Friday, July 31, 2009

Birthday greetings sent to Iraq

Nate with his cat "Moophie" after returning from first
deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We all send birthday greetings to Cpl. Nate Salatin, USMC, who celebrated his 24th birthday in Iraq during his second deployment with the Marines. He shares his July 31 birthday with SWAC Husband.

Nate wrote on his Facebook page:
"Nate Salatin got to see the Iraqi sunrise while driving to Ramadi (home) for his birthday. haha Thanks for ALL of the birthday wishes!!!!! Now for some sleep....
Here's wishing him best birthday wishes ... be safe out there.

Photo by Heidi Salatin

Skyline Drive on a rainy, foggy day

Skyline Drive on a rainy, foggy day.

Talus rock (on opposite mountain slope).

Fog moved in from the Valley along with rain ...

... and then the fog moved out again. I love rainy days in the mountains.

There were not many people on the Drive due to the rain. Since it was SWAC Husband's birthday, he suggested we head to Shenandoah National Park where we did some animal watching and enjoyed the strong breeze when it wasn't pouring rain.

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
July 31, 2009

Shenandoah Water Company ... working the Valley

A Shenandoah Spring Water truck passed us on I-64 at Fishersville Friday afternoon. Why take a photo of a truck? It's the company owned by the Saxman family in Staunton, and Del. Chris Saxman works in the family business. We had just gotten off the Skyline Drive and I had camera in hand.

Photo by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
July 31, 2009

Mountain Lake returning

Mike over at The Write Side Of My Brain writes about Mountain Lake in southwestern Virginia returning to its former glory as this year's rains help refill the lake. He has background on the natural phenomenon of the lake draining and now slowly refilling.

Mountain Lake, not to be confused with Smith Mountain Lake, is a resort mountaintop west of Virginia Tech consisting of the historic stone turn-of-the-century Mountain Lake Hotel and cottages on 2,500 acres of land. It provides dining, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboating, volleyball, badminton, croquet, horseshoes, giant checkers or chess, bocce, tennis, archery, hiking, sauna, hot tubs. Sit in a rocker on the huge front porch or join in the many activities. It was one of the sites used while filming the movie Dirty Dancing.

It is beautiful.

Profiling: Alton relays a life lesson

Alton Foley has had an interesting life and has shared various aspects of it throughout the years in his blogging. Today he responds to the Obama-Gates-Crowley episode that ended with beers shared at the White House.

Alton had a incidence with a police officer in the 1970s that he writes about today ... and his conclusion was two lessons learned:
Two lessons here; One, never try to debate with an officer. He has a gun and can use whatever means necessary to effect your arrest. Two, anyone, even a white guy from the south, can be profiled.
I shared Alton's story with my truck driver husband. Thanks, Alton.

Closed rest areas come back to bite Dem Tim Kaine

Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine played politics with Virginia citizens ... and lost. Instead of making interstate rest areas a political pawn, he should have found the $9 million to keep them open and played politics in another way.

Bob Holsworth wrote on his Virginia Tomorrow blog that Kaine tried to blame Rep. Eric Cantor ... but that blame belongs squarely on Tim Kaine's shoulders. The issue of rest areas should never have reached the point where federal intervention was needed. The last-ditch effort did not work and "CLOSED" has been splashed across rest area signs throughout the Commonwealth.

What a sad commentary. We ask visitors to come see Virginia. Tourists arrive and see, "CLOSED."

Billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on laptop computers ... $14 million was announced earlier this week by Kaine for land to put in a nature preserve ... yet a measly $9 couldn't be found to keep rest areas open, something used by thousands of Virginians and out-of-state visitors. To close them in July at the height of summer vacation season was added insult and made more people take notice and realize it was a political move more than an economic savings.
Mr. Holsworth, political commentator and former political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote in Virginia Tomorrow:
The problem is that the issue should have never reached the stage where keeping the rest stops open depended on an eleventh hour reprieve from Congress.

