Don Roberts

Doubting Thomas

September 29th, 2014 at 2:35 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

Doubting Thomas

What would you do? I was driving through a neighborhood and saw a man, lying on the street. In those few seconds- as best I could determine from a moving vehicle- he didn’t move. First thought- “keep on going. He’s sleeping ‘it’ off.” Second thought: “Uh oh. What if he just collapsed from some other health problem and was dying; or maybe he was a victim of a hit-and-run, or, he just got ‘jacked’?” I ran through a bunch of other “What If’s” by the time I’d gotten two blocks away. My answer to one of those questions was – DO SOMETHING.

This happened Saturday evening along busy Warwick Boulevard in the “trendy” Hilton area of Newport News. Who knows how long he’d been there? I’m guessing – dozens of other drivers passed him by, too, as I had to wait a traffic light cycle or two to make my U. As I doubled back, I realized I was just a couple of blocks away from the GOODWILL and CHKD second hand stores. U-turn complete and… he was still there. Still not moving. I pulled over, parked and headed for him.

If he’s unresponsive, or obviously hurt, of course I’m going to dial 9-1-1. But what if he’s just “sleeping it off” or mentally ill, and he’s “clingy” or violent, what do I do then? (Don’t know KARATE- I watched for 3 years as my son trained for his black belt. It’s been ’bout 50 years since my last STREET FIGHT. Hey, I can still run!) Those thoughts- and the standard one from my wife: “CALL 9-1-1.”

No. I had to personally get involved.

I reach the guy. He looked like a younger Tommie Lee Jones, but with white hair. “Hey, brother, you alright?” He actually looked kind of comfortable on the manicured edge of a bank’s property. He jerked in reaction to my voice, then said: “Who the f— wants to know?” Back and forth for about a minute- I’m asking him obligatory questions- he’s cussing me out for disturbing him. And, as we go at it, I notice both his lower legs are metallic. And his 3rd leg, a cane, is on the ground, just out of reach. His eyes are glazed, but not quite bloodshot. He’s angry at the world, still cussin’. And then he loudly proclaims: “I’M GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL! I KNOW IT!” And then he gives me an exaggerated, wide-eyed look as if he’s trying to scare the h— out of me! I am scared, but I’m not running. He said his name was THOMAS. He quickly corrected that and then called himself “Doubting Thomas.”

I’m now “Paralyzed Don.” What do I do now? I’ve engaged him, he’s in need of some kind of help; he’s angry, possible drunk; I’ve got no answers, and, I’m not going to just walk away. I make the cliched offer: “Can I get you something to eat?” And then I step across my wife’s line – “Want a ride to the shelter?” He answers “No! I’ve had a ‘couple’- and the Mission won’t take you if you’ve been drinking.”

So now what? Thomas says someone ripped off his bag with all his stuff. Coat’s gone, too, and it’s going to be cold again tonight. Aha! There is something I CAN DO. But, what’s my exit strategy? THOMAS needs help. He doesn’t want me to do anything but to get out of his way so he can got to H—. Now, standing on his tennis-shoe-wrapped metalic feet, I guess he saw how hopeless I looked. I wasn’t preaching, or offering him any money. And he wasn’t going to stick around for the 9-1-1 guys.

I let him go, got in my car and u-turned toward the GOOD WILL. They had a nice peacoat onsale for  ONLY 8.99. Now, to find him. THOMAS perched himself between two dumpsters behind a 7-11. He seemed surprised I found him. Thomas reminded me he was on his way to H—. But he doesn’t have to be cold along the way. Thomas saw what was in my hand and rejected it. I told him I’d leave the coat on the side of the dumpster incase he changed his mind. As I walked away, he said… Thanks.  He’s probably still out there. What should I have done? How about you?  And, one more thing: On the day I’m writing this, I just happened to find this post on my facebook page- a homeless guy named RONALD, telling his story. Tell me what you think, here, or on my facebook page.  Thanks.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=707368385974326&set=vb.100001035124435&type=2&theater

Homeless-2


FOOD ALLERGIES Leave Parents Boiling Mad.

