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St. Alban’s sits beside what is RU West.

Katherine Wilk
kwilk@radford.edu

On a hill overlooking the New River, a couple of miles from Radford University, are some buildings that used to house troubled minds. Now the abandoned dormitories and offices that used to be the Saint Alban’s psychiatric center house rumors and graffiti. The patients are gone but a fascination with the place remains.

Radford University students inside the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Department are leading interested parties on tours of what some say is a haunted spot. They’re hoping to stop the destruction caused by those interested in the building’s past while helping new owner, Tim Gregory finance restorations.

Owner, Tim Gregory talks with a nurse from the facility.

The group is eager to remain involved in the project that steals their Saturday mornings, giving enthusiastic visitors a tour of what some describe as the Pulaski haunt. They’ve memorized the history, reciting dates and plans to any ready to listen. And above all, they see Gregory as nothing more than amazing.

Gregory was once a patient at the hospital when he was 13 years old for treatment of his Asperger’s syndrome. He described himself as fortunate and “spoiled rotten” during his stay at the hospital. He has fond memories of the facility and has big plans to preserve the history as well as the buildings.

“Me and my wife got a chance to look at the building and I knew we needed to get it because they wanted to tear it down so I couldn’t let that happen,” Gregory said. “So it’s not exactly like buying the home place but it’s as close as you can get.”

He purchased the property for $500,000 back in 2008 from an auction of the Radford University Real Estate Foundation. The sale also included the nearby King House, which was the family home of Dr. J. C. King after his family moved out of the center.

St. Alban’s was once a boy’s school prior to the opening of the King Center.

Gregory hopes to turn the property into a conference center with 80 guest rooms, several classes devoted to healing, lectures, motivational speakers and offices for those involved in holistic medicine. He anticipates drawing visitors in with the building’s rich history.

St. Albans was originally opened between 1892 and 1911 as the St. Albans boy’s school. Five years later the hospital opened its doors in 1916 with the help of Dr. J.C. King.

Patients described it as a peaceful place, where they were healed holistically and without medication. Gregory often warns those seeking the ghosts and spirits they’ve heard rumors about to book a tour and not break into St. Alban’s. He occasionally haunts the buildings himself, late at night, protecting his one-time home from vandals and nosey students.

Vandals have destroyed many parts of the building.

Gregory often catches students creeping into the abandoned building and on occasion has restrained trespassers until the authorities could arrive. Gregory jokes now about the fear he caused one young man who was so frightened by Gregory’s appearance in a dark room, long beard and all, that the young man urinated himself.

Catching those who break in is just a hobby but the big picture is a restoration. And that restoration is his dream. The vandals have caused unbelievable damage. After the building sat abandoned for 6 years it undoubtedly needs a great deal of restoration.

“[We’re] having these tours so people know what we’re doing out here,” Gregory said.  “Because they go back and tell their friends that we’re actually fixing it up, it’s not falling down. That’s the most important steps we’re taking. It’s just getting information out to lighten the place up.”

During the time when Radford University owned the property, it was left unused and asking for trouble. RU once made use of the property allowing art students to graffiti and damage parts of the building for displays. It still holds the remaining projects inside many of the rooms, however many tour guides point out the destruction is hard to separate from the vandalism that occurred afterwards.

“It’s such a historical building and I don’t think people realize that, because I didn’t realize that until I started getting involved with it,” CEO Bobbie Wolfe said. “When you damage it, it just costs more money for Tim to put back into the building and it’s just not a good thing to do.”

A nurse that once worked at St. Alban’s took a tour through the building, correcting tour guides when appropriate.

Through the crude spray paint, holes in the walls, broken staircases, uneven floors, shattered windows and overgrown landscapes tour guides, visitors and volunteers see Gregory’s dream clearly. The creeping vines even seek solace inside the walls of Saint Alban’s.

