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Sunday evening house fire caused by improper heating of home

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Photos courtesy of Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services

On Sunday, October 20, 2019, just after 3:00 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services was dispatched to the 8000 block of Winchester Road for a reported residential structure fire.

Firefighters quickly arrived on the scene and reported a working fire in a two-story single family dwelling. Firefighters were able to verify that the sole occupant of the home had self-evacuated and removed 5 dogs from within the residence. The occupant, who was asleep at the time the fire occurred, was awoken by her dogs and discovered the fire. It took firefighters approximately 10 minutes to contain the fire. Crews were assisted on the scene by Warren County Sheriff’s Deputies and Animal Control Officers.

The cause of the fire was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office. Investigators determined the fire resulted due to an upholstered sectional couch being placed too close to electric baseboard heater. The fire caused an estimated $60,000 in damages. The occupants, who were displaced from the home as a result of the fire, received assistance from the American Red Cross.

Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie stated “Heating of the home is the second leading cause of home fires nationwide. As the weather turns cold, we remind our community to utilize these safety tips to prevent the unthinkable”:

  • Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from baseboard heaters, space heaters, wood-stoves or a fireplace.
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, nonflammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected annually and cleaned if necessary. Chimney tar buildup is a common cause of chimney fires.
  • Dispose of hot ashes in covered metal containers placed away from the house.

This is also the perfect time to check your smoke alarm. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least once a year. Consider installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarm, which is sealed so it cannot be tampered with or opened. If you do not have a working smoke alarm in your home, contact us at 540-636-3830 to learn how to have them installed at free of charge.

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More images from another Front Royal Historic Downtown weekend

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In addition to the “From the Heart” weekend downtown Front Royal entertainment mentioned in a related story on music, haircutting and styling, this past weekend saw other downtown events and entertainment.

Those events, among others we may have missed from simply not knowing about them until after the fact, included the Mark Clay-led Vinyl Tracks band entertaining with its repertoire of classic vinyl-era music at a Thursday evening Gazebo Gathering;

Vinyl Tracks gathers fans at the Gazebo, early Thursday evening. Below, haven’t we seen that father-daughter/drummer-singer team on stage with their own band somewhere before? – Hint, it was ‘Aftershock-ing’. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

a Saturday vintage car show on East Main Street;

Beautiful over and under the hood

a late afternoon Friday resurrection of the weekly “Yappy Hour” Julia Wagner Animal Shelter/WC Humane Society fundraising event at East Main Street’s ViNoVa wine, beer and tapa restaurant, as previewed by Malcolm Barr Sr. on Royal Examiner’s website;

Pals Rico, left, and Diva at outdoor portion of Friday’s ‘Yappy Hour’ at ViNoVa – Below, ‘Could we have some more water in our bowls, please’ these 2 hot dogs may have been thinking; and water they got under the tent shade.

and the band Starting Early tracing rock history through the 1960’s-‘70’s beginning with a properly suited Beatles set, followed by some classic power trio (Hendrix, Cream) and quartet (Zeppelin) music, among others, followed by some originals in the Virginia Beer Museum back-of-house outdoor Biergarten.

It was too late to be Starting Early by the time the band got to its 1960’s-‘70’s power trio and quartet sets in the Va. Beer Museum Biergarten.

Enjoy these images from those events, and come on downtown for the next installment of Front Royal re-opened, masks and social distancing encouraged, as Warren County and all of Virginia walk the tightrope between pandemic precautions and COVID-19 spikes and economic rebounding this unprecedented summer of 2020.

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From the Heart helps Front Royal celebrate a measured return to business – But can I schedule a haircut and shave after the band is done?

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Unless booked elsewhere, From the Heart plays something for everyone from around 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in Front Royal’s reopened downtown commercial center. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

It may not be your traditional “Barbershop Quartet”, but to celebrate Virginia’s measured walk-back of COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic emergency management restrictions, punctuated by the Town of Front Royal’s weekend downtown business district street closings facilitating a walking mall ambience to draw residents and tourists back out into the properly social distanced commercial world, “Mr. John’s Barbershop” proprietor John Landes has brought his band From the Heart into play – literally.

As of June 27, according to the band Facebook page, From the Heart has set up in front of Landes’s Chester Street barbershop on Friday and Saturday evenings from approximately 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. to bring their mix of classic country, rock and popular music to Front Royal’s re-opened Historic Downtown Business District.

Yes, the barbershop is closed – the barber is doubling up fronting his band on Friday and Saturday evenings outside his 8 Chester St. business location. Below, May Landes steps in on vocals.

From the Heart gets fans dancing and smiling with material spanning decades and genres – you’re liable to hear favorites from Charlie Daniels to Rod Stewart among others on your personal top of the charts list.

And while you can’t get a haircut while the band is on – it’s hard to sing, play and snip those overgrown locks at the same time – a small contribution to the band’s tip jar might just get you to the front of the line for the barbershop’s next day of business.

From the Heart is, in addition to Landes on guitar, harmonica and vocals, his wife May on guest vocals; Kenny Smith on banjo, guitar and vocals; ‘Bubba’ Ward on rhythm guitar; and Marty Jacobs on percussion.

Kenny Smith

‘Bubba’ Ward, left, with John Landes

Marty Jacobs

A new style ‘Barbershop Quartet’

Downtown visitors Damian and Linda the well-groomed dog, stop for a photo op. Good girl, Linda – don’t look at the band, look at the camera. Linda, are you sure you haven’t been two-timing Mr. John’s at the New Creations Hair Salon next door?

