Warren County Girls Little League Softball is proud to announce that Winter Clinics start Sunday, January 12th at WCHS. This is a great opportunity for one-on-one direction and coaching during our skill building activities! Winter clinics are walk up/No registration required! Come to one or come to all! See image attachment above for all the dates and times for the clinics.
Spring Registration is now OPEN! Don’t miss out on the Early Bird discount! Need to make payments? Just set the amount you want to pay today and sign back into your account to make payments on your schedule: www.WCGIrlsSoftball.com (For more information, contact: WCGLLSPlayerAgent@gmail.com)
Town staff backs off of Liaison discussion of cooperation on EDA situation
There was little substantive discussion on two crucial Front Royal-Warren County Liaison Committee agenda items Thursday evening, January 23. Both related to the present and future of the two municipalities relationship to their joint Economic Development Authority created in the late-1960’s.
Those relationships, particularly it would appear on the Town side, have reached stress points in the wake of the financial scandal that has resulted in dueling multi-million-dollar civil litigations, as well as 34 felony financial fraud indictments against former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, among other criminal charges against multiple defendants.
The topics were “Working Together Regarding the EDA Civil Suit” and the Town’s initiative to the Virginia General Assembly seeking authority to become the first municipality in Virginia history to be allowed to create a second EDA while its first, co-created EDA still exists.
As the first of those two topics was reached, Town Attorney Doug Napier noted that there was a motions hearing scheduled the next day regarding the Town’s now $15-million civil litigation against the EDA for recovery of lost assets.
“Loose lips sink ships,” Napier offered of public discussion of the Town’s claim of $15 million in lost or misdirected assets involving Town-generated funding of EDA projects.
Earlier in the day, Napier told Royal Examiner he expected Friday’s motions hearing to be brief, as Judge Bruce D. Albertson would rule on the Town’s request that it be allowed to continue to amend its civil action against the EDA as new information became available.
But Napier also verified that the Town has not yet submitted any documentation to support its financial claims against the EDA. That claim was initially made at $3 million, then amended to $15 million. At issue during what ended up being a conference call among the judge and attorneys at their respective offices Friday morning may be whether the court will want some supporting documentation of the Town’s claims against the EDA prior to authorizing further amendments upward to its existing $15-million claim.
That a rift may exist between Mayor Eugene Tewalt and his former council colleagues and administrative or legal staff regarding those topics became apparent during discussion of the EDA situation.
“The sooner we resolve this without going to court, the better,” Tewalt said following County Liaison representative Tony Carter’s observation that it would be to both municipalities benefit to work together on the situation, rather than at operational or legal odds as appears to now be town council’s preference.
“We don’t want to undermine the EDA, or at least I don’t,” the mayor added during discussion of council’s unprecedented attempt to be authorized to be party to two EDA’s at the same time.
Council is currently refusing to pay an apparently undisputed principal debt of about $8.4 million to the EDA on the Front Royal Police Department construction project as it ponders what it believes the EDA may owe it in misdirected Town assets.
EDA officials have said they will become financially insolvent, unable to pay existing debt, at some point in March without some changes to its current financial situation. However, it has been verified by both County and Town legal staffs that an EDA cannot declare bankruptcy or cease to exist while it has existing debt.
Of the potential of a second EDA being brought into the mix as the existing EDA tries to recover $21.3 million in alleged lost or defrauded assets and right its financial ship, County Supervisor Tony Carter called it an apparent duplication of costs – “To me it makes no sense,” Carter told the Liaison Committee of the Town initiative to be authorized to create a second, unilateral EDA.
County Board Chairman Walter Mabe joined Carter on the County side, along with County Administrator Doug Stanley. Councilman Chris Holloway joined Mayor Tewalt on the Town side, along with Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick and Town Attorney Napier. Also present observing the Liaison Committee meeting were County Board Vice Chair Cheryl Cullers and Town Councilman Letasha Thompson.
As he has previously, Tederick asserted that the town council had not committed to creation of its own unilateral EDA while still claiming partnership in the existing EDA, but is only maneuvering to keep that option open were the existing EDA to fail.
