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.
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.
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.
“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:
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)
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 www.511Virginia.org.
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 my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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.
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.
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.