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Virginia Interstate and bridge closures in advance of Presidential Inauguration

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Drivers urged to avoid the area and use alternate routes Jan. 19-21
PLEASE NOTE: These closures are subject to change

The Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia State Police will support the United States Secret Service Joint Transportation Plan, which calls for several bridge and road closures from Virginia into Washington, D.C. beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19. Local law enforcement will be assisting with the closures as part of the multi-agency, inaugural security efforts.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and U.S. Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, and Jennifer Wexton (all D-VA) issued the following statement on the agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States Secret Service (USSS) authorizing the use of Virginia State Police assets, resources, and personnel, to assist with the closure of bridges spanning the Potomac River during the 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony:

“The 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony will see the strongest Capital-area security response in history. We worked together to push for a response that balances protecting public safety in a manner commensurate with available intelligence about threats without going too far. It is very important now that the U.S. Secret Service and its partner agencies communicate road and bridge closures swiftly and clearly in order to keep disruptions to a minimum. All of us want the transfer of power to be as peaceful as possible, and we thank all of the men and women in uniform helping to make this historic occasion safe.”

From 6 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19 through 6 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 21, I-66 and I-395 bridges into D.C. will be closed and traffic will be diverted as follows:

I-66: Eastbound traffic will be diverted at Route 110 (Exit 75).
I-395: Northbound traffic will be diverted at the George Washington Memorial Parkway (Exit 10B).
I-395 Express Lanes: When the lanes are northbound, all traffic will be diverted into the main lanes near Edsall Road.

Drivers are urged to plan ahead, avoid the area, and use alternate routes during this time. Portable and overhead message signs will remind drivers to avoid the area. Those needing to travel in and around Northern Virginia between Jan. 19 and Jan. 21 are encouraged to check www.511virginia.org before they travel.

For reversal schedules and more information on the I-95 and I-395 Express Lanes, visit www.expresslanes.com.

Ramp and bridge closures:

I-395

  • I-395 NB Express Lanes (Rochambeau Memorial Bridge)
  • I-395 NB main lanes (Arland Williams, Jr. Memorial Bridge)
  • I-395 NB Express Lanes slip ramp from the main lanes (last left-side slip ramp in Virginia also known as “Ramp G”)
  • I-395 NB main lanes will be diverted at GW Parkway exit
  • I-395 NB Express Lanes will divert to the main lanes near Edsall Road
  • Route 1 NB from Reagan National Airport (DCA) to I-395 NB (Arland Williams, Jr. Memorial Bridge)
  • Eads Street NB ramp to I-395 NB Express Lanes
  • OPEN: I-395 SB (George Mason Memorial Bridge)

I-66

  • I-66 EB at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge closed; all traffic diverted to Route 110 SB
  • Route 50 EB ramp to I-66 EB

George Washington Memorial Parkway

  • GW Parkway SB ramp to I-66 EB
  • GW Parkway NB ramp to I-395 NB
  • GW Parkway SB ramp to I-395 NB

Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed by the National Park Service.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia and Virginia State Police on Twitter: @vadotnova and @vsppio

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Sheriff’s Office investigates virtual student threat to WCMS

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The Royal Examiner received this press release on February 26, 2021.

On February 24, 2021, Warren County Sheriff’s Office received information referencing threats to Warren County Middle school by a virtual student.

The threats were immediately investigated and Warren County School Administration notified. Through investigation and consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, it was determined the threats were not creditable.

At no time was the safety of staff and students at Warren County Middle School at risk. Warren County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Warren County School Administration staff and Warren County Middle School staff for their assistance throughout the investigation.

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EDA in Focus

Summary of the Warren County EDA Board meeting of Friday, February 26

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The EDA Board of Directors conducted their regular monthly board meeting this morning, February 26, via Zoom. The Board welcomed Front Royal Town Manager Steven Hicks prior to going into Closed Session. Mr. Hicks noted that the Town’s budget proposal for the fiscal year 2022 was being prepared. A summary overview was included in the board packet and digital copies of the 32-page presentation are available from the EDA office. Please contact Administrative Assistant Gretchen Henderson at 635-2182.

