Children ages 5 and up are invited to explore all the amazing things you can do with Legos. Real-life buildings out of Legos? Join us for this fascinating topic and building session!
Registration begins February 21.
The facts about qigong
Rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy, qigong (pronounced “chee-guhng”) combines slow movement, breathing techniques and meditation into a holistic practice thought to have a wide range of benefits. Here’s what you should know.
Qigong involves practicing slow, deliberate movements that are coordinated with deep rhythmic breathing and awareness of one’s body and mind. Visualization techniques and mantras may be included to provide a point of focus. The aim is to induce a sense of inner calm and deep relaxation.
Qigong is considered to be an effective therapy for a number of conditions by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, with some claiming it can help with things like insomnia, cancer and diabetes. However, there is currently no conclusive evidence that qigong provides any health benefits beyond those commonly associated with meditation.
An accessible form of meditation
While it won’t cure cancer, qigong does offers tangible benefits. Meditation has been shown to provide effective stress relief, which can have a positive impact on one’s overall health. In addition, because it emphasizes gentle, slow movements, qigong provides a form of low-impact physical activity that’s accessible to people with mobility issues and conditions such as arthritis.
If you’re considering taking up qigong as a therapeutic approach, be sure to speak to your doctor first. But if you’re looking for a relaxing, low-impact form of exercise, then simply find a class or group nearby.
Tourism Advisory Board finds itself in midst of an evolving landscape
On Wednesday afternoon, February 26, the Front Royal-Warren County Joint Tourism Advisory Board met to continue to ponder its role in a turbulent present and uncertain future following the Town’s termination of two department heads – Felicia Hart and Jeremy Camp – whom the committee relied on for information and guidance regarding much of their work.
In fact, Hart’s name came up repeatedly during the meeting discussion as in “Felicia did this,” “Felicia did that,” or “Felicia and Jeremy were so helpful”. After its last meeting of February 12, Tourism Advisory Board members confirmed that they had no advance warning of Hart’s termination or the recommendation from the town manager’s office that town tourism promotion is outsourced to the private sector.
But unlike that earlier meeting held in the second-floor Town Hall conference room, at Wednesday’s meeting in the Warren County Government Center Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick was present to hear and contribute to the discussion. Tederick has been council’s point man in its sudden change of direction on staffing, departmental and budgetary commitments to Town Tourism promotion and marketing in the existing fiscal year, as well as planning for Town Tourism’s promotional future.
It didn’t take long for the advisory board and County Board of Supervisors Chairman Walter Mabe, present with North River Supervisor Delores Oates as observers, to get to the question of exactly what the present and future holds for them and tourism promotion for the town and county. Picking up a theme broached in its first meeting post-Town Tourism shakeup two weeks earlier, Shenandoah Valley Golf Club Manager Richard Runyon began the conversation among the eight committee members, largely from the local business community at least partially dependent on tourist dollars.
Runyon suggested the two municipalities pool their financial commitments to tourism and related business development, “and develop a staff in-house, maybe entertain volunteers to work – and I was envisioning the Visitor’s Center is the main hub. If I was going to open a business in Warren County, I don’t want to go to two or three different places I’ve got to jump around. I want to see what the county has to offer my employees, taxes, conditions of living, shopping and entertainment for my employees…
“This group, we all have busy lives. We don’t have to do this. We’re business owners, business managers, what have you. We were asked to do this. So to me, I think as a group we make a recommendation to the Town and to the County since this is a joint effort, and put it on them, and let them decide,” Runyon said of a final decision on the shape of tourism promotion and related business development in this community for the future.
“What’s the decision you’re trying to decide though?” County Board Chairman Mabe said of increased cooperation between the two municipalities in maximizing both’s tourism potential. “I can’t speak for Mr. Tederick but I believe the Town is kind of for it; the County is kind of for it, but we don’t know how this board wants to make it happen. Because we can’t go at it willie-nillie. We’ve got to put it together as a proposal that says ‘This is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do it. This is who’s going to run it – and all of the things we need to make it work. And let the Town and the County go after it. If it comes to a mutual understanding between us two, it will come to be – am I wrong?” Mabe asked, leading to Tederick’s introduction to the conversation.
