Breaking news: It's not what you know, it's what you say.

Today's article on the Times is headlined "Passer-by finds woman's body in Roanoke River." Yesterday's breaking news.

Now, one would think that considering it's not all that often one finds a body in the river (at least not here) that you might want to release a bit more information than just that.

I mean, there's nothing in the article that says anything of substance.

But I know what they know and aren't saying yet. I have my sources just as they do. Well, should - as I don't truly know if they have any inside sources.

If nothing is released by Monday morning, I will have to scoop the newspaper/tv reporters and drop the bomb on this story.

And wouldn't that be sad, for a citizen to scoop the press.

Just don't call me Drudge.


City Council berates Housing Board

Interesting the past few days worth of news concerning the Housing Board, Bev Fitzpatrick, and the Roanoke Times.

Funny how the publisher of the Times is stepping down, right as the "all the news that doesn't offend" paper launches a massive attack.

But seriously, is there one person in Roanoke who actually believes the City Council's claims of "had we only known..." Makes me wonder if all this morning fog we have been having lately is natural.

And guess what, in any other city - NY/LA/Chi - any city anywhere, grant money is often given to things that seem unrelated to the grant itself. It's common practice for anti-drug monies to go to groups that put on anti-drug plays in schools. Yes, it's a bit unusual for HUD monies to go to that, but considering WHAT was done with the money - it's not that unusual. That money went to buy some equipment, and a play which was performed FOR those very (as the normally absent Mr. Wishneff put it) "our poorest population..."

Sometimes things are not always what they seem, and sometimes they are just that.

Do I believe Bev is guilty of anything - not without serious evidence. Look at Bev's history, and see that all his life has been spent on boards and in business' that would appear to have conflicts of interest. From what I've seen - Bev is a professional who knows how to keep the two seperate, unless theres a damn good reason to go ahead with it.

But nice to know our City Council allows a board IT appoints to operate with complete autonomy - so much so that they are just hearing of things from 3 years ago.


Sneak peek

This is a sneak peek at what's been going on behind the scenes here at Forgotten-Roanoke.com

Several times in my life I have started writing a story, only to lose interest midstream. Once or twice did I ever see it through to completion. This blog, and the website are the longest running active project I have ever taken part in.

But I have an idea thats been gnawing at me for over 2 years now. There's a play/screenplay roaming my head. Based here in Roanoke, the Roanoke of the recent past, and today. This is the first page.


A production from the minds of Forgotten-Roanoke.com

  • Scene 1. Setting: Campbell and Market, Saturday December 28th, 1985 7:45pm – still struggling to recover from the flood the previous month, downtown wears its stains with pride. Camera slowly pans the marketplace.

*Unseen male voice: “Nurse, why was I asked to leave the room, and whats going on in there?”

*Unseen female voice: “Sir, there were some serious complications with the delivery. Your wife lost a lot of blood. The child, pardon me – Your son, was trapped inside for a while.”

*man: “I.. I have a son? Is everything ok, is my wife alright?”

*nurse: “Yes, you have a son – and he seems to be alright. The doctor will be out in a little while to give you the full report.”

*man: “But... what about my wife, is she ok?”

*nurse: “The doctor will be able to answer that better than I can.”

*man: sharp exhalation

*Doctor: “Mr. Jahns, I'm sorry. Your wife did not survive the birth. Your son did. Although we need to run some tests. I can give you the full details in my office, or would you like to speak to the chaplain first?”

*man: “I want to know what happened.”

cut scene to vendor stalls down Market – man huddled on corner of Kirk and Market, sobbing quietly into his coat on the empty street. Flags rustle in the wind, as the man begins to walk to Williamson – stops to look up at the Star – aglow in white. For a moment, he hesitates, then begins his walk back to the hospital.


Thats the first page.

Days off, days on, and days in between

Yeh - I got a day off today - so I've been working on a podcast for you all - and with any luck - I'll have it posted by tomorrow morning. I know its been a while.

Been a while for alot of things, but we are moving slowly back in that general direction.

Question, who did Bev Fitzpatrick piss off at the Times to garner this kind of "hard investigative reporting" from the newspaper with the unofficial motto of "offend no one"? And why Bev, when there are others in the Municipal Building with far far worse offenses?

Question, as noticed in the past few weeks with all these "Walks to cure ____" that have been happening around town, why is it you can walk to solve a problem - but not to the corner store for something? Maybe there would be more neighborhood grocers if you would.. just a thought. Not that I have any experience in micro-economy commernce. Nope.

Question, Paradox is now 202 Market, but not really. Paradox's main entrance is still on Campbell Ave. Is the 202 Market a ploy to "upscale" the place? And should we be worried about these secret new menus. Is Roanoke about to get priced out of the Market Area again?

