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Primaries on, House Judiciary Committee hearing off at WCGC



Democrat and Republican Primaries for U.S. House and Senate candidate nominations were held as scheduled on Tuesday, June 12, but a federal hearing slated to be held was not.

While the Democrat and Republican Primaries for U.S. House and Senate candidate nominations went off as scheduled on Tuesday, June 12 – including at the Warren County Government Center (WCGC) polling station – another federal level event slated for Tuesday morning at the seat of county government did not.

Sixth District U.S. House Republican Robert Goodlatte was supposed to chair a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the WCGC regarding a proposal to move the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) National Canine Division Training Center out of the county.

Front Royal and Warren County have a long and proud tradition of canine training dating back to World War II – here is Chips, class of 1943. K-9 photos online

What was originally the U.S. Customs Canine Training Center, later a merged Customs-Border Patrol Canine Training Center, has long been located in Harmony Hollow on Warren County north side not far from the Virginia 4-H Education Center. And as readers of Royal Examiner’s annual coverage of the Memorial Day event here know, Warren County has a proud tradition of canine training dating back to World War II.

It was not immediately clear if the referenced ATF canine training facility encompasses the customs-border patrol training center or is a separate entity. Goodlatte’s staff was still researching our question about the canine training center dynamics at publication.

Goodlatte Press Director Beth Breeding said the hearing was cancelled when some committee members discovered scheduling conflicts. Notice of the cancellation did not go out till shortly after 8 p.m. Monday evening.

According to the press release announcing the planned hearing, a proposal to move the canine training center from Warren County to Huntsville, Alabama where the National Center for Explosives Training and Research is located has been broached. It is a move forecast to cost taxpayers $40 million.

House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte appears to favor keeping the ATF canine training center in his Virginia Congressional District.

In the release announcing the planned hearing in Warren County Goodlatte stated, “For the past quarter century, ATF’s National Canine Division has had tremendous success in training dogs to detect explosives and traces of flammable liquid in order to prevent and solve crimes across the United States and the world. Just recently, ATF-trained dogs were instrumental in aiding the investigation into a series of bombings in Austin, Texas. The training facility in Front Royal provides the clean air and quiet location the dogs need in order to learn how to do their job, but there has been a proposal to move the facility to a place that could adversely impact the canines’ ability to detect explosives and keep the public safe.”

House Judiciary Committee Chair Robert Goodlatte at recent appearance before the Rotary Club of Front Royal – File Photo/Roger Bianchini

The Goodlatte office announcement of the planned hearing on the proposed canine training facility move explained, “The ATF is a law enforcement agency within the Department of Justice tasked with investigating crimes involving firearms, explosives, and arson in order to reduce crime, prevent terrorism, and keep the public safe. The ATF’s National Canine Division trains canines to be able to sniff out explosives and small traces of ignitable liquid accelerants. Since 1990, ATF has trained over 900 explosives detection canines and over 250 accelerant detection canines and have been used by federal, state, local, and international law enforcement and fire investigation agencies.”

As for Goodlatte’s contention that the move to Alabama could “adversely impact the canines’ ability to detect explosives” could it perhaps be that at the Huntsville National Center for Explosives Training and Research the smell of explosives would be so prevalent that the dogs might think that’s just the way the world smells?

But alas, now we will have to wait awhile longer to get the rationale for the proposed $40-million move to Alabama and the Judiciary Committee Chair’s belief that move could negatively impact the explosive and volatile materials-detection training of the ATF dogs.

And by the way…

Oh, as for those primaries – former Trump campaign staffer and stylistic imitator Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination to run for one of Virginia’s two U.S. Senate seats in November. Stewart has promised “a vicious and ruthless” campaign” against Democratic incumbent and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine – we can hear it now, “Lock him up! Lock him up!! …”

Whoa now with the ‘stiff’ comments, Tim Kaine may have been thinking the day after Virginia primaries – File Photo/Roger Bianchini

Trump tweeted glee at Stewart’s nomination, adding a questionable personal and policy perspective of the Democratic incumbent – “Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning,” Trump tweeted.

Corey Stewart, former Trump Virginia state campaign staffer and four-term member of the Prince William Board of Supervisors – Photo/Wikipedia

One local Democrat wondered if Trump’s “weak on borders” appraisal means that Kaine does not support the administration policy of separating asylum-seeking children from their parents at the border and detaining them indefinitely away from family among other children of all ages in a prison setting. And they asserted the only taxes Kaine might like to “raise through the roof” would be those of Trump and his billionaire buddies who were the major beneficiaries of the much-ballyhooed 2017 Republican “tax reform” legislation.

