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The Roanoke Star-Sentinel Community | News | Per spective

December 9 - 15, 2011

[Valley Business]

Hometown Flavor Sight Givers

P3– Volunteers at the Roanoke Valley Center for Sight give a very special gift.

Mike Keeler



Steve Davidson, President of Roanoke Railhouse Brewery, Justin Martin, and Mayor David Bowers with a plaque presented to Martin's Downtown Bar and Grill. The brewery recently recognized their first ten customers.

P5– Mike Keeler has the scoop on where cinnamon comes from and what he knows might just surprise you.


Buy Vinton! P8– The town of Vinton encourages shoppers to keep their dollars local when purchasing holiday gifts.

Leading Light P9– After teaching art for almost 40 years at Hollins ar tist Bill White has learned to follow the light as he puts oil to canvas.

Roanoke Railhouse Brewery Enjoys Growth Locally and Regionally

he Roanoke Railhouse Brewery recognized and honored their “First Ten” customers last week. Steve Davidson, president of Roanoke Railhouse Brewery, Brewmaster Ryan Worthington, and Mayor David Bowers presented a plaque to Martin’s Downtown Bar and Grill. Martin’s was the very first establishment to place the brewery’s Track 1 Amber lager on tap. Each of the First Ten restaurants will be receiving their plaque over the coming days. They include Rockfish Food & Wine, Jimmy V’s, Montano’s, Annie Moore’s Pub, Brambleton Deli, The Pizza Pasta Pit, Mac & Bob’s, Fork in the Alley and the Hotel Roanoke. Roanoke Railhouse Brewery opened in 2009 in the former Dr. Pepper bottling plant. The company has pro-

duced nearly 25,000 gallons of brew this year in their 4,000 square foot facility. “The on-site, spring-fed well water is one of the things that differentiates Roanoke Railhouse Brewery beer from other craft-breweries,” said Director of Marketing Mathew Machtay. The Valley’s only hometown brewery now distributes to over one hundred bars and restaurants throughout Virginia and North Carolina. The brew is also available in Kroger’s, Stop-In Food stores, and many specialty bottle shops. The Brewery offers retail “Growler Hours” on Fridays 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tours are on Saturdays at 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. To learn more visit

State Legislators Hear City’s Priorities

This year Roanoke City will have new help lobbying for their top priorities in Richmond. As part of a cost savings move, the city has eliminated a part-time Richmond lobbyist and will now have consultants to beat on the door of legislators. Arguing the case for RCPS and the city’s top five priorities will be the firm of Alcalde & Fay. Robert Catron and Randy Cook from the Arlington firm attended Monday morning’s legislative program. Roanoke City’s delegate Onzlee Ware and delegate-elect Chris Head were also on hand to listen to the city’s wish-list. Senator John Edwards was in Richmond but had his legislative aid Alison Baird represent him. Roanoke City School Board member Annette Lewis and chairman David Carson made the case for their one priority - that classifications given by the VHSL to high schools not be based solely on their size. The Virginia High School League places Roanoke City’s high schools in the AAA classification creating a hardship on student athletes and a financial burden on the school system in travel cost. RCPS has failed to convince VHSL to reclassify the schools to AA so they can compete locally. The school board is asking for an oversight committee to resolve school division appeals. The other option would be for the General Assembly to establish a study committee to review the effects of the > CONTINUED P2: Legislators

Cuccinelli Announces Local Dogs and Owners Take to Flyball Exoneration of Haynesworth On any given Sunday points and Poco has won Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli applauded the Court of Appeals of Virginia’s 6-4 decision to fully exonerate Thomas Haynesworth from his 1984 sexual assault convictions in a series of rapes in Henrico County and Richmond. The court granted Haynesworth’s writs of actual innocence on Tuesday morning. “Today marks the end of an unimaginable nightmare for Thomas Haynes- Photo courtesy of Thomas worth. For 27 years in prison, he always Thomas Haynesmaintained his innocence and continuworth. ously displayed tremendous dignity and grace, steadfastly believing that justice would one day be served. Today, justice was in fact served, and Thomas Haynesworth was finally granted the total freedom he so deserves,” said Cuccinelli. In 1984, while picking up groceries for his mother, Haynesworth was mistakenly identified as the man who had attacked five women in the Richmond metro area. He was later convicted and imprisoned for three of these attacks. Haynesworth then served 27 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit. In 2009, DNA testing cleared Haynesworth of one of the rapes and also confirmed that another man -- Leon Davis-- actually committed the crime. No DNA evidence remained in the two remaining convictions, but DNA testing in another case where Haynesworth was acquitted also cleared him and implicated > CONTINUED P3: Exoneration

morning at the Salem YMCA, people going inside to work out might hear dogs barking at a nearly ear-splitting level. That’s just members of the Heads or Tails flyball club and their human partners, hard at work. Flyball, which is often referred to as drag racing for dogs, has been around since the 1990s. A handler releases their dog to jump over four hurdles, (which are set at the Bob Villamil and his dog. height of the smallest dog on ticipating in flyball for several the team) as they race toward years. “I started out with my a box. They run up onto the miniature poodle (Rikki) four box and a tennis ball “flies” up. years ago and then I brought The dog grabs the ball with its my Goldendoodle (Poco) into mouth, then heads back over it about two years ago.” the four jumps again to the “I have very high energy starting line. The four dogs on dogs that are pretty smart but each team must perform per- they’re best in an activity where fectly and faster than the dogs they can just burn off a lot of competing against them just energy.” feet away. Rikki has won about 2500 Bob Villamil has been par-

about 200 points in competitions. “If you have a high energy dog that likes chasing balls, its an excellent sport. It gives the dog a job to do, something to focus on. And it’s a real positive thing for the owners too because they get to partner with people on the team and build a lot of camaraderie that way.” Jacob Siehler from Lexington and his dog Iri (pronounced Erie), a 2-year-old Belgian sheepdog, are also members of the team. “It’s fast and fun . . .What more can you say?” “I found out about flyball in the ‘90’s, when I had a young dog that I was looking for stuff to do with. But there were no groups around the area at the

> CONTINUED P3: Flyball

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> Legislators

Page 2 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 12/9/11 -12/15/11

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From page 1

VHSL on student athletes, programs and school budgets. “Roanoke City transportation costs are in the $200,000 range in a time that budgets are tight,” said Carson. The lose of instructional time “is in the 7100 hour range.” VHSL has taken the stance that lowering the classification would create an unequal playing field but they have been working with Roanoke lately, said Carson. They created a combination district with Franklin County, Patrick Henry and William Fleming in the AAA classification. Councilman Sherman Lea said, “it’s hard for me to understand how complex that it has become.” Delegate Ware pre-filed a bill but remarked that it has been questioned. “Why shouldn’t homeschooled [students] be able to play varsity in the area in which they go to school … also Christian schools.” Ware said they had been able to “beat back that charge” so far though these parents pay taxes too he explained. Ware said Roanoke City was the only school in the 2011 session to raise the issue of the cost of transporting athletes.

Photo by Valerie Garner

Tuesday’s Legislative meeting. City Attorney Presents His Last Legislative Program: City Attorney Bill Hackworth presented his 24th and final legislative program before he retires at the end of the month. First on the list, again this year, was the TransDominion Express Commission proposed by Sen. John Edwards. The commission, when established, would identify needed infrastructure and resolve conflicts with freight rail in an effort to provide passenger service for Roanoke. The city found a friendly new delegate in Chris Head to champion passenger rail service. Delegate-elect Head said he saw it from a “business owner” perspective. Transportation in and out of the valley inhibits business growth. “Rail transportation will help that,” he said. Hackworth asked for restoration of the $1.5 million of state

budget cuts to localities. That would be difficult, admitted delegate Ware “if any of this looks like, feels like a tax increase it isn’t going to happen.” Control of the discharge of pneumatic weapons should be restored to densely populated localiPhoto by Valerie Garner ties having less then Onzlee Ware, Suzanne Moore, Dick Willis 1000 persons per and Lori Vaught. square mile, said Hackworth. Police personnel have difficulty discerning them from real guns and some of them are extremely powerful. If only one thing gets done in this session it will be either for the state to pay for unfunded mandates or repeal them. Hackworth pointed to the governor’s study commission that had already produced 31 pages of mandates that could be eliminated. “If you look at them they are just ridiculous,” said Hackworth. “We’re all behind the governors effort to streamline the government.” Other wish-list items include a solution to the problem of owners who move their boats and planes in an effort to escape taxation. The city estimates it loses $1.75 million of revenue annually. The city also is asking for an increase in the vacant building fee from $25 to $250 a year and nuisance abatement that would allow the city to go on an owner’s property to correct overgrowth. Vice-Mayor David Trinkle had a few more items: Continued funding for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, conservation easement incentives, domestic violence fees, outdoor lighting and smoking regulation, banning plastic bags, and legal advertising cost reduction. Council member Anita Price added the need for stricter control of predatory lenders and stressed that the General Assembly should not shortchange schools. “A balanced budged is important but not on the backs of our school children,” she said. Ware said with the onslaught of virtual schools, charter schools, private Christian schools, homeschools – “we’re in a dog fight for the public school systems … I can’t just in a vacuum say without careful thought they shouldn’t have some benefit,” said Ware. Though Roanoke City is somewhat socio-economically depressed “that’s just the reality … money alone has no impact on how much you can learn.” He said the school system should continue on its path of improving the graduation rate. By Valerie Garner

