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Warren County Fire and Rescue Services Chief Richard Mabie announces retirement



Warren County Fire and Rescue Services Chief Richard E. Mabie announced today that he will retire effective December 31, 2020. Chief Mabie was appointed as the County’s very first Chief of Fire and Rescue Services on August 7, 1995, and has more than 50 years of public service in Virginia. Prior to joining Warren County, Chief Mabie served for 25 years in the Richmond City Fire Department with his last position held as Captain. Chief Mabie also served for 13 years as Chief of the Hanover Courthouse Volunteer Fire Company in Hanover County, Virginia.

Doug Stanley, County Administrator, stated, “Congratulations to Chief Mabie on his pending retirement. The progress that our community has made in the development of a county-wide Fire and Rescue Department is due to the hard work and dedication of Chief Mabie. During his 25+ year tenure, we have added the North Warren Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, added staffing to provide five 24/7 stations, completed a fire and rescue study of the community, and will soon be completing the new Rivermont Fire Station. I have been most impressed over the years with his work ethic and willingness to be a hands-on chief, personally running most of the significant calls in the community during his tenure. We have been fortunate as a community to have had such a dedicated leader of our fire and rescue services.”

Chief Mabie said, “On August 1, 1995, I received the honor of becoming the first Fire Chief of the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. As I look back at the past 25 years of service to this Department and community, I take great pride in knowing what we as a Department have accomplished. I have strived to build a Department capable of serving our community with the highest level of professionalism, dedication, and service possible. This could only have been accomplished by a diverse group of career and volunteer men and women that serve this community every day, of whom I am extremely proud! I walked into my office on my first day without an organized Department. I leave 25 years later an organization that is truly dedicated to serving our community as ‘One Department’ with ‘One Mission’. We are now very respected by other public safety agencies throughout the Shenandoah Valley.”

Chief Mabie added, “No fire department leader can succeed by himself. I appreciate the support of Doug Stanley as our County Administrator, together with the support that the men and women in this department, the Fire Chiefs’ Advisory Staff, elected officials, and the community have provided me over the past 25 years.”

The Warren County Fire and Rescue Office is located at 200 Skyline Vista Drive, Suite 200, Front Royal, VA, telephone (540) 636-3830. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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A community’s musical sub-culture rallies around one of its own



It was a musical and social community coming together in support of one of its own on Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, at Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Virginia Beer Museum. The father and long-time musical fixture at the center of the event was James Vaughan, drummer in a series of family-grounded bands over four decades based out of Front Royal. Vaughan, whose current band is Aftershock with brother Duane (aka Dewey), daughter Reno, cousin Dean Smith, guitarist Doug Hess, and Lenny Barnhart on the chessboard, vocals and keyboards, is recovering from a series of two strokes suffered April 30.

Sunday’s benefit show, silent auctions and other fundraising efforts featuring what was advertised as a dozen musical acts, give or take, was to help defer medical costs associated with James’ stroke. But even more so as the event billed “Front Royal’s Woodstock” progressed from 1 p.m. to slightly after 9 p.m., it seemed an expression of affection and concern for an integral part of the local musical arts community.

Happy Father’s Day, dad – James and Reno share a moment during a packed schedule socially and musically just seven weeks after James’ series of two strokes essentially made his right side dysfunctional. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

“This is like a high school reunion, except with people you WANT to hang out with,” was one description of the myriad familiar faces with perhaps a few more years on them than the last time you encountered them on or off stage.

James brother Dewey made a point of thanking all the involved musicians for the time, talent and energy they contributed to the event. He also acknowledged the large turnout of friends, fans and patrons that made the fundraising aspect what he called “very successful”. Included among those friends and patrons Caterer Will Bryan of “So Mote it Beef” also provided exquisite beef brisket at no charge, with cash contributions going to the fundraising effort for his brother, Dewey noted.

This story will be updated if additional ID or other information becomes available – and don’t forget to scroll down beyond the ads, there are 39 more photos attached to this story:

We caught James at his usual spot behind the drum kit about 15 minutes before the music was scheduled to start – But not today, just helping with the sound check he explained as he continues to deal with motor issue consequences of his strokes.

