(Updated) Shooting at Fauquier County Circuit Court



On December 30, 2009 at approximately 1 PM, George Golder Phillips II, 30 y.o.a., was transported to the Fauquier County Circuit Court for a routine hearing. An incident occurred in a holding cell area inside the court house involving Phillips and two Fauquier County deputies.

One deputy was stabbed in the face with an unknown instrument and is being treated at Fauquier Hospital. A second deputy was shot in the leg and was taken to INOVA Fairfax Hospital. It is reported both deputies are in stable condition at this time.

Phillips, who is listed as having addresses in both Fauquier and Culpeper Counties, was charged in late November for bank robberies in Fauquier County and neighboring jurisdictions. He is currently being held at the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center in Warrenton, VA.


George Golder Phillips II has been charged with one (1) count of Attempted Murder of a Police Officer. A court date of January 7th, 2010 has been set in Fauquier County General District Court.

Phillips has been transferred to another undisclosed facility at this time.


Deputies Injured in Incident:

Master Deputy Charles Embrey, age 38. Has been with the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office for 18 years

Deputy Thomas Leake, age 41. Has many years of law enforcement. Has been with the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office approximately 2 years

At approximately 1 PM this date Deputy Leake entered a holding cell at the Fauquier County Circuit Court and was immediately attacked by George Golder Phillips II, who stabbed Deputy Leake near the eye with a self made instrument that had been concealed on his person. While struggling with Deputy Leake, Phillips was able to gain control of Deputy Leake’s holstered firearm. As Master Deputy Charles Embrey entered the cell to assist, Phillips shot him in the upper leg.

Despite suffering these injuries both deputies were able to subdue Phillips. Upon the arrival of other deputies who were in the courthouse Phillips was taken into custody uninjured.


By Dan McDermott and Matt Kreitz
The Sherando Times

[Note: this story was breaking at presstime.]

Two Fauquier County Sheriff’s deputies were injured and taken to a hospital Wednesday when an inmate is beleved to have disarmed one of them in a courthouse holding cell. One deputy was stabbed in the face and the other was shot in the leg, according to Fauquier County Sheriff’s
Office Lt. James Hartman.

The deputy who was stabbed was taken to Fauquier Regional Hospital and was listed in stable condition. The deputy who was shot was flown to Fairfax INOVA Hospital in Fairfax, VA. The incident occured about 1 pm at the Circuit Court in Warrenton.

The suspect was identified as 30 year old George Golder Phillips II of Culpepper.

Phillips was being held for a Nov. 23rd bank robbery, according to Hartman.

Hartman said Phillips was being transported to the courthouse for a routine hearing in his case.

Online Fauquier Circuit Court records list Phillips 13 times in cases ranging from 3 DUIs in a ten-year period to bank robbery with a firearm and wearing a mask. His next hearing in the bank robbery case is scheduled for January.

Phillips appears 17 times in Fauquier County General District Court records for a variety of charges, mostly related to drunken driving.

There was no record of a hearing scheduled for Phillips Wednesday in online records.



By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

[ORIGINAL POST] An employee with the Fauquier County court system has confirmed that two persons were injured at the Fauquier Circuit Court House about 1 pm today. One deputy was shot, according to reports. Both victims have been transported to hospitals, at least one by helicopter.

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Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shooting at Fauquier County Circuit Court

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

An employee with the Fauquier County court system has confirmed that two persons were injured at the Fauquier Circuit Court House about 1 pm today.  One deputy was shot, according to reports. Both victims have been transported to hospitals, at least one by helicopter.

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Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm  Comments (2)  

Raw Video/Photos: Christmas Eve fire at 241 Gimlet Ridge Rd., Bentonville, VA

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

Fire and rescue departments from Warren County and Page County responded to a fire this morning in the Giblet Ridge subdivision off of Bentonville-Browntown Rd. near Bentonville, VA. There were no injuries.

The first call was for a vehicle fire in the home’s garage, According to Chief Richard Mabie.

Investigators were on scene. Rescue workers were able to salvage some Christmas presents, pictures and other personal items as the fire was largely kept from the first floor.

View on approach to the home:

View from driveway on left of house. Fire is initially believed to have started from a car fire in this attached garage. Interview with South Warren Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Jeff Furlow starts at 2:45:

View from back yard:

Interview with Warren County Fire Chief Richard Mabie on the scene:


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Published in: on December 24, 2009 at 11:27 am  Comments (1)  

FREE: The Late-December edition of Warren County Report

Left-click to open. Right-click to download.

