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State Police investigating fatal single vehicle Culpeper crash

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Virginia State Police Trooper M. Burgett is investigating a single-vehicle fatal crash in Culpeper County. The crash occurred on Saturday, August 28, 2021, at 1:03 a.m. near the intersection of Route 229 (Rixeyville Rd) and Route 211 (Lee Hwy).

A 2001 Ford Excursion was traveling north on Rt. 229 when it went through the intersection into a convenience store parking lot, collided with a gas pump, overturned, and struck a tree.

The driver of the Ford, Troy A. Anderson, 26, of Lignum, Va., died at the scene of the crash as a result of his injuries. Anderson was not wearing a seatbelt.

The crash remains under investigation.


VSP was assisted by the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office and Culpeper Fire and EMS.

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Fauquier Health welcomes new family care provider, Dr. Aliona Bortun

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Fauquier Health announces the welcoming of new Family Medicine provider, Aliona Bortun, MD.

Fauquier Health announced Aliona Bortun, MD, has joined its staff and will be offering family medicine services to the residents of Bealeton, Fauquier, and surrounding areas – including such as Midland, Sumerduck, Remington, and more. Dr. Bortun joins Dr. Ahmed Fida at the Family Practice at Bealeton. According to Dr. Bortun, “I strive to develop long-term relationships with all of my patients. My goals is to provide necessary care for all patients, of all ages. I look forward to working with Dr. Fida and meeting the residents in the Bealeton area.”

Dr. Bortun is affiliated with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). She received her certification from the American Board of Family Medicine in 2014. She also received her medicine and surgery license in 2020 from the commonwealth of Virginia and is certified in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).

Dr. Bortun joins the Fauquier Health team from Spectrum Healthcare Clinic in Dumfries, Virginia. She graduated in 1998 from State Medical and Pharmaceutical University “Nicolae Testemitanu” Moldova. She went on to complete her residency training in Family Medicine from the Medical Center located in Columbus, Georgia in 2014. As a multi-lingual provider, Dr. Bortun is fluent in four languages including English, French, Russian, and Romanian.


Mike Poore, Interim-CEO of Fauquier Health, commented, “The welcoming of Dr. Bortun to our team will allow Fauquier Health to continue offering expanded access to care for families. Dr. Bortun’s nearly 20 years of experience in Emergency and Family Medicine make her a great addition to our team.”

Dr. Bortun has already begun seeing new patients in the Bealeton practice, located at 6200 Station Dr. Bealeton, VA 22712. To schedule an appointment, please call 540.439.8100. Online scheduling will be available in the future. For additional details, please visit the Find a Doctor/Provider page on FauquierHealth.org or FHDoctors.org.

About Fauquier Health
Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, Virginia, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises: Fauquier Hospital, a fully-accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs. Fauquier Health also operates nine physician’s offices, including primary care and specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling (540) 316-5000.

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Jessica Powell, CT Scan Technologist with Fauquier Health, receives ‘Virginians Speak Up for Safety’ award

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Jessica Powell, CT Scan Technologist, has been named as a quarterly recipient of the “Virginians Speak Up for Safety” award presented by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) to recognize hospital team members who successfully intervene in clinical situations to protect patients or staff members from potential harm.

As healthcare providers, nurses, and technologists, the staff at Fauquier Hospital constantly monitors the patients and looks for any alerting signs. Jessica noticed something was not quite right. One of the patients she was providing care for was scheduled to receive a follow up CT scan. Jessica had noticed the patient’s labored breathing and it became apparent to her that the patient may benefit from a chest CT. She quickly recommended that action to the hospitalist physician. The decision was made to move forward with the chest CT. The results from the scan showed the patient was suffering from a pulmonary embolism. Fauquier Health’s interventional radiology team was then able to quickly intervene.

Jessica Powell, Technologist II, Radiology, with Fauquier Health proudly holds up her Speak up for Safety Award. She was joined by her fellow colleagues, Fauquier Health’s Senior Management Team members, and representatives from Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Jessica was celebrated during a special presentation on September 21, 2021 after being presented with the ‘Virginians Speak Up for Safety’ Award from VHHA.

