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topical alert
Former Cave Spring star J.J. Redick retires from the NBA

He was a high school All-American at Cave Spring.

He was a two-time national college player of the year at Duke.

He was a first-round draft pick.

He has played in the NBA for 15 years.

But J.J. Redick, one of the greatest athletes in Timesland history, is now ready to walk off the basketball court.

Redick, 37, announced his retirement from the NBA on Tuesday in a six-minute video he posted on Twitter.

“I know it’s time,” Redick, who is married with two children, said in the video. “It’s time for me to be a dad. It’s time for me to reflect, pause, and it’s time for me to get ready for the next phase of my life.

“It’s a little bit of a bittersweet day.”

Redick reflected on his Roanoke roots in the video.

“It was 30 years ago this month that my family moved to Roanoke, Virginia, on Lost Mountain Road,” he said in the video. “My dad immediately put up a hoop for me and my older sisters to play on. It was on that court that my basketball dreams began to take shape. It was an uneven patch of dirt, gravel and grass, and as a 7-year-old boy I dreamed of playing at Duke. As I got older, I dreamed of playing the NBA.

“The last 30 years of basketball have been beyond my wildest dreams. I never could have imagined that I would have played basketball for this long. After years of youth leagues, AAU, high school basketball, four years at Duke and 15 years in the NBA, I’m retiring from the game that I love so much.”

Redick, who was chosen by Orlando with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, played for six teams in his NBA career. He ranks 15th in NBA history with 1,950 career 3-pointers.

“I will miss the competition,” Redick said in the video. “I will miss the routine. I will miss the thrill of playing in front of 20,000 screaming fans. And I’ll miss the camaraderie that comes from playing a team sport.”

Redick has been a free agent this summer.

“I wanted to give myself some time to reflect and figure out if I wanted to keep playing. It’s one of the reasons that I told teams that called during free agency that I would decide later on,” he said in the video. “I didn’t want to commit to anything until I was sure. Well, I have some clarity now.”

Redick signed a two-year contract with New Orleans in the summer of 2019. He averaged 15.2 points, 3.0 3-pointers and 26.4 minutes in 60 games in the 2019-20 season, when he shot 45.3% from 3-point range.

But he was plagued by a heel injury last season. He was traded from also-ran New Orleans to playoff hopeful Dallas in March. He averaged just 7.4 points, 1.5 3-pointers and 16.4 minutes in 44 games with New Orleans and Dallas combined last season, when he shot only 37.1% from 3-point range.

“Going into last season, I wanted it to be my last year but wasn’t sure how the season would play out,” he said in the video. “It was difficult for a number of reasons — being injured, being away from my family [in Brooklyn, New York], COVID protocols and really, truly not playing up to my standards.

“I would like to describe last season as a seven-month exercise in coming face to face with my own athletic mortality. And it was scary and confusing.”

Redick thanked coaches from his Roanoke years during Tuesday’s video, including his former AAU coaches.

“I want to thank my first AAU coaches — Delmar Irving, Keith Haynes and Dick Wall. You guys instilled a sense of toughness, competitiveness and discipline in me,” he said.

Redick also thanked Boo Williams, who became his AAU coach after Redick left the Roanoke Jaguars for Williams’ Hampton-based team.

He also thanked his former Cave Spring High School coaches in the video.

“I want to thank … Billy Hicks and Chris Morris at Cave Spring for pushing me every day and keeping me level-headed,” Redick said.

Redick, a three-time Timesland boys basketball player of the year, scored 43 points in the 2002 Group AAA final to lead Cave Spring to its first state boys basketball title.

“[Winning that title] was something that I had always dreamed of doing since the time I moved to Roanoke,” Redick told The Roanoke Times in a 2009 interview. “I remember shooting in the back yard, dreaming of playing in a state championship.”

Redick remains the most highly decorated player in Roanoke prep basketball history. He became the leading scorer in Group AAA history with 2,214 points; broke state tournament scoring marks; and was named the most valuable player of the McDonald’s All-American Game at Madison Square Garden.

Redick then scored a school-record 2,769 points and made a school-record 457 3-pointers in his Duke career. He became the ACC’s career scoring leader and the NCAA’s career 3-point king, although he has since been eclipsed on both lists.

