Introduced as an “expert” in many areas, from cemeteries to kidneys and “a variety of stuff in between,” Roanoke Times feature writer Dan Casey was the guest speaker at the February 20 meeting of the Mount Pleasant Lions Club.
Casey was born in New York, grew up in Maryland, and moved with his family to Roanoke in 1994. He covered City Hall and “all its happenings.”
Casey has been a reporter, an editor, and even worked in circulation, but seems to have found his niche as metro columnist since 2009.
“A teller of tales,” Casey entertained the Lions with real life stories that ranged from his passion for the musical talent of Root Boy Slim, to winning a contest– with the prize being an overnight stay in Warm Springs, Va.– to his pursuit of the details of a politician’s weekend mansion in Bath County, Va.
Casey is a husband, father of four, and a grandfather. He told the Lions that now, “Roanoke feels like home.”
The Mount Pleasant Lions celebrated the birthday of author Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day on March 2 by reading to students at area elementary schools.
Read Across America is a nationwide observance to promote reading. Dr. Seuss is the pen name of Theodore Seuss Geisel, author of 46 books for children, including “The Cat in the Hat” book first published in 1957.
Schools traditionally invite adult readers into classrooms to read to children on that date. Members of the Mount Pleasant club visited Mount Pleasant and Garden City Elementary classrooms. Readers included Brenda and Patrick Musselwhite, Bob Dickerd, Robert Stutes, Janet West, Anne and Mike Ferguson, and Tommy Moore.
The first “Read Across America Day” was held on March 2, 1998 and is now in its 20th year. Sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) as their signature program, it is the nation’s largest reading event with millions participating each year.
The NEA aims to build a nation of readers saying, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”
The Mount Pleasant Lions Club was the scene of much Roanoke County attention on March 6. The program headliners were Roanoke County Administrator Thomas Gates and Shari Henry, director of Library Services. In addition, Board of Supervisors member Jason Peters was a club guest. Gates, who is just over three years into his position, said he feels the county is fortunate to have good people providing excellent service delivery.
Gates talked about a focus on planning, including 419/Tanglewood, Oak Grove, Hollins, Bonsack, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Explore Park. He discussed the need for Roanoke County to draw people to the area and its low unemployment rate.
He highlighted population growth, revenue growth and economic growth. Issues “closer to home” were discussed as well— curb-side recycling and why it doesn’t exist, the possibility of more recycling drop-off sites, the greenway, the Back Creek Bridge project on Route 116 (with creek access), and a “blueway” concept.
The discussion next turned to the proposed county budget, especially as to allocations for the Mount Pleasant Library. The Lions were interested in how much their local library might expect in funding as this branch lags behind some other Roanoke County libraries in several ways.
For some time, the Lions have pushed for more hours and additional services to meet the needs of the community. Henry, who has been past guest speaker for the Mount Pleasant Lions, updated the members on changes that have been made and changes hopefully in the works. She stressed how the library staff feels a connection to the Mount Pleasant community.
The Mount Pleasant Lions Club was established in 1961. Officers include President Pat Musselwhite, Vice President Tommy Moore, Treasurer Warren Burger, and Program Chairman Mike Ferguson.
The club meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 2432 Mayfield Drive in Southeast Roanoke.