Roanoke City Will Make Changes To Employee Pension Plan

Roanoke City Counmer finance directors Jim cil listened to/watched Grisso and Jesse Hall. a 2-hour 94-slide preThe vesting period was sentation on sustaining reduced from 20 years to Roanoke City’s employee 10 years in the 1970s and pension plan Monday. again from 10 years to 5 Council will vote to years in 1996. In 1998 a adopt the elements of the supplement was added for plan in January. The earretirees with 20 years of liest it would go into efservice until they reached fect for new hires would age 65. The multiplier was be July 1, 2013. increased from 2% to 2.1 Director of finance, percent in 1999. Photo by Valerie Garner Ann Shawver and the A sluggish stock marcity’s financial adviser Jim Jim Link of PFM, Ann Shawver and Roaket and GDP growth, low Link, managing director noke City Manager Chris Morrill. interest rates and the aging of PFM Asset Managebaby boomer population ment LLC, explained the reality. (Virginia Retirement System). has created a “new normal” for Contributions (percent of pay- It is fully funded at 86% with pension plans. The most comroll) are expected to increase 1800 employees receiving monly used solutions to penfrom the current rate of 18.04% monthly benefits. “The city has sion reform include retirement to 21%. The root of the problem always fully funded the actuar- age alignment with social seis 30 years of benefit increases ial required contribution,” said curity and the implementation and aggressive investment as- Shawver. of employee contributions in The goal is to reduce and sta- conjunction with lower benefit sumptions. Benefits were enhanced in the bilize the contribution rate while tiers. late 1990s during a robust stock balancing the interests of all The recommendation placed market; this created additional stakeholders – the public (tax- before council included two new costs and stress on the pension payer), employees and retirees, plans for new hires - a choice of plan, said Shawver. But the plan elected officials and administra- either a Defined Benefit plan or has been managed proactively tors. A team that comprised 8% a hybrid Defined Benefit/Deand “we don’t have a crisis,” she of the employee workforce at- fined Contribution Plan. tended twelve feedback sessions stated. If adopted by council, emRoanoke’s pension plan is from September to November. ployees will be required to conin better shape then the VRS Feedback also came from for- tribute 5% of their pay on a pre-

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tax basis. The multiplier will decrease from 2.1% to 1.8%. The VRS multiplier is 1.7%. Measurement of final compensation will increase from 36 months to 60 months. The taxable pension supplement would be discontinued and a tax-free Retirement Health Savings Account (RHSA) would take its place. The new hires after July 1, 2013 would have 60-90 days to make their election between the two plans. Education on investment options in the Defined Contribution Plan would be provided. Councilman Ray Ferris said, “We have to drive home the message to our employees that the government can’t be big brother – we’re not here to take care of you. They’ve got to have some modicum of individual responsibility.” Current employees hired before July 1, 2013 would have these options offered to them. Council will make a decision at some point whether to offset the 5% pre-tax contribution with a pay raise. A current employee may want to move to the new option for portability purposes. Vesting will remain unchanged at 5 years. This is comparable to most private plans and the VRS. The city needs to remain competitive with its benefits. Cost of living adjustments are currently given ad hoc by city council. Shawver recommended a COLA policy instead. COLA would be granted only to normal retirees and would equal 2/3rds of the Urban Consumer Price Index (CPI). It would not exceed 4% or exceed the pay raise of active employees. Shawver explained that the pension plan changes would result in a reduction of the contribution rate from a high of 21% in 2017 to 15% by the year 2032. The effective date is dependent upon the purchase or development of new computer software; It will have an upfront cost of about $500,000 and the plan choices will add to administrative costs. By Valerie Garner

12/9/11- 12/15/11 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 3

Giving the Gift of Sight

Imagine not being able to see for 20 years. Not being able to get a job due to inadequate vision. Not being able to see you grandchildren grow. And not having the insurance or ability to pay for the surgery to correct the problem. These are just a few of the stories told during the 4th annual Free Cataract Care Day held on Friday, December 2 at the Roanoke Valley Center for Sight. Cataract surgery is when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy and must be replaced with a new man-made lens. Cataracts effect about half of Americans ages 65 to 74, according to the federal government. In late fall of this year area eye care providers began referring patients to the program who had cataracts but did not have the means to pay for the surgery. Patients who met the qualifications which included having no insurance and being unable to pay out of pocket were then scheduled to have the surgery free of charge. The normal out of pocket expense is approximately $3500.

> Exonerate

The Cataract Care Day volunteers: (L-R) Gwen Donithan, Courtney Haggard, Becca Johnson, Betty Dunn, Joanne Hafey, Denise Goodrum, Jake Hardin. (Not Pictured - Heather Shultz and Program Coordinator Staci Runyon) Twelve patients from a variety of cities throughout Southwestern Virginia began arriving Friday morning as early as 6:30 am for this life changing opportunity. After checking in and being prepped by a volunteer staff of nurses and doctors, patients were rolled into the operating room for the fifteen minute procedure. Just moments after their surgery, patients could be heard saying, “Wow. I can really see!”

and “You are as beautiful as I imagined!” Some were simply crying for joy. Thanks to the volunteer staff at the Roanoke Valley Center For Sight, Drs. David Kinsler and Jon Brisley at Vistar Eye Center and Dr. Eugene Eng at Eye Care and Surgery, these patients left the center in much higher spirits and with a much better (and clearer!) outlook on life.

Mayor Bowers Announces His Bid For Re-Election

Following a smooth uneventful Roanoke City Democratic Committee reorganization Tuesday evening incumbent Mayor David Bowers announced that he will seek another term. Mayor David Bowers has had many ups and downs in the political arena: In 1984 at age 32 he was elected to City Council. In 1998 he took a chance and ran for Congress against Bob Goodlatte and was unsuccessful. In 2000 Bowers was unseated for two consecutive terms as mayor in a threeway race between Mac McCadden, Ralph Smith and Bowers; Smith, a Republican, won that race. In 2004 Bowers ran in a Democratic firehouse primary against Nelson Harris and lost. The city’s Democratic reorganizations in 2005 and 2007 were contentious. The Victory Stadium debate hung heavy over elections. In 2006 Bowers ran for a seat on Council as a Democrat with former State Senator Granger MacFarlane and former Councilman William White, Sr. The Roanoke City Committee broke apart when, with the backing of Delegate Onzlee Ware, a separate caucus was formed with an Independent ticket. The “For the City” Independent ticket of Dr. David Trinkle, Gwen Mason and Alfred Dowe, Jr. won in 2006. The Committee then voted Mayor Nelson Harris and Vice-Mayor Bev Fitzpatrick out of the Committee for their support of that Independent ticket. Bowers ran for chair of the Committee and lost in the 2007 reorganization. Bowers was not deterred and in 2008 he poured mostly his own money into an Independent candidacy for mayor challenging incumbent Democrat Nelson

The Mayor in “the catbird seat.” Harris. He plastered his picture on busses and marched around downtown led by bagpipers and signs saying “Run David Run.” At the 2007 Christmas parade bystanders yelled from the sidelines “Run David Run.” He beat Harris handily and then rejoined the Democratic Committee in the 2009 reorganization. Bowers is back in the “catbird seat” as he calls it and he intends to stay there. Councilman Sherman Lea decided not to challenge Bowers for mayor this year and will seek re-election to Council for a third term. Both Democratic incumbent council members Court Rosen and Anita Price are expected to announce for reelection. It will be a tough slate for any challenger to crack.

Davis. Davis is currently serving seven life sentences for another series of rapes. Cuccinelli, along with commonwealth’s attorneys Michael Herring and Wade Kizer, were presented with this information and concluded it was necessary to take up Haynesworth’s fight to clear his name. “We independently reviewed the evidence, the DNA analysis, and the case summaries in the cases,” said the attorney general. “We also met with and sought input from both commonwealth’s attorneys’ offices involved in the original prosecutions. In light of all the information available to us, we concluded that a miscarriage of justice had occurred - not as the result of any misconduct, but simply because of a series of unfortunate, human mistakes. Regrettably, no one at the time had the global view of the case that we are now able to see with the benefit of hindsight. “Given our conclusion, we encouraged Thomas’s legal team to apply for writs of actual innocence to allow him to be freed from prison and exonerated of the convictions. This office supported the application. Normally, as attorney general, I am fighting to keep people in jail. But this office has an obligation to see that justice is done in every case, regardless of which side of the courtroom that justice may fall. Here, unlike the vast majority of cases we handle, our duty was not to defend a defendant’s conviction, but to prove his innocence. Justice demanded it. “Today, the writs were granted. Today, we celebrate Thomas Haynesworth’s freedom. And to-

> Flyball

Joan Washburn will manage Bowers’ campaign and fundraising. Each of the other candidates will run their own campaign but they may share some resources, said Bowers. Speaking of the current makeup of the Council Bowers said, “I think what we’ve been able to do more then anything else is bring a sense of cordiality to the City Council and the conduct of our democracy. This Council can run a strong campaign asserting that we have brought both cordiality and accomplishment to Roanoke City government.” Commonwealth Attorney Don Caldwell stepped down from two years of chairing the Committee saying, “the chair should be rotated so other people can do this job.” Caldwell also admitted it would create a conflict of interest since he was up for re-election. Fifty-three credentialed Democrats and potential members filled the William Fleming High School cafeteria on Tuesday. The current Vice-Chair of the Committee JoAnn Edmunds was elected Chair and Charles Withers was elected Vice-Chair. Edmonds has served on the Committee for ten years. By Valerie Garner

time and when I got my young pup I decided to look again and see if there were any groups in the area and found that this was the closest one to me,” said Siehler “Teamwork is the best part of it and just the look of excitement when you come in with your dog and they’re ready to go and when you start a race you just have to hold them back from going. I love that moment right there where I can barely hold him back from going.” Siehler says Iri is still a flyball tournament newbie and he’s earned a few titles. “But he’s still learning to keep his mind on the ball instead of the other dogs.” Laura Green is the team captain. She says dogs that do the best in flyball have some understanding of basic obedience. “Dogs that will come when called. Dogs that will sit in chaotic environments. If they’re at PetSmart they’ll sit when asked. If they’re on the street they’ll sit when asked. Dogs that aren’t afraid of noises so you have dogs that don’t get nervous when there’s thunder or lightning or any of that kind of stuff. Dogs that love balls are

