Personal post

I always like to end the day on a piece of good, if not strange, news. Personally speaking - I find I sleep better if I read something that makes me pause and wonder for a moment.

This is one of them.

Chemical 'may stop cancer growth'

Reminds me of the story a few months back about a research physician who had some cancer cells in a petri dish, came in one morning and found them all dead. She griped about it to a fellow physician who replied "Wait, you mean you just killed cancer?" "Oh yeah," she replied.

It's those little moments that make you wonder.

Do I need to say anything?

An invitation

I would like to invite you all to come view my other, local blog.

Southeast Roanoke Action Forum is a neighborhood group, dedicated to serving the interests of Southeast Roanoke, and all it's inhabitants. That is why I started Southeast Roanoke Rising. To bring the SE Action Forum and the way the community relates news and information into the 21st century.

At the meeting last night, one of our older members (a woman who lives in the same house 3 generations of her family lived in) gave us her quiet support. She recognized that even though she does not understand it herself, the people who do are the people we need now in the group.

If you are a resident of SE Roanoke, I invite you to contact the group at seroanoke@gmail.com and let us know you are out there.

Thanks for listening.



Allow me a moment here.

I wish to speak about the schools, education, life downtown, and several other topics which might seem dreadfully boring at first, but walk with me for a few moments.






All reasons why it is so hard to attract people to cities, versus the suburbs. And for downtown reasons, you can magnify those tenfold.

Archetypes: Existing cities are all built off the same basic construct. A centralized location (which has shifted over the lifespan of the city) for all shopping and services. Small area grade schools, larger coverage area for the middle, and zoned High Schools, regional higher education. Access to interstate highways, centralized work areas, recreational areas. These are the hallmarks of any city. From Manhattan (planned as such) to Manhattan, KS. Some grow more organically than others, but most have some human hand behind the development at some point in the process. Every city, in it's very design - holds the prototype from it's inception.

Safety: It is difficult to provide 100% assurance that the world is safe, no matter where you are - or where you go. Even the best police department is still going to have a less than desirable track record when the community decides it will not be policed. Think the "Wild, Wild West" or 1920's Chicago. It's an organic machination that at some point the citizens of the city grow restless - weather it be in the midst of a heat wave, as in New York in 1977 during the blackout, or Los Angles during the 1992 Riots. There will always be an element that suffers from a dysfunctional moral compass. There will always be disagreement as to why this exists. Safety is in the heart of the individual, not in the collective of the population. Why can one person walk where others fear to tread? They know they can. And if two people know they can, then more will follow.

Education: There are few choices when it comes to education. Either you have it, or you do not. You cannot have some. Neither can you have all. Education is an ongoing process through which the human learns of the world around them. No, you do not want to do the homework - but you know you must. There are no options. Hard realization for someone who nearly skipped every homework assignment for the last 2 years of high school. But I continue to pay for that fact daily. But I continue to educate myself.

I believe if you look at the data (should it ever have been collected), you will find a direct correlation between Roanoke's current drop-out dilemma, and the parents they come from. If education is not prioritized in the home, it will not be in life. And the reason Roanoke's numbers are so dismal? The "brain drain" the city has suffered in the past. The smarter you were - the more likely you were to leave. Leaving behind those of less education to fill the factory jobs. Well now the factories have closed, and these workers are finding themselves in a world where they have been rendered obsolete. But they lack the skills to educate themselves for a new career. They lack the knowledge that further education will allow them more opportunities. Sure, they know the smart people get better jobs - but they cannot conceive how. Want to solve the school problem Roanoke has? You need the families to invest the time and effort into making the schools the best they can be. Money and new buildings are meaningless when the population lacks the ability to grow.

: A city disengaged is a city unmotivated, and no amount of civic cheer-leading or campaigning can change that. In life, one has to choose one's battles - and the same holds true for populations. How many issues went unknown because the focus was on Victory Stadium? An excellent smokescreen, but of little value in the long run. Sad part being that a few council canidates (now members) were duped into thinking that Victory Stadium's demise would actually have some sort of effect on the city. Aside from a giant wreath placed on the gates, a special section in the paper, and a fight over bricks (and people will fight over anything free, esp. from the government) - the gain was negligible. We now have more space for soccer fields. Or a possible kayak park?

Who thinks of these things? Who thinks the city is doing a good job, or the citizens holding up their end of the bargain? We are only as good as those we allow to represent us. And we are only as effective as the leadership we select. Judging by the form of governance we have here, we are not very effective as citizens. We love committees, always hoping they will validate our ideas. Cries of conspiracy when they do not. But we do not communicate well our ideas, or worse - we question the ideas of those who do. Our representative government is a poor reflection upon us, and we of it. It works both ways, and both go against Roanoke evolving into the New Roanoke it so desperately needs to be. You will never 100% agree with everything the city does, but you should at least feel like you had a voice. Everyone over the age of 18, and registered is eligible to vote - but many see nothing but futility when they look at a ballot.

