About 20 people, including 26th District Democratic State Senatorial candidate April Moore, gathered at Front Royal’s Town Gazebo at noon on Wednesday, March 13, to join Len Sherp in marking the start of the third year of the Vigil for Democracy he began on March 8, 2017.
“We mark our calendar by Wednesdays – we started on the second Wednesday of March 2017 and it’s the second Wednesday of March 2019,” Sherp said of any date discrepancies.
On that second Wednesday of 2017 Sherp explained the impetus for his Vigil for Democracy to Royal Examiner: “This administration in eight weeks has shown that it doesn’t understand the rule of law; does not respect the separation of powers; and has a Republican Congress that for some reason refuses to stand up and be adult. There are threats to our democracy when our president lies every day. And I think there are some underlying issues – I’m holding a sign today that says ‘Show us the Tax Returns’. Every president, I believe since Eisenhower if not even earlier, has released their tax returns, so that we can see that they are not indebted to or beholding to other foreign powers.”
And for Sherp on March 13, 2019, not much has changed.
“At the time I told you that I thought we faced a crisis in our country that basic constitutional principals seemed to be ignored; and we were heading toward a path that I felt the future of our democratic-republican form of government was in peril. Nothing over the last two years has convinced me otherwise,” Sherp said.
“We still have disrespect from the highest office in the nation, the presidency of the United States, for the rule of law; disrespect for the separation of powers; disrespect for the truth; we have disrespect for a free press; we have disrespect for the hardworking members of the federal government; we have disrespect for our allies; and we have instead an affection for dictators and a wish from our president that perhaps he could be president for life like his friend, Comrade Xi (Xi Jinping, president of China).
“And he talks about ‘love letters’ with (North Korean Dictator) Kim Jung Un – and we stopped our annual or semi-annual military exercises with the Republic of South Korea, our strongest ally in the Far East – what did we get for that? Oh, we got a picture with Kim Jung Un.
“And I didn’t even mention the violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution and the violations of the ban against nepotism – I could go on and on,” Sherp said deciding to end the litany of reasons the Vigil for Democracy continues, and will continue beyond his pending move to Oregon. Sherp and his wife are moving west in several weeks to be close to their daughter.
Sherp pointed us toward other vigil participants for comments, including those who will be instrumental in continuing to see the Vigil for Democracy remains a viable expression of political dissent guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Long-time vigil participants Bob Hill and Jorge Amselle will share Vigil for Democracy organizational rolls after Sherp’s departure.
We asked Amselle why he, like Hill and others in the vigil trenches, has been there on Wednesday afternoons with Sherp for the bulk of two years.
“This is the only thing that keeps me sane; this is the only thing that gives me hope for our country – to be out here with people who recognize the danger that we’re in, who are like-minded. I believe I told you before, I used to be a conservative Republican for 30 years; for years I voted Republican. When Trump was running I kept telling my fellow Republicans ‘You can’t vote for this guy – he’s insane and a racist.’
“And when he won the nomination I decided that’s it, I’m out, I’m done. And I left the Republican Party and volunteered for the Hillary Clinton campaign and did everything I could to make sure Trump didn’t win.”
Over two years later Amselle is maintaining his commitment to make Americans, including Republicans, see what he sees in the 45th president – a would-be demagogue who puts self interest above the national interest.
Amselle pointed out how many congressional Republicans, Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz being prominent examples, were documented during the 2016 nominating campaign saying horrible things about Trump’s character; but now fall easily in line with the worst of the president’s policy initiatives or personal impulses.
“I think it’s just winning at all costs – nothing matters but winning, you know, no morals, no qualms about lying, cheating, stealing, pandering to white supremacists, empowering racism and other forms of bigotry; being inconsistent on all the things you ever preached. See, there used to be a competition between all different kinds of conservatives, your libertarians, your evangelicals, all different kinds of conservatives were there to argue and debate conservative ideologies.”
“Now that’s all gone, now it’s just Trump – the only ideology that matters is Trump,” Amselle observed of an apparent party-wide fear of not antagonizing Trump’s sizable base among Republican voters.
And when the cult of personality meets ideological intransience tempered with stereotypical vilification of minorities and outsiders you have a historically dangerous combination – a combination often found at the outset of the rise of state totalitarianism.
