Friday, January 29, 2010

01-27-10 Student Government meeting

I know what you're saying - "What the F? You don't go to Concord anymore. Why are you still going to the SGA meetings?"

Let me clarify a couple things. I haven't dropped out of school. I'm just taking a semester off. Unless something drastic happens, I'm 100 percent set on taking classes in the fall. I still consider myself a Concord student. As such, I consider what the Student Government Association does to be important.

One of the biggest things the SGA is looking into right now is tuition increases for the next academic year. They want to make sure tuition isn't increased too much for the fall. I plan on paying that tuition, so their efforts in making sure it isn't too high is a priority for me.

If you're not too familiar with what I do here, click here to check out the last "SGA Blog" that I did. It was from the last meeting of last semester. Usually, I will blog about that week's issue of The Concordian and the SGA meeting. I skimmed through the paper while I was at the meeting and don't really have an opinion on it yet.

I really don't have too much of an opinion on the SGA right now, since I'm still trying to catch up on what's going on. I missed the first meeting of the semester, and coupled with only being on campus on Wednesdays, I'm a little behind on what's going on. Give me a little time & I'll be back in the "swing of things."

I didn't take any notes at the meeting, like I usually do. I did send out a few tweets. For this blog, I'll just paste those tweets for you to check out and I'll also give my thoughts on the possible plans for this year's "Spring Fling."

The "buzz" from the meeting centers on Curtis Kearn's comments about Greg Quick, Interim Vice President for Advancement. I'm not going to talk about that yet. I don't have all the background information to offer anything other than a misguided opinion. I know some people like my misguided opinions, but I'll hold off on that subject... for now.

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My tweets are below. Sometimes a few more people use Twitter during the meetings. Click here for a good example of one of my "tweet blogs."


"RT" means Re-Tweet. If you see "RT" before a message, that means I'm re-posting what somebody else said. You can leave your own comments before the "RT" in the message.

If a message begins with "@_______" that means it is a reply to that person. If I write "@buckskeen," I am sending a reply to Buck. It's still public and people can see my reply.

The tweets are below. The first one was sent out about 20 minutes before the meeting started.

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On campus. Gonna stop by the @CU_SGA meeting. No, I don't have a life.

I see a lot of girls at the CU_SGA meeting wearing Ugg boots. I thought they were smarter than that.

Oh man, I've missed Jenn Smith at the @CU_SGA. Sarcasm? You decide.

SGA Prez Jeff Yeager is at a BOG sub-cmtee meeting. Parliamentarian Gavin Ward is chairing the meeting until he gets back.

Sitting next to @Babich53. He's wearing cowboy boots. How cool.

Jeff Yeager just showed up.

That's what I thought. RT @Biff359: Why is Gavin chairing the meeting? Isn't it supposed to be the VP?

I feel weird sitting here & not writing anything down. Wonder if I should blog about this meeting?

Talk to Robert Elsaid (@relsaid) for more info on Higher Ed. Day. Important day.

Matt Belcher is saying something about @pizzahut & a "College Night." Not sure what that is, but sounds interesting...

.@lewisb01 is requesting that the alcohol policy be changed. If u r 21 & roommate is not, can't have beer. He wants that changed.

Taking a concensus to see if the @CU_SGA should get rid of "Spring Fling" & donate the $$ to Haiti.

I don't know about donating to Haiti, but I do know that "Spring Fling" has sucked every year that I've been here.

Jeff Yeager isn't chairing the Ethics cmtee any more. Some McReynolds guy just got appointed.

The VP is talking about the Tuition & Fees cmtee. Very important cmtee. Honestly, keeping up w/ that is 1 of the reasons I'm here.

Jeff Yeager mentioned that he & others gave the Board of Governors a PP presentation about what the @CU_SGA is & what they do.

It's important for the @CU_SGA to have a good relationship w/ the BOG. In addition to other things, the BOG determines tuition increases.

BOG Student Rep noted that Concord's audit went well & showed no wrongdoings.

BOG rep also noted that Concord now has a "strategic plan" now. It's been an issue for several years. Cool that it's finally happened.

BOG rep talked about how bad the residence halls are. I lived in them for 5 years & didn't think they were that bad.

Cool. The @CU_SGA is moving combine the Univ. Publications cmtee & Publicity cmtee. I've suggested this b4.

