Keys to stemming rising jail population could be in the numbers. The question now is how to find them.

            While the local jail population continues to grow, the record-keeping systems used by law enforcement, the courts and other pieces of the local criminal justice system remain stuck in the past, complicating efforts to understand what’s driving that population growth or to begin addressing it. Within a year, however, new insight into local criminal justice trends could be coming from two different sources.

Drowning in milk: The plight of a family-owned Virginia dairy farm

Dan Myers steps out of his white Ford F-350 and onto the muddy ground just as the morning light begins to illuminate his family’s dairy farm, Walkup Holsteins. In the partially-covered pavilion in front of him, more than 30 pregnant dry cows lay on beds of straw and wood shavings. At the milking parlor on the other side of the farm, Dan’s wife Charlotte, 77, and their daughter Teresa Callender, 53, are around halfway through milking the cows, a process that they started just after 5 a.m.

City’s population estimate declines for the first time in more than 40 years

For the first time since Gerald Ford was president, Harrisonburg’s estimated population has decreased – if only ever so slightly. According to figures just released by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center, Harrisonburg’s July 1, 2018 population was an estimated 54,606. That’s 83 fewer people than the July 1, 2017 estimate of 54,689, a decrease of 0.2 percent.