With keyboardist Donnie Walton

With Outlaw Country’s Donnie Poe

James with two more musicians, drummer Andy Rogers, center, and bass player Mike Chapman, the latter a former Vaughan brothers band mate in Lovewreck.

Hank Williams Sr., I mean Buddy Holly, or is it musician and musical stage actor Robbie Limon wishing James well on his road to recovery.

As his Aftershock bandmates with the aid of drummer Gary Peacemaker ready for next number on stage, James may be thinking ‘Who’d have ever thunk I was this popular?’

As Donnie Walton at keyboards behind her studies the itinerary with a scowl – ‘How many bands am I playing with?’ – Reno handles moderating duties in prepping the crowd for a little music and a lot of love.

On solo/duet stage 1, Hank Gorecki kicks off the music just after 1 p.m., as full band stage 2 PA dynamics are still being sorted out with the help of Aftershock’s Lenny Barnhart. Below, later Gorecki retook stage 1 with a little help from a ‘bucket-bass’ player.

Then it was From the Heart’s John Landes on vocals and guitar, with a little help from Chuck Ritenour on bass, and later Jeff Settle on drums.

Mid-afternoon to fill a brief itinerary gap, Aftershock – or was it billed as Afterstroke yesterday? – took to the stage for a rendition of The Hollies classic ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ which Reno introduced with a little Father’s Day spin – ‘He is heavy, he’s my dad’. Say what, dad James may be thinking further below.

Two perspectives of The Other Band, above from left drummer Pete Deutsch, Chuck Ritenour, and guitarists Ralph Fortune and Billy Lucas sandwiching keyboardist Donnie Walton; below in reverse.

Shae Parker’s River Driven was up with a slightly altered lineup, which I’m pretty sure I heard introduced as River Bend with the lineup of, from left, Tim Grant, Parker, Stacy Horton, drums, Chris Howerton, guitar and Donnie Walton keyboards.

And there was food – above, C&C Frozen Treats William Huck goes off the ice cream diet for a well-dressed burger; below, So Mote It Beef’s Will Bryan indicates it’s thumbs up at the food stand. – Hope you got to try some of Bryan’s ‘to-die-for’ beef brisket from which all proceeds went to the fundraising effort.

And it was service with a smile from Brittany, left, and Brooke in the Va. Beer Museum’s Helltown Saloon.

Despite the midday heat and humidity the crowd continued to expand through the afternoon taking advantage of shade from any angle: tents, nearby buildings, the perimeter fence, trees – and the AC was kicking inside.

Hugs all around: above, as Shae Parker looks on, his drummer Stacy Horton hugs James Vaughan’s sister, Beth. Below, James and former Eyesoar guitarist Pat Flowers, left, discuss a reunion lineup set.

Excel, from left, Keith Will, brothers Greg (bass) and Bev (vocals) Williams and the ever-present Donnie Walton, with some Wines drum propulsion, attract some more contributions to the donation drum stage front.

I wasn’t expecting Beethoven: From stage 1, Joe Martin attracted the attention of musicians and non-musicians alike with a little guitar-riffing of Beethoven’s Ninth, including the Ode To Joy chorus. Oh thank you, it’s just a cover.

Rumor had it Dewey Vaughan may have been possessed by the ghostly voice of Jim Morrison during a cover of The Doors Roadhouse Blues. The accompaniment of the excellent sax player whose name I don’t have, and Seven Bends bassist JR Almquist and drummer Gary Peacemaker may have helped. Vaughan was filling in for Seven Bends vocalist Dustin Pence, absent on first child-delivery duty.

Reno Vaughan is accompanied by backup vocalists Cindy Abramo and daughter Adrian, far left, during the set.

Maybe we should invite dad back to the stage, Reno may have been thinking – so they did. Perhaps he wasn’t ready for an attack on the full drum kit yet, but the tambourine is one small step for mankind in that direction.

Cell phone videoing became popular at various points …

… as did dancing for those not video-phoning.

