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Sunday, July 31, 2005

How to Keep Your Computer Running Great: In Lynchburg and Elsewhere

Just a slight sidestep from news about Lynchburg:

Besides keeping your computer up to date with the latest upgrades and patches from Microsoft, and keeping a current antivirus program. There are a couple of things to do to keep your computer fuctioning in tip top condition. One thing is to perform periodic maintenance accessed from the system tools directory of your program (under accessories). But it is also important to be sure you have good spyware control.

There is much praise for two programs adaware and spybot. They are free programs and some people swear by them. Personally, I don't like either one much. Besides having to make sure you have the latest updates, if you decide to delete them you will find that they are deeply entangled in your computer's registry. And, if you read the disclaimer statements carefully, you will find that you agree to allow their spyware.

There is another free solution that I have been using for quite awhile, its Microsoft Windows Antispyware.

This spyware product has the advantage of real time spyware blocking and a scheduled scan at a time of your choosing. Updates are also done automatically. I run a secondary spyware program from a yahoo toolbar, that also provides a nice pop up blocker. I am not a fan of multiple tool bars.

What I have found using Windows spyware program is that it is virtually flawless in not allowing spyware to embed on my system. Secondary checks with yahoo has also found that my computer spyware clean.

There is one other utility I use to maintain computer health, its also free. PC Pitstop is a useful tool that performs diagnostics on your computer and provides an easy to understand directions on how to correct your computer.

(PC maintenance)

Lynchburg Virginia Grand Jury: What's Under Consideration Monday?

From the Lynchburg's prosecutor's office:

Besides murder and one rape on docket call for the circuit court in Lynchburg Virginia. The grand jury will convene Monday morning.

"The grand jury consists of a panel of citizens summoned by the Circuit Court to review any criminal charges brought against the defendant (an indictment) and to hear evidence from grand jury witnesses. The grand jury’s role is to decide if there is sufficient evidence to go forward with a trial at the Circuit Court level. Grand jury witnesses are usually made up of lieutenants from the police department who present evidence from their police reports to the grand jury for review. Victims and/or witnesses are not needed for this court appearance; the defendant is not present for this hearing either."

When the grand jury convenes on Monday. Citizens who have been called to duty will be presented with charges on at least 36 individuals.

Drug possession and drug sales will compose at least 16 of the charges heard.

Joseph Anthony Dapron will face eighty plus charges of child pornography.

One person will be reviewed for eleven charges concerning forgery of counterfeit bills.
Charges will be considered for one person on child abuse and or neglect.
Charges against two people will be considered for - Assault Family/Household Member.
At least ten charges of larceny, burglary or robbery will be considered.
Charges will also be considered for four charges of worthless checks against one individual.
The grand jury will also hear one person with three charges of Embezzlement.
And the list goes on from receiving stolen property to habitual offender charges.

(Local police, law and crime) (Local news)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Adopt a Street: Did Something Slip By Lynchburg?

Sometimes you just have to sit back and just wonder. Take the case of the adopt a street program in Lynchburg.

(Click picture to enlarge)

We are at a loss for words in pointing out something that some may consider, a wrong turn in the adopt the street program in Lynchburg. While others may find this a quite amusing irony. Right smack on Thomas Road, the home of Jerry Falwell's Church, a group of Druids have adopted the street. If you don't know Dr. Falwell, he is anything but a Druid.

And if you don't know who Druids are, we would have you peek back in history to the early English and Stonehenge when their pagan activities were the norm. Well, the Druids have come to Lynchburg to clean up Thomas Road, and the city had no qualms about placing recognition right in front of the book store operated by the Church. Next time you go up Thomas Road take a notice. We are not deceiving you, the sign is really there.

Now, we are not taking any sides on this hush hush thing that happened in our city. Nor will we imply any implications of why the Druids have decided to clean up Thomas Road. We are wondering though what is your reaction?

(Local news) (City Council and local issues) (Satire, and other things for your amusement)

"A Drinking Club with a Running Problem"

We have been considering telling you about this club for awhile. It is about the oddest recreational activity that we have found in Lynchburg, which has a long history and developed on the other side of the world. Its called Hashing, and their are local enthusiasts that are wild about it.

It all started in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) where a group of British expatriates enjoyed playing "paper chase" or the "hounds and hares" game. This is no child's game, as it evolved and reached Lynchburg Virginia. Its all about the chase, the food and the beer, not particularly in that order. The Lynchburg Hashers have both male and female members, that get together about twice a month. And from there, its all hounds and hares, a chasing game running through woods, the more inhospitable terrain the more they enjoy it.

The hashers have one rule that you must follow....there are no rules. The hare has about a fifteen minute start and lays a trail, sometimes false trails and is chased by the hounds. And, then the fun begins. The hare, who is usually their best runner, tries hard to avoid getting caught. At the end of the noncompetive race, the party begins with beer, food and more beer. Music and other activities abound. Some of the activities we are too shy to tell you about.

Sometimes there are themes for their races, you might see them all running in red dresses, or other apparel. We think they have no limits here, its possible doctors and nurses may have been one theme. One thing about this group is they are always ready to welcome new members. They have a website and a recorded phone message (Hash Hotline: 1-434-582-8076) to let you know of coming events. August third is their next event that meets in the parking lot of Lowes on Timberlake Rd.

Now, if you have a streak for the wild side this maybe the group for you. But be wary streaking may not be too far out for them.

(Local news) (Recreation, sports, and reading)


From the The Virginia Department of Health:

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has issued a new fish consumption advisory and has modified several existing advisories for various waterways throughout the Commonwealth. The advisories are in response to recent tissue sample tests conducted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Test results indicate that the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury exceed maximum levels allowed for bodies of water where fish are harvested for food.

Roanoke County, Franklin County, Bedford County and Pittsylvania County—Roanoke River/Smith Mountain Lake from below the Niagara Dam downstream to Smith Mountain Dam, including the Blackwater River to the Route 122 Bridge. These river segments comprise approximately 13 miles. The previous advisory recommended that no more than two eight-ounce meals per month of flathead catfish (less than 32 inches in size), striped bass, gizzard shad, redhorse sucker, largemouth bass and carp should be consumed. Per the previous advisory, flathead catfish (greater than 32 inches in size) should not be eaten. The advisory has been updated to also recommend that no more than two eight-ounce meals per month of channel catfish should be consumed.

(Local news) (Science, sociology, and Medicine)

Friday, July 29, 2005

"Gorham Mountain"

(Local news) (Local music)

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky and now using Charlottesville, Virginia as a base, Jan Smith is making her presence known in the music world. Her debut album, "Tin Heart," a mix of country, folk, and bluegrass, has made reviewers from around the world take notice of her talents, as a song writer and an accomplished musician.

Currently, she is scheduled for an overseas tour to England. And also makes appearances across the United States. Yet, you can also find her playing locally.

To listen to one of her songs, "Gorham Mountain," go to The Daily

To visit her website and view her show schedule click here.

photo provided by Jan Smith's website.

Centra Health: Funds 11 New Grants Throughout Lynchburg

The Centra Health Foundation is funding 11 new grants for more than $319,000.

From Centra Health Foundation:

These grants will help fund public services in Lynchburg, from a Central Virginia Emergency Medical Training Program, to Brems (Blue Ridge Emergency Medical Services).

Many other projects have been awarded grants, such as the Jubilee Family Development Center, which will receive funding for a health component, to their operation and the Miriam's House Child Care Initiative.

(Local news)
To read more on the grants awarded go to The Centra Health Foundation.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Residents of Chesterfield: Post Flyers of Registered Sex Offenders

Reported by Channel 8 Richmond:

In a controversial move some residents in Chesterfield have posted flyers of sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

The information was taken from the State Police registry. The State Police report that no laws were broken by this act. However, they also stated that you may be subject by a harassment charge if the subject complains.

"If the person is guilty and it looks like that's the case here, you forfeit your right. So too bad for his privacy," said a local resident.

You can access the Sex offender registry for Virginia, in the link section on the right.

