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September 3, 2009

WINCHESTER -- It begins with greed and quickly turns toward seduction, but the latest play at Winchester Little Theatre, "Other People's Money," will end with an entertained audience. How the audience members feel about the plot, though, will be entirely up to them, says director Paul Bailey.

September 2, 2009

Andrea Wickham has spent her career as a dietitian helping senior citizens eat properly, a daily task that for the young and healthy happens without much thought. But for the older person suffering deteriorating health, taking dozens of medications every day or living with dementia, the seemingly easy task of eating becomes a hurdle that challenges not only the senior but the caregiver as well.

September 1, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Sometimes the smallest gestures are the ones most appreciated and most needed. That's what Elizabeth Parsons thought when she decided to begin the Virginia chapter of Afghans for Angels in 1999.

August 31, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Can people retire from parenting? Maybe once they've raised more than 300 children.

August 29, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The Continental Restaurant, for decades a fixture of quiet, fine dining on North Frederick Pike, is about to loosen its tie.

August 28, 2009

LINDEN -- Stan Stocker's garage ticks, sounds created by a chorus of clocks that he is about to fix, has fixed or owns and has no need to fix.

August 27, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Donning your best boots and hat on Sept. 4 at the George Washington Hotel could win you a prize, but should at least result in a good time for you and more money for the renovation of a local legend's former home.

August 25, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Sept. 15 can't get here fast enough for Jamie Yowell. That's when he turns 13. Becoming a teenager is exciting for any youngster, but for this Front Royal lad, it will be extra special.

August 22, 2009

EDINBURG -- For Valley Baptist Christian School, the current recession proved to be the right time to expand its music program. For the first time, the school, at 408 Stony Creek Road, will have a full-time music and band teacher this year.

August 21, 2009

Looking for something different to do with your garden for next season? A hedge might be just the thing.

August 20, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- History cannot seem to deliver a definitive judgment on whether legendary abolitionist John Brown was a martyred hero or a fanatical villain, whether he was a man willing to take up arms for a cause, or a megalomaniac zealot consumed by a religious crusade.

August 19, 2009

WINCHESTER -- It's a common refrain at kitchen tables around the Northern Shenandoah Valley: "We've got to tighten the belt." It might seem counterintuitive, but it's relatively easy to start cutting back on one of the most fundamental expenses -- food -- without going hungry.

August 18, 2009

With classes back in session this month, students are eager to get to their college campus and explore the opportunities that await them. But, in the midst of studying long hours and having a social life, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can easily get lost in the shuffle, something 18-year old Olivia Harris is well aware of.

August 15, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Take an overflowing cup of youthful passion, add a cup of classical training, a pinch of creativity, a sprinkle of derring-do and a dash of a genuine desire to please, and you've got Seth Wells, the chef whipping up culinary delights at the Cafe Nights at Woodstock Cafe.

August 13, 2009

WINCHESTER -- On a quiet Monday morning, two large tractor-trailers waited in a parking lot to be unloaded. The vehicles go unnoticed by unknowing passers-by, but what the trucks are carrying is anything but unassuming.

August 12, 2009

It's mid-summer. The sun hangs high in the sky late into the evening, the cooling air inviting family members outdoors. What better time to enjoy a late European-style dinner, something Italian or French maybe?

August 10, 2009

STRASBURG -- The true test of friendship is the lengths to which a friend will go, or in this case jump, to come to the aid of another.

August 8, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Summer in the valley wouldn't be the same without the sweet smell of frying sugar lingering over the county fairgrounds.

August 7, 2009

On a recent mid-summer evening Diane Greco, of Star Tannery, and her grandson, Eli Fuqua, 3, visited the State Arboretum of Virginia at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce to monitor some birdhouses on the Bluebird Trail. A volunteer since 2003, Greco comes to the arboretum at least once a month, sometimes bringing along Eli who enjoys looking for signs of birds nesting along the trail.

August 6, 2009

STRASBURG -- Mounds of pasta and karaoke on Mondays. Muchos tacos and programs for youths on Tuesdays.

August 5, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- If you're looking for an alternative to fast food at a low price, Trailblazers Cafe has a table waiting for you.

August 4, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Let's make a list of some of the ways Lettie Miller Frye can prove she's "no dummy."

August 1, 2009

With a shy smile, she spoke quickly in Spanish, looking at her benefactors with earnest eyes beneath her dark lashes.

July 30, 2009

You've been dreaming of white beaches, the surf crashing along the shore, children building sand castles around you ... and the perfect novel in hand. Even if you spend your free time reading year-round, there's just something about sitting on a beach with a great story.

WINCHESTER -- Pull on some overalls, grab a train conductor's hat, and on Friday night head over to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley for the start of a new summer tradition.

