Demota Terrara, Ethiopia
words. stories. yarns. articles. anecdotes. allitera
t i on. subjec
b - object. narrative. prose. communic
t i on. language.
selected works of
Table of Contents
Click on a title to jump to the story
Shashemene: Heaven on Earth for Rastafari
The spirit of Lumumba
Biosolids battle brewing
Louisa man becomes development guru for emerging economies
Social services feeling the pinch
6 . Education
Broadband battle in Goochland
Farmers’ Market goes to the Web
Rest area closures have broad impact
1. For the pun of it
2. Swimming in Babylon
3. The price is right to buy BP
III. CreatIve wrItINg
1. Paradox Found (excerpt from screenplay)
2. Ambulatory Adventures (excerpt from short story)
3. roadside flowers (poetry)
V. letters Of reCOmmeNdatION
All articles, layout, photography and graphic design by David DesRoches, except where otherwise noted.
Heaven on Earth for
For decades, this tiny Ethiopian village has been home to
hundreds of Jamaican Rastafari who flocked to the town after
Emperor Haile Selassie I offered land to the African diaspora in
1948. But do Ethiopians even want them there?
Addis Ababa in the early morning is cool and airy–a calm the street comes from the legs of long-distance runners dashing
before the dust storm of commerce begins. As the sun peaks across the city, training for a chance at Olympic glory.
above the Entoto Mountains, dozens of endemic birds sing But the serenity of the magic hour is quickly overrun by
their faithful tunes as the prayers of priests and imams echo the ambitions of a developing nation. As we drive south from
from static-laden loudspeakers positioned on the roof of every Ethiopia’s capital city, we are engulfed by a kaleidoscopic
orthodox church and mosque in the city. The only movement in transportation culture. We honk and swerve past the goat herd-
ers, weave around the donkey-drawn carts
known as garis, and keep a healthy distance
away from the locally-dubbed “al-Qaida”
Isuzu trucks, so named for their involvement
in numerous fatal accidents.
We are en route to Shashemene, a small
town about 150 miles south of Addis. I ride
between the driver and my host, Belai, trying
to forget about each pothole that reminds me
of my love for walking.
In the back seat of the extended cab
pickup are Belai’s two young sons and
Yohannes, who speaks no English. Belai
has no problem speaking for everyone. As
owner of a local newspaper, his job is to
spread the word.
“People need to understand Rastafar-
ians,” he says. “I don’t agree with some
of their practices, but they are part of our
culture, especially in Shashemene.”
Roughly 300 Rastas live in the small
Ethiopian village which sits along the edge
of the Rift Valley, a 3,700-mile collection
of majestic lakes and abstract geological
formations that runs from southern Lebanon
through Ethiopia and into Mozambique.
We crest a hill and and I notice a caravan
of camels to the left, each scarred with the
brand of its owner. We slow down to grab
a photo, and a man appears from within
the mass of brown fur. He yells at us in
the Afar language, a tongue that only our
driver knows, and he only knows a little.
The man’s eyes are piercing with anger, his
face focused and tense.
“He wants money,” the driver says. “For
The Afar people are known to kill a
person without perceptible cause. As he ap-
proaches our truck, I see his left hand caress
the ivory handle of a gruesome curved knife.
He seems to walk faster with every step. I
tap on the driver, “Let’s go,” I say, trying to
keep calm. He hits the gas and we’re gone.
I turn to watch the man rejoin his herd of
ungulates, unfazed by the encounter.
I can only hope the Rastas of Shashemene
are more hospitable.
* * *
Many people hear the word “Rastafarian-
ism” and think of reggae or marijuana. Some
may consider the religious implications,
given that Rastafari is an Abrahamic religion
closely related to Orthodox Christianity and
Judaism. But for anyone exposed to the
diversity of the Rastafari people, it quickly as outsiders. The federal government has re- reluctant to give unrestricted land rights to
becomes apparent that Rastafari is, at its fused to give citizenship to Rasta immigrants Rastas, says Temam Ali Dedefo, a public
core, a consciousness movement. Or as from Jamaica with rare exceptions. A child relations officer for Shashemene’s town
Jamaican professor Carolyn Cooper writes, born to foreign parents in Ethiopia is not administration.
Rastafari is “a home-grown livity.” given Ethiopian citizenship either. “Land for farming is not given to mem-
But many Ethiopians are worried that In keeping with Selassie’s land grant, bers of this community,” Dedefo says. “Nor
the import of Rasta culture is a blight on Rastas are allotted a 140 square-meter plot are they allowed to lease land from the gov-
the country’s ancient historical traditions. by the town and the Oromia Regional State, ernment or buy from local farmers because
Although Ethiopians are a diverse melange the area in Ethiopia where Shashemene is they are going to plant drugs.”
of ethnic groups, many still consider Rastas located. However, Ethiopian officials are Hailu Teferi, a Jamaican Rasta and artist
who has lived in Shashemene for 15 the production and distribution of
years with his wife and four children, marijuana to further dissuade Rastas
says that earning respect has been a from immigration. Some Rastas claim
constant battle. “We are hard working the crackdown is nothing more than a
people,” he says. “We have doctors, ploy to passively force them to leave
lawyers, engineers, artists, teachers and the country. Dedefo argues that these
highly skilled professionals but we are measures have led to a decline in
not treated properly in Ethiopia.” marijuana’s prevalence in the region,
The Rastas in Shashemene are con- and fewer Rastas are immigrating from
tinually accused of establishing a drug abroad.
culture by addicting local people to * * *
ganja and profiting from its sale. After four hours on the road we
Bereket Hailu, 26, was raised in drive into town. The day is perfectly lit
the Jamaican sefer (neighborhood) and warm. I can smell coffee roasting
in Shashemene, and claims that his and the musk of goats and cows roam-
marijuana addiction was fueled by the ing nearby. At an elevation of 6,100 feet
Rastas, causing him to lose interest in and sitting a mere seven degrees north
his education. But for Teferi, the de- of the equator, Shashemene’s climate
monization of marijuana–and Rastas in Mweya Masimba stops to appreciate is spectacular.
general–is based on false and mislead- one of Ethiopia’s hundreds of endemic The signs of life are everywhere;
ing stereotypes. flowers. children playing soccer with a tied-up
“If ganja was something that abates ball of cloth, people working or wait-
human mind, reggae music would not ing or playing foosball on weathered
have made it to the top,” Teferi claims. tables. The main street looks like any other Ethiopian village;
But Hailu counters that nothing good comes from the rusting sheet metal basks in the late morning sun and the con-
plant, and that the Rastas are not welcome in Shashemene crete buildings are so squished together that the owners can
any more. serve each other coffee without leaving their seats. Each suk
“No one likes the Rastafarians,” he says. different from the other, offering everything from chewing gum
That’s not true, according to Yohannes Tafesse, a 19-year old and live chickens to kitchen ware and spare tires.
student who also lives in the Jamaican sefer. “They are clean,” A repeating image appears amongst the cheap umbrellas and
he says. “More clean than most people.” fresh fruit stands–it is one thing that separates this town from
Tafesse is Pentecostal, or Pente, the general term used for others–the old Ethiopian flag. Green, yellow and red stripes with
Protestants in the area. Many Orthodox Christians and Muslims the Lion of Judah placed in the center. This is the calling card of
have more trouble with the Pentes than they do with each other, Rastafari, and its presence is palpable throughout the town.
and Tafesse believes that this may be why he is more accepting Our driver turns right down a dirt road which edges a field
of the Rastas than his more conservative neighbors. As an out- guarded by a fence of 12-foot high cactus. It is just before the
sider himself, he has an inherent empathy for the Rastafari. rainy season and the earth is thirsty and dry. A small group of
But the general sentiment in Ethiopia seems to not favor the children follows behind us, curious to know our destination.
Rastas, and in Shashemene the people are split. The Ethiopian As we maneuver down the bumpy path, our truck kicks up a
government has recently intensified its efforts to eliminate mighty dust trail, clouding the children and devouring the tiny
One of the paths which twists through
the Rastafari area of Shashemene is
flanked by 12-foot high cactus.
Right: The charac-
teristic hand sign of
the trinity is one of
the many cultural
by Rastafari like this
young man, who calls
Above: One of Haile Selassie’s biographies,
written in Amharic, Ethiopia’s national
language and one of the only Sub-Saharan
alphabets in Africa. Middle: Eager to great a
foreigner are these two young girls in Shash-
puffs of dirt and air left by their hustling feet.
The town is teeming with diversity. The pres-
ence of the Oromo, Tigray, Gurage and Amhara
people is evident in the various languages and
alphabets that adorn the hand-painted store fronts.
Simultaneously, Rastafari immigrants from
Europe, Asia and the Americas live in the town,
diversifying an already picturesque people-scape. worth the hassle.
But diversity comes at a price. After thousands of years of Dr. Spencer argues that Ethiopia is losing its appeal to
civilization, Ethiopian pride has not leant itself to accepting Rastas for various reasons. “With Selassie’s passing and the
outsiders as one of their own. As we drive, Belai points out a decades of Rasta presence in Jamaica and around the world
home where one of his Rasta friends had lived. “He’s not there (and the enormous acceptance and popularity of reggae,
any more,” he says. “I think he got tired.” Rasta culture, dread talk, the iconic Bob Marley), seriously,
* * * why go starve and eke out a meager existence in a difficult
The Rastafari movement began in Jamaica but was rooted and arid land without the patronage and presence of the truly
in Ethiopian historical tradition. Rastafari is named after Ras wonderful Selassie I?”
