Local Political Activist Ponders Town Council Run

Long-time Berryville resident and civil rights activist Roland Clarke says that he is considering another run at Berryille’s town council. Clarke lost a 2008 election bid to Lawrence Russell by 70 votes. Clarke says that he is specifically dissatisfied with the lack of progress that Berryville’s town council and mayor have made in the areas of affordable housing and jobs for young people.

Roland Clarke says that the time has come for economic change in Clarke County - Photo Edward Leonard

Clarke says that part of his decision will be dictated by his personal health. Clarke recently experienced open-heart surgery but says that he feels stronger every day.

“I expect to make a decision by June” Clarke said. “I also would like to see other African Americans run as well.”

Clarke says that he is a strong supporter of the democratic process and expressed repeated dismay over voter apathy in local elections during a Monday interview in his Berryville home office.

“People need to stop making excuses for not being active in their community.   I wish that everyone would get out and learn more about what’s going on in our community. Most people here don’t even know who their elected representatives are.”

Clarke says that he is particularly dismayed by Clarke County’s African American community when it comes to placing pressure on elected officials to address problems.  “I am so tired of seeing our local black community being only interested in sports and food” Clarke said. “It hurts me to me to have to say that, it really does.”

But while Clarke, who is African American, feels strongly about race-related issues, he also supports economic change that could have far reaching impacts on the entire Clarke County community.

“My main concerns are senior citizen housing, affordable housing for working people and growing the county’s commercial base” Clarke said. “The current business owners are cleaning up on the rest of us. That’s why they won’t let new stores in that might cut into their profits.”

Clarke said that the community has been strapped with limited commercial options for long enough. “It would be nice to have another grocery store or maybe another flower shop and a better pharmacy that doesn’t close at 5pm” Clarke said.  “The mall that Mr. Echols proposed was a good thing. We need something like that along with transportation options so that senior citizens can get to the shopping areas.”

Clarke said that if local government continues to refuse to listen to community demands for additional commercial options one option might be to consider an economic boycott of downtown businesses.

“We could do here what they did in Memphis” Clarke said. “Just don’t shop.”

In December 2010 ministers in Memphis, Tennessee joined forces and threatened a massive shopping boycott over the Memphis School System’s plan to surrender its charter. As the Memphis debate continues, shoppers have boycotted local businesses on successive Mondays.

Clarke says that while he believes that Clarke County government needs to be more responsive to voters generally, he would like to see local churches and church leaders play a stronger role in motivating local African Americans to get more involved in their community.

“Even though there’s a heaven we have to live on Earth now” Clarke said. “I want local pastors do more to inspire people to make a difference in their community.

Clarke says that he was encouraged during his 2008 election bid by meeting so many voters that expressed a desire for change. Clarke sees the coming election as a financial referendum on the county’s fiscal and business policies that he believes benefit the wealthy at the expense of blue-color voters.

“Working people really don’t have any representation in Clarke County. “I think that I could bring new ideas that would make sense to most people in our community. Most of us have the same goals and it’s time that we come together for change. I love this town and this county. Clarke doesn’t need to become Loudoun County in order to be better. If I do decide to run it will be because I want to offer hope and new ideas and vision to show voters that their vote counts. Dreams can become reality if you’re just willing to believe.”


  1. Comical that a person stuck in the past is going to help the county move forward. Does he not understand that many folks just shop in Winchester on a regular basis? That would not make those Memphis boycotts very effective. Does Mr. Clarke have any business experience? Prospective business investors do not want to hear about boycotts. Why has his association not brought his ideas to council meetings? Stick to fighting the windmills, Don Quixote.

    • Well, if Mr. Clarke represents my voting district, he’s got my vote. A more convenient pharmacy, another florist option would be fantastic. Just allow the local Food Lion to expand to offer these 2 things, and I’d be a happy camper.

      Go Roland!!

      • I think we deserve something a little better than a expanded Food Lion. They need competition. Have you compared their prices to the other grocery stores? Their prices to me seem a bit higher on most items because they are the only game in town.

        Good luck to Mr. Clarke!

        • Berryville/Clarke County has already proven that we can’t support 2 grocery stores. Allow the one we have to expand.

          • Location, location, location. Build a second grocery store in the right location and they will come. There’s a good bit of traffic through here by non-residents in certain areas of the county that would stop on their way home as well. Our current grocery store is stuck in the 70’s. No selection, always seems to be out of something, pricing out of whack and I don’t want to think about the chew marks I found in the corner of a loaf of bread there once by some kind of small vermin. Oh yes.

          • Interesting – “they are stuck in the 70s” considering they only opened around 1993 or so. Shortly after, the other grocery store “Superfresh” went oob. If we were to get a Martins or something similar, FL would go shortly thereafter. No great loss but “just sayin” (sorry).

