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By Tom Wilmoth

'Nine for now' update

For those who read last week's story "Nine for now" I wanted to give an update I received from Mike Poff this week.

Mike said there is new news.

"Pam is expecting," the father of seven wrote in an email. "Go figure! Eight will be great and 10 is the end."

Congratulations to the Poffs on this update for their family.

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Original 'Beale Papers' sold

<*P><*J>Bedford historian Peter Viemeister stopped by the office to provide this update on the "Beale Papers."

According to Viemeister, last week one of the two known surviving original, 23-page "Beale Papers" pamphlet was sold, reportedly for several thousand dollars, to a private party.

With ciphers describing where a treasure was located in Bedford County, the "Beale Papers" has challenged treasure hunters ever since it was published in Lynchburg in 1885.

The other copy is in the George Marshall Library in Lexington. Unfortunately it has some blank areas in the cipher pages.

More than two decades ago, Viemeister tracked down a Lynchburg resident who had owned the good pamphlet for decades. He was thrilled to hold it in his hands. At that time, the owner did not wish to sell it nor have it leave the house. Viemeister bought a portable Canon copier and came back to copy it there.

He spent some effort cleaning up specks and then reproduced the complete photocopy in his copyright book "Beale Treasure - History of a Mystery". There have since been TV specials about the Beale treasure on Unsolved Mysteries, Travel Channel, Fox TV, History Channel, BBC, and even a Korean network. Seekers who are content with an accurate copy, instead of the expensive original, can get the 1987 book from Hamilton's in Bedford.

Before the pamphlet was sold last week, Viemeister examined it and confirmed that it was indeed the very document he had reproduced decades ago.

Now, after years and years of quiet rest in a private home, this "Beale Papers," probably the only surviving complete specimen of the 1885 press run, has moved to a new, secure, but unrevealed hiding place.

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<*P><*J>And here's a treasure hunt you might want to participate in...

<*B><*C>Bedford plans contest for National Tourism Week

<*P><*J>The Bedford Office of Tourism is sponsoring a contest in recognition of National Tourism Week (May 10-18) to draw attention to the importance of tourism on the national, state and local economy.

The ?National Tourism Week Contest in Bedford, Virginia? encourages individuals to visit at least five sites in the Bedford area for clues which can be collected for a chance to win a gift basket of items that represent a range of items produced in Bedford or representative of area sites. The contest began May 10 and runs through May 18 and contest forms are available at the Bedford Area Welcome Center located at Routes 460 and 122 (816 Burks Hill Road).

The Welcome Center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Contest participants are being encouraged to collect clues at such sites as The National D-Day Memorial, Thomas Jefferson?s Poplar Forest, The Bedford City/County Museum, The Bedford Academy for the Arts, Art on Depot, and all five wineries that comprise The Bedford Wine Trail ? Hickory Hill Winery, Peaks of Otter Winery, Savoy-Lee Winery, LeoGrande Vineyards and Winery and White Rock Vineyards and Winery.

?Tourism is important to the area?s economy,? according to Sergei Troubetzkoy, director of tourism for Bedford and Bedford County, adding that Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) figures indicate that the tourism industry ?generates expenditures in Bedford County and in the city of Bedford of approximately $74 million annually.?

Troubetzkoy added that the VTC figures also show that Bedford had a tourism payroll of $17.3 million in 2006 with 1,080 people employed by the travel industry and local tax receipts that are generated by tourism amount to $2.3 million and state taxes collected as the result of tourism in the Bedford City and County area amount to $3.68 million for 2006.

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Nance is top vote getter

<*P><*J>Congratulations are in order to Bedford County Chief Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Wes Nance who did well in last week's Vinton Town Council election, garnering the most votes among the five candidates vying for the two council seats that were up for election.

Nance will take his place on council on July 1.

Among business that will be on tap when he takes his place on council: hiring a new town manager.

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Your governor goes YouTube

<*P><*J>Governor Timothy M. Kaine has announced the creation of his own YouTube channel on the popular online video sharing site that allows people to watch and share originally created videos.

The channel, www.youtube.com/vagovernor, features video clips of public service announcements, speeches and public forums with the Governor. Governor Kaine's channel is part of the Virginia government community of channels.

"I am pleased to join the Virginia government community of YouTube channels," Kaine said. "The use of new media to deliver information online is vital to engage citizens in the process of government."

In the future, the channel hopes to expand video coverage of press conferences and other appearances.

Kaine's involvement marks the 25th Virginia government entity offering Virginians access to their government through the Commonwealth of Virginia's official channel on YouTube, www.youtube.com/virginiagovernment.

Other participants include state agencies, such as the Departments of Emergency Management and Game and Inland Fisheries; localities, such as the counties of Roanoke, Montgomery, Arlington and Fairfax; and higher education participants such as Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

"Our goal is to provide full citizen access to Virginia government through every possible means. Free access to government videos online improves our ability to meet this goal," said Aneesh Chopra, secretary of technology. "Partnerships between our many service-oriented state entities are also very important to us, and the breadth of this initiative is a significant benefit to the Commonwealth."

As an early adopter of the YouTube platform, Virginia is among the first states to launch a YouTube channel. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency and Secretary Chopra's office lead the effort.

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Minimizing distracted driving

<*P><*J>The following tips were sent in from the Bedford Police Department as part of its campaign to promote safe driving.

<*B><*C>Top 10 Tips to Minimize Your Distracted Driving

<*P><*J>1. CHANGE YOUR WAYS and recognize the activities that distract you; such as eating, conversing on the phone, or changing a CD.

Once you recognize these distractions, you can work to eliminate them.

2. MAKE A PLAN. Know your route in advance and make sure that you have a good understanding of your directions. Check weather and road conditions. If you are transporting children, make sure that they are all properly buckled up and that you have items to keep them occupied, such as books on tape or soft toys.

3. MANAGE YOUR TIME so that you do not have to multi-task or drive aggressively on the road.

4. DON?T LET YOUR DRIVE TIME BECOME YOUR DOWN TIME. Understand that driving is not your ?down time? or a time to catch up on phone calls, personal grooming, or dining.

5. SCAN the roadway to make sure that you are aware of others on the road at all times. Be prepared for the unpredictability of others.

6. CONCENTRATE on your driving. Make sure that you are not upset or tired when getting on the road. This is not the time to have a serious or emotional conversation with your passengers.

7. PULL OVER if you need to do something that will take your eyes and/or mind off of the road. Make sure that you find a safe place to pull over first.

8. REDUCE THE USE! Use technology sensibly.

9. TAKE A REFRESHER CLASS! Everyone can pick up bad habits through the years. A driver improvement class can raise your awareness and help you assess your driving behaviors.

10. BUCKLE UP, EVERY TRIP, EVERY TIME. Making sure that everyone is properly buckled up is the best defense against distracted drivers.

To learn more about distracted driving, visit www.drivesmartva.org or call them at 804-340-2870.