Friday, March 30, 2012

A Special Anouncement and Poem of the Week

Overcome with modesty, I've decided to run one of my poems (about spring) this week as the Biscuit City Poem of the Week.  Congratulations to me for being chosen. By me. Well, enough of that!

I also want to announce that Biscuit City will be taking next week off for Spring Break. The Biscuit City staff will be spending the time together at the Biscuit City Condo Complex just outside Biscuit City, Florida, located on the Gulf Coast. If you're in the area, drop in and meet some of the folks who seem to exist only on paper, on the airwaves or in a world of fantasy. If they're not golfing, you might have a chance to rub elbows with Biscuit City Chief of Staff Molly Bolt or her counterpart, Harrison Bergeron of MB & HB Enterprises, which is a proud sponsor of the "Extra Gravy" segment of the Biscuit City Network . Or join us for happy hour overlooking the beach and sunset every evening on the Grand Verandah.  Cash bar, please and formal attire required.

Biscuit City will return April 9 at its usual location. Until then, be safe, be well and call when you get there.

Now to the Poem of the Week:
Three Songs for an Early Spring


Four cycle engines that once roamed the great grasslands
Migrated north last fall, herding  leaves ,
Singing high pitched leaf herding songs.

In the frozen north, they animated snow machines
Flying over the packed accumulation
Leaving a few behind to clear snow
In the mid-Atlantic.

Toward early spring they moved south in vast herds
Churning through flat grasslands
Arriving at last at the place they left from
Roaring their triumph over the leaves of grass
Sounding their  barbaric yawp over the earth.

They  would have made Whitman proud
Were he not sleeping under the grass himself.


Today the great white yard waste trucks growled and snorted
Distantly all through the morning and afternoon hours
Their handlers gathering sticks and branches and leaves and grass
Offered by residents as tribute to the new season.

The truck in turn pulled to the curb in front of my house
And took all my yard waste.

I felt gratitude and relief that my offering had been accepted
By the great white behemoth.

Like Moby Dick, these monsters of the street
Live in our dreams, haunt our nightmares, fuel our obsessions,
Are the color of ambiguity, the color of purity,
The color of cleanliness,  the color of

 No one gets out of this life


My mother said that as a gardener I made a pretty good reader.
And so I said that sounded good and went inside to practice my
While she taught plants to thrive.

Now I am a writer of sorts
Inside most of the time

But today I’m outside
Sowing ideas
Editing flower beds
Revising shrubbery structures
Punching up piles of leaves
Readying all for a spring publication of thought and whimsey
And maybe even a plant or two.

Dan Verner

Monday, March 26, 2012

An Occasion to Remember

A few weeks ago, I visited with Doug Burroughs, the owner and operator of Flower Gallery Florist in the Manaport Shopping Center in Manassas.*  Doug was presiding over a celebration of the shop's 37 years in the business, and I found him standing at the flower preparation counter he seems to frequent when I am there, greeting customers, answering questions and arranging flowers. 

Doug's shop was packed with not only beautiful flowers but also furnishings for the home and apparel, cards, wine, chocolate and some other things I might have missed. Crowds of shoppers, mostly women, surged through the aisles of the store, which, with its banks of exotic flowers of all shades and colors, looked like a locale in which Stanley might have been comfortable finding Livingston. The shoppers to a person looked like they were having a great time.

The shoppers seem to unconsciously work together with Doug and the staff and the setting to create a kind of culture of the Flower Gallery, one of elegance and service, warmth and caring that accounts for the success of the shop. Doug noted that his staff was "everything" in creating the culture. Many of them have been with Doug and the Flower Gallery for decades, and they are friendly and knowledgeable. 

I can testify personally that when an occasion calls for flowers and I visit the shop, I don't get twenty feet into the store where (much like Rice's Hardware) I am given a friendly greeting by a FG employee and asked how I can be helped. And they mean it. The smiling ladies help me make a selection (because I have a typical guy's knowledge of flowers, color and flower arrangement which is to say little to non-existent), bring it to me or write up an order for delivery, efficiently handle the checkout process, hand me my receipt, thank me for my business and invite me to return again soon. 

I don't go to Flower Gallery as often as Becky does,but I am always warmly greeted when I visit. 