July 29, 2009

When it comes to drinks, sometimes the simplest ones are the best -- for your thirst and your waistline. Those concerned about calorie content or those just looking for a way to cool down on a hot summer day might consider returning to the basics.

July 28, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Since surviving typhoid fever when she was 8 years old, Helen Arthur has always been "dog tired."

July 27, 2009

Many Northern Shenandoah Valley residents are lining up at outdoor pools in their community to swim a few laps and cool off from the summer heat. Others are buying their own pools to install in the backyard.

July 25, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Eighty-four year old Gene Babb was already getting asked about his age more than two decades ago, when a reporter inquired if he felt a little old to be acting.

July 23, 2009

MT. JACKSON -- The measuring sticks for whether an outdoor family game has staying power encompass a select few.

MIDDLETOWN -- Gin rummy is a tame card game, unlikely to arouse much suspense and certainly no passion. But in "The Gin Game," the acerbic comedy at Wayside Theatre, the innocuous pastime generates paroxysms of fury, more akin to blood sport, and opens a window into the souls of two old, lonely people.

July 21, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Summer -- like many dogs -- loves to walk. She and others can have their chance to walk for a cause at Jim Barnett Park in Winchester on Saturday.

July 18, 2009

STEPHENS CITY -- Historians often tell the story of the past in grand sweeping passages. But it can also be done 2 cents at a time.

July 17, 2009

EDINBURG -- Organizers of the Edinburg Really Really Free Market are inviting the entire community to come out on July 25 for a really, really good time in light of the current economic downturn.

July 16, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre will end its season happily ever after with its fourth show, "Disney's Beauty and the Beast."

July 14, 2009

It turns out your grade-school teacher was right when she made you see a reflection of a solar eclipse through a cereal box hole.

July 13, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- National Trust for Historic Preservation site Belle Grove Plantation plays host to visitors from across the nation for different events throughout the year, and the weekend of July 24-26 will be no different, except those descending on the site for this event -- from as far away as California, New England and Florida -- can all call each other family.

July 11, 2009

EDINBURG -- Kevin Kittinger has certain success stories to match each tale of failure. A success: the submarine he built out of paper when he was 8. A corresponding failure: the rocket made out of a Pringles can that did not shoot in any specific direction.

WINCHESTER -- Musicals come serious or silly, but few among the latter can top "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" for sheer escapist fun.

July 9, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- How many hands of gin rummy does it take to get to know a stranger? Wayside Theatre plans to show audiences just how two different people can learn about each other in its upcoming production of D.L. Coburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Gin Game."

July 8, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Fairfax resident Minho Kim says he and his wife's Japanese restaurant, Momoyama, has blossomed into a popular dining area in Washington since they opened the business in 2004. Some critic reviews and online blogs seem to agree.

July 6, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Modern science has led a local woman to discover her oldest-known and surprising ancestor.

July 3, 2009

With the Fourth of July on the horizon, odds are good that fireworks, watermelon and other traditions are on tap for your household. Perhaps flag-themed T-shirts, swimming trunks, food or decor will also be part of your celebration of the nation's independence.

July 2, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Audiences at the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre's next production will receive a nice holiday between the summer's only drama and the finale. "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, offers a fantasy version of a Bible story complete with a narrator for the children and a moral at the end.

July 1, 2009

STRASBURG -- Saturday mornings have brought a new hustle and bustle to downtown Strasburg in recent weeks, with local residents turning the quiet Town Hall lot into a marketplace of local produce and goods.

June 27, 2009

WINCHESTER -- It's not the most elaborate storefront on Loudoun Street, but Sarah Gallahan, 22, knows how to squeeze a lot of color into a small space.

June 26, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Jean Fogle likes her Jack Russell terrier and gardening. Sometimes her two passions don't quite mix.

June 25, 2009

ORKNEY SPRINGS -- This quiet community will once again become the music Mecca of the Shenandoah Valley in only a few short weeks. For 45 years the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival has transformed the small resort community into a grand concert arena with performances to rival any symphonic hall around the world.

June 24, 2009

Strawberries and bananas have more in common with chocolate and licorice than you might think. Along with a tendency to appear in shopping baskets around the globe, they share a reputation. Along with countless other foods, the four are often included in lists of snacks that double as aphrodisiacs, which are foods or drugs that excite sexual desire.

June 23, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- While the "Beach Body Boot Camp" at Woodstock Rehab & Fitness may not get you in shape to become a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, it does promise to get you fit enough to be confident about slipping back into your favorite bathing suit.

