No-turn zone


As a small business owner and one who believes in the spirit and festivities of the holidays, I can no longer sit idly by while the media continues, day after day, to send a message of economic hopelessness and terror into the hearts and minds of our citizens [“The upside of the downturn,” December 2, 2008]. Yes, this is a difficult time, and yes, it will eventually pass; however, why does the message continue to be one of don’t shop, don’t spend, and if you feel like doing so, you probably need to feel guilty about it? The news shows and press need to stop focusing on the dismal forecasts for awhile and give people a chance to think about what’s so important this time of year.

A large part of the joy associated with this season typically includes browsing and window shopping with friends and family; stores put considerable effort into making their spaces beautiful, and with a little creative energy, people can put something together without spending too much. Let’s try to salvage the spirit of the season—last time I checked, the cost was free.

Sharon Manering
Owner, Quince

In the form of questions

I am writing in response to your article titled “NGIC appraisal finally comes to light” [Development News, December 2, 2008]. In your article you seem to indicate that Mr. Wendell Wood was not taking a considerable loss and was overstating the value of his land to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. I ask you this…do you not consider $2,675,000.00 a considerable sum of money? Have you ever considered that Mr. Wood not only sold his land for under appraised value but under MARKET value as well? If you recall the 2005-06 real estate market in our area, nothing was selling for appraised value and certainly not for less than that. If this was your asset to sell, would you try and sell it at market price or would you be willing to take a 28 percent loss from the APPRAISED price? I am curious to know why you did not write an article titled “Local developer donates $2,675,000.00 (or more) of his own money to try and bring jobs to our community.”

I believe the way the article was written was unjustly accusatory and I believe the C-VILLE Weekly owes Mr. Wendell Wood an apology. If you should need further reference to this issue, you may look up articles that both The Hook and The Daily Progress wrote within similar timelines on this same subject.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to your obviously biased article.

James B. Van Liew

Quick and sweet

Thanks to Will Goldsmith for writing a fairly accurate and necessarily brief breakdown of the root cause of the mortgage crisis [“A tale of two foreclosures,” Development News, December 9, 2008]. His quick overview was more illuminating than most of the stories in The New York Times, The Washington Post, or NPR.

And thanks to Matt Hodges for the quotes and presumably some of the background info. Reputable lenders in this area know who was writing all those Option-ARM, low-documentation, rapidly adjusting loans (it wasn’t us). We also know that the buyers didn’t fully understand the terms in many cases.

With reference to publishing names—those are a matter of public record.

Catherine Potter
Albemarle County


Mistaken identity

I recently became aware of the article on mortgage financing in the December 9, 2008 issue of C-VILLE Weekly [“A tale of two foreclosures,” Development News]. Unfortunately, there is a factual error in your article. The Resource Bank you are referring to is (was) a Virginia-based financial institution specializing in sub-prime and high LTV loans that was acquired by Fulton Bank of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Subsequently, as I understand it, because of large mortgage-related losses, this bank was folded into Fulton Bank of Lancaster.

Resource Bank of Illinois has no affiliation with the aforementioned bank and stands in vivid contrast to the Virginia institution.  Resource Bank is a well-managed, rock-solid community bank. We did not nor have we engaged in any of the types of lending that were the cause of the Virginia-based bank’s demise.

Richard J. Katz
Chairman and President
Resource Bank, NA
DeKalb, Illinois

Read locally, suggest specifically

Thank you for your fascinating feature about local artist Edward Thomas [“Think global, paint local,” December 9, 2008]. The story’s focus on both Thomas’ art and personality, which would be very interesting topics on their own, made the piece highly compelling. The author, Sam Witt, shares his sense of discovery with the reader as he slowly uncovers the aspects of Thomas’ personality that tell why the artist is on this crusade. Witt understands that there is no need to describe how Thomas’ paintings celebrate the endangered places—the given examples of his work show the beauty in these simple and modest scenes. I would love to read more features in the C-VILLE that are on an equally interesting subject and capture this one’s sense of discovery.

The destruction of local havens is a topic I have long been interested in, and I am encouraged that this issue is getting more attention. On many occasions the sites that are going to be bulldozed are kept quiet until it is too late for the public to take preventative action. What if C-VILLE Weekly began a feature that focused on one endangered site every week? This could inspire Charlottesville residents to try and save some of these valuable but highly jeopardized places. While perhaps Edward Thomas’ paintings on their own will not be enough to stop the bulldozing, publicity about such decisions and events are key to eventually preventing them.

Maria Trapnell