“I’m not in a position to say right or wrong being town manager. I will say what you’re proposing makes a lot of sense,” Tederick responded to what he heard of the development of a jointly conceived plan moving forward. “And I think from a policy perspective, I believe the town council would very much entertain the concept. The devil is in the details, but I’ve always felt that this body doesn’t really have a lot of authority. I don’t know that you got a lot of direction from the Town or County,” Tederick added in what might have been interpreted by some as a slap at, at least one of the terminated Town employees involved with the Tourism Advisory Board in the past.
“I always believe as business owners, the first thing you start with is a strategic plan. What is it we want to see; who is our target market we’re trying to track; how are we going to reach them?” Tederick continued, adding, “And when I looked at the Town’s budget for tourism, you had $80-some-thousand dollars out of a $409,000 budget going towards print advertising efforts. That’s just not the right methodology, I think, in this modern era to be contacting people to come to Warren County and Front Royal.”
The interim town manager continued that he was disappointed from “a messaging perspective, a branding perspective – are we branding Warren County or are we branding Front Royal when it comes to tourism? Are we sending a message for the county and a different message for the town?” he asked a group comprised largely of business owners from both inside and outside the town limits who cater to tourist dollars from a wide variety of perspectives, including lodging, food and beverage, and recreational from hiking, camping, the river, and golf.
“So conceptually, I think it makes a lot of sense to have this board serve as some kind of governing board of the assets. And the big question is who’s going to handle the fiscal responsibilities of the money?” Tederick said.
See the evolving and far-ranging conversation about those details that followed in this linked Royal Examiner video.
Included in that conversation were pros and cons of involvement of the Chamber of Commerce or outside online marketers and, how to best divide responsibilities for the myriad tasks and responsibilities that Vibe Properties/Front Royal Brewery owner Kerry Barnhart called impossible for one person to handle.
With Barnhart engaged in post-meeting discussion, we asked Mountain Trails owner Gary Green from the frequent mentioning of departed Town Tourism Advisory Board member and Town Community Development Director Felicia Hart’s name, if she had been that central figure who had been asked to do more than, as Barnhart put it, “anyone person could do successfully”.
“Yes, that was her,” Green offered.
Watch the Tourism meeting on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
See Related Story:
Warren Heritage Society presents Laura Virginia Hale Day
Please join us in a day of celebration to honor Laura Virginia Hale, born April 12, 1911. Find out who she was, how she selflessly gave to our community and the legacy she left behind.
The event will be celebrated on April 11, 2020, at 2pm. All are invited to the Ivy Lodge, located at 101 Chester Street, Front Royal, for this exciting event! You don’t want to miss the guest speakers, tours and more! Light refreshments will be served.
Presentations and tours will be provided by Suzanne Silek and Jim Heflin of the Warren Heritage Society.
R-MA student selected as Horatio Alger Scholarship National Scholar
When Randolph-Macon Academy senior Citlaly Sosa received an email in January that said the 2020 Horatio Alger Scholarship National Scholars had been announced, she was heartbroken – she had not been selected. She hadn’t even gotten the State Scholar honor, something her older sister had achieved. Citlaly’s disappointment was short-lived, however, as she received a call the next day from her Horatio Alger sponsor, who apologized for the error and informed her that she had indeed been selected as a National Scholar.
“When I found out, I cried, and then my parents asked me, ‘Why are you crying? You never cry,’” Citlaly recalled. “This is so amazing. To be one of the 106 people selected this year out of the 32,000 people who applied… I am very honored.”
The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc, awards each National Scholar a $25,000 scholarship to be used in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2020 Horatio Alger National Scholars Conference in Washington, DC, April 1-5, 2020.
As stated on their website, members and friends of the Horatio Alger Association fund college scholarships for low-income youth. Since its inception in 1984, the Association has awarded more than $159 million to approximately 20,000 students. The “Scholar Services” go beyond the initial scholarship award, including financial aid and scholarship counseling, assistance with housing needs, internships, and even support for emotional, personal, legal, and financial obstacles.