Guitarist Chris Howerton attracted some attention with some deep leads, including if I’m not mistaken, a stirring rendition of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.

Donnie Poe led Outlaw Country to the stage, where they were soon joined by vocalist Lucille Ball, below. – I swear that’s what Dewey told me, explaining that she is the wife of band guitarist Kevin Ball. So, her parents didn’t do that to her, it was her choice.

If you missed this epoch party-concert, that’s on you. It was well-advertised online and physically, as illustrated on the windows of two nearby Chester Street businesses, John Landes’s Barbershop and Ann Shaffer’s New Creations Hair Salon. The poster, featuring photos of James Vaughan’s musical forays starting at an estimated (by brother Dewey) age 17 in second photo down.

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Traffic Delays Expected – Happy Creek Roadway Project (VDOT)



Residents and visitors are advised that Happy Creek Road, from the Town of Front Royal limits east to the railroad crossing near Dismal Hollow Road, is now closed to local traffic only. Dismal
Hollow Road will remain open and accessible from the east side of Happy Creek Road / Low Water Bridge / and Howellsville Road.

VDOT anticipates Norfolk Southern (NS) will begin railroad crossing work sometime between Monday, July 5, and Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Norfolk Southern will attempt to minimize the amount of time the crossing is physically impassible during construction; however, residents should be mindful that such closure requires careful planning for all emergency responses, which will be approached as if the crossing is impassible at that time.

The Warren County Emergency Communications Center Emergency (ECC) will continually monitor the situation to provide the best coordination for fire, rescue, and law enforcement response to the area impacted by the construction. The ECC will maintain contact with the on-site VDOT inspector during the project, as appropriate.

(Press Release, Warren County Sheriff’s Office)

Portion of Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) in Warren County to close for road construction work this summer

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Newcomer florist arrives in town, takes over Fussell Florist from retiree Betty Showers



Front Royal flower lady Betty Showers called it quits Thursday, June 17, handing over the ownership papers of her flower shop, Front Royal Fussell Florist, to new owner Katie Bonnet who will reopen for business on Monday, June 21.

Showers, who has owned and operated the popular store at the corner of East 2nd Street and Commerce Avenue since December 2002, has a busy retirement schedule planned, including considerable travel around far flung relatives before settling in to quieter times with husband Steve at their 18th Street home. In all, she has enjoyed a total of 30 years in the flower business in Front Royal.

Betty Showers, left, and new proprietor Katie Bonnet, inside Fussell Florists at 202 East 2nd Street at the intersection with Commerce Avenue. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

Meanwhile, Bonnet, 27, and husband of four years, Daniel, an engineer, have settled into a downtown condominium while shopping around for a house in the area. Bonnet described a family interest in her store. Her parents, Mary and Chris O’Donnell, moved into the area with their daughter from Fairfax County, recently buying a house in nearby Middletown.

As described by Katie in an interview, the parents own the store and lease it to her, making it a family enterprise.

Despite her young age, Bonnet comes with experience as a floral designer having worked at Burke Florist in Fairfax, at the same time completing a degree in business from George Mason University.

Warmly attractive, Bonnet describes a future at her new store to include a small café, confessing that “hospitality” is the name of the game for her in future business. “It is a large part of my heart,” she said.

According to Showers, Front Royal Fussell Florist has been part of downtown commerce in Front Royal since September 1948 when Thomas F. Fussell opened the original store at 122 South Royal Avenue. It has flourished under several owners over the years, with the same name. It will continue as Fussell’s Florist with Katie Bonnet.

Betty Showers is passing the Fussell Florist ‘torch’ to Katie Bonnet, right, continuing a local business tradition dating to 1948 and Thomas F. Fussell.

As for Betty Showers, she isn’t giving up lightly. After her travels, she vows to get a part-time job in town, maybe even returning to help out Katie if needed during the busy, holiday times. Also, she will remain active in the community gardens activity that provides all manner of vegetables to needy citizens. As for another run in politics? Not ever, she vows, after a first unsuccessful dip into town politics in 2019.

