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Humane Society members to meet Tuesday, Aug. 14 in Front Royal



Clio, rescued as a kitten, peers out from her perch on high. / Photo by Norma Jean Shaw

The search for a new executive director for the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter in Front Royal continues as the Warren County Humane Society board of directors, led by Ellen Aders, prepares for a rare membership meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14, starting at 5:30 p.m. Elyssa Ellison ended a six-month tenure at the shelter last week.

Also, two open seats on the board are expected to be filled in addition to former president Amy Thurman’s return to the board as secretary.

Said Aders in a message to the general membership recently: “We have come a long way (but) we still have much work to do. It is time for all hands on deck and we need a full board of 11 to accomplish this work.” She stressed the need for “hard-working board members to ensure our homeless animals are cared for in the best possible way…”

The meeting will be held at 213 Main Street which is adjacent to the Daily Grind.

Local News

Vigil for Democracy launches into 3rd year in the populist political trenches



Len Sherp, far left, is preparing to move to Oregon but his Vigil for Democracy will continue beyond his departure. Photos/Roger Bianchini

About 20 people, including 26th District Democratic State Senatorial candidate April Moore, gathered at Front Royal’s Town Gazebo at noon on Wednesday, March 13, to join Len Sherp in marking the start of the third year of the Vigil for Democracy he began on March 8, 2017.

“We mark our calendar by Wednesdays – we started on the second Wednesday of March 2017 and it’s the second Wednesday of March 2019,” Sherp said of any date discrepancies.

On that second Wednesday of 2017 Sherp explained the impetus for his Vigil for Democracy to Royal Examiner: “This administration in eight weeks has shown that it doesn’t understand the rule of law; does not respect the separation of powers; and has a Republican Congress that for some reason refuses to stand up and be adult.  There are threats to our democracy when our president lies every day.  And I think there are some underlying issues – I’m holding a sign today that says ‘Show us the Tax Returns’. Every president, I believe since Eisenhower if not even earlier, has released their tax returns, so that we can see that they are not indebted to or beholding to other foreign powers.”

And for Sherp on March 13, 2019, not much has changed.

Kathleen Roush and Hannah Bement flank Len Sherp at first Vigil for Democracy in March 2017 – affordable health care and Trump’s financial ties to other countries were and remain vigil concerns.

“At the time I told you that I thought we faced a crisis in our country that basic constitutional principals seemed to be ignored; and we were heading toward a path that I felt the future of our democratic-republican form of government was in peril. Nothing over the last two years has convinced me otherwise,” Sherp said.

“We still have disrespect from the highest office in the nation, the presidency of the United States, for the rule of law; disrespect for the separation of powers; disrespect for the truth; we have disrespect for a free press; we have disrespect for the hardworking members of the federal government; we have disrespect for our allies; and we have instead an affection for dictators and a wish from our president that perhaps he could be president for life like his friend, Comrade Xi (Xi Jinping, president of China).

“And he talks about ‘love letters’ with (North Korean Dictator) Kim Jung Un – and we stopped our annual or semi-annual military exercises with the Republic of South Korea, our strongest ally in the Far East – what did we get for that? Oh, we got a picture with Kim Jung Un.

“And I didn’t even mention the violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution and the violations of the ban against nepotism – I could go on and on,” Sherp said deciding to end the litany of reasons the Vigil for Democracy continues, and will continue beyond his pending move to Oregon. Sherp and his wife are moving west in several weeks to be close to their daughter.

Sherp pointed us toward other vigil participants for comments, including those who will be instrumental in continuing to see the Vigil for Democracy remains a viable expression of political dissent guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Long-time vigil participants Bob Hill and Jorge Amselle will share Vigil for Democracy organizational rolls after Sherp’s departure.

Vigil participants surrounding Sherp, kneeling with cap, flash two fingers to celebrate two years and counting of a call for the continuation of constitutional norms, including political transparency and legal accountability for the president. Bob Hill, kneeling with dog, and Jorge Amselle (with ‘Trump’s Agenda is Toxic’ sign) will take over organizational responsibility for vigil following Sherp’s move west.