Grand staircases, square footage and a maze of rooms keep their eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hidden Treasures:
St. Alban’s is full of abandoned treasures. Several columns support the roof and balconies of the buildings. During renovations they were covered and protected with Styrofoam keeping many of them in perfect condition today. Only a handful have been lost to age.

Du ring the transformations over the years a set of skylights were also covered up in the main sitting room in one of the buildings. Drop ceilings were installed in most of the buildings, lowering many ceiling heights and covering up the buildings treasures.

A grand staircase inside the building is still in decent shape and one of the many treasures inside St. Albans.

The Cage:
What most would assume is a rooftop patio is what tour guides refer to as “The Cage.” An area atop on of the buildings of Saint Alban’s was caged off to allow patients in the closed wards their daily outdoor time without fear of endangerment.

 

Gregory plans to remove the cage and replace the broken tile and add planters, giving future visitors a place to drink coffee during the mornings.

Alcohol Unit:
Saint Alban’s was constantly referred to as “a place of healing” for those that needed it. It wasn’t a stranger to many celebrities; Johnny Cash was rumored to have booked a room in Saint Alban’s alcohol unit but later refused his stay.

The unit had it’s own personal entrance behind the facility where according to nurses many limousines would drop off patients.

Patients:

One patient of Saint Alban’s who was under the direct care of Dr. King found herself at odds with the hospital’s founder. She found herself at the center for anorexia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Before breakfast each day the girl would have her room in order and King would mess it up while she ate. He supposedly did it to keep her on her toes and encourage her to push her anger outside her body.

The Cage sits atop one of the buildings of St. Albans and was used to give closed-ward patience outdoor time.

Tim’s Story:
Gregory explained to the tourists his appreciation for Dr. King’s facility. He would act up when he learned of his release. The youngest patient, Gregory would pretend to run away from the grounds of St. Albans, however, he would take his time and practically walk just to ensure he would be caught.

After hearing of his release on another occasion, Gregory ran screaming and slammed his head into a hallway vending machine, knocking himself out. His determination to stay within the walls of Saint Alban’s is comical to him now.

Gregory’s fascination never falters. As the class takes tourists through, Gregory delves into the building, memory first and guides guests through the web of hallways. His paths almost always intersect the students and he won’t hesitate to inform visitors of his future plans for each room of the center.

Visitors:
Curious minds aren’t the only ones seeking the tours. Nurses and other workers from Saint Alban’s past have booked tours with Tim and his guides. One accompanied a tour and did not hesitate to point out flaws in the building’s history.

A small child explores the building during a tour.

One nurse had tears in her eyes as she noticed the overwhelming amount of destruction within the building.

The rush of a ghost story will still draw in visitors. One couple come to St. Alban’s to record their findings as amateur ghost hunters, wande ring from the set path of the tour and taking in every inch of the building.

 

They aren’t the only one looking for ghosts. A small child clung to an Ipod running a ghost finder App into the electroshock therapy room.

Gregory sees a different side of the paranormal aspect of Saint Alban’s.

“Do I believe there’s a lot of spirits in Saint Alban’s? Yeah, I do.” Gregory said.  “Do I belive there’s monsters—reach-out-and-get-you kind of things going on? No, I don’t go there too much. But I do believe there’s a lot of spirits here… It was a place of healing for a long, long time. If I went to the other side, I’d probably want to go to a place like this and hang out too.”

A small child uses an iPod App to search the building for ghosts.

Electroshock Therapy:
One technique that was used on many patients during the operation of Saint Alban’s was electroshock therapy. Gregory received 21 shock treatments over the course of his stay. The treatment was said to help Gregory’s condition by inducing grand-mal seizures that changed the way his brain processed functions.

Electroshock therapy had been given a bad rap after the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” forced unnecessary shock treatments on patients, one nurse said as she explained the technique and reasons behind the treatment at Saint Albans.

The center will be renamed the St. Albans Center for Research and Enlightenment. As those who ventured into the buildings returned from their journey most felt the need to step in and get involved.

“It’s such a historical building and people don’t realize that—I didn’t until I started getting involved,” said CEO Bobbie Wolfe.

