Guest Columns

George Bowers Sr.: What Goldilocks can teach us

Most of us are familiar with the story of Goldilocks. This precious little girl went for an unsupervised walk in the woods and happened upon the home of three absentee bears. After sampling their porridge, she gobbled up the portion belonging to the baby bear because it was just right. His ...

James Pinsky: The green-thumbed army

If you want to plant the seed of knowledge in a child, it helps to have a green thumb. In fact, it might help to have a small army of them. I know of just such an army. Clad in identical green shirts, warm smiles and sharp botanical minds, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners ...

George Bowers Sr.: Antisemitism wears many cloaks

Last weekend many Jews celebrated the Festival of Purim, which remembers God’s miraculous deliverance of their people through the courage of young Queen Esther. In this Old Testament book, an evil man by the name of Haman hatched a plot to annihilate the Jews through a craftily worded ...

Jason Wright: A lovely problem to have

Dear Readers, Some of you have noticed over the last few months, my columns went from weekly to not-so-much. Loyal readers have stopped me in Walmart, Sheetz and at church on Sundays to ask about the drought. (Hi Marilyn!) I’ve been asked if my laptop blew up, my pens ran out of ink, or ...

James Pinsky: National Ag Day is March 21

If the only thing that growls in your house is your pooch and not your stomach, you might want to thank a farmer. Actually, we need to thank a lot more than just farmers. Across this nation, the people who make up our agriculture industry are the epitome of teamwork. We all need farmers ...

Richard Hoover: Those now forgotten potent symbols

Little that is antique intrigues more than potent symbols once revered but now forgotten. Take the liberty cap, that floppy, flame-red slave's hat worn in Ancient Rome so that on the street one could distinguish the free from the enslaved. Some accounts describe the cap as the mark of the ...

Jason F. Wright: Couple shares rich love, fierce heroin addiction

Savage and Jen live in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. In their early 30s, the couple has a small, humble place to lay their heads, clothes on their backs and two undersized bikes that carry them from one side of the city to the other. They also share a rich love, a deep sense of loyalty, ...

James Pinsky: Mother Nature has her limits, like any good parent

Conservation isn’t complicated. However, people are. Just about everything we do, or try to undo in the conservation world is because of us. Over time, many well-meaning clans of people have tried to sweet talk Mother Nature into letting us misbehave, sometimes just a little and ...

George Bowers Sr.: Loving children and their parents

We have had an unusually warm winter in the Shenandoah Valley this year for which we can be most grateful. Our monthly budgets are breathing a sigh of relief with an easing of heating bills as are the Virginia Department of Transportation's snow removal allocations. Even with the warmer ...

James Pinsky: Don’t run off just yet

There are lots of different kinds of run off. Some are better than others. There’s the whole run off and get married thing, some of us run off to avoid things like ex-girlfriends, angry dads, or debtors. Then, there’s environmental runoff. For years I thought it was what happened to ...

Jason F. Wright: Simple act of kindness creates friendship

On July 28, 2016, Rosie Gagnon laced up her running shoes for her daily loop up and down the generous hills of Shenandoah County. The air was thick and soupy and the thermometer was begging for a break by mid-morning. When Rosie hit mile six of eight, the water she'd packed along was ...

George Bowers Sr.: Breaching a dam is dangerous business

Over the last few weeks, residents who live downstream from California’s Lake Oroville have endured fretful times wondering if their homes and families will suddenly be washed away. Reversing a drought that had plagued the area for several years, recent heavy rains have filled the lake to ...

James Pinsky: Water: The apple of our eyes

  Can your water pass the apple test? Last week I strolled through the produce of a local grocery store. There, on quite a few occasions, I watched people, both men and women alike, young, and not so young, shuffle through, examine and often times verbally criticize apples. Some ...

Tom Crosby: 2017 Toyota Tundra will maintain long-term value

The Toyota Tundra competes against two full-size pickup powerhouses – the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado – but it bests these perennial sales heavyweights with the highest resale rating after five years of ownership, according to companies that evaluate resale values. Some argue ...

George Bowers Sr.: Mom’s story: Preparation provided peace

This account was originally published in early 2015 soon after these events occurred. It is reprinted in honor of Mom’s birthday which was Feb. 19. About 8:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve 2014, our mother, Violet Bowers, had a serious accident with her gas cook stove, resulting in third ...

James Pinsky: It takes green to make green

Hugging a tree might be free, but saving them isn’t. Conservation, especially sustainable conservation, takes quite a bit of funding. The good news is there are a variety of grants, donors and organizations that have, provide and educate people about conservation funding sources. We ...

Jason F. Wright: The 365 things I love about you challenge

I confess: I was irritated. I'd had a silly squabble with my wife one morning and driven to my office in a fog of grumpiness. To be clear, no vows were at stake. It was a dumb dispute over preference, not principle. I rolled into the parking lot and pulled my chair up to my desk. For an ...

Tom Crosby: Jaguar drives its first ever SUV into hot market

Jaguar has entered the lucrative sport utility market with its 2017 F-PACE crossover that incorporates the luxury and performance of a Jaguar sedan with the rugged off-road chops of a Land Rover SUV. Tata Motors, the India-based owner of Jaguar Land Rover, knows trucks and sport utility ...

James Pinsky: Peanut butter and conservation sandwiches

​For years my lunch consisted of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It didn't matter if it was raining, snowing or sunny. It didn't matter if my wallet was full of dollar bills or cobwebs. It didn't matter if I was in a good mood, bad mood or completely pensive. The sandwich, ...

George Bowers Sr.: Working for peanuts, and more

Most of us have enjoyed eating peanuts at a ball game, zoo, or theme park. Even more of us have satisfied our hunger with a sandwich smeared with peanut butter and filled with grape jelly, bananas, tomatoes, or other tasty additions. Peanuts are one of God’s great gifts to humanity that ...