FRONT ROYAL — An inspiring program at Samuels Public Library proves that therapy dogs are an aspiring reader’s best friend.
The free monthly Books & Barks program is held the first Saturday of every month. The next session is scheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 7. Children, parents or guardians may register in advance for a 20-minute session to read with the dogs beginning at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.
“I’m so happy that we can offer this program to the children of our community,” said Kathy Jacob, youth services assistant and outreach coordinator at Samuels Public Library. “They are reading orally, one-on-one, with a caring adult and a comforting dog.
“Personally,” she added, “Books & Barks is what helped my children overcome their fear of dogs when they were little, so this program has meant a lot to our family.”
In 2006, Jackie Smith and Sally Petty of Sperryville, Va.-based Waggin’ Hearts Therapy Dogs approached Michal Ashby, youth services supervisor at Samuels Public Library, about getting their therapy dogs together with young readers.
“It was a good fit for our department, and we’ve been doing it monthly ever since,” Jacob said.
While Waggin’ Hearts Therapy Dogs and their owners visit several nursing homes and senior centers throughout the region, some of the members also participate in the Books & Barks R.E.A.D. program at local schools and libraries, including in Warren County at E.W. Morrison Elementary School, Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School, and Ressie Jeffries Elementary School.
Smith, a Waggin’ Hearts volunteer who’s been with the group since 2005, said that when children read to the dogs, both their reading skills and desire to read improve.
“The dogs are non-judgmental, which makes them not afraid to read to the dogs, therefore it helps improve their reading skills,” she said.
Waggin’ Hearts members all belong to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, an international organization that provides registration and supports for those involved in Animal Assisted Activities. All that’s required to get your dog involved is for the canine to love what it does and get along with children, adults and other dogs, said Smith.
“These dogs do not have to be a certain breed,” she said. “They just have to love people and kids.”
Over the years, Smith said the Samuels Public Library Books & Barks program has had up to 10 certified team members with their dogs, a sign-up sheet with 25 to 30 children, and a waiting list each month.
Currently, she said six teams go to Samuels Public Library for the two-hour program.
“Kids truly love reading to the dogs and come in ready with books,” said Smith, who noted that Jacob also provides children with a choice of books.
“Kids do not have to know how to read,” she added. “We encourage them to want to read and we will read to them.”
Generally, Jacob described Books & Barks participants as mostly young readers; some are beginning readers while others may be quite fluent.
“It is mostly school-aged children who come, but we don’t turn teenagers away if they really want to read to a dog,” said Jacob.
One of the things Jacob said she loves about the program are “the comments from the parents about how much their children look forward to Books & Barks each month.”
For instance, she’s heard from some parents that their children even practice reading in preparation for meeting with their favorite dog.
Jacob also said she loves “the warm, comforting, relaxed atmosphere the children experience when they come. They feel accepted by the dogs, and they are enthusiastically welcomed by the dogs’ owners, as well.”
Because the Books & Barks dogs have been through training and testing to become certified therapy dogs, they have mild temperaments and don’t bite, bark or growl at the children.
“The dogs’ owners are always nearby, and help the children know their dog’s favorite ways to be petted,” Jacob explained. “The dogs let the children pet them, and often the owners will have the children offer the dogs treats.”
Children’s activities at Samuels Public Library for the month of October
These are the events taking place in the Youth Services Department of Samuels Public Library during the month of October. Thank you for sharing this information. More information about Samuels Library and the programs and services available can be found at www.samuelslibrary.net or by calling (540) 635-3153.
Tuesday, October 1
- 11:00 Time for Baby. What do books, scarves, puppets, music and babies have in common? They are all part of Time for Baby. Join us as we use all of our senses to explore the world around us. Once Upon a Time will be the theme this month. Meet with your baby up to two years of age. Siblings welcome.
- 4:30 Science Scouts and More. Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! Based on the Goosebumps series of books, this week we will get into slime and chemical reactions. For ages 6-11. Registration begins September 1.
Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3
- 10:15 Toddler Story time.
- 11:00 Preschool Story time.
They are tall, and their leaves are changing colors… Trees! Come in for some wonderful stories, songs, and a craft! Siblings welcome.
