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Shenandoah Valley physicians provide medical aid for people of rural Honduras



Dr. Tommy Ball cutting a ribbon to formally open a new school. Photos by Dr. Joe Schwartz.

Since 2008, Dr. Thomas Ball, M.D., (“call me Tommy”), who lives in Browntown, has worked a two-week stint in Honduras, a poverty-stricken country where health care is marginal at best for most people and non-existent for others, including children.

Sponsors of the medical visitations by American doctors include many U.S. colleges and universities beneath the umbrella of a non-profit called “Shoulder to Shoulder”, which is committed to providing quality health care in the world’s poorest countries.

Ball recently returned from this year’s visit in which he led a five-man brigade of medics, plus a Winchester school teacher, tending to scores of patients in a village called Pinares. Many locals walked several miles for medical treatment, among them children suffering from malnutrition and seeing a doctor for the first time in their lives.

Pinares is in the province of Intibuca where the volunteer medical teams numbering between six and 15 American physicians and support personnel visit three times a year. It is among the poorer areas of the Central American country sandwiched between Guatemala and Nicaragua. Wages, mostly for agricultural work, average about one dollar a day, Ball said.

The medical brigade this month included doctors Joe Schwartz of Front Royal; Tyler Felton of Strasburg; Nelson McKay of Stephens City; David Clark of Winchester, and Clark’s wife Meaghan, a Winchester school teacher. Each volunteer pays his or her own travel and other expenses, and expects to “live in the rough” during their stay.

Schwartz, on his second tour in Honduras, said he returns home with a “high degree of satisfaction” and eyes wide open to the problems of people in a “Third World” country.

“It was definitely a learning experience,” he told me in a telephone interview. Schwartz, a U.S. Navy reservist, mentioned that his early years as a Boy Scout helped him overcome living in less than modern circumstances.

Dr. Nelson McKay interviews a patient at a remote Honduran school during screening exams.

Ball told of sleeping in a one-room school house, while Schwartz was complimentary of a local lady’s skills who cooked meals for the group on a wood stove.


Virginia Commonwealth University oversees the Front Royal group’s annual visits to Honduras. Dental, community health, education and nutrition programs are included in what “Shoulder to Shoulder” accomplishes through its continuing efforts to bring medical assistance to peoples of the “Third World” over the past quarter century.

Dr. David Clark and his wife Meaghan with the grandchildren of an elderly blind woman they visited at her home.

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Outgoing president distributes a final round of Front Royal Rotary awards



In his penultimate meeting as president of the Rotary Club of Front Royal, Derrick Leisure presented another $7,600 in gifts to eight non-profits and announced that a recent annual golf tournament for the club’s scholarship winners had sent $15,000 to the bank for next year’s group of high school applicants.

At the June 18 meeting, Leisure also singled out a group of fellow Rotarians for personal thanks, including next year’s president, Katie McIntyre, who partnered with Ken Evans on the successful golf tournament project last month.

Leisure steps down Friday, June 25, during a special luncheon function at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club.

Remaining in Leisure’s bucket list of successful applicants for funds were Warren County DARE program, $500; Warren County Little League softball, $100; Blue Ridge Arts Council, $1,000; Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP, $500; Samuel’s Library, $1,000; Warren County Educational Endowment, $1,000; Warren Heritage Society, $1,000; and United Way of Front Royal/Warren County, $2,500.

Samuels Public Library Executive Director Michelle Ross received check for $1,000 from FR Rotary President Derrick Leisure. FR Rotary Courtesy Photos Bret Hrbek

John Marlow, longtime Rotary club member, received a $1,000 check on behalf of the Warren County Educational Endowment.

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A community’s musical sub-culture rallies around one of its own



It was a musical and social community coming together in support of one of its own on Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, at Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Virginia Beer Museum. The father and long-time musical fixture at the center of the event was James Vaughan, drummer in a series of family-grounded bands over four decades based out of Front Royal. Vaughan, whose current band is Aftershock with brother Duane (aka Dewey), daughter Reno, cousin Dean Smith, guitarist Doug Hess, and Lenny Barnhart on the chessboard, vocals and keyboards, is recovering from a series of two strokes suffered April 30.

Sunday’s benefit show, silent auctions and other fundraising efforts featuring what was advertised as a dozen musical acts, give or take, was to help defer medical costs associated with James’ stroke. But even more so as the event billed “Front Royal’s Woodstock” progressed from 1 p.m. to slightly after 9 p.m., it seemed an expression of affection and concern for an integral part of the local musical arts community.

Happy Father’s Day, dad – James and Reno share a moment during a packed schedule socially and musically just seven weeks after James’ series of two strokes essentially made his right side dysfunctional. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

“This is like a high school reunion, except with people you WANT to hang out with,” was one description of the myriad familiar faces with perhaps a few more years on them than the last time you encountered them on or off stage.

