Other News We Heard Last Week


Don’t throw it all away: Last Tuesday (a.k.a. Earth Day), UVA pitched in with displays, games and events, including a Dumpster Dive, which revealed how much garbage could have been recycled.

Tuesday 4/22

Residents question Hope shelter

Two residents of the 10th and Page neighborhood, where the Hope Community Center is located, urged councilors Monday night to take a closer look at the homeless evening shelter in the residential neighborhood. Cited for a zoning violation in February, the city ruled on April 17 that Hope could continue while it applies for a zoning amendment. John Gaines, a resident of Ninth Street NW, said residents need answers to questions concerning safety and property values.

Wednesday 4/23

Community Food Center in the works

The most exciting news to come out of yesterday’s UVA student presentation on Charlottesville’s “glocal” (“global” plus “local”) food system is that Kate Collier of Feast! is trying to organize a local Community Food Center for the area. “It will hopefully be a two- to three-year project,” Collier explained on Tuesday afternoon after the students were finished. As she pointed out, demand is outpacing supply as places like the Charlottesville Chipotle and the Jefferson Area Board for Aging use more and more local products.

Kate Collier of Feast! is trying to organize a local food co-op.

Thursday 4/24

General Assembly passes budget

State lawmakers reconvened yesterday to take final action for the 2008 General Assembly regular session, passing a two-year, $77 billion budget and giving Governor Tim Kaine the power to appoint his own nominee to the state Corporation Commission, according to today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch. The budget goes into effect July 1.

Friday 4/25

Today is the Day of Silence

The Day of Silence, a protest effort begun by UVA students in 1996 and taken on by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as a national educational tool, is raising the ire of a few folks. According to The Orlando Sentinel, some Florida students that plan to skip school today for the purpose of protesting it will not be given excused absences. This in turn has pissed off some nasty nonprofits like the Liberty Counsel, which posted a press release on its website urging students to counter-protest by “wear[ing] white and to distribute flyers promoting sexual purity.”

Saturday 4/26

NFL drafts three Hoos

While other UVA undergrads were getting drunk in a field, football phenom Chris Long was donning a St. Louis Rams hat after being selected second overall at the NFL Draft. The defensive end wasn’t the only Cav tapped in the first round: Branden Albert, a lineman expected to move to left tackle in the pros, was taken No. 15 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Santi, a tight end, was taken in the sixth round by Indianapolis.

Sunday 4/27

UVA men drop second straight title to Duke

The Duke men’s lacrosse team had the psychological edge from Thursday night onwards, when their entire attack unit was named to the All Atlantic Coastal Conference team during a ceremony to kick off the weekend’s 2008 ACC lacrosse championships at UVA. Despite a handful of goals from midfielder Brian Carroll and attacker Ben Rubeor, both appointed to the All-ACC squad, the Cavaliers dropped Sunday’s championship match to Duke for the second consecutive year. Undeterred in the face of psychological warfare, the Lady Cavs lacrosse team upset the University of Maryland on the same day to win their third straight ACC title. Maybe they can train the men’s team this summer.

Monday 4/28

Richmond Plan 9 still alive

Today the Richmond Times-Dispatch, prompted by news of Plan 9’s Corner location being slated to close, checks in with the Plan 9 store in Carytown—that hip part of Richmond where people are sufficiently enamored of music on vinyl to prop up a record store in the age of the iPod. Jim Bland, who owns the Richmond-based chain, tells the T-D that the Corner store has struggled in recent years, but his Carytown general manager says that store is “hanging in there strong.”

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Gone baby gone: Last Wednesday, The Downtown kiosk, once situated in front of CVS, was driven away down Second Street SE. to be scrapped.

Tuesday 4/15

Area shotputter headed to Olympics

Less than four months before the Summer Olympic Games open, NPR profiles one of America’s top medal hopes, Adam Nelson. “[O]ne of the greatest shotputters in U.S. history,” NPR reported on Monday, “[h]e is the only American track and field athlete to win a medal at every major outdoor championship since 2000, including Olympic silver medals in 2000 and 2004.” The Darden business student and Charlottesville resident recently passed on qualifying for the track and field indoor world championships because he was busy practicing for the Olympics on UVA’s campus.

Wednesday 4/16

Octagon Partners to build in Culpeper

A year has passed, but Wednesday’s memorial service at UVA showed that the emotional wounds from last year’s shootings at Virginia Tech are still fresh.