June 20, 2009

WINCHESTER -- If it weren't for the wonders of the World Wide Web, the faded photograph of Francis Rain that was hiding out in a New Jersey flea market would never have wound up in the hands of one of his descendants.

June 18, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The second production of the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers, but don't expect your typical Shakespearean tragedy.

June 16, 2009

Eating for two these days? Pregnancy can be a hectic time, a whirlwind of out-of-control cravings for frozen cheesecake and pickles mixed with moments of no appetite at all.

June 15, 2009

MT. JACKSON -- Mark Melcher harasses his friend and business partner, Steve Sager, on the phone after Sager had a dentist appointment, telling him he's ugly enough as is without getting all of his teeth pulled.

June 13, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Barbecue, check. Food and drinks, all set. Flamingos? Planted on the front lawn. When the porch parties begin, the residents of Oakdale Crossing, in Winchester, know summer has begun.

WINCHESTER -- "Hairspray," that musical celebration of plumpness, gets the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre's season off to a rollicking start.

June 12, 2009

STRASBURG -- Tile by tile, shard by shard, Edith "Louise" Furlong pieces together scenes from the Shenandoah Valley, from her past and from great works of art, into mosaic masterpieces.

June 11, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- Gritty realism and soaring idealism are starkly contrasted in Wayside Theatre's compelling musical, "Man of La Mancha."

June 10, 2009

STRASBURG -- After a 24-year absence, Vinnie Lanzetta and his authentic Italian cuisine are back.

June 9, 2009

Whether inspired by the warmer weather and longer days or from watching amazing results televised on "The Biggest Loser" finale, many valley residents will be hitting local trails and roads this summer in an effort to enjoy the sun, spend time with family and get in shape. Health professionals warn, though, that the heat can make exercise more damaging than helpful, if correct precautions are not taken.

June 6, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- This potty poetry isn't what the name implies, rude rhymes carved into stall doors and scribbled mischievously on walls.

June 5, 2009

WASHINGTON, Va. -- There are few things scarier than coming face to face with a protective mother bear and her cubs on the forest trail or even seeing a black bear lumbering through your front yard. With bear populations increasing in Virginia, these scenarios could become more and more frequent in rural areas, but experts are confident that people and bears can co-exist peacefully, with prior knowledge and the proper precautions.

June 4, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Shenandoah Conservatory can boast that it is ahead of the curve, offering its students and area residents something that most other theater companies cannot -- the rights to a famous, award-winning musical that is still on stage in New York and is currently touring nationally.

June 3, 2009

Summer cookouts and picnics don't have to ruin your diet -- or your health -- when you follow some rules of nutrition and food safety.

June 2, 2009

It's finally time to trade sweaters for swim trunks. Recent warm weather is sure to get warmer. With it, families begin their annual flock to area pools for some relief. But how can parents be sure their excited children are safe?

May 30, 2009

The day was just coming to an end at Orchard View Elementary School in Frederick County on a recent afternoon, but it was only the beginning for first-grader Blake Sandy, who has a long journey ahead of him on the pathway of reading.

May 28, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- A love, or maybe just the slightest appreciation, for the arts has to start somewhere.

May 26, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Summer sun can bring on golden tans, but also a greater chance of skin cancer, experts warn.

May 23, 2009

MT. JACKSON -- There's an opportunity to indulge in wine and song and help out a good cause at a new winery outside Mt. Jackson on June 6.

May 21, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Members of the band Allwreck are hoping that fans will find their music is all right.

May 16, 2009

STRASBURG -- If you're looking for a man to mow your yard or join you for a round of golf or a quiet dinner, you just might find him at the Strasburg Theater this afternoon -- if the price is right.

May 15, 2009

TOMS BROOK -- With names like Merry Christmas, Wedding Dance and Miracle, amaryllis plants are as festive as they sound. They have become a popular treat to buy and enjoy at the holidays, but these plants can actually be appreciated year-round. You can grow them at home, and, in fact, they are in full natural bloom right now, in the heart of May.

May 12, 2009

LURAY -- A contagious virus has been reported in schools in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, prompting local health officials to work to stop the outbreak.

May 9, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- It wasn't quite Broadway, but 16-year old Noah Scheibmeir got a small taste of what it's like to be in the spotlight. And, he seemed to enjoy it.

WINCHESTER -- Shenandoah University music professor Don Black took a bold step and started painting.

May 7, 2009

EDINBURG - Unless one is disguised as Mr. Ed, they can't -- not that he really could strike up a conversation anyway (sorry, Wilbur) -- which may bode well for members of the Shenandoah Trail Riders and Horseman's Association.

May 6, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- A new store in Front Royal offers up everything you didn't know you needed for your kitchen -- from an apple-peeler-like device to "french" green beans to a reusable nonstick baking sheet liner called SILPAT.

