As noted in a related story, at the invitation of Front Royal Town Councilman Gary Gillispie Warren County Builder’s Association President George Cline was invited to speak to council members at the Tuesday, Feb. 15 work session. On the agenda prior to Cline addressing the group was a presentation by Town Manager Steven Hicks on the Town’s recently created Building Permits and Inspections Department.
Hicks told the builders the department was created to offer “one-stop shopping” and more efficiency overall. He also stated that the Town of Front Royal could not address blighted property without a building inspection department, which Cline noted appears to be untrue according to Virginia Code.
Gillispie, who works as a professional plumbing and gas inspector for Loudoun County, stated Tuesday evening, “We’ve got all the tools we need to take care of the blighted properties right now. – Period, as long as council has the appetite to do it.”
Local builders are no doubt concerned about what they perceive as Mayor Holloway getting special treatment from the town manager last year in fast-tracking a non-conforming six-unit subdivision request for the mayor’s company, Chris Holloway Construction, LLC.
An investigation late last year by former Town Attorney Doug Napier suggests that while no laws were broken, Hicks did assist Holloway in getting his subdivision approved outside normal processes, more quickly. Napier wrote in the report, “In this case, it is clear from all staff reports that the Town Manager in effect personally ‘carried the ball’ for Mr. Holloway’s application making sure that the Planning and Public Works Departments and their staffs knew that the Town Manager was overseeing the re-subdivision application for Mr. Holloway, and the Town Manager wanted this application expedited as quickly as possible.”
When Cline addressed council on February 15, minus the mayor who was not in attendance, he referred to an email sent to him on January 26 by Hicks, asking why questions Cline emailed to council members were not sent to him instead.
Cline stated,” I didn’t answer that question right away because I wasn’t sure how I was going to answer it. It was emailed to me. I’ve taken some time and I’ve thought long and hard about it because I really wasn’t sure how I wanted to answer it or if I wanted to answer it, but over the last couple of weeks, I’ve decided I know how to answer it.
“And this is my answer: The town and county’s taxpayers and citizens have suffered greatly from the lack of everyone’s transparency and accountability in this area in the last several years. There is no need to rehash what or why or because – everybody sitting here already knows why. It is truly sad that one individual cannot ask the town manager, a county administrator, or a department supervisor a question and know for sure he or she is getting the correct answer, with full transparency and accountability. Instead, we have to show up in groups of two or more, as you can see, so we have witnesses of each conversation.
“We have to do so much nonsense – things such as FOIA requests to know if the right decisions have been made with the citizens’ well-being put first and foremost. We have to research every decision and every approval to ensure that everyone is given the same process the same ordinance and the same treatment.
“The town council, board of supervisors, town manager, county administrator are all positions that we citizens should have the utmost respect and trust for. (They are) positions that integrity means everything. But because of the info and the documents that I have received in the last couple of weeks we now have no trust in our Town. We cannot send questions to just one person, we cannot send emails to a single address and be confident that we are truly getting the correct and fair answer. And this, Mr. Hicks, and the town council is why we do what we do”.
Cline said after the meeting that the distrust some builders felt would not be easily repaired. “They’ll have to earn our trust back,” he told Royal Examiner.
Following Cline’s address, there was some conversation between the council members and the group of builders who showed up for the meeting. Several of them expressed concern about the town’s building department, including the fact that several of them were about to get permits, but did not want to do so until a solution was implemented.
Click here to watch the Front Royal Town Council work session Tuesday evening, February 15.
Virginia State Police seeking public’s help with identifying deceased pedestrian in Warren County
The Virginia State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with a fatal pedestrian crash that occurred on Interstate 66 in Warren County.
The crash occurred Sunday (July 3) at 3 a.m. on I-66 near the 14-mile marker, approximately a mile east of Exit 13 for Route 79/Linden/Front Royal. An adult male pedestrian had been struck in the eastbound travel lane. The striking vehicle immediately pulled over and remained at the scene. Another vehicle was already on the shoulder with two Hispanic males standing outside of it. When the other driver approached the males, they got into their vehicle, a 4-door sedan, and drove off.
The male pedestrian died at the scene. He is a Hispanic male and believed to be in his mid-20s and possibly Honduran, based on information found on his person at the scene. The male was transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner for positive identification, examination, and autopsy. It is possible that the pedestrian had been in the sedan prior to being struck.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has any information related to this incident and/or the deceased male is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police by dialing #77 or 540-829-7766 or emailing email@example.com.
A View from a bench on Main Street: Baseball, Fireworks, and a Car Show
On Saturday afternoon, our publisher Mike McCool, joined by C&C Frozen Treats proprietor William Huck on a bench in From of White Picket Fence on the 400 block of Main Street in Front Royal, and discussed all the events going on in Front Royal this holiday weekend. From baseball to fireworks to a car show – all happening in Front Royal.
There is a baseball game on Saturday night, the Front Royal Cardinals vs. Winchester Royals with the pre-game action starting at 6:30 pm. On Sunday, a double-header, Front Royal Cardinals vs. Harrisonburg Turks, with pre-game action at 4:00 pm. If you can’t make the games, you can watch live on the Royal Examiner.
