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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.”