In the beginning: A stray cat and a vision It was a steamy evening in late July 1985. The doors hung open to two small offices in the shadow of old trees along Woodstock’s Lawyers’ Row, and the smell of fresh paint was heavy in the air. A stray cat crept up the concrete steps of one of the offices, driven perhaps by curiosity, more likely by hunger. I had come there each night for about two weeks hoping to perform a miracle or to at least disprove the old notion that “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
Highest academic honors County public schools identify 6 students for achievement The six students ranked highest academically in their Shenandoah County Public School graduating classes a week ago have been identified. They were announced at commencement exercises Thursday and Friday. The top students are Madison Brooke Nichols and Chandler Allen Estep, Central High School; Lindsay Michelle Zirkle and James Franklin Eaton, Stonewall Jackson High School, and Amanda Emily Grover and Sianna Jewel Cervantes, Strasburg High School.
457 to get graduate diplomas Ceremonies set today, Friday The strains of Pomp and Circumstance will be heard on local football fields and in at least one gym Thursday and Friday when 457 high school seniors are awarded diplomas. Central High School graduation is today at 7:30 p.m. Strasburg High School’s ceremony will be Friday at 10:30 a.m. and Stonewall Jackson’s Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Schools: ‘Money won’t fix ‘em’ Candidate says teachers won’t stay unless student discipline improves A former Shenandoah County supervisor said this week that he would campaign for a school board seat at the encouragement of friends who believe “schools are moving in the wrong direction.” Martin Helsley of Edinburg will campaign to represent District 2. Rick Koontz, the incumbent District 2 school board member, has said he will not seek reelection in November.
County shedding jobs Shenandoah among 3 in region where opportunity is declining Shenandoah County is in the midst of a prolonged economic decline. Government data suggests it may never recover. In the 10-years through 2017, Shenandoah County lost 525 non-farm jobs, 2.6 percent of its total workforce, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11852... See MoreSee Less
Walker won’t run Most conservative supervisor concedes he can’t effect change Shenandoah County supervisor Richard Walker, whose four-year campaign against higher taxes and excessive public spending ended in failure, will not seek a second term in office. Walker conceded Tuesday that even if he were elected in November, “there would be no opportunity to change policies I have objected to in another four years.” Over the past two years, Walker often has cast the lone dissenting vote on matters of public spending and taxation.
10 nominated for teacher of year award Ten public school teachers have been nominated for 2019 Shenandoah County Teacher of the Year. The recipient will be chosen from among the 10 and announced Wednesday during a banquet for the nominees, administrators and staff. Nominees for the award are Kristen Lute, Ashby Lee Elementary School; Anna Bartley, W. W. Robinson Elementary School; Todd Narcross, Sandy Hook Elementary School; Lata Tandel, North Fork Middle School; Michelle Harper, Peter Muhlenberg Middle School; Heather Fellers, Signal Knob Middle School; Megan Woods, Stonewall Jackson High School; Brian Cary, Central High School; Jennifer Cook, Strasburg High School, and Katherine Klus, Massanutten Regional Governor’s School/Triplett Business and Technical Institute. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11810... See MoreSee Less
Helsley bowing out Chairman and five-term supervisor won’t seek reelection Shenandoah County supervisors’ chairman Conrad Helsley will leave office at year’s end. At a meeting of supervisors Tuesday, Helsley announced that he would not seek reelection to a fifth full term in the November general election. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11808... See MoreSee Less
Shenandoah County supervisors Tuesday approved a budget totaling $123.6 million to operate schools and provide general government services for the year beginning July 1. The budget is $7 million higher than those discussed at public hearings during the past month. Of the total, the county’s schools are proposing to spend $78,951,268, including $30 million that will come from local taxpayers.
County politics heating up 2 of 3 supervisors whose terms expire have said they won’t run The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors is likely to include some new faces come January. Two of three supervisors whose terms expire at year’s end have told supporters that they may not seek reelection. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11712... See MoreSee Less
Combined budgets: $111.6 million Election rules out real estate tax hike; supervisors instead raid piggy bank Shenandoah County’s government, including its public schools, is proposing to spend $111.6 million during the year beginning July 1. The county’s supervisors Tuesday agreed to take to an April 4 public hearing a 2019-20 budget totaling $71,468,531. The budget includes $30 million toward the cost of school operations. Besides the $30 million in local tax funding, the county’s public schools plan to spend another $40,174,883 for operations during the year.
