augusta free press news

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Local News: Augusta County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.
Local Events: Blue Highway in concert at Court Square Theater, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.
Local Events: Philly graphic artist to display at EMU, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.
Local News: Presidential Library announces Woodrow Wilson Forum, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.
Local News: Shenandoah National Park announces 2009 Resource Seminar Series  


Local News: Augusta County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors meets tonight at 7 p.m. at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona.

The agenda for the meeting includes …

– Matters to be presented by the public.

– Consider authorization for County Attorney to draft ordinance revision to change tax year start date from January to June and for assessment schedule be changed from four to six years.

– Consider draft ordinance for revenue-recovery program.

– Consider Augusta County response to state proposal to close the Verona Residency Virginia Department of Transportation office.

– Consider a resolution endorsing and supporting MeadWestvaco application for $450,000 in State Industrial Access Railroad Funds.

– Consider authorization of staff to draft an ordinance to exempt certain real and personal property owned by Virginia District United Pentecostal Church International from real and personal property taxation.


Local Events: Blue Highway in concert at Court Square Theater, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.

Blue Highway will perform a night of contemporary bluegrass music on Friday, March 13, at 8 p.m. at Court Square Theater in Downtown Harrisonburg. Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors and students, and will be $3 more at the door.

Celebrating fifteen years of music, Blue Highway is indisputably one of the most esteemed and influential groups in contemporary bluegrass. The group’s eight exceptional albums and compelling live performances give proof to the stellar reviews, Grammy nominations, and numerous awards earned by the band since it first took the stage on December 31, 1994. With a deep bench of virtuosic songwriters, vocalists and instrumentalists, Blue Highway’s hallmark is an unwavering commitment to the ensemble, the “democracy of the band” that makes Blue Highway a powerhouse.

Individually, Jason Burleson (banjo, guitar, mandolin), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals), and Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals) are masters of their respective roles. Together, they are five gifted artists selflessly merging their talents into a seamlessly brilliant group sound. As a result, the band moves from strength to strength, more mature and impressive with each new album.

With eight highly-acclaimed albums to its credit, Blue Highway has garnered two Grammy nominations, a Dove Award, topped the Bluegrass Unlimited radio charts, and won numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards. Refusing to coast on past glories, Blue Highway continues to push its music to new levels of accomplishment. Artfully balanced between tradition and innovation, it remains in the forefront of contemporary bluegrass music.

More information and tickets available at or call 540.433.9189.


Local Events: Philly graphic artist to display at EMU, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.

Paintings and mixed media by Paula Swisher, a graphic/web designer-illustrator from Philadelphia, Pa., is on display March 14-April 4 in the public art gallery at Eastern Mennonite University.

An opening reception for the artist will be held 4 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 14, in the gallery on third floor of EMU’s Hartzler Library.

Swisher currently does contract work for advertising agencies and companies and freelance projects, including corporate design and digital photography and print pieces.

Earlier, she was assistant professor of art at Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, N.J., 2003-07, and art lecturer at Clemson University and Greenville Technical College. From 2005 to 2007 she collaborated with co-faculty and students in the creation of a multimedia art exhibit/installation, “The Garden State Project,” examining the identity/identities of New Jersey.

Of her recent work, the artist states, “I’m exploring postmodern approaches to ontological concerns of human struggle and endeavor. Through fragmentation, reconstruction and the use of scientific and technical imagery, I am examining our attempts at navigating, overcoming and making sense of our experiences. In this way, scientific imagery becomes a metaphor – images of arranging, probing beneath, taking apart and reassembling represent our investigating, organizing and interpreting human experience.”

Multiple panels, segments and layers often play a role in Swisher’s work. Stitching, tying, separating and reassembling act as metaphors of the process of reconstructing disparate and contradictory experiences into new narratives or interpretations.

“Most likely, it is the act of reconstructing that allows us, for the time being, to struggle, navigate and overcome,” she states.

Swisher earned a BA degree in art from Houghton (N.Y.) College and an MFA degree in painting from Clemson University.
EMU’s art gallery is open during regular library hours daily free of charge.