Trump protégé Stewart (136,512 votes) defeated two opponents in the statewide primary, Nick Freitas (131,273) and E. W. Jackson (36,482) – OUCH, Freitas supporters might be saying Wednesday of Jackson’s impact on that race.

On the Democratic side, Jennifer Lewis won the nomination for the U.S. Sixth District House seat currently held by Goodlatte. Goodlatte announced his intention to retire shortly after the November 2017 State House election result.

Jennifer Lewis at the 6th District Democratic candidate forum in Front Royal on May 5 – File Photo/Roger Bianchini

Lewis (8,206 votes), a self-identified progressive Democrat, handily defeated three opponents, Peter Volosin (4,688), Charlotte Moore (3,185) and Sergio Coppola (1,160).

Lewis will face Ben Cline, selected at a somewhat raucous Republican Nominating Convention several weeks ago.


The MORE Program presents a video in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.



Photo and video by MORE students and Jennifer Avery, Jenspirations. Behind the scenes as the MORE Program students gather to film the next portion of their MLK video.

On Wednesdays, the MORE Program students work on their video and photography skills. Some students have shown natural talent in the director position, some as a manager organizing behind the scenes. There are students who love to ask interview questions and prompt thoughts, and others who love to be on camera.

Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC helps students edit video footage on Movie Maker to prepare for the final product.

This week our project was to organize and present a video on Martin Luther King, Jr. Grab a cup of tea, sit back, and enjoy this 6 minute presentation on MLK. The students organized, directed, and filmed it all!

Some famous MLK quotes the students included:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”


The MORE Program provides afternoon care to middle school students in Warren County. We provide healthy snacks, reinforce skills required for academic success, and provide hands-on enrichment activities that teach important lessons about future employment, health, and wellness. We provide all of this at no cost to parents, thanks to state and federal grants, the Warren Coalition, and Warren County Public Schools.

Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC
540-683-0790 |
1. Behind the scenes as the MORE Program students gather to film the next portion of their MLK video.
2. Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC helps students edit video footage on Movie Maker to prepare for the final product.

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Local News

Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team is taking on another Action Project



Conservation Greetings!

We are learning to be compassionate, global-minded, Earth stewards in Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team at Skyline High School. That means, taking what we learn about in class and using it to better the world. One of our Action Projects is to help clean up our waterways… from narrow streams that flow into the Shenandoah River, to the Potomac River, to the Chesapeake Bay, and on into the Atlantic Ocean. We have been horrified to see pictures of aquatic organisms suffering and dying after consuming and becoming entangled in plastics. How sad it is to learn that soon our oceans will have more plastic particles in them than fish!

Please help us change this! We want to raise awareness in a meaningful and ethical way through a “Buy One, Give One” fundraiser. We are selling cotton, organic, fair trade, reusable grocery bags along with an autographed copy of one of Ellie Jackson’s storybooks, “Duffy’s Lucky Escape!,” “Nelson’s Dangerous Dive,” or “Marli’s Tangled Tale.” Each story is based on the true story of a sea animal who has suffered because of human waste. Our goal is to not only bring awareness through the selling of the products, but also to educate our Warren County Kindergartners (almost 400) by “giving” one bag/book combo to each of them at an educational assembly that SHS students will present. We want to educate the children about the benefits to people and the Earth of using “organic,” “fair trade,” and “reusable” products. We hope the gifts and education will help motivate them and their families to carry it forward.

“Buy One, Give One”
Pick 1 Bag & Pick 1 Book = $35.00

CLICK HERE to download and fill out the order form. Drop off or mail the form to Kara Lewallen at Skyline High School. You can also contact Kara with any questions you may have by emailing or calling (540) 631-0366.

If you do not feel you can buy a bag and book, there are other ways to help…

  1. Reduce your plastic use.
  2. Recycle the recyclable plastics.
  3. Vote at the grocery store by choosing biodegradable packaging when possible.
  4. Educate others for the good of our Earth.

A tremendous THANK YOU to Rappahannock Electric Cooperative ($500), Walmart ($1,000), Gallant International, and Ellie Jackson for helping us make a positive difference!

