In the News

Local News: Blogger shares account of Expo tea party, posted Wednesday, 9:55 p.m.
Sports: Bennett fills more slots on UVa. staff, posted Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.
Forum: Drop the petition, posted Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.
AFP on Facebook: Paulus to Michigan, posted Wednesday, 11:15 a.m.
Local News: Local Target Distribution Center prepares relief kits, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.
Local News: Presidential Library announces Kids’ Corner, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.
Local News: Auditions at Lime Kiln, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.
Local News: Spring Sidewalk Sale in Lexington, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.
Local News: Waynesboro City Council, School Board to meet tonight, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.
Local News: Up-close view of Saturn, Orion Nebula at JMU Astronomy Park, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.
Event: EMU presents comedy, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.   


Local News: Blogger shares account of Expo tea party, posted Wednesday, 9:55 p.m.

Read local blogger Steve Harkonnen’s account of the tea-party protest at Augusta Expo in Fishersville.


Sports: Bennett fills more slots on UVa. staff, posted Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.

Ron Sanchez and Jason Williford have been named assistant coaches and Brad Soucie has been named the director of basketball operations with the Virginia men’s basketball program. UVa men’s head basketball coach Tony Bennett announced the appointments on Wednesday (April 15).

“One of the priorities for me was to fill my staff as soon as possible, but also make sure we got the right individuals,” Bennett said. “I feel good about the people we’ve assembled for this staff. Ritchie McKay is our associate head coach and has lots of head coaching experience at the Division I level. Ron Sanchez and Jason Williford are young go-getters who are hands on guys in developing players and really have a passion for recruiting. In Brad Soucie, we have someone in the basketball operations position with significant collegiate basketball experience.

“I feel good about the individuals on this staff and think the young men in our program will enjoy working with them. I believe we can really hit the ground running.”

Sanchez was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Washington State University the last three years. During that period the Cougars participated in the NCAA Tournament twice and in the National Invitation Tournament once. Washington State reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2008. The Cougars tied the school record with 26 victories in both 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Prior to serving as an assistant coach at Washington State, Sanchez was the coordinator of men’s basketball operations for the Cougars for three years. He joined the staff at Washington State after spending two years as a volunteer assistant in the men’s basketball program at Indiana. While at Indiana, he earned his master’s degree in athletic administration/sports management. Indiana finished as runner-up for the NCAA Championship in 2002.

Sanchez is a 1997 graduate of the State University of New York College at Oneonta where he played basketball. He was named the State University of New York Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1996. He also earned the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship Most Valuable Player award that season.

Sanchez was an assistant coach at SUNY-Oneonta in 1998-99 and served as associate head coach at Delhi College (N.Y.) for two years. Delhi posted a 31-2 record for the 2000-01 season, won the Region III championship and finished fourth at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Championship Tournament.

“I’m excited to bring Ron to Virginia,” Bennett said. “I was with him for six years at Washington State, so he’s familiar with me. Ron is one of the most loyal, hard-working individuals I know and he has ties in the New York area that should benefit our program.”

Williford has been a men’s assistant basketball coach at the collegiate level for the last nine years and is a former Virginia player. He was an assistant coach at American University the last four years and prior to that was an assistant coach at Boston University for five years. American won the Patriot League Championship and participated in the NCAA Tournament each of the last two seasons. During Williford’s final four years at Boston University, the Terriers earned an NCAA Tournament berth in 2002 and then participated in the National Invitation Tournament for three consecutive years.

A native of Richmond, Va., Williford is a 1995 graduate of Virginia. During his four years as a member of the UVa men’s basketball team, the Cavaliers won the NIT in 1992 and participated in the NCAA Tournament three times. Virginia reached the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 in 1993, the second round in 1994 and the Elite Eight in 1995 when he was a team captain.

