In response to The Washington Post article...
Here's the short version -
I beg to differ with The Washington Post article on several points. First, the census statistic about high school diplomas printed in The Washington Post article was reported incorrectly. That was irritating.
Further, Rose Hill does have potential, worthy of both mention and investment. With hopes to gain many jobs in Rose Hill, local and regional leaders recently completed a new shell building in Rose Hill’s Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park, now served by fiber-optic Internet. In addition, eco-tourism and heritage tourism are growing sectors in our area. For example, nearby Wilderness Road State Park attracted over 138,000 visitors last year. Particularly with fiber-to-the-home now available, Rose Hill has potential for significant self-employment, small business, and entrepreneurial growth. Rose Hill residents are more likely than other U.S. residents to launch and operate a sole proprietorship. According to the census, in Rose Hill, 23% of the employed civilian labor force are self-employed workers in their own not incorporated business, in comparison to only 7% in the U.S. Rose Hill has produced successful entrepreneurs, including Pete DeBusk, whose company, DeRoyal Industries, Inc., employs over 2,000 people around the world. Today, residents in western Lee County are successfully embarking upon e-commerce. My personal favorite is www.roadkillbbqsauce.com, where you can fill up your online shopping cart with some of the area’s latest products. I heard they were featured on Japanese television.
Many Rose Hill residents desire and value education and training. While Connect Rose Hill project leaders had set a goal of attracting 80 computer/Internet training participants to Rose Hill Library’s new computer center, more than 450 participants showed up.
Finally, The Washington Post article incorrectly reported that Rose Hill is a town. Rose Hill is not a town. In my opinion, Rose Hill is most certainly a “hamlet,” which according to my 1959 Random House American College Dictionary, is “1. a small village. 2. a little cluster of houses in the country.”
Here's more detail -
High School Graduates Census Statistics Correction -
The Washington Post incorrectly quoted the census statistics. The statement, “About 71 percent of Lebanon’s residents have a high school diploma, compared with Rose Hill, where only 29 percent do, according to the census” is incorrect. A correct statement would be, “About 71 percent of Lebanon’s residents age 25 years and over have a high school diploma or higher, compared with Rose Hill, where about 48 percent do, according to the census.”
Another correct statement would be, “At least 51 percent of Lebanon’s residents have a high school diploma or higher, compared with Rose Hill, where at least 35 percent do, according to the census.” The U.S. Census Bureau’s Census 2000 reports: Lebanon’s population is 3,273. Lebanon’s population 25 years and over is 2,325. Among Lebanon’s population 25 years and over: 1,657 residents are a high school graduate (includes equivalency) or higher. Rose Hill CDP’s population is 714. Rose Hill CDP’s population 25 years and over is 528. Among Rose Hill CDP’s population 25 years and over: 253 residents are a high school graduate (includes equivalency) or higher.
The Desire for Many Jobs -
According to a recent Middlesboro Daily News (www.middlesborodailynews.com) article, “The shell building in Rose Hill’s Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park has finally been completed, and is ready for an industry to move into it.” The article provides a quote from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jonathan Belcher stating that, “…everyone would have to be ‘patient’ and the building won’t have ‘overnight success.’” The grand opening was held in early 2009. The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership are among the organizations working to market the industrial site. Property details about Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park are also available at www.YesVirginia.org.
Information about Rose Hill’s Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park is also available at www.rosehillvirginia.org. Information is presented in both in the website’s “Business and Industry” section and also in several of the website’s blog entries. The blog presents photos from the groundbreaking event in the March 26, 2008 post; of site preparation work in the June 12, 2008 post; and of the building while under construction in the August 17, 2008 post.
