The Free Lance–Star

The Free Lance–Star is the principal daily newspaper distributed throughout Fredericksburg, Virginia, United States, with a circulation area including the city of Fredericksburg and all or parts of the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George, Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, Louisa, Orange, Prince William and Westmoreland.

The Free Lance was first published on January 27, 1885, when Col. John W. Woltz and William E. Bradley founded the paper as a twice-weekly publication to serve the news and advertising needs of the community. A one-year subscription that first year cost $1.50. In 1900, the Free Lance operation merged with its competitor, The Fredericksburg Daily Star. The two papers continued to be published separately until 1926 when, under the leadership of Josiah P. Rowe Jr. (a World War One fighter pilot with the 147th Aero Squadron November 1917 to November 1918), they were combined into The Free Lance–Star, a single newspaper published 6 days a week.[1]

The paper has occupied three addresses in its history. The offices of The Free Lance, and later the Daily Star and The Free Lance–Star, were at 303 William St in Fredericksburg.[1] In 1965 the newspaper moved to 616 Amelia Street where it remained until December 2016. Currently, the Free Lance-Star offices are located at 1340 Central Park Blvd. Ste 100.[2] Charles and Josiah Rowe inherited the paper from their father in 1949, and in 1997, upon Charles' retirement, the family of Josiah P. Rowe III purchased total ownership of the business.[1]

The Free Lance–Star was owned and operated by members of the Rowe family from 1926 until 2014, when The Free Lance–Star Publishing Co. filed for bankruptcy.[3] The newspaper was purchased by Sandton Capital Partners on June 19, 2014, ending the Rowe family's involvement.[4] BH Media acquired The Free Lance–Star in 2015.[5]

The Free Lance–Star
Free Lance-Star Logo
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)BH Media
PublisherDale Lachniet
EditorPhil Jenkins
FoundedJanuary 27, 1885
LanguageEnglish (U.S.)
HeadquartersFredericksburg, Virginia, United States
OCLC number31810388

Star Radio Group

WFLS (AM), the company's first radio station housed at the same location, went on the air in 1960. WFLS-FM was added to the company in 1961. Later on, in 1994, The Star Radio Group bought 99.3 WYSK: The Rock Alternative The company purchased WWUZ, a classic rock-formatted station out of Bowling Green in 2001. In 2009, WYSK became 99.3 The Vibe (WVBX), advertised as "Fredericksburg's #1 Hit Music Station. In September 2010, the company added a sports talk station, ESPN The Game, at AM 1350 and FM 96.5. In March 2012, WWUZ became 96.9 The Rock, advertised as "Your Classic Rock Station". BH Media did not acquire the radio stations.

In the mid-1990s the company maintained a web presence under Those efforts have since shifted to In 1984, The Free Lance–Star was named by Time magazine as one of two top small daily newspapers in the country.[6]


In March 2010, The Free Lance–Star began printing in their new production facility, Print Innovators. Print Innovators is a 92,000-square-foot (8,500 m2) facility, and a $45 million investment. Print Innovators is the only press in America that uses the Goss International Flexible Printing System. In mid-2008, the installation began for the new printing systems. Goss also provided the Ferag press gripper and storage components, plus the Magnapack packaging system with 34 packaging stations.

The 29-foot (8.8 m) high press, includes four printing towers, and two folders that are capable of being run as two separate processes. Each unit can produce 24 pages, making a total capacity of 96 full-color pages. John Jenkins, operations director at The Free Lance–Star and Print Innovators says, "The fundamental technologies are well proven, but the FPS platform presents breakthroughs in print quality, efficiency and versatility that will allow us to better serve our readers, advertisers and contract print partners well into the future."

Print Innovators is also environmentally conscious. The building is mostly lit by skylights, using sunlight in the day, and moonlight and low-energy fluorescent lights at night. Print Innovators uses post-consumer recycled paper fiber. From all of the newspapers that don't pass quality control are recycled and then used as roofing material. Print Innovators immediately planted native grass after construction ceased, to bring back the natural environment. In this natural environment live frogs, deer, rabbits, and turtles. Print Innovators has a bike rack outside for employees, and so far, one employee uses it daily.