After graduation, Williford played four years in the Icelandic Professional League and the Korean Basketball League. In 1995-96, he was named the Foreign MVP for the Haukar Club Team in the Icelandic Professional League. He also began his coaching career that season by heading up the Under-20 Haukar Club Team. From 1996-99, Williford played for two teams in the Korean Basketball League and earned All-Star honors.

Williford was an assistant coach with the boys’ varsity basketball team at his alma mater, John Marshall High School, in 1999-2000.

“Jason comes highly recommended,” Bennett said. “In talking to Jeff Jones and Dennis Wolff, coaches Jason worked with at American University and Boston University, and other people about him, they talked first about his character and his ties to the area. We felt that was very important. When we went through the interview process, the passion and loyalty Jason has for the University of Virginia and this program was evident. He played at Virginia and this program is important to him.

“Jason also has a relationship with Ron Sanchez. They’ve gotten to know each other over the last three or four years, and that’s a plus too.”

Soucie has 15 years of experience as a collegiate men’s assistant basketball coach. All but two years of his coaching experience came as an assistant to former Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay, who is now the associate head coach at Virginia. Soucie was an assistant to McKay at Portland State, Colorado State, Oregon State, New Mexico and Liberty.

He played college basketball at Eastern Michigan University for two years before transferring to Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian). He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Christian Heritage in 1990 and later served as an assistant basketball coach there for two years.

Soucie played in the National Basketball Association Summer League with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks. He was also a member of the Athletes-in-Action traveling team.

“Brad has been with Coach McKay for many years,” Bennett said. “He played the game in college and has excellent experience. We’re fortunate to have him on the staff.”


Forum: Drop the petition, posted Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.

I know it’s politics, but … the petition drive of fellow Democrats to raise issue with Republicans for blocking the receipt of federal stimulus monies for the extension of unemployment benefits is getting to be a bit much.

I’m just as fightin’ mad at anybody else, and think it’s clear that the GOP has set themselves up for a mighty fall in the fall with this nonsensical act.

That isn’t stopping the press releases from a-comin’.

“Across Virginia, people are outraged that Bob McDonnell and the Republican House of Delegates would send our money back across the Potomac River to Washington when we need it here in Virginia,” said Jared Leopold, communications director at the Democratic Party of Virginia, in a statement in a presser sent out this afternoon. “That’s why, in fewer than two days, Stand Up for VA has already become one of the most successful grassroots drives in our party’s recent history.”


My view – there have to be better uses of our time and energy than this.

Chris Graham


AFP on Facebook: Paulus to Michigan, posted Wednesday, 11:15 a.m.

Click here to discuss.


Local News: Local Target Distribution Center prepares relief kits, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.

Ronnie Washington and his five children were visiting relatives in Tampa, Fla. when he received news that his home in Monroe, La. had caught fire and was completely destroyed.

Through the support of the Red Cross and Target, the Washington family was provided with the means to a safe place to sleep, warm meals, new clothing and kits that contained personal hygiene items.

“I was so thankful for the Relief Kits,” Washington said. “They had everything to get back to the day-to-day routine, and made it so there was one less thing I had to worry about.”

Target Distribution Center T-560, Stuarts Draft, Va., will be joining a national partnership to assemble Relief Kits that the American Red Cross will distribute to victims displaced from their homes during times of disaster.

During National Volunteer week, April 19-25, 16 Target distribution centers across the country will assemble Relief Kits and Food Relief Kits. Relief Kits include a variety of pre-packaged travel sized personal items needed when individuals or families have been displaced from their homes. Food Relief Kits will include a variety of food items to be consumed by volunteers and those displaced from their homes during times of disaster.

Target has a long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross, donating funds and in-kind merchandise, and providing volunteers in times of need. In 2006, Target agreed to donate the materials for disaster relief kits and organize volunteer events in distribution centers to assemble these kits. After the kits are assembled, the distribution center keeps them in storage until they are needed.

