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Stories by Melissa Topey

Woodstock hires two new police officers

Woodstock has hired two new police officers. Woodstock police Chief Eric Reiley said Chase Kerns and Arianna Smootz are in training at the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Academy, commonly known as the police academy. “They are enjoying it. They are learning every day,” Reiley ...

Lord Fairfax Community College prepares for new year

MIDDLETOWN – Lord Fairfax begins a new school year Monday with steady enrollment numbers. Lord Fairfax Community College's Middletown campus this year has more than 2,500 students, not including area high school students who will be taking dual enrollment classes through the college. School ...

Teacher turnover declines: Superintendent pleased with drop in rate

WOODSTOCK – Teacher turnover dropped this year for Shenandoah County Public Schools. The turnover rate stands at 11 percent, down from the 15 percent the district has experienced the last two years, said Linda Hodges, Director of Human Resources. Schools Superintendent Mark Johnston noted ...

Cats invading your yard? What you can and can’t do about it

Area shelters are full of cats and kittens available for adoption.  So many in fact that recently the shelter in Winchester announced that it could not accept any more at that moment. “Its summertime; between April and October is kitten season,” Winchester SPCA office manager Penny Hann ...

Strasburg student: ‘Tokyo was controlled chaos’

A Strasburg High School student began her junior school year a week ago after having just returned from six weeks in Japan. Jana Bowman, 16, laughs that she learned how to navigate the complex network of mass transportation trains in Tokyo before she got her driver's license. "My exchange ...

One step closer to a football field of their own

MIDDLETOWN – Stephens City Seminoles youth football organizers are one step closer to having a field to play on. Todd Legge, senior vice president of Strasburg Midget Football and head coach of the junior division of  the Strasburg Rams, spoke at a public hearing Monday night before the ...

Middletown holding hearing on football field, lease

Middletown Town Council will hold a public hearing at 7 tonight and possibly vote on a lease that would result in bringing league football to town. “As a former semi-pro and college quarterback, I love football;  I love the game and I love what it instills in young people. It is very ...

Bargain hunters, vendors galore line Route 11 for the Yard Crawl

Rain is probably going to fall on the Yard Crawl today. National Weather Service meteorologist Jeremy Geiger said there is a 60 percent chance of showers, with thunderstorms possible, for the area. Rain will most likely occur between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., he added. It will not keep Kimberly ...

Middletown car show returns to town this month

MIDDLETOWN – Middletown's Car & Truck & Tractor show is back for its eighth year this month. Town officials hope 250 cars, trucks and tractors will cruise into Middletown for the 8th annual show, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Aug. 19. The town will close Main Street ...

Strasburg man charged after police link him to stolen car, knife

Strasburg police arrested a 33-year-old man early Tuesday morning after they concluded he had taken a car without permission, stole plates from another vehicle to use and was allegedly found with a large knife. Officers arrested 33-year-old Mack Tolbert after the woman who lived with him on ...

No raises for Middletown council or mayor

MIDDLETOWN – Town Council members at a Monday work session voted to forego attempts at a raise. The last time council members or the mayor are believed to have received a raise was in the late 1990s, Mayor Charles Harbaugh said. “It has come up four times since 2010,”  but has never ...

Teaching the teacher: Ashby Lee teacher learns life lessons from her students

WOODSTOCK – In the middle of a personal crisis, Ashby Lee Elementary School second grade teacher Katie Tusing learned some of life's most valuable lessons from the students in her class. Tusing was seriously injured last year after a car hit a utility pole near her home. When she walked down ...

Shenandoah administrators, teachers ready for opening day

Students will be heading back to Shenandoah County's public schools on Monday. “I'm always excited at this time of year," said Superintendent Mark Johnston. "We have so many positive things happening in Shenandoah County Public Schools.  I can't wait for our students to get ...

Unity Project today, public asked to come out

Some Central High School students are asking the community to come together today for kindness and harmony through the Unity Project,  a walk scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds “The ultimate goal of spreading kindness and building unity is to decrease ...

I-81 repaving in New Market area next week

Repaving work on Interstate 81 will make next week a challenge for drivers. Paving operations on northbound I- 81 in Shenandoah County will require lane and off-ramp closures beginning Monday. “Contractors will remove the top layer of asphalt and replace it with fresh pavement. In this ...

Next round of meetings for I-81 corridor improvement announced

A transportation coalition has called for the second round of meetings for the public to hear more about improvements to the Interstate 81 corridor. The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation ...

Youth football may be coming to Middletown

MIDDLETOWN – The town is continuing its campaign to attract more youth sports to its fields. Stephens City Seminoles youth football organizers recently reached out to Mayor Charles Harbaugh about allowing them to use one of the town's fields as its designated home field for practice and ...

Man accused of breaking into homes to steal food arrested

Warren County Sheriff's Office deputies have arrested a man who is accused of breaking into homes and attempting to steal food. At approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday, deputies were called to a wooded area on Saltlick Road in Linden about a suspicious person, said Sgt. Daniel Maxfield. They found ...

Strasburg school alumnus named as state FFA officer

A Strasburg alumnus has been named as a statewide FFA officer. Nathan McDonald, a 2017 graduate from Strasburg High School, has been named state vice president to this year's state officer team. “I am just excited for the year ahead,” McDonald said as he talked from an FFA conference in ...