Mike Tripp

Author's posts

Jan 16

Salvadoran shop owner could lose life he’s built in Waynesboro

Gio Castro Hernandez crossed the border into the United States from El Salvador when he was 13 years old. 

Now an adult, he owns both Gio’s Treasures and Little Gio’s food truck in Waynesboro. 

After 20-plus years, he faces the likelihood of having to leave the U.S. and return to his home country by September 2019 … or face being counted as an undocumented immigrant. 

It was a decision by the Trump administration to end the temporary legal immigration status of 200,000 Salvadorans currently living in the U.S. 

As Castro Hernandez seeks ways to remain, he’s asked for and receiving the support from neighbors and community as he fights to remain. 

For more on this story: Waynesboro shop owner from El Salvador grapples with future after Trump TPS decision

Jan 12

Inclusiveness in special education

Taylor Flavin shares conversation with a student who caught up with her in the hallway at Wenonah Elementary School on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.

An inclusive special education teacher at the school, the teacher was on her way to co-teach in a 4th grade classroom where she planned to work with students in reading and word study. 

When asked, most students in the school do not realize she is a special education student which in turn does not signal out any specific student simply because she works with them … as she works with them all. 

Jan 12

The cat from the quilt patch

Meet Sweet Blue … the cat often seen in the window at Rachel’s Quilt Patch at the train station in Staunton.
(Video by Mike Tripp/The News Leader)

Jan 08

Stuarts Draft pep band rocks gymnasium

Members of the pep band for Stuarts Draft High School rock their gymnasium performing hit songs like Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.” They perform before the start of their boys’ home basketball game against Wilson Memorial, played in Stuarts Draft on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. (Photo by Mike Tripp/The News Leader)

By Mike Tripp/The News Leader

Saxophonists perform as part of Stuarts Draft’s pep band, playing hit songs like Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.”

STUARTS DRAFT — The pep band rocked their school Tuesday night, Jan. 3, 2017.

The atmosphere of  the evening’s boys’ basketball game made the gymnasium feel more like a college game at James Madison University’s Convocation Center as opposed to one at Stuarts Draft High School.

As one, they raised musical instruments of all types and played.

Hit songs like Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets” and Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” got the toe-tapping.

We’re not talking the canned stuff that comes from a CD or radio, but good ole music played live.

It echoed from one end of the court to the other.

Band director Andrew Fauber holds up a sign letting the Stuarts Draft’s pep band know their next song will be Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.”

Band director Andrew Fauber came to life as his students performed “I Want to Believe,” made famous by the legendary Jackson Five.

His hands may have conducted the musicians, but Fauber’s head was bobbing up and down while his body and feet found dance steps to call their own.

The brass section plays loud as the pep band for Stuarts Draft High School rock their gymnasium performing Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.”

As a former member of JMU’s Marching Royal Dukes marching band  … plus Wilson Memorial High School’s band before that, the director’s love of music shined bright from his heart and soul.

It radiated from teacher to students as his enthusiasm got many young musicians grooving like their teacher.

“It adds to the home court atmosphere,” said Fauber about the pep band.

“Just like cheerleaders and a vibrant student section, we fill a hole to create a true home-court advantage.”

A trombonists plays as part of the Stuarts Draft High School pep band as they rock their gymnasium, performing Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.”


Clarinetists perform as part of the pep band for Stuarts Draft High School rock their gymnasium performing Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.”


Band director Andrew Fauber leads Stuarts Draft’s pep band for Stuarts Draft High School perform the pop classic, “Hooked on a Feeling.”


Saxophonists with Stuarts Draft’s pep band rock their gymnasium performing hit songs like Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets.”


Members of the Stuarts Draft High School pep band cheer for their varsity boy’s basketball team.

Members of the pep band for Stuarts Draft High School rock their gymnasium performing pop classics, like the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.”

Dec 08

Butcher shop makes the cut

STAUNTON — Terri Breeden sits on a padded wire crate, catches burger patties fresh from the meat grinder.

She’s the owner, but that’s how things are done at The Meating Place. Everyone pitches in to get the work done.

Breeden would know. She’s been at the butcher shop over forty years.

“I was still in high school working with the gentleman who is the founder of The Meating Place … J. Frank Clemmer,” she says.

At the time, Clemer was looking someone to wrap meat at night in the basement of his house.

“So after I finished my first job, I went to my second job helping him,” says Breeden.

“That’s where it started … 1976,” she adds, “and from there, we’re here over 40 years later.”

It didn’t take long for the business to move away from that original basement and ultimately to its Middlebrook Road address just outside of Staunton.

And just as that location has remained the same, so have many of the faces.

“I’ve been cutting meat for about 30 years now,” says John Wood Jr. “When I got started, I worked in a grocery store in town.”

That grocery store hit hard times and after two and a half years there, he realized he needed to move on.

“Saw where they were looking for help out here and been out here ever since,” says Wood. “That was in 1988.”

Although the product and service has remained the same, the business model has had to adapt over the years.

When the business first opened, there were no large chain ‘box’ stores, with places like The Meating Place filling the gap as a “Mom and Pop” store.

Folks would stop off on their way home to grab what might be needed for the evening meal.

However, time marched on, and the old-school butcher shop with it.

“Our restaurant sales are still extremely good,” Breeden says. “We have been able to take very good care of a lot of our restaurants in the area.”

Some of those restaurants include Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant and Kathy’s Restaurant in Staunton as well as Tailgate Grill in Waynesboro.

But as for those regular customers still walking through their doors, Wood has a theory.

He slices up a pork loin, moves the thick cut chops to the butcher block and proceeds to cut pockets in each as part of a special order.

“There are still some people left who like to see you doing it,” he says.

“See you working on it, hands on. … They know it’s fresh.”

It leads into one of the reasons Wood loves the job.

“I love the interaction with the customer,” he explains. “That’s probably my favorite part of it.”

“Seeing that they get what they want. Seein ’em happy when they leave. … Seeing ’em happy when they come back.”

— Mike Tripp, photojournalist


Feb 15

A little skiing over at Mary Baldwin

A little skiing over at Mary Baldwin College from Mike Tripp on Vimeo.