            And really, who thinks Bville could support two florists? Really? That is just personal. If we didn’t already have one it is not something we would be recruiting. Some people just need to get over their “issues” and move on. Literally.

  2. i expected comments like yours an im not going to feed into it. part of the problem have a great day god bless.

    • StoneBroke says:

      I agree! I like the way this man is thinking. Got my vote! Because the Spoon’s that is currently stirring the coffee–just isn’t getting it done!

      • My 2 Cents... says:

        Got my vote as well. With the announcement that Pete Dunning is leaving also, things could be looking up here!!! Good luck Roland……..

        • My 2 Cents says:

          Wow, look at my comment rating! See how people will vote you down just because they are friends with the powers that be! Thats ok, rate my stuff down, come election day, you will hear OUR VOICE!!!!!!!!

          Here we go new Business’s lets go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Mr. Pete Dunning,

          Thank you for your years of saying NO! Now is the time to vote in some fresh faces that say, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Left Winger says:

            Does it matter how your comment is rated? I don’t think there are any prizes for the number of “+” ratings.

            This is the second time that you’ve commented on your rating…maybe you should be more concerned over the substance of your posts instead of how many people agree or disagree with your thoughts.

          • My 2 Cents says:

            Basically the substance of my posts, is this, the vast majority of the lifelong residents of Berryville/ Clarke County would love to see some growth and development here. We find it hilarious that the Loudoun County Hermitage/Echolsville population for the most part are so against this.Its so old having to drive to CharlesTown and Winchester for everything you need. Hows that for substance? I will take this as a negative 30 I assume…… LOL

          • Left Winger says:

            Growth? That can vary to many degrees. Say exactly what you want. Quantify…be specific. Mr. Carter has specific points that were made below. A CVS? Yes…that is a great idea. A place that county residents can go for medication that is open for extended hours and on Sunday. A fast food restaurant? Yes that would be a good addition…I was very pleased to see a Subway added to down town. It gave you at least one additional option from the Big-T burger.

            In the end just saying we want growth won’t help to progress of the county…it will just divide it. When most people hear “growth” they automatically think “We don’t want a Wal-Mart.” But that is not necessarily the case. Small Franchises are the way to go. It is a way to bring in big name services, while keeping the profits local (assuming that the franchise owner is a resident).

            My suggestions…build up around the 340/route 7 interchange. Add a fast food restaurant, a CVS and a gas station. Maybe even add a Clarke County visitor center so we can show passers by what the county has to offer and maybe get them to stay longer and tour our town. I know these additions won’t go over well with the owners of the Berryville Pharmacy and the downtown food establishments, but is competition one of the factors of capitalism?

            Mr. Clarke, if you want to win over the people…be specific and come through on the promise. Campaign saying “I will help to create a competitive market place by adding X,Y and Z business and if I don’t pull through on this promise during my tenure I will not seek reelection.” I know this holds a politician accountable (not saying that you don’t), but at some point we need to. I know I wouldn’t have a job if I constantly fell through on my promises.
            I’m crossing my fingers for a positive 12 votes.

          • Fly on the wall says:

            The Clarke County Visitors’ Center is planned for The Barns of Rose Hill…meaning you’ll have to follow signs into town, and then the park, to go to the kiosk and see what’s around tyhe area.

          • My 2 Cents says:

            10 people voting negative? Care to reason why? Please when u do, don’t come with the, we don’t want to expand our town. Its fine the way it is…. Or we should support what we have and there is no way we can support the type of growth you people want….. Explain it to me people please…. Trust me, the people that have lived here our whole lives, do want growth. Just because you people may have moved here from over the mountain and wish for dirt-roads and horse-n-buggies doesn’t mean it has to be that way…….

          • Bill Thomas says:

            Uh- I’ve lived here my whole life and don’t want growth- especially the type of growth you are insinuating. Let me see- for the most part whatever part of the county you live in you can drive 10 minutes and get “everything” you need- drive to Stephens City, Winchester, Charlestown, Purcellville…..

            A town and county gov’t that is more efficient in good and bad times and does a better job of long term planning is what’s needed when it comes to tax/budget issues.

            As far as the downtown business environment- how many mom/pop restaurants that serve burgers and mashed potatoes do you need? It’s called poor business plans by people who should never be in business and who are setting themselves up to fail. You want the local gov’t to correct that for them? The retail space is there but the entrepreneurs who can figure out the product, services and marketing to make it successful is not.

          • StoneBroke says:

            Why do you think the “smart” entrepreneurs are not opening up anything in the downtown location. Why? Because they are smart! Nothing is going to make it in the downtown location. Get with the times! A small strip mall at the top of the “hill” is what is needed! You know the same little type strip malls that every small town across America has–yeah those! The one’s that will offer the essential basic needs for every small town at competitive pricing.