Royal Examiner wishes Betty “a happy retirement” and her successor, Katie, a warm welcome to Front Royal and “much success in your business endeavor.”

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Warren County Habitat for Humanity is looking for a new Executive Director



The Warren County Habitat for Humanity, Inc. is looking for a new Executive Director.  The role of the executive director is to develop, administer, coordinate, manage, and implement the policies and procedures as developed and approved by the Board of Directors of Warren County Habitat for Humanity, Inc.

The Executive Director will be responsible for:
• Holding chief administrative responsibility for public accountability of the affiliate
• Administering and managing the daily operations of the Habitat office
• Authorizing expenditures within Board-approved guidelines
• Assisting Treasurer in preparing the annual budget
• Establishing regular office hours and supervising office staff and volunteers
• Overseeing proper maintenance of records and files to ensure confidentiality and legal compliance

Fundraising and Public Relations
• Assisting the Board and Development Committee in developing and implementing its fundraising plan and budget
• Working with Public Relations Committee in developing and implementing a public awareness strategy
• Representing Warren County Habitat to interested communities, churches, businesses, groups, foundations, and community leaders
• Assisting with grant proposal writing

• Serving as the primary communication link among the regional office, board members, committees, staff, families in waiting, homeowner families, and volunteers
• Assisting with the orientation of new board members and volunteers

The Executive Director will report to the President of the Board of Directors.

Experience in non-profit administration and fundraising is essential. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required. Applicant must be a self-starter who has the ability to interact well with partner families, board and committee members, and the community at large. Flexibility in work hours and computer knowledge is important.

This is a full-time position of approximately 28- 34 hours of work each week at the Habitat office during regular business hours (Mon – Fri, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm) plus an additional 6-12 hours of evening and weekend work. Occasional travel is required. Benefits include one week of paid vacation, prorated pay for federal holidays, mileage reimbursed at IRS rate, compensatory time may be available with prior approval of an officer of the Board, and training reimbursement for approved training or classes.

Interested? Contact Board President Amanda Slate

Visit their website for more information about Warren County Habitat for Humanity.


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VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for June 21 – 25, 2021



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.


*NEW* Mile marker 0 to 8, eastbound and westbound – Possible shoulder closures for litter-pickup operations, Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*NEW* Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound and westbound – Overnight alternating shoulder closures for roadside weed control, 8 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Mile marker 0 to 15, eastbound – Right shoulder closures for shoulder repairs, Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*NEW* Mile marker 7 to 6, westbound – Alternating lane closures for inspection of bridge over Crooked Run, Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

No lane closures reported.

No lane closures reported.

Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) – Road closed June 19-August 6 between Front Royal eastern town limits and Route 647 (Dismal Hollow Road) for a safety improvement project. Follow posted detour. Estimated project completion December 10.

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

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 Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Portion of Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) in Warren County to close for road construction work this summer


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Six-year-old brings recognition to Front Royal



When Jacob and Brittany Tomb and children Rex and Charlotte moved to Front Royal adjacent to the Shenandoah Valley Golf Course, they had no idea how that would affect their entire family. Jacob originally planned to use the golf course to continue to perfect his golf game, but when 5-year-old Rex requested his own golf clubs, Jacob found a used set that was a little big. Despite the size, he immediately started practicing putting and driving left-handed.

When Richard Runyon, owner of Shenandoah Valley Golf Course, noticed the young boy with skill and encouraged him to continue to use the course. They soon developed a friendship. In fact, when Richard was recently married, Rex was his ring bearer.

6-year-old Rex Tomb

Rex started asking for golf shoes and kept asking. Eventually, his father acquiesced and bought a used pair. As Rex continued to show promise and loved practicing, Jacob found golf clubs made for his height through U.S. Kids Golf. During the winter, the Tombs added a driving range in their garage and both father and son practiced. Jacob was amazed at his son’s natural swing. Although, a really good golfer himself, he didn’t try to make any corrections to his naturally beautiful swing, but occasionally helped tweak his putting.

