Tag Archives: New RIver Valley

Letter to the Editor: Amtrak Stations

Dear Editor,


This letter is in response to the article, “Two Amtrak Station Locations Selected in Christiansburg.” I think this is an excellent idea. I do not have a car, therefore, I know the public transit system well and know it can be challenging sometimes. I think the additional public transportation like adding the two Amtrak Stations will be beneficial because there is a severe, lack of public transportation in the New River Valley.

The options that individuals have are not that reliable when trying to travel somewhere late at night or on a Sunday. Having an Amtrak stations in Christiansburg would be a beneficial aspect for the Radford University, Virginia Tech. Students, and residents of the New River Valley.  It would bring tourism to the region and gives individuals another chance to travel to the region without the hassle of driving.

It could be helpful to low-income individuals who do not have cars and would like to visit other regions in the state of Virginia. It could assist individuals on getting them to work and or offering them more job options.



Nancy Herbert

Letter to the Editor- Affordable child care

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to my recent realization about the lack of affordable child care for residents of the Radford City and Montgomery County area. In addition, there is a lack of options in non-religious, state licensed, and affordable child care. The Radford Child Development is an appropriate option for a parent or parents in Radford City and the town of Radford. This issue is important and needs to be addressed. The Radford Child Development Inc. conducted a needs assessment and found that nine out of ten children in the Radford area do not have access to a state- licensed child care. Attention needs to be brought to the aspect that this center accomplished a needs assessment and produced results that show needs of the Radford area in regards to child care. Also, the Head Start program can be an option that a parent or parents can use for affordable child care.

A solution to this problem would be to expand the locations of the Radford Child Development Inc. We need solutions that assess and address child care needs in the New River Valley. Future concerns about additional needs of the center will be considered. A consideration will be made about the expansion of this program to each county because each area of the New River Valley is uniquely, different.


Nancy Herbert

A big city experience is closer than you think

Roanoke could be considered a little big city. It’s not as big as cities like Pittsburgh or Chicago, but it has a lot to offer. Coming from a town about as small as Radford, Roanoke is big to me. It has a lot of little towns surrounding it and a large downtown. Although it may not be a highly advertised city, it has a lot to offer. Downtown Roanoke has to be my favorite though.

“Although it may not be a highly advertised city, it has a lot to offer.”

Downtown has a permanent farmer’s market built in. The market is open every day of the week all year around. The only two days it isn’t open are Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s a great way to support locals and get out into the fresh air. You can walk around downtown and there are little shops near the farmers market that is permanently there. There are fresh fruits, veggies, and little snacks. People even make their own homemade drinks! It’s a really neat experience if you’ve never been to a farmer’s market and if you have, it’s just another adventure!

The center in the square is also downtown. One of the many that are in the center happens to be the Butterfly Garden. This offers visitors the chance to interact with butterflies from all around the globe. You can walk into the garden, which mimics the butterflies’ natural habitat, or for those who aren’t as brave, you can visit the sixth floor. On the sixth floor, you can look down into the garden through a glass ceiling, getting more of a bird’s eye view. Mill Mountain Theatre is also inside the center. This theatre has different stages with things going on almost all year around. They offer different types of plays and musical experiences. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird is the play that’s being shown at this time. It’s another great way to experience local talent! The center is also the home of the History Museum of Western Virginia. This museum even has virtual tours that you can take online at their website.

There are a lot of little restaurants that double as nightclubs when the sun goes down. Most of them have outdoor seating when it is nice outside. You can enjoy a drink or your meal while watching the different people come in and out of the area. The restaurants are mostly all in walking distant of each other and the farmer’s market. There are several different cuisines offered around, so you have a variety to choose from.

Don’t forget about Roanoke and all the things the city has to offer next time you’re thinking of taking a day trip. Not too far from exit 109, Roanoke offers more than what’s just downtown. They have two major malls, the Berglund Center (formerly known as The Roanoke Civic Center), and the historic Hotel Roanoke. So go to dinner and a show. Take your girls for a day of shopping. Go grab some fresh food from the farmer’s market and enjoy making a fresh, local dinner!