Saturday, October 5
- 10:00 Books and Barks. Come to our extremely popular monthly program that gives developing readers the chance to read and relax with a trained therapy dog. For beginning readers and up. Choose a time slot at registration, which begins September 5.
- 2:00 Discuss This Book. Are you inspired by good books, articles, movies, and art? Do you write, draw, or enjoy playing music? If so, join us as we discuss books and share our creations. This is a group for those who wish to talk seriously about a variety of topics. This month, we will be discussing our favorite dystopian books. Refreshments will be provided. For ages 12 and up. Registration begins September 5.
Tuesday, October 8
- 4:30. Science Scouts and More. Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! Based on the Goosebumps series of books, this week we will learn about insects. Hungry? We’ll have some edible insects for you to try! For ages 6-11. Registration begins September 8.
Wednesday, October 9 and Thursday, October 10
- 10:15 Toddler Story time.
- 11:00 Preschool Story time.
Our stories this week will be about our pink farm friends, pigs! Come in for fun stories, songs, and a craft! During Thursday’s Preschool Story Time, author Mary Ann Olsen will highlight her picture book Little Cousins Birthdays. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. Siblings welcome.
Saturday, October 12
- 11:00 Saturday Morning Movie: Aladdin. It’s a whole new world! Enjoy the new, live-action version of Aladdin at the library, complete with popcorn! For ages 5 and up. Registration begins September 19.
- 2:00 World of Lego. Children and teens, ages 5 and up, are invited to explore all the amazing things you can do with Legos. Registration begins September 12.
Tuesday, October 15
- 4:30 Science Scouts and More. Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! As we consider the Goosebumps series of books, children will have the opportunity to make their own creatures, just like Frankenstein! ! For ages 6-11. Registration begins September 15.
Wednesday, October 16 and Thursday, October 17
- 10:15 Toddler Story time.
- 11:00 Preschool Story time.
Meet Mr. Policeman will be the theme of our stories and special visitors this week! Siblings welcome.
Saturday, October 19
- 2:00 Dungeons & Dragons (Group A.) Hail and well met, Adventurers! A new program is taking place for teens 13+. Dungeons and Dragons is an interactive, imaginative game that stimulates the mind with critical thinking, problem solving, and quick wits. New to the game? No problem. Our Game Master is prepared to help all learn the game and provide an enjoyable experience for all. Space is limited, so join up while there’s still room on the list!
Saturday, October 26
- 11:00 Aspiring Artists. Are you aged 7 and up? Do you enjoy art? If so, please join us for our children’s art class. Let’s paint together! We’ll make an autumn scene using acrylic paints. Registration begins September 26.
- 2:00 Dungeons & Dragons (Group B.) Hail and well met, Adventurers! A new program is taking place for teens 13+. Dungeons and Dragons is an interactive, imaginative game that stimulates the mind with critical thinking, problem solving, and quick wits. New to the game? No problem. Our Game Master is prepared to help all learn the game and provide an enjoyable experience for all. Space is limited, so join up while there’s still room on the list!
Tuesday, October 29
4:30 Science Scouts and More. Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! As we consider the Goosebumps series of books, children will have the opportunity to learn about how pumpkins grow, and do some pumpkin carving and decorating! For ages 6-11. Registration begins September 29.
Wednesday, October 30 and Thursday, October 31
- 10:15 Toddler Story time.
- 11:00 Preschool Story time.
It’s Pumpkin time! Come in for stories, songs, and a craft about those big, orange pumpkins that we love.
Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation hosts October golf tournaments at Blue Ridge Shadows
WHAT MATTERS Warren – In this video with Stephen Horvath, learn about back-to-back upcoming golf tournaments on October 11 & 12, at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club in Front Royal, to benefit the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation. Their mission: Advocacy, education, research, and direct financial relief to firefighters and their families affected by cancer.
The Virginia Chapter of the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation was established in memory of Johnny Thomas, a Prince William County firefighter, who lost his battle with cancer. While he was unable to defeat this awful disease, his memory lives on, and loving volunteers and donors continue to provide hope to those in need. The FFCF provided assistance and education needed to make changes within the fire service. The Johnny Thomas Foundation has worked for years to make changes in Prince William County and provided direct assistance to those in need. The two foundations partnered and continue to focus their efforts to reduce carcinogen exposure, educate firefighters and leadership, support research initiatives, and improve the quality of life for those battling cancer.