Teferi Mekonnen, whom upon coronation became Emperor * * *
Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. We stop the truck near an ornate gate painted with three
In 1948, the emperor issued a decree to the African diaspora images of Haile Selassie, perhaps signifying the holy trinity.
worldwide, offering 500 hectares (1,236 acres) of land in Shash- We exit and begin walking down the street, towards a more
emene for anyone desiring to repatriate. Many Jamaicans, led humble entrance flanked by a wall of eucalyptus branches
by the teachings of Leonard Howell, considered Selassie’s offer stuck precariously into the fertile ground. The air is light and
as fulfillment of prophecy and slowly began the long journey free, and the breeze carries with it the delicate scents of lilac
across the Atlantic. According to Rastas, an Ethiopian holy and jasmine, frankincense and exotic flora.
scripture called the Kebra Negast indicated that Selassie was We knock on the door and are met by a tall, scruffy man
a direct descendant of King Solomon and therefore of blood with a few specks of grey poking through his kinky beard.
relation to Jesus of Nazareth. Following in Howell’s footsteps, His head is covered with small locks of tangled hair and his
many Rastas believe Selassie to be the Christ Incarnate. eyes are sharply curious. The man seems skeptical of allow-
“The choice of Selassie I is the logical telos from the whole ing me, a white man, into his home. Many Rastas believe
movement called Ethiopianism,” says Dr. William David Spen- Western society is Babylon, a rebirth of the biblical city of
cer, author of Dread Jesus and an editor of Chanting Down sin and materialism. The white man being the ambassador
Babylon. “[The movement] began during slavery and continued of Babylon, I faced an uphill conversation. He must have
right on into Rasta.” sensed I wasn’t there in defense of colonialism, so he led us
After the land grant offer, Ethiopia’s Rastafari population in- into his home.
creased steadily until the socialist revolution in the early 1970s His house is relatively large and has an open floor plan.
which deposed the emperor. The subsequent ruling dictatorship There is a common area sitting below the bedrooms which
nationalized all land, and revoked the parcels Selassie had set encircle the octagonal opening that goes from the bottom
aside. Many Rastas were forced to leave the land and some floor to the roof, three stories up.
were reportedly murdered for trying to stay. There are books and movies lying about, amongst papers
At one time, Shashemene was teeming with Jamaican and sketches of lions and random artistic visions. Paintings
expats. The population has been dwindling since the 1970s, of Emperor Selassie are scattered throughout the house, and
as many Rastas consider the obstacles of life in Ethiopia not one in particular is painted on cloth and hangs over a window,
creating a stained glass effect as the light filters through. A But Masimba’s first interactions with Ethiopians in Shash-
collection of birds sing outside the window, fighting the drab emene were inspirational. “When I first came here, I see one
audio emitted from the inept television. person has a bottle of water and he shares it with somebody,
We sit down at a cluttered table and he lights a marijuana then six other hands reach out for the water, and it reaches
cigarette, then stares plainly at me. those six other persons, and nobody scolds nobody. I marveled
“So what do you want to know?” he asks, perhaps testing at that.”
my resolve. But even Masimba hasn’t assimilated himself completely.
I ask for his name and he laughs, sending his beard locks He admits that he only speaks “a little Amharic,” despite his
into a frenzied dance. long stay in the country. Ethiopians like Dedefo and Hailu
“Ras Mweya Masimba.” He then explains that each member consider it shameful that Rastas refuse to learn the national
of the Rastafari faith is considered a ras, or prince (literally language but desire citizenship. Amharic is a Semitic language,
translated, it means “head” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s national closely related to Hebrew and Arabic, and Masimba believes
language). Forty-three-year-old Masimba immigrated to Shash- the syllables can be difficult to pronounce with the correct
emene from Jamaica in 1996, embracing Selassie’s land grant inflection. Still, the cultural barriers have yet to be bridged,
which was somewhat restored when the socialist regime was despite a half-century presence of Rastafari on Ethiopian soil
overthrown in 1991. A native of Great Britain, Masimba left and despite the hundreds of languages already spoken in the
for Jamaica at age nine, and became acquainted with culture Horn of Africa.
shock and the “survival of the fittest” mentality. Upon arrival * * *
to Ethiopia, it was “the fittest of the fittest,” as he put it. As a consciousness movement, Rastafari is extremely
Shashemene revealed a reality that Masimba was not ac- diverse, and, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t require an
customed to. There are people living on the streets, people with acceptance of Selassie’s divinity. In a 1967 interview with Bill
deformities or disabilities sleep on the sidewalk and children McNeil for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Selassie
beg for money at every corner. Many Rastas come here for himself denied he was the Christ, and urged Rastafari follow-
heaven, but only see hell, Masimba says. They cannot get over ers to not worship him. But this did not slow down the faith,
the grim images that haunt their minds. as millions of Ethiopians were also reported to have believed
Left: Creative reuse of a plastic
bottle provides protection for this
outdoor lightbulb which illumi-
nates a small patio at a Shashemene
Bottom right: An older version of
the Ethiopian flag, with the Lion of
Judah at its center, it still heralded
by the Rastafari in Shashemene
Bottom left: The Star of David is
also a symbol utilized in Rasta cul-
ture, as Ras Teferi Mekonnen was
reportedly a descendent of King
David’s son, Solomon.
in his divine power. I ask Masimba why he smokes the herb, as the inhalation
Towards the end of Selassie’s reign, however, his legacy was of smoke is harmful to the body. He takes a sip of tea–non-
tarnished by his reluctance to transfer power and his lack of caffeinated of course–and smiles cleverly at me.
resolve to manage crippling national crises. Many consider his “That is why you have a chalice–when you mix smoke with
pride was his downfall, and the Ethiopians who once consid- oxygen, the water removes the carbon and all you are left with
ered him the messiah now reneged on their belief, as Selassie’s is oxygen,” he says, with the rolled joint in his hand.
mortal and human nature became more apparent during the He adds that marijuana consumption is not limited to smok-
twilight of his life. ing. In fact, some Rastas abstain from using it at all, whereas
Karlene Faith, a Peace Corps worker who was stationed some cook with it or use the herb to make oil. Masimba’s
in Ethiopia in 1969 and later visited Jamaica’s Rastafari, was claim that marijuana was used in the original anointing oil as
shocked to learn that many Rastas did not worship Selassie. prescribed in the Old Testament is still up for debate.
While recalling a conversation she had with a Rasta in Jamaica, Renown anthropologist Sula Benet argued that the “fragrant
she wrote “[The Rasta] spoke – slowly and deliberately, and cane” which is included in the recipe from Exodus is actu-
piercing my vision with his: ‘Haile Selassie – he’s nothing to ally cannabis, the genus of marijuana (cannabis sativa). Most
me.’ (At which he spat upon the ground). ‘He’s a man, same scholars and etymologists disagree, however, and claim that the
as me. A man. No more.’” transliterated Hebrew word “keneh bosem” is properly trans-
* * * lated as sweet calamus (acorus calamus), which also has some
During my conversation with Masimba, he continu- psychotropic effects. Still others consider it may be the Indian
ously indulges himself with the sacramental herb, marijuana. plant cympopogan martini, or perhaps cinnamon bark.
Belai grew uncomfortable, and told his two sons to stay out- Masimba isn’t interested in the academic sword fight. In his
side. eyes, ‘fragrant cane’ is marijuana, and it is sacred.
“The herb is from the earth,” Masimba pronounces proudly. * * *
“No chemicals, no growth hormones. It was also in the Biblical For some people in the industrialized world, the Rastas have
anointing oil and King Solomon used it for burial purposes.” taken on an almost cult-like mysticism. Academic interpreta-
Many Rastafari believe marijuana acts as a medicinal purifica- tions of Rastafari often dispute the stereotype, but understand-
tion, a veritable cleansing of the mind needed to understand ing the essence of Rastafari is a challenge given its rebel-
(or “overstand”) and connect to God. According to Masimba, lious and unconventional nature.
its illegality confirms Babylon’s existence. By keeping a holy An example is the Rasta appropriation of Ethiopia’s flag,
ritual outlawed, Babylon is outlawing Rastafari. says Teresa Semmunegus, an Ethiopian filmmaker. “Many
Although a majority of Rastas consume marijuana and con- westerners–especially young people–see the flag and think of
sider it biblically sanctified, many condemn alcohol because Rastas. They don’t know that it was Ethiopia’s original flag.”
they believe fermented drink confuses the mind and spoils their She says that younger people associate the Lion of Judah ban-
temple (body). Many eat a strict organic, vegetarian diet with ner as a symbol for marijuana.
no caffeine. Some adhere to the Nazarite code as illustrated in “My friend in Germany had to take down his flag from his
the Book of Numbers and don’t cut their hair or shave, hence restaurant because people thought he was selling weed,” she
the growth of dreadlocks. says.
Shashemene is a small town 150 miles south of Ethiopia’s capital city. It is a mostly rural community and is a crossroads
for travelers commuting throughout the country and to Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
The new Ethiopian ensign maintains the original colors, but 1991. Meles Zenawi is going on his 20th year as prime minister,
replaces the lion with a more secular star intended to represent and there has yet to be any Rastafari candidate for parliament
the unity and diversity of the people. Because Ethiopia was one or prime minister.
of the only African nations to maintain independence during * * *
the colonial era, the colors of the Ethiopian flag were quickly We leave Shashemene and its small town/ancient culture pol-
adopted by many post-colonial countries. Green, yellow and red itics and depart for Addis. Along the way we experience three
became associated with the Pan-African movement, and at least flat tires, the last of which found us nearly stranded going 10
a dozen countries on the continent fly those colors today. mph at night. As we chugged through civilization, the cars and
But the strife between the Rastas and the Ethiopians still cows crept past us while throwing curious and almost sinister
exists, regardless of the popular movement to unify African looks our way, as if our bad luck could be contagious.
peoples and the unity theme represented in Ethiopia’s flag. The Eventually the driver was able to locate a service station
Ethiopian government still criminalizes marijuana and prevents through the barrage of stares and laughs that consumed the night
many Rastas from achieving citizenship, farming the land and air. Belai’s face grew tense, and I felt his hospitable confidence
running for political office. begin to wane. “God forbid,” he must have thought, “we end
During the recent May elections, the reigning Ethiopian the day like this!” But it could have been worse. We could have
People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front maintained the broke down in Afar.
ruling position it has held since the communist regime fell in We exit the car and see the tire has an enlarged tumor of air
about to burst from its side.
With no time to spare, several technicians take to the task. We
now have a growing audience surrounding us, as any event is
entertainment for this small town. As they jack-up the car, there
is a sudden explosion, like a cannon shot. Everyone jumps back,
with perhaps a brief flashback of past civil wars. It quickly be-
comes apparent that we are not under attack, but that the tire had
burst. Everyone is laughing.
The tire is replaced and we are back on the road. As we
leave, the tell-tale signs of the developing world are a fascinat-
ing dichotomy. Material poverty saturates my vision, and yet,
a spiritual wealth lies just beneath the surface and is evident
in the hopeful eyes that gently penetrate my preconceived no-
tions of rich and poor. It reminds me of Ryszard Kapuscinski’s
observation in The Shadow of the Sun, how an indigenous
African may feel pity for the well dressed westerner who is
poorer than he in some important, priceless way.
Whether Ethiopians feel pity for the Rastafari is up for de-
bate. One thing is certain, the only way they will ever accept
each other is to vanquish their pride and conquer their fear. But
transcending trepidation and ego is no easy feat for an indi-
vidual, and a near impossible task for an ancient civilization.
During its 3,000-year history, however, Ethiopia has
faced impossible challenges and won. After centuries of
brutal conflicts, Ethiopian Christians and Muslims have
The tire of our truck, just before it exploded since lived together in peace for more than 1,000 years.
like a cannon overloaded with gunpowder. That’s a feat we all can appreciate.
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table of contents
The spirit of
story by David DesRoches
photography by Emily Taylor
An ivory scepter surfaces in Ethiopia...
Did it belong to the former Congolese leader?
Tafesse’s help was constant, and eventually Tesfayun’s wife
atrice Lumumba was arrested nearly 50 years ago after thought to repay him for his generosity.
serving a mere three months as prime minister of the Republic “She came to me with this stick,” he said, as he presented the
of the Congo. After escaping house arrest, Lumumba was pale yellow staff as a matter-of-fact. “I knew it was valuable,
pursued, caught and executed under a cloud of secrecy laden so I said to her ‘I cannot accept it as a gift. I will pay you for
with CIA fingerprints. it.’ So I gave her money, and here it is.”
