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TheRoanokeStar.com community | news | perspective

August 10 - August 16, 2012

[Valley Development]

Hotel To Be Built on Top of Market Garage

All Framed Up

Sean Luther of Downtown Roanoke Incorporated and Beth Doughty, executive director for the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership, took a field trip to Greenville, South Carolina. They brought representatives of the Windsor/Aughtry Company back with them. The Company, operating as South Commonwealth Partners, LLC, is planning to purchase an 11,500 square foot ground floor porCity Govt. tion of the Market Garage and a portion of the associated air rights above the facility for $800,000. The ground floor is slated to be the hotel lobby for a three story 123-room Hampton Inn & Suites that will sit on top of the garage on Church Street adjacent to Fire Station No. 1. A public hearing is scheduled for August 20. “This agreement will allow the developer to begin their due diligence period during which formal designs will be created in detail. The development agreement will reveal much more and we’re hoping this will come together over the next few months,” said Economic Development Manager Rob Ledger in > CONTINUED P2: Market

Postal Blues

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P4– Hayden Hollingsworth details the history of the postal service and some of the reasons that needed change is on the way.

Photo by Stuart Revercomb

One of the nicest views of the Roanoke Valley is literally “framed-up in the framework” of the community observation deck under construction at South Peak in Southwest County. It’s been a long time coming but the signature development is now fully underway. Driven by the creative team of Jim Smith and Howard Packett through their company (Smith / Packett Med-Com) the development plan calls for a community that will include residential condominiums, custom-built homes, office buildings, retail shopping and restaurants as well as a hotel. According to the developers each aspect / phase is intended to “create a synchronized environment based on convenience so that residents, professionals and visitors will be naturally drawn to its shopping, grand vistas, unique architectural style and other entertainment.” Based on recently released plans and a special media tour conducted last week the project is well on its way to achieving those goals. For more information about the project go to www.southpeak.net or contact Pat Lawson at (540) 204-6024.

A Night Out!

P6– Neighborhood groups in Southeast Roanoke came together,along with many others around Roanoke to celebrate “National Night Out” in style.

School Board and Council Address Issues – Start Date in Jeopardy Use of School Facilities Questioned Roanoke City Public Schools start classes August 20 this year but it is debatable whether they can start before Labor Day next year. Unless the General Assembly works some magic in the 2013 legislative session, the city is tied to Roanoke County’s fate. The complicated legislation is dependent on the adjacent locality’s missed days due to snow. No snow means the county’s exception expires this year. Roanoke City Council held their joint meeting with the Roanoke City

School Board Monday. The agenda was facilities … the principals take pride in packed with teacher pay, school fees, protecting their schools.” Non-profits VHSL, facility usage and student/teach- and school groups are not charged a fee er ratio issues. for using the facilities. Councilman Sherman Lea said peoSchool Board Chairman David Carson said, “School facilities are for ple have complained to him that since students first and they’re for schools the new schools have opened the extesecond and when uses by rior grounds were not accesthe community don’t intersible – like the tennis courts. Education fere with those two then we Lea went on to say at one want to encourage use by the time citizens felt connected to the schools but now they community.” They were used 400 times by the find themselves locked out. “We put community last year, said Carson. schools in neighborhoods so neighbor“We’ve got to be mindful that it’s a bal- hoods could use the schools,” said Lea. ancing act – we really have top notch Carson said, “It’s a fine line in protect-

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P8– Jeremy Carroll goes over some of the tricky “do’s and don’t’s” of screening prospective employees in today’s difficult job market

Alan E. Ronk (left), executive director of Foundation for Roanoke Valley presents Don Moser (center), VMT deputy director, and Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr. (right), VMT executive director, with a really big check to the delight of the Museum’s summer campers.

Transportation Museum Receives $25,500 Grant For Aviation Gallery

P9– Having won a national contest sponsored by Martha Stewart, Roanoker Judy Lunsford brings her sewing skills to the Roanoke Library.

]

ing facilities versus making sure they’re available to the community.” Superintendent Rita Bishop said she would talk with the Principles of William Fleming and Patrick Henry. Anita Price wanted to ensure that both high schools were being utilized equally. Bishop, in answer to Lea’s question about the availability of the inside track said, “It could be done by request but the problem is the security of the school and the gym floor … it would still have to be unlocked and monitored.” Lea persisted saying he hears that “it > CONTINUED P2: School

Roanoke’s New Electric Parking Enforcement Vehicle Debuts

Employment Law

Needle Felted

]

The Virginia Museum of Transportation has received a $25,500 grant from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley from the Foundation’s Community Catalyst Funds to develop new exhibits in the Museum’s upcoming Wings Over Virginia aviation gallery. At one time, the Museum’s aviation gallery was a popular attraction and an educational asset for western Virginia residents and schoolchildren. In 2006, a storm ripped off the roof and destroyed the exhibit. To develop the new aviation gallery, the Museum solicited feedback from the community and developed its interpretive plan around the public’s ideas and dreams. Don Moser, deputy director of the museum and a pilot himself, has led the development of the gallery’s conceptual plan. > CONTINUED P2: Museum “With the help of many valuable partners,

This week Roanoke City began using an all-electric parking enforcement vehicle called the “Firefly,” a three-wheeled vehicle built by Good Earth Electric Vehicles. This vehicle will replace one of the city’s aged, gasoline-powered “Go-4 Interceptor” units. The company that made the gasoline units went out of business and one is being used for parts for the remaining three.The Firefly weighs slightly less than Photo by Valerie Garner the old units, coming in at Roanoke’s New “Firefly” 1750 pounds and has a twoyear warranty, said Demond Go-4 in New York City to be able to get Hammond, Roanoke City Fleet ad- parts from Korea for the old “Go-4”s, ministration supervisor. but some parts are not being made at The Firefly utilizes the newest bat- all. tery technology (Lithium Iron PhosPeople have asked Hammond why phate) for improved energy-efficiency, parking enforcers can’t walk to mark reliability, and an expected battery tires. The answer to that he said, “is lifespan of more than four most of their routes are at years. Hammond said that least 40 to 60 miles each Technology five years is a conservative esso for one person – that’s timate for the 12-volt system. like going from here to The vehicle’s cost is $33,490 – which is Martinsville. That couldn’t be done in comparable to the cost of $30,000 for a day and be efficient in enforcement the gasoline-powered Go-4 vehicle it of parking – we’d replaced. have to have > CONTINUED Hammond said they were lucky more people. It is P2: It’s Electric to link up with the largest user of the

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Page 2 | TheRoanokeStar.com

Showers and storms will return to the area Thursday. Heavy rain, gusty winds and small hail are all possible. The best chance for storms will be east of the Blue Ridge. Temperatures will top out near 90. A strong cold front moves in for Friday and Friday night. Showers and storms are likely with heavy rain and damaging winds possible. There is a slight risk for severe weather. Temperatures will reach the mid 80s. Rain ends Saturday morning then dry conditions return through Monday with highs in the low to mid 80s.

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8/10/12- 8/16/12

> Market

From page 1 an e-mail. Aughtry has developed hotels in Green“Until a full due diligence period is ville, S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Gainesville, completed we won’t have 100 percent final Fla.; and Tallahassee, Fla. A Hampton Inn data. Conceptually speaking, the hotel will located in downtown Greenville includes a be on top of the garage and be connected fitness center and balconies. There will be via an elevator from the lobby,” said Led- no restaurant in Roanoke’s Hampton Inn. ger. There are 506 “I don’t think spaces in the gathey had even rage and it is unheard of Roaclear how many noke before,” or how the spaces said City Manwould be utilized ager Chris Morby the hotel and if rill. When they the guests would came to Roabe assessed an noke they were added fee for pleased to see parking that all of the people would be passed milling about on to the city. and the vitalThe details of ity of Roanoke’s a development downtown. They agreement out- The recently renovated city market garage. almost missed lining the specific roles and responsibili- seeing what they were really looking for as ties of the parties for the development of they passed by the Market Garage right in the hotel, as well as a parking and mainte- the hub of downtown activity. nance agreement will be worked out over Morrill said that they saw Roanoke as the next several months. “The details/con- “a place worth investing in.” That was over cepts that we have to date will be part of a year ago. “A whole team of city employthe council package sent out prior to the ees worked on this for more than twelve August 20th hearing,” said Ledger. The months,” he said. public will have access to all the details at There are a lot of legal issues to work that time. through when putting a private building According to their website Windsor/ on top of a public garage. “There will be

