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Warren Democrats protest Chamber’s surprise limit on candidates’ participation during Oct. 24 forum



Laura Galante, Democrat candidate for Virginia House of Delegates, District 18.

On November 1st, Warren County Democratic Chair Steve Foreman formally protested the local Chamber of Commerce’s refusal to allow Democrats Laura Galante, candidate for the 18th VA HOD, and Irina Khanin, candidate for the 29th VA HOD, to participate in the Forum sponsored by the Chamber at the Warren County Government Center on Oct. 24.

Mayoral candidate Eugene Tewalt also was limited from fully participating in the event.

The moderator informed the candidates and the audience that because their opponents were not present, they would not be allowed to answer audience questions on issues. All three were cut off after two minutes and not permitted to add to their remarks.

Neither Democrat was informed in advance that Republican incumbents Del. Chris Collins (R-29th HOD) and Del. Mike Webert (R-18th HOD) would not attend the event. Hollis Tharpe, candidate for mayor of Front Royal, also failed to appear.

The forum is an important opportunity for local residents to compare candidates on the issues, Foreman noted, adding, “we protest the Chamber’s decision to prohibit Laura Galante and Irina Khanin from participating fully in the forum simply because their opponents failed to attend.”

“There was ample time to allow them fuller participation, as the event took little more than an hour. Preventing them from interacting with the audience was a disservice to the public. It also sends a terrible message to future candidates: If you fail to attend a forum, the Chamber will reward you by handicapping your opponent’s ability to express their opinions.”

Republican incumbents Sen. Mark Obenshain and Del. Todd Gilbert did attend the event and their opponents were allowed to respond to questions from the audience. “We are mystified as to why the Chamber banned them from answering questions submitted by the audience members,” Foreman said. “Ms. Galante and Ms. Khanin prepared for the forum and arranged their schedules to field questions from voters in our county; their opponents’ absence was not within their control and should have had no impact on their valuable time with the voters. Mayoral candidate Eugene Tewalt was also allowed only two minutes because his opponent was also missing.”

Foreman pointed out that at the first forum held for local candidates on Oct. 17, Sheriff’s candidate Mickey Licklider was absent and the Chamber did not limit his opponents’ participation in any way.

“The WCDC would like assurance that this decision will not be repeated and looks forward to working with the Chamber to ensure all candidates receive fair and equal treatment at future
forums,” Foreman said.

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Royal Comfort Shoe Center relocates & trades spaces with the OPEN HOUSE meeting space on Main Street



WHAT MATTERS Warren—Despite the plethora of challenges faced by retail establishments the past few months, Mark and Yulia Poe, owners of the Daily Grind and Royal Comfort Shoe Center, have taken a leap of faith that has strengthened their dedication to their Main Street businesses and to the community in which they serve. As of last month, their establishments are now adjacent to each other in the Middle of Main building and the doors of The Daily Grind now open into the delightfully appointed Royal Comfort Shoe Center. The couple can now share resources and staff as the shoe center benefits from a better location closer to the heart of historic Main Street.

More than just a shoe store, the Center offers custom fittings, consultation, and a wide range of high-end footwear. Opened in 2018, they have expanded to now offer 250+ different styles of well known and leading brands in the comfort shoe industry including SAS, Vionic, Propet, Thorogood Boots, Naot, Jambu, Samuel Hubbard, Taos, Sanita, Crocs, Drew, Clarks, Aetrex, Birkenstock, Florsheim and New Balance, and they are constantly adding new brands. In addition to high quality, comfortable, stylish footwear and orthotics, they offer specialty socks as well as shoe repair and shoe lifts (all work is completed in-house). Owner Mark Poe is also proud to provide his guidance from his expertise as a Certified Pedorthist (C-Ped). His decades of experience in the industry ensure customers find the footwear that best supports their individual needs.

