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Warren County School Board OKs new transportation slot, Bradd scholarship

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The Warren County School Board on Wednesday unanimously approved both a new special transportation route assistant position and the forthcoming Dr. Tripp Bradd Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded to local high school students in honor of one of the area’s most well-known physicians.

WCPS Personnel Director George “Bucky” Smith asked board members to approve the new Special Transportation Route Assistant position for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) to meet the significantly increased demand for special transportation services in the school district.

Currently, transportation department staff must attend Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings for students with disabilities; coordinate special transportation routes that also include students experiencing homelessness; and accommodate additional daily changes as they arise, among other functions, Smith explained.

At the same time, transportation staff also has been and will be expected this school year to transport students during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by utilizing social distancing and re-organizing staff, placing even heavier workloads on them.

The new position will include fulfilling those duties, as well as creating transportation plans for students with special needs; building positive relationships with parents and students with special needs; analyzing special needs routes and schedules and making recommendations for changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the special transportation program; assisting in the interviewing and hiring recommendations of special transportation drivers and aides; driving a school vehicle as needed, transporting students to and from school; observing safety precautions while loading and discharging students and while the bus is in motion; inspecting equipment and reporting defects to shop foreman or director; completing trip logs, reports, and timesheets; and complying with and supporting school and division regulations and policies, among other tasks, according to Smith.

“This position will greatly assist the department in covering their 11 to 12 hours of operation, which they are currently doing with a staff of three,” Smith told School Board members during their July 1 regular meeting.

Separate from general transportation routes, WCPS special transportation routes go in all different directions, Smith said. For instance, to Stanton, Va., West Virginia, and Manassas, Va., as WCPS works out routes with other school divisions, meeting them halfway to pick up or drop off students from both districts that may be attending the same school program or facility, for example. It’s a complicated system.

“We have had multiple situations over the last year or so where there have been a lot of communication issues between our division and a particular facility,” said Smith. “Just imagine that you have a child with special needs. If that child isn’t on time or doesn’t get home on time, it creates a lot of stress” for both the student, the family, and the district.

And while WCPS has tried during the last five years to get ahead of this situation, Smith said budget constraints have put the school district “two steps behind where we need to be.”

Now, however, the position is more urgently needed as the COVID-19 pandemic could mean that WCPS will be transporting even higher numbers of medically vulnerable and fragile students, he said.

The position also will ensure consistent services for students with special needs and does not create an additional cost as the funds for the position are included within the 2020-21 school year transportation budget, Smith said.

School Board members Arnold Williams, Jr., Catherine Bower, James Wells, Ralph Rinaldi, and Kristen Pence voted unanimously to approve the new position. Advertisements for the position will begin immediately so that the new hire may assist with the demands of the upcoming school year, said Smith.

In the other notable action agenda item, Mr. Smith presented the School Board members with a request from Jan Bradd, wife of local physician Dr. Floyd “Tripp” Bradd III, who died on May 3 following a long illness.

“My family and friends would like to honor a graduating senior student-athlete pursuing a career in the healthcare field,” said Jan Bradd. The Dr. Tripp Bradd Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one male or female Warren County High School student, and one male or female Skyline High School student, according to Jan Bradd, who said the scholarships will be awarded beginning with the 2021 graduating class. 

On behalf of their family, Jan Bradd in a May 13 letter to the School Board requested that members approve the establishment of a memorial scholarship at both WCPS high schools in her husband’s name.

“My family and friends would like to honor a graduating senior student-athlete pursuing a career in the healthcare field,” wrote Jan Bradd, who lives in Lake Frederick, Va.

The Dr. Tripp Bradd Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one male or female Warren County High School student, and one male or female Skyline High School student, according to Jan Bradd, who said the scholarships will be awarded beginning with the 2021 graduating class. The amount and the longevity of each scholarship will be determined, she said.

The criteria for winning a scholarship will be that a student must be accepted to a two-year or a four-year college; has plans to go into any healthcare profession, and is a WCPS student-athlete.

During the School Board meeting, Jan Bradd said she and her husband have always loved Warren County and were very involved with WCPS athletics and the school system, from which their four children graduated.

“I know this would make him very happy to honor our students here,” she said.

Dr. Bradd worked in emergency rooms throughout North Carolina before coming to Front Royal in 1984 and joining the Front Royal Family Practice, according to information provided by WCPS Director of Secondary Instruction Alan Fox.

Dr. Bradd then worked at Warren Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room for two years. Because the doctor missed family medicine, he then opened Skyline Family Practice in 1994.

Since 1986, Dr. Bradd was the team physician on the sidelines for the football teams at both Warren County High School and Skyline High School. He was the original coordinator of the county-wide athletic sports physicals.