James brother Dewey made a point of thanking all the involved musicians for the time, talent and energy they contributed to the event. He also acknowledged the large turnout of friends, fans and patrons that made the fundraising aspect what he called “very successful”. Included among those friends and patrons Caterer Will Bryan of “So Mote it Beef” also provided exquisite beef brisket at no charge, with cash contributions going to the fundraising effort for his brother, Dewey noted.

This story will be updated if additional ID or other information becomes available – and don’t forget to scroll down beyond the ads, there are 39 more photos attached to this story:

We caught James at his usual spot behind the drum kit about 15 minutes before the music was scheduled to start – But not today, just helping with the sound check he explained as he continues to deal with motor issue consequences of his strokes.

With keyboardist Donnie Walton

With Outlaw Country’s Donnie Poe

James with two more musicians, drummer Andy Rogers, center, and bass player Mike Chapman, the latter a former Vaughan brothers band mate in Lovewreck.

Hank Williams Sr., I mean Buddy Holly, or is it musician and musical stage actor Robbie Limon wishing James well on his road to recovery.

As his Aftershock bandmates with the aid of drummer Gary Peacemaker ready for next number on stage, James may be thinking ‘Who’d have ever thunk I was this popular?’

As Donnie Walton at keyboards behind her studies the itinerary with a scowl – ‘How many bands am I playing with?’ – Reno handles moderating duties in prepping the crowd for a little music and a lot of love.

On solo/duet stage 1, Hank Gorecki kicks off the music just after 1 p.m., as full band stage 2 PA dynamics are still being sorted out with the help of Aftershock’s Lenny Barnhart. Below, later Gorecki retook stage 1 with a little help from a ‘bucket-bass’ player.

Then it was From the Heart’s John Landes on vocals and guitar, with a little help from Chuck Ritenour on bass, and later Jeff Settle on drums.

Mid-afternoon to fill a brief itinerary gap, Aftershock – or was it billed as Afterstroke yesterday? – took to the stage for a rendition of The Hollies classic ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ which Reno introduced with a little Father’s Day spin – ‘He is heavy, he’s my dad’. Say what, dad James may be thinking further below.

Two perspectives of The Other Band, above from left drummer Pete Deutsch, Chuck Ritenour, and guitarists Ralph Fortune and Billy Lucas sandwiching keyboardist Donnie Walton; below in reverse.

Shae Parker’s River Driven was up with a slightly altered lineup, which I’m pretty sure I heard introduced as River Bend with the lineup of, from left, Tim Grant, Parker, Stacy Horton, drums, Chris Howerton, guitar and Donnie Walton keyboards.

And there was food – above, C&C Frozen Treats William Huck goes off the ice cream diet for a well-dressed burger; below, So Mote It Beef’s Will Bryan indicates it’s thumbs up at the food stand. – Hope you got to try some of Bryan’s ‘to-die-for’ beef brisket from which all proceeds went to the fundraising effort.

And it was service with a smile from Brittany, left, and Brooke in the Va. Beer Museum’s Helltown Saloon.

Despite the midday heat and humidity the crowd continued to expand through the afternoon taking advantage of shade from any angle: tents, nearby buildings, the perimeter fence, trees – and the AC was kicking inside.

Hugs all around: above, as Shae Parker looks on, his drummer Stacy Horton hugs James Vaughan’s sister, Beth. Below, James and former Eyesoar guitarist Pat Flowers, left, discuss a reunion lineup set.

Excel, from left, Keith Will, brothers Greg (bass) and Bev (vocals) Williams and the ever-present Donnie Walton, with some Wines drum propulsion, attract some more contributions to the donation drum stage front.

I wasn’t expecting Beethoven: From stage 1, Joe Martin attracted the attention of musicians and non-musicians alike with a little guitar-riffing of Beethoven’s Ninth, including the Ode To Joy chorus. Oh thank you, it’s just a cover.

Rumor had it Dewey Vaughan may have been possessed by the ghostly voice of Jim Morrison during a cover of The Doors Roadhouse Blues. The accompaniment of the excellent sax player whose name I don’t have, and Seven Bends bassist JR Almquist and drummer Gary Peacemaker may have helped. Vaughan was filling in for Seven Bends vocalist Dustin Pence, absent on first child-delivery duty.

Reno Vaughan is accompanied by backup vocalists Cindy Abramo and daughter Adrian, far left, during the set.

Maybe we should invite dad back to the stage, Reno may have been thinking – so they did. Perhaps he wasn’t ready for an attack on the full drum kit yet, but the tambourine is one small step for mankind in that direction.

Cell phone videoing became popular at various points …

… as did dancing for those not video-phoning.