After the game on Sunday, the Town of Front will be hosting fireworks at Bing Crosby Stadium. Don’t forget the car show, starting at noon on Sunday at Lindsay Chevrolet on South Royal Avenue.
Lots to do – enjoy the weekend with family and friends – celebrate responsibly and don’t drink and drive.
As your holiday weekend festivities begin, don’t forget to remember why the 4th is officially called Independence Day. The name observes the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and equally celebrates our declared independence from Britain.
Earlier on Saturday, the Royal Examiner was at the Warren Heritage Society, where the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution read the Declaration of Independence on the porch of the Archives. Read more here.
The Declaration of Independence: What Does it Say?
On 2 July, at 11:30, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution read the Declaration of Independence on the porch of the Archives at the Warren Heritage Society. The Chapter Color Guard also fired a three-volley musket salute to commemorate the signing of the document.
Participating Compatriots: Sean Carrigan, Paul Christensen, Dave Cook, Jim Cordes, Dale Corey, Chip Daniel, Jim Heflin, Marc Robinson, Bill Schwetke, Jime Simmons, Mike St Jacques, and Richard Tyler.
Visit the Warren Heritage Society at 101 Chester Street in Front Royal for more information on the Virginia signers of the Declaration of Independence.
The National Archives provided us with the following:
The Declaration of Independence was designed for multiple audiences: the King, the colonists, and the world. It was also designed to multitask. Its goals were to rally the troops, win foreign allies, and to announce the creation of a new country. The introductory sentence states the Declaration’s main purpose, to explain the colonists’ right to revolution. In other words, “to declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Congress had to prove the legitimacy of its cause. It had just defied the most powerful nation on Earth. It needed to motivate foreign allies to join the fight.
These are the lines contemporary Americans know best: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” These stirring words were designed to convince Americans to put their lives on the line for the cause. Separation from the mother country threatened their sense of security, economic stability, and identity. The preamble sought to inspire and unite them through the vision of a better life.
List of Grievances
The list of 27 complaints against King George III constitute the proof of the right to rebellion. Congress cast “the causes which impel them to separation” in universal terms for an international audience. Join our fight, reads the subtext, and you join humankind’s fight against tyranny.
Resolution of Independence
The most important and dramatic statement comes near the end: “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” It declares a complete break with Britain and its King and claims the powers of an independent country.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.
In Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Georgia – Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
North Carolina – William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina – Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Massachusetts – John Hancock
Maryland – Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia – George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
Pennsylvania – Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware – Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
New York – William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey – Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
New Hampshire – Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple
Massachusetts – Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island – Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut – Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire – Matthew Thornton
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for July 4 – 8, 2022
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Right shoulder closures for utility work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm through July 30.
*NEW* Mile marker 7 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Overnight single lane closures for pavement marking, Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am.
Mile marker 8 to 7, westbound – Right lane closures for utility work, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm through July 30.
Mile marker 300 to 299, northbound and southbound – Right shoulder closures for utility work, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm through July 30.
Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Flagger traffic control for safety improvements between Shenandoah County line and Front Royal town limits, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm through July 29.
Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Shoulder closures for utility work in the area of Route 664 (Whipporwill Road), 8:30 am to 3:30 pm through July 15.
Various roads – Flagger traffic control when needed for debris cleanup. Weekdays during daylight hours. Estimated completion July 22.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Town man charged with 20 felony counts of child pornography possession after lengthy investigation
Following an eight-month investigation, Front Royal Police officers have arrested a town man for possession of child pornography.
Richard E. Jones, 41, of Front Royal, was arrested on Thursday, June 30, and transported to the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail, where he was charged with 20 felony counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
A Friday media release from Police Chief Kahle Magalis states that detectives, on Oct. 12, 2021, executed a search warrant on an Accomac Drive home, where “several electronic devices were located and seized for evidentiary purposes.” The release says, “Over 400 images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) were extracted from the seized electronics.”
Jones went before the magistrate and was ordered to be held without bond. He has an initial court date for the listed offenses on July 28, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
FRPD Detective T. A. Smith is the lead investigator in the case. Anyone with further information regarding this case is asked to contact Detective Smith at (540) 636-2208 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Front Royal Police Department is an active member of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro (NOVA/DC) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is coordinated by the Virginia State Police. Anyone with information regarding the solicitation or exploitation of a minor is encouraged to contact the Front Royal Police Department.
Front Royal Police investigating an unattended death in Town
The Front Royal Police Department is investigating an unattended death after responding to a Thursday night, June 30 call around 10:30 p.m.
Upon arriving at First Bank, at 1729 North Shenandoah Avenue, officers located a deceased white male, 41, in the grassy area between First Bank and United Bank parking lots. The Front Royal man, whom the FRPD has not identified, appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A media release from FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis said the victim was not affiliated with the bank and is believed to have walked there from a nearby hotel. This incident is under investigation with assistance from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The release states, “Due to the pending nature of this ongoing investigation and respect for his family, no further details can be provided at this time.”
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Detective T. A. Smith at (540) 636-2208 or by email at email@example.com.