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January 2008

The Greater Raleigh Court Civic League C e l e b r at i n g

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Y e a rs


R a l e ig h

Co u rt

H i s tory

Work on Dan Wright Trailhead Kicks into High Gear managers: Mike Urbanski is the Civic League’s greenway coordinator; Jim Loesel designed the plantings and other landscape elements; and Melissa Speed, pulling the strings remotely from her new home in Colorado, watched over the finances and made sure that deliveries and work groups were properly scheduled. Other volunteers included members of Pathfinders for Greenways, Star City Striders, Raleigh Court Elementary School PTA, the Elfun Volunteers (GE), Roanoke Valley Greenways, the Greater Raleigh Court Civic League, and friends and relatives of Dan Wright. Thanks to each of you for a job very well done.

For three weekends in November, volunteers turned out in large numbers to clear brush, plant trees and bushes, and complete the trail. A truly amazing amount of work got done in a few weeks, turning the overgrown trailhead and adjoining property belonging to the Raleigh Court Elementary School into beautiful parkland. Inside this issue we have devoted two pages of photographs to try to convey the scale of the work. In the President’s message on page 3, Chad Van Hyning recognizes the assistance and cooperation the project received from City departments. Making sure that materials and volunteer labor came together at the right time, keeping everyone productive, and generally staying on top of all the activity was the team of project

January Meeting Focuses on Global Warming Come hear more about the Cool Cities Coalition and their work to stop global warming, one city at a time. Representatives from the local group will talk about the City of Roanoke’s progress to date, about the crossroads that we are fast approaching, and about what Roanoke citizens and neighborhood organizations can do in their homes, businesses and everyday lives to reduce our community’s carbon footprint. Please join us on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm at Christ Lutheran Church. Raleigh Court Pastimes

Vikings Among Us By Kelly Zappia

Inside This Issue Raleigh Court renos................................................... 4 Dan Wright Trailhead construction pictures..............6-7 Children’s parade....................................................... 8 It’s cool to be green................................................... 10 Things you need to know.......................................... 10

Raleigh Court teenagers Kim, Ashley and Amanda Rigdon (ages 13-16) all know how to battle with the quarterstaff. For those of you unfamiliar with weapons terminology, that would be the same weapon that Robin used against Little John in the movie Robin Hood. Remember the scene when they were on the log? The girls all choose to dress as Viking warrior women when participating with their father Jeff and brother John Rigdon —continued on page 5

Greater Raleigh Court Civic League Officers OFFICERS President Chad Van Hyning 798-5983 Vice-President Susan Koch 345-9977 Recording Secretary Keith Dabbs 224-3082

Lori Livingston 981-1145

Building Management: Chris Chittum, 345-2377

Carl Cress 982-2004

Webmaster: Michael Meise, 343-0805

COMMITTEE CHAIRS Membership: Karyn McAden Adopt-a-Highway: Christopher McWhite 345-5194

Treasurer Bruce Knappe 343-1987

Neighborhood Affairs: Frank Eastburn, 342-8063

Karyn McAden 342-8930 Melissa Morgan 312-3587

Greenways: Mike Urbanski, 344-1388

Immediate Past President Kurt Navratil 343-7373

Corresponding Secretary Cassandra Van Hyning 798-1996

Directors at Large Chad Braby 343-3975

Grandin Road Merchants Liaison: Kurt Navratil

Program: Melissa Morgan & Lori Livingston Advertising: Susan Koch Newsletter: Jim Huizenga 345-9977 Special Projects: Tony Stavola 345-0010

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From the President

A Great Partner By Chad Van Hyning

As many of you already know “Phase II” of the Dan Wright Trailhead project is complete. Landscaping has been installed and mulched and a picnic area has been built. Just for grins, the last remaining void in the Murray Run Greenway between the Dan Wright Trailhead and the existing trail along the PHHS baseball field was bridged. Some of the Civic League’s partnering groups apparently didn’t think the trailhead work was challenging enough by itself, so it was decided to construct the last trail section. There was definitely no shortage of spirit. Speaking of partnering groups, the successful work on the Trailhead and new greenway section is the result of an impressive display of collaboration between several different organizations. Some of those groups are Pathfinders for Greenways, Star City Striders, Raleigh Court PTA, GE’s Elfun Volunteers, Roanoke Valley Greenways, and of course the Civic League. The successful completion of this project would not have been possible without them. As I have reflected upon this project, I have found myself focusing on the efforts of one final organization – the City of Roanoke.