Enjoy our completely free print edition by clicking on the cover image above. Here are some highlights:

Town liable for back fees after lawsuit filed

Front Royal owes ‘Big 3’ national chain litigants a total of $120,354

In a Dec. 16 written order, augmenting his verbal decision of Nov. 30, Circuit Court Judge Dennis L. Hupp issued, if we may borrow from the pugilistic vernacular, a “split decision” on the issue of reimbursements of already paid meals tax fees tied to plaintiff restaurants’ water and sewer bills from the Town of Front Royal.

Consequently the town will owe the portion of the meals tax fees paid after the three north corridor restaurants filed suit challenging the fees on Jan. 9, 2009. According to paperwork in the court record, that amount totals to $120,354.30, including $177.66 in interest accumulated since those first post lawsuit payments were made in late July and early August.

Four phased Fishnet Master Plan unveiled in detail

County endorses vision at cost estimate of $6.5 million over first 10 years

County government got an overview of the consultant prepared Master Plan for the 219-acre Fishnet property acquired several years ago to provide a multi-faceted future site for a variety of county uses. At the forefront of that plan are recreational functions from hiking to ballfields, as well as the potential location of facilities such as a major parks and recreation center, a 600-pupil elementary school, and even a fire department training complex.

The vision presented begins simply with a Phase One design to utilize the existing trails system and natural beauty of the area to develop scenic park hiking and camping sites, along with initial work on ball fields, and development of a VDOT approved entrance road to the property. That phase is forecast to be developed over the next three years.

Today the board of directors, tomorrow the world …

… or at least Warren County Social Services Director Ron King

The Warren County Board of Supervisors continued its move to more direct control of oversight of the county Department of Social Services with a unanimous Dec. 15 vote to reorganize the existing DSS Board of Directors and convert it into an advisory, rather than supervisory board, effective Jan. 1, 2010. With no action taken on motions to install new social services advisory board members by Magisterial District it remains unclear as to how the supervisors plan to phase in the new advisory board – though the smart money says sooner than later.

“We are appointing Mr. Stanley as the administrative board and the existing board will continue as the advisory board until replaced,” Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter summarized of the board’s action. It was also noted that an advisory board must meet every two months, so whoever it is, the social services advisory board must meet by the end of February.

Mills’ request to permit, expand garage operation granted

White: What’s the point of zoning and VDOT safety recommendations?

“Is that the kind of precedent you want to set?” Warren County’s Supervisors were asked as they pondered a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to continue and expand an auto repair business that has slipped through the cracks of legality since 1974.

The precedent in question was granting a CUP for a non-conforming use in an Agriculturally zoned area despite a recommendation for denial by the county planning commission and a recommendation of denial by the Virginia Department of Transportation, the latter over entrance and line of sight issues on a stretch of road one speaker observed is not only “dangerous,” but dangerously fatal in recent years.

Salahi takes DC United VP to court

Tareq attorney – ‘Show me the money’; DC United – ‘We showed it to Tareq’

There was little action – at least initially – and nary a Salahi sighting to be had in or outside the Warren County General District Courtroom the morning of Dec. 18. That was despite another civil claims case involving at least one member of the county couple now famous as “the White House gatecrashers.”

Unlike their Dec. 4 court appearance which last drew the DC media to downtown Front Royal – Fox 5, WUSA 9 and the Washington Post were on hand with us this chilly morning – this time only Tareq Salahi was an involved party, as plaintiff in a case seeking over $10,700 in garnishments against a former contract employee of Salahi’s America’s Polo Cup association. A judgment for $8,250 plus interest and fees was entered against David Cope, trading as DC Sports & Sponsorship, in Judge W. Dale Houff’s courtroom on Feb. 6. Cope’s current employer, Washington’s professional soccer franchise DC United, was consequently ordered to begin garnishing 25 percent of Cope’s “disposable earnings” last spring.

So congress subpoenaed you. Now what?

How the congressional subpoena process plays out.

Recently two of our loyal readers in Linden, VA were subpoenaed by the House Homeland Security Committee to explain how they managed to waltz into a White House State Dinner without an invitation.

This brought up a lot of questions so we thought we’d produce a handy guide so you would know what to expect in case you ever get a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee.