May 5, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The seats, exam tables and even doorways are larger in the little building on Westside Station Drive that houses Winchester Medical Center's Bariatric Program -- but so is the level of hope, the program's two surgeons say.

May 4, 2009

When families are thinking about cutting costs, one of the first luxuries to go many times is the expensive cell phone plan.

May 1, 2009

Imagine a lush vegetable garden growing just beyond your window, offering fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans and herbs.

April 30, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Winchester Little Theatre's upcoming production of "Funny Money" may be just the elixir needed during the current economic downturn.

Nicole and Denniss Olea taught their son, Michael, the alphabet at 12 months. By 15 months, he was sitting on his mother's lap tapping out words on her computer keyboard. Now, at age 5, there isn't much Michael can't accomplish with a click of the mouse, but as he's grown in age so have his parents' concerns about his surfing.

J. C. Galbreath's mission is to make the Internet safer for children. Galbreath is a tough investigator for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division, but on a recent March afternoon, he took on the persona of a bored teenage girl looking for someone to talk to in a chat room.

When you're a mom, the idea of time management can seem like a contradiction in terms. Keeping to a schedule when you're at the mercy of so many other schedules, is a challenge.

Today was one of those golden, sunlit days that you daydream about when you think of having children.

Six-month-old J.C. Lonsiak grins when he sees his friend walk into the kitchen. He has been going through a smiling phase lately, Veronica Sookhu says, glancing down at her son resting in his portable car seat. His eyes continue to follow the older baby toddling around the room.

April 28, 2009

A recent National Bed Bug Summit brings to mind chattering cartoon insects seated around a diminutive boardroom table, with microphones, bottled water, and pens and paper -- the stuff of a Disney movie -- complete with celebrity voice overs.

April 25, 2009

WINCHESTER -- From the first, skittering notes of the familiar overture, the musical genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart blossoms spectacularly in "The Marriage of Figaro."

April 24, 2009

Giant eyeballs and fake, furry spiders can spruce up a haunted house. Could Halloween gags scare woodpeckers away from damaging homes and grating nerves?

April 23, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- With everything from traditional Irish music and bagpipes to caber tossing, local residents will get the full Celtic cultural experience this weekend.

April 22, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- If patronage on any given evening is a sign of success in the restaurant business, then Joe's Steakhouse is already a hit -- even before its official grand opening.

April 20, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Lots of after-school programs offer a snack and help with homework. Finding one that offers lessons about respect, honor and self-defense is somewhat more difficult.

April 18, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Wearing a faded Budweiser hat and leaning against an equally faded red pickup, the latter of which he purchased for a dollar, Joe Bageant looks so much like everyone else, it's easy to miss him.

April 17, 2009

WINCHESTER -- From the outside, the Zollers' house looks like any other well-landscaped brick home on Breckinridge Lane in Winchester. A step through the front door, however, is like a transition through a magical looking glass, into a world far away, where warm colors and bright sunlight complement the hues of nature outside.

FRONT ROYAL -- Upcoming garden tours of the Northern Shenandoah Valley will take place in Winchester and Front Royal, spotlighting many newer, more modern houses among some older homes to offer a variety of local treasures inspired by creative residents.

April 16, 2009

WINCHESTER -- If you are looking for a standard, run-of-the-mill opera, then Shenandoah University's April presentation of "Marriage of Figaro" should not be your first choice.

TOMS BROOK -- You may be tempted to succumb to the popular urge to "go green" with a garden, especially as warmer weather is peeking around the corner, but if the thought of starting one is intimidating, look no further than Toms Brook.

STEPHENSON -- When it comes to going green at home, recycling, eating organic food and turning off the lights are among the easier -- and less expensive -- things to do. When it comes to energy usage, it gets a bit more complicated, and pricier.

April 14, 2009

LINDEN -- Ninety-year-old Linda Alletta James has a lot in common with British poet Matthew Green, the author of "The Spleen," who died in 1737.

April 11, 2009

MT. JACKSON -- As a pastor, Rodney Lebron is in the business of trying to save souls. But his quick thinking and bravery during a December house fire also make him a lifesaver, a feat acknowledged by the Shenandoah County chapter of the American Red Cross, which awarded him the Adult Good Samaritan Hero award.

April 4, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Holding a basket of pastel-colored eggs, Hannah Arthur scurried up her backyard like she was preparing to hide them for an Easter egg hunt. The little girl was going to gather eggs, however, from her coop containing a variety of hens, that don't need dye to improve the aesthetics of their production.

April 2, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Comedian Justin Kincaid's prescription for those suffering from the Wall Street willies or bailout blues is simple: Listen. Laugh. Repeat.