Doug loves his customers, noting that he always gets to talk to interesting people. "I am a lucky man because I am able to get up every morning and come in to do what I love to do. I care about the people who come to this store and they care about me. It has been a great 37 years! I have been privileged to work with friends and work for friends whom I care about and who care about me in a small town atmosphere. I look forward to another 37 years!" Let's hope Doug gets what he wants and deserves with that!

A bonus Biscuit City read with more about Doug and the Flower Gallery and the flower business adapted from an earlier article:

A while back, I read a book called Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay. Karsada and Lindsay see large international airports as the nucleus and impetus for new urban centers, like the Route 28 corridor near Dulles, just as rivers and railroad junctions created urban areas before. They’re a little too overenthusiastic about living near an airport for my taste, but they do make a good case that the (relative) economy of big jets, the hub-and-spoke system of air routes and the rise of fast delivery and just-in-time supply have all led to a new economy.

One of the most interesting chapters in the book was the one on the Aalsmeer Flower Auction in the Netherlands located near the Schipol Airport.  The auction is housed in the third largest building in terms of floor space in the world, with 10.6 million square feet under roof. 48 million plants and flowers  pass through each day from Europe and Africa with a value of 16 million Euros.  Each year, FloraHolland (which runs the auction) sells over 12 billion flowers.  Since it’s an auction, buyers have to bid quickly on lots of flowers. The auction runs from 6 AM until 11 AM and most of the flowers are put on jets to be flown all over the world.

The book didn’t say much about how the flowers got to floral shops once they were placed aboard the aircraft, so I talked to the go-to florist in Manassas, Doug Burroughs of the Flower Gallery.  Doug, who with this wife acquired the shop when he was 19 years old, has been doing business for thirty seven years. He started out delivering flowers for a florist in Fairfax during high school and learned the business in that shop.  The Flower Gallery is known for the quality of its merchandise and service.

Doug told me that he could have two buyers at the auction in Amsterdam and at similar auctions in Colombia and Ecuador, although a 15% tax has been slapped on imports from South America because of a trade bill that didn’t pass. He orders his  flowers from three distributors who take care of  buying at auction.  Roses come from Israel and Kenya; lilies are available from Ecuador and chrysanthemums from Columbia, among other flowers.  From being cut to being stored in the Flower gallery refrigerator takes four or five days. The flowers and plants come through Miami or New York—Doug says Miami is preferable because there is not a problem with cold weather.  They then proceed by refrigerated truck to Manassas.

Doug also uses domestic “niche growers” who provide snapdragons from Florida and tulips from a greenhouse in Trenton New Jersey ten months out of the year.  The blossoms are placed in water and arrive for sale within 48 hours.

Doug noted that the variety of flowers available to him has increased over the years, to the point that carnations which once came in two colors are now available in 27 shades of purple alone.
Flowers from his shop last 7 to 10 days and even longer. He credits the longevity of the blooms to the handling of flowers all along the line.  The key, he says, is cleanliness. Bacteria are the enemy of flowers, so containers, tools and storage spaces are kept immaculately clean. In fact, Doug advises that it’s not a good idea to place flowers in refrigerators with food since gases given off  by food can harm the blooms.

Doug Burroughs’ Flower Gallery received the Tele Flora Award this year as the number 46 shop out of 20,000.  He credits his loyal customers and staff for his continued success.  “Flowers are incredibly important to people,” he said. “I tell my drivers (not to be morbid about it) that the bouquets they deliver could be the last arrangement that person receives.  We never know, so we’re careful with all of them.”

I know I am looking at cut flowers with a new-found respect.  Although I have a brown thumb, I admire anyone who can bring such beauty to all of us, whether they grow them locally or are responsible like Doug Burroughs for making sure they travel thousands of miles and arrive in good shape to brighten our lives, comfort us or remind us of the natural world. 

* The shopping center was so named because it was the site of the original Manassas Airport opened about 1935, and operated by the Town of Manassas from 1945 until 1964 when flight operations were moved to their present location south of the City of Manassas. No kidding. For more information, visit

A Center for the Arts

I've been thinking lately that Manassas is quickly becoming a center for the arts. We've been headed down this path for some time now, with the old Community Concert Association hosting artists at the local high schools to the conversion of the Candy Factory in downtown to a Center for the Arts to the opening of the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University. These are the big venues: there are also theater groups, choral groups, photography groups, art groups, dance troupes, book clubs of all sorts, and even a group for local writers, Write by the Rails, which I think should win a prize for the Best name for a Local Arts Group, not that I'm prejudiced (and a member of WbtR) or anything. (I have purposely not listed the arts groups by name so as not to leave anyone out. You know who you are. I would not want my front door decoupaged by the local crafts group just because I spelled their name wrong. Those craft groups will get you!)

