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The absolute hope and promise of Christmas



Dear Editor,

Christmas once again; when we joyfully celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Who is He? Isaiah 9:6 proclaims, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and his name shall be called… The mighty God, The heavenly Father…”. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… the only begotten of the Father…” Why? God had to become flesh to die! He had to shed His own blood! This is the price God Himself set for our redemption/salvation; and His being willing to pay that price resulted in the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas! Called Immanuel, meaning “God with us”!

Being known to utter amazing and profound things concerning you and me; it seems He was speaking from His heart; the heart of God, to our hearts! Saying (John 10:10), “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Saying, in effect, He came to offer the remedy to the scourge and surety of death! The natural life, suffering death and dying, is both fleeting and temporary. Therefore, Jesus is not speaking of it here. Rather, He is saying He came to give us something we didn’t/don’t already have: Life (never-ending)! The free gift of God revealed in Romans 6:23; Therefore, we will have life forever!

As to “abundantly”, abundant means “existing in plentiful supply; abounding.” An adjective, it here describes the subject “the new life!” We do have spiritual and other blessings in this life, but it here seems opposed to prosperity; for prosperity means “being successful, flourishing, material well-being.” Maybe a care and problem-free life now. Therefore, “abundantly” is speaking to the subject: eternal life, not of “more of”, “better than” or even happiness in this temporal life. Hence, “abundantly” is referring to the plentiful, abounding supply of what we don’t have in the now. It’s what He came to give us: eternal life!

Knowing of our pain, struggles and sorrows, Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28-29, “Come unto me… and I will give you rest… rest unto your souls.” Amazingly, in John 16:33, He said, “…in this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Also, saying in Revelation 2:9, “I know thy works, tribulation and poverty, but thou art rich!” The more abundant life is achieved in this life in part only, however, in the fact that he will never leave or forsake us. Thus our greatest happiness, glory and joy is in our walk and talk with Him!

Jesus said (John 1o:25-26), “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and… shall never die.” In effect, guaranteeing to those who believe, are saved/born again, the abundant, never-ending life! Saying in John 14:2-3; “I go to prepare a place for you… I will come again and receive you unto myself…”

Clearly a “done deal”; The sealing of the deal!

Forever in the place He is preparing, an abundant life guaranteed by our eternal guarantor Jesus Christ, being sealed in His blood!

This then, is the absolute and sure Hope and Promise of Christmas!

Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, Virginia

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An Open Letter to Council and our Community – Small Town Charm or City Hustle? 



Though many emails were sent to our Town Management speaking against the proposed Special Events matrix system, the special event permit proposal has only slightly been adapted from its over-the-top initial draft.

We are still looking at bureaucratic paperwork requiring information beyond the business of the Town Manager’s department for an event permit. Event organizers must choose between a grand event or a social blip and then wade through detailed explanations describing their worthiness to host an event that will attract high-spending tourists and appease a tourism influenced check-list.

Locals have not been offered a simple amplification permit nor a simple community event permit; we are still looking at a subjective matrix and multiple hoops to hop.

At the July 12 work session, integrity was thrown off the table when the recommendation was to manipulate numbers to achieve permit approval and/or ignore the Code of Conduct. Relying on the goodwill of our Law Enforcement to not enforce the Code was also an option.

Where does the line stop? Isn’t any manipulation too much? Why make laws that you then encourage to be broken?

My mind has been blown on this one.

I was chastised by Town personnel for not communicating my concerns and questions with the Town Manager’s office, yet the last two emails I sent to the same personnel with questions and concerns have been unanswered. At this point, anyone who has followed this Special Events Permit process knows my concerns; the Town Management office is no exception.

The concerns brought forward by myself and others on June 28 have been largely ignored. I know I am not the only one. Over the past two months, emails have been sent. Citizens and business owners have expressed their concerns at the hearings. In-person discussions have also taken place. We are being heard but not listened to. Band-aid fixes encased in catchy phrases promising streamlined objectivity and community benefit are passed out with smiles yet the problem persists. What could have been managed efficiently, practically, and in a timely manner has instead been complicated disproportionately for the Town’s needs. Summer is almost over, and the community has missed out on all sorts of fun community might-have-been downtown activity.

Perhaps, Council should be asking:

  • Outside of increasing tourism numbers, how does this matrix system benefit the community?
  • Is increasing tourism, beyond the natural flow we traditionally experience, really a benefit to our community (infrastructure, water, sewage, electric grid, taxes, public safety, general well-being, inflation, town character)?
  • How can the matrix system with all its bureaucratic paperwork benefit local event organizers?
    • Extensive paperwork and the matrix scoring is a deterrent to anyone venturing through the process let alone be approved for a small-medium creative event.
  • Why is tourism influencing community events?
    • No other town around us has such an extreme application system. Community events are encouraged and easily accessible. Why is something so simple being made so difficult?
  • Why does the Town Manager need to know our budget, management experience, past event successes, estimated tourism numbers, projected revenue, corporate backing, marketing, production, projected dollar expenditure by tourists and locals, target market, and after action report on event success in order to approve an event permit?
    • Experience points to bureaucratic micro-managing and catering to a different agenda other than community.

