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“Spy Pilot” hovers over Cold War Museum: Virginia-born U-2 pilot’s story told in full

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Courtesy Photos Francis Gary Powers Jr.

Several cousins raised their hands when Francis Gary Powers Jr., son of Francis Gary Powers Sr,  the downed U-2 spy plane pilot in 1960, called for a recent showing at a Cold War Museum presentation at Vint Hill, VA.

Powers Jr., known as Gary, published a book this year about his dad, who, with most of those relatives in the audience, were born and raised in Southwest Virginia, including a mom, Carol Barr of Front Royal. Her son, Malcolm Barr Jr., of Gloucester, VA, also was present to claim “cousinhood!”

Gary, who now lives in the Richmond area, was publicizing his latest book, “Spy Pilot,” co-authored with Keith Dunnavant, that is a detailed account of his father’s life and experience as a pilot of a Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored plane that crashed while on a photographic spy mission over the Soviet Union.

Powers Sr., was a former U.S. Air Force pilot, one of a number who volunteered for the top secret missions in planes that flew so high – 70,000 feet – that they were considered invulnerable to anti-aircraft fire from the ground.

The 1960 crash of the U-2 was an exception, however, and Powers was captured and jailed for 10 years as a spy by the Soviets. In a spy-for-spy exchange, however, Powers was released after two years, but until his untimely death in 1977 in a helicopter crash over California, his name was besmirched by the press, by certain members of Congress, and even the CIA. Mostly, the allegations against him were about allegedly not following orders. A final book by his son sets the record straight and Powers’s place of honor as an American hero is established beyond any doubt.

The Barr connection with Powers Sr. goes back to that day in 1960 when the U-2 incident hit the headlines and Carol Powers of Coeburn, VA, realized that it was a cousin of hers who was in the public searchlight. Powers was born and raised in Pound, VA, both towns being in the county of Wise.

Years later, Carol Powers Barr gave birth to a son who, by dint of circumstance, followed Powers path into the USAF. Both specialized in military intelligence, although Barr, an Iraq veteran, kept both feet on the ground while Powers did the aerial “recon” duty. Both mother and son raised their hands at the book signing ceremony when called upon.

“We were both very proud of the moment,” Carol said after getting a copy of “Spy Pilot” signed by her cousin.

Listening to his 90-minute talk about the U-2 incident and the raw deal his father got in the aftermath of the shoot down, Carol,

a 37-year federal government employee, remarked on his book. “I have only admiration for Gary and his tenacity to take on the job of clearing his father’s name, much of it by digging through government files. This book does the job.”

After his death, and following years of dogged research by his son, Francis Gary Powers was awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry and a patriot’s burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Virginia State Police urging motorists to drive safe and make it to the holiday table this Thanksgiving

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As Virginians take to the roads this Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, Virginia State Police is urging motorists to put down their phones and buckle up so everyone makes it safely to the holiday table.

With the onset of the 2019 winter holiday season, state police is proud to support the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office and AAA Mid-Atlantic with its new traffic safety campaign aimed at heightening awareness of the deadly dangers of distracted driving. Earlier this month, Virginia State Police Superintendent, Col. Gary T. Settle, and Trooper-Trainees of the 131st Basic Academy Session signed a banner to pledge their support to the “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign and its life-saving messaging.

Buckle Up, Phone Down – Don’t Drive Intexticated. Photos courtesy of Virginia State Police

“The choices you make as a vehicle driver impact not only you and your passengers, but everyone else you happen to be sharing the road with at that given moment,” said Settle. “Avoid distractions, ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up, comply with speed limits and never drive drunk. If we drive like every car is filled with our friends and family, we can make sure there are no empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table this year.”

To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for the Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored, national program, state police will be increasing its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period, Nov. 27, 2019 through Dec. 1, 2019.

