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DON PETERSEN | Special to The Roanoke Times
Since his homeowner’s insurance did not cover water damage, Harold Wright has cleaned his basement every day since it flooded after heavy rains last week. He has used over two dozen bottles of bleach, sanitizer and cleaners to remove mold and mildew from his home.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Find the high road in the highlands
Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe meet for the first debate of the 2013 gubernatorial campaign this morning at the Homestead in Hot Springs. Let’s hope the Virginia Bar Association-sponsored forum can bring some dignity and substance to a campaign that has been mired on the low road and overshadowed by a scandal in Richmond.
Surely the candidates will be asked to address the ethics cloud that hangs over Gov. Bob McDonnell and explain what they would do to strengthen Virginia’s laws governing gifts and financial disclosures. And each candidate will have to answer for his own baggage that he brings to the race. But in a 90-minute debate, there should be time for Cuccinelli and McAuliffe to move beyond the negativity and scripted attacks and have a clash of ideas over policy. What would these guys do if they got elected?
Cuccinelli and McAuliffe have outlined competing tax reform plans that leave us begging for more detail. They can provide it today. What are their plans for K-12 education, for pre-K, for containing college tuition costs, for health care and economic development?
We can hope that this is the first in a series of substantive debates worthy of the office these men seek. The Alleghany Highlands would be a good spot for this campaign to hit the high road.
Backup in the basement
Restoration efforts are still under way to deal with the flooding caused by hard, driving, relentless rainfall that swamped Roanoke this month. One storm in particular caused the type of flooding that would be categorized as occurring just once every 500 years. Don’t bet on the time line.
Creeks back up and basements flood, and when the rain continues to pound the roof while the water rises in the basement, there isn’t much left to do but count the number of steps increasingly covered by water, and wait until it stops. Then it is time to start mopping, tossing, scrubbing and dehumidifying. Unfortunately, many of those who experienced flooding in a finished basement are also paying a heavy financial toll, having discovered that their standard homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover flooding or sewer backups.
With the recent storm still fresh, homeowners would be well advised to take stock of the odds that their homes, too, could flood some day and, if need be, pick up the phone and call the insurance agent. A call now is much easier and cheaper to place than once a flood hits.
A birth at Mill Mountain Zoo
On June 19, Shyla quietly entered the world of Mill Mountain Zoo, a mere slip of a being at just 4 ounces. Word that a baby red panda had been born was not released until this week, nearly a month later. Though she’s now packing a full pound and is, according to her keepers, “very healthy,” Shyla still isn’t ready for the rest of us to greet, so delicate are baby red pandas. And so protective of their cubs are red panda moms.
For now, we’ll have to settle for a glimpse of her through a photo provided by the zoo that appeared in The Roanoke Times on Tuesday, showing Shyla as a downy fluff of fur. Though all can respect the zoo’s desire to let the red pandas be red pandas and not force Shyla into the public spotlight before she’s strong enough, it couldn’t hurt to post a few pictures or video of her progress on the zoo’s website.
Weather JournalWarmth next 2 days hits icy wall