Peter Houlahan, author of the book Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History.
Tickets are still available! This event is a fundraiser for Samuels Public Library and a unique opportunity to meet the author of one of the hottest books of 2019, Norco 80. Please consider supporting the library by attending this interesting and educational evening! Cocktails at 6pm, Presentation & Questions at 6:30, Appetizers & Signing at 8pm. Books will be available for purchase for $25.00. To purchase tickets, visit www.samuelslibrary.net, or purchase in-person at Samuels Public Library, 330 East Criser Road, Front Royal, VA.
Money raised through sponsorships and ticket sales at this event will go toward improving the services, programs, and collections that the Library is able to offer the citizens of Front Royal/Warren County and surrounding areas.
“Simply put, Norco ’80 is one of the best true crime accounts ever written. Harrowing, incisive, and important. But also? A goddamned thrill ride. This is a book you’ll read and then talk about for weeks.” – Tod Goldberg, author of Gangsterland
Turning off Etiwanda onto Holmes, a two-lane road lined with ramshackle houses, double-wides, and animal pens, it suddenly occurred to Deputy Rolf Parkes that he might be seconds away from a battle in which he would be outgunned, outmanned, and utterly alone. Rolf abruptly slowed and pulled his cruiser onto the dirt beside the metal fencing of a horse corral to give him time to consider his options. Before he could make any decisions, the yellow truck appeared, traveling at an ominously slow speed. To Parkes, it did not look like a vehicle fleeing police as much as it did one daring anyone to get close to it. And now it was 150 feet away, headed directly toward him.
At once, three men with rifles simultaneously turned their weapons on Rolf. Bullets ricocheted off the pavement in front of him with a singing sound as they fragmented. Others cracked like bullwhips overhead as they shattered the sound barrier on their way to God knows where. There was the tearing sound of rounds striking his vehicle, ripping through multiple layers of metal, plastic, and glass with a guttural, three-dimensional quality. Fragments lacerated the interior and seats while heavier rounds from George Smith’s .308 passed through one side of the vehicle and out the other. Rolf had been around plenty of guns, but this was like nothing he had ever heard before.
Closing in on him, the truck methodically crossed the dotted line, veering into his lane like a trapper walking up to a snared animal to blow its brains out. The fucking thing seemed to amble, in no hurry at all. These sons of bitches are not trying to get away from me, he thought, they are trying to kill me. He was out of options. In the move of a desperate man willing to put anything between himself and death, Rolf Parkes did the only thing he could think of: he rolled up his side window.
Praise for NORCO ’80:
“NORCO 80 somehow makes meticulous research and devotion to the truth fuse with suspense and excitement until the reader is right there, a witness to this guns-blazing account of a crime that changed American law enforcement’s readiness for violence in the extreme.” –Joseph Wambaugh, Best-selling author of The Onion Field.
“There is no doubt that Norco ’80 is poised to become a true crime classic. It’s a marvel of pacing and information—at times racing ahead like a speeding bullet and others slowing down to provide a perfect panorama of a hair’s breadth moment. Houlahan has left nothing unexamined in his obsessively detailed account of this heist from the emotional, to the logistical, to the spiritual. Trust me, you’re going to want to read every word.” —Ivy Pochoda, author of Wonder Valley.
“Norco ’80 reads like a pre-apocalyptic nightmare, and it’s all true. Houlahan’s writing is intimate and stark, and the pacing relentless, as it tells the story of a group of young men who robbed a bank to prepare for the end of the world and succeeded in bringing fire and brimstone to one unfortunate small town and the police sworn to protect it. The reader will feel like a witness to these events as they unfold. Be warned—you will not get anything done until this book is done with you.” —James Renner, author of True Crime Addict.
“As the astonishing mayhem chronicled in this book unfolds, you’ll find yourself wondering, How much worse can this situation get? Answer: a lot. Turning the pages, I kept flashing back to the desperate, duck-for-cover urgency of Black Hawk Down. Meticulously reported and artfully written, NORCO ‘80 is an utterly absorbing, unforgettable, and haunting study of how a series of bad decisions can snowball into something truly disastrous.”––Dave Howard, author of Chasing Phil.
Peter Houlahan is a freelance writer contributing to a wide range of publications. In his career as an emergency medical technician, he has written a number of articles related to his profession. He holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. A native Southern Californian, Houlahan now lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Watch: 44th Military School Band & Festival Concert
On February 23, 2020, the 44th Annual Military School Band and Choir Festival performed their culminating concert in the Melton Gymnasium on the R-MA campus.
