Feb 25

Meet our Newest Planning Commissioner!

Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:22 AM by Bailey Howard-DuBois

Kelly McMurrayKelly McMurray was appointed to the Roanoke County Planning Commission in January 2020 to represent the Cave Spring District. The opportunity arose when Paul Mahoney, former Cave Spring Planning Commissioner, won election to the Board of Supervisors. 

Kelly moved to the Penn Forest area of Roanoke County as a teenager and graduated from Cave Spring High School. Kelly has a B.A. in English/Film Studies from the University of Nebraska. The course of study focused on writing and storytelling, and their place in our culture. He also has a keen interest in American History and Western Civilization. Kelly returned to Roanoke County after college with a desire to be involved in his community. Professionally, he has focused on growing businesses in the Roanoke Valley. Kelly works for an insurance company that specializes in underwriting services for specialty insurance lines. Becoming aware of how the Planning Commission and other County boards work with County departments to create an attractive nest for prospective residents and businesses sparked his interest in public service. 

Kelly believes that “we live in the most beautiful corner on planet Earth.” His favorite aspect of living in the Roanoke Valley is the natural beauty and the abundant outdoor recreation. He loves the fact that he can leave work at the end of the day and be knee-deep, fishing in a river within minutes. He appreciates that the area is simultaneously a “sleepy mountain town,” yet located on a major interstate, home to thriving businesses, with quality health care and excellent college institutions. He believes the area will continue to grow while retaining qualities of a quiet, safe and peaceful place that enjoys the amenities of a bigger town. As the Valley’s economic growth continues to encompass medical, technological and educational industries it is important to attend to Roanoke County’s responsibilities. Kelly wants to join those who have higher expectations for the Roanoke Valley into the future.

Kelly says that ideally local government is a conduit for the people and business owners who are here. He believes that government officials have a responsibility to listen to their constituents and act upon their concerns, while building a community that is inclusive to everyone. Kelly looks forward to learning more about the processes that led to the current Roanoke County Comprehensive Plan, and other area plans and studies. Kelly’s goal as a Planning Commissioner is to provide good stewardship of Roanoke County. After observing other localities experience brain drain, mismanaged funds, or abuse of the public trust he believes that leaders should plan for the future while protecting quality of life. 

In his free time, Kelly likes to paint and write, and considers himself an avid outdoorsman and family man. He is outgoing, good-humored and loves to talk. Don’t be shy to engage in conversation with our new Planning Commissioner!
Jan 29

Census 2020 Kickoff Meeting

Posted on January 29, 2020 at 2:55 PM by Bailey Howard-DuBois

Roanoke County Supervisor Phil NorthThe Roanoke Area Census Office held an open house and kickoff event on January 17, 2020. The event included a joint meeting of the Roanoke County and City of Roanoke Census Complete Count (CCC) Committees. 

In his opening remarks Roanoke County Supervisor Vice Chair Phil North said, “I am pleased when Roanoke County and the City work together to make a greater impact. To the public let me say, we need your help in spreading the word about the census. Tell your friends and neighbors how important it is for our region.” 

Because the success of the 2020 Census depends on everyone’s participation, the mission of the CCCs is to help spread the word, to assist residents who need help responding, and to inform the public about the importance of all residents being counted.

Importance of the Census at the local level:

There are many ways that Census data is used to serve the people. Primarily, it is the way that we get our tax money back from the federal government so that we can use it for programs and infrastructure here at home. For every person not counted Roanoke County loses $2,000 per year, or $20,000 over 10 years because the census only happens every 10 years! Another way the Census is used is to redraw legislative districts (redistrict) based on population changes.

Important dates:
  • March 12-20:  Households will begin receiving mailings with instructions to respond either online, by phone, or by mail.
  • April 1:  Census Day – residents will have received an invitation to participate, and will respond to the Census with their address as of this date.  
  • May – November:  Census takers will visit residences of those who have not responded.
  • December:  Census counts will be delivered to the President and Congress as required by law. 

The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring hundreds of thousands of people across the country to serve as Census takers and to help spread the word about the importance of the 2020 Census. According to local officials, the area Census office is authorized to hire hundreds of people in the Roanoke Valley. Joining the 2020 Census team is an important way to serve your community and to be sure your neighbors are counted for this region and for the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

To learn more about the Census, visit www.census.gov.
Dec 30

RIDE Solutions Encourages Shoppers to “Drive Small” This Holiday Season

Posted on December 30, 2019 at 1:27 PM by Bailey Howard-DuBois

Drive SmallRIDE Solutions encourages community members to consider the economic impact of their transportation decisions with the Drive Small awareness campaign.  

“The annual Shop Small movement is an excellent time to remember how our buying decisions affect our local businesses and economy,” says RIDE Solutions Director Jeremy Holmes.  “Similarly, Drive Small is a reminder that the money we save by using sustainable transportation modes is money that goes right back into those same local businesses.”

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, about 90% of what consumers pay for a gallon of gas leaves the local economy.  This includes the costs for crude oil, excise taxes, and federal and state gas taxes.  What remains is the small amount of money retained by local gas stations and transportation companies.  “Spending less on gas means that not only will consumers keep more money in their pockets,” says Holmes, “but will keep money from leaving central and southwest Virginia.  Those dollars can now support local businesses and the local economy.”

Further, a 2012 article from CityLab reports on an Oregon study showing cyclists and pedestrians actually spend more at the local businesses they bike and walk by each day.  While each individual purchase may be less, over the course of a month these consumers spend more than folks arriving by car.

“No matter how you look at it, sharing a ride, taking the bus, or getting out of the car altogether is good for consumers and good for local businesses,” says Holmes.  “We hope shoppers will choose to Drive Small while they Shop Small.”

As part of the campaign, RIDE Solutions has partnered with Roanoke’s Upcycled Gifts in encouraging folks to share their Drive Small story.  Shoppers who use the hashtag #drivesmall on social media to let RIDE Solutions know how they supported small businesses in the Roanoke Valley by cutting back on their driving will have a chance to win an upcycled totebag from Upcycled Gifts.  The bag is recycled from a banner used at this year’s Night Rider’s Ball event celebrating National Bike Month.  

For more information, visit the Drive Small webpage.