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Warren County Educational Endowment celebrates $1 million milestone



John LaBarca (left) WCEE Board Member and Past President at 2013 Golf Tournament. Photo courtesy of Warren County.

FRONT ROYAL – On Saturday, October 6th, the Board of Directors of the Warren County Educational Endowment (WCEE) celebrated reaching $1 million in investments. According to Endowment President Doug Stanley, “Since 1994, it has been our goal to grow the corpus or principal of the endowment to $1,000,000 which would generate an estimated $50,000+ per year in grants to support public education in Warren County. The corpus of the endowment is invested, and the income is used to directly assist in promoting creative efforts to foster educational excellence for the children of Warren County.”  Stanley also noted that, to date, the Endowment has awarded 135 grants totaling $454,428.67, and a new round is planned for later this month to give out an additional $45,000.

As of August of this year, the Endowment stands at approximately $1,005,000.  At the Endowment celebration Stanley, on behalf of the Board, current and former members, thanked all those in attendance for their support and contributions that have allowed the Endowment to reach this milestone stating, “Today we celebrate reaching this once distant milestone.  Ttomorrow we roll up our sleeves and start to work on the next goal that our Board has set – $2.5 million for 2025.”  To reach the next milestone, Stanley outlined a number of potential opportunities including:

  • Continue the annual fund drive and golf tournament fundraisers
  • Ask individual donors to consider making a bequest in their will for the Endowment.
  • Ask individual donors to consider donating their 401k withdrawal directly to the Endowment.
  • Consider donations of stock to avoid taking the capital gains tax hit while taking the full donation.
  • Encourage representatives of local business or industry to support the Endowment.

On behalf of the Endowment, Stanley thanked all of the Endowment’s supporters, large and small, for their steadfast support of the Endowment over the past 20+ years and for investing in the future of Front Royal-Warren County the youth of the community.

Stanley noted that the Endowment also celebrated the contributions of John LaBarca who recently passed away.  LaBarca was well-known in the community, having originally been involved in leading the team that selected the site and constructed the DuPont manufacturing facility in the 1970’s.  After plant start-up, he was assigned as Assistant Plant Manager through 1985, at which time he became the Plant Manager at the Moberly plant in Missouri.  He returned to Front Royal in 1990 as Plant Manager and remained in that position until his retirement in 2004.

According to founding member and long-time Board member John Marlow, “John has truly been the heart and soul of our organization.  Much of the success of the Warren County Educational Endowment can be credited to the vision and efforts of John LaBarca.  I do not believe that the highly successful ‘Project Lead the Way’ would even exist in Warren County without his leadership.”

Former Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Pamela McInnis added, “John LaBarca has always been a champion of education.  He has made a significant, positive impact on Warren County Public Schools.  John was a founding member of the Warren County Educational Endowment and through his leadership, guidance, and active participation, the Endowment has supported public schools and has played an important part in improving the educational experience for children in Warren County.  Our Project Lead the Way Program’s success and expansion have been the result of John LaBarca’s leadership in engaging businesses and industry to become involved in educating the youth of their community.  We will be forever grateful for his interest and assistance.”

Doug Stanley added, “John was a fixture of this organization since its inception.  As a representative of local industry, John brought credibility to the organization.  He truly understood the connection between education and the workforce.  He brought institutional knowledge to each and every meeting and has been instrumental in helping the Endowment grow from a start-up organization to one with a corpus of over $1 million.”

The Endowment is a catalyst in improving the education and learning environment in Warren County Public Schools.  Sometimes private support of public efforts is necessary to incubate an idea or a new approach that helps students compete in a global marketplace, instills passion for life-long learning, and sparks a vision to strive for success.  Programs funded by the Endowment are sponsored by the public school system and are consistent with its mission and direction.  They are intended to initiate sustained improvement in the fundamental capability of the school system and enhance the attractiveness of the community through the promotion of educational excellence.

Persons interested in supporting the Endowment can contact the Endowment at

Local News

Daytime lane closures for lane striping on I66 between Route 28 and I-495 on December 19th



FAIRFAX, Va. – Rolling double-lane closures will take place on eastbound I-66 between Route 28 (Sully Road) and I-495 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and westbound on I-66 between I-495 and Route 28 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 19. Crews will be refreshing pavement markings as part of the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project.

Drivers are advised to use caution and expect potential delays.

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Local News

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Checkpoint Strikeforce



The Front Royal Police Department will be participating in Virginia’s 17th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign and enforcement will be from December 18th – January 3, 2019. This campaign is geared toward spreading awareness and to combat the rise in drunk driving deaths this holiday season. The 2018 campaign, which Governor Northam helped launch in August, combines high-visibility enforcement with researched based advertising to remind likely offenders to get a safe ride home.

Partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement mobilization, the Front Royal Police Department will be conducting checkpoints and extra officers will be conducting saturation patrols during this holiday season.

“This time of year brings loved ones from all over the Commonwealth together to celebrate the holiday season,” said Chief Kahle Magalis “With the increased traffic, extra law enforcement officers will be working to apprehend impaired drivers and ensure our citizens get home safely to their families.”

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Local News

High Knob home destroyed in Sunday fire, cause unknown



A late-night Sunday fire destroyed the home and vehicles at 81 Trent Trail Court in High Knob, county officials say. / Warren County Fire & Rescue photos.

WARREN COUNTY  – A late-night Sunday evening fire destroyed a Warren County home in the High Know Mountain neighborhood, according to a media release from Warren County Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.

The release states that around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, fire and rescue units were dispatched to 81 Trent Trail Court for a reported residential structure fire. The 911 caller reported that visible flames could be seen on the exterior of the home and that the blaze had spread to two parked vehicles and the siding of the home.

Two vehicles were also destroyed in the fire, according to Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.

The first unit arriving on the scene around 11:10 p.m. reported two passenger vehicles and a single-story, single family home involved in fire. Additionally, the fire was threatening additional structures and wildland areas surrounding them because the house was situated below the grade of the adjoining access road, as well as being perched along a steep ravine.

Maiatico said firefighters took a defensive approach and attempted to protect exposures until the arrival of additional resources.

During the incident, according to the release, firefighters encountered extreme hazardous conditions, including: below freezing temperatures, prevailing winds, icy roads, limited water supply, and difficult access. Firefighters remained on the scene throughout the night and morning to ensure full extinguishment of the fire and to ensure there was no threat to adjoining properties.

Though the fire totaled the home, no one was hurt in the incident, officials say.

The cause of the fire was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office. Maiatico said that though Investigators have worked meticulously alongside the homeowner’s insurance company to determine the cause of the blaze, no conclusion has been reached.

The home, two vehicles, and an outbuilding were deemed a total loss. There were no reported injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Fire Investigator Raymond Cross at 540-636-3830 or email

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Local News

Elks Lodge, Police provide an early Christmas to some area families



(L-R)Sergeant R. Seal, Major K. Nicewarner, Chief K. Magalis, Detective Z. King, MPO T. Clingerman, Officer R. Lowery and Officer J. Seal with Santa & Mrs. Claus and Elroy.
Some 50 local children were feted at the Elks’ Lodge on Guard Hill Road recently.
The Dec.8 party provided the children an opportunity to get to know some of Front Royal’s police contingent who handed out presents, purchased with a $2,500 Elks National Foundation Promise grant, along with Santa Claus who did his share of the gifting.
Another highlight for the kids was the pizzas provided by the Melting Pot, Fox’s and Anthony’s.
Local Walmart manager Rob Morris brought along members of Front Royal Fire Softball team. Walmart donated 30 boxes of food for needy families and team members distributed them.
Front Royal Mayor Hollis Tharp and Elroy the Elk also attended.

Two of the children who received bicycles and new safety helmets.

Walmart manager Rob Morris with some of the softball team.

Sergeant Robbie Seal & Elk Lodge Secretary, Jane Wine (on either side of Elroy) co-chaired the event again this year.

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Local News

Front Royal World War II veteran’s memory honored 74 years on



At left, sister Charlotte of Stephens City and nephew William Hallman of Front Royal. At right, nephews Sam and John Hallman of Front Royal, and niece Belinda Hallman. Todd Lewis photo.

On Dec. 17, 1944, a 21-year-old soldier from Front Royal was killed on the World War II battlefield in Europe.

On Dec. 16, 2018, 74 years later, members of his family gathered at his grave site in Front Royal’s historic Pioneer Cemetery to honor his memory.

Todd Lewis, who recently moved to Warren County and is a self-styled wartime historian, brought the group together after researching the soldier’s history. His narrative will be cited and the local soldier will be honored at next year’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Gazebo.

The soldier, who lost his life in the famed Battle of the Bulge – specifically the Malmeday Massacre – was Samuel Albert Hallman, born and educated in Front Royal and, when he enlisted, was working on the building of the former American Viscous site under the aegis of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hallman, in the final year of the war, arrived in Fort Sill, Oklahoma for boot camp, then immediately was assigned to active duty in France and Belgium.

Pvt. Samuel Albert Hallman (left) with wartime buddy. Archive photo.

