One component that has been added to our turkey, dressing and gravy Thanksgiving traditions is an NFL football game. After the large noon meal, many gather around their televisions to let their stomachs begin the work of digesting all that their taste buds enjoyed. May the best team win and …

All serious math and science students will recognize the name of Blaise Pascal, for he pioneered many developments that are still utilized today. In addition, he was a physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. Pascal lived a relatively short life of only 39 years in the mid-seve…

Most folks would consider it foolish to attempt to pull a trainload of cargo backward with a powerless caboose. Obviously, the engine on the other end has the needed energy to move the train in the proper direction. As we approach Election Day, it seems that many politicians and voters are a…

President Trump, a leader who does not know much history, is certainly unaware of a speech made in 1956 by Nikita Kruschev to denounce Stalin’s cult of personality in which he called for an end to the use of the term “enemy of the people” by reminding Russians that it was used to “annihilate…

Five years ago next month, over 100 concerned citizens met near Woodstock to discuss the challenges of homelessness in our community. God enabled the seeds planted at that initial gathering to quickly sprout and speedily bear good fruit through what now is Family Promise of Shenandoah County…

It is unheard of outside of Italy, but the populist leaders of the Italian rightist coalition have come up with a novel idea to give money to people who are either poor or unable, if not unwilling, to work. It is called “citizenship income,” a form of financial assistance financed by public debt.

One of the curses we have learned to live with in Virginia is the brown marmorated stink bug. This is the official name of the pest that arrived in the U.S. from Asia some 20 years ago that has now spread throughout much of the nation. Although similar in appearance to some native species, t…

The one thing that strikes the first time visitor in Albania is the number of Mercedes Benz cars on the road, some of them brand new. When you ask about it the most common answer is: the Albanian diaspora. The Albanians who escaped from the country before 1990 prospered in large enough numbe…

“A lot of hanky-panky goes on now in most communities without attracting much attention, but there was a time when this was not true in Woodstock.” So begins another vignette by county historian Fred Painter in the book “Yesterday in Woodstock.”

Now there’s a headline you would expect from a preacher, right? But it’s actually just a paraphrase of a recent study by Harvard University, a school not known for its fondness for faith.

Chances are really good that you have either heard someone sneeze already today or have done so yourself. ‘Tis the season for ragweed and pollen and all manner of allergic reactions. Although I used to suffer miserably, I’m thankful to say that my late summers and early falls are much more e…

By the time you read this article, Hurricane Florence will likely have made landfall in the southeastern United States affecting millions of people and, if forecasts prove accurate, causing billions of dollars in property damage. As I write this, I’m praying that God would minimize its impac…

The United States is not alone in being judged harshly on the international stage for the disruptive policies of President Donald Trump, while the European Union seems to be imploding on account of the systemic threat to democracy coming from Hungary and other former communist countries of E…

Over the years our father told us many stories about his school experiences. Times were very different, rules were very strict, and expectations were very high. There were no SOLs or Common Core and the board of education was often applied to his seat of learning. That’s not to say there wer…

I hope that my heartfelt wish for mutual respect and regard between the races is shared by most Americans. (I hope it’s just a fringe that relishes the idea of racial hostility and conflict.) But everyone knows that the historical reality is that “race” has long been a difficult part of the …

All I could think of was Ernest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize–winning book, “The Old Man and the Sea,” in which a luck-challenged Cuban fisherman Santiago gets pulled around in the Florida Straits in his skiff by a mighty marlin he’s hooked.

My Dad would have turned 96 this week. After his birth in Washington, D.C., he and his family lived in various locations including New York as well as the Shenandoah Valley. Many people knew Dad through his work as a taxidermist along the Valley Pike but we, his children, were fortunate enou…

Aug. 30, 1968, is one of those days that made me realize that being a journalist is tantamount of being an observer of history with an appendage of involuntary involvement and personal risk. On that fateful Friday, I was, with other reporters, drawn into one of the most dramatic episodes of …

Mention either of two very different animals, and you are sure to trigger an outbreak of free entertainment. Allude to either snakes or skunks, then sit back and listen as the tales spill out. This is one such story about a skunk that my dad shared with us years ago.

