Winchester firefighters: Maintain fire extinguishers

Drew DeHaven

Winchester firefighters remind residents of the importance of maintaining a working fire extinguisher after responding to a kitchen fire this week in which the occupant put out the fire using one.

Firefighters responded to the residence on Tuesday, Winchester Fire and Rescue said Friday. The resident had a fire on top of the stove and used a fire extinguisher to put it out. It was the fourth such incident in six months that city firefighters responded to, the department said.

Officials remind residents to keep well-maintained fire extinguishers, especially in hazardous areas like kitchens, garages and basements. It’s also important to maintain working smoke alarms, they said.

Winchester City approves speed limit reductions

amanda behan

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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Christmas parade schedule for the area

Christmas parade

Everyone loves a parade, here are a few from our area.

We hope to see you there!

November 27th, 7 pm – Winchester

December 1st, 6:30 pm – Woodstock

December 2nd, Noon – Berryville

December 2nd, 4 pm – Front Royal

December 2nd, 4:30 pm – Strasburg

December 3rd, 2 pm – Middletown

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Honor Our Vets Blood Drive by Gore’s Meats

Friday Nov 10th at West Oaks Farm Market in Winchester, give blood and get a Gore’s Meats breakfast or lunch! Local Military Veterans welcome- our community says THANK YOU with food and by passing on the gift of life! To donate make an appointment at redcrossblood.org code: VetDrive23

Drive runs from 9am-3pm at West Oaks Farm Market, 4305 Middle Road, Winchester. This event is sponsored by Gore’s Meats, West Oaks Farm Market, Navy Federal, American Red Cross & Honor Flight Top of Virginia. For more information check out Gore’s Meats on Facebook or GoresMeats.com

Applications now open for heating assistance in Winchester

amanda behan

The City of Winchester is now accepting applications for Fuel Assistance through November 13th.

Fuel Assistance is designed to help households overcome energy emergencies including heating equipment repair, purchase of heating equipment, deposit for a gas tank, emergency shelter and other similar expenses.

To meet eligibility requirements, applicants must be a resident of the City of Winchester, have heating or cooling expense responsibilities, and meet income requirements.

Residents can apply through a link available here, by phone at 855-635-4370, or by visiting the Winchester Department of Social Services at 24 Baker Street.

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Drought declaration lifted in Winchester

The City of Winchester has lifted the emergency drought declaration, meaning mandatory water use restrictions have also been lifted!

However, the City is still under a Drought Warning.

The water volume in the river increased somewhat this week, but it is still at historic lows, so it is important to continue to conserve water voluntarily.

The City will continue to monitor the water supply, but if the river’s flow decreases again, a future Drought declaration may be needed.

For more information visit winchesterva.gov/droughtemergency for conservation tips.

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History for the hungry event

A new “Hungry for History” Event explores history and food traditions of Winchester, Frederick County, and Clarke County, Virginia from August 26-September 4, 2023.

Fifteen locations including museums, historic organizations, and community sites will come together to showcase the area’s historical food traditions.

Four restaurants and a brewery will also participate with historic recipes and special programs.

There will be presentations, demonstrations, how-to classes, children’s activities, food tastings, special handouts and giveaways, special tours, agriculture related programs and more.

Dates and times for the activities vary depending on the site. Many of the activities are free of charge.

See the event schedules and more information please visit the Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center.

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Winchester Re-Store opens in new location

blue ridge habitat for humanity

The Blue Ridge Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store in Winchester will have a ribbon cutting and grand reopening ceremony at their new location on Thursday, August 31st.

Join them at 443 Millwood Avenue in Winchester at 11:30 am for the ceremony and to explore the new space.

Expanded store hours will begin September 1st.

For more information on the celebration or hours, please visit here.

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Municipalities across the region require water conservation

The Town of Front Royal is now under a mandatory water conservation effort as the water flow of the Shenandoah River continues to drop.

The City of Winchester is currently operating under a drought watch as well.

Frederick Water, who shares a water purchasing agreement with Winchester and with current drought watch is also asking customers to conserve water usage immediately.

As of August 15, the town of Strasburg has been under a drought emergency.

All these communities are asking all municipal water customers to stop nonessential water usage until further notice.

The water level of the Shenandoah River continues to drop with no substantial rain projected for the foreseeable future.

Violations of the mandatory water conservation effort in Front Royal could lead to a $1,000 fine for each offense committed.

Water saving suggestions are found here.

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Gerald Drake sentenced for planting pipe bomb

Gerald Leonard Drake of Winchester was sentenced to 9 years in federal prison for planting a pipe bomb at the Cedar Creek Battlefield in October 2017.

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office Drake was sentenced August 17.

Back in April, Drake pled guilty to the charge and mailing threatening letters with Antifa insignia to organizers, reenactment groups, and news outlets.

During the 153rd Reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek in October 2017, a pipe bomb was discovered.

The bomb was considered highly dangerous to FBI experts.

The discovery led to the cancellation and evacuation of the grounds and event.

Before and after that event Drake sent letters threatening violence.

The 64-year-old Drake was a reenactor until he was removed from his unit in 2014.

He did continue to volunteer at the annual Battle of Cedar Creek reenactment event.

Drake admitted to manufacturing the pipe bomb to instill fear and cause harm to those attending the reenactment.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh commended those responsible for bringing an end to Drake’s threats and people like him fear-mongering at the sentencing.

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