The entrepreneurs did much more than embrace relocation and expansion during these trying times surrounding the COVID crisis. They have dedicated their former shoe center storefront at 114 E. Main Street to become the new OPEN HOUSE space and will continue to fulfill the mission of the community meeting space Beth Medved Waller began funding four years ago. In mid-April, as Waller prepared for another month of investing her $2,000 per month commitment to fund the OPEN HOUSE space (unused due to the quarantine since early March), she did some sobering soul-searching. As much as she loved providing the free meeting space, she forced herself to face the reality that she had already invested $4,000 in a building that was sitting empty and would be for the considerable future. “One of my favorite WHAT MATTERS Initiatives was sponsoring OPEN HOUSE. It always warmed my heart to drive by Main Street and see wonderful people of our community gathered and meeting. Great connections, service, ideas, and memories have originated within the space throughout the years. But I couldn’t justify spending thousands more to fund an initiative that would likely be dormant for many months,” said Beth.

Yulia Poe, who has been the neighbor to OPEN HOUSE for years as she operates The Daily Grind shared, “When we learned of Beth’s decision to close OPEN HOUSE, we offered to immediately take over her lease. We respect the commitment she has for the community and loved what she was doing with the space. When we ran into her in the hallway, and she proposed using her furnishings at OPEN HOUSE to convert the former shoe center location into a meeting space for the community, we did what we do—followed our hearts. Within 24 hours, plans were being made to turn the former shoe center space into a non-profit center and carry on the mission she started.”

Stay tuned for updates about the new OPEN HOUSE, which will be sponsored by their businesses and expanded to offer even more to the Front Royal/Warren County community. And when you find yourself ready to click on Amazon for your next shoe purchase, or drive to neighboring zip codes to open your wallet, be sure to stop by The Royal Comfort Shoe Center instead and give your feet the benefit of friendly local expertise and your heart the privilege of supporting a business that gives back to our community (and of course you’re welcome to enjoy a cup of Daily Grind coffee while you shop). Learn more on Facebook or call 540-749-2741. They are open Tuesday-Friday from 10 to 5, and Saturday from 9 to 2.

Are you or your group in need of a free video or article that could be created to help market your cause or event? Or do you have an interesting story to share? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and YouTube. They are also shared with the Royal Examiner online (most are distributed in their daily email blast to thousands of local residents). Sign up for the Royal Examiner at and check out the “WHAT MATTERS Warren” tab under “Features.”

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

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 donated goes to the cause. 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 Be sure to check out the “projects” tab for her current WHAT MATTERS Initiatives.

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – June 2, 2020; addresses protest, Phase 2 starts Friday



Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here are the highlights:

The Governor began the June 2 briefing by discussing the protests across Virginia. His message to protesters is “I hear you,” and that he pledges to stand with them. Several spoke with the Governor including 70th District Del. Delores McQuinn, Shirley Ginwright with the Virginia African American Advisory Board, and Jim Bibbs, chief human resources officer for the Virginia Port Authority.

The Governor announced most of the state can move into Phase Two of reopening the state this Friday, June 5. He said Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Accomack County will stay in Phase One.

Here are some changes under Phase Two:

  • Restaurants can have indoor seating at 50 percent capacity
  • Gyms can have indoor classes/ workouts at 30 percent capacity
  • Pools can open with some restrictions
  • Museums/zoos can open with restrictions
  • Recreational sports allowed but there can be no shared equipment
  • Gatherings limited to 50 people rather than 10
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Changing a life, one car at a time



WHAT MATTERS Warren — Bill and Sandy Long, owners of the Auto Care Clinic in Front Royal, had no idea in 2018 that their car giveaway event would prompt them to start their own 501 (c)(3) nonprofit a year later. The generous couple has a goal of giving away one car per month through “Cars Changing Lives” and they have already donated 7 cars to those in need. Learn more about their efforts as they passionately describe their nonprofit during this video:

The Longs have a long history of giving back to the community they love. They enjoy providing uniforms for several sports teams, monetarily supporting local non-profits and completing charity repairs for local churches. They’ve also raised significant funds through area fundraisers. They are partnering with case managers of local non-profit organizations such as Phoenix Project, United Way, Front Royal Women’s Resource Center, and Valley Assistance Network (VAN), to discover recipients for their free vehicles. If you or someone you know is in need of transportation, contact a local nonprofit to inquire about being nominated.