County’s share of jail costs rising When self-described progressive members of the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors earlier this decade promoted a regional jail, they said it would be less costly than continuing to operate a local lock-up. Further, they argued, the Virginia Department of Corrections would provide half the funding for construction of a regional jail, a cost share not available for jurisdictions wanting to build local jails. All six members of Shenandoah County’s board of supervisors at the time took that bait, despite opposition from the one public figure whose advice they summarily ignored, Sheriff Tim Carter. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11658... See MoreSee Less
School budget sailing to approval Meeting with superintendent, supervisors offer no hint of reductions Shenandoah County supervisors Tuesday appeared prepared to approve unchanged a $70.3 million operational budget for the county’s public schools. After meeting for nearly an hour with school superintendent Mark Johnston to discuss the proposed budget, supervisors gave no hint that they might consider reducing it. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11637... See MoreSee Less
Excellent. Strong schools are one of the bedrocks of a thriving community
I, for one, am quite glad to finally see our supervisors giving consideration to a fully funded school budget!
The opposers cannot expect people are going to want to live and work in Shenandoah County if schools aren’t strong.
If we want good jobs we need good school
Look for nice real estate and personal property tax increases. Thank you supervisors!
County budget: $75.4 million Adding school budget total hits $115M Shenandoah County supervisors Tuesday got their first look at a proposed $75.4 million budget for the upcoming year, an increase of $6.3 million. Though spending reductions will be discussed over the next six weeks, supervisors who expect to fully fund the budget will consider two painful options: raid a $13 million piggy bank to placate public school advocates and others or significantly increase real estate taxes. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11619... See MoreSee Less
School budget: $69.7 million Local taxpayer share would jump $1.5 million for $29.3 million total Shenandoah County Public Schools are proposing to spend nearly $70 million to operate during the upcoming year. Almost $30 million of it would come from county taxpayers. State and federal governments would provide most of the rest. The county school board got its first look at the proposed budget Tuesday night.
Walker: Merger threatens volunteers Shenandoah County supervisor Richard Walker says he believes a strategic plan to combine the county’s volunteer and paid emergency services agencies will discourage and eventually destroy volunteerism. Walker, who cast the only dissenting vote a week ago to merge paid and emergency units, said this week that many of the county’s fire and rescue volunteers fear they or their units would be “punished” if they resisted county government efforts to merge those services.
Rich Walker: Is anyone listening? Rich Walker is fighting a losing battle. Easily the most conservative of Shenandoah County’s six supervisors, Walker today is being largely ignored. A prophet of small government and low taxes, he is attempting to influence decisions of a governing board whose members clearly don’t share his philosophy of austerity. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11542... See MoreSee Less
County adds $22 million debt Financing office building, emergency radio will result in tax increase Months after raising taxes on real estate and vehicles, Shenandoah County supervisors have issued bonds to finance a construction project that will push taxes even higher. Supervisors have added $15 million to the county’s debt to finance construction of an office complex for the sheriff’s department and a communications center and to buy a $10 million radio system to dispatch police and emergency vehicles. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11397... See MoreSee Less
This county is a joke!! No business no places for youth to work, the only thing they invest money in is to further grow the government!! What happens when we need to expand technical schools or things we actually need?? We’re SOL because we’re already broke 😡😡👎🏻. Oohh that’s right us property owners will just keep taking it up the ass and bail you bunch of irresponsible spending supervisors out
Teacher pay: Region’s second highest 8% wage increase in July leaves county’s educators behind only Frederick’s Shenandoah County’s more than 600 public school teachers are being paid on average more than their peers in six of seven counties in the region. Only Frederick County pays teachers more. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11371... See MoreSee Less
Goodness keeps mercy in the air Hospital flights resume after online gifts pay cost of aircraft part, repairs Christmas came early for John Billings. That’s okay. What the celebrated World War II aviator turned humanitarian needed wouldn’t fit in Santa’s sleigh anyway. It requires an airplane hangar. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11352... See MoreSee Less
A changing place Jobs are plentiful and wages are up but something is awry here Economically, Shenandoah County is changing. And, it’s changing rapidly. Only two of 10 segments of the local economy are growing. The other eight are either in steady decline or are showing no signs of growth. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11317... See MoreSee Less
Let it snow If forecasts are right, it might measure in feet, not inches If there’s truth in the country music lyrics that “old men talk about the weather,” they’ll have plenty to talk about this winter. Those who make a living forecasting weather agree that snowfall in the Shenandoah Valley in the months ahead might best be measured in feet, not inches.
Student violence on rise Authorities can’t explain why Acts of student violence in Shenandoah County Public Schools are on the increase. Since August, law enforcement officers have been summoned to county public schools seven times to deal with acts of student violence, mostly assaults. www.shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11257... See MoreSee Less
The Fair prevails again Schools back away from plan to hold classes during event The Shenandoah County Fair has once again prevailed in the ages-old debate about requiring children to attend classes during the 100-year-old exposition. As usual, the county’s public schools will be closed during fair week in 2019. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11234... See MoreSee Less
Senate, House election Tuesday Early voting, voter sign-up higher than usual here in advance of mid-terms
Shenandoah County voters will cast ballots Tuesday in contested elections for the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
Incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D), a former Virginia governor, is seeking a second six-year term.
