Page 1

ACC — Are the Hokies fitting in?


January 18, 2007

On-campus mail services: efficient or deficient? JANELLE FRAZIER CT News Reporter

Aside from football and men’s basketball. Hokies struggle in the ACC. Sports pg. 8 >

Woodward’s poetry rains down on readers

Lack of timely delivery and arrival for packages sent to and from campus may not be, in fact, the result of an incompetent mail system, but of nondiligent students. The 10 to 11 staff members of Residential Mail Services who are responsible for collecting and distributing mail to on-campus students work in five mail rooms across campus, serving 45 buildings total. Staffed mail rooms are located in Owens Hall, Peddrew-Yates Hall, Newman Hall, Pritchard Hall and West Ambler-Johnston Hall. Mail is delivered to the residence hall mailboxes Monday through Friday, on the same day the staff receives the mail from the Federal post office on North Main Street. Contrary to popular belief, mail marked express or priority becomes the main concern of the mail staff. With pick-up from the Blacksburg Post Office around 8 a.m. each morning, each letter or package is checked off one by one, signed for and brought back to campus to be sorted in bins for each respective dorm. Express mail is still written up like an ordinary package, but separated from the rest due to its status.

Real world poetry for the grounded audience Features pg. 6 >


Ashley Hurst, freshman university studies major checks her on-campus housing mailbox.

MAIL pg. 2 >

Easy Chair Bookstore to change location, add menu

News Notes Tech men’s basketball loses to FSU Seminoles The No. 23 Virginia Tech men’s basketball team dropped an 82-73 contest to the Florida State Seminoles Wednesday evening in Tallahassee. The loss drops Tech to 13-5 overall and to 3-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. The Hokies trailed 15-5 early in the first half before going on an 11-3 run to cut the lead to two points. However, the Hokies’ hot hand didn’t last long, and they took a 39-23 deficit into the half time break. Tech turned it on during the second half though, cutting the Florida State lead to 52-51. Nonetheless the Hokies couldn’t keep it up, and the Seminoles began to pull away thanks in large part to the play of Seminole standout, Al Thornton. The Hokies look to rebound Sunday evening when the Maryland Terrapins travel to Blacksburg. The game is set to tipoff at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by Fox SportsNet.

BC players dismissed Boston College basketball players Sean Williams and Akida McLain have been dismissed from the team for undisclosed reasons. Williams, a starter, averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and had been regarded as one of the nation’s best shotblockers. McLain, a junior, received minimal playing time during his career in Chestnut Hill. Both players had been priorly suspended during separate incidents. Boston College is currently 13-4 and undefeated at 5-0 in the ACC.

Tech prepares for Black History Month The celebration for Black History Month at Tech will begin on Jan. 22 and continue through Feb. 24. Some of the events included for this year will be a gospel concert, a jazz and classical concert, a lecture and presentation called Black Farmers in America and various other cultural and ethnic presentations. More information on this year’s celebration can be found on the Multicultural Programs and Services website at or by contacting the office at (540) 231-8584.

Two players make Lowe’s list Virginia Tech’s Zabian Dowdell and Coleman Collins were named to the Lowe’s Senior Class Award list. The two Hokies are the only teammates on the 30-man list. Athletes considered for the honor must stand out on the court, in the classroom, in terms of character and in the community. Duke’s J.J. Redick won the award last season.


37 LOW 26 HIGH

An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903 104th Year, No. 60 Blacksburg, Va. January 18, 2007


Patrons of the Easy Chair Coffee Shop will soon be able to sip their coffee and browse the Easy Chair Bookstore collection at the same time.

ALEXANDRA HEMENWAY CT Staff Writer The Easy Chair, an independent bookstore located on North Main Street in downtown Blacksburg will soon be changing its location to a few miles down the road to the University Mall. “We love our current location here in downtown Blacksburg,” said Easy Chair Bookstore Manager Anne Holboch, “but we’re really excited about bringing

together our book and coffee business at the University Mall.” Business co-owner Russell Chisholm maintains that the move is due to a number of reasons, chief among them the desire to merge his bookstore business with the existing Easy Chair coffee shop that already exists in the University Mall. “The decision to move was really a combination of reasons, but we really wanted a café to compete with other

stores,” Chisholm said. “When the space opened up next to the coffee shop, it made it kind of hard to turn down.” Chisholm’s original intention was to incorporate a café in the existing downtown location; however, the current location could not house a café, and Chisholm’s ambition to merge a coffee shop with a bookstore meant a location change. “The big hope is that the combination of our café and bookstore will, together, give people a gathering space,” Chisholm said. Another positive aspect of the recent decision to move is the expected increase of student traffic flow due to the vast number of students who go to the Math Emporium and other various shops in the mall. “We hope our student customer base will expand,” Holboch said. “All the traffic with students going to the Math Emporium or the Blacksburg Health Center will stop by our store.” Indeed, the new location seems to encourage the notion of an increase of students as customers. “We’ll be on the bus line, if you’re going to the Emporium anyway we’re right there,” Chisholm said, “You have to go where the people are, this is a big opportunity for us.” Of course, there are those in the downtown Blacksburg area who will miss the presence of the quaint little bookstore; however, the move is widely received as a positive endeavor. “We’re excited,” said Bill Ellenbogen, who is expanding the mall with this partner Bill Sterrett and working with the Virginia

