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Passenger vehicle driver skills testing expanded across the Commonwealth

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Beginning July 19, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will offer passenger vehicle road skills testing at 72 customer service centers across the Commonwealth. The 38 added locations will create more than 39,000 additional road skills testing appointment opportunities for the coming 90 days of appointment availability.

The easing of social distancing requirements and the end of the state of emergency in the Commonwealth enabled DMV to expand road skills testing locations by resuming the traditional testing process in which an applicant operates a vehicle on the road with an examiner sitting beside them in the vehicle. Customers who would like to use an interpreter during their road skills test will need to schedule an appointment on a closed course at one of the sites listed below.

An appointment is required for a road skills test and, depending on the location of the appointment, customers will complete their test on a closed course or on the road. Both tests ensure new drivers demonstrate safe driving skills. (See locations below)

“We are thrilled to continue expanding appointment opportunities by adding road skills testing locations,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “DMV is conducting more transactions now than before the pandemic, and much of that work is being done outside our offices. But, some services simply must be conducted in person. With the easing of social distancing requirements, we can resume road skills testing at all of our offices equipped to offer it and create tens of thousands of new appointment opportunities for Virginians who need this vital service.”


Road skills testing at DMV is available to Virginia residents age 18 and older. For those under age 18, the road skills test will be given as part of the Virginia driver education course taken at a public, private or commercial driving school. For more information, visit dmvNOW.com/skillstest.

Appointment opportunities at a DMV customer service center are available at dmvNOW.com/appt. Road skills tests can be conducted at any full-service DMV customer service center except Arlington Metro, Fair Oaks Mall, and Pentagon.

In addition to the expanded road skills testing, with the easing of social distancing requirements, DMV has been able to open more windows at customer service centers across the state, creating over 150,000 appointment opportunities since late spring.

Locations now offering traditional (in-vehicle) road skills testing:
Alexandria
Altavista
Arlington
Bedford
Chesapeake
Courtland
East Henrico
Emporia
Fairfax/Westfields
Fort Lee
Front Royal
Gate City
Gloucester
Hopewell
Jonesville
Lebanon
Leesburg
Lexington
Lorton
Martinsville
Norfolk/Military Circle
North Henrico
Norton
Onancock
Portsmouth
Prince William/Manassas
Pulaski
Rocky Mount
Staunton
Sterling Boulevard
Tappahannock
Virginia Beach/Hilltop
Vansant
Warrenton
Williamsburg
Winchester
Woodstock
Wytheville

Locations offering closed course (parking lot) road skills testing:
Abingdon
Charlottesville
Chester
Chesterfield
Christiansburg
Clintwood
Covington
Culpeper
Danville
Farmville
Franconia
Fredericksburg
Galax
Hampton
Harrisonburg
Kilmarnock
Lynchburg
Marion
Newport News
Norfolk/Widgeon Road
Petersburg
Richmond Central
Roanoke
South Boston
South Hill
Stafford
Sterling Free Court
Suffolk
Tazewell
Tysons Corner
Virginia Beach/Buckner
Waynesboro
West Henrico
Woodbridge

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Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum

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The Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Candidate Forum on Thursday, October 20, at the Government Center at 220 N. Commerce Avenue in Front Royal, Virginia.

The forum included candidates for Town Council, Board of Supervisors, and School Board.

The candidates for Warren County Board of Supervisors include Vicky Cook, Fork District, and Jay Butler, Happy Creek District. Write-in candidates were not invited to participate in this forum.

Board of Supervisors Forum


The candidates for Front Royal Town Council include Amber Morris and Bruce Rappaport.

Town Council Forum

The candidates for Warren County School Board include Stephanie Short and Antoinette Funk for Happy Creek District, Andrea Lo, Fork District, Melanie Salins, and Angela Robinson, North River District.

Warren County School Board

 

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School Board sets 2022 grad date; approves higher substitute nurses pay rate, GT plan

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The Warren County School Board chose a May 28, 2022, graduation date for high schools in Warren County and unanimously approved the education plan for gifted students in Warren County Public Schools (WCPS), as well as an increased pay rate for substitute nurses.

