General Assembly 2015: OSH Highlights

The General Assembly convened earlier this month for its annual legislative session in Richmond. At current count, its 100 Delegates and 40 Senators have before them nearly 2,400 bills. Nearly all of them will die somewhere before reaching the governor’s desk, which is fine because a great many of them are some combination of boring, […]

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Another Jail Population Check-in

It’s January 2015. Plans to build a second jail in Harrisonburg are under review in Richmond. Ideas that could allow the city and county to constrain or avoid the undertaking altogether are supposed to be under consideration. One of those ideas: joining the Middle River Regional Jail Authority, although that’s been surrounded with secrecy and […]

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Chicken Disobedience in Harrisonburg

Earlier this week, EMU history prof Mark Sawin and his backyard chickens played a starring role in a story I wrote for Modern Farmer. Ostensibly, the article was reviewing a chicken exercise product that’s just hit the market. But of more interest to a Harrisonburg audience might be the fact that Sawin’s cheerful possession of […]

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Cool Show On Saturday at EMU

A buzzed-about, one-man folk band with Harrisonburg ties, Possessed by Paul James, is coming back to town this weekend for a performance at EMU’s MainStage Theater. Possessed by Paul James is the stage name of Konrad Wert, who graduated from EMU in 2001 after seven years and repeated drop-outs. Much more detail about all that […]

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Beloved Community-Building

It’s been a year now since Cantrell Avenue in Harrisonburg was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Way. It was, in the mind of Stan Maclin – one of the primary leaders in the effort to rename a local street – an enormous step toward ushering in in Harrisonburg the “Beloved Community” that King envisioned. It […]

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Local Economic Indicators & Fuzzy Math

A while ago, Old South High wrote about seemingly contradictory economic data for the Harrisonburg metro area (the city plus Rockingham County). Figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis suggested negative GDP growth – aka recession – of -0.5 percent for the metro area in 2012. At the same time, other economic indicators like unemployment […]

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The Strategic Conquest of Harrisonburg

Have you ever plotted how you’d lead your army to seize and subdue Harrisonburg? I’d probably strike my first blow up in Park View where the Mennonites are unlikely to offer much armed resistance, establish artillery positions on the EMU hill, shell downtown and then show the rest of town the full measure of my […]

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Guest Post: An Open Letter to Harrisonburg about Marijuana Decriminalization

This is a guest post by Mike Wade, who contacted Old South High last month after reading a recent article about marijuana arrests in Harrisonburg. To the City of Harrisonburg, Virginia: When I saw the post that Andrew wrote last month about State Senator Adam Ebbin’s marijuana decriminalization bill before the upcoming General Assembly session, […]

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The Year of the Jailbird

This summer, lots of people suddenly began talking about the very rapidly growing number of inmates at the jail downtown. Ever since, 2014 feels like it’s been the year of the jail on here. For reasons that have yet to be fully extracted from the vast, foggy morass that is the local criminal justice system, […]

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Guest Post: Jail Alternative Series Wrap-up

JMU grad student Joanmarie Foster wraps up her guest series on jail alternatives. We’ve gone over a variety of programs and alternatives to the traditional justice system and jail structure, yet we’ve barely even scratched the surface of options available. (See Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 of this series.) There are pretrial services, defender-based […]

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