New River Symposium

speakers explore region’s issues


Rick Roth of Radford University and Tamim Younos of the Cabell Brand Center take a break at the first day of the symposium.

The New River is not one of the most polluted rivers in America, speakers at a symposium said Thursday, and attempts to portray it that way tend to be distracting from serious issues.

The New River Syposium, taking place at Radford University Thursday and Friday, features scientists and regulators, and a few writers and artists,  who are concerned about the river and the region’s environment.

In a session chaired by Tamim Younos of the Cabell Brand Center, several speakers said the “most polluted” canard originates with the high level of nitrate emissions reported by the Radford Army Ammunition Plant.   Yet nitrates are not as serious as other sorts of contaminants, such as heavy metals.

On balance, the New River is relatively healthy, speakers said.   Coverage of the symposium will continue Friday.


Radford Theater: End of an era? Not!

By Rehn West“I haven’t had a vacation since Vietnam” said Frankie Kirk, owner of the Radford Theatre on Main Street. The venue has been the local “hotspot” for movie lovers of all ages for more than two decades. This chapter of the theatre had almost  come to an end with the retirement of Kirk after 30 years.

But on May 21, Kirk and several friends announced a reorganization of the theater in a video posted on the theater’s Facebook account.

It wasn’t clear how the new reorganization would deal with one of the main challenges.    With technology changing daily, the switch from film reels to digital has become more of a necessity than ever. Major Hollywood film companies plan to stop printing movies on actual film by the end of 2013. This has put great pressure on small movie theater all over to make the switch. But, switching to digital isn’t cheap and has been estimated to be around 80,000 dollars.

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Lamour’s goes silver

By Becca Knicely


Laura Lamoureaux and Ralph the Wonder Dog. Photo by Hannah Robertson.

At the young age of 12, Laura Lamoureux knew she wanted to be a business owner. As her Radford main street clothing and apparel store hits the 25 year anniversary mark — her silver anniversary — Laura looks back.

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Radford University sues over St. Albans

StAlbansBy Rehn West

St. Albans sanatorium has a long history in New River Valley, dating back more than one hundred years. But that history may be coming to an end.

The historic landmark is currently at the center of two lawsuits that could result in the demolition. Both lawsuits are between the Radford University Real Estate Foundation and St. Alban’s current owners – real estate company SHAH development.

Situated on a hill overlooking the New River, St. Albans was built in 1892 as a preparatory school for boys, though it’s most commonly known as a hospital for the mentally ill. The hospital was closed in the sixties, and the empty structure has since developed a reputation as a haunted house and a hotbed for paranormal activity.

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Cruisin’ for burgers on old Rt 11

By Tucker Davis

Just outside the city limits of Radford, you will find a cluster of fast food eateries strung along the tiny portion of Route 11. But in the middle of an unpaved gravel lot, across from the now vacant homes of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King, stands Hank’s Drive-In. Hank’s doesn’t have a double drive-threw window or a flashy LED sign—they don’t even accept credit cards.

Despite the lack of flare and modern-day innovations like the big chain fast food rivals that surround them, Hank’s Drive-In has stood the test of time by serving up what they call the best burger in town.

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Crooked Road leads to Radford

By Tucker Davis

Silverware clanking, kitchen doors swinging and banjos strumming—These are the typical sounds you will hear coming from the River City Grill on Monday nights as patrons file in to enjoy the Radford Fiddle Jam.

Manager Will Kirk says the fiddle jams are a great way to kick off the workweek. “I love working Monday nights!” Kirk exclaimed as he handed a local craft beer to a thirsty customer. Continue reading

A country kid’s passion for preservation

By Bill Kovarik    

ingles.cabinBeth Obenshain watched as suburban developments swept away the farms around Blacksburg, Va.,  where she had grew up.  And, as a self-described “country kid,” it bothered her.

So in 2002 she retired as a senior editor for the Roanoke Times and took on the challenge of directing the New  River Land Trust.   Continue reading