Kindness, clear vision, civility needed in Buchanan


Once again, Buchanan has made the news. Not for our scenic river, quaint downtown, fully stocked food pantry or antiquing opportunities, but for the unkind and unprofessional way that we handle our town business.

The most recent Roanoke Times article describing the resignations of the town manager and the mayor on the same day left me so saddened and embarrassed that I felt I needed to make a plea for kindness and civility as this town moves forward. The fact that the stress of being a small town mayor leads to a family member’s serious health problems is tragic.

I do not live in the town limits and therefore do not vote in town elections. However, I have grown up in this community and care for it deeply. I have watched as previous town leaders have given selflessly of their time and resources to make a place that we can all enjoy.

This group of leaders includes men like Stull Carson, Larry Hiner, Rex Kelly and Tom Middlecamp, who served the town as I grew up. In addition to serving as mayor, these men owned town businesses, coached softball teams, volunteered for Emergency Services, worked as police officers, supported our schools and, in their “spare” time, gave to this town.

Their examples taught me about service and leadership. I have watched countless others give to this town and work hard in meaningful, cooperative and considerate ways. This is the Buchanan that helped shape who I am.

I think Larry Hall was trying to follow in this tradition; however, continued mean-spirited, seemingly unwarranted and poorly handled controversies have led to his resignation and to the illness of his wife. This is no example to set, no legacy to leave. We are a small town; our strength comes when we work together, not when we tear each other apart.

At a time when many businesses and industries are considering relocating to the Roanoke Valley, we want Buchanan to be an attractive destination. We want people to know about our assets and our potential; not our negativity and poor treatment of our fellow citizens. How we treat each other and conduct our business defines our image and personality.

One of the most recent companies to announce a relocation to Roanoke is Humm Kombucha, a beverage producing company from Oregon. A November 17 Roanoke Times article details how this company came to choose Roanoke; they picked Roanoke because the people were nice and believed in their city.

I implore the Buchanan Town Council members and the citizens of the town to learn from this example – Buchanan should and can be nice too. We just all have to believe it. As we move forward, may we have kindness in our hearts, clear vision in our eyes and civility regarding the democratic process in our minds.

Amy White



Buchanan citizens need to closely follow what council is doing


Since the election for Buchanan Town Council members in November 2016, we have had nothing but contentious, contemptuous, hateful treatment of our mayor and town manager by some (not all) of said members, resulting in the resignations of our mayor and town manager from office.

Buchanan has been shown through articles in the newspapers and news clips on TV as being a difficult place to live.

The negativity that has been generated by all the conflict has put a black mark on the name of Buchanan. How can we expect businesses to invest their money in Buchanan and/or attract new residents?

For the past 40 years and more, Buchanan has been blessed with leaders whose objectives were to build up the Town of Buchanan.

Under the leadership of Mayor Larry Hall the water system has been upgraded, the town park playground flourishes, a very qualified town manager, Mary Zirkle, was hired, and the town carnival was saved and is now a money-making project.

What is Vice-Mayor Jamie Manspile’s vision for our wonderful town? What will his legacy be?

In The Roanoke Times’ article on November 30, titled “Buchanan Mayor Announces Resignation,” the reporter reported, “Manspile says he had no intention of forcing her (Zirkle) resignation, and that he was following the wishes of the majority of town residents on the charter issue.”

Our question is: how would he know what the majority of Buchanan citizens think or feel about this or any other issue when he will never listen to an opposing opinion?

When his constituents try to talk with him, he either cuts them off or talks over them as he insults them.

As long-time residents of Buchanan, we are greatly concerned for the future of our community.

We encourage all citizens of Buchanan to attend Town Council meetings and closely follow the activities of the leadership of our town.

Patricia A Jasper

Joyce Boblett Newcomb



A real negative plight in Buchanan


This is a personal concern. I am sorry that it is Larry Hall’s wife’s health which caused his resignation as Mayor of Buchanan. However, I applaud him for putting his wife first.

As far a the loss of Mary Zirkle is concerned, I do not believe there is the leadership on the Town Council to be able to replace her (as if someone could).

This is a real negative plight for Buchanan. There are very few people with a background and capacity of serving as Mayor in Buchanan— perhaps Spring Witt and Tom Ramsey.  There may be other people whom I do not know.

We need prayers for the town.

Dea Smith

Former Town

Council Member,



Appreciates support for BAMA Food Pantry from the community


At this time of the season to give to others, the BAMA Food Pantry received contributions of food from the area schools in Buchanan.

Buchanan Elementary students’ food drive was held during their Red Ribbon activities. Students provided approximately 600 food items.

James River High School’s students contributed 700 food items during their recent food drive.

All of the food will be used to feed those in need from Buchanan and surrounding areas in Botetourt County.

We wish to thank all of the students for their generous contributions of food to the BAMA Food Pantry.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, the Botetourt Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation delivered and assisted in the placing of 45 frozen turkeys in the freezers of the Food Pantry. Their donation provided a wonderful holiday for many family clients of the pantry.

The Food Pantry is blessed to have volunteers from area church to work at the Food Pantry to assist families. Volunteers from Buchanan Baptist Church, Buchanan Presbyterian Church and Virginia Presbyterian Church individually help to work with the Food Pantry Monthly.

Volunteers are appreciated for their contribution of time and talents to this worthy cause. Thank you for the many donations to the BAMA Food Pantry.

Elizabeth Provost

Sherry Crumley

BAMA Food Pantry


Let’s end year on a high note and exceed last year’s blood donations in Fincastle


The Bloodmobile will be at the Fincastle United Methodist Church Family Life Center from 12 noon until 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14. Let’s end our year of blood donations on a high note and exceed our donations this year!

We received 27 units at our last blood drive. Thanks to Doris Rexrode for getting the sausage biscuits donated by Cracker Barrel. They were enjoyed by all. Thanks to Cracker Barrel for supporting our blood drive and the community

Food, shelter, comfort and hope, this holiday season give the gift that saves the day. Here is a chance to give the perfect gift this holiday season.

You can give a little back to your community and your fellow man by donating something you have plenty of, blood! Be sure and mark your calendar today. Donate blood, help us deliver life!

Sam Saunders



Thanks for concert support at Mill Creek Baptist


Thanks to all who came to the first ever Christmas music concert performed by Mike Lee’s students at Mill Creek Baptist Church on Saturday, Dec. 2. About 150 attended this event held in the nicely decorated fellowship hall. The mode was festive and rewarding for me as it had been a dream to hold such an event.

There was connection with God and country as the Pledge of Allegiance was given by Alex Webb and as prayer was held by Ray Sloan. Minister of Music Cindie Hayden gave words of welcome and told of upcoming events at the church.

There were 21 performers, including special guests David Austin and Keith Wood. Be sure and watch for the dates and times of the concert held by David and Friends this weekend.

A highlight of the afternoon was a performance by a recently formed group called The Appalachian Pickers. This group ranges in age from 10 to 13 and was started from a workshop held by and Charlotte Ivy and me. Ivy is ambassador to The Virginia Opry and Appalfolks of America based in Clifton Forge at The Historic Masonic Theatre.

Proceeds from the concert with my students went to the Mill Creek Baptist Church Building Fund.

I would love feedback to see if this should become an annual event. Does this event make the Christmas Season busier or better?

A special thanks to Randy Riddle, who provided sound for this event. Thanks also to Sue Lee, who worked behind the scenes and gave out pieces of cake to the performers.

Thanks to all of the performers who took time out of their busy schedules to give the gift of music! Again thanks to all who came, giving love and support.

Mike Lee