Page 12 - Salem Magazine Spring 2017
P. 12

 NEWSMAKERS
New Life for Valleydale
Thanks to developer Ed Walker, Salem’s historic Valleydale plant, that has been vacant since 2006, is destined for new use and life. While the exact plans for the plant are not known at this time, Walker has assembled a development team comprised of community-focused professionals and investors from Salem, Roanoke, and outside the region to transform the 81-year-old building.
“As with every project, we intend to be good stewards of the building, of its history, of this great company, of its former employees and good stewards for a bright future at Valleydale,” says Walker. “I would love to see some mixed uses that included light industry that would create some new jobs and bring workers back to Valleydale. It won’t be hot dogs, but hopefully there are some other light
industrial uses that would work well.”
Another ambitious entrepreneur helped
create the Valleydale brand and building back in the 1930s. Lynchburg meat packing executive Lorenz Neuhoff, Jr. wanted to build a plant in Salem
Walker along the railroad tracks on 8th Street in 1936. Newspaper reports at the time said construction began in March and was completed in August thanks to the diligence of 125 workers. It took over 100,000 bags of cement and 10 rail cars of lumber to
finish the 23,000 square foot facility.
“Let me be clear, we will be swinging for the fences with the Valleydale
project,” says Walker. “It’s a tough puzzle to figure out, and we can’t guarantee that we will be successful, but no team of people will try harder than the one that’s recently come together”.
Neuhoff added two additions to the building and in 1948 the name was officially changed to Valleydale Packers. Now, Walker, who is credited with singlehandedly transforming much of Downtown Roanoke, will attempt to put his stamp on Salem.
“By any measure Salem is clearly one of the very best small cities in the U.S.,” says Walker. “We are thrilled to have the unexpected opportunity to lend a hand in figuring out the Valleydale building’s next positive role in this strong community.”
Turning Type 1 into Type None
Salem Firefighter Dalton Baugess is the latest Type 1 diabetic with Salem connections to do his part to find a cure for the disease. Baugess, retired Salem School Division teacher Mary Lou Bruce and former Salem School Board Chair Sally Southard have all taken part in cutting-edge clinical trials in the past couple of years with the artificial pancreas.
The device is able to monitor and regulate blood sugar levels constantly with the help of Bluetooth technology and a smart phone. Baugess is the most recent of the three to take part in the trial.
“I’ve been in a fire when my blood sugar has dropped to the point that I’ve had to take stuff out of my pocket and eat it real quick to bring my blood sugar back up,” Baugess says. “I was wearing the device when we had the Mt. Regis fire in December and I never had any issues.”
Thanks to the positive outcomes that Baugess, Bruce and Southard have experienced during their trials, the Food and Drug Administration gave formal approval to the device in late 2016.
“Dalton was part of the clinical trials at the University of Virginia that led to last year’s FDA approval of the first-ever artificial pancreas and it will be on the market this year,” says Charlotte Kidd, Executive Director of the Greater Blue Ridge Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
For most, this is a life-changer, but for Baugess, it is a career-saver.
“In the past, if you had Type 1 diabetes you were done as a firefighter,” says John Prillaman, Salem Fire Chief. “The artificial pancreas has changed that. If we can keep his A1C levels where they need to be the National Fire Protection Association no longer deems that person to be a detriment to his coworkers in the heat of the battle. Dalton has been incredible with this and his ability to do this is big for firefighters everywhere.”
                                   The Valleydale building on 8th Street has been vacant since 2006. Ed Walker is working to bring the building back to life.
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