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Northern Virginia Daily


We often say "nobody tells me what to think" and claim our political opponents get their ideas from Glenn Beck (or Rachel Maddow), while we think for ourselves.

Yet this world is too complicated for anyone to come up with all his own answers. We need guidance on many issues we are not personally familiar with. Where do we turn?
Many say that the Bible's words guide them. But what's in the Bible? For the United Church of Christ, a call to welcome non-heterosexuals. The Southern Baptists don't see that. Martin Luther King Jr. saw a call to take radical action for social justice. Not so Glenn Beck.

Most of today's "conservative" and "liberal" issues go unmentioned in the Bible. Some -- our Bill of Rights -- relate to our Constitution. Others -- such as whether corporations should control our economy and our technology -- are modern dilemmas.

For many of us (including some of us who are not Christians) it is not this or that interpretation of a Bible verse that offers guidance, but what Jesus did.

Jesus always defended and helped the poorest and most humble and despised, even those who had made mistakes. Jesus urged us to follow the foreign and strange Samaritan if he was the best example. And Jesus showed no respect for those who piled up wealth on earth or for boastful public prayer.

The 1896 novel "In His Steps" asked the right question first, of a wealthy congregation confronted by a homeless man. What would Jesus do?

Larry Yates
678 Berryville Ave.
Sept. 3, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


To my knowledge, the second largest embezzlement case is about to go down in history in Shenandoah County. The first was the Chrisman landfill ordeal. More than $200,000 has never been paid back. A more recent case in Basye the thief gets a slap on the wrist for her crime.

Now, we have Jodi Cooper. She is in charge of all funds and the Christmas donation drive for our local Department of Social Services for more than 12 years. She embezzles more than $67,000.

There was no accountability of her transactions. Time after time the Shenandoah County Department of Social Services board members meet. They are given false information because she knows and has learned how to change the numbers and no one is watching her. She thinks her deception after all this time is fined tuned, but she is caught and now pleads guilty to four counts of embezzlement. The maximum is 20 years per count. What else is she going to plead? Forgiveness?

Not only has Cooper embezzled from the state and county, she crosses the line forever when she embezzles from the needy, poor and helpless among us.

Please write to Judge Hupp. If you do not agree to the maximum, suggest what you think it should be. Also, restitution. How is this large sum to be paid back if she had to steal in the first place?

Judge Dennis Hupp will pass Cooper's sentence Nov. 3 at 9 a.m. His address is: The Honorable Judge Dennis Hupp, P.O. Box 406, Woodstock 22664.

Marsha Shruntz
499 Amos Lane
Sept. 7, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


Kudos to the Daily for the reporting on some of the breakaway congregations from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) over the gay clergy issue. I think it has been objectively reported for the readers to draw their own conclusions.

Probably because of lack of space, you failed to note that Lutherans throughout history have become experts at breaking away from each other over such earth- and heaven-shattering issues as whether to use German or Norwegian for worship language (God forbid English; that is, until 1918).

Part of why this is done is that we have learned we get results when we threaten to remove ourselves and, more important, our money from the church or synod to which we belong.

The ELCA finally stated that game would no longer be played. We may lose some family members, but we gain many more richly talented and committed kin when that happens, as Jesus pointedly remarked.

Ironically, I was set to leave the ELCA because it was not moving fast enough to get these fine human beings into our pulpits. Our bishops were understandably afraid of the neo-Pharisees in our midst. But the latter have broken away despite all attempts to reason with them.

So, much relieved, we can get on with the message of God's love for all people unhindered. I might just stick around, now that the bullies have left the neighborhood.

735 Rittenour Road
Sept. 8, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


Frank Wolf is asking the electorate to renew his employment in the U.S. Congress. The public should be interested in reviewing Mr. Wolf's résumé.

• Thirty years in Congress, helping to grow the deficit.
• Member of Appropriations Committee, approving government spending.
• Chairman of subcommittee exercising oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission, encouraging lax regulation of Wall Street, contributing to the crash of 2008.
• Voted to repeal Glass-Steagall, enabling commercial banks to speculate in exotic derivatives, leading to government bailout of banks.
• During a time of economic prosperity voted to reduce taxes on high income persons, adding to an overheated economy and the bubble that burst in 2008.
• Recently converted to become a deficit hawk, but not concerned about deficits seriously enough to allow tax cuts for the wealthy to expire.
• Voted for the Iraq war, but refusing to pay for it, costing the U.S Treasury a trillion dollars and still counting. Most of the money was borrowed from the Chinese. The war accomplished little but did strengthen Iran.
• Twice promised to abide by term limits and reneged both times.
• Consistently carried water for his party's leadership as a rubber stamp congressman.
Overall performance: Frank facilitated the loss of your retirement savings, the drop in the value of your home, the loss of your job security and your current generalized economic anxiety.

Recommendation: Frank Wolf and his tired ideas should be allowed to retire.

874 Carpers Valley Road
Sept. 6, 2010
Northern Virginia Daily


Recipe: Winchester's finest fish fry
1 part cash -- from loyal and generous sponsors and enthusiastic ticket-buyers.
1 part in-kind donations -- from old and new community partners.
1 part volunteer labor -- from the best folks this side of the Blue Ridge.
2 rockin bands.
1,500 pounds of catfish.
2,000 happy people.

Put first two ingredients in a spread sheet and mix well over six months, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add volunteers and spread over the grounds of Grove's Winchester Harley-Davidson/Buell Inc. Dealership. Add the bands, the fish and the people and bake in 90 degree sunny weather for four hours. Cool for an hour at sunset.