September 4th, 2014 at 10:51 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

“CINDY”- was SO excited about her first day of school, she got up early, dressed quickly and was practically ready to JUMP on the bus before it stopped rolling.  Little did CINDY know she would be riding into a nightmare. When  it was time for lunch, a teacher placed CINDY at a small table, alone, and facing a wall. Her back was to her new classmates and all the other children in the cafeteria. And that’s how CINDY’S mother and grandmother told me they found her when they arrived to join CINDY for lunch.  CINDY was near tears and, needless to say, the two adults were practically breathing fire.
food allergies index
CINDY has food allergies. For most of her five years, she’s reacted badly when exposed to dairy, nuts, and wheat. She’ll break out in hives, swell severely and experience potentially life threatening conditions- if not treated quickly. Usually, a shot from an E p i  P e n will do the trick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children jumped 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. A Richmond TV Station, W T V R, aired a report on child allergies- quoting a fascinating blog called “Butter Nutrition.” It’s writer raised the question, “Why your grandparents didn’t have food allergies, but you do.” The blog spelled out several theories on what could be the trigger behind the spike in children’s allergies.

Dr. Bob Call with Richmond Allergy & Asthma Specialists, called the theories non-scientific, but hard to ignore. He said his practice has seen allergy cases double over the last 10 years. Sixty percent of (his) practice are children, the youngest patient is just three weeks old.

“There are many more additives,thickeners, all of these different proteins that are added to food- even chemicals can become an allergen,” Dr. Call said about the theory that the food we eat these days contains more preservatives, thus causes more allergies.”

A spokeswoman for Newport News public schools say the elementary school staff wanted to err on the side of caution.  Michelle Price told me the first day of school is always a bit awkward and there’s some confusion. But, the staff also didn’t know the severity of CINDY’S allergy. Price said the staff had not yet determined what the other children  had brought to school,(PB&J, nuts, yogurt) in addition to how they would act.  Still, sitting a child at a table- facing a wall- seems drastic and insensitive, to say the least. I questioned why the school wasn’t better prepared to deal with a student/allergy case- after having met with the parent and child several times prior to the first day. Certainly, one has to consider the larger picture. Here’s Price’s whole statement for the record:

“Newport News Public Schools’ child nutrition and nursing staff works directly with families to meet the special dietary needs of our students. Families are asked to complete a special dietary needs form (see attached) with their child’s physician and return it with any other medical forms to the school office. If a student has severe food allergies, the school nurse and the cafeteria manager will meet with the family to develop a plan to address the students’ health and safety needs in conjunction with peer interaction.

“The school principal, the nurse and the cafeteria manager met with the student’s parents yesterday and developed accommodations that met with everyone’s approval. The student in question has a severe food allergy that her mother has stated could lead to anaphylactic shock. To ensure the student’s well being, her teacher temporarily sat her at another table during lunch while the teacher sought to make seating adjustments to make sure that the student could be seated with classmates whose lunches did not contain the allergen.”

Day -2 for CINDY was much better. CINDY’s mom told me an assistant principal called her to apologize and to inform her of seating adjustments, and other arrangements made for CINDY’s safety, in addition to helping her feel welcomed. CINDY told me, herself, that  she had a great (second) day,  she’s made new friends. And- she’s sitting at a table with other children!


Hey Daddy, Read This

June 12th, 2014 at 2:09 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

   “Many thoughts come to mind this  FATHER’S DAY 1993!  Father's Day 599693_10100713632756286_1292965230_n

How thankful I am to have a dad.. and all that you’ve done for me.

    You know my three children well.. their ages are 17, 10, and 7.

Kristen’s the oldest, and the there’s Dawn, and last, but not, least, is Kevin.

    My wife and my children are my greatest blessings, but let me brag about you,  dad.

 You’ve always been there for me, my brothers, sisters, mom, and I’m glad.

    While we grew up, you worked several jobs, ’cause you felt you had to do it.

We had what we needed and sometimes more- we just asked and you saw to it.

   I remember days you worked late, we knew you were home by the squeal of car brakes without fail.

Your arrival was usually good news, unless you had too spank my tail!

   Dad, you seemed to never miss church on Sunday…no matter what you did on Saturday night.

You said making time for parties and fun…and denying God was not right.

   Dad, you could fix anything… plumbing, electrical, the car, if we’d holler…

I knew you were smart, and you taught yourself, while trying to save a dollar.

   You liked to sit out on our steps… and watch the changing neighborhood.

You made your point of speaking to children and encouraging them to do good.

    If we were walking and you saw a weed in the sidewalk… you’d go back…

You always told me to pull it out… because, after winter, it would leave a crack.

   You graduated high school but once you told me you wished you had gone on to college.

Instead, you earned a Ph.D in common sense... the best kind of knowledge.

   I’ll admit, I took you for granted while growing up… you were always there.

