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Guest Columns

George Bowers Sr. Allergies, immunities and television

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 ...

George Bowers Sr. What has caused Florence’s fury?

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 impact ...

Marino de Medici: The murky future of Europe

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 ...

Duck numbers lower as seasons approach

  Duck hunting is not as popular in the Shenandoah Valley as it is in the eastern and southern parts of Virginia. But for those in the know, good wing-shooting is available locally for a variety of waterfowl species. The best sport is found by jump shooting, setting out decoys on ...

April Moore: Race and the golden rule

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 ...

George Bowers Sr. Good answers to hard questions

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 ...

Peter Brookes: Heroes (and me) on the water

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. That was pretty much me when a (likely) ...

George Bowers Sr.: Plum trees should bear plums

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 enough ...

Marino de Medici: Chicago 1968 – when Mayor Daley beat the press

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 ...

George Bowers Sr. When dad got skunked

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. When our father was a boy, ...

George Bowers Sr. How to save your barn

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 the ...

Stay in the game, Part 2

      Racing is a sport that can send you soaring to the highest of highs, but also sink you to the lowest of lows; when your luck is bad, how do you stay in the game? This is the second part of our conversation with racers before the 2018 running of the Easter ...

George Bowers Sr. Choosing the road less traveled

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 its ...

George Bowers Sr. Beware of educated cowbirds

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. One specie that is ...

George Bowers Sr. You can trust the Bible

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 ...

Murto: Rain and racing don’t mix

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. Once again rain washed out most of the regional racing, forcing postponements and cancellations. Dirt tracks can’t race in the rain, as ...

George Bowers Sr. Keeping all families together

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 ...

George Bowers Sr. Some books can kill you

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. Best known, perhaps, for ...

Commentary: Why are Dems so stubbornly heading left?

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 ...

Craig Murto: Racing fortunes constantly change

Racing fortunes constantly change. One moment you’re leading a race, the next moment you’re in the wall. Ask Justin Haley. One moment he thought he’d won the Xfinity race at Daytona in spectacular fashion in only his second start. The next moment he realizes he’s been put in 18th, the ...