We asked Amselle why he, like Hill and others in the vigil trenches, has been there on Wednesday afternoons with Sherp for the bulk of two years.

“This is the only thing that keeps me sane; this is the only thing that gives me hope for our country – to be out here with people who recognize the danger that we’re in, who are like-minded. I believe I told you before, I used to be a conservative Republican for 30 years; for years I voted Republican. When Trump was running I kept telling my fellow Republicans ‘You can’t vote for this guy – he’s insane and a racist.’

“And when he won the nomination I decided that’s it, I’m out, I’m done. And I left the Republican Party and volunteered for the Hillary Clinton campaign and did everything I could to make sure Trump didn’t win.”

Over two years later Amselle is maintaining his commitment to make Americans, including Republicans, see what he sees in the 45th president – a would-be demagogue who puts self interest above the national interest.

Amselle pointed out how many congressional Republicans, Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz being prominent examples, were documented during the 2016 nominating campaign saying horrible things about Trump’s character; but now fall easily in line with the worst of the president’s policy initiatives or personal impulses.

“I think it’s just winning at all costs – nothing matters but winning, you know, no morals, no qualms about lying, cheating, stealing, pandering to white supremacists, empowering racism and other forms of bigotry; being inconsistent on all the things you ever preached. See, there used to be a competition between all different kinds of conservatives, your libertarians, your evangelicals, all different kinds of conservatives were there to argue and debate conservative ideologies.”

“Now that’s all gone, now it’s just Trump – the only ideology that matters is Trump,” Amselle observed of an apparent party-wide fear of not antagonizing Trump’s sizable base among Republican voters.

And when the cult of personality meets ideological intransience tempered with stereotypical vilification of minorities and outsiders you have a historically dangerous combination – a combination often found at the outset of the rise of state totalitarianism.

It is a trend another former Republican present at the March 13 vigil has noticed. April Moore is positioning herself for a Democratic challenge of 26th District State Senate Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain in the upcoming election. See her observations on the trend of Republicanism in the Trump era mentioned by Amselle in this linked story.

26th District candidate April Moore worries over the direction of her former party

Of her presence in staunchly Republican Front Royal and Warren County for the March 13 Vigil for Democracy Moore said, “I’m impressed people here in Front Royal have been out here every week for the last two years protesting what the Republican Party has become and what it’s doing: this party that nominated, elected and now serves as accomplices to a president who lies to the public multiple times every day; and who is assaulting our rule of law; and even seems to be in some kind of strange cahoots with our most dangerous adversary.

“So part of why I’m running is the reason they’re out here,” Moore said of Vigil for Democracy participants.

April Moore, Democratic contender for the state 26th District Senatorial seat, addressed the March 13 Vigil for Democracy crowd on her concerns about the impacts national, statewide and local of the Trump presidency.

Bob Hill, who with Jorge Amselle will continue the organizational impetus for the Vigil for Democracy in Sherp’s pending absence, sees a fundamental necessity for that continuation.

“I think the vigil has been an awakening for a lot of the people here in Front Royal that there is a two-party system and two parties make us stronger. Obviously if you have a one-party system you are heading away from democratic principals,” Hill observed of the role of political dissent in non-totalitarian nations.

Hill, who was a primary vigil player in establishing a dialogue with elements of the pro-Trump contingent across Chester Street, pointed to mutual concerns about local politics.

“My Trump friends over there,” he said gesturing toward Ralph and Michael Waller and their pro-Trump signs across Chester Street, “when I talk to them about what’s going on locally, about the EDA or about insurance policies (against abuses) they’ll say to me ‘Well, it’s the politicians’ and I’ll say ‘What politicians?’ and they’ll say ‘The ones we voted in’ – and I’ll ask ‘What party are they?’ And in staunchly-conservative Warren County and Front Royal the answer with few generally independent exceptions is Republican.

