THUMBS-UP: Hope Distributed realized there was a need in the community for baby items. So the organization, which also provides a food pantry and clothing store to those in need, decided to do something about it.

Enter Baby Hope, which supplies diapers, rash cream, baby blankets, bath towels and other essentials to anyone in need who cares for a baby or infant.

“We want these moms to realize having brand-new stuff for their baby. We want to make sure that anybody who is caring for a baby or an infant has what they need,” Director Jeff Wilhelm said. “We can’t carry everything, so we’re carrying the staples.”

The staples are better than nothing, for sure. And much like all the other good Hope Distributed does, there’s a call for help from the community.

Baby Hope accepts donations of cash or checks with Baby Hope in the memo along with new, still-in-original packaging items that can be donated. For more information on becoming a donor or recipient for the program, call 540-578-3510 or email

THUMBS-DOWN: Accidents in Interstate 81 continue to plague our area. And while heavy traffic with long backups gets drivers frustrated, it’s the deaths that really hammer home the issue with our local interstate highway.

The latest crash to claim a life in Rockingham County along 81 was a three-vehicle collision on Thursday night. It resulted in one death and a driver charged with reckless driving, according to a press release from Virginia State Police. This accident was caused by the backup of previous accident, according to state police.

Help appears to be on its way with an improvement project that will widen over 6 miles of the interstate to three lanes in either direction between mile markers 242.2 and 248.5, or roughly 1 mile south of Exit 243 and about 1 mile north of Exit 247, according to Virginia Department of Transportation documents. The project also includes repair, widening or replacing mainline bridges, installation of a concrete barrier and improved signs and pavement markings, and changes to rights of way, according to VDOT. This all comes in at a roughly $272 million price tag.

Still, it’s imperative that drivers pay attention when on any road. On I-81, extra care must be taken.

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