 Anyhow, I was thinking about Manassas as a cultural Mecca this afternoon as I attended the Third Annual Recital to Celebrate the birthday of J. S. Bach. This event features local musicians and is quite the time. Here's the cover of the program:

The pieces were carefully selected, well-performed and widely varied. We had various forms popular with Herr Bach on the organ and then flutes and trumpet added for depth and effect. A string quarter from the Fairfax Symphony played beautifully and combined choirs sang the Crucifixius  from the Mass in b minor.

A nice reception followed, staged by the good folks at Trinity. Stuart Schadt and his congregation are among others making the ecumenical journey possible for the community right now. The church hosts the Lenten services each Wednesday during Lent. Kudos to Stuart and all the musicians and everyone else  who helped make this happen. It was grand and glorious. And as Herr Bach wrote on every piece of music he composed, "Soli Deo Gratia."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Biscuit City's Poem of the Week: "Lines" by Leigh Giza

Working with a longer form than her usual haiku, Leigh animates a evocative consideration of the simple line which resonates thorough various functions and situations. The result is a realistic and yet playful poem offering finely drawn and highly polished insights  into life and love.
I like a zig-zaggy one
Stitched on a Singer sewing machine
And one stroked boldly with a black Sharpie
On a sheet of bright white paper
Looooooong ones lead to the ladies’ room
Small ones of white powder lead nowhere, fast
Fill-in-the-blank lines give me test anxiety
I'd wait in line for days to meet Robert Plant
If only he'd ask me to
Telephone lines relay words across the sky
Ebony lines rim eyes that tell lies
I slipped and fell for a few oil-slick-slippery ones
And never wanted to get back up
I’ve drawn lines in the sand
Then watched the winds of change erase them
The worst line is the border that keeps us separated
The best is one I have yet to write

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On Reading: A Short Play

On Reading

Act the First

Me: Not reading makes me weird.

Unnamed Adult Daughter: And reading makes you weird as well. So.

Exeunt omnes.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Extra Gravy, a Feature of the Biscuit City Network, highlighting the Local Writer of the Week: Wendy Hornback Higgins


Good morning and welcome to Extra Gravy, a Harrison Bergeron Production coming to you from the glass-enclosed studios in Biscuit City, a wonderful magical land where all your dreams come true, everyone is intelligent and beautiful and has a ton of money! And it’s 72 degrees and sunny year ‘round. Our guest today is Wendy Higgins, novelist, mother, my Facebook friend, Gainesville resident, and author of Sweet Evil, a romance novel that will come out on May 1.

 Dan: Welcome, Wendy, to Extra Gravy, probably the world’s only virtual radio show that exists only in the mind of our readers.

Wendy: Why, thank you, Dan! I’m glad to be here.
Dan:  I first became aware of you as a writer when I read about your upcoming novel on your FB page. How exciting it must be to have a novel coming out!

Wendy: It’s a dream-come-true. I can still hardly believe it.

Dan: Is this your first novel? How did it come to be written?

Wendy: Yes, it’s my debut. It began three years ago when I felt like I wasn’t making the most of my life. I loved being a homemaker, but I missed working with teens as a teacher. So I sat down, said a prayer, started thinking about how much I used to enjoy writing stories, and voila! Seven weeks later my first draft was complete.

Dan: That’s some very fast composing!  I see you chose the romance novel form for your book. Why that genre? (I have to admit I read my first romance novel with Jolene Perry’s The Next Door Boys and loved it. I’m hooked on the romance novel!)

 Wendy: At the time I started writing, Teen/Young Adult fantasy romance stories were on the move, and still are. I am fascinated by angels and demons, and it was something I wanted to explore. And even though it’s fantasy, it’s ultimately a love story. A forbidden romance. I love that stuff. And on a side note, I love Jolene Perry!                                                                            

Dan: She was interviewed on Extra Gravy about a month ago. A terrific young woman and talent.

So, how did your book come to be published? That’s a challenge for any author.