The tragedy shook developing countries which had The tale of Lumumba’s cane is difficult to corroborate, and
looked to the Congo as an example of democracy in action. Congolese officials have been reluctant to offer any insight into
To dissuade Lumumba’s martyrdom, his assassins dissolved
his remains in sulfuric acid and his possessions were quickly
hidden or destroyed.
However, at least one of Lumumba’s personal effects may
have survived. Mekuria Tafesse, a retired civil servant from
Ethiopia, claims that one of Lumumba’s supporters was able
to salvage an ivory scepter which is now in Tafesse’s posses-
The scepter bears Lumumba’s name and the name of JMW
Omonombe, Lumumba’s brother-in-law and the Chief Adminis-
trator of National Safety during Lumumba’s brief term in office.
It is roughly one yard long, with firm, simple lines carved along
its length. It was taken from the core of an African Elephant
trunk, and has weathered into a soft cream color.
According to Tafesse, an Ethiopian soldier for the UN named
Colonel Tesfayun helped Lumumba escape from house arrest
in 1960. Tafesse claims that Tesfayun was given the ivory staff
in return for the generosity he had shown Lumumba.
The colonel soon returned to Ethiopia with Lumumba’s
gift, but several years later he fell ill and passed away, leaving
behind a wife and several children.
Tesfayun’s family soon fell into hard times, and his wife
relied on neighbors for their survival. One of those neighbors Patrice Lumumba, 1960 (archive photo).
was Tafesse, who said that he helped his neighbor without a
its authenticity. The UN Reference Team stated that it Devlin later stated that President Dwight Eisenhower
did not have access to personnel details for its 1960 had expressed his concern to “get rid of this man [Lu-
mission in the Congo, and Ethiopian authorities mumba].”
could not comment on Tesfayun’s deployment dur- In September–after only 10 weeks in office–
ing that period. Guy-Patrice Lumumba, the youngest Lumumba was placed under house arrest at the whim
of Lumumba’s five children, stated that he never of Congolese President Joseph Kasavubu, with help
heard of his father possessing a scepter. from his Belgian cohorts and the CIA.
In some African cultures, the gift of an ivory staff Lumumba escaped, allegedly with the assistance
commemorates a great achievement in one’s life. But of Colonel Tesfayun, and was quickly pursued by his
Lumumba was a Tetela–an ethnic group in central former personal aid, the soon-to-be ruler of Zaire, Colo-
Congo–and it was not customary for Tetela leaders nel Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobuto was reportedly
to carry an ivory scepter, according to Dr. Bogumil endorsed by the CIA to organize the coup d’état.
Jewsiewicki, a history professor at Laval University in After fleeing the prime minister’s residence, Lumumba
Canada and an expert in Congolese art and culture. sought UN protection from Mobutu, but because he had
“The piece is so similar, even if much bigger in fled from their refuge while under house arrest, he was
size, to tourist art pieces made all over the eastern denied UN support.
part of the Congo as well as in Burundi,” Dr. Jewsie- However, he did manage to receive help from Tesfayun.
wicki said. “I have trouble to admit it may have been According to Tafesse, the UN soldier gave Lumumba
Lumumba’s.” provisions for his journey to Stanleyville (Kisangani), the
Despite Dr. Jewsiewicki’s hesitancy, he admits that core of his support base.
it’s hard to validate the origin of the scepter without During his absconder, he was captured on the banks of
proper documentation or evidence. “[My estimation] the Sankuru River by Mobutu’s army. Within weeks his
is based on personal impressions and I can be wrong,” fate was sealed.
he said. Today, very few of Lumumba’s possessions remain, as
Guy-Patrice was born nearly three months after Mobutu’s regime destroyed any remnants of the popular
his father’s death, and he contends that it is possible leader’s legacy. If the scepter did belong to Lumumba, it
he never heard about the scepter because it was given would seem a rare and appropriate representation of his
away before his birth. Perhaps an examination of the patriotic doctrine, an ethos that is reflected in his interna-
known events can shed light on the potential origins tional presence.
of the ivory carving. Despite his enemies’ efforts, reverence for the Congolese
In June of 1960, Lumumba became the first demo- leader has remained steadfast throughout Africa, as numer-
cratically elected prime minister in the newly formed ous roads and buildings bear his name in dedication.
Republic of the Congo. At that time, U.S. foreign As the years have passed, the Republic of the Congo
policy was heavily motivated by anti-communism became known as Zaire under Mobutu’s rule and is now
sentiments, and U.S.-funded opposition to Lumumba’s the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The region has been
regime quickly fueled political turmoil in the West plagued by civil wars, invasions and violent government
African nation. overthrows since the 1960 coup. Lumumba remains one
Lumumba was not a member of the communist of the only democratically elected officials in the nation’s
party, but his warmth with the Soviet Union was history, adding historic value to the scepter. In 2006, Joseph
reason enough to draw the eyes and ears of U.S. intel- Kabila won the presidential election, but the results have
ligence agencies. Some historians, such as writer Paul remained disputed.
Johnson, contend that Lumumba sought Soviet help In 2001, Belgium released a 1,000-page document admit-
because the UN had refused to suppress a rebellion ting the country’s involvement in the death of Lumumba.
in northern Congo after Lumumba’s election. Soviet Soon after the Belgian report, declassified CIA documents
aid could have been a last resort. revealed connections of U.S. payments to Lumumba’s ex-
In retaliation to Lumumba’s left-leaning sympa- ecutioners under the code name “Project Wizard.”
thies, western powers began plotting an attempt to The ongoing controversy surrounding Lumumba’s death
remove the leader. According to the Church Report only intensifies the mystery of Tafesse’s ivory artifact.
drafted by the 94th Congress to investigate assassina- Despite Guy-Patrice’s assertion that the scepter was not
tion plots involving foreign leaders, Allen Dulles, then his father’s, Tafesse is adamant that the ivory belonged to
CIA director, cabled Larry Devlin, the CIA station chief Lumumba. Should the story be validated, the staff could be
in Leopoldville (Kinshasa) stating that “the removal one of the most important political mementos of the 20th
of Lumumba was an urgent and prime objective.” century.
Click here to return to the
table of contents
Biosolids battle brewing
No. 2 applier okayed in also uses biosolids on his dairy farm.
“I’ve used it for a long time,” Pryor
Goochland records indicated that
Goochland, while op- said, adding that “it’s economical.”
In June, tensions between citizens
Nutri-Blend’s biosolids come from 38
wastewater treatment facilities in five
ponents of the practice and the county heightened as allegations
arose regarding Goochland’s biosolids
states. Powell said that Goochland’s bio-
solids will likely come from Richmond,
get legal muscle ordinance.
Roumillat and Kathy Crockett of
Chesterfield, Henrico and/or Washington,
Community House Rd. sought an injunc- Powell added that Nutri-Blend gets
In the wake of much controversy, tion to halt the spreading of sludge in paid to remove the biosolids from the
Nutri-Blend’s permit application to apply the county, claiming that it was applied wastewater treatment facilities–which
biosolids on 1,555 acres in Goochland on a flood plain and there was a lack of are funded by taxpayers–then provides
was approved by the State Water Control advance notice. it to the farmers free of charge.
Board on Oct. 26. Goochland biosolids monitor Hugh Sewage sludge has to go somewhere,
According to Mary Powell, spokes- Hardwicke said there was no evidence and the federal government advocates
person for Nutri-Blend, the company will of a violation, and that the James River burning sludge to create energy, al-
begin applying biosolids in the coming was not in danger of being contaminated though that practice has also generated
week. by run-off. controversy.
In August, Nutri-Blend held a pub- Despite some citizens’ concerns, Health concerns regarding biosolids
lic hearing in Goochland, and seven biosolids remain an attractive option use have prompted several Goochland
residents spoke out in opposition to the to farmers, especially given the steady citizens to contact the Community En-
application, claiming that the treated decline in commodities prices during vironmental Legal Defense Fund, which
sewage sludge known as biosolids posed the past year. has helped ban biosolids in more than 70
a health risk to the community. Many studies have been done which communities in Pennsylvania.
“My father almost died from it,” uphold the safety of using sludge as fertil- “Ultimately, it’s not about sludge,”
claimed Wendie Roumillat of Jackson izer. The Virginia Department of Health said Shireen Parsons, CELDF organizer.
Shop Rd. at the public hearing. “It’s claimed “there does not seem to be strong “It’s about democracy. It’s about who
awful. We didn’t know what it was, evidence of serious health risks when gets to choose what the county wants. Is
all we knew was there was this terrible biosolids are managed and monitored it the citizens or corporations?”
smell coming from a field near my Dad’s appropriately.” CELDF supporters hope to establish
house.” However, the same study also con- an ordinance that would, in effect, ban
While there have been anecdotal cluded that “no concerted effort has corporations from applying biosolids in
claims of health problems from biosolids, been made to collect and analyze data Goochland.
none have ever been verified by medical on reported health effects resulting from Goochland records indicate that the
or scientific investigation, said Robert biosolids applied to land,” and that “it is company Synagro has also applied bio-
Crockett, representative of the Virginia impossible to determine the full extent of solids to approximately 5,000 acres in
Biosolids Council. chemical content or biological makeup of Goochland.
“Biosolids is a time-tested material,” a particular biosolids mixture...”
Powell said in an interview, adding that Currently, the Virginia Department
Nutri-Blend welcomes emerging scientif- of Environmental Quality (DEQ) tests - Published in the November 5, 2009
ic evidence that would prove otherwise. for 10 heavy metals and nine inorganic edition of The Central Virginian
In its efforts to support research, chemicals. Before it becomes biosolids,
Powell said that Nutri-Blend is a member the sludge is treated through either aero- *Writer’s note: this article was in-
of biosolids associations, which donate bic or anaerobic digestion and/or lime cluded in the government portfolio which
funds to colleges and universities that stabilization before being certified for earned first place honors by the Virginia
research and evaluate the safety of bio- land application. Press Association.
solids use. The Environmental Protection Agen-
Local farmers like Paul Lanier stand cy’s 1993 risk assessment analysis de-
firm in their approval of the fertilizer. termined which biosolids constituents
posed the greatest hazard, and tests only Click here to return to the
“I’ve been using biosolids for over
30 years,” Lanier said. “I’ve got five for those constituents. table of contents
grandchildren, and we’ve had no health However, a recent EPA study tested
problems.” for 145 contaminants in 74 randomly
Lanier added that his cows have chosen wastewater treatment facilities
always been healthy, and the biosolids in 35 states.
significantly improved the health of his The results revealed an amalgama-
soil. tion of flame retardants, pesticides,
Andrew Pryor, District 1 supervisor, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, semiv-
olatile organics and polycyclic aromatic
Virginia man becomes development
guru for emerging economies
By David DesRoches
T he year was 2008, and while most Americans were
seated in the front-row for an historic presidential race,
Louisa native Hy Martin was witnessing the consequences
of politics gone bad in Thailand.
