roanoke.com - Commentary Stories -Soldier finds no place like home

roanoke.com -Soldier finds no place like home

I was recently at the trailhead for Dragon's Tooth. The only worry I had was, when reading the trail guide, it mentions that the last 1/3rd of the trail would use both your hands and feet to accomplish and under that was the phone number for Lewis-Gale Hospital.

That gave me pause.

But this article should be reprinted in the Roanoke Valley Visitors Guide, and memorized by every resident of the Roanoke Valley who whines about there being nothing to do.

Exculding Central Park, each of the 5 boros has its own park which is nice enough - but nothing even close to the Roanoke River Greenway. Of course you always could go for a walk, but you felt (and I still feel this way sometimes) that there had to be a destination. Usually a store of some kind. Otherwise you were walking for no reason. For a hike in Manhattan, you have to head uptown towards Columbia University, over along the Hudson River are the Cloisters. Dramatic cliffs, spectacular views, nearly unimpeded by traffic and all the rest.

Im my home borough of Queens, there is Forest Park - which I have traversed many a time in my youth. Flushing Meadows Park, Gateway National Park (if you don't mind 747's roaring overhead), Rockaway Beach (long boardwalk, which you really only want to walk half of), and a handful of scattered parks and such. But nothing that compares to the Greenway System Roanoke has.

I've walked 8th Ave. from Houston St. to 34th. I've covered miles at ground level in Manhattan. I have biked from 109th Ave. in Queens to Park Lane S. (would be 84th Ave.). My grandfather rides the same route on his bike.

I've walked the beaches of Montauk, Long Beach, Jones Beach. My route to school was 1.3 miles round trip.
I've hiked through snowmobile/cross country ski trails in Vermont.

But nothing compares to the easy access, cultivated yet natural, well maintained Greenway system.

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Editorials from The Roanoke Times -Engaging minds through the arts

Simply put, maybe - but most likely, no. And as this editorial fails to mention, Roanoke County has also placed within that $200,000 stipend a little clause which states that yearly the $200k will be re-authorized provided it can be proven that the AMWV is providing a benifit to school children. The curriculum must be correct and to the County's liking. Which gives the County a great "easy-out" for pulling funding.

Yes, the arts can breech a wall between worlds for those who are interested. But that is a journey best undertaken by the student. Expose them, surely - but they won't learn what they don't wish to learn - fiber optic cables be damned. Besides, doesn't VT have a outstanding art collection? And Radford? I hear tell that even Roanoke College has an art collection of some renown. All within easy field trip distance. And none costing the $200k a year, plus expenses that the AMWV will be. And don't think for a second that the $200k figure includes admission for field trips. It might now, but once the budget starts flailing - it will not for long.

Meh, just the way I see it anyway.

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roanoke.com - Editorial Columnists Stories -New home, no place to hide

roanoke.com - Editorial Columnists Stories -New home, no place to hide: “When Tommy Denton called me in June and asked if I was interested in joining The Roanoke Times' editorial team, I jumped at the opportunity. The Times editorial page under Denton has earned a reputation in editorial circles for engaging, reasoned writing that generates interest with readers. It is, by all accounts, an exciting place to work. A young, single editorial writer could do a lot worse.

Denton told me that he was looking for someone who could bring a different perspective to the page, someone who could speak for younger people in an area that is watching many of them move away. I am, after all, one of those people. I just happen to be coming instead of going.

On the editorial board, I will advocate for teens and young adults who too often are ignored in the public forum. When officials wonder whether they are doing enough for seniors or families, I will ask whether they are doing enough for young workers who live a different lifestyle. The needs and wants of those groups do not always match, but they are not mutually exclusive, either.”

Allright, yet another one. And just when I thought that the younger bloggers (ie. Texican, Rhett, and myself) were doing a pretty good job of being "the mouse that roared." Well I guess not. Although I do have to say, I heart Roanoke. Roanoke makes me happy, gives me a life I enjoy. Thomas Denton, I am willing to venture, does not even read one of the blogs listed on the RT Blogroll on a regular basis enough to know if the voice of youth is being heard. Then again, it is hard to find the listing for the day's blogs when they are hidden 3/4ths of the way down the main page. Not to mention that annoying Valley View Mall pop-up ad. The blog of the day does need to be updated more than once or twice a week as it is. But I do give sympathies to the person who has to change the code, troll the blogs, and make the choice. This is a new world for newspapers to embark upon. There is no black and white guidebook on how to handle it.

To you, and your cat Snorri; I say welcome. Welcome to Roanoke, and all it is. Which is more than you might think at first. But realize one thing, you might be the questioning print hovering in the hands of officials, but print can only go so far. It is up to the young of the area to speak out and make their concerns known. Did anyone ask if the youth wanted a new Art Museum? Or perhaps a new shopping center along Franklin Rd.? No, it was just assumed they would slide right into the menial jobs of clerk, cashier, and "coffee bar attendant." There is your consideration. If they understand that because they do not speak out now, they lose their voice in the future - then change will occur. Until then, youth of Roanoke, you are all wage-slaves like me. Supplying a product at reasonable cost.