April 1, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Diners don't need to fly south for a taste of Caribbean cuisine. They can find the flavor of the islands tucked away at two cafes in the city.

March 31, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Give people a chance to improve how they do their jobs, and the entire organization will benefit. It's a concept that's shared in workplaces as diverse as manufacturing to the military. Now it's pushing nursing to higher levels at Winchester Medical Center.

March 30, 2009

EDINBURG -- Whether it's a grandparent suffering from dementia or a sibling confined to a wheelchair, keeping disabled loved ones under home care for as long as possible is always the goal -- but it isn't always easy.

March 28, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Jeff Cappo is the Average Joe. He likes watching TV. He's game for a challenge. Problem is, those two things cross paths on the dance floor, where, in typical Average Joe fashion, Michael Flatley he is not.

March 27, 2009

WINCHESTER -- An upcoming workshop hosted by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association hopes to show people how natural landscaping can help improve water quality, provide habitat for animals, mitigate flooding and reduce erosion.

March 26, 2009

WINCHESTER -- On Oct. 16, 1859, in a picturesque town where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, the townspeople were turning in for the night, unaware of how the events of the next two days would change the nation.

March 25, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- Considering growing your own produce to save grocery money but wondering what you'll do with the food once you grow it?

March 24, 2009

EDINBURG -- It's the gigantic elephant in the room -- you know you have to talk about it sooner or later, but you often times avoid it. It can be a sensitive and eerie subject, and young people simply don't feel an immediate urge to discuss it.

March 23, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- The children were leaning forward in anticipation, some sitting cross-legged, others on their hands and knees, inching their way closer to the presenter who held a storybook in one hand and props in the other. Though most participants were only about 3 years old, in that short lesson the children were already gaining skills that will help them years from now -- skills like sequencing events in a story, which comes up on tests like the Scholastic Aptitude Tests and Graduate Record Exam.

March 21, 2009

Kai Gingerich and Johnathan Foltz may be just eighth-graders at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School in Woodstock, but they are no strangers to hard work and determination -- especially significant because they are also in the special education program. Both were recently awarded scholarships to attend the Self-determination Youth Summit, which, in conjunction with the 23rd Virginia Transition Forum, was held this past Monday through Wednesday in Norfolk.

March 20, 2009

WINCHESTER -- There's nothing worse than moving into a beautiful new home with picture-perfect landscaping that looks like it jumped right off the pages of a fancy home magazine, only to witness the speedy demise of those beautiful plants because no one in the family knows how to take care of them.

March 19, 2009

EDINBURG -- Sometimes everything aligns. As Teresa Funkhouser at the Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation Department was pondering an art class for seniors, so was Valley Educational Center for the Arts member Clive Turner.

March 17, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Massage therapist Raquel Torres gently rubbed the angry, red scar that perfectly looped the teenager's left cheek, relaxing the skin, increasing blood flow and breaking down the damaged tissue.

March 16, 2009

WINCHESTER --Next to the pretend ambulance is the snake. Next to the snake is the library, which is next to the American Indian long house.

March 14, 2009

BERRYVILLE -- What are the chances of there being three sisters named Grapes and all of them being belly dancers? Pretty good if they're the daughters of Vernon and Leann Grapes of Berryville.

March 13, 2009

Though new colors, patterns and accessories are introduced every year, area interior designers and decorators say the dominant trends so far in 2009 are budget consciousness and deliberate spending.

March 12, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- Jesus is from Georgia, his disciples are a bluegrass band and King Herod is the mayor of Atlanta in Wayside Theatre's resurrection of the popular "Cotton Patch Gospel," which opens March 21.

WINCHESTER -- In these difficult economic times, finding something affordable to do with the family can be a challenging task. But there's no need to travel to Washington or spend a lot of money: there's something entertaining to do right here.

March 10, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Gary Lambert is once again full of vim. Chronic kidney disease had robbed the Air Force veteran from Frederick County of his pep.

March 9, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Tuesday night here doesn't look like Tuesday night anywhere else in the city. At one end of the newly expanded War Memorial Building at Jim Barnett Park, basketball players stalk the court, shouting with their hands raised. Parents trade stories poolside while watching their children.

March 6, 2009

STAR TANNERY -- When daffodils start to bloom on the hillside and leaves on the property's enormous silver maples begin to sprout, the gloom of winter begins to fade. And that's when Robert Warnock and Daniel Maier most appreciate their purchase and ongoing renovation of Gravel Springs Farm off Pifer Road.

March 4, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Self awareness of the company you keep usually goes a long way toward your ability to obtain and maintain the reputation you desire.

