The Town of Front Royal, VA and Where It Stands on its Constitutional Sands

Over the past year and a half, two groups have held weekly protests in Front Royal. The first group, Vigil for Democracy, launched the protests soon after the election of President Trump. By all accounts, the Vigil for Democracy obtained permits and conducted peaceful and lawful pickets, as provided for by the First Amendment.

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Nanotechnology: An Examination of Hopelessness, Ray Bradbury-Style

By Madeline Phoenix

There was a grand rainstorm today; it caused the power lines on our road to collapse, due to the colossal impact of a withered old oak tree. For almost four hours, we were bereft of technology’s ‘affectionate’ touch. Well, a house seems somber and gloomy without the cheerful,

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Confusion Reigns: Driving and Talking about Everything

Confusion reigns. I glance into the bottom of my mug and swirl the chamomile tea around. I ignore the brown spots on the bottom. They’re from a basil plant that occupied the cheap white mug with the light blue dots and a “J” inscribed on the side. When I tried to scrub it last night,

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Pitching to Agents Part 3: Turning Negative into Positive

After the tough go-round with the last two agents, we talked for at least an hour. I called my mom, Maddie’s biggest fan, and tried to get ahold of my husband, who got back to me after we left the hotel room. But mostly, I tried to bolster my young co-writer’s confidence.

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Pitching to Agents, The Throat Punching Aspects, Part 2

As I wrote last week, Maddie and I attended a writing conference where we pitched our books to ten agents. I thought long and hard about how much to share about our personal life, as well as the conference we attended and the people I met. I struck a balance on privacy: I am not revealing the names of any of the agents we pitched to,

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Pitching Agents: Throat Punches and Better Endings, Part 1

Madeline and I attended a Writer’s Workshop in Minneapolis this weekend and it was probably the most momentous, exhausting, oddly wonderful two days we will spend in quite some time. We’re back home now, settled back into the routine of our lives. Maddie is meeting with a guidance counselor to decide on whether to take honors Algebra II (naturally I’m in the strong “yay” column,

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Van Crashes Into Our Yard

So it’s Friday night and we’re driving home from Northern Virginia. It’s an ordinary night in most ways. Like any other Friday night after we’ve dropped the kids off for a visit with their father. We didn’t go straight home; instead, we stuck around in Northern Virginia for a few hours afterwards.

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When Red Tape Blocks Neighbors from Helping the Homeless

The community I live in, Front Royal, Virginia, has a large problem with homelessness. And with the record cold temperatures we’ve been facing over the past few weeks, the non-profits who work the problem of homelessness as well as several local churches met on Thursday to discuss a simple solution to a horrific problem: how do we get the 75-100 homeless citizens of Front Royal out of the freezing temperatures during the night.

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An Ice Storm that Can’t Kill 10,000 Hours

Ice glistened on the slabs that rose out of the front yard. The driveway was wet but not slippery because we put salt down in the afternoon, but we couldn’t salt the rocks, so they bore the marks of the cold, cold water that fell on them. When I pulled into the high school,

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The TSA’s Attack on a Disabled Young Woman

I received a text last night. It was from my best friend. I knew she was dropping her 19-year old daughter off at the airport in Bozeman, Montana so that Desi could visit family on the east coast. I was expecting to hear something along the lines of, “Dropping her off was hard,

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