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Economists say economic recovery is on the horizon

WINCHESTER -- The pundits may say the recession is easing and a recovery is on the horizon, but try telling that to the dozens of jobless residents who line up daily for assistance at the local Virginia Employment Commission office.

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Hard Times: Area businesses have hope in hard times

STRASBURG -- The golden arches at the town's scenic northern gateway are a little harder to spot these days, tucked away in a gas station-convenience store just off the busy interstate.

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Hard Times: Nonprofits struggle with smaller donations in recession

NEW MARKET -- In his 60 years, Jimmie Laughlin has slammed lumber over his left knee to get a date, not flinched when his two broken fingers were put back into place, inexplicably woken from a two-week coma and won $1,000 in a scratch-off lottery game.

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Hard times: Tourists find ways to save money, enjoy local attractions

Tim Dore's family always wanted to travel on Skyline Drive. This summer, the Dores, of Butler, N.J., are taking advantage of cheaper gas prices to motor along the 105-mile scenic parkway on their way to Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

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Hard Times: Many continue or return to education in downturn

MIDDLETOWN -- Hope Athey arrives early for "College 101," takes a seat at the back of the room and glances over her shoulder as the rest of the group, mostly teenagers and a few parents, shuffles in.

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Hard Times: Family struggle

Until recently, the housing industry was very good to Jeff Carter. Carter, of Strasburg, worked for an excavation company that did contracting for major homebuilders. During the boom years, there was work to spare -- 60 hours a week, sometimes seven days a week. But when the region's housing market collapsed starting in 2007, Carter's job went with it.

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Hard Times: Some small businesses suffer through downturn, others are just getting started

Economic woes will never rob the Northern Shenandoah Valley of its picturesque views.

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Hard Times: Foreclosure crisis has hit the Valley

Penelope Saville worked three jobs for years to get her finances back in order after a divorce, all in the hopes of owning a home.

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