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Summer staycation – Be a tourist in your own town!



The Front Royal Visitors Center, a popular Front Royal tourist destination will be opening again soon. Royal Examiner File Photos by Roger Bianchini

You don’t have to venture far to make the most out of your summer. In fact, there are several advantages to remaining close to home. You’ll save money on transportation and accommodations, contribute to the local economy, and feel more connected to our community.

Summer is the perfect time to soak up the sun at local parks, campgrounds, or to learn something new at nearby museums, art galleries, and historical sites. You could also lower your handicap at the golf course, browse through local boutiques, and outdoor dine at nearby restaurants. Also, be sure to check out the shows, festivals, and performances taking place right in our town later this summer.

This summer, why not play tourist in your own town? Simply consult the Royal Examiner or visit the visitor center to put together a list of places to go and things to do. Check out the website ‘Discover Front Royal’ for things to do in our community.

We’ll be back open soon, so start your plans now.

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – February 24, 2021



Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response.

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Humane Society announces large donation for spay and neuter clinic



The Humane Society of Warren County has received a donation in the amount of $60,000 from Linda R. Lorber for the opening and operating of a new low-cost, high quality spay and neuter clinic in Front Royal, Virginia.

Linda R. Lorber lived in Front Royal from 2004 until 2012, but still has many ties throughout the Valley. Linda has had many dogs and cats through the years, and was fortunate enough to be in a position to get them proper veterinary care.

Many families locally are not able to afford proper veterinary care, and the Humane Society of Warren County’s undertaking aims to make spay and neuter surgeries and vaccines more accessible.

With plans to open the clinic in the summer of 2021, the HSWC Spay Clinic – Linda R. Lorber Campus will offer services to local and regional pet owners, as well as rescue and community cat groups.

“Our goal is to improve the lives of animals, and our vision is to live in a community where every pet is a wanted pet.” Says Executive Director, Meghan Bowers.  She explains that the first step towards this vision is to prevent unwanted litters.

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DMV continues to add online service options during COVID-19 pandemic



The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is now offering even more convenient online service options for customers during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Customers can now skip a trip to the DMV and instead visit to replace their commercial driver’s license (CDL), driver’s license learner’s permit, driver privilege card or learner’s permit, or limited duration driver’s license, permit, or CDL. Online credential replacements are only available to customers age 18 and older. These transactions previously required an in-person visit.

“DMV continues to add online options to not only make service more convenient but to create additional appointment opportunities for customers who need in-person service,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “Customers have come to rely on alternate means of service for every aspect of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will continue to look for ways to meet new expectations.”

Virginia is an innovator in online services and became the first state in the nation to offer secure online driver’s license renewals in the 1990s. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DMV quickly navigated to an appointment-only operational model for in-person service and has increased the number of online transactions to over 50, necessitating fewer in-person visits and prioritizing the health and safety of customers and staff. Some of the most popular online transactions include vehicle registration renewals, driver’s license renewals, and requests for vehicle and driver transcripts.

Credentials ordered online are mailed to the applicant. Please note, the U.S. Postal Service advises it is experiencing unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19; therefore, the delivery time for DMV materials may be delayed.

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Updated COVID-19 vaccination availability and distribution information



Per the February 22nd release of County COVID-19 Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Farrall, below is the latest information on the progress in distributing COVID-19 vaccines to those wishing to receive it locally as national and state distribution issues are being dealt with additional distribution categories and availability timelines as currently known. Also included again is information for those who might want to register to be volunteer assistants in the local distribution process centered out of the County Health and Human Services Complex on 15th Street:

Above, approaching the 15th Street Warren County Health & Human Services Complex on Massanutten Ave., gym is to left. Below the gym entrance. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

2. Valley Health – VDH Lord Fairfax Health District Vaccine Information (as of 2/22/2020)

Governor Northam Unveils Statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration System


Pre-Registration Website & Phone Number: or 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (or 1-877 829-4682)

Locally, VDH and Valley Health officials recommend that anyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccination (and is not currently scheduled to or has already received the vaccination) to pre-register on this website.

In the near future, VDH and Valley Health intend to fully transition to using this “list” by merging all current “lists” and processes into one.

This list is not going to be a first-come, first-served list, but rather will be used to make appointment lists for planned clinics, whose invited patients will favor the more elderly and vulnerable.

All 1a and 1b eligible persons should be able to now sign up. Further information will be shared as it becomes available.

There is a limited amount of vaccine that will be distributed to the Lord Fairfax Health District (includes Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, Warren, and Winchester) next week. Our local/District system is set up to maximize the distribution of the vaccine, once it is available. The limiting factor is the national supply chain distribution of the vaccine down to the local level. We ask for everyone’s continued patience as we work through this monumental process.

