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February 17 - 23, 2012
Finding Solid Ground Hayden Hollingsworth, MD
P4– Hayden Hollingsworth considers the importance of honest communication between doctors and patients when making critical diagnoses.
Stressed Out? P6– You’re not alone. A Virginia Tech study will consider how birds react to stress and what the implications are for other organisms, including us.
Art of Foam P9– Mark Cline’s sculptures strike both terror and smiles into the hearts of Taubman Museum patrons.
New Direction P11– VT-Carilion announces three new promotions that will help shape the program at the School of Medicine in Roanoke.
Catawba Sustainability Center Director Christy Gabbard, foreground, sows flower seeds with Hajiro Wehel.
Growers Academy Helps Roanoke’s Somali Bantu Refugees Roanoke’s Somali Bantu community, less than 150 strong, has a few strikes against it. The majority lack English skills, and few are literate in their native languages. But one thing the Bantu know how to do is farm. Enter VT EarthWorks with its training program, developed in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension, called the Growers Academy. The academy teaches crop-growing techniques and business-plan tactics. Plus it connects growers with markets. “It’s a dream come true,” says Mahammudi Mganga, one of the farmers who learned through the academy that Virginia farming practices differ vastly from those of Somalia. Hajiro Wehel, also a Bantu farmer, explains, “We used to farm by our hands, by ourselves. Sometimes if you could afford it you could use machines. All the time back there it was always summer. We didn’t have snow or anything.” Because the language barrier restricted other job opportunities for the Bantu, the academy’s focus on farming allowed the refugees to consider making money from familiar crops: tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins.
“I’m ready to be a farmer here,” Wehel says. As a result of the eight-week program, she and the four other Bantu participants grew vegetables on a half-acre plot at the Catawba Sustainability Center. They sold their crops at the Catawba Valley Farmers Market, run by VT EarthWorks, and at Local Roots Café in Roanoke. They also grew flowers with help from Holly Scoggins, director of the Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech, and Sheri Dorn, Roanoke-based extension agent. The focus on the Bantu came about through collaboration between VT EarthWorks and Virginia Tech’s Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, a program of the Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships. Recently VT EarthWorks and Virginia Cooperative Extension launched the third Growers Academy, and once again it includes refugees, this year from Sudan and Burma. Like the Bantu, these participants grew crops in their native lands and now hope to start their own agriculture-oriented businesses on American soil. By Andrea Brunais • email@example.com
Republican Mayoral Candidate Enters Race
Mark Lucas, 47, had a political gleam in his eye in June of 2009. At the time Chris Head was announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 17tth House of Delegates and Lucas assisted with some of the details the day of the announcem e n t . Head later came in Mark Lucas second to Bill Cleaveland in a five-way primary. Cleaveland resigned after one term and Head is now representing the 17th district. When asked at the time why he wasn’t running for the office himself Lucas said that he had been asked to enter the race by retiring Delegate William Fralin. He hinted that maybe someday a political run might be possible but business and family were keeping him busy. “The time was just not right,” he said. With that bit of history it comes as less of a surprise that he is the mayoral candidate that Republican City Committee Chair Chris Walters was rumored to be courting in early January. Walters convinced him “the time was right.” Delegate Chris Head took time from the 2012 General Assembly Session to praise his friend of 15 years who he had worked with at Xerox. “I know him to be extraordinarily thorough, competent, professional ethical and above all, principled. He knows how to get things done, how to successfully manage organizations, and how to > CONTINUED P2: Mayoral
City Highlights Arts & Culture Progress Are Mutts Smarter Than Purebred Dogs? Among the biggest victims of the economic recession are the once beloved family pets surrendered to shelters as their owners deal with extended joblessness. The U.S. Humane Society estimates 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year – and 3 to 4 million are euthanized. “We don’t have firm numbers but we know anecdotally that the communities that have been hardest hit by the ecoRuby: a beagle nomic downturn are seeing that reflected mix adopted from in their shelter intake numbers,” says Inga Angels of Assisi. Fricke, director of sheltering issues for the U.S. Humane Society. “And, unfortunately, while the majority of the public is in favor of adopting pets from shelters, very few – usually about 20 percent – actually do. That has recently gone up slightly to the mid-20s.” Fricke and retired police officer Irvin Cannon, a confirmed dog lover whose new book, For the Love of Dog Tales gives voice to man’s best friend, hope people getting back on their feet will consider adopting a shelter dog. > CONTINUED, P2: Mutts
It’s no accident that Susan Jennings, the arts and cultural coordinator for Roanoke City, is based in the economic development department. The city has hitched its wagon in part to promoting the arts as an economic engine, with financial support for the Taubman Museum’s construction and for other cultural institutions in the city. About a year ago Jennings and company put together a draft of an arts and cultural plan, which was then made public. “When businesses look at regions, once they get past all of the infrastructure [needs], the quality of life amenities [like] arts and culture… play into it,” said Jennings, “and the city sees that importance.” Community meetings were held with artists and other stakeholders, asking them what they wanted to see in
Photo by Gene Marrano
Public art like this piece at the Roanoke Civic Center is part of the city’s cultural plan. such a document. Tweaks were made as a result and in August 2011, City Council adopted the document as part of Roanoke’s Comprehensive Plan. The Roanoke Arts Commission then assembled an implementation committee to put it into mo-
tion. “All of the actions and ideas in the plan came from the community, basically,” said Jennings. The Arts Commission, a volunteer board that includes > CONTINUED P2:Arts
Page 2 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 2/17/12 -2/23/12
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move efficiently toward a goal.” Lucas and his wife Wendy, a physical therapist, co-own Lucas Therapies, PC. Lucas also once owned Provox Technologies which he sold in 2002 after their voice recognition documentation system won the Microsoft product of the year award in 2001. He was also a former partner of KMS Holdings and he proudly announced at his press conference that Five Guys Burgers and Fries would reopen soon in Tanglewood Mall. Other ventures include Flypaper Inc. which places non-profit backgrounds on smartphone screens and DermRX, a veterinary product that has recently received its first contract, he said. Pointing to his extensive business experience Lucas says he has created 400 jobs in the last 10 years and knows how to attract and retain quality people. Lucas graduated from Virginia Tech in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Public Relations. His two daughters, Claiborne, 17 and Calleigh, 15 sat in the front row with 30 other supporters at the Patrick Henry Hotel Monday. Both attend Patrick Henry High School. A friend sent him an article titled “The city as a startup – the rise of the mayor entrepreneur.” “It flipped a switch for me … it covered things we should be doing in Roanoke,” he said. “I’m not a politician – I’m not doing this for my ego and I’m not doing this as a stepping stone to a political career,” said Lucas. He wants to see Roanoke operate more like a startup company and create an environment where local businesses can thrive. Lucas proposed that businesses get involved in mentoring programs in support of the 70 percent of high school graduates who are not college bound. He advocated for a closer relationship with Virginia Tech’s Corporate Resource Center for entrepreneurs. “When dealing with city government
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we’ve got to make sure it is not just a pile of red tape,” said Lucas. He said it took him two years to get approval to expand a parking lot and it cost him as much to garner the approval as it did to pave the parking lot. “That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about … that’s not encouraging economic growth.” “We need to quit spending thousands if not millions on outside consultants to do things that we could do ourselves.” Complacency and inaction on controversial issues “is not good.” Lucas complained about the vacant Riverside property with fields that are poorly maintained and called for additional fields that would bring in tournament play. He lamented over the lack of progress with the Countryside property. He says he will differentiate himself from incumbent Mayor David Bowers with his business experience and pro-job acumen. As examples of entrepreneurship in Roanoke Lucas read off a laundry list of startups from banks to the Bubblecake Bake Shop. “We need a mayor who is proactive and not reactive – who is a visionary and not a figurehead … not a career politician,” said Lucas. Lucas would let the two-cent meals tax sunset and doesn’t foresee a need for adding another tax. “It would be a bait and switch on taxpayers” to continue the meals tax. “It served its purpose … I think it was the right thing to do at the time.” When asked if elected how he would get along with the other all-Democrat council members he said, “I think we all have the same objective that is to do what is best for the city.” At the local level party label doesn’t mean much, he said. For example he said he knows Dave Trinkle and coached his daughter in lacrosse. Lucas said, “I’m very high energy” as he explained his personality while tapping his foot.
