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Stephens City HOA gains from contracting a quality landscape, lawncare and snow removal service provider



Good Home Owner Association (HOA) property maintenance practices can keep a community looking vibrant and livable. Autumn Glen is a 52-acre community in Stephens City, composed of mostly senior citizens who prefer to have a lawncare contractor manage their lawn and snow removal requirements. The homeowners have also tasked President Joan Callahan and the HOA Board of Directors to maintain their reputation as the best-looking community in Stephens City.

Frequently cut lawns along Sadi Court consistently add to Autumn Glen’s curb appeal. Courtesy A Cut Above.

“The goal of every HOA is to protect property values, and one way of doing so is to invest in quality landscaping and lawncare,” said Callahan. Attractive design and lush greenery can have an enormous influence on the overall appeal of a neighborhood. And with increased appeal comes enhanced property values. “Our HOA Beautification Committees work with the lawncare service provider to protect the property value and create enjoyable living spaces for Autumn Glen homeowners,” she said. A greener community provides a higher overall level of positivity and vibrancy.

A Cut Above Landscaping and Lawncare located in Winchester has been maintaining the common grounds, clubhouse and 169 residences at Autumn Glen HOA for 5 years now. “The contract operates year-round to provide a vast array of services, including: lawncare, landscape, and snow removal services,” said A Cut Above Vice President Travis Streit.

A split-drive walk behind aerator helps reduce time, by allowing driver to steer the machine without lifting the tines out of the soil. Courtesy A Cut Above.

As spring quickly approaches, lush with hints of natural greens, A Cut Above works diligently to prepare HOA properties for the growing season to begin by removing sticks/debris and any residual leaves that fell from the trees since their previous fall clean-up. They continue the lawn maintenance throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall on a weekly basis so the property always remains pristine. According to Turf Manager Brian Tavenner, qualified spray technicians work consistently to fertilize lawns to promote healthy root development throughout the growing season. “An application of balanced granular fertilizer with pre-emergent crabgrass control is applied before ground temperatures reach 55 degrees. The next round is liquid broadleaf weed control with pre-emergence, to help mitigate any uninviting weeds during the Spring and Summer months. A grub and tick suppression is applied in conjunction with fertilizer, to combat the influx of evasive pests like Japanese Beetles in early to mid-July,” Tavenner said.

During the Summer months, spray technicians apply another round of balanced granular fertilizer to promote better overall health of the turf. “We adjust our services, (dependent on the weather) to prevent any damage to the turf or landscape. When conditions are relatively dry, we tend to raise our cutting height and reduce cutting frequency to allow the turf plenty of time to recuperate in between cuts. If we’ve had a significant amount of precipitation than we always proceed with caution or wait for the property to dry out,” Lawn Division Manager/Safety Coordinator Frankie Dunlap said. Dunlap’s safety coordinator duties include providing proper Personal Protective Equipment (chainsaw chaps, safety glasses, closed toed shoes, etc. worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause workplace injuries), documenting incident reports, and monthly safety meetings.

During October, core aeration eliminates soil compaction which allows air, water, and fertilizer to better reach the root zone. Overseeding the freshly cored soil, allows for seed to drop into the holes and help thicken the stand of turf. Thickening the existing stand of turf will naturally defend against weeds being able to survive, as it creates a naturally shaded soil bed where the seed gets choked out before it ever has the chance to survive.

Case International 235 tractor w/ a weighted pull behind aerator works the back of Spanish Oak Road. Aeration/over seeding is a critical step in producing a good stand of grass as it helps by reducing soil compaction and allows improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere. Courtesy Mark Gunderman.

An additional round of Winterizer fertilizer is applied in late fall, to promote root development. This nitrogen-based application permits the roots to absorb and store nutrients during the dormant months of winter; in turn, the turf will be noticeably more vibrant in color as spring approaches. A granular liming application is applied during winter, (when weather permits) to help repair soil levels back to a neutral PH balance or slightly acidic. Autumn Glen’s Tall Fescue lawns prefer this soil PH to thrive.

