On Thursday, August 8, Royal Examiner spoke with Virginia Recovery and Reentry (VRR) Program Project Director Christopher Ronquest of the McShin Foundation, McShin-RSW Jail Program Facilitator Diana Lieber and Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County (RSW) Regional Jail Superintendent Russ Gilkison about the first eight months of implementation of an aggressively proactive effort to rehabilitate inmates dealing with substance abuse issues.
As Gilkison notes during our video interview, in addition to people convicted and jailed on drug offenses, many jailed on other criminal charges have substance abuse problems as a basis for that criminal activity.
And the VRR program launched at both RSW Jail and Prince George County’s Riverside Regional Jail last December takes direct aim at addiction and substance abuse through a peer-to-peer approach to recovery aimed at reducing criminal recidivism related to substance abuse and addiction. LINK-McShin Foundation, AG Mark Herring help launch RSW Jail rehab program
To mark the program’s personal success stories, stories that will remain in progress for the rest of participating inmates’ lives, the two jails and the Richmond-based McShin Foundation will hold a VRR Organizational Summit in southern Warren County on August 29, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mountain Bed & Breakfast at 3471 Remount Road. The event is open to the public.
In addition to program and jail officials the summit will include scholarship recipients from the VRR re-entry program. Those inmates now facing transition back into the world will tell their stories of hope for meaningful change in their lives brought to them through the partnership of the McShin Foundation’s Virginia Recovery and Re-Entry Program and the RSW and Riverside Jails.
The scholarships or grant offers will help fund 20-plus inmates, a majority from RSW, transition back toward productive lives away from the environments that led to their substance abuse and criminality, in residential recovery settings as they seek jobs and meaningful change in their lives.
As Ronquest, Lieber and Gilkison explain in our video interview, the heart of the VRR Program is that peer-to-peer interaction with program members and inmates who share a background in substance abuse and addiction. It is an approach that removes the “why don’t you straighten up and do something positive with your life” lecture to “this is how I overcame my addiction issues and have maintained sobriety, I think you can do it too” path of empathy and shared mutual experience.
Lieber, an Air Force veteran who is a volunteer program facilitator at RSW told us, “It is a win-win for everybody and a miracle to see in action”.
And that “everybody” who wins from the VRR Program includes you as a taxpaying member of this community. For when the pattern of behavior of addiction and associated criminality is broken, those inmates and VRR Program alumni are much less likely to return to that previous lifestyle and consequently are less likely to return to jail to be housed again for longer periods of time on the taxpayer’s dime.
The McShin Foundation was established in 2004 and is Virginia’s leading non-profit, full-service Recovery Community Organization (RCO), committed to serving individuals and families in their fight against Substance Use Disorders. The VRR Programs at RSW and Riverside Jails was enabled by a matching grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Building Communities of Recovery initiative.
Please watch the linked Royal Examiner video interview for more detail on the VRR Program, the upcoming summit, and the project’s potential to enable meaningful, positive change in individual lives and consequently in the life of, not only our community, but communities across the commonwealth.
Gainesville: University Boulevard Lane Closure the Week of August 26th
GAINESVILLE – The right lane of southbound University Boulevard is scheduled to be closed between Route 29 and I-66 from 9 a.m. Monday, August 26, to noon on Friday, August 30. The closure is needed so that construction crews can install curbs and gutters and pave the entrance to the new University Boulevard (Gainesville) Park and Ride Lot.
The first portion of the lot will open this October with more than 960 parking spaces available for carpooling, vanpools, and commuter bus service during construction of the Transform 66 Project. When fully completed in late 2022, the facility will provide over 2,000 park and ride spaces with access to and from the I-66 Express Lanes from University Boulevard.
All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.
Learn more about the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project and sign up for project updates and lane closure alerts at Transform66.org.
FRIBA promotes Town with ‘Cardinal’ ornaments, annual Taste of the Town
There’s a fun new project in town featuring the beautiful Virginia state bird: the cardinal.