The 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 599 individuals who failed to obey the law and buckle up, as well as issuing 199 citations for child safety seat violations on Virginia’s highways statewide. In addition, state police cited 7,629 speeders and 2,192 reckless drivers. A total of 102 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

There were 12 traffic fatalities during the 2018 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and 14 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2017.*

With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

*Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

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The Down Home Comfort Bakery: Down home comfort with all natural ingredients

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On November 6, the Warren County High School DECA Chapter conducted a “Job Shadowing Day” with local businesses in Front Royal. Twenty-six students shadowed owners, managers, and employees in twelve locally owned businesses. During this week, “Global Entrepreneurship Week”, we will be spotlighting some of our successful local business entrepreneurs.

Businesses participating in this job shadowing activity included:

  • Blake & Co.
  • C & C Frozen Treats
  • Down Home Comfort Bakery
  • Jack Evans Chevrolet
  • Main Street Daily Grind
  • National Media Services
  • Ramsey Hardware
  • Royal Auto Works
  • Royal Comfort Shoe Center
  • Truss’D
  • United Bank
  • White Pickett Fence

Down Home Comfort Bakery Owners, Maureen & Keith Menefee

Maureen Menefee decided to open her business, Down Home Comfort Bakery, along with her husband Keith, because she loved baking and creating her own recipes. When Mrs. Menefee was in school, her teacher had given her a book that offered hints about creating a business, and she claims to have always had an interest in creating her own business.

Down Home Comfort Bakery is located at 120-A East Main Street, in Front Royal, Virginia. The Menefees’ goal is to keep building their business, but they want to stay local and focus on customer service while reaching more people. They offer homemade goods and are most known for their pies and cinnamon buns, known as “Sticky buns.” While participating in a job shadowing activity at the bakery, I was impressed to see how much love and care the Menefees worked into their goods. You could just tell they had a passion for what they were doing.

Their bakery continues to do things in the community; not just to grow more as a local business, but to reach out and support other businesses on Main Street. Some of the events they attend include: the Festival of Leaves, charities, donations, and baked goods sold in local businesses. There was only one question that took a minute for Mrs. Menefee to answer, and that was, “If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?” Mrs. Menefee responded, “make sure it’s really what you aspire to do and stay true to yourself.”

My overall experience was very inspiring because I am currently enrolled in an entrepreneurship course. I plan to create my own business when the opportunity rolls around later in life, so job shadowing at Down Home Comfort Bakery gave me a strong idea of where and how to start.

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Habitat for Humanity of Warren County seeking Executive Director

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Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our local affiliate, Habitat for Humanity of Warren County, partners with families in our community to help them build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.

We are seeking a dynamic, passionate professional to lead these efforts. The ideal Executive Director candidate is a person who thrives in a dynamic environment and wants to combine professional achievement with a passion for enriching the lives of others.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Executive Director is a strong and visionary leader who works in partnership with the Board of Directors to develop goals and execute strategies that support Habitat’s mission.

  • Leadership
    • Build a spirit of teamwork – engaging staff, Board, Habitat homeowners, donors, and volunteers to achieve organizational goals.
    • Serve as the face of Habitat throughout the Warren County community. Work with local governments, professional organizations, economic development groups, and other non- profit organizations to coordinate Habitat’s activities.
    • Cultivate a strong, diverse, inclusive and highly engaged Board of Directors.
    • Support the Board and various committees with timely and accurate information. Assist Board Chair in agenda setting, attend all required Board and committee meetings, and provide reports of all affiliate activities to the Board.
    • Uphold organizational values; cultivate an environment of ethics, respect, and integrity.
  • Fundraising
    • Develop and implement a development strategy for fundraising, including grants, donations, and events.
    • Promote the mission of Habitat by encouraging participation by donors, both individual and institutional.
    • Oversee branding and marketing strategies. Utilize traditional and digital marketing and communications to support Habitat’s message and brand.
  • Operational Management
    • With the Board, develop and implement financial and operational priorities.
    • Ensure that programs and services continue to be maintained at the highest level.
    • Maintain a positive working environment that motivates and encourages staff to fully support the mission of the organization.
    • Oversee financial reporting and accounting, human resources, technology support, and management of the affiliate’s office space and ReStore facilities.
    • Exercise discretion with highly sensitive and confidential information.
  • Program Management
    • Work with the site selection committee to identify and investigate potential locations for new projects, and present new projects to the Board for approval. Work with the land committee and construction staff to prepare and manage the project through all necessary design and entitlement activities.
    • Oversee the construction management effort on new projects, ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget, utilizing volunteer labor and donated materials as much as possible.
    • Facilitate development of minor repair projects, including A Brush with Kindness and Critical Home Repair programs.
    • Ensure a fair and accurate partner family selection process in accordance with all applicable Fair Housing Law and support the Homeowner Readiness Curriculum.

QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate will have the following characteristics:

  • Education
    • Significant related experience may substitute for a higher degree.
  • Experience
    • Experience working with a Board of Directors.
    • History of creating and implementing comprehensive strategic fundraising plans.
    • Ability to motivate a team (both volunteer and staff) to achieve high expectations.
    • Demonstrated human resources management knowledge and skills.
    • An understanding of real estate development and construction operations is a plus.
  • Communications
    • Outstanding presentation and communication skills, with the ability to create and sustain effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
    • Ability to serve as an effective and inspiring spokesperson, advocate, relationship builder and fundraiser.
    • Ability to make presentations and to comfortably interact with diverse audiences including donors, Board members, nonprofit and community groups.
    • Experience leading multi-platform marketing and social media campaigns that foster positive stakeholder, donor, client and community relationships.
  • Skills
    • Excellent analytical and organizational skills.
    • The capacity to oversee complex and diverse operations and effectively perform and complete multiple duties and assignments concurrently.
    • Proficiency with software tools such as Microsoft Office and donor databases.
  • Passion
    • A strong sense of personal faith.
    • Strong commitment to community service.
    • Understanding of and willingness to support and promote the mission and principles of Habitat for Humanity International.
    • Ability to work a flexible schedule to accommodate fundraising, volunteer, and external events and meetings.

SALARY

Compensation will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

WORKING CONDITIONS

General office environment. Work is generally sedentary in nature, but may require standing and walking for up to 10% of the time. The working environment is generally favorable. Lighting and temperature are adequate, and there are no hazardous or unpleasant conditions caused by noise, dust, etc. Work is generally performed within an office environment, with standard office equipment available. Ability to lift 10 lbs.

TO APPLY

To be considered for this position, email a resume and cover letter (in PDF format) to info@warrencountyhabitat.org.


This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and skills required. Other duties, as assigned or deemed necessary by management, may be required. Management reserves the right to revise this job description at any time. The job description does not constitute a contract for employment, nor does it in any way alter the at-will employment relationship.

Habitat for Humanity of Warren County is an equal opportunity employer.

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WCHS Cross Country teams race in state meet

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Wildcat Senior DJ Staton placed 12th in Class 3 VA State Meet. Photo by Sean Bordner

The WCHS Men’s and Women’s Cross Country team raced in the Class 3 Virginia Cross Country Meet at Green Hill Park, in Salem, Virginia, on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Wildcats’ DJ Staton finished the race in 12th place overall and earning All-State honors. Warren County girls Kiersten Tanner, Ryleigh Breeden, and Leah Webster also competed and placed in the top 50 finishers in the state meet on Saturday.

Kiersten Tanner, a senior at WCHS, competed in her last high school cross country race. “The saying, ‘struggle well’, is a good quote for the State Meet, stated Tanner. “I might not have had the best race like I wanted, but I struggled and I struggled well. I gave it my everything, knowing it was my last race and knowing I worked hard to get there. It was a great experience. I am so blessed to have fun and get the experience one last time. I wouldn’t be where I am in my running career today without my dad and coach, Mike Tanner. He has pushed me and taught me to struggle well. To fight and to be tough.”

Isaac Bragg, WCHS Sports Marketing student, also contributed to this article.