School Board member Kristen Pence, who chaired the board’s Wednesday, October 20 meeting and work session, along with board members Ralph Rinaldi and Melanie Salins attended the meeting, while School Board Vice Chair Catherine Bower and member James Wells were absent. Wells arrived later and joined the work session portion of the meeting.

High school graduation for both Skyline High School and Warren County High School will be held on Saturday, May 28, 2022, which is Memorial Day weekend. Skyline High School students will graduate at 8 a.m.; Warren County High School students will graduate at 10 a.m. on the same day.

In another action agenda item, the board approved the WCPS Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted for school years 2021 through 2027. New items in the local plan include the addition of an online cognitive abilities test, also known as the CogAT, and the addition of two full-time gifted and talented (GT) resource teachers, “which will really increase our gifted offense this year at the elementary level,” WCPS Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Alan Fox told School Board members.


Both GT teachers, Faith Falkenstein, who teaches at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School, and Justyne Louk, who teaches at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School, provided a presentation to the School Board and shared some of the student work examples. They said they have also started an afterschool math club for students.

In other action, WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger also received unanimous approval from the School Board to request that the Warren County Board of Supervisors increase the School Board’s fiscal year 2021-2022 Operating Fund Budget by $4,062,240. The money would be distributed to cover instruction ($2,907,875); operations and maintenance ($9,721); facilities ($1,042,644); and technology ($102,000).

According to Ballenger, since the original fiscal year 2022 operating budget was adopted on May 5, there has been $4,062,240 in federal and state grants awarded to WCPS. To receive and spend this unbudgeted revenue — which resulted from the receipt of federal pandemic relief grants and several state grants — an additional appropriation must be received from the Board of Supervisors, he said.

On another item, School Board action was postponed following a lengthy discussion on the Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program, which is being launched by a partnership between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education.

The ViSSTA program is a new, free COVID-19 screening testing program for Virginia public and private K-12 students, teachers, and staff for the 2021-2022 school year, according to the VDH website, which said that while it “strongly encourages schools to participate” in the ViSSTA program, it is optional.

Under ViSSTA, public and private schools in the state can be matched with vendors who will conduct pooled screening testing in schools, VDH said. Public schools can also receive funding for needed supplies and/or to hire local school staff to support the program, such as school division testing coordinators, school nurses, or mitigation specialists. There is no cost to schools to conduct screening testing in schools and schools may have to assign certain duties to the existing staff to help support the program and liaise with the vendor and school community to help make the program successful, VDH said.

WCPS Director of Special Services Michael Hirsch sought to have the board approve three new positions as part of WCPS joining the program — a COVID response coordinator and two clinical support specialists — who would support the school division’s ongoing COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

The new hires would “have no fiscal impact on the school system,” Hirsch said, and the additional supports also would help implement voluntary pool screening, support building-level administrators and school nurses, and the division coordination of its COVID response.

“Our nurses and my department have been really, really bogged down… with the [pandemic] on an hourly and minute-by-minute basis throughout the last 18 months,” said Hirsch. “This will alleviate the stress on our nursing system so that they can focus on their clinics” and would allow them to get back to pre-pandemic “business as usual,” he added.

Nevertheless, because more information on ViSSTA is expected to be forthcoming from VDH and the state education department, the three present board members voted to postpone action on the item until the School Board’s November 3 meeting.

Speaking of nurses: “I can’t find nurses so I’m here to ask you for an increase in the substitute nurse daily rate,” which currently falls below the daily rate for substitute teachers, WCPS Personnel Director Shane Goodwin told School Board members on Wednesday night.

WCPS Personnel Director Shane Goodwin said that increasing the pay rate for substitute nurses would help WCPS build a solid pool of substitute nurses, which are in high demand across Virginia due to the ongoing pandemic. The board approved an increase from $90 a day to $100 per day for substitute nurses and a long-term substitute nurses’ pay rate to be set at $120 per day effective through June 2022.