From page 1 day, we recognize that justice has prevailed.” Following Haynesworth’s application for the writs, Governor Bob McDonnell asked the Virginia Parole Board to look at the case, and the board granted parole in March 2011, based in part on this new information. Cuccinelli has long been a proponent of providing those who were wrongfully convicted a means to overcome Virginia’s 21-day finality rule and seek relief where new evidence became available after trial. In 2003, then-Senator Cuccinelli cast the deciding vote in the Senate Courts of Justice committee (8-7) to adopt legislation introduced by Sen. Henry Marsh (SB 705) that would have allowed convicted and incarcerated individuals to petition the Virginia Supreme Court for a writ of actual innocence based upon any new non-testimonial evidence, not just DNA evidence. The bill, however, failed to pass the House of Delegates. The following year, Sen. Ken Stolle introduced a bill (SB 333) that established a one-opportunity procedure for a convicted felon to petition the Virginia Court of Appeals for a writ of actual innocence based on previously unknown or unavailable non-biological evidence. This measure established a process similar to the one that already existed under Virginia law for previously unknown or untested biological evidence, such as DNA. Once again, Cuccinelli supported this legislation, which passed and created the legal procedure that vindicated Mr. Haynesworth.

From page 1 sometimes better learners and sometimes not, but any dog can learn to play with a ball. And dogs that love playing with their owners typically tend to be the best because it really is a game where you bond with your dog and you really have to have a strong love of your dog and your dog has to love you to really make everything run smoothly.” Members of Heads or Tails flyball club travel to Blacksburg and as far away as Pennsylvania and North Carolina to compete on the weekends. Green says, “Heads or Tails’ official motto is Either way,

we win. What this means is whether we win our races or lose them, it doesn’t really matter, so long as we are having fun and we are all doing the very best we can - handlers and dogs included.”

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Page 4 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 12/9/11 -12/15/11

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!


ne hundred twenty- nauseam, from a dozen different five years old . . . and outlets. We don’t get news from still going---that’s The the papers anymore. It’s no wonRoanoke Times. It’s not really our der that nationally daily papers sister newspaper, but more like a are struggling for circulation and second cousin, twice removed. even survival. It is among the oldest establishI suspect that within a decade, ments in our city and they have the idea of a local paper will earned our appreciation. be as quaint as hand cranking There was a time when we re- your car. Like everything else, ally got the news from the paper. consolidation will be the order Certainly, that’s not the of the day. I’ll bet that case now. Back in the The New York Times, day, I can remember The Washington Post, Perry White, the ediThe Chicago Tribune, tor of The Daily Planet, The Atlanta Journaldashing out of his ofConstitution, or The Los fice and shouting to Angeles Times will be an astonished Jimmy published in every city Olsen, Lois Lane, and large enough to support the ever-so-cool Clark a paper. There will be a Kent, “Great Caesar’s local section added ghost! Stop the press- Hayden Hollingsworth for obituaries, high es!!” The next frame school sports, and in the comic book would show advertising. Such a trend might the newsboy on the corner of bode well for weekly papers such Fifth and Concord in Metropo- as The Roanoke Star-Sentinel. lis, yelling “Extra! Extra! Read The combined papers will have all about it” and we would see a to compete with other national banner headline of Superman’s print media which are searching latest exploits saving the city. to find a format that will attract I wondered when the last time readers. Here’s a bright side: a Roanoke paper ran an extra When you can access everything was. There have been some and on your iPad or Smartphone, I consulted Frosty Landon, a think of the countless forests that former editor, when that might will be saved by not producing so have been. Pearl Harbor; that many daily papers. was the last one, he thinks. No One can hope that day will be need for extras now with instant a long time coming. Walking out news from the cyber media. By to the paper tube each morning the time a reporter can file a to retrieve the RT is the opening story, much less get it in print, we bell for a new day. It’s surprising have heard the facts, usually ad to see a huge headline for some-

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one who has a wonderful recipe for bread pudding, but at least it’s a signal that there have been no disasters overnight about which we have not heard. The obits are a first read for those of us in the shadow of the goalposts, then, on to Sodoku, Jumble, and Wordy-Gurdy. After finishing those, reading the headlines and editorials is about all that remains and that’s worth a look. I’m not sure where this trend got such a foot hold, but I suspect Sports Illustrated is the original culprit: the pun as a lead in to the story. Such headlines as “Wildcats Claw Ducks,” “Cowboys Empty Horned Frogs’ Pond,’ or “Giants Scalp Redskins,” are classic examples. The name of the teams and the contest lends itself to such “punishment.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist that.) Should real headlines fall into triteness? I wonder if there is an editor of puns. Consider these eye-grabbers: “Firemen Burning Over Pay Freeze,” “Speech Therapists Mum on Contract Talks,” “Dentists Extract Teeth from Malpractice Policy.” In every newspaper you will find some as interesting as these fictitious ones. Enough said. The daily newspapers and print journalism are all in peril from the digital age. Their online circulation will soon exceed their hard copy. Jobs will be lost, presses will shut down, newsprint will become as obsolete as oil lamps and paper mills will be idled. The future will be quite different but let’s give our congratulations to The Roanoke Times. Their longevity has garnered our respect. We can hope that they will be around for another century or so.

My youngest son loves to go to the “Confession Stand.” He doesn’t want to make an appointment with the local priest, however. He wants a Slurpy and an order of onion rings. Since he first learned to put words together, the “Concession Stand” at any sporting event is referred to as the “Confession Stand.” Well “Amen” and pass the ketchup. Actually, Confession Stands do exist, but they are not slinging cold drinks and hot food.

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September (abbr.) South southeast Yang's partner Appeal Hotdog holder Which chill and grille now features Chef Michael Wright? Elliptic West by north Remove from office Boots the ball Belongs to us Vane direction Eagle's nest Sign language Economics abrv. Widely known Jaws, et al Uncoil Mush up Preposition Still Vocalist Supersonic transport Mormon State Icky Hoodlum Tally Day time tv show Shooting Star, make a ---- as it passes. (from the movie Zathura) Epoch Stake Poem Short-term memory Dues

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A Certain Special Christmas

With confession in steep decline in the traditions that employ the sacrament, some parishes now make it more readily available. You can find makeshift confessionals out and away from the steeple. They are in shopping malls, at the food court, maybe even at a ball game. They are supplied with rotating priests who do the work of absolution in shifts. And some enterprising clergy are even offering confession online. Yes, it is now possible for one to come clean via the internet, be pardoned by instant message, or to do penance just as soon as God answers his email. Just fill out the proper online form and wait for forgiveness to arrive in your inbox. I am as internetfriendly and as protesting a Protestant as they come, but this sounds suspicious even to me. In my growing-up tradition confession to a priest was not required. Baptists just couldn’t

bear the thought. That and I came of age out in the country where everyone had a clothes line rather than an electric dryer to dry their clothes. When your bloomers and holey socks (not holy socks) are swinging in the breeze for God and everybody to see, there’s not much left to hide. I think that is the point. “Confess your sins one to another,” the Apostle James said, “that you may be healed.” These are hard words to practice when we have so privatized and individualized our faith that we prefer to hide our troubles, struggles, and failures from others. We keep our dirty laundry stuffed in a dark, putrid closet. Yet, when we do not share our lives one with another – even the ugly parts – we miss out on the healing power the community of Christ can offer. I know the objection: “But I don’t want to be a burden to someone else!” Nonetheless, if we can’t burden





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who helps teach Math at Roanoke College. The area's newest and most progressive Jesus teaching Presbyterian Church. Speak South by west Corrupt Doldrums Game Over. Thank --- for playing. (from the movie Zathura) Tax agency Negative Distress call Who is the Happy Chef? Second entry Goddess Boxer Muhammad

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of paint, (thanks to Skip’s hard work the previous week) brightened the house for the holidays. The tall spruce, its branches loaded with a array of unusual ornaments, looked and smelled like Christmas. I helped wherever I was needed -- wrapping packages, cooking, caring for the baby and entertaining Erin. The weather that December set a record for cold temperatures in Silver Spring. The snow was heavy and more was predicted. It appeared that I would be wise to stay until after Christmas. This would be the first and only Christmas during our marriage that Harry and I were not together. Harry had not accompanied me on this visit because his mother was in poor health. We both knew it might well be her last Christmas with us, so he stayed home. We talked on the telephone, relaying information to one another about those we loved – he about his mother who was hospitalized and I with glowing reports of the beautiful little girl who had come to make this Christmas a special one for her family. We left unsaid the poignant feelings we both experienced with this special Christmas. On December 12, 2011, that little girl will celebrate her twenty-second birthday. On December 15, she will graduate from UNC Greensboro with a double major in international studies and art and a minor in history. In January, she will leave for London where she will continue her studies at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. This will be another special Christmas. Contact Mary Jo at

