People reported fewer crimes overall in Harrisonburg over the last year. And fewer defendants stayed in jail as they awaited trial. At the same time, though, many of those trials have been delayed, forcing the courts to put in overtime in order to catch up on the backlog of cases. Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s criminal justice system — like many facets of life — has operated a little differently since the pandemic began, in some cases prompting prosecutors and judges to adapt and make exceptions they wouldn’t normally do.
To celebrate National Cohousing Day on April 24, the organization Harrisonburg Cohousing will host an open house of the recently-approved development, Juniper Hill Commons, a multigenerational planned community on Keezletown Road. The organization is continuing to work on details of a comprehensive site plan to submit to the city for further approval. But the open house will serve to introduce members of the community to the cohousing concept and potentially to their future homes.
Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) announced in January 2021 the launching of a task force that would seek public input on School Resource Officers, or SROs. As reported by The Citizen on Jan. 6, and on Feb. 17, school officials announced that among the multiple actions of the taskforce, it would conduct research, surveys, a listening tour, and provide recommendations to the school board about whether police officers should be present in school buildings and, if so, what their roles should be.
Now that this part of the Valley has officially shifted to vaccinating people in Phase 2, area adults — including college students — are lining up to get their shots. The Central Shenandoah Health District spent three months working to vaccinate those in Phase 1b, which included first responders, grocery store workers, food processing and agriculture workers — including those who work in area poultry plants — and adults with underlying health issues and all those over 65. It only took 10 days to get through those in Phase 1c, which includes other essential workers, in the area because it was a smaller group and vaccine doses were more available.
Never a big fan of sand, the next president of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to relocating from the shores of northern Florida to the central Shenandoah Valley.
City and school division bank on federal funds to restart high school project, make up for revenue decline
Money that Congress approved last month to help local communities in the wake of the pandemic could help restart construction on the new Harrisonburg high school soon and is expected to fill revenue holes in the city’s budget. Money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in March, could reach Harrisonburg in the coming weeks in time to resume building the high school even before the city approves its budget for the coming year, said Harrisonburg City Public Schools Superintendent Michael Richards.
After years of making potato chips in fairly tight quarters, Sarah Cohen faced a decision: expand or quit the business. But she said she knew at that time if she were to continue with Route 11 Chips, it would have to be in a responsible and sustainable manner.
On the upper flood plain of Muddy Creek on the coldest day of early spring, a small crew in hats and winter coats is turning soil. Over the past month, equipped with shovels and mattocks, they’ve built nearly a half-acre of hilled beds, already shading green with a multispecies cover crop of rye and clover. A regional Mexican playlist drifts light on the wind and its rhythm slides into the step and sway of the multinational and multilingual team.
Dear Elderly Aunt: My father died three years ago. I realized recently that I didn’t even acknowledge his birthday this year. I’m his last living descendent, so there’s no one for me to reminisce with. And I don’t live near his grave. But I feel my connection to him slipping away. Do you have any suggestions for how to honor the memory of someone who is gone on their birthday?