Local News: Presidential Library announces Woodrow Wilson Forum, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum today announced that the 2009 Woodrow Wilson Forum will be held on Wednesday, March 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Robert E. Plecker Center at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave. At the forum, entitled “Will My Vote Count?”, 130 Advanced Placement students from nine area high schools will discuss the Electoral College and other presidential election issues in panel discussions and debates. Prior to the student discussions, Dr. Mark Rush, the Head of the Department of Politics at Washington and Lee University, will kick off the forum with a keynote address entitled “Be Careful What You Wish For: Reforming the Electoral College for the 21st Century.”

Students from nine high schools will participate in the forum, including Robert E. Lee, Stuart Hall, and Grace Christian Schools in Staunton; Stuarts Draft, Riverheads, and Fort Defiance High Schools in Augusta County; Rockbridge County High School in Lexington; Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista; and Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg. Dr. Rush’s keynote address will start the event at 9:15 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., nine students will each have five minutes to present their research papers, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session. After lunch, at about 12:15 p.m., the students will be divided into 16 groups of eight students each for roundtable discussions of various topics to prepare a debate. At about 1:00 p.m., the first of eight six-minute debates will begin. The program will end at about 2:15 p.m.

Joel Hodson, Director of Education at the WWPL, said, “Inspired by the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, we believe that inviting advanced students to discuss matters of national importance contributes to our nation’s civic health. Addressing these issues will help these students understand the dilemmas that arise in a participatory democracy.”

The keynote speaker, Mark Rush, is the Robert G. Brown Professor of Politics and Law and Head of the Department of Politics at Washington and Lee University, where he also directs the Program in International Commerce. Professor Rush has written extensively on constitutional law, voting rights, and elections in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He is a frequent guest on National Public Radio’s Evening Edition, and his op-ed pieces have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Roanoke Times.

The Woodrow Wilson Student Forum has been held every other year since 1990. The program is made possible through the generous support of the Frank R. Pancake Education Endowment. Those interested in more information about the forum should contact Joel Hodson, Director of Education at the WWPL, at, or at 540.885.0897, ext. 103.


Local News: Shenandoah National Park announces 2009 Resource Seminar Series

Shenandoah National Park is pleased to announce the Resource Seminar Series for 2009. Resource seminars provide participants with the opportunity to get to know their national park a little more personally. The seminars provide an in-depth experience to learn from scientists, researchers, educators, and other experts about resource issues and recreational opportunities in Shenandoah National Park. Advance reservations are required and space is limited. A fee is charged for some seminars.

This year’s seminars include:

Family Hiking: Hiking With Children: Two available dates: Sunday, June 14 and Sunday, July 12, 2009. This seminar features Jeff Alt, hiking expert and author of the award-winning A Walk for Sunshine. Jeff will explain how to keep your children interested, entertained, and safe when hiking together. He will provide tips on essential gear, types of clothing, trip planning, food, hydration, safety and how families with children can experience nature together using the trails in Shenandoah National Park. Hiking With Children seminar is FREE with your paid park entrance fee.

The Basics of Family Camping: Two overnight events: Saturday and Sunday, June 27 – 28, 2009 and Saturday and Sunday, July 18 – 19, 2009. This seminar is for busy families who have not had the opportunity to share a camping experience together. Camp overnight with park rangers and expert campers to learn the basics of family camping. Tents, camping equipment, food, and instruction are provided for these two overnight campouts and include optional hiking and exploring adventures. The Basics of Family Camping seminar fee is $50 for one adult and child (5 – 12 years old), and $10 for each additional family member.

The American Chestnut: Restoring Forest Majesty: Saturday, August 22, 2009. Join scientists and field experts to learn about the struggle the American chestnut tree has endured in the eastern United States and Shenandoah National Park. Discover the latest scientific breakthroughs occurring in attempts to restore the chestnut to its former status in the eastern forest. The American Chestnut: Restoring Forest Majesty seminar fee is $30 per person.

For more information or to register for any of the seminars, visit the Shenandoah National Park website at Contact the Shenandoah National Park Education Office by e-mail at or by phone at 540.999.3500, ext. 3489.

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