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There's the tweets. If you read them, then you know about the possible plan for this year's "Spring Fling" event. The Spring Fling is basically a week-long series of fun events, with a theme. Sort of a final party for the students before the semester kicks into "final exam mode."

It sounds cool, but it's not. It always kind of sucks.

At the meeting, Vice President Akeya Carter-Bozman - who is in charge of planning the event - wanted to take a concensus of everybody in the room and see how popular an idea it would be to get rid of Spring Fling this year and donate the money - roughly $12,000 - to Haiti relief efforts.

It wasn't a 100 percent unanimous decision to get rid of Spring Fling. I get the feeling some people voted for so they wouldn't have the stigma of "not wanting to help Haiti" attached to them. Like, "Really, you wanted to keep that money and not give it to Haiti? How dare you."

The important thing to remember here is that the money for the SGA comes from the students. If the students don't want to donate that money to Haiti, then they don't have to. Sure, it is the "noble" thing to do. But, just because something is noble doesn't mean you have to do it.

Here's what I think we should do -

Get rid of Spring Fling. It sucks every year. It's a lot of money wasted on "attractions" that students don't use. Last year, the only people to participate in most of the events were kids from Concord's Day Care. It's fun for the kids, but that's not what we're paying for.

Take the Spring Fling money and add it to the end-of-semester "senior gift" money. Basically, the senior gift is money left over at the end of the academic year. If they don't spend it, they lose it. So, anything that's left over is either put into a fund, or something is built with it.

Past years have seen senior gifts go towards the gazebo outside the Student Center, renovations for the library, and artwork purchased for several campus buildings.

Last year's senior gift money amount was in the neighborhood of $7000. That's been about average, but for the sake of this discussion, let's go lower and say we'll have $5000 left over at the end of the semester.

There was talk of maybe using some of the Spring Fling money to purchase some t-shirts and have a dance. Free Concord shirts are always popular, as I have several. Dances are okay. Let's go ahead and take some of the Spring Fling money for that. Let's say we have $10,000 left over from our Spring Fling fund.

At the end of the academic year, we're left with a ballpark estimate of $15,000 to spend on something around campus. If we want to do the noble thing, we could even set aside $1000 or $2000 or so and send it to Haiti.

Let's be realistic, that $12,000 won't really help Haiti a lot. If they get that money or not, things will pretty much be the same over there. But, $1000 or $2000 is better than nothing, and really, it's the thought that counts, since it's not going to do much.

With that much money at the end of the semester, it could really go a long way towards getting something done. A commuter lounge has been something people have talked a lot about. Maybe that could help spearhead that. That could buy some computers for somewhere. Jeff Yeager talked about wanting to replace desks in the classrooms. If the administration won't do it, maybe we could do it ourselves.

Or, take that chunk of change left over and give it back to students. Whatever happened to that "Students Helping Students" scholarship fund that Bill Lewis and the Q-Sack committee talked about last year?

Just putting a couple thoughts out there. If you agree or disagree, let me know. Keep in mind that those are all estimations of $$ figures. It could be a little more, or it could wind up being a lot less than $15,000. The actual numbers won't be known until the semester is nearly over and most of the spending is done. These are just rough estimations based on past figures.

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That looks like pretty much everything I have to share.

As always, here's the disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I have a couple thoughts in my head and felt like throwing them all out there. Humor me.

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I still haven't really gotten off of my Red Hot Chili Peppers kick that I blogged about recently. I'm at least listening to some other music now, so that's a start. I've been listening to some Van Halen the last couple days.

The David Lee Roth-led version (the real version...) of the band doesn't get enough credit for being a hard rock band and true innovators of rock. I think a lot of that has to do with David Lee Roth. He's so charismatic and wrote a lot of cheesy lyrics, that I think that took some of the focus off of the amazing guitar work of this band and some of their non-cheesy lyrics.

I think a lot of people just associate Van Halen with the synthesizer sound of "Jump," which is a shame, as they have a lot of great songs. If you take away the lyrics from "Hot For Teacher," and listen to the drums and guitar, you'd see that it's a pretty heavy song.

If you don't know a lot about Van Halen, check out the following links for some non-cheesy Van Halen songs - "Ain't Talkin Bout Love," "Running with the Devil," "Humans Being."

I'm not a huge fan of the Sammy Hagar-led Van Halen, but there is one of their songs that I really like - "Poundcake." Look it up (or click here). I'm guessing that "Poundcake" means "vagina."