And I was surprised when my friends would tell me they had no dad who cares..

   It was hard to believe that a man would make a baby… and simply leave…

but it’s happening every day… as more and more unmarried couples conceive.

   I’m just glad my dad stayed around… your example showed me the way.

I love you dad… and I want to say- thank you on this Father’s Day.

   I guess the best way to show my thanks to a very special man…

is by using your example, and working hard,

to be the best DAD I can.”

(C) 2004 Don Roberts, from the book, HEY DADDY READ THIS, IUniverse Publishing.


‘Round The Block

June 4th, 2014 at 10:28 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

I did something very unusual Monday afternoon. I took a walk around the block, -with my neighbor. I’ll call him MIKE. He’s a public servant who happens to wear blue -and silver. MIKE arrived home at about the same time I was heading out. MIKE works crazy hours- so, we’ve got that in common. Another thing, he and his wife are raising a toddler, an infant, and a dog. I’ve been there, done that- flea & tick spray still in the cab. girl-on-bicycleMy kids are now grown and gone. But, they come back! And with their children! 5 of the 7 grands were with me on this day. We were headed out, the kids on bikes, for a ride ’round the block. And that’s when I saw MIKE roll up. He’s cool. But, sometimes I just don’t know. Maybe, it’s his job. Maybe it’s mine. We’ve had our moments- as neighbors will- “Breaking News again, huh, Don? Don’t you ever have any ‘good news?’” OUCH! (Here’s some good news: It’s called a “Good Fence!” ZING! ) Ha ha… yeah. I don’t believe our meeting this time was a coincidence. Considering the Breaking News of the day, I found myself looking for his piece of silver… to see if he had added another color to it – black. Not yet. Back to the task at hand, our children! They were ready to roll and set some new land speed records on this urban course! MIKE planned the same thing with his 3 year old, an adorable little girl, on a custom bike with no pedals- how cute! So, the 8 of us stormed the neighborhood! And while the kids did their thing, we, kinda did ours… two neighbors, two dads, two friends, just watching, and walking and talking. About what? What else? The weather, and our children.


Happy Mothers’ Day!

May 12th, 2014 at 11:49 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Personalities, Uncategorized

My wife and I (and some good friends) saw the TEMPTATIONS and the FOUR TOPS last night (Sunday, 5-11-14) GRRRRRRREAT SHOW!!! Now, I know, both groups had their glory days seemingly “a hunnert” years ago, but the music is timeless.  Unfortunately, time has taken its toll on the groups. Each has only one original member, today. BUT, the new kids on the block provided a 20-14 FLAVOR that hooks a new crowd of any age, while doing justice to the LEGACY of MOTOWN. The replacement players have talent to spare.  And both the ‘TEMPTS & ‘TOPS “stepped” so hard, WE were out of breath just watching!!!

Ferguson Center features the Temptations & four Tops

Ferguson Center features the Temptations & four Tops

Now, here’s the really great part- we got to see them for FREE. (No, I didn’t pull a “Do You Know Who I Am?- ego trip ’cause I would have gotten my feelings hurt, big time). The tickets were “make-goods” from a February concert featuring the FIFTH DIMENSION and SPINNERS at CNU’s Ferguson Center.   Problem then was, the SPINNERS didn’t show up due to bad weather. We were on the edge of a major attitude, but, The “5th -D” had a cure for that- A FANTASTIC PERFORMANCE! Florence LaRue, again, the last of the 5 originals, led the new-crew in a fresh performance of their numerous hits from the ’60′s and ’70′s. And they flavored it with a touch of  Broadway. Their extended performance left us satisfied. But, about two days later, the professionals at CNU-FERGUSON CENTER called, emailed and sent letters- to all patrons, me included, APOLOGIZING and offering the make-goods, free tickets, for another show- best seats available. Nice!!

What we, the patrons, also didn’t know, was what happened behind the scenes to make sure somebody showed up to perform at all. When learning that members of both the 5th-D and SPINNERS were in trouble, “Lisa” and her crack compadres at CNU-FERGUSON, tried to rearrange flights, coordinate ground transportation -including personally picking up performers, their crew, and equipment, from Richmond, D-C or points beyond, because…. the SOLD OUT show must go on! Talk about “beyond and above!” Turns out- The Fifth Dimension was “the” show – that day, and they were enough! The make-good tickets were a bonus (as in hitting the LOTTERY-bonus. You gotta see the reconstituted ‘TEMPTS and ‘TOPS for yourself). Meanwhile- CNU -Ferguson, thank YOU. You made-good, alright! Your professional crew- made a great memory on this Mother’s Day!