Condo sales plummeted in Albemarle last year, declining 66 percent, but Charlottesville-based Octagon Partners is betting that Culpeper’s downtown historic district will be different. The company is investing $10 million to remake a 1920s warehouse into a 22-condo complex, with retail space on the ground to boot. Prices for Waters Place will range from $243,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $489,000 for a three-bedroom penthouse. Developer J.P. Williamson, of “Lake Hollymead” fame, is a partner with Octagon.
Thursday 4/17

UVA holds memorial service for Virginia Tech

The first anniversary of the Tech shootings was commemorated yesterday by a memorial service that featured speeches by Student Council President Matt Schrimper and Patricia Lampkin, vice president for student affairs. “It was a tragedy not in some far-off spot of the world or unknown area of the country, but one that involved, for many of us, people we knew and a place that we knew,” said Lampkin, according to UVA Today.

Friday 4/18

State launches wine distribution company

Yesterday, Virginia launched a state-subsidized wine distribution company to help small vineyards in the state, reports The Washington Post. Since a 2005 federal court ruled that they could no longer distribute their own wines, small winemakers have struggled. “If it works really well and smoothly, it should be almost as good as direct distribution,” Lew Parker, owner of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards in Loudoun County, tells the Post.

Saturday 4/19

NBC29 goes hi-def!

Think that the carefully combed coiffure of NBC29 weekend anchor Matt Talhelm seemed particularly crisp at 6pm? In a press release issued hours before the premiere, NBC29 announced that the station would unveil Central Virginia’s first local news broadcast in high definition digital video, the culmination of five years of work and $3 million. No longer will you lament a vaguely fuzzy screen while getting the weather from Eric Pritchett or David Rogers! Your screen’s resolution will be sharper than reporter Henry Graff.
Sunday 4/20

Times reveals hasty origins of AccessUVA

Apparently, AccessUVA wasn’t a premeditated work, The New York Times reports today. An article details an October 2003 Board of Visitors meeting where UVA President John Casteen was handed a press clipping on UNC’s decision to cover the full cost for students whose families earned less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The Times writes, “The program touched a nerve with Mr. Casteen,” the son of a shipyard worker. During the meeting, he ordered financial aid staff to put together an even better program, which was announced four months later at the next BOV meeting.

Monday 4/21

McDonough grabs some Earth Day press

Yesterday’s New York Times magazine, in its Green Issue, gives a nod to Charlottesville-based architectural visionary William McDonough’s “Cradle to Cradle” certification—a designation awarded to products that satisfy the philosophy, which McDonough is quoted summarizing thus: “Waste is basically stupid.” Vanity Fair’s current issue is also “green,” and includes a long profile of McDonough, calling him “a harbinger of a movement to redesign design itself.”

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Last Saturday, as Katie Couric and Governor Tim Kaine looked on, the West Parking Garage at the UVA Hospital was demolished to make way for the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center.

Tuesday 4/8

Goode ties Iraq death count to illegals

Our dear U.S. congressman, Virgil Goode, has never been shy about heaping opprobrium on illegal immigrants, but today’s version of the “Goode News”—a weekly newsletter he puts out—takes his vitriol beyond the limit of Goode taste. “Over the last five years, 4,000 U. S. soldiers have died fighting for freedom from Islamic extremists in Iraq,” Goode writes. “…However, the untold story that the media does not focus on is the number of persons in the United States who have been killed by illegal aliens.” He then goes through a patently flawed math exercise to “show” that in 2004 “three times the number of Americans were murdered at the hands of criminal aliens than died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11.”

Wednesday 4/9

UVA’s Zoll picked in WNBA draft

UVA women’s basketball point guard Sharnee Zoll, the ACC’s all-time assists leader, was drafted in the third round of today’s 2008 WNBA draft. The Los Angeles Sparks made Zoll the 29th overall pick, according to the UVA athletic website. While at UVA, Zoll broke former WNBA star Dawn Staley’s 16-year-old ACC career assists record and was also a three-time all-conference selection, leading her team to the second round of this year’s NCAA tournament.

Thursday 4/10

Scalia awarded TJ medal

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia visited UVA Law School today. Making the case that judges should adhere more closely to the letter of the law, Scalia “noted that both the Declaration [of Independence] and the Jefferson-authored Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom mention a deity,” according to the Daily Press coverage. Scalia’s visit was not just a stop in some kind of “God made this nation” cross-country tour. He was in town to receive the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Law, the top external honor at UVA.

Friday 4/11

PACEM honors its volunteers

“We are all worthy of love,” PACEM Executive Director Dave Norris told a crowded foyer of the JPJ Arena on Friday night. The couple hundred there erupted in applause, and the mayor joined in. They were all assembled to recognize the many volunteers that serve the homeless through the winter months and beyond. Hors d’oeuvres, music and cans of cookies were balanced by a disappointing announcement. Director Tom Shadyac would not be coming as announced—his father was ill. The show went on anyway, with First Presbyterian pastor Sam Massey awarded the Golden Pillow for his longtime work for the homeless. “I wish that nobody was receiving this award,” he said. “I wish there was no PACEM.”

