Front Royal resident and harpist John Kovac has been making the most of his time indoors by using his free time to embrace his clever creative nature. He’s developed a prototype for a qwerty piano keyboard he’s calling a “Tunietype.” He’s also expanded his crafty solar-powered mechanical art collection to include perpetual motion and anti-gravity devices.
In this video, he’ll share several of his unique creations and Beth will test out the ease of his keyboard invention by attempting to play “We are the World” for the first time. His mini and full-sized qwerty keyboards attach to piano keyboards and allow users to type the notes computer-style.
It enables anyone who knows the alphabet to successfully play without any knowledge of musical notes. The entertaining gadget allows aspiring piano players to hunt, peck, and play a tune as if they are typing on a computer.
John has been well-known in Warren County for decades and (pre-COVID) was seen playing at local restaurants weekly and performing at festivals. He’s constructed over 200 harps, has lectured about harp building at the Library of Congress, performed at three international harp conferences, authored articles in harp journals, and has written several books.
He’s available for bookings to provide either solo harp music or a string band for weddings, corporate or special events. Other videos about his Tunietype and solar-powered devices are found on his YouTube channel.
WHAT MATTERS INITIATIVE
Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and YouTube.
Learn more Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at www.whatmattersw2.com – check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or email@example.com.
About WHAT MATTERS:
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’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, or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit www.whatmattersw2.com.
Senator Tim Kaine visits George Banks Blvd
On August 11, 2022, Senator Tim Kaine visited George Banks Blvd and met in the front yard of Cornelia Banks, along with her family, and friends.
On Saturday, June 25th, friends, neighbors, and town officials gathered to officially open George Banks Boulevard on the Town of Front Royal’s north side from East 13th to 16th Street near Edgemont and Scranton Avenues.
Belle Grove to host Jerome Bias as an artist-in-residence
Belle Grove Plantation will host North Carolina furniture maker, Jerome Bias, as an artist-in-residence August 27-October 2.
Mr. Bias has been making period furnishings and studying southern decorative arts for more than 20 years. He was a joiner for Old Salem Museums and Gardens in Winston-Salem and has been a presenter at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, and with the Slave Dwelling Project.
His interest in working at Belle Grove, and at other sites of enslavement like it, is to bring attention to the skilled and talented craftspersons who had significant roles in shaping Southern decorative traditions. These furniture pieces represent the local areas in which they were made, and became a way for the makers, though enslaved, to survive and thrive. Learning and demonstrating these furniture making techniques and skills has been a way for Mr. Bias to connect with his enslaved ancestors, get a glimpse at the pain, trauma, and joys that they experienced, and begin a process of healing. His current project is reproducing pieces of furniture from six areas of the United States in which his family was enslaved, including a buffet from South Carolina, and a china press from Louisville, Kentucky.
While at Belle Grove, Mr. Bias will have both indoor and outdoor workshop spaces where visitors can learn about the pieces he is making, their history, and the history of the craftspersons who inspire him. He will be demonstrating during Belle Grove’s Wine Festival on Saturday, August 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thereafter, he will be doing demonstrations Wednesday-Sundays when Belle Grove is open (10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Sundays). For a specific schedule, please visit bellegrove.org/calendar/artist. Access to these demonstrations will be free of charge.
Another way Mr. Bias has connected with experiences of his ancestors is learning about the foodways of enslaved communities. He will share his experience and talents with hearth cooking during a free program by the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Park Ranger Shannon Moeck, “Kneading in Silence: A Glimpse into the Life of the Enslaved Cook Judah.” It is Sunday, September 4, at 2:30 p.m. in the historic kitchen of the Belle Grove Manor House. Attendees of the program will see first-hand the wide variety of skills, intense labor, and personality characteristics that Judah had to have in order to be the head cook.
Support for Mr. Bias’s residency has been provided through the Interpretation and Education Grants of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Belle Grove is delighted to host Mr. Bias for this residency, and we are excited to share his craft and insights on African-American history with our guests, ” said Executive Director Kristen Laise.
