Roanoke Reinvented

first_imgVoters spilled in long lines from the Berglund Center, huddling in heavy coats and small groups to keep warm in the sub-20 degree temperatures as they waited upwards of two hours to cast a ballot.Roanoke city councilmen Sherman Lea and David Trinkle stalked the sidewalk and parking lots out front, engaging in the purest form of bare-knuckle politics as they sought to persuade the men and women trudging to the poll that they should be Roanoke’s next mayor.This Feb. 13 election—a Democratic Party primary held at a single, central polling place—could well decide the next 20 years of politics in Roanoke. It marks a pivotal moment for the mid-sized, Blue Ridge city that is nipping at Asheville’s heels to become a similarly hip destination for young professionals—think millennials and younger—in search of proximity to outdoor recreation, locally made food and craft alcohol, and a decent place to raise a family.Roanoke has struggled to transition from an economy driven by a handful of big, stable employers to a diverse, multifaceted system in which businesses must constantly reinvent themselves and quality of life—read: outdoor amenities—is a crucial part of attracting new businesses.Like those modern businesses, cities must frequently reinvent as well, making the retirement of longtime Roanoke politico David Bowers as a moment of generational change in the Star City.Roanoke has been transformed by an economic upheaval that has affected communities throughout Appalachia and indeed the country. Longtime employers whom people had depended on lifelong jobs for generations—furniture makers, textile manufacturers, the coal industry and, in Roanoke, the railroad—began to dwindle through layoffs and, in the case of the factories, outsourcing to other countries.Photo by Sam Dean/ Festival goers at the Roanoke City Harvest Festival held in the historic Market Square, Sept. 28,2013.Since then, Roanoke has focused on developing an identity as an outdoor city. In 2010, the regional economic development partnership launched Roanoke Outside, an initiative based on attracting and retaining companies by focusing on quality of life and recreational amenities.The city council signed off on the construction of multiple greenways, including an 11-mile stretch along the river built as part of a federal flood reduction project. It placed conservation easements on Mill Mountain, home to the city’s 88-foot neon star, and Carvin’s Cove Natural Reserve, a municipal park threaded with multiple trail systems for mountain biking and hiking.The Blue Ridge Marathon, branded as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” and the GO Outside Festival launched. Private-sector companies founded on the outdoors grew, too: New outdoor retailers took root, along with a new climbing gym and gear consignment shops.Now, Roanoke has started using the outdoors as a means to attract economic development—and growing numbers of young professionals. Conveniently, a new neighborhood in one of the oldest parts of town sprung up to meet them.Private developers leveraged historic tax credits to rehab the vacant warehouses and office buildings that littered downtown, turning them into trendy one-bedroom apartments and creating a new neighborhood overnight. Downtown’s population grew from fewer than 50 people in 2000 to more than 1,700 in 2015.All this activity has given Roanoke a new sense of self. When Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon, started scouting the Mid-Atlantic for an East Coast facility, the #Deschutes2Rke social media campaign quickly sprang up, engaging individuals