> School

is locked down and it isn’t as open as the old schools use to be.” Carson said “if we’re going to err – we’re going to err for protecting stuff for the students.” Legislative plans for the next session of the General Assembly include beating the drum for state funds and school start dates. Lobbyist Rob Catron will help beat that drum, said acting City Attorney Tim Spencer. Carson said he’d be willing to “storm Richmond.” Bishop shared with City Council that the current student/teacher ratio in the high schools is 18 – 19.8 per class – figuring in special education it falls to 16. The middle school ratio is 17, with special education bringing the number down to 14. Elementary schools are at 17, falling to 12-13 when factoring in special education. RCPS benefits from Title I funding because of the high number of students on free or reduced lunch. The temporary meals tax increase helped in retaining teachers. Carson said the Governor’s School is an incredible program. Of the 250 students enrolled over 100 are city students. Since RCPS is the host system students are able to start in the 9th grade but some may have to be relegated to a waiting list until the 10th grade. The VHSL is now organized in districts by size and both Patrick Henry and William Fleming are AAA and must travel extensively to compete. That has changed for this upcoming school year. RCPS got what they asked for when they pushed to be organized geographically. Carson was fine with competing at the district level but said when it comes time for playoffs he thought they could then compete by size. Now VHSL has implemented levels from 1-6 with one being the smallest school size. William Fleming is level 5 and Patrick Henry is level 6. Carson pointed out, however, that a school is not required to play another school separated by more than two levels. That means that a school geographically close to Patrick Henry, for

> Museum

Roanoke and Western Virginia will have a creative, hands-on way to explore Virginia’s aviation heritage like never before,” said Moser. The gallery’s exhibits will focus on: • Stories of courageous pilots, civilian and military, who changed the course of history. •Exhibits that trace the development of flight in Virginia, from barnstormers to Virginia’s new Spaceport. •Hands-on exploration of aviation technology to teach science and engineering, inspiring the next generation of aviators. “Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s sup-

By Valerie Garner info@theroanokestar.com

From page 1 example, that is a 3 or below would not have to play them. Cave Spring and Hidden Valley are level 3 schools. Carson asked council’s help with that expected challenge. Assistant Superintendent Curt Baker answered City Council’s question regarding teacher compensation comparisons. Baker said the pool average was calculated by averaging five comparable school systems – two of which were urban. Each year of service produced a step in pay and though RCPS is on Photo by Valerie Garner the low end of the compa- Assistant Superintendent Curt Baker compairs teacher pay. rable in the first years, compensation met and exceeded the comparable by the 18th year of service. That same scenario plays out for all levels of education, said Baker. Adjustments were made in step grade and a one-percent increase has mitigated the gap in the early service years. “This addressed 40 percent of the sag,” said Baker. The post card that was sent to parents from Patrick Henry was incorrectly worded, said Bishop. It implied that the student’s schedule could not be picked up without Photo by Valerie Garner paying dues. “That’s really The joint meeting of the RCPS Board and City Council wrong.” was held at Patrick Henry High School. Bishop admitted that notifitems was because other localities charged cations to parents should explain what school fees were used for. She separate small fees where at RCPS one fee promised that the breakdown would be on covers all items ($30 and for seniors $50). the schools website immediately. “You can The pool of dues is audited, she said. never withhold grades or a diploma because someone has not paid,” she said. Every parent at Patrick Henry received a clarification letter. “The real problem was By Valerie Garner that one implied statement,” said Bishop. info@theroanokestar.com The difference in fees between school sysFrom page 1 port will help this museum in a big way in all three of these areas,” said Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr., the museum’s executive director. Specifically, the Foundation’s funding supports two hands-on technology-based exhibits, an exhibit featuring the notable accomplishments of women in aviation, and a display of careers in aviation. “We are committed to the advancement of this region, and we realized that these specific and important resources do not currently exist in southwest Virginia,” said Alan E. Ronk, executive director of Foundation for Roanoke Valley. “The aviation industry is projecting strong jobs’ growth,

> It’s Electric far cheaper to buy this vehicle than to hire more people.” The gasoline units cost the city $2700 to maintain and $1100 in fuel every year. They only get 15 miles to the gallon said Hammond. Over five years the cost to maintain one old “Go-4” is $19,000. Other than unforeseen electrical problems the cost to maintain the Firefly should be three tires at $171 and $32 for brakes. The Firefly has six cells or batteries that would not need replacing all at the same time. The cost of one cell is no more than $400 and each averages 5000 charges before needing replacement. “The return on investment is really great,” said Hammond. Even if all six cells needed replacing in five years, that comes to $3000 in maintenance versus $19,000 for the “Go-4.” It has onboard diagnostics, electronic stability control that protects the driver from turning it over. “It automatically decelerates and won’t over speed into a

some impact on parking,” said Morrill. He believes parking for the hotel would mostly be at night. City engineers also had to determine if the garage structure could sustain a three-story hotel. In Other Business: the sale price of the Huff Lane school property agreement with NDRA II, LLC dated March 28 was reduced from $1,850,000 to $1,735,000. During their due diligence they discovered that the cost of mitigating the asbestos was more costly than anticipated. The additional cost comes to $150,000. They also found that water service to the property was insufficient and the plan is to reach either across Valley View Boulevard to tap into an eight-inch water pipe or reach south of Huff Lane park to an alternative pipe. The estimate for that is approximately $78,000. For the water service access, NDRA will need easements and the purchase agreement is contingent on acquiring the necessary easements. “The reduced price is still substantially more than the second offer,” said Morrill. Round Hill Elementary school is waiting for the funds to bring relief for its ailing structure and over crowding requiring use of trailers for classrooms.

curve,” said Hammond. The three-wheelers are a niche market. Roanoke has most of its parking on the street. “We’re not like colleges and institutions … they can use other things like golf carts and vehicles that are not required to be tagged.,” said Hammond. “We are very excited to be implementing one of the first all-electric, municipal parking enforcement vehicles in the state of Virginia,” says Dana Long, manager of the city’s Billings & Collections office. “This vehicle offers an economical solution that will allow parking enforcement officers to patrol tight spaces safely while demonstrating the city’s commitment to energy-saving initiatives.” This zero-emission vehicle was built entirely in the United States and meets the needs of parking enforcement, along with stringent safety standards. In addition, the Firefly meets all federal and state regulations mandating use of alternative fuel

but the resources for school children to learn about aviation are mostly in northern or eastern Virginia. Plus, we want our youth to know about the aviation heroes from this area who pioneered air service in the Roanoke Valley and who served courageously to preserve America’s freedom in WWI, WWII, and other conflicts.” The Museum continues to seek funding for additional gallery components. Visit www.vmt.org for more information about the Wings Over Virginia aviation gallery.

From page 1 vehicles. It has one of the best “Miles Per Charge” in its class, coming in at a range of 60 MPC. Also, the Firefly is equipped with an on-board data acquisition system which will allow the city’s Fleet Management Division to collect statistical parameters and help map service cycles before potential issues develop. “The Firefly electric vehicle is a great example of transportation innovation at the local level,” says Alleyn Harned, Director of Virginia Clean Cities. “Roanoke has long been a leader with city-owned electric vehicles, and this task-oriented vehicle is ideal for starts and stops of parking enforcement duties. With zero tailpipe emissions and with domestic electricity costs a fraction of gasoline, this is a thoughtful application of clean technology. Hopefully other cities can learn from Roanoke’s leadership.” By Valerie Garner info@theroanokestar.com


