Battle to contain forest fire shifts to Skyline Drive

Firefighters continue to battle a 2,000 acre wildfire that has closed a portion of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park near Front Royal, Va. Courtesy photo/Jennifer Sheen

Discussion and live audio of Warren County Fire and Rescue radio traffic available on

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

A version of this story appears on The Huffington Post.

SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK — Approximately 70 federal, state and local firefighters are currently on the ground battling a wildfire that has spread to 2,000 acres of Shenandoah National Park, causing the closing of the northern portion of the popular and normally scenic Skyline Drive.

60 more firefighters are en route to the park, according to spokesperson Karen Beck-Herzog.

Beck-Herzog said the fire started on private land in Warren County, just to the west of the park. It was first reported to park officials at 10 am Saturday. No cause has been determined.

The fire grew rapidly overnight due to high winds and is now moving on the surface of the forest floor feeding on hardwood leaf litter and down trees, she said.

Beck-Herzog said the fire is located near Jenkins Gap near Milepost 12 on Skyline Drive.

Warren County officials said Saturday that a second large fire near Linden had been largely contained but not before claiming two homes and causing residents to flee to evacuation shelters set up in a community center and nearby Skyline High School.

Discussion and live audio of Warren County Fire and Rescue radio traffic available on

Dan McDermott:

Related posts:

Warren County hit by major wildland fires

Firefighters from across the country headed to Shenandoah National Park

Published in: on February 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm  Comments (4)  

The Valley Today 8/3/2010 (Video)

Published in: on August 3, 2010 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

On The River 2010 in Front Royal cancelled

By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report

On July 14 the cancellation of what would have been the second annual “On The River” event slated for Aug. 21 in Front Royal was announced by organizers.

“It is with regret that the planned event OTR ’10, ‘designed to connect and reacquaint our community with the Shenandoah River,’ will not take place this year,” a press release from event Volunteer Director Tim Frees stated. “At this time the OTR Volunteer Committee would like to extend our deep appreciation to all the volunteers, vendors, exhibitors, and sponsors that stepped forward to support this year’s planned event.”

Asked for more detail about the cancellation, Frees later told us that a number of factors led to the decision.

“Water levels are a concern,” he stated about consequences of what has been a generally dry and hot spring and summer with reduced water flow in the Shenandoah River. “We wanted to match or better last year’s event and it just wasn’t coming together. We had to inform vendors whether we were going or not by an adequate date so they could make their plans and we decided to pull the plug now.”

Frees said it is currently hoped the event will be resurrected next year and stated that the OTR website will remain in tact. He also encouraged ongoing safe use of the Shenandoah River by locals and visitors alike.

“While our formal event will not take place this year, we encourage well planned river activities emphasizing water safety, environmental concerns, and family enjoyment of our great natural resource, the Shenandoah River. Front Royal remains ‘The Canoe Capital of Virginia’. Our website,, will soon be updated for future OTR events,” the press release stated.

“Last year’s event, OTR ’09, was a great success,” Frees added. “The event was special due to the efforts and support of all the volunteers, vendors, exhibitors, sponsors, and especially the community. Over 200 folks participated in free canoe runs provided by Don Roberts (Front Royal Canoe) and John Gibson (Down River Canoe Company) as well as over 700 guests interacting with over 16 exhibitors coordinated by the ‘Friends of the Shenandoah River’. The event was held on the grounds of VFW Post 1860 with the tremendous assistance of the Post members and the Young Marines. Special thanks to BRAC for their support of ‘Paddle Art’.

Frees stated that the cancellation had absolutely no relationship whatsoever to recent reports of financial issues at the local VFW and the potential sale of the VFW property planned as a primary event site this year, as it was used last year.

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 7:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Video: Warren County Skate Park Opens

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

After a decade of planning and fundraising, Virginia’s newest skate park finally opened today at Ed Stump Playground.

We caught up with Doug Stanley who was excited to see it finally open.

Richard Crowder from R.A.C. Security said all the kids were behaving and there had only been one minor injury so far.

The skaters, most but not all young, didn’t have too much to say. They were too busy with their skateboards, BMX bikes and rollerblades.

People came from as far away as Pennsylvania to try the park out.

Admission is free. There are rules at

Most folks on Jackson Street were rather pleased.   🙂

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Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Entire cast of Real Housewives of DC at Hume, VA winery

Warren County, VA couple to star in next season of hit NBC/Bravo series

By Dan McDermott
The Sherando Times

[Welcome to our many visitors from the New York Times and  TV Tattle. You can also read this story free in the print edition of The Sherando Times.]

The Sherando Times has learned that Michaele and Tareq Salahi of Oasis Winery in Hume, VA are slated to star in the upcoming Real Housewives of DC, the latest installment of a reality series that has developed a cult following on the NBC Universal-owned Bravo cable network.

Mrs. Salahi and a camera crew have been spotted in Frederick County.

Participants are tight-lipped about the show. One producer referred to “whatever show may or may not be being taped here.”

Tension was high for a period as Tareq and his mother, Corinne Salahi, had disagreed over whether the crew had the right to be present on the property. The two have been in a long-running dispute over control of the award winning winery that has since fallen into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office was called during a taping visit the previous weekend.

Begun in 2006 as Real Housewives of Orange County, the show follows the frolicking and friction of a set of housewives and their husbands. It is produced by Bethesda, MD based Half Yard Productions.

Half Yard’s web site describes the show as following “Washington’s A-list housewives. They not only rub elbows with the world’s movers and shakers, they’re among the nation’s most influential players, cultural connoisseurs, fashion sophisticates and philanthropic leaders. Comfortable discussing everything from the economy to high couture, they’re the talk of our most powerful town.”

Michaele is a former model and she and her husband founded America’s Polo Cup.

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[This story will appear in tomorrow’s edition of The Sherando Times.]

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm  Comments (8)  

AUDIO: A discussion of coyotes, eagles, bats and owl banding on The Valley Today.

Publisher Dan McDermott was guest hosting a talk show today. Dan and WZRV afternoon DJ Lonnie Hill discussed the Friends of Shenandoah River State Park and some critters that populate our favorite river destination.

Here is the Audio. (Left-click to play or right-click to Save-As and play from your computer.)

More about Friends of Shenandoah River State Park.

Published in: on November 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

American bald eagle flies over Shenandoah River State Park

This eagle was flying over the Shenandoah River near the low water bridge south of the park at 2:11 pm today. After it flew up the river deeper into Shenandoah River State Park I drove to the three bends overlook and waited for about half an hour but didn’t see it return. – Dan McDermott

More photos

More about the park

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 2:37 pm  Comments (11)  

Free complete print edition: Mid January, 2009

Click here to open

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.

Watch: IRANIAN TV network covering U.S. election in Virginia (Video)

Iran’s Press TV has a reporter on the ground covering U.S. presidential campaign events in Virginia.



Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parts Of Virginia See First Snow Of Season

ABINGDON, Va. – Three days before Halloween, residents here and in much of Southwest Virginia woke to a winter wonderland blanketed with the first snow of the season.

While Tuesday’s morning’s early season snow might have been a surprise to some after recent mild winters, weather forecasters and farmers said snow in late October is not unusual for the Mountain Empire.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 1:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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