CNU -2 10365824_679161832131807_490639619446290934_nCNU COVER 1


2 REASONS

April 22nd, 2014 at 11:01 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities

Two reasons why I’ve been smiling while I walked the scenic NOLAND TRAIL in Newport News over the past week. I’ll be smiling again as I hit “trails” all over Hampton Roads in the next five days. ELIAS, my oldest daughter’s February blessing is on the left. And “LIL ROSCOE” (aka- LIAM) is my partner KATIE’s handsome boy, born last July. BABY Elias and mommy 16627_10152272982082930_123902686_n

These healthy infants have a great opportunity to grow to a ripe old age, and physically do whatever they want, thanks to the MARCH OF DIMES.  Wednesday through Sunday, I’ll be thinking of the boys as I pound the pavement with JIMMY RAY of “97-3 THE EAGLE.”  We start at the Country Club of Williamsburg, 7am, with the goal of reaching Patrick Henry Mall by about 11. And each day, we’ll take a bite out of the 80+ mile route, inching closer to the goal of the oceanfront. Check the link for each day’s effort.
During that first FOUR HOUR trek with JIMMY RAY, we’ll each have plenty of time to talk (I’ll do a lot of LISTENING) about how to solve every problem in the universe. But when we’re not flapping our gums, the quiet moments will be great for counting our blessings- two of which you see, here.

Liam - Lil Roscoe -2 1238940_4845738956387_724864554_n

Their moms knew what to do to help insure their successful births- thanks in large part to the work of the MARCH OF DIMES. In their words:   “We help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. If something goes wrong, we offer information and comfort to families. We research the problems that threaten our babies and work on preventing them.”
You may know someone who’s waiting for their little blessing right now. You can help them by supporting me and my walking buddy, Jimmy Ray. Better yet, just go right to the source, the March of Dimes. Send them a check -and on the memo line, just write in that name that’s your reason to smile.
Each day, our MARCH FOR BABIES will shine a spotlight on the MARCH OF DIMES and it’s support of research to prevent premature births and defects. Check out the link to the map of our daily route, follow our progress, cheer us on when you see us on the street AND PUH-LEEZE support the MARCH OF DIMES.  And to top it all off, join our MARCH FOR BABIES and WALK WITH US this SUNDAY, April 27, 2014, 830am at the VB oceanfront!


Veterans: Good and Plenty

November 7th, 2013 at 3:29 pm by under Military, News, Personalities, Politics, Sports

6 was good enough for Matthew Plenty. That’s how many children this AIR FORCE veteran had between wives’ one, and two. And he also loved his COWBOYS! That always made for some good conversation during the few times I visited his Newport News home. Mr. Plenty could talk some “smack” about WASHINGTON. After retiring from the AIR FORCE and settling into a civil service job at FORT EUSTIS, the PLENTYs’ welcomed my wife’s family by their East End homestead all the time. I recall first meeting him at our wedding in 1982! And although my wife stayed in touch with the kids, we hadn’t seen him much over the years- one of those friends you kinda knew was always there. Always. Until Monday. I vividly recall my wife’s reaction when she learned Mr. Plenty had died. She knew he was sick, in home hospice care. We planned to visit, tomorrow.. but LIFE got in the way. I hear he had some fascinating stories to tell about his military service. But now he’s takes those stories with him. TOMORROW now becomes TODAY. I’m finalizing plans, along with a colleague over at SUNTRUST BANK in downtown Norfolk, to talk to- actually, HONOR, some other VETERANS, who have some stories to tell. I personally know two of them. Mr JULIUS GREEN is the husband of my wife’s best friend, Rosalyn. Every now and then, “Roz” would drop a dime about Mr Green’s ARMY years, duty in Korea, Germany, Fort Eustis. Only after pressing for details did I learn that he was the Army’s first African American MASTER DIVER; or in other words, the Army’s version of CARL BRASHEAR.

He was the Army's CARL BRASHEAR

Army Master Diver

Poking around a little more, I learned Mr. Green attended Warrant Officer School with his neighbor, and another friend of mine, JOHN E. GRAGG… That’s Army Chief Warrant Officer 3, John Gragg. He went on to become the ARMY’s first African American BOAT CAPTAIN.

