BOYCE, VA – With our car sitting in the parking lot occupied by a dog named Goose, how appropriate it was to be greeted by a high-flying bird named Goose, the first of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center’s “ambassadors” on display at the center’s Grand Opening of its “Wildlife Walk” over the past weekend.
The “Walk”, planned, or perhaps only dreamed of six years ago, provides an outdoor viewing area of a dozen or more small animals and large birds, the first being Goose, a Peregrine Falcon, described as being arguably the fastest animal on earth – clocked at over 200 mph in dives while hunting smaller and less speedy prey. Goose, the bird, not the dog, broke his “fingers”, possibly in one such flight six years ago, and was turned in to the BRWC hospital where he found a permanent and safe home following his injuries.
“Home” is where Dr. Jennifer Riley, DVM, treats up to 2,000 animals, reptiles and birds per year, most of which are eventually released to their previous habitat, all fixed up and ready to go again. Just a few, by comparison, wind up as permanent residents at the million-dollar facility on Island Farm Road in Boyce, and these are what more than 200 visitors saw and were greeted by last weekend.
A second version of the grand opening of the “The Wildlife Walk” is scheduled this coming weekend, May 1 and 2. Admission is free.
A longtime resident of the Center is a handsome, elderly “ambassador” named Jefferson, a Bald Eagle, introduced this day by Kelly Bailey of Stephens City, one of 12 docents at the Boyce facility. America’s national bird, Bailey said, survived three surgeries for injuries received when he hit a utility pole. The medical attention was successful, but Jefferson still couldn’t fly so, 10 years ago, had found himself a home.
It appeared that the new outdoor refuge had been a gleam in the eye of the Center’s manager for education and research, Jennifer Burghoffer. She was one of two senior staffers on hand to greet attendees, the other being Executive Director Annie Bradfield, new to the job with, like veteran staff member Burghoffer, a fondness for birds and education of the public. Bradfield began her new duties about six months ago.
While BRWC tends all animals native to Virginia, the Center has one spectacular “outsider” a long way from home. She is Snow, an Arctic Fox, a popular Number 8 on the list of 12 “ambassadors,” currently a white ball of fluff sound asleep when we reached her home. She, too, is a longtime resident – nine years – and among the most popular. A year or so ago I was fortunate to see her being taken for a doggy-style walk outside her lofty and comfortable cage.
Number 2 among the animals on display was Vega who gives local residents a closer look at what many see mostly from afar, the ubiquitous Turkey Vulture. Docent Heather Shank-Givens said Vega was admitted to the hospital in 2019 suffering from gunshot wounds. Turkey Vultures, as well as all native birds, are federally protected and shooting them is illegal. Among other injuries, Vega lost an eye and suffers from lead poisoning. While non-releasable, Vega makes a good case against hunters of any animals and birds using lead ammunition which Dr. Riley lustily and regularly preaches against in the Northern Valley area.
Future visitors will view close-up the animals they mostly see dead on our highways and byways, the Virginia Opossums. My accompanying colleague and mission photographer Roger Bianchini recently argued over the name during my January visit to turn in an injured dove.
“Why was I taught to call them Possums if there’s an ‘O’ in the name – it wouldn’t be a silent ‘O’ first letter, would it?” argued Bianchini. We took the opportunity to settle the issue while being greeted by Bradfield, Burghoffer and others on duty in the front office. The result was a tie – we were both correct. There are Opossums native to this area; the Possums my colleague described were cousins of the local guys, living in far-away Australia.
Closer to home, visitors were fascinated by a solitary Virginia Box Turtle enjoying an afternoon swim in the enclosure’s pond; and attempts were made to out stare an inquisitive Screech Owl named Dopey, and so ended one of the area’s most enjoyable shows, courtesy “The Ambassadors.”
Advance reservations, due to the pandemic, are required. To sign up, visit the BRWC website: blueridgewildlifectr.org
This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of October 22nd
Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Reserved seating in all auditoriums.
Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, October 22:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $10
- Child (under 12): $7
- Military: $8
- Student (college): $8
- Senior: $8
- Matinees, All Seating: $7
- “Clifford the Big Red Dog”
- “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”
Show your support for the Warren County High School Band with their annual Fruit Sale Fundraiser
The Warren County High School Band has started our annual fruit sales, and we’re looking forward to another great year of sales!
We are offering 3 Whole and Half Box offerings of single types of fruit, and 2 mix box options for those who want variety. Here are the fruit options:
- Navel Oranges, Hamlin Juice Oranges, Pink Grapefruit
- Whole Boxes and Half Boxes: $40 for 40 lbs., or $30 for 20 lbs.
- Mix Fruit Box 1
- Navel Oranges/Grapefruit/Mandarin Oranges: 6 of Each, Total of 18 pieces of fruit – $30
- Mix Fruit Box 2
- Navel Oranges/Grapefruit/Apples: 6 of Each, Total of 18 pieces of fruit – $30
How to Pre-Order Fruit:
(PRE-ORDER Deadline: November 7th, 2021)
You may order online and pre-pay with a credit card or check. There is usually a $1 dollar fee for this, but it saves later on with convenience and for those looking to limit personal contact with others.
Second, you may pre-order with me or with any student in the band and then simply pay when you pick up the fruit. We will accept cash, check, and credit cards on site.
- Pre-Order with a WCHS Band Student.
- Pre-Order with me through email: email@example.com
- Pre-Order and pay online, and you may select a student to give credit to: order online
Pick up dates:
As of now, we do not have a firm date, but it will be a 1 day pick up sometime in the second week of December. We will email out to let customers know a week ahead of time the firm date. Our hours will be from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
We hope you hear from a student to pre-order your fruit, but if you do not, please contact me through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the heading “Fruit Order” and I will enter your order.