The students have spent hours in clinics and rehearsing to bring this concert together. The Festival Concert Band Conductor was Lieutenant (junior grade) Joel Thiesfeldt of the U.S. Navy and the Festival Choir Conductor was Master Sergeant Kerry Wilkerson, USA, Retired.
The festival brought together the top musicians from eight military schools and colleges across the country, including bandsmen and singers from Army & Navy Academy in Carlsbad, CA; Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA; Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX; Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, MO; New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM; Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, VA; Saint John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, WI; and the U. S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.
Watch and enjoy this exclusive Royal Examiner video.
Military schools from around nation gather at Randolph-Macon Academy for Drum Major Competition
On February 21-23, 2020, Randolph-Macon Academy hosted the 44th Military School Band & Chorus Festival. The annual Military School Band & Choir Festival is a three-day clinic for the top musicians from military secondary schools and colleges from across the nation.
Growing from its roots as a festival attended only by bandsmen from the military schools located in Virginia, The Military School Band & Choir Festival has grown into a national event, drawing schools and colleges from across the United States. This year’s festival roster includes more than 100 cadets and bandmasters, choir directors and chaperones from eight military academies. This year’s festival participants are from schools in California, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, Connecticut, and Virginia.
Each festival is structured to include a festival concert band conducted by a noted current, or former, military conductor, and a drum major clinic instructed by an active duty military drum major. A recent addition, now in its third consecutive year, is a festival choir conducted by a noted military choral conductor.
The drum major competition was held on February 22nd in the Melton Gymnasium on the R-MA campus. This was an opportunity for the drum majors to show off what they had learned in the clinics and compete for the Gold Medal: Outstanding Drum Major.
Watch the competition on the exclusive Royal Examiner video and an interview with Senior Chief Musician Michael Bayes from the U.S Navy Band. MUCS Bayes is also the drum major for the Navy Band and conducted the clinic.
Drum Majors and links to the participating schools:
James Bongard – U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
Jonathan Kattnig – U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
Gavin McGahey – U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
Dylan DeViney – Marine Military Academy, Harlingen, TX
Tristyn Gavulic – Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, VA
Liam Griffin – Saint John’s Northwestern Military Academy, Delafield, WI
Devonte Knight – Missouri Military Academy, Mexico, MO
Diego Lopez – Missouri Military Academy, Mexico, MO
Yuqi Liu – Army & Navy Academy, Carlsbad, CA
DonDiego Rains – New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, NM
Barry Zhu – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Austin Johnson – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Sean Loeber – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Jacob Gehly – Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Children’s activities at Samuels Public Library for the month of March
These are the events taking place in the Youth Services Department of Samuels Public Library for the month of March 2020. Thank you for sharing this information. More information about Samuels Library and the programs and services available can be found at www.samuelslibrary.net or by calling (540) 635-3153.
Tuesday, March 3
- 11:00 Time for Baby. What do books, scarves, puppets, music and babies have in common? They are all part of Time for Baby. Join us as we use all of our senses to explore the world around us. This month we will have fun with kites and parachutes! Meet with your baby up to two years of age. Siblings welcome.
Saturday, March 7
- 10:00 Books and Barks. Come to our extremely popular monthly program that gives developing readers the chance to read and relax with a trained therapy dog. For beginning readers and up. Choose a time slot at registration, which begins February 7.
- 2:00 Discuss This. Are you inspired by good books, articles, movies, and art? Do you write, draw, or enjoy playing music? If so, join us as we discuss books and share our creations. This is a group for those who wish to talk seriously about a variety of topics. Refreshments will be provided. For ages 12 and up. Registration begins February 7.
Tuesday, March 10
- 4:30 Novel Ideas. Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! This month, our activities and discussions will be centered on The Wizard of Oz, and Dorothy will be the featured character this week. “There’s no place like home!” For ages 6-11. Registration begins February 10.
Wednesday, March 11 and Thursday, March 12
- 10:15 Toddler Story Time.
- 11:00 Preschool Story Time.
We are going to explore our five senses through the stories, songs, and craft at story time this week. Siblings welcome.
Saturday, March 14
- 11:00 Irish Step Dancing Performance. It has become a tradition to welcome dancers from Jig’N’Jive Dance Studio to perform traditional Irish dances in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Bring the whole family to this lively dance performance.
- 2:00 Chess and More. Meet other kids and teens who enjoy the challenge of a good chess or other board game. For ages 6 and up. Registration begins February 14.
Tuesday, March 17
- 4:30 Novel Ideas. Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! This month, our activities and discussions will be centered on The Wizard of Oz, and Scarecrow will be the featured character this week. “If I only had a brain.” For ages 6-11. Registration begins February 17.
Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19
- 10:15 Toddler Story Time.
- 11:00 Preschool Story Time.
Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about friends! Come to story time and see your friends, and look for new friends to meet! Siblings welcome.
Saturday, March 21
- 11:00 Studio 330. Join Front Royal artist Michael Whited in a class for budding young artists ages 9 to 18. Young artists will complete one work of art in each one-hour session, with the option to add details during the following half-hour. The class emphasizes using basic shapes in drawings and painting, shading and shadowing techniques, and combining elements into a cohesive composition. Techniques may include using colored pencils, water colors, or acrylics. Registration begins February 21.
- 11:00 Emergency Preparedness for Early Childhood Providers. A little over a year ago, Virginia began requiring child care programs to develop emergency preparedness plans. Now, it is time to evaluate our plans, discuss what works and what doesn’t, and update our plans. We believe that with the proper training and resources the suffering of people affected by disasters can be reduced or possibly prevented. Resilient communities must have preparation, relief, and recovery systems in place to ensure that children are safe and families can return to their jobs.
As childcare providers, we serve as a resilience hub in the community. The goal of this training program is to increase the capacity of both center-based and home-based child care providers to prepare for, and respond effectively, in the event of emergencies and natural disasters.
This four-hour free training is perfect for family child care providers, center owners and administrators. Feel free to bring your program’s emergency preparedness plans. You can make updates as we go through the material.
New requirement this year: Any free training that does not have a minimum of 10 registrants must be cancelled. Also, all programs are limited to 2 individuals per class.
- 2:00 World of Lego. Children ages 5 and up are invited to explore all the amazing things you can do with Legos. Real-life buildings out of Legos? Join us for this fascinating topic and building session! Registration begins February 21.
Tuesday, March 24
- 4:30 Novel Ideas. Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! This month, our activities and discussions will be centered on The Wizard of Oz, and Tin Man will be the featured character this week. “Now I know I’ve got a heart because it is breaking.”
For ages 6-11. Registration begins February 24.
Wednesday, March 25 and Thursday, March 26
- 10:15 Toddler Story Time.
- 11:00 Preschool Story Time.
Hear ye! Hear ye! Our stories, songs, and craft this week will be about castles! Siblings welcome.
Saturday, March 28
- 2:00 Mystery in the Library. A well-known historical character has disappeared from the library. Favorite book characters who were there at the time are all suspect. Teens are invited to dress up as popular book characters, and enjoy snacks as they mingle, talk, listen, and discover clues to solve the mystery. For ages 12 and up. Registration begins February 28.
Tuesday, March 31
- 4:30 Novel Ideas. Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! This month, our activities and discussions will be centered on The Wizard of Oz, and Lion will be the featured character this week. “Put ’em up, put ’em up!” For ages 6-11. Registration begins March 1.
US Navy Band – Country Current performs at Randolph-Macon Academy
On Friday, February 21, 2020, the US Navy Band Country Current performed a concert in Boggs Chapel at Randolph-Macon Academy. The United States Navy Band Country Current is the Navy’s premier country-bluegrass ensemble.
If you missed the concert, watch on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Annual membership tea party at the Warren Heritage Society
On February 14, 2020, the Warren Heritage Society held their annual membership tea party. Dale Corey of the Colonel James Wood II Chapter, Virginia Sons of the American Revolution, was the guest speaker. Dale gave a presentation on the history of tea and its effect on the American Revolutionary War. One example: In Wilmington, the women collected tea from residents and had a bonfire in the town square to protest the tariffs on tea. At the Society’s tea party, a collection of tea was made and ceremonial burning of the tea was conducted by Jan Long of the Warren Heritage Society.
If you would like to attend our future events at Warren Heritage Society, please stop by our location, 101 Chester Street, in Front Royal, and become a member today! Our next event will be “Laura Virginia Hale Day” on April 11, 2020, at 2 p.m. This event is open to the public and will be held at the Ivy Lodge and the Archive building.
National Read Across America Day event at the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke
Monday, March 2nd, 2020, is National Read Across America Day. Students of all ages are invited to come to the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke’s pet adoption center, located at 111 Featherbed Lane, Winchester, to read “What Pet Should I Get?” to the shelter pets and enjoy Seuss inspired refreshments and activities.
Doors open at 10 a.m. with ½ price adoptions. The main event begins after school at 3 p.m.
“What Pet Should I Get?” is a collaboration between Gifts Giving Back and the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day, encourage reading, enhance the human animal bond, and have some Dr. Seuss inspired fun!