In his personal life, Dr. Bradd was an athlete and swam the Chesapeake Bay Swim and the Potomac River Swims for many years and also competed in multiple triathlons.

The School Board voted unanimously to accept the scholarship.

“This dedication is phenomenal,” said School Board Vice Chairwoman Catherine Bower. “We went to a lot of football games and always saw [Dr. Bradd] there.”

School Board member James Wells, a former colleague of Dr. Bradd at Warren Memorial, wrote a statement that he read to Jan Bradd expressing his admiration for her husband, whom Wells called “a man of integrity” who was especially supportive of WCPS.

Dr. Bradd was instrumental in assisting WCPS in addressing and creating concussion protocols and testing, Wells said, noting that the doctor’s volunteerism and support of WCPS also helped earn him induction into the Warren County High School Hall of Fame.

Donations to the scholarship fund may be sent to Mrs. Tripp Bradd, 127 Cabbage White Dr., Lake Frederick, VA, 22630.

Wells motioned to accept the scholarship request, which was seconded by Bower and then unanimously approved by the board.

In other action on Wednesday night, School Board members also unanimously approved the $45,348 purchase by WCPS of 60 Dell personal computers for staff and student use.

“These computers were bid through a state contract,” WCPS Technology Director Timothy Grant said. “The funding for these computers will come out of the WCPS technology budget,” which includes funds from a state technology grant.

The Warren County School Board also unanimously voted to approve participation by Ressie Jeffries Elementary School in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP participation means all students who attend Ressie Jeffries Elementary School are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch at no charge.

The Virginia Department of Education first identified Ressie Jeffries Elementary School as CEP eligible and approved Ressie Jeffries to receive the federal funds to cover the program for a four-year cycle, according to WCPS Assistant Superintendent Melody Sheppard.

Additionally, School Board members unanimously approved another contract for the A.S. Rhodes Elementary School renovation project, this one totaling $310,100 and awarded to Lantz Construction of Winchester Inc., which will provide and install windows, marker boards, tack boards, and roller shades at the school.

During his first report to the School Board, WCPS Superintendent Chris Ballenger — who started his first day on the job yesterday — said that virtual summer school begins on Monday, July 6 for elementary and middle school students. He noted that high school summer school already is underway.

Kindergarten in-person registration also starts on July 6 at the elementary schools and “will capture a lot of those parents who may have been a little reluctant to utilize the [new] online format” or who prefer face-to-face interaction, Ballenger said, adding that he’s going to take the opportunity to visit those schools to meet staff and parents next week.

Athletic conditioning for fall sports also will begin on July 6, he said.

“Moving forward,” said Ballenger, “there are some things in process” that WCPS central office staff will continue to work on, a likely reference to the forthcoming plan for holding school this fall during the pandemic.

To watch the entire Warren County School Board July 1 meeting, click on the Royal Examiner link below.

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Adopters can help Winchester SPCA’s holiday wishes come true with $100K from the Petco Foundation

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Individuals who have adopted a pet from the Winchester SPCA are invited to share how their pet has changed their life to help give your local SPCA a chance to receive a $100,000 grand prize Holiday Wishes grant award from the Petco Foundation. In partnership with BOBS from Skechers, the Petco Foundation is granting more than $750,000 this holiday season to qualified animal welfare organizations across the country. Awards will range from $5,000 to $100,000, and adopters with winning submissions will receive up to a $1,000 Petco shopping spree and a prize pack with BOBS from Skechers shoes.

“We’re calling on all Winchester SPCA adopters to help us earn a lifesaving grant award this holiday season from the Petco Foundation by sharing their stories,” said Winchester SPCA Executive Director Lavenda Denney “Thank you for choosing adoption; now you can make our holiday wishes come true by helping us earn lifesaving funds to bring more pets in need together with loving families.”

Through September 23, adopters can submit their story at petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes. Stories should highlight how pets have changed their adopter’s life for the better, in big and small ways, and should celebrate the love of their adopted pet. Submissions must include four photos to illustrate the story and can include video as well. Adopters must contact the Winchester SPCA for the organization’s point of contact, email and phone number to include in their submission. Adopters are also encouraged to visit the Holiday Wishes homepage for more information and to read stories from previous winners.

The deadline to submit a Holiday Wishes story is September 23, 2020, noon CST. Winners will be announced during the holiday season. For a full list of prizes and submission FAQs, visit petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes.