“I was on my way to the airport when I passed the burn-
ing bus in Victory Mountain,” Martin remembered.
As he made his way across Bangkok, past the smolder-
ing ashes and through the hoards of people, he became
acutely aware of what was happening. Thailand was on
the verge of a coup d’état.
It was mid-April, during the monsoon season, and
thousands of people rallied to picket lines and shouted into Above: Two children from an environmental education
bull horns, calling for Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej course enjoy their day in western Thailand, near the border
to step down. with Myanmar. Below: Hy Martin discussing development
Street vendors had left their normal stomping grounds, opportunities with members of a small community in
choosing instead to feed the throngs of protesters who Thailand. (photos courtesy of Hy Martin)
were gathered outside Sundaravej’s government resi-
The prime minister had committed an unforgivable
offense–he cooked a dish called Fish with Coca-Cola
Sauce on his televised cooking show.
“I didn’t realize the fate of a government could rise or
fall with cooking of a recipe,” Martin said. “And a bad
recipe at that.”
The soda-infused fish dish was perhaps the icing on
the cake for some Thai people. Sundaravej had hosted a
cooking show in the past, but having been recently elected
to government office, it was illegal for him to earn money
in the private sector.
He was ousted for being “illegally compensated the
equivalent of $50,” Martin said.
Thailand has a history of abrupt government changes
since the end of World War II. Although the 2008 deposi-
tion of Sundaravej did not amount to a full-scale coup,
the event was nerve-racking for Martin and his American
“I was surprised at how little concern was given to
the whole event,” he said. “My Thai friends were pretty said Jim Turner, chief counsel to the U.S. House of Rep-
nonchalant about it.” resentatives Committee on Science and Technology.
Martin said that Thai people had grown accustomed Martin was the first person to triple major in those
to the occasional government overthrow. subjects in UVA’s history.
“The coup in 2006 happened without any business “I have the curse of being interested in a lot of things,”
missing a single day,” he said. he said.
During Martin’s junior year, Turner placed him in
Finding a voice one of the most competitive intern assignments in the
country–working in Sen. Hillary Clinton’s office.
When Hy Martin left Louisa County High School in More than 1,000 students from America’s top universi-
2004, his sights were set high. He began his undergraduate ties applied for the Clinton internship, Turner said, and
career at the University of Virginia studying engineering. Martin was one of 30 chosen.
But his curiosity bested his pragmatism, and he finished Martin spent the summer of 2007 writing environ-
with a triple major in engineering science, physics and mental legislation and organizing a hearing on environ-
philosophy. mental justice. According to Turner, Martin made such
“He is the only UVA student I have run across who was an impression with his work ethic and personality, that
willing to take on the rigors of three academic majors,” the Clinton office wanted him to join them if they made
the White House. Hy was hired by International Consultancy Europe BV
But Clinton’s loss was Martin’s gain. During his tenure to work with renewable energy projects in developing
at UVA, he was president of UVA Students Taking Action communities.
Now: Darfur and he was project head for UVA’s EcoMod “When I started there it was two people,” he said. “Now
and Learning Barge projects, which deal with sustainable we’re up to about 45.”
housing and environmental justice. Hy and his partners started visiting the rural communi-
He even found the time to play on a club team for a ties to discover their individual needs. They learned from
soccer league. the indigenous peoples, and crafted programs specific
“He’s the kind of person who wants to change the to each village that would help the people prosper in a
world,” said Martin’s mother, Joanna Hickman. “I think sustainable and economically viable manner.
with his job he’s doing that as directly as he can.” “A lot of what we do is community agriculture work,”
With a physicist for a father and a teacher for a mother, he said, “reforestation, renewable energy... it’s all com-
it’s no surprise that Martin’s ambitions have taken him munity oriented.”
across several oceans in pursuit of making a difference. Hy spent three weeks in a rural village of roughly
An inquisitive mind 50 people in Cambodia. There, he helped dramatically
increase the town’s per-capita income by establishing
The Martin clan moved to Louisa from Knoxville, agriculture methods that produced healthier crops and
Tennessee when Hy was two. His father got a job at Fort higher yields.
Belvoir and the family relocated to Blue Ridge Shores They also set up a nursery to gather and plant indig-
before eventually moving to a 50-acre farm near Thomas enous species of trees. Everything the company does is
Jefferson Elementary School. designed to be transferable to the local people, so that
Hy’s younger brother, Maxwell, followed in his foot- they can manage their own progress.
steps at UVA, and is majoring in electrical engineering Through that experience, Hy was inspired to start
and minoring in business. the Mekong Environmental Poverty Partners Alliance
“We are so proud of them, [and] for every Louisa (MEPPA), a non-profit that works with communities
graduate who has gone on to accomplish things,” Joanna in Thailand to document and provide health training to
said. “Kids who graduate from school systems in small exploited Burmese and Thai workers.
towns can really do well, too.” According to MEPPA, Burmese refugees are prone to
Hy’s thirst for knowledge began early. He was a mem- occupational health problems because of fear of deporta-
ber of the Odyssey of the Mind team for several years, tion, legal under-representation and lack of basic health
helping to guide Louisa to state and national competitions. service.
He also participated in the Battle of the Brains. Hy has also published an article in the academic journal
During his senior year at LCHS, he spent most of his Environmental Finance. His story focused on concepts
time taking college-level courses through Piedmont Vir- discussed at the Copenhagen Climate talks in Denmark
ginia Community College. Dr. Larry Kavanagh, PVCC last year.
physics teacher, helped Hy with calculus-based physics He did all this before his 24th birthday.
equations during his planning period.
“It was very stimulating and enjoyable to work with
Hy on many things that I hadn’t thought about since col- On Feb. 14, Hy left for South Africa to expand his
lege myself,” Kavanagh said. “Hy has a wonderful mind, environmentally-centered development consulting.
great potential... ” He said that he hopes to utilize some of his worldly
Hy spent much of his time in Louisa reflecting on his knowledge in Louisa, to help bring sustainable and eco-
place in society. friendly development to the area.
“Coming from Louisa, you get a good base of your-
self,” he said. “That can be obscured, and you can veer
down different paths, but when you come back [from
travelling abroad] you really get a sense of where you
stand in a very basic manner.”
When he finished high school and college, Hy’s yen
to travel and help people coalesced when he enrolled in
a premier fellowship through Princeton University. The
experience opened his eyes to the vast and ancient cultures
of the Orient, and his life would be forever changed.
The Princeton in Asia program offers America’s bright-
est an opportunity to provide services to Asian countries.
Hy was stationed in Thailand.
“Frankly, I was just terrified,” he said of his journey to
the east. “Hopping on a plane and going to a place that I
had never been to, never come close to going to...”
The fellowship program provides its participants with
a public-service job related to each individual’s area of Solar panels in Thailand, one of many development options
interest. Hy and his firm, International Consultancy Europe BV,
“There’s not much coddling involved,” he said. provide for developing countries.
“I think there’s a lot of work to do here at home,” he
said. “One of the programs that’s been set up here in town
is the college guides program. That’s a good first step.”
UVA’s college guides program provides high school
students in Louisa and other localities with a mentor–a
recent college graduate to motivate and assist students
through the college application process.
Hy said that if he comes back to Louisa, he would
like to consider establishing internships and fellowship
programs with government and local businesses.
His heart and his mind have taken him far, and he
has already left an indelible impression on scores of
people, including his former engineering professor, Ben
“Hy was the kind of student who was not only sincere
and deliberate,” Cohen stated, “not only sharp and insight-
ful, but able to make those around him better.”
Cohen noted that Hy’s intellectual curiosity and ma-
turity were beyond his years.
“He not only made the class better when he was at
UVA, but he’s still helping me, making the classes bet-
ter from afar,” he said. “Certainly a great example of a
Louisa kid made good.”
His name, Hy, is actually short for Hydrogen, the
smallest and most abundant element in the universe. It
is also the fuel that has kept the sun burning for billions
His namesake may by hard to live up to, but his work
ethic and personality seem to bring warmth to those he Above: Hy Martin with Sen. Hilary Clinton during Mar-
encounters, just as the element helps to bring warmth to tin’s 2007 internship on Capitol Hill. Below: Martin and
the earth. company pose for a shot on the hills of Thailand.
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table of contents
Social services feeling the pinch
It is Monday morning, and Kimberly Jefferson stares at a Jefferson said that her office has been able to handle the
stack of new applications for food stamps. increase in case-loads.
Jefferson, director of the Goochland department of social Orange employs several independent contractors for ongo-
services, has seen applications for government assistance in- ing services, Lingo said, to help administer the increase in
crease by 50 percent since 2008. applications.
“We are seeing more and more people who have never been Lingo added that food stamps are “the perfect measure of
on food stamps,” Jefferson said. “[Houses with] two people the economy. Other [social services] programs have certain
working, dual-incomes, with one or more laid-off. We’re see- criteria, but anyone can walk into our office and apply for
ing a lot of new faces.” food stamps.”
Effective October 1, the federal government increased in-
come limits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp Program, is intended - Published in the October 8, 2009 edition of The Central
for nutritional food purchases only, and can not be used to buy Virginian.
a meal at a restaurant.
For a family of two, the net income limit is $1,215, which is *Writer’s note: this article was included in the government
also the poverty level threshold. For each additional household portfolio which earned first place honors by the Virginia Press
member, the income limit increases by $406. Association.
According to the Virginia Department of Social Services, the
income limit adjustments are intended to reflect inflation and
cost of living changes. This allows more people to be eligible Click here to return to the
for services, but it also exacerbates the strain on an already table of contents
overloaded social service network.
Jefferson said that when applicants earn above the income
limit, her staff works with them to find alternative services
through the Goochland Free Clinic or the Community Action
Susan Muir, director of Fluvanna DSS, said that her office
was understaffed by eight people before the increase in applica-
tions began in late 2007.
“We certainly don’t have the staff to take care of the rise in
applications,” Muir said.
According to VDSS, the number of SNAP cases in Fluvanna
has increased by 51 percent since 2008. The amount of money
paid out has increased by nearly 120 percent.
Fluvanna employs 23 full-time social service positions, and
Muir said that they are understaffed by more than 30 percent.
A VDSS report generated by Hornby Zeller Associates, Inc.,
confirmed that social service departments in Virginia may be
understaffed by more than 1,000 full-time employees.
“The state needs to step up to the plate,” said Bob Lingo,
director of Orange DSS. “We’ve gone beyond the rising tide–
it’s a flood.”
Lingo said the increase in applications compounds the
workers’ case loads because every six months the applications
must be reviewed.
In April, counties received stimulus funds for SNAP benefits,
and some districts also received funds to help with administra-
tive costs. But county officials are concerned that temporary
jobs created by stimulus funding will not solve long-terms
“Hiring new workers takes time to train,” Lingo said.
“Stimulus money lasts, really, for only 15 months.”
