RSW Jail staffer tests COVID-19 positive – was not in contact with inmates
A staff member at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County Regional Jail has tested positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus. In a press release from the office of RSW Jail Superintendent Russ Gilkison issued at 1:43 p.m. Friday afternoon, April 24, it was noted that the person is “a support staff member, who does not have direct inmate contact and has not been in the building for over a week.”
The release continues to explain that the COVID-19 diagnosed staffer “began feeling ill over the weekend while at home, was tested earlier this week, and received the confirmation yesterday” on April 23rd.
A second RSW Jail support staffer said to be in close contact with the COVID-19 diagnosed employee, “has been directed to self-isolate at home for 14 days, at the direction of the Virginia Department of Health. This staff member is not displaying any symptoms at this time,” the release states.
Despite the first positive employee diagnosis, the release continues to observe, “Currently, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the facility. We are continuing to take steps to keep our staff and the inmates as safe as possible by screening everyone entering the facility, cleaning and sanitizing day and night, and utilizing PPE. We will continue to update everyone as the situation evolves.”
With meat and poultry processing plants across the nation under increased scrutiny as COVID-19 contamination breeding grounds due to ongoing close worker proximity and working conditions, the release observes that “The Virginia Department of Health believes this staff member possibly contracted the virus from their spouse, who works at a poultry plant in Rockingham County. The staff member is in contact with the VDH and their primary care physician and is resting in self-isolation at home.”
Could poultry processing operations be at least a partial explanation for the “explosion” of COVID-19 cases we were told Rockingham County and Harrisonburg have been experiencing recently?
As reported in Royal Examiner’s April 23 story on the fifth weekly Warren County Joint Pandemic Emergency Management briefing, between April 13 and April 23, Rockingham County cases jumped from 49 to 163, with the City of Harrisonburg going from 87 to 346 over that period. The two municipalities have a combined 9 fatalities attributed to the COVID-19 virus, with 8 of those in Harrisonburg.
A check one-day later, shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, showed those numbers continuing to climb by 9, to 355 cases in Harrisonburg; and by 13, to 176 in Rockingham, with an additional Coronavirus Disease-2019 death reported in Harrisonburg. Also, between April 23rd and 24th, Warren County’s confirmed cases climbed from 30 to 36.
And so it goes at the end of the third month since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the U.S. on January 24, 2020. When we checked Friday afternoon, national statistics at the CDC had not been updated for Friday, but as of Thursday, April 23, the U.S. had 865,585 cases and 48,816 fatalities attributed to the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Front Royal Rotary ending its year with major student awards
The Rotary Club of Front Royal’s president, Lori Glascock, is using the last weeks of her one-year term of office to distribute scholarship money and other awards to worthy local students. On June 23, Ken Evans will be sworn in as the 2023-24 club president.
In addition to previous student awards and recognition of local outstanding teachers, Glascock, last Friday (June 2), handed out further awards to four students from Skyline and Warren County High Schools who excelled in the arts and in the fields of sport.
Isabella Pittelli, WCHS, received the 2023 Betsy Blauvelt Student Art Award. The late Betsy Blauvelt, a past president of Front Royal Rotary, was a long-time executive director of the old Wayside Theatre in Middletown. Blauvelt’s husband, David, and their daughters attended the presentation.
Cody Henderson, Skyline, received the Kym Crump Student Art Award. Crump, also a former president of Front Royal Rotary and executive director of the Blue Ridge Arts Council, attended the presentation to Cody.
The John Marlow Male Athlete of the Year Award went to Daniel “DJ” Rizzo Jr., WCHS. The ceremony was watched by Marlow and his daughter, Emily Marlow Beck. Marlow was himself an outstanding high school and college athlete, also a past president of Front Royal Rotary and Mayor of the Town of Front Royal.
Sara Waller, WCHS, received one of two 2023 Heidi Moore Female Athletic Awards, along with Ava Bordner, Skyline, who will pick up her award later this month. She was away competing in athletics at the state level. Heidi Moore was an outstanding county athlete who tragically died from cancer shortly after completing her high school years.
WC EDA’s second ‘Open-Door Business Session’ of year leads to optimism on educational-industry employment networking
On Thursday, June 1, the still legally named, if not actually jointly overseen Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (FR-WC EDA, aka WC EDA) hosted its second “Open Door Business Session” of four scheduled for this year. This one was hosted at the Villa Avenue Community Center. The first was held at the Virginia Inland Port meeting room in northern Warren County.
