Funeral arrangements announced for Deputy Chief Lauck

frederick county fire marshal's office

Funeral arrangements have been announced for Frederick County Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Chester T. Lauck. Lauck passed away on April 23rd after working on the scene of a wildfire in Gore.

Visitation will be held at Omps Funeral Home on Amherst Street Sunday from noon till 9 pm.

A service will be held at Winchester Church of God on Monday at 11 am with a burial following the service at Shenandoah Memorial Park.

Heavy traffic is expected in the area of the funeral home, church and cemetery.

Papermill Road will be closed from the roundabout to Route 522 from noon to 4 pm on Monday.

Motorists should use Crossover Boulevard as an alternative route.

Be aware of those wishing to show their respects who may be lining the road ways of the processional route.

Full information on the arrangements are available here.

For more on Deputy Chief Lauck’s passing, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Rockland Community Prayer Garden holds dedication ceremony

thanksgiving activity boxes

A dedication ceremony is being held April 29th at 10 am for the Rockland Community Prayer Garden located at 2921 Rockland Road in Warren County.

The large prayer garden has taken over two years to construct and features a life-sized, hand-carved marble statue of Christ above a large reflecting pool surrounded by over 6000 bricks forming a cross.

This is all encompassed by a garden of over 1500 plants with many benches and walkways to find the perfect place to relax and find peace.

Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears will speak at the dedication and all are invited to attend.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WFD prepares for bicentennial parade

The Woodstock Fire Department is now accepting applications to be a part of their 200th Anniversary parade which will be held on July 15th at 11 am in Woodstock.

Registration is open until June 30th with a link available here.

Awards will be given in a variety of categories including longest distance traveled, best marching band, best antique car, and many more.

Parade entry is complimentary but donations are welcome to the 100% volunteer fire department.

All entrants will receive a commemorative 200th Anniversary dash plaque.

Awards will be announced at 2 pm with a muster held immediately following on Court Street until 4 pm. 

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

A Hard Lesson

views from the booth header v2

Greetings from The Booth!

Let’s jump right in. Recently, a listener of my morning radio show shared with me an open letter to the Virginia High School League (the governing body of scholastic sports in Virginia) from 19 members of the Handley High School boys soccer team. The VHSL had ruled that because the Judges had used an ineligible player in some of their games, those wins (4 plus a tie) would have to be forfeited, moving Handley from near the top of the Class 4 Northwestern district standings, to near the bottom. According to reports, the player met age and academic requirements, but had exhausted his eight semesters of eligibility.  Handley self-reported the violation when they became aware and the athletic department has apologized for not catching the mistake. The Judges, who have won three straight since the situation was corrected, are still eligible for postseason play.

The letter from the 19 soccer players is well-written and they make their case in a thoughtful manner. The players make mention of the diverse makeup and sportsmanlike nature of their team. They attempt to show the difference between intentional and unintentional infractions. They point out that the staffer who made the mistake is “really nice, usually does good work, and is liked by all the students.” The players cite the lost years of COVID, and make the argument that the VHSL makes kids “pay for the mistakes of adults.”

All of the above points, while passionately made, are, to quote Dustin Hoffman’s character in the movie Runaway Jury, “colored bubbles.” The “adult” mistake was made by a Handley staffer. While that person may be well-liked by all, etc., it was their job to make sure that the ineligible player was (or wasn’t) compliant, and they missed it. It was an error committed by the Handley athletic department, and they have owned it.

The time lost because of COVID, while unfortunate for anyone (not) playing sports during the pandemic, has nothing to do with this ruling. And the diverse and sportsmanlike nature of the team, both great qualities for sure, is also irrelevant.

I’m probably giving up my honorary Handley Pride status, but I have to put on the Black Hat on this one and side with the VHSL. To make rulings on a case by case basis is to open themselves up to much scrutiny and is too subjective. Rules are in place to insure a fair and level playing field for all. To say that the ineligible player didn’t have much impact on the games is to go down a slippery slope of trying to define “impact.” There is also the rabbit hole of intentional versus unintentional mistakes. While I’m sure this is a case of an unintentional error, how can you know with 100 percent surety?