Brian Tavenner knows the importance of employing experienced spray technicians. Every A Cut Above employee who applies lawn fertilizers and pesticides must obtain a Registered Spray Technician license which includes documenting 20 hours of training from the Applying Pesticides Correctly Core Manual, and 20 hours of field training on the safe and proper application of pesticides under direct on-site supervision of a Certified Commercial Applicator. The license is required because technicians must adjust the ratios of commercial mix so an ecological approach based on the life cycle and habitat of the pest is provided. “Spray Technicians are required to attend an approved category specific recertification course every 2 years,” Tavenner said.

Z spray spreader-sprayer accurately distributes seed on the freshly cored soil and allows for enhanced seed to soil contact throughout the lawn. Courtesy A Cut Above.

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, bringing another patchwork of color. However, as the leaves begin to fall, it can create an unpleasant sight for most homeowners. A Cut Above bulk leaf collection system consists of removing all leaves from landscape beds, turf, and any hard surfaces. Using backpack blowers, rakes, and tarps, just about virtually every leaf is collected into an area where they are either sucked up using a bagging system on the rear of a commercial sized zero-turn vehicle, or by using a leaf vacuum along the street curb to sweep up and shred those unwanted leaves. Autumn Glen homeowners say leaf removal is one of the most popular services offered. All common ground and front yard perennials are cut back, and final landscape edging is completed; this allows for the community to maintain a neat and pristine look throughout the dormant season.

Snow removal is a major concern in the winter months for seniors. The goal during any snowstorm is to keep home walkways, driveways, and parking lots as clear and safe as possible. Autumn Glen regulations requires three inches of snow to accumulate before requesting A Cut Above services. Since the streets in Autumn Glen are the property of VDOT, the Autumn Glen Board of Directors wait for VDOT to clear the streets before contacting A Cut Above to plow driveways and the clubhouse parking lot. Once VDOT has finished their first sweep, A Cut Above has multiple crews engaged working in unison to remove snow and allow for safe ingress/egress for homeowners throughout the snowy event.

The JCB 270T track loader prepares a lawn for efficiently laying the yard for sod. Courtesy A Cut Above.

Snow removal staff shovel the snow 10-15 feet away from the homeowner garage doors to allow equipment to pull in the driveway and back drag snow out into the street. Staff operate trucks, tractors, skid steers etc. to push snow to specified areas. Using ATVs, A Cut Above clear home sidewalks and driveways throughout the community quickly and efficiently. “There is nothing better than waking up after a snowstorm, opening your garage door and seeing a freshly plowed driveway,” said Architectural Review and Covenants Committee Chair, Mary Sturm.

The Autumn Glen HOA Board has the responsibility of developing and managing activities and performance related to the service providers they employ. The main objective is to build a strong relationship that motivates service providers to deliver excellent maintenance throughout the contract period. The HOA Board worked closely with A Cut Above on the property management and snow removal services proposal to identify clear and concise provisions regarding the timeline for the work, the scope of the work, and how the work should be performed. This enabled both Autumn Glen and A Cut Above to be aware of their respective obligations toward each other. “The job is made a lot easier when you have good collaboration between HOA and service provider,” said Callahan. Likewise, the A Cut Above Vice President believes the feeling is mutual. “It is imperative that the management staff of A Cut Above work in unison with the landscape committee from Autumn Glen to ensure we are all on the same page with realistic expectations and accountability from both parties,” Streit said.

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As an ongoing consequence of pandemic impacts, fitness programs will end this month but rehab services will continue at Valley Health’s Outpatient facility here



Royal Examiner asked Valley Health Public Relations Manager Carol Weare about planned service cuts locally as a consequence of the COVID pandemic outbreak of the past few years. This is what she told us:

“Due to unprecedented financial challenges related to the effects and after-effects of the pandemic, Valley Health has been taking steps to limit additional losses by evaluating all programs and services we offer. Like fitness facilities nationwide, Valley Health’s fitness programs experienced a decline in membership during the pandemic and never rebounded.

“As a result, we made the difficult decision to end our fitness membership programs in Berkeley Springs, WV, Front Royal, VA, and Woodstock, VA, effective Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Members are being notified and any membership balance or un-redeemed personal training or massage gift cards will be refunded promptly.

“We regret the disruption this decision will create for community members, whose fitness commitment and ongoing health are important to us.

Valley Health’s Outpatient Services Center in Front Royal on Commerce Avenue. While fitness programs will end February 1st, rehab services will continue uninterrupted.

