So long, 2007

Brent Finnegan -- December 20th, 2007

I wanted to make a top 10 best/worst list of the biggest stories and developments in and around Harrisonburg this year, but I decided against it. Instead, here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly, in no particular order…

• If I had to pick the hburgnews story of the year, it would be the IPv6 debacle. There were a lot of other stories of local significance — some we discussed here, some we didn’t — but this is the one I remember most. Harrisonburg went from being nationally lauded as the first U.S. city to have full wireless v6 Internet coverage, to just one of many localities that had been sold snake oil.

Bill Hopkins’ story of Gil Colman, a local Virginia Tech shooting survivor, was one of the most-viewed stories of hburgnews in 2007. Also among the most-viewed was EMU, Falwell on global warming.

The Clerk of Court race: Between the Playgirl story, the mudslinging on the blogs, and the crowded ballot, it may very well go down in peoples’ minds as one of the most ridiculous races in local political campaign history.

• The SRI announcement: It was a game of “guess who,” followed by analysis and debate of what impact the R&D institute will have on the Valley.

• The ongoing debate over illegal immigration online, as well as the near-legendary “Minutemen debate” held at the Ramada Inn. The fact that the Ramada recently burned out from the inside may serve as a metaphor for the way some people feel about these seemingly endless and repetitious arguments.

• And speaking of immigration, ESL numbers continued to rise this year. The biggest education story has to be when the city school board made a stand against the NCLB federal testing standards.

• Businesses open, close, change names: 2007 saw the opening of Midtowne Market, Blue Ridge Mac, Earth and Tea, Greenberry’s, Martin’s, Downtown 56, and others, as well as the demise of Main Street Bar & Grill, RT’s, and the original Luigi’s on South High. Calhoun’s and several Daily Grind cafes changed names. Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer for the opening of Clementine and the re-opening of Blue Nile.

• JMU expansion: This year, the university made headlines with their plans to build new sports complexes, while cutting certain sports programs to comply with Title IX. JMU announced the planned demolition and reconstruction of Veteran’s Memorial Stadium and the construction of recreational sports fields near Port and Neff. Work began on the tunnel under Main Street to the future Performing Arts Center.

• In 2006, the community lost historian John Heatwole, among others. This year, that list includes Bob Pastorio and Lee Eshelman.

• Along with IPv6, I’d have to add the Foundation for Alcohol Responsibility (FAR) to the list of duds. The alcohol lobbying group’s PR experiment made headlines when it was announced, but I’ve not seen any results. Are there fewer drunk driving incidents because of it? Where did all the BACmasters go?

• Developments in the local online community: creation of an aggregator, addition of several new blogs (including an active real estate one) and the first official face-to-face meeting for local bloggers.

Fish kills and water quality issues continue. Black’s Run is still considered dangerous.

• Last year, TM posted a review of 2006, and the only thing that makes the list for two consecutive years is the alleyway between Water Street and Court Square. It may be closer to reconstruction, but it’s still just as closed going into 2008 as it was in April, 2006.

• Last, but certainly not least: the Anti Racist Action group’s ambush of three people at B&N, and the bizarre racist reaction that was carried out almost entirely online.

And that’s my list. Thanks to Josh for helping to jog my memory. Here’s to a better 2008.

14 Responses to “So long, 2007”

  1. Marty says:


    Congratulations on all the hard work you did on your blog for 2007. I appreciate your site as I can only be in Harrisonburg on the weekends due to working in NoVa during the week; it’s nice to be able to keep up with what’s going on and see what some of the community has to say about happenings in the area. Thanks. Happy holidays and good luck in the New Year.

  2. TM says:

    I certainly haven’t posted as much in 2007 as I did in 2006. I was a frequent reader and lurker though and I’m really glad this blog has become as popular as it is.
    The Ben Folds show at JMU in April was a local highlight of the year for me.
    Low-light: missing out on scoring a “Calhoun’s” glass.
    Ambivilant light: Following the approval of the Port Road Tower.

    The bloggers get-together was a lot of fun as well. I’d really like to do that again. Maybe we should have planned a Chri-…, Han-…, Saturnalia party?

    I reserve the right to post again as my memory is jogged.

  3. republitarian says:

    What about my retirement?

  4. finnegan says:

    What retirement?

  5. Anybody doing anything fun for New Years? I’ve stayed with the grandson for the last 3 years…I think it’s time I got out.

  6. Tina says:

    Well, I guess that’s my cue to put in a shameless plug for First Night! [I’m on the planning committee.] It starts at 6pm on December 31 and runs till fireworks at Midnight throughout many venues downtown. There’ll be lots of music, plus comedy, dancing, and children’s entertainment. There will also be some really cool art activities, including a community dome project, a soundgarden, and more.

    Buttons are $7 in advance; $9 the night of the event. That allows admission to all of the sites.

    The full schedule should be out shortly, but you can get basic information at

  7. Adam Sharp says:

    Comment from republitarian
    Time: December 20, 2007, 6:24 pm

    What about my retirement?

    Comment from finnegan
    Time: December 20, 2007, 6:53 pm

    What retirement?

    WHICH retirement?

  8. Comment from republitarian
    Time: December 20, 2007, 6:24 pm

    What about my retirement?

    Comment from finnegan
    Time: December 20, 2007, 6:53 pm

    What retirement?

    WHICH retirement?

    Take your

  9. JGFitzgerald says:

    Comment from finnegan
    Time: December 20, 2007, 6:53 pm

    What retirement?

    Comment from Adam Sharp
    Time: December 20, 2007, 11:21 pm

    WHICH retirement?

    Deb and I submit that these two are the joint winners of the 2007 award for Masterful Economy Of Words (acronym: MEOW).

  10. Barnabas says:

    I need to post more reviews.

  11. Phil C. says:

    Hey finnegan, any future blogger get-togethers scheduled for the future?

  12. finnegan says:

    Not currently planned, Phil, but I would like to.

    There is a documentary of the month club in the works. The screening and discussion afterward could serve as one sort of blogger get-together. Stay tuned for details on that club.

  13. finnegan says:

    The DNR has three of their lists up today. Plus an “honorable mention” list.

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