Day: September 25, 2006

Scary

The Floyd County High School student approached me while I was photographing a football game on Friday.

“Excuse me,” she said. “Are you the one who wrote the story in the paper about Mr. Farmer?”

“Yes.”

“Why did you have to make such a big deal over it?”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean, it’s not like it was rape or anything like that.”

Dan Farmer, a Floyd Elementary School teacher and a girls softball coach at the high school, resigned from both jobs after being charged with contributing to the sexual delinqency of a minor: Having consensual sex with a 15-year-old student at the high school

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Road trip

Three a.m. Dark. Pitch black. I notice a fresh batch of leaves on the driveway illuminated by the headlights as I head the Liberty down the driveway and make the right turn onto Sandy Flats road.

Time for the annual trip to Washington. A four-and-a-half hour drive, if all goes well, from the peace and serenity of the mountains to the madness of the National Capital Region.

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Steve Jarding (right) and I do our road show at The Washington Center for Politics and Journalism (Photo by Terry Michael)

Each year at this time I make the trek to DC for an appearance at The Washington Center for Politics and Journalism. Terry Michael, who runs the program, is an old friend as is Steve Jarding, an “adjunct lecturer in public policy” for the Kennedy School at Harvard who also ran Mark Warner’s successful campaign for governor a few years back. Steve and I have been doing this road show for the center to talk about political campaign management to a group of interns for Washington-based media and news organizations with bureaus in the city.

No traffic as I turn onto U.S. 221 north and head towards Roanoke. The Liberty’s headlights reveal a deer grazing on the side of the road as I cross into Roanoke County but the road itself remains traffic free all the way down Bent Mountain.

Traffic picks up as I near Roanoke. Even at 3:30 a.m. some people head for work in the city. A few cars as I turn off Brambleton Avenue and short-cut along Colonial Avenue to U.S. 220 and Interstate 581 at Wonju Street.

A little truck traffic on Interstate 81 as I head north. The Travel America truckstop in Troutville normally has gas for less than the going rate so I fill up there and pick up a 32-ounce of “Coffee Extreme,” a brew for truckers that claims double the caffeine of ordinary coffee.

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