The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 16
R THE GOSSIP (TOTAL NONSENSE)
A New Career for Mayor Bowers?
Plus, Gossipman's bold predictions for 2054, including
projections on Blue Ridge Parkway visitation.
DEAR GOSSIPMAN - I saw in the paper the other week where Roanoke Mayor
David Bowers says he is taking down his
law shingle and looking for a new career.
Do you know if he's made any progress?
Gossipman's inside source has it on good
authority that the mayor has his choices narrowed to two: Take up weather forecasting
since he's become so practiced and adept at
taking credit for any sunny day; or open a
ribbon factory to ease his conscience over the
jillions he's cut into shreds over the years and
keep the supply rolling for his favorite events.
. What I want to know, Gossipman, is if
we have made any economic progress at
all over the 40 years this magazine has been
going back and forth between yeah, "a new
day is dawning" and "holy crap, the Regional
Partnership is worthless and we will soon be
Covington." -D. Y., Roanoke
The problem, D.Y., goes much farther back
and much deeper than that. Charlotte population in 1900? 18,091. Roanoke population
in 1900? 21,295. Do the math: If we had kept
pace we'd be at 873,000 people now instead
of our little just-about-100,000. Why did it
happen? Well, we had a shot at Lake Norman but there was all this stuff about Claytor
Lake being just down the road and did we
really need another lake? Plus the migration
trends saw thousands of families make their
way south along what used to be called The
Old Foggy Road - now known as I-77 - and
once they got south of the fogs of Wythe and
Carroll counties, they never looked back. And
third, after we missed our first shot at the NBA
Hornets in the late 1980s (our team was to have
been called, of course, the 611s), we failed to
market ourselves well enough as just pretty bad
16 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014
A new career for David Bowers?
for flooding vs. New Orleans' awful for flooding,
and they got the team. Now that Michael Jordan
owns the new Hornets, it's clearer than ever that
Virginia as a whole has failed in competing with
North Carolina, as we didn't work hard enough
to recruit the Jordan family back in the day -
they could have lived in Virginia Beach just as
easily as Wilmington.
. The article in this issue about what Roanoke will look like in 2054 . . . I haven't
read it yet, of course, but I did wonder about
G-man's perspectives on things 40 years down
the road. G.K., Bedford
Thought you'd never ask. Gossipman's lead-
pipe lock-down sure things for 2054:
1. Blue Ridge Parkway visitation is down to
three guys in a pick-up truck looking for the
moonshine still they heard about on TV.
2. Excavators at the former Explore Park
unearth an old church that is, by records, supposed to be in Botetourt County instead of Roanoke County. Theories over the mystery include
divine intervention and something to do with
someone named Whitey Taylor.
3. Smith Mountain Lake achieves its visitor
goals to the extent that on Sunday afternoons
you can walk the entire 32 square miles of
surface by simply stepping carefully from boat
to boat. I