The Army's first African American boat captain

The Army’s first African American boat captain

Gragg says he was the captain of the big tug that helped pull this ARMY VESSEL OFF a sand bar in the James River in March of 1972. And, boy, does he have more stories to tell.

CW3 John E. Gragg captains tug that helped free this stranded vessel in the James River, March, 1972.

CW3 John E. Gragg captains tug that helped free this stranded vessel in the James River, March, 1972.

Both plan to share them with us at a reception in their honor, 10 AM, FRIDAY, 09NOV13, at SUNTRUST BANK, 150 West Main Street, downtown Norfolk, 12th floor. Also being honored this day, a “young man” who earned 3 PURPLE HEARTS, the hard way. Retired Army Ranger William “Joey” Pocan. TOMORROW is TODAY…The time is now to say THANK YOU to these, and all outstanding veterans. I hope they’ll take a moment to tell us a story.


Headlines hit home: Cyber bullies and my grandchildren

October 17th, 2013 at 3:38 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities

I love it when my 9 year old grandson, Christion, visits. He’s growing up so quickly! He has twin 6 year old “baby” sisters, Sonaia and Simone. And there’s one more- Leila- who’s 12. They are sooo smart- AND- very proficient with technology. Christion is my focus here. He and the “fam” all live in Roanoke. And, whenever they visit, Christion loves to play games on my cell  phone and laptop. He especially likes interacting with people, he thinks, are kids his age, in online “gaming” and other seemingly harmless sites. As soon as I figured out what he was doing, (Hey!, I’m 57! Yeah, yeah, no excuse) we limited his time, observed,  then just simply cut it off.  He admitted he didn’t personally know who he was talking to. Now, I’m hearing this troubling story: 12 and 14 year old girls could serve jail time for CYBER BULLYING 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick, pictured here. Rebecca couldn’t take it anymore, so, she committed suicide. CYBER bullying Rebecca Sedwick 1374118_583393441708647_1765423216_sAnd it appears the PARENTS of the two kids charged, and those whose kids bully- could bare responsibility. I was bullied when I was a kid – BUT I had great parental support, AND, I outgrew the bullies and their attacks. This online stuff is proving to be exponentially more dangerous since it’s PERMANENT, WORLDWIDE and ANONYMOUS!  Christion has limited access to computers at his home – as far as I know. But he has friends with cellphones, tablets and other connections. And then there are the kids will all that access, and NO SUPERVISION or, as we called it in my family- “no home training.”  Those kids could scar CHRISTION, for life, with one “tap.” I, and CHRISTION’S parents, will continue to monitor what he does online, and shut it down if we don’t approve. We have to. Lives are at stake. We’ll “train him up” as best we know how, and keep pointing him in the “right” direction. Then, we’ll turn him loose on the world – hoping and praying  he’ll “turn ‘it’ off”  on his own, and just TALK to someone FACE TO FACE! How ’bout that for a unique idea?


Hope

March 29th, 2011 at 10:00 am by under News, Personalities, Uncategorized

How the heck are you? Mighty fine here. No complaints- BUT, if you have a minute, here’s a quick summary of my morning: I flew out the door at “oh-dark-thirty” this a-m; Frost on the car, 30 degrees on the ‘therm (I thought the calendar read SPRING?) “Check-Engine” light on-(Cha Ching! Just let me make it to work, please?) And, once here: HEADLINES: Another young man shot in a local drive-by; A woman hit by a fork-lift and killed;  and, more leaking radiation in Japan.

BUT,

as the day progresses, I pray it will get better. I believe it will. Check out this beautiful evidence of … hope- in Japan.

Cherry blossoms in Japan

Sri Chimoy wrote:

“Hope abides; Therefore I abide.

Countless frustrations have not cowed me.

I am still alive, vibrant with life.

The black cloud will disappear,

The morning sun will appear once again

in all its supernal glory.”

Make it a great day. Don R.