Tech Foundation. “There is a natural synergy between coffee shops and book stores, and we think it will be good for both the Easy Chair and for the University Mall.” Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Easy Chair is that it is an independent bookstore and therefore provides a different environment from the larger chain and university bookstores. “We focus more on quality fiction than textbooks, and we have a lot of customers who special order titles, looking for something a little more personal,” Chisholm said. “A big chain bookstore does not serve customers in that way, we stock our shelves with things we think customers will want, we search for books that others won’t stock.” Above the business reasoning to move locations, the Easy Chair’s primary focus seems to always be on keeping the intimate atmosphere of an independent bookstore. “Our approach is personal,” Chisholm said. “We might have to special order unusual titles, but it’s a personal process, and it’s nice that Blacksburg has that option through us.” There are a number of reasons behind the decision to change locations, however one fact remains clear; there is general excitement around this new addition to the University Mall. “We think independent bookstores provide a little more service and intimacy than do the larger chains,” Ellenbogen said. “We look forward to getting them open; we’re very excited to have them as apart of the University Mall.”

Sewer system sends company into spiraling conundrum The three year-long Blacksburg sewer controversy continues with a recent court hearing to hear both sides of the argument. KEVIN ANDERSON CT Associate News Editor The Virginia Supreme Court heard the oral arguments dealing with the Toms Creek sewer system last Thursday that has hovered over Blacksburg for over 30 years. The arguments were between the Town of Blacksburg and C. Givens LLC, three brothers who own a large amount of land in Blacksburg that would benefit from the construction of the sewer. In this court, session lawyers on both sides were given 15 minutes to state their arguments. Here, the arguments are

only highlighted for the Court. “You don’t get a decision on the spot,” said Larry Spencer, Blacksburg Town Attorney. Previously, the annexation order called for the western part of the town needing a sewer. This would be an advantage to the town with 20,000 linear feet relieving much of the pressure in the current sewer lines, Givens argues. They say that when the town agreed to build the sewer, the town increased tap fees to homes from $400 to $2,800 in order to fund it, but it was never built. The debate over the sewer in the Toms Creek basin stretches

back to 1973. However, the latest development began in April 2005 when the town was put on notice that Givens would proceed with a writ of mandamus, which states that a public official must look into the matter in order to fulfill the agreement that had been originally made. The writ, however, was not resolved before a trial. Therefore, in June 2005 the matter was brought to the Montgomery County Circuit Court, in which Givens proceeded by asking the town to fulfill the agreement made and build the sewer. The town responded to this by saying that Givens had filed the writ too late. In response to this, Givens checked to see if it had in fact been too late, and was struck down by the court without hearing any evidence on the

matter. The issue of whether Givens waited too long to file the writ comes down to a timeline in a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a given time period where a party can file writ of mandamus. “The statute doesn’t begin until there has been a violation,” said Darrel Tillar Mason, the attorney representing Givens. Givens argued that there was no specific statute, and that waiting too long is not enough information to strike down the writ. The evidence Givens presented was that the town had continued to commit building the sewer on and off for over 30 years, including in 2004. Five months after they committed to building the sewer in 2004, they canceled the construction.

Timeline of events in the sewer 1973

April 2005

Blacksburg town residents request the construction of a new sewer to relieve the pressures of the other sewers in the area.

Givens notifies the town that they will proceed with a writ of mandamus.

June 2005 Givens takes the matter to the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The trial court ruled against Givens, who, in turn made a petition to appeal the matter. In February 2006 the appeal was noted and Givens argued a petition to three of the seven members of the Virginia Supreme Court. The appeal was argued again in July 2006, where the Court heard the appeal. Following this, the town and Givens wrote briefs stating their arguments. Town members acting as friends of the court stated in briefs that they had lost sewage systems and that sewage had risen to their lawns. The Virginia Supreme Court will announce their written decision on March 2. If the Court supports the case, it will be brought back to the trial courts to figure out the approval and construction terms of the sewer.


February 2006

July 2006

January 2007

March 2007

Givens tries to appeal the case to the Virginia Supreme Court.

The Court hears the appeal and takes on the case.

The Virginia Supreme Court hears the arguments of both sides in a 30-minute hearing.

The Virginia Supreme Court releases its decision.


Thursday, January 18, 2007 Print Edition  

Thursday, January 18, 2007 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times