Wendy: My road to publication was not traditional. I wanted feedback and critique from other writers, so I found an online community run by HarperCollins called Inkpop. (It’s since been sold to Inkpop was my target community of readers - people who enjoyed the YA genres. Along with giving one another feedback, we could vote for our favorite stories. Each month the site’s top five stories went to the editors at HarperCollins for a review. It was such an awesome opportunity. I made it to the top five in five weeks. After receiving my review, I was contacted by an editor at Harper’s Children with interest in the book. One other Inkpopper and I were offered contracts in this way. It’s still incredible to think about!

Dan: That is an incredible story and one that should be helpful to other writers out there.  The routes that writers take to publication are varied and wonderful. It’s not like the old days when you sent manuscripts off to about fifteen publishers and collected rejection letter after rejection letter. (Ask me how I know this.) Writers today are so much more sophisticated about finding outlets for their writing.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself. How did you learn to write, and who encouraged you?

Wendy: I’ve been writing stories since I learned to write. It’s not something anyone in my family did - I think my parents must have thought I was weird because I would hide away to read and write for hours. But they encouraged me. My mom always, always said that I would be a writer some day.

Dan: A common thread among writers seems to be that they read, read, read, and write, write, write. I know you were an English major and an English teacher (a noble major and a nobler profession, since I was both!). How did your major and experience teaching English influence your writing? (Dumb question, I know…)

Wendy: I actually majored in creative writing, so that was a great way to hone my skills and explore the beauty of words in a more thoughtful setting. As a teacher I was influenced by the lives and stories of my students - teens are so passionate about everything, and they’re on the brink of so many exciting discoveries - it’s a fascinating time, and I wanted to reach out to teens through my writing.

Dan: That’s so very cool!

Are you planning any public appearances in connection with your book? Please let us know times and dates so we can come have our copies autographed! (Mine is on pre-order at .)

Wendy: I would love to do signings or appearances of some sort, but nothing has been set-up yet. I plan to visit area bookstores in late March. So exciting!

Dan: By all means, do that! Barnes and Noble in Manassas and Books-a-Million in Potomac Mills both host book signings. I’m not sure what is involved, but they can tell you.  I hope we’ll be able to come to your book signings soon!

So, how does your husband Nathan regard your writing? Does he give you special treatment because you are a writer? (Nathan is one of the four Drs. Higgins associated with our church.  His father Bill is the Senior Pastor, and brother Bryan is a PhD and brother Andrew a dentist.)

Wendy: Nathan thinks I’m insane, ha ha. When I’m in “book mode” I’m completely flighty and preoccupied. He’s learned to see the signs and accept my quirks, though he teases me about it. He’s very excited for me, and he’s been super cool. He reads my final drafts to help me spot errors. I’m blessed to have him.

Dan:  That’s great! I’m the same way when I’m in “blog mode.”

You’re a stay-at-home mom, right? What’s a typical day like for you? When do you find the time to write?

Wendy: Time is my biggest challenge. My daughter is in kindergarten, and my son is in morning preschool three days a week. I most write at night after the children go to bed. Unfortunately this means no more lazy television nights with my hubby. I haven’t watched a grown-up TV show in three years. And when I’m deep in a writing frenzy, the house really suffers.

Dan: Yes. My home projects suffer as well. (I’ll be blogging about that on Monday.)

 I see you graduated from George Mason. Would you tell us about your time at Mason? (Go, Patriots!)

Wendy: I transferred to Mason after three semesters at Longwood. I guess I was homesick. I lived on campus one year and was a commuter student the rest of the time. I enjoyed my time at GMU, although it took me forever to graduate because I kept taking time off for silly things like becoming a flight attendant...

Dan: Oh? Can you tell us about how that worked out for you?

Wendy: It was a short-lived venture, only about three months, while I was twenty-one. I was in a New Jersey apartment with seven other Continental flight attendants. We were broke, but it was a blast…until we had a fire and lost everything. Luckily we all got out, but it was the scariest night of my life. I took it as a sign that I needed to get myself back in school and quit playing around.

Dan: Oh, my! What a story! You could incorporate that awful experience into a novel…if you’re not totally done with writing about or being a flight attendant.

So, you grew up in this area, right? What can you tell us about that?