8/10/12- 8/16/12 |TheRoanokeStar.com | Page 3

Multi-Day Veterans Celebration Planned for Roanoke Valley Roanoke Valley localities are joining forces to honor and helps coordinate services to assist in the transition of veterans recognize men and women veterans on active military duty to civilian life. Assistance is available for medical, mental and substance abuse issues while the program also helps them conand their families. As a sponsor, Mark Hudzik, chief development officer for nect to financial resources. On September 9, a 5K Run/Walk will start at Wasena Park. Roanoke’s Member One Farm Credit Union, announced the Blue Ridge Veterans Celebration events Wednesday morning. Sign-in starts at 8:00 a.m. The event proceeds benefit the Virginia Wounded Warrior ProHe introduced Mayor Randy Foley of gram, Military Family Support Salem, Mayor Bradley Grose of VinCenter and Patrick County Maton, Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke rine J. B. Kerns, a triple ampuand Councilman Sherman Lea. tee. Kerns lost both legs during Mayor Bowers said, “Victory Staan IED blast in Afghanistan. The dium, that stood for many years, was $25 registration fee goes straight a symbol of the fight for freedom in to The Tunnel to Towers FoundaWWII that so many young men and women from the Roanoke Valley tion that is building the 22-year [served] over in Europe and Asia.” old a smart home adapted to help him live with his injuries. Mayor Grose said, he “was excited with the process that will recognize For the 5K Run/Walk they hope our veterans past and current, along to have Roanoke local firefighters with our first responders.” wear full gear for the race, as did Mayor Foley said, “These men and the responders on 9/11, along women volunteered and enlisted for with police, first responders and Photo by Valerie Garner lofty principles but when they arrived military representatives. on the battlefield … they fought for the Councilman Sherman Lea, Mark Hudzik CEO of MemThe sole purpose of the Tunlove of the person on the right and left. ber One, Mayor David Bowers (podium), Mayor Bradley nel to Towers Foundations is to honor the legacy of love given by That is why we are here today to honor Grose of Vinton, Mayor Randy Foley of Salem. Stephen Siller, by “doing good” in their service, courage and dedication.” Roger Talmadge is CEO of the Military Family Support Cen- his name. A member of the NY Fire Department, Stiller laid ter Inc. It opened in 2005 and was created to “stand in the gap.” down his life on 9/11. In 2008 the Virginia General Assembly established the VirThe center has the only satellite communications system that family members can use to reach their loved ones serving over- ginia Wounded Warrior Program. This program serves the seas in the Persian Gulf. Through donated funds, material and growing behavioral health and primary health care concerns labor, they provide home repairs, build ramps, repair automo- for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freebiles, provide food and hygiene items and information assis- dom veterans and their families. It establishes an integrated, tance. They do all this with four employees and 80 volunteers. comprehensive and responsive system of services for veterans, “About 67% of military personnel and their families reside in Guardsman and Reservists not in active federal service with areas away from military installations like the Roanoke Valley. combat/operational stress conditions Three days of back to The military families left behind are ignored and not recog- back events are planned starting on Friday, November 9 with a tour of the National D-day Memorial in Bedford. Later that nized nor supported for their sacrifices,” said Talmadge. Nancy Short, program director for returning Iraq and Af- same night there will be a Pub-Crawl through downtown Roaghanistan veterans at the Salem Veterans Administration, noke.

Kaine/Allen Agree on Forum Schedule

The only debate confirmed so far near Roa- as, campaign manager for George Allen for U.S. noke will be held in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech Senate. “We are grateful to the debate hosts for on October 18. WSLS Channel 10 in Roanoke their leadership in providing an opportunity for will stream the debate live which will be moder- Virginians to hear directly from the U.S. Senate ated by Jay Warren along with political analyst candidates. In these debates, Virginians will see Dr. Bob Denton. This will be a clear difference in George the last debate they will have Allen’s record of less governbefore the November 6 elecment, lower taxes and more tion. jobs versus Tim Kaine’s reConfirmed in a phone call cord for more government, with Brenda Hale, president tax increases and fewer jobs of the Roanoke Chapter of in Virginia.” the NAACP there is a fourth September 20, 2012 – televised forum in the works U.S. Senate Debate Hostwith a tentative date of Seped by the Fairfax County tember 24. The NAACP, Delta Chamber of Commerce, Sigma Theta Sorority, RoaMcLean, Virginia noke College and WDBJ7 will The Additional Debates: host the forum. Anchor HolOctober 8, 2012 – U.S. George Allen lini Davis confirmed that she Senate Debate Hosted by the will moderate the debate. BeAARP, League of Women sides invitations to Gov. Tim Voters Virginia, WVCE Kaine and Gov. George Allen, Public Radio and WTVR the congressional candidates CBS 6 TV Richmond, Virare also invited according to ginia Hale: Bob Goodlatte (R) and October 18, 2012 - U.S. Andy Schmookler (D), MorSenate Debate Hosted by gan Griffith (R) and Anthony WSLS NBC 10 TV and VirFlaccavento (D). “We are privginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virileged to do this for the Roaginia noke Valley,” said Hale. Kaine spokesperson The George Allen for U.S. Brandi Hoffine said, “We’ve Senate campaign announced accepted eight broadcast Friday a final agreement for debates across Virginia, inthree additional debates this cluding these three. We’re Tim Kaine fall with Democrat U.S. Senhopeful that there will be ate Candidate Tim Kaine. These debates will more so that as many Virginians as possible bring George Allen’s debate participation total have the opportunity to hear directly from the to eight debates, including two previous debates candidates, but we’re looking forward to these with Tim Kaine and three previous GOP Pri- three.” mary debates. “George Allen has welcomed this election’s debate opportunities to contrast his vision and record with that of Tim Kaine,” said Mike ThomBy Valerie Garner info@theroanokestar.com

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Veterans raise their hands. Saturday, November 10 is the annual Virginia’s Veterans Parade when thousands of people will line the streets of downtown Roanoke. This year’s lineup includes multiple military and high school bands, a fly-over and many veterans groups. Following the parade there will be a festival in downtown Roanoke with BBQ, music and activities. On Veterans Day, SunPhoto by Valerie Garner day November 11 there J. B. Kerns, 22 lost limbs in an IED will be a non-denomi- blast in Afghanistan. national church service followed by a cookout. More activities are being added in the coming weeks. Visit their website for more information: www.BlueRidgeVeteransCelebration.com By Valerie Garner info@theroanokestar.com

General Wesley Clark Holds Meeting at Vinton War Memorial

Retired General Wesley Clark (center) pictured with retired Major General James Kelley and retired Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett.

Wednesday, August 1st Retired General Wesley Clark held a town hall meeting with over two dozen veterans and military families at the Vinton War Memorial. The event marked the launch of “Military and Defense Leaders for Obama”—a group of high ranking retired and former military and defense officials who will lend their voices in support of President Obama. Clark was joined by retired Major General James Kelley and retired Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett. The event focused on the president’s accomplishments for veterans and military families, such as increased funding and support for veterans through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the end of the war in Iraq. By Valerie Garner info@theroanokestar.com

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Page 4 | TheRoanokeStar.com

The Postman Always Rings Twice

That was true when I was growing up. Twice a methods remained pretty much the same. Home day, Mr. Eanes would ring our doorbell to let us service decreased to once a day and was usually know the mail had been delivered. Three cents curbside in the cities. Rural routes were handled for a first class letter, 8 cents for airmail–that was by carriers, usually in their private vehicles. the going rate. The widespread use of the internet and alterHow times have changed! Now the native services brought a seismic United States Postal Service is strugchange to mail and package delivery. gling to stay out of bankruptcy. How Surely the days of the postal service, they have avoided it this long is a credas we know it, are numbered. Busiit to their management skills, but it’s nesses want their payments transnot likely to be enough this time. The ferred from the individuals’ banks to reasons are multiple and complex, but their banking system. No more letlosing $5.1 billion dollars in 2011 is ters, no more stamps, no more trips certainly not sustainable. to the bank to deposit. There are historical parallels where It’s all very efficient. Now with technology has overwhelmed an esemail, Facebook, and other social tablished system. The Post Office media the personal first class letter is Department, the predecessor to the almost a collector’s item. I routinely USPS, was chartered in May 2, 1775 stop in my garage on the way from and is the second oldest department Hayden Hollingsworth the mail box to drop, unopened, of our present government. into the recycling bin about three The requirements to deliver timely service quarters of what my carrier (who never is late) have changed radically. 237 years ago a letter has delivered. The bulk of it is unsolicited adfrom the Atlantic coast to Pacific coast might vertisements. take six months to travel around Cape Horn. Post offices, more than 3700 of them, are being There had to be a better way. The Pony Express closed. The jobs of tens of thousands of postwas an answer. It operated from April 1860 until al workers are on the line. The pension funds October 1861 from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramen- of countless USPS employees are in jeopardy. to, CA. In only seven days and 17 hours after the While Congress has authority to help the USPS east coast papers announced Lincoln’s election, through this crisis, it’s important to remember the people in California got the news . . . via Pony that tax money is not used for postal operation. Express. How they will solve the problem seems beyond In the fall of 1861 the telegraph lines reached the possible. Congressional action may forestall California and a few days later the Pony Express what seems inevitable but it seems doubtful that was history. On May 10, 1869 at Promontory the USPS can survive. Summit, Utah the transcontinental railroad had No one can foresee the consequences of such its final spike driven and letters could now cross a radically changed system. Businesses that rely the country in record time. on direct-mail advertising will surely be affected. When the advent of airmail in 1918 brought While electronic transmission is available in a service between Washington and New York, a scale and speed that was not imaginable even new industry was born and eventually replaced a decade ago, there are many who do not have the USPS mail car seen on every long distance the skills or resources to take advantage of them. passenger train. While these transportation They cannot be left without mail service. modalities increased in their efficiency, delivery When rural free delivery was introduced over a century ago, there was great opposition from merchants who feared the country folk would not come to town unless they came to get their mail. Actually, they increased their visits to the towns; no one anticipated the arrival of automobiles. In today’s world, it might work to the merchant’s advantage to eliminate direct mail advertising, particularly if many people are as cavalier about throwing it away as I am. It would be a monumental saving in postage, to say nothing of sparing millions of trees. Two final thoughts: The postman soon will not be ringing even once and other ways of getting information to consumers will replace it. Second, we owe a great debt to those who have worked so tirelessly in the postal system. The unofficial motto of the postal service, “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postman from his appointed rounds,” comes to mind. I am very much afraid that changing technology and economics will render that phrase archaic.