In August 2017 Bob Hill, right, crossed the Chester St. political divide to help start a dialogue with Trump supporter Ralph Waller, left. The pair found initial common ground over a shared concern for the environment.

“Years ago my wife came home and said, ‘Look, I could be a Republican – I believe in smaller government except for one thing: smaller government would mean fewer people overseeing and making sure that I, as a Republican, don’t think of myself first and foremost.’

“Sure it’s smaller government, but it’s also corrupt government,” Hill said of an unmonitored economic system where the largest and wealthiest competitors are free to prey upon, not only smaller-positioned competitors, but the marketplace itself.

“Sometimes people just don’t see the forest for the trees,” Hill concluded with an age-old expression of the problem of seeing the bigger picture when you find yourself immersed in the middle of that picture.

And when one looks at the political picture being painted by the current occupant of the White House: from a general disregard for federal institutions from law enforcement to intelligence and the diplomatic wing of the State Department, coupled with the number of unfilled federal positions after two-plus years of the Trump presidency, as well as the conflicting professional interests of many who have been appointed to head oversight agencies like the EPA, Commerce and Interior, it would seem the core political issues that have brought Vigil for Democracy participants together for over two years are nowhere near a resolution.

So we imagine you will continue to see these anniversary reports, along with those coming across the Chester Street political divide, for at least another two years …

Two-plus years of the Trump presidency have eased none of Vigil for Democracy founder Len Sherp’s concerns about threats to constitutional norms and the rule of law emanating from the White House.

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Local News

26th District candidate April Moore worries over the direction of her former party



April Moore lauds Front Royal’s Vigil for Democracy’s two-year commitment to political dissent. Photos/Roger Bianchini

As mentioned in Royal Examiner’s lead story on the launch of the third year of Vigil for Democracy demonstrations against the political agenda and lack of transparency of the Trump Administration, April Moore is positioning herself for a Democratic challenge of 26th District State Senate Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain in the upcoming election.

Vigil for Democracy launches into 3rd year in the populist political trenches

In the above linked story we alluded to a concern Moore shared with vigil participant and former Republican Jorge Amselle over what both see as disturbing trends in the Republican base and that base’s elected representatives.

Moore said it is personally painful to witness what she considers a Republican abandonment of inclusive and constructive conservatism in favor of bigotry-tinged extremism because like Amselle, she too has Republican roots.

“I used to be a Republican; I grew up Republican. My parents, I am sure, would just roll over in their graves if they could see what their party has become. And I am trying to help Republicans who don’t like what their party has become to see it and reject it, so they can get to work building a decent, constructive conservative party. Because I think American needs a conservative party that’s constructive.”

Or as conservative columnist George Will has observed, “The American Eagle needs a healthy left and right wing to fly.” But a healthy, constructive conservative voice is not what Moore sees in the current Republican Party, either in Congress, State Legislatures or at its base.

“We’ve all watched what the Republican Party has become right in front of our eyes – and the nomination and election of Trump are just the most visible symbol of that. I mean, this has been building for a generation. We’ve had people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity with this kind of drum beat poisoning people’s minds and getting people to believe things that just aren’t true – getting them to think Democrats are their enemies instead of just people who care about their country and might have different ideas,” Moore observed.

Moore addresses her own concerns about the current political climate to those present to launch the third year of weekly Vigil for Democracy demonstrations against the Trump Administration agenda.

“And a lot of people fall for it. They believe what he or they are saying. It’s very dangerous to our democracy that we have something like 40% of our fellow citizens liking what they see when they watch Trump. I mean okay, maybe people voted for him because they thought ‘Oh okay, let’s have a change’. Now we’ve had three years to watch him tell all these lies and threaten our national security by not even believing his own intelligence agencies – he’ll believe Putin or North Korea’s Kim Jung Un instead of what his own intelligence agencies are telling him. I mean, this is very dangerous. And we have to fight it and try to help people see that even after Trump leaves if you have 40% of our citizens liking what he did it will be an ongoing problem.”