(Local news) (Local police, law and crime)

Lynchburg Virginia Unemployment Rates Increase in June

The overall unemployment rate released today from the VEC is reporting an increase.

From the VEC (pdf document)

"RICHMOND—High school youth joining college students already in the summer labor market, as usual for June, boosted the state’s unemployment rate 0.2 percentage point. Statewide unemployment rose by 10,900 from 139,500, or 3.6 percent, in May to 150,400, or 3.8 percent, in June. This June’s jobless rate was the highest rate recorded in Virginia in 11 months since 3.8 percent in July 2004. It was, however, below the June 2004 Virginia jobless rate of 4.0 percent and well below this June’s U.S. jobless rate of 5.2 percent. The 3.8 percent June 2005 Virginia unemployment rate was the best state level for the month of June in four years, since a 3.2 percent jobless rate in June 2001. The seasonally adjusted June Virginia unemployment rate was unchanged from both April and May, at 3.6 percent."

The Lynchburg unemployment rated increased by 540 from a rate in May of 4.0 percent to 4.4 percent in June.

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)

Do You have ICE on your Cell Phone?: The Virginia State Police Want You To

Just incase you have not heard. The State Police is requesting that you place ICE on your cell phone for your own protection.

Channel 3 in the Hampton Roads area is reporting:

‘In Case of Emergency’ – before the names of the people they want to designate as next of kin in their cell address book, creating entries such as ‘ICE – Dad’ or ‘ICE – Allison.’”

The idea for this concept started through an email campaign and has grown nation wide. This will allow emergency workers to quickly contact your next of kin. Not a bad idea.

(Local police, law and crime) (Local news)

Bike down the River Front

With more mild weather, today some enjoyed bike rides. You can rent bikes on the corner of Jefferson and Washington, at the Blackwater Creek Bike Rentals Posted by Picasa

Baby Its been Hot in Lynchburg

Just outside of the city of Lynchburg, a sign reminds us ot the heat wave that burned through our area. More moderate temperatures are expected, and perhaps a thunder storm or two. Posted by Picasa

(Local news)

Boy Scout Jamboree at AP Hill: Suffering from the Heat

There are least 21 area Boy Scout troops in Lynchburg and the surrounding area. We do not know if any are at the National Jamboree at AP Hill, but we are concerned for their welfare if they are.

There are over 40,000 participants at the Jamboree, from the United States and the world.

The Richmond Times Dispatch Reports:

Scores of boy scouts fell ill due the the heat today prompting emergency assistance from the surrounding area and the military troops at AP Hill. Some were evacuated by air. President Bush who cancelled an appearance at the Jamboree is rescheduled for today. This falls on the heels of four adult scout leaders that died from electrocution while setting up a tent.

To read more go to The Richmond Times Dispatch

(Local news)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Public Urged to Reduce Electric Usage

Reported by the Richmond Times Dispatch:

(Local news)

The electric grid gets complicated. With the recent heat wave that has come through the mid Atlantic states, measures are now being taken by Dominion Virginia Electric Company that serves Richmond, their voltage has been reduced by five volts.

All customers in Virginia are being urged to reduce electric usage between the hours of 3 PM and 7 PM. They are doing this to protect the electric grid and want your help.

To read more go to the The Richmond Times Dispatch note this link is correct but they appear to be having some problems with their website. You can access the article now.

When You Have To Go To Court in Lynchburg

Sometimes, and for many different reasons, some of us have had to make a court appearance. The Lynchburg's District Attorney's office has developed a list of suggestions if you have to appear in court. No matter if you are appearing for the prosecution or the defense, we consider these good pointers.

From the Lynchburg's District Attorney's Office:

Tips on Testifying

Tell the truth.Don’t pause to try to figure out if your answer will hurt or help the case. Just answer truthfully, to the best of your memory.

Be prepared.Try to recall what happened and picture the scene and the objects there. Don’t try to memorize your testimony; simply be prepared to tell what happened in your own words.

Clarify questions if you need to.If you did not hear the question or did not understand it, ask the attorney to repeat it.

Answer only the questions asked of you.Do not volunteer information. Stop immediately if the judge interrupts or if an attorney objects to a question.

Do not guess or speculate.If you don’t know the answer, say so. If you give an estimate of time or distance, be sure everyone knows you are estimating.

Be courteous.Try to remain calm and do not lose your temper. Being polite makes a good impression.

Speak clearly and loud enough to be heard.

Dress neatly.Try to have a clean, neat appearance in court.

(Local police, law and crime)

Recycling Is Great: But How About Freecycling?

Update Lynchburg Freecycle has 20 more members after this posting earlier today

In a movement that has slipped under the radar of the local presses, 541 residents in the Lynchburg area (at last count) are changing the concept of recycling to freecycling. And they are looking for you to join next.

So what the heck is freecycling? And why do 541 members in the Lynchburg area embrace the idea? And why is this group growing at leaps and bounds?

It started in Arizona, when a group got together concerned about landfill space. Sound familiar, Lynchburg has the same problem. This group concluded that people are throwing away things that other people could use. So, instead of filling up the landfill space with these things, why not find a way to get them to the people who need them. Then a very simple and a very easy plan was put in action that is even easier than hauling things to the curb. Start a group on Yahoo and follow a very simple format of posts, and email messages to let people know what someone wants to give, or what someone wants, and what is currently taken.

On a one day read of the posts, we saw cars, outdoor swing sets, printers and a host of other items free for the pickup. And the giving and taking occurs at a fast pace. One thing we didn't see was spam in these posts. Spam is something you see in a lot of yahoo groups, but in this one they control it with a passion. One important thing to do is read their rules and follow their email instructions on how to put their emails in a separate folder.

Want to find out more go to Lynchburg Freecycle for the local group and if you want to see the national group go to

(Lynchburg Freecycle) (Local news)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lynchburg Midtown Plan: The Beginning of the Controversy

Lynchburg taxpayers paid 190,000 dollars for a plan, well lets call it a vision, for the future development of midtown. There is no question that this area is blighted, that some would be nervous about going there at night, and the Plaza is virtually a desert of a once thriving
oasis of business.

In a previous post,
we questioned this expense of bringing an out of town consulting company, to show Lynchburg what it wants. We are not saying that Victor Dover of Florida-based Dover, Kohl & Partners did some, outside of the box thinking, and did present some good ideas. We are saying why didn't the city consider doing this study themselves. And if they needed help, go to the community and seek local professionals. Why not keep this money that was spent in Lynchburg? Do we have to rely on a firm from Florida to do our creative thinking for us?

The midtown plan, as presented, is fraught with difficulties of implementation. There are elephants in the room and the city is trying to ignore. Much of the property recommended to reconstruct, does not belong to the city, and the cost outlays recommended are well outside the city's means. There are going to be lots of reactions to this plan. Some are just beginning to surface Walgreens may take a hike from plans to build in the midtown.

Here is an excert from The News and Advance
when Schaefer Oglesby addressed the City Council:

Schaefer Oglesby, who wants to sell part of his apartment complex to Walgreens, said council’s inaction on the matter has cost him time and money.

“I’m just burnt out on the thing,” he said. “Vote it up or down. It should have happened already.”

He said the Midtown study was completed so city officials could blame their decision not to rezone the property on an out-of-town firm.

“Some council members wanting to rely on some kind of so-called study is ridiculous,” he said of the $190,000 Midtown plan. “I’m just disturbed as a taxpayer of the city. This was a gross waste of taxpayer dollars.”

In 2006 there is 78,000 on the budget for consultation for the Planning Commision. We are wondering what will the city do next?

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)

Record 100 Degree Heat Expected in Lynchburg

There are several things to do to prepare for the heat:

Drink plenty of fluids, stay inside in air conditioning if possible. Do not drink alcohol it actually dehydrates you.
Only drive if necessary.
If you have to work outside, do it in the early morning.
Be sure your pets are well watered, and have shade, or bring them inside.
Call on your older friends, make sure they are OK.
Turn off lights and appliances that generate heat.
Reduce your physical activity.
Watch for signs of heat stroke, such as redness, failure to sweat, dizziness.
Do not leave children or animals in cars.

