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Did you hear?

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By Tom Wilmoth

Clean up

a success

The Keep Bedford Beautiful Commission Clean Up last Saturday was a rousing success, according to the Louise W. Robertson, clean up day leader with KBBC, drawing more volunteers than they?ve had for some time.

Some 140 participants helped collect 111 large bags of trash from the area ? the actual total was closer to 140, a bag per person.

Groups participating included Bedford Martial Arts, Cut Scout Troop 183, Bedford Middle School, Thaxton Needs Team, Washington Street Baptist Church, Bedford Presbyterian Church, Liberty High School SCA, Blue Ridge Garden Club, Garden Club of Bedford, New Life Baptist Church, Cadette Troop 195 and Bedford City Manager Charles Kolakowski.

Streets that were de-trashed included Orange, Plunkett, Stone, Independence Boulevard, Main, Bridge, Longwood, Depot, Oakwood, Whitfield, Peaks, College, Bedford Ave., Jackson, Grove, Lee, South, Otey, Edmond, Washington, Crenshaw, Burks Hill as well as numerous cross streets and parking lots. By my count that?s more than 20 streets that were cleaned. Great job!

Prizes were awarded by lottery. Bedford Martial Arts, organized by Troy and Tammy Heddings, won $100. Cub Scout Troop 183, directed by Kara Sensinig, won $75. Bedford Presbyterian Church, led by Linda Scott, and the Thaxton Needs Team, led by Viola Henry, both won $50.

There were three $25 individual prizes won by Jessica Weeks of Bedford Middle School, Kate Allen, Pack 183, and Zane Shepard of Bedford Martial Arts.

KBBC fed everyone pizza, potato chips, Oreo cookies, water and sodas. ?The KBBC deeply appreciates the work of all the team leaders and participants,? Robertson stated of the clean up day. ?We have never before run out of gloves and blaze orange vests. We believe Bedford is more environmentally concerned than ever before.?

With that in mind, it?s certainly a good idea for all of us to keep our own little slices of Bedford clean throughout the year as well.

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A special delivery

Ever thought about having your own mug on a stamp? It?s possible.

Though it may be looking less and less likely that you will fulfill your parents? dream and get elected President of the United States (though you very well may be more qualified than the candidates we currently have) don?t give up hope.

And if you?re just a tad behind in your training and probably won?t win 12 gold medals in the next Olympics, don?t worry about that either. Put those weights down and turn on the computer.

Once upon a time, you had to do something pretty remarkable - and be dead for at least five years - just to be considered for U.S. postage. Now you can join George Washington and Ben Franklin and other American heroes on the front of your next envelope.

That according to a press release from the Postal Service last week.

Customized Postage is a new way to give your mail a personal touch. Simply log on to one of three authorized Web sites - photo.stamps.com, pictureitpostage.com or zazzle.com. Have a digital file of the image you want to use ready, and don?t worry - they accept all of the common image formats.

Customized Postage can be printed in a variety of denominators, so you can use it on post cards, First-Class Mail envelopes, direct mail, packages, and more. All of the companies offer sheets of 20 stickers; Stamps.com also makes them in rolls to fit on your business? mailing equipment.

You know what, everyone of us has something to offer. So don?t be shy.

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A major easement

Appalachian Power announced Monday it will place almost 5,000 acres of scenic Smith Mountain in Bedford and Pittsylvania counties of Virginia under a Conservation Easement.

The property is essentially the Smith Mountain Wildlife Area located on one of the region?s most prominent geologic features at the southeast end of the company?s Smith Mountain Lake. The dam holding the upper reservoir of the hydroelectric project is located on the Roanoke River in the gap that divides the distinctive north and south portions of the mountain.

Michael G. Morris, AEP?s chairman, president and chief executive officer, presented documents that will bring the property under the easement to Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine Monday evening in Roanoke.

?This tract of land is especially beautiful and a prominent centerpiece for the entire lake area,? Morris said. ?The easement will ensure that its beauty and character will be preserved from this point forward.

?I?m especially pleased that events allow the AEP Board of Directors to join in this presentation and to personally make this contribution allowing Gov. Kaine to take another step toward his goal of setting aside undeveloped land for the future of the Commonwealth,? Morris added.

Morris, the AEP Board of Directors and others are in Roanoke for the company?s Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Tuesday.

Gov. Kaine established a statewide goal of placing 400,000 acres of undeveloped land under conservation easements during his term in office.

?Placing this tract in a permanent easement will ensure that beautiful tree-covered Smith Mountain will remain in its current condition for future generations to enjoy,? Gov. Kaine said. ?These 5,000 acres will bring to nearly 250,000 the total acreage protected toward my 400,000-acre goal.?

Appalachian Power will convey the land under a conservation easement to be held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) and the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries. The VOF is a quasi-state agency that has been in operation for more than 40 years and holds the majority of the conservation easements in Virginia. The easement will preserve the natural, scenic, historic, scientific, open-space and recreation areas of lands within the Commonwealth by permanently restricting the property owners? rights to develop that land intensively for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.

?This property was acquired in the course of development of the Smith Mountain Project hydroelectric facility during the mid-1960s,? said Dana Waldo, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer.

?In the summer of 2006, company representatives learned of the easement initiative from Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Preston Bryant who is leading efforts to fulfill this pledge during the governors term. The idea was then developed to bring Smith Mountain into a permanent, protected status,? Waldo noted. ?Work then began on this rather complex matter and, in a subsequent meeting in early 2007, Mike Morris pledged to Secretary Bryant our interest and cooperation in making the easement a reality.?

Because of Appalachians operation and management of the Smith Mountain Project, the company worked with the VOF to craft an agreement which allows it to operate and maintain all aspects of its electrical facilities while achieving the goals of permanently protecting a wide variety of natural resources. To do so, the company worked with the VOF and Secretary Bryants office to ensure that a limited number of specific rights could be preserved while coexisting with threshold requirements for conservation easements.

A key provision in this document is the continuation of Appalachian?s agreement with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to manage this property as a wildlife area for public recreational purposes, including fishing, hunting, camping and hiking. The company?s relationship with VDGIF at Smith Mountain dates back approximately 40 years.

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Brownlee resigns

United States Attorney John L. Brownlee announced last week that he will be resigning his position as U.S. Attorney effective May 16, 2008. He might seek state office.

Brownlee, 43, was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001, and has served for the past seven years as the top federal law enforcement official for the 2.2 million citizens residing in Virginia?s 52 western counties.

He was certainly known around these parts.

Brownlee?s prosecution of former National D-Day Memorial Foundation President Richard Burrow drew criticism by some. Burrow?s two trials ended in hung juries. Burrow later filed a complaint with the Justice Department for prosecutorial misconduct, but a review found nothing wrong.

Burrow was on hand at Brownlee?s announcement.

?Serving as United States Attorney has been the professional honor of my life,? said Brownlee.

?I want to thank President Bush, Senators Warner and Allen, Attorney General Mukasey, the members of my office, and Virginia?s law enforcement community for their support and confidence. I am grateful for all they have done for me and my family. ?

Brownlee began his service as U.S. Attorney on August 30, 2001, just 10 days before the terrorists attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. During the last seven years,

Brownlee successfully prosecuted one of the most significant national security cases in 2007 and two capital murder cases.

Brownlee, a graduate of Washington and Lee University and The College of William and Mary School of Law, previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, an attorney in private practice, and a federal judicial law clerk. Prior to entering law school, Brownlee served as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army and successfully completed the Army?s Airborne and Ranger programs.

John and his wife Lee Ann Necessary Brownlee have two daughters and reside in Roanoke.