In a call to Mayor Bowers for reaction to his new opposition Bowers said, “ the mayor’s chair belongs to the people – it’s theirs and they get to decide who’s going to serve them. I accept that premise so it certainly is understandable that the public would look them over … the voters will have to make a prudent and wise decision.” In response to Lucas’ job creation message, Bowers purported that the city has a team already in place for economic development that included the city manager, economic development department and Joyce Waugh at the Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a very active professional group that is working very hard to create jobs in Roanoke,” said Bowers. Bowers said he thought that even the governor would say that the state itself has limitations when competing with North Carolina and South Carolina. “North Carolina seems to have the funding sources to catch the big catch,” said Bowers. Bowers also thought that, similar to his primary opponent Sam Rasoul, Lucas didn’t understand local government. “We have a city manager form of government.” Lucas in response said, “I fully understand the City Manager form of government and Chris [Morrill] is a huge asset to our community. As Mayor, I will be an added tool in the city’s arsenal to drive economic development. I would hope that my opponent would think that it is a good use of the mayor’s time to drive employment in the city as well.” Lucas plans to use social media and a lot of shoe leather to gain name recognition. The Roanoke City Republican Committee mass meeting will take place on February 23. Chairman Chris Walters will function as Lucas’ campaign manager. By Valerie Garner firstname.lastname@example.org
From page 1
“You won’t find a better com- to need lots of room to run and panion, whether you bring lots of attention – they’re highhome a mystery mixed-breed or maintenance, Cannon says. If a purebred Labrador,” he says. you can’t spend a lot of active “Everyone thinks mutts are time with them, they’ll be unsmarter and generally healthier, happy and you’ll have probbut really, it all depends on their lems. mix of breeds and which breed Rottweilers are fast learners strain is dominant.” and loveable family animals, but Border collies and Rottweilers they also tend to have bold perare two of the smartest breeds, sonalities associated with pack Cannon says. But they tend to leaders. If you don’t think you have other traits, too, which are can assert your authority, or if just as important to consider you have young or shy children, when choosing what dog best you might want to consider a! suits your lifestyle. Remember – more submissive breed. Domidogs are as individual as people. nant dogs that are allowed to House Cleaning A dog’s breed, or breed Professional mix, is bully their family members can no guarantee that it will have become dangerously aggressive. certain traits. are some other tidbits 1618Here Roanoke Blvd That said, border collies tend regarding breeds:
• Among other dog breeds • If you’re in the market for known for intelligence: Shetland a purebred dog, you have a sheepdogs, golden retrievers, 25 percent chance of finding Labrador retrievers, poodles, one – although maybe not the Australian cattle dogs, Papillons breed you want – at a shelter. and Doberman pinschers. If your heart is set on a specific • Bulldogs, beagles and Basset breed, check your area for a reshounds all start with ‘B’ but get cue group specializing in that much lower grades for smarts. breed. • It’s a myth that mutts have Irvin Cannon was a poor kid fewer health issues than pure- growing up in Detroit when bred dogs. Because some breeds his family took in a stray dog. have tendencies toward prob- It surprised young Irvin that lems such as deafness, blindness his father would be willing to or hip dysplasia, remember, share the family’s meager grothese are genetic issues that are ceries with a dog, but he soon inherited. So if you’re mixed- discovered the return on their breed includes some German investment was enormous. A ! General Homeformer Repairs shepherd, it may also have hip police officer in Detroit dysplasia (a problem with the and Denver,• he alsoWork worked as a Complete Bathroom Remodeling Tile joint’s bone structure). corrections officer in Arizona. Interior/exterior Carpentry • Plumbing
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For From page 1 a Free Estimate Call or email James 725-7343 email@example.com some local artists, supplied in- cal community. isolated Licensed/insured from what we’re with do- 24together via a grant to purchase years experience www.dustbunniescorp.com • gift certificates available references put as well. If that grant comes through ing downtown. We’ve heard available a piece of public art that was “Through the adoption of artists would not have to be that a lot,” noted Jennings, who created and displayed there by the city’s first comprehensive part of some institution to ap- formerly headed up the Arts Ann Glover, who will remake it “Theoftool I recommend arts and cultural plan, we are ply for economic assistance Council the Blue Ridge and inmost? fiberglass. stressing what we already know – they would just need a great was Roanoke’s public art coorThe Hurt Park neighborhood - that arts and culture play a idea that would enhance the dinator. has applied for a grant to build vibrant and important role in neighborhood. “There’s really The AIR Roanoke) an artistic bus shelter, perhaps Use(Art it toincall Mr. Handyman. economic development, tour- not a mechanism for that right program will be installed this along the lines of the ones near Tree Removal • Deadwooding • Gutter Cleaning ism and quality of life,” said now,” said Jennings. The exist- spring once many pieces, now William Fleming and Patrick Aeration ing • Overseeding City ManagerSpring Chris Morrill. neighborhood grant pro- on public display, are sent back Henry High School. In many instances and it calls gram• Spring in RoanokeCleanups City has also to the artists. The program re“I think AIR has really made Mulch Delivered Spread www.mrhandyman.com for more collaboration, easier •added a category for artists and lies on a percentage of the city’s people see that neat things can Free Estimates Fully Insured 540-977-4444 and more focused access to in- an advisory committee will re- capital budget to bring in new happen out in the neighborKARN formation on what is available view applications. art, and Roanoke doesn’t have hoods, not justRICHARD downtown, ” TV star and “home improvement guru.” culturally, and more outreach There was a call for closer the excess money right now. said Jennings. of the arts into neighborhoods. tie-ins to art programs’ events “We’ll have some empty pads “While in tough economic An NEA grant program Jen- at higher institutions of learn- sitting there for a while,” said times the city cannot increase nings is working on could pro- ing, like Hollins University and Jennings. financial support, we can direct vide seed money for individual Roanoke College. “Sometimes The Raleigh Court Neigh- staff time to assist with marketartists that want to work on that programming is kind of borhood Association has come ing, grant research, coordinaprojects that support their lotion of activities and look at other incentives we can offer artists and arts and cultural organizations,” noted Morrill. On Wednesday Feb 22nd, Morrill, Jennings and other city officials will present an update on where the arts and cultural plan stands – what has been adopted and what lies ahead. A finalized plan and a progress brochure will also be presented at the meeting to be held at the Claude Moore Education Complex at 5PM. Jennings said an update BEGINNING FEBRUARY 21 should be presented quarterly and she is always looking for AT 10:00 A.M & 7:00 P.M. fresh input, calling it a living document. “We want to highCHILD CARE AVAILABLE light our community partners that are working with us on a lot of these efforts,” said Jennings of the upcoming public meeting, “it is a chance to celSM ebrate what they’re doing.”
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2/17/12- 2/23/12 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 3
General Assembly Passes Property Rights Amendment
Consumer Sentiment and Price Expectations in Virginia Measured
Virginians have again weighed in on their opinion of the economy. The Roanoke College Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) surveyed 616 Virginians about their financial situation, general business conditions now and in the future, their inclination for purchasing durable goods, and their thoughts on prices in the near-term. Indexes of current conditions, consumer expectations, consumer sentiment, and price expectations were constructed using methods similar to the popular measures out of the University of Michigan. This is the second survey from the IPOR on Virginia consumer sentiment and first for price expectations. Both measures will be released annually in February and November. Virginians Remain Relatively Optimistic about the Future The IPOR developed three indexes of consumer sentiment in Virginia modeled after the University of Michigan's widely publicized set of indexes measuring national consumer sentiment. The Virginia Index of Current Conditions (VAICC) considers household financial situations compared to the past year and consumer willingness to purchase durable goods such as refrigerators and furniture. The Virginia Index of Consumer Expectations (VAICE) gauges household expectations of their finances and business conditions in the coming year. The Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment (VAICS) is an aggregate measure of current conditions and future beliefs of Virginia households. The February VAICC is 78, up 22 percent from November, compared to the preliminary national value of 79.6. The national number dropped more than expected from January to February, but is a slight increase from November 2011. The number remains well off the 90-100 range sustained during the mild recession of 2001 and the 111.3 in the first quarter of 2007. The national number has not gone above 90 since January 2008. Twenty-eight percent of Virginians report being better off financially than a year ago, compared to only 23 percent for the nation as a whole. Additionally, 43 percent of Virginians feel that now is a good time to buy big ticket items, the majority citing the low prices and deals available. The VAICE is 87, up 14 percent from November, suggesting that households are optimistic that their financial situation and business conditions will im-
prove over the next year. Over a third, (36 percent) of Virginians reported a belief that they would be better off financially a year from now. Comparably, the nation is less optimistic about the coming year. The national preliminary ICE is 68. The VAICS is 83, an increase of 18 percent since November and considerably higher than the preliminary national value of 72.5. The national preliminary values are based on a sample of 250 to 300 consumers. The final national November values will be released February 24, 2012. Potential reasons for the greater optimism in Virginia versus the nation include a statewide unemployment rate that is 2 points lower than the national rate of 8.3 percent and per capita income that is more than 10 percent higher than the national average. Optimism Highest in the Tidewater region, Central Virginia and Northern Virginia The economic situation varies substantially across the state. The VAICC is lowest in the Shenandoah (65) and Southwest (71) regions, the only areas where the measure is below 80. Southside experienced a substantial increase in the VAICC since November (32 percent), a good sign for an area long troubled by a poor economy. The VAICC is highest in the Tidewater Region (87), which experienced a 33 percent increase in their opinion of the current conditions since November 2011. Forty-five percent of those in the Shenandoah Region reported being worse off financially today compared to a year ago. Residents of Central Virginia, the Tidewater Region and Northern Virginia demonstrate optimism about the coming year, reporting VAICEs of 90, 88, and 91, respectively, all up from November. This compares to a VAICE of 79 for Southwest Virginia. Forty-one percent of those in Southwest Virginia believe that economic conditions over the next five to 10 years will include periods of high unemployment and overall depression. The VAICS is 80 or above for all regions of Virginia save the Southwest Region (75). All regions showed considerable increases in sentiment from November, led by a 24 percent increase in the Shenandoah Region. Fifty-one percent of those in the Shenandoah Region believe that business conditions will improve over the coming year. Variations in consumer con-
fidence reflect differences in regional economic environments. Unemployment rates are highest in Danville (8.9 percent, Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2011) and lowest in Northern Virginia, where unemployment has remained between 4.1 and 5.2 percent between December 2010 and December 2011 (Bureau of Labor Statistics.) Southside optimism could be due to considerable reductions in the unemployment rate year over year. The recent announcements of investments and jobs from Green Mountain Coffee (Windsor), Amazon (Richmond), and Albany Industries (Galax) likely contributed to the increase in VAICS. Price Expectations Nearly 60 percent of Virginians think that prices will increase over the next year, and over 77 percent believe that prices will rise over the next five to 10 years. Specifically, nearly 64 percent of Virginians expect inflation to be between 3 and 5 percent over the next year, while nearly 60 percent believe that inflation will average 3-5 percent per year for the next five to 10 years. Expectations of prices and inflation play a crucial role in consumer spending and saving patterns. The prospect of higher prices can dampen consumer spending and economic growth. Methodology Interviewing for The Roanoke College Poll was conducted by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College between January 30 and February 6, 2012. The sample consisted of 616 residents of Virginia. The sample of phone numbers was prepared by Survey Sampling Inc. of Fairfield, Conn. and was created so that all residential and cell phone numbers, including unlisted numbers, had a known chance of inclusion. Nearly 23% of respondents were contacted via cell phone. A copy of the questions and all frequencies may be found on the Roanoke College web site.