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Don’t miss the Humane Society of Warren County’s Annual Yard Sale

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The Humane Society of Warren County is poised for the biggest yard sale in their history this Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18. Thanks to a huge outpouring of support from the local community, the donations for this year’s annual yard sale far outnumber any previous year’s donations.

The HSWC Annual Yard Sale has been an important source of funding for the shelter since it began in 2013, typically bringing in $2,000-$4,000. This year, due to the enormous amount of donations, the goal fundraising goal for the shelter is $5,000.

Because the shelter is open by appointment only, there will be a portable toilet and portable hand-washing station available, and social distancing will be required. Shopping will be 10am until 2pm on both Friday and Saturday.

Local non-profit groups have been invited out on Saturday to take anything that will benefit their cause at no charge.

Since it’s beginning, the yard sale has operated using a “name your price” format, which means that there are amazing deals to be found. Highlights for this year’s sale include two sets of golf clubs, a swing set, a leather sectional couch, new with tags clothes and shoes, and kitchenware.

“I hope people come out to shop, there are so many great items, and every dollar spent is used for our life-saving work” says Meghan Bowers, Executive Director at the shelter. “This is one of my favorite events, and I am really looking forward to it.”

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Derrick Leasure of R-MA assumes Front Royal Rotary presidency

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Derrick Leasure – the new president of the Rotary Club of Front Royal. Courtesy Photo/R-MA

Randolph-Macon Academy Assistant Dean of Students Derrick E. Leasure officially took over as president of the Rotary Club of Front Royal at an “actual” ceremony in the town’s community center on Friday, July 10.

Outgoing president Bret Hrbek passed the gavel after his year in office, made more challenging when interrupted by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, which sent its regular weekly meetings since March to the internet via “Zoom.”

The real-life meeting that greeted Leasure, attended by a dozen past presidents from John Marlow (1977) to the retiring Hrbek, likely will return to “Zoom” as Leasure begins his tenure. After the gavel was passed, Leasure swore in members of the new board of directors, including Hrbek.

“He has a difficult task before him,” Hrbek had said earlier. Like other local organizations, Rotary has taken a hit in its fundraising activities but nevertheless managed to take in $126,000 last year for local and international projects.

Leasure, who came to R-MA’s middle school in 2008, earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Ohio State University and a Master’s in History from the University of Arizona. He is an active member of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, serving on the education committee. Outside his teaching and later administration posts at the Academy, Leasure has been a student mentor and head coach in golf as well as his promotion to assistant dean.

Married to Michelle Cantlebary, the couple has two children. He joined Rotary shortly after arriving in Front Royal 18 years ago.

(Malcolm Barr Sr., our contributing writer, is a member of the Rotary Club of Front Royal)

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LFCC Professor Mark Sunderlin receives statewide recognition

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LFCC Professor Mark Sunderlin

Professor Mark Sunderlin recently received the George B. Vaughan Leadership Award for Outstanding Adjunct Faculty from the Virginia Community College System with support from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education.

Earlier this year, Professor Sunderlin was named the 2020 LFCC Distinguished Faculty Award winner.

An adjunct faculty member for the past eight years, he spent many years working for the federal government, before serving as the senior technical manager of AOL for seven years. Currently, Professor Sunderlin is principal data engineer for Verizon Media Services.

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United Way welcomes Shane Goodwin as new president for 2020-21

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Shane Goodwin with students at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School

Shane Goodwin has been elected the new President of the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County, and will serve through the 2020-21 fiscal year. Mr. Goodwin is the Principal at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School.

Mr. Goodwin arrived in Front Royal from York, SC, where he served on the Solid Waste Advisory Board (2003-04), the PTO Board (2003-19), and the Boy Scouts of America Board (2002-18). During his time in South Carolina, Mr. Goodwin was also involved with the Regional Aids/Interfaith Network, Family Promise, the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Since arriving in Front Royal, Mr. Goodwin has continued to demonstrate a desire to work in his community, and has been involved in the Thermal Shelter, Shred Day, the Rotary Club, the Elks Club, Church Choir, and Boys Into Gentleman (B.I.G.).

Mr. Goodwin joined the United Way Board in August, 2019, out of a desire to “help our community connect and thrive.” Since joining the Board, he has taken on many community projects, including serving on the Community Impact Grant Interview Committee, which leads the way for local United Ways in providing grant funding for community agencies. This committee approved $35,000 in grant funding for eight community agencies over the coming year, including Blue Ridge Legal Services, House of Hope, The Laurel Center, Phoenix Project, St. Luke Community Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, Cars Changing Lives, and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

In looking forward to the upcoming year, Mr. Goodwin has several goals for the United Way of Front Royal-Warren County. These include the following:

  1. Increase Corporate Funding/Partnerships
  2. Increase Board Member Involvement On United Way Committees
  3. Set In Motion Processes To Increase Credit Scores/Net Worth Among Front Royal-Warren County Community Members
  4. Begin Working Toward A Facility To Allow Children Quality Exercise And Mentoring

Since 1950, the United Way has worked to advance the common good in Front Royal-Warren County. The community wins when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. The United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of the challenges we face. Living United means being part of the change!

To reach the United Way offices in Front Royal-Warren County (134-B Peyton Street, Front Royal, VA, 22630), please email info@frontroyalunitedway.org or call 540-635-3636.

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