The press is run mostly by computers, but is maintained by many workers. The computers serve many purposes, including how much ink to use in each column, how many newspapers to put in a bundle, how to place papers in storage according to when they will need to be used, and where to get stored papers when they need to be accessed.

The press is capable of full-color on every page, every day. In one hour, the press can produce up to 90,000 newspapers. Print Innovators can service customers of The Free Lance–Star in a 400-mile (640 km) radius, twice as fast as the previous press. Earlier production allows for earlier delivery times, and more services are available for production.

Print Innovators prints many local and out-of-area publications, not just a local paper. Some other newspapers that they print are the Washington Examiner, Alexandria Times, Southern Maryland Today, and many more.

Print Innovators created a new Web site in 2011 to direct users to their services. The site is at


The Free Lance–Star has been the title and secondary sponsor of several events in Fredericksburg, such as the Free Lance–Star Classic All-American Soap Box Derby (which for many years has been the biggest Soap Box race in the country), and The Great Train Race & Caboose Run, a youth mile run through downtown Fredericksburg. The newspaper is no longer affiliated with the derby. The newspaper does co-sponsor the regional spelling bee.

The Free Lance–Star Classic

The race was run on William Street in downtown from 1951 to 1972. The AASBD was incapable of running after the loss of Chevrolet as the national sponsor. This left many towns and communities with no local race.

For many years, Fredericksburg, Virginia had gone without a local derby. In 1996, Ralph "Tuffy" Hicks,[7] a city councilman, brought up the idea of bringing the race back to Fredericksburg. The City Council agreed to this idea, because they thought that it would be a great activity for the community to get together. The running of the derby would be the responsibility of the Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation Department. Many local businesses purchased cars and donated what was needed to get the race going. The first race was in 1997, 25 years since it had stopped.

The first title sponsor of the race in 1997 was Purvis Ford, a local Ford dealership. In the first year of the new race, there were 85 racers in two divisions, Stock and Super Stock. As of 1998, the race had increased by 40 racers, bringing the total drivers to 125.

In 2000, The Free Lance–Star became the title sponsor of the Fredericksburg Derby. By 2001, The Free Lance-Star Classic was the largest local race in the country. In 2004, the Masters Division was added to the race, so that there would be options for different age groups. This made for three champions sent to Akron, Ohio, where the Nationals are held.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Morrison, Marty. "A History of The Free Lance–Star". The Free Lance–Star Publishing Company.
  2. ^ Kelly, James. "Telling a Town About Itself". Time. June 16, 1986.
  3. ^ The Free Lance-Star files for bankruptcy
  4. ^ Estes, Lindley (June 19, 2014). "Sandton assumes assets of FLS". Free Lance-Star Publishing. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  5. ^ "BH Media acquires Fredericksburg, Va., newspaper". 2015-12-31. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  6. ^ "Big Fish in Small Ponds". Time. April 30, 1984.. See: "family legacies: Virginia's Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star"
  7. ^ "About". Fredericksburg Soap Box Derby. Fredericksburg Soap Box Derby. Retrieved 30 May 2011.

External links

1996 United States Senate election in Virginia

The 1996 United States Senate election in Virginia was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John Warner won re-election to a fourth term over Democratic challenger Mark Warner, who is of no relation.

2011 Virginia earthquake

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The quake was felt across more than a dozen U.S. states and in several Canadian provinces, and was felt by more people than any other quake in U.S. history. No deaths and only minor injuries were reported. Minor and moderate damage to buildings was widespread and was estimated by one risk-modeling company at $200 million to $300 million, of which about $100 million was insured.The earthquake prompted research that revealed that the farthest landslide from the epicenter was 150 miles (240 km), by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 36 miles (58 km) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. The Virginia earthquake study suggested that the added information about East Coast earthquakes may prompt a revision of equations that predict ground shaking.

Chloe Webb

Chloe Webb (born June 25, 1956) is an American actress, best known for her roles in films Sid and Nancy (1986), The Belly of an Architect (1987), Twins (1988), and Heart Condition (1990). She also was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her role as Laurette Barber in the ABC drama series China Beach, and had a recurring role as Monica Gallagher on the Showtime comedy-drama Shameless.

