Tag

Short Pump

Summer Goal #5: Finish DowntownShortPump.com

By business, technology

Almost four years ago, I purchased the domain name www.downtownshortpump.com. It was a site owned by the developer of the Downtown Short Pump complex with Barnes & Noble and Regal Cinemas. They used it as promotion for their shopping center and etched it into two huge signs at the busiest intersection in Henrico County (West Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road). They let the name expire. I bought it for eight bucks (you snooze, you lose)! I let the domain name sit idle for a year, then made some attempts at developing it, but never got far.

After three revisions, I’m finally at the point where it looks professional enough to market as a good advertising space. I’m getting well over a thousand hits per day at this point, and have made lots of efforts at collecting data to make the site more comprehensive. Advertising efforts are starting off slow, but I have a plan of attack that will bring me more success, including full-color, glossy brochures. You’ve got to truly believe something can succeed if you want it to. I believe I can achieve success with this business, it’s just going to take some time and hard work.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress. As for now, I’m closing in on several major advertising contracts and working up a pitch for future businesses to advertise. I’m very optimistic about the future of the site!

Summer Goals Series

By health, life

Plain and simple, here’s what the summer has in store for me, if all goes as planned. By the time I head back to school in late August, here’s what I wanna do to change myself and enrich my life (in no particular sequence or order).

I’ll be on vacation this coming Thursday through the Thursday after in the Outer Banks. While I will have wi-fi, I’m gonna try not to spend much of any time with technology because, quite frankly, I need a break from it. I’m going to write myself silly in the next few days and post-date more in-depth entries on the topics below, to show up while I’m gone, one for each goal below, and for each day I’m gone.

  1. Lose ten pounds (This is roughly what I’ve gained over the past year; probably more, but it’s a start)
  2. Get out of my comfort zone (This may mean selling ads for my web business, public speaking, or doing some acting at church in video productions)
  3. Read two books (Hey, I got my library card renewed; that’s a start, right?)
  4. Meet some new people (Can’t go wrong with this)
  5. Finish Downtown Short Pump (I’m well on my way, I just need to sell some advertising!)
  6. Change my ways of thinking (Attitude, etc.)
  7. Be more authentic (We all have room to improve on this one)
  8. Stop trying to please everybody and just live my life (I take on way too many projects and consequently never finish any of them)

It’s going to be an interesting eight days of reading. I’m on the verge of transforming my life into what I’ve always wanted it to be. I’ve felt it for a while, and now I have a plan of action. Sure, it says “Summer Goals,” but really this is what I want to accomplish by year’s end. You could say that 2008 is my year of self-improvement, and 2009 will be the result of this year’s work and reap the benefits.

Wanna See Some Interesting Entries?

By news

If you wanna see why I haven’t been keeping up with my blog this week, check out my Downtown Short Pump site. It’s packed with stuff now. Check out all the news entries I’ve written. I will be back to my regular posting once this is done for the most part. Check it out at http://www.downtownshortpump.com. Then comment and let me know what you like, what you think could be improved, and what you think I should add. More information to come about this soon!

What’s Bothering Me So Much That I’m Awake At 4:45 AM?

By life, spirituality

It’s 4:45 AM and I’m up writing because I just can’t sleep. Something’s bothering me and I can’t figure out what exactly. I know bits and pieces of it, but not the entire thing, hence my writing it out to try and get a handle on what it is. Part of it is the fact that I just feel like a hamster spinning on a wheel lately. Why? Because I have so many different projects running (web projects, personal projects, etc.) that I just can’t seem to get finished. I can start fifty of them but can’t ever finish one. Two examples I can think of at the moment are my Downtown Short Pump website and the Deep Run Marathon Dance DVD I need to have completed soon (that one will get done because I have a deadline, but I’m having a hard time getting around to it for various reasons).