LEARN MORE AT WWW.VAFFCFGOLF.COM
1st Annual Golf Tournament
Friday & Saturday, October 11th & 12th
*Rain dates October 25 & 26*
Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club · 456 Shadows Drive, Front Royal, VA
Registration: 8:15 – 9:45 AM / Shotgun Start: 10:00 AM
Captains Choice ~ 4 player Scramble
Prizes Food & Drinks
Included in Registration:
- Continental Breakfast, Box Lunch and Sit Down Dinner
- Range Balls
- Gift Bag
- Voucher for a future round of golf at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club (Cart fee not included)
- Eligible for Tbox Tour hole in one prize on #10 (www.tboxtour.com)
- Team Photo
- Longest drive (Men’s and Women’s)
- Closest to the Pin (Men’s and Women’s)
- Prizes for flight winners per day (4 flights based on minimum of 32 team each day) and Last place team
- One raffle ticket for door prizes
- Foursome: $450 ($500 after 9/30/19)
- Individual: $125 ($140 after 9/30/19)
- Register Online @ www.vaffcfgolf.com or Print Registration and make checks payable to: Johnny Thomas Foundation Inc.
- Mailing Address ~ 11327 Falling Creek Dr. Bealeton, VA. 22712
Available for purchase both days of the tournament:
- 50/50 Raffle Tickets
- Raffle tickets for door prizes
- Mulligan Packages / Putting String / Red tee
- Silent Auction: Winners announced on last day. (Winner DOES NOT need to be present)
This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of September 20th
Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, September 20:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $9
- Child (under 12): $6
- Military: $7
- Student (college): $7
- Senior: $7
- Matinees, All Seating: $6
Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:
- “Gemini Man”
- “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
- “Zombieland 2”
Virginia War Memorial seeks entries for 2019 Veterans Day Student Essay Contest
The Virginia War Memorial in Richmond is seeking entries for its 2019 Veterans Day Student Essay Contest. The contest is open to all middle and high school students in Virginia, including public, private, and home-schooled students. One winner will be selected from among all middle school entries, and one from high school entries.
The topic for the 2019 Veterans Day essays is “A Virginian Who Served in The Military in the 20th or 21st Centuries Who Inspires Me.” Students can consider a member of their family, of their community, or even a famous Virginian who served in the Armed Forces as their subject. Essays should be 500-750 words in length and utilize interviews and primary sources whenever possible.
The two students who write the winning essays, and their teachers, will each receive a cash prize. The student winners will also be invited to come to Richmond to read aloud their essays during the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial on November 11, 2019.
The deadline for entries for the 2019 Veterans Day Student Essay Contest is Sunday, October 13, 2019. Complete information about the essay theme, rules, guidelines and how to enter is available online at www.vawarmemorial.org/essaycontest or by calling Virginia War Memorial Assistant Education Director Morgan Guyer at 804-786-2060.
About the Virginia War Memorial
The mission of the Virginia War Memorial is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Inspire Patriotism in All. Dedicated in 1956, the Memorial includes the names of the
nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea,
Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the Global War on Terrorism. Situated on nearly five acres overlooking the James River at 621 South Belvidere Street in Richmond, the Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who served in our military. More at www.vawarmemorial.org
About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. DVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans. Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates two long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.
Front Royal Salvation Army sets Angel Tree application dates
Low income families interested in applying for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program may do so October 21-November 1, 2019, at The Salvation Army Front Royal Corps Office, at 357 Cloud Street in Front Royal. These programs are available to all residents of Warren County, Strasburg, Page County, and Rappahannock County.
For the Angel Tree program, children must be 12-years-old or younger as of December 25, 2019, and parents/guardians must provide the child’s clothing and shoe sizes.
Those planning to complete an application must bring a current photo ID, as well as social security cards for each member of the household and proof of birth-dates for all children under 12. In addition, proof of household income and expenses and proof of address are also required.
Those who have received assistance for two consecutive years must attend a budgeting class to qualify for assistance again this year.
Applications will be available from 9:00am to 3:00pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from October 21st and November 1st.
For more information, contact the Salvation Army Front Royal Corps at 540-635-4020.