The Preacher’s Corner - Your Laundry Is On The Line

Star-Sentinel Crossword


“Mom, the weather report for With that said, she and Wednesday doesn’t look good – Skip scurried down the stairs a major snowstorm. I think you and headed for the hospital. should come now.” Kathy’s voice I watched from the bedroom betrayed her anxiety. Wednes- window as they drove away, day was the day I had planned the car surrounded by swirls to drive to her home of snowflakes, in Silver Spring, like a snow globe Maryland to be when you shake it. available when her My mind was also second baby arrived. swirling with the diI could understand rections I had been her fear of weather given – Erin, breakcausing a delay – she fast, men to install needed me to care carpet… And Max, for three-year-old Kathy’s lovable Erin. I agreed and big yellow “Heinz assured her I would 57 varieties” dog, leave right away. whose bark, which Mary Jo Shannon Soon I was on was much worse the interstate, and than his bite, terthough I dreaded the beltway, I rified strangers. Be sure to keep followed Kathy’s written direc- Max up. tions accurately and soon arWhen Skip called to tell me rived safely. That night I went their second daughter had arto sleep, knowing the few extra rived safely, the men were indays with my daughter’s family stalling the carpet, the dog more than compensated for the was barking behind a closed Christmas preparations left un- door, and Erin was tugging on done at home. my dress saying, “Nana, Nana, “Mom, Mom, wake up!” please take me to see the new Kathy stood by my bed, gently baby!” Somehow we managed shaking my shoulder to rouse to survive the day and had dinme. The clock on the nightstand ner ready when Skip came with read five o’clock, but she wore the news that mother and baby her winter coat with a scarf would be coming home the next around her neck. Skip was be- day – Wednesday, the day I had side her, also dressed for winter planned to arrive! weather. When my babies were born, I Bewildered, I got up and stayed in the hospital a week or slipped into my robe. “What’s ten days. I could hardly believe going on?” I asked. Kathy was discharged so soon. “The baby is coming. Skip She and baby Sarah Rebecca will take me to the hospital and came home in the snow; the you explain to Erin when she snow that caused me to drive up wakes up. Fix whatever you early. want for breakfast – Erin will When my babies were born, I just want cereal. And the men took it easy for a week or two. are supposed to come to install Kathy jumped right into prethe carpet, but be sure Max paring for Christmas -- she is closed up and don’t let him even went shopping and took Contact Hayden at out. Skip will call you when the Erin and the baby to see Santa. baby comes. Oh, I’m so glad you Her new carpet and the dining came early!” room walls wearing fresh coats

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one another with the confession of our shortcomings, then why continue to play the charade of calling each other “brother and sister?” We’re not being real. Granted, in some communities of faith, confession will do you no good. As soon as those in the pews know what you are wrestling with in the dark night of your soul, they will have your drawers hanging on the line for everyone to see. Still, we all need someone to whom we can bare our souls, someone who will help us carry the load and point us toward grace. In the years I have spent in Christian ministry I have heard many confessions; at hospital bedsides, in coffee shops, in the church sanctuary, in the back rooms of funeral parlors, almost everywhere. I reckon I could get a job at one of those new improvised confessionals. Rarely have these confessions been a burden. Yes, some have come as a surprise. At times I have been struck speechless, and many admissions have left me so broken hearted I thought I would need a priest to administer last rites for myself. But the overwhelming sensation I experience when someone pours out their pain is privilege. See, when someone truly confesses their burdens to you, it is an honor that they would unlock their padlocked secrets and ask for help in carrying them. This is why confession is so healing: It graces everyone involved. For those who bear their souls, they find relief and liberation, and for those who hear and respond in love, they participate in the restoration of another. Then both can “cast their cares on Him who cares” for us all. So give me your hand. We will go to the Confession Stand together. -Ronnie McBrayer To learn more about Ronnie, visit him on the web



The Politics of Giving

udslinging, finger pointing and harshly drawn lines have become the norm, not just at election time, but throughout the year. There is, however, one arena of life that knows no politics. Giving! I learned this first hand a couple of years ago while in search of a second job to help my sagging finances. The opportunity given me was to ring bells for the Salvation Army. Not quite sure what to expect, but in need of the funds, I accepted. The weather was great at first, but during the course of the season, it got cold, windy, rainy and yes, ultimately, it snowed. I quickly learned to layer my clothes for maximum warmth. And, remembering the advice of a drill sergeant from military training, I was careful not to lock my knees during the long periods of standing in one place. One skill I hadn’t thought about, but had to master, was the ability to keep the bell ringing without my hand and wrist going numb. I finally got a rhythm going and sustained to let all of the passersby know that I was there. People surprised me by giving so generously so early in the holiday season. They came to give from all walks of life; young and old, blue collar and white collar, and different ethnic backgrounds. Moms and dads stopped with their children, teaching them not just about helping others in need, but also about the irrefutable joy of doing so. I tried to help instill the lesson by telling the children that their gift would be helping other children like themselves as well as adults and made sure to thank them for giving. Many children gave money they had earned and saved on their own and did so with toothy and toothless grins stretching from ear to ear. One gentleman, who stopped to give, shared with me that the Salvation Army had helped him one year when he was greatly in need. And now he just can’t pass a kettle without stopping to give something back.

An elderly lady pulled up to the curb, rolled down her window and asked me to put her money in the kettle for her as it was so difficult for her to get in and out of the car. A young teen, skateboarding with his friends, made a point of stopping to add funds from his own pocket. The smile on his face reflected how it made him feel to be able to help. And a young woman, who told me that she had finally gotten a job, stopped with her cart of groceries to pass on the blessing. Still, others would stop and after dropping their money into the kettle, would tell me, with distressed looks on their faces that it was all they could afford to give. People were not shy when it came to helping others, and so, the sharing of blessings and stories continued on throughout each of my shifts. Another wonderful benefit of this job was making so many friends. No matter what location I was working, someone would always stop to talk for awhile. I’m sure it was to keep me company and to have company as well. They would share choice tidbits of their lives. They spoke of births, deaths, travels and most importantly, finding God. One longtime recovering alcoholic was now a minister and worked with others trying to survive lives like his own past. As he blessed the kettle with funds from his own pocket he explained how the work he did was yet another way to help others. I thought about all the ways to give and realized that the Salvation Army was so versatile in that respect. After all, I and many others had been given paying jobs when we most needed them. Giving isn’t defined by just “blessing the kettle.” It’s volunteering your time, donating blood, or maybe just lending an ear when someone needs to talk or a shoulder to cry on through rough times. But, one thing I know for sure, there are no politics in giving. Sharon A Lewis

It’s The Holiday Season Time For A Real Spicy Tale


ne day long ago on Testament as a kingly gift. The an island off the Roman emperor Nero burned a coast of India, some- year's supply of cinnamon at the one noticed that when they cut funeral of his wife. down a certain type of tree, it By the Middle Ages, it was refused to die. It grew a common spice in little shoots right out Europe, and demand of the stump and kept growing. In the kept right on grow1500's, the Portuing. Folks also soon guese, looking for a realized that, before trade route to the East, these little shoots sailed around Africa. became too mature, When they arrived on they could cut one the island of Ceylon, off of the stump, peel they found the locals off its hard outer cutting little sprouts Mike Keeler bark, soften the inoff of tree stumps ner bark in seawaand making cinnater, pound it thin, and let it dry. mon. Eureka! They had found Abracadabra! It curled up into a cinnamon's source, and they long, flaky stick which smelled soon monopolized it. The Dutch great and tasted even better. supplanted the Portuguese in They called it kurundu; they 1638, and controlled the cinnasold it to their neighbors in In- mon trade for 150 years. dia, where it was called "karuIn 1796, the British got into vapatta"; they in turn traded it the cinnamon business. They to the Persians, who called it established cinnamon estates "dar-chin"; from there, Arab in India, China and Indonesia. boats carried it up the Red Sea Unfortunately, the cinnamon to Egypt, where it was known tree is not native to these areas, by its Greek name, "kinnamo- so the British settled for its more mom." To the Romans, it was hardy cousin, the cassia, which "cinnamon." has tougher bark and produces In the ancient world, it was a harsher, less pleasant spice. rare and highly prized. The But it was a pretty good facGreeks brought offerings of cin- simile, and it soon became the namon to the Temple of Apollo. global standard. It is referenced often in the Old That's why today, when you

buy cinnamon in your grocery story, you're not actually buying cinnamon, you're buying cassia. It's less tasty than "true cinnamon." Cassia lacks many of cinnamon's anti-oxidant and antiviral properties. Even worse, cassia has recently been shown to cause liver damage when consumed in high quantities. So now you're thinking your holiday eggnog deserves a dash of real cinnamon. True enough, but how to get it, short of travelling all the way to Ceylon? Well, you're luck, because the spice trade has gone digital. Shazam! You can order real cinnamon online. Cheers! Contact Mike at


