Free complete print edition: Mid January, 2009

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Inside this issue:

  • Front Royal, VA woman loses finger in domestic dispute
  • Browntown Road shooting
  • Additional charges filed in Warren County, VA house ramming incident
  • Two arrested in Papa John’s Pizza robbery
  • Be on the lookout for Daniel Eli of Bethlehem, PA
  • Driveway scams
  • Openings for Citizens Police Academy
  • R-MA teacher honored
  • State River Park attendance down
  • New Linden, VA trash site opens
  • Town of Front Royal, VA approaches liaison: Let’s talk – just not about ‘that’
  • Warren County, VA approves 5-pronged January liaison agenda
  • Capt. Richard H. Furr makes it official – applying for Front Royal, VA police chief’s job
  • Del. Clay Athey’s Report from Richmond, VA
  • Neighbors point fingers (not guns) during shooting debate
  • ‘Pawsitive Pup’ makes dog grooming more convenient
  • NFL playoffs – Still Cheering Purple Pride
  • Activities & events in Front Royal and Warren County, VA
  • Opinion: The Gaza Holocaust
  • Letter: History’s Revenge
  • Front Royal/Warren County, VA Chamber of Commerce news
  • Entire issue is free here.

Also, 2008: The Year in Review

  • 2008 – It wasn’t that great: From bad weather to a lousy economy – good riddance
  • Inventor John Kovak: Childhood machine could be key to clean energy production in Front Royal, VA
  • CPV, Dominion Power make it official – the ‘buy’ is on
  • Paying for our own noose? Front Royal, VA debates the true price of power – 50 years of coal
  • Loss of father, two young children mourned at Candlelight Vigil
  • Town of Front Royal, VA approves corridor, EDA resolutions  – Threat of litigation by Riverton Commons restaurants hovers over passage
  • First Crooked Run Center tax revenue estimates in
  • Town, FDR Services settle water-sewer rate war – Two years of litigation ends with compromise, 15-year service contract
  • Should the Dow be at 3,000? Up a grand, down a grand – Great Depression 2.0?
  • Show me the money – Brooks calls out EDA financing – EDA’s reduced municipal funding request opens a fiscal can of worms
  • Town move on EDA assets likely futile – Virginia state law protects autonomy of economic development authorities
  • Town to EDA – ‘Pretty please with sugar on top’ – Town rephrases effort to gain control of millions in EDA assets
  • Abusive driver fees’ hit the dustbin of legislative history – Refunds included in ‘civil remedial fee’ repeal signed into law by Virginia governor
  • Virginia Governor Tim Kaine cites importance of dialogue in state government
  • Va. Supreme Court rules against NVTA road taxing – Local plaintiff, delegate weigh in on decision, state funding responsibilities
  • Questions remain about Virginia state trooper collision – Public’s right to know at issue as accident investigation continues
  • Humane Society board recalled under contentious circumstances – Accusations fly over membership voting eligibility, animal care priorities
  • Wagner Shelter two weeks later – ‘a remarkable change’; In the wake of contentious board recall, humans & animals move on
  • Monk murder mystery – A personal remembrance of a soul in wonder
  • Entire issue is free here.

Could this be a realigning election?

What kind of change will this presidential election bring to the political landscape? Historian Robert S. McElvaine compares 2008 with past elections, and concludes that the results this year have the potential to be broad, profound and lasting.

This year’s equation: 1920 + 1932 = 2008

By Robert S. McElvaine
History News Service

We often hear that the election that takes place next Tuesday will be one of the most important in American history. Such statements, however, are often little more than hyperbole. To make the case that an election is momentous, you need to compare it with previous critical ones.

The most important elections are those in which political history changes course. There have been only three genuine realignments in the past 125 years. They centered on the presidential elections of 1896, 1932 and 1968.

It’s often assumed that realignments are the positive results of the actions of popular leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. In fact, however, the origins of realignments are always negative. Voters turn against a party that has long held power when it presides over a major failure.

