augusta free press news

Feb. 27-March 1

– Local Events: AFP has free tickets to Taste of the Town, Sunday, noon
Local Events: Progress Augusta event set for Tuesday night, Sunday, noon
Local Sports: EMU AD to speak to Shenandoah Valley Athletic Club, Sunday, noon
Local News: EMU announces new provost, Friday, 3 p.m.
Local News: VDOT to host local public meeting on proposed funding reductions, Friday, 11 a.m.
Local News: Retired EMU prof to lead study for new research center, Friday, 11 a.m.
Local Events: Hardesty-Higgins to host Textile Guild, Friday, 12:02 a.m.



Local News: AFP has free tickets to Taste of the Town, Sunday, noon

The Augusta Free Pressis offering readers a chance at free tickets to the Tuesday, March 17, Taste of the Town event sponsored by Waynesboro Downtown Development Inc.


The event will take place at Fairfax Hall in Waynesboro on St. Patrick’s Day from 5-9 p.m.

To win tickets, log on to Post a limerick or recipe of your choice for your chance to win a ticket to the event!

Winners will be chosen every weekday beginning March 5. Post your entry early (and daily) for your best chance to win!

To purchase tickets to the event or for more information, contact Waynesboro Downtown Development at (540) 942-6705 or


Local News: Progress Augusta event set for Tuesday night, Sunday, noon

Progress Augusta is hosting its next Drinking Liberally event Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Irish Alley Restaurant and Pub in Downtown Staunton.

More information is available at


Local News: EMU AD to speak to Shenandoah Valley Athletic Club, Sunday, noon

Eastern Mennonite University athletics director David A. King will address the topic “Sports: Opportunity or Obsession?” at the March 10 meeting of the Shenandoah Valley Athletic Club.

He will examine whether or not over-organization, early-specialization, year-round-programs and hovering parents may be robbing our kids of the valuable growth experiences that can come through sports. Are youth sports programs still opportunities for personal growth or have they become an out of control obsession?

The SVAC brings people together from throughout the Shenandoah Valley who share a common interest in sports. Dinner meetings are held each month at the Harrisonburg Ramada Inn with the date varying depending on the availability of the guest speaker for the month.

Information about the Club and how to become a member can be found on the SVAC website at


Local News: EMU announces new provost, Friday, 3 p.m.

A 1979 honors graduate of Eastern Mennonite University will return to his alma mater as the new provost.

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber announced that Fred Kniss, currently of Chicago, Ill., will assume the second highest administrative post at the university on July 1, 2009.

Lee F. Snyder, president emeritus of Bluffton (Ohio) University, has served as interim provost for the 2008-09 academic year.

The provost gives overall guidance to the undergraduate and graduate academic programs of the university as well as Eastern Mennonite Seminary, various auxiliary programs and the Adult Degree Completion Program.

“We are pleased that a person of Dr. Kniss’ experience is prepared to join the team at EMU,” Dr. Swartzendruber said. “He has demonstrated a long commitment to Christian higher education and to scholarship in our kind of context.”

Kniss is chair of the department of sociology at Loyola University, Chicago, where he has been a faculty member since 1991. During his tenure he was interim dean of The Graduate School at Loyola, 2004-05, and graduate program director the sociology department, 2000-04.

“EMU is well-positioned to face the challenges and opportunities that confront higher education,” said Dr. Kniss. “We have a clear and attractive mission, with smart, innovative faculty and staff who are not afraid to try new ideas and programs. I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to build a dynamic community of learning, rooted in Anabaptist values, training the next generation of global citizens to serve and lead,” he added.

Kniss was a double major in sociology and philosophy and religion at EMU. Following five years of service in Kenya, he went on to earn MA and PhD degrees in sociology from the University of Chicago.

His professional activities and associations include: chair-elect, American Sociological Association Section on Sociology of Religion; Association for the Sociology of Religion; and chair, publications committee, Association for the Sociology of Religion. He is a member of the editorial board of the “Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion” and has been associate book review editor and associate editor of the “American Journal of Sociology.”

Kniss is a member of the American Sociological Association, Midwest Sociology Society, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association.

He is married to Rosalyn Myers Kniss, associate administrator of clinical laboratories at the University of Chicago Medical Center and a member of the EMU class of 1977. They have two children – Michael, a 2006 EMU graduate, and Stephen, an EMU sophomore. They are members of Chicago Community Mennonite Church.


Local News: VDOT to host local public meeting on proposed funding reductions, Friday, 11 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will host a public meeting in Verona on March 12 among a series of 11 public meetings across the Commonwealth in March and early April to collect public input on a comprehensive plan to address long-term funding reductions.

During these meetings, VDOT will provide a brief presentation regarding the proposed changes that will impact drivers in each area including planned reductions to rest areas, Safety Service Patrols, mowing/roadside maintenance, ferry services and the closure of VDOT residency offices. Officials will also collect feedback from registered speakers.

“Federal and state revenue sources continue to steeply decline, forcing the VDOT to adjust its construction program, services and organization,” said David S. Ekern, VDOT commissioner. “We are committed to discussing any changes that will impact our customers prior to finalizing our decisions, so we will host these meetings to gather public feedback on our proposed plans.”