Guitarist Chris Howerton attracted some attention with some deep leads, including if I’m not mistaken, a stirring rendition of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.

Donnie Poe led Outlaw Country to the stage, where they were soon joined by vocalist Lucille Ball, below. – I swear that’s what Dewey told me, explaining that she is the wife of band guitarist Kevin Ball. So, her parents didn’t do that to her, it was her choice.

If you missed this epoch party-concert, that’s on you. It was well-advertised online and physically, as illustrated on the windows of two nearby Chester Street businesses, John Landes’s Barbershop and Ann Shaffer’s New Creations Hair Salon. The poster, featuring photos of James Vaughan’s musical forays starting at an estimated (by brother Dewey) age 17 in second photo down.

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Traffic Delays Expected – Happy Creek Roadway Project (VDOT)



Residents and visitors are advised that Happy Creek Road, from the Town of Front Royal limits east to the railroad crossing near Dismal Hollow Road, is now closed to local traffic only. Dismal
Hollow Road will remain open and accessible from the east side of Happy Creek Road / Low Water Bridge / and Howellsville Road.

VDOT anticipates Norfolk Southern (NS) will begin railroad crossing work sometime between Monday, July 5, and Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Norfolk Southern will attempt to minimize the amount of time the crossing is physically impassible during construction; however, residents should be mindful that such closure requires careful planning for all emergency responses, which will be approached as if the crossing is impassible at that time.

The Warren County Emergency Communications Center Emergency (ECC) will continually monitor the situation to provide the best coordination for fire, rescue, and law enforcement response to the area impacted by the construction. The ECC will maintain contact with the on-site VDOT inspector during the project, as appropriate.

(Press Release, Warren County Sheriff’s Office)

Portion of Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) in Warren County to close for road construction work this summer

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Newcomer florist arrives in town, takes over Fussell Florist from retiree Betty Showers



Front Royal flower lady Betty Showers called it quits Thursday, June 17, handing over the ownership papers of her flower shop, Front Royal Fussell Florist, to new owner Katie Bonnet who will reopen for business on Monday, June 21.

Showers, who has owned and operated the popular store at the corner of East 2nd Street and Commerce Avenue since December 2002, has a busy retirement schedule planned, including considerable travel around far flung relatives before settling in to quieter times with husband Steve at their 18th Street home. In all, she has enjoyed a total of 30 years in the flower business in Front Royal.

Betty Showers, left, and new proprietor Katie Bonnet, inside Fussell Florists at 202 East 2nd Street at the intersection with Commerce Avenue. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

Meanwhile, Bonnet, 27, and husband of four years, Daniel, an engineer, have settled into a downtown condominium while shopping around for a house in the area. Bonnet described a family interest in her store. Her parents, Mary and Chris O’Donnell, moved into the area with their daughter from Fairfax County, recently buying a house in nearby Middletown.

As described by Katie in an interview, the parents own the store and lease it to her, making it a family enterprise.

Despite her young age, Bonnet comes with experience as a floral designer having worked at Burke Florist in Fairfax, at the same time completing a degree in business from George Mason University.

Warmly attractive, Bonnet describes a future at her new store to include a small café, confessing that “hospitality” is the name of the game for her in future business. “It is a large part of my heart,” she said.

According to Showers, Front Royal Fussell Florist has been part of downtown commerce in Front Royal since September 1948 when Thomas F. Fussell opened the original store at 122 South Royal Avenue. It has flourished under several owners over the years, with the same name. It will continue as Fussell’s Florist with Katie Bonnet.

Betty Showers is passing the Fussell Florist ‘torch’ to Katie Bonnet, right, continuing a local business tradition dating to 1948 and Thomas F. Fussell.

As for Betty Showers, she isn’t giving up lightly. After her travels, she vows to get a part-time job in town, maybe even returning to help out Katie if needed during the busy, holiday times. Also, she will remain active in the community gardens activity that provides all manner of vegetables to needy citizens. As for another run in politics? Not ever, she vows, after a first unsuccessful dip into town politics in 2019.

Royal Examiner wishes Betty “a happy retirement” and her successor, Katie, a warm welcome to Front Royal and “much success in your business endeavor.”

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Warren County Habitat for Humanity is looking for a new Executive Director



The Warren County Habitat for Humanity, Inc. is looking for a new Executive Director.  The role of the executive director is to develop, administer, coordinate, manage, and implement the policies and procedures as developed and approved by the Board of Directors of Warren County Habitat for Humanity, Inc.