• Raleigh Court Elementary School – Principal Babette Cribbs worked very closely in the coordination of the landscaping and the trail location next to the school playground, and allowed use of their grounds for stockpiling of construction materials. While I have been amazed at the untiring effort put forth by the City, it really should not have come as any surprise. Thinking back over just the past year and a half, the City’s contributions are really just a continuation of the service and generosity that has been previously extended. This speaks volumes about the kind of the people that live in this community and about those that choose careers of public service. I consider myself very (540) 309-0071 fortunate to live in a Join us for classes at the community that is as Roanoke Ballet Theatre! committed to its residents Schedule available online. as the City of Roanoke. Find Your Center

I think it is safe to say that City staff went well above and beyond the call of duty in their assistance to make the project happen. These sentiments have been repeated time and again while in the planning process, during the construction itself, and amongst the high-fiving afterwards. Some of the City’s departments and their contributions are: • Parks and Recreation – Parks and Greenways Planner Donnie Underwood met on site several times to coordinate approval of the project and outline the materials that Parks and Recreation could supply. Crews from Parks and Recreation hauled in piles of gravel for construction of the trail, while hauling off excess dirt, vegetation, and trash. • Urban Forestry – Urban Forester Dan Henry marked the hazardous trees and their crew cut and removed those trees while trimming others. • School Maintenance – their crew worked for ten days to cut and remove dead trees, stumps, brush and vines between the trail head and the Raleigh Court Elementary School. Furthermore, they bush-hogged and graded low spots over the entire site. page 3

Raleigh Court renos

Finding a Home in Raleigh Court By Jim Huizenga When Ron and Genevieve Hutton moved here in 2001 from West Virginia, they weren’t thinking about Raleigh Court. Rather, they wanted to be closer to their two grandchildren in Lynchburg. Living in a rental house, the Huttons visited dozens of houses while looking for a place to buy. Raleigh Court reminded them of the tranquil streets near West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, where the Huttons had bought and rehabbed a Victorian house. But the 90-year-old foursquare they wanted to buy on Belleville Road didn’t cooperate at first. The deal fell through the first time they offered to purchase the house, but a few months later a relative of the seller called to ask if they still wanted it. And so the deal was done in October 2006. Between working full time – Ron works for Paul Davis Restoration and Genevieve works at the Stop-In branch of Petroleum Marketers – and looking after rental property in West Virginia, the Huttons don’t have a lot of time to devote to remodeling. Yet they’ve made a lot of progress. “We take it room by room,” said Genevieve. “We’ll eventually get it all done.”

Living room fireplace will get a new mantle,

Ron & Genevieve Hutton

This past summer passers-by could see the hearth, and tile surround Huttons working away in the evenings. They rebuilt the front porch, including new joists, decking, and stone steps. More recently, they’ve been spending time redoing the kitchen, refinishing the cabinets, adding crown moldings, and wallpaper. Another project in progress is the living room fireplace. Ron is adding an oak and tile surround, and a granite hearth. Future projects include installing new siding on the second story, adding a downstairs bath and an upstairs laundry room, and replacing the old double-hung windows. Ron and Genevieve are enjoying their home in Raleigh Court, and looking forward to summer evenings on the front porch.

