One of Royal Examiner’s contributing writers, former Associated Press journalist Malcolm Barr Sr., was honored at his 87th birthday party, Tuesday, March 10, by the Humane Society of Warren County (HSWC) and its Julia Wagner Animal Shelter, among other friends.
Barr is a former president of HSWC and a still active and avid supporter of the Society and the Shelter’s work on behalf of the County’s stray and abandoned animals. Still, Barr said he was “surprised and honored” that his birthday celebration included a two-pronged present delivered by the Wagner Shelter’s Executive Director Meghan Bowers and some of the current HSWC board members.
Those presents were a canvas inscribed with dog paw prints and notice that one of the shelter’s homeless dogs has been named “Malcolm” after the Rockland octogenarian.
“I hope he will soon find a forever home and that maybe they’ll keep his name,” Barr said of Malcolm the dog, who was described as a black, friendly, pit bull terrier. “I know I always am very attentive and respond on command when called by it,” human Malcolm said of wife Carol’s call.
In fact, it was Carol Barr who organized her husband’s birthday party at the Virginia Beer Museum, where he spends an hour or two each Tuesday with a group of friends at a weekly event christened TPT (Two Pint Tuesday). And a toast was also raised Carol Barr’s way at her husband’s party, as she was feted as a 10-year cancer survivor, to the day. Carol received her cancer diagnosis on her husband’s birthday in 2010, not a present he was looking for. But “Cheers” to Carol for beating the odds – and keep up the good work!!!
Carol’s husband’s work on behalf of animals dates back to his teen years in the United Kingdom, he points out, as a member of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). Malcolm was also active in the Western Canadian branch of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and counts 27 years of Japanese Chin rescue work covering a five-state region including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
Barr, who formed his own Chin rescue group after encountering issues with a Chin parent organization, The Cherry Blossom Chin Club, is now an honorary member of the Japanese Chin Club of America. He put his Japanese Chin organization on the American Chin Club’s rescue map after entering 24 Japanese Chins in Washington’s annual Cherry Blossom parade back in the 1970s, and successfully finding 95 Japanese Chins “forever homes” over a 25-year span.
Malcolm and Carol brought their own Chin, Hamlet, with them to Front Royal in 2002. And while Hamlet died 10 years ago, his successor, Miniature Pug Ophelia, is still in the household carrying Hamlet’s memory forward – yes, there is a Shakespearian theme here.
Mainly through their son, Malcolm Jr., an Iraq war veteran, the Barrs in recent years have taken in several Siberian Husky rescues. Then USAF Staff Sgt. Malcolm Barr Jr. adopted two huskies that he left behind during his overseas assignment. He never got them back and, after their passing, the Barrs continued their newfound love affair with the breed.
“We adopted our current Siberian, Diva, from Pet Harbor near Fredericksburg, a few months ago. She’s another of our dogs who is pretty well-known downtown since, like the others before her, she goes everywhere with me, including the dog-friendly Beer Museum once a week, my BB&T banking branch, Lester’s Pharmacy, Petco and Lowe’s. On Memorial Day in May, she will lead her first parade honoring the ‘Dogs of War’ at the Gazebo ceremony on May 25,” Malcolm has promised her.
“During the warm weather months, we take our dogs to the back, open-air, area of the PaveMint Brew House, which Christian Failmezger runs and owns. Some 10 years ago, Christian and I began a ‘Yappy Hour’ fundraiser each Friday, raising more than $10,000 for the Humane Society’s Wagner Shelter. Last September, Christian’s wife Rachel got involved with a similar project at ViNoVa on East Main Street and ‘Yappy Hour’ continues there every Friday from 5 p.m. till 7 p.m.”
Of his current dog population, Malcolm told us, “Diva and I will gracefully grow old together, along with Carol and our newest addition Goose.”
Goose is a mixed breed, part German Shepherd the Barrs took in a few weeks ago after their son, now out of the air force, was involved in a fairly severe traffic accident. Goose accompanied young Malcolm to his parents to recuperate from the accident and stayed behind with his new friends Diva and Ophelia with free run of the Barr’s spacious, fenced-in Rockland backyard, when young Malcolm returned home, still somewhat hobbled, limiting his ability to handle the very active young Goose.