Chasing A Dream…Farewell To A “Friend”

February 11th, 2011 at 4:03 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

Ritina Arrington - future Supreme Court Justice

Ritina Arrington -WAVY TV’s Young Achiever
RITINA ARRINGTON has a big dream… to run right on through high school, college and law school, eventually to a seat on the Supreme Court.  Ritina’s dreams, and accomplishments, got our attention here at WAVY TV. She excels on the track and cross country teams at Norfolk’s BOOKER T. WASHINGTON high school. And Ritina is handling her business in the classroom, and out in the community where, I understand, she makes time to volunteer. Super kid, right? We thought so too. So, Ritina is the latest “Hampton Roads Young Achiever.” It’s our way of recognizing young people who are outstanding, and provide the community with “good news.”  You’ll soon see Ritina’s “spots” all over WAVY TV 10.  
     Back to Ritina’s dream.
Jessie Jackson once said:   ”IF YOU CAN CONCEIVE IT, AND BELIEVE IT, YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
I’d like to add:
“DREAM A BIG DREAM… AND SHOCK YOURSELF. MAKE THAT DREAM COME TRUE… AND SHOCK THE WORLD!”
But, should we be shocked if this soon-to-be B-T-W graduate eventually takes a seat on the Supreme Court? Afterall, the odds are long and the stumbling blocks- high. Well, the answer is NO. There’s already a precedent for a black kid from Norfolk to sit on the high bench- of the Virginia Supreme Court.

 Sadly, we said goodbye to him this weekend.

Justice Leroy Roundtree Hassell 1955-2011

Leroy Roundtree Hassell was also a big dreamer while at Norfolk’s NORVIEW HIGH SCHOOL.  He died Wednesday at age 55. A celebration of his life was held Saturday in Richmond just as the month-long celebration of the history he helped to make- kicks into full gear.

 I didn’t know Leroy Roundtree Hassell. But I knew of  him after the 30 second story crossed my desk in 2002.  The headline read something like: “Black Norfolk Lawyer Elected Chief Justice of Virginia Supreme Court.” BOOM-SHA-KA-LA-KA! 

 Like many blacks, I still “count.” “Oh! He’s the first black- this, or the only black- that.” Each “first” representing one step forward, or one more wrong that’s been righted, or one more opportunity to prove “Yes, I can, Yes, ‘we’ can” – after generations of “no you can’t's…”  I also “count” my news stories everyday- noting the number of African Americans killed and convicted of crimes. In some weeks it averages about 4 a day! Do the math.

 Leroy Roundtree Hassell dreamed big dreams. Like RITINA, his mother and father encouraged him in the home. Classmates challenged him at NORVIEW HIGH. University of Virginia rewarded him with “scholar of the year” honors, and a degree in 1977.  Harvard pushed him to expand his intellectual limits before conveying upon him a law degree in 1980.
 A few years later, the international law firm McGuire Woods paid him, in a sense, to keep on dreaming (and documenting! :-)    In 1989, Governor Gerald Baliles called him… and then named 34 year old Leroy Roundtree Hassell to the Virginia Supreme Court. And when his fellow justices elected him “chief” – Hassell became the first black to get the top job and the first justice to ever to be elected by other members of the court.  Students like Ritina could look to the state’s highest court and actually see someone who looks like her and was from her neighborhood! She could then say: “If he could do it…”

Hey, Ritina, as I’m sure your parents and mentors are teaching you, success is about more than just the books. On the passing of Leroy Roundtree Hassell. Governor Baliles said:

“I valued his friendship, his contributions to the commonwealth and the country, and respected his intergrity, intellectual depth and commitment to access to justice for all our people, regardless circumstance.”

Local attorney and WAVY NEWS 10 legal contributor Eric Moody said of Justice Hassell:
 ”…The Commonwealth of Virginia is well known for its propensity to maintain the status quo, and the judiciary is one of the leading examples of this tendency. Notwithstanding his position and credentials, Justice Hassell was a non-conformist in his thoughts and actions. He wrote several dissenting opinions sharply disagreeing with his colleagues on the bench. Notably an historic figure in being the “first” in a number of positions as an African American, he readily shunned that title.
Mr. Moody continues:  ”To say that ‘his shoes will be hard to fill’ does a disservice to the impact and the role he has played in government and in Virginia history. His model as one who can overcome formidable obstacles with hard work and preparation, ranks with some of the great icons of our time. Young people will for many years to come hear his name associated with the power of education to allow them to reach their goals, and the impact that strength of character has on ones ability to excel.”
 
Hey, RITINA, I think you already know the words to that song. Keep singing, and keep running towards your goal. And even after you reach it, please keep on volunteering- making time to sing loud enough for the younger kids to hear you… Kids in schools DREAM KEEPERS ACADEMY in Norfolk, and ACHIEVABLE DREAM in Newport News- any school for that matter. 

Students at Achievable Dream School, NN

By the way, two final thoughts, RITINA: 1) You have a beautiful name that’s uniquely yours… and 2) There are two seats now open on the Virginia Supreme Court. Hmmm.