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Rising Above the Norm: Two Visionaries Battle for South River’s Educational Future



Meeting Passion with Dedication: A Glimpse into South River’s School Board Forum.

South River District’s School Board Forum, held Thursday evening, offered an eye-opening perspective into the future of Warren County’s educational framework. The two candidates vying for a place on the board, Leslie Matthews and Kristen Pence, shared compelling narratives and aspirations for the district’s student populace.

Leslie Mathews opened the forum, emphasizing her deep ties to Warren County. A product of its schools, she took pride in her education, immediately stepping into the workforce post-graduation. In her words, she is a “straight shooter” and a “down-to-earth go-getter.”

On the other side, Kristen Pence, an incumbent, spoke about her track record since 2020. Highlighting her unwavering dedication, Pence reaffirmed her commitment to creating a safe, inclusive learning environment and focusing on issues like teacher retention, discipline enforcement, and the elimination of drugs from schools.

The evening’s discourse tackled contentious subjects such as disciplinary measures in schools. While Pence highlighted the need for uniform consequences and community involvement, Mathews, viewing things from a parent’s perspective, called for stronger rules and heightened accountability.

Improving school attendance was another hot topic. Pence emphasized reducing bullying and fostering a positive school culture, while Mathews advocated for creating a welcoming and encouraging academic atmosphere.

Addressing the significant teacher turnover problem, Matthews spotlighted the importance of valuing and listening to teachers. In contrast, Pence talked about mentorship programs and leveraging the “Grow Your Own” initiative.

Mathews closed her remarks by envisioning a fully-funded school system, stressing parental involvement, discipline, and the essential role of leadership in navigating challenges. Pence concluded by detailing her rich history of community service, showing her vast experience and ongoing dedication to South River’s student community.

South River District stands at a crossroads, with two capable women bringing unique perspectives and solutions. It’s a testament to the importance of educational leadership and the community’s investment in shaping the future.

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Front Royal Welcomes the New Chapter of ‘Play Favorites’ Toy Store



A Fresh Start for a Beloved Local Business.

Play Favorites, a cherished local toy store in Front Royal celebrated its grand re-opening under new ownership. The event was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by community leaders and enthusiastic locals.

Nike Foster Cales, Executive Director of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, opened the ceremony, expressing excitement about the store’s future under the stewardship of Brett and Hannah Bement. Josh Ingram, a Town Council member, emphasized the store’s unique role in the community, highlighting its appeal to kids and adults.

Warren County Supervisor Walt Mabe praised Play Favorites for its blend of educational and fun offerings. The new owners, Brett and Hannah, shared their journey to acquiring the store, driven by a passion for preserving a local toy store in their community.

In an interview with publisher Mike McCool, Brett Bement discussed their unexpected journey into the board game business. Hannah Beeman, a teacher and local craftsman, continues her educational role while contributing to the store’s new look and product offerings.

Play Favorites stands out for its welcoming atmosphere and community engagement. The store offers game nights, collaborates with local game designers, and maintains a focus on educational toys. Under the new management, Play Favorites promises to be more than just a store; it’s a community hub that celebrates the joy of play across all ages.



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Front Royal Welcomes Fleetwood Vintage: A New Era of Funky Fashion on Main Street



Local Entrepreneur Taylor Jones Brings Unique Vintage Style to Front Royal with Fleetwood Vintage

Front Royal, known for its vibrant community and picturesque streets, has added a new gem to its Main Street – Fleetwood Vintage. This new business, inaugurated amidst supportive cheers and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, marks a significant addition to the town’s retail landscape. Taylor Jones, a local entrepreneur and the brains behind Fleetwood Vintage brings her unique vision of vintage fashion to the heart of Front Royal.

The opening ceremony saw key community figures, including Walt Mabe from the Warren County Board of Supervisors and Melissa DeDomenico-Payne, a Front Royal Town Council member, expressing their excitement. “It’s all part of living the Vintage life and it being exactly what we would like it to be,” said Mabe, encapsulating the town’s enthusiasm for the new venture. DeDomenico-Payne added, “I’m really pleased to have your youthful energy here to bring back important things,” highlighting the fusion of nostalgia and modernity that Fleetwood Vintage promises.

Byron Briggs, President of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the importance of supporting small businesses like Fleetwood Vintage. He pointed out the beneficial ripple effect that spending in local businesses has on the community.

The star of the event, Taylor Jones, expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming support from her family, friends, and the community. “I couldn’t have done it without my mom, my friends, my family, and my community,” she said, reflecting on her journey to becoming a business owner at the young age of 25.

Jones, a native of Front Royal and a graduate of Skyline High School, has always had a flair for the ‘out there’ style, which she brings to her store. She credits her love for funky patterns, colors, and particularly velvet, as the inspiration behind her business. Fleetwood Vintage, named after her admiration for Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, promises to be a haven for those who love unique and vintage fashion.

Located at 407 East Main Street, right across from the Visitor Center, Fleetwood Vintage is set to be a new favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. With its diverse range of funky vintage items, the store is not just a business but a reflection of Jones’ passion and the town’s welcoming spirit.