If you have an extra fan that you are not using, consider giving it Central Virginia Area for the Aging, they are taking fans to people.

(Local news) (Science, sociology, and Medicine)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dr. Falwell's IRS Complaint Dismissed

There is a joke about the most common lies one part of it goes "I am from the IRS and I am here to help you." Dr. Falwell jumped through another hoop in coming out unscathed in an IRS hearing. His lawyer said according to The News and Advance:

“As I see it, while we can’t call it a legal precedent, it is clear that the IRS has determined that pastors have the same First Amendment rights as newspapers,” Falwell said. “I think this gives pastors free sailing to speak their minds on candidates."

We are sure Dr. Falwell will be speaking his mind. And as for the IRS we hope the best help they give us is silence.

(Local news) (Religious Leaders)

Autism is Increasing in Virginia at an Alarming Rate.

The rate of autism in Virginia has increased 11 fold since 1985. And there has been evidence that other childhood diseases in Virginia are on the same path.

Now, a local Lynchburg Doctor is reaching national recognition for finding possible causes of why this is happening she says, "It's the most puzzling thing I've ever tried to wrap my mind around."

Is it mercury in vaccines or toxins in our enviroment? Or other causes? These are the questions that Dr. Elizabeth Mumper of Lynchburg is attempting to draw conclusions on.

Dr. Mumper has been named top adviser on autism treatment for Defeat Autism Now!, and she is the Medical Director of their physician training lecture series at the Autism Research Institute.

To read an in depth interview with her go to: The World Peace Herald

(Local news) (Science, sociology, and Medicine)

Gas Prices Predicted to Go down Further

After gas prices have rocketed to new highs in our area there could be an easing on our pocket books. Channel 8 in Richmond is reporting that we can hopefully expect lower prices at the pump.

We will be watching to see if this trend continues, and you can watch too. Go to the link section to find the cheapest gas prices in Lynchburg.

(Local news)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Who is Removing the Plague of Graffiti in Lynchburg?

Where Lynchburg meets the River James, the city has made great strives forward in completing a face lift which we all can be proud. There are some, however who are undoing the effort. (pictures all downtown Lynchburg near the river front, click picture to enlarge)

All it takes is to grab a can of spray paint and make their mark defacing the city were we all live. These scrawls of graffiti are being ignored by our city. And most residents choose not to acknowledge its presence. We look the other way.

Little or no effort, has been made by the city to remove this blight. We do have laws of enforcement, but no action or policy for the removal once it has occurred.

If by chance, I have missed a city policy on graffiti abatement please let me know.

Other communities across the United States have recognized the importance of removing graffiti as quickly as possible. Some have graffiti reporting numbers, and the city responds within 24 hours. Others have community action groups were volunteers work to keep the walls clean. Some cities provide the paint and removal equipment free of charge so property owners can rid themselves of this blight. A quick scan in search engines on graffiti abatement will show you the various efforts cities make. And there was even a suggestion from one of my readers, that those in our jails should be put to work removing graffiti and also clearing brush.

There are reasons communities act quickly, besides the apparent one of keeping there walls clean. They remove them for two other reasons and these reasons can be seen repeated over and over. The first reason is this is the mark of gangs and how they warn others to stay out of their territory. The second is called tagging were one gang lets another gangs know that they are not going to respect their territory.

Cities and even smaller communities have now recognized that when they remove the markings of gangs promptly, that not only do they improve the appearance of the city, they disrupt the influence of gangs.

So let me ask you again, where is Lynchburg's graffiti abatement program?

(Gangs, graffiti, drugs, and violence) (Local police, law and crime) (Local news)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Singles Night at Roanoke's Walmart: Wait a Moment

Roanoke was about to make national history, by following Germany's example of having a singles night. Customers could come buy some tooth paste, get some breath mints, and look down the aisle to see what else they could pick up. Perhaps a saucy blonde with a red ribbon strapped to her cart. The huge discount chain was about to, and even started, a new line of customer perks for the cost aware customer, discounted singles pickups.

The corporate big wigs in Walmart got wind of this local enterprise. Perhaps when surfing channels on TV, and hearing a Jay Leno one liner about Roanoke's trip to the far side of shopping.

Suddenly, the shopping carts came to a squeaky stop in Roanoke. The corporate big wigs laid down the law.

"What the heck are you doing Roanoke, we don't want our shoppers to be distracted from the cheapest Chinese goods we have found. This red ribbon pickup thing is going to stop. They may do this in Germany, but here in America we just can't have toothpaste, mints, and saucy blondes, going in the trunks of our customer's cars."

We have heard there was a sigh of relief from Virginia's Department of Transportation. It is rumored that in an emergency meeting, they had considered making 460 an eight lane road from Lynchburg to Roanoke.

Unconfirmed reports were also heard outside Lynchburg's City Hall, about how the effects on the tax on mints and toothpaste, would ruin the tax base in Lynchburg. However, local gas stations were pleased when fueling up some local politician's cars. Again, unconfirmed reports revealed that the word was, they were going to Roanoke to check the price of mints.

Some say there was a twinkle in their eyes, as if they were thinking of sugar plums and all other things that are nice, perhaps even saucy blondes.

(Satire, and other things for your amusement)

Help Us Solve This Puzzle

In a certain area, just outside the Lynchburg city limits, rumors are flying about what is happening here. The ground is deeply excavated and what remains is this building. Click picture to enlarge.

Tales and speculation have been abounding. We have heard that this owner has failed to sell out so they just dug out around him. Others have said just wait and see when the excavators get the court order they are going to bulldoze it down. Some say nawh you got it all wrong they are going to move that building. So being totally confused about this we are asking what is happening here?

Update: See what has really happened here as reported by The Lynchburg News and Advance

(Local news) (Satire, and other things for your amusement)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Accident on the Intersection of Old Forest RD and Lakeside DR

A terrible accident occurred at the intersection Old Forest Road and Lakeside Drive today. Involving at least two but maybe three vehicles. No reports on injuries, but considerable damage was seen on two of the vehicles. A Green Pickup and a late model white car were both damaged severely Posted by Picasa traffic is still tied up in the area.

I think that everyone that has gone through the intersection of Old Forest RD and Lakeside Drive realizes that improvements need to be made on the timing of the signal lights. How often has the light turned green for you and still oncoming traffic is coming?

(Local news)

In The Top 1000 Schools Newsweek Rated EC Glass 412 But...

If you ever turn on channel 2 of your cable list, you will see the Lynchburg School System is ready to tell you EC Glass was ranked 412 in the top 1,000 schools. Looks impressive, but looks can be deceiving.

Now, let me tell you why. Only 1,036 High Schools were rated in the Newsweek poll. And in this universe of making numbers show what you want to see, you can easily be misled. EC Glass's performance was only mediocre, when looked at another way. On a percentage scale they ranked a touch below 40 percent of all the schools evaluated.

Perhaps instead of touting the high ranking of EC Glass, the Lynchburg School System should be looking inward at how to truly improve the quality of education in Lynchburg.

(Local news) (Local Education and area Schools)

Lynchburg Circuit Court: What is on the Docket Today?

As the Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge comes out of his chambers today and sits on the bench. He will be looking at the following charges.

Drug cases: 15
Concealment: 1
Failure to to stop for an officer habitual offender: 1
Larceny - Petty 3rd Offense: 1
Firearm - Possession by Convicted Non-violent Felon: 1
Embezzlement: 2
Credit card theft or forgery: 2

This list may have some small variations due to the method of counting, but as a whole this is pretty much represents of what is on the docket. The most significant observation is the burden presented by drug cases, which helps indicate the size of the problem Lynchburg faces.

