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Francis Gary Powers Jr. dishes on his dad, the famed U-2 pilot, June 9 at Cold War Museum he founded at Vint Hill



Francis Gary Powers

Spy Pilot” is the engaging name of a new book.

Bridge of Spies” was a recent movie at Winchester’s Alamo Theater.

Francis Gary Powers is the literal hero of both.

Francis Gary Powers, Jr. of Richmond is the son and author.

Carol and Malcolm Barr, Jr. of Front Royal and Gloucester. Va., are cousins of the two Powers. Both Barr Jr. and Francis Gary Powers coincidentally had similar, interrupted, military careers. Both served in the U.S. Air Force. Both were intelligence specialists. Barr served in Iraq; Powers flew U-2s.

On June 9, Powers Jr., will meet his kinfolk, one of them for the first time, at the Cold War Museum, Vint Hill, near Gainesville, where he will discuss his book, his hero dad, and the museum he founded.

And we all know, don’t we, that Francis Gary Powers piloted a U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union in 1960, was shot down, imprisoned, released in a spy swap in 1962, thus ending one of the biggest international incidents of any war in recent history.

Except that it didn’t end there. A cloud of suspicion lingered over Powers until his untimely death in a helicopter crash in California in 1977. “Powers should have done this (taken a poison pill), Powers should have done that (blown up the U-2),” some were saying.

It has taken Gary Powers, the son, more than 40 years to complete, along with co-author Keith Dunnavant, the definitive account of the famous Cold War incident proving that his father acted honorably through a trying ordeal while serving his country. In other words, he was doing, for the CIA, as he was told.

The book, “Spy Pilot,” is billed as a biography. To me, it reads like a novel. It is riveting throughout, and is impeccably researched. Gary Powers, exhibiting extraordinary patience in dealing with bureaucrats, mainly in the United States, and including a director of our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but also in the Soviet Union, to set the record straight.

His dad, it can truthfully be said, is and was a hero from the get-go, and his son now has thousands of documents to prove it.

Francis Gary Powers and Francis Gary Powers Jr.

In an unlikely Foreword, unlikely to me, anyway, Sergei Khrushchev, son of the president of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, who effectively jailed Francis Gary Powers for espionage, said of Gary the Younger: “I have watched Francis Gary Powers Jr. work tirelessly to honor and preserve the memory of his father, an ordinary American who was caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I, too, have made great efforts to honor and preserve the legacy of my father…”

Khrushchev was credited with helping avert nuclear disaster while working with American presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, moving the two super powers toward “peaceful coexistence.”

Sergei and Gary became friends.

While at the CIA in Langley in 2009, Carol paused at the Francis Gary Powers exhibit in the main building’s small museum, saluting its heroes of the past. “My cousin,” she murmured to our retiring host. “I never knew him growing up but knew who he was later. I was 20 and worked in Washington when he crashed and also when he came home.” The cousins lived a few miles from each other in Southwest Virginia, she in Coeburn, he in Pound.

Hollywood actor Robert Conrad, a Powers family friend, said of the U-2 pilot: “Francis Gary Powers was a patriot who got a raw deal, and his son has devoted his life to revealing the truth.”

Gary will discuss his book in detail on Sunday afternoon, June 9 from 2-4 p.m. If you don’t make the relatively short trip to Vint Hill, you may buy “Spy Pilot” by going to

For tickets to the Cold War Museum, visit: Spy Pilot: The Truth About U-2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers

The Museum is located at Vint Hill, a former top secret intelligence base. The address is 7172 Lineweaver Rd., Vint Hill, 20187, next to Vint Hill Craft Winery and across the parking lot from Old Bust Head Brewery.

Biography on Francis Gary Powers, Jr.

Born June 5, 1965, in Burbank, California, he is the son of Francis Gary and Claudia “Sue” Powers. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration / Certification in Non-profit Management from George Mason University (GMU), Fairfax, Virginia. He graduated in 2019 with his Master’s Degree in U.S. History from Adams State University, Alamosa, CO.

Gary is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, a 501(c) (3) charity located at Vint Hill, VA 45 minutes west of Washington, DC. He founded the museum in 1996 to honor Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history, and educate future generations about this time period. As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study he works with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts to identify historic Cold War sites for commemorating, interpreting, and preservation. Recently, he consulted for a Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller, Bridge of Spies, about James Donovan who brokered the 1962 spy exchange between KGB spy Rudolph Abel and CIA U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Sr.