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Have you been following the whole Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno/NBC mess? Well, it's not really a mess right now, as it's been mostly sorted out. Conan is out as "Tonight Show" host and Jay is back in at 11:30 p.m. after the Winter Olympics are over next month.

I was reading an article in the New York Times that had a pretty interesting point. One of the more interesting things about this whole ordeal has been the groundswell of support Conan has had. Facebook groups have popped up, "#teamconan" was a really popular hash tag on Twitter for a while, and people even staged protests outside NBC offices.

The article noted that if all of these people pledging their allegiance to Conan had actually been watching his show, then he would still likely be hosting the "Tonight Show."

The article discussed some of the problems that TV shows have been having recently - the proliferation of online viewing of shows. A lot of people tended to watch Conan's highlights or entire show on Hulu or It shows that people like Conan, but it doesn't produce ratings. Another point that I hadn't heard yet was that the peak time people use to watch shows they recorded via DVR was the 11 p.m. - midnight hour.

Personally, I've always enjoyed Conan. I think he's a lot funnier than Jay Leno. I was never a religious viewer, but back when he was on at 12:30 - after Jay - I would go through spurts of watching for a couple weeks at a time. I made a point to watch the first three shows when he took over the "Tonight Show." They were funny, and he was funny. Just not enough people watched.

Although, to be honest, the "King of Late Night" is David Letterman.

Another interesting article I read looked at who the next successor for Jay would be. It put the spotlight on Jimmy Fallon, the current host of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." The article talked about how Fallon didn't take any sides in the Jay/Conan feud, hasn't bashed NBC in the press for any of this, and comes out looking like a company man. The really interesting part of the article noted that Fallon would be a good choice to replace Jay only if he has somewhere near a 10-year-run on the show. If Jay leaves the "Tonight Show" after only a couple years, which would likely mean the ratings weren't that good, then NBC would likely scrap the late-night talk show format.

I tried to give Jimmy Fallon a chance. I watched a couple of his early shows. I didn't really enjoy them. One of the criticisms in the article I mentioned earlier was that it seemed like Fallon was simply "playing dress-up" as a late-night host, instead of coming across as the real thing. And, that was my main criticism as well. I haven't checked him out in a while, so he may have improved. It may be time to give him another look.

Oh, and "Last Call with Carson Daly," um... nobody cares.

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I mentioned in my last blog that I had signed up for this "Formspring" thing, which is like an anoymous questionnaire thing. You type in a question, and I answer it. If you sign up for an account (or sign up through your Facebook page), you have the option of leaving your name on the question. I've gotten some interesting feedback from it.

Here's a couple sample questions I've answered -

what is your greatest ambition?

Do you believe in God?

If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose?

Are you afraid of dying?

Besides school related things (low grades, etc.) what do you regret most from the last few years? What's been the best part?

Would you ever fuck a dude

If you'd like to know my answers to the above questions (and more), check out

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If you still haven't, it's about time to just accept it and sign up for Twitter. I mean, why not? It's so cool. Check me out at If you can't think of a use for Twitter, then you're either not thinking hard enough or you're not very creative.

You can do so much with Twitter. I like to think of Twitter as a 140-character box. You can put anything your heart desires in that box. The possibilities are endless.

You can communicate with friends, post pointless status updates, post art, read USA Today,, read Playboy, you can keep up-to-date on just about anything. Heck, you can even watch porn on Twitter!

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That's it for me. Thanks for humoring me while I purge some thoughts in my head. I mentioned before that I'm still sort of on my Red Hot Chili Peppers "kick." I'll leave you w/ one more RHCP song. Give me a few more days & I'll be completely done with this band for a little while.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ask me anything...

I made a profile on this thing called "Formspring." It's basically a Q&A page. You have a spot to type in a question & I answer it. The catch is that it's 100 percent anonymous. I have no idea who asks each question.

So, if you have a desire to learn something about me or ask me anything, go ahead. If you want to know why I blog so much, why I'm taking a semester off from school, what I plan to do with my life, what I really thing about [insert name], etc... do it. I'll try and answer each question as honestly as I can. Joke questions will get a joke answer, but if you really want to know something, I'll do my best to answer it.

Here's the link -

Have fun.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ramblings of an Insomniac...

Who: Chris Slater

When: 6 a.m.

