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Warren County Sheriff’s Office responds to incident near Target



Route 522 corridor area. Target is the large building in top of photo.

Warren County, VA- On September 19, 2019 at approximately 2:17 pm, Warren County Sheriff’s Office Communications received a call about a male subject, exhibiting signs of a mental health issue, in the grassy are between Target and the south bounds lanes of Rt. 522 north.

Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on scene and observed a male subject, wearing only boxer shorts, walking around erratically while holding a sharp edged weapon against his torso.

Assisting deputies arrived and quickly established a perimeter, containing the male to the grassy area.

Crisis Negotiation Team members arrived on scene and established communications with the male. A short time later, the male subject dropped the weapon and was taken into custody without incident. After refusing EMS attention on scene, he was transported to Warren Memorial Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Warren County Sheriff’s Office personnel were assisted by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Warren County Fire and Rescue.

Contact for this incident is Lieutenant Bockey at 540-635-4128 or via email at

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Local harpist and inventor, John Kovac, is using quarantine time to create interesting gadgets



Front Royal resident and harpist John Kovac has been making the most of his time indoors by using his free time to embrace his clever creative nature. He’s developed a prototype for a qwerty piano keyboard he’s calling a “Tunietype.” He’s also expanded his crafty solar-powered mechanical art collection to include perpetual motion and anti-gravity devices.

In this video, he’ll share several of his unique creations and Beth will test out the ease of his keyboard invention by attempting to play “We are the World” for the first time. His mini and full-sized qwerty keyboards attach to piano keyboards and allow users to type the notes computer-style.

It enables anyone who knows the alphabet to successfully play without any knowledge of musical notes. The entertaining gadget allows aspiring piano players to hunt, peck, and play a tune as if they are typing on a computer.

John has been well-known in Warren County for decades and (pre-COVID) was seen playing at local restaurants weekly and performing at festivals. He’s constructed over 200 harps, has lectured about harp building at the Library of Congress, performed at three international harp conferences, authored articles in harp journals, and has written several books.

Visit to learn more and check out the prior WHAT MATTERS Warren video from 2018 featuring John’s harp-making talent at

He’s available for bookings to provide either solo harp music or a string band for weddings, corporate or special events. Other videos about his Tunietype and solar-powered devices are found on his YouTube channel at

WHAT MATTERS: Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and Youtube.

Learn more about Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at–check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or

About WHAT MATTERS: WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent raised goes to the cause she’s promoting and most are matched by Beth. If you’d like to get involved with her local or international nonprofit work or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit

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Abbreviated Memorial Day Ceremony draws nearly 40 to Courthouse lawn



The Courthouse clock is about to chime noon as an intentionally reduced for public safety Memorial Day crowd gathers. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini – Royal Examiner Video/Mike McCool

Despite minimal public notice, this community’s eighth annual Memorial Day Ceremony always including a nod to the K-9 Dogs of War drew a respectful, partially masked and generally socially distanced between family groups crowd of over 35 to the Historic Warren County Courthouse grounds in downtown Front Royal at noon, Monday.

Following the announcement of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s Phase One partial reopening from mandated Coronavirus pandemic precautions, the now co-Town sponsored event was resurrected under a limited plan to honor America’s fallen and their families without endangering citizens from the still-prevalent COVID-19 Coronavirus that has killed over 97,000 Americans just past four months since the first case was identified on our shores.

For perspective, our war in Vietnam claimed just under 60,000 American lives lost in action over a 20-year period (1955-75); 9/11 claimed just under 3,000 lives on one day in 2001; and Benghazi claimed 4 American diplomat lives on assignment in a terrorist hotspot.

Marine vet and reservist Robert McDougall introduces Michael Williams to say the invocation for Front Royal’s Memorial Day event, 2020.

The theme of sacrifice and struggle symptomatic of, not only wars between peoples, but also once again between new viral disease strains and their animal or human hosts was a part of stirring remarks by both event moderator Marine Corps Reservist Lt. Colonel Robert McDougall and Lay Minister Michael Williams to kick off Monday’s ceremonies as the courthouse bell chimed noon.
Introduced for the invocation by McDougall, Williams set an emotional tone for this Memorial Day, 2020: “Almighty God what an incredible blessing to live in a country where we can freely come together and be thankful.

“What a joy to live in a country where we can come together and peacefully assemble.

“What a joy to live in a country where men, women and a lot of our four-legged friends gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could do what we do.

“What an incredible blessing that we live in a country where the biggest complaint we have right now is whether we should wear a mask. – Father, how selfish of us.

