Chris Christie for RNC Chair?

chris-christie-1New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is eyeing the Republican National Committee (RNC) chair position after current chair Reince Priebus accepted a position in the Donald Trump administration as chief of staff, according to Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt.

Isenstadt noted, “One person said the governor had embarked on an aggressive, ‘full-court press’ in hopes of getting the chairmanship. Christie began seriously considering the job over the last week and has concluded that he would be a solid fit, several of his aides said.”

The consideration of Christie, who was recently eased out of Trump’s transition, interestingly after the conviction of Christie’s former aides over “Bridgegate,” is not the first name that comes to mind when thinking RNC chair:

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Virginia late autumn woods … the road home to the Shenandoah Valley


We took the back road home to Staunton from Richmond after the long Thanksgiving weekend, enjoying the late autumn leaves and winter woods along Rt. 250. A late-morning start had us ahead of expected heavy traffic as students returned to western Virginia universities and travelers began their journey home.




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Extra Thankful This Year


The day is over, food has been consumed, we’ve enjoyed time with family, and now we have settled in with a Christmas movie. But as I reflect on the day, this year I am extra grateful.

Five years ago we had a serious health threat with my mom. Throughout it all, my step-dad was the energizer bunny as we dealt with hospitalization, fall backs, and all that goes with caring for someone with chronic health issues.

This year our energizer bunny had a health scare of his own. His little energizer heart was not doing so well and the cardiologists said he needed stents, and a new heart valve. Those can be serious issues for older patients but the prognosis was dire if he did nothing. September and October were spent at hospitals as my sister, and my husband and I, split our time between health facilities and at my parents’ home helping out during that uncertain time.

Today as we gathered around the dining room table for our Thanksgiving meal, we were grateful to have both parents with us, and grateful that my step-dad had not only made it safely through the surgeries and procedures but is again thriving with a new pep to his step. He is quickly regaining his strength and stamina, and is almost back to normal.

As families gather for holidays and other events, we never know who may not be with us the next time we are together. This year prayers of gratitude went up that our energizer bunny had his usual place at the head of the table and performed his usual task of praying over the meal, and us. For as long as we are blessed with the presence of our parents, we will be grateful. They are among our Thanksgiving blessings.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving from


“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
— Charles Dickens extends Thanksgiving greetings with gratitude to our readers for continuing to make us a statewide voice in the Virginia conservative online news and opinion websites. 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.


Chick-fil-A Planned For Staunton


The announcement of a Chick-fil-A coming to Staunton finally made it to the public on Tuesday, a little later than originally planned, but better late than never.

According to reporter Laura Peters with the News Leader:

Staunton Frontier LLC plans to bring retail, restaurants and lodging to a 42-acre area off U.S. 250 and Frontier Drive on land adjacent to Sheetz. The anticipated development is across the street from another mixed use development called Staunton Crossing, which has nearly 300 acres available. Two hotels have already signed on for the Staunton Crossing location and is expected to bring multiple food options, large retail, a gas station and possibly high-end office buildings.

Located at Exit 222 off I-81 on the busy Richmond Road (U.S. 250) corridor near Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, the chicken restaurant will be at the entrance to the Frontier Culture Museum within a half mile of the interstate. Its proximity to the heavily traveled interstate makes it the only easily-accessed Chick-fil-A between Harrisonburg and Roanoke. Staunton’s location is by far the fastest on-off for motorists as they travel north-south.

It’s often a hurry-up-and-wait situation when developing sites and recruiting businesses. Hopefully, Staunton will have its own Chick-fil-A soon.

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November 22, 1963 … the Day America Wept


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
–President John F. Kennedy

It’s one of those dates that you always remember where you were and what you were doing when the news broke that President John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas. November 22, 1963.

In America, everyone wept — Democrats, Republicans, Protestants, Catholics — all felt the violent loss of a well-liked president who was assassinated. Schools were out, a state funeral was broadcast on television, a nation mourned.

Could it really be 53 years since that fateful day….


2017: Rob Bell Drops Bid for Attorney General — Updated


Rob Bell at Powhatan Mass Meeting earlier this year. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell.