The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have passed identical resolutions for a constitutional amendment that would protect citizens' private property rights against eminent domain abuses. The constitutional amendment has now passed two sessions of the General Assembly and will head to the November ballot for voters to decide if it will become part of Virginia's constitution. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a long-time proponent of property rights, helped write the constitutional amendment, which passed its first hurdle of General Assembly approval in 2011. "It has been seven long years of effort, but with today's vote, our citizens are one step closer to enshrining in the Constitution of Virginia the protections they deserve from overzealous governments and the developers who use them to take away Virginians' homes, farms, and small businesses," said Cuccinelli. "I have fought every year since the 2005 Kelo decision to strengthen property rights in the commonwealth through various bills and three attempts at a constitutional amendment. A property rights amendment to Virginia's constitution is
public speeches across the commonwealth. While a state senator, Cuccinelli successfully sponsored a bill in 2007 to create a law that protected homeowners, farmers, and business owners from having their property taken by government and handed over to private entities for the primary purpose of increasing tax revenues or creating jobs. The attorney general gives this example: "The law stops a city from taking a local family business or a series of homes and turning the land over to a private developer so a shopping mall can be built. If the mall wants to be there, it is the developer's job to make a convincing offer to the landowners; it is not the city's job to force people out of their homes or businesses for the developer." Although that 2007 law was a major step forward in the protection of private property rights in the commonwealth, because it is a statute, it can be chipped away by future sessions of the General Assembly. Putting property rights protections in Virginia's constitution ensures that the only way they can be changed is by a vote of the people.
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the ultimate protection Virginians need, and voters will finally have a property rights amendment to vote on in the November ballot." The attorney general commended the legislators who sponsored the property rights amendment and led the bipartisan effort to get it passed: Delegates Johnny S. Joannou (D-Portsmouth) and Rob B. Bell (R-Albemarle) and Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg). The constitutional amendment has four reforms: • private property can only be taken for true public uses, not for enhancing tax revenues, economic development, or private gain; • the cost of taking property must be borne by the public, not by the individual property owner. Fair and full compensation must be given when property is taken or damaged - this includes loss of business profits and loss of access (which will be defined by the General Assembly through legislation); • no more property can be taken than is necessary for the project; and • the burden of proof that the taking is for a true "public use" is on the entity taking the property. Cuccinelli has promoted the amendment for months in media interviews and in
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Page 4 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 2/17/12 -2/23/12
Are Doctors Honest?
ast summer I wrote a feels protective of the patient. column about the im- If the news is really bad, it can portance of accurate be devastating. To make it communication when a family sound less so . . . is that dishonmember or loved one is ill. It est? Not necessarily but it can was centered about how things put the doctor on the thin ice can get distorted and misinter- of truth. Even disastrous results preted if care is not taken. I did can be delivered in a compasnot emphasize the physician’s sionate way without pulling the role in that conversation, so a rug of hope out from under evheadline last week caught my eryone. eye. In my decades of critical Good communication when care practice the task of delivillness strikes must start with ering serious news was always the physicians. Are they telling present. Occasionally, a family us what we need to know? A would say, “If it’s cancer, don’t recent study published tell him! He will go to in Health Affairs sugpieces.” I would nevgests there is room for er comply with that improvement. The lead request, but rather researcher, Dr. Lisa Iezexplain to the family zoni, who is the director that I would present of the Morgan Institute the information in for Health Policy at the a truthful but gentle Massachusetts General way. For example, Hospital, found in “This is a signifithe group of physi- Hayden Hollingsworth, MD cant problem, this cians surveyed, less mass in your chest. than the truth had been of- We are going to talk about your fered in more than half of the treatment choices.” Often the cases. A picture that was too patient, to the dismay of the rosy was presented. Twenty family, would say, “It’s cancer, percent of the doctors had not isn’t it?” If that is not answered fully disclosed a mistake they honestly the patient will learn had made because of fear of a soon enough that either I lied lawsuit. For that latter statistic, or I don’t know what I am doit is worthy of note that 80% ing and no one wants a doctor may have been forthcoming like that. when an error had been made, Patients ask what they want although that conclusion may to know and that information be suspect and was not a part should be given compassionof the paper. ately. Sometimes the simple There are several issues here truth will be enough; other and the shades of honesty can questions will come later. In vary. One thing is certain: the giving the honest answer, it is patient and the family have vital to keep hope alive and it’s every right to know the truth never right to make up a rosy about their condition. Beyond picture that is very likely unthat, it gets a little murky and, true. False hope is never justiaccording to the study, data are fied. The right approach is to often presented in a better light emphasize that every patient is that medical science would different. I might say, “If you warrant. take a hundred patients just Sometimes the physician like you, probably half of them
Laughter – A Dose Of Good Medicine
ome time ago I wrote “It will make people think I a column about the have a man with me.” practical joke gene John was accommodating that is apparently dominant so Sam rode to Richmond in all Shannon males. At the and back and Helen traveled time, I commented that our safely. son John would require an enInventors always try to imtire column to enumerate the prove on their creations and many ways he kept the Shan- when John advanced to junior non household lively when he high school, he began to plan was at home. And a super dummy. I must add, this asAfter consultpect of his personing World Book’s ality did not change transparent overwhen he left home. lays of the human When he was in body for correct elementary school, proportions, he John created a constructed an ardummy by stuffing mature for a man. a shirt and pants Wooden strips with old towels formed the backMary Jo Shannon and articles of bone; arms and clothing. Rubber legs were hinged gloves made realistic hands at the elbows and knees. This and a stuffed nylon stocking framework was given flesh topped with a discarded wig by covering with foam carpet completed the body. padding which John found in All this construction was someone’s trash pile. done without my knowledge. I The head for his dummy saw the finished product when was a work of art. My wig form I opened the closet door and (wigs were in style at that time) it fell toward me. Startled, I served as a base. He carved screamed and John rushed in, two holes for eye sockets and doubled over with laughter. painted ping pong balls to inAfterward I found “Sam,” as he sert. A face was modeled using named his creation, in many paper mache, and this realistic unexpected places -- in the head, topped with a wig, was basement crouched beside the joined to the wooden neck of freezer, behind the bed when I the body. Then he dressed this changed the sheets. And I was character in one of his dad’s always startled. … old suits and placed him in Helen, the woman who the recliner before the televihelped me with housework, sion set. This time the victim asked John if she could bor- of his prank would be his older row Sam one weekend. She brother, who always chased planned to put a man’s hat on him out of the chair when he Contact Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org his head and let him ride be- came home from school. side her as she drove to RichAs expected, when Harry mond. came home he assumed that “For protection,” she said. was John in the chair. But John
would have a major problem in the first year or so, but even after five years some of them might still be doing well. Every patient is different.” The patient may (or may not) realize that “problem” might mean death and “doing well” means still alive. They will ask that if they want to know. Then I might say, “We’re going to take the long view of this for you but one thing is absolutely certain: You will not be going through this alone; we will all be here for whatever you need.” No physician with any compassion and understanding would ever say to a patient, “You have two months to live. Get your affairs in order.” No doctor can be that certain and it is a hurtful thing to say. When faced with a definite date hope goes right out the window. If things change for the worse, rather than ignoring the seriousness of the illness, other options are offered. “The results weren’t as favorable as we had hoped, but there are other things we can do. How do you feel about that?” Hope should always be nurtured but never exaggerated. In the business of dying, the physician and allied personnel have a key role. In the last decades hospice care has been immeasurably helpful. They are most effective when honesty has been the only policy in discussing these issues with the patient and the family. This day will come for us all. Everyone is entitled to the truth.
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was hiding behind the door, holding a string attached to the dummy’s arm. “Get up, John,” Harry shouted. “I want to sit there!” John pulled the string and the dummy’s hand raised. “I mean it, John!” But like the tar baby in the Bre’r Rabbit story, the dummy sat still, and Harry rushed to push him out on the floor. What a shock! John laughed and Harry had to laugh too. As I said before, the joking didn’t stop when John left home. I don’t know all the tricks he has played on friends and co-workers, but he has told us about several. One of his best friends when he was in the research program at Vanderbilt was Jens, a young doctor from Germany. John and his family took Jens to a Mexican restaurant. Reading the menu, Jens asked, “What is mole? “ This is a spicy sauce served with chiles, but John couldn’t resist, and said, “ Oh, that’s a little animal. They stuff them and serve them in this dish.” When the dish was served, he pointed to the stems on the chiles and said, “See, there are the tails.” Then he laughed and corrected the information. They are still close friends. When he decided to leave the research program and do another residency in anesthesiology, his boss asked him to have a photo made, at his expense, to hang beside the other researchers at Vanderbilt. John obeyed, but he also had a second picture made— with several teeth blacked out, in overalls, looking like a real hillbilly. He had it framed, and handed it to his boss. After laughing at his boss’s look of surprise, John gave him the more dignified version. His co-workers at LewisGale seem to appreciate his sense of humor. A little levity is an antidote for the serious nature of their work, and his jokes are harmless and without rancor. Like the time he took a Tech friend’s car keys and put UVA stickers inside the rear window. Many days went by before the trick was discovered. The Hokie was furious and thought the deed was done when he had his car inspected. He was ready to accuse the men at the shop so John ‘fessed up and they had a good laugh. They say laughter is good medicine – and a doctor needs all the good medicine he can get.