Thank you for supporting the Warren County High School Band program.
Director of Bands
Warren County High School
Reaching Out Now partners with Warren County and Skyline High Schools to host Senior Planning Night
With the 2021-2022 school year in full swing, Reaching Out Now is partnering with Warren County and Skyline High Schools to host a Senior Planning Night! The event will be held at Warren County High School on November 18, 2021, from 5:30pm – 8:00pm, in the gymnasium and auditorium.
Senior Planning Night will cover important dates to guide senior year, decisions to make before graduation, financial planning, application processes, provide an opportunity to meet with college reps from around the state, and much more. Dinner will be provided! All Seniors and parents are invited and encouraged to attend. Interested Juniors may also attend to begin preparing for their Senior year.
Mr. Knesh, Principal of Warren County High School stated, “We look forward to sharing food and friendship while learning about navigating the college application process. We are also thrilled to give out two scholarships to seniors this evening to give them a head start towards their future college plans.” Mrs. Sperling, Principal of Skyline High School echoed his sentiments sharing “I am grateful for the partnership established between Reaching Out Now, Warren County High School, and Skyline High School. We are excited to jointly host a college planning night… where students and families can learn more about the process of planning for post-secondary education.”
All interested families, please register at: bit.ly/registerSeniorNight
Costume parade to highlight Stephens City Trunk-or-Treat event
While the local Methodist church is hosting the outdoor Trunk-or-Treat Saturday afternoon, October 30, organizer Jacquetta Owen says, “this is going to be a Main Street event for the entire community. Everyone is invited and all residing within the town limits can easily bring their whole family and actually walk to the destination.” It appears to be a true community event as the Costume Parade at 3 PM along the sidewalks on Main, Filbert and Germain Streets will have oversight provided by Stephens City police cruiser escort. The parade, with spectators lining the street, provides kids the opportunity to play act what it is like to transform into someone or something else for the afternoon. Stephens City fire and rescue plans to have an engine on site which includes customized equipment used during firefighting operations and members to assist with the static display. Kids can meet firefighters and learn about their role in society and better understand fire safety basics. Local artist, Balloon Man, Michael Bully, will be creating balloon animals for the kids. Children are always fascinated by the magic from the timeless art of balloon twisting and balloon animals.
- Stephens City United Methodist Church
- Free Halloween Trunk or Treat outdoor event
- 5291 Main Street (back parking lot)
- Saturday, October 30th, from 1 PM – 3:30 PM – Costume Parade 3 PM
- Provide kids a fun, supervised, safe alternative to Halloween trick-or-treating.
“Trunk-or-Treat is a free, fun, safe holiday that benefits both the children who relish participation and the adults who help them find healthy, constructive ways to celebrate,” Owen explained. “Creating a controlled environment with less walking and more activity in a concentrated area which provides adequate supervision for youth is essential. Trunk-or-Treat is similar to the practice of trick-or-treating. Instead of walking from door to door in a neighborhood, children will trek from car to car, with volunteers handing out candy from their van or sports utility vehicle trunk,” Owen said. The event also provides access to Halloween festivities for families who do not live in a typical residential neighborhood.
Other activities include tossing a Velcro ball to stick to a pumpkin, carrying an eyeball in a spoon across the great church lawn, lobbing a beanbag into hula hoops and of course, the now mandatory, Corn Hole. Treats will be distributed from fifteen decorated vehicles strategically parked in the lot adjacent to the church building one hour before the events begins.
“We are working hard to reach out to our Stephens City community as folks are gradually coming back to attend church in person again,” said Missions Chair Cathy Barley. “We are eager to make Halloween a calm and unique balance of fantasy and realism, keeping things informal yet exciting for the little ones. Our town desperately needs a party with costumes, candy and gaiety that is outdoors and safe. We strive to be a Main Street church that significantly touches the lives of residents in our immediate vicinity,” Barley added. “It’s a picture of what our neighborhoods could be like if we intentionally neighbor-ed well,” she said.
Visitors should be sure to register for the hundred dollar and fifty dollar gift cards while checking-in for photographs or other activities.
Rotary Club of Front Royal announces registration for Doc Smith food baskets
The Rotary Club of Front Royal in a partnership with the Department of Social Services is excited to announce the registration for Doc Smith food baskets and coats for kids for those in our community in need.
The Doc Smith program has been a long-standing program in Front Royal. It was originated by Edgar C. Smith, Chief of Police in 1916, who was most commonly referred to as Doc Smith. The program was named after him based on his continued service to the needy.
Requests for baskets can be found at Department of Social Services, First Baptist Church, online at frontroyalpres.org and various locations around town.
The baskets are free of charge and contain food for the holidays. Deadline for requests is November 12, 2021.
Samuels Public Library hosts Holiday Writing Contest
Samuels Public Library has announced that its 43rd annual Holiday Writing Contest has begun.
All area children, in grades Kindergarten through 12, are invited to enter the Holiday Writing Contest. This contest encourages talented and aspiring young writers to share with us their written word about the winter holiday season. Students may submit either short stories or poems. Simple illustrations may accompany the work. A student may also submit a thematic holiday drawing which may be selected as artwork for the Holiday Writing Contest book of winning entries. Entry forms and guidelines are available at Samuels Library as well as in area schools. All winners will receive a professionally published keepsake booklet, and the first place winners in each grade will receive a gift certificate from a local bookstore.
All entries must be submitted to Samuels Public Library by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 15th.
“It is our pleasure to host this contest each year, and to see how excited parents and children get when they have discovered they have been selected as winners,” said Michal Ashby, Youth Services Supervisor at Samuels Public Library.
Please contact Michal Ashby at Samuels Public Library at (540) 635-3153 if you have any questions.