Eco- and Heritage Tourism Opportunities -
Rose Hill is located at the original site of Martin's Station which was at one time the westernmost fort. Today there is a replica of Martin's Station fort down the road less than 10 miles at Wilderness Road State Park. Wilderness Road State Park was mentioned in a recent Kingsport Times News article about Virginia State Parks and their economic impact. The article explained, "Park officials reach the economic impact funding based on an average of $75 spent per overnight visitor and an average of $16 per day use visitor. Wilderness Road State Park had 138,890 visitors and a $2.2 million impact in 2008.
Self-employment Among Rose Hill Residents -
Census statistics document that many Rose Hill residents are aspiring to achieve self-reliance through self-employment. According to the census, in Rose Hill CDP, a remarkable 23% of the employed civilian labor force are self-employed workers in their own not incorporated business, in comparison to only 9% in Lee County, 6% in Virginia, and 7% in the U.S.
Rose Hill Entrepreneurial Success -
Rose Hill also benefits from having a local role model entrepreneur, Pete DeBusk. Rose Hill’s primary private employer is DeRoyal Industries, Inc. The company’s founder was born and raised in Rose Hill and his company now employs over 2,000 worldwide, including two facilities in Rose Hill. Raised in Rose Hill, entrepreneur Pete DeBusk operates his international headquarters in nearby Tennessee. According to their website at www.deroyal.com, “Since 1973, DeRoyal has been a leader and an innovator in the healthcare industry. From our humble beginnings as a cottage industry, DeRoyal has grown into an international corporation with over 26 locations worldwide.” The company website mentions facilities in Estonia, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. The website further reports, “DeRoyal's success can be attributed in great measure to its owner and chairman, Autry O.V. "Pete" DeBusk. Pete was born and raised in Rose Hill, Virginia. Pete graduated from Thomas Walker High School in Rose Hill, received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee and attended graduate school at the University of Georgia. Pete began his career in 1965 as a pharmaceutical salesman for Hoechst Laboratories. In 1969, he joined Solar Laboratories as a regional sales manager. His education and experience led him to the development of his first company, Pete DeBusk and Associates in 1970. In 1973, Pete patented his first orthopedic product and founded STAT Medical. In 1976, DeRoyal Industries, Inc. was incorporated. Since that time, DeRoyal has grown to manufacture over 30,000 different medical and surgical supplies with over 2,000 employees.”
Many Rose Hill Residents Desire to Learn -
Both the USDA Community Connect guidelines and the Connect Rose Hill project leaders recognized the need for computer/Internet training. The project goal was for at least 80 residents to participate in a training workshop at the new computer center inside the library. Resident response to the training opportunities was fairly remarkable. Workshops began in June 2007 and by December 31, 2008, a total of 453 participants had attended 100 computer/Internet training workshops in the new Rose Hill Library computer center.
Held 19 times, the most popular workshop was Microsoft Word, which attracted 76 participants. Eight (8) Digital Photography workshops attracted 46 participants. Repeated workshops on Basic Keyboarding, Email Basics, and Navigating Internet Explorer were also well-attended. Each of those topics attracted over 20 total participants through 4-5 workshops. Other training workshops included Computer Basics, Using the Mouse, Library Home Page, Copy & Paste, Intermediate Email, Basic Games, and Burning CDs. The Virginia Electronic Commerce Technology Center conducted an e-commerce short course series, providing training on E-Commerce 101, How to Improve Your Website, and Internet Marketing.
Not a Town, But a Little Mountain Village, a Hamlet
The Washington Post article incorrectly refers to Rose Hill as a town. Rose Hill is not a town. Rose Hill is only a Census Designated Place (CDP), as defined by the U.S. Census. I like to call Rose Hill a “little mountain village,” although I can’t imagine that any of my Rose Hill neighbors would refer to Rose Hill as a “village.” A few call it “RoseVegas.” One of the locals called me a “resident tourist.” I like that term. It suits me well. In my own opinion, Rose Hill is also most certainly a “hamlet,” which according to my 1959 Random House American College Dictionary, is “1. a small village. 2. a little cluster of houses in the country.”