Town Attorney Napier has suggested the Town not consider separation from the existing EDA, in order to maintain claim to half the EDA’s real estate or other assets were it to fail. Of course, the Town would be jockeying for position with several banks and the County in such a scenario.
See these discussions and updates on other business of mutual interest to the Town and County in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 26, 2020
It was great to be back in Virginia’s Sixth District this week. I spent my time traveling up and down I-81 meeting with constituents, business leaders, and students discussing the important issues facing our country. Two topics frequently brought up by folks across our region were Lobby Day at the Capitol Building in Richmond and pro-life issues as this week marked the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. While it is always hard to leave the people and beauty of the Sixth District, I am ready to return to Washington next week to continue fighting for the values we all share.
Lobby Day has been a tradition in Virginia for the past twenty years. It is an opportunity for the citizens of our Commonwealth to come together to exercise their right of free speech and assembly to defend their God given right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, the national media decided this year to portray this annual event as a riot. To the press’ dismay, this rally was peaceful as it always is without any violence being reported. Tens of thousands of Virginians descended upon Richmond to let our Governor know that they do not support his overreaching, unconstitutional gun control proposals. I hope that our elected officials in the State Capitol are paying attention.
This week marked 47 years since Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 1973, over 50 million preborn children in America have had their lives cut short. Our right to life is among our most basic human rights, and I will continue fighting to protect the most innocent among us.
Since taking office, I have fought to defend life and have a legislative track record of supporting policies to that end. I am incredibly proud to have received an “A” rating this year from the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the Nation’s most prominent pro-life organizations.
“Congressman Cline has voted consistently to protect the lives of the unborn as well as the consciences of taxpayers who don’t want their hard-earned tax dollars paying for abortion domestically or internationally. Rep. Cline has defended the Trump administration’s pro-life regulatory efforts from pro-abortion attacks to prohibit their implementation.” Susan B. Anthony List
Meeting With Students:
Since taking office, it has been a priority of mine to meet with students across the Sixth District. It has been a pleasure engaging with these bright young minds who will soon be tomorrow’s leaders. As they prepare for the next steps in their lives, whether that be college or entering the workforce, I wish to instill in them the importance of service to others. This week, I visited Stuarts Draft High School and enjoyed answering students’ questions about government and discussing the issues that are important to them. I look forward to meeting with more students over the next year and continuing to foster the value of public service.
As the Congressman for the Sixth District, I am steadfast in my commitment to being as available to my constituents as possible. Aside from meeting daily with residents in DC or during my various stops throughout the District, I think it is important to host public forums to allow folks an even greater opportunity to have a dialogue with their Representative. Prior to the new year, I hosted 19 town halls – one in each locality – and I plan to do the same in 2020. Already in January I have held five town halls including one in both Lynchburg and Roanoke City this week where I had the opportunity to hear from nearly 150 constituents. Having a back and forth discussion on the issues is so vital to civil debate, and I always appreciate those who take the time to attend events like these across the District.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.
Cajun cuisine, donuts and bagels coming to Front Royal’s East Main Street
Following a closed session at its monthly meeting Friday morning, January 24, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors confirmed what had been hinted at during the open portion of the meeting.
C&C Frozen Treats owner William Huck is poised to purchase the vacant Stokes Mart building at 506 East Main Street. By a 6-0 vote, Jorie Martin by phone, Mark Baker absent, the board authorized the sale at a price of $185,000. The EDA purchased the property including a detached, three apartment rental building, at the east end of Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Business District for just over $398,000 in 2014, during the executive directorship of Jennifer McDonald.
Current EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons has repeatedly expressed a desire to divest the EDA of the property, particularly due to the presence of the residential building on it, noting the property is generally not the type an EDA would invest in for economic development purposes.
Huck said the plan for the building after some maintenance and remodeling work is for a café featuring Cajun-style food common to his native state of Louisiana, and freshly-made donuts and bagels, with accompanying non-alcohol liquid refreshments. Huck said he hopes to close on the purchase within the next few weeks so that he can begin needed maintenance in February.
