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Town Talk: A conversation with Michael Graham, Former Front Royal Town Manager

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Michael Graham, former Front Royal Town Manager. With the Town Council still searching for a new Town Manager, the Royal Examiner reached out to Michael to give us how the process he went through when he was selected as the Town Manager.

Michael also describes the duties and responsibilities the Town Manager has and the type of person that should be considered.

“I have great respect for city/town managers and County administrators who have longevity in these particular jobs. It takes a lot of skills. I have quite great admiration for the public service people that serve our community.  And if you ask me if would do it over again, I would,” said Graham.

“What I learned during that process was there’s a couple of things that are happening. Number one, the revenue system in our community is antiquated because the way we drive our community is through economic growth. If you do not have economic growth, then you are really in bad shape because you can’t generate enough revenues through increasing residential taxes to cover the operational cost and provide the capital improvements on the infrastructure that you need. If you do not have economic growth, then your community is going to face some real challenges.”

The Royal Examiner has asked Graham to interview the candidates for Mayor and Town Council in the upcoming election. We will invite all the candidates and hopefully, they will accept our invitation. Michael will have a conversation with each candidate, and we think that with his experience as a Town Manager, he will be able to bring out the strengths of each candidate and give the voters information to make a wise choice at the ballot box.

Graham said, “I’ll be fair and balanced. We will send out about 20 issues that we have identified over the last two, three years that we have to face as a community. My plan is to have the candidates pick out five issues facing our community in the 1st interview with the hope that they return for a second interview later in October to address 5 new issues not covered in the 1st interview. It is not my intent for anybody to look bad but to allow the candidates to share their possible solutions to the problems facing our community. No national issues, topics will be based on local issues only”

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

Here is the preliminary list of topics, real issues facing the Town of Front Royal:

  • Should the existing Council hire a new Town Manager before the election?
  • Is a Water strategy for future residential and industrial support important?
  • How would you solve the Town police department building payment situation?
  • Would you continue the lawsuit with the EDA?
  • Do you agree with the current Town Manager and Council in their handling of the Advance spending of the care money from the Federal Government and not willing to provide justified spending to County first round?
  • How would you handle the impact to the public of the no-show resume of qualifications for hiring temp town manager along with salary justification?
  • Recently there was a personal attack by the staff of citizen input in public. How would you handle this situation?
  • Do support the firing of staff and dept elimination by an interim Town Manager?
  • What are your plans to grow tourism?
  • What are your plans to attract new businesses to our community?
  • Do you have a plan to turn the rental property situation into first-time homeowners?
  • What is the role of our enterprise departments (i.e. Electric, water/sewer/trash) as relates to capital spending on infrastructure vs general funds?
  • The enterprise fund reserves and the general fund have been dramatically reduced over the last several years. What are your thoughts on the enterprise zones, and should the Town rely on the venue to balance the town general fund?
  • What are the critical components in attracting business to the community and new families?
  • How are you going to build a relationship with the county?
  • Are you satisfied with the interim Town Manager performance?
  • Do you support a town EDA?
  • What is your vision of what our community will look like in the next 10 years?

Do you have a topic to add? Send to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Town Talk

Town Talk: A conversation with Mike Lock, Play Favorites

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In this Town Talk, we go on location and have a conversation with Mike Lock from Play Favorites. Play Favorites is a unique toy store located in the Royal Plaza Center on South Street in Front Royal. Mike describes the store as a place for smart specialty toys and games for kids and adults. It’s a place to rediscover old favorites and make new ones! He has made it a place to play, shop, and have fun.

Check out their Facebook page where each day Mike does a “show & tell” on toys and games in the story. There is always something new and exciting. Check it out today.

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Town Talk: A conversation with Janet Poe, Empowering Health Education, LLC

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In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Janet Poe from Empowering Health Education, LLC.

Empowering Health Education, LLC was established to provide education for Front Royal and the surrounding area. They offer various educational opportunities for people seeking gainful employment in healthcare with a strong emphasis on education and the importance of providing quality care to senior and disabled populations.

EHE was founded in 2019 by Janet Poe, MHA, BSN, RN. She has many years of experience in nursing. Most of her career has been specialized in the geriatric population. Her experience includes long term care, dementia, and hospice clients.

Find out more on their website.

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Town Talk: A conversation with Gerry Maiatico, Warren County Fire Marshall – Let’s change the battery in your smoke detector

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Gerry Maiatico, Warren County Fire Marshall. The clocks fall back this weekend and that marks the time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Gerry pointed us to this information on the Warren County Fire Department website:

Living in a home without smoke detectors is a risky business!

When a fire occurs in your home, your chances for survival are two times better when smoke detectors are present than when they are not.

Smoke detectors, when properly installed and maintained (following the manufacturer’s directions), provide early warning when fires occur. Early warning increases your chances for survival and allows the fire department to save more of your property.

In support of smoke detector effectiveness, many cities and states have laws requiring the installation of smoke detectors in dwellings. Check with your local fire department or State Fire Marshal for further information.

Time is crucial. Most fatal fires occur between midnight and 8 a.m. Many fire victims die in their sleep from breathing smoke and toxic fire gases. When your smoke detector sounds, you may have 2-1/2 minutes or less to escape. Develop and Practice a Home Escape Plan.

Installation of smoke detectors

Electric smoke detectors should be connected to a lighting circuit with no intervening switches. For this, you may need an electrician. Connections using extension-type cords are not permitted.
Battery-operated models should sound an alert or beeping sound when batteries need replacing. A smoke detector with dead batteries or whose batteries have been removed is no protection at all.
Dual-power models are available which are electrically powered but contain a battery back-up should there be a power failure.