Forgive us … Please let us be thankful for one another – period. Whether we agree with them or disagree, it’s irrelevant. We live in a country where we can freely differ. And we have that because of the many people who gave their lives for us so that we can peacefully differ … Help us to be humble, not out of a spirit of arrogance, but out of a spirit of kindness.

NOT that kind of mask – an armed ‘Re-open now’ advocate wears a clown mask in a seeming reference to a later ‘American Horror Story’ TV season. The photo was not taken here but from an NBC news report on the COVID-19 closing controversies around the nation.

“Help us to have our conversations; help us to differ respectfully; help us to laugh; help us to love. And let us never forget those who gave that ultimate sacrifice so that we could stand here on that hallowed ground today,” Williams prayed, then acknowledging the Town and County leaders and citizens present to mark the solemn occasion.

“Thank you for our town; thank you for our mayor; thank you for our board of supervisor’s chairman, and thank you … for those who came here today of their own free will to be thankful for the men and women and the many others who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Amen.”

A 12-year active duty Marine who still serves as a reservist, McDougall, then acknowledged participants and continued William’s invocation’s theme of the depth of the importance of Memorial Day as a living memorial, not only to those gone but left behind and all Americans seeking to keep a nation’s democratically based spirit alive.

The laying the wreath, donated once again by Fussell Florists and proprietors Betty and Steve Showers, was performed by Front Royal Mayor Eugene Tewalt and County Board of Supervisors Chairman Walter Mabe. Other elected officials present included Supervisors Delores Oates and Cheryl Cullers and Councilman Gary Gillespie and his canine friend.

Above, Mayor Tewalt left, and County Board Chair Mabe lay the Memorial Day wreaths. Below, one family visits the wreath and courthouse lawn memorial site following the approximately 13-minute ceremony.

McDougall acknowledged Royal Examiner contributor and good friend, British-born Malcolm Barr, a Royal Air Force veteran, for resurrecting this community’s Memorial Day ceremony eight years ago, with its special acknowledgment of the role of our K-9 Corp “Dogs of War” who have been on the front lines with American soldiers in every conflict since World War II. McDougall noted the first military dog training school opened here in Warren County in 1943.

While usually represented by many citizens’ dogs at the normally conducted ceremony at the Gazebo/Village Commons, due to the abbreviated pandemic nature of this year’s ceremony the Dogs of War were officially represented by Barr’s Husky Rescue dog Diva, alone.

Malcolm Barr and his dog Diva – event moderator Lt. Col. McDougall noted Barr’s leadership role in resurrecting a local Memorial Day event here eight years ago. Good work, Malcolm – and Diva, Lt. Col McDougall, and all participants.

“Freedom is not free. And for so many families, every day is Memorial Day. Please do what you can to support the families of service members that did not come home,” McDougall reminded us of the ongoing nature of sacrifices made, with a nod at one point to Able Forces Veteran Services CEO Skip Rogers presence.

“Cherish each day of the freedom that these brave men and women provided us. Remind those you gather with this weekend about the TRUE MEANING (emphasis in context) of Memorial Day – for it is both a day to mourn and to celebrate the courageous sacrifice that has been made to protect our way of life.

“May God Bless the fallen, and may God Bless America. Thank you for being here today,” McDougall closed in acknowledging those present, adding a heartfelt, “Semper Fidelis”.

Saluting the flag during National Anthem as ceremony opens at noon.

And you too can be there to memorialize, commemorate and remember what the sacrifice of those who have gone before us has preserved for us all in this exclusive Royal Examiner video recording. – Come, celebrate Memorial Day 2020 with us:

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Memorial Day community celebrations



The Colonel James Wood II Chapter, Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution color guard, along with other patriots presented a special program at Hidden Springs Senior Living today to commemorate Memorial Day.

Rev. James Simmons gave the invocation and Dale Corey along with Marc Robinson spoke about the meaning of Memorial Day.  The program ended with a musket salute.

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RSW Jail deals with COVID-19 cases



Late yesterday evening, RSW Jail received confirmation from the state lab that a second inmate has tested positive for COVID-19. This inmate, along with the first positive case, is being isolated away from other inmates.

In addition, RSW Jail has several other suspected cases, which are all segregated in one housing unit. This morning, the RSW command staff and Director of Nursing had a teleconference with the Virginia Department of Health, who are providing direction as we move forward. The Jail is working with the VDH and following their recommendations for the proper way to monitor, treat, and test any suspected cases. Today, VDH will be testing several inmates and awaiting the result of those tests from the state lab.