With a little help from my friends

An early Christmas present – disabled Man Resumes Hunting

Warren County resident Art Saeger hunted for the first time since 1988 at the fifth annual Wheeling’ Sportsmen Hunt at Andy Guest Park. Saeger was one of seven winners of a statewide lottery sponsored by the Virginia Chapter of the Wheelin’ Sportsmen, a committee of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). The day of feasting and hunting was co-hosted by the local NWTF chapter, Skyline Strutters of Warren; the Wheelin’ Sportsmen and Andy Guest Park.

Saeger grew up hunting grouse, rabbit, deer and squirrel on Little North Mountain in Shenandoah County with his father Henry and brother Sam. As young men the brothers worked with their dad as stone and cement masons until an automobile accident left Art an incomplete quadriplegic. He lived with his father and stepmother Shadah Saeger until he entered Warren Hospital’s Lynn Care Center in 2007 for rehabilitation.

Season’s greetings & gifts – local style

Downtown shopping options for this White Christmas season

Last minute shoppers can find Front Royal architectural shelf sitters at the Heaven Scent Shoppe, Helen’s Antiques and D & B Chocolates. Aficionados can view a complete collection at the Commerce Avenue Funkhouser office where the cashier’s cage displays multiple rows of Front Royal’s architectural history.

The figurines were produced and sold by Mrs. Agnes Rutherford on behalf of the Warren County Republican Women’s Club. Working from pictures supplied by Warren Miller the shelf sitters were made at My Home Towne Inc. in Williamsport, MD. Mrs. Rutherford sold the figures from 1995 – 2004 with the proceeds supporting scholarships in Warren County Schools. She donated the remaining shelf sitters to the Visitors’ Center.

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Published in: on December 23, 2009 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Former Page County, VA sheriff gets 19 months for racketeering

Former Sheriff Daniel W. Presgraves, 47, a resident of Luray, Virginia, was sentenced to 19 months of federal incarceration and ordered to forfeit $75,000 for his admitted role in a pattern of racketeering activities.

Presgraves was indicted in October 2008 in a 22-count indictment and charged with a multitude of charges. In August 2009, the former sheriff pled guilty to one count of racketeering, admitting to specific acts of racketeering contained in the indictment.

Specifically, the defendant admitted to attempting to persuade certain former employees of the Page County Sheriff’s Office, and their families, from speaking to Federal authorities about his illegal activity. Presgraves also admitted that he improperly used inmates from the Page County Jail, which as sheriff was under his supervision, to perform unapproved personal and commercial tasks at his home and in relation to his business as a contractor. This illegal labor was used by the defendant for both personal and financial gain.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Virginia State Police.

Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee prosecuted the case for the United States.

From a release.

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Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

BREAKING: Salahi takes DC United VP to court

Tareq attorney – ‘Show me the money’; DC United – ‘We showed it to Tareq’

By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report

There was little action – at least initially – and nary a Salahi sighting to be had in or outside the Warren County General District Courtroom the morning of Dec. 18. That was despite another civil claims case involving at least one member of the county couple now famous as “the White House gatecrashers.”

Unlike their Dec. 4 court appearance which last drew the DC media to downtown Front Royal – Fox 5, WUSA 9 and the Washington Post were on hand with us this chilly morning – this time only Tareq Salahi was an involved party, as plaintiff in a case seeking over $10,700 in garnishments against a former contract employee of Salahi’s America’s Polo Cup association. A judgment for $8,250 plus interest and fees was entered against David Cope, trading as DC Sports & Sponsorship, in Judge W. Dale Houff’s courtroom on Feb. 6. Cope’s current employer, Washington’s professional soccer franchise DC United, was consequently ordered to begin garnishing 25 percent of Cope’s “disposable earnings” last spring.

A 2007 press release from DC United indicates Cope was hired as the club’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, saying he had more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience.

As explained in an Oct. 12 letter to the court from DC United Chief Financial Officer Michael Williamson, the team initially failed to begin the garnishments after being informed by Cope the matter “was a mistake” and that he had “a lawyer taking care of it.”

According to court officials, out of state claims – Cope’s court-filed addresses are listed in DC – are filed through Richmond. Attempts to reach Cope to ascertain whether he had ever received legal notice of the initial claim, and elaboration on his side of the dispute have thus far been unsuccessful.

