Market Survey

Once again your time is up - time to be heard.

The Roanoke City Farmers Market is running a survey to determine the market's needs and not-needs, plus gain insight into what will make it a continued success in the future.

You can take the survey here.

Thanks Hope - great use of the available technology.

And for all you readers - this is your time to be heard. LOUDLY and CLEARLY.

Pass it up, and you have only yourself to blame.

West End calls

From today's Roanoke Times Letters to the Editor,

A chance to make a neighborhood safe

The West End neighborhood of 13th Street and Patterson Avenue teeters on the brink of change. It needs a little nudging to tip it over the edge. Which way will it go?

Many houses in the area are for sale and currently vacant. Due to vacancy and fear, few people report crimes.

A friend there is an influential figure. He interrupts muggings, helps ladies carry home groceries and reports crimes to police. He's moving. When he moves, how will this tip the neighborhood?

Some residents feel African-American police officers respond to their requests for help, but white officers do not. Regardless of its accuracy, the sentiment affects the likelihood of a crime being reported. Could this lack of confidence in police tip the neighborhood?

If someone reads this and decides to move in and fix up one of the houses, could that tip the neighborhood?

If everyone made one purchase a week at the Sav-A-Lot, changing the level of traffic and affecting the economy of the store, could that tip the area?

Doing nothing says we tolerate neighborhoods becoming less and less safe. Is affordable, safe housing a luxury?

Could we make a positive change in our community? Wouldn't it be cool to try?



Kudos to you, for taking an interest in your community. Some of the grandest homes in Roanoke sit on Campbell Ave. down that end, in various states of disrepair. There's one there now - selling for less than 50k I believe. If I remember the listing correctly, it's a 5 bedroom 3 bath near-mansion, with 2 fireplaces and a 3/4ths wrap around porch.

For a home like this to sell for less than 50k reflects not only negligence on the part of the city, it reflects poorly on the citizens of the city.

The West End is on the brink of change, and does need that little push over the edge. Perhaps those doing the house-flipping in OSW and similar areas need to expand the range and check out some properties on Rorer, Salem, and Campbell Ave.

We looked at a home on Salem Ave. down that end, but our budget being limited for home repair (most of it going into funding my global domination schemes), we could not revive it to it's glory fast enough for our liking. Our own Bev Fitzpatrick runs his Buseum out of that area. Take a drive to it one day, and look around at the glory that stands near ruin. Without cause.

We need more citizens like Brooke, willing to open their mouths about things like this.


"A pretty little village of little account"

That's how Big Lick was described before the coming of the railroad. A little village of little account.

Think about how Roanoke is described today. From the city's own website - hidden in the html for search engines:

"The official Web site of the City of Roanoke, Virginia, named a five-time All-America City

a Top Digital City. Roanoke is a thriving locality where urban centers,

charming neighborhoods, and breathtaking scenery come together in the perfect balance."

Does it sound all that different to you? Sounds like someplace to visit, but not much else. So will the medical community be the Norfolk Western of the 21st Century? Will they make the City the thriving metropolis it once was?

If not them, then who?

Just a question to ask yourself.

What a way to begin a day off

Based on this story in the Roanoke Times today, and conversations I've had recently.

It's all coming down to one thing, fear.


A call to arms?

It has been a most interesting weekend here at F-R HQ, high on the hilltop above the city.

There have been clandestine meetings, plots hatched, and futures debated. Most importantly, there have been several moments in which I had to choose the next step.

This is the choice I make: This year, 2007, there will be 4 major updates to the Forgotten-Roanoke website. Quarterly, the site will be upgraded and updated. The first change is in the works for Mid-February, and it includes a new site design - navigation - and a better UI/UE (user interface/user experience). Should I be able to push through some small changes between the quarters, then so be it. As it is this year is looking exceptionally busy and not at all normal.

The main reason for this is the City's 125th Anniversary, which I (of course) want to capitalize on, but the real keystone for me this year is looking towards the next 25 years. How will we celebrate the city's 150th? Will there be anyone left but geriatric baby-boomers and the medical support staff needed to bathe and clean them? At the rate the city is going, that's not totally out of the question.

Which is why I am announcing the reformation of the SCBA - The Star City Bloggers Alliance. The visionary voice of Roanoke is being lost, and there are those who thank G-d for that.

Dan Radmacher sent out a call for columnists in Sunday's Times. And as tempting an offer as that is, to write and subvert from the inside - I have to say "Thanks Dan, but not now."

The Times is losing readership, people are turning more and more to various and independent sources of news. Plus, I know I don't have time to read the paper in the morning, but can always find a minute or two to check the headlines online. A columnist position with the Times puts one in the unenviable position of actually having to do this for a living. Or at least for the "audience that makes those of any but the biggest national blogs pale in comparison."

As a blogger, I am not looking for the largest audience - what I want is the most motivated audience. I want an audience aggressively seeking news, seeking out those voices in the night - the dangerous revolutionaries with no name. And writing for a major publication does not do that justice, in my eyes.

With that being said, writing for a small one, a counter-to-the-tradition one might suit me, should an opportunity ever arise. (wink wink nudge nudge - what? am I being too obvious about wanting a 2nd newspaper in Roanoke?)

But this year, 2007 will be the year of RoanokeFound. Along with Stuart Mease, I am putting forth a call echoed in the pages of (of all places) The Roanoker Magazine. Where are the visionaries of tomorrow, our leaders to replace those who fail to lead? There is an election next year, 4 seats up for grab on the city council - and who will fill them? Much like the current presidential race, no decent candidates have stepped forth. The current climate has thoroughly quashed the dreams in the eyes of young Roanokers. Working as a team, with the intention to revive the entire point of the Star on Mill Mountain.

That Star, our very own piece of ticky-tacky and the love of our lives, was built because the local downtown businesses wanted to attract MORE business. It's advertisement, it's art, and it's like nothing else anywhere. There might be larger man-made stars in the world, but none with the meaning of the Roanoke Star. The entire point of it was to lure people downtown, "shop-eat-play and see the Star that made Roanoke famous." Take Williamson Rd. for example - along nearly it's entire right of way, one can see the Star clearly.

The Star represented something, be it an increased amount of foot traffic as people came into Downtown Roanoke to shop and see it, or the idea that nothing is totally out of reach in Roanoke - even the Stars themselves.

The population of Roanoke now is less than when the Star was lit, which is a crime. And populous of Roanoke is seemingly also less, less connected - less caring about its own future, less of a city. Should a group bring the concept to build something similar to the Star today - it would not happen.

It takes a pile of bricks that take us back to childhood memories (where things are always rosy) to awaken the civic passion within us. And even that is fruitless.

It's time for Roanoke to be found again, for the Star City to shine again, for the future of Roanoke to come forth, and dream large.

On the eve of the 125th Anniversary, we here at Forgotten-Roanoke.com choose to look forward, to the future of Roanoke.

We will continue the historical perspective that provides us with a clear map to where we were, are, and with any luck - where we will go.

It's going to be a very interesting year...