Local attorney David Downes announces candidacy for School Board member in South River District
Local attorney David Downes announced his candidacy for School Board Member of the South River District on Friday, Novermber 1, 2019. Downes is in a write-in race with Kristen Pence. Downes released this statement:
My name is David Downes. I have a law practice in Front Royal and have been actively involved with our community since I settled here in 1987. Whether through my legal representation of our citizens, as chairman of the Warren County Red Cross, as a member of the United Way, performing activities as a Freemason, or through one of the numerous nonprofit boards and trusts of which I am an active member, I always seek to make our community better.
I have lived in the South River District and practiced law in Warren County for the past thirty-two years. I graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. degree in Communications and Sociology and from the University of Richmond Law School with a juris doctorate degree. My oldest son graduated from Warren County public schools, and went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps before now attending college. My daughter is currently enrolled as a seventh grader in Warren County public schools.
Why are you running for School Board Member for South River District?
I believe that timing is everything and that there is no more important time than this election to turn around the lost confidence in our local government. I bring thirty-two years of legal experience to the table that includes thousands of court cases, appeals, and legislative lobbying. I want the best for our children as students, and for the future of our schools. I want to devote my skills toward solving problems affecting our schools, I will not hesitate to ask the hard questions when seeking funding for our schools, will expect everyone’s best as we work together to support teachers and administrators, and will be insistent on accountability at all levels of our school system.
I have tried to live by my grandfather’s motto that you should make every place better than you found it. He was one of the founders of Camp Rock Enon for the Boy Scouts, and continues to inspire my actions today. My mission is simple: I want to improve the quality of our school system so that all of our students succeed and the quality of life of everyone’s in our community improves.
A stronger school system will also encourage new families to settle here and our children’s families to remain here. To me, there is no more important investment in our future than in the education of our children and our neighbor’s children. I wish to continue my grandfather’s legacy toward community service through contributions to our school board.
What is the biggest problem facing the School Board and how would you solve it?
The most pressing issue facing the School Board is the selection of a new superintendent. This needs to be done as expeditiously as possible during this transitionary period. The most qualified and highly effective candidate must be found. The school board must also be proactive in retaining high quality teachers, improving the students’ quality of education, and providing a safe and secure educational environment. By strengthening our schools, we will increase pride in Warren County. These aspirational goals can be accomplished through hard work, cooperation, transparency, and tenacity.
I believe we can accomplish these goals by creating an environment where everyone – the school board, Superintendent, school administrators and staff, our students, and community – work together to strengthen and improve our schools. I would especially like to increase parental involvement in our schools so that we all are a part of our children’s academic success and accomplishment.
A Pledge to Excellence: Warren County Sheriff’s Office earns prestigious state accreditation
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has proudly announced that they have joined the top 100 law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth in gaining state accreditation. This achievement is significant, as state accreditation is the best measure of a law enforcement agency’s compliance with professional standards. These standards are determined by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, comprised of Virginia sheriffs and police chiefs chosen for their professional expertise and knowledge.
The accreditation process involves a thorough review of every facet of the agency’s organization, management, operations, and administration, thereby ensuring that agency resources are used in alignment with agency goals and objectives and that any internal deficiencies and inefficiencies are promptly addressed before they become public problems.
The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) jointly form the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. Active Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, who are members of the Commission, set professional standards and oversee the accreditation process. The DCJS manages the daily operations of the Commission.
Accreditation offers a range of benefits, including enhanced community understanding of the law enforcement agency and its role in the community. It also boosts public confidence in the agency’s policies and practices, fosters cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and branches of the criminal justice system, and ensures a uniform and efficient delivery of law enforcement services to the community.
For officers within the agency, accreditation ensures the availability of written policies and procedures at all times, provides objective measures to gauge the effectiveness of the agency’s programs and services, and increases employees’ confidence in the effectiveness and efficiency of their own agency.
In essence, accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence in law enforcement. The employees of Warren County Sheriff’s Office now take pride in their agency, knowing it represents the very best in law enforcement.
Accredited Agencies in our area include:
- Berryville Police Department
- Clarke County Sheriff’s Office
- Page County Sheriff’s Office
- Winchester City Sheriff’s Office
- Winchester Police Department
- Woodstock Police Department
Experience the hidden wonder of Middletown’s Ogdens Cave: Exclusive access granted by DCR for one day only
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is set to provide a unique opportunity to the public during Virginia Cave Week from June 4-10. On Tuesday, June 6, between 2-7 p.m., the public will be allowed to tour Ogdens Cave Natural Area Preserve. Normally sealed off due to the delicate species living inside, this one-off event promises an adventure to remember.
Virginia Natural Heritage Program speleologists and cavers, part of DCR, will guide the tours inside the preserve, which will include a short exploration of the cave. Each tour will last up to one hour, giving visitors a glimpse into a fascinating, often unseen world.
Attendees need to prepare adequately for the trip. The department will provide helmets and headlamps, but visitors are advised to wear sturdy shoes or boots with treads, long pants, a light jacket or rugged shirt with long sleeves, and gloves. This is due to the cave temperature maintaining a steady 54 degrees.
For those interested in taking part in this rare opportunity, RSVP by emailing Meredith Weberg at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, June 5. Specific driving directions will be provided to attendees.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Groundhog(s)
These two infant groundhogs serve as a reminder of why you should never trap and relocate adult animals, especially during the Spring and Summer months!
