Category Archives: uncategorized

31 Days of October, Day 28

Yesterday I shared the beginning of our journey home from Blacksburg over the weekend (see 31 Days of October, Day 27), and left off at Paint Bank on Rt. 311 in western Craig County. Heading north, we then turned onto Rt. 194 to Covington as we continued northeast toward Augusta County.

In Alleghany County outside Covington we passed Humpback Bridge, the oldest covered bridge in Virginia (see 159-year-old Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County survives another flood).

Leaves in Covington and logging trucks heading to the pulp plant that keeps this town alive.
By the time we reached Falling Spring Falls on Rt. 220 north of Covington, fog was setting in and the rain was picking up. The falls were at full speed after all the rain we’ve had — just about the prettiest I’ve ever seen them. Often in October there’s not much water going over so this was quite a show.

Then on to the Homestead, one of my favorite places to be, where we stopped for a bit before continuing home.

Then north on Rt. 220 through Bath County to Highland County. Color was spotty along this route — bright in some areas, dull and finished in others.

Color in western Highland was finished — Hightown, Blue Grass Valley, Mill Gap — leaves were done and many if not most of the trees were bare. It already looked like winter.

Eastern Highland County

Top of Shenandoah Mountain on the Augusta-Highland County line.

Descending Shenandoah Mountain on Rt. 250 into Augusta County where autumn color was putting on a nice show.

As we approached home a dark cloud hung over the Appalachians in western Augusta.

We had traveled from Blacksburg to Staunton, and passed through Montgomery, Giles, Craig, Alleghany, Bath, Highland, and Augusta counties. We had seen color at its peak and areas where peak was gone. All in all, it was a wonderfully scenic drive that showcased the best of western Virginia.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

9:59 a.m. … 9/11: South Tower collapses

9:59 a.m. The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. remembers 9/11 … may we never forget.

9:37 a.m. … 9/11: The Pentagon Is Hit

9-11 pentagon

9:37 a.m.  Pilots and crew on American Airlines Flight 77 are overpowered as terrorists hijack the plane and fly it into the Pentagon. All 64 people on board were killed including the five hijackers and six crew, as well as 125 people who were at work in the building. remembers … may we never forget.

U.S. House Schedule for Monday, June 26, 2017

From Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office….

On Monday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

One Minute Speeches

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 2547 – Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Rob Woodall / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

2) H.R. 1684 – Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

3) H.R. 2258 – ADVANCE Act (Sponsored by Rep. Pete Aguilar / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

4) H.R. 1726 – Coast Guard Improvement and Reform Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

Special Order Speeches

Printable PDF

Lynchburg Runs Out of Ballots for 22nd SD Special Election

Some Lynchburg City precincts ran out of ballots for Tuesday’s special election in the 22nd Senate District, according to the News & Advance and voters in the area, after higher-than-expected turnout.

In Fluvanna and Goochland, sources familiar with turnout said it was approaching 25 percent, high numbers for a special election.

Lynchburg voters arriving were not happy when they found they could not cast their ballots. From the News & Advance:

Lynchburg voters looking to cast their ballots in the special election for the 22nd Senate District today are encountering an unusual snag in the democratic process – voting precincts out of ballots.

Voter Leighton Dodd, who said he planned to vote for Democrat Ryant Washington, told The News & Advance that he tried to vote at 11:30 a.m. at Bedford Hills School precinct but there were no ballots. When he came back after lunch around 1 p.m., the precinct had ran out again.

“To not have enough ballots is ridiculous,” Dodd said as he sat in a line of 30 voters who were waiting for more ballots to be delivered so that they could cast their votes in the special election.

Despite reports of a slow morning, a resident who arrived at Lynchburg’s First Christian Church at 5:20 was voter number 468, and reported that people were “flooding in to vote.”

One volunteer who arrived at a Lynchburg precinct at 7:30 this morning, reported that 100 ballots were originally sent by the electoral board, and those were gone by 11:30. They were resupplied and ran out again after two hours but were quickly given 100 more ballots. The last batch, however, cannot be read by the scanner so they will need to be counted by hand.

With polls closing at 7:00, it is unknown if the snafu will cause a delay in counting and reporting final results but one volunteer said it was going to be a long night.

UPDATE #1: Democrat Ryant Washington lost his home precinct by 21 votes.

January Special Election for Three General Assembly Seats

vote-3Virginia voters in three locations will participate in a Special Election on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, one day before the start of this year’s General Assembly session. Republicans have high hopes of keeping two of the seats but did not run a candidate for the third.

State Senate District 22
The person to vote for here is Republican Mark Peake who overwhelmingly won the GOP nomination.