In the face of the ongoing court order to comply with the garnishment, Williamson’s Oct. 12 letter states that the team would comply with the garnishment, taking $852.51 out of 12 consecutive bi-monthly paychecks to Cope, with a final total of $535.88 to meet the judgment total of $10,766. DC United Human Resources Officer Crissy “Ellie” Amaguana appeared at an Oct. 16 court hearing to verify the information in Williamson’s letter.

Show me the money …

According to attorney David Silek, again representing the Salahis, he expected to find a check from DC United covering garnishments made since the October hearing in the court’s possession on Dec. 18. But there were no checks to be found, leading Silek to request a “show cause” action against DC United for non-compliance with the court-ordered garnishments. Silek later explained outside the courtroom that DC United could be found in contempt or even be made responsible for the garnishment total by the court.

… Ask your client

But not so fast – as with anything surrounding the Salahis it seems, nothing is as it appears on the surface.

Contacted on Dec. 18, DC United Chief Finance Officer Williamson said Cope was still an employee of the team and that to his knowledge the court order was being complied with. Williamson said he was not personally aware of the court hearing scheduled for that day and referenced us to the team’s communications department vice president Doug Hicks for further information on the Cope garnishment situation.

Hick’s responded to our voice message left at his office by 2:30 p.m. the afternoon of the hearing. He told us that in the wake of the October hearing when DC United Human Resources Officer Amaguana was given the information with which the club was to abide by the court’s garnishment order, they were told they did not have return for any subsequent hearing if under compliance.

So where’s the money? – we asked, the court didn’t have it this morning.

Then Hicks dropped this little bombshell:

“We have sent five checks directly to Tareq Salahi and he has cashed four of them.”

Hicks declined to specify the amount of the checks, though if they followed the parameters of Williamson’s October letter to the court, each of the club’s first 12 garnishments of Cope’s bi-monthly paycheck would have $852.51 deducted for the court ordered payment. That would indicate Tareq Salahi has cashed $3,408.84 of garnishment checks sent to him, with another $852 and change in the hole for a total of $4,261.05 that Tareq has received from DC United to satisfy the judgment.

Hicks said the club had the four cancelled checks at its RFK Stadium offices and would permit the media to view them to verify their contention the payments are being made as ordered. He added that he had called both the court clerk’s office and Salahi’s attorney in the wake of receiving the information about this morning’s court hearing.

We called Salahi attorney Silek with Hicks information.

“I was unaware of that. I’ll have to check with my client,” Silek replied, adding, “I will ask the court not to file the show cause as I investigate this [upon verification].”
We gave Silek Hicks’ contact information.

About a half hour later around 3:15 p.m. Hicks called back to say he had heard from the Salahi attorney and that it appeared his information had been verified between Salahi attorney and client.

Silek then verified that his client had received four checks so far. He said that while the court order indicated the garnishment payments should have been mailed to the court clerk’s office, he had asked the court to allow the checks to continue to be sent directly to his client. Silek said he had last spoken to Tareq about the Cope judgment on Dec. 4 during the interrogatories on the lawn care judgment against the Salahis. The situation was a simple communication breakdown, Silek indicated. Silek said he had filed to withdraw the show cause against DC United.

His problems – not mine(?)

In a May 13 letter to the court, Cope states that he had just learned of the garnishment, and apparently the claim, from DC United when they approached him about the garnishment order. Cope wrote that he was hired by Tareq to work on the 2008 America’s Polo Cup in August 2007 and worked on a consulting basis until late November of that year, when he took a job in the same field with DC United.

“The America’s Polo Cup paid me a monthly retainer for each of the three months that I worked. When I stopped working for them, they stopped paying me,” Cope wrote the court.
Cope asks for direction from the court on how to contest the matter. – “I don’t owe Tareq anything. His personal financial problems are not my problem,” Cope wrote.

However, with the February judgment being made against him in his absence, Cope’s finances and those of Salahi and the America’s Polo Cup organization appear to have merged beyond the point of direction by the court, or appeal by the defendant.

One unplanned consequence of the Salahis new found celebrity in the wake of their uninvited Nov. 24 Indian State Dinner appearance at the White House and resultant Secret Service and state security scandal, was the Commonwealth of Virginia announcing an investigation of the finances of Salahi’s America’s Polo Cup organization, a business geared around an annual international polo competition between the U.S. and other nations.

