Alderson not running for re-election to School Board


This is to announce my decision not to seek reelection to the Botetourt County School Board, representing the Fincastle District.

I will remain indebted to those who elected me, gave wise counsel and support throughout my time on the board. My understanding and appreciation for those who unselfishly and unheralded teach our children has been an experience few are fortunate to witness. Blessed are our teachers who only seek the enduring reward; bright-eyed, energetic kids who learn, motivate and achieve beyond our dreams and who will make families, communities, our culture a better place.

The road ahead, as we accept as normal, is challenging. That’s where aggressive people thrive. The status quo is the enemy of change. The competition for funds, the competition to hire the brightest and best, the competition to excel, when the odds say no is when leaders rise.

As I prepare my good-byes, I leave with a sense of impending success. A new superintendent has been appointed. A School Board with new ideas and new energy portends good days ahead.

Our county is fortunate beyond measure to have determined people. No-nonsense, good people with uncompromising standards and ideals– law enforcement, Board of Supervisors, constitutional officers, and School Board members.

It is easy to understand why we call Botetourt “The crown jewel of the Commonwealth.”

John E. Alderson


Thanks to those who attended candidates’ forum


The Buchanan Lions Club would like to thank the 70+ people who came out Tuesday night, May 7, to support us and to hear what the commissioner of the revenue candidates and sheriff candidates had to say.

Thank you to Jeff Stritesky, Mike Vineyard, William Stowell, Mike Griffin and Chris Booth for participating in the debate and answering questions from the audience as well.

We hope this gave everyone some insight of what these candidates stand for and that it will help you decide which candidate to vote for.

Don’t forget to vote on June 11 in the primary election for Botetourt County.

Shantelle Crouch
Buchanan Lions Club


Time to start collecting for fireworks display


Spring is here and it is a beautiful time of the year. Even though it is the first of April, we still have to start collecting donations for the Fincastle Fourth of July fireworks display. The fireworks display cost a little over $3,000 each year.

Donations are needed by the end of May. Willie Simmons goes down to Tennessee the first of June and he has to know the amount of donations that have been received.

Our fireworks display has been enjoyed by many people from Botetourt County and Roanoke. Let your friends, co-workers and family know about the Fincastle fireworks display. Come and have an enjoyable time together.

Donation can be taken to the Fincastle Town Office or sent to Town of Fincastle, P.O. Box 250, Fincastle, 24090.

Let’s make the 2019 Fincastle Fourth of July fireworks display the best show of the year.

Paige Ware
Fireworks Committee


Project Search a winner for Botetourt students 


Through Goodwill Industries of the Valleys, Virginia Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services, Virginia Department of Education and Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, there is a wonderful program called Project SEARCH. This program allows young people with special needs to participate in a year-long work training program that is unlike all others. Students are chosen by the case managers from their schools and presented to Project SEARCH for consideration, which begins the student’s introduction to how the real-world works!

Once selected for the program, the students intern at a variety of job sites throughout Carilion Clinic where they learn valuable day-to-day communication and work skills.  They also receive classroom instruction from the Goodwill Project SEARCH staff that focuses on work readiness and preparing the students to apply for jobs after the program.

For most of our students in Botetourt County, it is the first time they have spent any great amount of time in the city. These students get to experience crosswalks and mass transit on a daily basis as they move from work site to work site. On site, they get to interact with their supervisors and other co-workers at Carilion. It is an amazing experience for our students to be welcomed and nurtured during what is usually their first-ever work experience. The Carilion personnel are so welcoming and supportive of these students. Often it is this sense of belonging that helps them become successful and productive at their new jobs.

I have been able, first hand, to again witness how transformative this program is for our Botetourt students. As a case manager for Lord Botetourt High School, I have had two students involved this year and they have excelled, learned, been accepted, and generally thrived in this program. Their growth and maturity can directly be related to the opportunities afforded them by this program. Being a part of something as wonderful and large as Carilion has brought to them a sense of importance and belonging that has helped them find their own individual strengths. I have so enjoyed and appreciated this year with Project SEARCH.  As a 35-plus-year veteran of working with special needs populations, I have seen very little in my career like this opportunity. It is truly amazing and special!

Thank you to all who are involved for providing this opportunity. This has been a truly life-altering experience for our Botetourt students and I want the community at large in this area to know about this great opportunity.