Jennie Williams, Director of Medical Imaging, commented, “I really appreciate that Jessica, along with all of our imaging team, try hard to make sure that every order is appropriate for the patient’s needs and diagnosis. They truly advocate on behalf of each patient. In this case, Jessica went above and beyond to make sure the patient received the level of care they needed.”


VHHA established the statewide “Speak Up” award in 2017 as a recognition program to acknowledge the efforts of individuals and teams within Virginia hospitals who speak up to prevent potential harm to patients or other staff members. Employees who feel empowered to speak up to colleagues and those in authority roles are supported in doing so by positive organizational safety culture. Cultivating that climate is a hallmark of highly reliable organizations which value employee feedback as a vital component of the journey to achieving zero harm.

“Speak Up” awards are presented quarterly by the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence, whose focus is on working collaboratively with member hospitals and health systems to enhance health care quality, patient safety, and patient experience. Nominations are solicited from hospitals across Virginia and two award winners are selected each quarter. More than 250 nominations have been received since the program began. As circumstances permit, VHHA representatives travel to present awards to recipients in a small ceremony attended by hospital colleagues and administrators.

About Fauquier Health

Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, Virginia, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises: Fauquier Hospital, a fully-accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs.  Fauquier Health also operates nine physician’s offices, including primary care and specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling 540-316-5000.

About VHHA

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 26 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its mission is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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Jessica Powell, Technologist II, Radiology, with Fauquier Health proudly holds up her Speak up for Safety Award. She was joined by her fellow colleagues, Fauquier Health’s Senior Management Team members, and representatives from Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Jessica was celebrated during a special presentation on September 21, 2021 after being presented with the ‘Virginians Speak Up for Safety’ Award from VHHA.

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Satellite spots Friday morning flash over Hardy, W. Va. – may verify meteor explanation of Shenandoah County BOOM

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A NASA satellite designed to track electrical storm activity may provide the evidence to confirm that a meteorite strike was the cause of the loud BOOM and earthshaking reported in Shenandoah County and points west across the state border into West Virginia, Friday morning, September 17. In a social media post that day accompanying a video recording of the believed meteor flashes from viewer Sandra Dickerson of the Baker-Lost City area of West Virginia, Harrisonburg-based WHSV TV Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz wrote that NASA had confirmed by email that they were “investigating this as a meteor strike, fireball.”

On her Twitter page Sept. 17, WHSV TV-Harrisonburg Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz verifies direction of NASA investigation with post of West Virginia viewer’s video of the accompanying flashes – an initial bright one, with smaller follow up about 7 seconds later. The boom sound was not apparent in this video.

The following day citing Urbanowicz’s work on the story and postings of viewers’ audio and video of the event, Today Headline’s Peter Forister added that NASA’s “GOES-16 Satellite Flash Density product displayed a flash area over Hardy County” West Virginia, consistent with the 10:23 a.m. Friday event timeframe. While there was cloud cover, there were no storms reported in the area at the time, reducing the likelihood of lightning as the explanation for the flash. It was also reported that Hardy County experienced a power outage at the time of the event.

In a social media post to WHSV, a person posting as “Spicy McHaggis” stating they were a pilot in the air at the time of the event wrote: “Yeah it was a meteor. I’m a pilot and we saw from 36,000-feet along the VA/WV border. High in the sky and left a white smoke trail.”


The boom and resultant ground shaking was initially reported as an explosion – logical, maybe somebody’s meth lab blew up – or earthquake. However, area officials could not confirm an explosion in the area and the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) reported no earth-generated seismic activity in the area during the timeframe of the event.

So, as of Monday afternoon an uninvited visitor from space continues to be the leading candidate as the cause for last Friday’s regional earth-shaking event. Information Forister cited from the NASA Meteor Watch website estimated the mass of the object at about 50 pounds impacting the earth at a speed of 45,000 miles per hour, with the energy of one to two tons of TNT. NASA estimated a brightness magnitude of 12, cited as equal to a full moon (due tonight). And so far it appears our theorized space visitor had the cosmic courtesy NOT to land on an occupied patch of our planet.

Thanks, little fellow – hope the animals heard you coming and got out of the way too.