Work Session
Several WCPS central office staff provided the School Board with updates on numerous items, including on Facilities, Child Nutrition, and Transportation operations, the WCPS Comprehensive Long-Range Plan for 2021-2026, as well as the WCPS Special Education Advisory Committee 2020-2021 annual report.

Other items under discussion included the advisability, scope, frequency, and method of discipline and incident reporting to the School Board, as well as possible revisions to board policy regarding Public Participation at School Board Meetings.

Watch the exclusive Royal Examiner video of the meeting and work session in its entirety, click here

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Community Events

Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, October 23rd

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The Warren County Community Health Coalition and Warren County Sheriff’s Office along with Valley Health will be participating in the DEA National Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Valley Health Complex located at 120 N. Commerce Ave. in Front Royal.

Drug Take-Back Day is usually held in the spring and autumn each year for those municipalities who wish to participate in providing a safe, convenient, and anonymous means of disposing of prescription drugs.

This day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the U.S. When you have unused or expired medications lying around, they could fall into the wrong hands and be abused. Flushing medications down the toilet is dangerous to public health.


Dropping your medications off at a collection site is a quick and safe way to make sure they are disposed of properly. Drop off is free and anonymous.

Should you have any questions, contact Lt. Robbie Seal at the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 540-635-4128.

Fauquier Health is also sponsoring a Drug Take-Back program in Warrenton this Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 10 am-2 pm at the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. We encourage community members to drive up and safely dispose of their unused or expired medications. The event is sponsored by Piedmont Crush, Fauquier County Sherriff’s Office, Warrenton Police Department, the Mental Health Association of Fauquier County, and our pharmacy team at Fauquier Health.

78 West Lee St.,
Warrenton, VA

By properly disposing of these medications, you’ll be helping to make your home and community healthier.


Safely Managing Medications Helps Make Our Community Healthier

By: Gary Matthew, Pharmacy Director, Fauquier Health

Most of us have taken medicine to help heal from illness or injury at some point in our lives. Medications are often an important part of the healing process and can be essential in treating ongoing conditions, but they can also be harmful to your health or the health of others if not managed appropriately.

Responsibly Handling Medications
While medications can provide many benefits, their misuse can pose a serious health risk to you and your community. According to findings from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 51 percent of people who misused pain relievers in the past year obtained them from a friend or relative. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to get into the habit of practicing medication safety:

  • Take medications as directed. Carefully follow the instructions, and take your medications only as prescribed by your provider and for the intended purpose.
    • Always keep a current list of the medications you are taking, including ones you only take on occasion. Include the medication name, dose, how often you take it, the method for taking it (by mouth, injection, etc.), and the reason for taking it.
    • In addition to your prescribed medications, don’t forget to include over-the-counter drugs, herbals, vitamins, and dietary supplements. Share your list with close family members, and keep a copy in your wallet.
    • Include any allergies, the names and phone numbers of your providers, and your preferred pharmacy on this list.
    • Don’t hesitate to ask your provider or pharmacist if you have questions about side effects or drug interactions with your medications.
  • Do not share your medications with others. While this gesture may be well-intended, medicines can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or if not used for the right reasons.
  • Ensure proper storage. Always relock the cap on medicine bottles, and keep your medicines in a safe and locked location out of the reach of children and out of sight from friends and visitors. Each year, approximately 50,000 children younger than 6 years old end up in the Emergency Room after accessing medications when caregivers aren’t present, and many people who misuse pain medications obtain them from a friend or relative.
  • Safely dispose of unused or expired medications. Don’t throw your medications in the trash or flush them down the toilet. Discarded medications can be easily retrieved and abused or illegally sold, and medicines flushed down the toilet can contaminate the community water supply. Safely disposing of your unused and expired medications can help prevent accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse, and promotes a healthy environment for your family and neighbors.

If you would like more information on prescription drug abuse, visit www.DEA.gov, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.JustThinkTwice.com.

If you would like more information about safe medication use, visit http://consumermedsafety.org/.