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Crime/Court

State Police release details of high-speed chase, arrest of Herndon woman

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On Wednesday, August 12, the Virginia State Police (VSP) issued a press release on the circumstance of the multi-jurisdiction pursuit and arrest of Herndon resident Jennifer L. Arnn. The release indicates the date of the incident as Thursday, August 6. Our initial report indicated the incident occurred on Friday, August 7, which is listed as her booking date on the RSW Jail website. VSP Public Information Officer Brent Coffey explained that Arnn spent Thursday night at the hospital for injuries incurred during the incident, which appear to be reflected in her jail booking mug shot.

Jennifer Arnn faces one animal cruelty charge resulting in the fatality of dog or cat; one reckless driving charge, one vandalism charge of intentional damaging of public property. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

That incident began with a reckless driving “Be on the Lookout” issued in Berkley County, West Virginia, after which VSP spotted the vehicle on I-81 in Frederick County, Virginia.
Below is the VSP release in its entirety:

WARREN CO., Va. – A Herndon, Va. woman is behind bars on multiple charges after she fled law enforcement Thursday (August 6, 2020). Virginia State Police have charged Jennifer L. Arnn, 39, in Warren County with three felony counts of assault on law enforcement, one felony count of intentional damage, one felony count of eluding law enforcement, one felony count of animal cruelty, one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence, and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.

On Thursday at approximately 11:17 a.m. the Berkley County Sheriff’s Office issued a “Be On the Lookout” for a reckless driver. A short time later state police observed the suspect vehicle, a 2016 Mazda CS-X on I-81 at the 307-mile marker in Frederick County. State police initiated a traffic stop on the Mazda which stopped but took off when approached by a trooper.

The Mazda continued on Rt. 277 in Frederick County. The Mazda was eventually contained and stopped on I-66 at the 4.6-mile marker in Warren County. The driver, Arnn, was taken into custody without further incident. Arnn was transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.

During the course of the pursuit, Arnn pushed her dog out the window. State police were able to locate the dog, but it did not survive its injuries.

Arnn struck three state police cruisers during the pursuit. One of the state police troopers suffered minor injuries during the incident.

The pursuit reached speeds of up to 100 mph.

Woman held at RSW Jail after state police chase, animal abuse-fatality charge

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Lynchburg City Council appoints Doug Stanley as new City Manager

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On Tuesday, August 11, Lynchburg City Council ended its search for a new City Manager with a vote to appoint Douglas P. Stanley to succeed the current City Manager, Bonnie Svrcek who will retire effective September 1, 2020. Stanley is the former County Administrator for Warren County, Virginia. He will assume his duties as City Manager on September 1, 2020.

Before taking a public vote during City Council’s work session, Mayor MaryJane Dolan stated that City Council had conducted a nationwide search for the City Manager’s position, and they were pleased with having had a number of very qualified candidates to consider. “Even with having to deal with a nationwide pandemic, we had a very competitive pool of talented candidates from across the country,” said Dolan. “Council has been very deliberate in making its choice, and we have complete confidence in Doug being the right person to lead the organization. Bonnie leaves behind a strong leadership team that will provide great support for him as he becomes acclimated in his new position.”

Stanley served as Warren County’s administrator for 20 years. He began his career in public service at the age of 25 when he was hired by Warren County as a Zoning Administrator. He became Planning Director at the age of 27 and then County Administrator in 2000, only the fourth person to hold the position of administrator in the county.

During his tenure with Warren County, he directed the construction of an over $200 million Capital Improvement Program including the construction of a new high school, renovation of a junior high school to a high school, the renovation of a former high school to a middle school and the construction of a new middle school, a library, a community center, and the renovation of a baseball stadium. He also spearheaded the concept and development of the creation of a three jurisdiction regional jail and served as its board chair.

Stanley is a graduate of Mary Washington College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. He received a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Shenandoah Institute, Marsh Institute. Stanley is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Institute-Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia.

His wife Jenny is an English teacher, and they have two children, Jenna and Whill.

“I want to thank the Lynchburg City Council for selecting me to be the next City Manager. My family and I look forward to this fantastic opportunity the next chapter in life brings. For me, it is not simply the job; it is about getting involved and becoming part of the community. I look forward to meeting citizens and stakeholders and becoming an active participant in our community.

Lynchburg is known throughout the Commonwealth for its stable and visionary leadership both at the Council and staff levels. I am honored to be following in the footsteps of Bonnie Svrcek and Kim Payne, two people who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and I look forward to working with the dedicated staff of the City of Lynchburg in moving this community forward. I have a proven track record of 20+ years of local government management experience having been successful in Warren County, Virginia in helping the community rebuild its tax base, improve its infrastructure, and build strategic relationships with community partners and stakeholders. I am proud to have left Warren County a stronger, more vibrant, and resilient community, and I look forward to bringing that experience to the Hill City.”