By not allocating the funds to keep the rest stops open, I think that the administration miscalculated public sentiment and misunderstood the powerful (and negative) visual symbolism that the CLOSED signs send about Virginia. It also served up an issue to Bob McDonnell on a silver platter.
Let’s get the rest stops reopened- the sooner the better.
Republican legislators tried to avoid closings from the time it was announced last winter.

* Rep. Frank Wolfe (R-10th Congressional) said the rest areas should be reopened.
* Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell said the rest areas should be reopened.
* Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said the rest areas should be reopened.
* Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) said the rest areas should be reopened.
* Del. Todd Gilbert (R-15th) said the rest areas should be reopened.
* Del. Chris Saxman (R-20th) said the rest areas should be reopened.
* Del. Steve Landes (R-25th) said the rest areas should be reopened.
* Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th) said the rest areas should be reopened.

So why are the Democrats keeping the rest areas closed?

H/T to CM

Laura Bush

I was working on a blog post this morning about Virginia's closed rest areas ... Fox and Friends was on in the background ... when I heard a familiar voice with a soft Texas accent saying, "Be a friend ... be a mentor...."

I turned to the TV in time to see former First Lady Laura Bush sitting with dozens of children doing a "Big Brother/Big Sister" ad.

It was a comforting voice.

IBD: "Blue dogs roll over"

Promises, promises ... that's all it took for the Democrat Blue Dogs to give in. Socialized health care? No problem! According to Investor's Business Daily:
Apparently even a Blue Dog Democrat will stop growling if you toss him a big enough bone. Four of the seven who helped keep the House bill bottled up in the Energy and Commerce Committee — Mike Ross of Arkansas, Baron Hill of Indiana, Zack Space of Ohio and Bart Gordon of Tennessee — agreed to vote the bill out of committee in exchange for a promise of unspecified cuts.

Ross, a Blue Dog Coalition leader, said changes agreed to by the defectors and the leadership would cut the cost of the trillion-dollar House bill by almost $100 billion over the next decade. What the cuts are remains unknown, and in the past such promises of cuts have been like Lucy offering to hold the football one more time for Charlie Brown. In exchange, for their consciences, there won't be a floor vote before September.
As Erik Erickson at RedState wrote in Thursday's RedState:
"Judas only needed 30 pieces of silver to sell out Christ. How much did these four need to sell out their country?"
IBD's editorial has good background on the problem and concludes:
Committee and marginal deals aside, this solution in search of a problem is a very bad bill. Aside from its huge and burgeoning price tag, it will destroy private insurance, lead to rationing and place bureaucrats in a position to make the health care decisions that rightfully belong to you and your doctor.

They could have gone down as the Magnificent Seven, but at least four of the Blue Dogs won't hunt. Democrats may want to play doctor, but their constituents are about to tell them where it really hurts. If you want to tell the Blue Dogs yourself, here are their numbers in Washington (202 area code):

