Warner Pitches Valley Tourism

6/27/05 – Staunton News Leader

Governor Stops at Braves Game By Ruth Jones/staff rjones@newsleader.com Gov. Warner waves his hat before tossing Sunday’s first pitch. STAUNTON —After a flurry of pictures and a presentation from the Virginia Baseball League, Gov. Mark Warner wound up and threw out the first pitch to Staunton Braves catcher Matt Bernstien, kicking off a game between the Staunton Braves and the Woodstock River Bandits. The crowd gathered at Gypsy Hill Park cheered Warner on as Bernstien successfully secured the pitch and then ran to give it back to him. Warner visited Staunton Sunday to promote Valley tourism. "It’s great to be in Staunton," Warner told the crowd. "It’s a great place to visit … you’re in a town that probably has the hottest mall downtown of any city in Virginia." Warner considers the city a model community and admires the efforts to revitalize the downtown area. "This is a lesson that a lot of communities all over the state need to learn," Warner said. He also talked about his interest in Staunton’s culture, like the Frontier Culture Museum and the promotion of Virginia artisans and craftspeople. Last December, Warner released Virginia Works, an economic development program for rural communities. The plan included the Virginia Artisan Initiative, a project to create two artisan retail centers, one near Staunton and one in southwest Virginia, where artisans can sell handmade items. "What I’ve tried to do as governor is promote tourism in southwest Virginia and western Virginia as well, and a lot of the efforts of the Virginia Works commission that I got before the legislature this year was focused just on that — promoting these venues in the western part of the state," he said. Warner’s next tourism stop will be in Raphine this morning, where he will bike from Wade’s Mill to Rockbridge Baths Volunteer Fire Department. Originally published June 27, 2005