“We’re so excited to be involved in assembling Relief Kits at our Distribution Center,” said Brian Edge, general manager of Target Distribution Center T-560, Stuarts Draft, Va. “When people in our community need help, the kits will be available here for the Red Cross to distribute to those in need.”


Local News: Presidential Library announces Kids’ Corner, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to announce its first interactive “Kids’ Corner.” Housed in the Woodrow Wilson Museum, the Kids’ Corner gives younger visitors the opportunity to play with Wilson-era toys and books, dress up in period costumes, and go on a scavenger hunt. While they’re having fun, children can learn about President Wilson and his times.

Jarod Kearney, Curator at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, said “The Kids’ Corner helps us reach the younger visitors and makes our entire site more family-friendly. We’ve found that the Kids’ Corner is not just for children. Adults can join in, too.”

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library offers educational programming for children, including special programs in the schools and on the WWPL campus, a summer children’s history camp, and the annual Woodrow Wilson Birthday Open House. The Kids’ Corner broadens the Presidential Library’s outreach to children who come daily as regular visitors. The toys, books, and costumes in the Kids’ Corner are suitable for children ages four to 12. The four scavenger hunts, designed by Museum Interpreter Bob Wright, are suitable for students in grade levels from kindergarten to high school.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum provides guided tours of President Wilson’s Birthplace, the Presbyterian Manse; the self-guided Woodrow Wilson Museum, with seven galleries that cover President Wilson’s life and a special exhibit featuring the President’s original 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine; the beautiful gardens behind the Manse; and the President’s Shop.

The Presidential Library is open seven days a week, 360 days a year. Admission is $12.00 per adult, with a $2.00 discount if the visitor is a member of AAA, is active military, or is a senior citizen. Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County receive half price admission of $6. Children ages six to 12 are $3, while children under six are free. Other students are $5. Group tours (10 people or more) and student tours are also available.

Those interested in more information about the Kids’ Corner or visiting the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum should contact Jarod Kearney, the Curator, at 540.885.0897, extension 111, or at


Local News: Auditions at Lime Kiln, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.

Theater at Lime Kiln has announced auditions for Good Ol’ Girls, April 17 and 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Rockbridge County High School Auditorium.

Paul Ferguson, a professor at University of North Carolina, created in Good Ol’ Girls in 1999. The play is adapted from characters written by authors Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle.

The characters are all women ranging from 16 years to around 70 years old. Performers should prepare a one-minute monologue showing a range of emotion and one verse of a song they feel best represents their ability. The music in the revue ranges from country to blues to light rock.

The show will be directed by Rob Smith, with musical direction by Mary Harvey. Good Ol’ Girls plays June 12-14 at Theater at Lime Kiln. For more information about the musical, go to, or call the office at 540.463.7088.


Local News: Spring Sidewalk Sale in Lexington, posted Wednesday, 10:55 a.m.

The 2009 Annual Spring Sidewalk Sale will take place in downtown Lexington on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Regardless of the weather, the merchants will be offering terrific bargains on sidewalk tables or just inside their business doors. The annual sidewalk sale showcases Lexington’s unique downtown shopping area. The shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants, most locally owned and operated, offer terrific bargains on clothing, jewelry, gifts, artwork, food, drink and more during this festive, family-friendly event.

The businesses in Downtown Lexington boast amazing selections, varieties, and bargains ranging from boutiques and fashion shops (P.S. Pumpkinseeds, Intimate U, Things Unique, Pappagallo, Molly Gilbride, Alvin Dennis, the Paisley Partridge,) to sporting goods and clothing for your outdoor (and indoor) needs (Walkabout Outfitter), gifts (A Corner of Lexington, Victorian Parlour, Shenandoah Attic, Sunday’s Child), jewelry (Hess & Co, Hamric & Sheridan Jewelers, Lexington Jewelers), kitchen, food and wines shops (Ladles & Linens, Cocoa Mill, Washington Street Purveyors), fashion favorites, beauty and beyond (Pumpkinseeds, Let’s Make Up, New Opticians Boutique, Marlene’s, The Cutting Edge), books and cards (The Bookery, Books & Co, McCorkle’s Hallmark Shop), specialty shops (Celtic Tides, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Virginia Born and Bred, Frame and Design, Rockbridge Interiors, Hamilton and Robbins), home furnishings (Grand Home Furnishings), galleries and antiques (Francesca’s Antique, Artisans on Washington Street, Artists in Cahoots, Studio 11, Nelson Gallery) and unique downtown spots such as Creative Kiln, Andre Studios, Stonewall Jackson House Museum Shop and Rockbridge Music….just to name a few.