Multiple adult groundhogs were trapped and relocated from a location. Unfortunately, days later, these two baby groundhogs were found out of their burrow, severely emaciated and weak after being without their mother for days.
Relocating animals also can spread disease, causing further suffering to the animals that already exist in the areas these animals are relocated to.
Relocated animals no longer know where to find food or shelter and can find themselves attacked or injured by present animals defending their territory or limited food sources.
Many people think the only option for wildlife conflict is to either relocate the animal or have it euthanized, but there’s a third option—exclusion!
There are many ways to humanely exclude animals from your yard or property that allow the parents to take their babies with them, preventing orphans and the negative consequences of relocation!
If you’re having a problem with a wild animal in your yard or on your property, please give us a call FIRST before taking matters into your own hands. Keeping babies with their parents is always in their best interest!
These two are slowly going through a refeeding protocol and have now begun to eat some solid foods on their own.
Trapping and relocating wildlife is not only illegal in Virginia and most other localities, but it’s also inhumane and unethical.
Relocating an animal causes situations like these, where orphans who otherwise would’ve grown up with their natural parents now have to be cared for in a rehabilitation setting. Many more orphans are never found and are left to die from starvation or the elements slowly.
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.
Warren County commits to supporting veterans with U.S. Army PaYS partnership
An important ceremony is set to take place on June 7, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., marking a significant partnership between the U.S. Army and the County of Warren. The Army Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) signing ceremony will be held in the Community Room of the Warren County Public Safety Building, located at 200 Skyline Vista Drive, Front Royal, VA 22630. The public is cordially invited to witness this monumental event.
Initiated by Sheriff Mark Butler, an Army veteran himself, this partnership aims to increase the recruitment of qualified personnel for the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Butler’s familiarity with the Army PaYS program led to the establishment of this partnership, which is expected to significantly increase the pool of qualified applicants while guaranteeing interviews for veterans.
In an effort to extend the benefits of this partnership, the Warren County Human Resources Department also expressed its desire to join the Army PaYS program. Following this, on December 6, 2022, the County of Warren was made an official Army PaYS partner with the signing of an agreement by Warren County Administrator Dr. Edwin Daley.
The Army PaYS program is an initiative designed to assist soldiers as they transition into civilian careers after their service. The program connects them with employers who value the skills, discipline, and work ethic that military service members bring to their businesses. The program also encourages business owners to view the Army as a reliable and plentiful source of recruitment.
Since its inception in 2000, the Army PaYS program has partnered with more than 1020 employers, indicating the program’s broad reach and impact. The U.S. Army and the County of Warren’s partnership promise to further extend this impact, opening up more opportunities for veterans and aiding in their smooth transition into civilian life.
A Day of Remembrance: Colonel James Wood II Chapter, Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution and American Red Cross hold Memorial Day event
The hallowed grounds of Winchester’s National Cemetery reverberated with the echoes of history this Memorial Day. Local citizens, the youth of Cub Scout Den 45, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution (named after Colonel James Wood II, an influential figure in the American Revolution), and the American Red Cross (a humanitarian organization tracing its roots back to 1881) came together to pay homage to the heroes of our past.
This event beautifully encapsulated a tradition that traces its lineage to the era of the Civil War. The roots of this observance trace back to a suggestion by Henry Welles in 1865 in the village of Waterloo, New York, for a day of decorating the graves of the fallen Civil War heroes, which came to be known as Decoration Day.
In keeping with this rich history, ahead of the Memorial Day ceremony on May 29th, flags were placed on the graves at the National Cemetery. Leslie Caliva of the American Red Cross, an organization with a rich history of service, hosted the formal observance. The color guard, led by Commander Brett Osborn, and the honor guard, led by Jim Cordes, presented colors in a show of respect for the fallen.
CJWII Chaplain Thomas Reed, inheriting the historic title of Chaplain, offered an inspiring invocation, while the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Charles Hunter, USA (Ret), from the storied VFW Post 2123. The keynote address was given by Terry Stotler, Chief of Voluntary Services at the Martinsburg Veterans Administration Medical Center, detailing the myriad of services the VA provides to support the veterans in the tri-state area of northwest Virginia, northern West Virginia, and western Maryland.
Following a musket salute fired by the SAR Musket Squad and renditions of ‘God Bless America’ and ‘Taps’ by Charles Hunter, SAR members stood alongside dual members Bryan Buck (Fort Harrison), Dave Cook, and Jim Cordes (Fairfax Resolves), participating in the ceremony and bringing history to life.
As we remember our fallen heroes on this Memorial Day, we recognize the historical journey from Decoration Day to Memorial Day and the nationwide observance it has grown into today. This commemoration at the Winchester National Cemetery symbolizes a steadfast tradition and a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Traffic Charges filed after car strikes Downtown Front Royal Pavilion support beam
The below photos show the result of a motorist striking one of the Front Royal Village Commons/Gazebo area Pavilion support beams on Thursday, May 25th. The time of the accident was listed on the resulting traffic summons as 2:27 p.m. (14:27). The driver was identified at the scene by responding Front Royal Police as local resident Elizabeth Ann Smith, age 69. She was issued a summons for “Driving a vehicle which is not under control; Reckless Driving.” No injuries were reported as a result of the accident. Smith has a pending mid-July traffic court date in Warren County General District Court. As of publication, the pavilion remained cordoned off pending permanent repairs.
Wind: 1mph NNW
UV index: 7