Who you gonna call? Donotrent.com

Being a college student brings many opportunities, including living away from home. This can be a pretty rough transition for some. After the required time living on campus, many students try living in an apartment alone or with a few roommates. This is an exciting experience, but it can go horribly wrong, especially if you rent from the wrong people. Continue reading Who you gonna call? Donotrent.com

Lucie Monroe’s is a local favorite coffee shop

Almost everything about the coffee shop Lucie Monroe’s is organic, fair trade and local. The walls are filled with local art and jewelry for sale, as well as pictures of customers’ and employees’ pets. Different brews of coffee and tea are available along with a variety of drinking cups. The café is spacious and stocked with warm, inviting decor. There are many places where a customer can go to be secluded, including a library-themed spot of the main café.

Wall in Lucie Monroe's. Photo by Alix John.

The owners, Dawn and Gary Donson, have based their entire business on coffee roasted in Virginia and pastries baked on site. Dawn said it’s important for them to support local businesses and hard-working, blue-collar coffee roasters to give them the business they deserve. Located on Roanoke Street in Christiansburg, it is directly off of Route 460 East near Due South and Dude’s Drive-In. It’s in a developing strip mall right next to the Weigh Station, which is owned by the Donsons’ cousins.

Lucie Monroe’s sells coffees from Lexington Coffee Roasting Co., Red Rooster Coffee and Honduras Coffee. All of these companies are based in Virginia and are committed to fair, ethical and organic coffee.

“The more natural, the more organic, the more local … that’s kind of how we make coffee,” Dawn said.

Dawn said her family has always loved coffee — its taste, its smell and its sense of community. As a life skills teacher for students with special needs in Indiana, Dawn made her first foray into the coffee business. They set up a small coffee stand in the high school for the students before and after school. It was a hit, so much so, that the school’s administration had to set aside extra time for the kids to get their much-loved coffee.

Then their journey landed them in Christiansburg with a brand new coffee shop. They named it Lucie Monroe’s after Dawn and Gary’s 6-year-old boxer. That’s right; Lucie Monroe’s is named after a dog. She herself is named after two Hollywood icons — Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe. The store is filled with pictures, paintings and memorabilia of the shop’s namesake. She even comes to visit.

While Lucie Monroe’s was never meant to serve flavored espresso drinks, the employees are having fun with it. They work with a dual espresso machine, which allows the barista to control the shots and quality of milk. Dawn said, one of the employees, a former Starbucks barista, said it was nice to actually have pride in a drink he made. Along with the many flavor choices, customers can decide on much more. Lucie Monroe’s offers hemp and coconut milk, both more sustainable than cow milk.

Mmm, Lucie Monroe's coffee. Photo by Alix John.

Red Rooster Coffee, based in Floyd, developed an all organic coffee blend, specifically for the shop. Donson said Lexington Roasters has been great to work with; their reputation and excellent cupping scores haven’t hurt. Based in Lexington, Va., this coffee company prides itself in its sustainability and quality. They even produced an organic espresso blend for Lucie Monroe’s. Honduras Coffee owns its own coffee farm in Honduras and boasts “Farmer Direct”– from seed to cup.

All of these companies roast their own coffee beans. The roasting process takes specific skill — too much heat results in burnt beans but too little lacks the coffee essence. The International Coffee Organization gives a descriptive summary of what it takes to roast coffees. First, the beans are heated to around 400 F for 8-12 minutes, depending on the type of roast. Then a chemical reaction occurs in which the entire cellular structure of the coffee bean is altered. At last, the heating process emits coffee oil, or caffeol.

The Donsons have now started to work with coffee farmers in Guatemala and Nicaragua. This dream would have never come true if Dawn had not heard the song “Coffee Shop” while browsing a local record store.

“We love when people are getting excited about a plain cup of coffee,” she said.