There are no advertised “first dose” vaccination clinics this week at the 15th St. Gym. The recent winter weather has impacted the national supply chain distribution of the vaccine.
i. Related Article:

Valley Health will host two closed COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics at the 15th St. Gym; this is for “the second dose” vaccinations only for those that received the “first dose” on January 27, 2021, report for “second dose” on February 24, 2021, and January 29, 2021, report for “second dose” on February 26, 2021  at the 15th St. Gym. You should receive an email from Valley Health to schedule the “second dose”; check your spam email.

There is no advertised “first dose” vaccination clinics this week at the 15th St. Gym.

VACCINE SIGN-UP: In partnership with Valley Health and the Lord Fairfax Health District, distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is now occurring in Warren County. For the most up-to-date information on where and when to locally receive the vaccine, visit:

In order to distribute the COVID-19 vaccination in the quickest and most efficient manner, volunteers are needed to fill essential roles in the operation of the Warren County Point of Distribution (POD) site at the 15th St. Gym. The six essential roles are:

Greeter: an adult that checks patients in and directs them to the next station
Navigator: a clinical provider that reviews forms and looks for any “red flags”
Observer: an adult that monitors patients for 15 minutes after the injection of the vaccination to monitor for any adverse side effects; must have Basic Life Support certification or above
Pharmacist: prepares the vaccine for injection; must be currently licensed
Runner/Floater: monitors vaccine inventory and assists in communicating between POD stations
Vaccinator: a health care provider that administers the COVID-19 vaccination; must be a currently licensed/certified LPN, RN, M.D., D.O., AEMT, EMT-I, EMT-P

If you meet the above criteria, and are willing to volunteer during the operation of the COVID-19 POD in Warren County, please visit the below site to sign-up:

Volunteers, including check-in staff, vaccination professionals, and Valley Health staff ready to serve scheduled 1a and 1b eligible citizens inside the Front Royal HHS Complex gym site. As second dose shots are completed for those most vulnerable groups and upside distribution issues are resolved it is hoped vaccine for 1c eligible and the general public is on the horizon.

The CDC’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) prioritized the initial distribution of the vaccine (as available) to health care personnel (hospital and EMS based) and residents of long-term care facilities. Other Phase I groups (in order) include essential workers, people at higher risk for severe disease (over the age of 75); Phase II – other populations; and Phase III – the general public. Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination began late last month in Warren County.

December 2020: Lord Fairfax Health District began Phase 1a distribution of the vaccine last week and this week (Clarke and Warren County first responders/age 75+).
1. Health Care personnel (Round 1 complete, Round 2 planned)
2. LTCF Residents and Staff (see below)

January-February 2021: The CDC is allocating the vaccine directly to CVS to vaccinate Phase 1a long term care residents. CVS began this process locally this month (going directly to our long term care facilities).
1. Commonwealth Senior Living (Round 1&2 complete, 3 scheduled)
2. Fox Trail Senior Living (Round 1 complete, Round 2&3 scheduled)
3. Heritage Hall (Round 1 complete 2/17, 2 TBD)
4. Hidden Springs (Round 1&2 complete; 3 TBD)
5. Lynn Care (Round 1&2 complete; Round 3 scheduled 2/15)
6. Shenandoah Senior Living (Round 1&2 complete; 3 scheduled)
7. Woods Cove (Round 1 complete, Round 2 scheduled)

January-February 2021: The next allocation (“Phase 1b”) of vaccinations the County receives will be for front line essential workers and persons age 75 and older. Front line essential workers include (in priority order):
1. Police, Fire, and HAZMAT (Round 1 complete, Round 2 as required)
2. Corrections workers (Round 1 complete, Round 2 as required)
3. Childcare, K-12 Teachers/Staff (Round 1 complete, Round 2 as required)
4. Food and Agriculture (TBD)
5. Manufacturing (TBD)
6. U.S. Postal Service workers (TBD)
7. Public Transit workers (TBD)
8. Grocery Store workers (TBD)
9. Officials needed to maintain continuity of government (TBD)
10. Persons Age 75 (65) and older (Round 1 ongoing, Round 2 scheduled)

The following allocation (“Phase 1c”) of vaccinations will be for other essential workers, persons age 64-75, and persons age 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions. Other essential workers include (in priority order):
1. Transportation and Logistics (all below 1-10 categories planning TBD)
2. Food Service
3. Shelter and Housing (construction)
4. Finance
5. IT and Communication
6. Energy
7. Media
8. Legal
9. Public Safety (engineers)
10. Water and Wastewater

There is no date established for the Phase 1c allocations at this time. No further details available at this time, more to follow.