Orange DSS employs 25 people, and like other localities,
has shifted employees’ responsibilities to meet the increase in
“We have a number of programs, and the standards are dif-
ferent with each program,” Lingo said, adding that retraining
staff to perform new duties is also time-consuming.
Goochland employs 20 full-time employees, including an
emergency eligibility worker.
• Kids benefit from early special education programs
• Demand up in Goochland
Contrary to popular belief, special education is not a per- able resources.
manent tag. Dianna Gordon, principal of GES, said that there is only one
Debra Beasley, director of special education for Goochland room available at the Annex, which is currently used for group
County Public Schools, estimated that 40 percent of Gooch- activities. The Annex also houses the entire third grade, bringing
land’s 27 early childhood special education (ECSE) students the number of students in that building to more than 140.
will leave the program before kindergarten. “If we get any more, we’ll need to look at redistricting and
“We reevaluate them and then make a recommendation,” portables,” Underwood said.
Beasley said. “Some children stay in the program, but many Gordon is especially concerned about space.
are able to enter the regular curriculum by the time they’re four. “Each day, they have to walk across the street to go to lunch,”
A lot of children are successful.” Gordon said. “It’s a safety concern. We need a new school, the
Goochland’s ECSE program serves two to five-year-olds ECSE program is growing and we have to meet that growth.”
who are recognized by federal standards to have certain de- Meeting that demand is not optional.
“The theory is that the earlier you can reach a child, the better
chance they will have to succeed,” said Dr. Linda Underwood, - Published in the September 24, 2009 edition of The Central
superintendent of schools. Virginian.
According to Goochland records, ECSE students account
for one percent of the total enrollment in Goochland.
Many ECSE students are speech and language impaired,
according to Dr. Robert Grimesey, Orange County’s superin-
Click here to return to the
tendent of schools, a school division that educates 28 ECSE table of contents
children as young as six months.
Orange’s ECSE population accounts for half a percent of
the total enrollment.
“Most children who receive [speech and language] services
will no longer be identified with special education by the fifth
grade,” Grimesey said. “It all depends on the severity of the
disability, resources available, a variety of factors.”
ECSE students are likely to exit the special education pro-
gram, but not all children will have the opportunity.
“Some students may have several developmental dis-
abilities,” Underwood said. “Each [ECSE] student is under an
Each ECSE student’s program is focused on the child’s
“Some children may have a speech disorder, but they may
function well in other areas,” Underwood said.
In Louisa County, Sara Bright, director of pupil personnel
services, said that Louisa’s ECSE program has grown to 34
students, but it has adequate staffing and space to meet future
“Each year is different,” Bright said. “We are constantly
looking for changes we might need to make, whether it’s reor-
ganizing space to accommodate a specific situation, whatever
it might be.”
Louisa’s ECSE population accounts for slightly more than
half a percent of the total enrollment.
The ECSE program has been a growing concern for school
divisions like Goochland, where the Goochland Elementary
School Annex–the facility where ECSE students are taught
–is at full capacity.
“We’ve actually had to rearrange some of our staff’s du-
ties,” Underwood said, noting that schools are mandated to
accept every child who is ECSE eligible, regardless of avail-
Broadband battle in Goochland
A Goochland broadband study re- signal will still be better than 4G, because Brewer and Ben Slone, software en-
vealed that 48 percent of survey respon- newer smart phones are bandwidth- gineer with Finite Matters LTD, believe
dents are dissatisfied with their Internet hungry, and will slow down the 4G that government should only provide
speed. networks. incentive for investors and not get in-
Virginia Broadband (VABB), a Cul- A report done by Cisco Systems, Inc., volved directly.
peper-based fixed-wireless Internet pro- stated that smart phones use 30 times “[Government-run Internet service]
vider, is looking to change that. the amount of bandwidth of regular cell closes competing private sector de-
VABB applied for a federal loan phones. velopment,” Slone told the board of
from the American Recovery and Rein- But Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are supervisors on October 6. “[They bring]
vestment Act, and Goochland provided petitioning the FCC for more bandwidth. in solutions that don’t make sense, that
them with a support letter indicating the They have also invested in the county don’t conform and adjust to advancing
county’s broadband accessibility and the during recent years, bringing more cel- technology.”
need for improvement. lular options and better service. Slone said that government-run Inter-
But, should VABB invest stimulus Since 2007, 11 cellular towers were net service could impede on individual
funds into Goochland, some citizens built in the county, increasing the total rights, and that public Internet systems
are concerned that the service would to 28. Paul Drumwright, management have a long history of failure in the
be unable to compete with upcoming analyst, stated that a “conservative three- United States.
technologies. mile radius” of coverage surrounds each According to Quarles, “broadband
Matt Brewer, systems consultant cellular tower. today is like the early days of electricity.”
with Brewer Communications, said that Cunningham said that Verizon owns He added that access to information is
if VABB builds in Goochland, then Ve- and leases towers in Goochland, some of essential to a free society.
rizon and AT&T are “gonna blow past which are co-located with other service If VABB is awarded stimulus funds,
us. I don’t want the county to invest in a providers. the company would increase its work-
fixed product.” “We have 100 percent coverage in force by more than 200 percent, Manuel
Because VABB’s fixed wireless signal Goochland,” Cunningham said, adding said.
is not portable, Brewer said its function- that Verizon employs a team whose sole “If funded, we’ll hire 45 people.”
ality is limited when compared to the purpose it to find network dead spots. Manuel told supervisors. “That’s good
Verizon and AT&T mobile broadband Although Verizon reports its cover- for the economy, and that’s good for
services. age as 100 percent, there are areas in the Virginia Broadband. We think it’s gonna
Warren Manuel, CEO of VABB, con- county with no service. Cunningham be great.”
tends that the fixed-wireless system is said that people living in those areas can
more stable because there is a set number purchase an antennae called a femtocell - Published in the October 29, 2009
of people using the network, which can- that will boost their wireless signal in edition of The Central Virginian.
not be overloaded and slowed down like their home.
cellular networks. To accelerate broadband accessibil-
“If we went portable, it’d be the best ity in Goochland, county officials have
system in the world,” Manuel said. “No- shown an interest in developing public- Click here to return to the
body’s figured out how to do it yet.” private partnerships that could cost the
VABB’s Internet service uses a mix of county $250,000 to $1 million in annual
table of contents
unlicensed 900 megahertz and five giga- operating costs.
hertz frequency bands, with download Drumwright said that Goochland has
speeds ranging from three megabits per no formal agreement with VABB, and the
second to 2.5 mbps. support letter provided by the county only
Currently, Verizon and AT&T are op- iterated the need for better broadband
erating third-generation (3G) networks, accessibility.
with download speeds comparable to “It will be worth it for the citizens,
VABB. for them to have multiple providers of
During the next three years, however, broadband,” Drumwright said.
the companies will begin “rolling out” Drumwright added that VABB was
a fourth-generation network, one that one of two broadband providers who
Verizon has defined as long term evolu- responded to Goochland’s request for
tion (LTE), and will achieve speeds eight information issued in October 2008, al-
to 10 times faster than 3G speeds, said though the county sent letters to several
Sherri Cunningham, spokesperson for providers, including Verizon and Com-
Verizon. cast who did not respond.
However, it is not certain when William Quarles, District 2 supervisor,
Goochland will have access to the 4G said in a phone interview that he would
network, and as long as Goochland like to eventually see broadband as a
continues using 3G, VABB’s connection public utility and that the county should
speeds will be comparable. take the lead in providing the service to
Manuel said that he believes VABB’s rural residents.
Farmers’ Market goes to the Web
Fresh, locally harvested meat and produce will be available that the free clinic serves between 100 to 130 households per
year-round thanks to the forward-thinking folks at the Center week–an increase of 64 percent from last year.
for Rural Culture in Goochland. “We’re very excited,” Dunlap said. “Anytime we can pro-
The Goochland Farmers Market has begun a winter co-op, vide healthy, nutritious food for people, we appreciate it.”
allowing consumers to continue supporting the local market- Dunlap added that it’s not often that the free clinic receives
place during the cold season. fresh produce that matches the quality donated by the farm-
It all started when Lisa Dearden, executive director of the ers’ market.
Center for Rural Culture, approached Molly Harris looking to Among the items given were bell peppers, kale, baby bok
expand the operating season of the farmers’ market. choy, collards, beef, chicken and eggs. There were even a
Harris operates the Fall Line Farms Co-op, which is an on- dozen duck eggs donated, a bit of luxury that the free clinic
line database connecting local farms to the community. Harris had never seen.
suggested that Dearden use the same system.
“My goal is to get local food to as many people as possible,”
Harris said. “We’re really excited about the future and setting - Published in the November 19, 2009 edition of The Central
up in other areas.” Virginian.
The winter co-op allows market vendors to sell their prod-
ucts online between the months of November and April, and
the process is relatively simple. First, customers buy goods
through a dedicated Web site. Vendors then deliver the sold Click here to return to the
items to designated locations. After that, customers acquire table of contents
their pre-purchased order by visiting the drop-off site.
Each week, food is delivered to the Goochland Free Clinic
and Family Service’s office in the Courthouse area and the
former Edible Garden location on River Road.
Dearden said the program is different from other community
supported agriculture co-ops.
“If you want to go on vacation for two weeks, you don’t
have to worry about buying anything,” Dearden said. “You’re
not obligated–that’s a big difference.”
Customers and vendors pay a fee to join the co-op, which
is valid for the season.
In total, 17 vendors are participating in the winter co-op,
offering a diverse variety of items that Goochland Farmers
Market patrons have grown to expect.
One of those vendors is Hidden Turtle farm in Goochland,
owned by Amanda and Steve Baier-Miles.
“[It’s] such a great opportunity for people to vote with their
purchases for the small farmer, for the local economy,” Amanda
said. “It’s a great medium for getting local produce to people.
I was excited to participate.”
Hidden Turtle will offer various mesclun salad mixes, and
Amanda said that she also hopes to offer cookies.
Market patrons will have an opportunity to donate some of
their purchased food to the free clinic, as part of the Pounds
of Plenty program.
“Whatever the farmer has more of that week, they can
put it in the program,” Dearden said of the Pounds of Plenty.
“They still get paid, and the customer gets a receipt for tax
The program kicked-off on November 10, and Dearden said
that the free clinic collected hundreds of pounds of food, valued
at approximately $250 worth of nutritious sustenance.
According to Dearden, Pounds of Plenty allows Goochland
residents who receive free clinic services a chance to consume
fresh, local foods, which are normally too expensive for lower-
“Some of them may have never had grass-fed beef,” Dearden
said. “So it might taste different to them. The food pantry actu-
ally cooks once a week and provides recipes.”
Carol Dunlap, family services program coordinator, said
Rest area closures have broad impact
Times were tough for Eleanor Beard after an accident nearly “It’s going to have a huge impact on localities,” Svajda said.
paralyzed her hands 13 years ago. She was able to get a job “The [exit ramps] aren’t built for the kind of traffic they are
with DTH Contract Services, the company that the Virginia going to see. In the long run, it’s going to cost VDOT more to
Department of Transportation hires to maintain the state’s 42 repair the roads that weren’t built to sustain high volume traffic.
rest areas. And the locals will foot the bill.”