Front page art from NASA’s Meteor Watch page – the National Aeronautics & Space Administration estimated the size of the believed Sept. 17 meteor at 50 pounds impacting the earth somewhere in the West Virginia Eastern Panhandle at 45,000 mph with the force of about 2 tons of TNT.

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Education reform panel resists Hogan’s diversity request

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. —  The nominating committee for an education reform panel has not reopened applications, despite Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s urgent request on Sept. 10 for more diverse nominees.

Gov. Hogan’s letter requested the committee to “immediately reopen the application process and provide a slate of nominees that accurately reflect our student population.” (https://www.marylandmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/AIB-Letter-Sept.-10-1.pdf)

The education reform panel, also known as the Accountability and Implementation Board for Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, will monitor the implementation of new multi-billion dollar investments in Maryland schools beginning in 2022.

Annapolis, Maryland, on September 15, 2021. The nominating committee selected nine candidates for the Blueprint legislation’s Accountability and Implementation Board: Mara Doss, Fagan Harris, William Kirwan, Isaiah Leggett, Jennifer Lynch, Joseph Manko, Harry Preston, Laura Stapleton and Joshua Starr. (Courtesy Sept. 1 press release from the Accountability and Implementation Board Nominating Committee)


The panel’s current nominees do not represent Latino communities, the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland, or any other rural jurisdictions, the governor said.

In response to Hogan’s request to reopen applications, the committee is waiting for the Maryland attorney general to provide clarity, according to Dr. Shanaysha Sauls, chair of the nominating committee.

“We need to get advice from the attorney general’s office. We’re getting legal advice about the options,” Sauls told Capital News Service.

The law requires Hogan to select seven nominees by Oct. 1 from the nominating committee’s list, which must include a minimum of nine people.

The committee, which reviewed 43 total applications, submitted nine candidates — four who identify as white, four as Black, and one as Asian — on Sept. 1.

Regarding the selection, “We thought it was diverse across a number of different dimensions: race, age, and perspective,” Sauls said, and the governor’s letter “came as a surprise.”

Crucial to the passage of the education reform bill was the creation of a “strong accountability system” to oversee the implementation of the legislation.

The seven-member panel will be tasked with that responsibility, as well as with holding school systems accountable for student outcomes.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which became law in February after the state Legislature overrode Hogan’s 2020 veto, is a wide-ranging bill.

It represents a sweeping overhaul of Maryland’s education system, with measures such as higher teacher salaries, expanded access to pre-K, and greater support for English learners.

“Without adequate representation on the (panel), it will be difficult to sufficiently meet the needs of the Latino students whom this legislation is intended to support,” Del. David Fraser-Hidalgo, D-Montgomery, the chair of the Latino Caucus, wrote to Hogan.

Fraser-Hidalgo also wrote that the Latino population has grown to nearly 12% in Maryland, according to the 2020 census, and that “Latino youth constitutes the largest proportion of English Language Learners.”

Sauls addressed the bipartisan blow back over the committee’s decision not to present any Latino nominees.

“(It was) as diverse as we could get, given the pool we had, which was limited in terms of Latinx representation,” Sauls said.

Of the 43 applicants, only one identified as Hispanic and one as Afro-Latino, according to a Sept. 1 press release from the nominating committee. (http://dls.maryland.gov/pubs/prod/NoPblTabMtg/AcctImplBrdNom/AIBNC-Announcement-Nominees.pdf)

Hogan also expressed concerns about the nominees’ geographic distribution.

“While many of the nominees selected are undoubtedly qualified individuals, there is a discernible lack of representation from the majority of jurisdictions in the State,” Hogan noted in his letter.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, D, also wrote a letter to Hogan, expressing her concern that none of the nominees live in Prince George’s County, the state’s second-most populous jurisdiction.

“While I appreciate that a representative from Prince George’s County Community College will be considered…(the nominee) is not a county resident, nor does she interact with our public schools on a daily basis,” Alsobrooks wrote.

Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, who serves as vice-chair of the nominating committee, responded to that concern.

“I actually solicited from people in Prince George’s County who are very respected, and they chose not to do it,” Pinsky told Capital News Service.

As of midday Sept. 17, the committee had not reopened applications.