Wendy: I was an Army brat, so I lived on several bases before coming to Virginia in seventh grade.  I’ve moved a bit since then, but I always come back. Virginia is home.

Dan: Well, we’re all glad you’re here and look forward to reading Sweet Evil when it comes out and having you autograph dozens of copies for your fans. I see their responses on Facebook to you and I’m sure that’s very affirming for you and also for writers and potential writers.

Thank you for sharing with us today, and thank you for being with us on Extra Gravy from the Biscuit City studios today. I wish you well with your writing. You’ve been a delightful guest.

We’d love to have you back sometime and we’ll look for your book. We hope you have many more in the chute! Much success to you, and please tell us how we can get the book.

Wendy: At this time, all I know for certain is that Sweet Evil will be available in paperback and eBook from any online bookseller on May 1st, and can be preordered on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Dan: …I have one final question. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? I would be a Brazilian rosewood tree because they are beautiful and their wood is used in high-end guitars.

Wendy: Er…um…hmm. I’m trying to think of short, emotional trees. J My favorites are weeping willows, and I think that’s fitting for me. So much can be hidden in their canopies, only to be seen by those who take the time to really look.

Dan:  Wow, a metaphor that is also a parable. You certainly are an English major! Take care and keep writing!

We’ve been talking with Wendy Higgins, novelist, wife, and local resident.

This has been the Local Writer of the Week feature, brought to you on the Extra Gravy show on the Biscuit City Network. The Local Writer of the Week is a Harrison Bergeron Production and is sponsored by Sweet Gravy Brand Biscuit Gravy. Want to pick up the taste of your morning biscuit? Pour some Sweet Gravy Brand Biscuit Gravy on it and dig in! Why have a bland old boring biscuit when you can have a dessert biscuit?  Life is uncertain—eat dessert first!

Made from 100% all-natural ingredients, Sweet Gravy Brand Biscuit Gravy combines the hearty meaty tastes of your favorite biscuit gravies with the sweet goodness of refined corn sugars. In fact, you can put Sweet Gravy Brand Biscuit Gravy on all your food and enjoy that honest to goodness sweet meaty taste in a saucy form. Pour it on peas, have it on pork, dress up a salad! Remember, when life turns sour and you need a sugar high, just pick up some Sweet Gravy Brand Biscuit Gravy, a fine product from the Molly Bolt family of fine foods and hardware products.  It’s not healthy, but, hey, what is these days? Do you want to eat roots and berries the rest of your life? I thought not!

Sweet Gravy Biscuit Gravy is available at better grocery stores and book sellers everywhere! That’s Sweet Gravy Brand Biscuit Gravy!  Get some! You’ll be so glad you did!

This is Dan Verner, bidding you a fond adieu from the glass-enclosed nerve center of the Biscuit City Network until next time when we’ll talk to another local writer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Andrew Byrd of Caton Merchant House: A Good Man Down

I would call what is going on at the Caton Merchant House assisted living facility in Manassas a tempest in a teapot except that while there is a storm going on, the matter is not tea-pot sized by any means and it is far too important to be thought of as small  It’s more the size of a can of worms, which Novant, the parent company of CMH (as I like to abbreviate it) has opened up for all of us.

My father has lived at CMH since late October of last year. We were most impressed with the facility out of the six or seven we considered. Everyone who had a relative or friend in the big building that sits at the corner of Sudley Road and Portner Avenue had a universally high opinion of the place, praising the kindness and competence of the staff, the level of care, the quality of the food and facilities. It has what my generation would call a good vibe.CMH was a quiet, calm, well-managed safe, warm and welcoming place. It didn’t feel institutional. It felt more like home.
My dad and I have gotten to know and love so many of the staff and residents and their families over these short few months, treasuring their broad smiles, cheery greetings and genuine interest in others.  They are Pam, Becky, Darlene, Mabel, Brenda, Rudy, and others I can’t put names with, the dining room workers, the nurses and CNA’s, the housekeepers, the maintenance guy who wears shorts all year round (it’s warm at CMH all the time in  more ways than one!) And there are the residents, friendly (most of them!) and content (most of the time!) and families, familiar to many of us. There are so many from our church that we say we could have a business meeting there! The residents look out for each other as well, I believe influenced by the behavior and attitudes of the staff, volunteers and visitors. I recently saw an elderly gentleman carefully guide  a lady with memory problems back to her room when she couldn’t remember how to get back on her own. It was beyond touching.

