Samuels Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of its 42nd annual Holiday Writing Contest. The annual Holiday Writing Contest draws hundreds of entries each year and offers youth, ages kindergarten – 12th grade an opportunity to express their creativity and share their writing about the holiday winter season through a poem or short story.
“This year, more than ever, children and youth in our community our looking for ways to express themselves,” said Michelle Ross, Library Director. “We are so pleased to continue this time-honored tradition and provide an outlet and a platform for the youngest voices in our community.”
The Library recognized 38 Writing Contest winners this year as well as seven additional art work winners.
“In spite of how students’ academic situations have recently changed, we still had a great number of entries. We were thrilled to receive 376 stories, poems, and drawings,” said Michal Ashby, Youth Services Supervisor. “For over forty years, Samuels Library has held the Holiday Writing Contest, and we were determined to press on, in spite of COVID-19 restrictions,” Ashby continued.
Each contest winner will receive a professionally published keepsake booklet, sponsored by The Northern Virginia Daily. First place winners also receive a gift certificate provided by the Royal Oak Bookshop.
In year’s past, Holiday Writing Contest participants and their families were invited to a reception at the Library to read their winning writings out loud. “The Holiday Writing Contest reception has always been the highlight of my year,” said Ashby. “Unfortunately, we are not able to have the reception this year, so we are starting some new traditions. Winners have been given the opportunity to submit videos of themselves reading their winning stories and poems, for viewing on the library’s social media platforms. Additionally, the library plans to make the book available in an e-book format, which can be checked out like a regular e-book. We are excited to see how the Holiday Writing Contest has evolved in new and exciting ways.”
Sadie Rosner, a seventh grader at Warren County Middle school received a second-place award for her story, “Neighborly Spirit.” The story begins, “To a passing car or pedestrian, Elm Street looked quite normal, especially during the holiday season. All the houses were decorated with vibrant Christmas lights, and the occasional Santa Claus cut-out; all the houses, but one.” Want to read more, check out Samuels Library Facebook page to hear more winning entries from the Holiday Writing Contest winners or visit samuelslibrary.net to check out the 2020 Holiday Writing Contest book.
2020 Samuels Library Holiday Writing Contest Winners:
- Odin DiFelici, First Place, “Santa’s Chimney,” Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Rylee Lewis, Second Place, “Santa’s Ride,” Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Trey Hall, Third Place, “Collecting a Snowman,” Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Beatrice Hoffman, First Place, “Sparkle’s Christmas,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Joey Maciag, Second Place, “The Little Lost Reindeer,” Homeschool
- Camden Ferguson, Third Place, “The Portal,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Amanda Baldwin, First Place, “This Is the Story of Freddy’s Pack,” Homeschool
- Malia Judge, Second Place, “Butter the Penguin,” John XXIII Montessori Children’s Center
- Marilyn A. Cizler, Third Place, “Yikes the Snowplow,” Padre Pio Academy
- Addison Fairhurst, First Place, “The Arctic Fox Kit,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Sage Milenkevich, Second Place, “Underground Christmas Town,” Homeschool
- Paige Fletcher-Perez, Third Place, “The Magic Trip,” Front Royal Christian School
- Avery Hill, First Place, “The Christmas Season,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Thomas Baldwin, Second Place, “Sam the Sad Snowman,” Homeschool
- Marcella Nicky Jagow, Third Place, “The Christmas Present,” Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Sienna Milenkevich, First Place, “Nana’s Christmas Ornaments,” Homeschool
- Lydia Hickson, Second Place, “An Elve’s Christmas,” John Paul the Great Montessori Academy
- Brendan Thomas Griffin, Third Place, “The Broken Ornament,” Wakefield Country Day School
- David Otyenoh, First Place, “Christmas in Maplewood,” Front Royal Christian School
- Allison Baldwin, Second Place, “The Christmas Party!” Homeschool