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Vikings Among Us—continued from page 1

in events such as Local Colors, Yule Fest, the Medieval Fair and the Renaissance Festival. You might have been lucky enough to witness their display at the last Raleigh Court Block Party. They were there in full regalia with their living history exhibit of Viking culture. The girls’ father Jeff is the president of the local group, Vikings of the Valley, and his whole family is amazingly well versed in history especially when it pertains to Vikings. All members, especially son John (age 20) were able to speak fluently about life in a Viking community. They were happy to tell me about how the women ran the house and that women had the power to say no to a marriage that they didn’t want. While women didn’t go on raids, they did know how to use weapons and could defend themselves and their home. When asked about the reactions that they get from their appearances at public events, the family’s response was unanimous, “Can I take a photo with you?” or “Can I see your sword?” One of dad Jeff ’s main goals is always to make Viking living history really fun and to leave people with a little more knowledge about Northern European history. Future goals for the Vikings of the Valley are to have a permanent structure that will represent a Viking Long House. The long house was the standard structure of the Scandinavian people. Simply built with a dirt floor, an open fire pit and no chimney, the long house was a smoky place to live. And while Vikings have the historical reputation of being barbarous and ruthless, they were also farmers and fishermen and placed high importance on their families. What really separates them from other cultures is their mobility. The use of the longboat enabled them to be successful traders, explorers, and colonizers and to raid other settlements. Travel in the longboat wasn’t exactly easy as the North Sea is full

of icebergs and whales could easily knock over a boat. I was really impressed that Jeff ’s whole family was involved. It isn’t often that you get to see a family sharing an interest and skill together so happily. When I asked how often they talk about Vikings or learn something new about Northern European history, Kim, age 13 quickly told me everyday. If you missed the Viking appearance in our local Raleigh Court Christmas Parade you can see them in action at Yule Fest or Enchanted Eve in Vinton and keep an eye out for them at Local Colors events and during the summer, at the Renaissance and Medieval Festivals. Their website ( has listings of upcoming events and ways to contact them for appearances.

Vikings leader Jeff Rigdon (right) prepares to do battle with any dragons he might encounter on the Grandin Road parade route. Honorary Vikings Pearl Fu and Gabe Zappia rode in the longboat. Photo by Jay Saunders.

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Dan Wright Trailhead W

Photos by Jim Loesel a

Babette Cribbs, Principal of Raleigh Court Elementary

Dan Wright’s sister, Brenda Burnham, and her husband Dale (above) drove from Greenville, SC to help

Bill Gordge, Tim Cribbs, and Maurice Turner try

Picnic area – before…

Real men drive pickup trucks and carry chain saws

…and after Maurice Turner operates the loader to cut the new trail

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Work in November 2007

and Brenda Burnham

Paula Schimizzi, a member of Pathfinders for Greenways, smoothes gravel on the new path

y out a new section of trail Bill Gordge, leader of the Pathfinders for Greenways work crew

Dan’s daughter, Stephanie Wright, came from Alexandria, VA

Landscaping work at the start of the trail

Mike Urbanski (L) and Jim Loesel provided project management and design services

City of Roanoke employees, Mike Webster (L) and Larry Carter, cleared and trimmed trees prior to the start of trail building

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Grandin Village Children’s Parade The annual parade rolled down Grandin Road under sunny skies in front of large crowds on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Families from around the Roanoke Valley gathered to welcome Santa to our neighborhood. Robert Turcotte and Susan Stump, president of the Grandin Village Merchants Association, organized the event.

Cathy Chittum from the Grandin Theatre tossed popcorn to the crowd

In keeping with tradition, the Boy Scouts collected canned goods for RAM House, Robert Turcotte and the Methodist Church sold its hearty Brunswick stew. New to this year’s parade was the Taste of the Village, organized by Ben Ward of The Isaacs restaurant, delighting many parade-goers. In addition, Christa Stephens of Black Dog Salvage offered raffle tickets to raise money for the Merchants Association to purchase holiday lights for the Village.