I didn’t see this one coming until an email dropped into my in-box today with the announcement from Delegate Rob Bell that he has ended his campaign for attorney general in 2017:

Now that the 2016 election is over, it is time for the 2017 Virginia statewide campaigns to begin in earnest.  After careful consideration, I have decided that I will not seek the position of Attorney General.

I have spent the last year traveling the state and laying the groundwork for a campaign.  However, as you may know, I have two young children, one of whom has special needs.  This school year has brought significant new challenges that require my personal and immediate attention.  Despite my best efforts, it has become clear to me that I can’t possibly fulfill my responsibilities as a father while making a statewide run.

I am therefore ending my Attorney General campaign.  I am profoundly grateful to everyone who has offered support, time, or encouragement.  Unless told otherwise, I will be returning the donations I have received.  Though I won’t be a statewide candidate I do look forward to strongly supporting the Republican ticket, especially against Mark Herring.

For several years, I have had the honor of serving in the General Assembly seat once held by Thomas Jefferson. I look forward to continuing my work in the House of Delegates and spending Thanksgiving with my family.

Delegate Bell ran for attorney general four years ago when he graciously stepped aside to cede the nomination to State Senator Mark Obenshain who went on to unsuccessfully challenge Democrat Mark Herring.

Generally when a candidate steps aside to make room for another, it is assumed the nomination will be his or hers the next go round. Bell has been everywhere campaigning — at Republican events, meetings, conventions, mass meetings.

Early in 2016 a challenger came on the scene, a newcomer out of Richmond named John Adams. Little known at the time, he has proven to be a ferocious contender, gradually honing his skills at campaigning as the months passed.

Still, to see today’s email from Rob is stunning, although understandable. As a mom who spent 16 years homeschooling her children, I can certainly vouch for family coming first. It is commendable to see someone who is climbing the ladder of success give up a dream for the betterment of his children who almost always suffer from parents being away for the time commitment necessary for public service.

Delegate Bell isn’t going anywhere. He will be in Richmond for the 2017 General Assembly session. His decision brings to mind the saying, “When a door closes, a window opens.” It will be exciting to see what opportunities will open for him down the road.

Update: A statement was released by AG candidate John Adams:

“Rob Bell has fought tirelessly for conservative causes in the House of Delegates since he was elected in 2002.  And over the past 10 months, I have been crisscrossing the Commonwealth, often right alongside Rob, as we campaign to defeat Mark Herring.  I have gotten to know him well out on the trail, and my respect for him has only continued to grow.  He is a superb public servant, and a fine man.

“Rob has been committed to defeating Herring for a long time.  As we move forward, I will draw on the example Rob has set as a tenacious and relentless fighter in the battle to win back the AG’s office.  I look forward to seeking Rob’s advice and counsel as we continue to campaign to restore the Attorney General’s Office to its rightful place in our system of government.”

That leaves the already-announced John Adams and Chuck Smith in the race but there are questions about whether this will open the field to others. Stay tuned….

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Autumn 2016 … Winter Woods Return, Thankgiving Blessings

Autumn was late arriving this year and warm temps hung on into November. Leaf color was about two weeks later than usual and, like past years, when it began, it went fast. This past weekend a cold front passed through the Shenandoah Valley complete with below freezing temps and extremely blustery winds. Any leaves clinging to trees were no match and flew away, leaving behind bare branches as the winter woods returned. It was a good time to walk the yard and woods to see the transformation from fall into winter.

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Photos of Skyline Drive in late November

[Originally posted November 2014. Updated.]

??????????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 (see The mountains were calling) … here are more photos from a wonderful day on the mountain.

??????????From Staunton, we took I-81 north to the Weyers Cave exit, then drove to the traffic light at Keezletown Road and turned left, following it to Rt. 33 east of Harrisonburg. Turning right, we drove east on Rt. 33 toward the mountains and jumped onto Skyline Drive at the Swift Run Gap entrance. A sign at the entrance was a reminder to visitors that the Drive closes daily during hunting season (November 14-January 8, 2017) from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. The sign in this photo says 15 miles to Big Meadows. Our destination was Skyland which is about 10 miles beyond Big Meadows so we had a nice leisurely drive ahead of us. It was relaxing.

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The Gleaming Giant Lording Over My Kitchen

refrigerator-freezerThere’s a stainless steel giant in my kitchen. It’s our new side-by-side refrigerator-freezer. But this isn’t a post about a new refrigerator … it’s a post about having an appliance that is smarter than we are. And about bargains.