After the university failed to do anything with the building, students have stepped in and hope to make St. Albans a vital part of the community once again. They encourage others to help make sure the building is appreciated and preserved, taking the history to heart.

Tourgoers find themselves in the electroshock therapy room.

That’s exactly what this project is doing as it pulls at the heartstrings of the community.

“[A maintenance man who worked on the property for 30 years] cried so much… because they had to leave the building,” Gregory said. “And if it meant that much to the people who worked there you can imagine what it meant to people who came here to heal. And I get stories everywhere you go if you bring up Saint Albans—whether it’s WalMart, Lowes, wherever—everybody’s got a story—a good story about Saint Alban’s.”

Get involved:

Friends of Saint Albans on Facebook

Ticket information

 

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Katherine Wilk

kwilk@radford.edu

On a hill overlooking the New River, a couple of miles from Radford University, are some buildings that used to house troubled minds. Now the abandoned dormitories and offices that used to be the Saint Alban’s psychiatric center house rumors and graffiti. The patients are gone but fascination with the place remains.

Radford University students inside the Recreation, Parks and Tourism department are leading interested parties on tours of what some say is a haunted spot. They’re hoping to stop the destruction caused by those interested in the building’s past while helping new owner, Tim Gregory finance restorations.

The group is eager to remain involved in the project that steals their Saturday mornings, giving enthusiastic visitors a tour of what some describe as the Pulaski haunt. They’ve memorized the history, reciting dates and plans to any ready to listen. And above all they see Gregory as nothing more than amazing.

Gregory was once a patient at the hospital when he was 13 years old for treatment of his Asberger’s syndrome. He described himself as fortunate and “spoiled rotten” during his stay at the hospital. He has fond memories of the facility and has big plans to preserve the history as well as the buildings.

“Me and my wife got a chance to look at the building and I knew we needed to get it because they wanted to tear it down, so I couldn’t let that happen,” Gregory said. “So it’s not exactly like buying the home place but it’s as close as you can get.”

He purchased the property for $500,000 back in 2008 from an auction of the Radford University Real Estate Foundation. The sale also included the nearby King House, which was the family home of Dr. J. C. King after his family moved out of the center.

Gregory hopes to turn the property into a conference center with 80 guest rooms, several classes devoted to healing, lectures, motivational speakers and offices for those involved in holistic medicine. He anticipates drawing visitors in with the buildings rich history.

St. Albans was originally opened between 1892 and 1911 as the St. Albans boy’s school. Five years later the hospital opened its doors in 1916 with the help of Dr. J.C. King.

Patients described it as a peaceful place, where they were healed holistically and without medication. Gregory often warns those seeking the ghosts and spirits they’ve heard rumors about to book a tour and not break into St. Alban’s. He occasionally haunts the buildings himself, late at night, protecting his one-time home from vandals and nosey students.

Gregory often catches students creeping into the abandoned building and on occasion has restrained trespassers until the authorities could arrive. Gregory jokes now about the fear he caused one young man who was so frightened by Gregory’s appearance in a dark room, long beard and all, that the young man urinated himself.

Catching those who break in is just a hobby but the big picture is a restoration. And that restoration is his dream. The vandals have caused unbelievable damage. After the building sat abandoned for 6 years it undoubtedly needs a great deal of restoration.

“[Were] having these tours so people know what were doing out here,” Gregory said.  “Because they go back and tell their friends that we’re actually fixing it up, it’s not falling down. That’s the most important steps we’re taking. It’s just getting information out to lighten the place up.”

During the time when Radford University owned the property it was left unused and asking for trouble. RU once made use of the property allowing art students to graffiti and damage parts of the building for displays. It still holds the remaining projects inside many of the rooms, however many tour guides point out the destruction is hard to separate from the vandalism that occurred afterwards.