(Local news) (Local police, law and crime)

Virginia Budget: Is Fat with 544 Million Surplus Over Expenditures

The reason why we have such a balance is because Virginia's economy surged in 2004 and because of tax increases. This puts Virginia rainy day fund over a billion dollars. Or slightly higher than Rev Jerry Falwell's backup plan for an endowment fund for Liberty University.

With this considerable balance, of a billion dollars being saved for Virginia's rainy days, maybe it is time to reign in, and reduce the tax burden on Virginians. Virginia's goal at this point should be to equalize the taxes with the cost of running the Virginia government. A problem with governments, all governments including our state and Lynchburg governments, spending gets out of hand when the money pot gets too large. Just like we have to teach our kids to be responsible for their allowance, we should be very careful in watching the allowances given to our local governments.

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)


From the Virginia Health Department:

For More Information ContactJimeequa Williams (804) 864-7897
Central Region Contact: Cheryle Rodriquez (804) 225-3881

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that a mosquito pool collected in the Monument Avenue area of Henrico County tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the first indication of West Nile virus activity in Virginia in 2005.

The mosquitos were collected by Henrico County Department of Public Work’s Vector Surveillance and Control program on July 13. The state’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services confirmed that the mosquito pool was positive for the virus on July 18.

“Though we are experiencing a slightly delayed onset of West Nile virus activity this year, this positive test is a reminder that West Nile virus is still present in Virginia and could build to high levels this summer if conditions permit. Now is the time for people to eliminate mosquito breeding areas around their home and to learn how to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses,” said State Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube, M.D., M.P.H.

Last year, Virginia’s first West Nile virus activity was detected in an infected horse in Culpeper County on May 1, and the first infected mosquitoes were found in Fairfax County on June 16. Five human cases of West Nile virus, including one death were confirmed in Virginia in 2004. In addition, a total of 26 birds, 15 horses, and 432 mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile virus in Virginia last year. West Nile virus was first detected in Virginia in the fall of 2000.
West Nile virus is spread to birds, humans, horses and other mammals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not get sick. People who do get sick usually suffer a mild flu-like illness. People over age 50 are at greatest risk of serious illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

VDH recommends the following tips to reduce exposure to mosquitoes:

Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
Make sure window and door screens in your home are functional and in place
Use insect repellent products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency such as products containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. When using a product containing DEET, no more than 50 percent DEET should be used for adults and less than 30 percent should be used for children. Follow instructions when using insect repellents.
Turn over, drain, or remove containers in your yard where water collects, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
Fill in or drain root-ball holes (from downed trees) or any depression that holds water for more than a week.
Eliminate standing water on tarps or flat roofs, and in boats.
Clean out birdbaths and wading pools once a week.
Clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit The Virginia Health Department

(Science, sociology, and Medicine) (Local news)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

There Are Treasures in Lynchburg Area: Besides the Beale Treasure

This is not about the Beale treasure
or other rumors of treasure found on little known attractions of Lynchburg.

Yet if you search the net carefully you will find an unusual hobby of treasure hunting that occurs world wide, but has also descended on the Lynchburg area. Yes, Lynchburg there is treasure in them there hills.

Imagine for the moment, its Saturday morning you are itching for something to do that’s a little different. Maybe something that will take you off the beaten track. You have the urge to go on a quest that will lead you to parts unknown. And , the journey might be its own reward.

So you set out in your car with the family and kids, setting out on an adventure, that is sure to entertain, amuse, filled with the hope of discovery. You have your clues, maybe your picnic lunch, and can feel the growing excitement of your children.

What is this adventure? Its called letterboxing. Someone has placed in hiding a waterproof container with a little treasure for you to find. They have given you directions, and other clues. Maybe they have left a log bog for you to sign. And you might find other things., perhaps some self addressed postcards, a trinket or two, or a request to leave a trinket for the next finder.

Yes, Lynchburg , there are already some letterboxes
for you to find click here to get the clues.

In September, Lynchburg Virginia Blog will be placing at least three letterboxes,with clues, in the Lynchburg area. Come back for the clues.

(Recreation, sports, and reading) (Satire, and other things for your amusement)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mary Miller convicted of hit and run for death on Expressway.

From The office of the Lynchburg District Attorney:

On July 20, 2005 after a three day jury trial, 22-year old Mary Miller was convicted of Leaving the Scene of an Accident involving Personal Injury or Death, for the May 13, 2004 incident during which, 36-year old Renee Jones was killed. Jones had been run over by at least two vehicles on Route 29 southbound at the Grace Street interchange. After convicting the defendant, the jury recommended that the defendant be ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and serve a 9-month jail sentence. The prosecution was a result of an extensive investigation by the Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorneys Office and the Lynchburg Police Department.

The evidence presented to the jury revealed that at approximately 1:00 a.m. on Thursday morning May 13, 2004, Renee Jones got out of a car being driven by her husband on the Grace Street entrance ramp to Route 29 Southbound. Witnesses on the roadway recall observing Ms. Jones walking in the middle of traffic in the southbound lanes. The last witness that observed Ms. Jones alive saw Ms. Jones fall to the ground in the right hand lane of traffic. Ms. Jones curled up in the fetal position and appeared to be crying.

The next person to see Ms. Jones, was Millard Chavis, a truck driver from Greensboro, NC. Mr. Chavis was driving his 18-wheel tractor trailer on Route 29 Southbound when he observed Ms. Jones lying in the roadway. At this time, Ms. Jones had already been struck by a vehicle as she was lying in the roadway with severe trauma to the upper portion of her body. Mr. Chavis was not able to stop his truck in time and ultimately ran over Ms. Jones' body.

Lynchburg Police responded to the scene and immediately observed Honda car parts lying in the roadway in a debris field very close to Ms. Jones' body. One of the car parts was a right front fender liner and the other parts were black plastic fragments that had been broken off of an air resonator. Police were able to determine that these Honda car parts belonged to a 1998-2002 Honda Accord. Police advised local media of the type of car they were searching for and tracked down numerous leads over the next six months.

In November 2004, police received a tip to check out the defendant, Mary Miller, a former Liberty University student that had moved to Tennessee only three days after the May 13, 2004 incident. The defendant was the owner of a 2001 Honda Accord. On November 18, 2004, Lynchburg Police traveled to Tennessee and conducted an interview with the defendant. During the interview the defendant provided a false alibi claiming that she was not on Route 29 Southbound on the night of the incident. The defendant was also very adamant that she had not been in an accident and that she had never had any repair work performed on her vehicle.

The following day, Lynchburg Police took the defendant's vehicle to an auto body shop in Hendersonville, TN and quickly discovered that the defendant's vehicle had a broken air resonator. The entire bottom half of the defendant's air resonator was missing. In addition, police discovered that the defendant had had work performed on her car back only four weeks after the May 13, 2004 incident. The work on the defendant's vehicle included replacing a missing right front fender liner.

Police soon thereafter were able to break down the defendant's alibi by confirming that the defendant had not gotten off of work at the time she told police and that she had been on Route 29 Southbound during the time of the incident. Police also spoke to the defendant's co-workers in Tennessee that reported the defendant had admitted to possibly having killed a woman by running her over in Lynchburg. When her co-workers advised the defendant that she should contact police if what she said was true, the defendant responded by stating that she would never admit anything to police.

Scientists from the Division of Forensic Science in Roanoke testified at trial that the right front fender liner found in the roadway, which was a match for the missing fender liner from the defendant's vehicle, had Ms. Jones' blood on it. Scientist were also able to conclusively testify that the broken black plastic fragments found on the roadway were at one time attached to the broken air resonator removed from the defendant's vehicle.

During the trial, the defendant testified and offered another false version of the events as they occurred on May 13, 2004. In total, the Commonwealth called 17 witnesses and the defense called 10 witnesses during the 3-day jury trial.

At the close of trial, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Felmlee, who prosecuted the case, requested that the defendant's bond be revoke and that she be jailed pending sentencing. However the Honorable J. Leyburn Mosby, Circuit Court Judge allowed the defendant to remain free on a $10,000 secured bond pending her formal sentencing on September 16, 2004.

