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Lord Fairfax Health District warns residents of rabies risk



On June 21, 2019, a raccoon was found to be an altercation with two dogs, near Little North Lane, off of Cedar Creek Road (Rte 621) in Shenandoah County. The raccoon was caught and euthanized. It tested positive for rabies, according to the Lord Fairfax Health District.

“This raccoon no longer poses a threat, and the event occurred in a remote area,” stated Lord Fairfax Health District Director Dr. Colin Greene, “however, it should serve as a reminder that any contact with a raccoon, fox, skunk or bat that could result in exposure to the animal’s saliva, should be considered a potential rabies exposure. This applies to humans and domestic animals, and anyone exposed should receive an immediate medical evaluation.

The Health Department further advises:

• Never approach or touch wild animals, especially any raccoon, fox, skunk or bat, especially if it is behaving oddly or if it is seen in the daylight. These animals are the main carriers of rabies in the eastern United States.

• Avoid stray cats and dogs. Feral or unknown cats and dogs may also carry rabies. Report bites or scratches from these animals to your physician or the health department.

• Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies (even if they don’t go outdoors) and keep their shots up to date. Vaccinate working barn cats as well, for their protection and yours.

• Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs. Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.

• Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

• If one of your domestic animals is bitten or otherwise interacts with a wild animal, notify the local health department and animal control officer at once, and have the animal seen by a veterinarian.

If you are bitten, scratched, or licked by any of these animals, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is fatal to both animals and humans once symptoms begin, but it can be prevented in humans if they receive vaccine and medication soon after exposure.

Finally, if in doubt, or if you have a question, call the Shenandoah County Health Department at 540-459-3733.

Additional information on rabies is available from the Virginia Department of Health at

The Lord Fairfax Health District serves residents in the city of Winchester and Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties. For more information, visit

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Attorney General Herring seeks extension of utility disconnection suspensions through duration of State of Emergency



~ Herring filed an emergency petition on March 13th to halt disconnections for non-payment and suspend late charges during the state of emergency ~

RICHMOND (April 7, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has asked the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to extend its utility disconnection suspension through at least June 10th when Virginia’s state of emergency is currently scheduled to end. Last month, the SCC halted utility disconnections for non-payment and suspended late charges following Attorney General Herring’s emergency petition requesting a freeze on disconnections.

“As we continue to grapple with the health and financial crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that this extension is needed to make sure that all Virginians have access to water, power, and gas during the entirety of the state of emergency,” said Attorney General Herring. “This extension is especially important for hourly wage earners and those who work in the service industry who have been particularly affected by social distancing efforts and stay at home orders. I hope the SCC will continue to give Virginians some peace of mind during this time while we continue to ask them to stay home to prevent further spread of this virus.”

As Attorney General Herring explains in the filing “the temporary suspension of service disconnections for the reason of non-payment is needed to minimize adverse impacts on the public health and safety during this period of health and financial crisis.” Additionally, he adds that “during the immediate time of this emergency, the public interest requires that basic needs such as power, heat, and water go uninterrupted for all customers.” The Attorney General has sought the suspension of late fees during this time, but it is important to note that customers will eventually have to pay for the utilities they use during this time. If customers are able to, they should continue to pay their utility bills to avoid higher balances in the future.

In addition to extending the utility disconnection suspensions, Attorney General Herring also asks the SCC to consider the following:

• Reconnect service for any customers who request reconnection who had it disconnected for non-payment before the Suspension Order

• Waive any requirements that would make it harder for utilities to reconnect service

• Suspend late fees

• Provide for any other relief the Commission deems appropriate and necessary

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Second Saturday night fire causes flame jetting phenomenon, injuring two



On Saturday, April 4, 2020, at approximately 7:40 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services were dispatched to the 200 block of 19th Street, Front Royal for a reported
explosion with people injured.

Fire and EMS units along with units from the Front Royal Police Department quickly arrived on the scene to discover that an outside fire pit had been extinguished prior to their arrival. Two patients were noted to have sustained burn-related injuries. One patient was treated on the scene and transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Burn Center via helicopter with significant burn injuries. A second patient was treated at a local medical facility for minor burn injuries.