Fear: Finally, down to the true crux of the issue. Fear. Fear of success, fear of change, fear of oppression, fear of power, fear of the unknown. Baseless, pointless, endless fear. A town that walks on eggshells is a town without.

Summation: Roanoke lacks nothing. It does not lack hotel rooms, with 31 and counting hotels in the area - that should not be a concern. It lacks a cohesive use for the rooms. Atlantic City knows it's trade. Gaming, conventions and tourism. New York City, Conventions and tourism. Chicago, Conventions and tourism. Atlanta, Conventions and tourism. Roanoke, Conventions and... Well, we don't really have as much tourism as we like to think we do.

Where is the draw? A downtown Farmer's Market is a good start. Museums located right there are helpful - but what about activity? And no, the Greenway system is not a tourist activity. When, and if, Explore Park opens - it will be an activity center. But it will be self sustaining, and most of it's revenue will go to Roanoke County. Has the developer of Explore Park ever come before the City Council to discuss the impact it will have on the City of Roanoke? Considering Bedford County and Roanoke County have a solid stake in this venture - I would garner the city should be asking some questions as well.

We have much to offer - but we have to offer it. We need to find the concept, and chase the dream. We have plenty of available space downtown for things such as movie theaters, grocery stores, drug stores, bowling alleys... but the narrow view of "it is what it is" supersedes all future uses. The Heironimous building, along with Mr. Spud's next door - empty and devoid of uses. Same with several other buildings, lots, and storefronts downtown.

Yet we as a community do nothing to foster business growth. There once was a coffee shop downtown, and no - not Mill Mountain. De Espresso, for what it was worth, was one hell of a coffee shop. Serving Seattle's Best - parent company of Starbuck's, and serving ice cream and sandwiches - De Espresso was a large but cozy - and just around the corner from the Market. Yet it stumbled and failed. First problem was lack of support. People do not wander anywhere but the Market. The only way they go off-Market is for work. If you cannot get the locals to frequent anyplace but the market, you will not get others to do so. Nor will you attract business' to the areas anywhere but on-Market.

In real cities, people are not afraid to walk when they are in an area with poor parking. As long as they can get within a * block radius of where they want to go - they park and walk. Along they way, they might stop into a business or two. On Jefferson, there are very few business to stop into while walking from the Market to the Library - which might be why they built that little green strip-park connecting the two.

We expect others to come, tourists, and get out and explore when we are not even willing to do that ourselves. We aren't even willing to be the city we claim to be. Or are we? There are two types of thought here, the "can do" and the "cannot do." One allows the other, but for how long. I see signs of change.

Again, thanks for allowing me this moment. Some of the things brought up here have been festering for an exit for a while.

Anyone care to discuss? I'm all ears...

Wanna take a cheap shot?

Roanoke and New River Valley Bloggers to meet March 15

Roanoke Biz2Biz, WDBJ 7 are hosting a local bloggers conference on Thursday, March 15 from 12 noon - 2 pm at the WDBJ 7 Community Room in Roanoke. Lunch will be provided and the cost to attend is $10.

You will hear bloggers from all experience levels discuss this topic.

If you are a blogger, then we want you there to meet other local bloggers offline. Bring your laptop to showcase your blog in the wireless environment.

Individuals curious about blogging and how to create, use and read them are strongly encouraged to attend.

You must RSVP to attend as space is limited. To register, email Patsy at RoanokeBiz2Biz.

I will be a speaker at this event, so come on down and heckle if you like. Or congratulate me on my greatness. Whichever works for you.

We already have 30 people attending, and the room capacity is 60. I'd like to stuff the room to the point they need to find a larger venue for the next meeting - on the order of the Civic Center.

Considering the number of new bloggers appearing weekly here in Roanoke, I'm beginning to wonder if my job is safe.

At least Rhett has no competition,yet.


Another message

Looks like I'm going to have a continued relationship with this group. Who knew?


Greetings Mr. Roanoke-Found,

We, the founders of the Roanoke Citizens
Brigade are choosing to speak through you as we find that your voice and
audience fits our messages.We respectfully hope you do not mind being used like

In the wake of the For The City debacle, and the rise of Valley
Forward - a younger version of For the City, we find ourselves at a loss to
explain the machinations behind this shift towards the rich and semi-powerful,
and their offspring. Are the people expected to believe that these people have
the best interests of the average citizen at heart? With For the City, we were
promised a focus on Education, Greenways, and other such issues.

now, and since the election - nothing. The For the City candidates have busied
themselves with rules about "no drinking after 10pm on city property" and..
well, little else honestly.

