Alternative Health: Pain Relief

For most of us, a massage (commonly described as kneading or rolling muscles and connective tissue for health and relaxation) is part of a vacation. It is a unique experience on a cruise ship or Caribbean island, it is relaxing, and it creates a memory… but we often don’t consider its benefits as medicinal or healing.

Recently NPR reported on the healing potential of massage therapy: “Julie Treible had functional dysphonia, a condition that caused the muscles that control the vocal cords to tighten and lock. A careful throat massage by Dr. Claudio Milstein restored the voice of Treible in just seven minutes.”

Like Dr. Milstein, many in the healthcare profession are recognizing the benefits of massage therapy.  Continue reading “Alternative Health: Pain Relief” »

This post was submitted by Tracey Brown.

Liberty and Justice for All

When the Age of Enlightenment was suddenly and inexorably replaced with the Age of Romanticism at the end of the 18th Century, the notion of liberty was exalted and the virtue of Justice was trampled by the mobs blinded by vengeance. The American Revolution straddled those two eras. Reason and Justice were the foundations of that revolution but once underway, reason (Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, etal) was set aside in favor of angry rhetoric (Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, etal) and the middle ground vanished. One was either a Tory or a Patriot. Bystanders were advised to get out of the way.  It seems that now we Americans are being compelled to choose between Right and Left.  While the Right preoccupies itself with Liberty, the Left tenaciously holds on to its complementary value, Justice.

EMU Seminary Alums Launch Blog for Young Adults

Laura Lehman Amstutz is an editor of Work & Hope.

Where do young adults go to discuss what’s right with the church, not just what’s wrong with it?

Two Eastern Mennonite Seminary alumni have created a blog and web magazine to provide a forum for young adults who are committed to staying in the institutional church but want to discuss what that means.

Work and Hope: Finding Christ in the Church was created by Jeremy Yoder, a 2010 graduate currently living in Baltimore, Md., and Laura Lehman Amstutz, a 2006 alumna, a Harrisonburg resident.   Continue reading “EMU Seminary Alums Launch Blog for Young Adults” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

8pm Press Conference and Rally for Returning DREAM Activists

  • WHAT: Press Conference and Rally for Returning DREAM Activists
  • WHERE: Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church Corner of Wolfe and Mason Streets in Harrisonburg
  • WHEN: Wednesday, July 21st, 8:00pm
  • WHO: Speakers will include professors, parents, teachers, and students who support the DREAM Act
  • VISUAL: A crowd with signs asking Senators Webb and Warner to pass the DREAM Act, behind teachers, students, DREAM Activists, and parents speakers
Contact: Meghan McNamara, 847-922-1213

Local DREAM Act Proponent Among 21 Arrested in Hart Office Building

Updated based on Press Release from Meghan McNamara of Reform Immigration for America

Harrisonburg, VA – Twenty-one students were arrested yesterday in acts of civil disobedience to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act: legislation that allows citizenship status to youth whose parents brought them into the United States as children by their parents. One of those students was from Harrisonburg.  They  return tonight, and will hold a press conference, where and students, parents, professors and teachers will speak about the act of civil disobedience and why they believe so strongly that Congress should pass the DREAM Act this summer, and call on Senators Webb and Warner to cosponsor the bill.

Isabel Castillo, 25 of Harrisonburg, Virginia, was arrested at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 in Washington, D. C. with other college graduates.  Isabel and 4 others, who would be beneficiaries of the DREAM Act, were arrested by Capitol Police in Senator Harry Reid’s office. Other students were located in the offices of Senators Schumer, McCain, and other key Senators.  Castillo said of their action, “This is an act of peaceful civil disobedience.  We can wait no longer for the DREAM Act to pass.  We write letters, we hold marches, we visit our congressmen and what we hear is that we must continue to wait.” Continue reading “Local DREAM Act Proponent Among 21 Arrested in Hart Office Building” »

John Bell’s New Art Show: August 6 at the Artful Dodger

Long time artist and Valley resident, John Bell has an upcoming show of artwork at The Artful Dodger in Downtown Harrisonburg. Bell, who has had a large impact on The Valley’s art scene as an artist as well as a teacher of other artists, will be exhibiting a wide array of works on canvas.