Where: Not in bed


Not being able to sleep is one of the worst feelings in the world. This is something that has troubled me for at least 6 years. It's hard for me to manage my sleep cycle and - do what normal people do - go to bed at night and wake up in the morning. I've seen doctors for it. I've taken prescribed and over-the-counter medications for it. Those work, to a certain degree.

Ambien is probably one of the most popular sleep aids. I took that for a couple weeks in late January/early February 2006. It worked, in the sense that it put me to sleep. I remember the feeling after I took them and laid down in bed - I felt nothing. That's what I needed. I was so tired and focused on sleeping that my mind wasn't racing about a bunch of different things and I could actually sleep.

One of the biggest drawbacks with Ambien is that it has been proven to cause sleep walking. I don't know exactly what happened to me (since I was asleep...), but I do know I had some sort of issue with sleep walking. I would wake up in the morning to find Facebook comments I didn't remember leaving, e-mails I didn't remember sending, a blog I didn't remember writing, and one morning my glasses were bent in half.

I've experimented with a number of OTC sleep aids. The one I found that worked the best was made by the Tylenol company. It's called "Simply Sleep," and is basically "Tylenol PM" without the Tylenol. It wasn't as powerful as the Ambien, but I found that it helped me clear my head and fall asleep most nights.

The only drawback with "Simply Sleep" is that I took it for about a month straight and couldn't sleep without it. I felt weird taking a pill for so long. I don't know if you can get hooked on that particular sleeping pill, but I didn't want to take any chances.

I don't know. I definitely feel as though my sleeping issues is one of the biggest problems in my life. It's so hard to... I don't even know how to describe it... do things, I guess... without sleep. I failed so many classes because they were in the morning and I couldn't get up to go to them. A bad byproduct of staying up all night is that you tend to sleep all day. That's not very conducive to doing your best in school.

Or work. Remember at the begining of this blog when I mentioned that it was 6 a.m. and I couldn't sleep? That's two hours before I have to be at work. It's just Pizza Hut, but I like it. Somebody has to go unlock the door at 8 a.m. (even though Pizza Hut doesn't open until 11). Might as well be me.

I need to find a job where you work at night, instead of day. Maybe late-night McDonald's drive-thru. Or, I could kill myself. That sounds more fun. That was a joke.

Anyway... if you haven't checked out my blog in a while, take a look at the last couple entries:

OK Go is awesome

I'm a "Wrestling Dweeb"


Daughtry covers Lady Gaga

I've been told their entertaining. I don't know. I've also heard some rather harsh criticism. Make up your own mind.

There's a pretty cool Red Hot Chili Peppers song embedded into the "Decisions..." blog. Regarding the actual decision I talk about in that entry, I still have not made up my mind. Yeah, I realize I missed the first week of classes. I'm going to go on Tuesday to Concord and see if I can get the bare-minimum, 7 hours. If I can get two 3-hour classes and a 1-hour class, then I'll be a Concord student this semester. If not, then maybe in the fall.

Here's a couple more cool Red Hot Chili Peppers songs:

"Readymade," Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)

"She's Only 18," Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)

I've been on a Red Hot Chili Peppers "kick" the last couple weeks. That's usually how I listen to my music. I usually have the "shuffle" set for a while, then I listen to one song or hear something about an artist and get set on that artist for a while.

I've been listening to mostly RHCP since I read that their guitarist John Fruschante had left the band. I read that about two weeks ago. About 5 days ago, I got on my "Stadium Arcadium" kick, their last album. I'll be off it soon. Something else will pique my interest soon.

That's a good stopping point for now. I'll check back in later with something of substance. Hopefully.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

OK Go is awesome

Grammy-Award winning group OK Go has released their latest video, "This Too Shall Pass," and it is more of the usual from this 4-piece rock group. "More of the usual," in this case = awesome! For those who don't know, OK Go has become popular for their music videos, most of which are one-take, and usually feature a dancing number of some sort.

Their first big hit was "A Million Ways," which featured the group dancing in a yard. At that point, they were not yet mainstream; just a hit with the "MySpace generation" and college kids. It wasn't until their next video for "Here it Goes Again" (aka the treadmill video) that they became a pretty big deal.

They released two videos for their next song, "Do What You Want." The first one has them performing their song with some really trippy camera work. The second video was the one released to music channels. It has a weird theme to it... Everything is the same pattern... I'll leave it at that.