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8/10/12- 8/16/12

Once Upon A Family Life

On the way to school, I asked how things were fan] has completed a trek that would have put me going. Cailan told me he had asked a classmate in Intensive Care for an indeterminate stay. From out on a date, visions of revels and masques ani- Canada to New Mexico in sixty days, cycling; the mating his vision. Then it came to him that his first woman to complete the Continental Divide reasons for doing so were selfish. Cailan decided Trail. Needless to say, when she got home, there that it wasn’t so much he liked her, as he wanted was much for us to talk about. Erin is an enthusiastic, interesting individual. to let the other guys know he had a girlfriend. Put her in a room with twenty other I thought it was a fine piece of deducyoung women and you’d never pick tion on his part, age 12. I told him the her out as having the fiber for such story of Janet Atwater. In 7th grade, I an ordeal. She’s too friendly. She was eager to have a steady girl-friend; laughs out of sheer enjoyment more and therefore flesh out my credentials than anyone I know, young or old. as a very cool dude. So I called Janet, Once I asked her, out of the blue, a girl whom I had never met. Once on “Are you happy, baby?” She laughed the phone, after the fashion of arranged and said, “Sure! Why shouldn’t I be?” marriages, I asked her to go steady. She, There’s the stuff of a dozen sermons never having met me, felt this would be in that response. a fine idea. Such are the societal presInterestingly, there’s nothing sures of that age group. As it turns out, squint-eyed or square-jawed about my father overheard my conversation. Lucky Garvin Erin… even in competition. She Adolescent urge collided with parental plays no games, doesn’t waltz with propriety. He said, “Two ways you’ll go steady, son: no way and no how.” Wrapped that her ego; she simply is herself; a claim many make, but few live up to. up. There is a wisdom in her that I admire, une… Spook likes to sit with me, and I don’t know nunciated and nowhere written down. It’s within why. Sabrina and I obtained her from the SPCA. her, and it didn’t take her the better part of her life She was sick, temperature 104 degrees; too weak and immeasurable experiences to accumulate it to feed her three un-weaned, sickly kittens. So Sa- [as opposed to yours truly, harumph, harumph!]. brina and I fed them and tended Spook. One of No endless series of trial and error relationships. her babies died. We came to check on Spook one … morning, the storming fever had left her eyes; she Years ago, son Ches had a close call. Like most was nursing two kittens and protecting the dead others his age, he spends the better part of each one with her paw. day on the internet. He regrets the time he fritters We fostered out her two babies in their time, away breathing, showering, brushing his teeth, but Spook stayed. I sit in my easy chair reading; and the like. Periodically, he does exercise: he she walks up quietly. She looks at me; I shove over, comes down stairs for a Pepsi and a Honey Bun. and she hops into the protective trough created The other day we heard a crash. Sabrina and I between me and stuffed arm of the chair. I read rushed to his room to find him on the floor beand rub; she sleeps on her back with her pink side his computer staring at the ceiling talking tongue-tip sticking out. “She trusts you, Gahv. Italian. Sabrina looked at me – her husband the She loves you. The only place she feels secure is in physician – `What’s wrong?’ your chair.” I take Sabrina’s word for it. I guess it’s I broke it to her gently. “On-line fatigue.” true, it’s just hard to imagine. I’ve never done all “Are you sure?” that much for her. Maybe I’ve just been chosen. I pointed to the joint swelling on the index finCats do that, you know. Hard to know why, and ger of his right hand. “Mouse Knuckle.” I doubt study would make the matter more clear. He began to stir. But Sabrina has another theory: I have a small “Oh, thank God!” Sabrina said. behind; it’s a wonder my pants stay up. When I sit Ches croaked hoarsely, “How long…?” in a chair, the left-over is perfect for Spook. So I “How long have you been unconscious?” read while Spook snoozes. Symbiotic. “Before I can get back on line?” … “Soon.” Son Chester recently threw out a dozen per“Prop me up. I haven’t talked to my friends for fectly good pair of boxer shorts. They were plain what? minutes now.” white. He then purchased a dozen replacements “Lots could have happened.” of various socially-approved patterns and shades. That all occurred a few days ago. We got a By the exacting calibrations of the dress code brief e-mail from his bedroom that assured us which rules Ches’ world, there’s no shame in all was well. But, I’ve got to go now. He just holwalking around with your underwear showing, lered down and asked if I would bring him a few as long as it’s not white underwear. It’s a fairly Twinkies. He’s got to keep his strength up. complicated system actually; you gotta stay focused. Contact Lucky at … info@theroanokestar.com My daughter, Erin, [re-named `Herculette’ by a

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Perspective

TheRoanokeStar.com |Page 5

8/10/12- 8/16/12

Religion Vs. Science: The Debate is Over, Scientist Says

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Scholar Gives 4 Reasons Why Stephen Hawking is Wrong Large swaths of Americans seem to have drastically different views of how humans came to be, according to a June Gallup poll. Nearly half of America – 46 percent – agrees with the creationist view that humans are purely the product of God, absent of evolution, within the last 10,000 years. Fifteen percent believe humans evolved independent of God, which is 6 percent more than 30 years ago. These millions of Americans are pitted on two sides of a conflict which has a solution, says engineering physicist Daniel Friedmann, CEO of the aerospace company known for building the space station’s robotic arm and author of The Genesis One Code (www.danielfriedmannbooks.com). “The creation-evolution conflict is a recurring point of contention in the United States, from the presidential election to what should be taught in schools,” he says. “American science legend Carl Sagan tried to settle this conflict by calling both camps ‘non-overlapping magisteria’ – in other words, science and religion each preside as the source of wisdom over separate domains.” Friedmann argues that both wisdoms are two sides of the same coin and can enlighten each other. The reason the debate developed in the first place, he says, is because the discoveries of modern science of an old Earth seemed to conflict with descriptions in the Bible of a young Earth. “People believed both could not be right,” he says. “It had to be one or the other – science or religion.” But they both agree on the timeline for the development of the universe and life on Earth, Friedmann says. He has developed a formula that converts “Bible time” to years as we know them. When applied to calculating the age of the universe and life on Earth, the Bible consistently matches scientific estimates derived from the study of fossil timelines, the solar system and the cosmos. His formula -- 1,000 X 365 X 7,000 –was derived from references in religious texts and science. The first number is found in Psalms, which says a year for God is 1,000 years for mortals. The second refers to the amount of days in one solar year. The third comes from scriptural study that indicates one creation day in Genesis equals 7,000 God years. When those numbers are multiplied in human years, each

