NWS confirms 7 tornadoes in 3 states that includes injuries


The National Weather Service (NSW) confirms 7 tornadoes hit 3 states on June 5.

The first was recorded in Inwood at approximately 4:05 P.M., traveling approximately 65 yards with 75 mile per hour gust.

Shingles and gutter damage was observed along Emery Lane and Lucy Drive with several broken branches seen.

A more powerful tornado was recorded in Leesburg at approximately 6:40 p.m.

That tornado traveled approximately 125 yards packing peak gust of 95 miles per hour.

Some trees were uprooted with vinyl and window damage recorded.

That tornado continued north where it ripped the plastic roof off a shelter and broke tree limbs along Springrun Lane.

Five more tornadoes were recorded in Maryland with Montgomery County suffering the most damage.

At least five people were sent to the hospital after several trees were uprooted and condemned 7 homes in Maryland.

NWS personnel continue to survey the damage in each state.

Citizens are reminded to sign up for NWS alerts and to heed the warnings as they are issued.

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

FCPS announces new Director of Facilities Services

Frederick County Public Schools announced a new Director of Facilities Services.

Brian Davis will succeed long time director Tim Crisman who will retire at the end of the month and held the position since 2011.

The Director of Facilities Services directs the maintenance department, supervises coordination of maintenance activities with school personnel, and handles long term planning focused on the school division’s needs and growth.

Davis will also inspect and evaluate the condition of school buildings and equipment, manage routine maintenance, and provide input to renovations or new construction.

Davis will relocate to the area from Maryland and he brings with him 28 years of experience in maintenance, facilities, and construction.

To view the full announcement from FCPS, click here.

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

Hagerstown man pleads guilty to stalking

Derik Wayne Bowers, age 44, of Hagerstown, Maryland, pled guilty today to one count of stalking.

According to court documents, Bowers harassed and intimidated his ex-girlfriend in Berkeley County following their break-up, sometimes using social media to undermine her online business.

Despite an emergency protection order granted to the victim, Bowers placed more than 800 phone calls to her during a 48-hour period and sent nearly 2,000 text messages in six months.

The FBI investigated the Bowers case. Bowers is facing up to five years in prison.

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

Youngkin announces major change to Commonwealth hiring practices

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced a significant change on the Commonwealth’s hiring practices which will eliminate degree requirements or preferences from nearly 90% of state classified positions.

Governor Youngkin spoke on the decision stating, “This landmark change in hiring practices for our state workforce will improve hiring processes, expand possibilities and career paths for job seekers and enhance our ability to deliver quality services.”

Virginia joins states like North Carolina and Maryland, who recently cut degree and preference requirements while elevating the value of work experience.

The change will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

To view the Governor’s press release on the decision, click here.

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

Low flying aircraft expected in region

Low flying planes and helicopters will be flying over portions of Frederick and Clarke Counties through December.

The Virginia Department of Energy is aiding the U.S. Geological Survey in their national effort to modernize geographical maps, topographical surveys, and geochemical sampling.

This will be the area’s first high resolution public survey in 45 years.

No pictures or videos will be taken with the equipment.

Experienced pilots were contracted to fly as low as 300 feet to use instruments that will help scientists evaluate natural resources or potential hazards.

The pilots will operate out of Cumberland, Maryland.

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

Southern States merges to form new co-op

Southern States Cooperative of Winchester is merging with 3 other co-ops in West Virginia and Maryland to form Freedom Ag & Energy Cooperative.

The Board of Directors of the co-ops formally approved the merger and now await the votes of each member.

The merger is expected to be finalized by the start of 2023.

The merger will allow the new cooperative to have a better competitive advantage and strengthen their financial position.

It will also help protect members equity and patronage.

Each cooperative shares similar core values and visions which should accelerate the merger.

No jobs will be eliminated in the process with overall employment expected to increase over the next 12 months.

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

Winchester woman killed in a hit and run incident

Frederick News Post reports a Winchester woman was killed and two others were injured when an SUV flipped over on Route 340 in Frederick County Maryland.

Maryland State Police report that a silver jeep liberty made an aggressive lane change that caused the accident according to the article.

The driver of the jeep did not stop but witnesses were able to provide a description and plate number.

The owner of the vehicle told police his son was operating the jeep at the time of the incident.

The accident killed 48 year old Shannon Kephart of Winchester who was in the SUV that flipped over.

The driver of the SUV, 61 year old Dean Kephart of Harpers Ferry was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

A passenger of the SUV,  68 year old Cathy Cyrus was flown to the Shock Trauma Center.

Two truck drivers who witnessed the crash said they saw the SUV serve to avoid the jeep go airborne and flip over.

The Maryland State Attorney’s Office is reviewing the accident and will determine what if any charges will be filed.

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

FRPD makes arrest for solicitation of minors

police radios

Nathan Lindgren, 26, of Lexington Park, Maryland was arrested on Tuesday in Warren County for solicitation of a minor.

The man began soliciting an undercover officer that he believed was an underaged female for photographs and other explicit material.

During the investigation, a meeting place was established and when Lindgren arrived, he met with detectives of the Front Royal Police.

He was transported to RSW Regional Jail where he is being held without bond.

Anyone with further information on the case, contact Detective M.R. Ramey at mramey@frontroyalva.com.

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

Wildlife groups investigating bird deaths in region

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By Associated Press | Published Jun. 16, 2021 7:15 a.m.

RESTON, Va. (AP) — People should stop feeding birds while scientists determine why hundreds have been blinded and killed in the Washington, D.C., region since late May, a federal agency said.

Wildlife managers in Washington, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia have received an increasing number of reports about sick and dying birds in recent weeks, according to a statement from the U.S. Geological Survey on behalf of conservation groups in the area.

The agency said birds have experienced “eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs.” Some have tremors, keep their heads tilted or have trouble balancing, The Washington Post reports. A definitive cause of death has yet to be determined.

Birds can transmit diseases to one another when they congregate at feeders and baths. Environmental agencies recommend basic precautions including avoiding the handling of birds but wearing disposable gloves if necessary, keeping pets away from birds and cleaning feeders with bleach.

Megan Kirchgessner, a veterinarian with Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources, told the Post that at least 325 reports of sick birds have been collected. She said the condition appears to effect only young blue jays and grackles, not other species or animals.

“This is significant because it seems to be pretty widespread, and also it’s extending for a pretty good period of time,” Kirchgessner said. “And it’s continuing.”

Laboratories at the Geological Survey, the University of Georgia and the University of Pennsylvania have been working with the agencies in the region to determine the cause of the birds’ deaths, officials said.

Kirchgessner said letting birds find their own food helps to avoid the possibility of spreading disease.

“From a veterinary perspective, especially in the springtime when food is abundant, there’s no reason for those feeders to be out,” she said. “And to be perfectly honest, especially in a situation like this, they can do more harm than good.”

(All contents © copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)

We spoke with Veterinarian Jen Riley of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center last week about the situation in a News Maker segment.

Here is Dr. Riley’s interview.

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

EPA increases fuel supplies

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a fuel transportation waiver to increase the supply of fuel in Virginia.

Gov. Northam’s state of emergency declaration allows the waivers to ensure that adequate fuel is supplied during the cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) assures the state that there is an ample supply of fuel.

Panic buying would be the cause of any shortage.

Conserving fuel is a better alternative to panic buying.

One of the lines that runs from North Carolina to Maryland has already been restarted to add to the current supply.

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