Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: TUESDAY, February 9, 1993                   TAG: 9302090304
DATELINE:                                 LENGTH: Medium


Joseph Gaither has made the difference for hundreds of youngsters in Roanoke in the past two decades.

He has taught them basketball skills and made them keep up with their school work.

Monday night, Gaither was recognized for his volunteer work by being named Roanoke Citizen of the Year for 1992.

Gaither is athletic director and coach for the Inner City Athletic Association.

The association is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides the opportunity for lower-income, inner-city youth to participate in athletic and recreational activities.

Over the past five years, the Roanoke Hawks, an association-sponsored basketball team for youngsters 17 and under, has won the Virginia Junior Olympics Championship four times and advanced to the national AAU championship five times, finishing as high as second in the national competition.

Mayor David Bowers said Gaither's work with the youngsters has been just as impressive in the classroom. Eighty-five percent in the sports program have graduated from high school and 50 percent have gone to college.

The Citizen of the Year award is given by City Council each year to recognize individuals for their contribution to the city through work or other ways. Council makes the final choice after a screening committee reviews nominations made by citizens.

Gaither, 43, is the 12th person to receive the award. He was nominated by Total Action Against Poverty. He is a member of TAP's board of directors.

In other action Monday night, council:

Was urged by the Roanoke Education Association to provide enough local funds for schools in the next school year so that teachers can receive salary raises in the range of 6 percent to 7 percent. Mason Powell, executive vice president of the teachers' organization, said it appears the teachers can expect little help from the state.

"We are confused. We are entering a period of national economic recovery. Although our school administration has previously said that we deserved almost 10 percent, and our School Board leaders are apparently looking for at least 7 percent, we hear we may only receive a 1 to 2 percent raise for next year," Powell said.

"This may be true if you do not continue your recent efforts to maintain and increase employee salaries."

Heard Councilman James Harvey say he will urge city officials to install a stop sign on Carter Road to help reduce the volume and speed of vehicles cutting through the neighborhood between Brandon Avenue and Grandin Road.

by Archana Subramaniam by CNB