Environment and Outdoors

Photo: tank and the Bangas Facebook

Four days of live music at 14 different venues begins tonight in downtown Roanoke. WFIR’s Ian Price has more about “Down by Downtown”:

04-11 Down by Downtown WRAP

For more information or to purchase tickets to Down by Downtown click HERE

Below is the original news release about Down by Downtown

From Downtown Roanoke, Inc: Down by Downtown Music Festival presented by Wells Fargo in Roanoke, VA welcomes Spafford, Tank and the Bangas, and Rubblebucket at Elmwood Park Amphitheater on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Doors: 5 p.m. $25 advance | $32 gate | Age 12 and under enter free | $60 All-Access Pass

Spafford has recently been part of a meteoric rise in the jam scene, selling out shows across the country. They played Bonnaroo last summer and are known for captivating live performances featuring rock, funk, electronic, bluegrass, gospel, and more. Brian Moss (guitar), Jordan Fairless (bass), Andrew “Red” Johnson (keys), and Cameron Laforest (drums), combine for “electrofunk therapy” with strong vocals, tight harmonies, and catchy tunes.

You might know Tank and the Bangas as the 2017 winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest. The five-piece group has a rare knack for combining various musical styles — fiery soul, deft hip-hop, deep-groove R&B and subtle jazz — into one dazzling, cohesive whole that evokes the scope of New Orleans music while retaining a distinctive feel all its own. The Huffington Post says: “It’s music that you have to experience.”

Rubblebucket transforms crowds from a skeptical wall of people into one big, happy, silly, jiving, open-hearted mass with American art-pop and indie-rock. They are slated to play Bonnaroo this year shortly after the stop in Roanoke.

The partnership between Down by Downtown and Wells Fargo is part of a regional economic development initiative of the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s Roanoke Outside Foundation to add to the vitality of the community and help attract talent and business investment to the Roanoke Region of Virginia.

A local craft brewery is expanding adding to the amenities at the Explore Park, after a conversation with Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism piqued their interest. More from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

4-5 Twin Creeks Wrap#1-WEB

(previously released)  A local brewery is expanding adding to the amenities at the Explore Park. Vinton-based Twin Creeks Brewing Company has announced that they will open a second location in the historic Brugh Tavern. The new location would open in the fall.

Read the full Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism announcement below

ROANOKE, VA (April 5th, 2019)- Twin Creeks Brewing Company is pleased to announce plans for their second location, Twin Creeks Brewing at Explore Park, opening in the fall of 2019. They will be partnering with Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism to bring the historic Brugh Tavern back to life through local beer, food, and entertainment.

Upon adoption of the lease agreement by Roanoke County’s Board of Supervisors later this month, Twin Creeks Brewing at Explore Park will occupy all three levels of The Brugh Tavern, (3900 Rutrough Road, Roanoke VA 24014), which was built in between 1792-1800 and originally located near the Great Wagon Road in Botetourt County. Brugh Tavern was relocated to Explore Park and dedicated on April 28, 1998, as an upscale, historic-ambiance restaurant. The main body of the building facing the central lawn is original construction, while the back portion of the building and industrial kitchen were added when the building was relocated. One of the main highlights of this beautiful building is a cozy basement area with stone walls and floors, which Twin Creeks Brewing at Explore Park plans to transform into a rustic wine and cider cellar.

While final details are in the works, visitors can anticipate enjoying freshly brewed beer from the ½ BBL brewhouse on site, which will specialize in farmhouse ales, as well as flagship beers brewed at the original Vinton location. Alongside the Twin Creeks taps, a line-up of local cider and wine will also be offered. In the beginning stages, Twin Creeks Brewing at Explore Park will be partnering with local food trucks- however, a full kitchen with a fresh, locally sourced menu is in future plans. Guests can enjoy a pint by one of the outdoor fire pits on the lawn, savor a glass of wine by one of the indoor fireplaces or invite the whole gang over to spend the evening in a private event space. And there will be no lack of entertainment- Twin Creeks Brewing is known for a great live music scene in their Vinton tap room, and will carry on the tradition at Explore Park.

