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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 Michal Ashby and Erin Rooney, Samuels Public Library – February Activities

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In this town talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Michal Ashby and Erin Rooney from Samuels Public Library. Michal is the Youth Services Supervisor, and Erin is the Adult Reference Supervisor at the Samuels Public Library.

Michal and Erin update us on what’s happening at the library in February. Click here to see all the upcoming events.


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. Let us know if you have an idea or topic or want to hear from someone in our community. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Town Talk: A conversation with Vicky Cook, Board of Supervisors, Sherry Sours Commissioner of the Revenue – 2023 Re-Assessment Information

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Vicky Cook, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and Sherry Sours, Commissioner of the Revenue.

It’s time again for our County Real Estate Re-Assessments, and the notices are coming to a mailbox near you. In this Town Talk, Vicky and Sherry share the process and provide us with the latest information concerning the re-assessments. The one thing they want to stress is the tax rate has NOT been set and what you’ll receive in the next few days is NOT a bill.

 

Here’s a brief and, most importantly, informative video about the process and what you can expect. Everything you need to know starts here.

On May 18, 2021, the Warren County Board of Supervisors approved entering into a contract with Pearson’s Appraisal Service for the County’s 2023 General Reassessment. Previously, the Board elected to conduct its general reassessments at four-year intervals, the previous one going into effect in 2019.


If any person assessed with local taxes, aggrieved by any such assessment, and missed previously held hearings by the County’s Professional Assessor and the Board of Equalization may apply for relief to the Circuit Court of Warren County as allowed by Section 58.1-3350 of the Code of Virginia. The rules of the Circuit Court will bind the property owner in filing a petition.

For questions regarding the 2023 General Reassessment, please use the following contact information:

Appeal hearings: 1-888-573-2776
Call Time: 9 am – 4 pm Monday-Friday

E-Mail:  Reassessment@warrencountyva.gov

Deadline: February 3, 2023, at 4 pm

US Mail: Reassessment, PO Box 1775, Front Royal, VA 22630


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 or 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 Tammy Sharpe, Phoenix Project – Women’s Wellness Workshop

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with the Phoenix Project Executive Director Tammy Sharpe. The Phoenix Project is a non-profit focused on helping people learn to choose to stand against domestic violence and offers education for the public as well as services for victims and survivors.

The Phoenix Project has partnered with the Front Royal Women’s Resource Center to offer a free Women’s Wellness workshop on January 28, 2023. This is a virtual event on Zoom, starting at 9:00 am. Click here to register or to find out more information.

Be one of the first 50 to sign up and receive a “goodie bag” filled with workshop items, information, and so much more. Pick up the week of the workshop at Phoenix Project.


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, or 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 Declan O’Reilly and Joe Sladky, Matrimont, Enhanced Websites

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks again with Declan O’Reilly and Joe Sladky from Matrimont. Matrimont is a full-service web design and digital marketing agency on Main Street in Front Royal, Virginia.

In a previous Town Talk, Joe and Declane spoke about the necessity of the Google Business Profile and offered a free audit. Continuing with digital market business tips, they discuss the importance of website enhancements that ensure your customers/prospects will find you in the Google search. These tips focus on helping us reach our local market more effectively.

Matrimont offers a free consultation on your website. Reach out and set up an appointment to ensure you get noticed in the digital world.

 


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. Let us know if you have an idea or topic or want to hear from someone in our community. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com


 

Town Talk: A conversation with Declan O’Reilly and Joe Sladky, Matrimont, Google Business Profile

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Town Talk: A conversation with Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler and Sgt Fritts – 2022 Annual Report

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler and Sgt Terry Fritts. The WCSO annual report, recently completed, indicates that strides were made in several areas. Click here to download the complete report.

Sheriff Butler announced he will run for re-election in November and will not seek party nominations or endorsements.  Butler says the Sheriff serves all the people of Warren County and, as a constitutional officer, should remain independent of political influences.

The major goals and objectives of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office include the following:

Public Safety – The top priority for the Sheriff’s Office is the dedication to providing and improving public safety for our community. To increase awareness through enforcement by conducting high visibility enforcement monitoring in pre-identified public areas of concern for safety, to increase awareness through educational presentations, classes, and quarterly reports to the community, and to collaborate with media outlets to provide communication to the community about topics of interest and general public safety.