- Lotus Lowe, Third Place, “Chanukkah,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Victor Alonzo, First Place, “2021 Travels,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Sadie Rosner, Second Place, “Neighborly Spirit,” Warren County Middle School
- Shiloh Phelps, Third Place, “The Feel of the Wait,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Raven Milenkevich, First Place, “A Little Extra Magic,” Homeschool
- Jude Patterson, Second Place, “The Sl. E. D.” Warren County Middle School
- Lynne Blank, Third Place, “The Forest at Dawn,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Claire Mullins, First Place, “Found,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Sophia Korte, Second Place, “Season’s Greetings! Love, Depression,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Madisyn Clark, Third Place, “Christmas Eve,” Front Royal Christian School
- Ruthie McMahon, First Place, “Christmas?” Wakefield Country Day School
- Maeve Ciuba, Second Place, “A Long-Awaited Feast,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Sophia Esposito, Third Place, “Holiday Traditions,” Wakefield Country Day School
- Taryn Henry, First Place, “Peppermint,” Front Royal Christian School
- Katherine Kelly, Second Place, “Traffic in Christmas Time,” Chelsea Academy
- Jenna Babick, Third Place, “The Tree,” Front Royal Christian School
- Sky Herndon, First Place, “Make a Wish,” Front Royal Christian School
- Carolyn Bockrath, Second Place, “Why Rudolph’s Nose Is Red,” Mother of Divine Grace School
Artwork Featured in the 2020 Book:
- Audrey K. Veitenthal, Front Cover, Fifth Grade, Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Ariel Jacob, Inside Front Cover, Tenth Grade, Homeschool
- Daniel Winter, Inside Cover Bottom, Fourth Grade, Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Sydney Martin, Inside Cover Top, First Grade, Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Lucas Lanterman, Inside Book, Seventh Grade, Skyline Middle School
- Ariya King, Inside Book, Kindergarten, Mountain Laurel Montessori School
- Sophie Brackens, Back Cover, Fourth Grade, Mountain Laurel Montessori School
About Samuels Public Library
Samuels Public Library brings people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. A 501(c)(3) organization, the library annually serves more than 200,000 community members, checks out nearly 400,000 books, electronic and digital services, and provides essential computer access, wireless service and public meeting spaces for the community. To learn more, visit www.samuelslibrary.net or by calling (540) 635-3153.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit assists in arrest after driver flees vehicle
On February 22, 2021, at approximately 06:41 PM, members of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Special Problems and Drug Enforcement Unit attempted to stop a vehicle for speeding on Stonewall Jackson Highway. The suspect vehicle failed to yield leading to a pursuit that was terminated on Gooney Manor Loop. After the pursuit was terminated, the suspect vehicle continued to drive recklessly, striking a Sheriff’s Office vehicle.
Due to the reckless and dangerous disregard for persons and property, the pursuit was then reinitiated continuing onto Bentonville Road, where the suspect lost control and wrecked at 07:02 PM. The driver fled the vehicle on foot and the passenger was apprehended at the scene. Warren County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit consisting of Master Deputy C. Anderson and M. Griffith, along with their canine partners Rooster and Gator, apprehended the driver after a short track where the driver was found hiding in a nearby creek.
The driver, Garland Turner Jr., age 28 was charged with Possession of Schedule I/II, felony eluding, felony hit and run, assault on a law enforcement officer, and driving suspended.
The vehicle owner and passenger, Alicia Knott, age 21 was charged with Possession of Schedule I/II and obstruction of justice.
No one was injured during the incident.
Virginia State Police investigating plane crash in Frederick County
Virginia State Police Senior Trooper R. Riggs responded to a report of a plane crash in Frederick County. The crash occurred Wednesday, February 24, at 2:22 p.m. near the intersection of Back Mountain Road and Fishel Road.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a Single Engine Cessna Aircraft suffered engine failure shortly after taking off from Winchester Regional Airport. The aircraft attempted to make an emergency landing in a field and impacted the ground which caused it to overturn.