“Right now there have been no changes to that slate of nine,” Sauls said. “That’s all I know until I hear further from the attorney general.”

“Since we provide counsel to the committee, any advice we may provide would be privileged,” Raquel Coombs, a spokesperson for the Maryland attorney general’s office, wrote in an email to Capital News Service.

By TRISHA AHMED and ALEX ARGIRIS
Capital News Service

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Maryland redistricting groups drawing new congressional maps

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland’s two redistricting commissions are both working to draw new congressional and legislative maps, but their perceived goals and their potential for success are different.

The state’s Republican governor named a nine-member panel evenly shared among Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters. And at the same time, the state’s Legislature has its own Democratic-controlled panel.

And because of the state’s politics, one of these panels is more likely to see its maps come to fruition: the Legislature’s.

The Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission and Maryland Citizen Redistricting Commission (https://redistricting.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx) are both scheduled to hold public meetings Monday.


Members of both commissions face a recent history rife with gerrymandering and drawn-out legal action.

Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore, and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County, announced the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission in July.

Karl Aro, former head of the Department of Legislative Services, chairs the Democrat-majority legislative commission.

Jones and Ferguson will also serve as members, along with Senate President Pro Tempore Melony Griffith, D-Prince George’s, House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, Senate Minority Leader Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, and House Minority Leader Jason Buckel, R-Allegany.

Gov. Larry Hogan, R, established the Maryland Citizen Redistricting Commission by executive order in January.

Hogan appointed three co-chairs to the commission: one Republican, one Democrat, and one unaffiliated voter.

The other six members went through a public application process and include two Republicans, two Democrats, and two unaffiliated voters.

The citizen commission is holding the second of three rounds of meetings where members of the public can present maps or give testimony on draft maps.

Alex Williams, a former federal judge for the District of Maryland, is the commission’s Democratic co-chair.

Williams told Capital News Service he likes the balanced political makeup of the commission and said their goal is to be fair and independent.

“We have to abide and adhere to the governor’s order,” Williams said. “We are not to take into consideration a lot of the politics of the state.”

Williams was also co-chair of the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission, which in 2015 recommended an independent redistricting commission as a response to previous partisan gerrymandering.

The 2011 map was championed by Maryland’s governor at the time, Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley admitted (https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/03/29/supreme-court-should-end-partisan-gerrymandering-martin-omalley-column/467349002/) to drawing a map meant to benefit Democrats in what he called an effort “to push back” against Republican gerrymandering in other states.

In the 2012 congressional election, long-time incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R, lost his 6th District seat to Rep. John Delaney, D.

The 2011 map removed a conservative portion of the 6th district and handed Democrats a 7-1 majority in Maryland’s congressional delegation. About 55% of registered voters in the state are Democrats and 24.7% are Republicans.

Maryland’s current congressional district map (http://mdpgis.mdp.state.md.us/Con_Legis_District/index.html) was taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where justices ruled in 2019 (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-422_9ol1.pdf) partisan gerrymandering was not a question for the courts; the practice remains legal.

The current map was approved in 2011 (https://cnsmaryland.org/2011/10/19/house-passes-controversial-redistricting-bill/) after a process criticized for a lack of transparency.

Williams thinks this year’s process from the citizen commission improves on that issue.

“Transparency is very important to our commission. All of our work sessions, all of our public sessions are online and they’re public,” Williams said.

Later this year, the citizen commission will submit proposed maps to the governor, who will submit his version of the plan to the Legislature.

The state Legislature, where Democrats hold a super majority, has final authority over what map becomes law.

The legislative redistricting commission will also recommend their maps for consideration.

That commission held an organizational meeting in August to discuss its constitutional duties.

As in the Legislature, Democrats hold more seats than Republicans on the commission, which will require only a simple majority to approve maps.

Simonaire said that won’t promote consensus building.

He hopes to listen to the public’s needs during the redistricting process.

“My goal is, I’m not looking to advance a political party, whether Democrat or Republican,” Simonaire said. “But rather advancing the people’s interest.”

Simonaire also hopes to keep communities together when drawing maps.

He said the 2011 map split up Anne Arundel County, where he lives, too much.

“We feel like the stepchild of Maryland because we don’t have any majority congressional representative in our district.”