Altmire, Jason (Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district), 225-2565; Arcuri, Mike (New York's 24th), 225-3665; Baca, Joe (California's 43th), 225-6161; Barrow, John (Georgia's 12th), 225-2823; Berry, Marion (Arkansas' 1st), 225-4076; Bishop, Sanford (Georgia's 2nd), 225-3631; Boren, Dan (Oklahoma's 2nd), 225-2701; Boswell, Leonard (Iowa's 3rd), 225-3806; Boyd, Allen (Florida's 2nd), 225-5235; Bright, Bobby (Alabama's 2nd), 225-2901; Cardoza, Dennis (California's 18th), 225-6131; Carney, Christopher (Pennsylvania's 10th), 225-3731; Chandler, Ben (Kentucky's 6th), 225-4706; Childers, Travis (Mississippi's 1st), 225-4306; Cooper, Jim (Tennessee's 5th), 225-4311; Costa, Jim (California's 20th), 225-3341; Cuellar, Henry (Texas' 28th), 225-1640; Dahlkemper, Kathleen A. (Pennsylvania's 3rd), 225-5406; Davis, Lincoln (Tennessee's 4th), 225-6831; Donnelly, Joe (Indiana's 2nd), 225-3915; Ellsworth, Brad (Indiana's 8th), 225-4636; Giffords, Gabrielle (Arizona's 8th), 225-2542; Gordon, Bart (Tennessee's 6th), 225-4231; Griffith, Parker (Alabama's 5th), 225-4801; Harman, Jane (California's 36th) 225-8220; Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie (South Dakota at large), 225-2801; Hill, Baron P. (Indiana's 9th), 225-5315; Holden, Tim (Pennsylvania's 17th), 225-5546; Kratovil, Frank Jr. (Maryland's 1st), 225-5311; McIntyre, Mike (North Carolina's 7th), 225-2731; Marshall, Jim (Georgia's 8th), 225-6531; Matheson, Jim (Utah's 2nd), 225-3011; Melancon, Charlie (Louisiana's 3rd), 225-4031; Michaud, Michael H. (Maine's 2nd), 225-6306; Minnick, Walt (Idaho's 1st), 225-6611; Mitchell, Harry E. (Arizona's 5th), 225-2190; Moore, Dennis (Kansas' 3rd), 225-2865; Murphy, Patrick J. (Pennsylvania's 8th), 225-4276; Nye, Glenn C. (Virginia's 2nd), 225-4215; Peterson, Collin C. (Minnesota's 7th), 225-2165; Pomeroy, Earl (North Dakota at large), 225-2611; Ross, Mike (Arkansas' 4th), 225-3772; Salazar, John T. (Colorado's 3rd), 225-4761; Sanchez, Loretta (California's 47th), 225-2965; Schiff, Adam B. (California's 29th), 225-4176; Scott, David (Georgia's 13th), 225-2939; Shuler, Heath (North Carolina's 11th), 225-6401; Space, Zachary T. (Ohio's 18th), 225-6265; Tanner, John S. (Tennessee's 8th), 225-4714; Taylor, Gene (Mississippi's 4th), 225-5772; Thompson, Mike (California's 1st), 225-3311; Wilson, Charles (Ohio's 6th), 225-5705.
Give 'em a call ... tell them to stop selling out America.

But did Obama apologize?

A "teachable moment"?

Barack Obama said police officers in Cambridge, Massachusetts "acted stupidly" when arresting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Big mistake as was evident from the protests that could be heard throughout the nation. A poll said 41% of Americans said the entire incident was handled badly.

Obama's idea to make it better was to invite the parties involved -- Cambridge police officer Sgt. James Crowley and Mr. Gates -- to the White House for a beer.

But did Obama apologize for his comment? As of Friday morning, no word from the White House that an apology was offered....

Biased alert: If President George W. Bush had suggested beers at the White House, what are the chances that every liberal "beer cop" in the country would have swooped down to condemn him for encouraging drinking of alcoholic beverages.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Will swine flu shut down U.S. Senate?

A senate page is reportedly sick with swine flu. According to those in health care, swine flu victims are required to be quarantined. Will the U.S. Senate be shut down?

How much to buy out a traitor?

"Judas only needed 30 pieces of silver to sell out Christ. How much did these four need to sell out their country?"

So wrote Erik Erickson at RedState of the four Democrat Blue Dogs who sold out on ObamaCare. He has names and phone numbers of those "conservative" Democrats who caved.

Byron York: "New poll is bad, bad news for Obama, Democrats"

Terrible news is coming from the latest polls showing Americans are losing faith in Barack Obama and the Democrats. Byron York at the Washington Examiner today writes about the latest dismal numbers coming from a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that shows Democrats are in trouble.

Republicans shouldn't tap dance yet, however ... Americans are not necessarily happy with them either. But Democrats are in complete control in Washington and now find themselves on the hot seat.

Randalls Food Store fires employee for apprehending purse snatcher

Scenario: Tuesday, July 21 ... woman shopper in Randalls Food Store in Austin has her purse snatched by a 15-year-old who runs out the door. Produce manager and Army veteran Troy Schafer is returning from lunch when he sees what is happening and gives chase, along with a customer. Suspect is chased into a nearby field ... police arrive and arrest him ... customer's purse is recovered.