“It’s such a historical building and I don’t think people realize that, because I didn’t realize that until I started getting involved with it,” CEO Bobbie Wolfe said. “When you damage it, it just costs more money for Tim to put back into the building and it’s just not a good thing to do.”

Through the crude spray paint, holes in the walls, broken staircases, uneven floors, shattered windows and overgrown landscapes tour guides, visitors and volunteers see Gregory’s dream clearly. The creeping vines even seek solace inside the walls of Saint Alban’s.

Grand staircases, square footage and a maze of rooms keep their eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hidden Treasures:

St. Alban’s is full of abandoned treasures. Several columns support the roof and balconies of the buildings. During renovations they were covered and protected with Styrofoam keeping many of them in perfect condition today. Only a handful have been lost to age.

During the transformations over the years a set of skylights were also covered up in the main sitting room in one of the buildings. Drop ceilings were installed in most of the buildings, lowering many ceiling heights and covering up the buildings treasures.

The Cage:

What most would assume is a rooftop patio is what tour guides refer to as “The Cage.” An area atop on of the buildings of Saint Alban’s was caged off to allow patients in the closed wards their daily outdoor time without fear of endangerment.

Gregory plans to remove the cage and replace the broken tile and add planters, giving future visitors a place to drink coffee during the mornings.

Alcohol Unit:

Saint Alban’s was constantly referred to as “a place of healing” for those that needed it. It wasn’t a stranger to many celebrities; Johnny Cash was rumored to have booked a room in Saint Alban’s alcohol unit but later refused his stay.

The unit had it’s own personal entrance behind the facility where according to nurses many limousines would drop off patients.

Patients:

One patient of Saint Alban’s who was under the direct care of Dr. King found herself at odds with the hospital’s founder. She found herself at the center for anorexia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Before breakfast each day the girl would have her room in order and King would mess it up while she ate. He supposedly did it to keep her on her toes and encourage her to push her anger outside her body.

Tim’s Story:

Gregory explained to the tourists his appreciation for Dr. King’s facility. He would act up when he learned of his release. The youngest patient, Gregory would pretend to run away from the grounds of St. Albans, however he would take his time and practically walk just to ensure he would be caught.

After hearing of his release on another occasion, Gregory ran screaming and slammed his head into a hallway vending machine, knocking himself out. His determination to stay within the walls of Saint Alban’s is comical to him now.

Gregory’s fascination never falters. As the class takes tourists through, Gregory delves into the building, memory first and guides guests through the web of hallways. His paths almost always intersect the students and he won’t hesitate to inform visitors of his future plans for each room of the center.

Visitors:

Curious minds aren’t the only ones seeking the tours. Nurses and other workers from Saint Alban’s past have booked tours with Tim and his guides. One accompanied a tour and did not hesitate to point out flaws in the building’s history.

One nurse had tears in her eyes as she noticed the overwhelming amount of destruction within the building.

The rush of a ghost story will still draw in visitors. One couple come to St. Alban’s to record their findings as amateur ghost hunters, wandering from the set path of the tour and taking in every inch of the building.

They aren’t the only one looking for ghosts. A small child clung to an Ipod running a ghost finder App into the electroshock therapy room.

Gregory sees a different side of the paranormal aspect of Saint Alban’s.

“Do I believe there’s a lot of spirits in Saint Alban’s? Yeah, I do.” Gregory said.  “Do I belive there’s monsters—reach-out-and-get-you kind of things going on? No, I don’t go there too much. But I do believe there’s a lot of spirits here… It was a place of healing for a long, long time. If I went to the other side, I’d probably want to go to a place like this and hang out too.”

Electroshock Therapy:

One technique that was used on many patients during the operation of Saint Alban’s was electroshock therapy. Gregory received 21 shock treatments over the course of his stay. The treatment was said to help Gregory’s condition by inducing grand-mal seizures that changed the way his brain processed functions.

Electroshock therapy had been given a bad rap after the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” forced unnecessary shock treatments on patients, one nurse said as she explained the technique and reasons behind the treatment at Saint Albans.