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School board approves two awards for A.S. Rhodes renovations

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A. S. Rhodes Elementary School

The Warren County School Board on Tuesday, November 19, unanimously approved two awards for the 21,070-square-feet of renovations planned for A.S. Rhodes Elementary School that will include new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

The board members voted 4-0, with school board member Donna McEathron absent, to award an almost $3.1 million contract to Lantz Construction Company of Winchester Inc. (LCW) for the renovation of A. S. Rhodes Elementary School.

LCW in September originally submitted a total $5.26 million project bid, which included a $3.38 million base bid to create a secure front entrance to the building; move the main office to the front of the building; make the restrooms ADA-compliant; put in new floors and a new ceiling; and provide ductwork for the HVAC units.

In addition to the base bid, the LCW project bid also included 13 alternate bid items totaling almost $1.9 million for replacing the flat roof system; providing and installing casework and sinks in several classrooms; constructing new columns on the front of the building; and providing and installing six HVAC units, among other items, according to the Winchester, Va.-based company’s bid tabulation sheet.

Melody Sheppard discusses A.S. Rhodes renovation project with the board. Photos and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

Melody Sheppard, the Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) Assistant Superintendent for Administration, told School Board members that the district currently has approximately $3.51 million available for the school’s renovation — $2.27 million from a Warren County Middle School project; $119,915 from WCPS capital improvement funds; and roughly $1.12 million from Warren County capital funding.

“These funds are available to complete the work included in the base bid of the renovation project and to temporarily place modular classrooms on the property to be used as classroom space,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said WCPS “worked with LCW to value engineer the base bid and have negotiated a cost of $3,096,300,” down from LCW’s original base bid of $3.38 million.

Sheppard also told School Board members that the Warren County Board of Supervisors tonight would consider allotting WCPS another $600,000 for the renovation project that would be used for the new HVAC units.

Following the board’s approval of the contract award to LCW, Sheppard called the forthcoming project “exciting.”

In related action, the School Board members voted 4-0 to award a $102,226 contract to Modular Genius of Joppa, Md., for four temporary modular classrooms that will be placed at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School during the renovation.

Greg Livesay, WCPS maintenance director.

Greg Livesay, WCPS maintenance director, told members that the four modular classrooms will be under one roof with fully ADA-compliant steps and ramps for access, and located on the asphalt play court adjacent to the school’s multi-purpose gymnasium building.

The modular classrooms are set for a January 1, 2020 delivery date, said Livesay, who added that based on the construction schedule, the temporary classrooms would be needed for a period of six months and would be removed before the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

It will likely take almost the entire month of January 2020 to then get the classrooms set up, he said, noting that new electrical also must be installed because the gym doesn’t have the additional capacity to serve the modular classrooms.

WCPS on October 11 received four solicited proposals to provide and erect the four modular classrooms as part of the A.S. Rhodes renovation project. The temporary classrooms are needed to create the necessary swing or empty space within the main school building that will allow the general contractor to complete the renovations in two separate phases, said Livesay.

Voting tonight were School Board members Chairwoman Catherine Bower; Arnold Williams, Jr.; C. Douglas Rosen; and James Wells. The next Warren County School Board meeting is scheduled for Wed., December 4 at 7 p.m.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, the board approved all funding requests for the A.S. Rhodes project.

Royal Examiner covered the Tuesday night meeting. Watch the entire video below.

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Truss’D – The “hidden gem” of Front Royal

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On November 6, the Warren County High School DECA Chapter conducted a “Job Shadowing Day” with local businesses in Front Royal. Twenty-six students shadowed owners, managers, and employees in twelve locally owned businesses. During this week, “Global Entrepreneurship Week”, we will be spotlighting some of our successful local business entrepreneurs.

Businesses participating in this job shadowing activity included:

  • Blake & Co.
  • C & C Frozen Treats
  • Down Home Comfort Bakery
  • Jack Evans Chevrolet
  • Main Street Daily Grind
  • National Media Services
  • Ramsey Hardware
  • Royal Auto Works
  • Royal Comfort Shoe Center
  • Truss’D
  • United Bank
  • White Pickett Fence

Meet Katie Teague and Alan Brown, co-owners of Truss’D Restaurant at 117 Main Street in Front Royal. Photo by Levi Catalani, WCHS Marketing student

The owners of the local restaurant Truss’d, on Main Street, started up their business in January of 2019. Being a fairly new business in town, Allan Brown and Katie Teague have made an impact with their food. It started in 2014, when Allan decided to go to culinary school. Alan claims he didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he knew he had an interest in food and business, and that’s what his motivation was for going to school and starting a business.