It is very likely this complicated matrix system will be approved on Monday, and the Town Code / Ordinances updated accordingly. This proposal is not good for Community events nor does it encourage Community creativity, development, and character – the very things that give this community the small-town charm that pulls tourists back; no one has been willing to show me otherwise though I’m begging to be shown.

Please come on Monday, July 26 (7 p.m.) to the Council’s regular meeting at the WCGC. The more faces in the crowd, the more reminder that the community is present and listening.

I am very disappointed in our Town Management and the blind refusal to put Community before Tourism. Tourism as the golden carrot takes a toll on our taxes, infrastructure, and Town character. Yes, some businesses and Town revenue will flourish above average, but the average taxpayer will see no benefit other than traffic, inflated prices, strange faces, and more taxes. We are the Town of Front Royal. Sharing our beauty and charm with visitors is wonderful; handing it to visitors on a platter over the heads of the community for the sake of dollars is a travesty. Where will this end?

The final vote for approval occurs this Monday, July 26 unless Council intentionally stops, listens, thinks, and demands full answers. They must not accept sound-bite responses. The problem is bigger than a dance recital or a fun festival.

Stop. Listen. Think.


Annie Guttierrez
Front Royal, Virginia

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Editorial notes on several of Mr. Kushner’s assertions



1 – Regarding social welfare programs pushed by Democrats: “A core principle of the Constitution is individual freedom.” – While “individual freedom” is not mentioned in the introductory paragraph of the U.S. Constitution, “promote the general Welfare” is the fourth and final goal listed after “establish Justice”, “insure domestic Tranquility” and “provide for a common defense”.

2 – re: “only half of America elected President Biden” – half plus 7 million, as opposed to the minus-3 million popular vote deficit Mr. Trump “won” the presidency by in 2016.

3 – re: “Americans chose to expand Conservative influence in the House of Representatives” – but they remained in the minority there; Republicans have lost their majority in the Senate.

4 – re: “provide amnesty to millions of illegal aliens” – Many refugee/immigrants traveling to the U.S. southern border during the Trump Administration became “illegals” due to policy initiatives put in place at the border which needlessly halted and held up the legal entry method and route for weeks, if not longer. So, many of these “illegals” were created by Trump Administration policies making legal entry nearly impossible.)

Roger Bianchini
Royal Examiner

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An open letter to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin



You previously professed a commitment to bipartisanship, which is a reasonable position because only half of America elected President Biden. You should also acknowledge that in the last election, Americans chose to expand Conservative influence in the House of Representatives, contradictory to election forecasts. You should acknowledge that many citizens likely voted against the incumbent President as a demonstration of disgust with his controversial characteristics, rather than as an affirmation of the Biden/Sanders advertised manifesto. There is absolutely no mandate for the transformation of America that the Democrat party is now embarked on. The human infrastructure (Reconciliation Bill) initiative is a linguistic fraud and everyone knows it. The invention of this new term only fools ignorant people, and that is a very small segment of the American public.

Also, embedded in the Reconciliation Bill is a provision to provide amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, which is not supported by the majority of the public. Hispanic Americans who obtained their citizenship by following our lawful immigration process are some of the most ardent opposition to that proposal. The biased media has purposefully not sought to educate the public on that element. No ‘law and order’ politician should be able to support that provision.

Democrat politicians in conservative states who vote for the proposed Reconciliation Bill are committing career suicide. Is this the legacy you want to leave as a representative of West Virginia?

While you may consider that passing a bill addressing actual infrastructure projects, with bipartisan support that a majority of citizens could benefit from, will offer some political cover that enables you to be a loyal party member and vote for a subsequent grossly expensive social entitlements Reconciliation Bill, but that would be a risky gamble inconsistent with your moderate political reputation. This Bill is nothing short of the radical left’s wish list that is not consistent with the political views of the American majority.

You swore a solemn oath to defend our Constitution. A core principle of the Constitution is individual freedom. The breadth of expanded entitlement programs included in the proposed Reconciliation Bill conflicts with that principle because the more aspects of citizens’ lives that the government controls, the less individual freedom they have. Instituting more entitlements just creates a form of economic slavery to government control at the expense of individual liberty. The proposed multi-trillion-dollar Reconciliation Bill will virtually install a ‘cradle to grave’ socialist philosophy that is inconsistent with American values which have contributed to making us the most exceptional country in the world and will irreparably damage your reputation. So, I hope you will reconsider your support for this reckless legislation and vote to continue to protect individual freedom.


Gary Kushner
Bentonville, Virginia

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Stonewall District School Board candidate, Linda Martin



Greetings Stonewall residents, new and old!

My name is Linda Martin and I am running for School Board in Stonewall District.  My goals are to ensure that Frederick County Public Schools maintain a focus on core subjects and provide parents with full transparency into what is being taught to their children.  Across the country there is an unfortunate trend of introducing ideas that are divisive, of dubious accuracy, and irrelevant to the skills our children need to obtain good jobs.  We need school board members who understand our community and who will vigilantly guard against political indoctrination in our schools.  Our children’s lives should not be the subject of radical experiments in social engineering.  As a conservative I will stand against this trend.