Board Chair Jeff Browne congratulated Mr. Hicks on his appointment to Executive Director of the Front Royal EDA and stated that the Board of the Front Royal Warren County EDA is looking for working with him.

Following an approximately 30-minuted Closed Meeting, the Board approved a motion on the disposition of McKay Springs. In order to facilitate and expedite the sale of parcels at the McKay Springs location, the Board approved transferring the parcels deeded in the name of the EDA to Warren County.

Continuing in Open Session, Jeff Browne gave a report from the Executive Committee. He advised the Board and the public that Warren County will be designated as a Spotted Lanternfly quarantine locality in mid-March, along with Clarke and Frederick counties, and the City of Winchester. This will impact businesses located in and doing business in Warren County. For more information please visit www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plan-industry-services.shtml

Director Jim Wolfe shared information on the progress of the EDA Strategic Plan updates. He’s looking forward to feedback on the working document and completing a final draft for review.

Asset Committee Chair Greg Harold discussed a new development that will have an impact on the EDA-owned property on Royal Lane. He shared the news that the Town of Front Royal is considering updating the Town Code to allow a Conditional Use Permit to be bonded with the property rather than the owner. With this change, Harold expects to improve the successful marketing of this property for a developer of multi-family workforce housing. The EDA is very interested in selling this property and supports the Town Planning Department in its efforts.

EDA Executive Director Doug Parsons had several items of interest to share, including the launch of the renovated EDA website at www.wceda.com, and that the auditors are finalizing their report. Additionally, he reported that the proceeds of $323,179.18 from the sale of the Afton Inn have paid down the principal on the First Bank & Trust Line of Credit. This lowered the payment, saving the taxpayers $1,242.70 per month, or $14,912.40 per year.

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Jenspiration

Shower Trailer update for Warren County’s Thermal Shelter guests

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The shower trailer will be available to the guests of our local Thermal Shelter during the winter. It will also be available in case of disaster and for emergency personnel. In the past we have borrowed shower trailers from other counties. We are finally filling a high demand need!

The goal is to have three separate shower stalls installed. The trailer will be complete with hot water heaters and toiletries. Each stall will have it’s own door for privacy and convenience.

In the links below, there are items that are needed for purchase if you would like to help in lieu of a cash donation. Links provided by Robert Hupman, the man with the plan!

  1. 275 Gallon Water Tank
  2. Fold Up Step for 30″ Door
  3. Roll A Ramp – portable ramp 16ft L x 26″W – Fill your cart with this item: A12615A19 ($1,469.99)

Story provided to you by the Rotary Club of Warren County. To learn more about Rotary visit our website!

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Local News

United Way following through on $5,500 pledge to Blue Ridge Legal Services

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The United Way of Front Royal-Warren County is making good on its promise to support Blue Ridge Legal Services with $5,500 in grant funding for this fiscal year. Many positive results have been achieved from the $46,052 given by the United Way to Blue Ridge Legal Services over the past seven years, and the community has benefited from this partnership. The United way hopes to renew and increase its commitment to this organization in the coming years.

According to Jennifer Locke, the Managing Attorney for Blue Ridge Legal Services serving Front Royal-Warren County, COVID-19 forced some changes for the organization in 2020. For example, the legal clinic is no longer accepting in-person applications. Additionally, since June 2020, the clinic has experienced an increase in demand for services.

The three biggest issues that the clinic works with clients to resolve are Domestic Violence (45%), Evictions (30%), and Bankruptcy (20%). The clinic closed 41 cases in Front Royal-Warren County in 2020, aiding 121 residents during this process. They achieved $500 in lump-sum judgments, $800 in monthly benefits, and $97,293 in avoidance of claims/liability for the clients they serve. Additionally, they achieved three bankruptcy discharges, three prevented evictions, and two delayed evictions.

In working to increase its efforts in the community, the clinic has has hired an additional attorney to help serve Front Royal-Warren County. They were able to accomplish this using a grant from IKEA and a dollar-for-dollar match from the Virginia Governor’s Office.

If you would like to partner with the United Way as we work to support our partner agencies, please visit the DONATE page on our website. Since 1950, the United Way has worked to advance the common good in Front Royal-Warren County. The community wins when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. The United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of the challenges we face. Living United means being part of the change!