Fleetwood Vintage is more than just a store; it’s a symbol of Front Royal’s growing and diverse business community. It stands as a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of the younger generation and their ability to blend the old’s charm with the new’s vibrancy. As Fleetwood Vintage opens its doors, it invites everyone to experience the unique blend of past and present right in the heart of Front Royal.

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Front Royal’s New Fitness Flavor: Fitness Fuel



Fuel Your Fitness: A Refreshing New Arrival.

Welcome to where the fitness world’s hidden gem has just opened its doors. Fitness Fuel has officially welcomed the entire community to experience a blend of workout and wellness with a side of delicious healthy shakes. The ceremonial ribbon-cutting, led by Nike Foster from the Chamber of Commerce, marked a new chapter for the budding enterprise and a festive day for local health enthusiasts.

A New Spin on Health and Fitness

Nestled within the friendly confines of Fitness Evolution, a gym that’s more than muscle and sweat, houses Fitness Fuel, a novel concept promising to refuel bodies with all-natural, freeze-dried goodness. Jaycie Lucie, the visionary behind Fitness Fuel, amidst the loud cheers of the town and county folks, shared that this venture sprouted from a simple need within the gym. With a passion for purity, Fitness Fuel prides itself on shakes free from synthetic sugars and additives – just “pure good food.”

The motivation behind Fitness Fuel’s creation was straightforward yet profound. “We were approached by the owner, and we agreed to start it,” Lucie explained. And with that, a business was born, learning the art of shake-making along the way. As for the future, Lucie hints at possible expansion but assures that, for now, they are focused on serving the current clientele with gusto.

Welcoming the Public with Open Arms… and Open Doors

The synergy between Fitness Evolution and Fitness Fuel is unique, and Lucie eagerly points out that the gym doors are open to all, not just gym members. Offering extensive operating hours throughout the week, they ensure that no one misses out on the opportunity to taste and benefit from their healthy concoctions. Lucie invites everyone to try the shakes and explore the gym with a free one-day pass.

Shaking Up the Flavor Game

Fitness Fuel challenges the preconceptions of health drinks with a menu brimming with innovative and delightful flavors. The Hawaiian Harvest, a tropical explosion of pineapple, bananas, and coconut, leads as Lucie’s top pick. They’ve even managed to craft a protein shake rendition of the classic Cracker Jacks – sans the actual snack but rife with peanut butter and a hint of sea salt caramel.

Front Royal’s latest addition serves more than just shakes; it’s a testament to community, innovation, and the ever-growing pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Fitness Evolution and Fitness Fuel together are set to become a beacon of health and flavor for everyone looking to infuse their fitness journey with a touch of natural sweetness.

For more information, check out their Facebook page here.


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A Tale of Two Visions: Butler’s Achievements vs. Cline’s Commitments



Butler and Cline: Two Distinct Visions for a Safer Warren County.

In a riveting forum, Warren County citizens gathered to hear from two stalwart contenders, Mark Butler and Crystal Cline, both vying for the coveted position of Warren County Sheriff. With a term lasting four years, the stakes are high, and the commitment deeper.

Crystal Cline, having served the Front Royal Police Department for over two decades, began with a heartfelt thank-you to the chamber for facilitating the forum and the community for their presence. She reminisced about her deep roots in Warren County, highlighting her involvement ranging from the Mom’s Club to coaching the traveling volleyball team. Cline’s main thrust was the need to restore leadership and integrity to the role of sheriff. She voiced concerns over the dissolution of the Animal Control Division and the pressing need for dedicated School Resource Officers (SROs). Most poignantly, she discussed the department’s retention issue and the imperative of a full staff. Addressing Sheriff Butler’s claim about a massive drug bust, Cline firmly stated that such an incident hadn’t transpired in Warren County and stressed the significance of integrity in leadership.

On the flip side, Sheriff Mark Butler, the incumbent, recounted the tumultuous period four years ago when Warren County grappled with a major scandal. He emphasized the changes he had championed during his tenure, such as attaining the accreditation that was lost in 2019, introducing community policing, and enhancing safety – all while lessening the taxpayer’s burden. One of his crowning achievements, he mentioned, was the confiscation of 77,000 fentanyl pills last year, which he tied to a broader narrative on the devastating drug epidemic. Butler concluded by affirming the commitment of his department to the Constitution and the rights it guarantees to the citizens.

As November 7th approaches, the air in Warren County is thick with anticipation. With two distinctly passionate perspectives on the table, the choice voters make will significantly shape the future of the county’s law enforcement.

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District 31’s Destiny: Foreman, Morrison, and Oates Lay Their Cards on the Table



A Night of Passionate Pitches: Who Will Lead the 31st District Forward?

The auditorium was thick with anticipation as three formidable candidates – Steve Foreman, Grace Morrison, and Delores Oates – took to the stage, each presenting their visions for District 31 in the House of Delegates.