Debbie Mooty
Case Manager,
Special Education Teacher, LBHS 


Endorses Griffin for commissioner of the revenue


It is my privilege and honor to lend my enthusiastic support for my good friend, J. Michael Griffin in the upcoming election for commissioner of the revenue of Botetourt County.

I have had the pleasure to know Mike as a very good friend for over 25 years. The job of the commissioner of the revenue in Botetourt County (and in any city or county in our commonwealth) is a hugely important and significant one. In considering whether a particular candidate is suited for the job, it is fair for the voters of Botetourt to ask: First, is this candidate dedicated to the citizens of Botetourt? And second, is the candidate qualified for this particular position?
The voters in Botetourt are hugely fortunate and lucky that they have a candidate in Mike Griffin for whom the resounding answer to both questions is, “Absolutely, yes.”
Mike is fiercely dedicated to the citizens of Botetourt. He is a native of Botetourt, a graduate of the public school system in Botetourt County, and a graduate of the one of the finest institutions in the country, which happens to be located right here in our beloved commonwealth (The College of William and Mary). While having a number of available employment options following his graduation from college, Mike specifically decided to return to Botetourt. Botetourt County is, and always has been, home for Mike. His dedication to the county will be to the benefit of everyone he serves.

As far as Mike’s qualifications, there could not be a candidate more well-suited for the job of commissioner of the revenue. Mike has run a successful home building business for a number of years. If the primary responsibility of the commissioner of the revenue is to “assess all property that is taxable by law and to apply the tax rates established by the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors,” as indicated on the Botetourt County website, Mike is perfectly suited for such responsibility. Quite simply, property is his profession and his calling.

In the crucial role of commissioner of the revenue, attention to detail will obviously be a requirement. Anyone who has had the privilege of spending any time in one of Mike’s carefully constructed custom homes will appreciate his keen attention to detail. There is no subtlety that is too small for Mike to carefully consider and deliberately tailor to the particular needs of his clients. I have routinely been amazed and impressed at the state-of-the-art materials, designs, and techniques that Mike has utilized in producing the homes that he has built.

And of course, I have to acknowledge my own personal bias in favor of Mike. He is and has been a great and true friend, who is always available to lend an ear of support or a helping hand, regardless of what obligations he has in his own world at the time.

Mike’s business acumen, high intelligence, and unrelenting loyalty to Botetourt County will serve the citizens well. I urge all voters to pull the lever for Mike Griffin as commissioner of the revenue.

Rodney S. Dillman
Lord Botetourt High School Class of 1994
Virginia Beach


Ward said he will retain employees in the Sheriff’s Office


I am frequently asked while canvassing your neighborhoods:

“What are your plans for the current employees with the Sheriff’s Office?”

“Who will be your Chief Deputy?” and

“Do you plan on retaining the current employees?”

With so much focused on the sheriff, I would like to share with you the basic structure and staff of our department who all make Botetourt a peaceful place to live and raise our families. Out of 129 elected sheriffs in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office is one of only 19 Sheriff’s Offices that serve as a full-service law enforcement agency.

The Sheriff’s Office is divided into four divisions: Law Enforcement, Communications, Corrections and Services.

Their general responsibilities are listed below:
• Law Enforcement – the face of the department many of you see on a daily basis responsible for primary local law enforcement responding to calls for service, investigations and helping resolve your concerns.
• Communications – the lifeline between our department and the citizens tirelessly handling requests for emergency services.
• Corrections – in a demanding environment ensures a safe and secure jail, transporting inmates to courts and various correctional institutions and responsible for providing security to our courtrooms.
• Services – ensures a safe learning environment while protecting our children through our dedicated school resource officers, provides assistance in various circumstances with animal control, maintains our Agency Accreditation through a professional standards officer and performs civil process of thousands of court papers yearly.

As you can see, though the sheriff determines the direction and culture of the department, it is the dedication of the staff a sheriff relies on within each division to carry out the daily functions of the Sheriff’s Office.