          • My 2 Cents... says:

            With all due respect Mr. Thomas, you would be considered part of the problem then….. I guess you enjoy driving those 10 mins… Tell me again how you feel after that gas hits 4bucks a gallon!

          • Fly on the wall says:

            Again…10 minutes in this county won’t get you to any store, unless you live near a borderline. If you live on the mountain, or out in the Retreat, Pine Grove, or Shenandoah Farms areas, the commute is at least 15 minutes just to Rt.7 or Rt.50.

  3. Jeremy Carter says:

    —“The current business owners are cleaning up on the rest of us. That’s why they won’t let new stores in that might cut into their profits.”

    Clarke said that the community has been strapped with limited commercial options for long enough. “It would be nice to have another grocery store or maybe another flower shop and a better pharmacy that doesn’t close at 5pm” Clarke said. “The mall that Mr. Echols proposed was a good thing. We need something like that along with transportation options so that senior citizens can get to the shopping areas.”—

    As much as I hate to say it…..b/c it’s true…the fact alone that this here was said….dug the grave I bet.

    If you even try MENTIONING this concept to folks….they will just shut you down quick. It’s a shame. Good for you Mr. Clarke….I hope that you get the bid…and make some changes!

    Fight the good fight! And I hope you win!

  4. Time to shake it up!

    I’d like to see Food lion allowed to have a pharmacy and a florist. I can live with their hours. I’d also like to see other new businesses in town, but what would do well?

  5. Your exactly right! It’s time to make a change! If they can do it in Egypt—We can do it in Berryville! I’ve got the Power! Kick [redacted] Roland!

  6. William James says:

    I don’t like to see elected officials using words like “boycott” to solve problems or issues. Your constitutes should elect you for your plans to solve the issues. Boycotting seems so trivial and one dimensional. It’s kind of the lazy man’s way of doing business. The only way to change the shopkeeper’s way of thinking is to invite competition into the County.
    I wish anyone luck if that is their platform.

  7. livein22611 says:

    Yes, let’s boycott. That’s smart. Gee, but then our pitiful amount of tax revenue would go down even further so we’d need to raise taxes……really not a good idea afterall.
    Actually, I hope he does get elected so then he can bring in all these businesses that are dying to get at all the money available here in Clarke Co.. Yes, that is a smartalec comment. We Do Not Have The Demographics To Support Anything Other Than Local Mom and Pop Small Businesses. Really, would you invest about $500,000 to open a business here? And how many years would it take to be profitable??? Think these things through before you comment. It would be a lucky thing to get Food Lion to expand. We are a small community and not expected to explode in population anytime soon. If your so sure about the great business opportunities here in Clarke Co. then put your money where your mouth is and hang up that “Now Open” sign!!

    • Jeremy Carter says:

      –“We Do Not Have The Demographics To Support Anything Other Than Local Mom and Pop Small Businesses. Really, would you invest about $500,000 to open a business here? And how many years would it take to be profitable???”–

      Alright…here we go! So, how do you figure, out of all the people in Clarke County, (let’s not count ‘passers through’) that a Burger King/McDonalds/Chick Fil A/Hardees….whatever…would not profit? If placed in the proper spot….probably just on breakfast alone it would do jussssst fine. (Look up how much it costs to ‘franchise’ a fast food spot anyway…it’s not 500k. When you do that, the construction costs and everything usually come from the ‘corporate’ side of it if they see fit to build in a spot.)

      Secondly…why are you worried about how much money it takes to invest in a new business? It’s not YOUR money. It’d be whoever wanted to open it. And…profitability doesn’t matter to you either…unless you’re putting the money up…right?

      Once again, things taken way out of proportion. No one is asking for 75 new businesses to come in. 1-3 would do. A CVS, a fast food restaurant, and take your pick after that.

      • livein22611 says:

        Not sure the link will work but copy and paste this to see what it takes to open a Burger King. McD’s also wants $500,000 in assets.


        In case the link doesn’t work it states that you need 1.5 million in net worth and $500,000 in liquid assets to purchase an existing franchise.
        I’ll keep looking and find a few more for you if you’d like.

        • StoneBroke says:

          I would probably say anyone coming in to open up a McDonald’s will probably have the assets to do so—(Nerangis)!

        • Jeremy Carter says:

          Alright..at least did your research.

          Unfortunately, you’ve kind of not understood what ‘they’ actually test you on.

          1.5 million net worth…I don’t know if you know what that means. I’m 30, and I have that if you put everything I own together. If you own a house, a couple of cars, and some land (not everyone can meet the test), chances are, you already meet this.

          500k liquid…alright, they’ve got something there. I do not have that, and most folks don’t.

          Kind of why I suggest a Chic Fil A. They ‘help’ they’re licensees out. You do put up some money, but the company helps you out more. You pay a $5,000 ‘franchise fee’.

