News Journal

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 • USPS 387-780 • • 75 cents High School Graduation Edition Inside SUBMITTED PHOTOS The Radford Chamber of Commerce has “adopted” the new Triangle Lot, located on West Main Street, as its clean-up spot through Radford’s Adopt-A-Spot program. Chamber of Commerce signs on for Triangle Lot Adopt-A-Spot RADFORD - The Radford Chamber of Commerce has “ad- opted” the new Triangle Lot, lo- cated on West Main Street, as its clean-up spot through Radford’s Adopt-A-Spot program. City staff and the city council recently revamped their Adopt- A-Spot program with new sig- nage and regulations. They also weeded out defunct organiza- tions and businesses that no lon- ger existed or failed to take care of their designated spots. The program is designed “to encour- age citizen participation in litter cleanup of designated areas in their community at regular in- tervals,” according to the city’s description. The Triangle Lot, which is located in the west end cen- tral business, was once home to Quality Lube and was trans- formed to a public space in 2019, allowing for “additional parking, and areas for outdoor dining and relaxation,” said Radford Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ciara Har- ris. The City of Radford utilized Community Development Block Grant funds to develop the area. “We are encouraging non- profit organizations, clubs, sporting groups and businesses to look into ‘adopting’ in Rad- ford,” said Harris. “It’s a won- derful way to give back to the community and support sus- tainable beautification efforts in our city. The chamber is excited to have adopted the spot and looks forward to cleaning efforts throughout the year.” Belle Heth School, for exam- ple, has four spots adopted, and all students participate in the Adopt-A-Spot program through- out the year. “Individuals, organizations or businesses may agree to keep a designated area, other than a highway, cleared of litter for a two-year period,” according to the city’s description of the pro- gram. “In exchange, program participants are given materials to help them with the cleanup and a sign bearing their name to be posted in the area. At the end of the two-year period, the pro- gram participants will receive a special certificate of apprecia- tion and may renew their agree- ment.” To learn more about the Adopt a Spot program, visit www.rad- Radford University announces fall 2020 early opening On Monday, Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. shared a comprehensive update with the campus community regarding the on-going work of the COVID-19 Contingency Planning Group, which was convened in late April 2020 to plan for a number of scenarios related to the Fall 2020 semester. In President Hemphill’s message, he announced Radford University’s Fall 2020 early opening. The mes- sage, in its entirety, is as follows. “As we continue to find our new normal and establish daily routines as part of the on-going global health pandemic, I am pleased to share that Radford University continues to pro- actively engage in planning efforts as it relates to our campus re-opening for the Fall 2020 semester. Just a cou- ple of weeks ago, I shared informa- tion regarding the convening of the COVID-19 Contingency Planning Group, which has been diligently working to prepare for the return of students, faculty, and staff and ensure their health, safety, and well-being re- main front and center. In the midst of a challenging and unknown time for our campus and our nation, it is critical for every one of us to step for- ward, be present, and support each other. Since the group began their work, I have received regular briefings and comprehensive updates regarding their in-depth discussion and overall progress. Most recently, I received in- formation regarding their strong rec- ommendation for an early opening as part of the Fall 2020 semester. The group is to be applauded for the great deal of energy and thought around their work, specifically an early open- ing. In light of the group’s prepared plan and following the administra- tion’s full consideration, Radford University will reopen on July 27, 2020 with students moving into campus housing, such as residence halls and University-operated apart- ments, between August 1-11, 2020 with the first day of classes on August 12, 2020. This revised schedule as part of early opening will provide an opportunity for Radford University to complete all instruction on No- vember 16, 2020 with final exams from November 17-20, 2020. The alternate approach related to early opening will ensure that students and others do not travel over Thanksgiv- ing Break and then return to campus for final exams followed by Winter Commencement. Knowing that many individuals are experiencing their own challenges given the pandemic, the executive summary shares information regard- ing the ability for students, faculty, and staff to request arrangements for alternate learning and working envi- ronments. The executive summary also shares the requirement for stu- Radford police chief pens letter to community RADFORD - In the wake of nationwide outcry over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, Radford City Police Chief Jeffrey Dodson has addressed the Radford com- munity in an open letter. The following is the letter in its entirety. “I write this heartbroken and apologetic for the ac- tions of a very small portion of our profession. As law en- forcement officers, we work diligently to protect the community and to preserve life. With this comes tre- mendous responsibility that requires trust from the com- munity we serve. To obtain this, we must carry out our duties with equality, com- passion, justice and within accordance of the law. “The video that captures the death of George Floyd runs counter to all that law enforcement strives to achieve. The Radford City Police Department is com- mitted to serving all with professionalism and respect. By working in conjunction with the people of the com- munities we serve, we strive to forge relationships built upon trust and to improve the manner in which we in- teract with one another. “RCPD strives to give our officers and civilian staff the best training avail- able to ensure that they are prepared to meet the chal- lenges that they face on the street each day. This train- ing includes de-escalation techniques, scenario based training, constantly review- ing use of force procedures, and crisis intervention training designed to help officers deal with those per- sons experiencing a mental health crisis. The agency is committed to community policing and the principles outlined by the president’s task force on 21st Century Policing. “Modern training, ac- creditation, and construc- tional policing practices must continue to be at the center of our policing prac- tices. The Radford City Po- lice Department has been a state-accredited agency for over 10 years. Accreditation is a mechanism that exists to create transparency in policing practices and pro- vides the community with a report card of its local law enforcement agency. “Incidents such as the one in Minneapolis rein- forces that although much progress has been made, more work remains. Our agency will continue to be accessible, reliable, and committed to striving for excellence in professional- ism. We will continue to es- tablish meaningful relation- ships with citizens, strive to be better today than we were yesterday, and always stand up for what is right. In conclusion, we as a community are in this to- gether. In the words of Rob- ert Peel, “The police are the public and the public are the police.” Jeff Dodson Chief of Police SUBMITTED PHOTO Congratulations to Ellie Edwards and Cole Martin on being awarded the Belle Heth Elementary Sixth Grade Citizenship Award for 2019-2020. “This prestigious award is voted on by all teachers for a student who best exemplifies what it means to be a Belle Heth Bobcat,” explained Principal Tara Grant. “Congratulations to Ellie and Cole!” Sixth graders recognized for citizenship Heather Bell With the crew from the United Way of the New River Valley working hard in the background, Jennifer Herrmann, marketing outreach specialist for Magellan Complete Care, has a breakfast bag ready to hand to Kara Lattimer of Christiansburg. NRV United Way hands out breakfast with drive-thru fundraiser Decked out in their “Live United” t-shirts, volunteers from the Unit- ed Way of the New River Valley Friday morning held their sixth annual drive-thru breakfast at the Holiday Inn from 6-9 a.m. A $10 donation entitled the donor to pre-order a breakfast bag stuffed with a hot breakfast biscuit, a fresh baked good, fruit, a freshly brewed cup of Star- bucks coffee and a copy of the current edition of the News Messenger. One hundred percent of every contribution went direct- ly toward United Way’s work of providing for the critical human and health needs locally. Magellan Complete Care, Wing and Pinnacle Financial Partners spon- sored this year’s fund- raiser. Food was provided through the generosity of Holiday Inn, the Radford Coffee Company, Hamp- ton Inn, Starbucks, Wal- greens and Mockingbird Cafe and Bakery. A special feature of this year’s breakfast was that in addition to buying break- fast for themselves, donors could choose to also buy breakfast bags to donate to frontline workers as a way of thanking them for all their hard work. Those breakfasts were delivered to frontline workers Fri- day after the drive-thru breakfast. See RU Opening , page 2