creation day is an epoch of 2.56 billion years, he says. Using the formula, the biblical age of the universe is 13.74 billion years. Scientific estimates put the universe’s age at 13.75 billion, plus or minus 0.13 billion, he says. “I have nothing but respect for scientists like Sagan and Stephen Hawking, but I feel that both were wrong about religion to varying degrees, especially Dr. Hawking,” he says. “Last year, Hawking dismissed religion, publicly calling it a ‘fairy tale’ for people who are afraid of death. I think that is a terribly naive and misinformed view of what millions of people have believed in for more than a millennium.” These are a few of the reasons Hawking is wrong, Friedmann says: • The Bible and science agree on what happened and when it happened with respect to the formation of the universe and the appearance of life on Earth. • The term “creation days” can be shown from biblical sources to be 2.5 billion years. Using this conversion factor, it is clear that the Bible is correct about timelines we have confirmed through science, including the age of the universe. • If the Bible and science agree on what happened and when it happened, do we really have a conflict? It is time to reexamine and bury the conflict between science and religion. In fact, Friedmann in his book, shows that religion has answers to science’s three biggest questions. • By continuing this false dichotomy of religion vs. science, we are severely limiting progress and our potential as humans. Nearly 54 percent of the world’s population – Christians, Jews and Muslims – assert the truth of biblical scripture. Recognition of a commonality among diverse cultures, while linked to scientific principle, provides a better chance to advance the understanding of our origins. Daniel Friedmann is CEO of MDA, anaerospace company in Canada, which among other things, specializes in robotics used on the international space station. He has a master’s in engineering physics and 30 years’ experience in the space industry. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed scientific papers on space industry topics.

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Don’t Wind Up Like Arizona I was traveling through your beautiful state on my way back to my house in Arizona when I read your article on the uranium debate. I was taken aback by Dr. Bodnar’s quote: “Show me the scientific evidence that supports ( the ban), we need to look at the facts and get away from being emotional.” I invite you to read the book “Yellow Dirt” by Judy Pasternak. It is filled with scientific facts about the dangers of uranium mining and how industry practices, greed and government disregard for the safety of miners and their families resulted in tragedy for many in the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. The southwest has had the sad experience of uranium mining and its lethal effects. Your community is wise to be cautious. Once the radioactive genie is out of the bottle it’s difficult to put it back. Cynthia Wirth Page, Arizona

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Commentary In a recent speech in Oakland, California, President Obama told the American people that we’ve tried his economic plan, and it’s working. He said this in a city where the unemployment rate has hit 13.7% as of May 2012. So as not to take his words out of context, let’s remember that he used the government takeover of GM as an example of his success. By that plan, GM and Chrysler were forced to close scores of dealerships across the country, costing the economy thousands of jobs. In an article in the LA Times in Aug 2, 2012, GM’s US market share dropped from 20% to 18% in the past year. This is Obama’s measure of success, and his plan is working. In November 2011, GE announced it will invest $2 billion dollars in China, training 65 engineers, and opening six research centers. GE spokesperson Ms. LeGrand said GE expects to be developing 20 to 25% of its x-ray equipment in China over the next 3 to 5 years. Remember that the CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, was appointed by President Obama as his jobs czar. But his plan is working. The Obama administration’s moratorium on off-shore drilling has led to the loss of at least 13,000 jobs, and the outsourcing of those jobs to Brazil. Through the efforts of the EPA under the Obama administration to eliminate fossil fuel generated electric power, the cost of electricity has risen, as

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8/10/12- 8/16/12

TheRoanokeStar.com | Page 6

Southeast Roanoke Celebrates Peach National Night Out Against Crime

Festival Just Peachy

Everything was “just peachy” at the annual Peach Festival in downtownRoanokelast weekend. It was the 27th year for the festival, held inElmwood Park. Peach cobbler with ice cream, peach shortcake, and peach milkshakes were on the menu. There was an inflatable bouncer for the kids and various craft and information booths. The festival is the largest fundraiser for the Northwest Child Development Center. The Melrose Avenue center provides child care services for about 70 children from 6 months to age 12 to parents who are working or attending school and wouldn’t othPhoto by Beverly Amsler erwise be able to afford day care for their children. Last year’s peach festival netted Charlotte Wells (left) & Becky Fields (right) enjoying the about $10,000 for the center. peachy keen peach cobbler. Becky Fields and Charlotte Wells, both from Roanoke, were sitting on a bench eating peach cobbler and ice cream just after the festival opened Saturday at 10am. “It’s breakfast,” Fields said laughing. “It is the breakfast of champions. It’s got your fruit, it’s got bread, it’s got milk, dairy; it’s everything you need for breakfast.” She said she attends, “to support the causes and I come every year for the Peach Festival. It’s a favorite.” Wells was impressed with her dessert-for-breakfast. “It’s delicious, really good. This is the first time I’ve been here.” Wells was born and raised in Roanoke, then lived other places for 20 years, and now she’s back. She didn’t know there was a peach festival until Fields invited her. “I’ve been looking forward to it all morning.” Wells says she’s definitely coming back next year. Nathan from Vinton comes to the festival every year, “to get some peach cobbler and ice cream . . . my favorite. I love it.” He’s even learned the secret of getting there when the festival opens. “If you don’t get here early, you miss it all. Yeah, it’ll be gone quick.” He comes, “because I love the ice cream and peach cobbler.” Diane and David Kegley from Roanoke sat on another bench enjoying their peach cobbler. Diane said, “We just got up and came straight down here.” “We love peaches and we usually come every year to try to help out with the peach drive.” When asked to compare this year’s tasty treat with those in the past, her husband David said, “Tastes just as good as any other time.” Diane added, “I think the peaches are a little bit sweeter this year, though. They seem to be a lot better this year.” They come out to support the Northwest Child Development Photo by Beverly Amsler Center and also enjoy coming to the Strawberry Festival in May, which supports Community School. “Gatsby” might have enjoyed his By Beverly Amsler morning at the Peach Festival info@newsroanoke.com more than anyone.

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Golden Park, located off of Bennington Street in Southeast Roanoke City, was swarmed by 100s of neighbors, neighborhood watch and neighborhood association members Tuesday evening. In association with the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), The Southeast Action Forum and Southeast Roanoke Neighborhood Watch groups celebrated National Night Out (NNO) in style. The weather was perfect. Event organizers hoped to attract 400 neighbors and citizens of Southeast Roanoke to show solidarity for safe and secure neighborhoods. Participating organizations were Southeast Action Forum, Riverdale-Grandview Heights, Riverland-Walnut Hills, Starview Heights, Morningside, Waverly-Kenwood, Mayflower, and Buena Vista Neighborhood Watches. National Night Out is designed to heighten awareness of crime and drug prevention, generate support for participation in local anti crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals letting them know their community neighborhoods are organized and are fighting back. Roanoke City and County police and fire personnel were on hand. City and County representatives also attended to show their support. There was face painting, raffles, a very popular dunking booth with Officer Travis Akins taking the plunge. The line for free food was never ending as it snaked around the park pavilion. “The Good Time Band” played Dixie Time Jazz and Lawanda and Steve Langston played a variety of oldies that prompted dancing and hand clapping. In 2011 National Night Out involved over 37 million people in 15,325 communities

Photo by Valerie Garner

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Photo by Valerie Garner

Lines were long for refreshments. from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. National Night Out 2012 is expected to be the largest ever, surpassing 2011 numbers. Along with the traditional outside lights and front porch vigils, most cities and towns celebrate National Night Out with a variety of special citywide and neighborhood events similar to the one held at Southeast Roanoke’s Golden Park. By Valerie Garner info@theroanokestar.com

West End Revitalization Project Gets Underway Credit union, community kitchen, and garden to replace former Patterson Avenue restaurant.

The former Villa Sorrento property in Mountain View is poised to begin a radical transformation, thanks to the West End Center for Youth, Freedom First Credit Union, the City of Roanoke, and grants from the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Site preparation for the project will begin this month on the half-acre tract, located at 1210 Patterson Avenue SW. Plans for the site include an urban mix of commercial and meeting space, a community pavilion with a full-service production kitchen, and gardens to encourage and promote healthy financial and physical lifestyles. Project organizers are working to attract a supermarket to the area as part of the overall project. “We are thrilled to see this project take its first steps toward completion,” said Joy Parrish, Executive Director of the West End Center, which owns the property and will oversee its community activities. “We see this as becoming a hub for this neighborhood and a catalyst for revitalization.” The project will be anchored by a full-service Freedom First branch scheduled to open in early 2013, which will serve the West End, Hurt Park, and Mountain View neighborhoods. In addition to a broad range of financial services, the Credit Union offers specialized financial products and programs designed to support first-time home buyers and low- and moderateincome households that have been underserved by traditional banking institutions. Freedom First has been designated a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Treasury, certifying its mission to provide credit and community development assistance to economically challenged communities.

