Sunday, January 04, 2015 ... new posts daily

By Lynn R. Mitchell

This is an invitation to come over and visit us at We are a group blog with regular contributors Kurt Michael who is our managing editor, David Karaffa who is on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, Daniel Cortez who is a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer-broadcaster, and myself. I serve as executive editor and do much of the writing and photography.

We opened up shop in April 2014 and by year's end we had published over 900 posts from the four regular contributors and our 23 guest writers who covered a wide variety of issues.

I started my SWAC Girl blog in February 2006 -- almost nine years ago -- and have been writing on an almost daily basis since. However, I find myself posting less and less at this location since starting in 2014 so we would love to see everyone head on over and check us out where I still post everything from back roads to historical sites along with coverage of political issues from veteran politicos. ... come on over and join us.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The 12 Days of Christmas … Day 8: Celebration of Holiday Lights in Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Everyone loves the lights of the season so pile the kids in the car and head to Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park “Celebration of Holiday Lights.” Drive around the two-mile loop and gaze, ooh, and ahh over the dozens of Christmas displays set up by area organizations. Each year tens of thousands of vehicles take part in this holiday treat. Open daily now through the New Year, the lights will be on from 5-11 p.m. offering a delightful treat for young and old.... (continue reading here)

Merry Christmas, Stacy ... wherever you are

By Lynn R. Mitchell
Christmas ornament hand-painted by 10-year-old Stacy in 1975.
As I was growing up, a tradition in our family was for my parents to give us ornaments each year from places they had traveled. My husband and I continued the tradition with our children … so we have a number of “special” ornaments that are placed on the tree year after year.

This year was no different. As I carefully unwrapped the tissue paper from around one particular ornament, memories flooded back as I saw the hand-painted ceramic decoration for the tree. It was a jack-in-the-box painted in 1975 by a 10-year-old boy named Stacy. I held the ornament in my hand and remembered back to the days when I worked at Children’s Hospital in Richmond.

Stacy touched my heart more than any other child I came in contact with because of his devilish sincerity. I loved that child. He was from southwestern Virginia, one of many children from a large, down-on-their-luck Appalachian family. As best I can remember, the accident that changed his life occurred when he was playing with his siblings and they tied him to a tree, piled leaves at the base of the tree, and set the leaves on fire. Stacy was horribly burned, so much so that much of both legs and part of one arm had to be amputated. He came to Children’s Hospital for rehabilitation.

The patients at the hospital lived in dorms and received daily treatment as well as schooling. Far.... (continue reading here)

Friday, December 19, 2014

The 12 Days of Christmas … Day 7: Holiday offerings at the Augusta County Library

Churchville Branch of the Augusta County Library.

There’s Kindles and laptops and video games and smart phones and every other device available out there but the wonderful thing is that libraries are still as popular as ever. With a wide selection of seasonal reading selections, a trip to the library provides hours of entertainment for kids and parents during school vacation over the holidays. (continue reading here)

Friday, December 05, 2014

Special Forces soldier dies in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Matthew Ammerman, a native of Noblesville, Ind., was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) when he died Dec. 3, 2014, as a result of wounds received in combat. (continue reading here)

Let’s raise the level of debate and the integrity of our cause

By Benjamin Dessart

While I normally do not give such articles much consideration, the editorial written by the Daily Caller and promoted by Tom White is the most appalling editorial I have read in my time engaged in conservative politics.

Not only are the accusations implied here heinous and logically flawed, they are written (and promoted) in the name of journalism. This article is not news. This article is not journalism. (continue reading here)

‘Daily Caller’ and Virginia blogger stoop to new low regarding UVa ‘Rolling Stone’ article

By Daniel Cortez

In my 45 years as a writer-broadcaster and political media operative, this remains the worst breach of journalistic ethics I have ever seen. I find the author and editors of the Daily Caller reprehensible to suggest, by inference through association, that the son of former Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor had anything to do with the alleged gang rape reportedly occurring at the University of Virginia in 2012 during a fraternity party.