(Local police, law and crime) (Local news)

APCO Electric Hike Delayed

Good news for the residents of Lynchburg, the proposed rate hike on electric service has been delayed. But, maybe not for long, a new statue, the State Corporation Commission, has required has slowed the process. The State Corporation Commission is concerned if it can authorize an increase of nearly 9.2 percent. Legal arguements are to be submitted in September. After all is said and done, you may see an increase later this year.

To read more on this go to The News and Daily Advance.

(Local news)

J and D Court: What's on the Docket in Lynchburg

If you were a judge in Lynchburg on the J and D court, as you arrived in Court this morning you would be looking at a docket of 13 cases:

Nine of the charges are Assault Family/Household Member
One Charge of Child Neglect/Abuse -- Reckless Disregard
One Charge of Assault and battery
One Charge of Violation of protective order
One Charge of Larceny firearm burglary felon-unarmed

What strikes me the most about this is the nine charges of assault of a family or household member.

Over all, this seems to the pattern that the J and D court finds itself in. Children who are abusive to their parents. And day after day, our judges are faced to deliberate on these same issues over and over. The same problem, children out of control, each day court is in session, a repetitive problem that has been eluding solution. I have a question for all of us, what should we be doing to correct this problem?

(Local news) (Local police, law and crime)

Delinquent on Child Support: Social Services Got Your Number

The Roanoke Times is reporting: If you are a serious avoider of paying child support, the next call you may get on your cell phone, maybe from child support enforcement.

The Virginia Department of Social Services has issued subpoenas for the cell phone records of those seriously behind in child support. They got their numbers and addresses and may soon be calling a delinquent parent near you.

Go to the Roanoke Times for the full story.

Update: This plan of action is having so much success that plans are in the working to expand it to all delinquent accounts in Virginia. See the Richmond Times Dispatch

(Local news) (City Council and local issues) (Science, sociology, and Medicine)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

To See a Post on the Midtown Plan

If you are coming here to read about Lynchburgs Midtown Plan scroll down.

Virginia Governor Mark Warner: Fortells What the Cost Maybe for a New Virginia Driver's License

As previously speculated here on a previous post, that the new REAL ID Act would increase your cost to get a Virginia driver's license, Mark Warner is also sounding the alarm bells.

As reported by the Daily Press our Governor has made the following statement:

"Are Americans really ready to pay $50 to $100 for the cost of a driver's license?" Warner asked. "Are they willing to stand in line for hours on end in a DMV office?"

The Daily Press also reported:

"Congress is considering providing as much as $100 million nationwide to help states implement the law, but Warner said the costs in Virginia alone could exceed $50 million."

Already Virginia has improved its verification process for obtaining a driver's license. How far should the Federal Government make the state go?

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Complaint Against Jerry Falwell Dismissed, One Still Pending

The Montana News Association is reporting:

A complaint against Jerry Falwell Ministries and the Liberty Alliance was dismissed by the The Federal Elections Commission. The complaint stemmed from an email sent during the 2004 election period in which he included the following statement:

"For conservative people of faith, voting for principle this year means voting for the re-election of George W. Bush. The alternative, in my mind, is simply unthinkable."

After the case was dismissed Dr. Falwell stated:

"Religious nonprofit groups are not orphans to the First Amendment. I have been expressing my views on politics for five decades and am pleased with the FEC's ruling."

To read the full article go to: Montana News Association

The Daily Press has also reported:

"A similar complaint against Falwell lodged last summer with the Internal Revenue Service still is pending, said Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed the claim. The IRS complaint is potentially more damaging than the FEC action because an adverse IRS ruling could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of some of Falwell's holdings."

To read the full article go to: Daily Press

(Local news) (Religious Leaders)

The Privilege to Drive in Virginia May Soon be More Expensive

Today, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is planning to meet with the National Governors Association, on the agenda, is the REAL I-D Act which was passed into law last month.

What this means to the States is that they are going to be faced with increasing costs to verify if you are a legal resident or a citizen of the United States. You can expect that any costs that Virginia incurs will be directly passed to you. While this may be our own speculation, the cost to get a driver's permit in Virginia we predict will rise. To read more on this go to 8 News in DES MOINES, Iowa

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)

"Wait on the Moon"

Paddy Dougherty, who was the leading vocalist for Main Street Rhythm and Blues in Lynchburg, Virginia, has stepped out on her own. Currently, she has two CD's released that are featured on her website and at local area stores. Her most current CD is "Wait on the Moon." Her music has it roots in Jazz and Blues that she has mastered, and now has developed her own approach. An able song writer in her own right, her CD's offer many of her own compositions.

Paddy has appeared in many clubs up and down the East Coast. She has also performed back up vocals for many musicians including such noted blues stars as David Bromberg. She has appeared in DC's Wolf Trap and venues such as NPR radio's Mountain Stage. These are just two of her many musical accomplishments.

The News and Advance has started a website, called Beats in the Burg , where one of her songs is featured as a free download. Paddy's music stands out on their website as one of the best offerings of the area. And we encourage you to both look at her website and Beats in the Burg so you can decide for yourself. Her local appearances can be found on her website.

Photo used with permission of Paddy Dougherty

(Local music)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Four Dead One Injured in an Accident in Bedford

The News and Daily Advance is reporting: That four are dead and one is injured in an accident on a road that is used as a short cut to Smith Mountain Lake. It was a collision between a wood truck and a passenger car. All the occupants of the the passenger car were reported dead at the scene. To read more go to The News and Daily Advance.

(Local news)

Family Violence Prevention in Lynchburg

Out of a 135 localities in Virginia, Lynchburg has the 16 highest rate of victims of abuse and neglect for ages of 0 to 17 according to the Virginia Social Services Department (pdf Document). The rate per thousand for Lynchburg is 8.4, that compares to the overall Virginia average of of 3.8 per thousand.

It is important to note that these statistics may reflect that our Social Services here in Lynchburg may be doing a better job than most areas. But however you interpret the numbers, you have to believe we have a problem. And the relationship between violence in the home, and how youth learn to interact with others in our community can't be ignored.

Recently, CASA of Central Virginia has received an award from the Family and Children's Trust Fund(pdf document) for its collaboration of public and private agencies in Campbell County and Lynchburg to provide post-court supervision support for families at risk of violence. We support their efforts.

If you know of child abuse or neglect we encourage you to call the Virginia hot line on abuse at 1-800-552-7096 or notify Lynchburg Division of Social Services at (434) 847-1551 You can be assured your identity will not be revealed.

(Local police, law and crime) (Local news)

Central Virginia Jailer Charged with Intent to Distribute Drugs

The Richmond Times is reporting that Jahmel M. Terrell has been arressted at a Gordonsville convenience store. He has been released on a 15,000 dollar bond. He was an officer at the Central Virginia Regional Jail. Charges include both marijuana and cocaine.

(Local news) (Local police, law and crime)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Lynchburg Spends 190,000 Dollars on Midtown Plan: Do What?

When a Convention Center in Norfolk was being build ages ago, there was much excitement over the idea that the Norfolk had hired an independent consultation company to come up with a name. It was back in the days of when you had to feed a series of punched card in a computer to tell the computer what to do.

This consulting firm was charged with the momentous task of running a computer that selected random letters to form names. Such was the task of this consulting firm, they ran their program and the convention center was named.

Norfolk residents waited anxiously for the name to be revealed, and marveled at the new technology to name the convention center. Then, the result was announced "Scope." There was a staggering pause and the price this consulting firm charged was exposed.

You could almost hear a rising chorus of the residents of Norfolk saying almost in unison "Do What?" There are some that say that was when the expression Do What originated. Others say, it was brought in by out of towners when they went in Norfolk drug stores and asked where to find the Scope and ended up on on the personal hygiene aisle.