All inmates within the facility are being closely monitored. Every inmate has been provided a mask and our staff all have proper PPE. Every possible precaution is being taken and we have scheduled cleaning several times every day throughout the building.

This will be an evolving situation that RSW Jail management said it will keep the public updated on as possible.

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Front Royal’s Memorial Day Weekend grand re-opening runs thru Monday



Soul Mountain Café & Grill didn’t need to wait for the Town-distributed tables and chairs Saturday as they already have a cordoned-off outside seating area. They were serving some mighty-good looking lunches, including to a trio of friendly D.C. tourists at the first table. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

Soul Mountain proprietor Gary Kearney checks on the status of Front Royal resident Howard Grant’s Barbecued Ribs – that status was, ‘Hmmm, hmm good – and a to-go box, please.

Public Works Director Robbie Boyer’s Town truck begins the blocking off of East Main Street’s east side as the official Saturday, 2 p.m. re-opening starting time rolls by.

A friendly reminder that better safe than sorry on the public health front at East Main’s west end cordoning off.

Above, social distancing wasn’t a problem to begin as downtown visitors get used to a vehicular traffic-free Royal Avenue to Chester St. section of Historic Downtown Front Royal shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday. Later, below, it got more crowded but appeared to be families walking in closely-knit groups. That section of East Main will reopen Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., following the Memorial Day holiday.

The Chester St. access to the Gazebo area Town Parking Lot was closed for the Memorial Day weekend and spaces were at a premium from the lot’s other entrance.

The Gazebo-anchored Village Commons area was popular with kids and parents getting away from home after two months of state-ordered pandemic social gathering precautions.

Front Royal’s mayor and interim town manager and family members crossed paths shortly after the 2 p.m. start of a walking mall-styled portion of downtown to help restaurants socially-distance customers with added outdoor seating in the Town right of way.

Above and below, the Jig & Jive Dance Studio kids seemed to be socially distancing while strutting their stuff at Front Royal’s Village Commons.

Royal Spice was seating outside and doing carryout from the restaurant’s rear entrance for those, like the ‘King’ on point, wanting to add a little, or a lot, of spice to their Memorial Day weekend.

A little further up East Main St. the Front Royal Brewing Company, above and below, added to its side of house, Kidd Ln. outdoor seating area.

And the downtown businessman who made it happen – he pulled the special event permit that allowed the Town to close E. Main St. to vehicular traffic this weekend – C&C Frozen Treats proprietor William Huck and wife Nina, had the C&C Ice Cream truck out to assure the availability of some tasty frozen treats at both ends of East Main.

We hope that wasn’t the title of the film Royal Cinemas was planning on showing outside once it got dark enough – sounds a little depressing.

They don’t have to social distance – it’s one big happy family that is glad to get outside and see some open downtown business choices

And more E. Main St. choices for the adventuresome this holiday weekend through Monday evening. Come out, enjoy, and stay safe with the governor and town officials recommended social distancing guidelines; and perhaps even a precautionary safety mask – while you’re not eating of course.

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Memorial Day flags at Warren Memorial Hospital



Warren Memorial Hospital honors members of the military who have died serving our country.

John Williams, Corporate Director of Safety and Emergency Management for Valley Health, is passionate about properly honoring our fallen military members and has coordinated the placement of 8 flags to honor all branches of the military and POW/MIA. In this photo of the Military Flag display, you can see the following flags:

Memorial Day Military Flag displays at the acute care hospitals honoring our fallen military members.

1. U.S. Flag

2. Army
3. Marine Corps
4. Navy
5. Air Force
6. Coast Guard
8. U.S. Flag

Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War as a way to honor and remember those who sacrificed and died in the war. People in various towns across the country picked a day in the spring to honor their fallen loved ones by decorating their tombstones with flowers and holding gatherings to remember them. Over a century later Congress honored this practice with the federal holiday we observe this weekend.

Williams said, “I want to thank our Facilities Management department at each hospital for getting the flag pole ground sleeves put in the ground and the Safety and Security team for getting the flags and poles assembled and placed. This service to our military would not have happened without their help and dedication”.

Williams also shared this poem and prayer to remember those who have given what Abraham Lincoln termed “their last full measure of devotion.”

A Litany of Remembrance

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
we remember them.
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
we remember them.
In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share,
we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them.

Poem by Rabbi Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer

Have a wonderful Memorial Day and hope that you can set aside some time to stop by one of the displays and REMEMBER THEM.

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