Shawquon Ruritan new and old-fashioned way of making apple butter
The Shawquon Ruritan has served Stephens City and the south county area since 1956. Our members are dedicated to assessing the needs of the local community and providing volunteer services to make our neighborhoods a better place to live, work and prosper.
The club continues a history of providing college scholarships to local high school seniors. The club also supports fire and rescue and sheriff departments, cub scouts and boy’s scouts, youth organizations, Area 13 Special Olympics, Newtown Heritage Festival, victims of severe illness, homeless shelters and food pantries.
Traditional apple butter making
Marshall and Pam Shiley have been members of the Shawquon Ruritan Club in Stephens City since 2006. Marshall is a diesel mechanic who founded his own company, MS Heating and Air Conditioning, in 1986. He first learned traditional apple butter making at the family farm on Cedar Creek Grade in Frederick County. He and Pam had previously coordinated apple butter making at Refuge United Methodist Church in Stephens City and White Post United Methodist Church in Clarke County.
The selling of apple butter has become a major fundraiser for the club and Marshall has been making Shawquon Apple Butter for the last 12 years. Marshall uses golden delicious apples from the Loretta McDonald farm. Loretta is an active member of the Ruritan and donates the apples in support of the club’s annual fundraising effort. The apples are usually picked in late August just in time to be used for the annual Shawquon apple butter production during the first week of September.
Marshall informed me that Loretta delivers 42 bushels of golden delicious apples which are used to cook three 50 gallon kettles of apple butter. This year Loretta will have the apples picked and placed in three 14-bushel wooden bins about a day before apple butter production begins. The bins are loaded onto a trailer and driven to the Shiley residence.
Each 50-gallon kettle should produce 45 gallons of apple butter. Each kettle requires 14 bushels of apples which, after peeling and core removal, are trimmed down to nine bushels of snits. The cooking of 27 bushels of snits will take approximately 12 hours per kettle and eventually produce approximately 1,000 pint jars of Shawquon Apple Butter.
The antique apple peeler used in current production is a 1930 F. B. Pease, manufactured in Rochester, New York. Apples are manually placed in cups on the machine and the core is mechanically removed along with all seeds, skin and stems, leaving only the apple pulp which will become apple butter. Over the course of two days, 4,200 apples will be peeled, cored and segmented by the apple peeling machine.
Before making apple butter, Marshall adds lemon juice to the bucket of water that the apples fall into after peeling to keep the apples from turning dark. The lighter the apples the easier for the Ruritan chefs to quarter and slice. Ruritan members work to remove any residual core, seeds or skin from the apple pulp over a two day period. The working of the apples is referred to as a “schnitzen party” (slicing and dicing up the 27 snits of apples). The apple pulp is stored in a cool place until ready to cook.
Marshall always sets the kettle up the night before and makes sure it is on level ground. He butters the sides and bottom of the kettle and stirrers and throws the remaining butter (two sticks) in the kettle. Marshall does this the night before because it saves precious time and it is dark and visibility is poor in early morning. He covers the kettle with a tarp to prevent insects and any dust or debris from getting inside.
The apple butter production begins between 4 am and 5 am. The kettle is made of copper with a rounded bottom and no seams. It sits on legs about one foot above the ground, leaving enough room to fit a gas burner. Marshall prefers using gas versus firewood because if it rains, the kettle can be moved indoors. Marshall modified a 50-gallon copper kettle top to include a 1950’s era McCulloch two-man chainsaw motor-driven post hole digger transmission, which now has an electric motor installed instead of the old chainsaw. The electric motor drives, via belts, the transmission that turns kettle-conforming wooden paddles, thereby stirring the apple butter. The electric stirrer eliminates the need for volunteers to stir and stir and stir for hours, providing increased consistency.
Marshall created two home-made, specially-designed wooden stirrers with an oblong hole on the bottom to help keep the sugar and apple pulp circulating within the kettle. This blade-like utensil must be rounded to fit the bottom of the kettle and prevent burning. The foot of the stirrer must be as long as the kettle is deep to continuously scrape off pulp from the kettle’s sides.
