Tag Archives: Scott Dreyer

Must Be an Election Year: Kaine’s Staff Is Answering the Phone!

Sen. Tim Kaine

by Scott Dreyer

Life is full of surprises, and I got one today when I called the Roanoke office of US Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)… and a real voice picked up! The receptionist was friendly and professional as I requested the senator help block the proposed Kroger buy-out of Albertson’s.

I then asked her why none of my calls to that office had been answered by a human being for quite some time. I told her, “I haven’t been marking my calendar, but I guess it’s been at least one year, maybe two, since I’ve called this office and gotten a human voice. For a long time, all my calls went to voicemail.”

She tried to assure me, “we listen to all the calls that go to voicemail and pass them along to the senator.”

I then replied: “That’s nice, but from a human point of view, it’s better to call and get a human voice than just voicemail. Besides, almost every time I call the offices for Sen. Warner or Congressman Cline, a real human answers the phone.” Continue reading

Roanoke’s Murder Crisis

Mayor Sherman Lea Sr. (D). During his administration from 2017-2023, Roanoke City has had an unprecedented 123 murders.

by Scott Dreyer

Roanoke City, with about 97,000 residents, suffered a record-breaking 31 murders in 2023,causing some to question the city’s leadership and direction.

Based on public announcements and appearances, how concerned are Roanoke’s leaders about the Star City’s murder pandemic?

In Mayor Sherman Lea Sr.’s (D) announcement that he will not run for re-election in 2024, he made no-mention of the gun violence / murder crisis or work that needs to be done to address it. His only reference to “guns” was touting the “Formation of the Gun Violence Prevention Commission.” He also boasted the “Removal of Robert E. Lee Memorial,” even though Lee died in 1870.

Lea ignored these bloody Roanoke benchmarks since he won election as Mayor in 2016:

  • 2017, record-breaking 17 murders (up 41.6% from 2016);
  • 2022, record-breaking 18 murders (up 5.8% from 2021);
  • 2023, record-breaking 31 murders (up 72.2% from 2022);
  • Not counting 2016, 123 murders 2017-2023;
  • First Mayor in Roanoke history where every year in office had double-digit murder rate.

When Mayor Lea was asked about this situation, a staff member emailed: “Mayor Lea is unable to offer comments and would like to direct you to the City Manager’s office.” Continue reading

A Red Wave in Roanoke County

by Scott Dreyer

In contrast to some big Democrat wins in the eastern part of the state giving them control of both houses of the General Assembly, the Roanoke and NRV experienced a regional red wave in the November 7 elections.

Of particular significance, the GOP won both of the most competitive, high-stakes races in our area for General Assembly seats.

Sen. David Suetterlein (R)

In the highest-profile race, Sen. David Suetterlein defeated Roanoke City Councilwoman Trish White-Boyd for the newly-created Senate District 4. Some have erroneously claimed this race was for “retiring Sen. John Edwards’ seat.” Actually, however, the grossly-gerrymandered district Edwards long represented–nicknamed “The Johnnymander”— was dissolved in recent redistricting. That old district lumped Democrat-heavy Roanoke City with the Virginia Tech area, so that both it and the surrounding GOP-heavy rural areas surrounding it were not competitive seats.

The new District 4, however, has the advantage of including most of the Roanoke Valley as a “community of interest.” It covers all of Roanoke City, Salem, and parts of Roanoke and Montgomery Counties. As can be seen in this district map, White-Boyd racked up wide margins in the City and narrow margins in two Montgomery County precincts just east of Blacksburg. However, she lost everywhere else in Montgomery County, Roanoke County, and Salem. Suetterlein carried seven precincts in Roanoke City: Preston Park, East Gate, Hollins Road, Southeast, Garden City, South Roanoke, and Deyerle. Continue reading

Delegate Won’t Correct False Accusation About Israel

Sam Rasoul

by Scott Dreyer

On October 17, around noon Virginia time, a missile allegedly hit a Baptist hospital in Gaza. Almost immediately, many US mainstream news outlets blamed Israel for the attack and claimed “over 500” had been killed.

As reported here, about four hours after the blast, Del. Salam “Sam” Rasoul (D-Roanoke) posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, “Today Israel bombed a hospital and a UN school. War crimes it will never be held accountable for. Over 1000 children dead in 10 days. Sickening.”

