Saturday, April 14, 2007

Reset and Focus

This short entry is sort of a quick resetting of this site.

If you are one of the two or three regular readers of the stuff here, you may have noticed that I didn’t post anything new last week. There’s a simple reason for that. I got swamped by deadlines. I was/am taking an enjoyable, but time consuming professional development class that has taken quite a bit of my free time. We had class project deadlines this week, and I felt the need to actually give an effort. I’ve also been dealing with a lot of seasonal issues in my role as vice leader of the Enlightened Teachers of Roanoke County. To top that all off, the IRS tax deadline is fast approaching, and I am trying to Turbo Tax my way through correctly interpreting the FASA/Education rules for the first time. I find it ironic that one of the leaders of FAFSA was forced to resign yesterday due to charges of corruption.

I should have my class done now and taxes will be completed by Monday. After that, I have a whole week away from my job and my fellow enlightened teachers. That means I can get back to my passion, writing for this lonely post. First up on my writing agenda is to compose two pieces about my neighborhood golf course, Countryside. For those of you outside the area, Countryside is a golf course beside Roanoke’s Interstate 581 by the airport. For the past twenty years, the club, designed by respected championship course designer Ellis Maples, has gradually declined. The pool was abandoned and the tennis center is rusting away. On the course, tees have been moved, once pristine greens have become pocked, fairways have been ignored, and vital course obstacles have been erased.

The first insult happened a couple of years ago when the City of Roanoke bought the financially struggling club. Since then the city has been peddling the property to developers. They hope to turn this large expanse of green space into a housing development. The problem is the neighbors are against it and developers have largely steered clear. In addition, the airport, some of whose land the golf course transverses, has threatened to not renew the lease when it expires next year. This week, the city unveiled news of new development plans to transform Countryside in to a housing development and retail business area. The residents have met this new plan with a wall of opposition. Our local newspaper seems to have jumped in on the side of the development.

I suppose I came to be a staunch opponent on the city’s dark plans honestly. I grew up across the road from the twelfth tee and spent many happy childhood days traipsing over that course and swimming in pool. I can’t stand to see such a treasure simply bulldozed away.

In short, there are a lot politics going on here and much of that work is going on very stealthy way behind the scenes out of sight of the public. This kind of thing enrages me. So I plan several actions this week. I plan to finish a piece I began writing here last June, detailing each hole of the golf course. I’ve been given permission by the course to use their website images for my piece and I think I’m at a point in my life where I can extract my memories more clearly. I also plan on giving a detailed look at the matter and unveil a letter I received from the Airport Commission. Finally, I plan on constructing a short letter to the editor to be delivered to my local newspaper.

As I have begun fiddling with this topic again, the famous words of to modern American leaders keep popping in to my head. Ronald Reagan, in his 1980 Presidential debate with president Jimmy Carter kept using the phrase, “There you go again….” I think of that phrase every time I hear the city bring forth another irresponsible and greedy plan for the golf course. That line, of course, led me to YouTube looking for it. Instead of finding that clip from the debate, I found this forgotten piece by satirist Harry Shearer.

I also kept having the late Texas governor, Ann Richards speaking to me. Here famous line…
“Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” [1988 keynote address, Democratic National Convention]…is a classic. Every time I think of the her words, I’m reminded of each ridiculous plan the city keeps trotting out. Of course, I searched YouTube to no avail for the clip, but I did find this classic Ann Richards story. Enjoy. Back soon.

Posted By Valerie Garner

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