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Vote politics out of Front Royal



“Welcome back, my friends, to a show that never ends.”

This continues to be one of my favorite lyrics from a song that describes our society and how we act. The full lyrics go: “Welcome back, my friends, to a show that never ends. Come inside, come inside.”

The never-ending show starts again every two to four years as we elect our leaders to represent us in national, state, and local elections.

Last week I received an unbelievable number of communications from both parties from people I don’t know. Even from candidates I know, it seems that getting through the spin of the never-ending show is extremely hard on all levels.

Most troubling was one mailer I received. The mailer had the locally endorsed candidates as selected by the local Republican committee in a nonpartisan election, completely undermining the rationale for nonpartisan local elections.

The nonpartisan structure created a very cool opportunity for community leaders to keep the focus on local issues without the stain or influence of national interests or parties. These nonpartisan elections were put in place through the charters of towns throughout the State of Virginia. The charters stated the local elections in towns and school boards should be nonpartisan.

Simply put, selecting and electing leaders that have the best qualifications and experience would better serve Front Royal by not allowing ambitious party politicos the opportunity to influence or control elected officials at the local level. Elect candidates whose loyalties are local.

These rules were instituted to promote candidates who would run on their own merits, and raise money and debate the logic of their platforms, outlining how they would help their community prosper without relying on political parties or affiliations.

In fact, the federal government passed the Hatch Act to restrict the political activities of federal government employees in the executive branch and later amended as well as extended in several states. In Front Royal, candidates for town council are restricted by not being allowed to have party designation on the ballot.

I am so upset about this issue because I received a mailer today from the local Republican Party. The mailer had only one federal congressional race supported in the party mailer. However, most of the mailer promoted individuals the party endorsed in the town’s nonpartisan election.

These endorsements go against the reasons for having nonpartisan town elections. First, opposing candidates work at a disadvantage when the other candidates that are endorsed by the party are helped financially and with manpower. This opens the door for a candidate’s loyalty to the party to possibly override the needs of the community. Look at the effects of the problems created over the past six years. You will find that it appears there is a direct correlation with the influence of the endorsed people elected.

Qualified candidates who work for the federal government are handicapped in running when they must compete against the power of the dominant party for resources and are restricted from accepting any financial support or campaign materials. Violating this rule would place individuals’ continued employment in question if their activities can be linked to party involvement.

With that said, we have several excellent candidates that have outstanding resumes. Their voices in our council would be helpful in solving issues facing our community. Their loyalty is and will remain local.

Add Bruce Rappaport and Gene Kilby to the Council; together, with the addition of recently appointed Skip Rogers, this would be a great start in getting our community back on track in addressing Front Royal’s needs without caving to the personal interests of individuals controlled by party affiliations in what should be a nonpartisan town charted election.

Vote for the most qualified individual who can do the job, not who the party wants you to elect.

We have the opportunity to change the direction of our community. Help us get back on track in preparation for the next show that starts in 2024. We deserve better leadership.

Michael Graham
Front Royal

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Does removing LGBTQ books from libraries undermine First Amendment Rights?



I write in response to letters by Mr. Richard Hoover (May 27th) and Mr. Paul Miller (May 18th) concerning the proposal to remove LGBTQ-themed books from Samuels Public Library. Mr. Hoover contends that removing such material aligns with the principle of free speech and the values of our community. I humbly beg to differ. I feel it is essential to shedding light on the significance of literature in building empathetic societies and the importance of upholding the inclusive ethos our public libraries are meant to embody.

To begin with, Mr. Hoover’s assertion that the First Amendment has no bearing on local libraries is fundamentally mistaken. Public libraries, while administered by local officials, are still public institutions meant to facilitate the free exchange of ideas. The First Amendment is not a mere technicality prohibiting Congress from stifling the press or individuals; it is a principle that symbolizes our commitment to intellectual freedom, open discourse, and diversity of thought.

As for Mr. Hoover’s argument about the community’s wish to exclude certain materials, we must remember that, as Mr. Miller pointed out, a community is composed of diverse individuals with varied beliefs, cultures, and experiences. Yes, it’s true that some community members may disapprove of LGBTQ themes, but it’s equally true that there are many who understand, support, and even belong to the LGBTQ community. They are taxpayers, too, and have an equal right to see their experiences reflected in the library’s collection.

To suggest that exposure to LGBTQ themes might “encourage” children in a particular direction also oversimplifies human sexuality and identity. Education about diverse identities and experiences doesn’t “turn” children; it equips them with knowledge, understanding, and empathy. Fear of the unknown breeds prejudice; understanding and familiarity breed acceptance.

As for Mr. Hoover’s puzzling speculation that Mr. Miller might next advocate for a “Drag Queen Story Hour,” I have carefully read Mr. Miller’s letter (twice), and he never suggests anything of the kind. Having said that, it is crucial to remember that such events aim to foster acceptance and understanding and are typically voluntary. In the event that such a program was introduced at any library in our area, those who felt uncomfortable with the premise would be under no obligation to participate.