A long period of Republican dominance began with the 1896 election as the result of an economic collapse, the Panic of 1893, that started under the Democrats. GOP supremacy continued until an economic collapse on its watch, the Panic of 1929, turned the public against the party. The Democratic ascendancy that was made possible by the Panic of 1929 and began with the Election of 1932 lasted until 1968, when a disastrous, unnecessary war discredited the party.

The 1968 turning point was somewhat disguised in that year’s election because of the third-party candidacy of George Wallace and a very narrow victory by Richard Nixon. But Republican strategists understood that if they could add the Wallace vote to Nixon’s they would have a substantial majority and that they could do that by running against “the Sixties.” The GOP used that formula to win an overwhelming victory in 1972. Watergate temporarily slowed the Republican ascendancy, but it was clear by 1980.

Now the long period of Republican dominance that began with a negative reaction against the Democrats in 1968 appears likely to end next Tuesday because both a disastrous, unnecessary war and the Panic of 2008 have discredited the Republicans. If so, Barack Obama will be presented with an opportunity to turn a negative rejection of the party blamed with messing things up into a positive mandate for change and a lasting majority for his party. FDR was able to take advantage of such an opportunity, but Nixon was not, leaving it for Reagan to do so a decade later.

As for which previous election this year’s most resembles, several candidates have been nominated. The two mentioned most often are 1960 and 1980.

In 1960, a young, inexperienced “celebrity” Democrat from a minority that had never before produced a president ran against a more experienced but less likable Republican. The young, handsome, Catholic John F. Kennedy won a narrow victory over the experienced, monochromatic Republican vice president, Richard Nixon.

Voters in 1980 were very upset with the failings of the incumbent party’s president but were also fearful that the challenger was not up to the job, had no experience in foreign policy, and might be dangerous. In the closing days of the campaign, though, a majority of voters decided that it was even riskier to keep going in the same direction with Jimmy Carter than to take a leap into the unknown with Ronald Reagan.

Both of these elections parallel that of 2008 and point toward an Obama victory this year. There are, though, three other elections that are even more similar to the one this year.

In 1896, the party in power under which the economy had collapsed nominated a man who disagreed with the party’s president on some issues. Although William Jennings Bryan was far more different from Democratic President Grover Cleveland than John McCain is from Republican President George W. Bush, Bryan’s party affiliation helped to doom him and William McKinley was elected.

In 1920, the incumbent party’s president had become very unpopular as a result of a war that had not produced the idealistic results he had promised when the United States entered it. Woodrow Wilson was not on the ballot, but his party’s nominee, James Cox, was chained to his party’s unpopular president, who pulled him down like an anchor, and Republican Warren Harding won in a landslide.

In 1932, as in 1896, the economy had collapsed and the incumbent president was extremely unpopular. The challenger was a man who was criticized as being all fluff and no substance. That challenger, Franklin Roosevelt, easily defeated the incumbent, Herbert Hoover.

Next week’s election is shaping up as a combination of 1932 and 1920. The Panic of 2008 is having an effect on the Republican nominee similar to that of the Panic of 1929 on the Republican candidate in 1932. But, unlike Hoover in 1932, McCain is not the incumbent president. That circumstance makes the 2008 election more like that of 1920: McCain is being weighed down by his party’s president and that president’s war, as Cox was in 1920.

The equation for next Tuesday, then, is: 1920+1932 = 2008.

And we can take some comfort in the fact that history indicates that while realignments are caused by party failures, they usually set the country in a fresh direction and usher in needed reforms.

Robert S. McElvaine, a writer for History News Service, is a professor of history at Millsaps College and the author of “The Great Depression.”

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Daughter of the Stars: The rich history of the Shenandoah River

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

Long before there was an Interstate 81, a Route 522, or railroads, there was the Shenandoah River, the Daughter of the Stars. This once pristine 300 mile waterway stretches from forks in New Market in the north and Port Republic in the south and joins in Front Royal. The main river runs from Front Royal until it empties into the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

It turns out that human activity surrounding the Shenandoah dates back a very long time–over 11,000 years. Beginning in 9300 BC, Paleo-Indians built structures along the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah and lived near Front Royal for more than 2,500 years. In fact, their homes are the oldest buildings ever found in all of North America. It should be noted that these early settlers inhabited the Shenandoah Valley only 20,000 years after the disappearance of the Neanderthal.