The center will be renamed the St. Albans Center for Research and Enlightenment. As those who ventured into the buildings returned from their journey most felt the need to step in and get involved.

“It’s such a historical building and people don’t realize that—I didn’t until I started getting involved,” said CEO Bobbie Wolfe.

After the university failed to do anything with the building, students have stepped in and hope to make St. Albans a vital part of the community once again. They encourage others to help make sure the building is appreciated and preserved, taking the history to heart.

That’s exactly what this project is doing as it pulls at the heartstrings of the community.

“[A maintenance man who worked on the property for 30 years] cried so much… because they had to leave the building,” Gregory said. “And if it meant that much to the people who worked there you can imagine what it meant to people who came here to heal. And I get stories everywhere you go if you bring up Saint Albans—whether it’s WalMart, Lowes, wherever—everybody’s got a story—a good story about Saint Alban’s.”

One student explores the Mac laptops in the RU Bookstore.

As the school year opened, students flocked to find a different kind of book store to fulfill their supply lists. The newly renovated RU Bookstore shows more space than it used to, with fewer fixtures, more browsing space and an updated feel.

Signs directed students to a book pick up path to the right of the entrance hall and found helpful items along the way, including suggested books and items for dorm living.

“I like the bookstore better because it’s more organized,” said sophomore Kasey Sutphin.  “It ‘s cleaner and easier to get around and shop for what I need.”

However, some students, like junior Emerald Lauzon didn’t find a large change in the store. The RU Bookstore still catered to students seeking textbooks, had a small section of food items and of course the bookstore necessity, university apparel.

“Something I did notice was the setup for Mac computers,” junior Jordan Alexander said. “It’s kind of pointless because most students come to college prepared with a computer. If they want a Mac, they can’t drop the $1,500 spur of the moment. It seems like a waste for the bookstore.”

The new management may have promised “a refined shopping experience” however the Follett Higher Education Group may have missed the mark on their attempt.

“I’d rather go to the off campus book store,” Alexander said. “It has more appeal for students. The Book Exchange appeals more to student interests while on campus it’s directed more towards alumni and parents.”

RU Bookstore can only improve in the eyes of the student body.

“I’m waiting to see what else they do,” Sutphin said.

Katherine Wilk
kwilk@radford.edu
and
Jeff Alexander
jalexand@radford.edu

The student food exhibit located in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center was not a typical display. In the open lobby of the Bonnie, student’s three-dimensional sculptures decorated the tables between sitting areas. The exhibit held only sculptures made by students at Radford University, with the subject of food. Food either acted as a medium or a theme.

The artists were students in Art 205. The overall gallery environment was nothing like a traditional exhibit, knowing the Bonnie is a place students usually go to eat, not look at art. The different direction the artists took drew many students to this exhibit.

While traditional galleries are mainly adorned with paintings with vague descriptions under the pieces, it’s sometimes difficult to realize what the painting is depicting. However, when you walk into the Bonnie, the first thing you notice is the sculptures. The descriptions that lay beside the figures give a strong sense of thinking behind the artists’ pieces. Next to each work of art, there was a description that explained how it was made, what it was made of, where the idea came from and how the artist felt about the finished product. There wasn’t any background information on any of the artists, or their style, but each sculpture displayed aspects of their personalities.

The piece that was most noticeable the huge gummy bear made of, you guessed it, gummy bears. This piece specifically leads you to explore the rest of the sculptures.

Even the food theme was very unique. Most of the sculptures were made out of food while a couple used other items to create a food object.

Another attention-grabbing piece was called La Tour Eiffel de Pretzels, by Katie Franklin. Franklin explained a jewelry holder shaped like the Eiffel Tower was her inspiration. She ran with the idea, using only pretzels and hot glue to create a food replica of the tower. The sculpture was about two feet high and a foot wide. The strong architecture of the piece really had this artwork standing above the rest, literally. It looked like it would have been fun to build.