“When Freedom First became CDFI certified in 2010, it was our goal to invest in the growth of the entire community” said Credit Union President/CEO Paul Phillips. “The West End project is representative of what can be achieved through a collaboration of public and private investments dedicated to real change in the area.” The planned production kitchen and gardens will enable the West End Center to bring fresh food and nutrition education to the neighborhood, and the community meeting space will accommodate educational initiatives. Freedom First and the West End Center are also working with a number of neighborhood organizations, including the Local Environmental and Agricultural Project (LEAP) and the Roanoke Community Garden Association (RCGA), as well as area schools and service organizations, to help plan and guide best use and practices for the project, says Parrish. The project was spurred by an $850,000 CDFI Fund grant to Freedom First intended to promote economic revitalization in lowincome communities by assisting with initial branch operating costs, community-based financial education, and job creation. To expand the scope of the project, those funds were combined with $343,176 in HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the City of Roanoke to the West End Center. “Roanoke is fortunate to have a financial institution like Freedom First invest in an underserved community,” said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill. “I commend them for taking the lead in this important initiative that can make a real difference in people’s lives.” For more information go to www.westendcenter.org

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Sports

TheRoanokeStar.com |Page 7

8/10/12- 8/16/12

Football Preview: William Fleming Returning Four Starters

With only four returning starters William Fleming will be lacking experience when it hits the gridiron this fall in a tough Western Valley District, which is in its last year of existence. Starting in the 2013 season, the WVD will dissolve, and those teams will be playing in new districts and new divisions under a VHLS proposal. Returning for the Colonels, who went 1-9 last season, will be seniors Derell Stone (linebacker, 6-2, 218 pounds), Nico Johnson (defensive back, 5-8, 160), Dah-Quon Ederington (linebacker, 6-1, 170) and Diamond Shorter (wide receiver/defensive back, 5-6, 145). Offensively, speed is much improved from last year. The offensive line is much bigger and the team has more depth at the skills positions. “We will need to get experience quick,” said third-year Head

Coach Lee Johnson. “We only returner one starter and we need to improve our passing game.” Defensively, the Colonels return four starters. “The secondary is our strength. All four of our starters are in the defensive backfield. In addition, our team speed is much better.” As for areas of improvement on defense, Johnson noted, “We need to get better against the run. Plus, get some of our inexperienced players caught-up quick.” William Fleming, who has not won a home game since their new stadium debuted in 2010, not counting a home win two years ago against Halifax County, which the Colonels had to forfeit later because of an ineligible player, will have seven opportunities to do so this season. Franklin County, Amherst County, E.C. Glass, R.J. Reynolds (N.C.), Salem, George Washington and Halifax County will visit the recently all-too-friendly confines of William Flem-

ing. “Franklin County will be our top game of the season,” said Johnson. The Colonels will also have road trips to Magna Vista, Franklin County and Patrick Henry. “I think we have a chance to be very competitive in every game,” stated Johnson. “Our expectations for ourselves are high. We are very inexperienced and young, but we’ve had a great off-season and if we can get our younger players up to speed early in scrimmages, we have a shot be very solid. I really like this group of young men. We’re going to be fine.” William Fleming opens its season on Friday, Aug. 24, when they host Franklin County. By David Grimes

Watermelon Outreach Brings Wild Bill’s Weekly Sports Roundup Message to High School Athletes

The football practice at Hidden Valley High School was taking its toll as the August heat beat down on the field Thursday afternoon. On the sideline, as practice drew to an end, was Al Soltis. Beside him, a table full of ripe watermelon slices, clearly within view of the players running the drills. It’s the ‘Watermelon Outreach’, a venture run by Soltis that is now in its seventh year. “Every year, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has a theme we focus our camps on,” Soltis points out. “In 2006, Photo by Bill Turner since everyone couldn’t attend The Watermelon Outreach was a popular stopoff after Thursday’s the FCA camp, we started to football practice at Hidden Valley. Organizer Al Soltis plans to adbring that theme back to our dress 25 teams and over 1,400 players and coaches valley and share it with local competitive level on the athletic field, while football teams during summer 2-a-day prac- most importantly honoring God by living tices.” their lives in the zone for Him. In 2011, the outreach was received by 25 “The goal is for players to realize how they teams and over 1,400 players and coaches. have been blessed with the athletic abilities “As players come off the field, we have cold they have,” Soltis notes. Thursday, the wawatermelon for them to enjoy,” Soltis says. termelon outreach proved very popular as “Those who wish to stay, on their own, get to the Hidden Valley players gathered under a hear us share the FCA message based on that maple tree, listened intently to Soltis, and enyear’s camp theme.” joyed the fruit. Many had multiple slices. The Soltis is articulate and moving in his pre- message was well received. sentation. The 2012 message is called ‘In the By Bill Turner Zone’, speaking to the young players about striving to play in the zone at their highest info@theroanokestar.com

Salem Red Sox Prepare for Final Two Homestands

The Salem Red Sox return to Salem Memorial Stadium next Thursday, August 16th, for a fourgame series against the Potomac Nationals in the next-to-last homestand of the season. Thursday will be Elvis Night, followed by back to school night on Friday. Saturday night the Mayberry Deputy will make his ever-popular appearance, signing autographs and showing off

his bullet. After going on the road, Salem finishes the 2012 campaign with home games beginning Tuesday, August 28th through the season finale on Labor Day, September 3rd. By Bill Turner info@theroanokestar.com

The countdown is on, with high school football Thank goodness the teams were kicked totally openers set for two weeks from tonight. Virtu- out for, as the Olympic committee noted, “conally every ‘Big-11’ squad will have a pair of ducting themselves in a manner clearly games under their belt before September detrimental to the sport.”Reportedly, 1st arrives, and conditioning will be a key the teams were allowed to remain in factor to see who survives the dog days of London to watch ther remainder of the August. competition. And, I suppose, to learn If late August temperatures hit the midhow to play badminton. 90s, fans themselves may need to consider High school golf is in full swing, with fluid intake as games will reach halftime betwo key tournaments this week. Cave fore the sun sets. Spring won the Heritage Invitational North Cross gets no relief. Their home Monday at London Downs with the Bill Turner opener, Saturday, September 1st will kickhelp of brother-sister act Drew and off at 2:00 PM. Raider fans better bring the suntan Meagan Board each firing even-par 72 to lead the lotion. Any volunteers to be the Wild Bill sideline, Knights to a two-shot win. Nick Brediger followed with a 73 and a second girl, Jessie Hart, posted a Japanese fan assistant? The London Olympics continue to take cen- 78 to round out the 295 Cave Spring total. Kristin Hearp, 14, of Hidden Valley toured ter stage, and the competition has been incredible. Thumbs-up to swimming, gymnastics, track London Downs in 68, losing to big-gun Korey events and volleyball. Throw in the lesser known Watts, winner of the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall sports and it’s hard not to get hooked on the of Fame men’s and junior’s titles, in a playoff. Saathleticism on display. Great job by NBC on the lem finished third in team play, three shots off the pace. The prestigious Metro Golf Tournament round-the-clock coverage. The Olympic Games have not been without played out Wednesday and Thursday at Hunting their own comedy act. Nothing could beat the Hills and Blue Hills. We finish this week with a Wild Bill late night badminton stunt that got four teams disqualified. Geniuses from South Korea, China and Indonesia product super-saver. There’s one being pitched for (8 female players making up 4 2-woman teams) three payments of $29.95 that’s for the person that tried to fix the matches by intentionally losing to “likes their food, but hates to diet.” I’ll save you the get an easier opponent in a future match. Nothing money and still get you what you want. Two easy steps – don’t make the call and keep on eating. worse than fixed badminton. Until next week, let your belt out and send your Spectators were outraged, and justifiably so, by the blatent mockery of the Olympic spirit. If you questions to: info@theroanokestar.com had the opportunity to watch this charade, it was By Bill Turner a pathetically amateurish attempt by eight fools. info@theroanokestar.com Everyone got the shuttlecock.

