Monday, May 31, 2010

Congrats to the SU Baseball Hornets on another outstanding season!

Back to back World Series appearances cannot be disputed.  The diamond Hornets have won 76 of the last 96 games over the last two years for another (38-10) season.

A program best-ever 12 players earned All-USA South, USA South All-Tournament or Fayetteville Regional All-Tournament honors with Scott Van Dusseldorp and Greg Van Sickler being named USA South Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Van Sickler, who led the team in wins and finish second in batting average for the second consecutive year, added ABCA South Region Player of the Year and first team All-America honors to his resume as well.

Kevin Brashears joined Van Sickler as a first team All-America. Both men were named first team by and the American Baseball Coaches Association and Van Sickler capped his outstanding season off by being named ESPN The Magazine third team Academic All-America.

This is the first time in school history that a student-athlete earned both academic and athletic All-America honors in the same season.

The individual honors, while impressive, are just the 'tip of the iceberg' of the team's success.
Off the field, 17 players earned USA South All-Academic team honors (at least a 3.0 GPA in both semesters) with Brashears, Van Sickler and Jake Yocum all earning Academic All-District III accolades.

Source =

Friday, May 21, 2010

What is a "park" and why was the DM location chosen in Jim Barnett Park?

Not showing any disrespect here, but just wanted to remind everyone that a "park" is:

1. An area of land set aside for public use, as:
a. A piece of land with few or no buildings within or adjoining a town, maintained for recreational and ornamental purposes.
b. A landscaped city square.
c. A large tract of rural land kept in its natural state and usually reserved for the enjoyment and recreation of visitors

Is not Jim Barnett Park becoming more and more commercialized with more buildings while losing valuable green space?

Times have changed and the lease has expired, why not explore keeping the DM downtown to hopefully keep a draw of visitors on the walking mall to patronize those businesses.

After having dialog with two former Park-n-Rec board members, they basically had NO say in the deal as City Council and DM members worked it out.

Wonder why DM and the 2004 City Council members/Ed Daley were so gung ho about the Park?

Wonder if it will eventually have some connection with SU?

Wonder who will benefit the most with the DM in the Park?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Park perception - Now transitioning into a private club?

If Discovery Museum officials are all about constructing a “green” building, then why would supporters even consider building on basically the last desirable green space in Jim Barnett Park?

Anyone can clearly understand why DM officials wanted the building in Jim Barnett Park with the sweetheart deal that was given on a 40-year lease for $1 annually on the land, but that deal has expired.

Wonder why this green space was even offered up by the prior Parks & Rec board and City Council back in 2004?

Has not Jim Barnett Park already sacrificed enough green space? Most notable, back in 1995, the community lost free use of 7.2446 acres of the former Rouss Park, which was open space that included an unsecured baseball field that is now home to Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre. Shenandoah University got the deal of the century when it purchased the Rouss park property for $1.5 million at 0 percent interest on a three-year note for that high-profile green space.

Why would I state “deal of the century”?

- SU paid $8.09 per square foot for the former Exxon station property lot at 710 Millwood Ave., now an SU parking lot beside Bob Evans, on May 14, 1993.

- SU purchased Rouss Park for $4.75 per square foot on Aug. 17, 1995. 

- SU paid $9.71 per square foot for the property at 647 Millwood on April 1, 1996, a former service station property lot that is basically now the parking lot at TV3-Winchester.

As Shelly Lee pointed out in The Star on May 4, the museum is educational, but how is it going to be affordable for all children with the rate of admission jumping from $7 at the present location to $10 if it’s constructed in the park?

Several folks have already shared their thoughts in The Star with alternative possibilities because there are so many vacant and under-utilized buildings in Winchester in or close to the downtown with ample parking.

Kudos to the current Parks & Rec board members who did a heckuva job in drawing up all of those questions on the Discovery Museum that were featured in The Star on April 24.

The vision of WPRD is that it strives to develop, provide, and maintain quality programs and facilities that meet the growing needs of our diverse community.

The perception is that Jim Barnett Park is transitioning into a private club if individuals don’t have necessary funds to participate.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Immigration by the Numbers

November 02, 2006 — This is a MUST SEE video for anyone interested in the immigration debate, whether you are a citizen, an illegal alien or a Congressman.

This video, Immigration by the Numbers, features Roy Beck demonstrating the catastrophe of the huge numbers of both legal and illegal immigration by Third World people into the modern nations. He uses standard statistics and simple gumballs to show this disaster in the making.

Video was done by Roy Beck:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Valley Health meeting deals with growth

First of all, I like to state in my opinion, Mr. Mark Merrill is a very nice individual.  I think he'll be the best thing to happen to VHS.
There is no doubt that VHS is feeling the affects of the economy as it was featured in a story today in the Winchester Star ... Valley Health meeting deals with growth

Merrill also noted some challenges Valley Health has been facing, such as a declining demand for elective surgeries and an increase of charity care and bad debt in the last four years.