The third sculpture that stood out was titled Waterfall Landscape, by Latoya Tousant. This clearly had a lot of talented work behind it. It was one of the only pieces in the exhibit that was made mostly of materials outside of the food group. It depicted a waterfall ending in a pond. The waterfall was made out of cream cheese and was falling from mountains made from dough. The pond was made from resin epoxy, which gave it a shinny, rippled and realistic look.

Overall, the Bonnie’s student exhibit gave reality and creativity to the classes many students take. Demonstrating the abilities of students and having their work displayed in an atmosphere unlike other art exhibits made this one interesting.

[This article was published in the April 28, 2010 issue of The Tartan. It was also published online April 27.]

Katherine Wilk
kwilk@radford.edu

Photo by Kasey Sutphin -- Earth Day on Heth Lawn

Students flocked to Heth Lawn Thursday, April 22 in celebration of Earth Day. The festival had Radford University celebrating the 40th anniversary of the day, recognizing the beauty of the planet and environmental protection.

The RU community, Radford residents and over 40 regional green businesses and organizations gathered in the sunny quad to promote their businesses and exchange conversation with passersby.

RU President Penelope Kyle offered her insight on the celebration and rich history surrounding the 1960s environmental movement. She confirmed the goal for RU to continue with the movement by improving sustainability and encouraging members of RU to keep the planet in mind.

Kyle later helped plant a tree on Heth Lawn in front of Reed-Curie Hall before festivities continued. RU’s Sustainability Coordinator, Julio Stephens, shared with attendees the totals for Recylemania, a challenge to produce the most recycled material over the course of the competition. Each member of RU recycled almost 10 pounds of material while producing around 54 pounds of trash over the 10 week period, totaling more than 17 tons of recyclables.

“Obviously we’ve got some more work to do,” Stephens said. “But, it’s a great recognition of your efforts and everyone participating.”

Stephens continued to give students tips to help the school remain dedicated to sustainability. He reminded everyone to conserve their electricity and water, unplug items after use and easily set computer settings to reduce power consumption.

“We’ve been having a green party and it’s great,” Stevens said. “This is the perfect time to celebrate, but we need to take it another step, and what we truly need is a green revolution. We need people to get excited, we need people to demand change and ask questions and get solutions.”

The Colin Thompson Band, IMRA and Feel Good Cabbage performed to a crowd on the quad. Other festivities included creative projects inside the “Organic Valley Funzone” like building birdhouses, decorating reusable bags and tossing recycled items in the trash while students took turns enjoying a climbing wall to overlook the festival.

The event was sponsored by the Blue Mountain Organics, Heritage Food USA, the Johnson Ridge Farm and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

As students hula hooped across the lawn, businesses shared their goods with participants and a tree found its start on campus, the community was able to come together to celebrate and look ahead.

“Take the first step and show others with your leadership what you care about and others will follow you,” Stephens said. “There’s plenty of work to do… and we’ll keep moving forward.”

[This article was published in the April 28, 2010 issue of The Tartan. It was also published online April 27.]


Photos by Kelley Moore

Radford always needed a magician. This may seem like an overstatement, but after sitting through the show of Mike Super, the Phenomenon, you’d also realize how true it is.

I’d never seen the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center Auditorium as full as it was on Wednesday, April 14. The magician captivated his audience with simple rope tricks to complex voodoo magic. He had no trouble inviting students on stage and encouraging them to participate in the experience.

He responded to the crowd as they reacted, pointing out the “child-like wonder” on faces, teasing specific students on their reactions and not hesitating to crack jokes about everyone, including himself. His humor filled the spots between jokes and explained why he’s made it so far in magic.

Mike Super, real name unknown, has received many awards and honors. The illusionist has captivated beyond the valley of Radford University, winning a live TV magic competition where he was voted America’s Favorite Mystifier on NBC’s “Phenomenon.”

During the night, Super had the audience gasping as he refilled an empty Coke can with fresh soda, re-attached a cut rope, levitated an audience member and had a student jump out of his seat through voodoo magic. Super had card tricks, pick- up lines and even convinced the audience he could read minds.

