Author: Calvin Pynn
It’s a quiet January Tuesday at the public transit hub outside of James Madison University’s Godwin Hall, where in more normal times, students would be waiting with bags loaded for the Virginia Breeze to take them back home. These are not normal times, though; no one is waiting for the bus, and the only breeze around is the bitter winter sort.
Next week, State Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate Tony Wilt, both Republicans, will head to Richmond next week for the 2021 session of the Virginia General Assembly. On Thursday, The Citizen spoke with both of Harrisonburg’s state legislators about the bills they’ve already introduced, their expectations for the session, and the political chaos unfolding in Washington, D.C. and more.
After the Monday night arrival of a first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine at Sentara RMH, Mark Nesbit, an emergency medicine doctor, volunteered to get his shot right away. He didn’t realize until he arrived at the hospital’s employee health clinic on Thursday morning, however, that he would be the very first person at the hospital to receive it.
Anticipating that the first COVID-19 vaccines will be administered locally in the next several weeks, the Virginia Department of Health is working with hospitals and healthcare associations to plan the initial distribution. According to Dr. Laura Kornegay, director of the VDH’s Central Shenandoah Health District, several criteria still must be met before people begin receiving vaccines. One is a final Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for two vaccines produced by the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna
Although not at emergency levels, cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 have been trending noticeably upward in the Central Shenandoah Health District. “The district has seen a significant increase in cases and general increases in hospitalizations related to COVID,” said Dr. Laura Kornegay, health director for the district, in an email to The Citizen.
And so, in early October, Refused – an iconic band now routinely described as “hardcore legends” and “sonic revolutionaries” – ended up at The 401 House, a brick ranch on South High Street that was then a staple house venue in the city’s punk scene.
From outside, the dark red bricks and scarlet facade of what used to be Red Front Supermarket are unchanged, and the sign bearing the name of the grocery store, which closed last spring, still looms over Chicago Avenue. Inside, though, is a completely different sight than what anyone who had shopped at Red Front for more than 60 years would recognize. In the entrance, bags of donated clothes are piled where the teddy bear claw machine and free newspaper racks stood. The checkout counters have been replaced with shelves stocked with hygiene items and other essentials, while 45 beds extend across what once were grocery aisles.
With ballots still being counted in several swing states and the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden still too close to call, a small group took to the streets on Thursday to demand that all votes be counted – including in Harrisonburg.