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TheRoanokeStar.com community | news | perspective
September 7, 2012
November Municipal Elections Looking Unlikely
Blue Moon On The Rise
Dimension P3– The Spectrum Sports Academy near the Roanoke Regional Airport is sporting a whole new look with more to come.
P4– Hayden Hollingsworth looks around the American landscape and can’t help but ask, “Where have All The Heroes Gone?”
It seemed at first “a nobrainer” to move Roanoke City’s local elections from May to November, said Dr. Harry Wilson Director of Institute for Policy and Opinion Research and professor at Roanoke College. But on Tuesday he waivered on that opinion after studying the pros and cons of local elections. Dr. Wilson admitted to primarily having state and federal election expertise and after more scrutiny of City Govt. local election connotations he was conflicted. “I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this question,” he told City Council. November election wouldincrease turnout. “Turnout would be significantly higher in November than it is in May … [but] is this a less informed electorate,” questioned Dr. Wilson, “almost certainly yes.” Council will have to decide if that is a bad thing, he said. Undervotes – those not voting all the way down the ballot are common in all elections. “That’s pretty standard and unavoidable. I’m not sure that is a bad thing,” said Wilson. The ideal world he said would
t’s very rare to see a blue-colored moon, although unusual sky conditions – certain-sized particles of dust or smoke – can create them. What people commonly call “Blue Moons” aren’t really blue at all - but rather are defined as the second full moon of a calendar month (or the third full moon of four in a season.) The time between one full moon and the next is close to the length of a calendar month, so the only time one month
Photo by Terry Aldhizer
can have two full moons is when the first full moon happens in the first few days of the month. In August we enjoyed a full moon on the 1st and then again last Friday on the 31st. Roanoke Star contributing photographer Terry Aldhizer captured this remarkable photograph of the August 31st Blue Moon just beginning to rise above downtown Roanoke. Blue Moons happen every 2-3 years.
> CONTINUED P2: Municipal Elections
The Man That Makes VA Tech Go Star City Reads Program Strong Faith
P6– The Interfaith Hospitality Network celebrates it’s 15th anniversary thanks to the efforts of multiple churches and synagogues.
The Roundup! P7– Check out Wild Bill Turner’s Ouija inspired high school football predictions and the latest in late night gadgetry!
Chances are, if you’ve ever attended an event on the campus of Virginia Tech – Anthony S. Watson had something to do with it. Watson, Virginia Tech’s associate director of facilities operations, building trades and grounds, is involved in just about everything that happens on campus. Most recently, Watson and his team have been preparing for the return of students and faculty to campus as well as the clean-up of more than 3,000 cubic tons of debris left by the fast-moving, aggressive thunderstorm system that barreled through Blacksburg on Friday, June 29 with hurricane-force winds. “If it happens on campus, I’m involved in some capacity,” said Watson who is one of only 722 staff members who have worked at Virginia Tech for more than 20 years. The university currently employs a total of about 3,000 staff members. Watson spends the majority of his time managing the day-to-day facilities needs of a university that is larger than some small cities. His team maintains most of the campus grounds and en-
Drives Roanoke’s All-America Award
Virginia Tech’s Associate Dirctor of Facilities Anthony S. Watson
sures that the administrative and academic buildings are running properly. They also respond to after-hours calls for roof and plumbing leaks, electrical issues, and broken windows and doors. Some days, you’ll find him helping prepare for football games in Lane Stadium or planning for this spring’s commencement. On other days he assists with smaller events across campus, including the annual Relay4Life activities. “We don’t slow down, ever,”
said Watson. “We run wide open year round.” As is the case with many Virginia Tech employees, Watson’s work day often extends into the evening hours and he’s often seen on campus on weekends as well, but you won’t find Watson complaining. The opportunity to work on so many different projects and events is part of what Watson enjoys most about his job. In addition to the recent > CONTINUED P2: Tech Man
Roanoke was recently named as an All-America City for the sixth time by the National Civic League. Mayor David Bowers and City Manager Chris Morrill flew to Denver to accept the award. Sheila Umberger, Director of Libraries for the city, accompanied them. Roanoke’s library system – and specifically its Star City Reads program – is why the National Civic League awarded its All-America City honor. Star City Reads, a program that is just now getting off the ground, is designed to help ensure that city school children are reading at grade level by the end of the third grade. “Roanoke will focus on children’s needs as they relate to school readiness, attendance and summer learning,” the declaration on a flyer for the program. “We’re actually in the process of implementing our plan,” said Umberger of what is known as the Community Solutions Action Plan. Umberger is looking for
individuals, businesses and organizations that might be interested in helping with the Star City Reads campaign. A number of partners are already on board, including TAP, Blue Ridge Literacy, United Way of Roanoke Valley, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Smart Beginnings (a program aimed at kindergartners) and Roanoke City Public Schools. “The school system was involved with us from the first day,” said Umberger. Having Roanoke City schoolchildren read at the third grade level by the time > CONTINUED P2: Library
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Friday will be hazy, hot, and still pretty humid with temperatures in the lower 90s. Another frontal boundary will approach the area on Saturday, bringing another round of passing showers, maybe even an isolated storm. We will turn cooler this weekend, with temperatures reaching the low-to-mid 80s on Saturday, and falling even more into the mid-to-upper 70s on Sunday. On Sunday, we should see increasing sunshine with most of the rain ending early in the day.