Use only those detectors bearing the label of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM). The ceiling is the best mounting location at least six inches away from any walls. If detectors are mounted on the wall, keep them away from corners and at least 6 inches, but no more than 12 inches, from the ceiling to the bottom of the detector.

Help save your life and property from fire

For minimum protection, install a smoke detector outside each bedroom or sleeping area in your home and keep your bedroom doors closed while you are asleep.

Keep your smoke detectors properly maintained. Test them at least once each month to ensure that the detectors are working properly. Batteries in battery-operated detectors should be changed at least once yearly. Use only the type of batteries recommended on the detector.

If your smoke detector sounds an alarm when no smoke is present, consult with the manufacturer or with your local fire department. If smoke from cooking materials causes the detector to alarm, do not remove the batteries or disconnect the power source. Simply fan the smoke away from the detector until the alarm stops. If this happens frequently, it may be necessary to relocate the detector or to install a different type of detector.

Develop an escape plan and review the plan with all members of the family frequently. Be aware that children and elderly people may need special assistance should fire occur. Establish a meeting place outside the house for all members of the family to ensure that everyone gets out of the house. Use a neighbor’s telephone to notify the fire department.

Additional tips

If your smoke detector doesn’t work properly, the silence could be deadly.

Test your smoke detector at least once a month. Push the test button or use smoke.

Clean your detector at least once a year. Dust with a vacuum cleaner.

Replace the battery each year. Use the battery type listed on the detector.

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Town Talk: A conversation with BOS Chairman Walt Mabe, COVID update

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Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with the Board of Supervisor Chairman Walt Mabe. Walt is deeply concerned about how COVID-19 is affecting our community and what we can do to reduce the effect it has on us.

Here are some tips from the CDC website:

Wear masks in public settings when around people not living in your household and particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. Masks may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and wear masks in public settings. Masks provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.

The masks recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

More information about masks can be found on our masks site.

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Town Talk: A conversation with Lt Robbie Seal and Capt Jeff Holzbauer – Don’t Be a Dealer, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday

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In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Captain Jeff Holzbauer and Lt. Robbie Seal from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Seal is the Community Resource Officer and Captain Holzbauer is in charge of the Patrol Division. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division has the primary law enforcement responsibilities of providing a wide range of services and to initiate a proactive approach when assisting the community.

Capt Holzbauer and Lt Seal bring us up-to-date on the activities at the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. This month the emphasis is on disposing of old medications safely. On Saturday, October 24, 2020, from 10 am to 2 pm, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office will host the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at the Valley Health Complex at 120 N Commerce Avenue in Front Royal.

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Meet the Candidates

Town Talk: A conversation with Nicholas Betts, Democratic candidate for Congress, 6th District

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Nicholas Betts, the Democratic candidate for Congress, 6th District. His opponent is Ben Cline.

Nicholas Betts has lived in Virginia virtually his entire adult life. He moved to Virginia when he was 18 years old to attend Virginia Commonwealth University, where he met his wife, Lindsey Betts, during their Freshman year of college in 2008. Their relationship continued after college, they were married in 2015, and they currently live in Lexington, Virginia.

Nicholas has worked in construction and landscaping, as a graduate teaching assistant, a substitute teacher, a contract manager for a small family business, and now as a law clerk in Roanoke, Virginia. He knows what it is like to work hard and to achieve goals in the face of adversity.

Betts said, “If elected to Congress to represent the 6th District of Virginia, I will fight hard for Freedom, and will go to Washington to work, not to play politics.”

His platform is spelled out on his website. Read it here.

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Nov
20
Fri
all-day Gobble Till You Wobble Virtual 5k @ Online Event
Gobble Till You Wobble Virtual 5k @ Online Event
Nov 20 – Nov 29 all-day
Gobble Till You Wobble Virtual 5k @ Online Event
Take part in the 1st annual Gobble Till You Wobble United Way Virtual 5K Run/Walk. Capture your run or walk using a fitness tracker or app and submit for a chance to win gift cards and[...]
Nov
27
Fri
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Nov 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.
Nov
28
Sat
all-day Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Nov 28 all-day
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Why should Small Business Saturday just be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Buy Local – Shop Local – Eat Local – Support Front Royal’s Small Business Community and stay local! Small Business Saturdays –[...]
10:00 am Christmas Tree Embroidery Class @ Downtown Market
Christmas Tree Embroidery Class @ Downtown Market
Nov 28 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Christmas Tree Embroidery Class @ Downtown Market
Learn how to embroider a Christmas tree using basic embroidery stitches – no craft or sewing experience needed! The finished tree can be displayed in the embroidery hoop. This class is appropriate for adults and[...]
Nov
29
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Nov 29 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
Dec
5
Sat
all-day Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Dec 5 all-day
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Why should Small Business Saturday just be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Buy Local – Shop Local – Eat Local – Support Front Royal’s Small Business Community and stay local! Small Business Saturdays –[...]
7:00 am 64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
Dec 5 @ 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
The Kiwanis Club of Front Royal is celebrating its 75 anniversary this year and are committed to holding the annual Pancake Day fundraising event. This event raises significant funds which are put back directly into[...]
7:00 pm Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Dec 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
It’s that time of year for Rotary Club of Front Royal’s annual Cash Fair, and we are going virtual this year due to COVID. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and[...]
Dec
6
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 6 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
Dec
13
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 13 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]