Such a warm, welcoming and well-run place is the result of not only the efforts of volunteers and staff: it’s a matter of leadership. And for the past several years that incredible and caring leadership has been provided by Andrew Byrd. We knew of Andrew and his formidable reputation not only as a caring and competent administrator but also as a person whose life was inextricably tied up with CMH. We didn’t know Andrew that well personally, but he was clearly everything that we had heard about him. 

Last week residents of CMH received the following letter from Melissa Robson, president of Prince William Hospital and COO of the Northern Virginia Market, whatever that is. I don’t know Ms. Robson and assume she is a nice person, but this letter was about the coldest piece of corporate rhetoric I have ever experienced:
Dear Resident and Family members:
I am informing you of a leadership change at CMH. Andrew Byrd, executive director, is no longer with our assisted living facility.
The rest of the letter contained some platitudes masquerading as information and named Mandy Dickinson as interim executive director. Mandy is an exceptionally competent and personable young lady and CMH is fortunate to have her but we all know she is an interim figure. Her successor will have his or her work cut out  for him or her.
The letter continues further down the page,
We look forward to continuing to serve your needs and provide you with a family atmosphere in our Eden Alternative facility (whatever that is).
Good luck on continuing the family atmosphere after a heartlessly letting the person most responsible for the family atmosphere go.

The reaction to this announcement has been strong and loud and long. On Sunday, Ellie Marshall, an angel who has helped dozens of the elderly in our community, was clearly upset and asked me to write a letter to the local newspaper protesting this decision. Ellie understands how important Andrew was to CMH and the importance of CMH not only to its residents and their families but also to our community as a place that provides for the needs and desires of all its residents, from cradle to grave.

Ellie was not alone in her disappointment and anger at Andrew’s dismissal. I talked yesterday with Mrs. Mae Merchant, whose husband Caton was a leading light in the community for many years before his death. The assisted living facility of course bears his name. Caton was instrumental in the startup of Prince William Hospital in 1964 and generously supported numerous philanthropic, community and religious initiatives through the years. The chapel at Manassas Baptist Church was a gift of his family following his death, as was Merchant Hall at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University.

Mrs. Merchant saw the loss of Andrew as “devastating to the City of Manassas and to the older members of the community and their families.” “Andrew,” she continued, “was wonderful. He loved, cared for and respected the people in the facility and those with whom he worked. A gem of a man, he was unselfish and treated all those at CMH with tender loving care.  He is one of a kind.”
Mrs. Merchant noted that her family tried to find a suitable place for her sister and first tried two highly respected nursing homes in Washington, D.C. before bringing her to CMH. “There was a difference there,” she remembered. “There she, as is the case with so many others, was at home.”

Andrew, ever community-oriented, worked with the Hearth and Home Senior Adult Day Care facility and assisted them at numerous points.

Mrs. Merchant was clearly distressed at the turn of events and feared that the change of leadership would change CMH for the worse and impact not only the residents and their families but the community as a whole.

These sentiments were echoed by the Rev. Robert Cilinski, Pastor of All Saints Roman Catholic Church in town. I encountered him in the parking lot of CMH with his father, a resident of the facility.I had not met him before, but I introduced myself and he quickly and graciously shared his thoughts and feelings.  He called Andrew’s departure “a tremendous loss” and observed that CMH was home for so many who don’t need that atmosphere to be threatened or changed. He wanted to make sure that Andrew was thanked for his years of exceptional service and that is important, but unfortunately, I believe thanking Andrew will be difficult for most since he departed so abruptly.
No one is talking about the reasons for Andrew’s departure, citing privacy concerns that are no doubt valid. In my experience these dismissals are rarely voluntary, but we simply don’t know. As a result we are left with speculation, rumor and gossip. It’s an unfortunate situation for all involved with no winners that I can see.

A source for this post attributed Andrew’s leaving to a conflict of culture between Andrew’s management style and philosophy and that of Novant. In a sense Novant won that round of the conflict, but I don’t think that truly there are any winners in the situation. We all—residents, families, members of the community and Andrew himself—are diminished by Novant’s decision. I hope and pray that we can learn from what has happened, stand up and ask the right hard questions, and look to learn from what has happened and work to ensure that a good man never goes down like this again.