Sherando High School graduate competes in Miss USA

Savannah Gankiewicz, a 2013 Sherando High School graduate, is participating in the Miss USA pageant Friday night in Reno, Nevada.

She earned her spot in the competition after being named Miss Hawaii USA in January.

Savannah is a model, entrepreneur and Program Director of a Maui based nonprofit, What Makes You Beautiful.

Through her role in the nonprofit, she helps facilitate the youth program which empowers young women to develop self-love, confidence, and compassion.

She is also the co-founder of EchoHouse, a boutique hotel in Bali set to open in 2024.

The pageant will air Friday, September 29th at 8 pm on The CW.

A link to vote for Savannah for the People’s Choice category is available here

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

Dowell J. Howard’s auto body program earns national accreditation

Dowell J. Howard’s auto body program received full, national accreditation through the Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation for their collision repair and refinish technician training program.

The school’s training program went under rigorous evaluation based on nationally accepted standards in categories such as instruction, facilities, and equipment to earn the distinction.

By meeting these standards of accreditation, schools help students with career preparedness, enable employers to hire confidently, guide students to fruitful career paths with the skills needed to succeed, and ensure safer roads for all.

President of the ASE Education Foundation Michael Coley said, “This is great news for automotive-minded young people and their parents. Because this program increases cooperation between local education and industry leaders, it gives added assurance that Dowell J. Howard’s graduates will be
employable entry-level technicians.”

The accreditation will last through September 1, 2028.

Frederick County Public Schools offers this training program to all students as part of its career and technical training program.

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

SU’s Haley Van Voorhis becomes first female non-kicker to play in NCAA

Shenandoah University’s Haley Van Voorhis became the first female non-kicker to play in an NCAA football game at any division.

The junior safety made an appearance at the end of the first quarter of SU’s game against Juniata College on Saturday.

Van Voorhis hit the quarterback on 3rd down with 7 yards to go, registering a hurry statistically and forcing a fourth down.

The Hornets were winning 26-0 when she entered the game and went on to win 48-7.

She is also a sprinter on the SU Track and Field team.

Van Voorhis attended Christchurch High School and is originally from Fauquier County.

She was an All State football selection in 2019.

To read Randy Woodward’s reaction to the signing of Van Voorhis in April of 2021, click here.

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

Fauquier principal Kraig Kelican succumbs to injuries from car accident

Kraig Kelican, principal of Fauquier High School and son of former James Wood High School football coach and athletic director Jerry Kelican, passed away Thursday.

He succumbed to injuries suffered in a car crash the morning of September 6th on I-66 in Fauquier County.

Kelican’s entire 34 year career was spent in Fauquier County as at teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Superintendent Major Warner issued a statement which included, “(Kraig) was a wonderful leader and champion of kids, and the Falcon community was better because of Kraig’s impact and leadership.”

The school has made support staff available for students and staff to guide them during their time of grief.

Superintendent Warner also asked the community to keep the Kelican Family and Falcon Nation in your thoughts and prayers.

To view the statement from Fauquier County Public Schools, click here.

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

The Duke’s Preview: James Wood vs Handley featuring Coach Todd Wilson

Tonight’s High School Football Game of the Week on The River 95.3, Fox Sports Radio 1450, and the TuneIn Radio App features the 61st matchup between James Wood (2-2) and Handley (1-3).

This is one of the most anticipated games in the area every year thanks to one of the oldest rivalries.

This year’s installation will feature two head coaches looking to make their first mark in the rivalry.

Handley’s head coach Dan Jones is in his first year with the program after coaching at Sherando last season.

Todd Wilson has served on the Colonel’s coaching staff as the offensive line coach for the last 4 years before taking over the head job.

Coach Jones will bring with him a Handley offense that has explosive potential from numerous spots on the field.

Running Back Manno Lusca enters the game as one of the area’s leading rushers with 380 yards, 9.2 yards per carry, and six touchdowns, but he is just one of many players who could go the distance at any time.

Hassan Akanbi possesses track athlete speed and has already taken one catch 99 yards to the house this season.

Breylon Miller looks the part of a future Division I athlete at 6’6″ 218 lbs. and has stats to back it up.

Miller is second in receiving yards in the area with 264 yards off 12 receptions with two touchdowns.

James Wood’s defense looks to be up to the task, already having faced some of the best offenses in the area.

