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R-MA Graduates Encouraged to Remember Who They Are

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The R-MA Class of 2019 throws their hats in celebration after being dismissed from the military parade for the final time on Friday, May 17th.
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Throughout the speeches and ceremonies of the graduation season, Randolph-Macon Academy’s 45 graduating seniors and eight Falcon Scholars were challenged to hold fast to their values. With 191 acceptances to 110 different colleges and universities, the class garnered over $5.1 million in college scholarships. In addition, all eight of the Falcon Scholars earned appointments to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

During the Baccalaureate Service on Thursday, May 16th, Chaplain Josh Orndorff had challenged the class with, “Remember who you are.” His words were a foreshadowing of the messages the graduating seniors would hear throughout the weekend.

After the Final Parade, R-MA valedictorian Noelle Kramer of Front Royal and Yuyang “Mike” Wang of China show off their hats, which are decorated with the names of the colleges to which they plan to matriculate in the fall (MIT and Kings College London, respectively).

During the graduation ceremony, valedictorian Noelle Kramer told her classmates, “If you don’t understand your goal now, that’s okay. That’s what the next years of your life are for. But be sure that while you seek to know your purpose, you never forget to understand yourself. Listen to what your own interests are, and know that a change of heart is never a failure.”

Noelle recounted the difficult personal time she had had during her second semester of her senior year. Her personal struggles impacted her studies tremendously; she stopped participating in class, left assignments undone, and subsequently risked all she had worked for. “I forgot who I was and why I wanted to achieve in the first place. I didn’t care about my schoolwork, my health, my friends… All I could manage to do when I got home was sleep or watch Netflix. Naturally, my grades suffered as a consequence,” she confessed. “After running for miles and miles with the wind at my heels, I tripped and fell when I was yards away from the finish line. But it was only through the love and support that I have found here at R-MA that I was able to pick myself off the ground and make my way across at the end.” Thanks to that and the fact that she did rally to finish the year well, R-MA’s Valedictorian will head off to MIT in the fall.

Gen Darren McDew, USAF, Retired, jokes with several members of the audience during his address at Randolph-Macon Academy’s 127th Commencement Ceremony.

Guest speaker Gen Darren McDew, USAF, Retired, gave an engaging presentation that resonated with the students. Like Noelle, Gen McDew had researched speeches, and learned he should give the students a charge–and so he did. “My charge is simply, ‘Beware, decide, be,” he said. “Your story begins again today. You don’t have to have it all figured out yet, but you’ve got to get to understand who you are now, and most importantly who you’re not. And it’s okay to play around on the edges of that. So beware of the tests. Most of you believe that your academic journey was where the tests were and where the test will be. I’m here to tell you those are the easy ones. They’re the ones that most of the time are scheduled. They’re the ones that you get a letter grade for. They’re the ones that you can recover from. It’s life’s tests that are most damaging and challenging. Be careful and beware that they’re coming. Someone will test your integrity. Someone will test your honor. Someone will test your core. Understand that test is coming and be ready for it. You’ve been given all the foundation and tools you need to deal with it.”

Gen McDew then told the story of his first sortie. As a newbie, he read the training manual to refresh himself the night before the flight. Because he was prepared, he did well, and the first block of his reputation was laid. From there, he continued to build his reputation by ensuring he was prepared.

“That’s why I say, ‘Decide.’ Decide who you are,” he explained to the soon-to-be graduates. “Not forever, but what’s in your core. Many people in the world, some of the people you admire, know what right looks like, but they can’t live it. Decide today you’re going to live it and then keep doing it. And the last part is ‘Be.’ Beware the test, decide who you want to be and then just be. And the ‘Be’ is ‘Be it every day.’ Be it when times are tough. Be it when it’s inconvenient. Every single day, be who you are at your core, and continue to get stronger.”

Woven throughout the weekend’s events were acknowledgements of the many successes of the school year, such as the Drill Team’s repeat state championship and the girls’ varsity soccer team championship. Also acknowledged was the fact that they were missing someone: the late Mr. Robert Davies, who had taught many of the graduates when they were freshmen and sophomores. Throughout the extreme ups and downs of the 2018-19 school year, the Class of 2019 bonded, and now, with a firm foundation, they move onto the next phase in life. For the eight Falcon Scholars, that is the US Air Force Academy. For one senior, that will mean enlisting in the military. The other 44 graduates will move onto colleges such as the The George Washington University, Penn State, Arizona State, Babson College, VMI, Virginia Tech, the U.S. Naval Academy, and other institutions.

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Front Royal Cardinals at home loss to Waynesboro Generals

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Front Royal Cardinal Tre Dabney. Phoyo by Ken Pullen
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After losing Saturday night’s road game to Purcellville 4-8, the Cardinals returned home on Sunday to face the Waynesboro Generals. Despite being a hard-fought game where Cardinals’ pitching and hitting seemed to come together, the Cardinals lost to the Generals.

