First, it was the East Main Street shopping and dining options banners and downtown walking mall “this way” signs with the promise of more art to come in the way of wall-side building murals marked by the mid-October completion of the sky and clouds come to earth at Cloud Street’s intersection with East Main.
On Friday, December 11 we were alerted by Warren County Project for the Arts (WCPA) member artist Melissa Ichiuji of three more Historic Downtown Front Royal murals underway. They are located at Kidd Lane, Foster’s Alley, and Blue Ridge Avenue’s intersections with East Main.
Involved artists are Kate Fristoe, at Robert McDougall’s building at Kidd Lane; Philippe Willis at the Rockledge Development building at 200 East Main at Foster’s Alley a little further east down Main toward Chester Street; and Christy Baker at Virginia Build Works at 591 East Main at its intersection with Blue Ridge Avenue across from the Main Street Mill.
Fristoe’s theme is the rivers and mountains that are a front-page on Warren County’s attraction to nature-loving tourists, presented in a “graphic, color-blocked lyrical abstraction” style.
Willis’s work continues that theme in a Naturalist’s perspective of “Appalachian flora and fauna”, present and past, from a “scenic, reductive, animated, block-print” format and Baker takes on a “super-sized illustrative, animative graphic representation” of native birds and the native trees they live and ‘work’ in.
The above with a nod to my Warren County Project for the Arts sources. Speaking of which, we asked Ichiuji whose Cloud Street mural on the side of her art studio set the Project for the Arts downtown murals underway, about chapter two as winter approaches.
“We have three ambitious murals happening simultaneously right now. They are part of a larger public art initiative by the Warren County Project for the Arts, which is an advisory committee to the Front Royal Board of Architectural Review (BAR). And our mission is to curate public art in Front Royal as a way to bring awareness to art, to lift the spirit of the community, to enhance the experience of tourists and visitors that come; and ultimately to boost tourism,” Ichiuji replied.
Of the project’s impetus and process of matching structures with artists, she further explained, “All WCPA mural designs, including Cloud Street, went through a review process and were approved by the town council – with the subject that is a positive reflection of the natural elements and/or culture of Front Royal, Warren County, and the Shenandoah Valley. Examples include, but are not limited to, skies, mountains, rivers, flora, and fauna.
“The three current murals listed above, not Cloud Street, were paid for by a CDBG grant. The Town of Front Royal issued a public RFQ (request for qualification) in the form of a ‘Call to Artist.’ The submissions were ranked based on several criteria, voted on by WCPA committee members via blind, independent, evaluations and the top artists were selected and invited to create murals.
“Buildings in the historic district were identified early in the process, selected artists were matched with walls, and WCPA worked with the artists to finalize the designs based on themes related to the area and the natural assets of the Shenandoah Valley.”
Two of the artists were aloft on the lift apparatuses that allow them to reach the top portions of their rather expansive “canvasses” when the Royal Examiner camera arrived to archive their work.
However, Willis was down to earth at Foster’s Alley working on the detail of winged wildlife with a very small brush with which to capture that detail. He joked that it might take him a little longer to finish working with such a small brush on such a big “canvass” – wait, you were joking, right Philippe?
No, he assured us, continuing to paint behind a steadfast artist’s poker face.
Willis paused to trace the roots of his interest in nature as an artistic subject to a stint in the city, the biggest U.S. city, in fact, New York City. When he left the city he retreated to a more natural environment, residing in a cabin in Linden. Out of the city, he began doing illustrations for non-profits on natural environment topics.
“I started to a lot of illustrative work for these non-profits and that kind of sucked me into the whole world of foraging, medicinal plants; and I went on my own path for hunting, and I do a little bit of trapping for fur bearers and just learning everything about nature.
“So, these walls are supposed to encompass a bunch of different, not only our plants and animals and our landscapes, but also kinds of lifestyles. Not quite outdoor lifestyles, but kind of old-timey ways. So, there’s going to be a cabin scene that will be drying herbs with herbalists in the window.
“Up here we’ve got the river scene, it’s got – canoeing is huge, camping is huge in the Shenandoah – and then I put all of our animals. Every morning when I go down to the Shenandoah (River), I keep seeing big blue herons, I keep seeing bears all the time, you’ve got river otters. And there’ll be a forest scene over there. And the forest scene is going to have an old-timer with a backpack, and he’s going to have a beaver trap and there’ll be a beaver tail sticking out of his Adirondack pack made of whicker. And he’s going to have a hunting dog that’s treeing a squirrel. And then up in the tree, there’s going to be a great horned owl and a flying squirrel. And at the very end, there’s going to be a caver – the caving is huge here. Virginia supposedly has thousands of limestone caves,” Willis said acknowledging a local “grottoes” or caving club as he described the long, three-segmented wall canvass he is working with.