The seat was vacated by Republican Tom Garrett when he won the 5th Congressional District seat in November, and includes part of Lynchburg City, Amherst County, Appomattox County, Buckingham County, Cumberland County, Fluvanna County, Goochland County, and part of Louisa County.

Democrats are running former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington and feel they have a chance to pick up this seat which would create a 20-20 tie in the State Senate with Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam as the tie breaker. Even though the 22nd District is usually reliably red, Dems smell blood in the water with a split vote between Republican Peake and Independent Joseph Hines.

House District 85
The person to vote for here is Norman “Rocky” Holcomb, a Captain in the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Department and Marine Corps veteran.

The seat was vacated by Republican Scott Taylor when he won the 2nd Congressional District seat in November. Captain Holcomb is running against Democrat Cheryl Turpin. This district is evenly divided so, even though Taylor was a Republican, it is not a given that the GOP will hold onto the seat.

State Senate District 9
The seat was vacated by Democrat Donald McEachin when he won the 4th Congressional District seat in November, and includes Charles City County and parts of Henrico County, Hanover County, and Richmond City. This is a blue district and Democratic Delegate Jennifer McClellan “is a virtual lock to win the Democratic-leaning district,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She faces Libertarian Corey Fauconier.

Mark Peake Wins 22nd Senate District GOP Nomination

mark-peake-1Republican Mark Peake won the 22nd Senate District nomination Saturday in his contest against Goochland County supervisor Ken Peterson. They had competed to represent the seat vacated by State Senator Tom Garrett when he won the 5th Congressional District election in November. Garrett replaces Congressman Robert Hurt after Hurt’s decision not to seek reelection.

Peake, a Lynchburg attorney, has been a long-time volunteer and leader in the Republican Party of Virginia including chairman of the Lynchburg Republican Committee and a member of RPV’s State Central Committee. He had come under an eleventh hour attack from Rick Buchanan, Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation chairman and vice chair for the Fifth Congressional Republican District. In his email blast, Buchanan was critical, among other things, that Peake is an attorney and, therefore, just “looking for a title.”

Peake will run against the Democratic nominee, former Fluvanna County Sheriff Bryant Washington. That special election, as announced by Governor Terry McAuliffe, will be held on January 10, 2017, one day before the General Assembly’s opening on January 11.

The 22nd Senate District is a notoriously red district and even Blue Virginia realistically noted it would be difficult for a Democrat win.

The 22nd Senate District includes all of Amherst County, Appomattox County, Buckingham County, Cumberland County, Fluvanna County, Goochland County, part of Louisa County, and part of the City of Lynchburg.

When power and vindictive behavior backfire

LA TimesThe LA Times published an intriguing six-part story of vindictiveness and pettiness, familiar themes for those who have been falsely accused and slandered, especially in political circles (see Framed: She was the PTA mom everyone knew. Who would want to harm her?). In this real-life who-done-it, the innocent victim, who lived in California, was set up, only to be cleared by a patient yet tenacious investigator who believed she had been framed, coupled with an investigative reporter who picked up on the case and brought the truth to light, writing:

… the power and pettiness of the defendants, combined with the harmlessness of their victim — engendered a depth of indignation few cases matched. “Pure wickedness,” said one online commentator. “One of the most malicious things I’ve ever heard,” said another.

Pull up the story and curl up for a curious mystery and all the intrigue that surrounds it.

Remembering the Crocodile Hunter 10 years after his death

Steve Irwin

[Ten years ago today the world lost Steve Irwin, best known as the Crocodile Hunter. Only 44 years old, it was a shock. At the time I wrote about him, a post I have reposted here. Steve Irwin … 1962-2006. Originally published September 4, 2006.]


How many times over the years did we hear that expression from Steve Irwin, the “crocodile hunter,” who has been killed by a stingray in Australia?

How many times did I jump in my chair as yet another deadly snake lunged at him as he held it by its tail?

Just this past weekend I had watched as he chased down some deadly snake in a rice paddy in some remote corner of the world … and then pushed back into my chair as he cornered a Cobra that struck at him, missing by inches….

“He’s going to get bitten one of these days!” I declared.

Ironic that it wasn’t a snake that did him in … or even one of the crocs or alligators he wrestled with in the wild … but rather a stingray. Who have you ever heard of who was killed by a stingray?

Apparently the poisonous barb on its tail whipped into his chest, piercing his heart, killing him almost instantly.

Steve Irwin was only 44 years old. He was married to Terri, an American, and had two children, Bindi, age 8, and Bob, age 3.

He had a passion for life, a boyish joyfulness that exuded from him in everything he did. His zest for life was a breath of fresh air. And, yet, he put himself right in there with those deadly creatures, sometimes, in my opinion, way closer than necessary.

