Brewing at The 4th Annual New River Brewfest

April 12, 2014 Fairlawn, VA- The 4th Annual New River Brewfest was held from 12 p. m. to 6 p. m. at the Nesselrod Bed and Breakfast. Samples of beer were made available from some of Virginia’s finest breweries.

Breweries participating in the event included: Bull and Bones, The Damascus Brewery, Devil’s Backbone, Lost Rhino Brewing Co., Parkway Brewing Co., Three Brothers Brewing Co. and Sunken City Brewing Co.


150th Anniversary: Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain

April 6, 2014 in Pulaski County, VA Daniel Young explains what a blacksmith did during the Civil War at the The 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain reenactment. The gates at New River Valley Fairgrounds opened at 9 a.m. for the general public and there were over 300 re-enactors participating in the festivities.

The battle of Cloyd’s Mountain was one of the fiercest battles fought in the Civil War with high casualties on both sides. The creeks surrounding the battlefield “ran red with blood” as the Confederates lost approximately 538 soldiers and the Union Army lost 688.

Battle of Cloyd's Mountain

New River Valley Fair Grounds in Dublin, VA. (April 6th, 2014) Union re-enactors getting ready for performance. 150th Anniversary: Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. (Photo by: Charles Shomo/Full Sail University)


Battle of Cloyd's Mountain

New River Valley Fair Grounds in Dublin, VA (April 6, 2014) Union Soldiers preparing for battle. 150th Anniversary: Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. (Photo by: Charles Shomo/Full Sail University)

Battle of Cloyd's Mountain

New River Valley Fair Grounds in Dublin, VA. (April 6, 2014) Confederate soldiers preparing for battle. 150th Anniversary: battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. (Photo by: Charles Shomo/Full Sail University)


150th Anniversary: Battle of Cloyd's Mountain

Cloyd’s Mountain in Pulaski County, VA (April 6, 2014) Confederate Soilders firing upon Union Soilders. 150th Anniversary: Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. (Photo by: Charles Shomo/Full Sail University)

Battle of Cloyd's Mountain

Cloyd’s Mountain in Pulaski County, VA (April 6, 2014) Union soilders getting ready to fire canon. 150th Anniversary Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain (Photo by: Charles Shomo/Full Sail University)


Battle of Cloyd's Mountain

Cloyd’s Mountain in Pulaski County, VA (April 6, 2014) Confederate troops firing on the Union. 150th Anniversary: Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. (Photo by: Charles Shomo/Full Sail University)


Battle of Cloyd's Mountain

Cloyd’s Mountain in Pulaski County, VA. (April 6, 2014) Confederate Soldiers relaxing before battle. 150th Anniversary: Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. (Photo by: Charles Shomo/Full Sail University)








The Hashtag Event Happening in Emergency Management.

March 26, 2014 in Christiansburg, VA Tanya Ferraro, Roanoke Valley Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator, explains how hashtags are important when using social media during an emergency and to help prepare you for the increasing potential of a disastrous event on a local or national level. 

Fun with Emergency Management

Ferraro and one fellow employee at the Roanoke Valley Reserve Medical Corps made a parody video to the song Royals by artist Lorde to help get their emergency management message across. Ferraro believes the message of emergency preparedness is better received when fun and creative ways are used.

Industrial Hemp Could Be Virginia’s Next Big Cash Crop

March 23, 2014 in Riner, VA Jim Politis, former chairman at Montgomery County VA Board of Supervisors, has a mission to revitalize industrial hemp as a crop for Virginia farmers.

An amendment in the Farm Bill passed in both the United States House and Senate allowing colleges and universities to grow hemp for academic or agricultural research purposes; however, the bill only applies to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal. Virginia is currently not a legal state for industrial hemp.

A revitalization of the industrial hemp industry is underway and the worldwide hemp sales are continuing to increase. Industrial hemp contains three raw materials: fiber, hurds and seeds. More than 25,000 products can be made out of the raw materials such as textiles, rope, cellulose plastics, resin, particle board, paper products, shampoo, vitamins and oil. Until the 1930’s Virginia legally cultivated and used industrial hemp in many products.