          “Chick-Fil-A will also be requesting approximately 50% of your store profits. Here is how it works… Chick-fil-A pays for the land, the construction and the equipment. It then rents everything to the franchisee for 15% of the restaurant’s sales plus 50% of the pretax profit remaining. In other words, Chick-Fil-A takes 65% of your profit. Most franchise companies take 8%-10% of gross sales.” — You don’t ‘make’ as much profit in the beginning, but you also don’t pony up the whole cost for land/construction…etc. You also don’t own the land or building at any time either. There are trade offs…but every franchise is different out there. MickDoogles and Burger King require one set…other require others.

          But also, you still didn’t quite answer my question on why you’d worry with such things as ‘the cost, and investment’ if it’s not your money. I’m still not quite getting it here…..It would have no affect on you whatsoever. If you don’t want to/can’t open one, that’s fine. But if one does open up….don’t let me catch you gettin’ that .99 cheeseburger or chicken sandwich……….lol

          • livein22611 says:

            I worry about the cost because I am a business owner so I do worry about where the money comes from and if the business will be successful or not. I do invest in businesses so it does effect my bottom line. There are so many things that are not covered in your suggestion (salaries, employment taxes, federal taxes, utilities, insurance, and much more) but the average person does not know this. It’s just the flip comments about boycotting and “It’s not my money so who cares” attitude that drives me nuts. Just hope they don’t start putting that on our economic development brochures!

          • Jeremy Carter says:

            Very well put if I must say so. I understand completely what you mean. I’ve looked into many a business in the last few years myself, and I never figured I could make it work with those items you listed above. It’s very tough these days. People usually think when you have your own business, it’s just pure profit, all the time! I commend you for being a business owner…keep it up…and I hope you make it!

            I don’t think boycotting and such are the way to go myself. People have opinions, they’re entitled to it. I don’t really believe there’s an outpouring over boycotting right now. It’s talk. Not real.

            But I do have to say..as you said you do worry about where the money comes from….I think you’re meaning your own business….I was just meaning for the beginning of said business(es) above. You put your money up to start your business, so it makes sense. Someone else would be putting up their money if they start their own.
            However, for a new business, it really only boils down to if you are in competition with that particular business coming in. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. I would say then, it makes a difference to you. But, as someone said earlier, competition is a good and bad thing. If its competition you worry about, I can understand that as well.

            I’m glad, truthfully, we had this dialogue. This is exactly what’s needed if you ask me. Dialogue. Not mud slinging and anger.

    • StoneBroke says:

      You have no clue about any part of what you just attempted to explain!

  8. Keep the dialogue coming community, let the powers that be know that we are serious about these issues and others that affect the tax payers in this town. I’m only running for one seat, but truly there are about three or four that need to be replaced, not to mention the school board. For all those out there who are trying to belittle my efforts and discredit my thoughts, it is not going to work. To the person who wanted to know about my business skills, it is the same as those already in office. What are they doing to make things better? FFT: I truly believe that there are open-minded people in this town, black and white, red and brown that can better serve this town for all of the PEOPLE. GOOD NIGHT AND BE BLESSED.

    • River Watcher says:

      Mr Clarke says he wants “affordable housing for working people”. I wonder what does he mean by affordable? Low income housing?

      There’s plenty of affordable homes in Town for qualified people. I found quite a few between $64k-150k mostly in Town. I suggest looking at Realtor.com and Century21.

      • What Mr. Clarke means is that he wants to take labor from the working class and transfer it to someone else to build housing.

        Mr. Clarke believes in government intervention to take from one group of people and to give to another group of people.

  9. StoneBroke says:

    Keep on Rolling Roland! Fight the Power!

    • Just Curious says:

      ROLAND CLARKE you keep this platform up and good things could happen for our town. I cannot believe some of these old-timers complaining about things coming here as far as new business’s. And to River Watcher, give me a break. Let me guess, you came from Loudoun County/Fairfax???? Just because you came from somewhere where the Growth was out of hand, doesn’t mean a couple of name brand stores would kill Berryville…. What a joke.

      • Fly Swatter says:

        Throwing out terms like old-timers and fogeys explains a lot about your points of view.(Liberal name-callers/typical) Anyone who would support someone even suggesting boycotting our own businesses is not a person I want representing my community. Fortunately, the punk, arrogant, pompous youth movement hasnt filtered into our county. Lawrence Russell…consider yourself re-elected should you run.

  10. River Watcher says:

    I moved here 3 yrs ago to get away from what some of you want. Not one of you thought beyond your personal conveniences.

    With growth of all these bigger and better stores will bring more population.
    Then we will need a bigger Fire and Police dept.
    Then of course we will need a bigger Government and along with that comes more Town workers. Need I remind any of you about our schools filling up more?
    What did you all not think about?
    It takes a lot of money to get what you’re all demanding.