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EDA in Focus

EDA gets McDonald company property as part of settlement agreement

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On Wednesday, October 20, Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors Chairman Jeff Browne verified the EDA’s acquisition of the 41-acre “Happy Creek Road” parcel owned by former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald’s Moveon8 real estate LLC. Acquisition of the undeveloped property assessed at just over a million dollars according to county court records is part of the $9-million-dollar no-fault settlement agreement reached between the EDA, McDonald, and the Harrisonburg Bankruptcy Court handling McDonald’s 2020 bankruptcy filing. The EDA will now be able to market the property as a developable EDA asset. It is located near the intersection of Happy Creek Road and Leach Run Parkway.

Browne said that in addition to receiving full value on the Happy Creek parcel, the EDA was in line to receive a percentage of the sale price of other McDonald assets distributed through the bankruptcy court proceeding. Exactly how close those percentages might get the EDA to the $9-million-dollar settlement figure remains to be seen. It was not immediately clear as to whether the EDA will have an outright full value claim to any other McDonald-held properties or assets.

The FBI and VSP were both involved in the April 2019 search of McDonald’s former office; below, being locked down after her resignation under mounting investigatory pressure by her board on Dec. 20, 2018. Royal Examiner File Photos by Roger Bianchini

McDonald is the central figure in the EDA financial scandal that began unravelling in mid-to-late 2018. She resigned in December 2018 under mounting pressure from her board of directors. She has been accused in civil and criminal court of utilizing her EDA position to misdirect EDA assets to her and others personal benefit. Western District of Virginia federal authorities have taken over the criminal side of the EDA case after a state special prosecutor’s office in Harrisonburg dropped criminal charges against McDonald and as many as 23 co-defendants due to speedy trial concerns as it wrestled with the volume of evidentiary material – estimated at 800,000 to over a million pages at the time. With charges against some defendants originating with the county commonwealth attorney’s office that initially handled the criminal investigation during Brian Madden’s tenure heading the department, failure to meet speedy trial timelines could have led to defense motions for dismissal of criminal charges against the defendants.


Jennifer McDonald booked during state criminal prosecution process in 2019.

On August 31, 2021, federal prosecutors made their initial move, handing down a 34-count indictment against McDonald. Of those 34 counts, 16 were for money laundering, 10 for bank fraud, 7 for wire fraud, and 1 count of aggravated identity theft regarding someone identified as “T.T.” – ITFederal principal Truc Tran perhaps?

ITFederal principal Truc ‘Curt’ Tran on site at EDA parking lot, adjacent to his now floundering construction project, on Dec. 20, 2018, the day Jennifer McDonald resigned as executive director of EDA. Tran expressed distress at the potential of McDonald’s departure at the time. Could Tran, whose $10-million loan for the Royal Phoenix project was the largest single item listed in the initial EDA civil litigation, have now accused McDonald of ‘aggravated identity theft’ regarding EDA financial dealings with him and his company?

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Joint Tourism Committee soliciting proposals for exclusive retail rights located at the Front Royal Visitor’s Center

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The Front Royal & Warren County Joint Tourism Committee is soliciting proposals for exclusive retail rights located at the Front Royal Visitor’s Center. The proposal must include and respond to the following scope of services.

  1. The retailer will provide a merchandise for sale local to Front Royal and Warren County within a 35-mile radius. Merchandise should include local artists’ and photographer’s works, food items, branded material and other unique items to the Front Royal and Warren County area.
  2. The retail selection will include curated items exclusive to Front Royal and Warren County. The vendor must be willing to work with the Tourism Committee, and its contractor operating the Visitor’s Center, on merchandise selection. The Tourism representatives will have the right to approve or disapprove of merchandise to be incorporated for sale in the retail location to ensure quality product.
  3. The vendor will provide a cashless payment method at the vendor’s expense.
  4. The vendor will provide training to the Front Royal Visitor Center employees on the system and provide seven day a week support when necessary.
  5. The Front Royal Tourism Committee nor the employees of the Front Royal Visitor Center will be responsible for merchandise set up, inventory, or monitoring stock.
  6. The vendor will maintain the merchandise in an aesthetically pleasing manner neat and updated on a weekly basis.
  7. The vendor will provide a monthly report to the Tourism Committee representative on the sale of merchandise and provide suggestions for each season.
  8. The merchandise will reflect seasonal changes.
  9. The vendor will carry all necessary insurance and provide a current Warren County business license.