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2/17/12 -2/23/12 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 5
ometimes wildlife rehabilitation can put you into some amusing situ-
Owls, Turtles and Groundhogs Galore
skillfully scooped up the raptor. “Oh, he’s just a little one. We took one in yesterday twice this ations. guy’s size.” She drove off, leaving Sabrina got a phone call. It two large, sheepish gentlemen seems a Great-horned owl was in her rear-view. down but still feisty enough to But her adventure wasn’t give the two large callover. Driving home ers pause. They had it on a four-lane road, cornered but not capshe noticed the traftured. They respected fic was veering as if those deadly talons to avoid something: too much to get close a turtle crossing the enough to put him in lanes; a four inch by a box for transport. Sasix inch box turtle. He brina went out to help had made it past one them. The two men, lane; only three to go. Lucky Garvin two-hundred pounds I know the story of plus each, were keepthe tortoise and the ing their distance from the hare, and how the turtle won. ten-pound bird. Sabrina put on Sabrina felt that life was not goher hawk gloves and began to ing to re-create art. Can anyone move forward. One of the men spell s-q-u-a-s-h? stopped her. “You’re not gonna The traffic was whizzing by; try to catch him, are you?! That’s Sabrina made an illegal U-turn a Great-Horned; he’ll tear you and headed back. Suddenly up!” a vehicle behind her began Sabrina reached down and to flash police lights. An un-
marked car. “Oh great!” Sabrina thought; “You try to do a good deed…” Just then, the officer lowered his window, smiled, gave her a “thumbs up”, and hollered out, “I was just on my way to pick him up myself!” So, bottom line? One owl and one turtle rescued; she met three goodhearted people that day, and, by the way, she didn’t get a ticket. ****** I have withheld telling this story for about six months. The occasion of my reticence is I didn’t know if he would survive the winter. Were I to have written a full-length story, I would have called it “Smidged.” Sabrina and I were ‘Smidged.’ Smidge. Smidge Garvin. The last of the groundhogs brought to us last season. Too late to join any other g-hogs we were rehabbing, this smaller-thanusual guy had to go it alone. So it was with great trepidation we
I Can See Clearly Now
ou know that clear into a new refrigerator for plastic film that cov- some accountant in Akron), ers new electronic I find myself shaking like gadgets? I'm talking about that a leaf due to the ten square stuff we're supposed to peel inches of failed window tint off but never do. What is this which adorns this keyboard stuff, anyway? Is it automotive so it wouldn't get scratched or window tint material that was dinged during shipping from somehow rejected? I ask, be- Beijing. Perspiration frames cause way back when my face as if it were I was a late-blooming an 8 X 10 glossy hot-rodder I once from Hollywood. tried to affix someHaving plugged in thing similar to the my new keyboard, windows of my beI spy something out loved '71 Charger. of the ordinary. At Apparently, the only first I assume that difference is that the it's simply part of stuff I was smearing the design. Closer all over the inside inspection, howRobert Adcox of the windows was ever, reveals sometinted and didn't thing far more stick to anything except dead sinister: the keyboard, at first bugs and dust. appearing to be moulded in Mind you, I DID wash those glossy plastic, is matte. The windows until you could per- shine is from . . . the dreaded form surgery on them. This plastic sheeting. I learn this by marvelous space-age material what appears to be a bubble peeled out faster than Marsha's forming on the frame over by flipflops, figuratively speak- the space bar. ing. I ended up tossing $20.95 The little bubble, at first inworth of glorified Saran Wrap nocuous in appearance, brings in the apartment dumpster with it a whole host of troubecause, apparently, I was the bling memories. First, in my only hot-rodder in Dona Ana attempts to apply the winCounty who couldn't quite dow tint I ran across instrucmaster the four inch squeegee tions apparently written by a that came with the kit extolling technical writer distracted by the virtues of freshly darkened concerns regarding cubicle glass. ("Guaranteed to reduce mates hogging the printer or the heat of your interior by up whether or not there would be to 20%", I'll have you know.) doughnuts at the staff meeting Today (long after the Char- on Thursday. "Apply squeegee ger has since been recycled following liberal amounts of
soapy water to dirty window which must be cleaned prior to applying squeegee" preceded a requisite call to the manufacturer. While on hold, I look out my apartment window just in time to see the entire sheet of tint peeling off of the rear window like a melting polar ice cap sped up by a factor of four thousand. My interior, once proudly spiffed up by that wonderful vinyl protectant we've all used at one time or another, is now half-covered in sheets of tint which have all rolled off of every window and are now redefining the topography of the seats. Recognizing that I couldn't win, I deftly removed all vestiges of this psychological warfare in a cardboard box and relocated it to the dumpster. As for the sheet of plastic film adorning my keyboard, I think I may leave it. Sure, it brings back memories of that fateful day when three hours were spent in abject misery and that little air bubble under the space bar looks kind of bad. Despite this, I have come to accept that there's something irresistible about new electronic gadgets staying wrapped in failed window tint. Maybe it helps them with that "new gadget" smell.
set him in an outside, tarp-covered pen, fully enclosed, with 24” of dirt in it to hibernate in safety. But what a winter it was! Not a day went by we didn’t stare out at that cage and worry the little guy wouldn’t make it. Then, as Spring began to slowly depose Winter, it seemed to Sabrina that the surface of the dirt in the covered cage was scuffed. [G-hogs will briefly break hibernation, come into the sunlight, then return to their sleep.] Could it be that he had survived? We put some fresh hay in the cage so he could re-line his burrow. It disappeared. Once the weather broke, we opened his cage, but still, we never saw him. Then we thought we detected a subtle trail to a nearby raised cage, so we put food out. Still, no sign. Then, one day as Sabrina knelt down to set food and water out for him, she felt
a brush on her ankle. There was the Smidge-miester! He grabbed a carrot, sat down on Sabrina’s foot, and began a contented munching, paying no attention to her whatsoever. She put out a tentative hand to pet him. Ever mindful of the duties a sovereign owes the lower orders, this he permitted. [She had brought him food after all.] For the next few days all went well; we bought food, he ate, we scratched his ears. Then, sometimes he would appear; sometimes not. Had he changed burrows? Yes. We found his new home about ten feet from our front porch under the shelf of a large bay window. There was much celebration at the Garvins’ that day; oxen were fattened; brewskies uncorked. [Okay, it was ice tea and a few potato chips, but you get the point.] One day Sabrina came storm-
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ing through the house. “The deer are eating my new geraniums off the front porch!” Rascally deer! Later, I noticed our munchkin cat, Burglar, staring fixedly out the glass storm door. I moved close to see what had so captured her attention. Next to the glass on the outside sat Smidge, studying her. But what was he eating? A stalk of geranium. Oh well, it’s the price you pay.
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Page 6 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 2/17/12 -2/23/12
Stressed Out? You're Not Alone . . . A little Bit of Everything At Tinkerings
Imagine an environment filled with wind, storms, predators, noise, and limited food and shelter. Then imagine providing and caring for a tiny egg or peeping baby bird in those conditions. The tree swallow and most other wild birds face these stressful challenges on a dayto-day basis. Virginia Tech biologists recently received a $705,000 National Science Foundation grant to study how these birds respond to stress as well as the behaviors that stress produces. The question driving the research: do stressed out birds make good parents? Fran Bonier, research scientist in biological sciences, and Ignacio Moore, associate professor of biological sciences, study stress hormones known as glucocorticoids. These hormones are present in most living organisms, including humans, and levels become elevated when a stressful life event occurs, such as danger, injury, reproduction, or parenting. Glucocorticoids are used to provide the temporary energy boost needed to outrun a bear, dodge a falling limb, or rescue a baby from danger, Moore explained. But he and Bonier are interested in what happens when organisms sustain longer periods of elevated glucocorticoids, such as when a soldier is deployed for six months in dangerous territory, or a tree swallow lives with limited resources for a long period of time. For their experiment looking at tree swallows, Moore and Bonier partnered with Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, which operates a biological station that is home to many types of birds. The station provides boxes for the cavity-dwelling swallows to nest in, but otherwise, the birds live in a wild, natural habitat. Bonier, stationed at Queens, takes blood samples from tree swallow mothers, which must be done within three minutes of human contact to get an accurate, base-line reading. During the next four years, she will compare the glucocorticoid levels in the birds’ blood with their observable behaviors as parents. For example, at what level of stress will a bird abandon her
Steve n W.