He thanked Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in the video, as well as those who helped him during his NBA career. He also thanked his parents, siblings and wife.

“I started dating my wife, Chelsea, in September of 2008. … I was fighting for my place in the NBA,” he said. “I was unsure if I even had a future playing in the highest level of basketball. But over the last 13 years, she’s been my best friend.

“I’m looking forward to helping more with school drop-offs, meal planning and the boys’ bedtime routine.”

Redick averaged 12.8 points and scored 12,028 points in 940 NBA regular-season games. He had career averages of 41.5% from 3-point range and 89.2% from the free-throw line.

He made the playoffs in each of his first 13 pro seasons, helping Orlando make the NBA Finals in 2009.

“When people ask me what will I sort of miss most and what will I appreciate most about my career, I can honestly say it will be the relationships I’ve built and the moments I’ve had with my teammates, the moments I’ve had competing against my peers,” Redick said in the video.

He averaged just 4.1 points in his second NBA season but worked hard to become an NBA standout.

Redick averaged 10.1 points in his fifth NBA season, beginning a string of 10 straight seasons in which he averaged double figures in points.

He was traded from also-ran Orlando to playoff hopeful Milwaukee in February 2013, then signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 2013.

He averaged 16.4 points for the Clippers in the 2014-15 season, when he shot 47.7% from the field, 43.7% from 3-point range and 90.1% from the free-throw line.

Redick averaged 16.3 points and shot a league-high 47.5% from 3-point range in the 2015-16 season, when he shot 48% from the field and 88.8% from the free-throw line. It was the third straight year that Redick improved his 3-point field-goal percentage from the season before and the fourth straight year he improved his field-goal percentage from the year before.

He made 200 3-pointers in each of those two seasons, becoming the 13th player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-pointers in multiple seasons.

He signed with Philadelphia as a free agent in the summer of 2017. He averaged 17.1 points in his first year with the 76ers. He averaged 18.1 points and sank 240 3-pointers in his second year with the team.

In a 2016 interview with The Roanoke Times, Redick credited his improved shooting to the extra work he devoted to shooting.

His work ethic had been developed in Roanoke.

“Being the middle child of five, we all pushed ourselves growing up,” Redick told The Roanoke Times in 2016. “My dad, he kind of set the tone … of kind of putting your … proverbial hard hat on and going to work and doing your job. I take my job and my craft pretty seriously.”

Redick also announced his retirement Tuesday on his podcast, “The Old Man & the Three.”


Local
WEATHER JOURNAL
Weather Journal: Autumn arrives in Southwest Virginia with a flourish

Most seasons arrive meekly. Autumn 2021 is roaring in loud

and proud.

A vigorous upper-level low, a strong Canadian cold front, upslope flow against the mountains and remnant moisture from what was once Hurricane Nicholas are converging for a rainy, breezy, possibly stormy passage from summer to autumn, as the autumnal equinox makes the calendar turn official at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday.

A flash flood watch continues until midday Wednesday, and there is at least some risk of locally strong to severe thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening with turning winds aloft, although instability will be limited.

The shift of air masses will be stark.

The stickiness of late summer that hung on through this past weekend will be replaced by crisp mornings in the 40s on Friday and Saturday with low-humidity high temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

There will be no question that fall has arrived. (It’s been fall on the meteorological calendar for three weeks already, since the start of September.)

The broad atmospheric pattern, with high pressure across western North America and dipping jet stream trough in the East, suggests near normal to somewhat below normal early fall temperatures will have staying power with a couple of reinforcing shots of cooler air through the end of the month and into early October.

We may flirt with frost in outlying areas if a clear, calm especially cool morning develops behind a cold front in the next couple of weeks.

To be clear, we’re not done with some highs in the 80s, but there’s a good chance we’ve seen our last 90s of 2021. Only 79 days after Sept. 23 in almost 110 years of data have reached 90 or above at Roanoke, or an average of less than one day per year.

Most years that have 90s in late September or October are the result of a summer weather pattern that never fully lets go. We’re getting a clean break from summer with this week’s sweeping cold front.