The lesson here is that adversity is a part of life, and champions overcome adversity. The Judges, who lose an automatic berth in the regional tournament, still have an opportunity to do great things this year in the postseason. The Handley boys soccer team needs to use this ruling by the VHSL as a chip on their collective shoulder and channel the negative energy into a state championship. How sweet that would be!

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO JUDGES!



Furever Friday: Pumpkin



Welcome back to Furever Friday!

Each week, we spotlight an adoptable Pet from the Humane Society of Warren County.

Today we are featuring Pumpkin, a 17 year old dog, who was recently surrendered.

This pretty little lady is very fit and active for her age and has lived with other dogs.

She is known to be a digger and escape artist so she needs to be supervised outside.

If you would like to give Pumpkin a chance, please fill out an application at

Once you apply and are approved, a staff member will contact you with the next steps.

You can also check out the Humane Society of Warren County’s adoptable pets on

Furever Friday is proudly sponsored by Shear Elegance Pet Boutique.

Shear Elegance Pet Boutique has been giving pets the love, care and respect they deserve since 2011.

Visit them today off John Marshall Highway and on Facebook.

The Humane Society of Warren County offers their Pick of the Litter Thrift Store at 450 S. Commerce Ave. Front Royal.

A great way to support the Humane Society of Warren County by way of both purchase and donations.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Shenandoah takes top rank in National Park reviews

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

For National Parks Week, Travel Lemming, an online travel guide with over 10 million annual readers, ranked all 63 National Parks from around the country.

Taking home the #1 ranking based on their data-backed review process was Virginia’s only entry to the list, Shenandoah National Park.

Rankings consisted of data from six different categories including affordability, accessibility, biodiversity, crowds, reviews, and weather.

SNP took home the top overall rating with exceptional scores in 3 categories.

The park was ranked 2nd in affordability, 6th in biodiversity with over 2500 unique species, and 7th in accessibility due to the easy drive from multiple airports.

SNP was the 19th best reviewed park with an average rating of 4.77 out of 5.

Big name, iconic parks like Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite all finished outside the top 15 largely due to complaints of overcrowding and cost of travel.

To view the full rankings, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Middletown celebrates Arbor Day

Middletown celebrates the 151st Anniversary of Arbor Day and the 51st anniversary of the Arbor Day foundation with an event today.

At 1 pm, guests are invited to a ceremonial planting of a Cherokee Dogwood Tree along Main Street, across from the Wayside Inn and Larrick’s Tavern.

The tree, which was donated by Meadows Farms of Winchester, will be planted to honor Marine Corps Veteran and Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Winsome Earle-Sears.

She is a native of Frederick County and will be attending the event.

Stick around following the tree planting for a special surprise.

The event will be held rain or shine.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Fauquier County Chief Deputy recognized by VSI

The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office announced that Chief Deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen “Chad” Brubaker received the Virginia Sheriff’s Institute Certification designation at their annual conference held in Roanoke on Thursday.

VSI in collaboration with the Virginia Sheriff’s Association, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Virginia Center for Policing designed the certification program to promote, recognize, and elevate the continued professional development of sheriffs and deputies in the state.

Lieutenant Colonel Brubaker far surpassed the minimum levels of certification following a long, voluntary process after demonstrating progressive education, training, and advanced professional development combined with years of practical experience.

Brubaker has proudly served over 20 years and is an experienced K9 handler, training academy instructor, and graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.

His certification not only recognizes his commitment to lifelong learning but all of Fauquier County’s advancement in public safety.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

4-H and FFA begin accepting scholarship applications

Shenandoah County 4-H and the FFA announced a scholarship opportunity for local high school students.

The 4-H/FFA Dairy Scholarship is available to any current Shenandoah County high school student, grades 9 through 12, and college or vocational school students, who are now, or have been, members of 4-H or FFA.

These scholarships are funded through Shenandoah County 4-H and FFAs sales of gallons of milk during their annual livestock sale.

Entrants for the scholarship do not need to study a dairy related field with the funds but those in dairy studies, agriculture or ag communications will receive heavy consideration.

All applications are due by midnight of June 4th.

This is an annual scholarship opportunity and students may reapply even if they have entered in previous years.

For a link to the scholarship form, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.