A pair of North American Tree Swallows. young and focus on meeting her own needs? She will also conduct experiments in which she changes the birds’ hormone levels, brood sizes, and blood parasite loads and then measures the effects on parenting behaviors. The scientists predict that they will find one of several competing hypotheses to be true. One possible scenario is that there is no connection between glucocorticoid levels and bird parenting behaviors. In a second scenario, a mother’s decision to cut and run will be based on the offspring’s age and health — if it’s older and healthy, the mother will sacrifice her own needs to increase her young’s chance of surviving. A last possible scenario is that the mother will choose to invest in herself when conditions worsen. The experiments could provide groundbreaking insight into the effects of stress on organisms, as well as the evolution of biological systems. The Virginia Tech researchers share the total $800,000 grant with Mark Haussmann, assistant professor of biology at Bucknell University, who will be measuring molecular markers of stress in the birds. "The grant is going to dramatically change the scope or our research project, increasing our ability to answer important questions," Bonier said. Meanwhile, as part of the grant’s outreach component she will offer annual public workshops on box-nesting birds in Ontario. Participants will learn how to build and maintain a nest box as well as identify nesting species. Moore D ur ran ce Fl o or s and Bonier are affiliated faculty members with the Fralin Life Science Institute. all labor and materials
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MASS MEETING of Roanoke City Republican Commitee
As Chairman of the Roanoke City Republican Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia, and pursuant to the Plan of Organization and as recommended and directed by the Committee, I, Chris Walters, do hereby issue this call for a MASS MEETING to be held at Roanoke City Council Chambers, 215 Church Ave., S.W., City of Roanoke, Virginia at 6:00 p.m. on February 23, 2012 for the following purposes: A)
Nominating Republican candidates for Roanoke City Council; and
The transaction of such other business as may properly come before the Mass Meeting. Qualifications for Participation All legal and qualified voters of Roanoke City under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting, either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions or primaries encompassing their respective election districts. All individuals desiring to participate in the Mass Meeting will be required to present some form of identification such as a voting card, driver’s license or other positive identification.
Mass Meeting Registration Registration for the Mass Meeting will begin at 5:30PM and end at 6:00PM. All persons in line by 6:00PM will be allowed to register for the Mass Meeting.. Candidate Pre-Filing Requirements Candidates for the nomination as a Republican candidate City Council at said Mass Meeting shall file a written statement by mail or in person to Chris Walters, Roanoke City Republican Committee, P.O. Box 8005, Roanoke, VA 24014, or to Chris Walters in person at 111 Franklin Rd., Suite 200, Roanoke, VA 24011, which must be received no later than 4:00PM, February 16, 2012. Postmarks do not govern and the written statement must be received by the above deadline. Registration Fee A voluntary $5.00 registration fee will be requested to participate in this Mass Meeting Paid for and authorized by the Roanoke City Republican Committee, Chris Walters, Chairman
When you think of craft stores, you usually don’t think of Diego Velasquez’ famous painting, “Las Meninas,” resurrected in an artistically performed tableau. Well, maybe not. But Karina Baker, owner of Tinkerings, an avant-garde arts and crafts store on Main Street in Salem, has had the mind of a ‘tinkerer’ since age two – so you never know. “My nickname is Tinker because I’d get inside the kitchen cabinets and unscrew the doors until they fell off,” Baker said. “Then I’d put them back together in a new and unique way.” And yes, “Las Meninas” will be performed at Tinkerings by actor/teacher Claudia DeFranco on February 16, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm as part of the Marginal Arts Festival. That will not surprise people who know Baker, 59; an artist/craftswoman herself. She possesses far more than a magic bird box of talent. That’s one of the items she sells in the store. “My husband Mark and I came down from Kodiak and Fairbanks, Alaska about 37 years ago because Mark could smell the grass here and see the squirrels in Virginia, even in November,” Baker said. “We both fell in love with this area.” The couple moved to Roanoke and Katrina Baker started her shop in Salem last August. Actually, it sort of bloomed into being. “My initial business plan was ‘HAVE FUN, AND NO STRESS ALLOWED,’” Baker said. “And I topped that off with my philosophy of business: ‘Cooperation between community businesses will go a lot further than competition.’” Baker has proven to be a person of her word because in one short year she has helped to initiate “Salem Open ’Till 9” nights among many local merchants instead of just one or two on the same night, as well as convincing merchants to stay open until 9:00 pm on Fridays. Customers who enter the doors of Tinkerings are in for a paradisiacal adventure. “I speak to everyone who comes in the store and everyone is fascinating to me in their own way,” Baker said. Maybe that’s how her business has attracted about 35 regional vendors, ages 11 to 84. Baker only receives 10 % of the profit, while most coop owners take 13% or more. But no one can explain the immense pool of talent hidden behind the shop’s quaint doors. “I wanted really unique crafts,” Baker said. “I don’t want to insult anyone, but I wanted more than church bazaar; I wanted totally amazing.” Amazing wouldn’t adequately describe Linda Gardner’s framed needlepoints or Karen Columbeck’s steel sculptures and birdhouses. Columbeck
Entrepreneur Katrina Baker and Artisan Thomas Crickenburger discuss the artist's bird sculptures. worked in a shipyard, according to Baker, and honed her art there using the materials around her. At Lapidary, Jan Morgan makes pendants, earrings and necklaces out of natural stone. “I found Karina on Craig’s List,” Morgan said, “and I’m so glad I did because the shop brings back memories of New Orleans, where I grew up.” Thomas Crickenburger’s lifelike wood carvings of birds and other creatures would make Ruskin and Morris proud. John Ruskin and William Morris started the Arts and Crafts Movement in England in the late 19th century with the dream of involving the common man in art for craft and production. Baker is delighted to represent artisans like Monica Sheehan Slaska, whose portraits of animals in watercolors, oils and acrylics have the customer doing a double-take to see if the creatures have emerged from their canvases to take pats on the head. Tinkerings presents everything from a band-aid jar fashioned into an iconic Victorian tin-type, to an art nouveau angel assemblage made of decoupage and painted tin; handmade glass beads, to polished wood-turned bowls; hand-made purses made out of the alluring dark yarns of old sweaters, to miniature baby dolls made of paper (two lie blissfully asleep in a heart-shaped walnut). When they wake, those tiny dolls will dance in a customer’s head like sugarplums. Tinkerings is located at 4 East Main in Salem and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information call 389-8465. By Mary Campagna firstname.lastname@example.org
Train Lovers Day Brings in Rail Fans
Hundreds of people braved frigid, windy weather to attend the second Train Lovers Day at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in downtown Roanoke. There were free train rides, a vintage rail handcar for visitors to operate and ride, a craft area for the kids, and the debut of the Museum’s restored safety car #418. Executive Director, Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr. said, “The car was formerly used by Norfolk & Western to do safety videos all over the system. . . It’s a 48-seat theater car and we have a video in there playing that talks about the 611 when it came back to Roanoke after it was rebuilt, which was Roanoke’s bicentennial gift from Norfolk Southern before it went into excursion service. We’ve redone the whole car. It’s now got heat and air conditioning which it didn’t have in the past, which makes it much more comfortable.” “The free train rides are the big reason,” why Zack Price and 2-year-old son Caleb came to Train Lovers Day. “He loves trains,” said Price who added that Thomas the Train started his son’s interest. “We’ve got a ton of Thomas stuff at home.” They were playing in one of the life-sized trains and then on their way to take a train ride. The train was operated by members of the Roanoke Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and went almost to the 10th Street Bridge and back to the museum. Jo Burroughs from Christiansburg and her 6-year-old grandson, Tate and Jennifer Bond and her 4-year-old son Kobi, took one of the train rides after looking at the model trains. Burroughs thought the model trains were wonderful. “The boys are real excited about this (the train ride).”