One possible fly in the ointment for what looks like a fairly long period of cool to mild temperature and many dry days, wonderful for outdoor activities, is that depending on exactly how the trough sets up in eastern U.S., it is possible a tropical system could get pulled northward into the eastern Gulf of Mexico or along the Eastern Seaboard during this period.

The tropical Atlantic already has reached its R name and appears likely to go through the alphabetical list into the supplementary list for a second straight year — now a new list of names, not Greek letters as in the past.

Hurricane Nicholas made landfall more than a week ago in Texas, but yet, we’ve been dealing with some of its leftover moisture with the current rainfall. That would make Nicholas the 11th named tropical system in two years, and fourth this year, to have a direct effect on our region.

As has been expressed here times before, autumn is largely about the push and pull between the tundra and the tropics.

Cooler air sweeping down from the tundra across the central and eastern U.S. is putting an end to summer stickiness, but the tropical Atlantic may yet inject a round or two more of its own brand of stickiness as autumn continues.

We are making the transition from sweating to sweaters pretty dramatically this week, but there may yet be some twists and turns before we starting needing coats.

Weather Journal appears on Wednesdays.

Contact Kevin Myatt at kevin.myatt@roanoke.com. Follow him on Twitter @kevinmyattwx.


Govt-and-politics
Expecting the worst, Roanoke County instead finds itself with $14 million surplus - and more

An extensive, expensive list of government projects needs catching up with, but Roanoke County officials said an almost $14 million surplus, plus millions in federal coronavirus relief money, will help fill some of those gaps.

When the coronavirus outbreak began nationwide in early 2020, the county planned for the worst of economic impacts. Officials slashed the county’s operating budget, laid off part-time employees and deferred many planned projects, anticipating a severe financial downturn.

“We had no way of knowing what the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be,” said Finance Director Laurie Gearheart. “The economy has performed better than anyone predicted, which has led us to significant available funds.”

Local tax revenue was expected to decline during the 2020-21 government year, which ended in June. But the county wound up collecting about $11.5 million more tax money than planned, documents show.

“We’ve been blessed to perform better than we have expected,” said Jason Peters, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors. “There is a windfall here.”

Personal property tax collections were $4.4 million higher than budgeted, owed largely to the fact that many used vehicles appreciated in value in 2020, said Assistant County Administrator Richard Caywood. Sales tax revenue came in almost $1.7 million over expectations, and real estate tax collections were $1.3 million over estimates, according to county documents.

Combined with some operational savings, the county wound up with nearly $14 million in surplus funds when the 2021 government year ended, documents show.

Further bolstering the county coffers are funds from federal coronavirus relief programs, including the first half of $18 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The extra money is fortunate, officials said, because there exists in Roanoke County a laundry list of unfunded requests and outstanding projects.

More than $3 million worth of new fire trucks, garbage trucks and ambulances are needed, a combined $2.5 million of air conditioning updates are requested between more than one facility, and the county’s cyber security system needs a $500,000 upgrade, among dozens of other various needs and requests, documents show.

Those requests, some as small as $6,300, all add up. Combined, the lingering needs of the county government total about $30 million, estimated Assistant County Administrator Rebecca Owens.

The supervisors were briefed on the surplus during its meeting Tuesday afternoon, and more updates on that extra year-end money are expected in October. Supervisors are simultaneously discussing with staff how to spend the money from ARPA.

“We need to be looking at citizen-forward services,” Peters said. “I mean police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, trash trucks — everything we need to service our citizens.”

Peters said there should be no rush to make decisions on where the surplus money will be spent. Those funds do not need to be allocated until December, officials said.

“While we have this windfall, we need to be very strategic,” Peters said.

Supervisor Paul Mahoney said some relief should be returned to county citizens. Peters and Vice Chairman David Radford agreed, though the board acknowledged there might exist complications with state tax law.

“Yes, we can use some of this windfall for critical capital projects like fire engines, garbage trucks and police cars,” Mahoney said. “But I think our citizens would like to see a little bit of this, also.”


National
House OKs gov't funding plan

WASHINGTON — The House voted Tuesday night to fund the government into early December, suspend the federal debt limit and provide disaster and refugee aid, setting up a high-stakes showdown with Republicans who oppose the package despite the prospects of a looming fiscal crisis.