The Front Royal Independent Business Alliance (FRIBA) members with the assistance of American Business Alliance are partnering to help stimulate local business growth in town, and they are doing so with cute, kiln fired clay cardinals. The goal of their partnership is to continue to create unity within the community by celebrating the anniversary of the “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign. With the 50th anniversary of the campaign coming up, FRIBA wants to celebrate by creating clay Christmas ornaments in the shape of cardinals and invite the community to paint them for an $8 donation. The cardinals will be used to help fund community love letters to bring the community together and spread the love.
Arline Link with Explore Art and Clay at the Kiln Doctor and George and Karen McIntyre from The Apple House introduced us to the project.
Link also wants to spread the word about the Taste of the Town event. A family focused, non-alcoholic community event hosted on September 27 from 6-9 P.M. on East Main Street, Taste of the Town promises to bring the best culinary aspects of Downtown Front Royal to light. East Main Street will be closed off for the event and the night will promise hours of family friendly fun.
In addition, on August 22 at the Open House Middle of Main there will be another community event showing a series of films featuring the history behind the Save Your Town project.
To learn more about Cookie Cutter Cardinals you can contact Arline Link at the Explore Art and Clay at the Kiln Doctor, (540) 636-6016.
Watch Arline Link and George McIntyre walked us through the process of how the cardinals are made in this video:
Invitation to bid: WCPS A.S. Rhodes Elementary School Renovation
You are invited to bid on a general contract for Warren County Public Schools, A.S. Rhodes Elementary School Renovation for the Warren County School Board. This project generally consists of approximately 21,070 SF of renovations, including but not limited to new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. All bids shall be on a lump sum basis.
Bids shall be received until 2:00 P.M. local prevailing time on Thursday, September 19, 2019, to the attention of Melody Sheppard, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, in the Board Room of the Warren County Public School Administration Building, 210 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630, at which time they will be opened publicly and read aloud. Bids received after this time will not be accepted. All interested parties are invited to attend.
Drawings and specifications may be examined at the Office of the Architect/Engineer, the Warren County School Board office, and at the following locations:
Valley Construction News
426 W. Campbell Avenue
Roanoke, VA 24016
Alex Gugliada | The Blue Book Bldg. & Construction Network
800 E. Main Street
Jefferson Valley, NY 10535
Builders’ Exchange, Inc.
3207 Hermitage Rd.
Richmond, VA 23227
DODGE Data & Analytics
3315 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71913
30 Technology Parkway South | Suite 100
Norcross, GA 30092-2912
400 SW 7th Street
Stuart, FL 34994
Plans and specifications can be obtained via download from ShareFile upon receipt of a nonrefundable check in the amount of $25.00. Contact email@example.com for ShareFile access. Upon receipt of check and valid email address, OWPR will provide a password with instructions on accessing and downloading plans and specifications. Hard copies of plans and specifications can be obtained from OWPR upon receipt of a nonrefundable check in the amount of $400.00. Plans and specifications can be shipped for additional charge. Contact OWPR for further details.
Bids shall be accompanied by a bid guarantee of not less than 5% of the amount of the bid, which may be a certified check or cashier’s check, or a bid bond of 5% of the amount of the bid, made payable to Warren County School Board. A performance bond, payment bond and a material and labor bond will be required and the cost shall be included in the bid price.
Bidders are required under Title 54.1, Chapter 11, Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, to be licensed as a “Class A Contractor” before submitting a bid of one hundred twenty thousand ($120,000) dollars or more; or to be licensed as a “Class B Contractor” before submitting a bid of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars or more but less than one hundred twenty thousand ($120,000) dollars; or be licensed as a “Class C Contractor” before submitting a bid of no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Each Bidder will be required to give their State Registration Number on their proposal. All non-resident contractors and subcontractors bidding the work described herein shall register with the Department of Labor and Industry under the provisions of Section 40.1-30 of the Code of Virginia.
The Owner reserves the right to waive irregularities and to reject any or all bids.