Both teams had a surge in the second inning, when Jackson Tate scored a two-run homer to spark the Generals’ offense. They scored four runs in the visitor frame of the inning. The Cardinals answered with three runs of their own, when Patrick Baggett and Cardinals’ newcomers Tre Dabney and Brody Shoupe all scored. The inning set the stage for the remainder of the contest.

While Cardinals pitching staff of Cade Middleton and Shane Scott kept the Generals to only four hits through six innings, Waynesboro managed another big inning in the seventh. The Generals scored four runs on four hits and took a seven-run lead. The Cardinals did not give up. Outfielder Trip Willis sent a 1-1 pitch well over the center field net in the eighth inning. Hopes of a comeback grew in the ninth, when Arrison Perez scored on a wild pitch, and Carson Bell scored on a sacrifice fly. Alas, down to their final out, the Cardinals ran out of opportunities and fell to the Generals with a final score of 10-6.

Cardinals’ offensive highlights of the game featured Trip Willis, who had two hits in four at-bats, including a solo home run. Defensively, pitcher Henri Pratt stood out in the game, collecting two strikeouts and allowing no runs in his one inning of work.

The Cardinals play on the road Tuesday, against the Winchester Royals, and Wednesday, against the Strasburg Express. The next home game will be Thursday, June 27th, against the Covington Lumberjacks. First pitch is at 7:00 pm.

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Crime/Court

BREAKING NEWS: Former EDA administrative assistant Michelle “Missy” Henry arrested by VSP

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Missy Henry, the second person to be arrested in connection with the EDA embezzlement investigation. / RSW Regional Jail
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WARREN COUNTY – Michele “Missy” Henry, who worked alongside former EDA Director Jennifer McDonald, who is currently jailed on a number of charges related to embezzlement of funds from the entity, was arrested Monday (June 24) without incident at her home by the Virginia State Police.

Henry has been charged with two counts of felony embezzlement and is currently being held without bail.  She is scheduled to appear in Warren County Circuit Court on Tuesday, June 25 at 9 a.m.

This is a developing story that will be updated as information warrants.

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Crime/Court

Defendant attempts to flee courtroom after drug case bond revoked

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While the temperature took a pleasant turn downwards on Friday, June 21, things heated up inside the Warren County Courthouse the afternoon of the Summer Solstice when a defendant appearing on a bond appeal hearing brought by the commonwealth did not take his bond revocation well.

During the afternoon docket around 2:30 p.m. 34-year-old Ray Martin Johnson decided to bolt from Circuit Courtroom “B” after the commonwealth’s motion to have his bond revoked on two drug charges was upheld by Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr.

As he exited the courtroom, Johnson met a Virginia State Trooper headed into court in the small ante-room area between the smaller circuit courtroom and outer door to the second floor hallway. That unexpected encounter initiated a scuffle reportedly resulting in someone’s head’s contact with a wall. Johnson’s attempt to leave the courthouse was quickly aborted by the trooper and a combination of Warren County Sheriff’s Office bailiffs and law enforcement personnel in the courtroom for other cases.

Ray Martin Johnson – Mug Shot RSW Regional Jail website

Johnson’s ill-advised exit attempt resulted in additional charges of “Escape-not convicted escape from custody by force or violence” and “Simple Assault-law enforcement officer, judge or fire & rescue personnel” being added to his previous charges. According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Samantha Meadows, who noted she had left the courtroom before Johnson’s flight attempt, the bond revocation involved two felony distribution charges, one for Schedule 1 and 2 drugs, the other for Schedule 4.

According to RSW Regional Jail inmate records, Johnson’s previous criminal record includes “Vandalism-intentional damage of property”, “Traffic-driving on a revoked license, third or subsequent offense” and “Contempt of Court-Failure to Appear”, as well as the two “Narcotics” charges, “Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine” and “Distribution, sell a Schedule 4 drug”.

Johnson is scheduled back in court at 9 a.m., tomorrow morning, Tuesday, June 25.

Why do I have this feeling it’s going to be a long, hot summer both inside and outside of the Warren County Courthouse?

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I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes Week of June 23, 2019

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Project construction continues throughout the corridor during daytime and overnight hours. Current activities include:

• Constructing bridge foundations at I-495, Route 28, and Route 234 Business interchanges and Bull Run Drive overpass
• Constructing retaining walls along I-66 and Route 28
• Demolition of structures

• Small charge dynamite operations at the Route 28 interchange
• Clearing trees and brush, grading, and installing drainage throughout the corridor
• Demolishing closed ramps at Route 123 interchange
• Grading and installing drainage at the future park and ride lots at University Boulevard (Gainesville) and Balls Ford Road (Manassas)
• Grading and excavating for the new E.C. Lawrence Park Access Road and temporary realignment of Braddock Road
• Relocating underground and overhead utilities along I-66 and Route 28
• Corridor-wide roadway maintenance as needed

The Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project will add express lanes stretching 22.5 miles from the Capital Beltway to Route 29 in Gainesville, rebuild major interchanges along the I-66 corridor, create thousands of new park and ride spaces, and expand trail options for cyclists and pedestrians. Learn more at Transform66.org.