His challenger is Corey Stewart (R), chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Stewart ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Party nomination for governor in the most recent election.
Opening an old wound Proposed school calendar would deny Junior a day at the county fair Shenandoah County Public Schools and county fair advocates are entangled in yet another school calendar debate. Years-old school board discussions centered on a central issue: Whether to open school before the fair or after it ends. Today it’s all about the fair. shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=11109... See MoreSee Less
When the Edinburg Ole Time Festival made its debut in the 1980s organizers believed it was a nice little event that would show visitors and townsfolks just how friendly and charming their small town could be.
The festival, set to open its 38th edition today, soon became Shenandoah County’s premier annual rite of autumn and a reason for folks to celebrate small town life.
Taxes will be going up. Surprise, surprise. Thanks new supervisors!
I hate to think of higher but, the radio system is in despair. I think they have spent money like a drunken sailor in the past and it catching up.
For the record Marsha & Cindy never voted for this and stood up for the SHENCO TAX PAYERS!
Why can't our county budget & save for items instead of running up a credit card in the tax payers names.....
Wait for it!!!!
Teachers will get another raise!!! LMAO
I know that the radio system was all replaced in the late 80ies can't believe it is wore out all ready
$20M projects on table today Shenandoah County supervisors today are expected to vote on a proposal to spend $10.7 million for a radio system to dispatch police and emergency personnel. Supervisors also will consider a letter of agreement with a Richmond financial advisor to assist with a bond issue to pay for the radio system and an $8.2 million sheriff’s department office complex.
Central and Strasburg win football season openers. Get details at shenandoahfreepress.com
Why does it only say Jackson high school and it only says Lee high school, I think the generals deserve enough respect to have their full names printed out that the schools’ were named after , if you needed to shorten the text you can definitely leave out “high school” obviously it’s at a high school. I hope this isn’t some leftist push to not have their confederate names on the schedule!!!
Interesting how revered sports is in our county while the education system is failing. Sad really.
Shenandoah County: Growing old More of its young are leaving home and its workforce is shrinking
Shenandoah County should give up its tired old debate about crowded schools and focus instead on nursing homes.
After all, its school age population is declining, as is the number of children yet to enroll in school, and more of its residents are 65 and older than in any other county in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
And, statistics show that the county’s labor force continues to decline, meaning that the payrolls that finance taxes to support increased government services are contracting with each passing year.
Well if there was serious energy around getting economic development going in the county this story wouldn’t need to be published. Jobs keep people here lack of them are causing them to flee.
How incredibly shortsighted can you get
I saw the comparisons to other countries and Shenandoah County is very little different than surrounding counties. The case the fake press is trying to make that we are so different has little merit. And cutting education back is the last thing we need to do. Better to stick with those big photos you have been running of late rather than creating a false scenario.
Below standard schools keep out young entrepreneurs and keep home values artificially low. Commit to the future and reap the benefits by making your schools a priority. Make them stand up and out. Build them up, get creative, and the millennials will come.
We are in the same position as many other rural counties. The "best" jobs are the government jobs. Regulations enforced by government employees inadvertently set barriers to business entry for citizens without the funds to hire legal or other resources to fill out permits, prepare for public hearings, do PR to combat NIMBY issues, comply with the tax code, etc. It has been a drip drip drip of bigger government for many years and now we are faced with the unwinding. Who will be the first to give up their good government benefits and pensions?
Free press should pay their employees what their worth and carry on.
So you’re idea is to give up. Why not attract companies to the county that provide good quality jobs to elevate the quality of life. Oh that’s right they were all rejected. Except low quality low paying jobs like Dollar General. But drugs and domestic violence are on the increase. That’s a good thing right to have an increase in something????
Is county overly policed? Cops outnumber other counties
Shenandoah County either has too many cops or its neighbors to the north and south have too few.
Data compiled by the Uniform Crime Reporting Section of the Virginia State Police show that Shenandoah County and its incorporated towns employed 100 sworn and uniformed officers, or one for every 419 of the county’s 41,938 citizens.
Based on the ability of its residents to survive financially, Shenandoah County looks a lot like the rest of the United States. It’s neither rich nor poor, But like most of America, about four in 10 of its adults are unable to afford the basics of a middle class lifestyle – rent, transportation, child care and a cell phone.
Wrong. Low educated labor pool. No jobs for educated professionals. Low expectations of education and advancement. Many with no computers, emails, or smart phones. Way behind in technology. Increase in domestic violence. High meth addiction. Increase in crime related to drugs. No, not like the rest of the country unless you’re comparing it to dying counties. The young here who want to do something with their lives,move away, leaving the elderly and poor behind.