Guest Columns

Tom Crosby: 2017 Subaru Forester gets updating tweaks

In one sense, it gets harder every year for Subaru to find first-time buyers for its best-selling Forester crossover. Vehicle registration records show 98 percent of all Foresters sold in the last 10 years are still on the road. Then consider that after 10 years, Foresters still maintain the ...

Roger Barbee: The suet and the mockingbird

There are many advantages to riding my stationary bicycle on the side deck: no automobile traffic to worry about, no travel time to a course for my workout, I control the workout, the deck is in the morning shade, and I can watch and study the flower garden. All of these points are good, but I ...

George Bowers Sr.: We need an aerial perspective

If you ever have a hankering for a story, just say the word, “snake.” Everyone has their own favorite tale about these legless creatures that strike fear in the hearts of all humanity and most are anxious to share them with anyone who will listen. My friend Benny shared a snake story with ...

James Pinsky: Farmers are conservationists of the human race

There are a few folks in life I dare not upset while they’re working: the waitress bringing my food, the dentist just before I say aaaaaaaaaaah, and farmers. There are a few others, but the most important one is probably too busy on a tractor growing my food right now to care. Depending on ...

George Bowers Sr.: The benefactor on the second floor

Many years ago a man came into enormous wealth. No one was ever quite sure where it came from, but his net worth seemed infinite. With part of his money he purchased several square miles and built a huge two-story castle that sprawled over several acres. He constructed the first floor much ...

James Pinsky: Let freedom grow

The grills are cold. The fireworks are over, and most of us are back to work after doing our annual “Thanks For Freedom” celebration. It’s good to know patriotism is alive and well. It’s a funny thing, freedom. The ability to make choices for ourselves and our loved ones as we see fit ...

George Bowers Sr.: Founding Fathers paid high prices

This coming Tuesday, America observes its 241st birthday with cookouts, parades, and fireworks. Although we often take our freedoms for granted, Independence Day really should be celebrated with great fanfare and all citizens should pause to thank God and our founders for the rare privileges we ...

James Pinsky: ‘Mulch ado about nothing’

Chances are Shakespeare wasn’t mulch of a conservationist, which, to be honest, hurts a little. My favorite work by him, "Mulch Ado About Nothing," a comedy about the unlikely love story of an egotistical man and the sarcastic woman he deserves, has ruined more than one couch cushion from me ...

George Bowers Sr.: June brides then, now, and later

June is the month for weddings. According to Soundvision.com, nearly 11 percent of all couples tie the nuptial knot sometime during this month. Not only is there wedding weather, but the timing also coincides nicely with graduations when many are ready to begin new chapters in their lives. As ...

James Pinsky: Hail to the mighty earthworm

As a child, worms I and were great friends because they helped me with two things in my life: catch fish and kept pesky girls at bay. Decades later, I’ve learned that the mighty and underappreciated earthworm does a lot more than catch fish and chase off pigtails. In fact, they may well be ...

Tom Crosby: Dodge’s popular Durango SUV adds GT trim

Dodge dropped its limited edition of the Durango for 2017, replacing it with a new GT (Grand Touring) trim with a monochromatic exterior preserving the SUV’s already good looks. Our test drive had an eye-catching bright White Knuckle Clear-Coat paint job mimicking a Star Wars Storm Troopers ...

George Bowers Sr.: Insight from our dying ash trees

Our Shenandoah Valley forests are taking another hit. A little over 100 years ago, the chestnut blight eliminated one of the most useful and stately trees in our woodlands. About 50 years later, the hemlock woolly adelgid began to hammer our Eastern hemlocks and many have succumbed to their ...

George Bowers Sr.: Graduation, football, and life

It’s a special weekend here in Shenandoah County as our high school seniors walk across stages, pick up their diplomas, and head off into life. Many surrounding localities have already celebrated these milestones and a few are yet to come, but by mid-June most schools are out and students who ...

Jason Wright: A message to grads, and the rest of us

Graduates, let’s talk about truth. You’re about to step into a world where it’s increasingly difficult to discern truth. Where the ability to deceive is often viewed as a talent and a praiseworthy attribute. Where slick marketing, PhotoShop and fancy filters create lies and illusions ...

James Pinsky: Buffy, the non-point source pollution slayer

Most people like super heroes, even conservationists. Comic books, movies and even international conventions have been dedicated to names like Super Man, Aqua Man and of course, Wonder Woman because they all help save our fantasy world. Make believe can be fun, if not futile. Super heroes do ...

George Bowers Sr.: Happy birthday to the church

Sunday is a very special day for the church. Not Antioch nor any other particular congregation, nor even any denomination, but all denominations and all congregations of true Christians. This Sunday is the birthday of THE church universal. Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, God the ...

James Pinsky: Tips for managing your lawn

Most folks I know like green lawns. Some of us like ours, others like theirs – and a few like our neighbors’ more than our own. Envy it seems can be a fertilizer too. Having a healthy lawn though doesn’t mean it’s always green, cut golf-course short or free from critters. The truth is ...

George Bowers Sr.: The folly of Millennium Tower

In 2002, Millennium Partners pitched a proposal to build the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi in San Francisco. The Planning Commission approved their request and the $350 million construction project began in 2005. Four years later, the 645-foot, 58-story skyscraper known ...

James Pinsky: Local working group seeks input

Teamwork usually enables success. This is true in sports, business and conservation. In fact, many of your local conservationists like the Natural Resources Conservation Service and we here at the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District are big fans of collaboration. So much so that ...

Roger Barbee: A forgotten garden

The other day while mowing the front yard, I noticed a lone peony next to the large boxwood. What drew my attention to it was that it was about to open into the full bloom of pink like those in front of the bay windows. Some years ago while digging at the roots of an old lilac bush that was ...