Whatever Happened To?: Mike Shaw shares updates on stories he reported in 2012
Radford sets sights beyond new dog park
THEN: Radford began construction on a new, 1-acre dog park in June which opened to residents and their furry friends during a grand opening ceremony in August behind the Radford Animal Control building on Pulaski Street.
The dog park, Radford Mayor Bruce Brown said, was just the beginning of good things to come for the city. Brown said the city is built around a “performance dashboard” put in place to measure where the city has come from and where it’s going.
As a part of that performance dashboard, Brown said the city has a goal to establish a Radford community foundation and that there is support from the community behind initiatives, such as a disc golf course and skate park.
NOW: Radford has turned its focus to its parks and recreation facilities beyond the launch of the dog park, Brown said.
The city is in the initial stages of building a baseball and soccer complex that will allow the integration of a disc golf course residents would like to see come to fruition, Brown added.
The new baseball and soccer complex, Brown said, coincides with improvements at Riverview Park where the soccer field now has a lighted field and has led to weekend tournaments that bring visitors to the city.
Even in a tough economy, Radford is moving forward.
“We have been able to sustain and in many ways enhance the quality of service to our citizens without increases in fees or taxes,” Brown said. “Our employees remain the key element in our success.”
Brown said employees from public works, electrical and other functional units have stepped up to do whatever they can when it comes to building and maintaining the city’s projects.
Radford Transit, Brown added, continues to grow and expand routes, and services and enrollment at the university is growing. The city is also looking at creating a city foundation working alongside several stakeholders to investigate opportunities to do just that, he said.
“Radford is on the move, and we are excited about what the future holds in store for us,” Brown said.
Location halts opening of Bollo’s gluten-free bakery
THEN: In September, Bollo’s Cafe & Bakery Owner Ranae Gillie announced plans to open what she believed would be Blacksburg’s first gluten-free bakery and market.
Gillie said the existing space on 139 Jackson St. would be open in October or November and would serve made-from-scratch, gluten-free items like breads, pastries and cakes.
Bollo’s began making gluten-free menu items more than a year ago on Saturdays.
Gillie hoped to expand her gluten-free menu, but in order to do that, a new space would have been necessary.
Gillie said Bollo’s had to clean the entire kitchen to ensure their products were truly gluten-free, so the new space would allow them to serve gluten-free items on a daily basis without the hassle.
NOW: The potential location on 139 Jackson St. is not suitable for Bollo’s gluten-free market, Gillie said.
“We’ve discovered it’s not going to be big enough for us to grow our market,” she said.
Gillie said several reasons affected the decision to pull the plug on that location, citing several issues with the specific building she did not anticipate. She plans to look for another suitable location.
In the meantime, Gillie said Bollo’s will now serve gluten-free items from its Draper Road location twice a week beginning in January.
Pastor completes cross-country journey for diapers campaign
THEN: Washington resident and pastor Eric Shadle set out on a journey in July to ride his bike from coast-to-coast to rally diaper donations.
He passed through Radford in September.
The Ride for Diapers campaign was designed to bring awareness to the need for diapers across the country for local agencies who work with families.
Shadle’s plan was to ride more than 3,700 miles from Richland, Wash., to Washington, D.C., to raise $250,000 to purchase one million diapers to distribute across the country.
The ride was slated to end a few days later in Silver Spring, Md., headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Then, Shadle would meet for several appointments on Capitol Hill to discuss his journey and the overall mission.
NOW: Shadle’s ride ended in Silver Spring, Md., on Sept. 5. He received more than 500,000 diapers and $125,000 in donations. The last leg of the ride turned out to be a nice one, he said.
“In a word, ‘Awesome,’ ” Shadle said. “Though I did become fatigued in the last week. It was difficult to keep my legs moving.”
Shadle’s legs were definitely moving on Capitol Hill, where he had six appointments.
Through the appointments, Shadle made several contacts for the National Diaper Bank Network.
The network plans to follow up with the contacts to write legislation in 2013, Shadle said.
Though the ride is over, Shadle hopes to help the conversation continue into the future.
“The dialogue will continue,” Shadle said.
He said they are selling a DVD on www.ride4diapers.com and all proceeds from the DVD will go to the TriCities Diaper Bank.
The ride helped thousands of families and many diaper banks along the way, but Shadle said the ride helped him in a way he didn’t quite expect.
“I have changed in that I see the needs around me more than I had prior to the ride,” he said.
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