On a more serious note, Lynchburg has outsourced the plan for midtown to a company in Florida. They have brought back a plan that wants your input as citizens. Its a computer generated plan with ideas you brought to them and some of their own. The cost is 190,000 dollars. This is roughly 1.3 percent of the entire Lynchburg City budget. On April 28th,WSET ran a story on the midtown plan this was my comment then:

Dover, Kohl & Partners, Coral Gables, Fla., typically charges over a quarter of a million dollars to do a study like this. My question is could not this money be better spent? Imagine for a moment, that the city asked for local professionals to offer their ideas free and gave them a quarter of a million dollars to actually do something. I think that would be better than pictures of a far off dream.

Lynchburg must of got their best discount plan, but at a 190,000 dollars you have to wonder isn't this what we are paying the Planning Commission to do, not to hire consultants to do their work for them. And if they find it necessary to get consultants, wouldn't it be better to tap the able resources in our own community? So I am asking all the citizens of Lynchburg, is this the way we want our local government to act?

Picture midtown Lynchburg

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Early Virginia and Seperation of Church and State

Having run across several comments on my posts about separation of Church and State. One asking where does it say in the Constitution that there should be separation? We think that we should clarify our opinion on this issue.

It is our opinion that Separation of Church and State are both good for the Church and the State. And let me state right out front America is not a Godless country. And that is something that is intrinsic to America. The right to worship if you are Christian, Muslim or any of the religions that make up the landscape of America, should not be infringed upon by government. And in the alternate respect, religions should not try influence the government in respect to the morality code it would like to see imposed on all citizens.

This was recognized early in Virginia's history. At one time the Church of England virtually ruled Virginia. Eventually, and slowly, Virginia began to evolve and embrace new ideas of how to govern itself. Jefferson in one of his famous letters called for a wall of separation between Church and State. When you look more closely at time, petitions were even made to put ministers on the state payroll.

Virginians in their wisdom, decided there was a place for the State and a place for religion. This did not separate God from the government. In fact most of our laws are based on moral concepts derived from religion. How to act and how to behave. But the most important concept that early Virginians gave to us is the concept that Church and State should be separated, so no one group could be favored over another. To read more go to Petitioning in Eighteenth-Century Virginia

(Local History) (Patriotism and supporting our troops)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gangs Write Their Signature Across Lynchburg

Lynchburg downtown is being plagued by graffiti. While the city strives forward with its redevelopment projects, some are at work to undo the process. Posted by PicasaTo read more about gangs in Lynchburg scroll down the page and you will see several posts on Lynchburg gang problem, including a list of gangs that have been identified as operating in Central Virginia. All of this graffiti is from downtown Lynchburg. Some in the area of 9th street that has recently been given a new facelift. Other communities have learned the importance of removing graffiti as soon as it appears. Future articles will address what other communities are doing and why it is important to remove graffiti. To read about the gang problem in Hampton Roads which includes information about MS-13: go to the Virginia Pilot: gang story MS 13 is one of the gangs identified as operating in Central Virginia.

(Local news) (Gangs, graffiti, drugs, and violence) (Local police, law and crime)


When your child has hearing problems, early intervention is important to insure your child does not face delays in his development. The Virginia Health Department is willing to help you and your child to overcome the problems with hearing loss. A new loaner program is being offered by the Virginia Department of Health. If your child needs help with his hearing please look into this program.

From the Virginia Department of Health:

"Children in Virginia who are facing delays in getting permanent hearing aids no longer have to wait. They can now borrow them from the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Hearing Aid Loan Bank.

The loan bank, which started in May, lends hearing aids and FM hearing enhancement systems for up to six months. That initial loan period can be extended for an additional six months in certain circumstances. The program is open to children under age 3 whose hearing loss is confirmed by an audiologist. To qualify, families must be in the process of securing permanent hearing aids through insurance or other means.

The program’s goal is to provide children with temporary hearing aids so they do not experience developmental difficulties while their families work to secure permanent hearing aids for the child."

(Local news) (Science, sociology, and Medicine)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

One of the Possible London Bomber Arrested In Leeds

There are reports on CNN, that one of the bombers in London was arrested. Unconfirmed by Scotland Yard and CNN: There was one mention that this person has ties to Pakistan, which may be his country of origin. While none of this has been released as fact, we thought you might want to know of this possibility.

Update: A connection with Pakistan has now been definitely established, as well as one of the bombers had previously make a trip to Afghanistan.

The Question of Biosolids

(Local news) (Science, sociology, and Medicine)

On a statement made on the WSET website
I made the following comment:

"I can appreciate peoples concern over the human waste issue. Thirty years ago I lived in South Korea were unproccessed human waste was used almost exclusively for fertilizer. The stench was terrible. We were not allowed to eat the vegetables because of contamination. But that was 30 years ago. Today biosolids are processed and a resource we should use. Fertilizer prices are going to increase with the fuel that is used to produce them. And from what I have read there is no longer a stench or the threat of contamination with biosolids. "

I was in error in saying there is no longer a stench. A look at the EPA website reveals:

"Once the wastewater reaches the plant, the sewage goes through physical, chemical and biological processes which clean the wastewater and remove the solids. If necessary, the solids are then treated with lime to raise the pH level to eliminate objectionable odors. The wastewater treatment processes sanitize wastewater solids to control pathogens (disease-causing organisms, such as certain bacteria, viruses and parasites) and other organisms capable of transporting disease. "

There is still an odor issue as further stated by the EPA. However, I still support the use of biosolids as a natural way to fertilize and its other uses. To read more go to the EPA faqs on this issue.

What Can Lynchburg Do About Gangs?

In previous posts we have asked the question, what is Lynchburg's plan about gangs. We have also identified the gangs operating in Central Virginia. In Hampton Roads Virginia the gang problem has been getting out of hand. Gangs seep in slowly and the problem will expand if we ignore the problem. There is a particular gang in Hampton Roads that is already here, MS-13.

Reported by the Virginia Pilot:

"A warning has come from the feds.

An FBI informant says MS-13, a notorious street gang with ties to El Salvador, recently issued an order for its members to kill someone — anyone — wearing a badge in Hampton Roads. "

We cannot stress more, how much Lynchburg should develop a plan, a comprehensive plan, to deal with the gang issue. Below is part of what one city is doing in Wisconsin. Lynchburg needs to be addressing the gang issue. In our opinion if we do not act we will be left to react.

Provided by the Madison Wisconsin Police Department:


Street gang membership encompasses all races from most socioeconomic levels and are not limited to larger cities. Active prevention is now required virtually from the start of a child's entry into the school system. Street gangs have national scope, many are localized imitation of larger cities.
A street gang is a group or association of three or more persons who may have a common identifying sign, symbol or name, and who individually or collectively engage in, or have engaged in, criminal activity, or as a juvenile commits an act that if committed by an adult would be a criminal act


"Gang related incident" - An incident shall be considered gang related when one or more of the following criteria are met:

1. When an incident occurs where the participants, suspects or victims, are identified as gang members or affiliates.
2. When a law enforcement agency or reliable informant identifies an incident as gang activity.
3. When an informant of previously untested reliability identifies an incident as gang activity and it is corroborated.
4. When the conduct is consistent with street gang activity. Indicators of street gang involvement may be based on the suspects' description, method of operation, or other evidence that reasonably indicates that gang members were involved in the incident.


An individual shall be considered a "Street Gang Member" when that person meets any one of the following criteria:

1. When the individual admits membership in a gang.
2. When a law enforcement agency or reliable informant identifies an individual as a gang member.
3. When an informant of previously untested reliability identifies an individual as a gang member, and it is corroborated by independent information.
4. When the individual resides in or frequents a particular gang's area and affects their style of dress, use of hand signs, symbols or tattoos, and/or maintains ongoing relationships with known gang members; or has been arrested several times in the company of identified gang members for offenses which are consistent with usual gang activity; and where the law enforcement officer believes there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in gang-related criminal activity or enterprise.


An individual who does not meet the criteria for a "Street Gang Member," but is known to affiliate with active gang members, and law enforcement personnel have established a reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal activity or enterprise, or promotes the criminal activity of a gang.