Back in town and off Willis’s sprawling historical testament to this portion of the Shenandoah Valley’s nature and history, Ichiuji gave a nod to downtown and other businesses that have contributed free and discount food and drinks to the Project for the Arts artists as they work on this downtown beautification project. Those businesses are Royal Spice Indian and Nepalese Cuisine, Happy Creek Coffee, Vinova Tapas & Wine Bar, C&C Frozen Treats, Down Home Comfort Bakery, Manor Line Market, Front Royal Brewing Company, and Marriott TownePlace Suites.
Ichiuji also pointed to two additional mural projects pointed for early spring, hopefully, March, for which the WCPA is currently seeking funding. If any businesses or individuals are interested in sponsoring a mural please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
So, here’s a nod of appreciation for when the community and its governmental apparatus get on the same page and work for the betterment of all in this community, as well as the environmental, economic, and physical landscape at the root of what makes Front Royal and Warren County what it is at its heart.
Maybe this Warren County Project for the Arts initiative can carry over so the same sort of cooperative citizen-governmental interaction can become apparent from Happy Creek at one end of East Main Street to the Afton Inn at the other.
Hey, if you don’t have good dreams you’ve got nightmares, right Snowman.
Front Royal Zombie Walk 2021
The 2021 Front Royal Zombie Walk was a great success. We raised almost $500 (so far) in donations for the Front Royal/Warren County Humane Society.
Hundred of Zombies walked the streets of Front Royal on Saturday night. Fun for all at the Boomuseum. Good to see the community gathering at the Gazebo area and just enjoy the time together. People of all ages participated, some just came to watch, from a safe distance, of course.
A BIG thank you to all who helped this year. A BIG BIG thank you to Shae Parker and his band, River Driven. The music calmed even Zombies.
And we don’t want to Forget the Front Royal Police Department – they assisted in getting the Zombies across the busy traffic and safely downtown.
The Zombie Walk 2021 T-Shirts are still available at C&C Frozen Treats on Main Street.
Did you miss it? Watch the event now on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Everyone age 12 and older can now get the COVID vaccine
Here are the COVID-19 vaccine locations in Warren County. Be sure to call and check on vaccine availability and appointment times.
Walmart Inc #10-5105
10 Riverton Commons Dr, Front Royal, VA 22630
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #17367
10 Crooked Run Plaza, Front Royal, VA 22630
Warren County Health Department
465 W 15th St #200, Front Royal, VA 22630
CVS Pharmacy, Inc. #07509
800 John Marshall Hwy, Front Royal, VA 22630
409 South St, Front Royal, VA 22630
Check at https://www.vaccines.gov/ for other locations in our area.
Protect yourself and others. Remember the following when receiving your COVID-19 vaccine:
- Wear a cloth face covering or mask in accordance with CDC guidance
- Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people not in your household at all times
- Respect the privacy of others when taking photos
Warrior Psychotherapy Services opens on Main Street
Niki Foster Cales of the Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce, along with fellow Chamber members and Supervisor Walt Mabe welcomed Courtney Patti to the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Warrior Psychotherapy Services is located at 130 E. Main Street in Front Royal.
Courtney Patti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with over 15 years of practice working with the chronic medical and behavioral health population.
Her experience includes working in facilities such as Children’s National Medical Center, Washington Hospital Center Outpatient Behavioral Health, University of Virginia Medical Center, Sheppard Pratt Health System, and Ft Belvoir Community Hospital working in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Minor in Religion from Sweet Briar College in 2005. Courtney received her Masters of Social Work (MSW) from Catholic University of America: National Catholic School of Social Services in Washington, D.C. in 2007.
Her specialty focuses on adults whose lives are impacted by depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and unresolved emotional issues. She is considered an expert in her field in formulating diagnostic and treatment recommendations, providing individual, couple, and family therapy.
Motion to bar press from hearing on Luckey indecent sexual liberties with a minor charges delays hearing to January 6
On Thursday, October 21, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Daryl Funk ruled in favor of a defense motion to bar the press from the courtroom during the hearing of accused child sexual abuser Dr. William R. Luckey. The ruling, at the request of Luckey’s defense counsel Shannon Johnson, resulted in a continuation of the scheduled hearing at which the alleged juvenile victim was expected to testify.
Court records indicate the hearing was continued to January 6 of next year on the morning docket with an anticipated start time of 10:30 a.m. The delay will allow press organizations to file responses to the judge’s ruling on their exclusion, making their case to be allowed in the courtroom for future hearings or trials where testimony by and about the alleged victim would be heard.
According to reports Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Samantha Meadows was poised to call at least three witnesses Thursday, including the alleged victim and case investigator Kristin Hajduk of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. However, the youth’s testimony would have been by remote video hook-up, avoiding the necessity of an underage witness having to be in the same room with their accused abusers as they testify.
On June 25, 2021, the 72-year-old, retired (in 2015) Christendom College professor of 33 years and more recent teacher at the Padre Pio Academy at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal was charged with one count of “Solicitation of prostitution from a minor less than age 16” and two charges of “Indecent liberties … of a child less than 15”. Court documents list all three offense dates as June 22, 2021, three days prior to Luckey’s arrest. Original presiding Judge Nancy Reed initially denied bond in the case on June 30. However, upon defense appeal citing health issues and his long-term ties to the community, Luckey was released on a $50,000 secured bond on July 12.
