It will rain both long and hard.

That is neither tomorrow’s forecast nor an audition for the newspaper’s weather column, that post already being ably manned by the esteemed and learned Kevin Myatt.

Still, the fact is that at some point sooner or later, rain will fall and waters will rise.

With that in mind, a reader was thinking ahead after flooding had an impact in her neighborhood.

Q: Who is responsible for cleanup after a flood? Many homeowners take care of their own property, but what about uprooted trees that remain in the waterway and eroded or compromised banks?

Lynn Meador


A: Flood cleanup is a public-private team effort, according to Trevor Shannon, battalion chief for Roanoke city Emergency Management. It starts with the home or business owner.

“We anticipate citizens will clear their property,” he said. “After that, city departments work together during the response.”

The city’s Public Works department — which includes stormwater, environmental and solid waste management as well as engineering and transportation services — is sure to be involved. Hazardous materials and swift water rescue specialists may be called in.

If the flooding is a major citywide event, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and possibly the Federal Emergency Management Agency could be part of the cleanup.

“The city’s plan follows the FEMA and state DEQ standards for debris management,” Shannon said. “We would have street, stormwater and other public works people working together to clear debris.”

If waste drop-off locations cannot handle an unusually large amount of flood rubbish, the city plan provides for temporary drop-off sites that could be open “for weeks up to months for debris management and sorting of debris,” he added.

Each locality has its own flood recovery plan. Roanoke County, for instance, refers information seekers to a website called Crisis Cleanup at in order to determine options for assistance with cleanup and recovery.

Every cleanup situation is different. In the city, flooding recovery is evaluated and planned on a case-by-case basis.

If Roanoke crews are able to access the debris to be removed, then in most cases, they will handle it. First, permission is sought and understandings shared with the property owner.

Help from private contractors, though available, usually is considered as a last resort.

Preparedness is vital. Maps of the Roanoke Valley flood plains are at and city and county websites. Know where your residence or business is located in relation to the flood plain.

Follow advice offered by the city and other localities.

Be aware special permits are required to build in a flood plain.

Buy flood insurance because standard homeowners policies do not cover that hazard. More information on flood insurance is available from FEMA.

Ginger ale fans respond

Their interest sparked by a recent column here, ginger ale drinkers continue to share information about their beloved beverage. Brent Hawes of Roanoke recalled a visit to the Blenheim Bottling Co. in Hamer, South Carolina.

“They make a selection of all-natural REAL ginger ales that are awesome,” he wrote in an email. “They have a website with a store locator feature, and of course it’s available online”

George Smith recalled a ginger ale he used to buy at Goode’s store on Tazewell Avenue back in the 1950s. Another of his favorite brands was bottled locally.

“It had CCC on the label and several gold coins as a part of the trademark,” he recalled in an email. “It came in a cone top steel can with a pry-off cap, similar to the beer cans of that era. It had a slightly metallic taste as I recall, but was the best ginger ale I have ever tasted.”

Read more about this fizzy delicacy at

“Virginia Etna Springs Bottling in Vinton also made a good ginger ale in smallish bowling pin shaped bottles,” Smith wrote. “It was highly carbonated and I once had the glass neck of a bottle blow off as I was hauling it home from the store in my bicycle basket on a 95 degree summer day, this after I moved to Salem. I got doused by the neck, which shot up about 20 feet but missed me.”

Get your butter brickle on

More delectable news for those with a jaw full of sweet teeth comes from Salem Ice Cream Parlor owner Cheryl McNamara. A telephone conversation with her last week followed up on an anguished inquiry from a reader who lamented the decline in local availability of butter brickle ice cream.

“Hershey’s makes Butter Brickle Crunch,” she said. “We actually did have for a while, until they discontinued it, what they called butter brickle. Then they came out with this Butter Brickle Crunch, which is basically butter brickle.

“We have it in the store occasionally — it’s a rotating flavor. But quite honestly, when it is in the store, it does not move that fast, even in the summer. It’s a good flavor, but not the most popular.”

Not to worry. An order for Butter Brickle Crunch went in last week, she said. It should be available at the store at 404 West Main St. in Salem now.

If you’ve been wondering about something, call “What’s on Your Mind?” at 540-777-6476 or send an email to Don’t forget to provide your full name (and its proper spelling) and hometown.

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