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Two suicides this week of people who seemingly “had it all”

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Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain.

Two suicides this week of people who seemingly “had it all”. Money. Fame. Success.

But something was broken. Something within. And now two are gone forever and family and friends are reeling. It’s a passing of pain from a person’s soul to a group of many left wondering what they could have done to stop it. To make that difference. To help.

I’ve had people in my life who have succumbed to their sadness and left this earth by their own hand. It has been devastating to experience their loss. To know that they had such desperation in their lives that they felt leaving this world was their only chance at peace.

Suicide is 100% preventable.

Life is hard. At times it seems unbearable. You feel alone. You feel you’re too complicated to be understood. You feel mental and physical pain. You feel like if you go, you’ll find the peace that eludes you.

All of those feelings are not forever. They are moments. And maybe they are long periods of time. And they may seem insurmountable when it’s all consuming. But those thoughts and feelings do not have to be permanent and they do not have to make you give up.

Storms don’t last forever.

You have a purpose on this earth. You may not even know the impact that you have in everyone’s lives. But you matter. To so many. This world is a better place with you in it. With all that you have to offer. You are invaluable. You touch lives. You give joy to others.

All things are difficult before they are easy.

If you hate your life, if it feels all wrong, change your way of living. You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out. To family, friends, professionals. I can guarantee that if you ask for help, you will find care and compassion. Because YOU are worthy of it all.

Suicide can be prevented.

Text 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.

Call 1-800-273-8255.

Suicide should not be your final choice, because what if…


Submitted by Lori Vaughn Bassler, Winchester

Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Protest Board of Supervisors’ attempts to silence Egger

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All law-abiding citizens of Front Royal are strongly encouraged to attend a public hearing in the County Government Building, 220 N. Commerce Ave. across the street from the post office, on Tuesday, January 22nd at 7 p.m. — and protest the disgraceful actions of three members of the Warren County Board of Supervisors to silence Mark Egger a courageous member of our community.

The three board members — Tony Carter, Dan Murray, and Linda Glavis — are shamefully trying to force a change to Warren County Code 56-3 that has been on the books since 1975 — a total of 44 years. The current law allows a private citizen to appear before the Board Supervisors and talk at length on an item of public interest that two members of the board consider important enough to be heard.

The change to Code 56-3 that Carter, Murray, and Glavis want to implement would:

Eliminate the ability of two supervisors — a minority on the board — to demand a citizen of Front Royal be allowed to speak at length on a subject that the two members deem important.

Limit a speaker to no more than three minutes at any one meeting.

Limit the number of meetings at which a speaker can talk on the same subject to no more than three in a twelve-month period.

The reason Carter, Murray, and Glavis are pushing this change is that Mark Egger had the audacity and courage to stand before the Board of Supervisors at meetings in February, May, and November 2018 and talk for a total of about 37 minutes in detail about the hanky-panky — dirty-trick shenanigans — of the Economic Development Authority (EDA) board appointed by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Carter, Murray, and Glavis did not like what Mark said.

In his testimony, Mark presented clear and convincing evidence that:

The EDA board awarded thirty acres of EDA property to a shell company.
Two fake crimes appeared to have been committed.
The EDA board held closed meetings under questionable premises — and the Warren County Board of Supervisors did nothing.
The EDA board told the Front Royal Police Department to stop investigating a crime — and the Warren County Board of Supervisors did nothing.
Members of the EDA board refused to answer legitimate questions from the Warren County Board of Supervisors that appointed them — and the Board of Supervisors did nothing
$140,000 of taxpayers’ money is now being spent to investigate clear financial irregularities of the EDA board — money that could have been saved if the Board of Supervisors had taken prompt action a year ago when Mark brought evidence of irregularities to their attention.
The entire EDA board should be fired and a new one appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

The citizens of Front Royal must not allow Code 56-3 to be changed. The law must remain on the books exactly as written.

If Carter, Murray, and Glavis do pass this change by a 3-2 vote, they must be told at Tuesday’s public hearing — in no uncertain terms — that a rising groundswell of opposition to the corruption of the EDA board will spare no effort to vote them out of office at the first opportunity — and Change 56-3 back to what it was!

Pass the word to family and friends to come to the public hearing and sign up to speak on Mark’s behalf. Get there early to sign up. Speakers talk in the order in which they sign up. Each speaker will be given three minutes to talk.