As County Director of Economic Development, Joe Petty noted in announcing this Open Door session: “This event is a part of the EDA’s continuous initiative to strengthen Warren County’s workforce development and enhance the economic prosperity of the region. The two-hour session will be packed with presentations, open discussions, and plenty of networking opportunities. Participants will have a chance to engage in meaningful discussions and network with key players influencing Warren County’s economic landscape.”
Petty introduced participants, including representatives from Warren County Public Schools Blue Ridge Technical Center (Jane Baker, Heidi Rutz, and friend) and Laurel Ridge Community Colleges’ Workforce Solutions (Bill Pence). Following PowerPoint presentations by those educational representatives and a break for some face-to-face networking, the meeting moved to a panel discussion moderated by FR-WC EDA Board of Directors member Marjorie “Jori” Martin.
Royal Examiner later asked Martin for her impressions of this Open Door Business Session. “It was a very productive open-door session both in networking and workforce development,” she began enthusiastically. “Several participants connected for future endeavors. This workforce ‘open door’ built on the first one at the Inland Port, which brought together employers, developers, Port Authority, and government discussing employment and opportunity in the region.
“I, on a personal note, had not really appreciated the depth, dedication, and collaboration between the educational institutions. I look forward to further understanding the partnerships and opportunities to use these valuable resources to grow our workforce to support our existing businesses, and attract new business. The industry participants discussed changes in the workforce and companies adapting to address the needs of the company and the changing workforce. This is the second in a series of four scheduled for this year,” Martin reminded us of the County overseen
EDA’s Open Door Business Sessions. Future sessions will include a focus on small businesses in this area and their needs.
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for June 5 – 9, 2023
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Overnight mobile lane closures for vegetation management, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. through Thursday night.
*NEW* Mile marker 12 to 9, westbound – Alternating lane closures for paving operations, Monday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Overnight single lane closures for equipment moving and bridge removal work, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. through night of July 7.
*NEW* Route 522 (Winchester Road/Remount Road) – Northbound and southbound overnight mobile lane closures between Clarke County line and Rappahannock County line for pavement marking operations, June 7 – 11 nights from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
*NEW* Route 615 (Stokes Airport Road) – Closed between Route 619 (Rivermont Drive) and Route 618 (Ridgeway Road) for pipe replacement, Monday through Friday. Follow posted detour.
*NEW* Route 638 (Freezeland Road) – Flagger traffic control between FR-283 (Appalachian Lane/Crimson Lane) and Route 55 (John Marshall Highway) for inspection of the I-66 overpass bridge, Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
Shenandoah University recognizes outstanding achievements with Spring 2023 Dean’s List
Shenandoah University, a nationally recognized educational institution based in Winchester, Virginia, has recently announced the impressive accomplishments of 943 students who have earned a spot on the Spring 2023 Dean’s List. This distinction reflects the dedication, hard work, and academic excellence of students from various degree programs in Front Royal, Linden, and Lake Frederick. The university takes pride in recognizing these students for their outstanding achievements.
The Spring 2023 Dean’s List at Shenandoah University comprises an impressive group of students who have demonstrated exemplary academic performance. Among them are:
- Caleb Reedy – Front Royal, VA
- Valerie Cameron – Front Royal, VA
- Allison Smoot – Front Royal, VA
- Callista Mayberry – Front Royal, VA
- Aaliyah Chunn – Front Royal, VA
- Jasmine Sharp – Front Royal, VA
- Isabelle Grupac – Linden, VA
- Hannah Frost – Front Royal, VA
- David Kelly – Front Royal, VA
- Asia James – Lake Frederick, VA
- Brennan Komelasky – Front Royal, VA
- Laura Brown – Front Royal, VA
- Erika Gallagher – Front Royal, VA
- Audrey Bratcher – Linden, VA
- Crismeli Sandoval – Front Royal, VA
- Megan Vardiman – Linden, VA
- Mariah Barber – Linden, VA
- Margaret Plosch – Front Royal, VA
- Cody Crawford – Linden, VA
These students have displayed a remarkable commitment to their studies, earning them a place of distinction on the Dean’s List. Their academic achievements are a testament to their dedication and hard work throughout the semester.