It is a trend another former Republican present at the March 13 vigil has noticed. April Moore is positioning herself for a Democratic challenge of 26th District State Senate Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain in the upcoming election. See her observations on the trend of Republicanism in the Trump era mentioned by Amselle in this linked story.
Of her presence in staunchly Republican Front Royal and Warren County for the March 13 Vigil for Democracy Moore said, “I’m impressed people here in Front Royal have been out here every week for the last two years protesting what the Republican Party has become and what it’s doing: this party that nominated, elected and now serves as accomplices to a president who lies to the public multiple times every day; and who is assaulting our rule of law; and even seems to be in some kind of strange cahoots with our most dangerous adversary.
“So part of why I’m running is the reason they’re out here,” Moore said of Vigil for Democracy participants.
Bob Hill, who with Jorge Amselle will continue the organizational impetus for the Vigil for Democracy in Sherp’s pending absence, sees a fundamental necessity for that continuation.
“I think the vigil has been an awakening for a lot of the people here in Front Royal that there is a two-party system and two parties make us stronger. Obviously if you have a one-party system you are heading away from democratic principals,” Hill observed of the role of political dissent in non-totalitarian nations.
Hill, who was a primary vigil player in establishing a dialogue with elements of the pro-Trump contingent across Chester Street, pointed to mutual concerns about local politics.
“My Trump friends over there,” he said gesturing toward Ralph and Michael Waller and their pro-Trump signs across Chester Street, “when I talk to them about what’s going on locally, about the EDA or about insurance policies (against abuses) they’ll say to me ‘Well, it’s the politicians’ and I’ll say ‘What politicians?’ and they’ll say ‘The ones we voted in’ – and I’ll ask ‘What party are they?’ And in staunchly-conservative Warren County and Front Royal the answer with few generally independent exceptions is Republican.
“Years ago my wife came home and said, ‘Look, I could be a Republican – I believe in smaller government except for one thing: smaller government would mean fewer people overseeing and making sure that I, as a Republican, don’t think of myself first and foremost.’
“Sure it’s smaller government, but it’s also corrupt government,” Hill said of an unmonitored economic system where the largest and wealthiest competitors are free to prey upon, not only smaller-positioned competitors, but the marketplace itself.
“Sometimes people just don’t see the forest for the trees,” Hill concluded with an age-old expression of the problem of seeing the bigger picture when you find yourself immersed in the middle of that picture.
And when one looks at the political picture being painted by the current occupant of the White House: from a general disregard for federal institutions from law enforcement to intelligence and the diplomatic wing of the State Department, coupled with the number of unfilled federal positions after two-plus years of the Trump presidency, as well as the conflicting professional interests of many who have been appointed to head oversight agencies like the EPA, Commerce and Interior, it would seem the core political issues that have brought Vigil for Democracy participants together for over two years are nowhere near a resolution.
So we imagine you will continue to see these anniversary reports, along with those coming across the Chester Street political divide, for at least another two years …
Changing a life, one car at a time
WHAT MATTERS Warren — Bill and Sandy Long, owners of the Auto Care Clinic in Front Royal, had no idea in 2018 that their car giveaway event would prompt them to start their own 501 (c)(3) nonprofit a year later. The generous couple has a goal of giving away one car per month through “Cars Changing Lives” and they have already donated 7 cars to those in need. Learn more about their efforts as they passionately describe their nonprofit during this video:
The Longs have a long history of giving back to the community they love. They enjoy providing uniforms for several sports teams, monetarily supporting local non-profits and completing charity repairs for local churches. They’ve also raised significant funds through area fundraisers. They are partnering with case managers of local non-profit organizations such as Phoenix Project, United Way, Front Royal Women’s Resource Center, and Valley Assistance Network (VAN), to discover recipients for their free vehicles. If you or someone you know is in need of transportation, contact a local nonprofit to inquire about being nominated.
Those interested in learning more about their ministry, volunteering, contributing tax-deductible funds, donating vehicles (running or not) or helping with preparing cars for grateful new owners are encouraged to contact them at (540) 635-2455 or email@example.com. Be sure to visit their website and like their Facebook page.
WHAT MATTERS INITIATIVE
Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and YouTube.
Learn more Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at www.whatmattersw2.com – check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About WHAT MATTERS:
WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent raised goes to the cause she’s promoting and most are matched by Beth. If you’d like to get involved, or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit www.whatmattersw2.com.