According to cancelled checks in the court record, Cope’s DC Sports & Sponsorship consulting company was written three $2,750 checks, apparently signed by Tareq Salahi, on Aug. 20, Oct. 5, and Nov. 10, all in 2007. That total of $8,250, accounts for the base claim against Cope by Salahi. The first two checks were written on the account of “Virginia Wine Travel & Tourism, Oasis Enterprises. The final check was written on the account of America’s Polo Cup. That latter check lists the Salahis home address on Scenic Overlook Drive for the Polo Cup organization. The two Oasis Enterprises checks list 14139 Hume Road as the associated address.

About that watch

Silek indicated his Dec. 18 appearance for Salahi dated to an ongoing case already in the system, rather than a reconsideration of an earlier expressed media report that he had ceased to represent the couple in the wake of the Patek Phillipe watch seizure fiasco of Dec. 4. However, the attorney declined further comment on his ongoing legal relationship to the couple, whom he has represented in various matters since 2002.

Silek did comment that he was surprised by the cheap imitation status ($100) of his client’s watch turned over to satisfy a $2,063 court judgment on a lawn care maintenance bill to AIA Home Improvement and Lawn Care Service. Silek said it was his understanding the watch had been a gift from Tareq’s brother Ishmael, and that his client had believed it to be authentic when it was turned over to the court on Dec. 4 to satisfy a year-old unpaid judgment. The value of a real Patek Phillipe watch has been estimated at anywhere from $17,000 to $325,000. A 1933 Patek Phillipe pocket watch was auctioned off nearly a decade ago for over $11 million.

Attempts to reach Ishmael Salahi about his knowledge of the watch, through his mother Corinne at Oasis Vineyard, have thus far been unsuccessful.


Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Comments (5)  

Henry’s Grocery robbed

On December 14, 2009, at approximately 6:55 p.m., the Warren County Sheriff’s Office responded to Henry’s Grocery on Strasburg Road for a 911 hang up. While deputies were responding to Henry’s Grocery a subsequent call was received from the clerk advising she had been robbed. The first Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived at Henry’s Grocery within three minutes of the initial call for service. Deputies set up a perimeter and summoned a tracking K-9 from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

The clerk informed deputies that a white male entered the store wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head, a blue bandana pulled up over his face, camouflage pants, and work boots. The clerk was sweeping the floor when the man entered and he told her to hurry up. The clerk looked up and observed the suspect at which time the suspect produced a brown paper bag and demanded the clerk to fill the bag with money. The suspect exited the store and headed west on foot. No weapon was displayed during the robbery.

Anyone having information in this case is urged to contact Investigator Chris Williams, Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 540-635-7100.

From a release.

Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 9:18 am  Comments (1)  

FREE: The Mid-December edition of Warren County Report

Left-click to open. Right-click to download.

Enjoy our completely free print edition by clicking on the cover image above. Here are some highlights:

From ‘Reality TV’ fluff to a REAL state security scandal

National media frenzy follows White House ‘gatecrashers’ to Warren County (& us)

Tuesday, November 24 should have been a night about The United States and India, the latter a nuclear power of 1.1 billion people and the most populous democracy in the world. President Obama’s first White House State Dinner in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a glitzy affair and the hottest ticket in the nation’s capital.

In attendance were two Linden, VA residents. Tareq Salahi, famous for a long-running feud with his mother over control of the family’s Hume, VA Oasis Winery and his wife Michaele, who is set to be a featured player in the coming season of Real Housewives of Washington, DC on the Bravo cable network and NBC-owned stations.

The big news story following the state dinner should have been about solidifying U.S. ties with a major player on the Asian subcontinent as regional political stability teeters outward from American-occupied Afghanistan into two nuclear-armed and traditionally hostile nations, India and Pakistan.

But that was not to be the case.

Salahis in court over unpaid lawn service debt

Warren County’s most famous socialite couple was in Front Royal on Friday morning for an event not likely to be found penciled in on their social calendar.

Rather than a state dinner for a foreign dignitary, on Dec. 4 White House State Dinner party crashers Tareq and Micheale Salahi were invited guests for the 9 a.m. docket of Warren County General District Court.

The couple faced legal interviews over non-payment of a year-old, $925 judgment against them for lawn care services at their Overlook Drive home in the Mosby Estates subdivision near Linden, in eastern Warren County. The couple’s total debt to A1A Home Improvement and Lawn Care Service is actually $2,063, including plaintiff legal fees, court costs and interest.

