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WomanGathering with Melanie Forde



Guest Speaker: Melanie Forde
Topic: Reinventing Hillwilla: A Novel
FB LIVE: 6 PM with hostess Eka Kapiotis

Melanie Forde is a veteran ghost-writer, addressing diverse foreign policy topics. Under her own name, she has published numerous features about the natural world, as well as her Appalachian trilogy (culminating in Reinventing Hillwilla) and her Irish family saga, Decanted Truths. She lives in Hillsboro, West Virginia.

Reinventing Hillwilla: A Novel
Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwilla trilogy – all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).

Check out her book on Amazon, or keep up with Melanie on social media:

THIS IS A FREE EVENT – Please join us and other women looking to be inspired! WomanGatherings are informational and inspirational evenings intended to nurture the womanspirit in each of us.

About The Front Royal Women’s Resource Center – a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1996 to provide a support network for women in Warren County. Through monthly networking meetings, yearly grant presentations, special events, email connections and program activities, we have forged a link between women in our community.

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How could one woman steal $53 million without anyone noticing?



How could one woman steal $53 million without anyone noticing? As city comptroller of Dixon, IL, Rita Crundwell stole $53 million of public funds across 20 years–making her the perpetrator of the largest case of municipal fraud in American history. She used the funds to build one of the nation’s leading quarter horse breeding empires, all while forcing staff cuts, police budget slashing, and neglect of public infrastructure. ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES investigates her crime, her lavish lifestyle and the small town she left in her wake.

On November 24th at 2pm, at the Warren County Community Center, the Warren County Coalition will be showing the documentary ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES, where you’ll also meet the author of this movie, Kelly Richmond Pope. This is a free event and open to the public. See the Warren County Coalition Facebook page for more information.

Kelly Richmond Pope is an Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University in Chicago, IL, and founder of Helios Digital Learning, Inc. She received her doctorate in accounting from Virginia Tech and she is a licensed certified public accountant. She worked in the forensic practice at KPMG, LLP on anti-money laundering engagements, insurance fraud investigations, and fraud risk management projects. Kelly is a recognized expert in the forensic accounting field and has conducted forensic accounting seminars around the world for universities, corporations and governmental entities.

Kelly is the creator and executive producer of the award winning educational white-collar crime documentary, Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crime. Her current documentary, All the Queen’s Horses, which chronicles the largest municipal fraud in U.S. history, will be released August 2017. She was selected by the TED Ed team to develop a teaching lesson on “How People Rationalize Fraud” which can be found on the TED Ed website. Her TEDx talk “Why We Hate Whistle-blowers” discusses the whistle-blower dilemma and the need for whistle-blowers in fraud discovery.

Watch the trailer:

All the Queen’s Horses from Gravitas Ventures on Vimeo.

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The Great American Smokeout: Plan Day 1 to a Tobacco-Free Future



44th annual event encourages those who smoke to make a plan to kick addiction:

Thursday, November 21, 2019, marks the 44th annual Great American Smokeout®, which has a new theme: “Day 1.” “This theme expresses the GASO’s recognition that that successfully quitting smoking is difficult and takes time and planning. We encourage people who smoke or who use any type of tobacco to use the day to create a plan for a tobacco-free life, and the American Cancer Society is available to help,” says Aimee Nuwer, American Cancer Society senior community development manager for Front Royal and Warren County.

The Great American Smokeout (GASO), a public awareness event created in 1976 to encourage people to quit smoking, is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of November. Across the country, GASO encourages people who smoke or use tobacco to take action to quit.

Nearly one in three cancer deaths in the U.S. is connected to smoking, which increases the risk of these 12 cancers: lung, mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), kidney, cervix, liver, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and colon/rectum, as well as for myeloid leukemia.

Smoking also damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones, causing other fatal diseases. About 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S. is due to smoking.

While the smoking rate has dropped significantly, from 42% in 1965 to 14% in 2017, smoking rates vary greatly depending on geographic location. For example, according to the American Cancer Society in 2016, in Virginia, 15% of adults age 18 and older smoked, and in West Virginia, 25% of adults age 18 and older smoked.

Quitting smoking can be very difficult. Experts say the best approach is to start with a plan and seek support. “Quitting often takes multiple attempts,” explains Nuwer, “and the American Cancer Society offers resources to support people and help them quit. We have information and tips at” Smokers are strongly advised to use proven cessation methods, such as nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs, such as patches, gum, lozenges, etc.) or prescription medications and counseling, or a combination of all, to quit smoking. Newer encourages, “It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get their advice. Support is also important. Stop-smoking programs, telephone quit lines, the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program, self-help materials, and smoking counselors or coaches can be a great help.”