and businesses who created an online movement that captured the attention of both brewery officials and observers in Asheville, a prime competitor.It worked: In late March, Deschutes announced it would build in Roanoke. The announcement capped off a week that also saw the expansion of a research partnership between Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech, as well as the arrival of an Italian auto parts manufacturer just north of the city.The #Deschutes2Rke campaign may prove to be a defining moment for Roanoke, arriving at the same time as the loss of hundreds of jobs in the 2015 closure of the railroad’s administrative offices, which have operated in one form or another since the 1880s.The region’s unemployment rate stands at a low 3.8 percent, yet that number masks an economic divide between the city’s different neighborhoods, which vary greatly by income and ethnic make-up.In 2016, Roanoke remains racially segregated. White flight resulted in the rapid growth of Roanoke County suburbs that surround the city. About 29 percent of Roanoke’s residents are black, according to the U.S. Census, versus 13 percent in Asheville and 17 percent in Knoxville. One year after Black Lives Matter emerged as a political force, Roanokers are debating not just how to transition their economy, but how to ensure that all residents are given opportunities to succeed.Roanoke Night LifeThat’s why the election to determine Roanoke’s next mayor matters so much.Lea and Trinkle have formed the solid backbone of the city council. Both have been twice re-elected, with Lea’s 12 years on council edging out Trinkle’s 10. They’re both Democrats but come at politics from different angles.When I covered city politics for The Roanoke Times, we called Lea the “Shermanator” in the newsroom. He shot from the hip when answering questions, giving thoughtful responses off the top of his head. A black pastor and retired state corrections official, Lea views athletics as a way to transcend differences. He organized an annual college football game between black colleges in Roanoke, and more recently set up a youth basketball league in which mostly black, inner-city youth play with and against police officers.Trinkle—a psychiatrist, faculty member at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and the owner of two mainstay restaurants—is more considered and calculated. His South Roanoke family roots count for a lot among city gentry, but he’s also stood for trying to make Roanoke cool since his first campaign, when he ran on replacing Victory Stadium with a state-of-the-art concert venue by the river. He talks a lot about “vibe.”Trinkle ran a digital get-out-the-vote campaign, pinging supporters via social media and texting to come vote for him. Lea’s campaign ran a more traditional operation, flushing out voters and bringing them to the election with a circuit of vans and buses.Lea edged out Trinkle by 134 votes, out of 3,027 cast. Trinkle remains in city politics, as he’s in the middle of a four-year term as a councilman.Lea’s victory propels him into the general election with a near-guarantee of victory (Republicans did not place a candidate on the ballot). He will become Roanoke’s second black mayor. The first, Noel C. Taylor, first won election in 1975 and served until 1992, facing only a single challenger during nearly two decades in office.While the momentum built by the development of regional campaigns and private sector businesses in the last 10 years doesn’t hinge on the mayor, Roanoke’s May election marks the beginning of a new future for a reinvented mountain town.last_img read more