The incident which was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office was determined to be caused by a phenomenon called “Flame Jetting”. Flame jetting happens when a container of flammable liquid meets an ignition source, causing flames to shoot out of the container for distances of 15 feet or greater. This type of event is often unexpected and extremely dangerous. This blowtorch-like effect can engulf bystanders in flames, leading to serious injury or even death.

Photo courtesy of Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.


In this incident, a container of “weathered” gasoline was utilized in an attempt to accelerate the combustion within the outdoor fire pit. As the vapors ignited, the fire traveled into the container causing an over pressurization and rupture of the container resulting in the flame jetting event to occur. This caused the significant burn injuries to the bystander, burn injuries to the victim holding the container and damages the home ten feet away.

Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico stated, “while this event is certainly unfortunate, it should serve as a reminder that flammable liquids and open flames are a potentially deadly combination.” The Department of Fire and Rescue Services urges the following safety precautions when conducting fire pit activities:

• Never use gasoline as a starter fluid for any type of fire.

• Never leave a fire pit unattended.

• Never leave children or pets unattended near a fire pit.

• Consider investing in a wire mesh cover to keep embers inside and help prevent children
or pets from falling in.

• Limit the amount of fuel you put in the fire—just put what’s necessary to keep it burning

• Don’t put garbage or paper products into the fire. They can easily spark and throw off
embers or burning remnants.

• Don’t wear flammable or loose-fit clothing while near the pit.

• Don’t burn softwoods like pine or cedar. These can “pop” and throw sparks.

• Even if you follow all of these guidelines, accidents still happen. Keep a container of
water and a hose nearby in case of an emergency.

For more information with regards to the flame jetting phenomenon, visit or visit

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Saturday night fire destroys home, cause remains under investigation



Photo courtesy of Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.


On Saturday, April 4, 2020, at approximately 8:00 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services received a report of a residential structure fire located in the 1000 block of
Harmony Orchard Road, Front Royal.

Units quickly arrived on the scene to discover a two-story, single-family home with significant fire conditions throughout the structure. The home appeared unoccupied at the time of the fire
and based on the number of fire conditions and structural instability, fire suppression efforts were executed from the exterior of the home for safety concerns. It took firefighters approximately 40
minutes to bring the fire under control. The home was rendered a total loss.

During the course of the incident, a firefighter sustained a traumatic injury and was treated on the scene and transported to Warren Memorial Hospital for further treatment and evaluation.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office with assistance from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.

Anyone with information with regards to this incident is asked to contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or email or contact Sheriff’s Office
Investigator Scott Baker at 540-635-7100 or email

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Randolph-Macon Academy offers virtual Q&A sessions




Randolph-Macon Academy will host a Virtual Q&A Session on Thursday, April 16th, at 7:00 pm.

The session hosts will be the Director of Enrollment Management, Clare Dame, and the Director of Admission and Financial Aid, Amy Harriman. Families interested in applying to Randolph-Macon Academy, or those having questions about the private school admission process in general, are welcome to attend.

To register, visit, or email

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Valley Health launches community challenge to make 10,000 masks in two weeks



Valley Health announced an interactive challenge that provides community members an opportunity to put their creative talents to work to meet a crucial need.

The goal of the “Sew Helpful Community Challenge” is to produce 10,000 hand-made masks in two weeks. The masks will help Valley Health preserve and extend its supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to care for patients in the weeks ahead.

For more information on the Sew Helpful Community Challenge, visit Valley Health’s web site – — and click on the COVID-19 banner across the top. There are step-by-step instructions and a how-to video for making masks that will afford the highest level of protection. For those who sew but do not have appropriate mask material, a limited number of pre-cut mask kits are available for pick-up. Call 540-536-8158 for more information.

Valley Health is also accepting donations of materials and other supplies. Please email if you can help.

Valley Health is heartened and encouraged by the tremendous outpouring of support its staff and facilities have received from the community, including donations of food for employees, PPE supplies and monetary support. To learn more about how you can help our community win the battle against COVID-19, visit .

Download instructions here.

Video Instruction (Without Elastic)

Video Instruction (With Elastic)

Drop Off Locations

Masks may be dropped off weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:

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Town Talk: A conversation with Sheriff Mark Butler



Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to:

In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler.


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