“Yes, the building needs work like every building on East Main Street,” Huck told us, adding that he did not consider needed repairs, including to a leaking roof, too severe.
Huck will be partnering with brother-in-law John Politz – “I’m known as Farmer John around here” – Politz alerted us during a photo op walk to the property several doors down and across East Main Street from C&C Frozen Treats, shortly after the EDA meeting’s adjournment. Not to be outdone on nicknames, earlier during the EDA board’s closed session Huck regaled media and citizen observer Linda Allen with impersonations of a proposed “Crazy Willie” cartoon character he has been approached about as an additional marketing tool for his downtown business interests.
As to those interests Huck said his focus will remain with C&C Frozen Treats, with Politz taking the lead on the Cajun food and accoutrements enterprise. Politz, appropriately attired in an NCAA football national champion Louisiana State University hoodie and jacket, and Huck helped this reporter with the spelling of “kolache”, a Cajun-style wrap that will be a key part of getting the café’s Alligator Sausage and other home-made Cajun delicacies to your palate.
Huck and Politz, or should we say Crazy Willie and Farmer John, explained that the production of the kolaches lends itself to adding fresh donuts and bagels to the menu.
Huck’s enthusiasm for his adopted hometown was apparent as we awaited his wife, Nina’s, arrival after she spotted us heading for the Stokes Mart property while driving by on East Main.
“I’ve said it over and over, this is the best community in the world – I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I am invested in this town 110%,” the founding organizer of Downtown Front Royal’s “Family Fun Day” enthused, adding, “2020 is going to be a good year”.
A ‘New Direction’ for the County’s Front Royal Golf Club municipal course
An aggressive management proposal for the County-owned Front Royal Golf Club was presented to the Warren County Board of Supervisors under the watchful eyes of the Golf Club Advisory Committee at a January 21 work session. The County took over ownership and management of the course and property from a private management entity in 2005. The land was part of a 63-acre parcel gifted to the community by William Carson Sr. and family in memory of their late son Billy Carson as one of, if not the first, Virginia public golf courses and recreational use areas.
New Direction Golf Management President Mike Byrd took the lead in presenting his company’s three-year management proposal at a cost of $100,000 per year to County officials.
And while a $300,000 commitment to the historic, if money-pit, municipal golf course might seem exorbitant on the surface, there appeared to be multiple positives for the County.
In response to a question from North River Supervisor Delores Oates, Byrd said that his company would be responsible to cover capital improvement costs for the duration of the management contract. And County Administrator Doug Stanley noted that the County invested $300,000 in the course last year and the New Direction contract would cap the County’s annual investment at $100,000, which has often been in the neighborhood, if not lower than the County’s annual costs to cover club operational expenses.
It was noted that last year’s investment included major upgrades to the condition of the course, which had been allowed to deteriorate over some period of time. “The course is looking better than it has in 15 to 20 years,” Stanley observed of the result of the capital improvement commitment made by the County last year.
While County officials explored alternate uses for the property in recent years that included abandonment of the golf course as a use, that effort was abandoned in the wake of local attorney Nancie Williams telling the supervisors in 2018 that she would aggressively help the club membership and potentially Carson family heirs, fight such an initiative in the courts.
Despite the positive impact of last year’s course maintenance effort, Byrd indicated that he had ideas for further physical alterations to the course to increase its playability and attractiveness to golfers.
“Greens are the key to course health,” Byrd said. And after playing the course he said the course greens tended to be fast and rolling, raising their difficulty level even for experienced golfers, and being a discouragement factor for new and youth players taking the game up. And with expanding the municipal course’s player and membership base being a key aspect of their plan, Byrd suggested a facelift for the greens would be in order.
“Our plan is to attract new golfers and rejuvenate old golfers’ interest in the game,” Byrd said. In response to a question he said existing club memberships would be honored under New Direction management. It was observed that the club’s membership, currently at 146, had been largely faithful in recent years despite the course maintenance issues.
A part of the New Direction plan is bringing a PGA Youth Golf “junior” League into play in the community and at the municipal course. It is a plan the company has a track record with at a Stafford County course near Fredericksburg known as “The Gauntlet”.