Local NAACP leadership and police show unity and outrage over Floyd death
Leaders of the Front Royal and Warren County black community met with Town and County political and law enforcement leadership Monday afternoon, June 1, in a show of unity surrounding the potential of protests here stemming from public outrage over the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota a week ago, on May 25.
Demonstrations have developed around the nation, some turning violent, in the wake of widespread viewing of video recording of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s pinning Floyd, who was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby delicatessen, to the ground with his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard in cell phone video taken by bystanders pleading for his life, calling to his dead mother, saying he could not breathe and was dying.
The four involved Minneapolis police officers were fired the following day and Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder. But the delay in charging the three other involved former officers and some aggressive police responses to demonstrations in Minneapolis, including targeting a CNN news crew for arrest, and firing “pepper” rounds at an NBC news affiliate team and rubber bullets into crowds in Louisville, Kentucky, has led to escalating hostility, rioting and violence.
That rioting has drawn scathing comment from black leaders, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and rapper Killer Mike, among others. Controversy has also erupted about the potential of white “agent provocateurs”, in particular one identified as the “black umbrella man” in inciting peaceful demonstrations toward violence.
Monday’s meeting between black community leaders and local police was called to show that years of “community policing” networking has paid off in placing our black community and our local law enforcement apparatuses at a common point of mutual interest in assuring that the type of thing that happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota would not happen here.
Moderating at the noon event held in the outdoor foyer area of the Monroe Avenue Front Royal Police Department headquarters was Warren-Page County NAACP President Alford D. Carter III. Carter was accompanied by his son, Alford IV, the Reverend Alfred Wood who performed an invocation and closing prayer, and about five other members of the black community. In addition to FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis and Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler, attending were Front Royal Mayor Gene Tewalt, County Board and Emergency Management Team Chairman Walt Mabe and County Emergency Services Deputy Manager Rick Farrall, among other officers from both local law enforcement agencies. Joining that crowd was Strasburg Police Chief Wayne Sagar.
The message was clear – what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody is NOT acceptable, not only to the black community but to the law enforcement community here and across the nation for those wearing a badge after swearing to “serve and protect”.
With a nod to his FRPD counterpart Chief Magalis, Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler cited not only outrage within minority communities, but in law enforcement at the Floyd killing at the hands of law enforcement officers.
“I got a call from my son, who is in security forces. And he’s like, ‘Dad, can you believe this?’ And I said, ‘Well, how do you feel about it?’ And he goes, ‘He (Officer Chauvin) just disgraced our entire profession. And I’m sure, the chief will probably go along with me on this one, any professional law enforcement officer will literally sit and tell you, ‘That is NOT who we are. That is NOT what we raised our hand to be or to do.’
“And I can promise that any person who is wearing a badge for the right reasons would never do anything to harm someone intentionally. And we have just as much anger towards that incident as anyone else – we really do,” Sheriff Butler told those assembled.
See the full, approximately 50-minute NAACP-sponsored community meeting, with remarks from a variety of perspectives on where we as a community, and a nation, are and hope to be in the future, in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Warren County Public Schools Kindergarten Registration for the 2020-2021 school year
PLEASE REGISTER YOUR CHILD EVEN IF ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION HAS NOT BEEN OBTAINED
If you have any questions, please call (540) 635-2171, extension 34236.
Technical Questions: contact Amy Himes (540) 635-7123, extension 46125, or Kathy Gross (540) 635-7123, extension 46124.
WCHS DECA elects chapter officers for 2020-21
The WCHS DECA Chapter recently conducted a virtual chapter meeting to elect chapter officers for the 2020-21 school year. After conducting its chapter meeting via video conferencing, the following students were elected through an electronic voting method:
Emily will be a 3rd-year member of DECA. She has competed in district and state DECA competitions and attended the 2019 National DECA conference (ICDC) as a participant in a leadership training seminar. During the 2019-20 school year, she helped the WCHS DECA school store, “Wildcats Corner’, achieve national Gold certification as a school-based enterprise. In addition to serving as next year’s Chapter President, Emily will coordinate the Chapter’s Community Service Project Campaign.
As a 1st year member in 2019-20, Mia competed in both district and state DECA competitions. As VP of Retail Operations, Mia will serve as the Store Manager of “Wildcats Corner”, the WCHS school store, and will also be the chapter’s co-director of fund-raising.