Take the good listener test

first_img 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Are you a good listener? Are you sure? Almost all of us consider ourselves to be good listeners. But would others agree with that assessment?I do a lot of work with executives on understanding their blind spots. We uncover disconnects between how they see themselves and how others see them.Almost every executive believes he or she is a good listener. And yet this is often one of their biggest blind spots. Outside feedback is crucial. The problem is, if you ask a colleague if you are a good listener, chances are excellent he or she would say yes. If you want the real answer, you need to ask slightly different questions. continue reading »last_img

NEWS SCAN: Avian flu, quicker prepandemic vaccine trials, Baxter’s H5N1-tainted samples, vitamin D and flu, ACIP to meet

first_img WHO confirms Vietnam’s recent H5N1 deathThe World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the death of a 23-year-old woman from H5N1 avian influenza. Her Feb 21 death raises the country’s death toll to 53 among 109 cases, second only to Indonesia, which has 141 WHO-confirmed cases.[Feb 24 WHO statement] US vaccine practices committee meets this weekThe federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet in Atlanta Feb 25 and 26 to consider and make recommendations on issues concerning a number of vaccines, including those for anthrax and influenza. The panel, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will discuss a proposal to reduce the recommended number of doses of anthrax vaccine and change the route of administration. The group is also expected to make recommendations about flu vaccination for the 2009-10 flu season. Bali reports another H5N1 outbreakAnimal health officials on the Indonesian island of Bali yesterday confirmed an H5N1 outbreak in cockfighting birds in the provincial capital Denpasar, the Jakarta Post reported today. Eight of the owner’s 22 fighting cocks died suddenly, and the remaining 14 birds were culled to control the spread of the virus. Feb 24, 2009 Marker may help speed human pandemic vaccine testsResearchers have identified a marker that might help scientists assess the immune memory and persistence of prepandemic vaccines in humans in a few days instead of years. In a study sponsored by vaccine-maker Novartis and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), investigators found that an increase in the number of CD4+ T cells accurately predicted a rise in neutralizing antibodies after booster immunization and antibody maintenance 6 months later.[Feb 23 PNAS abstract]center_img Baxter acknowledges H5N1-tainted lab samplesOfficials from Baxter today responded to reports of influenza vaccine contaminated with the H5N1 virus that caused a scare at a Czech laboratory. Chris Bona, a Baxter spokesman, told Bloomberg News that the virus material sent to labs in three countries near its Austria headquarters was supposed to contain seasonal flu virus but was unintentionally contaminated with the H5N1 virus. The Czech lab workers discovered the error when inoculated ferrets died. So far, none of the workers have become ill.[Feb 24 Bloomberg News story] Study links low vitamin D levels to respiratory illnessPeople with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D report more upper-respiratory infections and flu, but the findings need to be confirmed in clinical trials before doctors can recommend it to boost immunity, researchers reported yesterday in the Feb 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Studying nearly 19,000 adults and adolescents, researchers found that the association between low vitamin D levels and respiratory illness held for all seasons and was even stronger in those with chronic lung diseases.[Feb 23 Massachusetts General Hospital press release][Feb 23 Arch Intern Med abstract] Groups urge Vietnam to boost bird flu fightVietnam should renew its vigilance against the H5N1 virus to prevent further spread in birds and humans, officials from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO said in a joint statement, according to a report today from Reuters. Since the first of the year, the country has had three illnesses and one death from the virus and reported poultry outbreaks in 10 provinces.[Feb 24 Reuters story]last_img read more

MILO Indonesia Virtual Run extends registration, running periods

first_imgMILO Indonesia Virtual Run 2020 has extended its registration and submission periods in order to welcome more runners, the organizers have said.The registration period for the virtual running event has been extended to Sept. 30, while runners are permitted to submit their running times until Oct. 3.The event, which allows participants to run in their respective regions and submit their times to the organizers for the leaderboards, is being held to mark National Sports Day this year. There are two categories of races, with the 10-kilometer individual run and 3-km family run. Read also: ‘Virtual London Marathon’ sells out as 45,000 sign up to run alone“The virtual run is aimed at providing a solution for runners to stay active while upholding the health protocols […] We’re extending the registration and running periods to Sept. 30 and Oct. 3 respectively in order to welcome more runners in the event,” Mirna Tri Handayani, the business executive officer of PT Nestlé Indonesia’s beverages unit, said in a statement on Tuesday.Fauzan, a running coach and 2018 Asian Games competition director, encouraged more people to run as the sport offered more than just physical activity.“Apart from activating our energy as well as strengthening heart and leg muscles, running also plays an important role in stress management and improving the immune system,” Fauzan said.The coach reminded runners to properly warm up prior to running to avoid injury and to cool down afterward to help ease muscle fatigue.Topics :last_img read more