The other reason I can’t sleep is I keep having these dreams lately that my life is completely stagnant and not going anywhere. I just woke up from one. Well, I suppose they aren’t exactly dreams, but rather subconscious feelings I have as I sleep because I still feel them for a while when they wake me up during the night. It’s hard to describe, but it’s this feeling that my life is two-dimensional and I’m just going through the motions, doing insignificant, meaningless things just because they’re part of a routine or something. It’s driving me insane at the moment trying to figure out the root of these feelings because they’re not an isolated chain of thoughts. I know the fact that I’m going absolutely nowhere isn’t completely true because I have some things going for me right now, but I have this nagging discontent that I just can’t seem to shake. I really need to figure it out.

One more thing is that everything in my life feels so fluid right now. Sometimes it feels like I’m on one of those moving sidewalks, like at the airport. I’m moving on down the line while everyone and everything else goes on by, or vice versa. Either way I feel out of place in my own life and the worst part is I can’t figure out what I need to do to change it.

It’s not like I’m necessarily searching for something of greater meaning in my life beyond the temporary thrills, because I have really focused on putting God at the center of my life more than ever in recent days. It really is true that by doing that, many of life’s problems seem to be less complex. At the same time, however, I don’t think I’m where I need to be.

There are also moments when I have these very satisfying feelings of thinking I’m just a few steps away from being where I need to be and being totally content in my life, but once again I don’t know what it is I need to do or change to get to that point. It goes much deeper in some ways, but as open and transparent as I am about my personal life, that’s as far as I think I can take it on my very public blog. There’s just only so much you can say without unintentionally offending certain people (and that could happen because sometimes you can’t judge someone’s tone by reading words on a screen as opposed to having a face-to-face conversation).

These are all things I’m going to pray about and ask God for guidance with in my life, as well as talk to other people about. I just thought that if I was awake and couldn’t sleep, it might help to write it all out. At the same time, though, if you’d like to offer up any suggestions via a comment, please do so as it would be much appreciated.

Finally, OBX To Get A Mid-Currituck Bridge!

By Uncategorized

Finally, after years and years of talk and no real solid plans, it looks as if the Outer Banks is finally going to get the long-debated Mid-Currituck Bridge! If you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks during the peak Summer season, you’ve no doubt been stuck in endless traffic coming over the Wright Memorial Bridge into Kitty Hawk. There has been much debate about whether to construct a second bridge farther north, or simply widen Route 12 (NC-12 is the road that stretches from north of Corolla southward to Cape Hatteras and is known as the Beach Road where it parallels Highway 158 in the more commercial stretch of the Outer Banks).

Those in support of the bridge opposed the only alternative, which would have been to widen NC-12 from two to four lanes from Kitty Hawk to Corolla, in turn destroying the character of the northern Outer Banks, especially in quaint villages such as Duck.

The Outer Banks is pretty much my second home. I go there all the time with family and friends. For the most part, I stay in either Corolla or Duck (or somewhere in between), both of which are a good 45 minutes north of the Wright Memorial Bridge, and that’s without traffic backups. The Mid-Currituck Bridge would not only alleviate congestion, but also shave a lot of time off travel for people like myself that stay on that stretch of beach. Think about it. If you’re driving from Richmond, you come in south down Highway 158 on the mainland, then go across the Wright Memorial Bridge, and drive north again, and by the time you reach your beach house you’re 7 miles from where you were two hours ago.

The new bridge has been approved (funding has been approved since 1989 but nothing has been done to start construction!) and construction will start in early 2009, opening tentatively in 2013! You’ll be able to fly on across the Currituck Sound once you reach Coinjock on the mainland and be right at the TimBuck II Shopping Complex near Corolla in 5 minutes! That knocks off nearly two hours from the 4 hour trip from Short Pump to Corolla! That’s pretty exciting, and makes it a lot more affordable to go down there gas-wise. There supposedly will be an $8 toll during the peak Summer season, but that’s far less than the money it would cost for gas to drive for two more hours, plus time is money. It’s estimated the project will cost between $340 and $745 million dollars. There are six current alignment proposals, which can be seen in the map graphic.