Upcoming Lane Closures and Traffic Changes
The following planned lane closures are expected to have significant traffic impacts. All work is subject to change based on weather and schedule. Find the latest information on travel conditions and work zones by visiting 511virginia.org or downloading the Virginia511 app.

ROUTE 29 / GAINESVILLE
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 234 BUSINESS (SUDLEY ROAD) / MANASSAS
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 28 (SULLY ROAD) / CENTREVILLE
Route 28 North at ramp to I-66 East
Route 28 South at Braddock Road
Ramps from I-66 East and West to Route 28 North
Ramp from I-66 West to Route 28 South
Monday, June 24 through Friday, June 28: 11 a.m. to noon
Temporary stoppages of up to 15 minutes on Route 28 North and South at I-66 for small charge blasting. Additionally, the ramps from I-66 East and West to northbound Route 28, and from I-66 West to southbound Route 28 will be temporarily closed for up to 15 minutes during the same time period.

ROUTE 286 (FAIRFAX COUNTY PARKWAY)
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 50 / FAIRFAX
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 123 (CHAIN BRIDGE ROAD) / OAKTON – CITY OF FAIRFAX
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

ROUTE 243 (NUTLEY STREET) / VIENNA
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

I-495 (CAPITAL BELTWAY)
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.

Commuter Alternatives
VDOT and the project team have invested in a broad range of programs to help commuters and others stay mobile and safe during construction. Learn more about carpool, vanpool, telework, and commuter bus alternatives.

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Warren County School Board Meeting: June 19, 2019

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Superintendent Greg Drescher updates the School Board on the delay in renovations at A.S. Rhodes. Photo and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

At the June 19th Warren County School Board meeting, Superintendent Greg Drescher did update the Board on the A.S.Rhodes project but there is always more to learn. The Clerk’s Report includes expenditures made and the personnel report lists resignations and appointments. It’s interesting to see how our tax money is spent each month.

The Royal Examiner’s camera was there. Watch your School Board at work:

Here’s the link to view the agenda and documentation provided the School Board.

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It doesn’t happen often, but …

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Cardinals first baseman Levi Leisenring. Photo by Ken Pullen.

A no hitter is rare in baseball, and the Front Royal Cardinals were able to experience that infrequent event last night. Unfortunately, it was for the other team. The Cardinals lost a defensive showdown to the Strasburg Express 5-0.

It was a beautiful night for baseball, and the Cardinals’ largest crowd of the season came out to cheer the hometown team. The excitement was palpable when both teams took the field. The Express took an early lead in the second inning, when Nicholas Toney took a 3-2 pitch over the left field net for a home run. There would not be another run scored until the eighth inning. Strasburg pitching was dominant, securing 18 strikeouts, and the Cardinals were only able to put the ball in play seven times over the course of the game. The Cardinals only base runners came when Easton Waterman was walked, and Arrison Perez was hit by a pitch. The Cardinals defense was exceptional through most of the game, securing 11 outs and only committing three errors. Third base man Patrick Baggett led the defense, making five assists and running down two Express baserunners for the tag. The Cardinals pitching staff, comprised of Kyle Turner, Sean Miller and Henri Pratt, executed seven strikeouts and only walked five batters throughout the game. The Express managed to tack on four more runs in the last two frames, including an extremely close call at the plate that didn’t go the Cardinals way. When the dust settled, the Express shut out the Cardinals 5-0.

Although the Cardinals couldn’t get their bats going in this game, Coach Tony Hurla believes that their pitching and hitting will come together. He said, “We pitched a lot better tonight, but didn’t have the offense to go with it. We’re a little inconsistent in both areas, but if we can start to put both together, then I think things could turn around for us.”

The Cardinals will try for a win tonight at Purcellville, against the Cannons. Their next home game is Sunday on June 23rd at 7:00 pm against the Waynesboro Generals. Dominion Health & Fitness is sponsoring the game.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Jun
27
Thu
6:00 pm Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Jun 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Sip & Glaze at The Vine & Leaf! Join us for an evening of good company while you glaze your own lunch set (bowl and plate).
Jun
29
Sat
1:00 pm Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Jun 29 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing Workshop - Summer 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This weekend workshop will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings of leaves, flowers,[...]
Jun
30
Sun
1:00 pm Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Jun 30 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing Workshop - Summer 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This weekend workshop will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings of leaves, flowers,[...]
Jul
1
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jul 1 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
Jul
8
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jul 8 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 8 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jul
9
Tue
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 9 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]
Jul
10
Wed
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 10 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jul
11
Thu
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 11 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 2 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]