Asked if the primary ongoing problem would be a significant, if at this point minority portion of the American public favoring a move toward authoritarianism based on cults of personality, Moore upped the ante on potential consequences.

“That’s very dangerous, yes,” she said of a rising tide of blind-faith political allegiance steeped in a vilification of enemies, real or imagined. “But even more dangerous than that is the threat of nuclear war. Because Trump has pulled us out of the intermediate-range nuclear missile treaty,” she noted of an agreement between the U.S. and Russia dating to the Reagan era that has kept mid-range nuclear weapons out of Europe on Russia’s western frontier.

It is a frontier many political and military analysts believe current Russian leadership, and we all know who that is, would like to see re-drawn toward former Soviet Union parameters across Eastern Europe.

Asked if a military, perhaps even nuclear, conflict broke out between Russia and the EU or NATO, which side she thought a Trump-led America might throw in with, Moore laughed nervously and moved on to another pending crisis – climate change.

“Climate change is really the biggest challenge confronting humanity. And the president pulled out of the (climate) treaty and he’s saying it’s fake news and fake science – and it’s so harmful. It’s at a time when we’re in great danger and we need to be moving full speed ahead (to correct things). What we really need on climate is a World War II-type effort. We need that big a mobilization; and meanwhile he’s dragging us in the opposite direction.”

We pointed to the negative Republican reaction and vilification of freshmen Democratic House membership rolling out the idea of a “Green New Deal” similar to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic New Deal that created jobs and helped push America out of the Great Depression.

“Yea, that it’s socialism or what is it going to cost,” Moore responded, adding, “Why don’t they consider the cost of doing nothing about climate change, with all the dramatic weather which is only going to get worse; creating many more refugees?”

So one underlying question for many, including former Republicans like Moore and Amselle, at the current political divide across Chester Street in Front Royal on Wednesday afternoons, as well as across Main Street America on any given day, is whether the Republican Party can regain a more moderate philosophical center or will continue a flirtation with political, social and economic extremism.

Ultimately it is a question only those choosing to remain Republican will be able to answer.

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Community Events

Bringing HOPE to Appalachia



See the hope, joy, and appreciation in their smiles as they open their HOPE boxes.

Local small business owners, Ellen Aders of State Farm and Jennifer Avery of Jenspiration LLC & NextHome Realty Select prepare for a second trip to the mountains of our neighboring state, Kentucky. In 2012, HOPE for Appalachia launched its first adventure to bring HOPE to children in our most distressed region of America with just one team visiting 3 schools. This year there will be over 200 people on 7 teams visiting 30 school in 7 counties.

Watch this video to see part of the journey to Appalachia and meet some of the children (and a few seniors) who took part in the 2018 HOPE for Appalachia trip. See the hope, joy, and appreciation in their smiles as they open their HOPE boxes.

Learn about the children and families in the Appalachia region.

In February 2009, Diane Sawyer recorded an ABC News documentary titled: A Hidden America – Children of the Mountains. In this documentary, Diane interviews numerous children and families who have remained hidden in the hills of Appalachia. These families struggle with drug abuse, depression, early death, cancer, toothlessness, and alcoholism. Poverty we can’t imagine. In ways, they have been left behind.

Help stuff HOPE boxes.
This year 100 boxes will be stuffed and sent on the trip to Appalachia from Front Royal. If you are interested in donating items for HOPE boxes, please reference the attached list of items. All items are welcome and appreciated, highlighted indicate greatest need. Girls in 6th-8th grade. All items are requested by April 6th.