More Information:

Project Website

Project Map (PDF)

“Build The Bridge” Non-Profit Group Website

2008 APVA Preservation Awards

By Uncategorized

Better late than never. Here are the photos from the National Theater on Monday night where I accepted my award for Virginia’s 2008 Young Preservationist Of The Year. Governor Tim Kaine as well as other prominent Virginia leaders were in attendance. It was a very nice evening. I was both humbled and honored to be given this award and will continue to do preservation work. To see what I do, visit my history website at www.shortpumphistory.org. These are some pictures from the ceremony. The last one is a scan of my page in the event program.

Click each picture to view it larger:

My Article In Today’s Times-Dispatch

By Uncategorized

There’s an article about me on the front of the Flair section (page E1) today. This is the online version.

State group honors teen for historic preservation

By BILL LOHMANN
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

As a cold rain fell outside, Trevor Dickerson sat in the back pew of the old, unheated church and savored the warmth of success.

“I don’t particularly want to take credit for myself,” Dickerson said of his role in the relocation of the church, Springfield Baptist, that saved it from demolition. “I’m just happy it’s still around for others to see and enjoy and see what Short Pump used to be like back in the day.”

That Dickerson helped spearhead a movement to save the 19th-century church is not surprising. He’s been working in historic preservation for almost half of his life, which is astounding not so much for his years of service but because of when he started.

He was 11.

His efforts caught the attention of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (also known as APVA Preservation Virginia) which today will present Dickerson, 19, with the organization’s first Young Preservationist of the Year Award as part of its annual statewide awards ceremony at the National Theater in Richmond.

“That’s how he got on our radar screen,” APVA Executive Director Elizabeth Kostelny said of Dickerson’s work with Springfield Baptist Church. “But the reason the award panel decided to recognize him in this way was really the body of work. That sounds sort of funny when you’re talking about a 19-year-old, but he developed this passion at such an early age.

“I think we see a growing number of young folks involved in preservation, but I think Trevor hit the high note.”

Dickerson, a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University and a graduate of Deep Run High School, has been actively involved in historical preservation since his family moved to the Wyndham area of Henrico County. He was 11 when he noticed old homes disappearing along Nuckols Road to make way for new developments and thought he should do something about it.

He started making photographs and videos and interviewing longtime residents about their way of life that was going away. He built a Web site (www.henricohistory.com) for his growing collection of pictures and oral history. And he started showing up at county planning and Board of Supervisors meetings to speak on behalf of saving old structures from demolition, keep alive pieces of the county’s past and generally be an irritant to developers.

“It’s always been in my blood,” Dickerson said of his interest in preservation. His mother, Linda, is a vice president of the Henrico County Historical Society. His grandfather, Wallace Allen, was a history buff, and his grandmother, Jean Allen, used to take him to Short Pump Grocery every week as a young boy for a candy bar and soda. When West Broad Street was widened and the grocery was relocated to a site in Goochland County, Dickerson remembers thinking, “That’s pretty interesting.”

The grocery is on the grounds of Field Day of the Past, on Highway 623, between West Broad and Interstate 64, along with other relocated Short Pump buildings, including Springfield Baptist Church. The church was moved there in July from its original location that had become squeezed in by stores and shopping malls. Once a church deep in the country, its more recent neighbors were Best Buy and Kohl’s.

Asked if he ever took any ribbing from his peers for his grown-up hobby, Dickerson said: “I used to. I didn’t really let many people know about it back when I was in middle school. Those are the years when everybody makes fun of you. People think it’s really cool now.”

Dickerson hopes to major in either graphic design or film production with a minor in history. Whatever his major, he plans to use it for historic preservation. He also has ideas about making a documentary on the history of Short Pump, which, as Dickerson put it, “has changed from a real outpost to a real hot spot.”

“You’ve got to preserve the past and present for the future,” he said. “I’m just doing that any way I can.”
Contact Bill Lohmann at (804) 649-6639 or wlohmann@timesdispatch.com.