Copies of warrants on those charges offered additional detail. Of the two indecent liberties charges, Luckey is accused of “with lascivious intent knowingly and intentionally sexually abuse a (age withheld by paper) female …” and “that the accused feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of such child”.
Of the solicitation charge, the warrant alleges that Luckey offered “money or its equivalent to a minor under 16 years of age … with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify and thereafter perform a substantial act in furtherance thereof.” Commonwealth evidence indicated that money was ten dollars offered to the alleged victim to see and touch their “bottom”. The warrants indicate the money was refused by the child, but that Luckey followed through with the suggested behavior, leaving the ten dollars behind when he left the scene.
During initial hearings last summer the Commonwealth introduced recorded phone conversations between Dr. Luckey and his wife discussing her husband’s legal situation in the days following his arrest. Investigator Hajduk told the court that the couple knew they were being recorded on the phone line to the jail before introducing recorded segments of those conversations to the court and summarizing other sections. While the prosecution’s take on those segments was that they indicated an admission of some of the alleged behavior, the defense disputed that contention.
Rather, defense attorney Johnson argued certain conversational lines simply indicated Dr. Luckey’s reaction to the charges against him or social dynamics involved with those accusations. In fact, she told the court some of Dr. Luckey’s comments to his wife indicated a belief the charges “were invalid” and that his accuser could face the consequences of filing a false police report.
“This isn’t what happened,” Julie Luckey told her husband of specific sexual acts described in one of the warrants, later adding, “It’s not like you raped somebody.”
“No, it doesn’t say ‘Show me your hiney,’ Dr. Luckey seemed to laugh in response to his wife’s dispute over the content of the warrants. At another point in recorded conversations in the days after his arrest, Dr. Luckey told his wife his situation was a result “of 15 minutes of stupidity on my part.”
Whether that “15 minutes of stupidity” will be viewed as a criminal solicitation and abuse of a minor remains to be seen; as does whether future preliminary hearings or a potential trial will be viewed and reported by the media.
I-81 southbound slow roll scheduled in Frederick County on October 26th
A slow-roll is scheduled on Interstate 81 in Frederick County on Tuesday, October 26 at 11 a.m. This operation, managed by the Virginia State Police, will take place in southbound lanes between exit 307 at Route 277 in the Stephens City area and exit 302 at Route 627 in the Middletown area. All slow-roll activity will conclude by noon.
The slow roll is needed for blasting operations near I-81 that will take place on a developer’s construction site in the Middletown area.
All work is weather permitting.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at http://www.511Virginia.org.
WCHS conducts National Honors Society induction ceremony
On October 14, 2021, Warren County High School’s National Honors Society chapter held an induction ceremony. The chapter inducted twenty-six (26) new members. National Honors Society is a national organization dedicated to scholarship, character, service, and leadership. These new inductees will be a part of an organization of incredibly impressive alumni.
All new members received a certificate and their membership cards. Mrs. Jyoti Vasishta, NHS advisor, stated in her introduction speech: “Our chapter is proud to have been inducting new members since 1963 and today’s ceremony indicates the continuing emphasis on excellence that we represent for our school and community”.
Last year’s new members were unable to receive an official induction ceremony due to the pandemic. A part of the ceremony was dedicated to recognize and honor these members. These members also received the certificate and the membership pin.
Mr. Kenneth Knesh, Warren County High School’s principal, delivered an inspirational speech to students and parents in the closing.
“Tonight you join judges, lawyers, teachers, military officers, Ivy League graduates and yes, even a current rocket scientist at NASA as members of our NHS fraternity. Now your name will be among those distinguished alumni who proudly call Warren County High School their alma mater. They went on to do great things and we believe that you are destined to join them in helping to shape the world we live in and become future leaders of this great country of ours. Be bold, be brave and be the light of someone’s world.”
New members include: Alyssa Albritton, Genevieve Blodgett, Anthony Carter, Zane Michael Clark, Nicholas Foltz, Amanda Genari, Lacie Glascock, Ginger Gouda, Ian Hoelscher, Arthur Kresge, Audrey Moya Machuca, Gabriella Mangene, John Martin, Emily Mawson, Haley Oyler, Cayden Patton, Mason Polk, Landon Pond, Nicole Ranney, Julianne Rappole, Mia Santillan, Sara Waller, Sebastian Ward, Leah Webster, Olivia Yates, and Brian Zook.
Former members include: Paige Arndt, Madeline Bryant, Aidan Grupac, Cayla Kleinschmidt (Historian), Griffin Martin, Maya McKean, Joanna Mendez-Dorado, Savannah Mitchell, Mavryck Lance Mora, Emma Mullins, Sydney Nalls (Treasurer), Margaret Plosch, Taye Russell, Nathalie Schelin, Jordan Searcey, John Schultzaberger (President), Kiersten Stives (Secretary), and Francis Treutlein (Vice President).
By Emily Mawson, NHS Inductee