There are four public hearings on the 22nd. Make sure you sign up for the correct one.

Let’s pack the meeting room at the County Government Building at 7 p.m. on the 22nd with Mark Egger supporters!

P.S. For those of you who want to see and hear Mark speak before the Board of Supervisors in February, May, and November 2018, here are videos of all three appearances:

November 20, 2018

May 1, 2018

February 20, 2018

John Lundberg is a citizen of Warren County.

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Opinion

Move Over Law: Drive safely to protect first-responders and highway workers

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The families of three firefighters were forever changed on the night of October 11, 2018 when a tractor-trailer crashed into the back of a Hanover County firetruck on Interstate 295. Lt. Brad Clark’s family is reminded daily of his tragic death. Our prayers and thoughts go out to them as they prepare to spend their first Christmas without him. We wish the two firefighters who survived the crash strength and wellbeing as they continue their journeys of recovery. That incident occurred during the heavy rains of Tropical Storm Michael.

Record December snowfall Dec. 9, 2018 led to at least four Virginia State Police troopers being struck by skidding vehicles in a 12-hour period on slick interstates in Central and Southwest Virginia. Thankfully the troopers’ injuries were only minor and the other drivers remained safe.

For the men and women whose “office” is the highway, these incidents are not limited to major weather events. Close calls, injury and death are a daily risk to every state and local law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMS worker, highway maintenance employee, and tow truck operator working across the Commonwealth. Even the arrow boards, crash cushions and barrels in a highway work zone are not enough to guarantee one’s safety. In February of this year, a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) contract employee was struck and killed in an active work zone on Interstate 95 in Prince George County by a distracted driver. Another family we remember during the holiday season.

At the beginning of this month, Governor Northam issued a directive to establish the Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety. The mission of this collaboration among the Virginia departments of Education, Health, Motor Vehicles, State Police and Transportation and traffic safety advocates is to reduce the rising number of fatalities on Virginia’s roadways. The directive is to save more lives through the advancement of education, engineering and enforcement relative to traffic safety. Those most committed to achieving such objectives are the very ones most at risk or harm for the purpose of saving others.

Like all 50 states, Virginia has what is called a “Move Over” law. It’s a state law designed to protect those working alongside the highways by requiring motorists to move a lane away from vehicles stopped on the side of a road with flashing red, blue or amber lights. If unable to move over, then the Code of Virginia requires a driver to pass such vehicles “cautiously”. Simple as this concept may be, those few extra feet can mean the difference between life and death. Yet across the nation traffic incidents continue to be the leading cause of death for law enforcement and highway maintenance workers; and the second leading cause for firefighter deaths in the nation.

There are a number of special days and weeks designated to recognize these professionals and their work. April has National Work Zone Awareness Week. June is designated in Virginia as “Move Over Month.” There are efforts underway to designate a National Tow Truck Operator Week in September. In October, Virginia has special days designated to recognize firefighters for their service and sacrifice. Our firefighters, state troopers, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, highway maintenance workers and tow truck operators – spend every day on our highways working to serve and protect the motoring public. They are dependent on every driver observing the Move Over law every day and not just some of the time.

The first priority of a police officer is to go home to his or her family at the end of the shift. This applies to all those working alongside a Virginia highway in a vehicle with red, blue, or amber lights. It is time for Virginians to take a serious step forward to help save the lives of those who have chosen a career to look out for and save ours.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran

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Opinion

Elections Matter?

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Last week, the Stephens City Town Council appeared to take a page from the GOP playbook when they decided to confiscate powers from the newly elected mayor, Michael Diaz. The Council voted to remove powers given to the Mayor by the town charter and transfer them to the town manager.

Mr. Diaz was elected in November to the mayoral position, but the Town Council took it upon themselves to strip the new Mayor of supervisory duties and relegate his role to being “consulted for general advice.”

This unfortunate notion that one party believes their views so correct that they justify usurping the public’s will expressed by voters seems to reflect the Republican view that has seized power in other instances across the country. Apparently, patriotism does not extend to voter representation when it conflicts with the Republican right to rule.

Steve Foreman
Chair, Warren County Democratic Committee

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Opinion

What Christmas is all about: “We cannot go to Him; He had to come to us”

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Wonderful? Marvelous? Glorious? What words could adequately describe the experience of yet another Christmas?

Yes, Christmas, the celebration of His birth. Whose birth? God’s birth! God incarnate, the God-Man!