“There were some things I could do with my hands,” Beard Svajda added that many local businesses will be hurt be-
said. “I couldn’t even make a fist at first. But after working, I cause their primary advertising was through the brochures that
can make a fist. [My hands] are much better now.” decorate rest area halls.
Beard works at the west bound Interstate 64 rest area in “A lot of them can’t afford to do magazines or signs, so they
Goochland. On July 21, Beard and 190 to 285 other DTH em- do a brochure,” Svajda said. “Hotels and restaurants, they have
ployees will be out of a job when VDOT closes 19 rest areas large groups coming to them from rest areas.”
statewide. For the 73-year-old Louisa grandmother, her work Truckers are also facing a dilemma. With fewer areas avail-
was her rehabilitation, which is now gone. able to catch much-needed sleep, it puts a strain on making their
“I’ll be okay,” Beard said. “But it’s the worst thing to ever mandatory 10 hours of daily rest.
happen to Goochland.” After Goochland’s rest areas are closed, motorists will
Rhett Raynor, DTH president, said it could be hard for many travel 108 miles between stops on the east bound side. This
of his employees to find a job as stable. has Goochland residents worried.
“Fifty percent of what we get paid goes directly to labor,” “You go by [the rest stop] at 4 or 5 in the morning and
Raynor said. “When the state cuts the budget, they’re causing that’s all you see is truckers,” said Andrew Pryor, District 1
Raynor said that the Goochland rest areas were one of At the board of supervisors meeting on July 7, the board
the first in the state, and staff has maintained them to superb passed a motion to formally object to the state’s decision to
standards. close down Goochland’s rest areas.
Roy Skeen has been travelling the I-64 corridor for years. Clayton Boyce, public relations vice president of the
Each week he drives from his home in Lexington to Norfolk American Trucking Association, said that they are still trying
where he works for NASA. to overturn the closings.
“I stop at every rest area,” Skeen said. “We wrote a letter to the governor,” Boyce said. “We didn’t
Skeen walks with a cane, but only when he first emerges receive much of a response... The whole point of these rest
from his pickup, until his legs warm up. areas was to provide people a safe place to pull off, stretch
“I rely on these rest stops,” he said. “I dozed off once while their legs.”
I was driving, and I pulled off [on the west-bound rest area] Boyce is also worried that more motorists will stop on the
and slept for 30 minutes. In that sense, the rest stop saved my highway shoulder, which can lead to accidents.
life.” “Just last year a couple pulled off the side of the road to
The rest area closings come on the heels of VDOT’s $2.6 switch drivers, and one of them was struck by a car and killed,”
billion revenue short fall. In addition to VDOT cutting contract Boyce said.
positions, they are also slashing 1,500 internal jobs to help ease For Beard, there is nothing positive about the closings.
their financial woes, said VDOT spokesman Greg Bilyeu. “We have old people who can’t go to the bathroom every
“VDOT needs to close these rest areas as soon as possible 120 miles,” Beard said. “And the truckers, they remember us
in order to save money,” Bilyeu said. “None of these decisions around Christmas time, and we remember them.”
are easy for the agency.”
The cuts come at time when federal stimulus money recently - Published in the July 16, 2009 edition of The Central
provided $694.5 million to boost state transportation funds. Virginian.
“If they didn’t spend [so much] on that Taj Mahal [New Kent
rest area], they’d have money to keep us open,” Beard said.
Kevin Moses, who has worked the night shift at the west Click here to return to the
bound Goochland rest area for 14 years, is convinced that other table of contents
means could have been found to reach a balanced end.
“[VDOT] hired engineers to come out here and tell us to
move that can or cut that grass,” Moses said. “You really need
an engineer to do that?”
Despite the outcry, the situation creates an opportunity for
local convenience stores.
“I think it’ll be good for business,” said Randy Riddle, as-
sistant manager of Siebert’s in Oilville. “But it’s a terrible idea,
closing all them rest areas. Especially late at night when most
[gas] stations are closed.”
Tourism in Virginia is also expected to see some hits, accord-
ing to Megan Svajda of the Virginia Hospitality and Tourism
Association. Svajda also commented on the lack of infrastruc-
ture in small towns to withstand the increase in demand for
For the pun of it
The word is antepenultimate. For those of us not steeped in Some words don’t last–mortal anachronisms thrust into the
archaic verbiage, it means ‘coming before the next to last in a locution ether at the whim of popular culture. There is talk of
series.’ Perhaps it makes sense, as saying something like “third eliminating the word ‘decimate’ since it has nothing to do with
last” just doesn’t entice the ear like antepenultimate. the number ten–as its prefix ‘dec’ would indicate–like the words
The English language has a fantastic way of showcasing its ‘decimal’ and ‘decade.’ At the risk of sounding superfluous, we
bravado. It is a beautifully bastardized language, as we borrow cannot decimate ‘decimate,’ but the word ‘superfluous’ should
many words from our Romance and Germanic brethren, and be decimated because it is just plain useless.
we have an infinite list of Greek and Latin derivatives to create According to Roman history, the word ‘decimate’ came
new words. Words like antepenultimate. from a punishment inflicted upon a poorly performing legion
The possibility for new words is almost endless. Fans of of soldiers. Legend has it, that if Caesar was unhappy with the
words like antepenultimate should find no objection to ante- soldiers for any reason, one-tenth of the legion was put to death,
antepenultimate, or anteanteantepenultimate, to represent fourth thus decimating the legion.
and fifth last places, respectively. Although they don’t flow And now it’s time to decimate this article by ending with a
as well as their predecessor, so perhaps suprantepenultimate sentence that is the antepenultimate epitome of a clandestine
or preantepenultimate? What does it take for a neologism to onomatopoeia. BOOM! My head just exploded trying to make
find its way into the English echelon? Are there limits to the sense of that sentence.
ridiculousness a word can convey through exaggerated use of
vowels, prefixes and Latin roots?
What about the word ‘onomatopoeia’? What an orgy of Click here to return to the
vowels. WHACK! BAM! Slapped in the face with o-e-i-a!
Onomatopoeia are often in all capitals to stress loudness and
table of contents
followed with an exclamation mark. But couldn’t the word itself
be more simple? Let’s face it, to use a word that looks more like
the name of a group of Native Americans is a bit melodramatic.
Why can’t it be called a soundword, or wordnoise or something
similar? Plus (as evidenced in the second sentence of this para-
graph), how do we pluralize onomatopoeia? Onomatopoeias?
Onomatopoeie? Or is it already plural, like the word ‘fish’?
There are certain words that roll off the tongue with a
distinct melody, begging for an excuse to be used. Epitome.
What a great, four-syllable word disguised as having only three
syllables. Genius. It almost looks like the name of an ancient
Egyptian city or some kind of inscribed artifact. What word is
the epitome of cool? Epitome.
Of course, what fun would language be if we only had one
pronunciation for every word? You say toe-may-toe, I say
toe-mah-toe. Clandestine is another great multi-pronunciable
word. The secret of the word ‘clandestine’ is that nobody will
tell you exactly how it’s pronounced, thus holding it in mysteri-
ous editorial limbo.
English speakers have a fabulous knack for naming things
as well, especially when it comes to diseases. Years ago, the
names we gave diseases sounded scarier than the thought of
having the sickness. Ailments like ‘putrid fever,’ and ‘fatty
liver,’ and ‘screws’ were nasty-sounding enough to make any
rebellious five-year-old wash his hands before supper. Having
trouble getting little Johnny to cool it with his Playstation? Tell
him that TV weakens the eyes and makes the body susceptible
to black death fever. Is it true? Maybe.
Today, we tend to name many diseases with the suffix “rea”
or “ria.” Like Malaria. This can be dangerous because some
people have names with similar endings. You wouldn’t want
to be discussing your digestive malfunctions with a friend and
have someone named Daria overhear you and say, “Yes? Did
you ask for me?” What do you say? “No, we were talking about
diarrhea, sorry.” That could be awkward. (Even computer
programs underline “Daria” as a misspelled word, and offer
“diarrhea” as a replacement)
Swimming in Babylon
A reflection on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
We all know what happened nine years ago around this fear is the Hebrew word... yirah which can possibly mean fear,
time. We all remember where we were. There’s no need to but also means awe, reverence, respect and devotion. A closely
reiterate the pain of an atrocity as a cheep means to invoke related Hebrew word is... yare which can mean fearful, but also
sentimentality. means to stand in awe, reverence or honor.”
But where are we nine years later? It would seem that we But I didn’t really understand the depth of the “fear of God”
are even further away from compassion and understanding. saying until I read a little bit of Van Til’s Apologetic. Van Til–in
Dangerously so. Although we do tend to get wrapped up in the all his obtuse and esoteric glory–notes that the quote, like pas-
glass being half-empty, don’t we? We forget about the stuff in sages in all great works of literature, has several meanings and
the glass that gives us strength because we’re inundated with the meanings are constantly evolving. Til writes that reverence
propaganda from across the political spectrum. Not everybody and respect towards our Creator is essential as all knowledge
is an ignorant, Koran-burning xenophobe with a penchant for comes to us through our Creator. Specifically, when we learn
media manipulation and cheep publicity tricks. Not every something, we must not wallow in the pride of our indomitable
American hates the idea of a “Ground Zero Mosque,” as if intelligence, but rather, accept that the knowledge was actu-
reaching out to the Muslim world in a gesture of solidarity ally a gift, a gift that can be taken away if not understood or
would spit in the face of those who died in the World Trade appreciated.
Center attacks. I thought Jesus said, turn the other cheek, and Maybe we should look at love under the same light. Maybe
love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. I guess we should hold love in reverence and respect, as a gift that we
we’re only Christians when it’s convenient. should appreciate, lest it be taken from our hearts and replaced
How many churches were built in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with calloused cynicism.
after the U.S. detonated atomic weapons in the cities, murder- As human beings have evolved, both physically and men-
ing and maiming hundreds of thousands of innocent people? Is tally, we have yet to make a dent emotionally or spiritually.
that okay, or is it an atrocity? How quickly we forget and how We are still moved by sophomoric yet emotive techniques that
fast we point our fingers. should have been thrown in the trash with our baby teeth. We
As I grow older, I experience an increasing cynicism that are so immature in our spiritual understanding it makes me
seems to wrap itself around me in a gradually thickening cloud queasy. Of course there are millions and perhaps billions of
of misanthropy. When I was in college, I knew that people were people worldwide who lack physical and mental sophistica-
good. All people were good. And I still feel that way. But as tion but exude a spiritual and emotional maturity that allows
the despondency of realism claws at my spirit like an undead them a peace of mind that others can’t even imagine. Not even
zombie seeking to turn me into one of its own, I feel more and Hollywood.
more inclined to just say fuck it. It is what it is. People are good Perhaps this problem exists strictly in western countries,
in their core, but being good is not a priority. Being feared is or maybe just in the U.S. I don’t know. I do know that when
what many people aspire to, as if Machiavelli’s question was we create things to fix the problems created by other created
rhetorical. things, we just create more problems (that’s a lot of creation).