Photo by Beverly Amsler
The Transportation Museum’s restored safety car. Tate says he likes riding the train the best and Kobi didn’t want the ride to stop. “I want more,” he said. That kind of enthusiasm is just what Fitzpatrick and his staff are looking for. More than 1,000 people attended last year’s Train Lovers Day. Fitzpatrick says museum membership has increased from 350 to more than 600 in almost a year, thanks to a new employee who is putting emphasis on new memberships. Attendance at the museum is up 182% in five years. “What we’re hoping is that we’re now able to provide something special to people in a way that we couldn’t when we first got things back in order here.” He’s proud of the increase in attendance from residents of the Roanoke Valley and says 40% of visitors are from outside Virginia, meaning the museum is becoming more of a destination spot. By Beverly Amsler email@example.com
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Salem Falls To Christiansburg
Cave Girls At Christiansburg The Lady Knights saw their season come to an end Monday night, as host Christiansburg cruised to a 42-21 win in the first round of the River Ridge District girls' basketball tournament. The Blue Demons (158) took a 10-6 lead after the opening quarter and increased their advantage to 17-7 at the break. The Knights (1-22) only point in the second quarter came on a free throw by Taylor Asimakopoulos Christiansburg went on to outscore Cave Spring 15-8 in the third quarter and 10-6 in the fourth quarter, en route to the 21-point win. The Knights were sevenof-39 from the field and seven-for-14 at the foul line. Taylor Asimakopoulos
2/17/12 -2/23/12 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 7
Despite a game-high 24 points by Samuel St. Fleur, Salem was still unable to overcome a pair of strong quarters, as Christiansburg claimed a 69-52 victory over visiting Salem in the semifinals of the Blue Ridge District boys' basketball tournament Tuesday night. With the game tied at 10-all after the opening quarter, the Blue Demons, paced by seven points from Zach Davis, outscored the Spartans 19-9 to take a 29-19 lead at the half. In the third quarter, Brenden Motley would score 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers, to help Christiansburg go on a 21-9 run to extend its advantage to 50-28 heading into the final quarter. St. Fleur would score 11 points in the fourth quarter, as Salem outscored the Blue Demons 24-19 to make the final score a little more respectable. Salem was 12-of-24 from the foul line, while Paige Wright drives to the basket against Cave Spring. Christiansburg was 19-of-33. Samuel St. Fleur led Salem with a game-high 24 paced Cave Spring with six 21 points. points. Christiansburg 10 7 15 Zach Davis led Christiansburg with 19 points Paige Wright led Chris- 10 - 42 and Brenden Motley added 18 points, including a tiansburg with a game-high trio of 3-pointers. By David Grimes 14 points. Salem 10 9 9 24 – 52 firstname.lastname@example.org Cave Spring 6 1 8 6 Christiansburg 10 19 21 19 - 69
Hundreds of Children Expected Y Children's Marathon Inspires One Participant to Dust Mom in YMCA Kids Marathon
Children are led in stretches before last year’s marathon. Registration is now open for kids in grades K-5 to participate in the YMCA of Roanoke Valley's 3rd Annual YMCA Kids Marathon presented by Chickfil-a on Saturday, April 21, 2012. This non-timed, non-competitive event is an opportunity for young runners and walkers to participate in a marathon made just for kids. Participants complete 25.2 miles on their own prior to race day and then finish the last mile together on race day, April 21, beginning at the Kirk Family YMCA, threading through the streets of downtown Roanoke, and finishing behind the Taubman Museum of Art. The young marathoners will cross the same finish line as the elite athletes participating in the Blue Ridge Marathon Finish line later that morning. YMCA staff and volunteers will be on hand race day to guide and cheer on the marathoners through the closed streets in downtown Roanoke. YMCA of Roanoke Valley's Executive Director Cal Johnson said, The YMCA Kids Marathon is designed to keep kids and their families active all winter long. It's a great way to encourage kids to develop a healthy lifestyle when it is most important. To help young runners, the Y provides tips on other activities kids can do to clock miles like jump roping, rollerblading and dancing. Fun runs with local celebrities, including the famous
Chick-fil-Acows, will be scheduled at location throughout the Valley and at the Kirk Family and Salem Family YMCAs. Registration is open at www. BlueRidgeMarathon.com. The entry fee is $20 before February 29 and $25 thereafter. There is a $5 discount for each additional child in the same family. All participants will receive a race shirt, race number bib, finisher's medal and goodie bag. The first 300 kids to register will also receive a pedometer to keep track of the miles they rack up prior to the race. Pedometers and tracking forms may be picked up at the Kirk Family YMCA, the Gainsboro Family YMCA or the Salem Family YMCA. More information and tracking forms are at www.ymcaroanoke.org. Following the marathon, kids are invited to the Y's Healthy Kids Day from 9 a.m. to noon at the Kirk Family YMCA. The FREE event open to the community will include an inflatable obstacle course, games, swimming and giveaways. The YMCA of Roanoke Valley was founded in 1883 and includes Kirk Family YMCA, Salem Family YMCA, Gainsboro Family YMCA and the YMCA Magic Place. The YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in its mission throughout the Valley. For more info on the YMCA, visit www.ymcaroanoke.org.
My daughter participated in The Kids Marathon last year and it was a real life changer. Last January, she told me that she hated PE and hated running. Saddened by this, I decided to sign her up for the Kids Marathon to try to encourage her physical activity (admittedly, Chick-fil-A being the sponsor was a motivator!). We began logging our miles together and it turned out to be a great way to keep us active, and it gave us a reason to have some quality mother-daughter time. Over the months, my daughter really got excited about running (walking, skipping and dancing) to reach her goals. I would watch her methodically plot how far she would have to go to get her next milestone reward. By April, my daughter had met her 25.2 mile goal and asked if I would run beside her on the final mile. The weather was bad the day of the Kids Marathon Final Mile, so we had to run inside on the Y's track. In a matter of minutes, my daughter (who hated running) com-
Photo by Jon Fleming
Will Pratt (#30) looks to pass the ball around a Christiansburg defender Tuesday night. By David Grimes • email@example.com
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Kim Bratic says her daughter went from zero to lapping her on the track in just a few months. pletely dusted me! By the last stretch, she completely lapped me. When I (finally) made it to the finish line, the first thing she asked was if she could sign up again for the 2012 race. So, we're back at it again this year. In the meantime, the Kids Marathon sparked a new athletic side in my daughter. Not only is she running, she is also on the Y's swim team.
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North Cross Girls Basketball Finishing Season Strong
#44 Senior Victoria Langhorn scored 8 points and made 10 rebounds on senior night at North Cross. #10 Sara Mauer boxes out and #32 Asia Stephens, who had the team high score at 19 points, looks on. The North Cross girls basketball team wound down their season with a strong win over Chatham Hall 59-31 Tuesday night at North Cross. The team celebrated senior night with only one senior on the team, Victoria Langhorn. With one more regular season game scheduled for Thursday night at VES, the Raiders are 10-11 and hope to finish at an even 50% at the end of the week. Winning half of their games, played against private and public schools, is a victory for the Raiders with this being their first girls varsity team after a two year break. Senior Victoria Langhorn was instrumental in getting the girls program going again, along with Coach Shannon Yopp. Yopp has enjoyed the team camaraderie and tenaciousness that this team possesses. Though the loss of Langhorn will be substantial, Yopp is expecting big things from her team next year now that they have many players with Varsity experience. The team already has plans to go to a summer basketball camp and plans for open gyms, meaning the Raider girl's basketball team is not only back but here to stay.
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2/17/12 -2/23/12 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 8
All American Girls Professional Baseball League Subject of New Book By Roanoke Author Jim Sargent has long had a penchant for baseball, even as he worked as a professor of American History at Virginia Western Community College. Sargent, who retired as the dean of the school’s Social Science division in 2010, previously coauthored a biography of former major league player Danny Litwhiler, a long time and successful college baseball coach he got to know while pursuing a Master’s degree at Michigan State. Litwhiler, who also managed in the minor leagues, had plenty of stories to tell. “Any ballplayer does,” said Sargent. Sargent, a Roanoke resident who has published more than one hundred articles on the game of baseball in print and via the Internet, has now teamed up with another baseball writer, Bob Gorman, for a new book: The South Bend Blue Sox: A History of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Team and Its Players, 1943-1954. This is the team and the professional circuit portrayed in the hit Tom HanksMadonna movie, “A League of their own,” in 1992. Gorman lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina and received kudos from The Sporting News for his 2009 book, Death at the Ballpark. “Its unique,” said Sargent, who first found out details about the league during a baseball card show in 1995, when he met a former player. “I didn’t know about it [and] found out there was quite a bit to it.” Tom Hanks
might have told one of his players in the movie that “there’s no crying in baseball,” but Sargent notes that he “might have had something else to say,” if he had to slide on a dirt infield while wearing a skirt. One of the best pitchers in the league, Jean Faut of the Blue Sox, whom Sargent has written about previously, struck out
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several major league ballplayers at the time when they challenged her. “I compare her to Greg Maddox,” said Sargent, “in that she had excellent control, a couple of speeds on the fastball and three curves.” Sargent has authored pieces on various players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and
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interviewed several of them for The South Bend Blue Sox book. Betsy Jochum (Blue Sox, 1943-1948), Jean Faut (Blue Sox, 1946-1953), and Sue Kidd, (Colleens, rookie tour, 1949; Blue Sox 1950-1954) contributed forwards to the new volume, which has been published by McFarland & Company out of Jefferson, NC. The league was created in 1943, in part when there was consideration given to canceling Major League baseball during World War II. President Roosevelt nixed that idea, thinking even a diminished league that was missing many players due to military service would be good for the country’s morale. With men away and women working long hours in their place, revving up the country’s war machine, keeping major league baseball in place as a recreational activity – it indeed was the country’s undisputed national pastime back then – was seen as essential. “If you weren’t 4-F by 1942 you were in the service,” said Sargent. The All-American League was launched however and held on through the 1954 season. The Blue Sox were one of only two AAGPBL to play all twelve seasons before the league folded. Players were culled from women’s softball circuits in the United States and Canada. Pay was above average, even more than many of their fathers were making while working in factories at the time. What started out almost as softball, with underhand pitches and a larger ball, soon evolved into a game that resembled men’s baseball – and Sargent said these girls could play. And they did it all – running, fielding, sliding into bases, while wearing those trademark one piece tunics with the short skirt, designed to show off their feminine side. “It was always designed to evolve into baseball – but the talent [pool] they had available came out of fastpitch softball,” noted Sargent. “They didn’t feel they could convert those women to baseball in one season.” Sargent said most of the players from the All-American League he has spoken to didn’t see themselves as pioneers, they were just athletes who wanted to play competitive games. There was one common thread: “the best years of their lives,” was what he heard most. “It was a chance to play professionally, a game they loved to play.” Co-authors Bob Gorman and Jim Sargent will make a joint presentation about their book on the South Bend Blue Sox at Virginia Western Community College on March 30.
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Arts & Culture
Mark Cline Brings His Foam Sculptures To The Taubman Mark Cline doesn’t mind being billed as the “Blue Ridge Barnum” for his new exhibit at the Taubman Museum of Art. After all putting on a good show for those that have seen his foam sculpture creations, either at the Natural Bridge resort or outside one of the other venues where they are located has always been the goal. “I’ve been called a lot of things,” said Cline, singling out the Poor Man’s Disney and The Wizard of Odd as favorites. While many debate about whether or not Cline’s work is art, or belongs in a museum like the Taubman anyway, Cline, a Waynesboro native who talked about his creations during an opening night reception last week, welcomes the discussion. “Its all part of the show.” Cline said his dedication to a career he sort of fell into after high school may have cost him his first marriage; early failure even led to a suicide attempt. While on a mountaintop near Afton, Cline resolved to close his eyes and walk towards the edge of a cliff. He assumed he’d get there, fall off into the abyss and be at peace. He decided to open his eyes after talking some steps – only to discover he was about a foot short of the edge. Cline now 51, took that as a sign that he was still here for a reason, and although not a religious person, he stepped back from that ledge with a renewed sense of purpose and a will to go on. That’s led him to “Foamhenge,” the giant King Kong currently adorning a balcony at the Taubman and assorted other characters cast in foam.