Byrd said that introducing a PGA Junior League at The Gauntlet resulted in 300 kids participating last year – “If you have a youth soccer league, you should have a junior golfers league,” he told County officials. And if Stafford and Fredericksburg have a larger population base, around 100,000 to draw from, the numbers are still encouraging when transferred to Warren County’s 40,000 population.
Byrd said the Front Royal Golf Club could also benefit from becoming a sister course to PGA-friendly Gauntlet course about an hour away. County Administrator Doug Stanley told the board that the Stafford County and Fredericksburg City governments “highly recommend” New Direction’s golf course management.
While his company is new, founded in January 2018, its directors have 33 years experience in the golfing industry, Byrd said. And he said despite reports of the demise of golf as financially-successful recreational endeavor, he believes the sport “has never been in a better place” for expansion of club’s like the County’s municipal course.
He listed positives and negatives for the club, and cited past management mistakes the County has made in trying to deal with revenue shortfalls. Chief among mistakes was lowering fees to try and attract golfers from the many private courses it competes with locally. On the downside were “108 holes” the Front Royal Golf Club’s nine holes must compete with nearby.
However, he noted that the club’s four-dollar fee to play “tells you something is wrong with the product – and nothing is wrong with the product (at least that can’t be easily fixed like those tough-playing greens)” Byrd enthused over the Front Royal Golf Club’s potential. He said nine-hole courses are more common now than they have been in several decades.
Other pluses he sees are that it is a public course, open to all; the course’s proximity to a nearby commercial area and hotel; its physically beautiful setting at the river’s edge, which also has the downside of the threat of flooding that could jeopardize the health of the course; the hiking or running trail that runs through the property, and even the fact that a train runs through the course.
“And not many courses are on the National Registry of Historical Places,” Stanley added, noting the property was part of the 1864 Civil War Battle of Guard Hill.
“The clubhouse looks good – in 1998,” Byrd joked of another renovation facelift he sees in store for the club.
See Byrd and New Direction Golf Management associate Kayla Weaver’s full pitch of their plan to rejuvenate the Front Royal Golf Club, and County discussion of their plan, in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
How To Series: Use Libby at the Samuels Public Library
In the first video of the How To series, we learned how to get a library card to the Samuels Public Library.
Now let’s start learning about all the wonderful benefits the library has to offer. Ebooks with Libby is an awesome benefit available to card holders. Watch this video to learn more! Thank you to Barbara Way for helping to share this message about Libby.
How to use Libby:
1. Download the App
2. Locate your library.
3. Put in your library card number.
4. TAP through and enjoy!
Click this link to visit Samuels Public Library online: www.samuelslibrary.net
Click this link to get the Libby App: meet.Libbyapp.com
Visit the library today!
Samuels Public Library
Mon – Thur 10am – 8pm
Fri & Sat 10am – 5pm
330 E Criser Rd, Front Royal, VA 22630
Easy but awesome photo booth ideas
Are you planning to set up a photo booth at your wedding? If you do, your guests will love hamming it up in front of the camera, and you’ll wind up with a slew of fun, candid mementos. Here are some backdrop ideas for a photo booth you’ll love.
• Sequins. For an old Hollywood feel, choose white, silver or gold. Or put a modern spin on it and choose reversible sequins that your guests can play with to change the look.
• Flowers. A wall of flowers is the perfect romantic backdrop. Match the blooms to your wedding colors or opt for white or red roses. Alternatively, create an ombre effect from light to dark using a variety of flowers in an array of hues.
• Balloons. The trick to nailing a balloon backdrop is to use balloons in various sizes and shapes. Choose pastel tones for a soft look or go for bright colors for a more whimsical touch.
• Wood. A wall of wood planks decorated with ivy and twinkle lights will make your guests feel like they’re hanging out on your back porch. This backdrop is well-suited to a rustic or country themed wedding.
Don’t forget to include props to take photos with. Frames, hats and mustaches on sticks are classic, as are comic book-style word bubbles with fun messages on them.