Find out more:

Visit Trevor Dickerson’s new Web site, www.shortpumphistory.org

Other 2008 APVA award winners

Outstanding Public Sector Preser vation Project Award: The Virginia Capitol Restoration and Extension
Outstanding Commercial Project Award: Commonwealth Architects for 1840 W. Broad St.
Outstanding Service in Community Preservation Award: Loudoun County for The Loudoun County Historic District Interactive Web site (www.loudoun.gov/historic) and Mary Jordan and the Spencer-Penn School Preservation Organization for The Spencer-Penn Centre, Spencer
Outstanding Domestic Project Award: Aaron Wunsch and Preservation Piedmont for the James D. Nimmo House, Charlottesville
Outstanding Adaptive Use Award: Warm Springs Investment Company for Old Dairy Community Center, Warm Springs
Outstanding Historic Preservation Research Award: Thomas Finderson, Carrollton

Ramblings About Winter Break

By Uncategorized

It’s been quite an interesting break. I’ve had a month of hanging out with friends (including meeting some new ones and catching up with some old ones, as well as the usual suspects like Jen, Allie, and Tori), spending time with family, having a bonfire, and seeing lots of good movies (I went to see seven or eight). I also had lots of new experiences (like going clubbing at Have A Nice Day Cafe on New Year’s Eve) and learned valuable lessons (such as to not put myself out on the line as much when it comes to girls in general, but particularly this girl I really, really like (who is pretty much amazing, has a terrific personality, has a lot in common with me, and seemed like a great match), because I ended up getting hurt in the end, I guess because of my own lack of knowledge of women and knowing how to accurately judge whether or not a girl truly likes me back as much as, or in the same way that, I like them).

A month is a long time in the Winter. It seems like Christmas was forever ago, when in reality it wasn’t that long ago at all. It’s one thing when it’s Summer and you can do stuff outside and there’s just generally more going on, but I would have been happy with two or three weeks. After New Year’s, everything just kinda drops off. I’ve been out most every night doing something or another, but some of the nights it seemed like there was just nothing to do. I spent many a night driving around aimlessly, blasting (and singing to of course) XM, but even that, after a while, starts to get old. It’s amazing how, despite being very commercially-populated, there’s nothing to do in Short Pump (and the traffic, wow- I have a post about that coming up soon). I guess that’s why me and my friends have ended up downtown a lot of nights. But even that’s lacking the luster it had at the beginning of break. I guess what I’m saying is I’m just ready for a routine to set back in (yeah, I know, that will probably change a week into classes).

One thing I wanted to touch on that came to me recently (and please comment and let me know if you’ve experienced this, too) is how freaking difficult it is to make plans with friends sometimes. First off, as I alluded to in a previous post last week, I have a very diverse group of friends, spanning college and high school and from all walks of life. It’s very interesting to see how they mesh well together sometimes, but other times they won’t even give each other a chance. I’ve had many a night’s plan fall through because certain people don’t want to hang out with other people, sometimes when they haven’t even met before. Nothing ever turns out like you think it will, either. One person can be ten minutes late meeting you somewhere and before you know it the whole night’s gone awry and someone’s angry.

Anyway, as break comes to a close and I start my second semester at VCU, I look forward to some quieter nights and want to solely focus on school (in some ways I put it second or third last semester and that’s not ever going to happen again because I’ve come to some realizations and now I’m completely self-motivated to do well this semester). It’s back to classes, long nights in the library, and lunch and dinner at Shafer with Jen.

By the way, Jen, if you’re reading this, I know I say stuff like this all the time, but sometimes I don’t know where I’d be without you. You’re more than my best friend, you’re the staple that holds my day together sometimes. Not only have I had days when you’re the only good thing that happens to me, but it’s just the fact that you’re pretty much the only constant in my life. People come and go and things change, but you’re always there to talk and laugh with, and you give me a swift kick in the pants and straighten me out when I need it. For all that, I truly love you more than you know.

Well, I think I’ve rambled enough. It’s two in the morning, anyway. Overall it’s been a good break, and now I’m ready to work hard and achieve all that I know I’m capable of.