One of Mark Cline’s pieces from his Dinosaur Kingdom exhibit. Many of the pieces brought in for the Taubman exhibit (which runs through April 1) have been outside and are weathered; some have been painted over (quite poorly) to Cline’s chagrin. The changes and weathering do add personality and a storyline to each piece, notes Cline, who does commission work for businesses and private owners, some of them very wealthy. “It sort of does tell the story when you peel back the layers –who painted it, what their story was.” He’s brought some of the photographs and drawings that are used to help create the sculptures to the Taubman exhibition as well. “Some of them have been outdoors for 15 to 20 years,” he said. “They’re made to turn heads and bring tourists in.” Even from early childhood Cline was good at identifying shapes, for instance creating a derby hat needed for a school play from his mother’s mixing bowl. “I think she’s still kind of mad at me,” he jokes. Snow sculptures – one he did of the Statue of Liberty as a youngster that wound up in the local paper – made him realize the power of celebrity. Cline knows celebrity now and has been featured on a number of national cable TV networks. Literally “a bum” after high school with no prospects, Cline drew inspiration from passages in his journal and decided that helping others would bring him happiness. He cleaned up and headed to the employment office. Cline was “halfway out the door,” with his hand on the doorknob, when told about a factory where he could make polyester figurines. The owner who hired him saw a potential and showed Cline how to make a mold of his hand. One thing led to another and Cline was on his way. “Being in the right place at the right time,” he calls it.
Cline’s King Kong is now featured on the Taubman balcony facing I-581. Cline, who rebuilt his Rockbridge County studio after a fire in 2001, moved a tour of his foam sculpture art down the road to Natural Bridge the following year. “That’s where we created the Haunted Monster Museum, Dinosaur Kingdom and Foamhenge,” said Cline as he took a break from creating yet another piece last week, a twelve foot tall wizard bound for the Jersey shore. Brian Sieveking, an adjunct curator at the Taubman, helped assemble twenty pieces for the show. Cline said he would not have selected some of those chosen; others he is “really proud of.” Some date back as far as 1985. His early Styracosaurus would be laughed at by paleontologists; since the Jurassic Park movies came out in the ‘90’s Cline has tried to be more accurate when sculpting dinosaurs in foam, since “the bar has been set higher.” He’s more interested however “in getting kids to marvel [at it].” Another project Cline is knee-deep in? The gigantic head (12’) and knees of country singer Sara Evans, destined for a private pond outside a speedway in Alabama - set up like she is taking a bath. A billionaire “that is one of my favorite clients, obviously,” commissioned the piece. “The only reason they exist is to create smiles on people’s faces,” said Cline, who considers the world as his museum and finds it “ironic” that he has now landed at the Taubman. “I look up and see the side of a building, a lake, a ridge… these are all potential stages for me, to put my work out there for the public to see.” He doesn’t care if others see his work as art or not: “I have fun doing what I’m doing.”
Virginia Tech Students Curate Video Art Exhibit at Taubman Museum of Art
"WATCH IT!", an exhibition of contemporary video art curated by Virginia Tech students from the School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies is currently open at the Taubman Museum of Art. According to Simone Paterson, an associate professor of digital art and design, the undergraduate students of her Topics in New Media class were responsible for all aspects of creating the exhibition. The students solicited artists to submit work for consideration, judged which works made the final exhibition, worked with museum staff, designed the exhibition space, and publicized the event. Paterson says she had two goals in mind when she first brought the idea of curating an exhibition to her students. "Many young and emerging artists are discouraged when their creative work is not selected to be included in competitive exhibitions," Paterson says. "They can also be totally mystified by the curatorial and exhibition practices of galleries and museums. I wanted to reveal the complexities of judging an open call exhibition, working with gallery and museum systems while also informing them about a wide selection of contemporary video art productions." More than 130 entries from around the world were submitted to the students' open call, of which 14 were selected by the students to be included in the exhibition. The videos were selected using a student-devised rubric that centered on different criteria including concept, editing, execution of concept, quality, and creativity/innovation. The videos on exhibition are all single-channel works under 10 minutes in length. The subject matter is extremely varied, how-
Still image from the WATCH IT! exhibition. ever Paterson says the videos can be grouped under some thematic influence or concerns, ranging from the effects of technology on our lived experience to the history of video art itself. Video art today is as varied as any contemporary practice, from the reproduction of serene landscapes to abstract computer generated visual forms and animations. Paterson says "WATCH IT!" tries to provide a vibrant
international cross-section and celebration of 50 years of video art production. The students have also created an iPad application that presents the exhibit's catalogue. It is available for free at the Apple App Store. The exhibit runs at the Taubman from now until Feb. 26,. By Dana Cruikshank firstname.lastname@example.org
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Arts & Culture
Page 10 | The Roanoke Star-Sentinel | 2/17/12 -2/23/12
The Reel Deal : Safe House
For action thriller movies to get people interested these days directors have to hire big names for their movies. In this case, we have Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds together in "Safe House," a thriller about a rookie-CIA agent who is tasked with looking after a professional criminal after their safe house is breached. The two actors manage to give equally great performances and are enjoyable to watch, but unfortunately they can only do so much to improve a movie with a familiar and underdeveloped plot with some occasionally confusing action scenes that make for what can only be described as an uneven experience. The film’s story focuses on Matt Weston, an operative for the CIA who works at a safe house with hardly any line of work to do. His job gets more interesting, however, when one day the CIA brings in a professional criminal named Tobin Frost. He is an exCIA agent who went rogue and stole a secret file and also killed several members of the CIA. While the agents are trying to interrogate Frost, their safe house is suddenly ambushed, and Weston is forced to take Frost out on his own. Out in the open with no resources and a professional criminal who is a master of manipulating people to his advantage, Weston has to struggle to bring Frost to justice, only to find that there may be more to Frost’s past than he realizes. Despite the familiarity of this scenario, the interactions be-
Arctic Circle Launches New Relationship With Mill Mountain Theatre
tween Tobin and Matt are the most interesting parts of Safe House. Tobin Frost is at first an interesting character, and the moments where you’re not sure what he is planning next make for a few good scenes. Unfortunately, this is just about as interesting or as deep as the story of Safe House gets. Though the movie does try to tell a decent story with drama and mystery, it ends up being underdeveloped and predictable. The mystery behind Tobin’s motives is very familiar to those who have seen many thrillers, a plot point with Matt’s girlfriend is shallow and has little relevance to the story, and there are some occasional moments where the story begins to drag. Making things worse is a very predictable twist at the end that some people will see coming a mile away. To the movie’s credit, I did enjoy watching it while it lasted. Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds make the most out of their scenes, and the two have a great chemistry that makes the story more engaging. The story on the other hand, is less so. The action does have its moments, but you’ll have to wrestle with the cinematography at times to enjoy them. Safe House borrows heavily from better made thrillers but adds very little in terms of originality, and is nowhere near close to the effort that its two leading actors put into it.
