The Daily News Leader from Staunton, Virginia on June 15, 2009 · 3
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The Daily News Leader from Staunton, Virginia · 3

Staunton, Virginia
Issue Date:
Monday, June 15, 2009
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A3 local Editor Jody Lawrence 213-9182, jlawrencenewsleader.c Monday, June 15, 2009 ghcffcn8 ttabn h Local & State -ifwwa.i mytl wwgJI wt& "I mumtimm EB55SEEEir ! 7 VJ:!ijs?isr:?.. MjI IP puPitf MMr ili.H'lill V I, 11.1 . jwww. tBrrtcrzr I zirBHdci I K - B a I .1 I I I ..(! '.II r LI I i i i I I I I k 1 J 7 blj. .j . iri zz zzizx-Xj1 . gLwwMMa. .ILmiwmmI' Immwimk. LmmmwimM' ?) ' 1 ' i'-'w 1 iriMMiiw f" n i n f I mrmmmM 1 S- . . '.,,''vir r?7 E A r: v. ' f I 1 Xt - I'm a photographer at the News Leader and a professional sightseer. Being a recent transplant to the Shenandoah Valley, the sights are yet to be seen. Contact me if you think there's something I can't miss on my continuous tour of the - area. Name: Pat Jarrett Position: Staff photographer Favorite colon 'Local' Contact: pjarrettQnews or 540 255 9983 Silly string Graduation season has come and gone, and hundreds of new graduates are taking the next steps into their lives. After the hundreds of graduates received their hundreds of diplomas and threw hundreds of caps into the air, only a handful of people take the time to clean up the thousands of feet of foamable resinous composition, more commonly known as Silly String, that makes the celebration all the more colorful. I've been on the business end of the "silly stuff" (as JMU custodian Kathy Davidson calls it) these past couple of weekends, and I started to wonder about it while I cleaned neon foam off my camera. In between graduations at the Convocation Center at James Madison University I caught up with the housekeeping crew sifting through the shrapnel of discarded mortarboards and Silly String. The night before, the crew charged one area high school extra because of the amount of Silly String removed from the venue. Fort Defiance wasn't so bad, said Heide Home, supervisor of housekeeping at the Convocation Center as she took a brush to the tops of the folding chairs. "It sticks on the bottom of your shoes and you walk it everywhere," Home said, describing the major problem with Silly String. Davidson says she tries to estimate her workload before the graduates arrive to see "what kind of mess we are coming in to." "When I saw the floor (after one area graduation) I said 'oh no, what a mess,'" she said as she brushed gobs of green and pink off the chairs. Davidson and Home have Silly String removal down to a science. When I ask the method they say in unison, "rag, brush and backpack (portable vacuum)." The cleaning method seems to work well. I left the Convocation Center at 1 p.m. one Saturday and returned two hours later to a completely clean floor and seats devoid of any neon coloration. The graduates probably weren't thinking about the floor as they shot can after can of Silly String into the air, but the custodial staff thinks about it every year. Davidson wonders why they can't have the graduations outside, because "if they spray the silly stuff we don't have to worry about it." Davidson also suggests using bubbles ("they can be used for graduations and weddings.") "The don't have balloons anymore," chimes in Home, listing off other celebratory trends ranging from shaving cream to confetti. Home says it could be worse for the housekeeping crew: it could be the JMU graduation, or even worse, the NCAA tournament. Brown's pikes pique interest Famous abolitionist's spears drawing visitors, high auction bids The Associated Press DARGAN, Md. The spears that John Brown ordered for his abolitionist army were fearsome, primitive things. Nearly seven feet long, the pikes had 10-inch steel blades made for slashing and impaling those who resisted the slave rebellion Brown envisioned. But the uprising didn't come, and the nearly 1,000 pikes Brown purchased from a Connecticut blacksmith and stockpiled at a Maryland farm a few miles from the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., were never used for their intended purpose. Instead, after Brown's ill-fated raid on the arsenal on Oct. 16, 1859, many pikes were seized as souvenirs and today command high prices. One bearing the serial number 846 was sold through Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries in 2007 for $13,000. Brown's capture and execution for treason foiled his plan to hand out pikes to