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Move Over Law: Drive safely to protect first-responders and highway workers

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The families of three firefighters were forever changed on the night of October 11, 2018 when a tractor-trailer crashed into the back of a Hanover County firetruck on Interstate 295. Lt. Brad Clark’s family is reminded daily of his tragic death. Our prayers and thoughts go out to them as they prepare to spend their first Christmas without him. We wish the two firefighters who survived the crash strength and wellbeing as they continue their journeys of recovery. That incident occurred during the heavy rains of Tropical Storm Michael.

Record December snowfall Dec. 9, 2018 led to at least four Virginia State Police troopers being struck by skidding vehicles in a 12-hour period on slick interstates in Central and Southwest Virginia. Thankfully the troopers’ injuries were only minor and the other drivers remained safe.

For the men and women whose “office” is the highway, these incidents are not limited to major weather events. Close calls, injury and death are a daily risk to every state and local law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMS worker, highway maintenance employee, and tow truck operator working across the Commonwealth. Even the arrow boards, crash cushions and barrels in a highway work zone are not enough to guarantee one’s safety. In February of this year, a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) contract employee was struck and killed in an active work zone on Interstate 95 in Prince George County by a distracted driver. Another family we remember during the holiday season.

At the beginning of this month, Governor Northam issued a directive to establish the Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety. The mission of this collaboration among the Virginia departments of Education, Health, Motor Vehicles, State Police and Transportation and traffic safety advocates is to reduce the rising number of fatalities on Virginia’s roadways. The directive is to save more lives through the advancement of education, engineering and enforcement relative to traffic safety. Those most committed to achieving such objectives are the very ones most at risk or harm for the purpose of saving others.

Like all 50 states, Virginia has what is called a “Move Over” law. It’s a state law designed to protect those working alongside the highways by requiring motorists to move a lane away from vehicles stopped on the side of a road with flashing red, blue or amber lights. If unable to move over, then the Code of Virginia requires a driver to pass such vehicles “cautiously”. Simple as this concept may be, those few extra feet can mean the difference between life and death. Yet across the nation traffic incidents continue to be the leading cause of death for law enforcement and highway maintenance workers; and the second leading cause for firefighter deaths in the nation.

There are a number of special days and weeks designated to recognize these professionals and their work. April has National Work Zone Awareness Week. June is designated in Virginia as “Move Over Month.” There are efforts underway to designate a National Tow Truck Operator Week in September. In October, Virginia has special days designated to recognize firefighters for their service and sacrifice. Our firefighters, state troopers, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, highway maintenance workers and tow truck operators – spend every day on our highways working to serve and protect the motoring public. They are dependent on every driver observing the Move Over law every day and not just some of the time.

The first priority of a police officer is to go home to his or her family at the end of the shift. This applies to all those working alongside a Virginia highway in a vehicle with red, blue, or amber lights. It is time for Virginians to take a serious step forward to help save the lives of those who have chosen a career to look out for and save ours.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran

Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Protest Board of Supervisors’ attempts to silence Egger

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All law-abiding citizens of Front Royal are strongly encouraged to attend a public hearing in the County Government Building, 220 N. Commerce Ave. across the street from the post office, on Tuesday, January 22nd at 7 p.m. — and protest the disgraceful actions of three members of the Warren County Board of Supervisors to silence Mark Egger a courageous member of our community.

The three board members — Tony Carter, Dan Murray, and Linda Glavis — are shamefully trying to force a change to Warren County Code 56-3 that has been on the books since 1975 — a total of 44 years. The current law allows a private citizen to appear before the Board Supervisors and talk at length on an item of public interest that two members of the board consider important enough to be heard.

The change to Code 56-3 that Carter, Murray, and Glavis want to implement would:

Eliminate the ability of two supervisors — a minority on the board — to demand a citizen of Front Royal be allowed to speak at length on a subject that the two members deem important.

Limit a speaker to no more than three minutes at any one meeting.

Limit the number of meetings at which a speaker can talk on the same subject to no more than three in a twelve-month period.