Roanoke Regional Chamber Cup Presented by All Star Impressions Monday, August 20, 2012 Roanoke Country Club Two Flights: 8 AM & 1 PM Reserve your spot today by calling 540.983.0700 x228 or visit www.RoanokeChamber.org

Photo by Bill Turner

Photo by Bill Turner

Red Sox speedster Carson Blair steals second Tuesday night as Salem fell to the Carolina Mudcats.

Salem slugger Brandon Jacobs touches the plate after his towering homer to left-center Tuesday night against Carolina.

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8/10/12- 8/16/12

VT Carilion Professor Receives Prestigious Neuroscience Award

William “Jamie” Tyler, an assistant professor in the Virginia is to discover the optimal ultrasound parameters that will allow Tech Carilion Research Institute, has received a 2012 McKnight the robust modulation of brain activity patterns and behavior. The Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award. project ­ based largely on Tyler’s earlier advances in understandHe is being honored for a promising ing how ultrasound can modulate the avenue of research that could provide electrical signaling of neurons ­ is one powerful insights into brain circuitry of four selected from a field of more and yield a novel approach to treating than 65 applications. neurological and psychiatric diseases. “This research represents an imporThe McKnight Technological Intant step in the development of new, novations in Neuroscience Awards are noninvasive approaches for modugiven annually to advance the range of lating the activity of select circuits in technologies available for studying the the brain,” said Michael Friedlander, brain and the diseases that affect it. Tyler executive director of the Virginia will share his award, which will provide Tech Carilion Research Institute. “It $200,000 over two years, with a collaboshows promise for treating debilitatrator, Doris Tsao, an assistant professor ing disorders in humans, including of biology at the California Institute of Jamie Tyler, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech Caril- Parkinson’s disease, major depression, Technology. stroke, traumatic brain injury, epiion Research Institute, VTCRI, lab, research. A key goal of their project, Tyler says, lepsy, chronic pain, dystonia, and ad-

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diction. Surgical interventions such as deep-brain stimulation can treat some of these disorders, but they carry the risks associated with any brain surgery. Jamie’s approach opens new avenues for treating a host of diseases noninvasively.” “I’m excited to be working with Doris on this project,” Tyler said. “I have high hopes that we can uncover how pulsed ultrasound affects the primate brain, which will lead to improved approaches for mapping brain functions in humans.” Tyler earned his doctorate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. Before joining the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute faculty in 2011, he served as an assistant professor of neurobiology and bioimaging at Arizona State University. In 2010, he received the Arizona Governor’s Innovator of the Year Award for Academia. Tyler recently founded Neurotrek, a company based in Roanoke and Los Gatos, Calif. By Paula Byron info@theroanokestar.com

Hiring Practices In Today’s Difficult Job Market

Employers can be very selective in their hiring these days. They criminal history information discriminates against minorities. Acexercise this selectivity by screening applicants with reference cording to the EEOC a blanket policy against hiring applicants with checks, background checks, medical examinations, and drug tests, arrest or conviction records is discriminatory. Therefore, the EEOC among other inquiries. By using these techniques employers hope encourages an individualized assessment of whether a criminal to find the best long-term fit for an available job. conduct exclusion is job related and consistent Reference checks are necessary, but they usually with a business necessity, given the job at issue, are not sufficient. References provided by applicants the applicant and the applicant’s criminal history. typically are not objective. Also, despite protections Often employers also want to confirm that an provided by state law, former employers are hesiapplicant can perform the essential functions of tant to provide information about former employa job. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act ees. While employers should still check references, (“ADA”), employers may ask disability-related many now also use more comprehensive techniques questions and require medical examinations of to evaluate applicants. an applicant only after the applicant has been Employers can retain third-parties to conduct given a conditional job offer. Before a conditional background checks on applicants. Under the fedjob offer, an employer can only ask questions eral Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), reports about or test the applicant’s ability to perform the obtained to establish eligibility for employment and essential functions of the job. For example, an containing information about an individual’s credit employer may state the physical requirements Jeremy Carol standing, credit capacity, character, reputation, perof a job, such as a lifting requirement, and ask sonal characteristics, or lifestyle are considered “consumer reports”. the applicant if he or she can satisfy this requirement. The employer If an employer pays a third-party, known as a consumer reporting also can test the applicant’s ability to perform the job function with agency, to conduct background checks, such as credit checks or a lifting test. If an employer questions or tests any applicant for a criminal background checks, it is subject to the FCRA. particular job, then it must ask the same questions and use the same To comply with the FCRA, the employer must notify the appli- tests for all applicants for the job. cant in writing that a consumer report will be obtained and get the Once a conditional job offer is made, the employer may ask disapplicant’s written authorization before acquiring the report. Before ability-related questions and require medical examinations. If the taking an adverse action (such as refusing to hire the applicant) questions or examinations screen out an individual because of a disbased on the information in the report, the employer must provide ability, the employer must demonstrate that the reason for revoking the applicant with a copy of the report and a notice of the applicant’s the conditional job offer is “job related and consistent with business rights under the FCRA. Finally, if the employer actually takes the necessity.” adverse action based on the content of the report, it must provide Drug testing is not a medical examination under the ADA, so additional notice and information to the applicant, including infor- a test for current usage of illegal narcotics can be conducted by an mation on how to dispute the contents of the report. employer at any time during the hiring process. If conducted before Employers also frequently request information about an appli- a conditional offer of employment, the test must be limited to elicit cant’s criminal history. In Virginia, an employer may require an ap- only information regarding illegal drug use. It cannot elicit informaplicant to disclose information about arrests and convictions that tion on legal drug use. have not been expunged. Notably, a criminal background check is These techniques allow an employer to explore an applicant’s a FCRA “consumer report” if the information is obtained from a background. However, they cannot replace the personal interview, consumer reporting agency. Under the FCRA, consumer report- which should remain a key part of the hiring process. Not only ing agencies may not provide information regarding arrests that are does an interview provide insight into an applicant that cannot be more than seven years old. Alternatively, the employer can ask the gleaned from a background check, it also affords the applicant an applicant to authorize the release of criminal records from the Vir- opportunity to clarify or correct any information turned up in the ginia State Police. background check. An employer must be careful how it uses criminal history information. In recent enforcement guidelines, the Equal Employment Jeremy Carroll is an attorney with Glenn Feldmann Darby & Opportunity Commission reiterated its concern that the use of Goodlatte – visit www.gfdg.com to learn more.

Ownership Transition at Martin Brothers Contracting Completed The ownership transition of MB Contractors, Inc. that began six years ago is officially complete as President Todd Morgan and Executive Vice President Mike Cagle acquired the remaining shares from CEO Jed Hammer on July 17. Employees, clients, and business partners will see no change in day-to-day operations and dealings. “When Morgan and Cagle bought into the company in 2006,” says Hammer, “I began to slowly remove myself from daily operations as they took on more and more responsibility and have effectively been running the company for the past few years with me acting in more of a consulting role.” CEO Jed Hammer An avid outdoorsman, Hammer plans to spend more time hunting and also with his family that includes a granddaughter and two new grandchildren who are expected before the end of the year. Asked about their future vision for the company Morgan said, “This is an exciting time for everyone at MB Contractors as we are putting the finishing touches on 100 years in business

President Todd Morgan

Executive Vice President Mike Cagle and starting the foundation work for the next 100. Cagle reiterated that statement saying, “I am looking forward to working to continue the growth of MB Contractors and to build on our long history of providing excellence in construction for our clients and a great work environment for our employees.”