freed slaves and ignited passions on both sides of the slavery divide. Northern abolitionists considered him a martyr; secessionist fire-eaters in the South raised the John Brown pikes as symbols of Northern aggression in the run-up to the Civil War. "There wasn't anything you could put in front of Southern aristocracy that was more frightening than a slave revolt They feared that more than anything," said Dennis Lowe, who oversees Civil War material at Heritage Auction Galleries. Virginian Edmund Ruflin, a pro-slavery extremist, acquired a number of pikes 5 1 tS. , - r T3irtK25 If J m'iSStSi" .'ISA The Associated Press Dennis Frye, chief historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, poses with a replica of a John Brown pike on May 20 at the park in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. The nearly 1 ,000 pikes Brown purchased from a Connecticut blacksmith for his abolitionist army were never used for their intended purpose. from Col. Alfred W, Barbour, superintendent of the federal arsenal, and arranged with Alabama Sen. Clement C. Clay to have them sent to the governors of the slave-holding states. To the handle of each pike, Ruffin pasted a label: "Sample of the favors designed for us by our Northern Brethren." He asked that the weapons be conspicuously displayed, preferably at the statehouse. The historical record is hazy on whether any pikes were showcased. But Ruffin caused a stir by writing an editorial promoting his idea for the Examiner newspaper in Richmond, Va., said Eric H. Walther, a University of Houston historian and author of "The Fire-Eaters." Ruffin also carried a pike with him to Washington to garner support for the gimmick, historians said. "It became a huge media event: 'Come see the John Brown pike,'" said Dennis Frye, chief historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. "His wish was to create fear and terror of slave insurrection." Frye said the anxiety whipped up by secessionists like Ruflin accelerated the formation of Southern militias and helped the Confed eracy grow strong enough to defeat Union forces in the war's first battle at Fort Sumter, S.C., on April 12, 1861. Ruffin was there. Surviving pikes are rarities, Lowe said. He said some were deliberately broken and used as knives and many others simply disappeared. "If you see one of these every three or four years, it's unusual. That tells me a bunch of them were burned or destroyed. Otherwise, you'd see more of them," Lowe said. Institutions with at least one intact pike two is a lot include Harpers Fer ry National Historical Park, the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va., and the Kansas Museum of History. Brown led armed attacks against pro-slavery groups in Kansas before moving east. Donald R. Tharpe, a private collector in Warren-ton, Va., who owned the pike auctioned in 2007, said holding such relics brings history alive. "It's a thrill because this is firsthand evidence of the scene at the time," Tharpe said. "I can just in my mind's eye visualize the whole incident." Briefly County site of battle over coal plant DENDRON Dozens of signs urging "No Coal Plant" have sprung up along the highway leading to the Surry County town of Dendron, indicators that plans for a new plant will face some local opposition. Environmental groups have begun campaigning here to block Old Dominion Electric Cooperative's plans for a 1 ,500 megawatt coal-fired power plant, expected to cost between $4 billion and $6 billion. Supporters say it will bring badly needed jobs and tax revenues, but residents like Lisa Craig say they moved to the rural area to get away from industrial pollution. Both sides are watching the Army Corps of Engineers, which will decide by summer 201 1 whether to grant a permit for the plant. Power outage caused carbon monoxide deaths PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth fire officials say a truck that brought down a power line inadvertently set in mgtion the events that ultimately saw three people die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Capt. Paul Hoyle, a spokesman for the fire department, says officials believe the outage led people in a rental home to bring a gasoline-powered generator inside the building. Two men 86-year-old William James Lashley and 47-year-old Isaac Lee Bowser were pronounced dead on the scene on May 27. A third victim, 43-year-old Brenda Lashley, died days later at a Norfolk hospital. Wire Reports

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