The reason Carter, Murray, and Glavis are pushing this change is that Mark Egger had the audacity and courage to stand before the Board of Supervisors at meetings in February, May, and November 2018 and talk for a total of about 37 minutes in detail about the hanky-panky — dirty-trick shenanigans — of the Economic Development Authority (EDA) board appointed by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Carter, Murray, and Glavis did not like what Mark said.

In his testimony, Mark presented clear and convincing evidence that:

The EDA board awarded thirty acres of EDA property to a shell company.
Two fake crimes appeared to have been committed.
The EDA board held closed meetings under questionable premises — and the Warren County Board of Supervisors did nothing.
The EDA board told the Front Royal Police Department to stop investigating a crime — and the Warren County Board of Supervisors did nothing.
Members of the EDA board refused to answer legitimate questions from the Warren County Board of Supervisors that appointed them — and the Board of Supervisors did nothing
$140,000 of taxpayers’ money is now being spent to investigate clear financial irregularities of the EDA board — money that could have been saved if the Board of Supervisors had taken prompt action a year ago when Mark brought evidence of irregularities to their attention.
The entire EDA board should be fired and a new one appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

The citizens of Front Royal must not allow Code 56-3 to be changed. The law must remain on the books exactly as written.

If Carter, Murray, and Glavis do pass this change by a 3-2 vote, they must be told at Tuesday’s public hearing — in no uncertain terms — that a rising groundswell of opposition to the corruption of the EDA board will spare no effort to vote them out of office at the first opportunity — and Change 56-3 back to what it was!

Pass the word to family and friends to come to the public hearing and sign up to speak on Mark’s behalf. Get there early to sign up. Speakers talk in the order in which they sign up. Each speaker will be given three minutes to talk.

There are four public hearings on the 22nd. Make sure you sign up for the correct one.

Let’s pack the meeting room at the County Government Building at 7 p.m. on the 22nd with Mark Egger supporters!

P.S. For those of you who want to see and hear Mark speak before the Board of Supervisors in February, May, and November 2018, here are videos of all three appearances:

November 20, 2018

May 1, 2018

February 20, 2018

John Lundberg is a citizen of Warren County.

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Opinion

Elections Matter?

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Last week, the Stephens City Town Council appeared to take a page from the GOP playbook when they decided to confiscate powers from the newly elected mayor, Michael Diaz. The Council voted to remove powers given to the Mayor by the town charter and transfer them to the town manager.

Mr. Diaz was elected in November to the mayoral position, but the Town Council took it upon themselves to strip the new Mayor of supervisory duties and relegate his role to being “consulted for general advice.”

This unfortunate notion that one party believes their views so correct that they justify usurping the public’s will expressed by voters seems to reflect the Republican view that has seized power in other instances across the country. Apparently, patriotism does not extend to voter representation when it conflicts with the Republican right to rule.

Steve Foreman
Chair, Warren County Democratic Committee

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Opinion

What Christmas is all about: “We cannot go to Him; He had to come to us”

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Wonderful? Marvelous? Glorious? What words could adequately describe the experience of yet another Christmas?

Yes, Christmas, the celebration of His birth. Whose birth? God’s birth! God incarnate, the God-Man!

Yes, the God of the Bible, the One and only God who created all that exists, including creating and breathing life into man.

Yes, the only and very God who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden Of Eden! The Scriptures speak of Him as the One “whose going forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

But why? His own great love and nature compelled Him to do so, for mankind had fallen into sin and was lost and separated from Him. The result was that death came upon all men, not only physically but spiritually as well.

For scripture says man became a living soul, and the soul that sins will die. Further, it says “there is none that sinneth not, no, not one.”

Thus, being/having a soul, we are all lost and without hope of living and escaping death. Perishing is where we find ourselves. Our situation: we cannot remove the stain of sin and thus perfect ourselves before God and His law. We cannot find Him. He has to find us.

Further, being temporal, physical beings we are unable to approach Him, and, however earnest and pure in thought, plead our case to Him.

We do not have such standing before His holy, righteous and majestic throne. Simply put, WE CANNOT GO TO HIM. Simply put again, HE HAD TO COME TO US!

