Guest Columns

Bass Mitchell: I won the lottery!

If you have seen me around the valley with an extra-wide grin, there’s a reason, lots of reasons, actually. It’s true. I won the lottery. In fact, I’ve won lots of them. I can’t think of a single person who has won more of them than yours truly. No. I haven’t figured out a way to ...

George Bowers Sr.: Let’s please our undercover boss

One of the more popular reality TV series of late is CBS’s "Undercover Boss." This engaging program originated in Great Britain but has now found its way into the nightly lineup of many nations, including our own. This show features typical workplace environments with actual lower level ...

George Bowers Sr.: An unlikely need of tomatoes and people

Tomato month is here! Although imported and hothouse varieties have teased us for a month or more, August has finally arrived when we can enjoy local homegrown tomatoes! Gardeners throughout the valley have been tending plants since April or May in anticipation of the fruit that is now ...

James Pinsky: Growing our future, one community garden at a time

There are a lot of ways to build a community. We here at the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District like using broccoli, cucumbers and tomatoes. We like it so much that we, along with other local community stakeholders like the Town of Strasburg, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, ...

Tom Crosby: 2017 Chrysler 300C Sedan nicely tweaked for 2017

Any company still employing workers that once faced bankruptcy - as Chrysler did in 2009 - becomes invigorated with a second chance. Chrysler, purchased by Fiat, hasn’t wasted the opportunity. It shows in the luxurious 2017 Chrysler 300C Platinum full-size sedan, now outfitted with top ...

Bass Mitchell: Always have a B.o.T. nearby

I have lots of stuff in my office – so many that they clutter my desk. Though this stuff might appear without value to many, each one has special meaning for me. But there’s one I must always have within reach. It’s the “B.o.T.” Okay. I hear you. “What’s the ‘B.o.T.’?” Be ...

George Bowers Sr.: Consider the daylilies

The cool nights and clear days of spring have given way to the hot and humid days of summer, and along with those changes have come different flowers. April’s hyacinths and daffodils are a distance memory as the daylilies have now taken center stage. These showy plants are a favorite of ...

Bass Mitchell: For whom the sirens sound

I heard the sirens today … like every day … and I thought of James … and I prayed… For 10 years we had lived in a rural part of Virginia. Having moved to Charlottesville and then to Northern Virginia, there were many adjustments to make. One of the greatest was the sound of sirens. It ...

George Bowers Sr.: Conquering the Tour de Life

Each summer, the world watches as some of the toughest athletes on the globe gather in Europe for the Tour de France. This grueling test of endurance stretches over 2,200 miles in just 21 days and covers some of the steepest terrain on the continent. This year’s contest will conclude on ...

Richard Hoover: Ignore T-shirt dictums – no group is entirely imperfect

Guys walk past my gun show tables wearing black T-shirts that provocatively proclaim, "All I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11." The single word "Infidel" forms another shirt message, as if to say: 'Make my Day; just try and do something!' I dislike the evil-branding of ...

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 ...