The Colonel’s limited the an explosive Brentsville offense to just one second half touchdown and forced two turnovers in that half.

They also contained last year’s state runner-ups, Kettle Run, on the first three drives forcing two turnovers and a turnover on downs.

Two leaders on that opportunistic defense include defensive back Justin Gwinner, the area’s leader in interceptions with 4, and linebacker Zack Smith, the area’s leading tackler with 46.

They will need to keep the explosive Handley offense in front of them and force a few turnovers to come away with the victory.

Handley must focus on efficiency inside the red zone and execution on special teams.

Last week the Judges were stuffed on numerous opportunities in the red zone.

I look forward to another  great installation of this rivalry which gave us a classic game as recently as last season when Handley came back from trailing 16-0 early and a 10 point deficit with 3:47 remaining to come away with a 37-30 win in overtime to clinch a playoff birth.

This will be another close game but Handley’s playmakers should help the Judges prevail on the road, 27-20.

Press play below for my interview with James Wood Head Coach Todd Wilson.

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

Furever Friday Meet: Camper


Welcome back to Furever Friday! Each week, we spotlight an adoptable Pet from the Humane Society of Warren County.

Today we are featuring Camper a cat that loves to hug. Camper purrs all the time and seems to get along with other cats. However, he might be a little to energetic for older more mature cats.

If you would like to give Camper a forever home 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.

The store is 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.


Winchester Regional Airport prepares for Girls in Aviation Day

The Winchester Regional Airport is hosting Girls in Aviation Day this Saturday, September 23rd, from 9 am to noon.

Local girls from 8-18 are invited to participate in activities to learn about aviation and inspire them to consider a career in the industry.

The event features aircraft displays, drone presentations, flight simulators and more.

This is the second year the event has been held in Winchester and despite doubling capacity, all tickets were claimed within 24 hours.

Event Organizer and Director of Development for STEM Flights Carley Walker said, “The community interest in aviation is evident by how many- and how quickly- people registered. We see a significant demand for aviation programming in our region and we are ready to create more exciting opportunities to satisfy that need.”

This community interest is significant to an industry which is suffering from an ongoing pilot shortage.

For more information about Girls in Aviation Day, click here.

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

Early General Fund revenues exceed forecast by $204.8 million

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the general fund revenues are ahead of forecast by $204.8 million.

The 3% increase compared to August of 2022 demonstrates a strong economic position for the Commonwealth.

Among the major revenue sources, corporate income tax revenues have exceeded forecasts.

Virginia also saw its highest labor force participation rate since November 2012.

Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings pointed out that, “It is too early to draw conclusions about full year revenue collections… The next two months will provide a better indication of Fiscal Year 2024 revenue trends.”

A link to the full August revenue report is available here

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

German manufacturer selects the Shenandoah Valley for first U.S. operation

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced yesterday that Leiber, an international yeast products manufacturer, will open their first United States based operation in Rockingham County’s Innovation Village.

The manufacturer will invest $20 million to establish the facility which will create 35 jobs.

Governor Youngkin said, “We are thrilled to welcome Leiber’s first U.S. operation to Virginia… The company’s new facility in Rockingham County is in strategic proximity to the Shenandoah Valley’s robust beverage processing industry, and we are confident this new partnership is a recipe for success.”

Leiber refines brewers’ yeast to produce innovative products for humans and animals.

They also work with breweries worldwide to offload brewers’ yeast for upcycling in more than 65 countries.

To view the Governor’s announcement, click here.

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

Virginia State Police welcomes 31 troopers to the force

VSP official patch and logo used by permission by Information Officer Brent Coffey

The Commonwealth graduated the 139th generation of Virginia State Troopers on Friday.

The 31 new troopers received diplomas during the commencement ceremony at the State Police Training Academy in Chesterfield County.

Throughout the 28 weeks of training, graduates received more than 1,300 hours of classroom and field instruction in over 100 different subjects including ethics, leadership, constitutional law, assisting those in a mental health crisis, de-escalation techniques, and emergency medical trauma care, among others.

Troopers will arrive at their assignments this week and begin their final phase of training which includes six weeks with a Field Training Officer.

Graduates from the 139th session come from a variety of states as well as the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Saipan.

One local member of the class is James Lloyd Lakey II, who is from Strasburg and will be assigned to Frederick County.

The Virginia State Police is currently hiring for troopers in future Academy classes.

To learn more or apply, click here.

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