Turning Point by John Bell

After earning a BFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from JMU, John Bell began teaching Art at Blue Ridge Community College in 1990 and has been there ever since.

Back in 2001, I was a student at Blue Ridge and when deciding my electives, chose John Bell’s Art History course. It was quite an introduction to the history of human creativity since the Renaissance. I found his lectures to be inspiring and incredibly knowledgeable. Most of my knowledge of Art History I attribute to Mr. Bell, but more importantly, my interest in the arts that continues to this day is largely of his doing. Continue reading “John Bell’s New Art Show: August 6 at the Artful Dodger” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Olé Blah-Dee, Olé Blah-Da

The fifth and final part in a series by Andrew Jenner about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia (Part I, Part IIPart III, Part IV).

For nearly a week now, the Spain v. Netherlands World Cup final has been weighing on my soul. It doesn’t have anything to do with my own feelings about the game’s outcome. It’s just that I’m supposed to be finishing up this series and, given how the whole tournament ended with a whimper, not a bang, I’ve got nothing much to say.

It had all the makings of a big-deal kind of thing in Harrisonburg. Continue reading “Olé Blah-Dee, Olé Blah-Da” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Faith and Civic Response to Climate Change

In the wake of the worst recession since the Great Depression and through the din of climate-gate and right wing media, there is a tendency to overlook just how deep and wide is public support for doing something about global warming.

All of the relevant scientific, governmental and business organizations have made it clear they accept the conclusions of the IPCC that man made climate change is serious and must be dealt with by dramatically reduced use of fossil fuels and more enlightened land use practices. While ExxonMobil and Shell Oil had already gotten on board, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) itself at first urged further research on whether the warming was man made (anthropogenic), but now even the AAPG seems to have thrown in the towel.

These higher level organizations have the serious responsibility and the wherewithal to understand and respond to the science, but what about organizations a tier or more beneath? Here I take a look at the positions taken by religious and civic groups, with particular focus on the Presbyterian Church and the Rotary Club. Continue reading “Faith and Civic Response to Climate Change” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Halloween on July 4

Shenandoah Valley Tea Party in Harrisonburg's July 4th Parade

April 16th marked the passing of former Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates. His death went virtually unnoticed by the media. However, the page-five news item brought back several memories seared into my brain from the violent Sixties. Gates was a very conservative, no-nonsense law and order guy, who was regarded by many as a racist and bigot. His response to the riots spawned by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and later Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 was swift and brutal. He quickly became the darling of the Nixon crowd and a symbol for law and order.

How times have changed. Today the extreme Right is the faction preaching revolution, and with guns if necessary. Continue reading “Halloween on July 4” »

Video: Joe Fitzgerald Addresses the Golf Course

Joe Fitzgerald has released a third video addressing issues relevant to November’s Harrisonburg City Council election.  The subject is the Heritage Oaks golf course.

For more detailed information about Fitzgerald’s campaign, visit his website  For a detailed account of his perspective on the decision to finish Heritage Oaks’ construction, read his account titled Eating the Bait.

Then & Now: 1872 Rockingham Crime Reporting

Any visitor from another world checking the TV Guide might wonder at Americans apparent fascination with crime and the criminal mind. In one week’s listing TV watchers have an offering of good guys and girls vs. the bad on endless different one-hour shows. Among them are 48 Hours, NCIS, Law & Order, CSI: NY, Criminal Minds, The Evidence, The First 48, Without a Trace, Conviction, and Cold Case Files: Special Victims Unit—which runs four entirely different shows on Saturday nights.

But this is no new fascination. Continue reading “Then & Now: 1872 Rockingham Crime Reporting” »

Local Comedy Improv Group to Hold Auditions

No Strings Attached is an Improv Comedy group in Harrisonburg.

No Strings Attached (NSA), a local comedy improv group, will be holding auditions, starting Thursday, July 15. The audition-workshops, termed “auditionshops,” will occur mostly on Thursday over a five-week period, on July 15, 22, 29, August 5, and Tuesday, August 11. The group is looking for outgoing, confident adults (18 and high school graduates) who aren’t afraid to get up on stage and have a good time. Prior improvisational theater experience (although handy) is not required, and improvisational musicians are also welcome. More information can be found at their website,, by e-mailing, or calling (773) 875-7645.