Ok - enough questions. How about a little ol' "Behind the Scenes" moment here. I doubt very much any of you really paid attention when I talk about "secret projects" and such - but if you think back, I did mention one that would be up-coming this winter (with any luck). I will be releasing a sneak preview later today. It will be here, on the blog. Check back later this afternoon for more.


Just proof it COULD be worse

I might not like the design of the new Art Museum, but I am thankful I don't live in Denver (for many reasons).

This thing is downright dangerous.

In retrospect, I guess maybe our museum is not all that horrible. At least it's not as intrinsically dangerous.


Rails and Resources: Half dozen of the other...

Perhaps some of you read the story in today's business section of the Roanoke Times. An interesting look into some "behind the scenes" at the growth Norfolk Southern has made in the past few years, why and how.

The one resource missed by the article, one which can be easily shipped in double-stacked cars, the most obvious choice for rail transport.


All through the Transportation Meeting at the Hotel Roanoke in the past few weeks, the Governor's speeches and all the rest - much has been made about intermodal rail transport in Virginia. But there was no reported mention of the TransDominion Express.

For those of you who did not hear, or have forgotten since the last time the major media players around here saw fit to mention the project, TransDominion Express started as the basic idea of brining high-speed commuter rail from Bristol to Washington, D.C. in the space of a day or less. And when the numbers were run, models showed the run could be made in 8 hours, provided rail traffic allowed.

This would require agreements from Norfolk Southern and CSX to get the slotted time on the rails. It would also require major funding from the state and federal levels - for the equipment and such. Most of all, it would require renovations to the rails themselves - an upgrade to be capable of handling high-speed commuter rail.

There is some momentum for this, but it is hidden behind the curtain of commercial rail. Not widely reported, other states are interested in moving ahead with the project and gaining rail service. Tennesse is very interested in having the TDX run through to Nashville - creating a regional rail service similar to Amtrak.

This is the projected, working model route map for the TDX.

Amtrak has not served Roanoke since the early 1980's. The Virginian was swallowed by Norfolk Western. For a town with not one, but TWO grand rail stations - it is a shame that there is no constant rail service. The TDX would give the entire region a boost. If you look at the map above - you'll see that Roanoke would be considered large enough a stop to be staffed full-time. Lynchburg also. Which means they consider Roanoke and Lynchburg to be major destinations along the line.

We all know the rebirth Lynchburg is undergoing, and we can see daily the changes here in Roanoke. We all want to succeed, and for the city to do well also. We have this new Art Museum going up right next to the tracks, we have a grand hotel right next to the tracks, we have a Visitor's Welcome Center/Dual Museum right ne.. no wait - that's the old station. Ok - well it's still right next to the tracks.

Communting from Roanoke to Lynchburg, or Lynchburg to Bedford, or a game-day trip to Charlottesville from Wytheville and back need not be a chore. Nor would it need to be a budget-buster. And for school field trips to the Nation's Capitol, what could be easier than a same day trip regardless of weather or traffic accidents.

Commerce between the cities would boom, people would have the option of going to see a play at the Mill Mountain Theatre, checking out a band at Cattle Annie's, or head to class at Radford - all by rail.

Building an ampitheatre in Roanoke would generate a ton more interest if college students could leave their cars (if they have one) at the campus and hitch a ride to the show. Plus, it would remove some of the concertgoers off the roads, easing congestion into and out of the parking lots.

Passenger rail would be a win-win for the entire service area. I have not even touched upon the gains both from and to the DC area, and Nashville. We are talking about a single act that would change the course of life here in the Commonwealth.

But it sits on the backburner till the next legislative session, or till the current "transportation crisis" is ended. Actually, short of public outcry - I don't forsee the TDX gaining any slice of the media pie for a long time. There is no drama in attemping to bring a service to people who actually want it. The drama is in making our roads look like deathtraps. Or our state legislators seem like corporate fatcats (which in some cases may be true) in the pocket of the rail shipping industry. But aside from "public opinion polls" and street interviews, where is the regular man being represented? The call for commuter rail has yet to reach the ears of the media, or the halls of the government.

Maybe it's time to make them hear it.

Use this simple form to find your state legislator, and hound them about the TDX. Ask the hard questions. Push for what you want. But think wisely, with the influx of people moving into the Southwestern Virginia area, how long will it be before traffic is a "New York Nightmare?"

And if you feel so inclined - give a few of the reporters over at the Times a buzz, and ask them why they are not asking the Government leaders about commuter rail in our area. Those numbers you can find easily - they are listed by each reporters name on every story they do.

Think about it, shouldn't a railtown like Roanoke have easily access to.. well, you know.. rail?