Industrial Hemp comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant; however, it contains less than 1 percent of the chemical responsible for psychoactive properties.  Under current United States drug policy, all Cannabis varieties, are considered Schedule 1 controlled substances under the Controlled Substance Act. Industrial Hemp is controlled and regulated in legal states by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors supports the adoption of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. H.R. 525 has been introduced to the United States Congress with the intention of removing Industrial Hemp as a schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act. Politis plans to continue his campaign to repeal the prohibition of industrial hemp in Virginia.


Jim Politis and Rick Patterson

Home of Jim Politis in Riner, VA (March 23, 2014)
Rick Patterson and Jim Politis discussing the market for Hemp.

Rick Patterson, a local Hemp stock expert, explains, “One thing that people don’t realize is hemp is not a new crop. Hemp has been used for over ten thousand years, and as America is the largest importer of hemp products in the world, it is time for Virginia and other states to take advantage of the recent federal Farm Bill and become leaders in the inevitable upcoming industrial hemp boom.” He continues, “If Virginia doesn’t act soon, we will be playing catch up for years to come.”


Becoming a Radio DJ for 105.3 The Bear

March 16, 2014 in Fairlawn, VA radio personality and DJ for 105.3 The Bear, Drez Nunya, explains why and how he got into the radio business. 105.3 The Bear is the New River Valley’s Rock radio station and home for the Virginia Tech Hokies’ Sports Talk Radio. 

Nunya is assistant program director at Cumulus Media and DJ at WBRW 105.3 The Bear. Nunya fell in love with radio at the age of 7 when he was playing with a tape recorder similar to the one found in the movie “Home Alone.” Nunya attended Radford University studying media and focused his attention on radio with an internship at the college radio station. Immediately after Nunya’s internship he was offered a job at 105.3 The Bear because of his experience and unique on-air talent.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is Getting Slimey with New Jelly Fish Exhibit

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN (March, 8, 2014)Entrance to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

On March 8, 2014 Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies post about Slime on their social media accounts in Gatlinburg, TN. The new aquarium’s Slime exhibit allows kids to touch jellyfish and explains how animals and creatures use slime to survive.

Giant Japanese Spider Crab

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN (March 8, 2014)
Giant Japanese Spider Crab in aquarium exhibit.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has thousands of exotic sea creatures including penguins, sharks, sea turtles, crabs and stingrays. The aquarium was voted number 1 aquarium by in 2013 and is currently ranked 6th for the entertaining attractions in Gatlinburg, TN.

The aquarium’s Facebook Fan Page currently has over 48,000 “likes” and over 3,000 Twitter followers. However, Elijah Clark Ginsberg, marketing intern at HubSpot, believes Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies needs to work on their social media presence for better online advertising.

John Specter, a biologist at the aquarium, says “You don’t feel much when touching Jelly Fish because they are 90% water.”






In Home Wine Tasting Events in Virginia: Interview with Expert Tracy McGinnis

Tracy McGinnis hosted her in-home wine tasting event in Dublin, VA on March 1, 2014. McGinnis is an independent wine consultant and local wine expert for WineShop at Home.

WineShop at Home is a direct selling wine company out of Napa Valley, Calif. The company is a bonded California winery and gives independent consultants around the United States a new way to share a social experience and market the company’s great wines. The wine consultants present in-home wine tastings showing the guests how to taste wines and learn about the wine lifestyle.  The WineShop at Home independent consultants foster education, enjoyment and healthy consumption of wine and food.

Wine experts believe learning to taste wine is no different than learning to appreciate music and art. Studies have been conducted on the challenge of producing the wine tasters judging consistency during wine tasting event.

According to McGinnis, “WineShop at Home’s wines use the best ingredients from around the world and that has a huge impact on the taste.” McGinnis continues, “Virginia wines are good; however, the artisans from WineShop at Home search around the world for the best grapes to use in their wines. This is what differentiates the company’s wine from your every day grocery store wine.”

You can decide for yourself by having a WineShop at Home consultant give an in-home wine tasting or attend a Virginia winery. The Virginia Wine Expo is held annually and consumers can taste more than 450 different bottles of Virginia wine. The Virginia Wine Expo has partnered with the Susan G. Komen of Central Virginia charity. The Susan G. Komen charity is dedicated to combating breast cancer.  The income raised at the event goes towards funding grants to local hospitals and community organizations to provide breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs for medically underserved women.