Jewelers deem Salahi watch a fake

A day after their own attempted ‘repo’ – watch valued at $100

An alleged Patek Philippe Geneve watch surrendered by Tareq Salahi to Warren County General District Court Dec. 4 has been deemed a fake by two jewelers asked to evaluate its authenticity. The watch was turned over to the court to be sold to satisfy a $2,063.35 judgment against the Salahis from a past due lawn maintenance bill.

Asked about the watch brand and value after the court seizure, Salahi attorney David Silek characterized it as making “a Rolex look like a Swatch.” As the watch seizure was discussed in court as a payment option to satisfy the unpaid judgment, Silek said his clients had informed him the watch’s value far exceeded the amount of the lawn service judgment against them.

Repo man says fled Salahis under threat of gun

Tareq to Michaele – ‘get gun’ according to court complaint

A 2006 Audi that got alleged White House State Dinner crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi an expired state inspection ticket while in an attorney’s office after a Dec. 4 court appearance in Front Royal caused even more headaches for the couple last year.

Documents show that Tareq Salahi was charged in 2008 with petty larceny for taking the keys of a tow truck driver who was sent to repossess the car because Salahi was over $5,500 behind on payments on an outstanding balance of $57,646.22. The monthly payment on the car is $1,771.39.

17-0 shutout cows Graham critics to silence (almost)

Three of kind can’t beat Front Royal Town Manager’s ‘Full House’

A move to oust Town Manager J. Michael Graham at the Nov. 23 Front Royal Town Council meeting died a nearly silent death in the wake of a public outcry of foul play and shameful behavior from a full house of town citizens at the Warren County Government Center.

“Petty and small minded personal agendas,” were among the assessments of motives for such a radical town personnel move offered by 17 of 17 speakers addressing council on the subject during the public concerns portion of the meeting.

Madden: Sayre still no conflict on FRLP

Facts as presented allow councilman’s ‘fair & objective’ participation

On Dec. 9, Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden issued an opinion on a second request by Front Royal Town Councilman Tom Sayre on a potential conflict of interest regarding the Front Royal Limited Partnership rezoning proposal currently before council.

Madden has already issued one opinion, on Sept. 21, that Sayre did not have an apparent and irreconcilable conflict on the FRLP residential rezoning request impacting 149 acres of land west of, but not adjacent to his family home property. That initial inquiry involved the inclusion of an East-West Connector Road, a portion of which would run adjacent to Sayre’s property and serve as an entrance access to the proposed residential development of 320 units, in the FRLP proffer package.

A time for healing: 50 years beyond division

WCHS’s Class of ’59 recalls the hard times of ‘Massive Resistance’

On Dec. 1, 2009, a state Special Subcommittee on the 50th Anniversary of Public School Closing in Virginia convened for a work session and Town Hall meeting in the auditorium of the new Warren County High School. Joining local officials and state legislators were both black and white members of the WCHS Class of 1959, a class often referred to as the “Lost Class of 1959.”

If lost they were, it was because in that tumultuous school year of 1958-59 students found themselves embroiled in the middle of the Virginia State Government’s attempt to avoid U.S. Supreme Court upheld and federally-ordered racial integration of the nation’s public school systems.

Locals join statewide call for health care reform

Pro reform advocates say the true atrocity is business as usual

Despite the threat of a pending nasty wintry mix of precipitation, on Dec. 1, locals joined others demonstrating for meaningful Health Care Reform across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If it is not clear to those in the U.S. Congress or the White House what is at stake for the average American, they needed to only listen to the stories told by citizens gathered on Front Royal’s Main Street and other literal or figurative Main Streets across Virginia.

Callahan plans appeal of brandishing conviction

Neighborhood dispute leads to 4 misdemeanor firearm convictions

On Dec. 9, a woman accused of brandishing a firearm at several people gathered near a garage she has claimed they are using for illegal commercial vehicle repairs, was convicted on four of the five misdemeanor counts stemming from an Aug. 21 incident.

Contacted on Dec. 10, Patricia Callahan said she plans to appeal the General District Court convictions. She has 10 days in which to file an appeal. She declined further comment on advice of her attorney, John Bell.

What now? – Town loses round one of corridor case

Judge Hupp rules for restaurants on basic challenge of meals tax fees

Where do we go from here? – was without a doubt the focal point of a Dec. 3 Closed Session of the Front Royal Town Council.

The 7 p.m. Closed Session “to consult with the Town Attorney on the lawsuit styled Applebee’s Restaurants, etc., et als v. Town of Front Royal, Virginia” was added to council’s list of things to do on Tuesday, Dec. 1, not coincidentally we would imagine, one day after Judge Dennis L. Hupp dropped the first bombshell in what has become commonly known as “the corridor lawsuit.”