March 3, 2009

Dreams seem to bring out the worst fears in each of us, magnifying them into unrealistic proportions, from an army of invading spiders to a long fall from an airplane.

March 2, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- They've gone hand in hand with family celebrations for generations. Whether little Isaac is turning 1, or great aunt June is turning 100; whether you're a starry-eyed bride-to-be at your wedding shower or doing the fox-trot at your 50th wedding anniversary, there's always one present.

February 28, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The Genda family has participated in the Winchester Soap Box Derby for years and has no plans to quit any time soon.

February 27, 2009

It may seem like a tedious task, but properly maintaining a smoke detector on a regular basis -- or simply having one in the house at all -- can ultimately prove to be a life-saving decision.

February 26, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Combine a dead mistress in the driveway where the wife of a cheating husband ran her over, a nosy neighbor, a punk rock maid with a mane of pink hair, and blackmail has a fertile breeding ground. Written in the '50s by British playwright Leslie Sands, "Something to Hide" is a murder mystery that starts action in the first 10 minutes and never slows down.

February 25, 2009

STEPHENSON -- The scene is set for a romantic dinner for two. Red roses add a splash of color to the dining room table. Candlelight creates a warm glow in the room, and a bottle of merlot waits to be opened. There's just one thing missing: the Italian dinner.

February 24, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Cathy Steed has learned during her 50 years of life that people see with more than their eyes. Steed has macular degeneration, a condition that affects her central vision.

February 23, 2009

Telling the difference between typical teenage angst and warning signs of drug use can be tricky for parents.

February 21, 2009

WINCHESTER -- A burned-out husk of warehouse in the city may soon help homeless men return to the work force.

February 20, 2009

By Stacey Keenan -- Daily Staff Correspondent WINCHESTER -- Even though America's favorite groundhog recently saw his shadow and quietly informed his fans of six more weeks of winter, the...

February 19, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Sarah Sesler has been waiting to play the role of Lois Lane for the past seven years, after a friend cast as Lois in their high school production of "Kiss Me Kate" told Sesler, "The next time you're in the show, you're going to be Lois Lane."

February 18, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Step inside the latest addition to the cluster of shops called Main Street Passage in Front Royal and the gastronomic possibilities abound.

February 17, 2009

Obstetricians and certified professional midwives have differing philosophies when it comes to ushering babies into the outside world.

February 14, 2009

EDINBURG -- Horse trainer and registered nurse Tammy Shoremount has rarely ventured far from her home. Her intention this year, though, is to get all that traveling done in one shot. And, in quite an extraordinary way.

February 13, 2009

Some are struggling and some are riding out the economic downslide, but small home improvement businesses agree that fretful homeowners should not hesitate to loosen their purse strings when it comes to fixing up their houses.

February 12, 2009

HARRISONBURG -- Joseph Emswiler takes the brunt of the jabs, most of them coming from the direction of Adam John. Emswiler's musical inspirations? Those would be Celine Dion and Cher. His famous look alike? Try Hilary Swank. They're bold answers from a 19-year-old, John, who is wearing a Cookie Monster hat.

WINCHESTER -- When people hear the words "the White House," visions of stately furniture, secret meetings and men in black suits may come to mind. But an upcoming afternoon tea at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley will reveal the lighter, more romantic side of some of the famous -- and infamous -- tenants of the nation's most famed residence.

February 11, 2009

WINCHESTER -- So who exactly is Jian Lu? "People call me all kinds of names," he said, laughing. "Dishwasher, too." But actually, the co-operator of Mimosa Asian Fusion Restaurant in Winchester is a man with great passion for his up-and-coming Asian-American eatery, sandwiching the duties of an owner enthusiastically with the less-glamorous roles of table waiting and dishwashing.

February 10, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- A woman stands with her back hunched and arms crossed, her hands around her own throat. Many know this image as the universal sign of choking, but how many people would know what to do if they saw someone displaying that posture?

February 9, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- With a sewing machine humming in the background, women scurried about the small quilt shop, looking at colorful fabric blocks that tell the story of beloved American author Louisa May Alcott and her family.

February 7, 2009

In a room full of crowded tables Tuesday night, the gentle clatter of poker chips and the muffled shuffling of cards were audible just under the constant hum of conversation and friendly laughter.

February 6, 2009

Representatives of local real estate agencies and mortgage companies are cautioning those who are contemplating renting their homes to avoid foreclosure.

February 5, 2009

By John Horan Jr. -- Daily Staff Writer MIDDLETOWN -- Home cooking is hard to beat. Buffeted, like everyone else, by the harsh economic downturn, Warner Crocker, Wayside Theatre's artistic...