Happy birthday again, Malcolm – and always remember, we’re going to the dogs, and loving it…
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – Flags to be flown half-staff
This December 7, we remember the world-changing event known as Pearl Harbor Day, or as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his December 8, 1941 speech declaring war on Japan, “a date which will live in infamy.”
Early on Wednesday morning, December 7, 2022, many will gather at Pearl Harbor National Memorial for the 81st Commemoration. The early start marks the moment to the minute 81 years ago when Japanese warplanes descended on Oahu, killing 2,403 service members and civilians, injuring thousands more, and dealing a near-fatal blow to the Navy’s fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Most young Americans who died that day, along with those who served in uniform during World War II or on the home front war effort, are collectively known as the Greatest Generation. Their sacrifices reflect the theme of this year’s Commemoration: Everlasting Legacy.
The focus is the importance of remembering Pearl Harbor and how the Greatest Generation saved us from tyranny and brought us peace through reconciliation.
Governor’s Order for the Commonwealth of Virginia
In accordance with the authority vested in me as Governor, I hereby order that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia to be flown at half-staff at all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth in solemn respect and memory for the nearly 4,000 American service men and women killed or wounded in the early morning of December 7, 1941, at the United States Navy Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
I hereby order that the flag shall be lowered at sunrise on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, and remain at half-staff until sunset.
Ordered on this, the 6th day of December 2022.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: American Goldfinch
These two American Goldfinches hit the same window at the same time and ended up here at the Center for care.
Though both are currently having breathing difficulty, and the male has significant head trauma with bleeding from the left ear, neither sustained any fractures. They are recovering together while they receive supplemental oxygen and pain medications.
Do you know what to do if a bird hits your window?
Though it was once standard to contain a window strike bird and let it rest for a few hours before attempting release, research has now shown that this is inadequate. Many of the issues we see with window strikes manifest 24+ hours after the strike, long after the bird can fly off.
If you see a bird hit a window, contain it right away and call the closest permitted rehabilitator. Do not release it! In the meantime, take steps to break up the reflections on your windows with tape, paint, or decals spaced no more than 2” apart. Prevention is better than treatment!
A new record!
Yesterday we surpassed last year’s intake number with this window strike pair. We are hopeful that they will soon be released together to enjoy the rest of their wild lives!
If you are looking for an easy way to help native wildlife become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.
Local grandma steps out of shower, holds intruder at gunpoint until police arrive
A Warren County family had an exciting Monday morning after the family’s matriarch thwarted an intruder who may have intended to steal a family vehicle.
Tricia Montoney told Royal Examiner Monday evening that an eagle-eyed neighbor noticed a man in the family’s driveway, around 7 a.m. standing beside a Ford F-150 pickup truck belonging to Tricia’s daughter, Rachel Montoney.
Rachel said in a phone interview that “once our neighbor told me about the man attempting to enter my vehicle, I ran to get my mom.”
Tricia was in the shower but quickly put on a robe and grabbed the Smith and Wesson 9 mm handgun she keeps for personal protection. She then went outside to confront the intruder. By then, she said, the man was sitting inside the pickup with the door closed.
Rachel says her mom yelled to the intruder, “What are you doing? Get out of the truck and on your knees!” The man, later identified by arresting officers as Larry Huyser, exited the truck and complied with Tricia’s instructions while a neighbor called 9-1-1.
Huyser, who was dressed in a fluorescent green sweatshirt, jeans, and a black hat, said that he had gotten into the unlocked truck “because I was cold.”
Warren County deputies who arrived on the scene found Tricia holding Huyser at gunpoint. He was taken into custody without incident.
Huyser was booked into the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail (RSW) and charged with vandalism, damaging property, tampering and entering a vehicle, and breaking and entering an auto.
He is being held without bond. Online court records show that Huyser has been arrested before for similar offenses.
Both Tricia and Rachel expressed their gratitude for their neighbor and his assistance in contacting the police and for staying with Tricia as she held the intruder at gunpoint.