The Executive Director will be responsible for:
• Holding chief administrative responsibility for public accountability of the affiliate
• Administering and managing the daily operations of the Habitat office
• Authorizing expenditures within Board-approved guidelines
• Assisting Treasurer in preparing the annual budget
• Establishing regular office hours and supervising office staff and volunteers
• Overseeing proper maintenance of records and files to ensure confidentiality and legal compliance

Fundraising and Public Relations
• Assisting the Board and Development Committee in developing and implementing its fundraising plan and budget
• Working with Public Relations Committee in developing and implementing a public awareness strategy
• Representing Warren County Habitat to interested communities, churches, businesses, groups, foundations, and community leaders
• Assisting with grant proposal writing

• Serving as the primary communication link among the regional office, board members, committees, staff, families in waiting, homeowner families, and volunteers
• Assisting with the orientation of new board members and volunteers

The Executive Director will report to the President of the Board of Directors.

Experience in non-profit administration and fundraising is essential. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required. Applicant must be a self-starter who has the ability to interact well with partner families, board and committee members, and the community at large. Flexibility in work hours and computer knowledge is important.

This is a full-time position of approximately 28- 34 hours of work each week at the Habitat office during regular business hours (Mon – Fri, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm) plus an additional 6-12 hours of evening and weekend work. Occasional travel is required. Benefits include one week of paid vacation, prorated pay for federal holidays, mileage reimbursed at IRS rate, compensatory time may be available with prior approval of an officer of the Board, and training reimbursement for approved training or classes.

Interested? Contact Board President Amanda Slate

Visit their website for more information about Warren County Habitat for Humanity.


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VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for June 21 – 25, 2021



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 entry or a revised entry since last week’s report.


*NEW* Mile marker 0 to 8, eastbound and westbound – Possible shoulder closures for litter-pickup operations, Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*NEW* Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Overnight alternating shoulder closures for roadside weed control, 8 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound – Right shoulder closures for shoulder repairs, Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*NEW* Mile marker 7 to 6, westbound – Alternating lane closures for inspection of bridge over Crooked Run, Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

No lane closures reported.

No lane closures reported.

Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) – Road closed June 19-August 6 between Front Royal eastern town limits and Route 647 (Dismal Hollow Road) for a safety improvement project. Follow posted detour. Estimated project completion December 10.

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

The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Portion of Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) in Warren County to close for road construction work this summer


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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

9:00 am Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Jun 21 @ 9:00 am – Jun 25 @ 12:00 pm
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation Experiment with video production through a variety of mediums including Claymation, LEGO® Minifigures, pipe cleaner creatures, and much more! Ninjas will capture images frame-by-frame and produce videos in a rapid prototyping style.[...]
12:00 pm FRWRC Women In Networking @ ONLINE
FRWRC Women In Networking @ ONLINE
Jun 23 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
FRWRC Women In Networking @ ONLINE
CLICK HERE for link to attend. Guest: Patty Fadeley, Blue Ridge Hospice *Event will also be Live on Facebook Topic: Blue Ridge Hospice FREE VIRTUAL EVENT “More than just another networking group”. FRWRC WIN is[...]
4:00 pm Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Jun 23 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Messy Makers and Art Adventures for Kids @ microWave Project
We are bringing back two of our most popular classes for the month of June, Messy Makers and Art Adventures! Messy Makers returns for the month of June on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm. With the warm weather[...]
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 23 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Winchester Royals Wednesday, June 23rd @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium Warren County Night at the Bing
5:30 pm Daisy Girl Scout Open House @ Living Water Christian Church
Daisy Girl Scout Open House @ Living Water Christian Church
Jun 24 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Daisy Girl Scout Open House @ Living Water Christian Church
The newly formed Daisy Girls Scout troop for Warren County is hosting an Open House on June 24th, 2021, from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. It is open to girls in Pre-school through 1st grade.[...]
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 24 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Purceville Cannons Thursday, June 24th @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium
all-day Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 26 – Jun 27 all-day
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Don’t miss your chance to camp out in the beautiful historic Mount Bleak backyard. See all that Sky Meadows has to offer through activities beginning at noon on Saturday and running until noon[...]
9:00 am Summer Wild Edible Plants: Earth... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Summer Wild Edible Plants: Earth... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 26 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Summer Wild Edible Plants: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn. Sky Meadows’ summer landscape comes alive with the bounty of nature. Join professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch to learn about the tasty wild edible plants of the Crooked Run Valley.[...]
5:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 27 @ 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Waynesboro Generals Sunday, June 27th @ 5 PM & 7:30 PM Double Header Game Bing Crosby Stadium
6:00 pm SCUMC Vacation Bible School @ Stephens City United Methodist Church
SCUMC Vacation Bible School @ Stephens City United Methodist Church
Jun 27 @ 6:00 pm – Jul 1 @ 8:15 pm
SCUMC Vacation Bible School @ Stephens City United Methodist Church
Dates: June 27 – July 1 Time: 6 pm to 8:15pm each night Place: Stephens City UM Church on Main Street Theme: Wilderness Escape – Moses leads the Israelite’s through the desert Ages: 4 years[...]