Alan and Katie run the restaurant by themselves, cooking and serving all of the food.

It’s a lot of hard work, but they work like a dream team to get it all done. They serve brunch items that they say have “a creative American twist.” With five stars on Yelp, Truss’d is considered the “hidden gem” in Front Royal. All of their food is served fresh and prepared to order. Their motto, “food as it should be”, could not be any more appropriate.

Being very energetic and open minded towards each other and their customers, Alan and Katie began their business within a two to three week “launch” window. An initial hurdle that they had to overcome was when their cooking stove broke down within three weeks of their business opening. Since then, they’ve been serving up brunch every Wednesday – Sunday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. They advised entrepreneurs to be very ready for anything and everything, and to remember that customer satisfaction comes first.

They attribute the success of their business towards providing excellent customer service and having their business’s existence help build a “Main Street Community”. Before opening Truss’D, Alan was a mechanic for six years. He stated that “before opening a business, be prepared for anything because something can change just like that”. Some additional advice he gave us was to make sure you are willing to invest your time and money into helping the business succeed.


Levi Catalani, WCHS Marketing student also contributed to this story

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‘Tis the Season

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Upcoming Events

Nov
23
Sat
10:30 am Children’s Class: Drawing A Self... @ Art in the Valley
Children’s Class: Drawing A Self... @ Art in the Valley
Nov 23 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Children's Class: Drawing A Self Portrait @ Art in the Valley
In this class students will learn how to draw facial features and the proportions used for placement of features on a face.  They will complete a self portrait using graphite. Classes are designed for the[...]
2:30 pm The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 23 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
Lyla sees no purpose to princes. They’re ugly, stupid—and obnoxious! Why can’t Hagabah see that, and why must the master insist that she keep the prince around three more days? The world would be a[...]
4:00 pm Grounding & Gratitude: A restora... @ Strokes of Creativity
Grounding & Gratitude: A restora... @ Strokes of Creativity
Nov 23 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Grounding & Gratitude: A restorative yoga workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Whether you have family visiting or the stress of a shortened work week, the week of Thanksgiving can be overwhelming. This gentle, all-levels, restorative yoga class is designed to help you calm anxiety and restore[...]
Nov
26
Tue
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Nov 26 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in Color @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in colored pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four week course will focus on continuing to build drawing skills as applied to botanicals: students[...]
Nov
27
Wed
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Nov 27 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply washes,[...]
Nov
29
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10:00 am Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Nov 29 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Join us for our Holiday Studio Sale and Community Art Walk on Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10am to 6pm. Enjoy a free hot chocolate or a glass of wine (while supplies[...]
7:00 pm Love Revival Thanksgiving Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival Thanksgiving Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Nov 29 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival Thanksgiving Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Amazing Thanksgiving themed food and fun.
Nov
30
Sat
10:00 am Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Join us for our Holiday Studio Sale and Community Art Walk on Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10am to 6pm. Enjoy a free hot chocolate or a glass of wine (while supplies[...]
2:00 pm Chess and More @ Samuels Public Library
Chess and More @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 30 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Chess and More @ Samuels Public Library
Meet other kids and teens who enjoy the challenge of a good chess or other board game. For ages 6 and up. Registration begins October 30.
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12:00 pm Outdoor Holiday Celebration @ SPCA Thrift Shop
Outdoor Holiday Celebration @ SPCA Thrift Shop
Dec 1 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Outdoor Holiday Celebration @ SPCA Thrift Shop
The SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke is hosting an Outdoor Holiday Celebration on Sunday, December 1st 12-3PM at the SPCA Thrift Shop located at 1944 Abrams Creek in Winchester, VA. You’re invited to the[...]