Brooks urges county support of town corridor stance

Former mayor urges county to see mutual interest in preserving fees

The day after an initial summary judgment went against the Town of Front Royal in its defense of the inclusion of its meals tax in calculating fees attached to 522 North Corridor utility bills, former Front Royal Mayor and Town Councilman Stan Brooks urged the county to stand with the town as the case proceeds.

“This agreement will fall to pieces if this [meals tax component] is taken out,” Brooks told the Warren County Board of Supervisors during the Public Presentations portion of the 9 a.m., Dec. 1 meeting. “How will the town survive” the loss of one of its primary revenue sources enabled by the now challenged 1998 Route 522 Corridor Agreement? Brooks asked county officials.

Athey describes ‘bleak’ state economic outlook

Delegate promises fight for continued state commitment to regional jail

“Bleak would be an understatement,” 18th District Del. Clifford L. “Clay” Athey told the Warren County Board of Supervisors of the state’s economic outlook during a Dec. 1 Legislative Report on the coming session of the Virginia General Assembly.

Athey said that the past two budget years as the U.S. plunged into what has been described as its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, were the first time within his experience that the commonwealth had faced year-to-year reductions in state revenues. Athey said the legislature’s focus would be on enabling core services to be provided – “after that there will be substantial cuts,” he said.

Goodbye Kevin King

Kevin King was a fixture in my professional life here since my first go-round at The Warren Sentinel beginning in 1992. Even during my first hiatus from local journalism in the late 1990’s due to a family illness, I would run into Kevin on either visits to the newspaper’s office, or on the street as he was making his weekly circulation rounds.

When I finally parted ways with the Sentinel in 2006 and began this endeavor with Dan McDermott, the pattern of unplanned connections continued, often over our dueling circulation duties at our respective papers. As with most staff at the Sentinel, our journalistic competition remained friendly and good natured. We’d often trade papers out of our vehicles – hey, WCR wasn’t always free – and compare notes. If our schedules allowed we’d sit down and revisit old times or new over a cup of coffee.

Remembering My Friend ‘Chigger’

The shows all sound different without him now. We started out together sometime in 1992. He was playing the drums then. I wasn’t to sure he was going to work out on the drums. He was a rock drummer and I was looking for more of a country drummer. He said he didn’t know that much about playing country music. Chigger began collecting a lot of country music and started learning quickly. – Man, he was like that. Once he set his mind to it, he was going to do it. I’d say within a couple of months, we had enough songs down that we could start going out to play. We had Dean Smith on Bass/Vocal, Mark Calhoun on piano, Chigger on Drums and myself on Lead Guitar/Vocals, known as From the Heart. That was the name I came up with because of Chigger.

Town, Barros set to butt heads over Afton Inn?

In the wake of a perhaps ironically dated Dec. 7 work session, the Front Royal Town Council appears poised to drop a communications “bomb” on Afton Inn owner and Northern Virginia developer Frank Barros.

While that bomb won’t be delivered on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, it should come within four to six weeks, at one of council’s regularly scheduled January meetings.

Wagner Shelter gets perfect score from state vet

Chairman Archibald Cox of the Warren County Board of Supervisors and Vice Mayor Bret Hrbek of Front Royal congratulated the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter staff at an open house November 21 on obtaining a 100% compliance report from an unannounced annual inspection by the state veterinarian’s office just 48 hours earlier. The state inspector stated to director Jane Johnson that “the shelter had never looked better or been more organized.”

Johnson later elaborated on the parameters of the inspection.

Area youth perform ‘A Christmas Carol’

With the holiday season upon us a group of local children are working hard to bring joy to our community. This Saturday and Sunday the theatre troupe who call themselves, The Kings Players will perform a version of the classic, “A Christmas Carol” on stage at the Strasburg Theater.

After months of practicing, these children have put together an incredible performance. The main character, Uncle Scrooge, is played by 11 year old Aiden Dowell of Stephens City, who leads a phenomenal show. Aiden’s mom Jennifer Dowell reported, “This was the first play he’s ever been in, and he was brave enough to accept the lead role.”