    Did we all forget we’re in a recession?

    I don’t want to hear from people who want to raise taxes, think about the people that have a lot of land first. The me first attitude don’t fly with me!

    How about we tax people for their over-sized houses? I think I’ll start in one of those developments in Town!

    As for Food Lion how many of you either spoke to management there or wrote HQ like I did?

    Let’s make some sense and do things at a slower pace like making Food Lion improve. I suggested to them to put in a pharmacy and get better produce. But I can not do this alone, prove to me you’re all not just all talk and are willing to take some action.

    How about we ask our Town officials to work together on making Food Lion improve, like the store in Winchester. We have to start some where making demands online will get you no where.

    How many of you actually go to Town meetings and speak up?
    From what I’ve heard very few people show up at these meeting. Including myself, which is changing as of this moment, I’m going to start attending.

    As far as I’m concerned, we have 2 issues that are a concern right now and that is getting us a better grocery store and dealing with REC.

    • Nice to see a reasonable person commenting here. So sick of hearing about needing fast food and convenience stores. Why in the world would Berryville need two florists? If another florist opened up downtown, it wouldn’t last two months.
      People are very conditioned to believing that their entire existence is dependent of shopping, consuming, and more shopping. Whatever.

  11. StoneBroke says:

    You know the old saying though—“Build it and they will come”—There would be so many old crows from Berryville flocking to whatever is built.

  12. What a great outpouring of opinions and sentiment. It’s great to see the passion!! My vote is to keep Berryville what is was, what it is and what it should be: small town charm and atmosphere, reasonalbe property taxes, enough room to stretch your legs and convenience to the hustle and bustle of city life IF you want to experience it. I don’t … that’s why I live here. Go run in Purcellville … they seem more your type.


    • Fly Swatter says:

      I’ve heard ‘Yes We Can’ before…Yikes!

    • River Watcher says:

      Thanks for the welcome!

      “My main concerns are senior citizen housing, affordable housing for working people and growing the county’s commercial base” Clarke said.

      Your concerns are three separate issues. I asked a question that you avoided.
      What does affordable housing for working people mean?

      As for taxes don’t make me laugh at you sir. Where I grew up I’d be paying 5 times the amount and still would get the same!

      No, I’m not from Loudoun County but I had the “pleasure” of living there for one year and being a victim to crime for the first time in my life.

      More growth will bring nothing but CRIME be careful for what you demand!

  14. BlossomButt says:

    I would think that their (Food Lion) figures would show who is talking. When I cant even think about buying produce there, unless it is potatoes, or a last minute head of lettuce, I am certain I am not the only one. When I have to bypass strawberries because they are so drawn and shrivelled that I wonder how they dare try to still sell them? It appears they are seeing what we are saying, but still trying to live by the “Food Lion” plan and layout for stores, when they need more space to be able to provide better product. I still go there, but never for produce, and never for anything other than the normal last minute products. Look at the carts next time you check out. Very rarely do you see anyone actually doing their weekly “shopping” there. It has turned into a last minute, no other choice, gotta have it now type store.

  15. BlossomButt says:

    Old Versus New: I for one am very glad Mr. Dunning had decided he wants no more….because we as a county want no more of him. But, I can assure you, this decision of his was not taken lightly and definetely not without letting others know what he was doing. In other words, the good ole boys knew it was coming, they have been planning, and will come out in full force come election day. I will not vote for someone simply because they replace/vie for the seat of the old boys, yet will wait, bide my time, until a true candidate steps forward that I feel will do the best for the county. Dont just vote for “new” because new is there. Vote for what is right and what is needed and what is good. Not all is as it seems, so be careful what you wish for, as you may very well get it.

    • StoneBroke says:

      You got that right–don’t think them boys haven’t hand picked the next dictator!

      • Well, now that he’s thrown his hat in officially, Bev McKay would be just as bad as Pete, because Pete is the one who’s been “training” him.

        • StoneBroke says:

          Exactly! Training is the wrong word. How about Cloning! The people of Boyce need to step it up—Dunning & Robina—I mean come on man!

  16. I for one am perfectly happy with what this town and this county has to offer. Does everybody honestly want Berryville to continue along the same path of growth as nearly every community surrounding us and every community, save Hamilton, from Winchester to Washington?

    CVS or any other box pharmacy (Rite Aid, Walgreens) isn’t coming here. How would they justify ALL of the stores that have been built in Winchester alone in the past year. And we know the story well, CVS comes, then the Berryville Pharmacy will do nothing but struggle and end up closing. Competition is not what Berryville needs as it will not last. It’s great to know that we can support two dollar stores but not another type of business. If you respond mentioning the number of restaurant options in town, first ask yourself if you even believe some of these will be around another 12 months from now. We all know which of these specific buildings have appeared to have a revolving door policy over the last 10-15 years.