Saturday 4/12

Couric Cancer Center going up

As rumors of her departure from CBS swirled, Evening News anchor Katie Couric attended the groundbreaking of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, the $74 million facility planned for the corner of Jefferson Park Avenue and Lee Street and named for her sister, the late Virginia senator. Couric joined Governor Tim Kaine and UVA President John Casteen for the hour-long, invitation-only event, during which the Cavalier Marching Band played the “1812 Overture” while an excavator “invaded” a wall of the West Parking Garage currently at the site. The center is slated to open in 2011.

Sunday 4/13

Red Light lands Roanoke amphitheater deal

Roanoke has selected Charlottesville-based Red Light Management to develop and manage an outdoor amphitheater at the former Victory Stadium site. Red Light, a part of Coran Capshaw’s music empire, will be responsible for completing a feasibility study, designing the facility and operating the amphitheater once it’s completed, reports the Roanoke Times. Though Roanoke officials declined to comment on specifics, they have said in the past that they envision a 7,000-seat facility that might eventually become part of a river-front park. Consultants estimated last year that the project could cost $12.6 million.

Monday 4/14

Median sales price keeps rising

Here’s the quickie version of the first-quarter market report just out from CAAR (the Charlottesville Albemarle Association of Realtors). There are tons of houses on the market—3,673, to be exact. Many of those have been for sale for ages. Sales are down 27.4 percent from the first quarter of 2007. Still, the median sales price for the market area is up 3.9 percent. Albemarle County in particular saw median prices rise nearly 18 percent.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

The Bank of America branch on University Avenue turned into a crime scene after it was robbed last Tuesday afternoon. Just minutes after the incident, police picked up the man they believe did the deed: Boston, Massachusetts, native Robert Morrison, who is currently being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Tuesday 4/1

Football player allegedly swipes plastic

April Fool’s Day brought a press release from the UVA Police that we can only imagine the brass in the athletics office dearly wished were a joke. J’Courtney Williams, noted redshirt freshman linebacker for Virginia, was charged with credit card theft and credit card fraud. The charges are in connection with a March 10 larceny incident at the Aquatics and Fitness Center. (Williams had also been arrested for pot possession on February 15, and according to The Roanoke Times, placed on probation February 25.) UVA Head Coach Al Groh announced the next day, April 2, that he was kicking Williams off the team—a swift fall for a player who was a top prospect in UVA’s 2007 signing class.

Wednesday 4/2

DMB and others praised for going green

At last, a possible explanation for why our city attracts members of the Grateful Dead and Phish: The Charlottesville Pavilion, Coran Capshaw and Dave “Savin’” Matthews Band received high praise in The Virginian-Pilot for their efforts in an increasingly eco-friendly music world. DMB, dubbed “one of the greenest acts working today,” gets props for tracking its carbon dioxide emissions and eating local and organic while on the road, and Pavilion manager Kirby Hutto says that Capshaw’s house of music would rather raise drink prices than use wasteful cups.

Thursday 4/3

Festive atmosphere at county budget hearing

More than 200 people crowded the Albemarle County Office Building Wednesday evening to let Supervisors know their taxation preferences. The Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance (ATTA), led by former county GOP chairman Keith Drake, bore neon orange signs proclaiming “68¢,” while a contingent of Albemarle County Public School supporters wore stickers to show their support for fully funding schools. The county is considering a new tax rate of up to 71 cents and will make a decision on April 9.

Friday 4/4

Money for 250 Interchange falls short

The Daily Progress reports today that, while a committee of city residents and officials has chosen a design for the future interchange at the 250 Bypass and McIntire Road, there’s one wee problem: The city has $29.6 million gathered for the project, but the cost of the design is estimated at $35 million. “It is certainly a challenge,” Owen Peer, a consultant on the project, told the Progress. He also added that refinements to the design could cause the projected cost to go down. Or up. City Council is expected to vote on the design in April. Anyone got $5.4 mil they can spare?

Saturday 4/5

Former ambassador dies at UVA hospital

An obituary for David Newsom—a 90-year-old former U.S. ambassador and veteran of the State Department during the Iranian Hostage Crisis—ran in the New York Times, noting Newsom’s death at the UVA Medical Center. Newsom was a critic of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration and its wide support of the admission of Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to the U.S. for medical treatment in 1979; the Shah’s admission preceded the start of the Iranian Hostage Crisis by roughly three weeks. Newsom capped his political career as the first recipient of the Hugh S. and Winifred B. Cumming Memorial Chair in International Affairs at UVA, which he held from 1991 to 1996.