Nuwer adds, “Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, and November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.” Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, with more people dying of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers Most lung cancers do not have symptoms until they spread, but some people with early lung cancer do have symptoms. When cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage, treatment is more likely to be effective.

Common Symptoms of Lung Cancer:

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that do not go away or keep coming back
  • New onset of wheezing

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019, there will be about 228,150 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and there will be 142,670 deaths from lung cancer.

To raise funds to attack all cancers from every angle, local American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Front Royal Warren County volunteers host a Bingo Fundraiser every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the . “Funds raised go to help cancer patients and their families gain access to resources and support through American Cancer Society programs as well as to fund lifesaving cancer research,” says Nuwer.

Photo, left to right – American Cancer Society volunteers Brad Fletcher, Jill Johns, with Aimee Nuwer (centered – American Cancer Society senior community development manager), and volunteers Kari Little and Susie Wickham.

For more information about tobacco and cancer risk, as well as detection, treatment, resources and support, visit or call 1-800-227-2345.

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Subaru of Winchester to host Free Pet Adoption event with support of the ASPCA



The pet adoption event will be hosted by Subaru of Winchester and feature adoptable pets from the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke. This annual event will take place at the Subaru dealership located at 3019 Valley Avenue, Winchester, Virginia, on Saturday, December 7th, from 10AM – 3PM. Santa will be featured starting at 11AM. In addition to adoptable animals, there will be free photos with Santa, a bake sale, raffle, SPCA products, and fun holiday gifts for the pet lover on your gift list.

This event is made possible due to a grant from the ASPCA which assisted the Winchester SPCA in preparing pets for adoption. The SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties has provided animal welfare services to the area since 1907. The SPCA currently has a save rate of 97%, which qualifies the agency as a no-kill shelter, a distinction maintained since 2012. The Share the Love Adoption Event serves as the shelter’s largest single day adoption event of the year.

Lavenda Denney, Executive Director, says, “We are hopeful on December 7th at least 20 homeless pets will get a second chance and become part of a new family. We are beyond grateful to Subaru of Winchester for their ongoing support.”

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Stephens City’s second annual Hometown Christmas will be held Saturday, November 30th



STEPHENS CITY, VA — Event Coordinator Jacquetta Owen says November’s holiday festivities don’t have to end with Thanksgiving dinner.

Stephens City is hosting the second annual Hometown Christmas event from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, November 30th, along our historic Main Street. Hometown Christmas is planning to use Stephen City’s long-established community spirit and enthusiasm to get behind this wonderful event. The town is pulling out all the stops and event organizers and volunteers believe visitors will enjoy the arts, crafts and food while strolling downtown exploring what our local businesses have to offer.

The event will feature a craft fair, bake sale, music, house tours, a secret Santa shop, a Warming Tree and an appearance from Santa Claus.

To entice people to visit Stephens City’s small businesses on Shop Small Saturday, there will be a business scavenger hunt with prizes. Participants will be given cards that must be checked off by business owners to ensure that participants stopped by their store.

Businesses taking part in the scavenger hunt include Capon Valley Bank, Sophia’s Thrift Shop, Granny’s Restaurant, The Flower Center, The Cloth Peddler, Stephens City Outlet Discount Store, Ed’s Heads Hair Salon, Clem’s Garage, Dragon Fire Comics, Newtown Music Center, High Point Restaurant, Lantz’s Pharmacy and Classics on Main Antiques. Each business will offer specials during the scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunt cards are available at any of the participating businesses and may be picked up starting Monday, Nov 25th, although they can only be filled out on Nov 30th. Once the cards have been filled out, they can be deposited in a box at Lantz’s Pharmacy, 5015 Main Street. Two lucky winner cards will be drawn for a $25 gift card.

Hometown Christmas Event Coodinator Jacquetta Owen

Jacquetta Owen says Hometown Christmas is a terrific approach in getting people to recognize the benefits of Stephens City’s small town ambiance. Despite inclement weather, last year’s inaugural event was a success with lots of folks going home with unique gifts from the craft show and the experience of visiting newfound businesses. This year, the event expands to include a bake sale and a special shop for kids to purchase gifts for their families.