The Montoneys also appreciated the deputies, who arrived quickly and transported the intruder to RSW.
Asked if she would now lock her truck at night, Rachel said, “Absolutely!”
Both ladies expressed their gratitude that no one was injured and said they were especially grateful for their close friendship with their neighbors. “We take care of each other out here,” Tricia said.
Congressman Ben Cline holds Town Hall meeting in Warren County
Residents of Warren County were invited to a town hall event with Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) on December 5, 2022. This town hall event was an opportunity for residents of Warren County to engage in a dialogue with Rep. Cline about important issues in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.
Watch the Town Hall meeting on this exclusive Royal Examiner video.
Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputies help rescue horse after fall into pool
On December 2, 2022, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Deputy’s responded to a residence on Green Springs Rd. in Frederick County. This was regarding an 1800-pound draft horse that fell into a swimming pool. Once on the scene Deputies determined that the horse had knocked over the top rail of the fence around the pool, jumped the fence and walked out onto the nylon pool cover causing the horse to fall into the water. However, its head and part of the body remained above water.
The Draft Horse was in the 9-foot end of the pool. Deputies Cram, ACO Deputy Tasker and Sgt. Hawse started cutting the pool cover away from the horse. Once it was clear of the cover and haltered, the horse was pulled to the shallow end of the pool where it was able to stand and catch its breath. Deputies were able to guide the horse up the stairs to the pool deck and into the yard.
The Veterinarian who handles the horse was called and advised to dry the horse as good as possible, feed it hay and keep it moving. That information was passed on to the owner’s children that arrived on scene. At the time of this email the horse was doing fine.
“You just never know what type of calls we respond to every day. This is one for the books. We are happy that it was witnessed, and we could respond to assist. Deputies were ready to go in the water if needed to make sure the horse stayed above water,” Sheriff Lenny Millholland observed of the incident.
Local doctors take time out to again treat third world country residents of Honduras
For the past 14 years, local Dr. Thomas (call me “Tommy”) Ball has ducked out of Front Royal Family Practice to spend up to two weeks leading a medical team to serve the people of Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Dr. Ball – okay, we’ll call him Tommy from here on – has always considered serving the under-served a core mission of his medical practice. For the past 20 years Valley Health has recognized and supported that mission as part of his faculty position at the Shenandoah Valley Family Practice Residency. “Valley Health recognizes that young doctors want to understand Global Health and want to contribute internationally. They allow me to devote time as a teacher to global health issues and they support our work overseas,” he told us.
Medical faculty from around Virginia have formed a nonprofit organization, SAGE (Students And Global Engagement), focused on introducing trainees to a small community in rural Honduras. As Tommy describes it, “We attempt to foster better health among the Hondurans and to expose Americans to the needs people face in a third world setting. It is a two-way street in which both parties benefit.”
SAGE helped build a small mountainside clinic in the village of Pinares, Honduras. They send medical teams for one to two-week stretches three times a year at four-month intervals. The area they serve is approximately the size of Warren County, with similar mountainous terrain. Average take-home pay for the mostly agricultural workers around Pinares is about $3-dollars a day (yes, a day, emphasized Ball).
Medication, some donated by Valley Health, helps patients cope with a variety of diseases including familiar problems such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis, as well as problems uncommon here such as parasites caused by contaminated water. SAGE tries to go beyond just medication and address the underlying social factors that foster illness. In recent years they have donated monthly food packages to families with young children and filters to improve the safety of drinking water.
This fall the team included Dr. Paulius Mui and Dr. Sean Sutphen from the residency training program and seasoned local physician Dr. Shyama Rosenfeld, as well as support personnel in pharmacy, emergency transport, and anthropology.
Tommy has developed close ties and friendships in the community SAGE serves. He notes that he is older than most volunteers, but hopes he still has a few more years left of visiting and doing his best to improve health conditions in Pinares. “We have the personnel who want to help, but we are always struggling financially,” Tommy said, hoping that local service clubs and other non-profits might see their way to help support SAGE.
If you, the reader, are interested and require additional information, email Tommy at Front Royal Family Practice (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the SAGE website (sage-community.com). And yes, you may call him Tommy!