Belle Grove is actively researching and interpreting the African American history of the site and honoring the lives of those enslaved and free. More information may be found at
bellegrove.org/about/enslaved. Some of the stories of the people enslaved at Belle Grove are featured in a monthly newsletter found at virtual.bellegrove.org.
About Belle Grove—Belle Grove Plantation is located off Route 11 at 336 Belle Grove Road just south of Middletown, Virginia, and is conveniently situated to I-81 (exit 302) and I-66. Belle Grove Plantation is a non-profit historic house museum that is a National Trust for Historic Preservation historic site (www.savingplaces.org). It is also one of the legislated partners in Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park (www.nps.gov/cebe).
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Virginia Opossum
Do you know what a baby opossum is called?
Baby opossums are called joeys!
This litter of orphaned joeys came to the Center as tiny, eyes-closed babies after their mom was hit by a vehicle.
Joeys take a lot of work to raise, requiring 5-6 feedings per day, constant cleanings, and lots of enrichment. But everyone in this group is now fully weaned and eating on their own, and they will be moved out to larger, pre-release enclosures soon!
Adult female Virginia Opossums traditionally have litters of babies beginning in February and another in late spring. Each litter can produce as many as 13 babies (though we typically see closer to 5 or 6).
Most of the joeys we admit come to us on hit-by-car moms. Please make sure to watch your speed and pay attention while driving. Do not expect wildlife to simply get out of your way. Though many are hit at night, nocturnal mothers are also foraging during the day to support their large families!
If you see a hit opossum on the roadside or accidentally hit one, and are in a SAFE area to pull over, please check to see if they are alive or if you see any movement in the pouch. Look around for slightly older joeys that may be walking near the body. If the mother is alive or if there are living babies, please call a licensed rehabilitator right away. We are available 9-5pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to help!
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.
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for August 8 – 12, 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 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday (August 13).
Mile marker 8 to 7, westbound – Right lane closures for utility work, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday (August 13).
Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Right shoulder closures for utility work, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday (August 13).
Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Shoulder closures for utility work in the area of Route 664 (Whipporwill Road), 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through August 19.
No lane closures were reported.
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.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: The results of drunk driving could be crushing
During the Labor Day holiday, including the end of summertime and the busy Labor Day weekend, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working alongside the law enforcement community in Warren County to decrease impaired driving. From August 19 through September 5, Warren County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period. In support of the law enforcement community’s dedication to protecting the lives of residents in their communities, you’ll see officers working together during this time to take drunk drivers off the roads. No matter how you plan to celebrate the end of the season this year, make sure you plan it safely.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2016 to 2020, and one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes in 2020. This is why Warren County Sheriff’s Office is working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, but also a matter of life and death. As you head out to festivities during the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting a DUI Checkpoint August 19, 2022.
During the 2020 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 4 – 5:59 a.m. September 8), there were 530 crash fatalities nationwide. Forty-six percent of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking (.01+ BAC). More than one-third (38%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ BAC), and one-fourth (25%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC). Age is a particularly risky factor: Among drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2020, 44% of those drivers were drunk, with BACs of .08 or higher.
For more information on impaired driving, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.
VSP seeking public’s assistance with a crash involving a pedestrian in Fauquier County
Virginia State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying one of the two vehicles that struck a pedestrian Saturday, August 6, in Fauquier County.
Senior Trooper D. Mabie is investigating the crash that occurred at 11:20 p.m. at the intersection of Route 29 (James Madison Hwy) and Route 28 (Catlett Rd).
A pedestrian was walking east across Route 29 when he was struck by a northbound 2017 Alfa Romeo sedan. The driver was unable to avoid the collision and immediately pulled over. A second vehicle then struck the pedestrian and continued on without stopping. This is possibly a white SUV or truck of unknown make and model.
The pedestrian, a 21-year-old male, of Bealeton, Va., suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash and was transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for treatment.
The driver of the Alfa Romeo, a 24-year-old male, of Locust Grove, Va., was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt.
The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing and not in a crosswalk. The Alfa Romeo had a green light.
The crash remains under investigation.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has any information related to this incident is encouraged to call Virginia State Police Senior Trooper D. Mabie at 540-347-6200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.