“In our assessment, we carefully evaluated each program’s unique operational situation, including finances, building lease contracts and the availability of local fitness facility alternatives within the community.

“The fitness programs in Berkeley Springs and Front Royal are co-located with outpatient physical rehabilitation; those services will continue uninterrupted.

“As Valley Health continues to feel the lingering financial impact of COVID-19, we are evaluating where, when and how healthcare services are provided to ensure our stability as the region’s top care provider and employer of choice well into the future.”

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Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Line of Duty Death – Funeral Notification



With great sadness, we announce the passing of District Fire Chief Homer Larry Cross (Age 74) of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department.

On Monday, January 23, 2023, members of the Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department discovered District Chief Cross unresponsive at the Fire Station and began life-saving intervention procedures, but unfortunately, the Chief was pronounced deceased at the station.

District Fire Chief Homer Larry Cross

Chief Cross began his career as a firefighter with Fortsmouth Volunteer Fire Department in 1983. Later serving his community as a long-tenured District Chief, he dedicated himself to saving lives and helping those in need. Through his years in the fire service, Chief Cross felt honored to work alongside a fantastic group of men and women, many of whom serve in various fire service leadership capacities across the Commonwealth’s Fire Service today.

“District Fire Chief Homer Cross was an inspiration for our Department and a fixture on almost every fire ground,” stated Fire Chief James Bonzano. “He was a dedicated fire officer but, above all else, a great friend whose legacy will certainly live on through the care and compassion he instilled in the next generation of our Fire Department.”

Arrangements for District Chief Cross are as follows:

Family Night will be held Monday, January 30, 2023, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. at Maddox Funeral Home at 105 W. Main Street, Front Royal, VA.

A Funeral Service with Fire Service and Military Service Honors for District Chief Cross will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at noon at Riverton United Methodist Church at 55 E. Strasburg Road, Front Royal, VA.

A procession from the church to Panorama Memorial Gardens will be conducted, where final respects will be paid.

The Cross Family will receive guests following the service at the Front Royal Volunteer Fire Station at 221 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA.

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The Trust Deed Pledge Plan: An investor’s greatest investment aspiration




An original Trust Deed Pledge (TDPP) to help property owners from losing their entire property equity due to a foreclosure has been developed. By rescuing the equity and turning the owner into a qualified investor in plan, the owner continues to grow the funds rescued.


The desire to be protected in a safe rewarding and timely investment is what the investor wants and needs and receives in the TDPP.

  1. Investment amount required? – Ans: ($60,000 total in small amounts by a group of investors)
  2. What is the reward? – Ans: (Pre-agreed fixed amount of $25,500 up to $42,500)
  3. What is the timing of investment? – Ans: (Estimated one-year)
  4. Amount of protection? – Ans: (Collateral exceeds invested amount)
  5. How is the investor “protected”? – Ans: (With a very strong superior legal position)


The TDPP offers a way to achieve an exclusive listing to sell (foreclosure free) for the agent/broker finding and introducing the necessary material to the foreclosure owner. There is strong competition, in the regular market place for exclusive listings, that makes it a challenge to accumulate enough listings for the average licensee to earn and build a personal lifetime wealth of a million dollars plus. It is fair to say the TDPP can do it.

The TDPP offers new type real estate earnings, separate from and in addition to a 6% sale commission.

  1. Introducing an original way to earn 1% of the sales price of a property and a second way to earn 5% of the net sales price of the property.
  2. There are other original ways to earn a fee of $9,000 and one of $15,000 for new type activity in the TDPP.
  3. Achieve an exclusive foreclosure free exclusive listing for the person processing the property owner joining the TDPP.
  4. Other unique exciting opportunities are available to earn profit in original ways within the TDPP!

Go to for more information.

Robert L. Evans, President
Foreclosure Answer Affirmed, Inc.

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Concern Hotline named beneficiary of Ride with Rotary



Rotary Club of Warren County is excited to announce their beneficiary for the Ride with Rotary 2023 is Concern Hotline! Watch this video with Executive Director, Rusty Holland, as he shares a little about who the Concern Hotline is and what they offer to Warren County and surrounding counties.