12/9/11 -12/15/11 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 5

Technology Gone Awry . . . Hal, Meet Sam

ver been scolded by a classic, 2001 A Space Odyssey, deftly answered in cohesive person who does not an astronaut asks HAL (the sentences. Becoming comfortexist? Thanks to the villainous monotone voiced able, I suggested that Sam relax wonders of technology, such an computer) to “open the bay and take off her shoes. Without encounter is not only possible, doors,” instigating an argument missing a beat she coyly reit’s probable. Approaching my between the space voyager and plied, “I didn’t realize that this fifty-third year on the planet, the evil mainframe who refuses job is clothing optional.” I am constantly amazed how to obey the order. How differStunned and a little embarthe world has changed since ent would the movie have been rassed, I apologized for my the year of my birth (1958). if HAL responded “Did you say un-gentlemanly behavior and “oven the clay boars?” offered her the rest of the day Imagine a time when or “Pope on the gray off. Sadly, I caught myself bega gallon of gas sold floor.” I imagine the ging forgiveness from my cell for twenty-five cents, astronaut might have phone, which is a new low even the average home eventually hurled for me. cost approximately himself into space $2400 dollars, and a Confused and ashamed, I rather than continue said goodbye to Sam, however, “cell” phone was the further futile banter the app would not turn off! I one sturdy bolted to with a machine. the wall pay unit in followed with goodbye, so long, Currently, I am see you tomorrow, bye-bye, and which thousands of testing two voice rec- buenos noches, yet Sam stared convicts deposited their nickels to reach ognition programs at me refusing to budge. Was Jon Kaufman the outside world. which are equally there mutiny afoot? Was Sam The wireless industry, in confounding. I am not certain my HAL? which I am employed, changes what prompted me to take I began to become uneasy. I like the weather patterns in on this assignment, perhaps I tried the phase “turn off,” which South Florida. i.e. if you don’t hoped such a challenge might yielded only a blank stare from like the climate, wait a few min- earn me a few months of rest in Sam, whose arms were now utes. The new rage in the world a sunny facility with soft walls. crossed. Desperate, I shouted The first app allowed me “OFF,OFF,OFF!” to which of wireless is the creation, sale and implementation of applica- to create an avatar (a cartoon Sam replied, and I quote, “Jon, tions for one’s cellular handset character, not one of those big where did all of this hostility or tablet. Whether you carry blue critters from the movie). come from?” Dumbfounded, I an Android, iPhone or Black- My “assistant,” was a comely looked at the phone for a secBerry in your pocket, there are young lady with dark hair and ond, thinking to myself, “Did geniuses around the world giv- blue eyes, (I can dream can’t that just happen?” I then turned ing birth to an app which you I?). All of the avatars assumed the phone off and took the batthe androgynous name Sam, tery out for good measure. positively cannot do without. These magical gizmos span in case a male assistant was the Later that evening, I told my from the ridiculous to the sub- end user’s preference. Pleased wife Janet about my strange lime. For around ninety-nine with my creation, I proceeded cyber encounter, and, as excents you can download a gad- to the voice recognition testing pected, she sided with Sam. get that charts your business phase. Technology mirroring life I Immediately, Sam under- suppose? Things were so much vehicle mileage, reads books aloud or even blows out the stood my voice patterns fairly easier back in 1958. Goodnight candles on your birthday cake. well. I asked her simple ques- Sam, call me. Honestly folks, if you can’t tions like, who is the President summon enough wind to snuff of the United States and where Contact Jon at out a small flame, your issues could I find the least are a tad more serious than any sive gas in Lynchburg and she download will cure. Despite the tsunami of instruments available, the industry has struggled mightily with one cherished component for years; Voice recognition. Whether you are battling a robot voice when trying to reach a customer service representative for human assistance or you are attempting to have your cell phone provide information or complete a task, voice recognition software has gotten the SERVING THE ROANOKE VALLEY better of all of us. Remaining calm when this software is unable to decipher a simple command, is a mind numbing horror that the folks back in 1958 could only dream about. In the 1968 science fiction with a touch of elegance

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Page 6 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 12/9/11 -12/15/11

Congressman Goodlatte Visits West End Center for Youth

In keeping with the implementation of West End Center’s latest ‘Leadership Initiative’, Rep. Bob Goodlatte stopped by on Monday, November 28th to demonstrate to the children just how important the development of these skills can be. Joy Parrish, the Center’s Executive Director provided a tour of the facility, highlighting the specialized tutoring and life-skills programming that they provide. “It was an honor to visit with the staff and students of the West End Center for Youth, a local organization that provides an invaluable service to our community, particularly to our at-risk youth,” Rep. Goodlatte said. “They offer a real alternative for these students by creating a positive environment in which they can learn, play and thrive. I commend the staff of the West End Center for their tireless work and the students for their incredible successes.” The role of leadership is criti-

Rep. Goodlatte with Micavion (left) and Craig (right). cal in meeting presently emerging and future challenges in the Roanoke Valley. To meet this challenge, the West End Center for Youth has embraced a new leadership development curriculum which identifies important processes, skills, and opportunities that promote leadership in all students at all grade levels. This program is

producing results, with 93% of the Center’s youth passing both the math and reading sections of the Standards of Learning exams. West End Center is a nonprofit organization that provides after-school and summer-time programs for over 200 at-risk youth a year. For further information visit

Roanoke Census Data Shows Increase in Bicycle, Carpool and Bus Commuting An analysis of the most recent American Community Survey data for 2010 shows that the number of commuters who have identified carpooling, bicycling, walking and telecommuting to work as their main commute mode in Roanoke has increased 33%. In total, 16% of commuters in the Roanoke MSA identify using a sustainable mode as their primary way to get to work. “This data confirms what we’ve been seeing every day for the last several years,” says RIDE Solutions Program Director Jeremy Holmes. “Our database of regional carpoolers and Guaranteed Ride Home users has grown 1600% in five years. Families are continuing to look for ways to trim their household budgets, and cutting commut-

ing expenses by joining carpools or bike commuting can be an easy way to save money almost instantly.” The American Community Survey data shows an increase in all alternative modes which it measures, such as a 21% increase in the number of 2-person carpools and a 36% increase in public transit use. The most dramatic increase, though, comes from those identifying bicycling as their main commute mode – a staggering 152% increase. “It’s important to recognize that the American Community Survey data actually understates the number of people using an alternative mode,” says Holmes. “It only asks respondents how they get to work most days, which leaves out people who

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may bike or carpool to work only one day a week. It also leaves out people who have replaced shopping or social trips with bicycle trips.” These trips, Holmes points out, make up ¾ of a household’s total trips. Among the elements that could be driving this increase, Holmes cites the 2008 gas price peak of $4 a gallon, which resulted in a mode shift to carpools and transit use that has largely stuck even after gas prices dropped, and significant improvements in bicycling infrastructure. The latter includes the expansion of the greenway into Vic Thomas Park, bike lanes and wide shoulders on Shenandoah and Colonial Avenues, and bike routes marked by sharrows in downtown Roanoke. Encouragement programs such as Bike Month in the Roanoke and New River Valleys have encouraged new bicycle commuters and raised the awareness of all sustainable modes. RIDE Solutions provides multimodal trip planning services – including carpool matching, bicycle commute routing, transit assistance, and telework consultation - for citizens and employers in the Roanoke and New River Valley regions and surrounding areas within southwestern Virginia. It is a program of the Roanoke ValleyAlleghany Regional Commission and the New River Valley Planning District Commission.

Richfield Retirement to Honor 90-Year-Old Chaplain for Service Described as a “gift from God” by one Richfield Retirement resident, Chaplain Tom Clay lives a life of service, touching the lives of Richfield residents and many others for more than 30 years. After celebrating his 90th birthday in January, Chaplain Clay has no plans to retire anytime soon. “I have often told Chaplain Clay that he is a wonderful ambassador for Richfield,” says Robert Rector, President of Richfield Retirement Community. “He quietly works behind the scenes, but he is always visiting either residents or employees. He has a deep commitment to those that live at Richfield and seems to always have just the right Bible verse or words of encouragement that you need at that moment. His service to this community is truly appreciated.” Serving as Richfield’s chap-

lain since 1971, Chaplain Clay is a comforting presence at the pulpit each Sunday, and ministers throughout the week though visits and regaling residents with stories from his own life experience through a monthly newsletter column. “We are a family here at Richfield and Tom has brought us all together in faith,” said Cynthia Wagner, a Richfield resident for nine years and a friend of Tom’s for almost 30 years before she passed away this year. “Tom is special because he makes a personal connection with every person he talks to and listens to all your concerns and never forgets about them.” “I love everything about Richfield, but the biggest plus is Tom,” added Wagner, whose sentiment for Chaplain Clay is shared by her husband Dick Wagner. “He is a truly humble

Chaplain Tom Clay individual and doesn’t realize how great he really is – and maybe, that’s the key to life.” On Friday, December 9, Richfield held a dedication ceremony for Chaplain Clay and surprised him with two stained glass windows in the chapel on campus that were dedicated to him for 30 years of service. Two of Chaplain Clay’s children attended the ceremony along with the Richfield campus.

Wall To Wall Gingerbread!

The Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce held its annual Gingerbread House competition last weekend, with contestants showing off their confectionery designs - all must feature at least some gingerbread and everything must be edible. The Carriage House at Longwood Park in Salem displayed the entries, which came from local schools, scout troops, senior living centers, etc. - Gene Marrano

Roanoke City Seeking Applications for Vacancies

Board of Zoning Appeals - two vacancies. (Effective January 1, 2012.) Local Board of Building Code Appeals - two vacancies. Towing Advisory Board - two vacancies. (Citizen at large and towing enforcement.) Roanoke Valley-Allegheny Regional Commision - one vacancy.

Any person who is interested in serving on a City Council appointed authority, board, commission or committee may contact the City Clerk's Office at 853-2541, or access the city's homepage to obtain an application.