“We’ve had almost a 1 percent increase, or a $10 to $12 million increase, year-over-year in terms of our charity care and bad debt, as the economy has softened and more people have been added to the roles of the uninsured,” he said. “Hopefully, the health reform will reduce some of those uninsured.”

BUT I have much concern if VHS is doing a better job of pre-qualifying the customers.  Up until last May/June timeframe of 2009, their billing policy was not as detailed as it reads today ...

Valley Health's previous billing policy … Valley Health January 15, 2009 Financial Aid Policy  basically stated the following:

- Please pay us
- If you cannot pay us, make arrangements to pay us
- If you are uninsured, we want a deposit

I was informed of a lady right now that was paying $10 per week on an outstanding bill and VHS elected to garnish her wages.

After a friend of mine inquired with me, the perception is that this lady is a prime candidate for some type of financial assistance.  I asked … did she fill out the FIS form?  My friend stated that from what he understood that she was not aware of any such FIS form.

Currently, the middle-aged lady has the necessary forms in her possession and hopefully the outstanding debt that VHS has elected to garnish her wages for will be written off as bad-debt now since it’s already been billed.

There is a strong suspicion that this lady would have qualified for “charity-care” only IF she would have been pre-qualified.

Now here’s the kicker, if VHS is not doing the best job possible of pre-qualifying the customers, then if it’s done after the fact, after it’s been billed, that will inflate the “bad debt” figure as it’s the “charge figure” that is written off vs. the “cost figure” when “charity care” is predetermined.

Basically, if you sell a widget for $100 but it only costs you $2 to make, then for “charity care” purposes you are only allowed to write-off $2.  Once it’s been billed at the charge of $100, then VHS has to write-off $100 for bad-debt if a customer qualifies for charity-care assistance after the fact of being billed.

Now granted, there are some folks who have the ability to pay but refuse to pay as those would be legitimate bad debt expenses.
The evident perception was that if you the customer did not ask or inquire about any type of financial assistance, then VHS did not inform you.  Mr. Merrill told me in person that they are trying to do a better job of pre-qualifying the customers.

So folks, it’s up to you to ask the questions and file the necessary FIS form found in the following link …

To close, don't forget the WMC had been pretty darn profitable.

The Winchester Medical Center's profits alone from 2001-2007 increased 460%.

2001 - $11.8 million (per Quad State Biz Journal)
2005 - $54,346,679 (per IRS990)

2006 - $57,422,678 (per IRS990)

2007 - $66,617,961 (per IRS990)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Spirit of Shenandoah campaign update

Campaign Progress

Overall Campaign Goal: $65.0 million
Raised to Date: $65.1 million

The overall campaign goal is comprised of the following:

Capital Gifts
Capital Gifts Goal: $29.5 million
Raised to Date: $18.3 million

Endowment Goal: $32.0 million
Raised to Date: $16.6 million

Operational Goal: $3.5 million
Raised to Date: $30.2 million

Friday, May 7, 2010

Interesting perspective on HS baseball from KY high school legendary coach

PRP's Miller says prep baseball players put stats first
Mike Fields notebook: April 30
Mike Fields - Herald-Leader Staff Writer

There is no more authoritative voice on Kentucky high school baseball than Pleasure Ridge Park Coach Bill Miller. He recently earned his 900th career victory, the third most in state history. In 30 years with the Panthers, he's won four state titles and been runner-up four times. He's a guru of the game.

So it was interesting to hear Miller expound on high school baseball when I called him to ask about his 900th win. He shrugged that off by saying he's been around a long time and has had a lot of good players. This year's PRP is 18-3 "but I don't know if that means anything. It may just mean we haven't played very good competition."

Thus began Miller's blunt appraisal of Kentucky high school baseball: "Everybody talks about how much better is these days, but I don't concur. Every year I think it gets weaker." Miller offered the opinion that past powerhouses, such as Madison Central's undefeated 1982 state champs and Harrison County's best clubs in the 1990s "would eat these teams alive today."

He thinks today's kids lack baseball instincts that come from playing a lot, even if it's stickball in the backyard.

"I think what happens is that parents are looking for shortcuts for their kids, so they pour money into private instruction, private hitting lessons." Miller thinks summer travel teams are also a curse. Players (and their parents) are more interested in individual highlights and catching a scout's eye than learning the basics of the game. "What's happening in baseball is what happened with AAU basketball several years ago, and it's pathetic what it did to basketball."

Just as some kids (and their parents) consider AAU hoops more important than the high school game, Miller thinks the same thing is taking hold in baseball. Parents are wary of their kids' high school coaches counteracting what their kids learned in private instruction. "Used to be, parents brought their kids to us and asked us to make them better," Miller said. "Now they say, 'My son's been working with so-and-so. I don't want you messing with him.

"I guess I sound like a doomsayer," Miller added. "I hope I'm wrong. Maybe it's a cycle. Maybe we'll see better teams and players come along. But it doesn't seem to be going that direction."

