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April 12, 2022 | Noon - 1:15 PM | JMU Icehouse - Room 117

The Alchemist: Turning Driveway Rock into Gold 

Presenter:  Stuart Mercer

Stuart’s talk will discuss his passion for the transformation from rock to gemstone. You will see before and after examples of that transformation. He will explain where and how he finds the cutting materials, and the lapidary techniques used to change a rock into a valuable piece of jewelry. Stuart Mercer, a born rock lover began his lapidary career in grade school. By the 5th grade he knew a geology degree (JMU 1975) was the next step to fulfilling his passion for creating jewelry. Mercer has owned and managed Elk Run Mining Co. for 9 years. 

April 19, 2022 | Noon - 1:15 PM | Icehouse - Room 117

Transitioning from Home to a Retirement Community

Presenter: Jefferson Burgess

Jefferson Burgess was Director of Marketing at VMRC for 18 years and has recently retired from that position.  Most often, Jefferson was the first person you would speak with if you were interested in residing at this retirement community, and immediately you felt like you wanted to live here.  

Jefferson has a degree in Developmental Psychology from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has also had training in mediation and is a former potter and designer.  He is the father of two sons and has one incredible granddaughter.  When not busy working, Jefferson enjoys music, the outdoors and people!

May 10, 2022 | Noon - 1:15 PM | JMU Icehouse - Room 117

Remembering the Lee Boyd Malvo Trial 

Presenter:  Craig Cooley

Do you recall watching the news every evening to see if there had been a new sniper killing in northern Virginia? Do you recall the young man being caught and charged with participation in these crimes? Do you recall the attorney chosen to defend him? Join us for an interesting hour as defense attorney, Craig Cooley of Richmond, shares with us his experience defending this young man, Lee Boyd Malvo, who was caught up in a horrific situation. Craig Cooley will share with us his decision to defend this young man, how he planned his defense case based on the evidence and his relationship with Lee in the aftermath of his incarceration. Craig Cooley is an attorney who represents clients in the Richmond, Virginia area. He is recognized by peers and was selected to the Super Lawyers from 2006-2021. As one of the few attorneys to garner the distinction of Super Lawyers, Cooley has earned the respect of his peers as one of the top-rated attorneys in the nation.  Craig Cooley chose to pursue a career in law after completing undergraduate studies. He passed the bar exam and was admitted to legal practice in 1977. He represents clients with Criminal Defense issues in Virginia. Craig is a Harrisonburg native and graduated from Harrisonburg High School in 1965.

May 18, 2022 | 4-6 PM | Brix and Columns Vineyard

Better With Age #2

Presenter:  Bob Bersson, Jack Greer, & Friends

Please come enjoy these local authors as they share with us observations about the better years of our lives. Bob Bersson and Jack Greer will introduce their collection of essays and speak about it’s development. They will introduce us to wine-lovers Larry and Donna Barber who will be reading their essay, ‘Aging Lessons from the Fruit of the Vine’. They are followed by Rich Harris, a former Director of Service Learning at JMU for twenty years. His essay in the ‘Transitions To Retirement’ section is entitled, ‘Pursuing a Life Well Lived’. Lee Yoder, former administrator at EMU and Bridgewater College, follows with ‘Nine Years in Egypt: An Expanded Worldview’. Our final reader, Jack Greer, reads his essay ‘The End of the Line’ which centers on the Countryside Garage Band. Come join us, relax and sip a glass as we celebrate getting ‘Better with Age’ Presenters are Robert Bersson and Jack Greer. Bob is a musician, writer, visual artist, and lifelong educator coming to the Shenandoah Valley in 1980 to teach a wide range of art courses at JMU. He is a community activist on issues from downtown revitalization and open, responsive government to greenways and bike/pedestrian pathways and a prolific contributor to the DNR’s editorial page.  Jack Greer’s passions are writing, drumming, sailing, and the environment. In their sixties, he and his wife, Bobbie, sailed their forty-foot sloop from Annapolis, Maryland, to the Lesser Antilles and back, spending the better part of four years exploring the Caribbean. He has authored articles about marine science and policy and co-authored the nonfiction book ‘Chesapeake Futures’ and a collection of short stories, ‘Abraham’s Bay & Other Stories’. 

May 24, 2022 | Noon - 1:15 PM | JMU Icehouse - Room 117

Estate Planning

Presenter:  Matt Sunderlin

We will discuss the major pitfalls and mistakes in the estate planning process: 10 simple mistakes to avoid to save your family the stress, cost and heartache which can be caused by your procrastination or failure to complete. Matt Sunderlin is a native of Winchester,Va. he graduated from Hampden Sydney with a BA in 1989 and from Regent University School of Law in 1995 with a Juris Doctor degree. He has been with the firm of Clark and Bradshaw since 1999 and became a partner in 2003. Matt represents the elderly,the disabled, their families and advocates. Elder law includes estate planning, trust administration, power of attorney, advance medical directives among other things.

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