And that is what Christmas is all about. He saw that mankind needed deliverance; hence, a Saviour, a Redeemer. God delivered! And because of the babe in the manger, I and all others who accept Him can shout with the hymnal writer, who, in speaking to our physical deaths, says; “….this robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise to seize the everlasting prize!”

God’s gift is eternal life, never to die. Death has been swallowed up in victory!

Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, VA

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Opinion

Jesus, Miracle Worker

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Seeing the words, “I make beer disappear” on a man’s shirt, I asked him if he worked miracles since he was able to make beer disappear, and he replied that all he did was put it in his tummy and his tummy did the rest.

Miracles? I immediately thought about Jesus, the greatest miracle worker of all the ages. It was, however, about water, not beer. Not only did he make it disappear, he turned it into wine!

Jesus said that he was doing things that no man had ever done before, which helps people understand that he was saying that he was God; saying “If you can’t believe my words, believe for my works’ sake!”

As God, Jesus could say, “I am the light of the world, and he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And further, that he would lay down his life for his sheep; indicating the path he would take in order to bestow eternal life to his sheep.

Being God, Jesus could ask when healing the man with palsy, “Which is easier to say, your sins be forgiven you, or take up your bed and walk?” The Jews had just remarked that God alone can forgive sins. Well, only God could do either one! Jesus said further that he said what he did in order that “…you might know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sin,” saying, in effect, I am God!

But how could God give his life for mankind; who, having spurned his love in the Garden Of Eden, continues to reject him to serve other Gods? Well, God says it’s not about us (who are as filthy rags in his sight; therefore, nothing to love) but all about him. For he said; “I am God and not man!” So in his perfect love he loves us IN SPITE OF our sinfulness and unworthiness. So, can you possibly fathom that God; yes,  Almighty God, the Heavenly Father, in order to “win back” his lost love, came “courting” to regain what was lost to him? Remember that the Scriptures say, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” Truly, he must be saying, “Be Mine!” Believe and follow me and I will give you the water of life and you will never thirst again; and the bread of life and you will never be hungry again; and not only will you never die, I will never leave you nor forsake you!

It’s been said that to love someone you must get to know them. Well, Jesus knows us through and through because he created us! Could it be then, that he doesn’t love us as we are but for what we have the potential to become as the result of the workings of a wondrous miracle of God; or more pointedly, from “the touch of the Master’s hand?”

Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, VA

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Opinion

Veteran: Jennifer Lewis will protect health care for those with pre-existing conditions

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To the Editor:

I have been fortunate to count so many veterans as friends and family. As a veteran myself, I am familiar with the many sacrifices these men and women make for our country. I never experience combat myself, but I know some veterans who have and some still carry those scars with them suffering from PTSD or struggling with substance abuse. This issue got my attention recently with a shocking statistic. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have resulted in nearly 6,000 combat deaths of our service members. In that same period over 200,000 veterans have committed suicide, twice the rate of non-veterans.

On November 6th we go to the polls to pick our leaders in Congress. Leaders who will decide the future of health care, including mental health care, in this country. In the 6th district, one candidate wants to eliminate health care coverage for 20 million Americans and strip us of protections for pre-existent conditions, including PTSD. His opponent is a mental health care worker who has promised to expand access to health care for all and to protect health care for those with pre-existent conditions. That candidate is Jennifer Lewis.

Jorge Amselle
Front Royal, VA 
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Opinion

With Trump, America is winning

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Two years ago this week, Democrats were stunned when they lost in strongholds they had taken for granted. We recall that, after candidate Clinton had mocked Trump voters as “deplorables,” she went on to brand them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.”

Yes, these are the same miserable folks whom Obama, as president, had called “bitter” because “they cling to guns or religion.”

After all that, one wonders, how could these deplorable losers not vote for Hillary?

Well, we didn’t. And you’d think Democrats had learned their lesson – but they’re at it again. Left-wing bigotry abounds. An MSNBC commentator of color asserts that white men are the most likely terrorists – referring perhaps to John Hodgkinson, the Democrat Bernie Sanders volunteer who attempted to massacre an entire baseball field of Republican Congressmen last year. Or to the Antifa terrorists who brutally attacked a group of Young Republicans waiting to hear a conservative speaker at Cal-Berkeley (yes, those the terrorists were indeed white, a fact revealed only after they were arrested and forced to remove their masks and body armor).