Short Pump Town Center To Get Hotel

By Uncategorized

You’ve probably seen that huge crane overshadowing Short Pump Town Center (on the back side adjacent to Dick’s Sporting Goods) for a week or two now and might have wondered what’s going on. I did a little digging and found out that a six-story Hotel Sierra is being constructed. I guess mall management wasn’t lying when they said this is a regional mall that draws from all over the state; so much so that people will stay overnight after shopping. It seems a little out of place, but looks very nice architecturally. Kudos to the construction crews for starting work the week before Christmas, by the way. Half of the back entrance parking is blocked off by concrete barricades and chain-link fencing and the already overflowing parking lot that time of year was twice as horrendous. You’d think they’d just wait until around now, after holiday traffic has subsided.

Hotel Sierra (who recently changed their name from Sierra Suites to their current one) is a small chain of hotels priding themselves on “comfortable luxury, inspired design, and fresh service.” The hotel is scheduled to open in Spring 2009. I’ll be interested to see how they do at the mall.

West Chase House Fire

By Uncategorized

This house, in the West Chase subdivision just outside of Wyndham, caught on fire Monday evening. Although the woman who lived there was badly burned (after safely escaping she went back in her burning house to save the family pet), there is an amazing story behind who pulled her out. This story just reaffirms my belief that there are no coincidences in life. Everything happens for a reason. A friend of mine, Rachel Rainer, took the photo at the left that ended up in the paper. Article via the Richmond Times-Dispatch (more photos from me follow the article at the bottom).

Two Henrico County advertising executives have emerged as the Samaritans who dashed into the burning inferno of a home to try to save a woman’s life Monday night.

“Thinking about it now, it all seems like a dream. I’d never in all my life pictured myself in this sort of life-and-death situation,” said Barry Martin, the first man inside a fully engaged house fire in the 12100 block of Jamieson Place in Henrico’s Wyndham subdivision. “I never knew I had it in me.”

The victim, career nurse Jo Ann Casazza, remained in critical condition this morning in the burn unit of VCU Medical Center, in a medically induced coma.

The fate of Casazza now hinges on the skill of the doctors and nurses at the burn unit — and perhaps on a higher power.

It’s a belief in that higher power that her rescuers discovered they held in common.

Martin, founder of The Idea Center advertising agency, and Brian Gordon, who works at The Martin Agency, had never met until Monday.

Martin had set out that night with his 9-year-old daughter Mira to put his family dog down, Buddy. Gordon was just looking for a good place to have dinner with his girlfriend.

Martin and daughter Mira stopped to pray at the family church, Mount Vernon Baptist, after the dog succumbed, and set out for home. Gordon, stumped for a dining spot, paused at a Nuckols Road intersection, wondering whether he should turn right or left.

Then Mira saw a throbbing orange glow of light from the house fire. Gordon saw the image at the same time and the two vehicles changed direction and headed together to the light source.

On the lawn of the Casazza home, a crying girl and a screaming, petite woman, Casazza’s mother, were the picture of abandonment and lost hope.

“We heard that the woman had been safe but ran back in to save a family pet,” Martin said. “It was a very strange feeling after Buddy.”

Martin frantically tried to call 911 but misdialed, at first hitting 411. It was about 7:30 p.m. He had been thinking about how to pull himself out of the despair from the lost pet only to be suddenly confronted by another life-and-death situation on a grander scale.

“I just ran into the house. The front door was the only opening, and black smoke was just pouring out.”

Inside, the victim presented a daunting challenge.

Casazza was literally burning up before his eyes.

She was large, and “her skin was literally fused to a rug in the foyer,” Martin said.

When he pulled on her wrists, “the skin just pulled off. It was a gruesome thing to see.”

Suddenly, Gordon burst into the home and together the two men pulled the woman free of the house on the rug, dragging Casazza all the way to the street.

“I will never forget the people who had gathered there, and this terribly burned woman in the middle of the street on a rug with just terrible, terrible burns,” Martin said.

“I tried to comfort her: ‘Have faith. God is with you and you are going to be all right,'” he said.

“Do you mean it? Do you mean it?” Casazza answered.

Martin said he heard Casazza to describe how the family Christmas tree may have ignited. And then she was gone, carried to the hospital by rescue workers.

For more on this story, see tomorrow’s Times-Dispatch.