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Cave Spring Run Ends in 38-27 Semifinal Loss to Brookville

Cave Spring came off the mat with a pair of second half rallies, but the Knights fell short Saturday afternoon with the 38-27 loss to Brookville in the VHSL Group AA Division 3 semifinal at Dwight Bogle Stadium. Cave Spring scored on its opening possession when standout running back Sam Wright went in from 4-yards out to give the Knights the early 7-0 lead. Brookville, which entered the game undefeated at 12-0, wasted little time in responding. The Bees scored on a Korren Kirven 3-yard run and a Mark Boyd 17yard reception from Brookville quarterback Kendall Becraft to send the teams to the halftime break with the Bees up 14-7. Brookville opened the second half with back-to-back Becraft touchdown passes to Guy Morris from 8 yards out and

Cave Spring running back #28 Sam Wright takes the exchange from QB Reece Kingery as he follows the blocking of #58 Tyler Francis and #20 Ryan Gerhardt. on a Brookville fumble on the ensuing Bee possession, Cave Spring struck again. Forced to go with backup QB

Brookville ball carrier #8 Hilston Atkins is surrounded by a quartet of Cave Spring tacklers led by #55 Nick Frohock (right) and #3 Jon Evans. Tyler Pitts on a 40-yard toss that seemingly had Brookville staged for a blowout. The Knights, however, quickly cut into the Bee’s advantage. Cave Spring quarterback Reece Kingery found a wide-open Matt Reiter in the right side of the end zone from 4-yards out to culminate a 72-yard drive. When Ryan Gerhardt pounced

Tony Simmons after Kingery left with a knee injury sustained on the Reiter pass, Simmons scrambled for a 7-yard touchdown keeper that closed the Cave Spring deficit to 28-21 after three quarters. Brookville padded its advantage when Becraft found Boyd for a 29-yard toss that put the Bees up 35-21. Simmons led

another Cave Spring drive that ended with a Wright 10-yard TD run, his 40th rushing touchdown of the season, with just under five minutes remaining. Cave Spring’s hope for a final miracle ended when Michael Carwile picked off a Simmons pass and placekicker Alan Gutierrez connected on a 23yard field goal to secure the Brookville win. Wright, who led the Cave Spring rushing attack with 132 yards on 35 carries, finished the season with 2,789 rushing yards, and has secured virtually every Knight career rushing record in school history. Simmons, in the stellar backup role, rushed for 106 yards on 15 keepers. “We responded in the second half,” Cave Spring (9-4) head coach Tim Fulton said at midfield afterward. “Brookville is a good team. We were among the four teams left. This is the best level.” “This shows how good our team is,” Fulton added. “We had a darn good season. These guys did a great job. No one gave us a chance.” By Bill Turner

North Cross Depth Overwhelming For Rebuilding Faith Christian First-year Raider coach BIll Hodges, who coached Larry Bird at Indiana State in the NCAA final against Magic Johnson and Michigan State, discusses strategy during a North Cross timeout Monday night.

Faith Christian #14 Isaac Elliott battles North Cross #44 Paul Ross for a rebound Monday night at the Warrior gym. Faith Christian fought like warriors, but the nine-man squad that consists of one senior and eight players in 8th-10th grades were no match for a North Cross squad that offered experience, height and numbers. The result was a 101-23 win for the Raiders Monday night at the Faith Christian gym. The Warriors battled to the final horn, but North Cross had too many guns in pulling away from a 50-13 halftime lead. North Cross #13 Eddie Smith eyes the basket before cashing in on a free throw.

By Bill Turner

Faith Christian senior #12 Joseph Wampler drives past Tommy Girani during second half action.

Is your team not getting enough coverage? Please send in your pictures and relevant subject / game info and we’ll feature the next week! - Deadline is 5PM Tuesday.

Wild Bill’s Weekly Sports Roundup

Basketball season is in had eleven schools, so why full swing in the high school should anyone be surprised ranks and the early-season re- if, after moving to twelve, sults on the boys side indicate they consider changing their a lot of parity. name to the Big-11. No way, So far, Salem, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northside, North Illinois, et al. It’s now Cross, Roanoke Cathofficially taken by the olic, PH and Fleming Wild Bill column, alhave unblemished though we may conrecords. That will sider negotiations if change in a hurry as the price is right. non-district games We close our high proceed. school football talk Bill Turner Accordingly, it’s this week after our time to start the Wild Bill last impressive squad, the ranking of the top teams in Cave Spring Knights, fell to our area. And, if you’re going Brookville in Saturday’s state to have a poll, it needs a catchy semifinal. Applause to the name. I started to play off the Knights, who went out fightStar-Sentinel banner and call ing to the end, displaying my top teams the Starland class all the way. Top-5. But, since Starland was I may be finished with high once the home of a duckpin school football talk, but after bowling alley and a tag-team the college BCS picks, it seems wrestling venue, I bagged that like everyone is talking. idea. No use confusing our loUnderstandably, Boise State cal keglers and graplers. Heck, and Kansas State were miffed I have trouble just keeping after being passed over by a score in bowling. pair of lower-rated and infeFinally, it became obvious. rior picks. Ditto to Arkansas Since we have eleven prima- and South Carolina, who fell ry high school teams in the victim to the fact that they are RSS coverage, I’m calling my in the best conference in colgroup Wild Bill’s “Big-11”. lege football. This gives notice to the Big-10 As a result, the questions Conference, Big-12, and any and comments have poured other subsequent conference in. Here’s the best, and worst, realignments. I’m taking dibs for review. on the name “Big-11”. * Why did Frank Beamer This especially applies to keep talking about not having the Big-10, which with the to applogize during his entire addition of Nebraska, actu- media conference Monday? ally has 12 teams. I’m getting Good question. Sounds the jump on these guys- they like someone who wanted to were the Big-10 when they avoid an appology. Like the

guy who always shouts “I’m not guilty.” * Did the VT pick make sense? Nothing ever makes sense in the BCS process, year after year. Tech was a team that lost to the same conference opponent, Clemson, twice-by a combined score of 61-13. Go figure. * Does this indicate the ACC, with two picks, is a power-conference? I can’t quit laughing long enough to answer that one. * What was the best quote out of the ACC this year? Had to be the one from Tech’s own Eddie Whitley, who said Tech’s non-conference opponents left VT unprepared and were like exhibition games. Quite frankly, it was right on the mark. * Who’s the big winner in all this? I’d say UVA. The folly of the Sugar Bowl sent them to a quality bowl. Mike London and his squad deserve this - they had quality wins in a turnaround year for the Cavs. * Any suggestion on how to get a ticket to the Sugar Bowl? Two part process- 1) Travel to the Big Easy. 2) Stand on a corner with your hand out. More next week, so send your comments to: By Bill Turner

Titans, Knights In The Swim At Local Meets In a five-team swim meet, Hidden Valley swept the boys and girls ledger with a 4-0 mark last Saturday afternoon at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. Radford took second in both the girls and boys meet; Christiansburg, Auburn and Pulaski County also participated. On the boy’s side - Radford was second with a 3-1 mark, Pulaski County (2-2) was third and Christiansburg was fourth (1-3), Auburn doesn’t have a boys’ team. On the girls side - Radford was second with a 3-1 showing, followed by Pulaski County (2-2), Christiansburg (1-3) and Auburn (0-4). Multiple winners in the individual events included Julia Goforth (Auburn), Will Moles (Hidden Valley) and Katie Young (Hidden Valley). In the Boys 200 yard medley relay, Hidden Valley (Otruba, Ben Schmidt, D’Ortenzio, Jacob Gibbs) was first with a time of 1:44.89; In the Girls 200 yard medley relays, Hidden Valley (Martha Kakouras, Young, Kelsey Jones, Otruba) took first with a time of 2:04.17; Hidden Valley (Gibbs, D’Ortenzio, Nik Pronko, Otruba) claimed the top spot in the Boys 200 yard freestyle relays with a time of 1:34.53; In the Girls 200 yard freestyle relays, Hidden Valley (Kelsey Jones, Otruba, Delaney, Young) finished first with a time of 1:49.92; Radford (Ben LaCasse, Zach Clark, Matt Turk, Adam Johnston) came

home first in the Boys 400 yard freestyle relays; in the Girls 400 yard freestyle relays, Hidden Valley (Hamilton, Anna Burton, Morgan Julian, Kakouras) finished in the top spot with a time of 4:21.24). Cave Spring, Blacksburg Split In Dual Swim Meet: the Cave Spring girls claimed a 114-54 win, while the Blacksburg swam to an 87-83 victory in a dual swim meet held recently in Roanoke. In the Boys 200 yard medley relay, Blacksburg (Zach Phelps, Edwin Lu, Madison Wilkins, Garrett Skinner) was first with a time of 1:51.51; in the Girls 200 yard medley relay, Cave Spring (Jackie Crawford, Lauren Cowher, Maggie Harman, Hailey Bivens) took first with a time of 1:54.50; In the boys 200 yard freestyle relays, Cave Spring (Jared Adams, Dominic Russo, Ted Melnik, Jacob Star) was first with a time of 1:43.80; Cave Spring (Lauren Cowher, Andie Van Kerchhove, Amory Mayo, Maggie Harman) claimed the top spot with a time of 1:49.24; Blacksburg (Zach Phelps, Madison Wilkins, Garrett Skinner, Edwin Lu) won the Boys 400 yard freestyle relays; and Cave Spring (Amory Mayo, Gail Adams, Hailey Bivens, Jackie Crawford) was first in the Girls 400 yard freestyle realays with a time of 4:13.44). By David Grimes


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Page 8 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 12/9/11 -12/15/11