The thing about OK Go that is really cool is that they're actually a good band. Their last album, "Oh no" is one that I can listen to from beginning to end. There is seriously not a song on the disk that I don't like. That's why I'm really excited for their new album "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky." Based off the first single, it should be a cool follow-up to "Oh no."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm a "Wrestling Dweeb"

My first post is up on the "Wrestling Dweeb" blog. I'm going to be a regular contributor and this piece is sort of an introductory entry discussing some of the things I like in wresting.

Check it out.

Monday, January 11, 2010


The Spring 2010 semester at Concord begins tomorrow, Monday, January 11. What am I doing tomorrow, Monday, January 11? Working at Pizza Hut from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Obviously, I won't be at Concord on the first day of classes. I'm not sure if I'll be back any at all this semester.

I'm undecided about what I'm doing at Concord right now. I am considering taking a semester off. I know that's not really smart, but it's a lot smarter than being at school when you don't want to be.

I got very disinterested in school shortly after the fall semester began. I started off very well, going about 3 weeks with perfect attendance and studying and all that good stuff. But, then, I had a few issues come up and I just lost my interest in school really quick. I didn't go to class as much and didn't work as hard as I should have and my grades suffered as a result.

Even my work on the staff of The Concordian suffered. You may not think it from looking at the list of articles I wrote, but I was not 100 percent motivated through all of that. Imagine if I had been. Probably would have been a lot better.

So, I'm not sure what I'm doing right now. I've been mulling the idea of taking a break from school for most of the winter break. Since I still haven't reached a decision, I obviously haven't been thinking hard enough. I'll weigh my options through most of Monday and I'll hopefully have a decision by that night.

I've quit worrying about graduating "on time." It doesn't really bother me that I'm a 23-year-old, sixth-year college student. I came to the realization recently that if I graduated right now, I'd still be in the same place in my life. Graduating from college won't affect my life for a while.

I don't want to stay in this area and have a career. I want to stay in this area and have fun with my friends and work at Pizza Hut. I'm not going to pursue a career until I'm ready to move out of Princeton to somewhere "bigger." I'm not ready to leave this area and pursue a career. I would be working at Pizza Hut with a college degree. I'm perfectly content to work at Pizza Hut right now without a college degree.

So, I guess I'll figure things out & let everybody know what's going on. I'll probably be on campus Tuesday, to check things out.

I'll leave you with a pretty cool song. In a weird way, it sums up a lot right now.

"Strip My Mind," Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Daughtry covers Lady Gaga

One of my biggest secrets is that I am a fan of Chris Daughtry. I'm tired of hiding that secret. I don't care anymore - the "American Idol" alum makes some good music. Here's another reason I like him - he can even make a Lady Gaga song seem cool.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Listing of Concordian articles

Below, you'll find a listing of every article I wrote in The Concordian during the fall 2009 semester:

Ceramic Arts Association fires up new kiln 
View from off-campus: Commuting Tips

University 100 courses - maybe not so pointless after all
Coach Kellar discusses goals, background, and "the big picture"
Mountain Lions turn around, 2-0

Concord Football - First Conference Victory of the Season

Be cool, stay in school
Concord's Football's First Loss for the Season

Swine Flu on Campus?
Concord Football Wins Again

Communication Breakdown: Weight Gain
CU Mountain Lions Defeated by Shephard 34-31

Communication Breakdown: Drugs are bad, mmmkay?
Concord Falls to Glenville

Homecoming Game: Concord wins again

Post Office named for Chuck Marshall
Communication Breakdown: Ho-lloween
Mountain Lions Lose Last Home Game

Communication Breakdown: Hodgepodge
Coach Kellar Interview

Feature on Curtis Kearns
Communication Breakdown: Independence = Responsibility

Jeff Yeager speaks about SGA presidency
Communication Breakdown: Gossip, fun gone too far

Communication Breakdown: Problems in SGA? Apathy and Ignorance

Communication Breakdown: Responsibility
Women's basketball goes 5-0

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day

"New Year's Day," U2 (1983)

Top Ten Stories of the Decade

The following is from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. It is their collection of the top stories of the decade, for this area. Here's the link - Story is below.

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Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Ten years into the first decade of the 21st century, the region has endured unprecedented challenges and horrific tragedies.