Clayton Jones

Clayton Jones (born June 1, 1966) is an American editorial cartoonist based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was the staff editorial cartoonist for The Free Lance-Star from 1998 to 2012. From 2000 to 2012 his work was syndicated to over 400 publications by Creators Syndicate Inc. Today Jones is self-syndicating his work nationally to over 50 newspapers and news websites from his website,, where he also occasionally writes a blog. He drew cartoons for The Daily Dot in 2014-2015. He occasionally will create an exclusive cartoon for various publications.

Previously, his work was also a feature on the website, until he resigned over disagreements of their policy allowing article to be published under pseudonyms and other ethical concerns with the site's news coverage.

He briefly returned to The Free Lance-Star in 2014-2015 as a freelancer to contribute a weekly cartoon and a weekly caption contest for

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Dave Smalley

Dave Smalley is an American musician, best known as the lead singer for the hardcore punk bands DYS, Dag Nasty, and All and as lead singer/guitarist with Down by Law. He is known for his influence on pop punk music and his early contributions to the emo genre. He also founded a side project called The Sharpshooters, whose music is influenced by mod revival bands such as The Jam. Smalley has also produced and appeared on Canadian punk band Penelope's second album, Face au silence du monde, recorded by Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington, Virginia.

He received a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a masters in political science from California State University Los Angeles. He resides with his family in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he works as a features editor of the Weekender section of the town's newspaper, the Free Lance-Star. He previously worked as the youth editor for it!, a teen news supplement to the Free-Lance Star, and won several awards for that section.

In 2016, Smalley released a solo album, Punk Rock Days, featuring acoustic arrangements of Dag Nasty and Down by Law material, as well as new songs and Irish folk music. The album featured contributions by guitarists from Down by Law and Dag Nasty, as well as family members of Smalley. In 2018, he started fronting a new band called Don't Sleep and a tour with Shelter.

Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women

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Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg is an independent city located in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,286, up from 19,279 at the 2000 census. The city population was estimated at 28,360 in 2017. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the United States Department of Commerce combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.

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Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Atlantic Seaboard fall line, Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during the colonial era. During the Civil War, the town, located halfway between the capitals of the opposing forces, was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg, preserved in part as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. More than 10,000 African Americans in the region left slavery for freedom in 1862 alone, getting behind Union lines. Tourism is a major part of the economy, with approximately 1.5 million people visiting the Fredericksburg area annually, including the battlefield park, the downtown visitor center, events, museums, and historic sites.Fredericksburg is home to several major retail and commercial centers including Central Park (as of 2004, the second-largest mall on the East Coast) and Spotsylvania Towne Centre, located in Spotsylvania County adjacent to the city line. Major employers include the University of Mary Washington, Mary Washington Healthcare, and GEICO. Many Fredericksburg-area residents commute to work by car, bus, and rail to Washington and Richmond, as well as Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington counties.

Fredericksburg Dog Mart

The Fredericksburg Dog Mart is an annual dog show event currently held in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. The event first took place in 1698 to facilitate trading between the Manahoac Tribe of King William County, Virginia and settlers in and around the area that would become the city of Fredericksburg. At the Dog Mart, the Manahoac (and later, the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi) would trade furs and produce for prized English hunting dogs. Though it has not been held continuously since that year, it is the oldest event of its kind in the United States.

Miss Virginia

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Patawomeck is a Native American tribe based in Stafford County, Virginia, along the Potomac River (Patawomeck is another spelling of Potomac). It is one of Virginia's 11 recognized Native American tribes. It is not federally recognized. It achieved state recognition in February 2010,

In the 17th century, at the time of early English colonization, the Patawomeck tribe was a "fringe" component of the Powhatan Confederacy. At times it was allied with others in the confederacy, and at others, the Patawomeck allied with the English colonists.

Today the tribe numbers approximately 2,300 members. Eighty percent live within ten miles (16 km) of their historic village of Patawomeck. They are undertaking to revive their historic Algonquian language.

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