Within hours, though, as more evidence came in and was examined, it became clear that the blast was not from an Israeli rocket strike, but from a failed Palestinian missile that dropped on Palestinian territory, hitting the hospital’s parking lot. On October 18, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who has access to classified information as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted “we feel confident that the explosion was the result of a failed rocket launch by militant terrorists and not the result of an Israeli airstrike.” Continue reading

“Completely Ignored by Our School”: Roanoke College Swimmers, Part 4

Roanoke College swimmer Susanna Price (screenshot/WSLS on YouTube)

by Scott Dreyer

At Hotel Roanoke on October 5, members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team calmly and clearly delivered blistering indictments of what they described as failed, unresponsive leadership at their school, the NCAA, and USA Swimming. Some of their gut-wrenching stories about being forced to train, compete, and share facilities with a biological male are recorded in Parts One, Two, and Three.

Roanoke College team captain and swimmer Kate Pearson (screenshot/WSLS on YouTube)

At times choking back tears, team captain Kate Pearson painfully described the sense of emotional abandonment the girls felt, as they realized the school they had loved for years [and sent lots of tuition money to] was led by people who were turning both a blind eye and deaf ear to their concerns.

Pearson: “We tried numerous times to ask the school for support, but each and every time we were told to deal with it ourselves, or told nothing at all. The school refused to send out any information to our parents, and we were informed that even if our entire women’s team decided to stand together and not swim, and emphasized the unfairness that was happening, our coach would be allowed to have a ‘one-athlete’ swim team. Continue reading

“We Were Silenced”: Roanoke Swimmers, Part 3

Roanoke College Swim Captain Bailey Gallagher, explaining the emotional manipulation she endured at the hands of school administrators. (screenshot/WSLS YouTube page)

by Scott Dreyer

As reported in Parts One and Two, ten members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team held an “NCAA — Save Women’s Sports!” press conference on October 5 at Hotel Roanoke, to draw attention to what they described as “emotional blackmail” and “neglect” at the hands of their school administrators, NCAA, and Swim USA.

Although huge headlines seldom spring from our corner of Southwest Virginia, this story has made national and international news. The New York Post, established in 1801 by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, described the significance of the swimmers’ actions this way: “The very public aspect of Thursday’s event was in sharp contrast to the culture of fear and silence surrounding the issue of trans women in women’s sports.

“When The Post interviewed female swimmers who had to compete against Lia Thomas for an April 2022 story, the majority of parents and their daughters would not allow their names to be used in the story for fear of being shunned, shamed or even retaliated against.

“’This was a historic day,’ activist Kara Dansky, president of the US chapter of Women’s Declaration International, told The Post after speaking at Thursday’s press conference.”

Roanoke College women’s swim team (front row) and supporters at press conference at Hotel Roanoke, Oct. 5, 2023 (photo/Scott Dreyer)

Senior Team Captain Bailey Gallagher, 20, summarized the lifelong love of the sport all the girls alluded to but how they all felt blindsided. “I’ve been a swimmer my entire life, when my parents enrolled me in a ‘learn to swim’ program as an infant, and I have been swimming ever since. My first competition was at age 5, and now at almost 21, I see my journey coming to a close.

“This is my senior year, my final year to practice, race, and celebrate with teammates that I now consider to be some of my best friends. Swimming is more than just a sport for me. It’s a part of who I am. It has given me discipline, the ability to multitask, a great work ethic, a healthy lifestyle, and some of the very best people to call friends. Continue reading

“My Defeat Was Written in Biology”: Roanoke College Swimmers, Part 2

by Scott Dreyer

As reported in Part 1, in a move hailed as “historic” and “first in the nation,” members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team held a press conference at Hotel Roanoke on October 5 to highlight the emotional, mental, academic and physical trauma they have been experiencing this semester.

In essence, the women were protesting a student who swam for Roanoke College on the men’s team two years ago, took a year off to experience a sex change, and then returned this semester to swim on the women’s team.

Award-winning swimmer and woman’s rights leader Riley Gaines opened the press conference by putting Roanoke College administrators and other “adults” who failed their students on full blast. Continue reading

Meeting the Free Speech Challenge in Richmond

Journalist Andy Ngo

by Scott Dreyer

On the evening of Friday, Sept. 22 and on Saturday, Sept. 23, The Virginia Council and Common Sense Society were planning to host citizen-journalist Andy Ngo (pronounced no) at a forum in Richmond. The intention was to hear Ngo speak about his experiences exposing the violence and intimidation from leftwing Antifa and autograph copies of his book, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.”

The original venue was to be at downtown Richmond’s Commonwealth Club. According to their website’s “Welcome” page, “Founded in 1890, the Commonwealth Club is proud of its history as a premier social club, outstanding event venue, dining destination, and Richmond institution.”