Activities that gangs are involved in include fighting, vandalism, graffiti, armed robbery weapon offenses, auto theft battery and drug dealing. Not all gang members are engaged in illegal activities. Criminal activity is usually committed by gang members for monetary benefit to either the gang itself or to an individual member.


Peer pressure plays an important role in a decision to join a gang. Gang members come from all walks of life, from low income to high income. Some gang members have relatives who belong to a gang. Gang members are placed in the following categories:
1. "Leaders" are usually the oldest members with extensive criminal backgrounds. They direct the activities and recruitment of the gang members. Each gang has a particular command structure. Currently in the Dane County area there are limited numbers of gang member that are considered to be officers. Most of the high ranking officers in the gangs come from source cities, such as Chicago.
2. "Hard-core members" are usually the most violent members of the gang with criminal backgrounds. They generally commit the more serious crimes and are behind the drug dealing trade for the gang. They intimidate the younger members of the gang and show them what is required to display loyalty to the gang. Locally these gang members are currently the most influential gang members and are the link between Chicago and Madison.
3. "Fringe and/or marginal members" are usually the youngest and the newest members of the gang with little criminal backgrounds. They may have joined the gang or are thinking about joining the gang. They may only be involved temporarily or on a limited basis, or they may progress into hard-core members. This group represents the majority of gang members seen in Dane County.


Gang members use graffiti, hand signs, jewelry, tattoos, clothing and colors to signify their membership in a gang and to communicate their gang affiliation to others. Each gang has its own unique graffiti, signs and colors.

HAND SIGNS Are used to communicate within the gang and as a challenge to rival gangs. The signs are made by forming letters and/or numbers with fingers.
TATTOOS Are used to mark ones body as an identifier indicating membership in a particular gang. The tattoos can include the name, initials, street of origin, initials, or symbols of a gang. Some tattoos are professionally drawn while others are homemade. Tattoos can be found on any part of the body, but are commonly found on the hands, arms, chest, back, thighs or ankles.
COLORS Most gangs have particular colors that they use to identify themselves. Many of the gang members will frequently dress in these colors. In Madison the two colors most associated with gang activity are blue and red.
CLOTHING Some gangs use particular sports team clothing to represent their gang by picking a team that uses the particular colors associated with gangs. They may also pick out a teams clothing because of the symbol represented by that team, such as the five point star used by the Dallas Cowboys.
JEWELRY Gangs are usually divided into two groups, the folks and peoples. Jewelry with a six point star indicate a membership with a gang related to the folks, while a five point star is associated with peoples.


Members of gangs use street-names with each other. They are used to conceal identification from law enforcement. Sometimes gang members use addressers such as "folks" and "people" when talking to each other.
NOTE: The wearing of particular items of clothing should not be used alone as an indication of gang involvement. Current clothing style imitate gang membership.


1. Baseball caps worn distinctively to the left or the right.
2. Tattoos of stars, pitchforks, or unexplained symbols.
3. Jewelry, including rings, earrings, and necklaces with nicknames, stars, pitchforks or unexplained initials or symbols.
4. Money from an unexplained source.
5. Certain clothes with particular colors and sport team identification which are the only type a child will wear.
6. New friends that parents are not acquainted with and whom they are not allowed to meet.
7. Unexplained signs and symbols on books, folders, clothes, bedroom walls and personal belongings.
8. Truancy or poor progress in school.
9. Frequent negative contacts with police.


Gang members mark their territory with graffiti, such as pitch forks, initials and symbols. The markings can range from simple to elaborate. Typically graffiti is used to warn competing gangs that there is a threat of takeover. It is essential to remove graffiti as soon as possible, so that it will not be defaced by a rival gang. "Dissing" is done by insulting rival gangs. This occurs when original gang graffiti is crossed out and an opposing gang graffiti written over or next to it, or by graffiti representing the original gang written upside down by the rival gang.
Again it is important to remove the graffiti as soon as possible. Business and property owners should be made aware of graffiti and encouraged to remove it as soon as possible. Graffiti should be reported to your local police or sheriff's precinct as soon as possible.
NOTE: Keep in mind that graffiti is not isolated to any particular neighborhood. Several Dane County communities have reported having graffiti.


1. Don't ignore your suspicions, talk to your child.
2. Watch for some of the signs mentioned previously.
3. Listen to conversations your child has with friends or new acquaintances.
4. Check your child's room periodically for signs and symbols.
5. Talk to your child's teachers about your suspicions.
6. Divert your child's attention away from friends unknown to you and into other activities.
7. Ask for help from the many community agencies.
8. Call the police. We will respond to your questions and if desired talk with you and child about gangs.
*** Do not think that a gang is just a phase. Older gang members use newer gang member or people looking to get into the gang by having them take most of the risk. Large quantities of "crack" cocaine have been found on newer members, while older members refuse to associate with them when they get caught.


1. Report all crimes and gang activity to the police.
2. Identify any suspects to the police, as well as any Street Names. Remember information can be kept confidential.
3. Remember that we cannot do the job alone and we need the help of those in the community.


Teachers, safety aides, counselors, administrators, and coaches can help to identify gang members or those at risk by:
1. Monitor known gang members.
2. Monitor associates who are commonly seen with known gang members.
3. Discourage those that may be at risk, especially in elementary and middle schools.
4. Recognize of graffiti that students may mark on books, folders, lockers, clothing.
5. Recognize of gang related tattoos that students may have .
6. Recognize of gang related jewelry that students may wear.
7. Recognize of gang signs used by gang members.
8. Work with students and staff to discourage gang involvement and related activities.

(Local news) (Gangs, graffiti, drugs, and violence) (Local police, law and crime)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Just a few days ago this price was 2.19. Be prepared think they got their sign changing pole out.

Posted by Picasa
(Local news)

Another Expense for Lynchburg Residents

The city has informed us that the purity of drinking water is excellent in Lynchburg, but due to increased costs of chemicals and water facility improvement our bills are going to increase, perhaps until that well we keep our money goes dry. As city council gave us a decrease in the Common Goods tax, they take away with a rate increase on our water usage.

In order to maintain and improve the utilities in Lynchburg both water and sewer rates have been increased effective July 1, 2005.

Current Rate then the New Rate
% of Increase Water volume
charge per unit $ 1.75 to $ 1.82 increase of 4%
Sewer volume
charge per unit $ 4.60 to $ 4.78 increase of 4%
Sewer only per month $ 35.89 to $ 37.15 increase of 3.5%

(City Council and local issues) (Local news)


These creatures of the night now officially recognized by Virginia as the State Bats now have a warning from the Virginia Department of Health. Posted by Picasa The Virginia Department of Health reports:

"(RICHMOND, Va.)—The Virginia Department of Health
(VDH) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) are reminding residents that bats become more active and more visible in our communities during the spring. Bats make important contributions to our environment, but like other wild animals, they can carry potentially fatal diseases such as rabies.
Although most of the confirmed rabid animals in the United States are raccoons (2,635 in 2003), humans are more likely to be infected with bat rabies viruses. Since 1990, 29 of 45 human rabies infections have resulted from bat viruses, and only one human has been infected with a raccoon virus."

(Local news) (Science, sociology, and Medicine)

Rising Gas Prices

You go to the pump the price of gas has just increased again. Soon you begin to wonder what the heck is happening. Everyone has an opinion on why, and it is easy to assign blame, excuses, and reasons. The fact remains though, we are spending more at the pump. To read an informative easy to read article on what is happening: How Stuff Works has a article on "How Gas Prices Work. "
If you want to be more informed about what is happening I recommend this article.

An interesting fact from How Stuff Works: "Americans drive more than 2.5 trillion miles per year in automobiles, light trucks and SUVs, according to a MEMA report. That's equal to 14,000 round trips to the sun."

(Local news)

Flag Burning OK: According to News and Advance: Update

For those of you who came here to read the original opinion posted in News and Daily Advance here is the link.
If you scroll down the page you will find two postings on the subject of flag burning.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Step into History: A Restored River Lock on The James River

Not far from Lynchburg, just past Big Island on 501 north, you can see the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you take a left on the Parkway very shortly you will see your first overlook trail of the James River to the right.