Would you consider Mr. Schafer a hero? In today's "don't get involved America," he is a refreshing breath of fresh air.

The problem? His employer, Randalls Food Store, fired him because, according to customer service representative Connie Yates, it was "against company policy." To do what? Help a customer? Chase a robber? Help a fellow citizen?

The news has broken all over Austin and this morning Mr. Schafer, along with the customer whose purse was snatched, Ann Welch, appeared on Fox & Friends where they relayed the incident. An email,, has sprung up for those with jobs to offer this courageous American citizen.

Randalls has told him he could reapply for his job in six months. Mr. Schafer needs a job before then ... he has bills to pay.

He told the Austin American-Statesman:
"In a split-second decision, when someone is screaming for help, what do you do?" he asked. "I did what I thought was right. I still feel like I did the right thing. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror the next day if I didn't help that lady."
Customer Ann Welsh reacted when told Mr. Schafer had been fired:
Welch said she appreciated the help Schafer and the unnamed customer gave her. She offered them money as a reward, she said, but they both refused.

Schafer told her Saturday that he had been fired. Welch said Monday morning she asked the store manager to give Schafer his job back. But the manager told her his hands were tied.
Welch said she hopes Schafer finds work soon.

"He heard me needing help, and he helped me. And then you fire him in this economy? It's just wrong," she said. "It is absolutely wrong."
A few thoughts about this:

- Litigation in America is completely out of control. Many companies have initiated policies such as the one cited by Randalls because criminals have sued companies and won. Tort reform is badly needed and long overdue.
- Criminals now can prey on customers in Randalls because they know store employees cannot give chase.
- Military veterans, who have been trained to protect Americans, should be better appreciated by employers including Randalls Food Stores.
- Americans, who have been told they need to stand up to bullies, are now shown what happens when they become involved and actually do stand up to bullies.
- Americans, who for too long have had a "don't get involved" attitude, now have a reason to do just that.

Judging from the outrage in Austin, Randalls has been hearing from many customers including those who have vowed to boycott the store until Mr. Schafer is rehired. Want to contact Randalls?
Randalls Corporate Office
Brian Dowling, VP of Public Affairs
5918 Stoneridge Mall Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588
Tel: 925-467-3000 Fax: 925-467-3323

Randall's Food Market - Austin area
Gattis School Rd, Round Rock, TX 78664
(512) 246-0390 2051

"Randalls is UnAmerican" on Facebook
On a personal note, I have shopped at Randalls while visiting my sister in Austin and they are nice grocery stores.

However, this incident is, in my opinion, a sad lack of understanding on behalf of management in taking an individual incident into consideration instead of hiding behind a blanket company policy.

What happens to Mr. Schafer remains to be seen. Unless there is something we are unaware of about his employment, I would hope Randalls would reconsider and rehire this military veteran ... and thank him profoundly for his service to this country ... while realizing how fortunate they are to find such a dedicated employee.

Dem Jeanette Rishell campaign seeks to squash political speech?

Greg Letiecq at Black Velvet Bruce Li must have hit a nerve when his video questioning the Jeanette Rishell campaign caused the campaign to censor his YouTube video criticizing the candidate.

Today a press release from Mr. Letiecq exposed the issue:
Manassas, Virginia: The campaign of Jeanette Rishell, a candidate running for the 50th District House of Delegates in Virginia has filed a copyright infringement claim with YouTube regarding a video created by local blogger Greg Letiecq on July 29th. The video criticizes her selection of a campaign manager and uses short clips from her own campaign videos to demonstrate the hypocrisy of claiming to support family values, but hiring someone to represent her campaign who posted pictures of used condoms on her public Facebook page, written articles advocating homosexual relationships, and had supported including hard-core pornography videos in the collection of the library at Rochester University.