These service changes support the three-part Blueprint for the Future.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board implemented the first phase of the blueprint — reductions in the number of new projects that will be built — when it adopted a revised Fiscal Years 2009-2014 Six-Year Improvement Program on Feb. 13. The revised program cut $2 billion in funding, delaying or eliminating 808 projects statewide.

The second phase of the blueprint involves VDOT staffing changes and organizational restructuring. VDOT announced that it will cut 1,000 full-time and 450 part-time staff in its construction development program, field operations and administrative functions, and will close 15 residency offices and 36 equipment repair facilities around the Commonwealth in the next 18 months.

The third phase of the blueprint focuses on reducing spending for VDOT programs and services. These include reducing motorist amenities and maintenance contracts for services not affecting driver safety. These proposals include:

• Reducing Rest Areas and Welcome Centers

• Reducing Ferry Services

• Reducing Safety Service Patrols

• Reducing Interstate Maintenance Services

• Reducing Vegetation Management

The public meeting in Verona is set for March 12 at 6 p.m. at the Augusta County Government Center.

Citizens may also submit comments via e-mail to by April 15, 2009.


Local News: Retired EMU prof to lead study for new research center, Friday, 11 a.m.

Vernon E. Jantzi does not stay retired long.

The professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern Mennonite University is serving part time this year as coordinator of a feasibility study for the proposed Center for the Study of Abrahamic Traditions at EMU. The Center would provide a setting where practitioners and scholars belonging to the three Abrahamic faith traditions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – could collaborate in research, training, learning and relations that further peace, just development, security and wholeness in North America and in the rest of the world.

Beginning July 1, 2009, Dr. Jantzi will serve as interim vice president and undergraduate academic dean for the 2009-2010 year at EMU. He succeeds Dr. Marie S. Morris, who is completing her ninth year in the position.

The appointment was announced by Dr. Lee F. Snyder, interim EMU provost.

“Many know Vernon Jantzi as an accomplished faculty leader, an esteemed professor, scholar and servant of the church with extensive international involvements,” Dr. Snyder said. “We’re pleased that he is available to take on this transitional role.”

Jantzi’s administrative and academic experience include serving seven years as director of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding; two years as chair of the General Education and Curriculum Development committee and chair of the curriculum review committee for one of the Southeren Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) re-accreditation self-studies.

His international involvements include serving as director of Cornell University’s program on worker-owned and managed enterprises in collaboration with the Instituto Tecnologico de Cartago, Costa Rica and serving in Nicaragua for three years as director of the ALFALIT national adult literacy program. In New Zealand, Jantzi assisted in the founding of peace centers at two universities. He also serves on the bi-national board and executive committee of Mennonite Central Committee.

In reflecting on the interim appointment, Jantzi said, “EMU has fostered a lot of creativity in recent years. I’m looking forward to helping us move forward in that spirit amid the stress of current economic realities.”


Local News: Hardesty-Higgins to host Textile Guild, Friday, 12:02 a.m.

The 2009 Visiting Artisan Series hosts the Shenandoah Valley Textile Guild at the Hardesty-Higgins House. On Saturday, Feb. 28, from 11 a.m 3 p.m. the Shenandoah Valley Textile will entertain and inform with fiber arts, such as rug hooking, lacemaking, knitting and needle felting. These unique heritage arts create the useful and creative objects we wear, we walk on, and we use daily. Learn about frakturs, patterns for rug hooking and crewel embroidery. Ask about gadgets, mysterious contraptions, and ordinary objects as they reveal their secret lives as tools of the fiber arts.

The Shenandoah Valley Textile Guild and Museum was founded in 2007 to serve weavers, spinners, knitters, dyers, rug-hookers, lacemakers and other fiber folks in the mid-Valley region of Virginia and nearby West Virginia. While the Museum is still a vision, the Guild itself is a thriving reality. Visit for more information.

For a full schedule visit or visit our website at


Virginia Politics: Moran picks up endorsement, Friday, 12:02 a.m.

Brian Moran, Democratic candidate for governor, was endorsed by Terry Frye, Bristol’s Commissioner of the Revenue, on Thursday. Frye announced his support at Moran’s event at Java J’s coffee shop in Bristol. At that event, Moran also unveiled a key component of his Healthy Virginia Plan, a focus on rural health care and insuring every Virginia child.

“Brian Moran’s spent a career fighting for the people of Virginia,” Frye said. “He’s fiscally responsible and knows how to help families in these tough times. Brian has a vision for where to take this state and the experience to get it done.”

Moran will fight for every region of the Commonwealth, starting with making health care available to every single Virginia child. Moran’s “Healthy Virginians” plan expands health-care access and affordability, especially in rural areas.

“I’m proud to have Terry’s support,” Moran said. “Leaders like him know what it takes to win in rural Virginia. Access to affordable health care, especially dental care and children’s health care, is a serious challenge here. I’m dedicated to fighting for these hard working Virginians in the Governor’s office.”

Today, more than 10 percent of children in Virginia are uninsured, making Virginia 32nd out of the 50 states. Moran’s Healthy Virginia plan would put the Commonwealth in the top 10 states, making us a national leader in children’s health insurance. Over 200,000 Virginia children are uninsured.

augusta free press
augusta free press