WINCHESTER -- On a recent Wednesday afternoon, the bistro at Westminster-Canterbury retirement community north of Winchester, was almost empty, but on the third Friday of each month, it is teeming with activity as residents and visitors gather to listen to music reverberate off the walls of the airy room.

February 4, 2009

SPERRYVILLE -- Rich, creamy, decadent chocolate cake melts in the mouth like a piece of chocolate perfection. The moist taste of a morsel of a carrot cupcake slathered with cream cheese icing is wondrous. The cream filling overflows the edges of a profiterole, while the chocolate ganache topping drips on the plate.

WINCHESTER -- Good news for chocoholics of the Northern Shenandoah Valley: Chocolate can be a part of a main course, no longer reserved for dessert. At least that's how Adam Policinski, executive chef at Le Papillon Day Resort in Winchester, sees it.

A story published Monday should have stated that the telephone number for the Dream Baby Boutique in Winchester is 722-0030.

February 3, 2009

It's cold out and you're burning some extra fuel around the house to keep warm -- maybe you've lit the kerosene space heater, or are burning the wood stove. You and some of the members of the family also seem to be coming down with something typical of this time of year. You're feeling fatigued, nauseous and have a headache. Maybe it's the flu -- or maybe it's carbon monoxide poisoning.

February 2, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The customer was clearly in a dilemma when she walked through the shop's door.

January 31, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County resident Steve Foster says he believes it was divine intervention that allowed him and his mule, Grace, to be selected for an upcoming film starring Academy-Award winner Robert Duvall.

WINCHESTER -- Old Jake should stay in its hometown, say some current and former residents who want to keep the historic weather vane in the city.

January 30, 2009

The interior of the innocent-looking, '50s-era rancher looked like a setting for a Stephen King novel. Green spots covered almost every space in the Warren County residence. Green tendrils reached out across ceilings, choking a fan in one room, leaving it drooping like a giant, dead daisy.

January 29, 2009

Jose Antonio Perez is a long way from the Long Island, N.Y., neighborhood where he grew up. He is married and living in Winchester, and is preparing for his first art show. He brings his personal knowledge of the struggles of the city into his artwork that will be displayed as the feature exhibition of the eighth annual Black History Month Celebration, "My History: Your History," at the Shenandoah Arts Council in Winchester next month.

January 28, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Tommy Jones is back home to spend time with relatives and see some familiar faces -- and serve up some steaks and seafood in the process. Perhaps history -- as the slogan for Jones' new restaurant touts -- never tasted so good. Jones, 43, opened the Stonewall Jackson Restaurant on 915 N. Royal Ave. for business last month.

January 27, 2009

STEPHENS CITY -- "Find your level, ladies." The upbeat instructor repeats the steps she wants her students to follow. The women in the room dutifully respond, sweating to the music in this weekly fitness class in the community center at Sherando High School in Stephens City.

January 26, 2009

BERRYVILLE -- A new program offered by the Clarke County Parks and Recreation Department is designed to get area youth away from TV and video games and re-connected to the Earth.

January 22, 2009

MIDDLETOWN -- In times of economic hardship, Americans always have fought the current of recession by relying on what can't be taken away: Talent, determination and ingenuity. Wayside Theatre's next performance, "Southern Cross Roads," is set in the Great Depression South and illustrates the country has made it through tough times before.

January 21, 2009

You've heard, "It tastes like chicken." Well, some cooks in the Northern Shenandoah Valley are more apt to say, "It tastes just like beef."

January 20, 2009

Connie Dailey, of Stephens City, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1994, a little more than two years after she was in a car accident that left her in severe pain.

January 19, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- The Rev. James M. Kilby pulls out memento after memento as he tells a series of stories about his life.

January 17, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- It's a little more than 800 miles from Petal, Miss., to Front Royal, but like most of the country, the two communities will be united on Tuesday during the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president.

January 16, 2009

Christmas has come and gone, but many people may still be wondering how to make good use of their trees in its aftermath. Between 25 million and 30 million real trees are sold in the United States annually, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

January 15, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- For anyone who loves the clear sound of an acoustic guitar or who can jam on the mandolin with the best of them, get ready, because there's a new show in town. The Front Royal Volunteer Fire Department kicks off its series of monthly bluegrass jam sessions Friday night at its station on Commerce Avenue.

WINCHESTER -- The cast and crew of the Shenandoah Musical Theatre Ensemble are anxious for the curtain to go up on "Working."

January 14, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Whether because of its heft, unique maintenance or aversion to water, cast-iron cookware can be somewhat intimidating to first time users.

January 13, 2009

WINCHESTER -- That long, winter's nap can make a person sicker than the cold air outside, warn doctors and environmental health experts.