With love for Earth and Organisms,
SHS Environmental Science, Ecology, & Green Team

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Local News

Iwo Jima, the iconic battle and legacy



Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, USMC, staff photographer for "Leatherneck" magazine [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. First Iwo Jima Flag Raising. Small flag carried ashore by the 2d Battalion, 28th Marines is planted atop Mount Suribachi at 1020, 23 February 1945 This picture is usually captioned as: 1st Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier with Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas, Jr. (both seated), PFC James Michels (in foreground with carbine), Sergeant Henry O. Hansen (standing, wearing soft cap), Corporal Charles W. Lindberg (standing, extreme right), on Mount Suribachi at the first flag raising. However, PFC Raymond Jacobs disputed these identifications,[1] and asserted that it should be: PFC James Robeson (lower left corner; not visible in this cropped version of the photo), Lieutenant Harold Schrier (sitting behind his legs), PFC Raymond Jacobs (carrying radio), Sergeant Henry Hansen (cloth cap), unknown (lower hand on pole), Sergeant Ernest Thomas (back to camera), Phm2c John Bradley (helmet above Thomas), PFC James Michels (with carbine), Cpl Charles Lindberg (above Michels).

On Wednesday, January 16th at 2:15 pm, Randolph-Macon Academy hosted a free presentation entitled, “Iwo Jima, the iconic battle and legacy,” presented by Shayne Jarosz.

In addition to serving as the Director of Special Events for the Iwo Jima Association of America, Inc., Jarosz is a Marine Corps veteran and taught history for 28 years in Fairfax County. In his current position, he provides military historical tours to battlefield sites around the world, including Guadalcanal, Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima, Korea and Vietnam. Jarosz’s presentation on Iwo Jima took place in Melton Memorial Gymnasium on the R-MA campus.

For more information, visit the Iwo Jima Association of America’s website.

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Local News

Why is my electric bill so high?



Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Front Royal Town Manager Joe Waltz spoke today (January 17th) with Mike McCool, Publisher of the Royal Examiner about the very question.

See related story.


The Department of Energy Services provides electrical services for almost 8,000 customers in the Town of Front Royal and Warren County. The Town has been providing this service for over 123 years while providing the best reliable service in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Town of Front Royal is one of sixteen municipal electric systems in Virginia and is one of over 2,000 municipal-owned systems in the United States. The Energy Resource Department is a self supported enterprise fund, with their total costs for operation derived through the electric rate structure.

The Town is also actively participating in both Federal and State legislation to maintain the safest, most reliable and economical cost available for our customers to keep rates low. They are active members in the following organizations:

Municipal Electric Power Association of Virginia (MEPAV).
American Municipal Power – Ohio (AMP-Ohio).
American Public Power Association (APPA).
International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA).

The operation of an electrical system is a twenty-four hour, 365 day a year job. The Town of Front Royal Electric Department strives to keep your lights on and your power outages to a minimum. Even during the worst conditions be assured that your friends and neighbors at the Energy Services Department will be working hard to restore your power.

Their mission is to provide the best quality power and customer service while keeping the price low and service interruptions to a minimum. If you have suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to contact them.

Online contact form.

1101 Manassas Avenue
Front RoyalVA 22630
Phone: 540-635-3027
Fax: 540-631-3620
Monday – Friday
7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
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Local News

Citizens speak out about high electric bills



Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

On January 14, 2019,  Front Royal Town Council held a public hearing to amend Front Royal Municipal Town Code Chapter 70 pertaining to Electricity to bring it up-to-date and consistent with other areas of the Town Code, as presented. Several citizen spoke to the the Council about their utility bills and why their electric bills are so high.

See related story here.

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Local News

Pedestrian struck near Rural King in Front Royal



FRONT ROYAL – A pedestrian was struck by a pickup truck Tuesday afternoon in front of Rural King Front Royal Police say.

According to a press release from the office of Chief Kahle Magalis, a call came in around 3 p.m. regarding a pedestrian struck in front of the retail store, located at 465 South Street in the Royal Plaza Shopping Center.

Responding officers found the pedestrian, Jeffrey Richardson, 40, of Reliance, lying in the parking lot.  The release states that “it was determined that Richardson was struck by a 2011 Ford F-150 operated by Thomas Clark, 83, of Front Royal.”

Clark stated to officers that his foot had slipped off the brake while going over a speed bump and his foot made contact with the accelerator, which caused him to accidentally strike Richardson.

Richardson was transported to Warren Memorial Hospital and then transferred to Winchester Medical Centers Trauma Unit for observation.

No charges have been placed against the driver at this time.

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