(Press release from the City of Lynchburg)

Town Talk: A conversation with Doug Stanley

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New Student Welcome Week coming up at LFCC

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With the start of this fall semester’s first classes less than two weeks away, LFCC is rolling out the welcome mat – virtually, in most cases – for its new students.

A series of online sessions is scheduled to provide information on everything from career pathways, to available resources, to what a typical college day is like. Additionally, LFCC swag and important information will be handed out during curbside pickups.

“This year, with physical and social distancing a must, we’ve been given the chance to reinvent our New Student Welcome program, using both the virtual platforms – like Zoom – that we are now so accustomed to using while still keeping up with the traditional in-person festivities, but with a twist,” campus life and student engagement specialist Chris Lambert said. “Instead of just one day to welcome our new students, we have extended it into an entire week, which will allow us to introduce new sessions and programming options.”

The first set of fall classes starts Monday, Aug. 24, with other classes beginning Sept. 8 and Oct. 19. Most classes will be delivered remotely, but some classes that require in-person delivery will be on campus.

A busy slate of information and introductory sessions is scheduled for Aug. 17-22. Highlights include:

  • A New Student Panel that will let students know how they can get involved at the college, and what student life looks like these days. The panel will feature current LFCC students and is at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 17 on Zoom.
  • Ask the Faculty is a general question and answer session that will be on Zoom at 2 p.m. Aug. 20.
  • President Kim Blosser, Fauquier Campus Provost Chris Coutts and other college officials will have a special session just for parents and supporters of students to ask questions about LFCC and college resources during a Zoom session at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19.
  • Curbside welcome pickups will be all week at all locations, with varying times.
  • Resource chats for everything from campus safety, to online learning, to academic accommodations are planned.
  • Zoom sessions on career pathways, including health professions, engineering, business, education, humanities and arts, transfer planning and undecided students are lined up.

For in-person classes, LFCC will follow the latest guidelines issued by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students attending these classes will be required to sign an agreement stating they won’t attend class when sick or if they’ve been exposed to someone with coronavirus, will wear a mask while in class and will practice social distancing and follow other safety measures.

To see the full schedule of events, and get Zoom codes, visit lfcc.edu/welcomeday.

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School Board to consider moving start date of school to September 8th

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Dr. Chris Ballenger, Warren County Schools Superintendent, issued a press release on August 11, 2020, to notify parents and the community that they will propose to the Warren County School Board, moving the start date of school from August 27, 2020, to September 8, 2020. This proposal will be presented at the School Board meeting on August 19, 2020.

School officials indicated that more time is needed for longer delivery times of supplies and delays in implementing the Learning Management Systems. This change will also provide more time for teachers and staff to learn the new Learning Management Systems which will be the main portal students will use to access the virtual learning materials and courses.

The proposed calendar includes the following dates:

September 8 – First day of school for students

November 3 – Professional Day
November 10 – End of 1st advisory
November 11 – Holiday
November 25-27 – Thanksgiving Break
December 23-January 1 – Winter Break
January 18 – Holiday
January 29 – End of 2nd advisory/1st semester
February 15 – Holiday
March 29-April 5 Spring Break
April 13 – End of 3rd advisory
April 30 – Professional Day
May 31 – Holiday
June 17 – Last day of school for students

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Crime/Court

Woman held at RSW Jail after state police chase, animal abuse-fatality charge

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A 39-year-old woman is in Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County (RSW) Regional Jail without bond on six charges related to an August 7th law enforcement chase during which at least one Virginia State Police cruiser was sideswiped.

Jennifer Arnn faces one animal cruelty charge resulting in the fatality of dog or cat; one reckless driving charge, one vandalism charge of intentional damaging of public property, likely at least police cars, and three charges of assault on law enforcement officers in the conduct of their job.

Jennifer Arnn sports some facial abrasions in her RSW mug shot. She was booked into the regional jail at 2:34 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

A portion of the Friday afternoon incident was captured on a cell phone video posted on social media (see below). The video involves Arnn’s vehicle and what appears to be marked and unmarked police cars and an unidentified fourth vehicle stopped at an intersection in Warren County’s north commercial corridor near the Target-anchored Crooked Run Shopping Center.

The video appears to show Arnn attempting to leave the scene with something appearing to be hanging out of the rear passenger side of her car, the sideswipe of a pursuing state police car and Arnn’s vehicle heading southbound on Route 522/340 toward the intersection with I-66.

No place of residence was listed on the jail website and no further detail of the incident was available at the time of publication. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

The social media video (posted by Desirae Jean) of a portion of the incident in Warren County’s north commercial corridor:

YalllllllThis lady was getting flung around her car with every ram, and they had guns drawn on her, she was hell bent to get away 👀😳😳

Posted by Desirae Jean on Thursday, 6 August 2020

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