    I’ve lived here for all of my thirty years, and am perfectly content with the small town, rural, need to go to Winchester or elsewhere feel of this place and do not want ANY more grocery stores, strip malls, pharmacys, fast food options (it’s pretty easy to fix fatty and fried food on your own), or even subdivisions for that matter.

    I’m as much for the idea of “change” as anyone, but….not….here.

    If you don’t like the electric bills, business options, or small-town feel to the last small-town rural county in Northern Virginia, then either return to, or move to Fairfax or Loudoun County.

    • Jeremy Carter says:

      I apologize in advance….but this got me:

      “Does everybody honestly want Berryville to continue along the same path of growth as nearly every community surrounding us and every community, save Hamilton, from Winchester to Washington?”

      I think you’re assuming way too much here. You’re assuming that there has been ‘significant’ growth in Bville over x amount of years. I lived there for 25-26 years…and there hasn’t been that much to speak of…outside of a family dollar…a dead end movie rental shop…and a Subway. (count the food lion if ya want….)

      Where is all of this ‘growth’ that people keep screaming Bville has had????

      • My 2 Cents... says:

        Come on JC, we have a Oriental Rug Shop, Two thrift stores, Two Dollar Stores, Two 7-11’s. A used book store. A newstand where you can find 7 dollar cups of coffee… I believe a leather repair shop. Of Course Food Lion. Then you have Radio Shack…. Thats growth my man~


      • I know the growth I’m talking about is the residential growth. That’s all the growth I’ve seen.

      • If there hasn’t been any past growth, or projected growth, then why waste the past decade and however many millions in building a new high school for a larger student population?

        • Jeremy Carter says:

          LOL..thanks 2 pennies….well said.

          And RW..another grand point. That’s all I’ve seen.

          Have a thumbs up from me for both of you.

          Local…it’s quite obvious you are mistaking ‘residential growth’ for ‘business growth’. Sure, more houses have most certainly come to Clarke County….but..I can plainly state (since I went to school there), that the high school that I went to, which still stands, was too small when I was there. I graduated in ’98. We needed a new one there…that new high school is well overdue anyway.

        • Because we took a shortcut back in the 80’s when we built a High School that was too small then. ( To save a few dollars I might add) Plus I would like to get rid of the eyesore trailer park outside of our current high school!

    • Interested bysitter says:

      Here’s a thought – if the ebst argument you can muster is, “If ya don’t like it, get out!”…you’ve lost the debate already. That line of thinking isn’t good enough anymore.

  17. My 2 Cents... says:

    Sorry Local, as many people that are here that support what you do, please know that there are 3times as many that actually DO want things here! Call it what it is… With the exception of Mario’s and the Berryville Grill, everything up and down Main Street could close shop tomorrow and nobody would even notice…… Unless you have been in the market for a new oriental rug or to buy some 2 nd and 3rd hand clothes at our 2 thrift stores, I’d say thats pathetic! Why should you have to leave town or the county for that matter to get what you need?

    • Fly Swatter says:

      It’s called Small Town, U.S.A. You chose to move/live here. Deal with it.

      • StoneBroke says:

        I was born here! Didn’t have a choice! Just because all you old fogey’s don’t want anything doesn’t mean the younger generation thinks in the same manner.

        • Fly Swatter says:

          You win, throw a Wal-Mart in the old apple orchard. Let the tractor & trailers, campers stay the night there, come up with some cash for more police patrol and reporting due to shoplifting, build an exit ramp in between the fairgrounds and the new high school location. Thats what we need in Clarke County. (At least Willie’s will continue to thrive!)

          • StoneBroke says:

            Yeah–I’m sure Willie’s is thriving about as well as the Snow White Grill (Or whatever its called now that they got out of dodge) posted out on Rt. 7.

    • If there are truly 3times as many people that do want things here then I ask, where are these things? If you are part of the “majority” who wants change, then where is it? This is not a “good ole boys” network like I have seen in previous posts. Perhaps that because you see 3times as many people speaking out on topics you believe that is the ratio asking for change.

      I wonder how many people fill out a comment card at a restaurant with a compliment vs the number who fill out a card with a complaint.

      I previously posted a comment on our electric bills. I am also upset at the rising cost, but I am just as upset at the rising cost of my Verizon bill, my Comcast bill, and my heating oil bill.

    • Birdonawire says:

      I beg to differ. I love Battletown Inn. Never had a bad meal there.