But I have to admire someone who lived his life exactly as he wanted. That means he died as he wanted … doing what he wanted. Not many of us can say that.

Steve Irwin … the Crocodile Hunter … we will miss you. Crickey – we will!

Tagged ,

Breaking: Ralph Smith quits as candidate for 6th Congressional District chair

From Ralph Smith’s Facebook page (see expanded companion article at Bearing Drift):

When Thomas Paine penned the words, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” he could have been speaking about Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District’s Republican Committee. When I was first approached by party leaders and activists to consider running for Sixth District Chairman, they pointed out that I could use my skills as a unifier and consensus-builder to bridge the gap that exists among factional elements within the party. I am, and have always been, happy to lend my assistance to advancing the principles of the Republican Creed, and so, I agreed to enter the race for District Chairman.

The outcomes of recent local unit chairmanship races and the degree of turnover within those units, makes it abundantly clear that the gap within the Republican party that I saw earlier has continued to expand rather than shrink. This divide has resulted in grabs for power by certain elements who are using “slating” to exclude and limit other Republicans from participating in party decisions. I believe many of these same people wish to throw out current Republican office holders, and replace them with “their own people.” While that might be an acceptable goal for Democrats, I do not feel we should do that to ourselves as Republicans. If an incumbent is not performing, let the people themselves decide at the ballot box.

The Sixth District is but an indicator of what’s happening on the national scene. Donald Trump’s rude, crude, and obnoxious campaigning has made him the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination for President. The “gap” that existed when I began this race has unfortunately expanded to a chasm. Not only does this divide affect elements within our party, but it also reflects an even greater disconnect between our party and the electorate itself! For example, while so many of the newly elected unit leaders apparently support Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s primary opponent, clearly a substantial majority of the voters within the district support our responsive and effective Congressman. The idealogical zeal of this newly emerging leadership is losing sight of practical electability.

Realizing that the environment has changed significantly since I entered this race for Chairman, there is nothing to make me want to work in a caustic environment that essentially wants to run a new candidate for every current Republican officeholder in the District and the Commonwealth. Consequently, I have decided to re-direct my energies and efforts to helping proven conservative leaders who have been serving their constituents well.

Also see Wendell Walker out, Ralph Smith in as candidate for 6th District Chair.

Tagged ,

It’s presidential primary day in South Carolina

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The candidates have given it their all and, at this point, there should be nothing left on the table. They have dashed from town halls to local eateries to the VFWs and everything in between in their quest to win the hearts and minds of voters in South Carolina. Voting takes place until 7:00 this evening.

Later this evening results will be known, campaigns will be adjusted, and the race will continue.

Go, Jeb!


This week: Mary Baldwin College Theatre presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘Patience’

MBC Patience OperaBy Lynn R. Mitchell

This week the Mary Baldwin College Theatre presents W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s opera, “Patience,” at the Fletcher Collins Theatre. Wikipedia describes “Patience” as:

… a comic opera in two acts with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera is a satire on the aesthetic movement of the 1870s and ’80s in England and, more broadly, on fads, superficiality, vanity, hypocrisy and pretentiousness; it also satirizes romantic love, rural simplicity and military bluster.
Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

8:46 a.m. … 9/11: America is under attack as World Trade Center is hit

8:46 a.m. It began with first one tower and then the other of the World Trade Center hit by commercial airliners. America was under attack.

Hiker survives black bear attack in Virginia, Yellowstone hiker killed by grizzly

BearBy Lynn R. Mitchell

A black bear attack on Saturday that injured a woman hiker from the Richmond suburb of Midlothian was a reminder that we are surrounded by national forest land and wild animals (see Midlothian woman survives bear attack in Douthat State Park and Bear attacks and wounds hiker at Douthat State Park). The attack, that took place at Douthat State Park in Bath County southwest of Staunton, is about 45 minutes from our front door. The injured hiker was with a group of five that startled the bear in a wilderness area four miles from their vehicle. All ran and the bear caught up with the woman, knocking her down and causing bite and scratch wounds that required multiple stitches on her legs and back.

Meanwhile, a 63-year-old man described as an experienced hiker was killed by a grizzly bear in the back country of Yellowstone National Park (see Yellowstone grizzly bear attack victim identified, bear caught).

Tagged , , ,

U.S. House schedule for Wed, April 29, 2015

From Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office….

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business and recess immediately. The House will reconvene at approximately 10:45 a.m. for a Joint Meeting of Congress to receive His Excellency Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.

First votes expected: 1:002:00 p.m. Last votes expected: TBD

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

Continue reading

Tagged , News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Virginia politics and more