All potential vendors must address all the requirements as outlined including the time frame to begin the retail operation at the Visitors’ Center. A business plan for the merchandising must also be included. Bidders will be required to present their business plan and proposal to representatives of the Joint Tourism Committee.

Proposal Format

Respondents are expected to organize their proposal to include:

  • Operating model and requirements in response to scope above
  • Proposed financial model i.e., lease for square footage or percentage of sales
  • Relevant experience
  • A minimum of three references

Contract Terms

  • 1 year with an option of a 2-year renewal.
  • Awarded contractor must be operational at the beginning of the contract start date of 10/18/21.

RFP Timeline

  • RFP released: 10/1/21
  • Proposals due: 11/12/21
  • Interview date: 11/22/21
  • Contract begins: 12/1/21
  • Contract Initial Term Complete: 12/31/22
  • Potential Contract Term Extension through: 12/31/24

Submit Proposals

Bethanie DeRose
Managing Director
Discover Front Royal
To: Bethanie@discoverfrontroyal.com CC: Bethanie.derose@am.jll.com


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Front Royal ready for Fall tourists

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The Town of Front Royal has hired three employees to staff the downtown Visitors Center.

Thousands of tourists travel to the area every fall for leaf viewing. The increased number of Visitor Center staff will play a key role in bolstering the Town’s continued effort to welcome tourists and assist them with experiencing the many attractions along with enjoying the fall foliage.

The Visitors Center averages over 150 visitors daily and over 200 each day on the weekends. “Welcoming visitors and letting them know about all the area attractions, lodging, outdoor adventures, arts, and cultural programming, fine food and drink grow the economy,” said Mayor Chris Holloway. “Front Royal and Warren County are committed to increasing visitation beyond a day visit.”

Visitor Center staff are responsible for many customer experience activities, including being ambassadors, providing tourists with information that enhances their visit, and encouraging tourists to return to Front Royal.


Tourism is a major economic driver for Front Royal and Warren County and its hospitality businesses. Visit www.DiscoverFrontRoyal.com for the many things to do.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
57°
Fair
7:29am6:24pm EDT
Feels like: 57°F
Wind: 2mph NW
Humidity: 72%
Pressure: 29.93"Hg
UV index: 0
SatSunMon
63/46°F
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73/55°F

Upcoming Events

Oct
23
Sat
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 23 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area.  During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and discover our links to historic[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 23 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]
1:00 pm Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Paint Class for Kids Ages 8 and up @ Strokes of Creativity
This is a painting class for children 8 years old and up. Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at Strokes of Creativity. Date: Saturday, October 23,[...]
Oct
24
Sun
11:00 am Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky M... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Farm Days: History of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area.  During Fall Farm Days History Weekend, step back in time and see history come to life. Stroll through the Historic Area buildings, interact with our living historians and discover our links to historic[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 24 @ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and[...]
6:30 pm Benefit Concert for Front Royal ... @ Riverton Church
Benefit Concert for Front Royal ... @ Riverton Church
Oct 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Benefit Concert for Front Royal Police @ Riverton Church
Riverton Church is hosting a benefit concert featuring the Mr. Ron Dye (director) and the Riverton Church Symphonic Wind Orchestra as well as Yesterday Swing Orchestra. Free Admission: Offering taken to benefit the Front Royal[...]
Oct
25
Mon
11:00 am Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class for K-1st @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Kindergarten and First Grade. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: Ages 5 and 6 Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at Strokes[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 2nd & 3rd @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 2nd and 3rd. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 7 and 8 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]
Oct
28
Thu
10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
1:00 pm Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
Oct 28 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Art Class for 4th & 5th @ Strokes of Creativity
This class is for Grades 4th and 5th. Perfect for home schoolers. Recommended ages: 9 and 10 years old Tickets: CLICK HERE Tickets are available through Square Up, or can be paid in person at[...]