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TheRoanokeStar.com |Page 9

8/10/12- 8/16/12

WVTF To Broadcast Statewide News/Talk/Call-in Radio Program On Aug. 3, WVTF Public Radio began WVTF Program Director and VPR Manager broadcasting a new program, “Virginia Con- Rick Mattioni says, “We’ll do a little occasional versations” live across the commonwealth. The catching up on what some famous Virginians weekly one-hour program will focus on timely are doing these days. Scheduled guests for a topics of statewide interest special ‘Where Are They and will air Friday mornings Now’ edition of ‘Virginia at 9 a.m. on WVTF, RADIO Conversations’ includes IQ and on WHRV and affiliJohn Warner, Chuck Robb, ated stations in the Hampton Jim Gilmore, and Ollie Roads/Tidewater area. It North. ‘Virginia Conversawill replace the first hour of tions’ will also feature guests Morning Classics on WVTF from the world of arts and and National Public Radio’s entertainment and listeners (NPR) Morning Edition on will have the opportunity to RADIO IQ. join in the conversation by Hosted by May-Lily Lee, calling a statewide toll-free Virginia Conversations is number much like ‘The Dico-produced by WVTF Pubane Rheem Show’ and ‘Talk lic Radio and RADIO IQ’s of the Nation’ from NPR”. Connie Stevens and Jerry VPR is a news and inCaldwell. Lee also is the host formation service providand senior producer of “Viring daily news reports and ginia Currents” which airs in-depth weekly features to May-Lily Lee on public television stations public radio stations in the statewide. She has covered Virginia public commonwealth. WVTF Public Radio and RApolicy for public broadcasting since Gov. Doug DIO IQ are the lead stations and VPR is manWilder’s inauguration, and she has hosted aged by the WVTF and RADIO IQ staff. The weekly programs from the state capitol during other participating stations include WAMU General Assembly sessions. covering the Northern Virginia and WashStevens is the news director for WVTF and ington, D.C.,-metro area, WEHC covering RADIO IQ and managing editor for VPR. southwest Virginia from Abingdon, WHRV in Caldwell, who has worked as a journalist for Hampton Roads, WTJU in Charlottesville, and 32 years in newsrooms in Roanoke, San Diego, WVRU which serves the New River Valley. and Norfolk has received several awards for “As far as I can tell, ‘Virginia Conversations’ his work, including two regional Emmys and will be the first regular weekly news/talk proa Peabody Award. gram to broadcast throughout the commonOther participating radio stations will re- wealth. It is also the first regularly scheduled broadcast the show at different times. Links to full hour conversation program produced by the VPR participating stations may be found VPR. The WVTF/RADIO IQ extended covonline and the program also will be streamed erage area and the VPR network of stations live on the WVTF website. (www.wvtf.org) allows listeners from all around the commonUpcoming editions of “Virginia Conversa- wealth to participate,” said WVTF general tions” will include a discussion on the im- manager Glenn Gleixner. “We expect to conpact of globalization on manufacturing jobs tinue to provide more in-depth reporting, spein Southwestern Virginia and on workers at cial features, and regular weekly programs as the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads and a participation and support for VPR continues conversation with Paula Johnson, the Virginia to grow.” woman who in 1998 discovered the little girl VPR and “Virginia Conversations” are unshe had been raising was not her biological derwritten by grants from the Virginia Educadaughter. tion Association.

The Little Gallery To Hold Silk Painting Class The Little Gallery on Smith Mountain Lake will hold a Silk Painting class to be held by artist Sandra Melroy of Silk Sensations on Saturday, September 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Capture the sun as it shines through your hand-painted Silk Sun Catcher. Sandy, a textile artist from Wisconsin, is offering the class for all ages and experience levels. All supplies will be provided to make a 10-wire framed silk sun catcher. The cost will be $15 for one person or $25 for 2. Please call The Little Gallery for more information or to register, 540-721-1596 or via email at littlegallerysml@aol. com. The class size is limited so call to reserve your space!

Winner of Martha Stewart Contest Continues to Grow Her Passsion

Roanoker Jody Lunsford brought her Wonderful World of Needle Felted Animals to the Roanoke Main Library last week. She won the Martha Stewart “Simply ReMarthable” contest last year which jumpstarted her passion of making these crafts to sell. Lunsford says of Stewart, “She’s a brilliant woman and I adore her.” While Lunsford has been crafting her entire life, she got the idea for needle felting from the 2009 Christmas issue of the “Martha Stewart” magazine, which featured a picture of a needle felted polar bear. After working to perfect it, she sent one to enter the contest. Lunsford says needle felting is “the meshing of fibers.” She uses the “raw natural wool that has been sheared from the fiber animal, and processed through a fiber mill. This process cleans and straightens the wool into different forms. Most of the wools are blended wools meaning the fibers come from different species of fiber animals. I use wool batting which is thick and also wool roving processed into a cylinder form. The wool can be dyed or left the natural color of the fiber animal. . .Wool has many scales on each strand. When punched by the barbed needles they mesh Jody Lunsford begins work on a new piece. together almost like glue.” She uses sharp needles made of carbon steel to punch together the little barbs from the alpaca fiber. “The harder you punch, the more you can shape it.” Lunsford uses pictures, rather than patterns, to make her creations and the only sewing she does is for the eyes. “I use glass eyes with loops and they are sewn into the wool to hold them in tightly.” She feels one of the reasons she won the contest was because of the support from fellow Roanoke residents. Lunsford says traveling toNew York and being on the show was “the most exciting time of my life.” Her prize for winning-a $60,000 BMW. It’s been a whirlwind year since winning the contest. “I’ve gotten a lot more attention from the people of Roanoke. I’ve been asked to do a lot of events, and I’ve tried to do everything that everybody asked. I’ve been asked to do pieces for benefits and that sort of thing. It’s been quite busy.” She’s also been busy incorporating her signature into a logo and putting a website together, www.jodyswoolery.com. She’s exhibited her creatures at the Pet Expo and will Part of Jody’s “Wonderful World of Needle Felted be at Olde Salem Days next month. Animals.” Her creations are even gaining international attention. “I I am the slowest have had a girl from Cypruscarpet cleaner in Roanoke. contact me.” She also has a Facebook friend from Brazil, “and another lady in Hawaii, so yeah, I’ve had a lot of contacts from all over.” “I will give your Her plan now “is to do some carpet the time craft shows and try to sell and attention some pieces on the side and do some commission pieces it deserves to and attend some fiber shows.” produce the best As for Martha Stewart’s conresults possible.” test-would she do it again? She laughs. “Oh, yes, in a • 2 rooms and a hall for $75 • 5 rooms and a hall for $155 heartbeat.” • Furniture cleaning also available!

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The Reel Deal – “The Dark Knight Rises” When Christopher Nolan took the helm of reviving the Batman franchise after ‘Batman and Robin,’ nobody could have predicted how much of an impact ‘Batman Begins’ made when it was released. Dark, emotionally grounded and surprisingly downto-earth, ‘Batman Begins’ was a great movie that eventually led to the critically acclaimed sequel ‘The Dark Knight,’ a movie that is being revered by many critics and moviegoers as the best comic book film to date. Now after four long years for Batmanfans, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is finally here, and despite its flaws, it is a worthy conclusion to an excellent and beloved trilogy. The story of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ takes place eight years after Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent at the end of ‘The Dark Knight,’ and Bruce Wayne is officially hanging up the cape and cowl while Gotham City begins to clean itself up under the newly-proposed Dent Act. Despite being worn from his long battle against the criminal underbelly of Gotham, Bruce will have to rise again as Batman when a new threat appears in the form of Bane, a masked terrorist who is as cunning as he is physically intimidating, in order to save Gotham once again from total destruction. While this movie has its share of spectacle and action, there’s much more to the story than that. After eight long years of crime-fighting, Bruce Wayne has been worn out from his battles as Batman, and his first appearance in the movie alone is almost tragic. This is what defines Batman as one of the best comic book characters to date: he has no superpowers. Ever since ‘Batman Begins,’ Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have dived into the essence of both Bruce Wayne and Batman, and everything comes full circle here. In fact, ‘The Dark Knight

Rises’ makes ‘The Avengers’ looks like a kids’ fantasy in comparison. Like many epic conclusions to a series, there are many new characters brought into the story this time around, but this does lead to one of the movie’s major problems. While some characters are well-developed and interesting, some of them are rather flat or just don’t get enough screen-time. Thankfully, the addition of Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is excellent and manages to add a cunning edge to the character while still retaining the humor and seductive nature of the comics. The action in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ also features some incredible set-pieces (especially when viewed in IMAX), and the production values and direction are as excellent as any other Christopher Nolan movie. While ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is an excellent film, it’s not quite the masterpiece that ‘The Dark Knight’ is. Some characters tend to drop in-and-out of the story, and the ending – while still satisfying – isn’t as groundbreaking or powerful as it could have been and Bane just doesn’t quite match the terrifying heights of Heath Ledger’s turn as The Joker. Despite these problems, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ does a remarkable job of standing up to its predecessor and manages to conclude the trilogy on a high note with its grand scale and raw emotion. It is an excellent movie that combined with its predecessors makes one of the best trilogies in recent film history. Rating: 9/10 (Excellent)

By Seth Childers info@theroanokestar.com

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