Tossing a giant toy die into the audience, Super played Clue. With each catch of the die, a student answered a question concerning a murder. An item: turtle; place: Cancun, Mexico; and a person: Christopher Walken were said to be the murder weapon, place and murderer. Prior to the show’s start, Super told the audience he made a prediction and enclosed it in a secure box in plain sight during the show. Near the end he unlocked and showed his prediction. That night and in that auditorium, Christopher Walken did murder someone with a turtle in Cancun, and the audience was even more shocked than before.

Super went on to levitate a napkin, bouncing it around his hand and up his arm before showing his last trick and explaining the dedication of his shows: his mom.

Super had always wanted to be a magician from an early age. His mom pushed him, telling him what most parents do, that you can do anything you put your mind to. He went on to explain that his mom never had the pleasure of seeing him perform a real show. Super’s finale created the one thing RU students had seen enough of: snow. However, they gasped and ended the show with a roaring standing ovation.

With each trick dropping jaws further than the one before, RU’s Student Programming and Campus Events team did an excellent job with this performer. They brought in someone that had me assuming magic was real, if even for one night.

[This story was published in the April 21, 2010 issue of The Tartan. It was published online April 19.]

Stickers on studio door

The walls are packed with bookshelves, holding hundreds of CDs, the doors coated in stickers promoting bands and the equipment fills every inch of a tiny studio room. Usually Tyler Newton sits alone, but yesterday I fiddled in the background with a camera and a sense of interest.

Questioning his every step, he explained with a laugh, still moving to meet his approaching deadline. At 1:06 p.m. he greeted his listening audience.

The WVRU station, located on Radford University’s campus projects the voices of many students, including that of Newton.

As many freshmen face the challenge of settling in, keeping up and becoming involved, Newton didn’t find it a difficult decision to jump right in. He found his start stumbling upon the station during club fair last fall. He stepped up, trained and now hosts two shows weekly.

“Tyler came on as a trainee,” student DJ, Doug Grimes said. “I first met him at the club fair. He came to the WVRU table, expressed interest in becoming a DJ and he was with the group of 16 others, but I could tell pretty much from the beginning he was going to be one of the ones we hired. Because he came up to every session, he studies the work, he worked really hard to get where he is now.”

Newton on air

Newton on air

His Tuesday morning shows give jazz enthusiasts some new hits and Newton an appreciation of the genre.

“I learned that jazz is much more different than I thought it was,” Newton said. “There’s different genres within jazz that I bet a lot of people don’t know.”

As he picks a CD off the shelf, glancing over it, Newton can easily pick a song for his listening audience.

“It’s definitely a lot different experience,” Newton said. “It’s kind of cool that your voice is out there, that everyone can hear. Later on you get to play music that you like and show others what you enjoy.”

Bookshelves of CDs

CDs fill walls

WVRU went on air for the first time back in 1978–A good 32 years before Newton first stepped into the station’s studio. The station continues to recruit and train students like Newton, giving them a shot at hands on experience.

Grimes and other DJs help to recruit others to WVRU. Each DJ works together to help make training easier.

“It really teaches you how to work together as a team,” Grimes said. “Cause sometimes we have to come to each other for help–whether it’s an equipment malfunction or we need someone else to voice something. It builds into your social skills and teamwork ability which is going to be important in other areas.”

After throwing himself on air this year, Newton continues to look ahead with hope.

“You’ve just got to go to Radford and be a student here. No matter what your age, you’re good,” Newton said.

Newton finds CD

Breaking through the age barrier that stops most students, Newton found a place in the RU community to give back and entertain. He encourages friends and family to tune in and listen, giving him feedback on his shows.

The DJs help keep the station operational and provide a public service for Radford. WVRU is always looking for younger students to carry on the tradition.

“If you can get involved from the very beginning your experience is going to be much greater,” Grimes said.