The Democratic-led House passed the measure by a vote of 220-211, strictly along party lines. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to falter because of overwhelming GOP opposition.

The federal government faces a shutdown if funding stops on Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, midnight next Thursday. Additionally, at some point in October the U.S. risks defaulting on its accumulated debt load if its borrowing limits are not waived or adjusted.

“Our country will suffer greatly if we do not act now to stave off this unnecessary and preventable crisis,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said shortly before the vote.

The package approved Tuesday would provide stopgap money to keep the government funded to Dec. 3 and extend borrowing authority through the end of 2022. It includes $28.6 billion in disaster relief for the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and other extreme weather events, and $6.3 billion to support Afghanistan evacuees in the fallout from the end of the 20-year war.

While suspending the debt ceiling allows the government to meet financial obligations already incurred, Republicans argued it would also facilitate a spending binge in the months ahead.

“I will not support signing a blank check as this majority is advancing the most reckless expansion of government in generations,” said Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa.

Backed by the White House, Democratic congressional leaders pushed ahead at a time of great uncertainty in Congress. Democrats are also trying to gather support for President Joe Biden’s broad “build back better” agenda, which would have a price tag of up to $3.5 trillion over 10 years.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he was not about to help pay off past debts when Biden was about to pile on more. He said since Democrats control the White House and Congress, it’s their problem to find the votes.

“The debt ceiling will be raised as it always should be, but it will be raised by the Democrats,” McConnell said.

In the 50-50 Senate, Democrats will be hard-pressed to find 10 Republicans to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster.

“This is playing with fire,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The Treasury Department has been using “extraordinary measures” to fund the government since the last debt limit suspension expired July 31, and projects that at some point next month will run out cash reserves. Then, it will have to rely on incoming receipts to pay its obligations, now at $28.4 trillion. That could force the Treasury to delay or miss payments, a devastating situation.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, warned if lawmakers allow a federal debt default “this economic scenario is cataclysmic.”

In a report being circulated by Democrats, Zandi warned that a potential downturn from government funding cutbacks would cost 6 million jobs and stock market losses would wipe out $15 trillion of household wealth.

Once a routine matter, raising the debt ceiling has become a political weapon of choice for Republicans in Washington ever since the 2011 arrival of tea party lawmakers who refused to allow the increase. At the time, they argued against more spending and the standoff triggered a fiscal crisis.

Echoing that strategy, McConnell is refusing to provide Republican votes, even though he also relied on Democratic votes help raise the debt ceiling when his party had the majority. He explained his current thinking to senators during a private lunch Tuesday.

Still, some GOP senators might have a tough time voting no.

Republican John Kennedy of Louisiana, whose state was battered by the hurricane and who is up for election next year, said he will likely vote for the increase. “My people desperately need the help,” he said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that “in our view, this should not be a controversial vote.” Psaki said Congress has raised the debt ceiling numerous times on a bipartisan basis, including three times under President Donald Trump.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, was forced to introduce another version of the bill Tuesday after some within the Democratic caucus objected to the inclusion of $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which uses missiles to intercept short-range rockets fired into the country.

The Israel defense issue splits Democrats, but DeLauro assured colleagues that money for the weapons system would be included in the annual defense spending bill for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Hoyer went a step further and said he would bring a bill to the floor this week to replenish the Iron Dome system.

Republicans were highly critical of the change and vowed to stand as allies with Israel.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Democrats were negotiating among themselves over Biden’s big “build back better” package as the price tag likely slips to win over skeptical centrist lawmakers who view it as too much.

Publicly, the White House has remained confident the legislation will pass soon, despite sharp differences among progressives and moderates in the party over the eventual size of the package and a companion $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

There has been a flurry of outreach from the White House to Democrats on Capitol Hill, and Biden himself was given a call sheet of lawmakers to cajole, even though his week was dominated by foreign policy, including his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Biden’s big initiative touches almost all aspects of Americans’ lives. It would impose tax hikes on corporations and wealthy Americans earning beyond $400,000 a year and plow that money back into federal programs for young and old. It would increase and expand government health, education and family support programs for households, children and seniors, and boost environmental infrastructure programs to fight climate change.


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