The pilot, Jonathan D. Behnke, 42, of Mount Airy, MD, suffered minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Winchester Medical Center for treatment.
No one on the ground was injured as a result of the crash.
The FAA and NTSB were notified of the crash.
The crash remains under investigation.
New People Inc. service helps the community access internet
People Incorporated is helping community members who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic access internet service. The agency will set up accounts and pay for six months of internet service for clients who qualify.
Clients can qualify for this service if they have been impacted by the pandemic in some way – through the loss of a job, reduction in hours, the need to school children from home or another impact. Clients must also meet income eligibility, documentation requirements and show a need for internet service.
“Access to the internet is a necessity,” said Angie Groseclose, vice president and chief operating officer at People Inc. “It’s necessary for telehealth appointments, searching for a job and for kids to attend school, and it’s an extra expense that may not be in everyone’s budget. We want to make internet service more accessible for those who need it.”
This service is funded by emergency CARES Act funding and is available to residents in Clarke County, Frederick County, Page County, Shenandoah County and Warren County.
Interested residents can call People Inc. toll-free at 833-962-2039 for more information and to verify eligibility.
Humane Society’s ‘Polar Plunge’ rescheduled to Saturday, March 13
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a “Polar Plunge” because it’ll still be winter then, though hopefully for the plungers with a continuation of the current turn toward spring-like 60 degree temperatures! In its inaugural year of 2020, the event became a popular fundraiser supporting the Humane Society’s efforts on behalf of the local animal community and the HSWC’s Julia Wagner Animal Shelter.
As reported in the original press release on the event: this year’s “plunge” is made possible through the sponsorship of City National Bank, Cool Techs Heating and Air, Ellen Aders State Farm, AirPac, MDUB Chauffeur Services and Cavalier Kennels. This year’s event is expected to help raise as much as $12,000 for the Humane Society.
There were 35 plungers initially signed up to take a dip in the icy water, each working to help raise much-needed funds for homeless animals in Warren County. There are 15 new plungers, and 20 returning plungers who will all run into the Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center, followed by a warm-up at the fire pit.
The event team will be ensuring that all CDC Covid-19 guidelines are followed, and masks will be required at this outdoor event.
In 2020, pre-pandemic, the top fundraiser was Molly Llewellyn, who raised over $1,000 for the shelter. There was also an award for best dressed. Both of these awards will be returning for the 2021 event.
The Humane Society of Warren County is a non-profit animal shelter that houses homeless, neglected, abused and unwanted animals. While primarily dealing with cats and dogs, the shelter has also been home to livestock, birds, reptiles and more.
Executive Director Meghan Bowers avoided taking the plunge last year, but is leading the charge into the water in 2021 dressed as a shark, so far raising about $467 from friends and family.
Hot drinks, Strites Donuts and music will keep participants warm during the run up and aftermath of the short but stimulating plunge.
For more information on this event or others, please visit HSWC Events Page.
Governor Northam increases capacity limits for outdoor sports and entertainment venues
On February 24, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam announced that as COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continue to decline and vaccinations rise in Virginia, certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate at increased capacity starting Monday, March 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.
“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of all Virginians, hospitalization and positivity rates across the Commonwealth are the lowest they have been in nearly three months,” said Governor Northam. “As key health metrics show encouraging trends, and we continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts, we can begin to gradually resume certain recreational activities and further reopen sectors of our economy. Even as we take steps to safely ease public health guidelines, we must all remain vigilant, so we can maintain our progress—the more we stay home, mask up, and practice social distancing, the more lives we will save from this dangerous virus.”
The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued strict health and safety protocols including physical distancing, mask-wearing requirements, gathering limits, and business capacity restrictions. The current modified Stay at Home order will expire on February 28, 2021.
Governor Northam is beginning to ease public health restrictions by taking steps to increase capacity limits in outdoor settings, where evidence shows the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 is lower. The key changes in the Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:
• Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
• Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
• Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
• Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.
The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.