We didn’t decide to buy a new fridge just because we wanted something new. Our old one that was over twenty years old was in need of life support after we found frozen items thawing, and the refrigerator side wasn’t do its job of cooling edibles.


A trip to the appliance store was eye-opening. If you haven’t bought a fridge in the past 20 years, it’s a new world out there. They are larger, more energy efficient, and made up of panels and switches that make it feel almost as if a degree is required to operate.  Almost.

There are multiple lights inside both the fridge and freezer sides. You could host Disney on Ice inside with all those spotlights. What happened to the single, bare light bulb in the back? They’re LED lights, too, that we’re told will last forever, or pretty darn close.

The freezer has a computer-type screen on the front that announces the temperature of the fridge and freezer, on display for all to see. That’s accompanied with a menu of options including variety of freezing choices, when to change the water filter or time to change the air filter (yes, it has an air filter!), and more. The water-ice dispenser on the door has its own illumination and offers three choices: water, cube ice, or crushed ice. Drawers on the fridge side cool separately.

I am awed.

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Downtown Staunton the Weekend Before Thanksiving

staunton-6Thursday night in downtown Staunton … this is looking west from the top of the hill on Johnson Street at its intersection with Coalter Street. Mary Baldwin College is on the right, and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Birthplace is on the left. I used an iPhone so pics aren’t the best but give a sense of Staunton at night.

staunton-7Christmas is in the air with illuminated snowflakes along Beverley Street, and twinkly lights in shop windows. Thanksiving is in one week. See here for weekend activities in downtown Staunton.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell



One Week From Today … Thanksgiving!


Don’t look now but — shhh — one week from today is Thanksgiving. Isn’t it amazing how fast time flies between Halloween and Thanksgiving? Even more is how quickly the four weeks fly between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We’re in the time of year that is the fastest and busiest at our house. Menu planning, decorating, gift buying, leaf raking, parties, events — it’s finally here.

Of course, we love it. My sister and I plan Thanksgiving, putting our ideas together as we make up the menu, and then implement it all with family and friends.

And then we all know what comes next. Black Friday! Sales, deals, people — Christmas shopping! It’s a tradition. We don’t trudge out super early but enjoy mingling in the mix of people with holiday music playing and the ching-ching of cash registers.

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. One week to go … better get busy!


RTD: Tim Kaine Says He Won’t Run for President In 2020


Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Jeff Schapiro posted on Facebook on Thursday:

JUST IN: Tim Kaine, freshly defeated for vice president, tell the T-D’s Jim Nolan this morning that he’ll not seek the presidency in 2020. Kaine, Virginia’s junior U.S. senator, says he’s gearing for re-election to a second term in 2018.

Of course, we’re talking four years from now so anything could happen before then. But for now, here is Jim Nolan’s interview with Senator Kaine.


Fire Danger High In Western Virginia


Graphic courtesy of National Park Service.

It’s dry in western Virginia. Fall has not brought much rain and, with freshly-fallen autumn leaves littering the mountain woods, fire danger is high.

With that in mind, and with forest fires raging in the mountains of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park decided to be proactive and prohibit fire of any kind in the driest portion of the park.

Beginning Wednesday, November 16, the South District of the Skyline Drive, located between I-64 at Afton Mountain and Rt. 33, is off-limits to campfires and more, according to the National Park Service:

Building, attending, maintaining or using an open fire anywhere within the South District of Shenandoah National Park is prohibited. This ban includes:

o    All wood, charcoal, coal or other solid fuel open air fires.
o    Fires in grates, grills, rings or pits in campgrounds, picnic areas, shelters and huts.
o    Please note that wood, charcoal, coal or other solid fuel fires are always prohibited in the backcountry of the entire Shenandoah National Park.
The use of pressurized gas-fuel camp stoves and backpacking stoves will be allowed in Dundo Picnic Grounds and in the backcountry. However, the use of liquid-fuel or wood-fuel portable stoves is prohibited.
Smoking will be permitted only inside vehicles and at established paved or gravel parking areas. Smoking will be prohibited on all trails.

Restrictions will continue indefinitely until conditions improve.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift.

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