As Rex progressed, it was natural to enter him into a 6-and-under golf tournament at Algonkian Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia. It was the first time they’d kept score and a joyous Rex finished the tournament, driving approximately 120 yards when needed, and shot an astounding birdie. Shooting 43 for 9 holes, Rex came in first. “

He liked it so much, we signed him up for more tournaments,” says Jacob.

Rex is next entered into the Virginia State Championship, June 22 and 27, at Ford’s Colony Country Club golf course in Williamsburg.

Throughout the first six tournaments, Rex averaged a second-place finish. His best score for 9 holes was 38. With Rex’s amazing placements, he’s been invited to the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships in Pinehurst, North Carolina, July 28-31, 2021, where he will be representing Front Royal.

Approximately 1,500 kids from around the world aged 12 and under are invited to this prestigious tournament. Sixty different countries are represented, and there will be more than 50 participants in Rex’s 6-and-under category.

Rex shows us one of his recent wins.


Jacob and Brittany are aware of the need to protect their young son from too much notoriety and want him to enjoy whatever sport he’s pursuing, which now also includes gymnastics and soccer. Last year, his favorite sport was riding a 50cc dirt bike.

Time will only tell Rex’s future, but those of us watching know that it will be amazing.

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Front Royal
5:47am8:41pm EDT
Feels like: 66°F
Wind: 5mph N
Humidity: 84%
Pressure: 29.79"Hg
UV index: 0

Upcoming Events

9:00 am Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Jun 21 @ 9:00 am – Jun 25 @ 12:00 pm
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation Experiment with video production through a variety of mediums including Claymation, LEGO® Minifigures, pipe cleaner creatures, and much more! Ninjas will capture images frame-by-frame and produce videos in a rapid prototyping style.[...]
12:00 pm FRWRC Women In Networking @ ONLINE
FRWRC Women In Networking @ ONLINE
Jun 23 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
FRWRC Women In Networking @ ONLINE
CLICK HERE for link to attend. Guest: Patty Fadeley, Blue Ridge Hospice *Event will also be Live on Facebook Topic: Blue Ridge Hospice FREE VIRTUAL EVENT “More than just another networking group”. FRWRC WIN is[...]
4:00 pm Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Jun 23 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Messy Makers and Art Adventures for Kids @ microWave Project
We are bringing back two of our most popular classes for the month of June, Messy Makers and Art Adventures! Messy Makers returns for the month of June on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm. With the warm weather[...]
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 23 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Winchester Royals Wednesday, June 23rd @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium Warren County Night at the Bing
5:30 pm Daisy Girl Scout Open House @ Living Water Christian Church
Daisy Girl Scout Open House @ Living Water Christian Church
Jun 24 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Daisy Girl Scout Open House @ Living Water Christian Church
The newly formed Daisy Girls Scout troop for Warren County is hosting an Open House on June 24th, 2021, from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. It is open to girls in Pre-school through 1st grade.[...]
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 24 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Purceville Cannons Thursday, June 24th @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium
all-day Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 26 – Jun 27 all-day
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Don’t miss your chance to camp out in the beautiful historic Mount Bleak backyard. See all that Sky Meadows has to offer through activities beginning at noon on Saturday and running until noon[...]
9:00 am Summer Wild Edible Plants: Earth... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Summer Wild Edible Plants: Earth... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 26 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Summer Wild Edible Plants: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn. Sky Meadows’ summer landscape comes alive with the bounty of nature. Join professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch to learn about the tasty wild edible plants of the Crooked Run Valley.[...]
5:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 27 @ 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Waynesboro Generals Sunday, June 27th @ 5 PM & 7:30 PM Double Header Game Bing Crosby Stadium
6:00 pm SCUMC Vacation Bible School @ Stephens City United Methodist Church
SCUMC Vacation Bible School @ Stephens City United Methodist Church
Jun 27 @ 6:00 pm – Jul 1 @ 8:15 pm
SCUMC Vacation Bible School @ Stephens City United Methodist Church
Dates: June 27 – July 1 Time: 6 pm to 8:15pm each night Place: Stephens City UM Church on Main Street Theme: Wilderness Escape – Moses leads the Israelite’s through the desert Ages: 4 years[...]