Be kind to beagles

Be kind to beagles

Your April 8, 2008, issue reported the death of Ambassador David Newsom [“Former ambassador dies at UVA Hospital,” News From This Just In] in a paragraph that seemed to say that his New York Times obit recalled him as a critic of Lyndon Johnson’s administration and its support for the admission of the Shah of Iran for medical treatment in 1979. Whilst LBJ can be roundly condemned for many heinous acts (cruelty to beagles tops my list), he had nothing to do with admitting the Shah for medical treatment in 1979. Since he left office in 1969 and died in 1973, LBJ had little to say about opening our door to the Shah. That bone-headed move was made by a peanut-farming submariner from Georgia whose name and administration are best forgotten by everyone.

Paul Ferrell

Once is enough

Hate to be a naysayer, but the State Virtual Wine Distribution Co. is not almost as good as direct distribution [“State launches wine distribution company,” News From This Just In, April 22, 2008]. First of all, it took the state 280,000 taxpayer dollars and nine and a half months to set this up.

Secondly, why does every importer in the state have a wholesale license, and the wineries cannot? Maybe it is because WSWA (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America) paid $250,000 to stop wineries from direct sales.

If this operation cannot be self-sustaining, does the ABC plan to continue to tap into tax payers’ dollars?

We get to pay twice. Using our money for this unnecessary operation and at the stores where it is going to cost us an average of $3 per bottle more. With that kind of help, Mr. Parker, you don’t need enemies.
Stan Rose
Albemarle County

Two-party system

I’m writing because I find your Party Crasher’s most recent article about the All Night Long party [“Cue Lionel Ritchie,” April 29, 2008] to be heavy on the Attitude, light on the News and Culture.

As if it weren’t hard enough to be a high schooler, an outsider swoops in to your after prom party and takes digs at you. As an adult volunteer, I was there at the All Night Long party and saw all these same things Mr. Beard saw, but came out of it with a completely different narrative. The “mini-Britneys and Amy Ws and P Diddys” in “various states of undress” were lively kids in a variety of outfits from beautiful dresses to sharp tuxedos to pajamas to shorts and funny t-shirts that showed students’ personalities. And the finest mohawk I have ever seen. “A grotesque buffet?” Food prepared by professional chefs at the X Lounge and Fellini’s was supplemented by tons of snacks and food that of course would look messy after its been ransacked by hundreds of students. This article is painfully cynical. An attempt at empathy goes a long way towards real understanding and truthful coverage of an event and the real impact it has on the students in this community. If Mr. Beard has constructive ideas to better the party, I’m sure All Night Long would welcome him to serve on the Board next year.

All Night Long after-prom party, U-Hall, April 27, 2008

The issue of the volunteers in their Army t-shirts at the table at the front door is a very valid question, one I wondered about myself. That presented an opportunity for Mr. Beard to provide our community with information about the broader issue of how the military recruits high school students. None of those facts were explored or presented in this article. Just opinions, and opinions that do not make this community stronger.

Lydia Wilson

Dismissing the point

This letter is in response to the article “Cue Lionel Ritchie” by J. Tobias Beard about the Up All Night After Prom Party [The Party Crasher, April 29, 2008].

As a volunteer for the Up All Night After Prom Party, I was disappointed that Mr. Beard chose to write a story dismissing the hard work of countless volunteers. The planning and effort that went into providing games, food, and a safe place to host the event on a limited budget was dismissed. The innuendo that the Army was there on a recruiting mission is just an example of a journalist trying to sensationalize a story. How many people in the community are willing to sacrifice a Saturday night to spend chaperoning teens? Not many, and that is exactly why the Army was there. I was disappointed to see such a positive event portrayed so negatively.
Paige Smith

Batteries shouldn’t be included

Thank you for your story on Serena Weaver and the efforts by UVA Dining to buy local and organic food [“Dining hall plates make room for local food,” UVA News, April 29, 2008]. UVA Dining’s transition from shell eggs from caged hens to shell eggs from cage-free hens is especially praiseworthy, considering the animal-welfare concerns associated with caged hens. Unfortunately, most eggs in this country come from hens confined in barren cages so small the birds can’t even spread their wings. They’re restricted from partaking in vital natural behaviors such as walking, perching, and laying eggs in a nest. Each hen is provided less space than a single sheet of paper for her entire life. For more information on this important issue, please visit

With its first steps toward using eggs that do not come from caged hens, UVA is taking a stand against one of factory farming’s worst abuses. This decision shows a commitment to social responsibility that is to be applauded, and I look forward to the day when all eggs served at UVA come from hens not confined in battery cages.

Elisabeth Custalow

Cover girl

When I was on the Downtown Mall the other day, I noticed that the cover of the Spring 2008 Bites & Sights supplement featured my wife, Jiyeon Lee, the former pastry chef of Hamiltons’ at First & Main. When I looked inside, however, there was no credit mentioning her name. Now, I’m not complaining about you featuring her on the cover—far from it—but I do think it would be a good gesture to at least give her some attribution for making the cover of your magazine so attractive.

Dylan Fulmer