People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Nail In The Coffin

Plotted on the map of Virginia above are the locations of those high schools that
Newsweek magazine has rated among the top 1,000 in the country. Click on the image to enlarge it. When you study the placement of the dots, it becomes apparent that nearly all are clustered in the Washington DC suburbs and in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area.

The lonely red dot to the lower left is the one high school (Blacksburg) in all of Southwest Virginia that was rated among the best in the nation.

If a well-educated workforce is a prerequisite that potential employers consider when shopping for possible relocation sites, this does not bode well for the area.

One can argue that the criteria Newsweek used for its study were flawed (and some have), but based on the perameters utilized, this is an abysmal showing for area school systems.

It seems like I read somewhere that our children are our future. What kind of future are we providing them?

Please Stop These People

"Scientists" have determined that a recent change in wind direction was caused by global warming.

Can this become any more ludicrous?

Global Warming Cited in Wind Shift
By Malcolm Ritterap, Science Writer

An important wind circulation pattern over the Pacific Ocean has begun to weaken because of global warming caused by human activity, something that could alter climate and the marine food chain in the region, new research suggests.

It's not clear what climate changes might arise in the area or possibly beyond, but the long-term effect might resemble some aspects of an El Nino event, a study author said. (
These people are guessing. And it makes headlines.

For the love of God.

A Thriving Oasis

Southwest Virginia has been rocked in recent years by plant closings and a staggering number of layoffs in its manufacturing sector. Anyone reading this weblog regularly knows the details. Galax, Marion, Hillsville, Chilhowie, and Bristol have all experienced horrendous losses.

There are, though, a few isolated pockets of vitality in the region. Dublin has the Volvo plant. Blacksburg thrives because of its close proximity to Virginia Tech. Lebanon has its call centers. Abingdon thrives as a result of its tourist traffic (yes, there is one tourism success story in all of Southwest Virginia and it is, coincidentally, in Congressman Boucher's home town).

And Wythe County is enjoying the good fortune of having two interstate highways (I-81 and I-77) converge there:
Amcor to break ground for plant
Paul Dellinger, The Roanoke Times

Amcor will break ground on an $80 million molding plant at 10:30 a.m. May 11 in Progress Park, a 1,210-acre industrial park east of Wytheville.

The plant will have 144 employees and is scheduled to be working by March. It will mainly serve an adjacent Gatorade plant nearing completion in the park.

A 300,000-square-foot Pepsi plant was built just outside Progress Park in 2004, and ground was broken on the 900,000-square-foot Gatorade plant in the park last year. (
With regard to Wythe County's gain of the Pepsi plant, it came at Smyth County's expense. Pepsi closed its facility in Marion and moved it to Wytheville two years ago.

Still, companies that are heavily dependent on the transportation of their goods to market, and that see the confluence of two major highways - and the availability of both affordably priced acreage and an eager workforce - as assets to their getting their business conducted, will be flocking to the area.

Unless the Commonwealth of Virginia signs on to the destructive notion being floated by VDOT that toll booths should be erected along I-81 "to alleviate congestion," watch Wythe County grow as time goes by.

Is This a Plot?

Now I'm not one of those creepy guys who believes in black helicopters and renegade subversives in the CIA plotting to overthrow the U.S. government, but when I read this, what am I to think?
Draft Report Outlines Plans for Pandemic
By Lawrence K. Altman, The New York Times (
What? Who'se planning a pandemic? Isn't a pandemic a bad thing? We want names. Is Tom Delay involved?

A Day Late And $43 Billion Short

The Mayor of New Orleans has come up with a plan for evacuating the city should a hurricane approach. A year after the hurricane passed through. Swift action there, pal.

New Orleans Mayor Unveils a New Evacuation Plan
By Adam Nossiter, The New York Times

NEW ORLEANS, May 2 — With the hurricane season less than a month away and memories of Hurricane Katrina still vivid here, Mayor C. Ray Nagin announced a new evacuation plan on Tuesday that relies on buses and trains rather than the cavernous sites of last year's mass misery, the Superdome and the Morial Convention Center. (
There is a flaw in the Mayor's plan though. He relies on the faulty premise that his adult constituents are adults.
... the mayor stopped short of saying that everyone would be forced to leave, emphasizing that though evacuation would be urged if a major storm threatened, "we're dealing with adults here."

"Everybody has the personal responsibility to develop their own evacuation plan," said the head of the city's homeland security office, Terry Ebbert ...
Thousands of able-bodied adults in New Orleans proved that they weren't in fact capable of thinking and acting like adults. Instead of wading through the flood waters and leaving the city for high ground - and food and water - they sat for days and days waiting for the government to come and rescue them. A pitiful sight it was - in more ways than one.

Anyway, New Orleans has an evacuation plan. God help them.