Gary is the author of Letters from a Soviet Prison (2017) and Spy Pilot (2019) which both help to dispel the misinformation surrounding the U-2 Incident. He is a Board Member of the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum near Omaha, NE and an Honorary Board Member of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Because of his efforts to honor Cold War veterans the Junior Chamber of Commerce selected him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” for 2002. Gary lectures internationally and appears regularly on C-SPAN, the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels. He is married and has one son.

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Community Events

Fifth “Conversation of Hope” to be held on Tuesday, October 22



The WHAT MATTERS community meeting space, “Open House: Meet in the Middle” (213 E. Main Street next to the Daily Grind) serves as a meeting place for community members seeking positivity in this time of controversy for our town and county. At 7pm, on the 4th Tuesday of each month, community leaders and citizens gather to engage in one hour of positive reflections and hope. During the first “Conversation of Hope” held at “Open House” in June, the Chief shared a fitting quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Please join us to engage in conversations on Main Street AND virtually through our Facebook Group, “A Virtual Conversation of Hope.”

Here are some of the uplifting words filled with compassion shared during our brief time together during ‘Conversations’:

……Tragedy doesn’t define our community; we have made it through other controversial times, the new police department is an example of the success of a dream 20+ years in the making, don’t feed the beast, negativity breeds negativity, buy local support local, this time shouldn’t change our opinion about what a blessing it is to live here, we must heal relationships with friends and the community because we are hurt and need to acknowledge our pain and rebuild, the term “keep it simple, stupid” can be used to find ways to work together, we must combat darkness with light and stay in the light, we need to be the people we are supposed to be no matter what, we will never stop all the negativity but love will lead us, people who have businesses and work here must be a part of the healing and rebuilding, be a part of the solution, people choose to move here for scenery, values and there are people who stay here for the same reason, this too shall pass, Front Royal is loved for the people, volunteering, service and beauty, shine a light on the great people here and count our blessings, go to prayer and good will prevail, this is a perfect storm for renewal and revival and to come together, a community that doesn’t hide from their faith survives—run to God and add prayer to meetings, lean on God, healing is best when focused on others and for others, be compassionate…….

Police Chief, Kahle Magalis, encouraged us to focus on the wellness of the community, not just the sickness, and suggested that the new hospital progress can remind us to do just that. He also said that he’s very pleased with the working relationship the FR Police Department and the WC Sheriff’s office have in trying to embrace collaboration and cooperation. It was discussed that some of our current issues are bringing things to light that need to be addressed and that dealing with those issues will have a positive impact. In addition, attendees spent much of the time reminiscing about favorite FR/WC memories from the old days of every weekend Skyline Drive traffic & picnics in the park, the Sesquicentennial pageant event in 1986, the Red Stock and Volleys that the hospital hosted, and our hope that another community-wide event could materialize (perhaps a canoe event). It was a heartwarming gathering!

Comments also included positive feedback about the school system, about the giving & caring individuals in our community, a reference to George Jefferson’s “moving on up” (and encouragement to focus on the positive and move forward without delay by sharing concern but finding solutions and moving on), the acknowledgement that we have a strong sense of community that’s full of characters and memories and that we have so much potential and good energy. It was expressed that this is a good time to be forced to confront what we love and value and to picture the past and what’s good about the area. One guest said, “let it go if you can’t do anything about it.”

“This too shall pass” is often uttered as well as the fact that our community has so much to offer as a busy, active and unique area (full of outdoor assets and beauty) where people care about each other and don’t let tragedy define us. Niki Foster of the FR/WC Chamber of Commerce encouraged everyone to share the wonderful things we see and be louder than the ugly noise. Representatives of area clergy have been in attendance and said they want to support and serve, especially in these times we are facing. Someone said we are passed the ugly and are on the verge of being beautiful again.

Please join us on the 4th Tuesday at 7pm, at 213 E. Main Street – OPEN HOUSE, to share and witness more encouraging conversations.

Next Conversation: Tuesday, 10/22/19 at 7pm

*Please note that these gatherings are ones of positivity, not negativity. Politics and current events will not be discussed—instead we will remind ourselves why we love our community and provide an opportunity to briefly join together those who care together in the spirit of hope…


WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth Medved Waller’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent raised goes to the cause she’s promoting and most are matched by Beth. If you’d like to get involved with her local or international nonprofit work, or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit

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Community Events

The SPCA Thrift Shop is seeking volunteers



The SPCA Thrift Shop needs volunteers for a variety of tasks. The Thrift Shop is the shelter’s biggest financial contributor and vital to our ability to save the lives of homeless animals in our community. The shop relies on a strong volunteer force to make this happen.

