Guest Columns

James Pinsky: Second chances: Embrace what you love

I have never taken a column for granted. This one even more so. Just a few days ago I was faced with the chance, however minute, that I could have what can only be described as a wretched disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. It is a heartless killer that takes away everything ...

George Bowers Sr. Preparing for the big storm

As I write this, Hurricane Irma is winding down in the southeast while Jose is sizing up the Atlantic Coast for a possible strike. After Harvey and all the horrendous flooding in Texas, we pray for a quick and quiet end to this year’s hurricane season. Like millions of other Americans, Nancy ...

Bass Mitchell: Is forgetfulness all bad?

Three elderly sisters lived together. One was 96, another 94, and the last 92. One evening the 96 year old ran some water in the bathtub and was about to step in when she shouted down to her 94-year-old sister, "Was I getting in the tub or out of it?" Her sister yelled back, "How am I supposed ...

James Pinsky: Harvesting a barrel of monkeys

Unless you’re a banana salesman, a barrel of monkeys may be more trouble than its worth. A barrel of rain water, however, can be quite useful. Some great organizations including the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, the Town ...

Tom Crosby: Mini Cooper adds John Cooper Works Clubman

With its iconic looks that make it instantly recognizable, the Mini Cooper has launched a new, more powerful version for 2017 – the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman ALL4 hatchback. With nice acceleration off the line and a wheelbase that makes it nimble and fun to drive, it is one of six ...

George Bowers Sr. Learning from a Sand Cat

Imagine an animal so elusive that it hasn’t been spotted in ten years. Imagine further that it appears unexpectedly on a trail camera in the dark of night and in the middle of the desert. Such was the case with the secretive Arabian Sand Cat. Although it appears very similar to house cats in ...

Peter Brookes: Seeking silver: Atlantic salmon in Maritime Canada

The closest thing I can think of to equate it to for someone who hasn’t done it before is to describe it simply as chasing after shadowy, silver spirits from the sea. What I’m talking about is fly fishing for the exciting -- and elusive -- Atlantic salmon, a ghost-like gamefish ...

James Pinsky: The scars of mercury

Between 1929 and 1950, the former E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) facility in Waynesboro released mercury into the water. The mercury, a known toxin that causes adverse effects on fish and wildlife, contaminated more than 100 miles of river and associated floodplain in the South ...

Bass Mitchell: Over the years, I’ve grown fond of work

My last year in high school was rapidly coming to an end. One day my mother asked me, "What are your plans for work during the summer?" She was busy rolling some bread dough on the table. Her question caught me a little off guard. I mumbled a few syllables and said, "I think I deserve some ...

George Bowers Sr.: Show sheep or market lambs?

Another Shenandoah County Fair has come and almost gone. It’s nearly over except for the packing up, cleaning up, and the resting up. If you haven’t yet attended this 100th anniversary year, you’d better hurry before all the hullabaloo concludes. Fair time is a highlight for many in the ...

James Pinsky: Nature makes me happy

Nature makes me happy. It always has, and it always will. As a child my fondest memories, outside of my first sweet kiss from a brown-eyed girl named Amy, are all from the woods. These memories, many dusty with cobwebs and others still wet with my mind’s fresh paint, are responsible for ...

Tom Crosby: Subaru launches all new 2017 Impreza Sedan

Subaru has completely redesigned its Impreza compact sedan for 2017, garnering top industry awards for safety, resale value and interior design. Impreza’s fifth generation won the top safety rating for compacts when equipped with Eyesight® from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, ...

George Bowers Sr.: The story of dad’s pocket watch

Next Thursday would be my father’s 95th birthday. Although he passed from this life in 2009 at the age of 86, he could have done so much sooner and you would be not be reading my column today. When he was in his early teens, his father, Beecher Bowers, ran a gas station near Maurertown. One ...

Catch and release

Conservationists are everywhere. We can be found on a hike in the Shenandoah, in a car on the Pacific Coast Highway, planting trees in Georgia, or on a drift boat near Yellowstone National Park. Last week I had the privilege to fly fish one of the greatest rivers in America, the Madison, ...

George Bowers Sr.: Schools, bombs and the Big Bang

It’s hard to believe that Shenandoah County School students already have two weeks under their belts and it’s not even fair week yet. Having spent 17 years in front of a classroom myself, my sympathies are with those teachers who have already gotten their classes rolling. What started as a ...

Jason Wright: Graduation redo a moment of closure

Most high school seniors are ecstatic about graduation and it's a highlight of their youth. In fact, some love the experience so much, wearing the cap and gown once just isn't enough. On Aug. 12 at W.O. Riley Park in Woodstock, a dozen graduates of Central High School and their families ...

Tom Crosby: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox loses weight, gains power

Chevrolet hopes to keep driving Equinox’s success for 2018 with a lighter, slightly smaller crossover that is a quicker, more nimble vehicle. Equinox has become the second best selling vehicle among Chevrolet’s 33 models, second only to the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. This year’s ...

Bass Mitchell: About that senior discount …

Someone once told me that you know you are getting old when you can sit in the rocking chair but can’t get it rocking. Or, when you hear snap, crackle, and pop in the morning and it’s not your cereal – it’s you! Well, I’ve got one more way to tell you are getting along in years – ...

Bass Mitchell: I won the lottery!

If you have seen me around the valley with an extra-wide grin, there’s a reason, lots of reasons, actually. It’s true. I won the lottery. In fact, I’ve won lots of them. I can’t think of a single person who has won more of them than yours truly. No. I haven’t figured out a way to ...

George Bowers Sr.: Let’s please our undercover boss

One of the more popular reality TV series of late is CBS’s "Undercover Boss." This engaging program originated in Great Britain but has now found its way into the nightly lineup of many nations, including our own. This show features typical workplace environments with actual lower level ...