As the first decade of the new millennium nears an end, the editorial board of the Daily Telegraph has selected the Top Ten Stories of the Decade. The top stories are:

1. The great floods of 2001, 2002 and 2003:

July 8, 2001. May 2, 2002. Nov. 19, 2003. They are dark days that will forever be etched in the memories of families across southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Torrential rains were followed on all three dates by a sudden onslaught of rising waters that ripped through the historic coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.

The ravaging waters of 2001 destroyed or damaged more than 1,500 homes and businesses in McDowell County alone. Hundreds of bridges were washed away, and roads collapsed across the region. Just 21 days after the July 8, 2001 disaster, McDowell County was threatened by high waters again, and a 3-year old boy died after being swept away by flood waters. A mere 10 months later, and tragedy struck again. This time seven people in McDowell County alone died as a result of the ravaging flood waters. The second flood also damaged 12 schools in McDowell County, and destroyed Panther Elementary. Thousands of books were lost at the McDowell County Public Library, and a four-acre coal sludge impoundment failed following the May 2002 storm, discharging 5,000 gallons per minute of black water — or water containing coal particulate matter — into the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River until crews were able to plug the breach in the dam.

Widespread flooding forced hundreds from their homes again on Nov. 19, 2003, as a slow moving storm dumped up to 4 inches of rain across the region. Mercer County was ground zero for the third disaster in 2003, as homes and businesses across the region were once again damaged and destroyed.

2. Massacre at Virginia Tech — a national tragedy in Blacksburg, Va.:

On the morning of April 16, 2007, the region and the entire nation watched in horror and mourned for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. In the horrific shooting, Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on campus before turning the weapon on himself. A nation mourned as the town of Blacksburg became the site of America’s deadliest shooting disaster in modern history. Students from Graham High School who were on the campus of Virginia Tech at the time of the shootings were not injured. President George W. Bush visited the campus shortly after the massacre. As a period of mourning continued in Blacksburg, the Hokie Nation expanded to include millions across the country who were shocked and saddened by the unthinkable tragedy.

3. Massacre at the Appalachian School of Law:

Years before the Virginia Tech massacre, tragedy struck the campus of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy on Jan. 16, 2002.

Peter Odigihizuwa, 43, a student at the law school, went on a bloody rampage at the college campus killing Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Professor Thomas Blackwell in their offices and fatally shooting student Angela Dales, 33, in a school lounge, along with shooting and wounding three other students. Odighizuwa is currently serving a prison term of six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

4. The rise of OxyContin abuse in region:

The abuse of the prescription narcotic OxyContin reached epidemic levels in Southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia — giving birth to a horrific scourge of prescription narcotic abuse that continues to plague the region to this very day.

Law enforcement officials across the region, including Tazewell County Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Lee, found themselves on the frontline in the battle against OxyContin. The rise of so-called Hillbilly Heroine garnered national attention after Time magazine came to Tazewell County to chronicle the epidemic. While the ensuing national attention upset some — including stories of a man who allegedly traded a mule for OxyContin — it nevertheless highlighted the challenge faced by lawmakers in combating the growing epidemic.

While he doesn’t consider Southwest Virginia to be the “birthplace of OxyContin,” Lee told the Daily Telegraph in 2007 that the problem first gained widespread media attention in our region thanks, in part, to the Time magazine report.

“This is one of the first places to report the problem,” Lee said. “Back in 1988 or 1989, we had a drug round-up, and we were going through the files. Practically every buy in the drug round-up was for OxyContin.”

In the following months, Lee said the first local media reports of the emerging epidemic were published. “We did get some of the first press, but that drug caused problems in Louisiana, Maine and other areas as well,” Lee said.

5. Local soldiers join the global War on Terror:

Two years after the horrific terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, the War on Terror moved to a new battleground, and local soldiers answered the call of duty in Iraq. Local soldiers across the region were deployed overseas, including the West Virginia National Guard’s 1st Battalion of the 1/150th Armored Calvary Regiment at Brushfork, the 276th Engineer Battalion in Richlands, now known as the 1033rd Engineer Support Company, as well as citizen soldiers from the 201st Field Artillery in Hinton.

As the War on Terror progressed, several soldiers from across the region made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

6. Horrific murder shocks region:

The Dec. 22, 2003, slaying of 25-year-old Heidi Brown shocked the greater Princeton community, and the region.