Less than a few months later, Hallman, a fresh-faced private with Battery B, 285 Field Artillery Observation Battalion, was dead, his name later etched on the memorial to all local Second World War veterans who died in the conflict. That memorial stands in the Warren County Courthouse grounds in downtown Front Royal.

Among family survivors who live in Warren County, and who were at the Pioneer Cemetery last Sunday, was Charlotte Partlowe of Stephens City, Hallman’s one remaining sister, now in her eighties and seven years younger than her brother, Sam. She said after the war their mother, Odessa, received Samuel’s decoration, the Purple Heart, from the war department. She recalled Sam going straight out to work from grade school to the CCC as a construction worker.

“Those were days (in the 1930s) when times were poor and jobs hard to get,” she recalled. She said her brother had turned 21 when he died. She would have been about 14. Charlotte recalled that during his youth Samuel was an ardent hunter and fisherman.

While there are more Hallmans in and outside the area, those who mourned at his graveside Sunday included three nephews, William, 60; John, 54; and Sam, 46, all of Front Royal. Sister Charlotte attended along with a niece, Belinda Hallman.

Faulkner, who did the research on Hallman, said the Malmeday Massacre, part of the better-known Battle of the Bulge, involved German SS troops firing first on Hallman’s battery, many of which stood, hands raised in surrender. They were mowed down by the German troops. Faulkner said Hallman survived the initial assault, making it to the shelter of a hedgerow, making plans to escape. In a break for it, Samuel was hit and severely wounded. Members of a tank crew walked down the lane where the Front Royal man was lying with his fellow soldiers. The German SS shot each of them to death with their pistols.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower spread news of the killings among American troops, later described as “the biggest massacre in U.S. Army history,” to effectively spur them on to eventual victory in the key Battle of the Bulge.

Samuel Albert Hallman – R.I.P.

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Local News

Six-vehicle crash in Frederick County shuts down Route 37, injures deputy



FREDERICK COUNTY – A Friday afternoon six-vehicle crash in Frederick County sent multiple victims to Winchester Medical Center for treatment and shut down Route 37 Southbound between the Winchester Medical Center and Route 50 exits for about two hours.

A Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) cruiser was one of the vehicles involved in the accident, which occurred around 3:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Initial reports indicated that a deputy may have been struck while on a traffic stop or otherwise engaged in law enforcement activity on the shoulder of the highway, as those calling 9-1-1 saw the cruiser off the road along with a semi tractor-trailer. A media release from Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Milholland’s office stated that the FCSO cruiser was one of the six vehicles involved in the crash but was traveling southbound with the other victims, and not stationary along the shoulder of the road.

In addition to the police cruiser, four passenger vehicles and commercial motor vehicle were involved in the accident. Six drivers and two passengers were evaluated on scene by rescue personnel and four drivers and both passengers were then transported to Winchester Medical Center for treatment.

The FCSO deputy, whose vehicle was struck in the driver’s side with heavy impact was trapped in her vehicle and had to be extricated by Frederick County Fire and Rescue personnel before being transported to WMC.

Lieutenant Warren Gosnell of the FCSO Traffic Division is heading up the investigation of the crash stating, “Multiple witnesses and drivers have confirmed the presence of a seventh vehicle that is believed to have been the catalyst of the crash and that subsequently fled the scene. This crash had the potential to be deadly and we are all thankful that those being treated appear to be suffering from only a minor injury.”

Gosnell stated that, based on driver and witness statements, it appears the seventh vehicle had been seen driving in an erratic manner and was possibly being observed by the deputy when the driver suddenly stopped in the roadway on his own.
“We have several independent reports that a black passenger vehicle stopped in the middle lane for reasons unknown causing everyone behind him to brake hard and starting the chain reaction crash,” Gosnell concluded.

Gosnell identified the deputy involved as Deputy Kristen E. Bradford, a three-year veteran of the agency, who is also a member of the Traffic Division. He said that Deputy Bradford was admitted to Winchester Medical Center for further treatment and evaluation for a concussion and non-life-threatening injuries.

Sheriff Lenny Millholland added, “The good Lord was watching down on those involved in this incident today and we are so very thankful for that and for all the well wishes Kristen and our other deputies have received from members of the public.”

Millholland continued, “It’s one of the worst calls you can receive, as a Sheriff or Chief, that one of your people has been involved in a crash and is hurt. I’m proud of our people and how they responded to the scene yesterday and took care of Kristen while also doing their jobs.”

Gosnell went on to say, “At this time, based on the investigation and statements given by drivers, passengers, and witnesses, none of the six drivers involved will be charged.”

Lieutenant Gosnell said anyone with information regarding the identity of the black vehicle or the male driver involved in the incident should contact the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department.

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