A pre-bid conference will be held on September 12, 2019 beginning at 2:00 P.M. at the Warren County Public School Administration Building, 210 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630 with a tour of the school afterwards. The school is located at 224 W. Strasburg Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630. This will provide an opportunity to answer questions and explain any items requiring further clarification.
Bids shall be binding for a period of sixty (60) days from the date on which bids are opened.
Lucky Star Reunion packs Front Royal Brewing Co. with memories of times past
As former Lucky Star Lounge co-owner and oft-bartender Trevor Lipton said Saturday evening, August 17 at the Front Royal Brewing Company in introducing the newest incarnation of the first and last band to play at his establishment, this reunion was more than a reuniting of former clientele and staff of a fondly-remembered eating, drinking and entertainment establishment, and more like an extended family reunion.
And to the backdrop of headliner AfterSHOCK, formerly known as The Shockers, formerly known as EyeSoar – happily reunited with guitarist Pat Flowers and often guest singer Renee Flowers – the evening had exactly THAT feel, as old friends and acquaintances embraced and reminisced about good times, lost times, and times to come wherever and whenever they might be encountered.
The Lucky Star spanned a nine-year period between 2005 and 2013, at 205A East Main Street, not far from the site of the Front Royal Brewing Company-hosted reunion event – and a shout out to the staff for its handling of the large, occasionally-demanding and hungry, and thirsty on a steamy night, crowd. The entrees, appetizers and home-brewed craft beers kept the enthusiastic crowd fueled for more.
Thank you to Lucky Star founding partners Trevor and Lorena Lipton; absent out west but fondly-remembered co-owners Patrick and Shawn Patterson; Star “spiritual advisor” Roxanne Bauserman, family and friends; past and future Zombie Walkers; and everyone else for the memories and opportunity to reunite and fondly recall the bonding characteristics of a true English and early Americana-style pub and eatery – the kind where revolutions, or at least minor rebellions, are planned.
‘Clear the Shelter’ day sees 26 animals in ‘forever’ homes
The Julia Wagner Animal Shelter in Front Royal came within a whisker or two of its target on Saturday, August 17, by adopting out 26 animals on the annual “Clear the Shelter” Day, a result Executive Director Meghan Bowers said was “highly satisfactory.”
Bowers had set a high watermark for the special day with extended hours and a full staff on duty. In an interim report to me when I dropped by in early afternoon, she told me of six adoptions.
At the end of the day, when another Examiner staffer, Roger Bianchini, had stopped in to take photos, the totals stood at 15 “forever homes” for dogs and 11 for cats, just short of the target of 30 overall. Adoption fees were excused for the event.
Looking backward, then forward, Bowers reported a net total of $16,794 for last month’s “Waggin’ for Dragons” popular fundraiser.
“It’s not as much as previous years,” she said, but a healthy total since the event was dropped last year and the number of competitors – eight boats, 160 paddlers – last month was down by half.
She expects “Waggin'” will be back to a full complement of competitors in future years.
Looking forward, Bowers announced “Putt for Paws” at the Bowling Green Country Club on October 11. Teams of four compete on the 18-hole golf course, followed by dinner and door prizes. Price of entry for another key fundraising event is $400 per team.
Then the Humane Society of Warren County, headed by Ellen Aders, will stage one of its biggest attractions: “Tales & Ales,” a dinner – the 8th annual – with silent auction, cash prizes including $1,000 that goes to a lucky $35 entry ticket holder. “Tales & Ales, usually a sellout, is scheduled for November 16. More information on both these events will be reported here as they approach.
And remember, not all the shelter’s animals were adopted – some are still waiting for that special, loving person to take them home too…
Fireball Arcade finally has its Grand Opening
Fireball Arcade has been open for about a year at 218 East Main Street in Front Royal, but is just now getting around to their Grand Opening.
On August 17th the Fireball Arcade held its Grand Opening with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony by the Front Royal Warren County Chamber of Commerce.
The Fireball is an 80’s themed Pinball and Video Game Arcade. They also have a Birthday room rental available! Share your childhood arcade experiences with your children.