Please consider attending a Thrift Shop Volunteer Orientation on Wednesday, October 30th, from 4-6 p.m. The event will be held at the Thrift Shop, 1944 Abrams Creek, in Winchester, Virginia.

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Community Events

Children’s activities at Samuels Public Library for the month of November



These are the events taking place in the Youth Services Department of Samuels Public Library during the month of October. Thank you for sharing this information. More information about Samuels Library and the programs and services available can be found at or by calling (540) 635-3153.

Saturday, November 2

  • 10:00 Books and Barks.  Come to our extremely popular monthly program that gives developing readers the chance to read and relax with a trained therapy dog.  For beginning readers and up.  Choose a time slot at registration, which begins October 2.
  • 2:00 Discuss This.  Are you inspired by good books, articles, movies, and art? Do you write, draw, or enjoy playing music? If so, join us as we discuss books and share our creations. This is a group for those who wish to talk seriously about a variety of topics.  Refreshments will be provided.   For ages 12 and up.  Registration begins October 2.

Tuesday, November 5

  • 11:00 Time for Baby.  What do books, scarves, puppets, music and babies have in common?  They are all part of Time for Baby.  Join us as we use all of our senses to explore the world around us.  Thankful will be the theme this month.  Meet with your baby up to two years of age.  Siblings welcome.
  • 4:30 Science Scouts and More.  Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more!  Based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we will do some taffy pulling and have a chocolate taste test!  For ages 6-11.  Registration begins October 5.

Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7

  • 10:15 Toddler Story time.
  • 11:00 Preschool Story time.

It’s playtime!  Come in for stories, songs, and a craft about our favorite toys, games, and imaginings!  Siblings welcome.

Tuesday, November 12

  • 4:30 Science Scouts and More.  Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more!  Based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we will investigate probability and chance, and find out how likely it is for someone to find a golden ticket.  For ages 6-11.  Registration begins October 12.

Wednesday, November 13 and Thursday, November 14

  • 10:15 Toddler Story time.
  • 11:00 Preschool Story time.

Our stories, songs, and craft will be about Music Art, featuring Karen Erickson of the Northern Virginia Academy of Ballet.  Siblings welcome.

Friday, November 15

  • 5:00 Entries for the 41st annual Holiday Writing Contest are due at the library.

Saturday, November 16

  • 11:00 Kooky Chefs Cook It Up:  Thanksgiving Feast.  Kids will get to feast on several classic Thanksgiving Day foods to get them ready for the holidays! They will also get to make a dish themselves.  For ages 8 and up.  Registration begins October 16.

Tuesday, November 19

  • 4:30 Science Scouts and More.  Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more!  Based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we will build a candyscape, like the factory with the chocolate river.  For ages 6-11.  Registration begins October 19.

Wednesday, November 20 and Thursday, November 21

  • 10:15 Toddler Story time.
  • 11:00 Preschool Story time.

Thankful will be the theme of our stories, songs, and craft this week.  Come join us!  Siblings welcome.

Saturday, November 23

  • 2:30 The Princess & the “P___.”  Lyla sees no purpose to princes.  They’re ugly, stupid—and obnoxious! Why can’t Hagabah see that, and why must the master insist that she keep the prince around three more days?  The world would be a much better place without that prince.  He doesn’t even know that it takes a pea to know a princess.  And she’s a true princess, whether he’s a true prince—or not.  Or is she?  The whole family is invited to join us for this hilarious episode of fantastical suspense and find out!

Saturday, November 30

  • 2:00 Chess and More.  Meet other kids and teens who enjoy the challenge of a good chess or other board game. For ages 6 and up.  Registration begins October 30.
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Warren County’s DECA club members set up as food vendors for community and school events



Devin Modesitt, Karenzo Hogue and Ethan Baldwin working at Festival of Leaves.

Two DECA members, Makayla Grant and Devin Modesitt, have created a school-based food enterprise called DECA Tailgaters. DECA is a club where students create projects incorporating marketing, finance, management and/or hospitality. These projects are then presented in front of judges at statewide competitions.

DECA Tailgaters find volunteers to work community food vendor events, selling a wide range of foods. The vendors sell BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken tenders and a new popular favorite, walking tacos. BBQ sandwiches and walking tacos feature Richard Gardner’s signature Carolina Dreamin’ homemade items, such as sweet BBQ, spicy garlic sauce and homemade chilly.

