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Neighbor spotlight: Josh Van Lieu

LaGRANGE – The Daily News’ weekly Neighbors series features one person from LaGrange and the surrounding area. This week we though a historic perspective with LaGrange College’s Assistant Professor of History, Dr. Joshua Van Lieu.

LaGrange Daily News: Are you from around here?

Van Lieu: I live in LaGrange. I’m not from here though. I’m really from Massachusetts, but I live here.

LDN: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Van Lieu: I like to walk, and I like to ride my bike, and I like to read and write.

LDN: What is the best part about living here in Troup County?

Van Lieu: I’ve been here for about five years now, and what I’ve come really to like the most are the friends that I’ve made here.

LDN: Where is the most beautiful place around here?

Van Lieu: I really like Pine Mountain a lot. It is probably my favorite place. … I haven’t been up there recently, but I really do enjoy going up there.

LDN: What other hobbies do you have?

Van Lieu: I like to restore old fountain pens. I’m not very good at it, but I enjoy. … I find it really relaxing. … I sort of like it because I like to think about the people who had them before me. All the things that they may have written with them, so it gives me a certain sense of connection to the thoughts and the lives of other people that came before me.

LDN: And I’m sure that is something that is frequently on your mind since you teach history.

Van Lieu: That is right. I’ve also taken to writing by hand a lot because I like the feel of the material – the materiality – of it. It’s a lot different than typing, where you don’t really feel any really direct connection to what you’re writing because you just push buttons and things happen, but when you write by hand, you feel like you have a direct physical, material connection to your thoughts taking shape on the page.

LDN: What kind of business would you like to see open up in LaGrange?

Van Lieu: I would love to see an independent coffee shop. I like coffee shops very much, and right now the only one we have is Starbucks. Starbucks is okay, (but) I would love to see a locally owned independent coffee shop, especially downtown. I know we’ve had maybe two attempts so far to have independent coffee shops, but they weren’t really devoted entirely to coffee. They weren’t really places where you could just sort of sit and talk or read. So, I would love to see something like that in LaGrange, especially downtown. … It would be nice to see something like that downtown or within walking distance of downtown.

‘Neighbors’ is a weekly series by the Daily News that highlights community members. To nominate a person to be featured, call 706-884-7311.