  18. Kevin Lambert says:

    I think it would be great to add some new things to our town. I couldn’t believe it when we got a Subway… If only we could add a few other things such as a new pharmacy and possibly something that had a drive-thru…. LOL, just my wishful thinking getting the best of me. If Roland can attract and bring more name-brand business to our town, I’m all in…. Good luck, Mr. Clarke. I would also have to agree with the previous posts earlier, all the people that are slamming the door shut on growth and economic development, would probably be the first ones in line to get or receive something of what that particular business has to offer……

  19. livein22611 says:

    Wow-would love to know what businesses have been dying to get into Clarke Co. and have been turned away? This is a serious request so if you know of any please list them.
    Also, for those interested (and there seems to be quite a few on here) do a search on franchises online, get the details on one you like, and then open up shop. And before you get all offended I have done this. Just not in Clarke because the demographics would not support the corporation granting permission. If you want your cheeseburger then get off the computer and “build it”. It’s so easy to tell others what to do with their money but not so easy to part with your own. I know first hand. So, how long before I can supersize my fries in Berryville??? Anyone??

    • StoneBroke says:

      Why are you so blind-sided by googling what it cost to run a franchise? What makes you think that the small corner lot at Waterloo can handle a Fast Food restaraunt and Rt. 7 and Rt. 340 can’t. And yes there has been Fast food chains taht have inquired about land in Clarke County. Guess what the answer to their inquire was? This land that your looking into falls under the Historical Zoning commission. So just keep the eyesore of an old building falling to the ground or overgrown thistles! That is real attractive too!

      • livein22611 says:

        Where do you think the money for these businesses would come from? Any growth around here would come from locally owned small businesses. Or do you think Target is just waiting for a change in the BOS before they build a SuperTarget here in Clarke? Just don’t hold your breath on that one. I just don’t like the attitude of “who cares where the money comes from or if it’s a successful business, I just want my drive-through cheeseburger”. Of course it’s easy to just sit back and tell everyone else what needs to be done. That’s the best way to create change!

        • I don’t think you understand what people are talking about when they talk about growth. It seems to me that the people of Clarke County are upset about the business’s we have that don’t meet their needs. People need business’s to accomodate their needs and schedules and the locally owned business’s don’t provide that. So take a look around. We need a Pharmacy that stays open later than 5pm. We need a Florist Shop that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg. We need a place to grab a quick bite to eat after 9pm. Things that are of convenience–that is what we’re asking for. Not once have I heard anyone remotely say anything about a Target,Wal-mart,or K-mart.

          Just understand what the people are saying before you post!

          • My 2 Cents... says:

            Personally I’d love a CVS or Walgreens….

          • Exactly! And again, whatever is built does not have to be right in town. It seems some are stuck on thinking we are going to get new business right in the center of town and it is going to spoil the small town charm. The most logical places would be close to major intersections in the county such as Route 7 and 340 ideally or Route 50 and 340 which still would be a hike for those that live in Berryville but at least we would be shopping within our own county. Either have a good bit of traffic passing through daily. It’s not like the Food Lion was required to blend in with the downtown architecture when it was built.

      • IF Clarke decides to start building Fast Food Joints and Gas stations at the 7 & 340 interchange that will end any trips that my family makes into Berryville.

        If Clarke and Berryville could support additional business it would be here and Clarke does not need strip malls.

        Please don’t do to Clarke County what has happened to Loudoun and Fredrick Counties.

        • My 2 Cents... says:

          Heck, well what are you driving into Berryville for? Thats quite ok. You go ahead and pour your money into Winchester or Loudoun instead…. You people are unreal!

  20. My 2 Cents... says:

    Hopefully sooner than we think! You would be the first one going through the drive-thru to get you a hot apple pie!

  21. I’ve been in and around Clarke County since the mid-60s. I truly see both sides of the conversation surrounding growth and change. Based on the posts here and elsewhere, I can see that some kind of change might be warranted; however, Clarke County has, historically, not been kind to outsiders trying to come into the county. At different times through the years, I have pointed out different parcels to folks who might have a commercial interest in them; however, every single time, I was told that Clarke County just makes it too difficult to get anything done. In essence, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, changes in the next 5 years or so.

    • StoneBroke says:

      You hit the nail right on the head! And who do you think has the power to make it difficult for anyone/anything coming into this County? The BOS! That is why change is needed to the BOS! I think we need to have a protest and rally (like in the Middle East) at the Gazeebo Downtown!

  22. I’ve been reading your post Mr. Clarke and you seem to want to favor one particular race. I don’t think that will get you the support you need. Time to back peddle.

    • My 2 Cents says:

      Where do u get that from?

      • Fly Swatter says:

        From the John Rector Friant article… Ridiculous

        rolandclarke says:
        Thursday February 24, 2011 at 11:23 am
        I agree to that mr.friant was a giant in the community,but what bothers me is why wont the city an county do the same for deserveing blacks also.care to comment.

        • River Watcher says:

          Oh my! I found his comment rude, tasteless, inappropriate and inconsiderate. Hes going to need a backhoe soon for that hole he is digging.

          I believe Mr. Fraint took action and served our Community with pride, that’s why he gets the respect he earned it.

