Harrisonburg’s First Non-Morose Anti-Death Penalty Event Is This Friday

Capital punishment is hardly a cheery topic, and so it’s somehow fitting that this Friday’s benefit for Virginians For Alternatives To The Death Penalty offers a lighter alternative to your typical straight-faced anti-death penalty event.

The fundraiser, called “Execute Art (Not People),” will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 at Clementine Cafe in downtown Harrisonburg. A fashion show, featuring clothing from nine local designers and two downtown stores, is the evening’s main attraction.

Some comments from VADP President John Sheldon, a belly dancing performance and a closing set by the Harrisonburg band Preacher are also on the program. Throughout the night, a silent auction of donated art and other items will be running, and several artists and a photographer will be making sketches or portraits for the audience.

“It’s a way to be active in this cause without having to sit through a somber movie or something,” said Linell Patterson, a VADP board member from Harrisonburg who organized the event.

VADP is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to educate the public about alternatives to the death penalty. Patterson said more than 50 people have helped to organize the event, which has a fundraising goal of $15,000 for VADP.

Similar groups across the country have hosted like-minded “Execute Art (Not People)” gatherings within the past year.

Tickets for Friday night’s event cost $5 at the door.  For more information, or to become an event sponsor with a larger donation, visit www.firstgiving.com/execute_art.

EMU Students Contend in Business Competition

The EMU team tied for fourth place in the annual Goodman & Company accounting competition (l. to r.): Ron Stoltzfus, Eric Yoder, Heidi Boese, Brittany Snyder and Jason Ropp with Gary Thomson of Goodman & Company. Photo by Kristin R. Kitchens

HARRISONBURG – They came, they collaborated, they crunched the numbers and were rewarded for their efforts in a grueling regional business competition sponsored by Goodman & Company, a major Virginia accounting firm.

A team of Eastern Mennonite University senior accounting majors tied for fourth place in the final round of competition with a team from the University of Virginia in the ninth annual Goodman & Company Accounting Challenge. Continue reading “EMU Students Contend in Business Competition” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

November 22, 1963

Airman 3rd Class Rood

In the summer of 1963, I was looking forward to beginning college but being one of ten children in a blue-collar family, and being unable to find a job since high school graduation, it seemed unlikely that would happen. My scholarship would cover only tuition, which left books, room and board. I had received no information or advice about student aid and felt hopeless about my future. Home life was becoming increasingly more difficult so when Sgt. George Sterling, US Air Force recruiter, came to the house, I was ripe for the picking. Before I realized what was happening, I was stepping off a plane in San Antonio, headed for basic training at Lackland A.F.B. in Texas. Continue reading “November 22, 1963” »

FOIA Requests Sent to Richmond on Global Warming

On August 26, 2010 at a town hall meeting at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell stated, in response to a question I posed on global warming, that the science of anthropogenic climate change was debatable. When I countered that there was not significant debate on this issue, he replied, “I’m telling you, there is.”

At that same town meeting I also spoke with Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources and Senior Advisor on Energy, Maureen Matsen. She stated that the science is not clear that climate change is man made, going on to say that, in any event, addressing energy issues was synonymous with addressing anthropogenic climate change. The problem with this reply is that it implies that as long as we get the amount of energy we need, it does not matter that the source of energy is climate harming fossil fuels. When I suggested to her that the United States has hundreds of years of coal and natural gas, and, therefore, there would be no reason to develop renewables except for concern with greenhouse gases, she chose not to respond.

I thereupon sent freedom of information requests to both Governor McDonnell and the Secretary of Natural Resources, asking each to produce any documents they had to support their positions that anthropogenic climate change was invalid science or debatable. The response was: Continue reading “FOIA Requests Sent to Richmond on Global Warming” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Eastern Mennonite University Celebrates 104 kW Photovoltaic System

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber and Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner 'throw the ceremonial switch' to engage the 104.3 kilowatt solar panel array that will provide enough power to supply the total average annual electricity costs of nine homes in Harrisonburg.

Eastern Mennonite University dedicated and celebrated the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project built so far in the state of Virginia in a public ceremony held Monday afternoon, Nov. 15, on EMU’s campus.

During the celebration in EMU’s Campus Center, about 150 members of the campus community, public officials and local neighbors saw the university’s president Loren Swartzendruber unveil the website dashboard with the flip of a switch, revealing live graphs showcasing the daily, weekly and monthly output of the solar system.