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American Heritage Girls continue to serve community



American Heritage Girls (AHG), a faith-based character development program for girls ages 5 to 18, is making an impact by serving in the community. Recently, the girls in Troop VA 2206 served by participating in the Dinner Together service in Front Royal.

AHG members Sophia Holmes (13), Gracie Conlon (12) and Makinzie Clark (12) organize meat donations.

“Service is the practical expression of a girl’s faith,” says Patti Garibay, AHG Executive Director and Founder. “Watching girls grow in their faith and discover their God-given purpose through the development of servant hearts is the greatest achievement of AHG.”

Faith-based organizations like churches and schools and civic organizations “charter” (partner with) AHG Troops to achieve their ministry goals for youth. With an emphasis on faith, service, and fun, AHG programming includes more than 240 badges, service projects, leadership opportunities, and outdoor experiences. Troops are led by adult volunteers who facilitate the AHG Program while encouraging girl leadership.

AHG members Charlotte Griffeth (12) and Madison Girard (14) hand out frozen vegetables to community members.

On Thursday, February 4, the oldest girls in Troop VA2206 worked together to plan and cook a meal to serve at Dinner Together.  Led by adult leaders Melodie Murray, Heather Holmes and Abby Griffeth, the girls cooked their own chili, baked cookies and packed over 100 meals to serve.  While honoring their commitment to community outreach, this particular service project helped girls to develop valuable skills, such as meal planning and coordinated teamwork.  A few weeks later, on February 20, the girls returned to help give out food during a community food distribution in partnership with Dinner Together.  Troop VA2206 will continue their commitment to community service on March 4, when they visit the Front Royal Pregnancy Center to fold baby clothes and create gift baskets for new mothers.

American Heritage Girls (AHG) is a faith-based character development program for girls 5 to 18 years of age. AHG is dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio, AHG has grown from ten troops and 100 members to more than 49,000 members across 15 countries and in all 50 states. Girl Members participate in badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences, all with an emphasis on Christian values and family involvement.  For more information about Front Royal’s local troop, visit

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Virginia 2021 harness race dates announced for Shenandoah Downs



Dates and post times for the sixth annual fall harness racing season at Shenandoah Downs in Woodstock have been announced, pending Virginia Racing Commission approval. The five-week parimutuel meet will run from September 17 – October 16 with racing every Friday at 4 PM and Saturday at 1 PM. Races take place at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, located halfway between Harrisonburg and Winchester off I-81 at Exit 283.

Racing applications will be available online in late spring at and The barn area will open Wednesday, September 15, and close on Saturday, October 16. Purse distribution is expected to average $50,000 per day.

The Virginia Breeders race schedule has also been confirmed and will be presented in a slightly different format from past years. Opening weekend will feature eliminations for three-year-old trotters on September 17 and three-year-old pacers the following day. Elims for two-year-olds will be held the second weekend — trotters on September 24 and pacers on September 25. The 24th annual Breeders Championships, which also include aged races and combined purse monies well over $300,000, will take center stage on the third weekend. Trotters in the two, three, and aged divisions will go for big money on October 1 while pacers in each will compete on October 2.

The Shenandoah County Fair will continue a decades-long tradition of harness racing at their late summer Fair — held at the same Woodstock location — two weeks before the “Downs” meet begins. A four-day season will run September 1 – 4 with a daily post time of 12 Noon.

The Virginia Harness Horse Association (VHHA) also announced details of an enhanced Certified Residency Program that will offer combined bonus monies of $2 million to participating 2020 and 2021 foals.

In order to enroll in the lucrative program, horses must register with the VHHA and reside at a participating farm or training center in the Commonwealth for a minimum of six consecutive months before they turn two years of age. Once horses start competing, they will accumulate points from every money earning start as a two and three-year-old. The better the finishing position in each start, the more points they will accumulate. Double points will be awarded from any start in Virginia — at the Shenandoah County Fair and Shenandoah Downs meets.

Awards are distributed based on cumulative year-end point totals and the bonus money pool available. 2020 foals will compete for a $300,000 bonus pool in each of their two and three-year-old race seasons while 2021 foals will vie for a $400,000 pool in each. Horses in the Certified program will also be eligible to compete in a series of newly added $25,000 restricted races at Shenandoah Downs during their freshman and sophomore seasons, based on their age, sex and gait.

Complete program details, application forms, and a list of participating farms are available at For more information, call Debbie Warnick at 443-463-0917. The Residency program is separate from the Virginia Breeders Fund program.

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Upcoming Events

6:30 pm Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 27 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]