Drop off site: Aders Insurance, Ellen Aders
23 Church St, Front Royal, VA 22630
Office number: 540-635-3336
OR Call Jen Avery at 540-683-0790 to help make other arrangements.
* HOPE for Appalachia is a 5013C Non-Profit organization

Hope Boxes Basic Items In Each Box
PK to 2nd Grade 3rd to 5th Grade 6th – 8th Grade
Toothpaste Toothpaste Toothpaste
Socks ( Boys/Girls – Medium) Socks (Boys/Girls – Large) Socks (mens/womens)
Comb/Brush Comb/Brush Comb/Brush
Chapstick Chapstick Chapstick
Pencils Pencils Pencils
Sharpeners Sharpeners Sharpeners
Erasers Erasers Erasers
Crayons Crayons Colored Pencils
Markers Markers Ballpoint pens
Glue Sticks Elmers Glue Highlighters
Character Bodywash Character Bodywash Bodywash Deodorant
Hair bows/Ties Hair bows/Ties Hair bows/Ties
Small Toys Small Toys Small notebook
Shampoo/conditioner Shampoo/conditioner Shampoo/conditioner
**Items highlighted are what we really need! And, our 100 boxes are for little girls

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Local News

I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes week of March 17, 2019



What’s Happening
As weather conditions allow, crews will continue corridor-wide roadway maintenance and address issues as needed, with daily multi-lane closures during daytime and overnight hours on I-66 East and West. Additional activities include:

• Constructing bridge foundations at I-495, Route 28, and Route 234 Business interchanges and the Bull Run Drive overpass

• Constructing retaining walls along I-66

• Clearing trees and brush, grading, and drainage installation at the Route 28, Route 123, Route 50, and I-495 interchanges, and other work zone locations along the corridor

• Paving in the median at the Route 123 interchange

• Clearing trees and brush at the future Manassas Park and Ride Lot near Balls Ford Road

• Grading and drainage installation at the future University Boulevard Park and Ride Lot

• Grading and excavating for the new E.C. Lawrence Park Access Road

• Relocating underground and overhead utilities along I-66 and Route 28

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project will add express lanes stretching 22.5 miles from the Capital Beltway to Route 29 in Gainesville, rebuild major interchanges along the I-66 corridor, create thousands of new park and ride spaces, and expand trail options for cyclists and pedestrians. Learn more at

Upcoming Lane Closures and Traffic Changes
The following planned lane closures are expected to have significant traffic impacts. All work is subject to change based on weather and schedule. Find the latest information on travel conditions and work zones by visiting or downloading the Virginia511 app.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Route 28 North and South at E.C. Lawrence Park
Thursday, March 21: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Temporary outage of the traffic signal at Route 28 North and South at E.C. Lawrence Park for power relocation. The left turn lane from Route 28 North into E.C. Lawrence Park and the left turn lane from E.C. Lawrence Park to Route 28 North will be temporarily closed. Right turns into and out of E.C. Lawrence Park will remain open.

No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Ramp from Route 50 West to I-66 West
Monday, March 18, and Tuesday, March 19: Midnight to 4 a.m.
Temporary closure of the ramp. Traffic will be detoured farther west to Route 608 (West Ox Road) South, then directed to stay to the right for Route 50 East, then follow signs to I-66 West.

I-66 East from Route 123 to Cedar Lane
Wednesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 21: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed on eastbound I-66 with periodic 20-minute stoppages between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead gantry supports.

Ramp from Route 123 South to I-66 West
Friday, March 22: Midnight to 4 a.m.
Temporary closure of the ramp. Traffic will be detoured farther south to I-66 East, stay to the right for Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) North, and then follow signs to I-66 West.

I-66 West from I-495 to west of Cedar Lane
Monday, March 18: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed on westbound I-66 with periodic 20-minute stoppages between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead gantry supports.

I-66 West from Gallows Road to Route 243 (Nutley Street)
Tuesday, March 19: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed on westbound I-66 with periodic 20-minute stoppages between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead gantry supports.

I-66 East from Route 123 to Cedar Lane
Wednesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 21: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed on eastbound I-66 with periodic 20-minute stoppages between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead gantry supports.

I-66 West from I-495 to west of Cedar Lane
Monday, March 18: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed on westbound I-66 with periodic 20-minute stoppages between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead gantry supports.

I-66 West from Gallows Road to Route 243 (Nutley Street)
Tuesday, March 19: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Three lanes will be closed on westbound I-66 with periodic 20-minute stoppages between midnight and 4 a.m. to remove overhead gantry supports.