Devin will be a 3rd year member of DECA in 2020-21. In 2019-20, Devin was Co-Manager of the “DECA Tailgaters”, which achieved national Gold certification as a school-based food enterprise. As VP of Food Operations, Devin will serve as the Manager of “DECA Tailgaters” and will also be the chapter’s co-director of fund-raising.
Makayla will also be a 3rd year member of DECA in 2020-21. As VP of Recruitment & Engagement, Makayla will lead the chapter’s annual membership campaign, co-direct the “Friend of DECA” campaign, and coordinate the chapter’s VA DECA Day
As a 1st year DECA member in 2019-20, Jordan competed in both district and state competitions. She was a state winner, along with Emily Johnson and Eniesha Wigington, in the Virtual Business – Hotel Operations event. Jordan also helped coordinate the chapter’s “Job Shadowing Day” in November and the “Secret Santa Shop” in December. As VP of Marketing, Jordan will be coordinating the chapter’s “Global Entrepreneurship Week” Campaign and co-direct the “Friends of DECA” campaign.
Also a 3rd year DECA member, Michael will coordinate and maintain the WCHS DECA social media accounts and releases as the VP of Human Resources. In 2019-20, Michael co-led the chapter’s Festival of Leaves food tent and was a member of the chapter’s Sales Project Management team, which was a finalist in VA DECA competition.
As VP of Administration, Jackson will be responsible for maintaining chapter records and coordinating member practice sessions for district and state DECA competitions. As a 1st year member in 2019-20, Jackson placed 3rd in the district Principles of Business Management and Administration competition and also competed in the VA DECA state conference.
As a 1st year DECA member in 2019-20, Reina placed 1st in the DECA district Principles of Finance event and was a project Co-Director in the chapter’s Community Awareness Project, “ENOUGH!”, which sought to prevent bullying in our schools and community awareness of domestic violence. As VP of Corporate Information, Reina will be responsible for preparing news releases and reporting the chapter’s Annual Report to VA DECA.
The WCHS DECA Chapter would like to thank and recognize our two senior out-going officers, Kylie Burnworth (President) and Halea Hose (Historian/Reporter), for their hard work and leadership during this past year.
Governor Northam declares State of Emergency and authorizes assistance to localities; curfew in the City of Richmond
Governor Ralph Northam today, May 31, 2020, declared a state of emergency and authorized assistance to localities in response to escalating violence across the Commonwealth. The Governor granted a request from Mayor Levar Stoney to extend a curfew in the City of Richmond.
“This emergency declaration will provide the necessary support to localities as they work to keep our communities safe, said Governor Northam. “There are many voices speaking out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth, but others are exploiting this pain and inciting violence.”
A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources, including the Virginia National Guard, and preposition people and equipment to assist localities in their efforts to deescalate violent protests and protect public safety.
The declaration allocates $350,000 for state and local governments and state response and recovery operations authorized and coordinated through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
The order extends a curfew in the City of Richmond between the hours of 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM from Sunday, May 31, 2020, through Wednesday, June 3, 2020. While the curfew is in effect, people must remain in their homes and may only leave to seek emergency services or travel to and from home, work, or places of worship.
Governor Ralph Northam also issued the following statement about protests in the City of Richmond.
“I acknowledge each of the voices crying out for justice and healing across the United States and in our Commonwealth. I affirm the deep concerns from the black community.
“I hear you. I know your pain is real. We have all seen too many people harassed, abused, and killed by law enforcement officers, in too many places, for too long—just for being black. I also know that others are exploiting this pain and are now causing violence.
“I spoke with Mayor Levar Stoney throughout the night; pursuant to the Mayor’s requests, I have authorized a curfew in Richmond and placed the Virginia National Guard on alert. They stand ready to assist in protecting our residents, businesses, especially small and black-owned businesses, and the capital city.
“As Governor of Virginia, I call on all Virginians to join together and build a renewed commitment to working for justice and fair treatment.”
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for – June 1-5, 2020
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new entry or a revised entry since last week’s report…
No lane closures reported.
No lane closures reported.
No lane closures reported.
*NEW* Route 619 (Mountain Road) – Closed for pipe replacement between Route 615 (Wakemans Mill Road) and Route 626 (Steed Lane), 8 a.m. Monday to 4 p.m. Friday. Follow posted detour.
*UPDATE* Various roads – Flagger traffic control for utility tree trimming, Monday to Friday during daylight hours.
Vegetation management may take place district wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at http://www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/. Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.