If you haven't been there I recommend that you give it a look. Past an information center, you will see a well kept picnic area with tables and grills, and signs posted for a short walk to the restored Battle Creek Boat Lock.

On your walk down to the Lock you will cross over the James River under a causeway built under a bridge. The view is fantastic. Soon you will be at the Battle Creek Lock and see how boats reached the mountains of Virginia. Click Pictures to enlarge.

(Recreation, sports, and reading)

Posted by Picasa

"Just Another Day in Paradise"

Born in Lynchburg, Phil Vassar is making it big in Nashville. Just another day in Paradise is one of many of his many hits. In 1999 he was named country song writer of the year. He had 3 top 5 hits in 2002. Reported by Steve Huey, All Music Guide, photo credit, Sandy Campbell. To see more about him click here.

(Local music)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Drugs, Gangs, and Violence: What is the City's Plan?: Update Gangs Operating in Central Virginia

From: The Virginia Gang Investigator’s Association

The Virginia Gang Investigator’s Association on behalf of the National Alliance of Gang Investigators recently completed a gang threat assessment for the State of Virginia. This was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and Bureau of Justice Assessment. We shared in this collaboration with the FBI, the National Drug Intelligence Center, the National Youth Gang Center and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research. In order to complete this, surveys were sent to Virginia law enforcement agencies in localities with an estimated population of 50,000 residents or more. They were then collected and forward to the NAGIA and then to the FBI.

These are the gangs identified as operating in the Central Virginia Area:

18th Street
Almighty P Stone Nation
Gangsta Disciples
Latin Kings Black
Gangster Disciples
Nortenos –14
Hells Angels
OMG Pagans
OMG Banditos
OMG Outlaws
OMG Skinheads
Vice Lords
37 Home Grown Gangs

Information provided by: Virginia Gang Investigators Association

(Gangs, graffiti, drugs, and violence) (Local police, law and crime)

Bev Cosby: An Example for Lynchburg

Dedicated to Bev Cosby Posted by Picasa Bev Cosby with his unselfish acts of kindness changed the face of Lynchburg, if more could follow his example Lynchburg would meet in spirit the goals it hopes to achieve. For those more interested in this mural go here.

(Local spotlight on people) (Religious Leaders)

What is the Agenda of The Islamic Political Party of America?

WSET reported: The reaction of a local Muslim on his take of the bombings in London. I presented a comment to WSET that I am going to reprint here:

On their website, this is the first statement you see: "The Islamic Political Party of America (IPPA) acknowledges Allah as the Sovereign Creator of the universe, who has entrusted to humanity the right and responsibility to rule over the affairs of the world. IPPA acknowledges that Muhammad Ibn Abdullah is the Last Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and we find in him the best of conduct for the affairs of mankind." Lets not be misled about their agenda.

Personally, I am in favor of the free expression of religion in our country. I have no axe to grind against any religion. Its when they step over the line, and use their religion to promote their own political agenda is what I have a problem with.

I invite you to look at The Islamic Political Party of America website, and read it carefully, click on their news, and you can make your own judgment.

(Local news)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Drugs, Gangs, and Violence: What is the City's Plan?

You just have to wonder some. Lynchburg has great plans in the redevelopment of downtown and mid town. They have the building inspectors attacking the quality of rental property. And they are determined to underscore the historical significance of the area.

But a blight on our city is getting little attention. The blight of drugs, gangs and violence. You can dress up the city but can you come out your doors at night? You can paint your houses, but can you remove the drug houses across the street?

There are new sewer rats in the city and the city needs a plan of eradication. Gangs are becoming more and more visible. We can try to ignore it, maybe it will go away. But this blight grows when unattended.

You can dress up downtown, but as you do, we are watching the graffiti grow. You can try to provide a superior education in our schools, but the gangs are infiltrating there, trying to undo what good is being taught.

What is the plan to combat this growing problem? We would expect a plan with both positive and negative consequences. One that shows our youth the way to achievement, and another that shows with punitive results, the resolve our community has to remove this infestation.

Now, we are wondering what is Lynchburg's plan? Is there a plan as thought out as our city planning? I'm asking anyone out there what is the plan?

(Gangs, graffiti, drugs, and violence) (Local police, law and crime) (City Council and local issues)

Are Lynchburg Restaurants Safe? Part 4

Generally speaking you can expect a safe dining experience in Lynchburg. The Virginia Department of Health inspects more frequently than required, they follow the guidelines the FDA provides and they are diligent in their inspection process. Public awareness of
restaurant inspections scores which you can access on this page on the right is a new important element in improving food safety. The CDC expects that restaurants will perform better with public knowledge of their food safety scores.

You should be aware that there are weaknesses with the current methods of restaurant inspections. Primarily, the health status of employees are not monitored medically. The size of this problem increases when you realize that food service employees, in most cases, are without medical insurance and are likely to work when ill because of the low wages they receive. Also compounding this, restaurant owners may tend to look the other way when they know a food worker is sick and they are faced with staffing problems. At a minimum, we would recommend Hepatitis A screening.

The CDC reports that the effect of restaurant inspections under the current guidelines may not have a direct relationship to foodborne out breaks in restaurants. Part of the problem is the lack adequate data, and the fact that illness from foodborne diseases are under reported.

Other interesting facts, are that the safest foods to eat are the cooked foods at the restaurant. Fruits and salads are more likely to be contaminated. Fish and seafood products have been identified to as a likely source of foodborne illness. Additional, exotic items on a menu are something to be cautious of.

(Restaurant reviews and safety)

Lynchburg Gas Prices Rising

All through the Lynchburg area, gas prices are on the rise. An early morning check shows Sheetz regular gas is now 2.19. And a drive around Lynchburg you could see stations changing their signs.

There have been several things that has rattled the fuel market. The terrorists attacks in London and the prospect of shipping interruptions due to hurricanes in the gulf. A couple a days ago the barrel price on oil was 62 dollars.

Will this trend continue, that is up to question? In the short run most likely, in the longer run their maybe a decrease due to the fact the airlines may be needing less fuel if travel is affected by concerns over terrorist attacks in Europe. What to expect though, is really a crap shoot.

With this added to the proposed increase of APCO of 9.2 percent, we can be certain of one thing Lynchburg will be tightening its belt. Our local economy has not been doing too badly lately, but with new strains you should expect a breaking point, affecting all areas of our local economy.

(Local news)

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Reprinted from Virginia Department of Health

The public schedule is as follows: Lynchburg – Aug. 3, 1:30-4 p.m., Central Virginia Community College, Merritt Hall Auditorium, 3506 Wards Road

July 6, 2005
For More Information Contact
Holly Tiller, Health Promotion for People with Disabilities Coordinator(804) 864-7891
Charles Ford, PIO (804) 864-7668

– When people think of someone with a disability, they usually think of a physical disability that can be seen, such as a person in a wheel chair or one with a visual impairment. Actually, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities.
The Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Health Promotion for People with Disabilities Task Force has designed a state plan to enable people with disabilities to lead healthier, more physically active lifestyles. The task force will conduct five town hall meetings this summer to gain feedback from citizens on its plan.

According to the 2000 U.S. census, approximately 19 percent of the U.S. population over age five lives with some form of disability. Sixty-one counties in Virginia have rates of disability surpassing the national average. Counties in Southwest Virginia have the highest disability rates in the Commonwealth.The task force is dedicated to promoting the health of people with disabilities and to preventing chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis and diabetes. The state plan focuses on five areas including interacting with existing initiatives, access to health care, nutrition and physical activity, health promotion and outreach, and data and surveillance.

“We encourage input from citizens about the state plan,” said Holly Tiller, coordinator of VDH’s Health Promotion for People with Disabilities project. “We aim to mobilize individuals with disabilities, health providers, caregivers and others to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to the benefits of health promotion opportunities as all citizens.”

(Local news) (Events)