“YouTube maintains a policy of disabling video content after receiving any complaints regarding copyright infringement, so the videos are currently unavailable on YouTube” said Letiecq, the blogger who operates the Black Velvet Bruce Li blog. “It is unprecedented for a political campaign to allege copyright infringement when someone uses short clips of their campaign videos, and this is a clear effort to stifle criticism of her bad judgment by misusing the law.”

Copyright law provides limited use of the material of others under the “fair use doctrine,” particularly when such use is essential for parody, criticism or educational purposes and is limited to the minimum portion of the original work necessary. Recently, a similar “fair use” issue involving a video by the National Organization for Marriage and contested by Perez Hilton was resolved by YouTube in favor of the “fair use” of Perez Hilton's statements. Using short clips of a video for permitted purposes, even without authorization, is permissible "fair use" under Title 17 Section 107 of the United States Code.

Ben Tribbett, the blogger behind “Not Larry Sabato” called the Rishell campaign's actions “total insanity” in a post late on July 29th he decided to make the video available for download from his own servers so they could evaluate the claims of the Rishell campaign themselves. The attempt to misuse copyright law in an effort to stifle free political speech has failed because of a bipartisan effort by Virginia bloggers to stand up for free political speech.

* Electronic Frontier Foundation FAQ on “fair use”
* Copyrights and Campaigns Blog on National Organization For Marriage and Perez Hilton
* Video “Jeanette Rishell and Used Condom Girl"

Eric Cantor on Fox & Friends this morning

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA, GOP Minority Whip) was on Fox & Friends this morning talking with Steve Doocy about the socialized health care bill currently in Congress. Rep. Cantor's hope is that Congress will slow down and actually read the bill even while the Blue Dog Democrats are being wooed by Nancy Pelosi and crew.

Polls now show 42% of Americans disapprove of socialized medicine; only 36% want it. Rep. Cantor hopes that the August break for Congress will give representatives an opportunity to talk with their constituents and hear from them.

August ... attend townhall meetings and let your reps know how you feel about socialized health care. We don't need the government taking over our health care.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

McDonnell ~ Bolling ~ Cuccinelli ... leading by double digits

Double digits, double digits, double digits. That's how much the GOP team is leading with one month left of summer. The latest results come from SurveyUSA:

Bob McDonnell (R): 55%
Creigh Deeds (D): 40%

Bill Bolling (R): 54%
Jody Wagner (D): 42%

Ken Cuccinelli (R): 53%
Steve Shannon (D): 42%

Kaine has no $$ for rest areas ... but can buy land & laptops

Well this is nice. Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine shut down 18 interstate rest areas and a welcome center, something the general public and tourists use on a daily basis, because VDOT said it did not have the $9 million necessary to maintain them.

But last week it was learned the state was buying 61,000 laptop computers at the cost of $9,000 each for a total contract of $3.1 billion. BILLION! We could have bought cheaper laptops and saved the rest areas with the leftover money.

Today it was learned Gov. Kaine announced that the Commonwealth was buying 1,000 acres of land for a natural preserve at the cost of $14.2 million ... more than enough money to save the rest areas which would have been much more useful to the general population than yet another natural area. Maybe Kaine is planning to allow travelers with no rest areas to "rest" in the natural area.

Does Gov. Kaine need a lesson in priorities? Isn't money better spent on projects that will get the most use from the very taxpayers who fund them ... projects like rest areas?

Virginia advertises tourism ... yet Gov. Kaine closed rest areas used by tourists. Virginia (including Tim Kaine) advertises our state parks ... yet Kaine closed the rest areas that those who travel to state parks would use.

* Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell said the rest areas should be reopened.

* Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said the rest areas should be reopened.

* Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) said the rest areas should be reopened.

* Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) said the rest areas should be reopened.

* Del. Chris Saxman (R-Staunton) said the rest areas should be reopened.

* Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave) said the rest areas should be reopened.

So why are the Democrats keeping the rest areas closed?

ATTN Congress: Read the bill!

Congress doesn't want to take the time to READ THE BILL. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich) sees no reason to read the bill. President Barack Obama promised not to rush through bills ... and has now reneged on that promise.