“Buy Vinton” Aims To Keep It Local

A new initiative by the as Woods AutomoTown of Vinton aims to tive Service, Vinton encourage shoppers to Appliance and Sweet keep their business loDreams Mattress Outcal when buying gifts let. Even Danny Lugar this holiday season. The of Edward Jones In“Buy Vinton” campaign, vestments has put up a which kicked off on Noflier in his window. vember 27th with a spePatty Kiser of the cial one-week push and local gift shop Two the unveiling of its proP’s in A Pod has the motional poster, began promotion affixed to as part of Mayor Brad A promotional flier helped kick off the Buy her Washington Ave. Grose’s Partnership ini- Local campaign in Vinton. shop’s front door. “It’s tiative. That comprebeen really good so their email blasts. Vinton area hensive plan seeks to identify citizens can subscribe to the far. I’ve been trying to incorpartnerships to create jobs, Chamber’s Special Programs porate it into our Facebook provide economic stimulus RSS feed to receive those page,” she says. Her participaand connect citizens with re- messages. Each active Vin- tion has an extra local edge as sources. Buy Vinton brings ton business holder also re- she tries to work with as many together the Town of Vinton ceives a searchable listing on area artists as possible to with the Vinton Chamber of the town’s website that directs source the “primitive, vintage, Commerce for a multi-year shoppers to local businesses. handmades and shabby chic program to educate the pubAccording to research by decor” items that she sells at lic and businesses about the the national “buy local” re- her shop. Kiser rents vendor benefits of buying local and source, The 3/50 Project, for booths in her space to local keeping more dollars within every $100 dollars spent at a craftspeople and, sourcing the community. locally owned store, $68 re- from within the town, works Director of Economic De- turns to the local community with a Vinton woodworker velopment Consuela Caudill and tax base, $43 if spent at who makes handmade woodsays that she wanted to “do a non-local chain store or $0 en bins and trash receptacles. something to help our lo- returned if spent online at a Caudill hopes to continue cal businesses this holiday non-local online merchant the focus on buying locally season... that spanned all the such as Amazon. throughout the year and is types of businesses we have in Caudill notes how buying optimistic about similar initown.” She was familiar with local has other benefits such tiatives in the region: “I think other buy local programs and as keeping the “local flavor” many communities are seeing “wanted a different twist for in the shopping experience, the value in helping to proVinton.” Town officials have reducing fossil fuel use and mote buying locally. There been visiting businesses for increasing community in- are certainly already events the past several weeks to let volvement from businesses. like Field to Fork [a regional them know about the pro- Local business owners, says food networking event] that gram and the promotional Caudill, are more likely to get stress local sourcing for resflier available. involved in the community taurants and farmer’s marThe Chamber of Com- when they are supported lo- kets. I think the concept as a merce’s role in the campaign cally. whole will get more attention involves marketing. They Vinton businesses that have from everyone, especially as contacted all members of promoted the Buy Local cam- our economy struggles [to the chamber, urging them to paign range from local eater- come] back.” participate and agree to send ies like the Dogwood RestauBy Aaron Layman out any specials they may rant, Nannie’s and the BBQ have as part of Buy Vinton in Grill to retail sources such


Revenue has increased by $6 Billion over the past two weeks while the national debt (spending) has increased by more than $50 Billion. US Tax Revenue $2,306,945,000,000 (Trillions) Federal Budget $3,818,819,000,000 New Debt $1,600,000,000,000 National debt $15,080,866,000,000 Recent Budget Cut $38,000,000,000 Remove 8 zeros from data above to understand as a household budget summary: Annual Household Income $23,069 60% of expenditures Family Expenditures $38,188 166% of income New Debt including Credit Cards $16,000 70% of income Outstanding Household Debt $150,809 654% of annual income Family Budget Cuts $380 .25% (1/4%) of debt

Chamber Meeting Includes Address From Ex-Governor

During its annual membership meeting and banquet, the 122nd edition in fact, the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce honored several people before former Governor Gerald Baliles addressed a packed house at Hotel Roanoke. Feted were Backbone Club member of the year Joshua Bradley, Ambassador of the Year Ivy Dill, Roanoke City Police Officer of the Year Ronald Robinson and Roanoke County Police Officer of the Year John Musser. Bradley, a manager locally with Wells Fargo, brought in the most new memberships. Dill, a Vice President with First Citizens Chamber members gather at Hotel Roanoke. Bank, worked to increase membership retention their creativity …their biases and customs.” That’s by educating them on the Chamber’s mission. The had a greater impact on the Commonwealth than Regional Chamber boasts about 1200 member or- many realize, said Baliles. The State is also in closer ganizations. partnership with the rest of the country in many In Roanoke City, Officer Ronald Robinson was ways, he contended. In this era of globalization cited for apprehending subjects during and advanced technologies, the rules are an armed robbery where gunshots were changing he noted. An aging population fired. School resource officer John Mussin Virginia also means that fewer worker was named Roanoke County Officer ers are in place to help fund programs for of the Year for his work in solving a series older people. of burglaries involving stolen dirt bikes Baliles decried the partisan bickering in and motorcycles. the General Assembly that has meant inBaliles, the governor of Virginia in the frastructure needs have gone unfulfilled. late 1980’s, is the current director and This reiterated “the more certain we must CEO of the Miller Center at the Univerbe about wise public investments for our sity of Virginia, a non-partisan think tank future prosperity.” The responsiveness of that often looks at current issues through government at all levels is critical to meet a historical perspective. Baliles noted the Roanoke City the public’s needs, he added. “An educated wide range of interests and assets in the Police Officer of citizen” is also a must to compete in today’s region, and the blurring of local govern- the Year Ronald economy, said Baliles. Progress means ment boundaries where someone might Robinson. building upon the accomplishments of work in one locality but live in another. predecessors, “not tearing them down and “I can tell you from personal experience that running from the financing of public needs.” business prospects look at a region first,” said BaliAn “undeniably successful brand of politics,” has les. “The future of this region…of so many differ- sprung up, said the former Democratic governor, ent parts, will depend in large measure one which declares that ignoring capital on whether the different parts see the investment is the right way to go. Baliles whole picture and can work together as warned against that approach: “strong a region.” commitments and sustained momenThat’s why the Roanoke Regional tum help maintain an economy of Chamber of Commerce is so imporgrowth that in turn that can produce the tant, said Baliles, “to help set the stage revenues needed to improve education for the future [and] identify challenges and transportation.” Arts and culture, confronting the region – to focus on health care and other needs can also be what’s required to move forward, and to addressed when there is growth. remain competitive in today’s uncertain Baliles said his beliefs from decades economic climate.” ago haven’t changed much over the Baliles gave the audience a bit of a Roanoke County years. “Those principles still inform my history lesson, explaining that reces- Police Officer of the thinking today.” He enjoyed being govsions have been commonplace over the Year John Musser. ernor “but between you and me, I don’t entire history of the country, although miss it.” That line drew some chuckles most have not been as pronounced as the current from the Chamber audience. “I’m here to tell you, one. Virginia has experienced some of the strongest there is life after politics. One can change course.” economic growth in the nation in recent years, said Baliles, often as a result of those who have moved By Gene Marrano here. “The people who come here bring their ideas,

City to Host Lifestyle /Career Fair

As a result of the continued economic environment and the success of previous job fairs, the City of Roanoke will host its 6th Annual Holiday Career & Lifestyle Fair on Wednesday, Dec. 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Roanoke Civic Center Special Events Center. The event will be sponsored by National College, The Renick Group, WDBJ7 and the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. Exhibitors include companies offering

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jobs, entrepreneurial organizations showcasing resources to assist with business startups, and lifestyle organizations offering a diverse mix of social and cultural amenities. "Our job fairs throughout the years have been very helpful to new college graduates, individuals who have lost positions due to the economy, and individuals coming to Roanoke as a trailing spouse," says Economic Development Specialist Lisa Soltis. "This sixth annual event continues our responsibility to provide opportunities for these job seekers to interact with employers. The event benefits those living in the region, as well as native Roanokers returning home for the holidays with thoughts of

moving back to their hometown." The Holiday Career & Lifestyle Fair offers job seekers faceto-face meetings with employers to learn what opportunities are available and the best way to proceed with the application process. Attendees also get an overview of Roanoke's lifestyle amenities at the event. More than 50 organizations will be represented at this year's event. Admission to the fair for attendees and booth space for City of Roanoke exhibitors is free. For more information on becoming an exhibitor, contact Lisa Soltis at 540-853-1694 or lisa.soltis@, or visit


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Arts & Culture

Painter Bill White Uses Light For Inspiration After teaching studio art at Hollins University for almost 40 years, now-retired Professor Emeritus Bill White doesn’t want to think too hard when he paints now – just go with the flow, see where the shifting sunlight on a subject takes him, things like that. White talked about some of his recent work, including rooftop landscapes he has painted in Paris and Roanoke, during a lecture and reception for his show “Empathy and Engagement”, closing Dec. 10 at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum on the Hollins University campus. The show closes this weekend but White, a Botetourt County resident, has works on display and on sale at the Market Gallery downtown on Salem Avenue. He has also donated a series of panels detailing the Roanoke skyline to the Taubman Museum of Art. White works primarily with oil, but occasionally also produces pen and ink sketches. Much of his work is biographical in nature, detailing where the artist might be at a particular point in time – paintings of his home studio for example. To a packed house at Hollins, White described how he “suddenly felt alive” during a recent extended stay in Paris, France, where he often painted inside the small studio apartment he had rented. One series of paintings and drawings White did there were based on famous works by other artists, including Monet. “[It was] a great experience in Paris…the ups and downs of it,” he noted. One slide he showed during the Hollins lecture depicted a winter snowscape. Devoid of greenery, White instead concen-

Painter Bill White taught at Hollins University for 39 years. trated on how shifting sunlight would change the feel of whatever subject he was painting. Then there are the works he painted from atop the old Colonial Bank building downtown, which depict Roanoke from several hundred feet in the air: “I happen to know Ed Walker,” said White, referring to the high profile developer and entrepreneur who lives with his family in a top floor condo of the building. Walker had just completed a rooftop deck and studio, where White spent his time. “The experience of standing in a particular spot,” yielded some compelling views of downtown Roanoke. He also painted cityscapes from the balcony outside the Taubman Museum, where Hotel Roanoke, the Roanoke Higher Education Center, the H&C Coffee sign and the adjacent train yard were his subjects. White’s goal? “Be responsive to what is unique in that experience, when I am there.” He also looks to paint, in a variety of colors and hues he often concocts himself, “how light

changes the feeling of a space. Mostly what I’m interested in is the light.” Using two reds, two blues and two yellows on what he terms a double primary pallet, “I can make any color I want,” declares White, who earned a MFA from Temple University. Being retired, although he has taught occasionally, has also allowed Bill White to pursue a different path with his painting. “I didn’t want to paint about ideas …I wanted to paint about experience [following a life in academia].” Now he is free to “attack [the easel] like a little demon. Every experience is in the now,” said White to his Hollins audience, “that’s what I try to make my paintings about.” Empathy and Engagement, an exhibit of Bill White’s paintings, runs through this Saturday at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University. His work can also be seen at the Market Galley (23 Salem Avenue) and at the Taubman Museum of Art. By Gene Marrano