This post was submitted by Rachel Jenner.

Buy Your Downtown

The Laughing Dog is one of many locally-owned downtown businesses.

I grew up in Harrisonburg in the 60’s and 70’s. At that time there were no malls, cell-phones, Internet, remotes, gangs etc. It was a small town. JMU was for the most part a women’s college. The Cloverleaf shopping center “was” the mall!

Once, at the same time, these stores all existed downtown. They were profitable because the community had no where else to go. They were/are the Virginia theater, the State theater, Grants, McCroys, Woolworth, Klines, Glens, Alfred Neys, Joseph Neys, Charles Fauls, Leggits, Charles Mathias, Jack Collins shoes, A & N, the Arcade, Novelty News, Warrens Cut-Rate, Salts barber-shop, L & S diner, Jesse’s, Va. Ham, Downtown Grill, Julius’s, George’s, Peoples Drug, Hostetters, Western Auto, Schewels, Denton’s, Grand Piano, Advance, Hawkins Hardware, Sears, Sherwin-Williams, Cato’s, and a Singer sewing machine store.

The question remains, what happened? Continue reading “Buy Your Downtown” »

This post was submitted by Jim Purcell.

Cheaters Prosper And Africa Gets F***ed Again: Soccer Hurts Bad Sometimes

Part IV in a series by Andrew Jenner about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia (Part I, Part II, Part III).

The hands of Uruguay's Luis Suarez rise out of a crowd to stop a ball headed for the net and give away a penalty kick at the end of extra time with Ghana on Friday. (Fernando Vergara/Associated Press)

There are things in life and soccer that are unfair, and then there are things that are so stunningly unjust that they beggar belief, blur your vision, boil your blood and confront you squarely with the problematic existence of evil in our world.

Have you heard about the way Ghana lost to Uruguay yet? The way the Uruguayan player deliberately used his hand to prevent a last second goal that would have made Ghana the first African team ever to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup? And the way the referee followed the letter of the law by red-carding the Uruguayan goon and awarding Ghana a penalty kick? And how Ghana missed that penalty kick as the last second of extra time expired? Meaning the game came down to a penalty shootout, which, of course, Ghana lost? Continue reading “Cheaters Prosper And Africa Gets F***ed Again: Soccer Hurts Bad Sometimes” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Then & Now: Founding Fathers Risk Life, Build a Nation

Signing of the Declaration of Independence

Poll any audience today to all what they’d risk life for and easy answers roll off tongues—family, God, country.  But then widen the sacrifice:  what would you also risk your family, your bank account, your home for—not just yourself.  That answer is harder and few, very few, ever answer they would risk all for an idea, a theory.

Yet this is the question members of the Continental Congress answered on July 4, 1776, when they voted to make Jefferson’s final draft—after their revisions and input—the official Declaration of Independence.  They wouldn’t sign until August 2 after all 13 colonies had approved it, but on July 4, they sent the text to printer John Dunlap.  He typeset and ran 200 copies or “broadsides”—about the size of a sheet of newspaper and those broadsides were then carried by messengers on horseback to Continue reading “Then & Now: Founding Fathers Risk Life, Build a Nation” »

The Cyclist Invasion: BikeVirginia, the Shenandoah Expedition

More than 900 BikeVirginia participants turned the EMU campus into "Tent City" for two night's lodging. Photo by Lindsey Kolb

It was a welcome invasion of Harrisonburg, Va.

“BikeVirginia, the Shenandoah Expedition” brought some 2,000 bicycling enthusiasts to “The Friendly City” as part of a five-day tour that began Friday evening, June 25, in Staunton, 25 miles to the south.

BikeWalk Virginia, a nonprofit organization that promotes bicycle and pedestrian safety, runs the annual tour.

“This was a fun ride, not a race,” said Brenda Black, Continue reading “The Cyclist Invasion: BikeVirginia, the Shenandoah Expedition” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.