Beginning what he hopes is a long term relationship that is beneficial both to the school and the city, Todd Ristau, founder of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, brought a brand new play to the refurbished Waldron stage at Mill Mountain Theatre this week. The Arctic Circle (and a recipe for Swedish Pancakes) is in fact written by one of Ristau’s students in the MFA Playwright program at Hollins. Its part of the New Works Initiative at Hollins, a program promoted by Ristau at an invitation-only final dress rehearsal earlier this week. Samantha Macher, 25 and living in Los Angeles most of the time, will graduate from the program this spring. She’s the playwright-in-residence at a theater in Los Angeles. Last year, while back at Hollins for MFA courses (graduate students take them over the course of four summers), Macher teamed up with veteran New York director Bob Moss at “Overnight Sensations”, where five teams of writers, directors and actors teamed up to create and stage short plays over the course of 24 hours, in an event designed to celebrate live theater. “Roanoke is becoming known as a major [center] for new play development,” said Ristau, citing Hollins, the Waldron Stage, Studio Roanoke and the June McBroom Theatre at Community By Seth Childers High School as smaller venues email@example.com ideal for new works. Moss, who
once worked with legendary playwright Edward Albee early in his career, “[loved] that this is happening off-campus. I think that’s important – this is happening downtown.” This time Macher and Moss have teamed up for something a bit meatier: her brand new Arctic Circle, which plays through this Saturday at the Waldron Stage as part of the Marginal Arts Festival. Curtain is at 8pm each night with a 2pm matinee on Saturday; tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Macher’s play, a comedy set on a sparsely decorated stage with few props, follows a young woman as she examines her life at various stages, traveling back and forth in time. Susanna Young’s performance as the troubled woman, Elin, is a tour-de-force. The Hollins graduate, who traveled the country for several years before coming back to Roanoke, is portrayed in a troubled marriage, as a teen discovering love – or lust – for the first time, and as a young adult. Elin is searching for true love and someone who will really listen to her. “I do this periodically…fall in love,” says Elin during the oneact play. “I’ve done this forever, you know.” A long time boyfriend is a dolt, but she can’t seem to shake him off. Elin and her husband seem to be at arm’s length. The journey takes her to an art gallery, where she encounters an
Playwright Samantha Macher (far left) with the cast of The Arctic Circle. artist she once knew, and, yes, to Sweden, where a barista offers wisdom while serving coffee and pancakes. “At first it was intimidating because of the amount of dialogue,” said Young of her role as the play’s focus. “I learned a lot about myself as an actor.” Young and co-star Drew Dowdy also had to learn five pages of dialogue in Swedish for the coffeehouse scene, which has the effect of transporting attendees back to that country near the Arctic Circle. Funny and physical throughout, Macher’s play will strike a chord with those that have been examining their personal relationships over the years. Ristau acts as the narrator but is not offstage – he is right in the middle of the action, a device suggested by Bob Moss (who incidentally has a theater space named for him in New York City). Chad Runyon (Elin’s milquetoast husband) and Shay
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Mullins (who is not in the play but provides brief musical interludes on a mandolin) round out the cast. After its run this weekend, Arctic Circle is headed for the bright lights and big city – a run at New York’s Playwrights Horizon Studio in Manhattan. $9000 was raised to stage Macher’s play and send it on to The Big Apple. At a Q&A session after the dress rehearsal ended, local actor Charlie Boswell predicted that Macher would be famous one day as a playwright: “she’s going to be the female Neil Simon.” Ristau concurred that Macher, also the cofounder of a theater in Brooklyn, was “already building an impressive resume.” They’ll know more about Macher and The Arctic Circle (and a recipe for Swedish Pancakes) after the Manhattan run. “People are starting to hear about our program,” said Macher about the Master of Fine Arts for playwrights curriculum at Hollins. Misc: for something a bit different in live theater, try Nunsense, by the Showtimers troupe (2067 McVitty Road) from Feb. 16-Mar. 4. The musical comedy, featuring nuns from The Convent of Mount Saint Helens – that spells trouble right there – involves a group of sisters that must raise money to keep the convent afloat. Nunsense was an Off-Broadway smash for many years. Show times Thursday-Saturday are at 8pm with a Sunday matinee at 2pm. Star-Sentinel contributor Beverly Amsler is one of the cast members. Corrections: the picture of two performance artists appearing at this weekend’s Marginal Arts Festival in last week’s edition was taken at Ferrum College, not at the Taubman Museum. In addition, the production of Aristophanes set for this weekend at Community High School as part of the Marginal Arts Festival has been moved to March 9-10. By Gene Marrano firstname.lastname@example.org
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12/16/11 1:28:36 PM
2/17/12 -2/23/12 |The Roanoke Star-Sentinel |Page 11
New Roles Announced at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Dr. Daniel Harrington has been To support Harrington's vision, Johnson has appointed two fac- her role as a faculty member with the Carilion Family Medicine Resnamed senior dean for academic affairs at the ulty members to key positions. As assistant dean for clinical sciences idency Program, where she has taught for the past dozen years. Her Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. for the preclinical years, Dr. Tarin Schmidt-Dalton will lead in the areas of interest and leadership include women's health, pediatrics, Harrington, who oversaw the design of continued development and execution of the clinical sciences and and curriculum design. the third and fourth year clinical clerk- skills portion of the curriculum. As assistant dean for clinical sciKnight is assuming the day-to-day operations and logistics of the ships as the school's senior associate ences for the clinical years, Dr. Aubrey Knight will coordinate the clinical curriculum for students in years three and four. He will work dean, will now oversee the entire four-year development and implementation of clerkship rotations closely with clerkship directors to ensure each student has a curriculum. The position not only mirrors through the various medical specialties. challenging and positive experience in each specialty. his current position as vice president for Schmidt-Dalton, an assistant professor in the school's "I'm honored to step into this role," said Knight. "I plan academic affairs at Carilion Clinic, but Department of Family Medicine, had previously served as to adapt my experience in graduate medical education and Dr. Dan Harrington it also reflects his early role in shap- director of clinical sciences and skills for first-year students. turn any challenges that arise into successes to give our ing the school's program. "I enjoyed working closely with the charter-class students as students a wonderful and well-rounded experience in the "Dan has been in the trenches as an integral part of the leadership their clinical knowledge and skills evolved," she said. "It will wards." team that built this school from scratch," said Dr. Cynda Ann John- be rewarding to continue to help shape this aspect of their Over the past two years, Knight has given lectures at the son, founding dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medi- education in their second year. I'm particularly energized by school. He also serves as a preceptor for the longitudinal cine, in appointing Harrington. "His expertise in designthe many opportunities to collaborate with ambulatory care experience (LACE), an early patienting and delivering top-rate medical education has been a faculty members and standardized patients Dr. Tarin Schmidt-Dalton centered experience program for first- and secondtremendous asset, even more so now in his new expanded as the student body continues to grow and year medical students. role." transition into the clerkship years. Effectively bridging "I'm pleased Aubrey has joined our leadership team," said JohnHarrington served on the school's original curriculum the clinical skills taught in the first two years with those son. "He has a wealth of knowledge in medical education, particuplanning committee. To determine the best learning modneeded in the last two years will be key." larly as a preceptor for residents and medical students in the clinic el, he visited medical schools with a range of successful apSchmidt-Dalton became involved with the school early setting. This expertise will translate well into managing the school's proaches to education. Based on that research, committee in its development, as a founding faculty member. She clerkship programs." members chose to devise a new, innovative approach: a also participated on the curriculum planning committee. Knight earned his bachelor's degree from Bridgewater College and problem-based, team-based learning model that incorpo"We received wonderful feedback from our students his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He undertook a rates a research-project requirement. last year on the course of study that Dr. Schmidt-Dalton family medicine residency at Carilion Clinic before finishing a geri"I'm excited to deepen my responsibilities at the Dr. Aubrey Knight developed," said Johnson. "I have full confidence that atrics fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical System. Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine," said Harshe will build on that success, ensuring our students are Knight has previously served as the residency director for the Carrington. "I have a wonderful, hard-working, and growing leadership ready to begin interacting with patients during their clinical clerk- ilion Family Medicine Residency and the fellowship director for the team to help orchestrate the vision for an innovative medical educa- ships." Carilion Geriatric Medicine Fellowship. He currently is section chief tion curriculum." Schmidt-Dalton earned her bachelor's degree from the University for the Geriatric and Palliative Medicine Section within the DepartHarrington will continue to serve as vice president for academic of Illinois and her medical degree from the Southern Illinois Univer- ment of Medicine, director for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine affairs at Carilion Clinic, where he oversees graduate medical educa- sity School of Medicine, which emphasized a problem-based learn- Fellowship, and medical director of the Carilion Center for Healthy tion programs. He earned his bachelor's and medical degrees from ing curriculum. After undertaking a family medicine residency at Aging. By Paula Byron West Virginia University, and he completed a combined internal Carilion Clinic, she completed a fellowship in faculty development email@example.com medicine and psychiatry residency at the University of Virginia. at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She will continue
Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center Receives Top Recognition Director of Property Operations Honored with Hilton's Best Property Operations America’s East Award
The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, was recently honored with the company’s Best Property Operations - America’s East award at a Hilton Worldwide conference in Dallas, Texas. RD Wright, director of property operations at the historic hotel and conference center, earned the prestigious honor after successfully obtaining the highest scores in property operation evaluations for three consecutive years. Only three such awards were given out within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels in the Americas East region – which includes Hilton Worldwide managed properties from North America, Central America and South America. “We are thrilled to have received this tremendous honor amongst our peers that exemplifies the hard work, dedication and commitment of RD and his team here at the historic hotel and conference center,” said Gary Walton, general manager, The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. “Winning this award is no easy task and we are extremely proud to be recognized for our efforts.” The award is based on the best practices and scores that maximize the condition, life, and value of assets over the long term of the property and assesses the building’s structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and system infrastructure annually. To measure the effectiveness of those practices, performance operation reviews are conducted annually at each property that is managed, leased or a joint ven-
(L-R) Travis Fondren, Director of Engineering Americas - East Hilton Worldwide, RD Wright, Director of Property Operations - The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, Randy Gaines, VP Engineering Operations- Americas - Hilton Worldwide ture by Hilton Worldwide. Through various tracking and monitoring systems such as LightStay, Hilton Worldwide’s proprietary sustainability measurement system, The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center is able to track sustainability measures, utility costs, waste output and energy usage. “I truly share this honor with the hotel’s Assistant Director of Operations, Randy Conner, the entire engineering team, the other department teammates and owners alike,” said Wright. “Without a holistic team passion for first class guest service, this award would not grace our property. It is a true blessing to bring this award back to the community that loves the history and heritage of this grand hotel.” Since 2005, the hotel has been a certified Virginia Green hotel. The Virginia Green statewide
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Western Virginia Land Trust Executive Director Resigns The Western Virginia Land Trust announces that Executive Director Roger Holnback has resigned after 10 successful years with the organization. Assistant Director David Perry will become interim director. Holnback has been with the land trust since 2001. Under his tenure, the land trust achieved several monumental goals, including conservation easements on Carvins Cove Natural Reserve and Mill Mountain Park, as well as shepherding the organization to national accreditation with the Land Trust Alliance in 2011. “I’ve enjoyed a wonderful ten-and-a-half years at the land trust, and it’s time to move on,” said Holnback, 57. “There is a lot I want to do in retirement,” he said, including building hiking trails with a local volunteer group, golfing, adding a deck onto his home and finishing restoration of a fiberglass boat in his garage. “We are accepting Roger’s
resignation with regret,” said Board of Trustees President Sandy Light. “He truly cares deeply about our mission of conserving our resources for future generations.”
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Perry has been with the land trust since 2006. “Roger has been a wonderful mentor and I’ll miss his passion for saving western Virginia’s beautiful places,” he said.
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