The two girls have set up food vendors at three car shows, including the “Trunk or Treating” that took place on Main Street, the SMS PTSO Fun Run Fall Festival and the annual Festival of Leaves. At the Festival of Leaves, the girls partnered their project with Karenzo Hogue, Ethan Baldwin and Michael Kelly, to run a bigger and very successful food vendor.

DECA Tailgaters not only sets up as a food vendor in the community, but they’ve also managed a few of their school’s concession stands to raise money for their club. The girls were given available dates for game concessions, and they found volunteers in DECA to help work the game food concessions. Makayla and Devin said, “We like being hands-on in our project by preparing food and taking customers’ orders, because we enjoy getting to see everything finally come together.”

Makayla and Devin also said, “all the profits earned go towards helping pay for our DECA chapter’s annual State Conference, held in Virginia Beach.” The two hope to possibly continue DECA Tailgaters next year, and have more game concessions coming up, including a rival volleyball game vs. Skyline on October 30th and a JV game vs. Skyline on November 7th.

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Community Events

Rotary Group Study Exchange application deadline extended



We need team member applications for Rotary’s Group Study Exchange! Rotary District 7570 is a collection of 84 Rotary clubs in western Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee, from as far north as Front Royal to as far south as Greeneville.

We are seeking four young working professionals who live or work in our district to join Rotary’s Group Study Exchange team to Rotary District 2430 (Turkey, Azerbaijan) for travel May 1-30, 2020. The team will be led by experienced Rotarian Dr. Neil Hollyfield. The GSE team will spend the month of May exploring your vocational interests and participating in cultural activities. All transportation, meals, and lodging are underwritten by Rotarians.

The deadline for applications is extended to October 30, 2019. Interviews are November 3, 2019, at Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center. Contact District Chair, Karel Ryan, for more information by email, or call 276.971.3995.

Apply online and read more at, or see this related story with detailed information:

Rotary Group study exchange announcement

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Community Events

WCHS DECA Initiation and Installation Ceremonies



2019-20 WCHS DECA Chapter Officers (L –R): Karenzo Hogue, Vice-President of Membership; Kylie Burnworth, President; Emily Johnson, SBE Manager; and Ethan Baldwin, Vice-President of Finance. (Not pictured: Patrick Coffron, Vice-President of Social Activity and Halea Hose, Reporter/Historian)

Front Royal, VA – Every year, Warren County High School’s DECA chapter holds Initiation and Installation Ceremonies in honor of the new members and officers joining DECA. This year’s ceremonies took place on September 27, 2019, during the school’s activity period. Twenty-three new members were welcomed to the club individually, and all were given membership pins at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Six additional members of DECA were installed as chapter officers, where each was given a specific duty to carry out through the school year. The six officers for this year are: Kylie Burnworth, President; Ethan Baldwin, Vice President of Finance; Patrick Coffron, Vice President of Social Activity; Karenzo Hogue, Vice President of Membership; Halea Hose, Historian/Reporter; and Emily Johnson, Wildcat Corner (school store) Manager.

WCHS DECA is a Career-Technical Student Organization club at Warren County High School that has a goal of teaching students leadership skills in marketing and management and promoting entrepreneurship in the community.

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Get Your Zombie Walk Shirt

Front Royal
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Pressure: 30.03"Hg
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Upcoming Events

10:00 am Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Acrylic Painting: An Individualized Approach @ Art in the Valley
With an emphasis on individuality and creativity, this acrylic painting class welcomes all skill levels. Some concepts we will explore include various paint application techniques, color theory, and composition. Within these basic parameters, we will[...]
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I – Fal... @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I – Fal... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 22 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply washes,[...]
10:30 am Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class "Fall is Here" @ Art in the Valley
We are offering classes for children ages 7-12 who would enjoy expressing themselves through art. The students will expand their creative side with drawing, painting and constructing, using various mediums such as acrylic, pastels, watercolor[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
10:30 am Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Oct 24 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
The forum will provide participants with an overview of U.S. Small Business Administration and USDA/Rural Business Cooperative-Services (RBS)’s financing programs and services.  Participants will have the opportunity to field questions to lenders and learn more[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 24 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful oil paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with oils necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
9:00 am Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Oct 25 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Virginia Department of Veteran Services @ Able Forces Foundation
Able Forces Foundation is hosting Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Virginia Department of Veteran Services, to assist veterans, their spouses, and dependents with questions regarding Veteran benefits and in filing claims[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 25 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful acrylic paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with acrylics necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
9:00 am Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Oct 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Walk to End Alzheimer's @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Join the Northern Shenandoah Valley Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Together, we can provide care and support to improve the lives of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia (including family, friends, and caregivers), and[...]