He adds one gallon of fresh apple cider while Ruritan members drop apples from wooden crates until the 50-gallon kettle is full. From the beginning the gas fire keeps the heat even and constant. Ruritan members fill the kettle with raw apples and finish no later than 3 hours after startup. Apples cannot be added to the kettle afterwards, allowing all apples to be cooked equally.
The pulp is at boiling temperature until it reaches the right level of thickness. Marshall cooks for approximately three or more hours before adding sugar. This process will “cook down” the apples to remove much of the water contained in the apples.
After six and one half hours, when a little volcano bubble emerges, Marshall puts a tablespoon of cooked apples on a cold saucer, tilts it and visually determines if the water runs fast from the apples. If it does, the apple butter is not thick enough. It has to stop “weeping,” meaning that water should not separate from the pulp. This is called a water test. Marshall usually runs five to six tests per kettle.
When the water is determined to have been cooked out, Ruritan members under Marshall’s supervision gradually add sugar to each 50 gallon kettle. A medium size sauce pan and handle is used to gently shake the sugar into the kettle, so no clumping occurs. After around three hours of continuously adding sugar, the various tasters agree the apple pulp is sweetened to the right taste.
After the last of the sugar is added, Marshall cooks for at least two or more hours, then checks for consistency. As the kettle content gurgles and spurts, the pulp slowly turns a russet brown color. The sugar caramelizes, darkening the apple butter’s color.
Marshall says apple butter making is a taste-as-you-go process. When he and the tasters are satisfied with color and sweetness, he begins to add spice (only cinnamon) but just after he cuts off the gas heat. Marshall uses artificial oil of cinnamon because the real stuff is very expensive ($65 an ounce). Marshall procures the oil of cinnamon in 4 oz. bottles. The cinnamon is added to taste. “If it does not burn your tongue today, it won’t be right tomorrow,” Marshall said. Ruritan members now begin to continuously stir, using a special home-made six foot long paddle-like stirrer to ensure the cinnamon is absorbed throughout the apple butter. Marshall made the handle from hickory, however he crafted the paddle from walnut because it is a close-grained hardwood that does not bleed wood flavor into the apple butter. To keep the apple pulp constantly rotating, Marshall recommends this cadence for the stirrer on duty: “Twice around left and back through the middle, twice around right and back through the middle.” Marshall and his discriminating tasters sample again and again, adding more cinnamon as necessary, stirring continuously. The cinnamon adding stage takes less than one half hour.
Marshall knows when it is done by judging the apple pulp thickness and russet color. It takes years of experience to know “doneness” and there is no computer algorithm or kitchen gadget employed to determine doneness. It is all about sweetness, color and consistency.
Now the jarring process begins
The jars, lids and rings have been previously sterilized in commercial dish washers and repacked in their original boxes at the McDonald farm and at the Shiley residence. The commercial machines can wash 72 jars at one time and it takes 15 washes to deliver 1,080 jars that will be required if each kettle produces 45 gallons of apple butter. While the kettles of apple butter are cooking, the custom labels are positioned on the jars.
Once pronounced done, the apple butter is poured into Marshal’s home-made four-gallon jar filler. The finished apple butter at this point is extremely hot – almost at the boiling point, so experience and extreme caution is a requirement for Ruritans handling the jar filling process. A production line of Ruritan members support Marshall. When Marshall manually fills the pint jar he slides it over to a member who puts the sterilized lid on and then another member applies the ring. One can hear the popping of the lids as the apple butter cools and a vacuum occurs, sealing the jars. The assembly line continues as the jars are then packed 12 to a box and carried to the storage area.
October is National Apple Month and there is no better way to savor the sweet goodness of tasty apple butter throughout the winter months than by keeping several pint jars in the kitchen cupboard. Consider buying a few pints as Thanksgiving or Christmas gifts for friends and family.
How to buy Shawquon Apple Butter
Shawquon Apple Butter can be purchased for $5 a pint bottle or $60 a 12-bottle case. The apple butter can be bought from the following local stores: The Seven-Eleven in Middletown, Stephens City Barbershop, Gore’s Fresh Meats, Split Ends Hair Salon and White Oak Trading Post.
About Shawquon Ruritan
Shawquon Ruritan meet at the Stephens City United Methodist Church at 7:00 PM every third Thursday of each month. Come join us and become a member. We are dedicated to improving communities and building a better America through Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service.