High Five – New River Valley Heft: Gaining Structure

From Bob GilesHigh Five from Handshake 2.0:

In the last High Five I suggested working on developing some kind of structure for the New River Valley, a chunk of land and water that many people seem to think can have a special dimension beyond those on a map.

They see the New River Valley and what is within it and in its history can be good for the people living within the boundary and border. Other regions have had such experience. “Why not this one?” they ask. “Maybe better than the others,” they suggest.

There are already many New River Valley-related organizations, including:

  1. New River Valley Planning District Commission
  2. Main Street Radford (e.g., related town and county groups)
  3. New River Valley Agency on Aging Advisory Council
  4. New River Valley Community Services
  5. New River Valley Economic Development Alliance
  6. New River Valley Development Corporation
  7. New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Board
  8. New River Valley Competitiveness Center
  9. New River Valley Development Corporation
  10. New River Valley Planning District Commission
  11. Multi-County and Town, Business & Economic Development officers
  12. Multi-County and Town Community Development staffs
  13. Virginia Economic Development Partnership

In the spirit of reducing over-worked leaders, reducing redundancy, increasing efficiency, reducing travel costs and energy use, and gaining synergism… maybe some of these can work together, merge, communicate, or share or pool resources.

I now doubt that Rural System will ever get started but I once thought it would be good for the Valley.

One part of it included developing a membership that gave those living in the Valley more than the joyful feeling of having a special mailing address. Citizens would sign up, pay a few bucks, and start getting some real benefits and access to where their talents, abilities, and knowledge could pay off for them and their Valley neighbors. (This may well be essential for the near regional economic future.)

Such a membership would include for them:

Substantial membership savings on

  • services of all cooperators of the system
  • savings on costs of events and tours
  • savings on purchases of outdoor clothing and boots
  • savings on outdoor equipment
  • savings on books
  • savings on costs of annual meeting


  1. A colored computer map of the Valley and the region
  2. Access to a unique web-site and a monthly newsletter, blog, and Internet options providing links and information about the region and the role of its organization within it
  3. Notices of special events and opportunities
  4. Within-Valley employment opportunity notices
  5. Special information about government programs and services available for land holding
  6. Access to a specialized tax reduction and wealth management center
  7. Access to a regional credit card program
  8. Access to prime rate group insurance
  9. A personal annual land valuation report
  10. Access to information about responsible land buyer, tenants, and Trusts
  11. Access to a caretaker for land if one "lives away"
  12. Reasonable pooled information about possible impacts of proposed development
  13. Notices of several occasional meetings each year
  14. Pooled or cooperative projects among internal groups and organizations
  15. Discounts on Avi course entrance fees (a new bird-watching sport)
  16. Discounts on several announced member tours a year
  17. Discounted registration at an annual meeting
  18. Discounts for entries to a specialized local and personal history project
  19. Priority access to land management consulting and management service
  20. Resource-management-improving and energy-saving hints
  21. An annual rebate (membership fee) or an award based on total profits
  22. Distinctive membership symbols (e.g., lapel pin, bandana, cap)
  23. Membership sign for display at property entrance.

I called it the New River Valley’s Heft (project/company/initiative/program/etc.)

I offer these suggestions as an opportunity to join other citizens throughout our area to allow the New River Valley to become one of the most linked social networks anywhere.

Definition: heft – something of great weight (physical or otherwise); to lift something heavy (perhaps to determine its weight) often

Added 12/23/08:  Bob Giles's thinking on this subject continues to evolve.  He has posted a revised and updated version of this post on his blog, The Survivalists:  Preparing for a Decent Tomorrow.

Robert H. Giles, Jr. writes High Five for Handshake 2.0, a technology business news and business blog service venture of Handshake Media, Incorporated, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks.  The opinions Robert Giles expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0 or its sponsors or advertisers. 

You can follow Robert H. Giles, Jr. on Twitter @Bob_Giles


Robert H. Giles, Jr. is a Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus with a vision for a rural land management system.  He writes two blogs, The Survivalists and Faunal Force. 

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  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  2. Alena
    Thanks very much. It is wonderful to have readers and to get acqualited with your website and business.

    Anne Clelland,(www.Handshake20.com) , is discovering new ways for small businesses to profit from blogs and Twitter.

    There is a large “small business” (or several) to be created among the ideas for the “heft” initiative. I’ll welcome further correspondence.

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