Winchester City is looking for snowbusters!

Winchester City is looking for Snowbusters!

The City is rolling out their volunteer program to help remove snow from sidewalks for the elderly and persons with a physical disability or challenge.

This program is open to individuals or groups volunteering to shovel
snow from public walkways.

This is a free program, and no money should be exchanged.

For additional information, please contact Kip Redmer at 720-289-1830.

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Winchester City approves speed limit reductions

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Winchester City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a series of speed limit reductions on sections of streets in northern and central Winchester and lowered the speed limit on a portion of Middle Road.

These changes come just three weeks after the council’s Finance Committee and Public Health and Safety Committee gave the green light to install 41 raised crosswalks throughout Winchester, especially near schools.

Those crosswalks will damage the underside of vehicles exceeding posted speed limits.

These will join four others that had previously been authorized, meaning Winchester is expected to have a total of 45 raised crosswalks by the time installation is completed in the next few months.

Speed limits were reduced on portions of  Middle Road from 45 mph to 35 mph and reduced to 15 mph on city streets.

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Mandatory water conservation for Winchester City

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The City of Winchester has issued a mandatory water conservation alert.

Due to the record low levels of water as of Friday, September 8, 2023.

The following water activities are not allowed in the city limits:

• Watering the lawn
• Gardening irrigation with hose or containers more than three (3) gallons, between 10:00 a.m. and the 9 p. m.
• Irrigation of the sports fields between 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. with only an inch of water every 10 days.
• Wash or spray paved surfaces
• Car wash with hose or containers larger than three (3) gallons (except for commercial car washes*)
*Commercial car washes do not use recycled water or reduce water use by 10 percent.
• Use of ornamental fountains or flatterers
• Use of fire hydrants for non-emergency purposes.
• Serve water in restaurants unless requested by the customer.
Winchester citizens who have questions about the drought emergency or mandatory water use restrictions can call 540-662-4131 or email water@winchesterva.gov.
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Free dial-a-ride for vets

The City of Winchester is committed to honoring veterans.

Beginning on Monday, August 21st, the city’s transportation system, WinTran, will offer dial-a-ride to city vets.

This new service will allow Winchester Veterans to be picked up from their desired point in the city and be taken to the Winchester Veterans Clinic on Dawson Drive in Winchester.

Proof of Veteran status is needed.

Vets may call the WinTran dispatch office for more information.

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WPD accepting applications for its Citizens Academy

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The Winchester Police Department (WPD) announced that they are accepting applications for its 24 annual Citizen Police Academy for the spring of 2023.

This year’s academy begins March the 21 at 6 p.m. at the Timbrook Public Safety Center and meets every Tuesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The academy gives citizens an inside look at police operations.

Participants will be able to see how Criminal Investigations are conducted also given an inside look at the  Patrol Division and Emergency Communications Center.

There is a list of other academy activities and additional information available here.

The Academy will conclude with a graduation dinner on May 16.

Applications are available for download here.

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VH eliminates some administrative and leadership positions

Valley Health (VH) Public Relations Manager Carol Weare reports by email that some administrative positions have been eliminated at VH.

The changes are to help VH streamline its leadership and support positions.

Last week 31 administrative individuals were notified that their positions have been eliminated.

Since Jan. VH has  eliminated nearly 100 positions through consolidation and attrition.

VH’s President and CEO Mark Nantz sighted the shrinking of the health care workforce combined with the rapidly rising clinician pay, declining demand and insurance reimbursements as the reasons for consolidation of the leadership and administrative roles.

Nantz went on to note that VH has incurred nearly $100 million in losses since the beginning of the pandemic.

Much of the loss was offset by federal assistance which will not continue.

Nantz added that it was time to face the reality that expenses cannot exceed revenue and by addressing the changing environment now helps avoid more drastic cuts later.

Nantz added that VH currently remains a financially strong and stable health system.

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VSP arrest a Winchester man after a high speed chase

Used by permission Frederick County Virginia Government

Virginia State Police (VSP) Public Information Officer Sergeant Brent Coffey reports by email the arrest of a Winchester man after a high speed chase.

John P. Scaperotto of Winchester is facing several charges after the chase through Frederick County just past 8 a.m. Jan. 19.

VSP initiated a traffic stop of Scaperotto’s Chevrolet pick up while traveling down Route 37 clocked at 80 in a 65 mile per hour zone.

Scaperotto refused to stop sped up and led the pursuit to Route 50 and 522 before returning to Route 37 often traveling in the wrong lanes.

A trooper attempted to stop Scaperotto by ramming his truck with his cruiser.

The Trooper suffered minor injuries in the collision.

The chase ran well over 100 miles per hour at times with Scaperotto eventually running off the road and striking a guardrail and then taken into custody.

The 44 year old Scaperotto was found to be in possession of a schedule 1 2 drug and was wanted in Frederick County for failure to appear in court.

Along with the earlier charges Scaperotto now faces eluding, assault on a law officer, several traffic infractions charges including littering and is held without bond.

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Update: One fatality in Winchester plane crash in Rockingham

Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson confirmed that a missing plane from Winchester has been located in the Union Springs area of the Shenandoah Valley.

Federal and State Authorities are investigating what caused the plane to crash Wed. Jan. 11.

According to Hutcheson the plane left Winchester shortly before 6:30 heading for Alabama when contact was lost near the Clover Hill area of Rockingham County.

Rockingham County Authorities began the search Jan. 11 but as Hutcheson explained by phone the terrain was rough coupled with the dark they called off the search just past midnight Jan. 12.

Resuming the search at daylight Jan. 12 the wreckage of the craft was found just outside the National Forest.

Hutcheson added that the sole occupant of the plane was the pilot who died at the scene. 

Hutcheson declined identifying the pilot pending notification of the family but he did say he was from Alabama. 

Authorities speculate that weather may have played a factor in the crash as the plane was found laying in snow.

The Federal Aviation Administration and Virginia State Police continue the investigation.

Mario Restrosi of Harrisonburg Radio contributed to this article.

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WPD report the first traffic fatality since 2018

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The Winchester Police Department (WPD) report the first traffic fatality in the City of Winchester since November 2018.

The incident was reported Jan. 8 at approximately 6:35 when authorities responded to a report of a traffic crash involving a motorcycle.

On arrival Winchester fire and rescue personnel began treatment and then transportation of the victim to Winchester Medical Center.

It was at the Medical Center where 25 year old Austin D. Ponsart of Warrenton succumbed to his injuries and died.

Witnesses report that Ponsart was traveling on his 2022 Harley Davidson motorcycle at a high rate of speed eastbound on Woodstock Lane.

Ponsart lost control of the vehicle and struck a telephone pole.

The Virginia State Police continue to assist the Winchester Police Department in the investigation.

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

FCSO seek information on individuals in vehicle break ins

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) announced that they are seeking information from the public in identifying individuals.

The subjects are believed to be involved with a recent rash of vehicle break ins and thefts.

The pair may have been involved with the recent break ins of vehicles at the Sports Plex at Commonwealth Court.

They may have also been involved with recent vehicle break ins and thefts of belongings at Jim Barnett Park, Winchester Country Club and Sherando Park.

Pictures of the suspects with additional information is found here.

Anyone with any information on the subjects is asked to contact the FCSO at 540-662-6162, Winchester Frederick County Crime Solvers at 540-665-TIPS or use the P3 app.

The recent rash of thefts have led the Sheriff’s Office to implement a reminder for citizens to follow the 9 p.m. Routine.

This 9 p.m. Routine suggest that citizens hide valuables, lock doors on cars and buildings and make sure you know where your keys are by 9 p.m. each night.

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