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February 12, 2020

Harrisonburg met all the criteria for a new series on Home and Garden Television (HGTV).  “Hometown Takeover” asked for video tours to be submitted by small towns with an active main street and rich history that needed some tender love and care to bring it back to life.  Homes, businesses, parks and places to be redone will be the theme for the show. 
The series will be an expansion of its home-renovation-show, “Hometown”.  An upcoming spin off with host Erin and Ben Napier spearheading the renovation of an entire municipality.  Erin Napier was quoted as saying, “This is a big one, HGTV as never, ever taken on a whole town-renovation project, and we’re so proud and excited to be leading the team that will get it done.” Fans of the Napier’s have watched the married couple completely transform their own hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, one residence at a time.
“Renovating one house at a time is an awesome experience, but the chance to support an entire town, where we can help bring a community back to life and enhance the lives of the people who live and work there, is something we’ve always wanted to try, “Ben Napier said in a statement.  
The Service League in Harrisonburg (HSL) took on the challenge and with the help of Cur Dog Productions the video highlighted the diversity of the town.  Lionel Hatten, Brad Bradley, Rose Meyers, and Robert Bradley were interviewed and talked about the unique qualities of the village.  Susan Gilley was the narrator and many residents came out to ask the network to choose Harrisonburg.  The program is scheduled to air in 2021 and span in six episodes.
 The group meets the third Wednesday of every month in the old Beasley Building at 6:00 p.m.  Other projects being sought after include hiring Code Studio, an urban planner, to develop a plan for growth tailored made for Harrisonburg. Grant writers Ginger and James Breithaupt have also found a suitable grant for Harrisonburg and will present a final presentation on March 16 at First Baptist Church.  Steps for implementing the grant will be listed in a booklet.  The whole vision plan ad a large poster of drawings by Code Studio will also be on display.
HSL was a product of Malcom Terry’s ideal to have an organization that included everyone; male, females, business owners, and resident; interested in promoting Harrisonburg.  In 2014, Mr. Terry, David Mitchell, and Betty Gauthier met, and the group helped form HSL.  Serving as first president Malcom Terry and 17 others met for the first time in February 2014.  HSL is a 501 c 3 public corporation and is not associated with any national group.  The league is totally independent, so all the money and efforts stay locally. Nell Atkins has served as president ever since he took over for Malcom Terry.  


Louisiana’s African-American History now available online

From segregation to civil rights and celebrities to sermons, Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s long-running series Folks (1981-1990) covered it all. Now 210 episodes of the minority affairs series are available for streaming. There is no cost to watch the programs, which featured an in-depth look at a wide variety of social issues that impacted minority communities in Louisiana in the 1980s.
While Folks principally highlighted issues related to African Americans, it also featured stories on other minority groups including women, Native Americans, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. The look may be “historic” but some of the harder-hitting issues covered in 1980s Louisiana still resonate today; unemployment, domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse.
The series also features profiles of African-American trailblazers as well as stories highlighting the arts and culture of the time.  Browse through profiles on 1984 presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, journalist Ed Bradley, authors Alex Haley and James Baldwin, actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, and jazz great Dizzy Gillespie.
This series as well as thousands of hours of other historically significant video, are available through the Louisiana Digital Media Archive, the online home of the Louisiana Public Broadcasting Digital Collection and the Louisiana State Archives Multimedia Collection. The ever expanding site contains a combined catalog of thousands of hours of media recorded in Louisiana in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and it’s all freely available for streaming.
The 210 episodes of Folks can be accessed at