January 12, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Fly along with a scientist into the eye of a monster hurricane as it forms over the ocean. Join in the pursuit of important scientific information while chasing tornados through Tornado Alley. And, see what happens in the aftermath of these tremendous storms.

MIDDLETOWN -- When Kenny Hulse began volunteering at Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown more than four years ago, he could not have guessed that his time there would help him gain a greater foundation of his own family history. The Winchester resident recently learned he is an indirect descendent of original Belle Grove resident and owner Maj. Isaac Hite.

January 10, 2009

For one bedroom in Stephens City, no pets and no smoking, $1,000 won't get you a month's rent. In fact, the most a grand will buy is one night's stay -- at least during the days surrounding President-elect Obama's inauguration later this month.

January 9, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Simple, environmentally friendly ways to save on home energy costs have been catching on. Homeowners all across the country are switching to fluorescent light bulbs, buying efficient appliances and resisting the urge to nudge the thermostat. It's a win-win -- less energy consumption means less pollution and costs less money.
Related: Winchester offering environmental workshops for residents

WINCHESTER -- Ready to make a change and go green, but don't really know where to start? Now there's a simple way to learn the basics of transforming a home into an environmentally friendly residence -- and it's free.

January 8, 2009

WINCHESTER — Different people from different times have different cultures, but there are few if any gulfs that friendship and understanding can’t bridge. That’s the premise of “Grace & Glorie,” the latest production at Winchester Little Theatre under the direction of Roxie Orndorff.

January 7, 2009

You just began your new workout routine to fulfill your New Year’s resolution, but that doesn’t mean it is OK to pile the food on your plate.

January 6, 2009

Every time that ball drops to officially usher in a new year, hordes of people declare that this is the year they will start the march to reach their physical peak by going to the gym.

January 3, 2009

J. Robert Spencer is not partial to one genre of music. He loves everything about it. The music producer, writer, actor, singer, dancer, musician practically eats, sleeps and breathes it.

STRASBURG — The century-old sanctuary at Strasburg United Methodist Church is getting some window dressing. Craftsmen are repairing the putty and lead casing holding the colorful windows in place, putting new protective covering on the outside of the windows and, in some cases, replacing cracked or broken pieces of glass.

December 31, 2008

Thinking about having a nonalcoholic holiday? Whether you are hosting a group of teenagers at your house this New Year's Eve or simply prefer to ring in the new year without the ringing in your ears the next morning, there's no reason to restrict your drink table to soda. From sparkling cider to virgin daiquiris, a number of choices are available for celebrants young and old.

December 30, 2008

WINCHESTER -- Even with its blackout curtains, dark purple walls, stripper poles and mirror balls, Dazzling Diva Fitness puts to shame thoughts of exotic dancers, smoke-filled rooms and groping clientele. Men aren't allowed here. It's about the exercise. And, it's all about the women.

December 27, 2008

STRASBURG -- That's the thing about small towns. When a prominent businessman dies, word spreads quickly. When it's a suicide, word spreads faster.

December 24, 2008

The Union Jack Pub & Restaurant is Winchester's newest "it" eatery. The pub, which opened a little more than a week ago, beckons visitors to its historic space on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall, across from the Old Courthouse Civil War Museum.

December 23, 2008

Need a last-minute gift for that hard-to-shop-for relative? Want to give a thoughtful gift that will provide entertainment as well as strengthen the brain? With all the gift options out there, sometimes the best choice is one that encourages the imagination or provides a challenge for the user.

December 22, 2008

Though navigating the annual hustle and bustle between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day is a challenge for many, the season can be especially complicated for divorced parents and their children.

December 20, 2008

STRASBURG -- Good luck wrapping this Christmas present. Strasburg resident Bonnie Sassaman has painted a 20-by-8-foot Nativity scene for her church, The Church of the Valley, to use as a backdrop for its upcoming live Nativity.

December 19, 2008

Always Happy 2 Help is a personal concierge service based in Frederick County. Operated by Misty Stambler and her business partner, Amber Brown, Always Happy 2 Help provides services ranging from one-time event planning to weekly errand running and pet sitting.

December 18, 2008

STRASBURG -- Mrs. Santa Claus and her helpers will be visiting Hotel Strasburg a few days before Christmas for some refreshments and classical music entertainment -- Victorian style.

December 17, 2008

Visiting various stores around the area, shoppers are sure to notice the practice of making peppermint bark at the holidays has become very popular. They can find the chocolaty candy in almost any direction they turn.

Certain smells and tastes seem to be synonymous with the holidays. Maple, citrus, cinnamon and hazelnut are a few scents that people might associate with early winter celebrations, but nothing seems to say "Merry Christmas" like peppermint.











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