However, when word about the event got out, Antifa began an intimidation campaign, club management buckled, and withdrew their welcome. Scrambling, the event sponsors quickly found a second venue: the Westin Hotel, owned and operated by Marriott Corporation.

Seemingly encouraged by their success at intimidating the Commonwealth Club, the bullies next directed their attacks at the Westin by sending threatening phone calls.

As Ngo shared in his PowerPoint, one example of a threat was a tweet on X, formerly known as Twitter, that stated: “Example script: ‘Hey, the event this evening features a racist, misogynistic, homophobe intent on provocative neo nazi (sic) speech. His name is Andy Ngo and he’s a violent extremist. Many of his attendees are armed neo nazis.’”

The threats fly in the face of all reality. As for racism, Ngo is himself non-white, the first-generation son of parents who fled communism in their native Vietnam. As for homophobia, Ngo is himself an open homosexual.

Nevertheless, around 7:00 am on Sept. 22, a mere twelve hours before the event was to begin, Marriott too folded.

The Roanoke Star reached out to the managers of The Commonwealth Club and Westin, Eric Abuneel and Rodney Moubray respectively, asking what was the exact wording and nature of the threats received, and why they chose to cancel. Continue reading

Cline, Good, Griffith Outvoted in Bid to Secure Border, Stop CR

Rep. Ben Cline, Republican from Virginia’s 6th District

by Scott Dreyer

The federal government’s fiscal year ended September 30, and in what has become a frequent occurrence, the Congress had failed to present a budget for the president’s signature.

In the weeks and days before September 30, many politicians, pundits, and average citizens were debating what would happen and what would be best for the country.

The overall Democrat position was that spending should continue at current levels, including funding for Ukraine’s war against Russia. The thought of a government shutdown was portrayed as a potential disaster that would cut stop salary and relief payments to deserving Americans.

This position is seen in tweets on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Virginia’s two US senators. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) on Sept. 27 wrote:  “Extreme House Republicans have no plan to stop a shutdown, forcing millions of servicemembers & federal workers to go without pay. Shutdowns have a terrible human cost. We have to prevent this.”

On September 29, Virginia’s Junior Senator Tim Kaine (D) tweeted: “House Republicans threatening a government shutdown—which would hurt Virginians’ access to basic services they rely on every day—as a form of leverage is cruel and irresponsible. We can and should come together in a bipartisan way to avert a catastrophic shutdown.” Continue reading

Winsome Earle-Sears Makes the Case in Roanoke

Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears speaks in Vinton. Photo by Scott Dreyer.

by Scott Dreyer

On a late summer Thursday evening at the Vinton War Memorial Senior Center, the Roanoke County GOP met for a fundraiser barbecue dinner to support Sen. David Suetterlein’s fall campaign and to fire up the room full of party faithful.

Following the meal, several people on the ballot this fall introduced themselves and addressed some key issues facing the region and state.

But the Roanoke star that evening was Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears. Continue reading

Roanoke’s Remarkable Symphony Under the Stars

Maestro David Stewart Wiley took the baton and launched the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra’s 71st year.

by Scott Dreyer

As more folks are putting the Covid lockdowns in the rearview mirror, larger gatherings are occurring, as seen by the crowds at the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra’s (RSO) “Symphony Under the Stars” on Saturday, August 26. The hillside amphitheater in Roanoke’s Elmwood Park was packed by music-lovers as the sun went down, the temperature dropped, and the excitement rose as Maestro David Stewart Wiley took the baton and launched the RSO’s 71st year.

In an age tarnished by so much disappointment with failed leadership, Wiley stands out as a bright success. The RSO board just announced they had extended his contract for another four years, making him the longest-tenured conductor in their seven-decade history. In fact, Maestro Wiley was recently honored during his 25th season leading the RSO by the governor and a joint bipartisan resolution in the Virginia General Assembly. Continue reading

Decency and Democracy Prevail in Roanoke County

by Scott Dreyer

In recent years, much of America has been convulsed by riots, arson, looting, and mayhem to the point where basic safety and simple dialogue have become impossible. When faced with shocking headlines, many can only shudder in horror and be thankful they don’t live in such places.

In what some call “the Virginia Way” and “the Roanoke Way,” however, our region has largely avoided such large-scale disorder. Even during the tumultuous days of school integration in the 1950s and ’60s, when many U.S. cities had riots, violence, and police brutality, integration in the Roanoke Valley was largely peaceful, thanks to a generation of both white and black leaders who acted like adults and generally shared a common Christian worldview.

Thus, when the July 27 Roanoke County School Board meeting fell into chaos, it made headlines, shocked many, and showed that mob rule threatens to derail dialogue and official proceedings.