Then comes Valley Forward, a young group of
business-professional upstarts with plans to enhance Mill Mountain by building a
miniature Hotel Roanoke directly to the right of the Star. To give the citizens
of the valley the ability to stay at an upscale, posh hotel and dine in splendor
atop Mill Mountain. As if the average, work-a-day citizen eats at Metro or
Frankie Rowland's at least once a week, or could even afford to eat there once a

The facts speak for themselves. A good portion of the Roanoke MSA
is employed in service industries. A good portion is also in the retail
industry, and not as management or higher. The most recent numbers released
indicate the average household in Roanoke brings in roughly $50k a year.

How an Inn on Mill Mountain could possibly contribute to the raising of
that average is beyond comprehension.The Roanoke Citizens Brigade comes forth at
this time to consider alternatives more open to ALL citizens of Roanoke.

Our focus is on life in Roanoke, not the possible maybe future of some
of Roanoke - but the everyday future of ALL Roanoke.

We want your input -
everyones input. Not just those who donate to our campaign funds or can make it
to a 5:30 meeting at Trio (a time when most people are still working, or just
getting out.)

We want the public to contact us - roanokecitizensbrigade@gmail.com
with your ideas, concerns, questions, and motivations.

We appreciate your
assistance in this Mr. Roanoke-Found. And look forward to a continued
relationship in the future.

Roanoke Citizens Brigade

for a just,
and fair city



This is Earth: Final Conflict. Thankfully someone had the sense to put the show opening online.


Got somethin' for ya

A quick and dirty idea, for this city so concerned with it's future.

Ever stop and look at the corridors leading into and out of Roanoke?

Clean those up, and the rest will follow.

Yes, that means a "final solution" for the Bullet-Jamison corridor, a real plan for Williamson Rd., and some consideration given to Hollins, Peter's Creek, et. al.

The only one which seems remotely attractive is Franklin Rd. from 220 to Downtown. Oh, money - right. Forgot about that.

You can flash all the "bling" you want at the 18-39 set, but without substance - there is no attraction.

Re: City Magazine's 125th Anniv. issue.

Your reader's voted that "attracting and retaining the 18-3?" is the most important issue facing Roanoke now. And yet one glimpse through your calender and listings, articles and ads shows nothing towards that goal.

Perhaps the first thing to realize is that the problem is not external, that other places are 'cooler'. The problem is being PART of the problem. As a entertainment journal for Roanoke and it's citizens - and knowing very well your demographics - you know as well as anyone that the 18-3? crowd is widely ignored. Not all 18-3? individuals can afford dinner at Metro, or a weekend of dance lessons at the Hotel Roanoke. But then again, we are not interested in the Art Museum, or a old-timey quilting bee. We want for something to do...

Example: The Laser light shows at the Hopkins Planetarium, a breath of fresh air for someone with a budget looking to get out downtown at night.

But once we left there - what else to do? Texas Tavern and home..

Bar owners, please take notice. There are plenty of bands out there looking for a place to play. Pick some new ones from time to time. Key West is great, if you are.. well, either a boomer or someone trying really hard to be one. NeoYuppies? I'm not going there.

NeoYuppies Forward.. Valley Forward is having it's inaugural membership meeting at Trio Wine Bar and Bistro and Store and Sidewalk Blocker. March 14th at 5:30pm. (once again, an unfortunate time for those who do not work 9 to 5, but what do they matter anyway.) How did I find out? Well, if you are signed up for NewVaConnects, or any other similar group - your e-mail address went to Valley Forward who used it to populate a master-invite list.

Will I be there? Cannot say for sure - Don't think I can afford Trio - and probably wouldn't want to.

Would I like to be? Yes, but I would like it to be at a place I know I can afford and at a time that is more accessible for all. You know, like maybe 6:30pm?

Gee, come to think of it - you would think a group that wants to attract and retain young professionals would want to give them something to do maybe a little later than the dinner hour?

Well.. only time will tell.


Resistance is futile

I apologize to my non-Trek readers out there, but as you all know - this blog can be varied at times - and this time we are going trek.

I'm not having a discussion on this, I loved the original - Next Generation even more-so. But DS9 will always be my personal favorite.

Depth, emotion, brilliantly different storytelling..

Then I found this video - "Horrors of War" is the title. There were many war-based episodes of DS9, but none so moving as "The Siege at AR-558" and the final (massive) battle of the Dominion War.

Both are combined here, with a song from the Hannibal soundtrack to amazing results.

Speakers on, eyes open...

You know you are a Trekkie when things like this cause your eyes to well.