Page News and Courier

County, schools, towns talk economy in Page

LURAY ― More than 60 community leaders gathered Friday at the Mimslyn Inn to talk shop about the county's economic standing and to begin carving out a plan for its future. Organized by Chairman of the Page County Board of Supervisors Johnny Woodward, the meeting picked up discussions that began in December 2014, when the county held a two-day strategic planning retreat and reached the goal of initiating a regular forum with the county's three towns. Just more than a year later, Friday's forum included representatives from the towns of Luray, Stanley and Shenandoah, the county, the Page County School Board, the Page County Economic Development Authority and local planning commissions, as well as Luray Downtown Initiative, the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board and the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center.

Former church secretary sentenced 52 years for embezzlement, grand larceny

LURAY ― A former church secretary of the St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church in Luray was sentenced last week in Page County Circuit Court. After pleading guilty last year to 26 felonies, Ellen Housden Fields, 53, of Luray, was sentenced last Wednesday to a total of 52 years, all of which was suspended except five months. In June 2014, Fields was indicted on 44 separate counts of felony embezzlement from the Luray church of amounts exceeding $200, stemming from incidents that occurred over a six-year period, between 2008 and 2014. The next month, Fields was named in 11 additional indictments in July 2014 for felonious credit card fraud of amounts exceeding $200 in any six-month period, between Jan. 9, 2009 and Jan. 1, 2014.

Town council raises salaries of 17 employees

LURAY — The town council voted unanimously to raise the salaries of 17 employees that they determined were not being paid a competitive salary. The total cost to the town's budget is $9,211.

Stanley slaying case headed to grand jury

LURAY ― The case against a Page County man charged in the Sept. 26 shooting of his 15-year-old girlfriend in Stanley is headed to a grand jury. James Shrader, 19, is charged with second-degree murder and felony murder in the death of Gwynn Fishel. He is also charged with possession of a firearm after being a convicted felon, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and reckless handling of a firearm. Judge William H. Logan certified the charges against Shrader following a 90-minute hearing in Page County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Monday. The case goes before a grand jury on Jan. 28.

Trio charged with having fighting birds on return trip from Kentucky

HARRISONBURG — Virginia State Police arrested three Shenandoah Valley men in Botetourt County last month in connection with an animal-fighting operation. Cole McDaniel and Douglas McDaniel, both of Luray, and Brett Dearing, of Elkton, were charged with felony possession of animals for the purpose of animal fighting on Dec 21. The three men were arrested after a state trooper stopped to help them, according to a search warrant obtained by the Roanoke Times.

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