        • A Neighbor says:

          Not only does Mr. Clarke inject race into a situation which in no way involves race … he dishonors the memory of Mr. Friant and insults his surviving family. Mr. Clarke is a polarizing influence — that’s not always a good thing. Is one of your grand ideas to bring big city poilitics and business to Berryville — I’m sure the $1900/month fully-loaded Escalades will be right behind it. Just go away trouble maker.
          Thank you Fly Swatter for showing his true colors. Nicely Done!

        • Well there goes my support. I support his stance on (limited) growth for the county by way of new business to beef up the tax base but I won’t tolerate any candidate that is hung up on one particular race. True equality begins with acceptance of everyone, not through attempts to polarize or segregate by bringing one’s race into every discussion or even creating special events or rememberances that are exclusive to only one race.

          The search for viable candidates continues…

      • Just in this artical there are at least four or five referrnces to either African-American or black communities. Not once does the artical mention any “other” communities. Hey news flash, there is just one community! If he is going to sound like Liggins, I don’t want him representing me.

    • Agreed he does have race issues. My favorite comment was from this letter to the editor that he wrote to [redacted]

      Finally, speak out when you see inequality. Question all wrongdoing. I fear a lackadaisical populace is doomed to return to slavery.

      Talk about nonsense and political rhetoric. In the letter to the editor Mr. Clarke also has a significant problem with people that have a different view point from his. Mr. Roland Clarke believes in BIG Government and that is not going to work here.

  23. Wow guys. I get that we are here to voice our opinions but how about commending this man for the courage to get out there and even THINK about voting.
    You all act like children sometimes.
    Now, why I certainly don’t agree with everything he stands for in his platform, I at least have the class not to bash.
    That rhymed, unintentionally.

  24. Oops. Sorry.
    “… and even think about RUNNING.”

  25. Not once in this article did I down anybody, that was not my intention. I simply wanted to convey a snapshot of my ideas on how to improve opportunities in this county. I apologize for those of you who think this is a racial issue because it is not. I would like to see this community grow as a whole and I know that many African American & other minorities aren’t involved in politics. The reason why race and pastors were mentioned is because I know that people of color tend to value what is said in church. I have noticed the lack of political action in minorities & want them to be encouraged in the political process. This article & my statements were not to offend anyone. When I say “my community” I mean everyone as a whole, not just African Americans. I want them to be encouraged to vote & be part of the political process, and churches are a great place where minorities go to obtain information about things beyond religion. If elected I will represent everyone. Thank You.

  26. Not for nothin’ but something doesn’t seem “right” about Mr. Clarke’s posts. In some, the grammar and typos are all over the place … in others, like the one last evening, things are more in order and subdued. Does anyone know if Mr. Clarke is, in fact, the one actually posting under his name? If he is, it’s almost as if he has dual personalities.

    Like I said, to me, it could be nothing but something just doesn’t feel right.

  27. A few thoughts on economic development:

    There seem to be two issues here — the lack of retail outlets and the desire for name-brand retailers. The real drawback to shopping elsewhere is not the drive. I mean, really, is 10-20 minutes really that big a deal? The real drawback is the loss of sales tax revenue to Frederick, Warren, and Loudoun Counties. As for, name brand retailers, they follow population density. You can wish for a CVS or a Starbucks or a Harris Teeter all you want, but without a significant (and I do mean significant) increase in Town and County population, it’s never going to arrive. Purcellville was at more than 5,000 before the Giant opened and almost 8,000 before the Harris Teeter began construction. Same sort of thing is true with Stephens City. Without that kind of explosive growth, name brand retail is only likely from franchises and new retail will come only from local entrepreneurs (either through franchises or new start-ups).

    That kind of growth doesn’t come without significant costs. There’s a reason Fairfax County had a tax rate of $1.75 during the height of its building boom and Loudoun County taxes have gone up almost every year for the past decade. The property taxes on those new houses don’t cover the cost of the services necessary to support the new residents. There is a wonderful case study on the costs of unbridled growth produced by Loudoun County Supervisor, Jim Burton. I highly recommend it: http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=312&fmpath=/Press%20Releases/Supervisor%20Burton/Presentations . Given the trouble we had finding a site for a new high school, imagine how hard it would be to do the same for all the other necessary facilities to support an expanded population. I mean sure it would be nice to have a landfill or transfer station on the east side of the County, but who’s going to want that in their backyard and how much would it cost to condemn and build such a facility.

    Clearly, there are some divisions between those who welcome suburbanization, those who want things to stay the same, and those who fall somewhere in the middle. There are costs and benefits associated with all those outcomes, but there also needs to be a sense of recognition about what’s possible and what isn’t. I, for one, would welcome some type of facilitated community visioning effort for the County and the Towns. I believe that there are a number of grant programs (both private and public)available for that sort of thing. Maybe that’s the next step for creating a less divided community.