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Choir, Volunteers, Drug Arrests

April 30, 2015 -

And so it was that yet another really entertaining event was held at the Masonic Amphitheatre on Sunday, April 26, but only a select view (i.e. those not afraid of getting wet!) got to experience it.

The local choral group known as the "Celebration Choir" sang a number of religious selections under the direction of well-known local singer, Dale Muterspaugh (one of the founding members of the gospel group, the Announcers).

Far, far too many local citizens failed to show up to hear this great event. Thankfully, the performance was caught on video. If you want to hear any of the songs, just go to YouTube.com and enter the term "Celebration Choir" in the search box. You should then see all the videos listed.

As it turned out, the videos are what they are as a result of the assistance of both Steve Fenton (sound) and Greg Dodd (background music). Both of these fellows work hard to make local groups sound their best.

The Amphitheatre is becoming one of the finest regional venues for musical performances, no doubt about it.

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On Wednesday, the news was all about us: another 47 area individuals were arrested for either drug distribution, drug manufacture, or child endangerment. This seems to be a recurring situation around these parts, with too many young people opting to risk ruining their lives for a cheap buck. All of the names of the arrested have not been released to date, but when done, clearly will indicate that youth drug crime has not been eradicated. If anything, it appears to be alive and quite well. Stay tuned for more on this score.

The Virginia State Police sent quite a team to the area to assist in the apprehension of the many drug suspects: that team was clear for all to see as they were munching on breakfast at Penny's Diner with their .357s strapped to their sides. Pitiful, isn't it, that so many young people think so little of their own futures that they'd risk long jail sentences to make a few bucks instead of getting a good job.

They might argue that they're selling or making drugs because of a lack of local job opportunities, but we all know that's a cop-out. We could argue cause and effect all day long, but almost everybody knows that drug dealing is a path to personal destruction, not elevation.

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And speaking of crime: an Hispanic man in his mid to late 20s is suspected of having passed several counterfeit $100 bills in Clifton Forge, Covington, and Alleghany County. If you think you can help with information, call the Sheriff's Department or dial 911.

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Volunteerism is also alive and well in the Highlands and can be seen regularly. One specific case is that of Debbie Strot, who maintains garden-area slice of land the corner of Ridgeway St. and Roxbury St. I found Debbie on her hands and knees this past week, spreading mulch, weeding, and in general, keeping the plot first class. Thanks to neat folks like her, our local public spaces look great. Thanks from the RidgeRunner to Debbie...wonderful job done! (She even dragged several big bags of materials to the site after having purchased them from Northwest True Value - all with no help.)

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Don't say that no one is interested in your opinions on anything. The AlleganyJournal.com certainly is. Each week, the Journal will post a link to a new poll that you may participate in via a click to vote. It's easy and you may be surprised that local officials may one day look to these polls as an additional way to understand local attitudes and feelings. Enjoy!

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Like many of you, I watched the mess unfolding in Baltimore this last week. But, unlike many of you, I take the position that although it appeared that a very small group of irresponsible 13-18 year-olds did most of the destruction, the REAL BLAME for this kind of behavior lies with horrible, ridiculously poor parenting. Don't you know for sure where your children or kids are both day and night? Apparently, several hundred Baltimore parents didn't.

The damage done was in the millions and what's worse is that the very communities which are suffering the most economically, were hit the hardest. Local stores, like a CVS, are no longer available to those communities. One must ask why anybody would take action to make matters even worse for those less fortunate. The answer is, of course, sheer thuggery and lunacy.

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We're told that the economy of the nation is getting better, or at least that's what the Obama administration has been claiming. So, this week's news release that the growth in the U.S. economy has been almost nil, undercuts those assertions. The Federal Reserve was just getting ready to raise interest rates because it had forecast a quickening of the economy, but now such a move has been called into question. Turns out that things are NOT that great 'out there' for many who need jobs and for many businesses who need more sales.

The law forbids the exporting of oil from America, but with many of our oil rigs standing idle due to low national prices, one wonders if this makes sense. Does it?

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The great state of California has now placed big water use restrictions on its population - but still diverts (and spends scarce public dollars on) hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to attempt to save an endangered two inch fish. I say, catch the critters, put them in private tanks to help 'em grow, and stop diverting water from places where it is very much needed!

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Mother's Day, May 10th, is nearly upon us. And that means flower planting and crop planting time for most of us local gardeners. I'm planning on many tomato plants, some green peppers, and some squash. How about you?

I'm learning how to propagate lilac bushes too, but the results of those efforts may take a while to see. Wish me luck!

And I wish you a continued beautiful Spring as well. One of my favorite lines is this: "There's no place like Western Virginia in the Springtime."

It's just one of those true statements I love to promote.

See ya right back here again soon!

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