Learn more about Concern Hotline:

Concern Hotline is a free 24/7/365 anonymous information & referral, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention hotline serving the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

For Concern Hotline calls, dial any of these local numbers:

  • SHENANDOAH COUNTY – 540-459-4742
  • PAGE COUNTY – 540-743-3733
  • WARREN COUNTY – 540-635-4357

Ride with Rotary 2nd Annual Bike Event 

  • April 29th – Check in starts at 8am Rockland Park
  • Register Today!
  • Interested in being a sponsor? Call Jen Avery at 540-683-0790 to learn about sponsorship options.
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Super Bowl LVII fans don’t let fans drive drunk



During Super Bowl LVII, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office to remind football fans everywhere that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. Super Bowl LVII is on Sunday, February 12, 2023. If you’re heading out to a Super Bowl party and plan to drink alcohol, make sure you plan for a designated driver to get you home safely at the night’s end.

In 2020, there 11,654 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Drunk driving can have many consequences, including possibly causing a traumatic crash. These crashes could cause you, someone you love, or a total stranger to suffer serious injuries or even death.

We want our community members to enjoy Super Bowl festivities and responsible drivers on our roads. If you are planning to be away from home during Super Bowl, make a game plan to ensure you don’t find yourself without a designated driver if you need one. If you’re hosting a party, make sure you take care of your designated drivers. Remind your friends and family: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.

Be the DD MVP
If you plan to be a designated driver, know that you’re the night’s MVP. Commit to a sober evening — people are relying on you. If you are attending a party or are at a bar or restaurant, enjoy the food, the company, and the nonalcoholic drinks. Encourage other designated drivers on social media by using the hashtag #DesignatedDriver. Your positive influence could help keep them on the right track. If someone you know has been drinking and tries to drive, take their keys and help them get home safely. They may complain, but they’ll thank you later.

Have a Game Plan Whether you are attending a party or going to a bar or restaurant, make a game plan and follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:

  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver, plan to use a ride service, or call a taxi sober friend to get home safely.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Make a commitment today to refrain from drunk driving. For more information, visit

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VDOT reopens Route 522 southbound lanes at rockside site west of Winchester



At 9 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24, the Virginia Department of Transportation will reopen the southbound lanes on Route 522 (North Frederick Pike) between Winchester and Gainesboro in Frederick County. This is the site of a rockslide that occurred late on Friday, January 13. Earlier on January 24, all Route 522 lanes were closed out of caution due observed slide activity.

VDOT officials have examined the site and determined the slide is stabilized enough to reopen the southbound lanes. The northbound lanes remain closed next to the slide activity.

The Route 522 northbound lanes are closed from Route 608 (Hunting Ridge Road) to Route 684 (Gainesboro Road).

In this location, the average daily traffic volume is approximately 18,000 vehicles per day.

Route 522 is a four-lane divided highway in this location. A detour on the southbound lanes will accommodate all northbound and southbound traffic. Route 522 will have single southbound and northbound lanes in this area. Travelers are advised to use caution with the temporary traffic pattern.

Both ends of the detour will have Virginia Department of Transportation crew members present to help direct traffic 24/7 during this event. Local law enforcement will assist to ensure traffic does not enter the slide area, which remains unstable and extremely dangerous.

The rockslide occurred around 11 p.m. on Friday, January 13. The Route 522 northbound lanes were immediately closed by VDOT.

Upon inspection in the daylight hours of Saturday, January 14, a more significant slope failure was discovered above the rockslide location.

VDOT has contracted with General Excavation Inc. (GEI) of Warrenton, Virginia, to perform the slope repairs.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

9:00 am 2023 Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
2023 Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
Jan 28 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
2023 Women's Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
Registration: January 3-25, 2023 Register online:
7:00 pm Harp Magic with (Eli)zabeth Owens @ Honey and Hops Brew Works
Harp Magic with (Eli)zabeth Owens @ Honey and Hops Brew Works
Jan 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Harp Magic with (Eli)zabeth Owens @ Honey and Hops Brew Works
Join Honey and Hops Brew Works for an evening of music magic featuring original songs & fresh covers by Harpist and Songwriter (Eli)zabeth Owens! Influences include Kate Bush, Bjork, Joanna Newsom, and Caroline Polacheck. (Eli)zabeth[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 1 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Feb 4 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 6 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 7 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 8 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 9 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 10 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]