In conclusion, the aim of any public library is to represent and cater to the diversity of the community it serves. It is neither a battleground for ideological domination nor a platform for promoting a singular worldview. We cannot presume to shield children from understanding the diversity inherent in human existence; instead, we must equip them with the intellectual tools to navigate this diversity with empathy, understanding, and respect.

L. K. Henderson
Linden, VA

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Reader challenges library’s inclusion of LGBT-themed books citing community and religious concerns



I take exception to the May 25th commentary by Mr. Paul Miller labeling the exclusion of LGBT-themed books from Samuels Public Library a violation of the First (“Free Speech”)Amendment of the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from restricting the right of the press and of individuals to write and speak freely. That has nothing to do with local public libraries where making decisions to exclude or include books is the right of library staff, directors, and boards. In Warren County, I only hope that SPL officials are listening to the insistence of Warren County taxpayers that children not be exposed to LGBTQ materials.

True, as both Mr. Miller and the SPL’s Strategic Plan point out: “Every effort will be made to (ensure) that a diverse range of materials is available to meet the needs and interest of everyone in the community.” Nevertheless, that hardly diminishes the legitimacy of present community demands to exclude unsuitable materials for the sake of children. After all, we are a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and both Testaments, Old, and New, explicitly condemn homosexuality as an abomination and, therefore, ungodly. It is not likely to find parents who would have their children exposed to material that could encourage them in that direction. Most parents, not a “small fringe of homophobic individuals” (per Mr. Miller), will vote and fight to ensure that this does not happen. Mr. Miller’s admonition that we “learn to live peacefully within a pluralistic society” hardly counts when an aggressive element of that mix is not content to remain as it is but works to take down the rest of that society, starting with its children, in order to promote its values and practices.

What next? I do not know what decisions the SPL will make about books but, quoting from his letter, I would ask Mr. Miller what he and his “LGBTQ community” would like to see coming next to Samuels. Might that be something to accentuate the “diversity of the community,” something enabling both “the children and the adults raising them to see their families reflected (in) their local, publicly funded library?” A children’s Drag Queen Story Hour comes to mind, as recently featured by public libraries all over the country, including those in Alexandria, Richmond, and Montgomery County. Is this what Mr. Miller wants, where we are heading in Warren County?

Richard W. Hoover
Front Royal

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Beyond politics and ideologies: The universal language of hugs



I’m a hugger. I am not ashamed to be a hugger. Hugging is good for my soul. It’s touching, heart-to-heart. You should be a hugger, too. I want everyone to be a hugger.

What is it about a hug, you ask? I say a hug is sincerity. A hug melts the safe space of two into one. A hug is consequential. Hugs talk. They say I like you (Not a perfunctory hug but the real thing.) There’s nothing better.

Keep in mind that pecks on the cheek are not hugs. I call them obligations. Hugs are more than barely touching. They are substantial contact, often cheek firmly pressed against the cheek. A hug says I mean it. If you’re going to hug, hug. Go big.

You can’t really hug someone and be angry at them at the same time. Hugging prevents conflict and settles disputes. Best of all, hugging heals old wounds. As such, hugs have medicinal properties. They’re magic.

Hugs are apolitical and cross party lines and ideology effortlessly, taking the edge off extremist views with civility sandpaper. Very important: Never force or fake a hug. The tentative nature of pretending to hug telegraphs an ulterior agenda. It’s a sin. Real hugs have no reason.

For many, hugging does not come naturally. They have to be taught, which is why novice huggers are often awkward on their first few tries because they haven’t learned that hugs are sexless.

Practice hugging with a solid friend to help you adjust. Rehearsal provides an opportunity for even more hugs, more caring, and more love for the humanity in each of us. Hugs are exercise. (Show me a hug that you can do while sitting down.) Standing up to hug someone is good for the legs. Hugs are great, aren’t they?

Though hugs appear physical in nature, they are 100% purely spiritual. The after-effects from a good hug linger, timelessly. It’s been said some hugs are still fresh 30 and 40 years later, endlessly echoing in sweet harmony.

A hug imparts a sense of belonging, bringing people together, a social event because you can’t hug yourself. As such, hugging will draw out any die-hard hermit or loner. None of us has to be lonely as long as we have one hug left. And, please, don’t wait until it may be too late. If you owe someone a hug, pay them now. The benefits of hugging are cumulative and expansive. You get out of hugging way more than you put in.

So, that’s my take on hugging. I hereby proclaim every month with an “R” in it “National Hug Month,” and those without an “R” as well.

By Jay Buckner
Front Royal

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Summer Madness



In an ode to Kool and the Gang, the Fresh Prince wrote these lyrics in a 1999 song entitled, ‘Summertime.’ “Time to unwind, put your car on cruise, and sit back because this is summertime.” This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and the official kickoff for “Summer ’23.” That’s right. Schools out, it’s party time, Battalion style! Yes, you can practically taste the excitement in the air.

This year’s motto is ‘Live life to the fullest!’ Broaden your horizons! Adopt an Iguana and enjoy the Summer Madness. His name is Julius.