You can catch Newton Mondays at 10 p.m. and Tuesdays at 1 p.m. on WVRU 89.9 FM.

[This story was published in the April 7, 2010 issue of The Tartan. It was published online April 5.]

The Bonnie boomed with the voice of a chef to take note of. Kevin Roberts worked as the official chef of the Super Bowl and he was standing in front of Radford University students setting their heads straight.

The Los Angeles native wasn’t afraid of the college scene as a Health, Nutrition and Kinesiology major, he knew just where to hit: the junk-food filled stomachs. He had tables set up with actual food and continued to cook throughout his presentation.

Were you aware that scratched pans that are coated with teflon can cause cancer? How about that diet sodas have the same ingredients as formaldehyde? Roberts encouraged the soda-junkies in the audience, “If you’re going to drink soda, just drink the cracked-out version.”

He made a point to hit hard on America’s biggest problem: processed foods. Roberts told students the risks of a heavy diet of processed foods including a increased risk of colon cancer, encouraging those in the audience to flush out their systems with fiber. Apples, cabbage, beans, red grapes, broccoli, kiwi and avacados are packed with the good stuff to keep your colon clean.

He advised students to stay away from certain foods, claiming American cheese to be the worst cheese and called for a substitution with mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, feta, Parmesan or Romano on your next pizza. He also established that green tea, blueberries, pomegranates, cranberries and dark chocolate are filled with anti-oxidants to keep students healthy.

Giving students yet another easy recipe to chew on, Roberts baked grapefruits with cinnamon and honey in his valuable toaster oven. He encouraged everyone to eat breakfast everyday to jump-start their metabolism.

He advised students chow down on a “potassium stick,” or banana after workouts, avoid the iceberg lettuce because it lacks any nutritional value, use soy in place of regular milk and boil your wings before you cook them. Roberts favorite was to boil them in Yingling prior to cooking, knocking off 80 percent of the fat. And the hardest hitting advice of the night was to keep away from margarine because it causes cancer.

The Bonnie was raining bread, hot sauce and Hershey Kisses as the chef tossed the foods into the audience with correct answers to his mini quizzes. He served hot wings, soy milk and cereal, kiwi, grapefruit and gave audience members a first taste of ginger.

Roberts finished off the night of food with a little fun. Picking four volunteers from the audience, they each took one of the many bottles of hot sauce Roberts previously was handing out and the hot sauce drinking contest began. The three men and one woman gulped down the sauce and slammed the bottles down, their faces lit with mild pain.

The Food Dude left students with recipes to use in their dorm rooms or apartments and a sense of how to cook healthy. His cookbook, Munchies is available in book stores now.

Recipes of the night:

Breakfast Bagel Sandwich:
-Bagel (carbs)
-Cream Cheese (dairy)
-Turkey (protein)
-Tomato (live foods)

Grapefruit the right way:
-Grapefruit
-Cinnamon
-Honey (Natures sugar)

Best way to have broccoli:
-Broccoli
-Sea Salt
-Parmesan Cheese

Poor Man’s Pizza:
-English Muffins
-Olive Oil
-Pasta Sauce
-Parmesan Cheese

[This article was published in the Feb. 24, 2010 issue of The Tartan. It was also published online Feb. 23.]

About Me:


Kate Wilk is a Journalism major attending Radford University. She currently works for two Student Media organizations: Managing Editor for The Tartan, RU's student newspaper and Marketing Manager for Whim, RU's online magazine.

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What I’m Working On:

Election: Coverage of Virginia's 9th District Congressional Election--Campaign profiles, Election Day Coverage, Interviews with voters

St. Alban's: Psychiatric Center is on path to rebirth. Interview with owner/patient Tim Gregory, Photography, Interviews with students participating in ghost tours

Animal Adoptions/Abandonment: Radford's student population cares for pets, what to know, resources and opinions

Best Pizza Around: Local food hot spots get analyzed by students at RU. Resources for late night cravings, delivery information, menus, best deals

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