The Greyhound Rescue group brought a large contingent of these beautiful animals Lots of POP’S

The grand finale

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Things you need to know… Raleigh Court History Book Now Available The publisher of Nelson Harris’ new book on Raleigh Court history did not deliver in time for his presentation at the November membership meeting. However, the book is now available and in stock at area booksellers, including Too Many Books.

Lifetime Memberships in the Civic League Are Available Wondering whether your membership in the GRCCL has expired? The board of the civic league has initiated a lifetime membership category. For only $100, you can enjoy all the benefits of GRCCL membership, including a subscription to our award-winning newsletter, which you never have to renew. Do the math – this is a great deal!

Block Party Volunteers Needed Interested in helping organize this year’s GRCCL Block Party? This fun project, scheduled for May, draws hundreds of Raleigh Court neighbors. Several volunteers are needed to help plan the event, including food, music, publicity and kids’ activities. To find out more, contact Block Party co-chair Kelly Zappia at

Harwood Paint Expands Offerings Those of us who have missed McVey’s can take heart. Harwood Paint & Hardware (formerly Harwood Paint & Wallpaper) has added hardware lines to its store at 1418 Grandin Road. New lines of merchandise include electrical, plumbing, and seasonal gardening supplies, as well as hand and power tools. You can also get keys duplicated, glass cut to order, and kerosene heater service. Harwood continues to sell wallpaper and Benjamin Moore paints. Jeff Franco in hardware and Barry Mann in paint have, respectively, 25 and 30 years of experience.

New Arrival Welcome to Raleigh Court’s newest (and cutest) resident. Frances June Livingston arrived November 13. She weighed in at seven pounds, ten ounces. Frances is the first child of Matt and GRCCL board member Lori Livingston. Both are active in the neighborhood, and Lori co-chairs the Civic League’s Program Committee.

It’s Cool to Be Green By Chad Braby The City of Roanoke is approaching an exciting crossroads, and it has nothing to do with amphitheaters, museums or mountaintop hotels. In September, 2006, the City Council voted unanimously to join the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, with the goal of measuring and reducing energy usage and carbon emissions. Subsequently, the City has made commendable progress, teaming up with Virginia Tech’s Department of Green Engineering to complete a formal assessment of the carbon footprint of the City government, as well as the entire Roanoke community. The report should be completed and in the hands of City officials this winter, and some important decisions will be made; leaders will have to debate on what to do with the energy and carbon assessment. How much should emissions be reduced and over what time frame? 10 years? 20 years? 40 years? Should carbon reduction initiatives be offered to the greater Roanoke community including neighborhoods like Raleigh Court or be limited to Roanoke City government operations? How much money can be saved by reducing energy consumption and increasing operating efficiency? How should the savings be utilized? The Greater Raleigh Court Civic League will provide a voice to neighbors interested in this important issue. During the January membership meeting, we will host leaders of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, a local group dedicated to educating the public and local governments about the science and consequences of global warming and our unsustainable fossil fuel addiction. This newly formed group includes a wide range of business leaders and concerned citizens. They will discuss specific actions we all can take to lessen our environmental impact. For more information: Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition – International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives – Virginia Tech Green Engineering - green/

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q new member q renewing member Name

Greater Raleigh Court Civic League P.O. Box 3092 Roanoke, VA 24015 Address Service Requested

New members are welcome to join the Civic League at any time. Your mailing label shows Address when it’s time to renew your membership. You may pay your dues at the next membership City meeting. Multiyear or life memberships are welcome! The Civic League is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Donations may be claimed as charitable deductions for tax purposes. Home Phone Please mail your membership dues ($10 family, $15 business, or $100 life membership) or Amount Enclosed gifts to: GRCCL, P.O. Box 3092, Roanoke, VA 24015 Or go to and click on “JOIN US” to fill out a membership application online. I’d like to help out with:

Membership Form


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GRCCL newsletter 2008-01  

For three weekends in November, volunteers turned out in large numbers to clear brush, plant trees and bushes, and complete the trail. A tru...

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