The concept of Twin Creeks Brewing at Explore Park originated in the fall of 2018 when Co-Owner and Brewer of Twin Creeks, Andy Bishop, met with Doug Blount, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Roanoke County. “We spoke about the amazing space that Brugh Tavern offers and about all of the new and upcoming park amenities,” said Bishop, who opened Twin Creeks Brewing Company in Vinton with co-owners Jason Bishop and Barry Robertson in 2016. “Twin Creeks had been looking for an expansion opportunity, and Brugh Tavern and Explore Park will be a great fit to the Twin Creeks Brewing brand and image.”

According to Blount, “We’re very excited to have an existing Roanoke County eco-tourism business ready to partner with Explore Park to operate a brewery and bistro at Brugh Tavern. This potential partnership creates a new attraction at Explore Park, allowing us to provide not only quality food and beverage services for our community, but also to the 15 million visitors per year who travel the Blue Ridge Parkway. We look forward to presenting the lease agreement to the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors for consideration on April 23.”

(Public domain photo)

The call is out for volunteers to help get Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds and picnic areas ready for the coming year. In Virginia, those campgrounds include Otter Creek, Peaks of Otter and Rocky Knob. “Project Parkway” is set for Saturday, April 27th. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

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Click here for full “Project Parkway” information.

On a related note, parkway officials will conduct a public preview meeting and open house this Thursday, 4:00-6:00 pm, at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington.

Click here for full meeting information.

UPDATE: Downtown Roanoke Inc. is launching a program where property owners can use technology to identify who’s not scooping their pet’s poop. WFIR’s Ian Price has details:

03-26 Pet Waste Pick-Up WRAP

Originally posted 03/26/19 – Downtown Roanoke Incorporated is planning to use technology in order to cut down on the amount of pet waste. The Poo Prints cutting-edge DNA testing technology allows property owners to identify un-scooped dog waste samples and match them to the responsible dog. Sixteen large residential properties within the downtown district have already committed to participating in the program that’s launching in April.

Marc Edwards

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a Virginia Tech researcher who helped expose the Flint, Michigan, water crisis can’t silence critics with a federal defamation lawsuit.

The Roanoke Times reports that U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski dismissed Marc Edwards’ $3 million lawsuit against three critics Wednesday. The engineering professor and a team of students helped expose lead contamination in the city’s water supply in 2015. The suit was sparked by a letter signed by more than 60 Flint residents that accuses Edwards of interfering with efforts to self-organize, abusing authority and insulting them.

Urbanski writes in a 115-page opinion that Edwards’ lawsuit failed to state a valid claim against his critics. He says the statements “plainly qualify as constitutionally protected opinion” and notes no reasonable reader would think it was factual.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed legislation aimed at limiting his authority to institute a carbon cap-and-trade plan. Northam, a Democrat, said Thursday he had killed a bill that requires legislative approval before Virginia can participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program among Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that mandates emission reductions in the power sector. Northam has made implementing the plan a top priority, saying it’s needed to fight climate change. State regulators have said joining RGGI could add significant costs to electric bills. The governor also vetoed a similar bill related to limiting carbon emissions from cars. Both bills narrowly passed the GOP-led General Assembly. Republicans have virtually no chance of getting the needed two-thirds majority to override the veto.

Photo: Botetourt Fire & EMS

The environmental impacts of that fiery tanker crash and spill on U.S.-220 near Fincastle are being revealed as a new detour plan is put in place today. WFIR’s Ian Price has more:

02-22 Environment-220 Detour WRAP

UPDATE
From VDOT: Work continues to repair Route 220 in Botetourt County just north of Fincastle where the road was damaged by an overturned tanker fire on February 20. The damaged section of the northbound lanes is located near Route 220’s intersection with Route 679 (Peck Road/Martins Lane).As of 6 a.m. on Feb. 22, northbound traffic is shifted into a single southbound lane of Route 220, the far left lane traveling north. The speed limit is reduced to 35 mph on this section.All southbound traffic is continuing to use the signed detour: Mary Alice Road to West Wind Road to Old Fincastle Road to return to Route 220. Residents in between the detour will continue to be able to access their homes.Tractor-trailers and large industrial vehicles should avoid Route 220 southbound and seek alternate routes such as I-64 and I-81.VDOT still plans to shift two-way traffic into the southbound lanes of Route 220 while repairs are made to the northbound lanes. A timeframe for this traffic change has not been determined and will be dependent on weather.Drivers should expect delays and heavier traffic on secondary roads in the vicinity of the closure.