To qualify for the Dean’s List, students enrolled in baccalaureate degree programs at Shenandoah University must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours and achieve a remarkable semester GPA of 3.50 or higher. This accomplishment is a reflection of the student’s academic excellence and sets them apart as exemplary scholars within the university community.
Established in 1875, Shenandoah University has become a leading educational institution known for its blend of professional career experiences and comprehensive education. With over 4,000 students enrolled in more than 200 areas of study across six different schools, Shenandoah University fosters a close-knit community that thrives on creative energy and intellectual challenges. The university’s dedicated faculty members provide personalized attention and mentorship, contributing to numerous nationally ranked programs and exceptional learning opportunities for students.
Shenandoah University takes pride in its innovative partnerships and programs at both local and global levels, allowing students to gain valuable real-world experience and expand their horizons beyond the classroom. By empowering students like Caleb Reedy, Valerie Cameron, Allison Smoot, Callista Mayberry, Aaliyah Chunn, Jasmine Sharp, Isabelle Grupac, Hannah Frost, David Kelly, Asia James, Brennan Komelasky, Laura Brown, Erika Gallagher, Audrey Bratcher, Crismeli Sandoval, Megan Vardiman, Mariah Barber, Margaret Plosch, and Cody Crawford, the university prepares them to excel in their chosen fields and make meaningful contributions to society.
Shenandoah University celebrates the remarkable achievements of the 943 students who have earned a place on the Spring 2023 Dean’s List. The university recognizes their dedication, hard work, and academic excellence. Congratulations to all the students for their outstanding accomplishments and for setting a high standard of academic achievement at Shenandoah University.
A Pledge to Excellence: Warren County Sheriff’s Office earns prestigious state accreditation
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has proudly announced that they have joined the top 100 law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth in gaining state accreditation. This achievement is significant, as state accreditation is the best measure of a law enforcement agency’s compliance with professional standards. These standards are determined by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, comprised of Virginia sheriffs and police chiefs chosen for their professional expertise and knowledge.
The accreditation process involves a thorough review of every facet of the agency’s organization, management, operations, and administration, thereby ensuring that agency resources are used in alignment with agency goals and objectives and that any internal deficiencies and inefficiencies are promptly addressed before they become public problems.
The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) jointly form the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. Active Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, who are members of the Commission, set professional standards and oversee the accreditation process. The DCJS manages the daily operations of the Commission.
Accreditation offers a range of benefits, including enhanced community understanding of the law enforcement agency and its role in the community. It also boosts public confidence in the agency’s policies and practices, fosters cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and branches of the criminal justice system, and ensures a uniform and efficient delivery of law enforcement services to the community.
For officers within the agency, accreditation ensures the availability of written policies and procedures at all times, provides objective measures to gauge the effectiveness of the agency’s programs and services, and increases employees’ confidence in the effectiveness and efficiency of their own agency.
In essence, accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence in law enforcement. The employees of Warren County Sheriff’s Office now take pride in their agency, knowing it represents the very best in law enforcement.
Accredited Agencies in our area include:
- Berryville Police Department
- Clarke County Sheriff’s Office
- Page County Sheriff’s Office
- Winchester City Sheriff’s Office
- Winchester Police Department
- Woodstock Police Department
Experience the hidden wonder of Middletown’s Ogdens Cave: Exclusive access granted by DCR for one day only
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is set to provide a unique opportunity to the public during Virginia Cave Week from June 4-10. On Tuesday, June 6, between 2-7 p.m., the public will be allowed to tour Ogdens Cave Natural Area Preserve. Normally sealed off due to the delicate species living inside, this one-off event promises an adventure to remember.
Virginia Natural Heritage Program speleologists and cavers, part of DCR, will guide the tours inside the preserve, which will include a short exploration of the cave. Each tour will last up to one hour, giving visitors a glimpse into a fascinating, often unseen world.
Attendees need to prepare adequately for the trip. The department will provide helmets and headlamps, but visitors are advised to wear sturdy shoes or boots with treads, long pants, a light jacket or rugged shirt with long sleeves, and gloves. This is due to the cave temperature maintaining a steady 54 degrees.
For those interested in taking part in this rare opportunity, RSVP by emailing Meredith Weberg at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, June 5. Specific driving directions will be provided to attendees.
Wind: 4mph W
UV index: 7