In the past such acts of desperate yellow journalism were frowned upon.... (continue reading here)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

They did it to Bill Bolling, now they’re doing it to Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush. Not conservative enough. Try as I might, it remains impossible to see these two concepts as even remotely related. John Ellis Bush, the second son of George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush, who during his first run for Florida governor in 1994 cheerfully called himself a head-banging conservative, a hang-’em-by-the-neck conservative … who during his second run for Florida governor in 1998 had to craft for himself a more compassionate persona so as not to scare off independent voters … that Jeb Bush has come to be viewed with suspicion by the uber-conservative, Tea Party wing of his Republican Party?
They did it to former Virginia Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.... (continue reading here)

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

24th State Senate race candidate to announce

State Senator Emmett Hanger has not announced if he intends to seek reelection for the 24th Senate District seat that he has held since 1996 but one challenger has already announced and a second is set to make his announcement today. (continue reading here)

Jeb: GOP needs to show it can lead

Jeb Bush came out again on the side of common sense and pragmatic leadership when he addressed The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting.... (continue reading here)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Republicans most likely to be 2016 GOP nominee

The Hill has their list of 13 Republicans most likely to be nominees for the Republican presidential nomination for 2016 (see 13 Republicans most likely to win WH). I don’t agree with some of their choices but it makes for interesting speculation.

Thirteen — an interesting number. Why not 12 or 14?

They’ve divided their choices into categories beginning with....(continue reading here)

Small Business Saturday is today

It’s Small Business Saturday in Virginia … shop local. Check out the mom-and-pop businesses that.... (continue reading here)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Thanksgiving 2 

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." -- Charles Dickens

The writers at -- Daniel Cortez, David Karaffa, Kurt Michael, and myself -- extend Thanksgiving greetings with gratitude to our readers for helping us become a successful statewide voice in the Virginia conservative blogosphere. We wish you a joyful day with family and friends as America pauses to give thanks for the blessings we all enjoy. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Special Issue: writers, guests discuss Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Today at, we are looking at the Atlantic Coast Pipeline issue that has stirred opinions both for and against in Augusta County and elsewhere. Posts from guest writers and regular contributors include Augusta County supervisors, citizens, information from Dominion, and an editorial cartoon.

Supervisor Tracy Pyles, Supervisor David Karaffa, former Supervisor Nancy Sorrells, well-known local farmer Joel Salatin, political cartoon from Kurt Michael, and more.

Here is the list of articles in today’s Special Pipeline Issue.... (See links to all authors here)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The mountains were calling

I had a million things to do today. I should have gotten my work done. But I couldn’t get my mind off a friend in Richmond who is going through some serious health issues and is back in the hospital.... (photos, continue reading here)

Photos ... Skyline Drive in late November 2014

The Friday before Thanksgiving … we took the day to play in Shenandoah National Park. It was sunny but a very cold 22 degrees with some wind and few visitors. I wrote about our day with photos.... (continue reading here)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dr. Rob Marsh … Delta Force soldier finds peace as country doctor

An unassuming man walked to the middle of the stage in front of a room of 300 military veterans and their guests who stood and applauded the Desert Storm veteran, now in his mid-50s. He paused and seemed to take in the faces before him, humbled at the reception. As guests sat down, Dr. Rob Marsh began his story by noting that he doesn’t often speak but, when he does, his priority is with military groups, veterans groups, and medical gatherings that may offer new medical and surgical techniques that can help our soldiers at war.

Then he paused, kind of bowed his head, and quietly said that he would talk with groups if he felt his message could honor the Lord. He went on to add.... (continue reading here)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

ALERT! Police impersonator reportedly working Rt. 250 in western Augusta County

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Department has issued an alert warning travelers of a police impersonator who is working the area of Route 250 in West Augusta near Ramsey’s Draft and Mountain House Wayside. That area, surrounded by the George Washington National Forest, is very rural and mountainous with spotty cell phone service.

Residents in the area report the suspect is targeting women who are driving alone.

From the Augusta County Sheriff’s Department.... (continue reading here)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Korean War vet survived behind enemy lines

Saturday's Veterans Day parade in downtown Staunton, Va, saw many families lining the streets to wave American flags and cheer as floats passed by filled with local veterans. The community honored past and present military members including many who vividly remember the details of war.
One of those local veterans is a quiet, unassuming gentleman, slightly stooped with graying hair.

Until last year, few people knew that he had suffered life-threatening injuries during the Korean War.

Now in his 70s, Tom LaBarge (pronounced La-BARGE) does not like to bring attention to himself. That was very evident as he reluctantly gave in to my persistent prodding to talk about his military service after a surprise presentation in 2009 of war-time medals that had been long overdue. Four of his seven grown children had flown from Minnesota to Virginia for the event, and I had been invited by his wife Millicent to join them.... (continue reading here)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Craig Parisot for vacated Comstock 34th House District seat … primary this Saturday

By Daniel Cortez

Last night at Tyson’s Corner, I had an opportunity to see a veteran on the stump who could responsibly attempt to fill the very big shoes of Congresswoman-elect Barbara Comstock in the House of Delegates 34th District .  His name is Craig Parisot of McLean, Va.  Pass the.... (continue reading here)