Link: PRP's Miller says prep baseball players puts stats first

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Still NO response to these questions on the Wellness Center from any VHS official

For the record, the editorial was in print in the Winchester Star back on 10-16-2009.

Valley Health opened the doors of their new Wellness Center last September of 2008. Since it’s nearing a year old, it’s fair to the local community to be aware of its annual checkup.  The $17million dollar Wellness Center project was funded from VHS [Valley Health System] cash reserves.  FY 2004 year-end balance sheets showed cash, cash equivalents and investments in excess of $170 million, easily sufficient to finance the capital costs of the project. Still have not been able to obtain the figures on Valley Health’s cash reserves for FY2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Since Valley Health is a not-for-profit, one can be under the assumption that this information should be made available to the public when it’s requested. Unfortunately, the former CEO did not provide that answer as it was a question featured in the open forum of the Winchester Star on February 23, 2009 “Vexing Paradox”, Questions posed to better understand VH ‘community benefit’.

Below are a few reasonable questions that should be a good barometer to inform the local community on how the Wellness Center is operating during these difficult economic times. Quotes and statements were obtained from the Quad State Business Journal in May of 2006.

- Are the current members at the Wellness Center representing all of the economic classes from our local community?

One issue raised by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association in Boston, in a January [2005] letter to Valley Health's board of directors, is that "to justify a hospital-affiliated fitness facility' tax exempt status, it must restrict membership to hospital patients; or if non-patients will be members it must be available to the entire community and be able to document that its membership is representative of all economic classes in the community. The tax exemption of several hospitals has been challenged, often successfully, because hospitals have failed to meet theses guidelines."

- What are the outreach programs available where anyone can come at any time and there are no fees?

Dena Kent said financial aid would be available to some people. "We will do health assessments on every member and develop individual plans for them. If they have a medical condition that needs attention, then they can get a scholarship [if they are needy].  "There will be a number of health outreach programs, where anyone can come at any time and there are no fees."

- What is the current membership and what is the age breakdown of present members? It has been said current membership is somewhere between 5,000 – 6,000 members.

In projections used for COPN (Certificate of Pubic Need) approval, Valley Health said it is looking at a membership of 4,000 persons, targeting the 35-to 80-age group, especially people who don't exercise, said Kent.

- Have local tax paying health club memberships increased since the Wellness Center opened it’s door to the local public, or worse yet, did any of them shutdown within the last year?

"I have met with owners of the local clubs, and some say we will take members away from them," said Kent. "But we are hoping to attract people who don't exercise. In most markets, commercial clubs did not go out of business; their memberships actually went up because of the increased awareness of fitness."

Valley Health is projecting the wellness center business will break even in its second year, and after the third year will throw off cash flow of almost $1.3 million. Funding the cost of the center from Valley Health internal resources means there is no requirement for debt service.

For the record, the information above was in print in the Winchester Star back on 10-16-2009.

View these documents of interests below:

January 2005 - Letter from IHRSA to VHS BOD's that went unanswered according to Tim Sullivan who is a Legislative Analyst for IHRSA, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

May 2006 - Article that was featured in the Quad State Business Journal.
VHS Plans to Build Wellness Center

Between the Winchester Star on April 9th's and NVDaily's April 17th front page articles, was able to obtain the following information:

(NVDaily) - The center, which opened in September 2008, brought in $1.1 million in revenue in its first three months of operation, according to tax records.

(WincStar) - Just before the wellness and fitness center opened in September 2008, it had collected 3,200 applications for membership.

Kent said the goal was to reach 5,000 members in three years, but it has moved beyond that. “We hit that number in a year,” she said, noting that the center now has 5,800 members.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

SU Baseball Mourns Loss

WINCHESTER, Va. – The Shenandoah University baseball team mourns the loss of one of its own Saturday as Preston Tarleton ’08 passed away Friday following a car accident last Sunday evening.

Tarleton, who played in 78 games for from 2005-08 as an outfielder, was involved in a one-car accident Sunday evening in his native Maryland. He was transported to Baltimore’s Shock Trauma Hospital following the accident and passed away Friday afternoon after being taken off of life support.

“We are devastated,” SU head coach Kevin Anderson said. “Preston was the kind of young man that makes programs great – he never said a word, but came to the ballpark everyday ready to play.

“We have a number of players still in the program that played with Preston as well as a couple of members of my coaching staff who played with or coached him, and we all extend our deepest sympathies to Preston’s family.”

Tarleton’s best season in a Hornets uniform came in 2007, when he hit .308 with two doubles in 13 starts. For his career, he had 39 hits and 23 RBI.

Tarleton, 23, is survived by his parents Mask and Haypatia Tarleton. He graduated from Shenandoah’s Harry F. Byrd School of Business in 2008 and was a USA South Conference All-Academic team honoree in his senior year.

Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.