If you want to read all 1,018 pages of the bill, CLICK HERE for the pdf file. And urge your representatives to read the bill!

Lunch in Staunton with the girls

Byers Street Bistro, located at the Wharf in
historic downtown Staunton, has sidewalk dining.

Lunch with the girls ... Barb & Poppet.

The weather was cool with a drizzle of rain but we were seated under the table umbrellas.

Gifts from Poppet ... "Pecan Biscuits" ... from her Middlebrook General Store.

A trolley stop is beside the Bistro. The trolleys offer free passenger service and are a unique part of historic Staunton.

Irish Alley Restaurant, located on Johnson Street across from the Wharf, also has outdoor patio dining.

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
July 29, 2009

Are global warming fanatics ignoring global cooling?

I heard the radio ad again this morning that outlines "weather disasters" and concludes by suggesting, "Maybe the earth is trying to tell us something." The announcer then directs listeners to

Could I direct you to Ice Cap and Perhaps those global warming worshipers need to hear that Chicago had the coldest July in over 60 years, and over 1,000 low temperature records were set for July, and that many scientists believe the earth is in a cooling period.

Will you join the Tea Party Patriots in DC?

What: Tea Party Express ~ March on Washington

Destination: Washington, DC
Date: 09.12.2009
Who: Patriotic Americans who are tired of an overreaching government

Please help us continue to build momentum for the tea party movement as the Tea Party Express holds 34 Tea Party rallies in cities across America from August 28 - September 12. East coast patriots will travel directly to DC on Sept. 12.

Tea Party Express Website - read all about it
09.12.2009 March on Washington Website - read all about it

Buses will be available from the Shenandoah Valley to Washington, DC, on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, to join thousands from across America meeting on The Mall to stand up and speak out. Will you join us?

Cost: $35 per person
Pickup sites: Staunton, Harrisonburg, New Market, Woodstock. Others will be added as needed.
Contact: Email for info and to reserve a seat

A blogger's loss....

Gateway Pundit's mother passed away and he writes a moving tribute ... a reminder to us all that life is fleeting....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Americans for Prosperity: "Hands Off My Health Care"

From Ben Marchi, VA Director of AFP....

Americans for Prosperity-VA has launched a statewide bus tour to expose the truth about Obama’s Canadian-style health care. We hit the road Monday on our first leg traveling through much of Southside Virginia.

Our first stop was in Amelia Court House where we were joined by Delegate Tommy Wright and former Senator Eva Scott. Would you believe we had nearly 200 folks show up at 8 am before they headed off to work? We couldn’t believe it! This was our first clue to how big this tour was going to be.

After Amelia, we got back on the road and headed West to Farmville where Senator Frank Ruff joined over a hundred of his constituents in welcoming us to his district.

Next came South Boston, and let me tell you, the folks in South Boston know how to turn out! Amazingly, 368 citizens showed up signed our Hands Off My Health Care petition.

The last stop of the day was in Danville on the steps of the municipal building where Delegate Don Merricks joined us at what once again was a 100+ crowd. Click here for video highlights.

We’re in the midst of Day Two of what will be a six-day tour of Virginia. We will visit 26 localities and travel through many more. Today we’ll be in Martinsville, Hillsville, Wytheville and Bristol--less than 24 hours before President Obama shows up Bristol to try to give support to Senators Webb and Warner on this issue. They’re taking a beating, you know? And AFP is leading the charge. We’re taking this fight on the road and we’re going to win!

I’ll keep you posted on these exciting events as the week continues.

"I won't vote for Obama again"

Check this out ... CNN Video and Hot Air post.

Monday's 20th HoD forum ... a long night

Two candidates had signs.
David Karaffa's signs said, "KARAFFA: Principles ~ Courage ~ Momentum"

Candidates listen as Del. Chris Saxman (left) addresses the audience. He received two standing ovations.

Augusta businessman Tom Sheets ("I Am Voting For The Chick" sign man) and Trixie Averill (RPV Western Vice Chairwoman/Bob McDonnell rep).