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Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 11:17 pm  Comments (3)  

Salahi watch a fake – jewelers

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

A Patek Philippe watch surrendered by Tareq Salahi to Warren County General District Court Friday has been deemed a fake by two jewelers asked to evaluate it’s authenticity. The watch was transferred to the court to be sold to satisfy a $2,063.35 judgment against the Salahis from a past due lawn mowing bill.

Ray Cosey of R. E. Jewelers Watch & Clock in Chambersburg, PA said he is absolutely sure it is a fake. “You can tell by looking at the back of the watch. It’s see-through. I could tell by the grade of the movement that it isn’t a genuine watch. You can buy them on the streets of New York for a little bit of nothing.”

A genuine Patek Phillippe can fetch up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In a document filed with the court, Cosey estimates Salahi’s imitation to be worth $100.

On Tuesday, the Salahis presented the court a check for the full amount to satisfy the debt and retrieve the watch. Afterward, in a brief courthouse encounter with Warren County Report, the Salahis and their attorney David Silek appeared agitated that the watch was not immediately available for retrieval. Silek said “The watch isn’t here. They sent it away.” This writer explained that it had been sent out for verification of authenticity, appraisal and repair. Mr. Salahi replied that the watch wasn’t broken but had to be worn for a period to begin working again. I replied, “Well you’ll get back a nice clean, working watch. Every cloud has a silver lining.” Mr. Salahi laughed.

Jean Plauger who has owned Jean’s Jewelers on Main Street in Front Royal for 12 years was given the watch by the court to evaluate and have repaired if necessary. “As soon as I saw it I thought it was a fake. We sent it to Chambersburg to be sure.”

Plauger worked at McDaniel’s Jewelers in Front Royal for 13 years before opening her own shop. Mr. Cosey has 36 years experience in the jewelery and watch business.

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Dan McDermott: editor@warrencountyreport.com

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm  Comments (22)  

So a congressional committee just voted to subpoena you. Now what?

How the congressional subpoena process plays out.

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

At 2 pm today the House Homeland Security Committee will meet to consider issuing subpoenas for Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

So what’s next?

According to a former congressional investigator who spoke on the condition he not be named, here is what happens:

– The subpoenas are written up by the counsel for the committee and available for the members of the committee to review prior to the vote.

– The committee will vote on two resolutions authorizing the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum for each of the Salahis.

– Some committees require the full committee to vote on subpoenas and others allow the chairman to issue them without a vote. In this case, the committee, comprised of 21 Democrats and 13 Republicans will vote.

Assuming the resolutions pass:

– Presumably after the meeting, Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi will physically sign each subpoena. There may be several copies since different delivery methods may be used.

The softball delivery:

– The counsel for the committee will deliver or have delivered the subpoenas to the Salahi’s law firm, Dewey & LeBoeuf of New York and/or the Salahi’s home in Linden, VA.

The hardball method:

– If the law firm can’t guarantee that the Salahis appear and the Salahis don’t answer their door, the committee counsel will turn the subpoenas over to the U.S. Marshals Service. Then they hunt the Salahis down.

What if they don’t show up?

– The Salahis have to appear at a hearing on the date specified on the subpoenas. If they don’t show up then the committee can turn the matter over to the full house who can vote on whether the Salahis are in contempt of congress. This is a big hurdle to climb. If the House votes to cite them for contempt, the U.S. Attorney would prosecute and the Salahis could be jailed for up to a year.

What if they do show up?

– The Salahis have indicated through their attorneys that they will exercise their constitutional 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and not answer questions.

– They still have to appear and sit their while each committee member asks presumably long TV-friendly statement-questions. They can reassert their 5th Amendment rights each time and the committee members can express shock and disgust each time for the cameras. Rephrased question, refusal to answer, feigned incredulity, repeat.

– If the Salahis refuse to answer simple questions like “How old are you” then the committee could technically try to vote on a contempt charge and send it to the House but no one thinks this is likely.

What about immunity?

– The Salahis could be granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. This is doubtful and rare.

Other options:

– A subpoena is one step in the negotiation process for the committee to get information. After it is delivered, the Salahis may be eager to compromise to avoid having to repeatedly refuse to answer questions on national television. The lawyers for the committee and the Salahis could get together and discuss what the committee really wants. At any time the subpoenas could be withdrawn if the committee is satisfied with what it has heard or what arrangements have been made. Some possibilities are a closed door deposition, a transcribed interview with committee staff or perhaps a written statement or affidavit in lieu of testimony.

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Dan McDermott: editor@warrencountyreport.com

Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm  Comments (3)  
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