One could argue that fear trumps love because love has been At one time in history, our worries were limited to food and
thrown into the fire of illusion stoked by the imagination of survival. Now our worries and psychological problems are
Hollywood and its media contemporaries. Perhaps love began enough to warrant an entire industry to fight the negative side
to die when Aristotle wrote his Poetics, an academic attempt effects of our own inventions. It’s truly an amazing spectacle
to understand the inimitable qualities that make great art great. of hubris and fear.
Perhaps when we started to try and understand love and all its This is no call to turn Luddite, blow up your TV, throw away
intricate complexities was when we started to actually fear love. your paper and move the country, as John Prine suggests. It’s
Because we can’t understand love, we fear it, so fear comes more of a call to ask ourselves a simple question. Have Ameri-
before love and is therefore more important. cans learned anything positive from the Sept. 11 attacks, or do
There’s an interesting quote from Proverbs that always we only care about defeating Islamic extremists? Perhaps what
threw me for a loop. It says, “The fear of God is the beginning we need is a peaceful wing of Al-Qaida, a Christian Taliban.
of knowledge.” I always took that to mean that we can’t have Maybe we need some people who want the same things but use
knowledge until we fear God. But fear is such a loaded word, peaceful means to achieve it. I’m not advocating intolerance
isn’t it? Especially when talking about a Creator. Like George against women and Sharia law, but I am asking us to join a
Carlin observed, I don’t want to worship a God who wants us fight against imperialism, against one-size-fits-all international
to fear It. God should be an element of love and kindness and policies, against ignorance and corruption and greed which are
compassion. all symptoms of fear. A fight against the fear of “the other” that
But the English language–in all its bastardized glory–doesn’t has plagued humanity since the tower of Babel fell and our
due justice to the Hebrew word for fear. Like the online new pride thrust our tongues to choose a voice and we were forever
age guru Richard Shelquist illustrates on his Web site: separated from our brothers and sisters through language.
“The word most often translated in the Old Testament as Rodney King, the simple-minded Los Angeles victim of the
1992 L.A. riots, was deeply observant when we mused, half- obstacle that must be overcome to achieve understanding, maybe
crying and with his head bowed, “Can’t we all just get along?” we stand a chance. But we have a long way to go.
King echoed the very sentiment that has stirred the minds of Only those who aren’t afraid to get their feet wet can really
every idealist since the tower of Babel crashed. Why can’t we enjoy the ocean. If you can’t swim, maybe it’s time to throw
get along? Why is fear so motivating? yourself into the water and see what you’re made of. As long as
If we listen to FDR and understand that fear itself is the only you have a friend there who understands what you’re doing, you
thing to fear, maybe we’ll get somewhere. If we respect fear should have no fear, and neither should your friend. Only respect
only because of the power that it has to motivate our actions, for the power of the ocean, and love for the gift of water.
maybe then we can stop using fear to achieve power or control. Let’s all go swimming!
If fear exists only as something that stands in front of us, only an
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table of contents
The price ia right to buy BP
I just purchased stock in BP. Now, I know what you’re Pay no attention to the liberal media’s idea that more govern-
thinking. Brilliant, right? Surely, any company with talismanic ment policy is needed to ensure safe oil drilling. Or the right-
foresight for business planning is a shoe-in for our investment wing media telling us that liberal policy is what forced BP to
dollars. Any company that can allow an oil deluge to go on for drill in such deep water to begin with. Listen only to your inner
three months has got a plan. Big plans. The PR debacle is the Warren Buffett. What would Buffett do? Drink a margarita and
smoke, and the response effort is the mirror. I can’t wait to see eat a cheeseburger in paradise? Only after he was sure that he
my investment skyrocket in an afternoon delight of new capital owned the tequila, the beef company and the royal park. So
ventures. let’s start buying up BP stock. After all, we wouldn’t want our
Of course, the price to be paid is high. Lord knows, we all love children growing up without cheeseburgers, shrimp cocktail,
our seafood and we’re pretty much lost in a pre-New Testament combustion engines and bipolar disorder. Would we?
quandary about what kind of meat is okay to eat now that our
bottom dwellers are incapacitated, most likely to their inedible
delight. It’s difficult to pay twice as much for shrimp, but I know
that I must do my part in the economic recovery of our nation.
So I purchase my overpriced cocktails with red, white and blue
gleaming in every consumption.
And what a shame it is for the fishermen. What a travesty!
Click here to return to the
Livelihoods lost in the blink of an eye. But at least there’s some table of contents
jobs with BP cleaning up the spill. God bless capitalism!
It reminds me of the symbiotic brilliance of the fast food
and fitness industries. Let’s face it, without Burger King and
McDonald’s we’d have little need for Slim Fast and Weight
Or the relationship between the mental health and pharma-
ceutical industries. Without the thousands of psychoses that our
brilliant psychologists are discovering through the potent and
unbiased scientific method, we’d have no need for the myriad
drugs that clog the prescription shelves at our local pharmacy.
Go agoraphobia! I always thought grandpa was just ornery, turns
out he was suffering from acute stress disorder with remnants
of cyclothymic and delusional disorders coupled with trichotil-
lomania. No wonder why I still have my hair! He pulled out all
of his! It’s not genetic! Let’s hear it for the DSM IV!*
Life never had such deep meaning until long, Latin-derived
names were attributed to our woes. And the true meaning didn’t
arrive until drug companies devised a delicious concoction to
replace self-improvement. God bless instant gratification!
So in reality, BP is just following in the footsteps of its breth-
ren. This clean-up effort is causing them to really dig deep into
their pockets. But what they’re truly looking for is something
big. It’s a nasty chess game, and it seems they’ve just sacrificed
their queen to give the king a shot at the final blow. I can’t wait
to see it!
Maybe this is an effort to depress the stock value, so
forward-thinking chums like myself can snatch it all up, away
from all them Middle Eastern what-have-yous and European
neocolonials. Or maybe, they’re trying to destroy the Obama
administration by making it appear impotent. That way, a more
oil-friendly republican can take office in 2012 on the heals of
America’s distrust for idiotic liberal policy. Small price to pay
for the bigger picture. A few billion here to ensure the democrats
lose office. There are trillions of dollars to be made in the energy
industry. I’m glad I’ve got my bit of heaven.
We the people tend to only see the now, and our thoughts on
the future are only relevant to what we see happening now. We
don’t see what’s really going on, so we can’t see what’s really
going to happen. Luckily for all of us, I recently purchased a
hand-made Indonesian crystal ball from Walmart for 13 cents,
and it told me that BP is going to rake it in big. Got rake? I sure
as hell do.
The following is an excerpt from Paradox Found , a feature-length screenplay.
Background: Reese and Franco have traveled to Gregoon (a fictional African nation) to make a documentary.
One of their interviews is with Paul and Nadine, a married American couple who operate Save Everything
Now, a international non-governmental organization.
INT. ‘SAVE EVERYTHING NOW’ HEADQUARTERS - DAY
Paul sits relaxed on a reclining chair, with the surroundings of a home-office, as he’s interviewed by Reese.
Paul’s eyes are serious yet dead somehow.
(awkwardly, sporadic pauses)
Well my wife and I started Save Everything Now after we
came to Gregoon in the summer of ninety-five, just a year
after we were married. We ended up starting this NGO, I
know, I know, Save Everything Now? That’s really lofty, I
know, but it started off as Save the Children, but of course
that was taken so we changed it to Save the Lions, but, we
soon found out about the um, the, the tree foresting,
deforesting situation, so, so it became Save the Eucalyptus
Trees. So we worked under that name for a while...Um... And
our natural progression took us to another animal that was in
danger of becoming endangered, so, we became Save the
Orange Faced Baboon... Then we grew and grew, and our
scope widened to include the green crested swallowback eagle
bird, so, we changed our name to, Save the Green Crested
Swallowback Eagle Bird... Then it was the...
Paul looks over to his masculine, emotionless wife, NADINE, who sits on the chair next to him, her
plumpness an interesting compliment to Paul’s tiny stature. She wears reddish-brown tinted eyeglasses.
The Jumping Juniper
Horned Grasshopper. Purple Headed Humpbacked Horned Grasshopper. Then the Purple Headed
Rhinoceros. Humpbacked Rhinoceros.
Nadine nods proudly, affirming the things that she and her husband have tried to save.
Then, we got into microbiotic organisms like Placebo’s
Anemic Amoeba, so we tried to save that... Then of course
our thinking got even more broad, after we learned about the
healing effects of plutonium, specifically ionized plutonium,
so, we became Save Plutonium Ions... Um... Then, after
seeing how important, um, you know, feces is, in house
creation here in Africa, we became, Save the
Save the Cattle Dung. Cattle Dung... But people started driving by our
house and leaving piles and piles of, of um,
Feces, hun, is the correct, um,
Feces, hun, is the correct, um,
Lot’s of feces, our head, er, our house was full of sh, crap,
um, feces, so...
This of course drew in a bunch of flies and eventually
Which led us to change our name again, to the last name
before we became Save Everything Now, which was Save the
Wasp Legged Mosquito.
Nobody was fighting for the mosquitos.
Yeah, nobody. Especially after the West Nile thing and
malaria, their image has just been destroyed by all the terrible
bad press that our “western media” back home gives everyone.
A MOSQUITO lands on Paul’s arm. He swats and kills it.
INT. PAUL AND NADINE’S HOUSE - DAY
Paul and Nadine get their multi-ethnic adopted children ready to leave the house. They put on clothes, brush
hair and tie shoes. All their children are less than two years old, and they introduce each child as Franco
And it didn’t take us long to really fall in love with the
children. And since Paul and I aren’t able to have our own, we
decided to adopt.
Our first child was Rico. We named him after Nadine’s
favorite singer Rico Suave.
After that, we adopted Jemima.
Then our precious Latifah.
Then Oprah, then Nelly, then Makmud Abas,
His parents were Muslim.
Then Oprah, then Nelly, then Makmud Abas,
His parents were Muslim.
Then Denzel, and Condoleeza, Colin, Barack, Jessee, with two
s’s and two e’s,
We thought that was neat.
Yeah, we did, um, then Latoya, Michael, Germaine, Janet,
Tito, O.J., Malcolm Y, and Paul, after me.
EXT. CITY STEET SIDEWALK - DAY
MUSIC: Beatles, “All you need is love.”
Paul and Nadine walk down a bumpy sidewalk, with all twenty of their adopted children stuffed into this
ridiculously OVERSIZED STROLLER. The kids are practically falling over each other as the stroller
bangs and jerks along the pothole-covered sidewalk. One child falls out, and the stroller bounces as it rolls
over him. Nadine picks up the kid, dusts ‘it’ off, and throws ‘it’ back in the stroller.