I know our community well, having been born at Winchester Memorial Hospital and being a longtime resident of Stonewall District.  I attended Stonewall Elementary and graduated from James Wood High School on Amherst.  My family has long roots here – my father Rudolph Martin owned and operated Rudy’s Garage on Welltown Pike until he retired.  My three children attended Apple Pie Ridge Elementary and graduated from James Wood High School.

I am intimately familiar with the trajectories our students may take, both to college and in the trades.  I earned degrees from Massey Junior College (Fashion) and Shenandoah University (Business), and have been an entrepreneur in Frederick County for many years.  I founded and operated Linda’s Nutritional Centre and Naturally Yours with my daughter Zorina Sale.

Growing up on Welltown Road before there was even an I-81 gave me a deep love for the beauty and history of our county.  I now desire to give back to the community by serving on the School Board representing Stonewall District.

I advocate renewed concentration in schools on core curricula, rejuvenation of vocational school options, and the elimination of ideological and divisive programs such as critical race theory.  A vote for me is a vote for no-nonsense education.  Come and meet me at New Covenant Christian Church on July 24th, at 2pm if you support conservative values in education.

Linda Martin
Stonewall District School Board

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Negative stereotyping – what does it say about you?



Recently, some residents speaking publicly or writing on Facebook have described others in the community as “communists”, “socialists”, and even more derogatory labels such as “evil”. Given the extreme likelihood that these speakers/writers know they are not telling the truth about other people, it is time to talk about “Communication 101”.

Those of us who are supposed to accept the negative labels could be amused, yet not likely so. Many different reactions are possible. One reaction seemingly not possible for those I speak of is recognizing that those who make others out as stupid and/or evil just for disagreeing with them have more accurately described themselves.

When stereotypical exaggerations, even untruths, are used as labels, that is the result: The perpetrators are their own victims. To explain, it is clear evidence that the speakers and writers of this ilk do not know and don’t care to find the correct words to describe others with whom they disagree.

Linda Allen 
former Front Royal resident

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Can we talk about Olive’s Fund?



Humane Society of Warren County

Friends and fans of the shelter, I’d like to talk with you a little about Olive’s Fund, and how that works with our shelter budget. Olive’s Fund is the money that we use to pay for “Above and Beyond” care of our shelter animals. We love going above and beyond, so much so that it sometimes becomes hard to say NO. As it stands, I’ve said YES more times than we have funding for in this program, and I need your help to get back on track.

Olive’s Fund is different from the regular shelter budget. We have general funds which we use to pay for vaccines, spay and neuter surgeries, electricity, and all the regular things that a shelter pays for. Typical shelter care for the animals is food, vaccines, a healthy diet, preventatives, and a nice comfy place to wait for a family. Many animals come in needing more than that, and that’s where Olive’s Fund comes in.

It all started with a dog named Olive. She was a stray puppy that came to us after being hit by a car. Funding was not available, but our community stepped forward to save her. The Olive’s Fund was created in honor of that special community effort. We know you want us to save everything that comes in the door, and we do too- and that’s how we got in our predicament.

Since the beginning of the year, we have said YES $2,887.37 more times than our donors generously gave. It’s extremely difficult to say no to sick or injured animals, but I will need to if we cannot get Olive’s Fund back in the black. In addition to the overspending, we have 2 surgeries that we want to do that are waiting on funds.

I’m sorry to ask, but this has been a really challenging year in terms of sick kittens and injured dogs. Here’s what I said yes to so far this year, at a cost of $12,965.52:

Junior (cancerous mass)
Zelda (Emergency C-section)
River (leg amputation)
Jennifer (postpartum emergency)
Uma (blood work)
Ember (urinary stones surgery)
Gato (Entropian surgery)
Tater (cancerous mass)
Geppetto (dental)
Yeti (gunshot wound)
Boots (dental)
Eileen (leg amputation)
Tiger Lilly (dental)
Chevy (leg amputation)
Pumpkin (cancerous Mass)
Ariel (Eye removal)
Paisley (blood work & exam)
Amy (tail amputation)
Lizzie (blood work, eye exam)
Sunkist (Dental)
Stray Cat (Respiratory Emergency)

So there you have it – I’ve said YES more times than we had donations for, and now that funding is negative.

Two more animals are waiting, and the next one could walk in the door at any moment. That’s the struggle of an animal shelter. It’s unpredictable, and we want to save them all.

I’m asking you to please consider a donation to Olive’s Fund so that we can make up the negative of $2,887.37, and fund the next two surgeries. I hope you can understand why I said yes, always thinking that tomorrow’s check would get us back on track.

Keep reading to see the next animals who need us once we get back into the black.

Call me with your questions at 540-635-4734, or stop by and see me M-F 8 am-4 pm.
Thank you,

Meghan Bowers
Humane Society of Warren County

Donate HERE


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