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Lane Closures Planned On I-81

  • Written by submitted

More lane closures have been scheduled on the Interstate 81 truck climbing lane project in Rockbridge County.

All northbound lanes of Interstate 81 will be closed for nighttime bridge work at mile marker 199 to 201 on Friday, April 25, from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday. 

All northbound traffic will be detoured off the interstate at the off-ramp of exit 200 (Fairfield area) and back onto I-81 via the on-ramp at exit 200.

Also scheduled are right and center lane closures between mile markers 195 and 201 northbound on Monday, April 21 through the morning of Friday, April 25. These nightly closures run from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.


All work is weather permitting.

Slagle Supporters Pack Council Meeting

  • Written by Ed Smith


Supporters of former Buena Vista Police Chief Darrell Slagle packed Thursday's City Council meeting to vent their anger and express puzzlement over Slagle's recent abrupt retirement.

“We have a right to know why [the police chief suddenly left the department last month],” said Nannie Johnson. “My understanding is that Darrell would like to come back. “He's a good man. Whoever is responsible for this should lay off and let him do his job.”

“My wish,” said Mar Vita Flint, “and from the turnout tonight, I think you should direct the city manager to rescind the retirement of Darrell Slagle.”

After numerous others voiced similar sentiments, Slagle himself made an appearance, to thunderous applause from the audience. He thanked everyone for their support, but said he felt it would “not be in my best interest” to withdraw his retirement announcement.

Asked if he would be willing to return to his job, Slagle said, “There would have to be stipulations.”

Asked if he was forced from his job, he answered, “I was not fired. I retired because I felt like I had no alternative.” He said he'd been in communication with City Manager Jay Scudder in recent weeks, but that the city manager indicated he wants to “move forward with someone from the outside.”

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Slagle's retirement wasn't the only item of interest at Thursday's City Council meeting. Scudder unveiled a proposed budget for next year that would raise the real estate tax rate by 7 cents to $1.14 per $100 assessed value. A rate at this level would equal the highest rate in the city's history.

The tax hike would help pay for implementation of a paid rescue squad service, an upgrade to the 911 radio system and a $100,000 increase in funding for the schools.

City Council accepted the resignation of Council member Lewis Plogger and made plans to fill the seat on a temporary basis, until a special election can be held on Nov. 4. Interested candidates for the interim appointment must write a letter of interest and fill out an application form that can be found on the city's Web site. Candidates will be interviewed by Council at the May 1 meeting, and the appointment will be made at the May 15 meeting.

For more details on Thursday's City Council meeting, see the April 23 print edition of The News-Gazette.


Glasgow Firefighters Honored For 2013 Rescue

  • Written by submitted

Glasgow-firefightersAt Monday's meeting of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors, nine members of the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department were presented with a plaque from the U.S. Marine Corps. The Glasgow firemen were honored for the roles they played in rescuing a Marine from a 200-foot ravine in the James River Face Wilderness area during a training exercise last fall. “It was a team effort from all involved,” stated Fire Chief John Hill. “The terrain and darkness made it a very difficult task and it's not very often we get to rescue a Marine, but we are happy to do whatever it takes -no matter the person or place.”

Craig Bryant (left), director of the county's fire and emergency medical services, holds the plaque while addressing the supervisors about the actions of the firemen, who are (from left) Ricky Taylor , Jason Duff, John Hill, Patrick Stump,Chris Rogers, Dylan Clark and Luis Catalan.


Ruscio Responds To Law Students' Letter

  • Written by Darryl Woodson

4:30 p.m. - Moments ago, W&L President Ken Ruscio sent a message to the W&L community responding to the letter sent to the school's board of trustees last week by a group of law students about issues relating to making the climate more welcoming for "students of color." The letter was the subject of a story in today's issue of The News-Gazette.

The following is the full text of Ruscio's comments:



Last week, some members of the Board of Trustees and I received a letter from 12 Law School students expressing concerns about the climate for students of color at Washington and Lee.

In their letter, the law students issued the following four demands:

               1. That the University fully recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the undergraduate campus.
               2. That the University stop allowing neo-Confederates to march on campus with Confederate flags on Lee-Jackson Day and to stop allowing these groups to hold programs in Lee Chapel.
               3. That the University immediately remove all Confederate flags from its property, including those flags located within Lee Chapel.
               4. That the University issue an official apology for the University's participation in chattel slavery and a denunciation of Robert E. Lee's participation in slavery.

In recent days, reports about the students' demands have appeared in several media outlets, and additional media attention will likely be forthcoming.

I first want to assure the community that we take these students' concerns seriously. The issues they have raised are important, and we intend to address them.

Upon receipt of their letter, I immediately responded to the students and asked that, as a first step, a meeting take place with them and members of the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate (UCICC). That committee, chaired by Marc Conner, associate provost, consists of students (both law and undergraduate) and members of the faculty, staff and administration. We created UCICC in 2008 as "an institutional platform to address issues of inclusiveness and diversity, in response to concerns within the campus community." Throughout this year, UCICC and the Office of Student Affairs have been holding focus groups with students to discuss some of the very issues that the law students are raising.

I also asked Provost Daniel Wubah to schedule a meeting with the law students.

As we consider these questions as a community, I think it is important to state several key facts as background for the discussions.

First, as you undoubtedly are aware, Washington and Lee does recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day each year with a University-wide MLK Legacy Week, which features a prominent guest speaker. This year, Donna Brazile spoke in Lee Chapel, on Jan. 26. Other recent speakers have included Terrence Roberts, Andrew J. Young and Julian Bond. In addition, we make available the panels, symposia and programs that we organize not only to the University community, but also to the Lexington-Rockbridge County community.

The Law School participates in the observance by holding its own programs and by cancelling classes on King Day.

We hold undergraduate classes on King Day. In accordance with the University's governing process, the faculty approves academic calendars and any adjustments to the class schedule. The law faculty controls the calendar in the Law School; the undergraduate faculty controls the undergraduate calendar. These two calendars are different in many respects, not just in terms of King Day.

Lee Chapel displays replicas of eight battle flags that represented different armies of the Confederate States of America, at the back of the chapel's main floor, near the statue called "The Recumbent Lee." These replicas are designed for historical and educational purposes. I am aware of no similar flags displayed anywhere else on our campus.

Based on Lee Chapel's policies for the use of the facility by non-University groups, a private group has reserved the chapel for a lecture on Civil War history as part of Lexington's community-wide events commemorating the Commonwealth of Virginia's holiday, Lee-Jackson Day. This is not a University-sponsored event, and W&L does not observe Lee-Jackson Day.

Finally, last year I impaneled a special committee to explore the history of African Americans at Washington and Lee and to provide a report to me and to the community. Elizabeth Knapp, senior assistant to the president, is convening that group. While we are aware of some of that history, I believe we should have a thorough, candid examination. That group has to date met in only a preliminary manner.

Let me conclude by reiterating that the students have raised important questions that relate to ongoing discussions at the University. I welcome their contributions and those of all members of the University community. I am certain we can address these matters in a manner that is both respectful and productive.

I welcome your thoughts on these issues.

Fooling Around The R.E. Lee

  • Written by Claudia Schwab



Mark Cline does some serious “monkey bSee no Evilusiness” for April Fools Day as he attaches one of his three monkey installations to a platform on the balcony of the R.E. Lee Building above Main Street in Lexington Monday evening. Cline is the subject of a feature-length documentary to be featured in the April 5 Weekender. (Claudia Schwab photo)