Guest Columns

James Pinsky: Mother Nature doesn’t need us, we need her

After two years of columns, one would think I’d run out of inspiration. The fact that I haven’t – and won’t, isn’t a testament to my abilities, but to the unlimited awe Mother Nature bestows upon us. For me, it was love at first sight. The passions Mother Nature evokes in most ...

George Bowers Sr. Don’t dismiss the small things

These last couple weeks, our driveway has been on fire. The bright reds and oranges of the Sweet Gum trees that line each side of it light up the path and almost seem to glow in the dark. I always look forward to this time of year for driving under them is like going through a colorful ...

Tom Crosby: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is all new

Volkswagen has often juggled the line-up of its Golf vehicles. This year VW adds a new model, the all-wheel drive Golf Alltrack with a turbo-charged motor and similarity to the less expensive Golf SportsWagen, which replaced the Golf Jetta wagon in 2015. All 2017 Golf vehicles are currently ...

James Pinsky: Reward yourself with conservation

I spend a lot of time in the woods. How much? Joe and Nancy, the two local gray squirrels near my house, know me by my first name. Still, as much time as I have spent in the woods, I have never seen my forest friends have an awards ceremony. Nope. Joe, nor Nancy for that matter have ever been ...

Peter Brookes: Fishing the Kenai

After seeing just about every Alaska reality show out there  – there are about a million of them, I think, at last count – I decided that I needed to get in on some of that amazing action. I thought about doing some “Deadliest Catch” king-crabbing, but didn't really want to work 24/7 ...

George Bowers Sr. The piercings of identification

This Saturday marks the beginning of firearms season for deer with the advent of the early muzzle loading season. Hunters will be taking to their blinds and stands in their quests for the bucks of their dreams, or at least some meat for their tables. November always brings nostalgic memories ...

Jason Wright: Are you up for the good news morning challenge?

One day last week, I woke up early filled with high hopes and optimism for the day. Even a sore throat and eye crusties couldn't get me down. I'd slept well, had a plan for the day and I was ready to crush it. Then I looked at my phone. Like many of you, my phone sleeps sweetly next to ...

James Pinsky: Minimum wage for nature

It’s a good thing our forest friends haven’t figured out how to bill us for their services. Can you imagine going for a hike and having a bowtie-wearing squirrel, fox variety of course, hand you a bill as you leave the forest? It might look something like this: Nature Hike Services, ...

Bass Mitchell: A love of letters

It’s all too rare these days. What? Checking your mail and finding an actual letter. I don’t mean a form letter from the innumerable sources out there trying to get my money. I mean a real letter – something someone actually sat down and wrote to me with me in mind. Recall what it was ...

Andy Schmookler: Greedy for life, less so for money

 I’ve always known myself to be greedy, although the nature of my greed has evolved. When I was five, it took the form of counting my mother’s pennies (her jar of “mad money”). It also took the form of treasuring my collections of baseball cards (bought and traded for) and of marbles ...

George Bowers Sr. Blazing a trail for others to follow

Five hundred years ago next Tuesday, Martin Luther inadvertently started a movement that not only shook the 1500s, but continues to impact our world today in significant ways. While I am no expert on Luther and his theology, the long-lasting effects of his actions strike me as very powerful. ...

Tom Crosby: Ford F-150 Raptor gets upgraded for 2017

In the multi-billion dollar world of fiercely competitive automotive companies, no vehicle other than Ford’s F-series truck has been able to establish crushing dominance. It has been the best-selling truck in America for 40 consecutive years and best-selling vehicle in American for 35 ...

George Bowers Sr. Tramp rooms then and now

I always enjoy reading local history and recently finished "Glimpses of the Past in Shenandoah County" published by the Woodstock Museum in 1984 and edited by Joseph B. Clower, Jr. This small volume is a collection of memories of many long-time valley residents, most of whom have now passed on ...

Jason Wright: Gratitude overtakes grief for widower

On Friday, Oct. 6, Katie Evans, of Santa Clarita, California, made one of countless long drives to visit her infant twin daughters at UCLA hospital. Born in August nearly 15 weeks early, Evans spent every possible moment at their side. Late in the evening, Evans said goodbye to the girls and ...

James Pinsky: When conservation is wrong

For nearly two years I have written about different ways we ought to conserve things. Not today. No, today I will talk to you about the one thing on this planet I think we conserve too much. By the time many of you will read this column, I will be in or out of surgery to repair a terrible ...

Bass Mitchell: The signs, a painful time, Part 4

Editor's note:  The is the fourth and final part of guest columnist Bass Mitchell's column titled "The Signs."  Read the entire column at http://tinyurl.com/y83bajbh. I remember it well. We were coming home one day from working on that building. As we turned onto our street, we saw an ...

George Bowers Sr. Guided hunts and guided lives

Every year about this time, thousands of eastern hunters head west on quests for elk, mule deer, and other western game species not found in these parts. They generally return in a week or two with either antlers and meat or stories about the ones that got away. One year, God willing, I will be ...

James Pinsky: Fall, Mother Nature’s winter bedtime story

Fall is best described as Mother Nature’s best impression of one of her most colorful children, the peacock. For the next few weeks the very proud parent of all living things will reward its onlookers with a parade of warm colors we only get to see once a year. The overwhelming sight of her ...

Tom Crosby: The new 201 330e BMW sedan has touch of green

BMW went for a trifecta with the 2016 330e compact sedan – launching a robust five-seater performance vehicle combining electric plug-in with a hybrid vehicle operating on batteries and gasoline. It’s an innovative combination that helps the German manufacturer get discounts for U.S. ...

Bass Mitchell: The signs: A painful time

Editor's note:  This the third of four parts of guest columnist Bass Mitchell's column titled "The Signs."  Read Part 2 online at http://tinyurl.com/ydbqxwtw and Part 1 online at  http://tinyurl.com/yaj2mauz.   As you entered the building, you came into a small corridor that ...