Serve with a steady breeze and plenty of napkins. Enjoy!

Yield: a caring, compassionate Concern Hotline volunteer to answer your call 24/7/365.

Christine Mayman
Executive Director
Concern Hotline
P.O. Box 2032
Sept. 8, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


A couple of weeks ago I checked out a book at the Warren County public library. The book was "Become Better You" by Christian pastor Joel Osteen.

As I read the "Develop Better Relationship" chapter, the pastor told me about how God desires you to treat everyone better than good: even servers, waitresses and waiters. Joel Osteen actually spent three pages on this topic.

I thought that these workers just did their job. After all, tips are rewards or encouragement for them to treat us especially well. Recently I found that not to be true. The truth is that our tips pay their wages. If we don't tip or short tip, they suffer. They may not be able to pay their basic bills; like gasoline.

More and more in these trying times of economic downturn, mature adults and students are working as servers, waitresses and waiters. They often have families to support. Many are single parents. Low or no tip may mean that they have little self-esteem. This state of mind causes emotional pain and suffering. The lack of adequate winter clothing or proper heating makes for uncomfortable, sick and irritable family members.

Next time you dine at a restaurant, with a part-time server, waitress or waiter, remember that a $2.15 per hour base pay does not pay the bills. The tips make the difference between those individuals and their families suffering or not.

Let us try to make it not. Let's not be greedy but generous givers.

P.O. Box 404
Front Royal
Sept. 10, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


The waning days of summer herald the change of seasons, as does The Northern Virginia Daily's sports section. Football is clearly in ascendance; baseball, the summer game, our national pastime, is mostly absent from the pages and probably will be until the World Series begins, when it will burst out one last time before the dark sets in.

Jonathan Yardley says there are only two seasons, baseball season and The Void. While I lament The Void that we will soon be in, I want to commend the Daily's staff for its exceptional coverage of the Valley Baseball League this summer.

I know they do a fine job each year but this year my wife and I, along with another couple, attended many of the Front Royal Cardinals' home games and so I was paying close attention to the league. Your writers and photographers did a wonderful job in recreating the games for those who weren't able to attend and in reinforcing the memories of those lucky enough to spend a summer evening watching an instance of a true American tradition unfold before them. You kept tabs on all the league scores and standings each day and provided the box scores so dear to the baseball fan's heart.

We here in the Shenandoah Valley are blessed in many ways. One small but not insignificant way is the joy that those hard-working and hard-playing young men bring us in playing Valley Baseball League games.

The league itself is a labor of love for many dedicated volunteers throughout the region who work diligently off the diamond to ensure that the fans have a good time and the players do too. As fans, our enjoyment of the league is greatly enhanced by the fine reportage of your staff.

Thank you to all responsible. See you next year.

Bill Davis
286 S. Fort St.
Sept. 15, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily


It now appears that the owner and feed supplier for Iowa's giant Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, associated with the recall of more than 500 million eggs, has a long record of violations.

Austin "Jack" DeCoster has paid millions of dollars in fines and restitution for violations of food safety, worker safety, immigration, sexual harassment, animal cruelty and water pollution laws in Maine, Maryland, New York and Iowa. Iowa's attorney general labeled DeCoster a "habitual violator."

More than 1,500 people have been reported sickened by the DeCoster eggs, but the Centers for Disease Control estimates that the actual number may be as high as 45,000. DeCoster lawyer's admissions that "contamination is common in poultry operations" and "the notion that eggs will ever be free of salmonella is ludicrous" convinced me that this is indeed an industrywide problem and that eggs are not safe to eat.

I have found www.vegcooking.com/vegcooking-eggreplace.asp very helpful in making my transition to an egg-free diet.

Nelson Vrooman
1022 Lower Valley Road
Aug. 27, 2010

Northern Virginia Daily

As the new manager of the Shenandoah County Fair Association, I am looking for feedback from our fair patrons to make our offerings at the annual event affordable and appealing family fun and entertainment. I read with interest the letter from Jay Sperry of Mount Jackson (Sept. 16 issue) and want to thank him for commenting.

I am attending several other area fairs this year in an effort to see what all they have to offer. Those fairs and their admission prices are as follows: Montgomery County, Md., $10; Prince William County, $8; Loudoun County, $10; Rockingham County, $5; Warren County, $10; Page County, $4; Clarke County, $7; Frederick County, $6; and York, Pa., $6. In Shenandoah County we charge $6, which puts us in the low/middle category.

We do offer the opportunity for folks to come to the fair for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for free. You pay for a wooden nickel at the gate and turn it in to have your money refunded when you leave.

Unfortunately, there are those who would sneak into the fair and not pay. We have repaired holes in our fence where folks have made their own entrance. Then when it comes time to leave, they have their hand stamped so they can come back later for free.

It is very expensive to maintain a 68-acre piece of property and continuously make upgrades and improvements. Our entertainment schedule is based to a large extent on what our customers tell us they would like to see. Some of the items that we are exploring for future fairs include more free entertainment like the racing pigs or a wandering magician or hypnotist show. We've talked about another stage for local music acts to perform free concerts.

This is all based on input from our patrons. I'd invite anyone to stop by the fair office and see me or call or e-mail me with any suggestions they might have.

Dean Morgan
General Manager
Shenandoah County
Fair Association
P.O. Box 264
Sept. 16, 2010


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