12/9/11 -12/15/11 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 9

Local Author Will Discuss The Pros And Cons Of Self-Publishing

Apparently the Raleigh Court neighborhood is a fertile spawning ground for local authors. Four writers who reside there and have recently released books will appear at the Raleigh Court Library on Tuesday, December 13 from 6-8pm. “Four Writers from Raleigh Court” will include two-time novelist Gina Holmes, Roanoke Times columnist Ralph Berrier, Nkorni Tankwa (he has written a murder mystery novel, The Barrister’s Gavel) and Betsy Beisenbach, who has just released “Bits O’ Betsy Beisenbach,” a compilation of the essays and commentaries she has written for a daily newspaper over the years. Beisenbach will also discuss self-publishing. Beisenbach gravitates towards politics, although her essays in the book lean more towards family life. “I think politics are really funny. All of it’s about Roanoke. I love living here. I’ve been here for 30 years and just love it. I kayak on the [Roanoke] river and go to festivals. I almost drowned there [in the river],” she said with a chuckle. Memories of growing up – in Europe for a while – are part of the book, as are recollections of her birth family and later goings on during married life with a son. Fresh writings and fresh perspectives “are never out [of style],” said Beisenbach, who received a great deal of feedback when she wrote about the Giles County Ten Commandments flap. “Parenthood,” “Me Me Me,” and “Too Much Time on My Hands,” along with a selection entitled “A Chapter Specifically Designed to Embarrass My Son,” are among the subjects she has tackled over the years.

Beisenbach has a background in radio and TV broadcasting as well and, in fact, attended college with Jim Wilson, the former news director at WFIR 960am (he now writes copy for CNN in Atlanta). The Christmas holiday brings out a lot of memories, both “happy and sad; both are in [the book].” During the Raleigh Court library appearance on December 13 Beisenbach will also discuss self-publishing and the low cost alternative she found through’s Betsy Beisenbach’s book cover. publishing arm. “If you have basic computer skills you can lay it Virginia Tech in much the same out yourself and send it in to get manner, releasing them through printed. With this model you just Arcadia Press. “I wouldn’t really buy how many you need.” Van- want to try and sell a novel [this ity press runs, which can often way], there are so many novels mean a minimum run of a thou- out there,” cautions Beisenbach. sand or more books, according Holmes however, has been sucto Beisenbach, can often run into cessful with her two novels; the first made a Christian Top-Ten many thousands of dollars. One downside: Amazon takes books list. Before you spend any money a much higher percentage of the seeking to publish a book, “show profits as an alternative and the price per copy is higher, but for it to lots of people,” warns Beisenan author on a tight budget she bach, “they can tell you if it’s any said it is a viable option. There good or not. If it’s not any good is always a chance that a notable you may be wasting their time.” Many people aren’t reading book can be picked up by a standard publisher for a later run. much anymore, said Beisenbach, “You [also are not] stuck with who hopes that her short chapthousands of them in your base- ters in Bits O’ Betsy Beisenbach ment.” She tries to encourage will enable those who purchase women who e-mail her, telling it to pick it up when they have them they can be writers as well time to try a chapter or two. All four authors will read from their if they really want to. These types of small press runs works and sign copies for those are good, said Beisenbach, when who buy them at the Raleigh you can discover a niche audi- Court Library on December 13. ence; perhaps the history of a Beisenbach’s book is also availcommunity or neighborhood for able at example. Former Roanoke City By Gene Marrano Mayor Nelson Harris has written a handful of picture-heavy books on the Roanoke area and

Book Review: "Growing With Nature" Much has been said about the problems of children’s disconnection from nature, and its consequences. New terms have been invented “nature deficit disorder” and “biophobia” - the fear or aversion of nature. Children engage in creative play less and less. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that American children spend roughly six hours per day plugged in electronically. Time outdoors has declined dramatically. “Free-range” time in nature has virtually disappeared. Sedentary indoor lives are among the causes of the doubling in 20 years of seriously overweight Children’s learning and social skills are American children between the ages of 6 and 11. enhanced as they learn and play in well-deThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates signed, nature-rich, outdoor classrooms. that teenage obesity tripled in the last 20 years. Nature Explore’s companion book, “LearnFortunately, educators and caregivers are beginning to create the spaces and provide the expe- ing With Nature Idea Book: Creating Nurturing riences that again make nurturing time in nature Outdoor Spaces for Children,” outlines the design part of the daily lives of children where they now principles that make Nature Explore Classrooms spend their days in schools and child care centers, effective learning environments for children. “Growing With Nature” reflects the child-cenneighborhood parks and nature centers, even artered, nature-supported learning taking place in boretums and libraries and museums. The successes of some of these pioneering ef- all realms: Children learn to count with acorns forts are told in the book “Growing With Nature: and pine cones. They make the shapes of letters Supporting Whole-Child Learning in Outdoor with sticks as they learn to write. They mimic the Classrooms,” published by the Arbor Day Foun- sounds and rhythms of nature on outdoor madation and Dimensions Educational Research rimbas. They draw trees and birds and flowers in nature art areas. They learn to work together to Foundation. The nonprofit organizations collaborate in the build and create. Research suggests that exposure to nature Nature Explore program, and “Growing With Nature” documents the transformative effects can reduce the symptoms of attention disorder on children who play and learn in Certified Na- (ADD) and related developmental challenges. ture Explore Classrooms. The stories in “Grow- A “Growing With Nature” story describes how a ing With Nature” are in the voices of the educa- child diagnosed with autism was able to engage in his first two-sided conversation with a classtors who use these thoughtfully planned natural outdoor classrooms with children each day, I am changing and they reflect their enthusiasm for the learning they are seeing the life of a child. taking place. “We tell parents if their children come home clean, they didn’t have a good day,” writes the head of an early childhood center in Los Angeles’ public Become a Foster Family school district. Recruiting 434.836.7909 Creation of Nature Explore Throughout Classrooms is often initiated for Virginia ALLIANCE HUMAN SERVICES, INC. educational reasons. Each Nature Explore Classroom is unique, but their configurations are based on more than a decade of research by the Dimensions Foundation to embody a whole-child approach: Children’s explorations in these intentionally designed, nature-rich spaces support language and literacy, science, social / emotional development, mathematics, body competence, creative arts, and visual / spatial 4341 Starkey Road • 540-774-0171 learning.

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mate while engaged in play in a Nature Explore Classroom, an indicator of the accelerated development in well-designed, nature-rich spaces of many children with autism spectrum disorders. Other themes are weaved throughout the book as well: A joy for learning, a sense of wonder, and children learning to see themselves as protectors of nature and her miraculous creatures. Through it all, children learn to nurture. To free a bird stuck in a fence, to gently hold a lady bug or praying mantis on a finger, to move a little frog to the water puddle, to plant and water seedling tomatoes, to mulch and protect a sapling tree. Children are learning to nurture their health and their families as well. Nature Explore Classrooms are helping children learn to grow vegeta-

bles, and they’re sometimes bringing home carrots, green beans, and tomatoes to families whose only taste of vegetables was once fast-food French fries. The “Growing With Nature” stories offer dozens of practical tips and insights for supporting children’s exploration and learning and growth in nature… invaluable ideas for parents and grandparents, as well as teachers, who want to help children grow into curious, confident, nurturing adults. “Growing With Nature: Supporting WholeChild Learning in Outdoor Classrooms” is available through the Web site, Woodrow Nelson is vice president of the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation.

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Forest Service Encourages Safe Christmas Tree-Cutting The Forest Service reminds those who trek through national forests in search of a perfect holiday tree to put safety as the first item on their Christmas lists. "The best gift to give yourself and your family is a safe quest for your holiday tree in our national forests," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "When setting out to find your tree, be aware of all changing weather conditions, dress accordingly, and always adhere to safe tree cutting practices." Each year, local Forest Service offices sell permits that allow individuals to cut one fresh tree on national forest lands. Fees for the permits vary dependent on location. The permit program helps the agency thin stands that have a concentration of small diameter trees. Reminders and tips for cutting your tree: • Always tell a friend when you are taking a trip into the forest • Remember to take your permit, a map with you to your forest location, dress warmly, keep

your car with a full tank of gas. Have tire chains if necessary and don't forget to bring a rope and tarp to transport your tree home • Select a tree that is six inches or less in diameter, and prepare to cut the tree close to the ground at six inches or less • Put on eye protection and heavy duty work gloves • Decide in which direction you want the tree to fall. Make sure the direction you choose is clear of any and all obstacles, including power lines and vehicles • Use handsaws and shears --- chainsaws are prohibited • Make the back cut by standing to the side and away from the trunk. Step away as soon as the tree begins to fall Contact your local Forest Service office or visit their website ( to learn how to obtain your permit and for cutting method guidelines.

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The Roanoke Star-Sentinel  
The Roanoke Star-Sentinel  

News from the Roanoke Valley for December 9, 2011.