Yes, the God of the Bible, the One and only God who created all that exists, including creating and breathing life into man.

Yes, the only and very God who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden Of Eden! The Scriptures speak of Him as the One “whose going forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

But why? His own great love and nature compelled Him to do so, for mankind had fallen into sin and was lost and separated from Him. The result was that death came upon all men, not only physically but spiritually as well.

For scripture says man became a living soul, and the soul that sins will die. Further, it says “there is none that sinneth not, no, not one.”

Thus, being/having a soul, we are all lost and without hope of living and escaping death. Perishing is where we find ourselves. Our situation: we cannot remove the stain of sin and thus perfect ourselves before God and His law. We cannot find Him. He has to find us.

Further, being temporal, physical beings we are unable to approach Him, and, however earnest and pure in thought, plead our case to Him.

We do not have such standing before His holy, righteous and majestic throne. Simply put, WE CANNOT GO TO HIM. Simply put again, HE HAD TO COME TO US!

And that is what Christmas is all about. He saw that mankind needed deliverance; hence, a Saviour, a Redeemer. God delivered! And because of the babe in the manger, I and all others who accept Him can shout with the hymnal writer, who, in speaking to our physical deaths, says; “….this robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise to seize the everlasting prize!”

God’s gift is eternal life, never to die. Death has been swallowed up in victory!

Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, VA

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Opinion

Jesus, Miracle Worker

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Seeing the words, “I make beer disappear” on a man’s shirt, I asked him if he worked miracles since he was able to make beer disappear, and he replied that all he did was put it in his tummy and his tummy did the rest.

Miracles? I immediately thought about Jesus, the greatest miracle worker of all the ages. It was, however, about water, not beer. Not only did he make it disappear, he turned it into wine!

Jesus said that he was doing things that no man had ever done before, which helps people understand that he was saying that he was God; saying “If you can’t believe my words, believe for my works’ sake!”

As God, Jesus could say, “I am the light of the world, and he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And further, that he would lay down his life for his sheep; indicating the path he would take in order to bestow eternal life to his sheep.

Being God, Jesus could ask when healing the man with palsy, “Which is easier to say, your sins be forgiven you, or take up your bed and walk?” The Jews had just remarked that God alone can forgive sins. Well, only God could do either one! Jesus said further that he said what he did in order that “…you might know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sin,” saying, in effect, I am God!

But how could God give his life for mankind; who, having spurned his love in the Garden Of Eden, continues to reject him to serve other Gods? Well, God says it’s not about us (who are as filthy rags in his sight; therefore, nothing to love) but all about him. For he said; “I am God and not man!” So in his perfect love he loves us IN SPITE OF our sinfulness and unworthiness. So, can you possibly fathom that God; yes,  Almighty God, the Heavenly Father, in order to “win back” his lost love, came “courting” to regain what was lost to him? Remember that the Scriptures say, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” Truly, he must be saying, “Be Mine!” Believe and follow me and I will give you the water of life and you will never thirst again; and the bread of life and you will never be hungry again; and not only will you never die, I will never leave you nor forsake you!

It’s been said that to love someone you must get to know them. Well, Jesus knows us through and through because he created us! Could it be then, that he doesn’t love us as we are but for what we have the potential to become as the result of the workings of a wondrous miracle of God; or more pointedly, from “the touch of the Master’s hand?”

Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, VA

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Opinion

Veteran: Jennifer Lewis will protect health care for those with pre-existing conditions

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To the Editor:

I have been fortunate to count so many veterans as friends and family. As a veteran myself, I am familiar with the many sacrifices these men and women make for our country. I never experience combat myself, but I know some veterans who have and some still carry those scars with them suffering from PTSD or struggling with substance abuse. This issue got my attention recently with a shocking statistic. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have resulted in nearly 6,000 combat deaths of our service members. In that same period over 200,000 veterans have committed suicide, twice the rate of non-veterans.

On November 6th we go to the polls to pick our leaders in Congress. Leaders who will decide the future of health care, including mental health care, in this country. In the 6th district, one candidate wants to eliminate health care coverage for 20 million Americans and strip us of protections for pre-existent conditions, including PTSD. His opponent is a mental health care worker who has promised to expand access to health care for all and to protect health care for those with pre-existent conditions. That candidate is Jennifer Lewis.

Jorge Amselle
Front Royal, VA 
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