Ramp from I-66 East to I-495 Express Lanes North and South
Tuesday, March 19: Midnight to 4 a.m.
Temporary closure of the ramp from eastbound I-66 to the northbound and southbound I-495 Express Lanes. Traffic will be directed to use the I-495 general purpose lanes.

Commuter Alternatives
VDOT and the project team have invested in a broad range of programs to help commuters and others stay mobile and safe during construction. Learn more about carpool, vanpool, telework, and commuter bus alternatives.

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Local News

New Executive Director for the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County



United Way

Steven Schetrom has been named the new Executive Director for the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County. Originally from Hardy County, WV, Steven brings a wealth of non-profit and business experience to the position. He received an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education (Social Studies) from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV, and an MBA (Finance, Entrepreneurship) from Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC.

Steven has served for six years as a Lead Pastor in the Assemblies of God, the last four of those years at Bethel Assembly of God in Front Royal, VA. Prior to that, he served as Associate Pastor for three years within the denomination. Additionally, Steven has been an Investment Advisor since September 2008, and established a private practice, Legacy Financial, in August 2009. Steven has in the past been involved with the Kiwanis Club locally, which focuses on helping children in the community, serving as the first President of the Kiwanis Club of Strasburg, VA, from 2010-2011.

The United Way of Front Royal-Warren County is a non-profit organization based in Warren County (134-B Peyton Street, Front Royal, VA, 22630), dedicated to mobilizing the caring power of the community for the common good, so that all individuals and families may achieve their full human potential. The organization focuses in the areas of education, financial stability, and health. The United Way of Front Royal- Warren County is a one-county organization, so all money raised by the organization goes directly back into the local community. The organization partners with a number of local agencies, including Blue Ridge Housing Network, Blue Ridge Opportunities, Healthy Families of Warren County, The Laurel Center, St. Luke Community Clinic, Phoenix Project, and House of Hope.

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Local News

Cline to hold latest Town Hall in Warren County



Ben Cline at WCRC 13th Annual Pig Roast

FRONT ROYAL – Residents of Warren County are invited to a town hall event with Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) next week. This town hall event is an opportunity for residents of Warren County to engage in a dialogue with Rep. Cline about important issues in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.

The Warren County town hall will take place Tuesday, March 19, 2019, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. at American Legion Post 53 located at 22 West 8th Street, Front Royal, VA 22630.

“I look forward to meeting with the citizens of Warren County next week,” Cline said. “As with my previous town hall meetings across the Sixth Congressional District, this town hall will allow me to engage with Warren County residents and take their views to Washington.”

Constituents planning to attend should register at and click on the Warren County Town Hall event. Citizens of Warren County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Congressman Ben Cline became the 35th Congressman to represent the Sixth District of Virginia in 2019. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002 to 2018. Cline lives in Rockbridge County with his wife and two daughters.

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all-day 2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
Mar 18 all-day
2nd annual Car Giveaway event @ Auto Care Clinic
PURPOSE: We are seeking nominations for someone in need of a good, used vehicle to get back and forth to work, school or medical appointments, who can afford to own a vehicle, but can’t afford[...]
10:00 am Grab Some Clay and Create @ The Kiln Doctor, Inc.
Grab Some Clay and Create @ The Kiln Doctor, Inc.
Mar 19 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Grab Some Clay and Create @ The Kiln Doctor, Inc.
March 19th & 21st | Stop in any time between 10am-12pm or 3pm-5pm. Each week we create 5 unique projects that you can choose from. Pieces will be fired and ready for pickup in a week.[...]
10:00 am Spring Flowers and Butterfly Wor... @ The Kiln Doctor
Spring Flowers and Butterfly Wor... @ The Kiln Doctor
Mar 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Spring Flowers and Butterfly Workshop @ The Kiln Doctor
Spring is in the Air Spring Flowers and Butterfly Workshop – March 16th, 10am -12pm, & March 19th, 5pm – 7pm. In honor of 1st day of Spring which is March 20th, we are doing[...]