VLEPSC Accreditation – The Warren County Sheriff’s office is committed to improving and enhancing the professionalism of this office by achieving certification through Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. The WCSO continues to review, modernize, and implement policies and procedures identified by the Policy Review Committee and has adopted best practices in law enforcement.

Certified Crime Prevention Community (CCPC) Program – Achieving the DCJS Certified Crime Prevention Community designation by implementing a defined set of community safety strategies as part of a comprehensive community safety/crime prevention effort. The community policing strategic plan for 2022-2024, includes core safety elements and a safety Program Coordinator to ensure compliance with the strategic plan through documentation of achieving milestones and maintaining a file of proofs.

Click here to download the complete report.


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. Let us know if you have an idea or topic or want to hear from someone in our community. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Town Talk: A conversation with Joey Waters & JoEllen McNeal – Dare to Dream Grant deadline is Friday, January 13th

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In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Joey Waters and JoEllen McNeal from the Front Royal Women’s Resource Center. Joey and JoEllen discuss the Dare to Dram Enrichment Grant program for women over the age of 18 who live or work in Warren County. The deadline for this year’s grant is Friday, January 13th.

The Dare to Dream program was founded in 1999 by founder JoEllen McNeal. These annual grants allow women to take a bold step forward in their lives or support the momentum if they are already on their way. Past recipients have used their grants to go to school, start a business, purchase computers, create non-profits attend training programs, support certification, and other continuing education goals.

Eligibility:

  • Women residing and/or working in Warren County, Virginia
  • Ages 18 years and older
  • Applicants may not be enrolled in high school.
  • Applicants may re-apply annually, including previous recipients of grants.

Review Criteria:


Applications will be reviewed on the merit of the project or activity description. Grant review criteria may include but are not limited to the following: prior educational and/or work experience, letters of recommendation from others who have knowledge of the applicant’s capabilities, additional biographical information, other life and work experiences, volunteer work, and financial need. The grant selection committee may also consider the applicant’s motivation, character, and/or ability.

Applicants must complete all sections of the application and submit the Dare to Dream Grant application by January 13, 2023. Personal interviews will be conducted for all finalists for the grant as part of the review process. The grant committee will review the proposal and notify the applicant if funding has been awarded in March 2023. A follow-up evaluation is also part of the grant requirements. The project must be started, and the grant money must be requested by November 30, 2023

Applications are mailed to FRWRC, PO Box 1748, Front Royal, VA 22630; emailed to wrc@frwrc.org or submitted online by visiting www.frwrc.org/apply and must be postmarked by 5:00 pm on Friday, January 13, 2023. Applications are reviewed, and the recipients will be announced in March 2023. The grant money will be available as of March 2023
If you need assistance completing the application, contact FRWRC at (540) 636-7007.


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. Let us know if you have an idea or topic or want to hear from someone in our community. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
34°
Clear
7:22 am5:29 pm EST
Feels like: 28°F
Wind: 6mph SSW
Humidity: 60%
Pressure: 30.2"Hg
UV index: 0
SunMonTue
50/41°F
61/36°F
41/28°F

Upcoming Events

Jan
28
Sat
9:00 am 2023 Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
2023 Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
Jan 28 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
2023 Women's Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
Registration: January 3-25, 2023 Register online: www.frontroyalwomenswellness.org
7:00 pm Harp Magic with (Eli)zabeth Owens @ Honey and Hops Brew Works
Harp Magic with (Eli)zabeth Owens @ Honey and Hops Brew Works
Jan 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Harp Magic with (Eli)zabeth Owens @ Honey and Hops Brew Works
Join Honey and Hops Brew Works for an evening of music magic featuring original songs & fresh covers by Harpist and Songwriter (Eli)zabeth Owens! Influences include Kate Bush, Bjork, Joanna Newsom, and Caroline Polacheck. (Eli)zabeth[...]
Feb
1
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 1 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Feb
4
Sat
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Feb 4 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
Feb
6
Mon
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 6 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
7
Tue
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 7 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
8
Wed
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 8 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Feb
9
Thu
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 9 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
10
Fri
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 10 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]