Almost 8,000 years later, around the year 900, Native Americans began farming along the Shenandoah River.

The first European settlers arrived in the Shenandoah Valley in 1669, encountering abundant wildlife, beautiful terrain, and many Indian tribes. Many English navy vessels had masts made from the fine timber the Shenandoah River’s thirsty trees provided. George Washington surveyed the Shenandoah Valley and River when he worked for Northern and Western Virginia’s English owner, Lord Thomas Fairfax.

Toward the end of the 18th century, the Shenandoah River quickly became a major commercial route in the Valley. Mills sprung up along the river’s edge grinding grain into flour. And iron was abundant in the region. To get these and other products to their northern buyers, traders built flat bottomed boats called gundalows. To navigate these 90 foot vessels through the Shenandoah’s rough terrain, the Patowmack Company was formed in 1785 with the encouragement of George Washington and began blasting rock and dredging the river bed to create a navigable passage for trade. In especially shallow areas, V shaped dams were built with an opening in the center to create a higher flowing passageway.

The cost to transport goods was fairly high for the period. In today’s dollars it seems a bargain. Commodore Jacob Sipe advertised in the Rockingham Register in 1841 that he would transport a barrel of flour weighing almost 200 lbs from Port Republic to Georgetown for about $1.20. Today that that would most likely be sent by truck and would cost about 37.50 for a commercial shipper. A single gundalow could hold more than 100 barrels, about half the capacity of a modern 18-wheel truck and trailer.

Port Republic gets it’s name because it was the commercial port at the tip of the South Fork of the Shenandoah. On the North Fork, Bridgewater was originally called Bridgeport because it too was a hub of commercial traffic on the waterway. Harper’s Ferry first became famous for George Washington’s decision to build an armory there. He chose this location because of it’s proximity to the joining of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Iron could be brought north on the Shenandoah and made into weapons in Harpers Ferry.

The gundalows that brought manufactured goods north were made of wood and they were destined for a one way trip. Since railroads had not yet arrived, these boats could not be easily brought back south for a second use. At their port of destination, they were sold for up to $25 and made into houses. Some of these houses still exist today and are a facinating indicator of the rich commercial history of the Shenandoah. After the journey north, the gundalow’s crew would literally walk back home–a journey that would take 2 or 3 days. It is interesting that the journey up the river by gundalow could take twice as long because of its many bends and the muscle required to move a 90 foot boat through a sometimes shallow river.

In 1854, the Railroad first came through the town of Front Royal. This made Front Royal the usual final stop for gundalows since goods could be transferred to train cars and brought to other parts of the country not served by commercial river traffic. At the time, Front Royal was known as Helltown. It seems that this rural community was not immune to the usual effect of sailors arriving in a port with a pocketful of money and time to chase women and booze.

Today, the gundalows are long gone. But the tremendous value of the Shenandoah River remains. In a 1992 survey, over 11,000 people went whitewater rafting on the Shenandoah and the Helltown of Front Royal has a new nickname, the canoe capital of virginia.

Much of this history was gleaned from two great sources. The Luray/Page County Chamber of Commerce looks into the history of this famous river in it’s website: Another wonderful source of information on the Shenandoah River can be found in the Shenandoah River Atlas, published by Friends of the Shenandoah River.

editor [at]

New book explores history of Underground Railroad

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — When Don Daniel McMillian took a look into the past at the Civil War, he kept having to cross that shallow river you could once wade across.

McMillian traipses back and forth across the now mighty Ohio River in his new book, “The Underground Railroad Lawrence County, Ohio and Cabell County, Virginia,” ($24.99, Book Surge) taking a look at the people, the places, the history and architecture on both sides of the river.

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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