We thought we’d stop adopting after our 20th child. We don’t
know what we’d do without them.
The stroller pulls into an old, run-down day care center, where a couple of LOCAL WOMEN come out
with food on their hands and face and take the kids. Paul and Nadine wave goodbye with contrived 4.
INT. SEN HEADQUARTERS - DAY
The office is cluttered with boxes of random papers, clothes, folders, computers, machines, etc.
Before we came to Africa I was an investment banker with
Lehman Brothers, and Nadine worked for Bear Stearns. So,
you could say we know a little bit about handling our affairs.
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The following is an excerpt from Ambulatory Adventures, a short story.
I exit into a sea of commerce, culture, society and depravity. An old man with no hands and blank white eyes holds
his stubs out, asking for the sake of God to give him money. His eyes have seen more than I dare to imagine. Sometimes I give,
sometimes I don’t. I have the luxury of choosing, and my choice could easily determine if this man eats or not. I don’t like that
kind of power, as it fills me with guilt if I don’t act, and consumes me with responsibility if I do. I continue walking.
A line of metal chairs waits for souls with dirty shoes. The orange seats are worn down to the rusted frame, and the
remaining fabric is camouflaged with dirt and oil stains, blending perfectly with this cultural microcosm. Young boys occupy
these thrones, and call their subjects to them with dirty cloth in hand, putting marketing skills to the test as they attempt to herd
the masses to their Kiwi wax and horse hair buffers.
“Farenj! Farenj!,” they call out. Foreigner. I was called “China” once, which, as I understand it, refers to people of
Asian descent. But like many Americans, I am a Euro-mut, with no semblance of Asian roots, aside from my alleged connection
to the Caucasus Mountains.
I continue walking. I come upon an ocean of blue cars, Fiats and Renaults mostly, from the early 80s and late 70s. A
group of older men stand on the side of the road, talking shop and planning their next attack on victims of an intimidating road
system. “You! You!,” they call out. “Me?” I ask. “You,” they say. “You?” I ask. “You,” they reply, and point at a car. I point
at their car. “Me?” I say. “Where are you go?” I point down the road and continue walking. My unwillingness to succumb to
their salesmanship only fuels their technique. They call out “you, you” again and point at their car, as if a ride in their haughty
machine could somehow bring meaning into my life, and without my fare my money would disown me for having never been
spent on such an eloquent ride. But today my feet are my steed, as a beautiful day in Addis brings a perfect balance of warm
air, cool shades and a kaleidoscope of stimulation for the senses.
A man selling Chinese belts approaches, attempting to convince me of the high quality of these items, which cost
about $3 or $4. A woman selling skin-on peanuts, Hip-hop biscuits, chewing gum and suckers waits patiently for her custom-
ers to buy something to keep her and hers on the up and up. She sits with a stoic patience, with eyes that know the sun, hidden
under a cheap umbrella which she traded a kilo of peanuts for just before the rainy season began two years ago.
Then comes the market. In five steps you have five options. Ten steps, fifteen options. How many different versions of
ginger can there be? Who is the best vendor? The competitors eat from the same table, share secrets, lend each other hands. The
true spirit of capitalism, invested in the acumen of each of theses respectful entrepreneurs. The only kind of market. A bailout
for this system would involve loaning a few sacks of seed and water, maybe an extra hand to plow the field. Civilization never
seemed so uncivilized until I saw how ‘uncivilized’ people live.
Walk into the metal-workers section. Men covered head to toe from years of hard labor. Their clothes the color of
mace and tar, their faces reveal added years from all their sweat which dissolved their youth. Sparks fly as the saw-man takes
off a few meters of rebar. Two youngsters carry heavy poles on their shoulders with effortless grace, as if their identity is tied
to manual labor and without an aching back, existence would be meaningless.
Into the automotive area I go. Walls of tires, with radial wire spiking out and glimmering in the afternoon heat, sending
waves of vapor and star-like reflections bouncing off the tire-man who waits for someone with a stroke of bad luck to improve
his own. The ground is all rubber, beaten into the dirt like a child’s lost toy found years later by the boy who had become a man.
The entrance is shredded tires, black filets enticing the appetites of weary motorists in need of a rubber fix.
I walk past homes made of cow dung and all I can smell is sweet incense and the intense aroma of roasting coffee, a
scent that never enticed me until my trip here.
On the ground is a man with legs much too small for his stature. He sits in a permanent lotus position–a yogi of the
street world. His eyes are healthy and real, and his arms strong from supporting his weight through many years of life. In his
hands are wooden blocks, made to slightly elevate his body while he walks with his hands. He looks at me, desperately, trying
to pull out my empathy with his eyes. But any reasonable effort I make to help this man is ultimately fruitless. Tomorrow he
will still be on the street. Next year, if he’s still alive, my empathy will have long since evaporated into the ether, and that mo-
ment when he and I were connected in his struggle will be nothing more than words on a page.
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she planted herself near the dried-up well
around horseflies and buttercups
an ocean swell from years past
left natures trash, silty earth
for hungry toes
but nobody knows how she arrived
amongst polished brass kittens
and jungle crows
between car fumes and cow moos
and rope grass and poison
this and that
she stands close to her sisters
waving in desperate pleasure to ancient
alone in communal color form
draped in orgasmic royalty like beauty
she’s untouched and close to home
while parasites cling to her throne
she cries to no one
but leaves them alone
man’s path of crass lingers past her footsteps
she sniffs the vapor
ignoring temptation to ignore
she brightens with valor
should she whither and faint
her sainthood will be adored
standing in mystery
in miserable ecstasy
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DAVID N. DESROCHES
Richmond, VA 23221
221 N. Cleveland St. Apt.1 804.539.5111 email@example.com
Award-winning writer specializing in investigative exposés, enterprising features, government writing, travel
narratives and creative writing. Diverse, international background with entrepreneurial experience.
Proficient with both Apple and PC platforms including Adobe products, Office suite and HTML coding.
Exacting knowledge of national and international government and education practices. Creative and natural
photographer skilled in graphic design techniques and applications. Proficient with several music instruments,
and advanced knowledge of music recording, digital editing and radio broadcasting. Resourceful researcher
with urgent and disciplined work ethic. Confident and outgoing public speaker. Well-traveled, curious and
perceptive with an innate cultural sensitivity.
Reporter: The Central Virginian; Louisa, VA. 2009-2010
Delivered deadline news coverage for a weekly newspaper, covering education, government and
features. Designed pages with engaging graphics and teases, updated Web content and created videos
that increased Web hits and generated dozens of letters of appreciation from the community.
Co-founder/Communication Director: Project Image Ethiopia.
Richmond, VA and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2006-2009
Established a public relations NGO specializing in cultural preservation through media arts and image
consultancy. Acquired sponsorship of Ethiopian Airlines and obtained formal support of the Ethiopian
government, the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Yamamoto.
Freelance Work; Ethiopia, Italy and U.S.A. 2006-2008
• Published in The Central Virginian, The Goochland Courier, The Herald-Progress, Negadras
(Ethiopian publication) and The George Street Observer.
• Wrote poetry for Selam, an international photographic exhibition that received much acclaim by Italian
media and the Ethiopian Ambassador to Italy, Girum Abbay Teshome.
• Executed production assistant duties for Ethiopian Millennium, a documentary film, and for Empire
in the Forest; Jamestown and the Beginning of America, a non-fiction book.
• Edited and designed various materials which helped to increase exposure for the following entities:
Initiative Africa, a human rights NGO; Habteselassie Tafessa, known as the father of tourism in
Ethiopia; Zenith University College, a school specializing in business and Information Technology.
Entrepreneur: Flyer Away (direct marketing company, Charleston, S.C.) and Production
Reductions (non-profit production company, Goochland, VA) 2004 - 2006
Organized and operated two small businesses and built a client base of more than 50 repeat patrons.
Virginia Press Association 2009: First place, government writing, and Third place, general news writing
for articles published in The Central Virginian (Non-daily, Group 2).
Empires in the Forest was awarded the Gold Medal for Best Non-Fictional book in the Mid-Atlantic
region by the Independent Publisher.
College of Charleston, 2003, B.A. in communication/media studies. Substitute teacher, community
volunteer and provider of pro bono writing services for various non-profit clients.
Available online at www.daveroch.com
• Virginia Press Association 2009: First place, government writing for articles published in The Central Virginian
(Non-daily, Group 2).
Biosolids battle brewing, published November 5, 2009.*
Social services feeling the pinch, published October 8, 2009. *
Rest area closures have broad impact, published July 16, 2009.
• Virginia Press Association 2009: Third place, general news writing for articles published in The Central
Virginian (Non-daily, Group 2).
These articles tracked the follies of Goochland’s local government as it tried to fix a myriad of problems
with a controversial service district that has put the county in considerable debt, and could potentially cause
utility rate increases to skyrocket during the next few years.
Money flowing out of county’s Tuckahoe Creek, published July 16, 2009.
Flushing it all away, published August 6, 2009.
Tuckahoe Creek: Innundated with problems, published August 13, 2009.
Utility rates, connection fees poised for increase, published August 27, 2009.
Goochland meets with Kinloch, published September 3, 2009.
Goochland board punts water rate hike, published September 10, 2009.
* Articles included in this portfolio.
All stories mentioned above are available online at www.daveroch.com.
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Feb. 25, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
I don’t know who you are or what you do, but I think you have the right guy.
David DesRoches was employed with The Central Virginian from the summer of 2009
until February of 2010. He worked as a reporter covering the government, schools and
people of Goochland County, the council of the town of Louisa, and wrote feature articles
about Louisa residents. As the editor of the paper, I served as his direct supervisor,
making assignments and editing his copy.
In the time that David was here, he set himself apart as an outstanding writer, particularly
in his feature articles. He’s got it. He was able to fuse those feature techniques with
government issues as well, making for truly readable hard news copy. His efforts earned
him two Virginia Press Association awards this year: first place in the government writing
portfolio category and third place in general news writing. Those are two of the more
hotly-contested categories in the annual contest.
To get such clean, quality copy usually takes some time- not the case with David.
Particularly in his final months with us, he became somewhat of a machine when it came
to features. He would get assignments and turn them, with his characteristic quality, in
very little time relative to any other reporter I’ve ever seen.
One of the more impressive things about David’s time with us was his willingness to
learn. He came in with basically no skills in laying out pages. By the time he left, he had
become proficient at putting copy together in attractive and appropriate layouts. There
are some real nuances to the art, and he picked up on them quickly. He is also a good
photographer, finding good angles to capture his subjects.
David lost his job through no fault of his own. His position was eliminated when we
consolidated our coverage area. He is another unfortunate casualty of the economy. My
loss is your gain. I would highly recommend David for any news reporting or writing
position. But he has a combination of passion, energy and curiosity that I believe makes
him well-suited to just about anything you may want him to do.
Please feel free to call with any questions. Thanks for your consideration.
The Central Virginian
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