Despite their stinging loss in 2016, this year’s Democrats are more radical than ever. Their heroes preach socialism, but socialist Bernie Sanders won’t answer when asked about Venezuela, where socialism has brought the vast majority of the population to the point of starvation, and the inflation rate is somewhere between 25,000% and 30,000%.

(To make sure you’re still distracted, this past Tuesday Socialist Sanders called Trump “the most racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted president in history.” He has nothing left but epithets).

Why do our socialist Democrat friends want you to ignore Venezuela? Because they don’t want you to know that socialism means government ownership and control of the economy, which invariably leads to economic and social collapse.

However, if you do happen to believe that government can run your life better than you can, be sure to vote for them.

Socialism’s bad enough – but wait, there’s more. Hillary “passionately” wants to change the Constitution so Democrats can win more easily. Virginia’s own Senator Tim Kaine, her 2016, running mate, is just as extreme, sporting a 100% approval rating from the National Abortion “Rights” Action League, a group that considers unborn babies fair game for the abortionist until they are entirely out of the womb.

The Left’s tsunami of epithets is designed to distract us not only from the Democrats’ record, but from Donald Trump’s. And it not surprising, when you take a look at the how things have changed in America since January 2017.

Democrats and their elite establishment friends don’t want you to notice the accomplishments that have benefited our neighbors of all classes, colors ethnic groups, and denominations. Obama’s dreary, anemic economy is now history. In the past two years, four 4 million new jobs have been created. Economic growth last quarter hit 4.2 percent. New unemployment claims recently hit a 49-year low. Median household income has hit the highest level ever recorded. African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American unemployment rates have reached the lowest rate ever recorded. Women’s unemployment recently reached its lowest rate in 65 years. Almost 3.9 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.

Trump’s tax reform means that small businesses will have the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years. With the doubling of the Standard Exemption, millions of families will no longer have to itemize deductions (and pay an accountant to file their taxes).

And here’s a gem they won’t mention. After years of demanding that Republicans must “tax the rich,” Democrats in states like California, New York, and New Jersey, are complaining because Trump’s tax reform does raise taxes the rich – raises them so much, in fact, that Democrat state legislators are already hard at work trying to get around it.

Donald Trump’s policy improvements are not limited to the booming economy. He has reversed the pro-abortion policies of the Clinton and Obama Administrations that sent millions in US taxpayer funds to fund abortions in Third World countries. He has freed religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor from the onerous pro-abortion policies of Obamacare. He has appointed two sterling Supreme Court justices who will consider cases according to the Constitution, and not the agenda of the Democratic National Committee. He has defended the rule of law and demands that foreigners obey our laws when entering the US, just like the rest of us do here at home. After years of bipartisan weakness, he has confronted China and other trading partners to demand a level playing field in trade – resulting in tens of thousands of jobs being brought back to the United States from overseas

And, yes, he has striven to Make America Great Again.

The radical Democrats don’t want you to know about Trump’s successes, so they’re using a massive campaign of media and online censorship of that news, while blaring Hillary’s and Bernie’s vapid stream of epithets at every opportunity. When words don’t work, they send in mobs to harass and even assault law-abiding Americans. Who knows, maybe they think we’ll be so ashamed of clinging to our Bibles and guns, deplorable bigots that we are – maybe we’ll just be ashamed to show our face at the polls on election day!

What’s at the bottom of their hatred? A simple fact: they were supposed to win in 2016. They controlled the media, the radical college and university faculties, Internet social media (with Facebook, Twitter, and Google “shadow-blocking” millions of conservative users), the “Deep State” bureaucracies, the government and public school unions, the billion-dollar foundations, Hollywood and entertainment – it’s all theirs.

And they still lost.

It boils down to this: even though Democrats control virtually every sector of the American establishment, they still can’t win elections.

And it drives them nuts.

Christopher Manion
Warren County

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