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Questions, rumors addressed at Humane Society ‘open house’

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Humane Society of Warren County board members to right, field questions from open house crowd on Tuesday. Photos/Roger Bianchini

Aimed at “stopping the rumor mill” Humane Society of Warren County (HSWC) president Ellen Aders called an “open house” at the “What Matters Open Space” meeting place on East Main Street on August 14.  The “open house’ designation was utilized to allow everyone, including non-members, to listen or ask questions about the current state of the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter and the county humane society that oversees its operations.

Rumors were voiced: “The shelter is dirty and falling apart.”

“Not true,” said Aders, taking the opportunity to thank staff for pulling together and doing their jobs in the wake of the resignation of Executive Director Alyssa Ellison after just six months on the job.

Aders said she and members of the board had been to the shelter just that day to check on it and it was “fresh and clean.”

Another rumor: The shelter no longer accepts homeless horses.

“We’ll check on that one,” said Aders, who was unaware of such a policy.

Yet another rumor: The board is in disarray.

“Untrue,” said Aders. “We’re all here, aren’t we? We are not a divided board as has been alleged.” Eight board members nodded approval. Aders announced nominations were being taken to fill three vacancies by September 3.

Aders introduced past-President Amy Thurman, who recently accepted an invitation to re-join the board. She is now serving as board secretary.

Cancelled fundraiser 

There were questions as to why the highly successful fundraiser Waggin’ for Dragon’s boat race on the Shenandoah River was cancelled this year. That cancellation of the organization’s most profitable fundraising event could result in as much as $50,000 in lost income, sinking shelter operations for the year “into the red.”

There was no simple answer for this one. Blame was placed both on funds not being immediately available from a major sponsor and the transition from one executive director to another, thereby causing deadlines to be missed.

“But it will be back next year … and we’re not in dire straits (regarding finances),” Aders said, promising four upcoming fundraisers this year.

A long-time member complained that a spay/neuter program for cats she ran at her own expense at the shelter had been either discouraged or terminated by staff, no reason given. Aders promised to look into it, signaling it probably would be restored if as described.

In response to a question about the board’s instituting a common annual renewal month (October) for memberships at its last meeting, Treasurer Michelle Kosiorek provided a written answer to the question following the meeting.

“Since membership renewal notices haven’t gone out since March or April (no explanation given) our intention is to extend the expiry date (of membership) to October 18, 2018, for any memberships expiring before this October. Then we will prorate memberships coming due starting in November 2018 until October 2019. By October 2019, everyone will be on the same renewal cycle,” Kosiorek explained.

At this time, there are some 400 members of the Humane Society. Only about 30 people attended the “open house” convened at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

There was spirited debate on the policy that keeps board meetings closed to society members. This was settled, at least for the time being, when Secretary Thurman and Aders said minutes of these meetings were available for perusal at the shelter and, no, there was no plan to put them into wide distribution. Time and cost were the apparent reasons.

Scheduled for one hour, the meeting ran over by only 10 minutes with Aders pleading to “stop the rumor mill” and let her or individual board members know of future concerns.

Former board member Jennifer Condon closed with a plea to “make the shelter our number one priority” echoing Thurman’s earlier comment that “we’re all on the same team” in providing shelter and best future options for animals in need.

(The writer is a former president of the HSWC board)

Jenspiration

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

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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.”

Resource

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 | www.jenspirations.com
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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Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team is taking on another Action Project

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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 klewallen@wcps.k12.va.us 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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Iwo Jima, the iconic battle and legacy

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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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Why is my electric bill so high?

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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.

Background:

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). http://www.mepav.org/
American Municipal Power – Ohio (AMP-Ohio). http://www.amppartners.org/home
American Public Power Association (APPA). https://www.publicpower.org/
ElectriCities. https://www.electricities.com/
International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA). https://www.imsasafety.org/

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

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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

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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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