For over two hours, Board members listened to 27 people speak during the public comment period. Then, when School Superintendent Dr. Ken Nicely was discussing new regulations from the Virginia Department of Education in Richmond, he was interrupted with heckling that included profanity.

Chairman Brent Hudson warned that profanity would not be tolerated, but it continued. Since Nicely was unable to clearly continue his presentation, Hudson took the remarkable step of ordering the room cleared. Two agitators refused to leave: one is a Roanoke City resident and the other a County resident who confronted Hudson in a threatening manner. Police arrested both. Continue reading

The Value of an Old School Roanoke County Education

by Scott Dreyer

These remarks were shared with the Roanoke County School Board by email on August 17, 2023.

I share these thoughts with the Roanoke County School board as someone who grew up in the County from ages 1 to 18 and attended County Public Schools from grades 1-12 until graduating from Northside.

I am profoundly thankful for the education I received over those twelve years. The content shared here is not meant to sound boastful; it’s not about me. The intention is to give honor and gratitude for the fine educational foundation the Roanoke County Schools gave me, and to share this with the community so we can appreciate what we have and build on it, and not let it be neglected or destroyed.

The education and leadership opportunities I received in County Schools, (in tandem with lessons learned at home, in Scouts, at church, in the community, etc.) gave me the tools to enjoy a rewarding and successful life and career.

And my experience is not unique. I am the youngest of four; all of us graduated from County schools and then attended and graduated from William and Mary. Clearly, Roanoke County gave us tools in our toolkit to take our studies and lives to the next level. Continue reading

Roanoke County Quietly Extends Contract For $109,000 Year Registrar But Questions Persist

by Scott Dreyer

For many historical and cultural reasons, America has traditionally been what sociologists call a “high-trust” society. As reported in this report from the Pew Research Center, cultures with high trust (such as Canada and Sweden) usually have low crime and corruption while the reverse (such as South Africa and Peru) is also true.

Unfortunately, polls show Americans’ trust in major institutions has been on a downward slope for the past 15 years or so. Gallup first measured confidence in institutions in 1973 and has done so annually since 1993. A Gallup poll from June 2022 showed significant declines for 11 of the 16 institutions tested and no improvements for any.

Those who expressed “a great deal” of confidence in the three branches of the federal government, newspapers, TV news, big tech, and the criminal justice system were all at 26% or below.

On the issue of voting, most Americans have generally trusted the system, although documented cases of stolen elections exist. One example is the 1948 Democrat primary Senate runoff in Texas. Then-Congressman Lyndon Johnson (D) was initially behind until some mysteriously “uncounted ballots” were found in a ballot box called Box 13. Johnson then won with an 87-vote margin, earning him the nickname “Landslide Lyndon.” Johnson went on to defeat the Republican candidate in November and from the Senate later became John F. Kennedy’s vice president and then president after JFK’s assassination. Continue reading

Town of Bedford Honors June 6 D-Day

by Scott Dreyer

World War II saw conflict across Europe, North Africa, Asia, and the oceans of the world. However, the charming Central Virginia town of Bedford is the site of the famous D-Day Memorial. Bedford sent 35 men to land at Normandy, France.

The memorial honors the 19 local boys who died on June 6, 1944, in the heroic struggle to liberate Europe from Nazism. Before the end of that campaign, four more Bedford boys lost their lives. Bedford’s mind-numbing 65 percent death rate means that on a per capita basis, the town sacrificed more residents than any other American community in that epic fight between good and evil.

Because of the fog of war and poor communication then, horrific news of those casualties did not begin to come into Bedford until July 17th, a month and a half after D-Day, when the first 11 deaths were reported. Reports of the other deaths trickled in over the following days and weeks.

Notably, since telegraph messages then were sent from town to town, news of Bedford’s losses first came through the Western Union telegraph office in Roanoke. One Roanoker had the terrible task at work of sending these five words to the Bedford office: “Good morning, we have casualties.”

“The youngest one was just about to turn 21 and the oldest was 30,” said Linda Parker, co-director of the Company A Bedford Boys Tribute Center.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin spoke at Tuesday’s commemoration (June 6th) at the D-Day Memorial to honor the 79th anniversary of that event. Remembering the sacrifices of those who went before, the Town of Bedford has festooned the lampposts along Main Street with banners featuring the names and photos of those Bedford Boys who never made it home from WWII, along with U.S. and French flags, since the site of the landings, the Normandy beaches, are in Northwest France.

As our state and nation face today’s many challenges, we can take hope and encouragement from the bravery, patriotism, and sacrifice of those who have gone before.

Republished with permission from The Roanoke Star.