“Caring for God’s good creation is central to who we are as a Christian university,” Dr. Swartzendruber told the gathering. “Our planet does not have unlimited natural resources, and it is imperative that we utilize clean renewable energy such as solar as part of the university’s long-term commitment to creation care and environmental sustainability,” he added. Continue reading “Eastern Mennonite University Celebrates 104 kW Photovoltaic System” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Do the Super Rich Owe America Anything?

The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released its report to a cheering crowd of enthusiastic supporters of fiscal responsibility but those cheers were drowned out by the thunderous roar of just about everybody else. Unlike the hoax of global warming, the growing national debt is a real and serious problem that will spell doom if not addressed immediately, so say neo-conservatives. The Commission, in its reserved and even-handed examination of the facts and figures, has decided that the working poor must bear as much of the burden as the super rich to rectify this difficult situation. We are Americans; we can do this!   Continue reading “Do the Super Rich Owe America Anything?” »

Fair Questions for the DNR

With a summit on justice issues just passed, it’s a good time to ask if the local newspaper can be a part of the discussion, or is part of the problem.

Take, for instance, last Tuesday’s front page (November 9, 2010). Four teens were arrested in Georgia for a murder at a party that got out of hand.  The story was sensationalism.  That’s not a dig.  During my tenure as a newspaper editor many, many years ago, a story being sensational was enough reason to run it.  One editor I worked with called them “Hey, Mabel” stories.  Others referred to them as back-fence stories.  You run them because people are talking or because you want them to.

What’s less understandable is the information the newspaper chose to run about those arrested.  Their names, ages, and addresses did not appear in the story.  The only identifying information was their surnames, run underneath photos cropped so tightly they purveyed only one fact about the suspects: They were black. Continue reading “Fair Questions for the DNR” »

This post was submitted by JGFitzgerald.

New Book Revisits ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ Stories

Press Release HARRISONBURG – An Eastern Mennonite University professor has assembled a collection of poems, essays and fiction by noted and new authors responding to a classic book of martyrs who died for their faith over the centuries.

The anthology, “Tongue Screws and Testimonies,” will be released at a reception for the book’s editor, Kirsten E. Beachy, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU. Continue reading “New Book Revisits ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ Stories” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

New LEED Office Building In Grottoes

Wellness Concepts Inc., Valley Leader in Green Building

Daniel and Cathie Atwell, owners of Wellness Concepts, since 1990, are building a new home for their business in Grottoes, VA. This is no ordinary building, as the Atwells, along with their contractor, Glen Stoltfus, are intent on making it the first Platinum, LEED certified building in the Central Shenandoah Valley.

LEED ( Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally accepted certification program that is a third-party verified, green building rating system. A building receives points for energy efficiency, using reclaimed materials, water conservation, indoor air quality, and waste mitigation, just to name a few.

This 18,000 square foot building has outside walls made with insulated concrete forms or ICF’s.   Continue reading “New LEED Office Building In Grottoes” »

This post was submitted by Sally Newkirk.

Hburg, Fall ’10, a Pocket of Political Civility

This was submitted prior to the November 2, but unfortunately was left unpublished prior!

If you’ve followed state and national politics this Fall, you’ve observed rage, bizarre accusations and even occasional violence. What a surprising contrast the Harrisonburg City Council campaigns have been! I’ve seen the 6 candidates display pragmatism, civility and willingness to respectfully disagree. This is by no means typical of local politics or of politics in Harrisonburg (where mention of the city’s ten-year-money-losing golf course can still push bitter buttons). Yet the tone this Fall has seemed remarkably sane. The nonpartisan group, Citizens for Equal Rights, deserves special appreciation for organizing Meet and Greet sessions with each of the six contenders in a private home, open to all. Informal discussions there have proved highly informative, as have the public forums. Voters can find clear differences in policy, such as how to balance taxation with needs in this city which continues to have an unusually low tax rate. We can choose our two next council members from among six very diverse sets of strengths, perspectives and leadership styles . . . but I’ve seen no ideological demagogues/immigrant-bashers/gay-bashers/screamers-toting-guns in the lot. So I think we can feel at least moderately ok about whoever wins. Hburgers, please study your choices and vote on Tuesday!

This post was submitted by Chris Edwards.