Confluence of design?

I want to know who is responsible for this:

Katrina is heading right for us, apparently.

And I count about 5 tracks on the spaghetti map that plant themselves either in Roanoke, or near enough to cause worry.

Again, I want to know who is setting this up. You don't have a hurricane conviently pop into SW Virginia just as an article on the finalization of the temporary repairs to Victory Stadium runs.

Even the Kevin Myatt column is hurricane happy, reminding us of last years 'thrill-a-minute' hurricanes.

Are we being set up for the "unplanned" demolition of Victory Stadium? Could Katrina be the one to put the nail in the coffin, after only one game of the season is played there? Or are there higher powers at work, telling us to forget the Stadium allready and cut out the bickering before our toys get taken away.

Just a breif reminder of last years fun. And this was the day we had the camera, we did not have the camera on us when the other hurricane hit, and the fountain at the stadium was nearly completely covered. These pics don't look so bad compared to what the 2nd hurricane did to us.

So I don't know, maybe we should enjoy the game at the stadium, and not notice the fencing, portapottys, and caution tape - it might be the last game at Victory Stadium for a while.


Breaking news from The Roanoke Times -Roanoke mayor calls for greater business role in politics

Breaking news from The Roanoke Times -Roanoke mayor calls for greater business role in politics: "It takes more than more than talking about what you do not like — it requires action to cause what you do like to happen.'"

Yes, Im a little late with this - but kudos to Mayor Harris. Those are words for people in all sectors to live by.

begin the beguine

begin the beguine

incase your interested, a very special happy birthday message to a certain public transportation system.

From me, to you...

Sorry about yesterday, but I'll give you a double dose...

I never got back to the computer until late yesterday, been busy at work getting things straight.

Then I come home to Google Talk (as posted below), on the heels of Google Sidebar, so I had alot of new tech to play with last night.

First off, this Lake nonsense. Allright - I understand that the south end of the lake is not reaping the rewards the north end is. But that might actually be a good thing. Especially if you look at the facts surrounding the North end of the lake. Westlake Village is nice, but completely overrun during the few short weeks of the summer by out-of-towners. 8 weeks a year does not a sustainable economy make.

Stores and businesses are all reshuffling locations and sizes as new, more modern structures go up. But reports from the lake are not encouraging. The new CVS is not doing nearly the business (allegedly) that it did in its old location next to Food Lion on 122. This is probably due to the fact that it is directly across from Kroger, who also has a pharmacy. And is more of an all-in-one destination.

The movie theatre could not find a national chain to manage it, so its an independant. Which is not a bad thing, but considering how much alleged money is there at the lake, one would think a national chain would be chomping at the bit to get a piece of it.

Once the summer is over, the lake returns to its normal operations - which is comfortable, perhaps a bit more crowded than when I first went over 6 years ago now, but still pleasant. Summers I tend to avoid the lake, due to the congestion and over-abundance of New Yorkers. Yes I am one, but that does not mean I want more down here. I think we have enough, I see plenty on a daily basis. And even they agree, they don't want a New York South, they like Roanoke for what it is and what it has to offer. This includes the Lake, Rocky Mount, and Franklin County in general.

I think we will have to watch Westlake (or Willardsville as the locals call it) for the next few years to see how sustainable seasonal business can be.

Now, to my other target - Roanoke County.

Rutrough Rd. and the Blue Ridge - 350+ acres have been provisionally released for the building of a, get this, "golf course" community. Because exactly what Roanoke County needs is an expanded, inflated tax base of near- and full-retirees. Believe me I do understand what benefits there are to having such a base. Higher revenues from property taxes, a more stable economy (provided the turn-over rate of new retirees can pace the ones who pass), and what could be considered a "soft use" for vacant land.

But what is forgotten about is the fact that, if they put up 400 units (homes, townhomes, condos, what have you...), and each unit contains 2 people, thats 800 people with disposeable income and at the very least basic needs. Therefore it shifts whatever the current local economy might be to a service economy.

And what do we know about a service economy? Unless you are the one directly providing the service (i.e.- doctor, nurse, landscaper, contractor..) you are just an employee of the provider. And employees never get paid well enough. So as housing prices begin to rise due to the influx of new money, the ones who do all the work to keep the economy running can no longer afford to live in the very place they provide the service.

