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Friends, family deal with boy's drowning death

July 01, 2010

From staff and wire reports

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 9-year-old Berkeley County boy who drowned Tuesday in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in Front Royal, Va., had lots of friends at school and was a hard-working student, Bunker Hill Elementary School principal Scott Albright said Thursday.

Services for Ryan T. Warner of Bunker Hill, W.Va., will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Brown Funeral Home's South Berkeley Chapel, according to the boy's obituary.

"It's a terrible loss for us," said Albright, adding that the loss has been difficult for faculty and staff at the school.

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Albright said the boy, whom he called an "exceptional young man," had been enrolled at the school since kindergarten and had just completed second grade. The boy was active in South Berkeley Little League and enjoyed the outdoors, according to his obituary.

"He will truly, truly be missed," Albright said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with that young man's family and what they're going through," Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II said Thursday evening at the school board's first meeting of the new fiscal year.

Some Front Royal, Va., officials say removing a city-owned dam on the North Fork should be expedited following the drowning, which was ruled accidental.

Authorities recovered the boy's body Wednesday from the north end of Riverton Dam. Authorities said the boy was sucked into a hole after slipping on some rocks near the dam Tuesday.

Front Royal has been working with state and federal agencies to remove the dam.

Councilman Thomas H. Sayer and Mayor Timothy W. Darr say the Town Council should discuss expediting the dam's removal at its July 6 work session.

Director of environmental services Steven M. Burke says expediting the project might not be possible due to the permit process.

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