Spring Motorcycling Passion in Virginia

On Feburary 23, 2014 Jackson Demere, a Virginia Tech Engineering student, shares his love for fixing and riding bikes in Blacksburg Virginia with friend and radio announcer Drez Nunya. Demere describes his plans for opening a customs and unique production shop after college and how his passion for motorcycles got started.

Demere, 23, attends Virginia Tech and is a junior majoring in the Engineering Science and Mechanics. The Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech was reorganized in 1932 and started offering Ph.D. degree programs in the field around 1952. Students with a 3.3 grade point average can apply for the ESM Graduate Degree Program.

Demere specializes in customization; however, wants people to know knowledge and experience helps prevent accidents. Having a motorcycle safety checklist should be a priority for all riders in Virginia and throughout the United States.

Studies have shown that riders with less than 1-year experience have more crashes than riders with more than 1-year. In Virginia their motorcycle license requires a skills test that ensures the rider has the necessary information, skills, and ability for riding safely. The test takes about 15 minutes and doesn’t involve speeds faster than 15 mph. Virginia law requires anyone who fails the test twice to take a Virginia-licensed motorcycle rider training course before obtaining a license.


Pax Pounds The Polar Plunge in Radford Virginia

The Highlander Polar Plunge was supposed to be held February 15, 2014 at 11 am at Bisset Park in Radford, VA; however, Pax didn’t want to see it happen. The event was canceled due to the safety issues developing out of Winter Storm Pax.

There were 350 committed plungers to brave the waters of the icy New River to raise money for Special Olympics Virginia until the Radford City Police department and Radford University officials made the decision to cancel the event. According to a press release Winter Storm Pax and sub-freezing temperatures created a hazard for plungers, volunteers and spectators. The event has raised close to $30,000; just short of the $50,000 goal. Additional funds raised may be turned in to receive the official Polar Plunge Towel and T-shirt. The original goal of the event was to raise 30 dollars per person who participate.

“We want to thank everyone for your understanding. The safety of our volunteers and Plungers is our top priority, “ said Special Olympics Virginia President Rick Jeffrey. He continues, “We appreciate your commitment to our athletes. We invite you to our Basketball Regional competition, February 23 at Cassell Coliseum, so you can see what your efforts helped to make possible.”

Shelly Counsell and Martin Agran’s research indicates that there is a debate from the lifeworld and system perspectives of the Special Olympics. According to Counsell and Agran’s research there is a conceptual/philosophical between the 1960s Liberal Egalitarian lifeworld view of people with disabilities and current lifeworld view of empowerment for persons with disabilities. Social Justice is the strongest supporter of the Empowerment viewpoint, which is promoted by researchers, scholars and educators.  Counsell and Agran conclude in their research that there are outdated program practices in the Special Olympics that counter the empowerment viewpoint of today.

Plunge Virginia’s Facebook Fan Page currently has over 3500 “Likes” and their hash tag is #plungeva. Plungers have their own ability to create a Plunge Web Page for friends, family and coworkers to visit and donate online. The web pages are created through

The Special Olympics goal is to create a better world fostering the acceptance and inclusion for all people. There are over 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world. The Special Olympics wants the world to focus on what their athletes can do, not what they can’t.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Children’s Poster and Essay Exhibit


The 9th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. K-12 Poster and Essay Exhibit is on display at Virginia Tech’s Squires Student Center from January 21, 2014 through Saturday February 15, 2014. The 2014 contest’s theme, “The Time is Always Right to do what is Right”, is from a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech titled “The Future of Integration.”

The Virginia Tech Office for Diversity with partnership of Radford City, Floyd County and Montgomery County branches of the NAACP sponsored a poster and essay contest as part of their 9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. The exhibit is located on the second floor in the Squires Student Center at Virginia Tech. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

The poster contest was open to student in Montgomery, Floyd, Giles, Pulaski and Roanoke counties, Radford and Roanoke cities, as well as independent/private schools in the surrounding counties in South Western Virginia. The poster contest was available for grades K-8 and the essay contest eligibility was for grades 6-12. Parking is available at the Squires Student Center from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a visitor’s pass. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated in January on the third Monday of the month.