Other events include:

  • Mayor Mike Diaz will be directing a free historic house walking tour at 11 am, starting at The Newtown History Center at 5408 Main Street. Those interested must check in at The History Center 20 minutes before tour time.
  • A Warming Tree at Capon Valley Bank where newly donated mittens, gloves, scarves and hats can be clipped to a Christmas tree. The Tree supports Congregational Community Action Project (CCAP).
  • A gingerbread house contest, with categories for children 11 and under and one for ages 12 and up. Entries can be brought in starting Nov. 25th but must be in by 5 pm Friday, Nov. 29. The houses must be made of edible ingredients and brought to Clem’s Garage, 5170 Main Street. An application can be picked up at the Stephens City Town Office. Judging will take place Friday night and the houses will remain on display through Hometown Christmas. $25 gift cards will be awarded to top entries.
  • A Hallelujah Chorus sing-along at Stephens City United Methodist Church (SCUMC) in the sanctuary at 1 pm directed by Donna Greene and accompanied by David Renner.
  • Greeting Cards will be made available for anyone wanting to send an anonymous “Thank-A-Veteran” greeting to military personnel receiving medical services in Martinsburg. A volunteer will take greeting cards to the Martinsburg VA Center on December 15th. The cards will be located at the Stephens City Town Office, Capon Valley Bank and SCUMC.
  • A Secret Santa shopping area at SCUMC from 10 am to 2 pm, where children of any age can purchase gifts for friends and family for $1 to $5 (the gifts will be wrapped and tagged by Little Elf).
  • A Bake Sale at SCUMC to support the youth mission trip next summer.
  • Shenandoah Valley Chorus performs at 2 pm in the SCUMC sanctuary.
  • A Stephens City Volunteer Fire & Rescue Santa will be available for children to share their Christmas lists at the Newtown Commons from 2 – 4 pm, then after a break, will return on a fire truck to light the tree at 6 pm. The Town Office will provide hot chocolate and cookies. Camp of Faith Church in Stephens City will sing Christmas carols.
  • A craft fair will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church on the corner of Main and Fairfax streets. There will be signs to direct shoppers.

For more information, contact Stellar Seven over 70 Award winner and Hometown Christmas Event Coordinator Jacquetta Owen at

Note: Stephens City is a remarkable community because Main Street has retained its small-town character over two centuries of progress and expansion. Development and growth in Stephens City has been small-scaled and well-managed. As a result, the town has a very high degree of historical integrity that will continue to be prominently featured through ongoing renewal and revitalization.

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This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of November 14th



Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Thursday, November 14:

•  Thurs – 7:15
•  Fri – 6:10 & 9:10
•  Sat – 1:20, 6:10 & 9:10
•  Sun – 12:45, 3:55 & 7:15
•  Mon-Wed – 7:15

Rated PG13 |  Run Time: 2 hours

•  Thurs – 7:05
•  Fri – 6:00 & 9:15
•  Sat – 1:10, 6:00 & 9:15
•  Sun – 12:30, 3:45 & 7:05
•  Mon-Wed – 7:05

Rated PG13 |  Run Time: 2 hours 32 min

•  Thurs – 7:00
•  Fri – 6:05 & 9:20
•  Sat – 1:00, 6:05 & 9:20
•  Sun – 12:25, 3:40 & 7:00
•  Mon-Wed – 7:00

Rated R |  Run Time: 2 hours 32 min

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult: $9
  • Child (under 12): $6
  • Military: $7
  • Student (college): $7
  • Senior: $7
  • Matinees, All Seating: $6

Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:

  • “Frozen 2”
  • “Knives Out”
  • “Jumanji: The Next Level”
  • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
  • “Spies in Disguise”
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The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 recalled this Veterans Day 2019



Officials from the Giles B. Cook Post 53 of the American Legion again hosted Front Royal’s Veterans Day ceremonies on the grounds and in the street in front of the Warren County Courthouse. The marching bands of Warren County and Skyline High Schools and Randolph Macon Academy were on hand, as well as a color guard of R-MA cadets.

RMA Color Guard. Photos and video by Mark Williams, Royal Examiner.

The weather cooperated with sunny and balmy temperatures the day before snow flurries have been predicted for the area.

Post 53 Commander Rick Kinsey hosted the event, introducing veterans present and speakers including Marine vet and Front Royal Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock and keynote speaker John F. Kokernak, U.S. Army retired.

Tribute was paid, not only to those who have served and sacrificed, but those family members left behind to ponder whether their loved ones will ever return home.

John F. Kokernak, U.S. Army retired was the guest speaker.

“You know it’s a pleasure to be here because I have been at (battle site location), I have seen the poppies, I know about those kinds of things; I’ve been to the wheat field, I’ve been to Iwo Jima. I know these battlefields,” Sealock said of the respect paid to those who have served, adding, “but I sat there today thinking about things for the service I thought about the forgotten ones. The one who are left behind during the deployments and time overseas, those people, the Gold Star mothers, the spouses, the children, the family as a whole, the parents. These people are forgotten in my estimate, and I always think of those who do not return – what effect did it have on these individuals and families? For that, I welcome you to this great celebration,” Sealock concluded.