Shoppers need not go hungry with restaurants, pubs, and deli’s such as McCoy’s Deli, A Joyful Spirit Café, Bistro on Main, Blue Sky Bakery, Java 23, Domino’s Pizza, Lexington Coffee Shop, Sheridan Livery, Southern Inn, Sweet Treats, Red Hen, The Palms/, The Patisserie, and the Tuscany offering fare for every taste.

Lexington is the perfect centerpiece of a summer weekend getaway, where you can shop ’til you drop, tour a museum or gallery, take a Ghost tour, dine at one of many wonderful restaurants, catch a show or concert at The Theatre at Lime Kiln, or at one of the many on-campus venues at Washington and Lee or Virginia Military Institute, and then relax at a downtown B&B or a nearby hotel.

The Spring Sidewalk Sale is organized by the Downtown Lexington merchants, with support from the Chamber of Commerce serving Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County. For more information, call 540.463.5375, 540.463.6973, or email


Local News: Waynesboro City Council, School Board to meet tonight, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

Waynesboro City Council will hear a presentation from School Superintendent Robin Crowder at its first budget work session on the proposed 2009-2010 city budget tonight at 6 p.m. at the Charles T. Yancey Municipal Building.

The presentation will be followed by an open discussion of funding from the city for the school system with City Council and School Board members.

The meeting is open to the public and will also be broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 14.


Local News: Up-close view of Saturn, Orion Nebula at JMU Astronomy Park, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

The James Madison University Department of Physics and Astronomy invites the public and the JMU community to take a free and close-up view of Saturn and the Orion Nebula from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the JMU Astronomy Park.

Saturn, which is in the constellation Leo, is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest planet in the solar system. Saturn is situated so viewers will see the outer edge of the rings, an occurrence that happens about every 15 years.

The Orion Nebula is one of the most famous and easily viewed deep-sky sights. It holds special significance for researchers as the nearest region of massive star formation.

Those who come out to the astronomy park, on the grassy mall beside the Physics and Chemistry Building on JMU’s campus east of Interstate 81, will be able to view Saturn and the Orion Nebula through 10-inch telescopes. Binoculars also will be available to view the planet.

Plenty of parking will be available in Lot D-2 across Carrier Drive from the Physics and Chemistry Building. A campus map is available at:


Event: EMU presents comedy, posted Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

Theater at Eastern Mennonite University is presenting three performances of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” a wildly imaginative comedy, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Apr. 16-18, in the Studio Theater of the University Commons at EMU.

In the play, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl and directed by 2008 EMU theater graduate Pam Mandingo, a woman is forced to confront her assumptions about morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technology-obsessed world.

Cast members are Brent Anders, Souderton, Pa.; Sarah Gant, Harrisonburg; Katie Jantzen, Plymouth, Neb.; Evan McCarthy, Bluffton, Ohio; Heidi Muller, Fancy Gap, Va.; and Sonnie Siegfried, Lancaster, Pa.

Stage managers are Brandon Habron, Fredericksburg, Va., and Kimberly Lane, Fairfax, Va. Lighting designer is Jonathan Nofziger, Lancaster, Pa.; with sound design by Praveen Chhetri, Kathmandu, Nepal.

General admission tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door or by calling 540.432.4360.

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