What would you do if someone showed up to burn your barn and devastate you financially? For many Shenandoah County residents, this question was more than theoretical when Gen. Philip Sheridan’s Union troops went through the Valley in the fall of 1864 doing exactly that. I can only imagine th…

Shenandoah County primarily offers two roads for north/south travel. Most days, those who enjoy lighter traffic and more scenic views take Route 11 while the majority who prefer speed and directness opt for a more crowded Interstate 81. Route 11 is slower than the interstate, but it treats i…

We are blessed here in the valley to see thousands of birds out of our windows and over our heads. Hundreds of species inhabit our fields, mountains, and even our towns. Rare is the day that one of these feathered wonders doesn’t cross our path somewhere or the other.

I don’t remember much about the sixth grade, but I vividly remember a field trip to Thunderbird Archaeological Dig in Warren County. Mrs. Josephine Lynn transmitted her love for history and geography to many of her students and planned this special outing for us to experience the work of arc…

The good news is that we are no longer in a drought; the bad news is that race tracks throughout the region are struggling to get all their race dates in.

Over the last several months, there’s been much discussion about keeping families together. Protesters along the Mexican border and in many communities all over America have demanded that children be reunited with their parents and that laws be changed to prevent such separations. While poli…

Last week, librarians in Denmark learned that three of their books from the 1500s and 1600s could easily kill them. While using x-rays to examine the composition of the inks used, they discovered instead that the covers of these books had very high levels of arsenic.

Even after its 2016 election defeat, the Democratic Party persisted in moving to the left. It did so, I guessed, out of some preternatural instinct which had blocked the adoption of more prudent strategies. A run at the political center, for example, might have regained lost electoral ground…

One hundred and fifty-five years ago, on July 3, 1863, Confederate Maj. Gen. George Pickett led an ill-fated assault on Union lines at Gettysburg. Acting on orders from Gen. Robert E. Lee, Pickett and his men charged over open fields attempting to take the high ground from their enemies. Ins…

In the mid-1990s, I was fortunate enough to have Sonny Tamkin build me a home. He gave it a sturdy cinder block and brick foundation and constructed the living space of 2 x 4s, plywood, and drywall on top of 2 x 10 floor joists and topped it off with custom spruce trusses, sheeting, and shin…

Despite the popularity of sport utility vehicles last year, the sporty BMW X3 saw sales drop nearly 10 percent as buyers waited for the all-new 2018 makeover, which has skyrocketed sales 20 percent through the end of April.

Most of us don’t think much about where or how our bricks are made, we just enjoy them on our homes, schools, and businesses. For many years, however, bricks were often manufactured close to where they were actually used and Shenandoah County had several such operations. According to county …

June is wedding month and nuptial vows are being pledged and recited all over the Valley these days. Thankfully, the weather promises to be a little better this weekend than last and those who have planned outdoor celebrations will hopefully be able to see their dreams come to fruition.

Toyota’s Camry was the best-selling sedan in the United States last year, edging out perennial rival Honda Accord, but the best selling Toyota is the Corolla with more than 43 million sales worldwide in 150 countries.

In just a few days, we will observe the 74th anniversary of D-Day, the incredibly heroic and courageous invasion of the beaches of Normandy by U.S. and other Allied troops that turned the tide of World War II and eventually resulted in the defeat of Adolf Hitler. We are fortunate enough to s…

When my siblings and I were going through mom’s things after her passing, we came across an old booklet she had kept but which we hadn’t seen in many years. The best way to describe it would be as a hybrid between a diary, a journal, and a scrapbook. On its pages, she had recorded various sp…

Researching one’s genealogy has become a very popular hobby. It’s fascinating to look back and discover not only who our ancestors were, but how they lived, the challenges they faced, and where and why they moved. With the help of various websites and tests, you can even trace your DNA back …

BMW is a name with automotive cachet but the price targets an upscale customer base, and that’s a shame because driving the 2018 M550i xDrive – or owning one – should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Mother’s Day always brings happy memories for the wonderful blessing of my mom. Although I think of her often, this annual holiday is a special reminder of one of the best gifts God ever gave me.

Picture yourself hiking along a trail toward a distant gobbler or sneaking along a trout stream and suddenly coming face-to-face with a large black bear. He rears up on his hind legs, opens his huge mouth showing a sharp set of teeth, and lets out a loud roar.

May 14 marks a special day in world history. On that date 70 years ago, a true miracle occurred when Israel was reborn. We should recognize this occasion and celebrate this anniversary with them.