Parts of Anne Arundel County are included in four separate congressional districts.

Simonaire intends to fulfill his duties as part of the legislative commission but said he hopes the citizen commission maps will serve as a baseline for the eventual congressional boundaries.

Todd Eberly is a professor of political science and public policy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

He’s in favor of two commissions, in part because it will show what a map was drawn, in part, by people outside the dominant party could look like.

Hogan’s citizen commission’s map, according to Eberly, would create more politically competitive districts.

Eberly said that would likely make it a “non-starter” in the Legislature.

He added that the goal of a congressional map should be representation, but it wasn’t in the last round of redistricting.

“There’s a goal here,” Eberly said. “And that goal was to maximize seats for the Democrats.”

That goal led to a map that doesn’t fit the redistricting principles of compactness and contiguity.

Some districts snake across the state, even being split in half by water.

Ebery said if the Legislature would like to preserve Democratic power in Maryland’s congressional delegation, there are possible maps that would do so while being more compact and respecting community boundaries.

The challenge would come from trying to protect incumbents based on where they live and how competitive their districts are.

“Incumbents are not going to be happy if you put their percent down,” Eberly said, adding that candidates grow used to winning by a comfortable margin.

Redistricting will also include redrawing the state’s legislative maps, which Eberly said look like they were drawn by an “over-caffeinated 4-year-old with a crayon.”

The commissions will draw state Senate and House maps as well, but a vote in the Legislature is not expected until after Congressional maps are approved.

Maryland’s legislative and congressional maps are redrawn every 10 years based on new census data.

Districts are expected to be similar in population number and cannot legally be gerrymandered based on race.

The Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission is scheduled to meet Monday at 6 p.m. in room 227 of the Largo Student Center at the Largo campus of Prince George’s Community College.

The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission plans to hold a virtual public meeting Monday at 6 p.m.

By ALLISON MOLLENKAMP
Capital News Service

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Wayne Carlo Bombara, Jr. pleaded guilty to 15 counts of possession of child pornography in Prince William County Circuit Court

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RICHMOND (September 16, 2021) – Former Manassas City Police Department Sergeant Wayne Carlo Bombara, Jr., 47, of Manassas Park, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of possession of child pornography in Prince William County Circuit Court. Attorney General Mark R. Herring made the announcement after the guilty plea was accepted by Circuit Court Judge Tracy C. Hudson. Bombara will be sentenced on February 11, 2022.

“Any individual who robs children of their innocence through child pornography, regardless of what they do for a living, must be held accountable for committing these heinous crimes, but especially when that individual is a law enforcement officer who has sworn to protect his community,” said Attorney General Herring. “I want to thank my team for their commitment and dedication to keeping dangerous individuals off our streets and out of our communities, and I appreciate the hard work of our local and state partners on this and other cases.”

Evidence presented in court showed that Bombara had uploaded child pornographic images onto his online account in Adobe Lightroom, which is a photography program designed for saving and editing photos. The investigation revealed that he had uploaded and saved approximately 150 images depicting the sexual exploitation of minor females. Officers subsequently executed a search warrant on Bombara’s residence, where they seized several of the defendant’s electronic devices. A subsequent forensic examination of the devices revealed saved child pornographic images and child pornography activity dating as far back as 2011. Bombara was employed as a sergeant with the Manassas City Police Department when he committed the crimes. As part of the plea, Bombara will have to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction where he works or resides following imprisonment.

The child pornography recovered in this case involved children who have been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as abuse victims in prior law enforcement investigations.


This case was investigated by Virginia State Police, as part of the Northern Virginia – D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant Attorney General Melissa Chong of Attorney General Herring’s Computer Crime Section is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Commonwealth, with cooperation from the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

 

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Historic Area. Stop by the Friends of Sky Meadows Farmer’s Market for tasty preserved products, heirloom vegetables, eggs and more. Pick from seasonal vegetables grown in Sky Meadows’ authentic Kitchen Garden, July through September. Grab[...]
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WHAT: The local chapter of Coming to the Table is hosting a display on the Warren County Courthouse lawn to honor the more than 1,100 men, women, and children enslaved in the county at the onset[...]
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3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
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6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
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