Author: Holly Marcus
What started off as a few timid punches soon escalated to raucous laughter and mighty blows. A series of rights and lefts, blocks and jabs were thrown as spouses hid behind the safety of punching bags and battled each other with apparent delight.
Dusting off his hands after an early morning of pulling weeds, Leons Kabongo steps back to admire his vegetable garden. Tucked between two houses on a half-acre lot on Madison Street, it features towering plumes of amaranth. In his native Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kabongo says, it’s known as “bitekuteku.”
More than two hundred people gathered on Friday for the ribbon cutting ceremony for JMU’s newest residence hall, which officially opened this semester. The building was named in honor of Paul Jennings, the enslaved personal servant of James Madison during his presidency and time at Montpelier.
A flurry of activity started early Wednesday morning around Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. You may have spotted the volunteers in their red shirts, spreading new mulch around playgrounds, brightening up school swing sets and basketball goals with fresh paint and tidying up yards and flowerbeds at many non-profits.
The Rockingham County Fair is food, from the milk cows stanchioned in the dairy barn to carnival cotton candy on the midway. Horticulture and homemaking displays celebrate the ability to grow and prepare food, while outside the exhibit halls the fair is a celebration of how to consume it.
“This is an exercise,” Stephanie Harris told the crowd about to take part in a Monday morning training exercise with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Around her were about 160 volunteer “victims” of a simulated gas explosion at JMU’s Bridgeforth Stadium, along with dozens of rescue and security personnel that would be responding to the disaster.
“The library is part of the educational and cultural life of its community and defines the library’s role in the community as assisting in the democratic process through the free communication of ideas.”
Deputy Matt Glovier removes his padded training suit after spending over an hour battling a dozen women. Punches had been thrown at his head. Jabs were directed at his ribs. Tennis shoes kicked and whacked his legs and stomped his feet. At one point his ear was grabbed and twisted, dropping him to his knees.