There lies your challenge, make them understand. And I too am coming, with no plans of leaving any time soon. There's far too much opportunity here than Roanoke itself realizes. I might be a transplant, but my roots are set.

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It's Mayor Vs. Mayor... This SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY

roanoke.com - Commentary Stories -Mayor's irrelevant issues are the people's business

Hey, this is cool. I like Mayor Harris, even though now he reminds me of "Evil Spock" on Star Trek. He seems like a nice, fairly smart, decent kinda guy. Now, of course I don't know much about Fmr. Hizzoner Bowers, although I haven't heard much complaining about most of Roanoke's past leaders. Maybe just me. Maybe just the folks Ive been around, but no one has expressed to me the kind of general hatred and visible signs of destruction a place gets when it has a truly bad mayor. Take, for example, The Honorable David Dinkins.

From Wikipedia: " Dinkins' term was marked by polarizing events including the 1991 Crown Heights riots and the boycott of Korean groceries... In 1991, he signed a law which made it illegal for companies in New York to do business with companies in Ireland that discriminated against Catholics. "

Now thats a legacy. Now I met Hizzoner Dinkins once, and he's not a personally bad guy, but he was not up to tackling NYC. Very few people are really.

But it seems that Roanoke has been fairly lucky in its choices for mayor, none have left a true scar on the city. And no, I will not blame Mayor Harris for the AMWV, that was just bad all around. Its like playing spin the bottle with the finger of blame, it can rest anywhere - and be equally true.

Part of me wonders if this all has to do with the new beard Mayor Harris has grown, maybe he travelled to an alternate dimension or something.

While I do not disagree with Mayor Harris sentiment that business should be more vocal in city politics, I think that should be expanded. Everyone should be more vocal. I've noticed Roanoke seems to think theres something wrong with it, and it needs to be fixed, but no one knows what it is. Well, if you think you know, step up and say something. I believe the land selection for the AMWV should have been a public matter, as it was public land being handed over as well as being used for a public use. Yes, the AMWV is a private concern, but it is for public benifit, making it public space.

As would be any new store that opened in the old Heironymous building, or a new parking garage downtown. Part of the consternation about Victory Stadium is that it has not been put to a vote. Allow it on the ballot in the November elections, choose 4-5 options, and let the people choose. This way, they have only themselves to blame.
And let businesses do what they do, create. Create jobs, create income, producs, etc. etc.

And yes, I do think the Victory Stadium debate is rediculous. While I understand the tactical advantage a visiting team would feel looking down the field, up the mountain, and seeing the star - surely a dominating view. I say tear it down, and rebuild. If you want to do it in the same spot - be prepared to raise the ground up past flood levels, and be prepared to pay more in taxes for that. You heard me, pay more for what you want.

It's not terribly hard to reach accord on issues like this, you just have to find out what the public wants, realize your not going to make everyone happy, and move on from there. But you cannot rely on a poll, or even a council meeting for that, you don't get a representative slice of opinion for that, as odds are your going to wind up with opinions running one way, especially at a council meeting.

Anyway Roanoke, forget the WSLS & Roanoke Times polls - start calling for a referendum. Petition for a more open government, where you have more say. This way you can stop complaining when things don't go your particular way.

Thats my dos centavos.
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Yes, I have a new toy. xblog this

works only if you have firefox, but you do.. don't you?

Oooh kay....

So where is Roanoke.com? Perhaps they imploded...

Unfortunately, I don't really have much time today to grab the paper. So Im gonna have to wing this one.

Last night I met up with Rhett for the Roanoke Firefighters/9-11 memorial service. It was nice, although I was a bit suprised. Being that it was 9/11, I had been turning most of my thoughts to the 343 FDNY who fell in the towers, along with the 8 (if I remember) who fell here in Roanoke.

Not once did I think of NOLA. Or anywhere along the gulf. As the Firefighter who led the memorial yesterday said - there are 26,000 first responders, fire fighters, and EMT's who could have been effected by Katrina. Numbers for anything else have not come in yet, but thats a total of 26,000 overall.



Roanoke Firefighters

Roanoke Firefighters

You should have been there. Be there next year.



this is how we remember.

News from The Roanoke Times -Museum breaks ground in symbolic ceremony

WDBJ's coverage.

WSLS's coverage.

Note to all reporting this story: You can't have "Standing Room Only" when your outdoors, in an unrestricted space.

And so begins the "Crack by the Track" saga. I could lambast the VIP's because they are wrong, but I won't. You know what I would say anyway. But the first, easiest, and most visable sign of trouble: They had Mimes.

This is Roanoke people. Yes we had the NASCAR Ballet, and the Wall Ballet, and sometimes we do get a bit nutty with things. But under no circumstances are Mimes acceptable. And these "living paintings"? Just creepy. Nice to see they blew money to have the dirt trucked in like that, now when does construction start?

Oh there will be more.. So much more.. but its Sunday, 9/11.

We have other, more important things to worry about.