“I’m so proud of her,” said Randolph-Macon Academy College Counselor Mary Gamache. “She has done everything she possibly could to earn everything she possibly can.”
“Everything” has been earning a place on the R-MA honor rolls every quarter, rising to one of the top positions in Air Force Junior ROTC, being active in community service, assisting the R-MA Admission Office with events, participating on R-MA’s championship drill team, serving on the R-MA Honor Council, playing varsity sports, and even being elected to the Homecoming Court. It has all kept Citlaly very busy, but as Chief Gamache had believed, her hard work is paying off.
Rogue Town Government?
The FY 2021 budget proposal has been applied by cutting employees, departments and funding in the current budget year through the Interim Town Manager without having a Public Hearing and subsequent approval by the Town Council for those actions or that budget proposal. This conduct of “no rules” apply to the Interim Town Manager and the absence by Town Council to demand accountability appear to create a rogue government.
How can they get away this?
Front Royal, Virginia
The Virginia Department of Elections highlights security initiatives to ensure election integrity
Ensuring the integrity of our elections has always been and will continue to be a top priority for election officials across the Commonwealth. Election officials across the country have been faced with targeted attacks from bad actors, both foreign and domestic, who work to undermine the public trust in our elections process.
Virginians should feel confident that their votes will be counted accurately. The Department of Elections (ELECT) has worked to remove unsecure voting systems from service at the local level and promoted the transition to modern voting systems using voter verified paper-based balloting. Furthermore, the equipment voters use to cast their ballots in Virginia are not connected to the Internet.
“The Department of Elections is aware of security concerns related to elections and voting systems,” said Christopher Piper, Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner. “As election officials, it is important for us to make sure that voters know their votes will be counted and their voices are heard.”
ELECT has worked with voting equipment vendors to ensure all voting systems meet new standards prior to the 2020 General Election. System vulnerability tests are constantly in process to ensure that the Department’s infrastructure is sound.
The work to protect Virginia’s elections from cybercrime is ongoing. In March 2019, Governor Northam signed Ch. 426, Acts of Assembly 2019, which requires the creation and implementation of cybersecurity standards for all jurisdictions who access the state election database. These efforts have helped Virginia to prevent, mitigate, and respond to cyber incidents targeting the integrity of its election system. Cybersecurity training courses have been made available to Virginia’s election administrators statewide. One of ELECT’s most successful training opportunities has generated participation from more than 400 of Virginia’s election officials. The program, created by the Chicago nonprofit Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), is divided into three courses and covers practices like creating strong passwords, protecting accounts with two-factor authentication, identifying common types of cyber attacks faced by government offices, and effectively communicating with the public about security issues.
ELECT has developed collaborative relationships with federal, state and local election officials to share and learn from one another in support of more secure elections. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) and the Center for Internet Security (CIS) work with ELECT to ensure adherence to state security policies and best practices set forth by CIS, including conducting an annual security audit.
ELECT has increased its staff to include hiring additional training professionals tasked with updating and maintaining compliance materials for elections, while staff also receives ongoing security training and resources from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
“Training is a top priority at the Virginia Department of Elections,” explains Commissioner Piper. “We are proud of the fact that our training opportunities are as diverse as the partnerships we have formed. Our training varies from conducting tabletop exercises for election officials to hosting continuity of operations workgroup meetings with elections stakeholders, where we identify best practices and areas for improvement in cyber incident planning, preparedness, identification and response.”
Virginia’s 2020 Primary Election will be held March 3, and the General Election scheduled for November 3. The Department of Elections encourages voters to take the following steps to help promote election security and voter confidence:
- Check your voter registration status to ensure that it is current and/or find your polling place. Virginia provides a secure way for Virginia voters to access their registration information through our citizen portal.
- Always review your ballot before casting it.
- Find information about elections by using trusted sources such as state and county agencies.
- Learn more about the security efforts of the Virginia Department of Elections and our state and federal partners.
- Follow the Virginia Department of Elections on Twitter @VaELECT and like us on Facebook.