The vice mayor’s remarks echoed what makes this annual celebration that began as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of “the war to end all wars”, World War One on November 11, 1918, so special. The honor of service and sacrifice of all impacted, both on the battlefields of the world, and those waiting anxiously at home for their return; as well as the enduring desire for a peace achieved through a commitment to international justice for all nations that will make those sacrifices of war someday a less necessary part of our collective history.

Armistice Day, now Veterans Day, is traditionally celebrated at 11 a.m., November 11. That was the moment when the guns along the fronts of World War One fell silent a final time in 1918 as the Armistice to end that war was achieved.

RMA Cadet Kiyesioluwa Abiodun plays taps.

The poppies Sealock referred to on this 101st celebration of service and an end to war come from a poem from World War One “In Flanders Fields”. The poem, often referenced at these services, was written in May 1915 by Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae. Its impetus is believed to have been McCrae’s conduct of the field burial service for Lieutenant Alexis Helmer in the absence of a company chaplain:

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

“Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

See Front Royal and Warren County’s celebration of Veterans Day 2019, including keynote speaker John F. Kokernak’s full remarks and the laying of the wreaths in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:

Uh oh, somebody forgot to turn the Courthouse Bell Tower clock back to standard time – it was really 10 till 11 AM as the traditional time of 11 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month commemorating the Armistice that ended World War One in 1918 approaches. Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

The R-MA Color Guard helps launch Front Royal and Warren County’s 2019 Veterans Day ceremony.

There were no Gold Star mothers present this year.

Maybe they won’t have to grow up to fight for international justice between nations – it’s a nice dream.

Nov. 11, 2019 was a beautiful fall day with sun and temperatures in the 60’s.

Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock invoked the poppies of ‘The Fields of Flanders’ poem in acknowledging those family members who wait anxiously for the return of their loved ones from battlefields around the world.

An R-MA bugler blows the traditional Taps in memory of those who didn’t return from the battlefields.

Memorial Wreaths were laid in several locations on the courthouse grounds.

The three town high school marching bands, from left, Skyline, R-MA and Warren County, gave a musical launch to Veterans Day.

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‘Tis the Season


Front Royal
07:0016:56 EST
Feels like: 41°F
Wind: 3mph S
Humidity: 89%
Pressure: 29.84"Hg
UV index: 0


Upcoming Events

1:30 pm Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Nov 19 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in Color @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in colored pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four week course will focus on continuing to build drawing skills as applied to botanicals: students[...]
4:30 pm Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 19 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Tuesday, November 5: Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! Based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we will do some taffy pulling and have a[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 20 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7: It’s playtime! Come in for stories, songs, and a craft about our favorite toys, games, and imaginings! Siblings welcome.[...]
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Nov 20 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply washes,[...]
7:00 pm Drama Performance: “Loserville” @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
Drama Performance: “Loserville” @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
Nov 20 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Drama Performance: "Loserville" @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
On Wednesday, November 20th, and Thursday, November 21st, Randolph-Macon Academy’s Performing Arts Department will present its 2019 fall production of Elliot Davis’ and James Bourne’s musical, Loserville. The musical, which will take place in Melton[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 21 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7: It’s playtime! Come in for stories, songs, and a craft about our favorite toys, games, and imaginings! Siblings welcome.[...]
7:00 pm Drama Performance: “Loserville” @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
Drama Performance: “Loserville” @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
Nov 21 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Drama Performance: "Loserville" @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
On Wednesday, November 20th, and Thursday, November 21st, Randolph-Macon Academy’s Performing Arts Department will present its 2019 fall production of Elliot Davis’ and James Bourne’s musical, Loserville. The musical, which will take place in Melton[...]
9:00 am Veteran Services Visit @ Able Forces Professional Services
Veteran Services Visit @ Able Forces Professional Services
Nov 22 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veteran Services Visit @ Able Forces Professional Services
Able Forces will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia this Friday 22 November from 9AM to Noon. As[...]
10:30 am Children’s Class: Drawing A Self... @ Art in the Valley
Children’s Class: Drawing A Self... @ Art in the Valley
Nov 23 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Children's Class: Drawing A Self Portrait @ Art in the Valley
In this class students will learn how to draw facial features and the proportions used for placement of features on a face.  They will complete a self portrait using graphite. Classes are designed for the[...]
2:30 pm The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 23 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
Lyla sees no purpose to princes. They’re ugly, stupid—and obnoxious! Why can’t Hagabah see that, and why must the master insist that she keep the prince around three more days? The world would be a[...]