Grace Morrison, a compelling independent contender, has deep ties to Warren County, having moved there in 2011. Living atop a picturesque hill with her family, Morrison is firmly grounded in the community. Underscoring her desire to provide genuine representation for District 31, she spoke about the importance of unfettered and unrestricted communication between delegates and the residents. A strong believer in the Virginia Constitution, she vowed to remain transparent and amenable, aiming to serve the people first and foremost.

Democratic hopeful Steve Foreman took the audience on a journey through history, recalling the legacy of America’s representative democracy birthed in the House of Burgesses. With a heart-centered on public education, Foreman is keen to recognize and champion the needs of teachers while also pushing for more competitive school funding. He emphasized the imperative for families to have a strong foundation, advocating for rights that range from fair wages to ensuring safety from gun violence. His commitment to unity, compromise, and the collective good was unmistakable.

Rounding out the trio was Republican nominee Delores Oates. Born and raised in the district, her profound connection to the community was palpable. Having served on the Board of Supervisors, she understands the intricacies of governance firsthand. Oates accentuated the importance of school choice and its potential to raise overall education standards. She also highlighted her commitment to preserving rural values, safeguarding elections, and defending the Second Amendment.

With such diverse perspectives and visions for the future of District 31, the citizens of Warren County face an important decision. As election day approaches, the anticipation grows, promising a pivotal moment for the district’s future.


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Front Royal Candidates Discuss Pressing Issues and Affordable Housing



Four contenders vie for two Town Council seats, offering perspectives on Front Royal’s future.

In the Candidiate Forum, Front Royal’s Town Council candidates shared their perspectives and answered key questions about the community’s future. Running for two available seats are Melissa DeDomenico-Payne, Connie Marshner, Skip Rogers, and Glenn Wood. Each brought unique insights from their diverse experiences.

Skip Rogers, a non-partisan incumbent, has long dedicated himself to community service and business. Emphasizing his commitment to improving town-county relations and addressing dilapidated vacant buildings, Rogers represents a voice for proactive change.

Melissa DeDomenico-Payne, appointed to the council in January 2023, holds advanced degrees and decades of leadership experience. With strong ties to Warren County and Front Royal, she champions public safety, fiscal conservatism, and town preservation.

Glenn Wood, with strong roots in the town and a vast career in the manufacturing sector, has actively volunteered across various community organizations. He currently serves on the Town’s Planning Commission and brings expertise from there to his campaign.

Connie Marshner, having lived in multiple places due to her Navy background, has settled and contributed to Front Royal since 1995. From her experience on the Planning Commission, Marschner highlights transportation and beautification as her focus areas.

A burning question posed was regarding the town’s most pressing needs. DeDomenico-Paine emphasized economic sustainability and public safety. Wood highlighted affordable housing and health and safety. Marschner stressed an imminent issue at Shenandoah Shores and transportation, while Rogers discussed the broader challenges with development, infrastructure, and long-term planning.

On the topic of affordable housing, all candidates acknowledged the urgency. Wood proposed changes to zoning ordinances and the construction of smaller homes. Marschner emphasized the role of the private sector, while Rogers pointed out the issue of dilapidated buildings. DeDomenico-Payne highlighted the struggles of the “working poor” and their significant presence in the town.

The diversity of thought and experience each candidate brings highlights the town’s potential for growth and change. As Front Royal heads to the polls, the future of the town hangs in the balance, with pressing issues like affordable housing and community development taking center stage.


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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal, VA
7:18 am4:50 pm EST
Feels like: 54°F
Wind: 2mph S
Humidity: 47%
Pressure: 30.13"Hg
UV index: 2
59°F / 48°F
61°F / 34°F
41°F / 25°F

Upcoming Events

8:00 am Breakfast with Santa @ Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department
Breakfast with Santa @ Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department
Dec 9 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Breakfast with Santa @ Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department
Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department is having a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 9th, from 8:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. Adults are $10.00 Kids are $5.00 Children 5 and under are free!
12:00 pm Christmas Lunch for Kids, Vets a... @ Front Royal Elks Lodge
Christmas Lunch for Kids, Vets a... @ Front Royal Elks Lodge
Dec 9 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Christmas Lunch for Kids, Vets and Seniors @ Front Royal Elks Lodge
The Front Royal Elks Lodge will hold it’s annual Holiday Lunch for Kids, Veterans and Seniors on Saturday, December 9. Festivities will begin at 12 noon. Mr. and Mrs. Clause are said to be coming!
4:30 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 9 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA’s Jet Propulsion[...]
7:30 pm American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
Dec 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
American Legion Community Band Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
The American Legion Community Band, located in Front Royal, Virginia, was formed in 1986 and has been playing concerts in the area ever since. The conductors and band members are all volunteer musicians from the local[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 13 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
7:00 am Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Dec 16 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Join us for pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits, sausage gravy, and juice/coffee! All are invited for this FREE event. Offering will be accepted.
10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 16 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
1:00 pm The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
Dec 16 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of The Nutcracker, a Christmas classic to be enjoyed by the whole family! When: Saturday, December 16th at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM Where:[...]