Area residents earn Indiana University East honors

first_imgRichmond, In. — At Indiana University East, outstanding undergraduate academic achievement is recognized by naming students who take 12 or more credit hours and complete the semester with a grade point average of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale to the Dean’s List.The following is the fall 2017 Dean’s List. The list is sorted by the student’s listed hometown.INDIANAAuroraTheresa Berry, Brittany Hudson, Alyssa Mcgraw, Teresa Mueller and Rachel WilliamsonBrookvilleBrandon Bauman, Emily Buckhave, Haley Day, Cory Hinkle, John Huelseman, Isabelle Kelley, Carrie Lambert, Dakota McCreary, Jessica Mullins, Ashton Neeley and Brett WhittamoreConnersvilleKelly Bennett, Bailey Bunyard, Taylor Counceller, Keirah Crosby, Bradley Davidson, Chase Dixon, Matthew Godar, Terri Hadler, Jordan Harris, Lindsy Hughes, Jessica Jennings, Joshua Jones, Bakayah Keener, Sadler Kleve, Anna Klitch-Harrelson, Kelsey Kroger, Kristin Lawson, April Mays, Christian McIntosh, Kylie Miller, Alexus Mitchell, Tiffany Morgan, Mursaydeze Pearson, Meranda Robertson-Tinsley, Olivia Ryckman, Mikayla Smith, Brooklyn Sweney, Kendra Templeton, Victoria Templeton, Emily Werner and Jason WoodsDillsboroMichael CamptonEast EnterpriseMckenna EdwardsEconomyAshley Rainer and Cody WilsonGreendaleMisty RobbinsGreenvilleLindsey CraigLaurelCarlee McCulloch and Phillip OrschellLawrenceburgTyler Clark, Kaitlyn Gard, Alexandra Harmeyer, Christy Harris, Brandon Merkin, Kayla Nare and Brian ReeceLawrenceburgLogan Sterchi and Breeanna ZimmerLibertyTristan Campbell, Camryn Curry, Cole Fennimore, Cierra Gronning, Hannah Jobe, Elena Johnson, Magdolen Myers, William O’Farrow, Isabella Pavey, Zachary Sherwood, Sarah Wells and Kennady ZimmersMetamoraClaire Eckstein and Ashley WildmanMilanHannah WesslerMilroyAndrew HershbergerMorristownShelby WyattNew PalestineBenjamin DavisNorth VernonMerri EderOldenburgKristen MurrayPatriotKelsi Amer, Kaleesa Archer and Chantel BallardRising SunJohnathon Blackburn and Rachel RomansRushvilleMackenzie Campbell, Karli Hall, Megyn Kirchoff, Kilee Moore, Abbie Sliger, Alexis Tielking and Brittany WilsonShelbyvilleBrianna AyresVevayBradley CoxWest HarrisonBrooke Packerlast_img read more

Letter: Fight Mental Illness in the Open

first_imgContributed by Stacy Donovan |For nearly 70 years, organizations across the country have been drawing attention to the importance of mental health and wellness. And despite these long time efforts, as a collective community, we still struggle in darkness with respect to the way we view mental illness.Mental Health America, founded in 1909, is the nation’s leading community-based, non-profit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with a mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of Americans. Over 100 years ago, its founder, Clifford Beers said “we must fight in the open.”In this year alone, I in 4 adults age 18 and older will be diagnosed with a mental illness, mental health disorder, or experience a major mental health crisis. 18 percent of adults have a mental health condition encompassing 43 million Americans. The mental health of our youth is worsening. Rates of youth with severe depression increased from 5.9 percent in 2012 to 8.2 percent in 2015 with 1.7 million of them receiving no treatment.A recent study from the Center for Disease Control identified that nation-wide death by suicide across the life cycle is the highest in 30 years. Monmouth County alone had 58 completed suicides in 2017, an 18% increase over 2016.The CDC also reveals that in NJ 29 percent of high school students reported feeling so sad or hopeless for 2 weeks that they were unable to perform their normal activities, and 14% seriously considered suicide. It is now the second leading cause of death for youth aged 10-24.So, why aren’t we talking? Stigma.Jane Pauley, television news personality, former host of the Today show, and mental health advocate has been quoted, as saying, “a diagnosis is burden enough without being burdened by secrecy and shame.”For many people with mental illnesses, stigma is one of the main obstacles to pursuing treatment. When you consider the fact that less than half of American adults who suffer from mental health conditions get the help they need, it’s easy to see just how debilitating stigma can be. The average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.Mental illness is an equal opportunity illness which knows no age, gender, race, religious belief, or zip code. Too often it is the invisible illness; and yet it should be viewed and addressed as any other chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.Both youth and adults can knowingly or unknowingly endorse stigmatizing beliefs of people with mental illness, especially the belief that such individuals are prone to violent behaviors. Moreover, the beliefs of shame, blame, incompetency, punishment, and criminality of people with mental illness are common. Even casual referencing can have significant and potentially destructive consequences. People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying, and discrimination.The time to start the conversation is now. It is time to open dialogue and engage in destigmatizing messaging and practices. Be part of the conversation – end the stigma.Stacey DonovanChief Development OfficerMental Health Association of Monmouth CountyThis article was first published in the May 31-June 7, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more