Over each of these divisions is the chief deputy who oversees the daily operations of the department while also serving as the division commander of the Law Enforcement and Services Division. The chief deputy has many responsibilities including preparing the budget with the assistance of the finance manager who maintains the records essential to this task. We have a well-established department of qualified men and women with various skill sets and years of experience, who have been working hard to protect the citizens of Botetourt County.
As your sheriff, I intend to retain the current chief deputy and all employees of the Sheriff’s Office who are willing to continue working diligently for our citizens to provide an efficient and effective service that best serves the citizens of Botetourt County.

Matt Ward
Candidate for Botetourt County Sheriff


Sheriff candidates’ forum covers wide range of topics


We would like to thank Jeff Stritesky and Mike Vineyard for participating in the Republican sheriff candidates’ forum at the Eagle Rock Library on May 9. They answered 14 pre-selected questions and another 10 or 12 from the 50 to 60 people in attendance.

The questions covered a wide range of topics from school shootings and bullying to the lack of enforcement of traffic laws on US 220 north of Eagle Rock.

The candidates expressed their opinions and plans to deal with an inmate work program; the sheriff’s budget; a capital improvement plan; K-9 dogs; sanctuary cities, counties and states; the “broken window” principle of law enforcement; and the investigation of “cold cases,” especially those dealing with an unsolved bank robbery and murders which took place in Botetourt over the past 25 or more years.

There were several questions dealing with drugs, human trafficking, and illegal weapons that now affect our county. The candidates expressed opposing opinions as to whether Botetourt should network with neighboring cities and counties in dealing with these horrific problems or if Botetourt should go it alone.

We learned that the county has six airstrips. When asked about the possibility of drug activity and the neglect of children whose parents may be “druggies,” both candidates responded, “If you see something, say something.” The audience was told that the reporting of suspicious drug activity, or child neglect, could be done anonymously. They were also told to report license numbers of vehicles violating traffic laws.

All in all, this forum drove home the realization that the job of sheriff of Botetourt County is much bigger than we ever realized. Not only does the sheriff appropriate about $12 million a year of our tax dollars and oversees the operation of the regional jail, he supervises well over 100 employees, and is in charge of keeping drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking away from our children, grandchildren and out of our neighborhoods.

Voters should do their homework and cast their ballot on June 11 for the candidate they believe can best do every aspect of this awesome job.

Dick & Anita Lambert
Eagle Rock


Questions Ward’s absence at forums


I would like to thank the Lions Club for putting on a nice event for the candidates running for office here in Botetourt County. Michael Griffin and Chris Booth running for Commissioner of Revenue were in attendance along with the Republican candidates running for sheriff of Botetourt County: Mike Vineyard and Jeff Stritesky, and independent candidate William Stowell.

Before the meeting started, all of the candidates who attended were very accessible and willing to talk and answer questions. I enjoyed hearing the five-minute presentation from all of the attending candidates. After the presentation, they all answered questions that had been previously submitted to the Lions Club moderators. Then the Lions Club invited anyone from the audience who had questions for the candidates to come forward. The candidates were very forthcoming with their answers. When the meeting adjourned, the candidates that attended mingled with the crowd and were available for more questions.

The have been several question & Answer Dorums. The candidates who chose to attend these events rearranged their work schedule, took vacation time and gave up family time to address the voters’ issues.

However, there is one candidate running for sheriff who has consistently not attended. Matt Ward has consistently been a “no show” at these events for the citizens. What’s the problem? Is he afraid to answer questions? If so, what questions is he afraid of? If Matt Ward should be elected sheriff, is this the same stance he would take to the citizens of Botetourt County? As sheriff, would he be as inaccessible to the citizens as he is as a candidate?

These forums are important events. This is an important elected office for Botetourt County. Matt Ward has been a “no show” candidate. We don’t need a “no show” sheriff.

Henry Mason
Botetourt County


Griffin has temperament and character to serve Botetourt


On June 11, Botetourt County residents have the opportunity to vote for a gentleman who is well qualified and suited to be our next commissioner of the revenue. That man is Mike Griffin.

I have known Mike since he was a student at Lord Botetourt High School. Mike subsequently went to the College of William & Mary, where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree.  For the last two decades he has been a successful business owner in Botetourt County.

It is unusual to have someone who is educated and qualified to hold an office, and who has the temperament and character to serve the people of Botetourt County at the same time. I believe Mike Griffin is such a person.

Please join me on June 11 and vote for Mike Griffin as the nominee in the Republican primary for the commissioner of the revenue.

Richard Pauley