max hybrids’ fuel efficiency and Super Duty trucks’ payload capacity, misleading Virginia consumers. A key component of my office is protecting Virginia consumers, and I’m pleased we were able to reach a fair agreement with Ford,” said Attorney General Miyares.
The investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids, including:
- Misrepresenting the distance consumers could drive on one tank of gas;
- Marketing that driving style would not impact real-world fuel economy; and
- Claiming superior real-world fuel economy compared to other hybrids.
Additionally, Ford’s deceptive and misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011–2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, which include the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models, were investigated. Ford:
- Devised a deceptive calculation for payload capacity that omitted standard items (such as the spare wheel, tire and jack, center flow console, and radio);
- Advertised its Super Duty pick-up trucks as having a “Best-in-Class” payload (of 194 pounds) based on that deceptive calculation; and
- Sold Super Duty pick-up trucks to individual consumers that could not meet the “Best-in-Class payload claim.
The settlement ensures that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims about any of its vehicles’ fuel economy or payload capacity. It was led by Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, and Arizona and joined by the Attorneys General of 35 other states and jurisdictions.
160 years later – Jackson’s Valley Campaign strategies and the Battle of Front Royal’s unique part in that campaign are recalled
A small crowd of historical buffs joined by an honor guard of reenactors presenting the colors of the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Southern Confederacy gathered early Monday evening, May 23, at the Warren Rifles Museum in Historic Downtown Front Royal. They gathered NOT to celebrate a fight to preserve slavery as an American socio-economic institution, but rather to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers on both sides and the Psychological Warfare (PsyWar) strategies employed during Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson’s Valley Campaign before there was a term to describe such strategies.
It was a joint celebration of the military genius of the Valley Campaign 160 years past, the Battle of Front Royal in which Jackson’s forces defeated an outnumbered Union force as part of that campaign, and of Jackson’s life that would end on May 10, 1863, as a result of a friendly fire incident at Chancellorsville the following year.
Royal Examiner columnist and U.S. Army retired Lt. Col. John Paul Morgan was the featured speaker, expanding on his commentary titled “PsyWar in the Valley,” published here in acknowledgment of the 160th anniversary of Confederate General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson’s “Valley Campaign” of 1862.
Morgan pointed to radical strategies of troop movements and deployment, security from even Jackson’s own commanders on his battle plans, and disinformation on what numerical force he had in the Shenandoah Valley.
That latter aspect created in part by the first two was crucial, as Union leaders believed Jackson’s actual force of about 16,000 was 60,000 or more, threatening the Union capital from the west in 1862 as the Union Army was poised to take the Confederate capital of Richmond with a vastly larger force than Richmond was defended by.
That Union leadership misperception led them to pull key forces from the planned Richmond offensive to the defense of Washington D.C. Those Lee-Jackson developed strategies leading to troop movements to protect the Union capital from a phantom force created one of the greatest military-strategic shifts of wartime history, Morgan asserted of strategies still studied in military schools and training to this day.
It was this advanced strategical plan developed between Confederate Commanding General Robert E. Lee and General “Stonewall” Jackson, playing to concerns and psychological tendencies of the opposing side’s leadership, that was the focus of Morgan’s presentation.
Watch the presentation on a unique aspect of military history in this exclusive Royal Examiner video.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Common Snapping Turtle
Shooting Turtles is a Crime.
This Snapping turtle patient was brought to the Center after being found with multiple gunshots.
To make matters worse, this is a gravid female (carrying eggs); you can see the eggs in the x-ray below. These adult breeding animals are especially important from a population survival standpoint.
Snapping turtles are a protected species in Virginia. Unfortunately, we see intentional human-caused trauma, including gunshots, every year in this species. Luckily, these gunshot wounds were fresh and only into the bone of the carapace (upper shell). She does not appear to have damaged internal organs. The steel pellets were removed, the wounds cleaned, and pain medications and antibiotics provided.
Now, after about a week in care, this turtle was released back to her found location! We hope she will continue to thrive, lay her eggs, and avoid the world’s most dangerous species—humans.
This wildlife crime has been reported, and our Conservation Police Officers are investigating. If you see someone commit a wildlife crime, please report it as soon as possible. In Virginia, it can be reported to our Department of Wildlife Resources at WildCrime@dwr.virginia.gov, or you can contact them by phone at 1-800-237-5712.
Looking for an easy way to help native wildlife? Become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.
Winchester SPCA is celebrating Adopt a Cat Month
June is National Adopt a Cat Month, and the Winchester SPCA is celebrating with $40 adoptions all month long!
Stop in at our adoption center, 111 Featherbed Lane in Winchester, VA, Tuesday – Friday, 10am to 5pm, and weekends by appointment. Adopt a cat or kitten for just $40. Adoption fee includes neuter, age-appropriate vaccinations, parasite treatment, microchip, take home box.
For more information, call 540-662-8616 or visit our website: www.winchesterspca.org.
LFCC President Kim Blosser awarded technology leadership award
LFCC President Kim Blosser’s student-focused and technology-driven leadership style has been recognized by the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, which recently presented her with the Glo Fiber Enterprise’s Dr. Noftsinger Leadership award. She was presented with the award, given to a leader who has served as a catalyst for positive technology-related activity, during the council’s TechNite22.
“As president of LFCC, Dr. Blosser’s vision is that every student, without exception, will have the resources and support they need to succeed and reach their goals,” noted President Blosser’s nomination. “Meeting the needs of the single parent, foster youth, or first-generation college student is what motivates her to work every day to ensure LFCC is open, welcoming, and supportive of the students who need community college the most…LFCC is seen as a leader in the area for workforce development, and Dr. Blosser and LFCC regularly partner with the Workforce Investment Board, GOVirginia, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the Regional Commission, and others to ensure the local business community has the needed workforce.”
Technology has been one of the passions driving Dr. Blosser’s career. Her first college-level job was as an adjunct faculty member at Blue Ridge Community College teaching technology classes to public school teachers who were getting classroom computers for the first time. She then became a full-time IT faculty member, and later the chief information officer, which entailed leading IT planning and budgets, managing strategic IT initiatives and overseeing technology purchases, among her other responsibilities.
As president of LFCC, Dr. Blosser has prioritized giving students the option to learn online – in many cases, students can earn their degree entirely online – has expanded the IT department, and has invested in the technology that allows for students and faculty to have more interaction.
The award was presented by Shentel Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Elaine Cheng, who is a founding board member of Charlottesville Women in Tech, and who delivered the TechNite22 keynote speech exploring how to engage, recruit and develop women in technology and how that will determine success.
“What an honor to receive this award – and to have it presented by Elaine Cheng, someone everyone in IT, but especially women, can look up to. Shentel has been such an asset to LFCC for so many years. For instance, it was thanks to Shentel’s fiber-optic system that we were first able to offer distance learning classes nearly 30 years ago. Today, the possibilities seem endless.
“Now more than ever, our students rely on technology as they chase their goals. Who would have thought just a few years ago that we would be teaching our students to fly and maintain drones, or that our technology students would have the chance to join the U.S. Cyber Command’s (CYBERCOM) Academic Engagement Network, allowing CYBERCOM to meet future workforce needs as it defends our nation and individuals from cybersecurity threats.”
In addition to Dr. Blosser, LFCC Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education was nominated for the Innovation in Higher Education Award. The nomination cited how LFCC’s IT program pathways allow students to earn stackable credentials as they begin IT careers, and the extensive work done by program leaders in collaboration with area employers to build pathways in the local workforce.