Brown’s family reported the woman missing just before Christmas of 2003. The investigation into her disappearance intensified on Feb. 13, 2004, when a dog located and apparently dragged a dismembered leg belonging to the woman to the front porch of a residence in Princeton. The same dog then helped police locate additional human remains after trained K-9 units were unsuccessful. Earnest Jeffrey Meadows, 37, of Princeton, was sentenced on Sept. 26, 2005, to a term of life in prison with mercy, plus an additional 40-year prison term, after pleading guilty to Brown’s murder.

7. History crumbles in Bluefield:

Time took its toll on the city of Bluefield as a number of landmarks collapsed, including the historic brownstone, the six-story Matz Hotel and the old Colonial Theater. The first landmark to fall was Bluefield’s brownstone structure — the old People’s Bank Building — which partially collapsed on Nov. 19, 2008, and ultimately had to be razed along with portions of adjoining buildings.

Another historic structure in downtown Bluefield — the near century old six-story Matz Hotel — collapsed during the early morning hours of Feb. 27 creating a sea of rubble along Princeton Avenue and downtown Bluefield. No one was injured and no passing vehicles were struck or trapped under the debris.

The collapse of the Matz also destroyed the marquee and front lobby of the Colonial Theater, a structure built in 1916. The demolition of both structures took weeks to complete. The Matz Hotel — a landmark that occupied a prominent position in Bluefield’s city skyline for 98 years — was originally erected in 1911.

City officials are now seeking federal funding for the construction of the proposed Colonial Intermodal Center that is planned at the former site of the Matz and the Colonial Theater.

8. A decade of school closures and consolidations:

Big Creek High School. Iaeger High School. Pocahontas High School. PikeView Middle School. School closures and consolidations angered parents across the region, and bitter battles ensued in McDowell and Tazewell counties.

In McDowell County, the state Board of Education assumed control of the local school system in 2009 after an audit found more than 260 deficiencies throughout the school system. When the local and state board entered into an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build new schools outside of the flood zone, parents, community leaders and concerned citizens protested the proposed closure of Big Creek High School. A long consolidation battle followed. Ironically, Big Creek High School is still open, and won’t officially close until next spring. A surprise decision by the Tazewell County School Board in 2008 to close Pocahontas High School also enraged the sleepy Pocahontas community. Angry parents fought a long and spirited battle to save their school, but were ultimately unsuccessful. The construction of a new PikeView Middle School in Mercer County, and the proposed reconfiguration of four feeder schools, also prompted opposition from some families in Mercer County.

9. Man fatally stabbed 107 times in Bluefield; suspect escapes police custody; “America’s Most Wanted” joins nationwide manhunt:

Police said a 14-year-old teenager stabbed her father to death 107 times at his Country Girl Road residence near Bluefield on Feb. 23, 2004. Kayla LaSala, who was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of her father, Steven Michael LaSala, later escaped police custody after she removed an electronic monitoring device from her ankle and super-glued it to a family cat. The television show “America’s Most Wanted” joined in the nationwide manhunt for LaSala, who was later found in Florida with a man she met on the Internet. She was located by authorities after a tip was received through the website of “America’s Most Wanted.”

Kayla LaSala was sentenced in April 2005 after being convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her father. The teen appeared before Circuit Court Judge Derek C. Swope on May 1, 2008, after turning 18. Swope ruled that she would remain in custody. LaSala remains in the custody of the Department of Corrections and is expected to eligible for parole in 2018, according to the Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

10. Father charged with killing 5-year-old daughter:

The Jan. 15, 2007, death of 5-year-old Brooklyn Holcomb shocked and saddened residents across Mercer County. The girl’s father was charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death in a case that spanned more than two years.

Mercer County Circuit Court Judge William Sadler imposed the maximum sentence of 80 years during the July 26 sentencing hearing for Ronald Holcomb, 36, of Princeton for the death of 5-year-old Brooklyn.

Holcomb received 40 years for second-degree murder and an additional 40 years for child abuse resulting in death. Sadler ruled that both sentences were to run consecutively.

The long case dates back to Jan. 15, 2007, when Holcomb first brought his daughter to Princeton Community Hospital. When seeing the extent of the girl’s injuries — severe head trauma, bruising and internal injuries — the Princeton Police Department was contacted. The child was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center where she died Jan. 17, 2007.

— Contact Charles Owens at