Those interested in learning more about their ministry, volunteering, contributing tax-deductible funds, donating vehicles (running or not) or helping with preparing cars for grateful new owners are encouraged to contact them at (540) 635-2455 or Be sure to visit their website and like their Facebook page.


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 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


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, 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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Local NAACP leadership and police show unity and outrage over Floyd death



Leaders of the Front Royal and Warren County black community met with Town and County political and law enforcement leadership Monday afternoon, June 1, in a show of unity surrounding the potential of protests here stemming from public outrage over the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota a week ago, on May 25.

A crowd arrives inside FRPD headquarters for a masked, socially distanced meeting illustrating unity between all of this community and its law enforcement apparatuses. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini – Royal Examiner Video/Mark Williams

Demonstrations have developed around the nation, some turning violent, in the wake of widespread viewing of video recording of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s pinning Floyd, who was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby delicatessen, to the ground with his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard in cell phone video taken by bystanders pleading for his life, calling to his dead mother, saying he could not breathe and was dying.

The four involved Minneapolis police officers were fired the following day and Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder. But the delay in charging the three other involved former officers and some aggressive police responses to demonstrations in Minneapolis, including targeting a CNN news crew for arrest, and firing “pepper” rounds at an NBC news affiliate team and rubber bullets into crowds in Louisville, Kentucky, has led to escalating hostility, rioting and violence.

A.D. Carter III, left, and the Rev. Alfred Wood began and ended the meeting with prayer.

That rioting has drawn scathing comment from black leaders, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and rapper Killer Mike, among others. Controversy has also erupted about the potential of white “agent provocateurs”, in particular one identified as the “black umbrella man” in inciting peaceful demonstrations toward violence.

Monday’s meeting between black community leaders and local police was called to show that years of “community policing” networking has paid off in placing our black community and our local law enforcement apparatuses at a common point of mutual interest in assuring that the type of thing that happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota would not happen here.

Moderating at the noon event held in the outdoor foyer area of the Monroe Avenue Front Royal Police Department headquarters was Warren-Page County NAACP President Alford D. Carter III. Carter was accompanied by his son, Alford IV, the Reverend Alfred Wood who performed an invocation and closing prayer, and about five other members of the black community. In addition to FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis and Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler, attending were Front Royal Mayor Gene Tewalt, County Board and Emergency Management Team Chairman Walt Mabe and County Emergency Services Deputy Manager Rick Farrall, among other officers from both local law enforcement agencies. Joining that crowd was Strasburg Police Chief Wayne Sagar.

Above, Warren-Page NAACP President A.D. Carter III greats the assembled to a show of common purpose. Below, WC Sheriff Mark Butler flanked by FRPD Chief Magalis and town officers, said law enforcement officers who wear badges for the ‘right reasons’ are also outraged by George Floyd’s death in police custody.

The message was clear – what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody is NOT acceptable, not only to the black community but to the law enforcement community here and across the nation for those wearing a badge after swearing to “serve and protect”.

With a nod to his FRPD counterpart Chief Magalis, Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler cited not only outrage within minority communities, but in law enforcement at the Floyd killing at the hands of law enforcement officers.

“I got a call from my son, who is in security forces. And he’s like, ‘Dad, can you believe this?’ And I said, ‘Well, how do you feel about it?’ And he goes, ‘He (Officer Chauvin) just disgraced our entire profession. And I’m sure, the chief will probably go along with me on this one, any professional law enforcement officer will literally sit and tell you, ‘That is NOT who we are. That is NOT what we raised our hand to be or to do.’

FRPD Chief Magalis agreed that ‘community policing’ does not mean abuse of any portion of the community being served by its law enforcement agencies.

“And I can promise that any person who is wearing a badge for the right reasons would never do anything to harm someone intentionally. And we have just as much anger towards that incident as anyone else – we really do,” Sheriff Butler told those assembled.