As you recall, each of the 4 seasons is blessed with 90 days, and each arrives with its respective climate and accommodating holidays. Next up is summer. It starts in about 5 days, and the advance guard climate has already swept through, inoculating us to 80-degree temps with the accompanying humidity. By this time, though, most of us have already dusted off the shorts and sandals and have our summer game face on. We’re just waiting on the weekend to make it official.

Before we start partying, allow me a moment of patriotic nostalgia. It’s part of being an American to always know the reason for the holiday. I was recently asked about the difference in Memorial Day and Veterans Day, as both share the same themes. Short answer, Memorial Day arrives first and commemorates the fallen soldiers who gave their lives for our country. Veterans Day is in November and salutes the veterans that served in the military. Either way, always take a moment to raise a glass to the veterans during the holidays.

Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May, but we’re going to get this season rocking a few days earlier on Friday and roll through a 4-day weekend of watching war movies and enjoying ourselves out on the boat, grilling meats, and hanging with family and friends. By the time Monday gets here – we’re already 4 days into summer.

This coming weekend kicks off a six-week party fest of vacationing and fun that flows right into two other national holidays, all nicely bunched up – for effect. Three weeks after Memorial Day, we kick back and commemorate Juneteenth, and 3 weeks later, we launch the fireworks on Independence Day on the 4th of July. It’s good to be an American. Three back-to-back power holidays over a 6-week stretch. Gotta love it. After that, we take a couple of months to recover until we officially culminate the summer on Labor Day – the first week of September. But don’t despair. There’s no letdown. Fall ushers in 3 months of football season, replete with a myriad of other holidays and festivals. You simply wear additional clothes during that season. But that is what makes summer so unique. It’s simply too hot for clothes.

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35th annual Virginia Wine & Craft Festival shines bright thanks to community’s unwavering support: Chamber of Commerce Director extends gratitude



I’d like to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved in making the 35th Annual Virginia Wine & Craft Festival a huge success.

To the event committee who spent countless hours planning and organizing the festival, your efforts have not gone unnoticed, all of you did a remarkable job.

To the volunteers who helped get everyone set up, sold tickets, and helped to make sure the day went smoothly, we couldn’t do it without each of you!

To the staff of the Town of Front Royal who blocked off streets, cleared parking lots, picked up trash, made sure the electricity was working, and a million other things, you are rock stars, your efforts are so appreciated.

To our vendors, musicians, and wineries, you make this event possible. Thank you for sharing your talents and specialties with us.

To our merchants and residents downtown, our downtown area is among the most beautiful anywhere. Thank you for sharing it with us and for having patience during large events such as this.

To our community, thank you for supporting the event and for showing up.

There is a lot of time and effort that goes into planning and pulling off events the size of the Wine & Craft Festival. In fact, planning for next year has already begun. We’re always open to hearing your thoughts and ideas for future events.

Again, thank you, everyone. What a wonderful place to live.

All the best,

Niki Foster, President
Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

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Championing Community Values: Ensuring child-friendly environment at the Samuels Library



Isn’t it just like a Democrat to begin a rant by name-calling while demonstrating his ignorance of the Constitution? According to the Democrat spokesperson, those interested in clearing deviant sexual porn from the children’s section of the Front Royal Library are “a small fringe of homophobic individuals” who are “jettisoning the guarantees of the First Amendment” to “marginalize their neighbors.”

Perhaps if he or his neighbors want their children groomed with unnatural sexual porn, they could buy it themselves and not expect the normal taxpayers to pay for it. The rest of us expect the Library to reflect community standards.

Thomas L. McFadden, Sr.
Front Royal

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


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 Mountain Creative Consulting

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 Jamboree LLC

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

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

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

Jean’s Jewelers

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 Arc of Warren County

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

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
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Pressure: 30"Hg
UV index: 0

Upcoming Events

10:00 am A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 28 @ 10:00 am – May 29 @ 11:00 am
A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Explore the rich natural history of trees guided by a Virginia Master Naturalist. Discover the tips and tricks of basic tree identification and the tree-mendous roles that trees play in our environment.[...]
7:00 pm Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
May 29 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
Memorial Day Band Concert at Gazebo Plaza on Main Street, presented by Front Royal American Legion Community Band.
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
May 31 @ 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[...]
10:00 am Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Boston Mill Road Trail near the Park Office. Learn how fences and tree plantings improve water quality at Sky Meadows State Park with a special Explorer Outpost. Stop by our station along Boston Mill Road[...]
10:00 am National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 10:00 am – Jun 4 @ 1:00 pm
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Picnic Area. Join park trailblazers and get your hands dirty as we work to enhance the trail surface on Hadow Trail. All ages are welcome and no experience is required. Round trip hike to the[...]
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Log Cabin in the Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log Cabin to see what is cooking on the hearth. Immerse yourself within the 19th century enslaved culture and its foods. Explore the taste[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Jun 3 @ 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.
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah (BONS – online at and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jun 7 @ 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[...]