Eagle 6

An up-close look at an adult female bald eagle on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at Long Island Park in Campbell County.

Thumbs up — and congratulations — to all of the folks in the city who worked so hard over the course of almost four years to bring the State Games of America to Lynchburg.

The games, which are held every two years, kicked off Friday night with opening ceremonies in the Vines Center at Liberty University after a weather forecast for inclement weather forced a change of plans. They’ll continue through Sunday.

The State Games are similar in format and event line-up to the Commonwealth Games of Virginia that have been held in Lynchburg for the past several years, coming to the Hill City and Central Virginia after more than two decades in Salem and the Roanoke Valley. Except bigger. Much bigger.

Organizers are expecting that, when all is said and done, more than 14,000 participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will have passed through Lynchburg. And with them has come an economic impact estimated to be worth more than $10 million.

It has been a massive undertaking by the staff at City Hall, led by City Manager Bonnie Svrcek, Liberty University which is hosting the majority of the venues and volunteers throughout the region. The result has been an opportunity for Lynchburg to shine on a national stage.

The State Games began in 1999, and past host cities have included St. Louis; Hartford, Conn.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; San Diego, Calif.; Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa.; Lincoln, Neb.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and now Lynchburg.

To all the participants and spectators, we say welcome; to all those who made the event the success it’s been, we say thank you.

* * *

Thumbs up to the staffs of the regional landfill in Campbell County and of The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro who made an awe-inspiring event Tuesday morning possible: the release of a bald eagle back into the wild in the skies above Central Virginia.

Back in June, workers at the landfill came across what they thought was a dead eagle, but when they realized it was still alive, though barely, they transported it to the wildlife center in Waynesboro that very night. Upon arrival, the veterinarian on duty thought the bird had died during the trip up. Only when they picked up the bird, prompting a regurgitation of its stomach contents, did they realize it was still alive.

The bird likely had eaten something toxic at the landfill that took it to the brink of death. Experts say that’s a common end to many eagles, which are forced to scavenge for food as their natural habitats shrink with the encroachment of development.

After weeks of rehab and recovery, Edward Clark, the wildlife center’s president, traveled to Long Island Park in Campbell County to release the now-fully recovered eagle back into the wild. What a moment it was. To all who made it possible, thank you.

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