See the full, approximately 50-minute NAACP-sponsored community meeting, with remarks from a variety of perspectives on where we as a community, and a nation, are and hope to be in the future, in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

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Warren County Public Schools Kindergarten Registration for the 2020-2021 school year



  • Children who will be 5 years old on or before September 30, 2020
  • Register at the school in which you are zoned to attend
  • Certified Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Number
  • Physical Form (physical must be within the last 12 months prior to the first day of school)
  • Proof of Residence (utility bill, lease, mortgage statement, etc.)
  • A notarized residency affidavit is required if living in another household



If you have any questions, please call (540) 635-2171, extension 34236.

Technical Questions: contact Amy Himes (540) 635-7123, extension 46125, or Kathy Gross (540) 635-7123, extension 46124.

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WCHS DECA elects chapter officers for 2020-21



The WCHS DECA Chapter recently conducted a virtual chapter meeting to elect chapter officers for the 2020-21 school year.  After conducting its chapter meeting via video conferencing, the following students were elected through an electronic voting method:

Chapter President – Emily Johnson

Emily will be a 3rd-year member of DECA.  She has competed in district and state DECA competitions and attended the 2019 National DECA conference (ICDC) as a participant in a leadership training seminar.  During the 2019-20 school year, she helped the WCHS DECA school store, “Wildcats Corner’, achieve national Gold certification as a school-based enterprise.  In addition to serving as next year’s Chapter President, Emily will coordinate the Chapter’s Community Service Project Campaign.

Chapter Vice-President of Retail Operations – Mia Santillan

As a 1st year member in 2019-20, Mia competed in both district and state DECA competitions. As VP of Retail Operations, Mia will serve as the Store Manager of “Wildcats Corner”, the WCHS school store, and will also be the chapter’s co-director of fund-raising.

Chapter Vice-President of Food Operations – Devin Modesitt

Devin will be a 3rd year member of DECA in 2020-21.  In 2019-20, Devin was Co-Manager of the “DECA Tailgaters”, which achieved national Gold certification as a school-based food enterprise. As VP of Food Operations, Devin will serve as the Manager of “DECA Tailgaters” and will also be the chapter’s co-director of fund-raising.

Chapter Vice-President of Recruitment & Engagement – Makayla Grant

Makayla will also be a 3rd year member of DECA in 2020-21.  As VP of Recruitment & Engagement, Makayla will lead the chapter’s annual membership campaign, co-direct the “Friend of DECA” campaign, and coordinate the chapter’s VA DECA Day

Chapter Vice-President of Marketing – Jordan Cockrell

As a 1st year DECA member in 2019-20, Jordan competed in both district and state competitions.  She was a state winner, along with Emily Johnson and Eniesha Wigington, in the Virtual Business – Hotel Operations event.  Jordan also helped coordinate the chapter’s “Job Shadowing Day” in November and the “Secret Santa Shop” in December.  As VP of Marketing, Jordan will be coordinating the chapter’s “Global Entrepreneurship Week” Campaign and co-direct the “Friends of DECA” campaign.

Chapter Vice-President of Human Resources – Michael Kelly

Also a 3rd year DECA member, Michael will coordinate and maintain the WCHS DECA social media accounts and releases as the VP of Human Resources.  In 2019-20, Michael co-led the chapter’s Festival of Leaves food tent and was a member of the chapter’s Sales Project Management team, which was a finalist in VA DECA competition.

Chapter Vice-President of Administration – Jackson Pond

As VP of Administration, Jackson will be responsible for maintaining chapter records and coordinating member practice sessions for district and state DECA competitions.  As a 1st year member in 2019-20, Jackson placed 3rd in the district Principles of Business Management and Administration competition and also competed in the VA DECA state conference.

Chapter Vice-President of Corporate Information – Reina Garnett

As a 1st year DECA member in 2019-20, Reina placed 1st in the DECA district Principles of Finance event and was a project Co-Director in the chapter’s Community Awareness Project, “ENOUGH!”, which sought to prevent bullying in our schools and community awareness of domestic violence. As VP of Corporate Information, Reina will be responsible for preparing news releases and reporting the chapter’s Annual Report to VA DECA.

The WCHS DECA Chapter would like to thank and recognize our two senior out-going officers, Kylie Burnworth (President) and Halea Hose (Historian/Reporter), for their hard work and leadership during this past year.

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