Take for example your average supermarket worker. They provide a service, be it a speedy and accurate check out, a properly cut pound of ham, or a wide selection of produce in a clean atmosphere. They have to put in the hours to make sure you are able to get what you want, when you want it in safe and sanitary conditions (although this is not the case at all supermarkets *ahem*). All this and more is part of their daily duties, which they do 5 days a week at least, doing more in the time allotted to them than reasonably can be done, and going home at night and worrying about the amount of work still to be done. They are not paid for the work they perform, they are paid for the work their title is supposed to perform. And each person in a supermarket usually does much more than their title implies.

I am not saying this is all employees - there are those who are happy enough to barely do their given job, much less anything else. Not everyone gives 100%, but for those who do - there is always more to do, picking up the slack left by others. Those who are motivated to do the best for and by the public, who feel a sense of responsibility to the public. And Im willing to bet 75% of all service industry employees enter their job each day with a smile, and some pride in what they do. Those 75% are also the ones who struggle each day to make ends meet, and will continue to do so as the economy around them changes. If they can break even, all the better - but its always a slim margin.

Now I don't know if Roanoke County fails to see that, or just looks at the basic facts of more houses, more people, more jobs. Its a dangerous equation to play the numbers game with. I can personally tell you a good percentage of the landscapers, launderers, and housekeepers in the ritziest areas of NY live in some of the worst areas. All I can say is at least Roanoke City has a somewhat balanced plan for new housing development and retail development. Or they seem to have.

Roanoke County would do well to take stock of what it has, what it needs, and how to balance the two. I understand you want a better return on unused land to build the property tax coffers, but you won't need funding for schools if there are no students to use them.

Google Talk

Google Talk

Forgotten Roanoke is now on Google Talk! Its free, its a better Im system, plus you get better-than-cellphone quality calls on it. FREE! ANYWHERE!

Get it - get yourself a gmail, or a plain google account, and you too can harass your friends. And if you ever see me online, feel free to harass me.

AND if you dont have a Gmail account, drop me a line - I've got about 100 to toss around.

Although I might ask you a question to make sure your legit, so be prepared.


News from The Roanoke Times -Lake's south side draws attention

not thrilled with this at all. Will have more to say after breakfast.


Its coming....

Summer is almost over. *Halleliula Chorus*

Kids in the County went back today. Poor things, I don't envy them. And to have to start back on the best day in weeks here. Sheesh.

It was 64 last night. The official low. It was only 66 when I woke up this morning. The air was a touch drier, the sky a touch bluer. The air was cleaner.

Im working 12-8 for the concieveable future, so updates will be almost exclusively morning. Of course, that all depends - we keep having days like this, I might be audioblogging - because I'll be out at the Roanoke River Greenway taking in life.

Although maybe I should hire that guy who does the Home Shows on cable to do my audioblogging. Just write the script and boom, let him do it. Nice speaking voice and all.

Anyway - there might be an update later, however if this day continues as nice as it is - dont expect it. Sorry, Ive been too pent up this summer to sit here and pound the keys. However, if the situation warrants - I'll be here every morning anyway, so you all be on your best behavior.


roanoke.com - Weather Index - Death toll still low from tornadoes

Interesting read by one of the best writers the Times has.

Only Kevin could make a rather bloodless tornado season seem worrying and fascinating all at once.


deep thought

deep thought: " GRAHAM
... There are all different ways
you can tell that there's someone
really there watching out for us.
You see signs. Sometimes they're
little ones. You think of someone.
The phone rings. They're on the
phone... Sometimes they're big,
like fourteen lights hovering over
Mexico City.
Sure, there are a lot of people
watching this who think this could
be a bad thing. But there are a
lot of people watching this, who
think it's a miracle. A sign of
God's existence. It's all in how
you look at things Merrill.
What you have to decide is what
kind of person you are? Are you
the type who believes in miracles
and looks for signs or are you the
kind who believes, things just
happen by chance?"

Attention Citizens!

There is a new page up at forgotten-roanoke.com

Yes its a rehash of an old page, but now with more pics and information.

Have fun.