To reach the United Way offices in Front Royal-Warren County (134-B Peyton Street, Front Royal, VA, 22630), please email info@frontroyalunitedway.org or call 540-635-3636.

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Local News

Valley Conservation Council helps protect land & expand the Shenandoah National Park

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Valley Conservation Council (VCC), a Staunton-based nonprofit that preserves and protects the natural resources of the greater Shenandoah Valley region, recently aimed its conservation expertise to help bring protection to almost 1,000 acres of mountain land adjacent to the Shenandoah National Park that will eventually become part of its borders.

A portion of the nearly 1,000 acres acquired by SNPT, including Tanner’s Ridge in Page County (Credit: Sherri Tombarge)

Throughout late 2020, VCC assisted the Shenandoah National Park Trust (SNPT) in the acquisition of 967 acres of land on Tanner’s Ridge in Page County in the largest land acquisition of its kind in decades that will eventually expand the Park into mountain land it currently borders.

SNPT, who had the necessary funds and a group of willing sellers, was looking for a land trust and called upon VCC for assistance last summer. In the months that followed, VCC assisted SNPT through the process of acquiring three properties totaling 967 acres.

The acquired land will eventually be conveyed to the Shenandoah National Park to provide public access for all to enjoy the breathtaking mountaintop views, strenuous hikes, and pure clean water. In the meantime, VCC has also accepted a conservation easement on the property and with it has taken on the responsibility for ensuring the land remains intact and unchanged until it is transferred to the care of the National Park.

By protecting this land, VCC is protecting the headwaters of Naked Creek, ensuring pristine water quality in the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The waters of Naked Creek flow from this newly protected mountain land into Hawksbill Creek, then to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, running through Page and Warren counties to join the main stem of the Shenandoah at Front Royal and on to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way, these streams and the groundwater that connects them provide drinking water to millions of people, from the town of Luray all the way to the DC metro area.

SNPT purchased the land with funds from a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that resulted from a settlement with a DuPont manufacturing plant in Waynesboro that was dumping waste into the South River, an upstream tributary of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The suit yielded a number of public benefits to make up for the damage, including $20 million to buy and protect land that would ensure better water quality in the future.

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Crime/Court

Warren County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit assists in arrest after driver flees vehicle

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On February 22, 2021, at approximately 06:41 PM, members of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Special Problems and Drug Enforcement Unit attempted to stop a vehicle for speeding on Stonewall Jackson Highway. The suspect vehicle failed to yield leading to a pursuit that was terminated on Gooney Manor Loop. After the pursuit was terminated, the suspect vehicle continued to drive recklessly, striking a Sheriff’s Office vehicle.

Due to the reckless and dangerous disregard for persons and property, the pursuit was then reinitiated continuing onto Bentonville Road, where the suspect lost control and wrecked at 07:02 PM. The driver fled the vehicle on foot and the passenger was apprehended at the scene. Warren County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit consisting of Master Deputy C. Anderson and M. Griffith, along with their canine partners Rooster and Gator, apprehended the driver after a short track where the driver was found hiding in a nearby creek.

Canine partners Rooster and Gator.

The driver, Garland Turner Jr., age 28 was charged with Possession of Schedule I/II, felony eluding, felony hit and run, assault on a law enforcement officer, and driving suspended.

Garland Turner Jr. Photo / RSW Regional Jail

The vehicle owner and passenger, Alicia Knott, age 21 was charged with Possession of Schedule I/II and obstruction of justice.

No one was injured during the incident.

Alicia Knott. Photo / RSW Regional Jail

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
48°
Cloudy
6:48am6:02pm EST
Feels like: 45°F
Wind: 8mph SSE
Humidity: 37%
Pressure: 30.35"Hg
UV index: 1
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63/46°F
55/50°F
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Upcoming Events

Feb
27
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 27 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
Mar
1
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
3
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
9
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 9 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
13
Sat
10:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
Mar 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
Mar
16
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 16 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
23
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 23 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
28
Sun
2:00 pm Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny! Pictures will be taken and printed on site; upon departure you will be given an Easter[...]
Mar
30
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]