Del. Steve Landes (R-25th House District) was there as well as Del. Chris Saxman. Del. Ben Cline was not there nor was Sen. Emmett Hanger.

SWAC blogger Yankee Phil with his great camera taking photos of the event.

Chris Graham of Augusta Free Press.

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
July 27, 2009

20th HoD candidate ...

... is Dickie Bell, Staunton City Councilman. He will be the Republican nominee to replace Chris Saxman on the ticket to run against Democrat Erik Curren. If Bell wins, it will leave an opening on City Council that will probably be filled by the majority Democrat members with another Democrat.

Photo by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
July 27, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Augusta County "Operation Iraqi Freedom" vet talks about war

He's a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom ... he has guarded terrorists at Guantanamo ... he has trained young troops heading to war.

An Augusta County resident who is a friend and neighbor talked with me after returning from Iraq in this three-part conversation originally posted in 2007. It's as timely today as it was two years ago ... and he continues to serve in the military protecting this country from foreign insugents.

* Victory in Iraq! Conversation with a soldier, Part 1
* Victory in Iraq! Conversation with a soldier, Part 2
* Victory in Iraq! Conversation with a soldier, Part 3

Tonight: Finding the candidate to replace Chris Saxman

Eight years ago in August 2001 at Buffalo Gap High School, hundreds of citizens turned out to cast their votes for the two Republican candidates running for the newly-created 20th House District seat. Their choices were Chris Saxman or Charles Curry ... and Chris Saxman won by an overwhelming vote. He went on to resoundingly win over Democrat Tracy Pyles in November.

Tonight at Buffalo Gap High School, an unknown number of citizens will turn out, not with the possibility of voting, but to listen to the seven candidates who have thrown their names in the hat to be considered by the 20th House Legislative District committee who will then select one candidate.

I worked that mass meeting in 2001 as a volunteer for Chris Saxman ... and my memories are flashing back to eight years ago. As I drove to Buffalo Gap High School Sunday afternoon, I remembered the 35-year-old energetic, enthusiastic young man who had walked all over the 20th District knocking on doors, talking with folks, and asking for their vote and support. His energy was boundless, and we were caught up in it. After the mass meeting at Buffalo Gap that night, we all met at The Depot restaurant in Staunton for a celebration gathering ... and then we rolled up our sleeves and got back to work. Chris ran for the finish line ... and we ran with him.

Along the way, tragedy struck America as 9/11 occurred shortly after the mass meeting win. That horror affected me deeply and made me realize how very important it was to be involved in the political process as I saw that the future safety of our country depended on those who were our leaders. President George W. Bush stood firm against terrorism that fall ... I knew I would be comfortable having Chris Saxman in Virginia leadership.

Tonight Dickie Bell, Staunton councilman, will be on stage asking to be the candidate along with a familiar face from eight years ago, Charles Curry, as well as five other candidates including John Beghtol, Cliff Fretwell, Ray Ergenbright, Chuck Hawkins, and David Karaffa.

The 20th House District takes in all of Highland, the eastern part of Augusta, part of Rockingham, and all of Staunton.

Tonight's forum begins at 7 pm at Buffalo Gap High School located on Rt. 42. The public is encouraged to attend.

Saxman joins Amundson in saying goodbye ... with a touch of humor

Our own Del. Chris Saxman (R-Staunton) and Northern Virginia's Del. Kris Amundson (D-Fairfax) co-wrote a piece in Sunday's Washington Post looking back over their years in the House of Delegates.

Funny, serious, informative, and with a tinge of sadness, it tells the ups and downs of working in the pressure cooker known as the Virginia General Assembly.

They began by noting:
Saturday morning cartoons used to have a short Schoolhouse Rock video called, "How a Bill Becomes a Law." We learned that the video is not even close to reality.
And it goes on from there ... a good read that looks through the eyes of two delegates who obviously loved what they did but who decided, each on their own at separate times, that it was time to change course. We wish them both well in their future endeavors.

Doors, windows & gates of Warm Springs

Welcoming entrance to farmWindow box and hay bales ... part of rural life.
Warm Springs Inn entranceway
Historic brick house
A welcoming entranceway
Cottage in Warm Springs
Francisco Cottage

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
July 25, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Historic Warm Springs

Bath County Courthouse

Francisco Cottage

Overflowing with an abundance of flowers....

Downtown Warm Springs street

Bath County Library

One of many mountain farms

Gate to cottage

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
July 25, 2009

Monday night ... 20th HoD candidates line up

Monday night seven candidates who have entered their names into the 20th House of Delegates race to become the Republican candidate in place of retiring delegate Chris Saxman will participate in a public forum at Buffalo Gap High School in western Augusta County.

Watch Monday for more details.

From On High blog having technical difficulty

Thanks to Jerry Fuhrman's daughter, Jodi, who alerted blogosphere readers that From On High had been affected by weather-related damage that necessitated calling in the southwest mountains' version of the Geek Squad. That explained why my blog reading was lighter this morning.... Looking forward to Jerry being back online soon.

Homestead's Jefferson Pools ... "take the waters" in the hot springs

The Jefferson Pools are located five miles north of The Homestead Resort and date back over 200 years. The buildings have remained much the same throughout the years.
Located on Rt. 220 just north of Warm Springs
The Ladies Pool House
Pathway between Ladies and Gentlemen's pool houses.
Doorway to Gentlemen's Pool House

History of The Jefferson Pools

The magnificent, naturally warm mineral springs that are just five miles from The Homestead developed as a spa resort in the mid 1750s, and on June 1, 1761, an octagonal wooden building was opened to the public. It had been constructed around the pool of warm spring water, and it remains today very much as it was then.

The pool inside is about 120 feet in circumference, and holds 40,000 gallons of constantly flowing, crystal clear mineral spring water. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a Virginia Historic Landmark, it is considered the oldest spa structure in America.

Warm Springs expanded rapidly as a spa resort. Hotels, dining rooms and kitchens, taverns, livery stables and a blacksmith shop, a church, laundry and related buildings were built to accommodate the growing numbers of guests who arrived to "Take the Waters."

Thomas Jefferson was one of those travelers, arriving in 1818 at the age of 75, and suffering from what he described as "rheumatism." He stayed for over three weeks, taking the waters several times each day, in the Gentlemen's Pool House that continues to be used to this day.

On August 13, 1818, Jefferson rode to The Homestead, where he enjoyed breakfast and dinner, and soaked in our legendary hot springs. And in a letter dated August 14, 1818 to his daughter Martha, Jefferson spread the reputation of our therapeutic natural mineral spring waters at both Warm Springs and The Homestead: he described them in glowing terms, saying that they were "of the first merit." And so, these historic natural spring pools are named in honor of their most illustrious patron -- they are The Homestead's Jefferson Pools.

On June 1, 1836, a separate Ladies Pool House was opened, fed by a separate spring whose waters have the same properties as those which supply the adjacent Gentlemen's Pool House.

The Jefferson Pools are continuously fed by several natural mineral springs from deep beneath the earth. The superlative, crystal clear spring waters at the Jefferson Pools are rich in minerals, and are a constant 98 degrees at their source - perfect, natural body temperature.

Taking the waters at the Jefferson Pools continues to be a favorite activity today, and it is just as relaxing and restorative as it was in 1761 when the Gentlemen's Pool House was built.

You can "take the waters" for $17. Soak in these legendary mineral spring waters for an hour and you will understand why Jefferson pronounced them to be the very best. A restorative that has found favor since ancient times, and is sure to be your favorite, too.

--Information from The Homestead Resort

Mountain farm....

Mountain farm

Mountain meadow

Photos by Lynn Mitchell
July 25, 2009

Back roads of western Virginia

Storm was coming through the gap.

Garth Newel Music Center in Warm Springs

Photos by Lynn Mitchell
July 25, 2009