Sunday 4/6

Gibson’s final DP column

Bob Gibson’s last effort for The Daily Progress, ironically titled “This isn’t a goodbye column,” appeared today. After 31 years with the paper, Gibson will be executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at UVA as of April 21. The content of the column ranges from the expected and cozy (read: boring): “The past 31 years have been wonderful here at this newspaper. It’s hard to leave the people you love,” to the clever and insightful (read: typical Gibson): “This state produces former governors faster than any other, which tends to create a traffic jam of would-be senators.” So, goodbye, Bob. Or is that hello?

Monday 4/7

Clinton boots Penn; Sabato reacts

Local talking head Larry Sabato weighed in today on NPR’s Morning Edition regarding the departure of senior strategist Mark Penn from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. According to the AP, Penn was forced out on Sunday after meeting with Colombian officials to advance a trade deal, which Clinton opposes. He had also been known to come into conflict with other high-ranking members of the campaign. Sabato told NPR that Penn was lucky to have lasted as long as he did and that Maggie Williams, campaign manager, likely had a hand in his ouster.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

That’s a lot of bull: The John Paul Jones Arena was transformed into a Western ranch last Saturday night for the Professional Bull Riders Charlottesville Invitational, part of the national Enterprise Rent-A-Car Tour. Forty riders matched up with bulls that weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

Tuesday 3/25

GOP firms up ’09 ticket

State Attorney General Bob McDonnell had the Republican gubernatorial nomination handed to him after Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling announced yesterday that he won’t seek the governor’s office. But the intrigue on the Democratic side will only get hotter in coming months, with Charlottesville’s state Senator Creigh Deeds battling NoVa state Delegate Brian Moran. The news from Bolling also means that the state attorney general race will be wide open for both parties. No candidates have been officially announced, though many pundits peg Albemarle Delegate Rob Bell (R) as a prime contender.

Wednesday 3/26

Singletary falls flat 

Two days after scoring 8 points in the last 30 seconds, Sean Singletary fell flat against Bradley in his last college game. The crowd cheered anyway.

Two days after stunning ODU with 8 points in the last 30 seconds, Sean Singletary falls flat against Bradley in the College Basketball Invitational. Even though UVA goes up by 14 points in the first half, Bradley squelches the Cav’s flame, as Singletary only musters 17 points. Instead, the senior point guard left the game with less than a minute to play and his team down by double figures (they would lose 96-85). Regardless, Singletary was treated with a standing ovation by the small crowd for his last-ever collegiate game.

Thursday 3/27

Daily Progress debuts new site

The Daily Progress’ website got a redesign Thursday, and they picked a good day to do it (see Courts & Crime). Gone are the laundry list of links. In their place is a rotating box that displays four sections: News, Sports, Lifestyle and Entertainment. With launches like these, there are always bugs. The RSS feeds seem to have some trouble, and it does take a little more digging if you’re searching for something in particular (where the hell is Bryan McKenzie?!), but overall, the DP’s new site is a lot easier on the eye.

Friday 3/28

The Eagles to swoop into JPJ

John Paul Jones Arena announced this morning that the Eagles will be coming to town on May 21. Since coming together in 1971, the L.A. band has racked up five No. 1 singles, four No. 1 albums, a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, five Grammy awards and the U.S.’s best-selling album of all time with 1976’s Their Greatest Hits. After disbanding in the early ’80s—too much cocaine, perhaps?—they reunited in 1994 to tour and released a subsequent live album. 2007’s Long Road Out of Eden is the band’s first record of new material since 1979. Tickets for the concert go on sale April 4 at 10am.

Saturday 3/29

Lessons from the Ten Miler

A record 2,525 runners took off at the start of the 33rd annual Charlottesville Ten Miler on a chilly, 50-degree morning; the first finisher, 24-year-old Charlie Hurt of Scottsville, crossed the line 51 minutes later. Top finishers in other age groups came from as far as Richmond, Virginia Beach, Baltimore—hell, 30-year-old Kevin McGee came from Albuquerque to run. CvilleTenMiler.com puts the number of “finishers” at 2,111, meaning more than 400 runners failed to cross the line. We suspect foul play from Albuquerque.

Sunday 3/30

The stuff of legends

UVA-baseball-player-turned-Major-League-wunderkind Ryan Zimmerman continues to cement his place in Washington Nationals lore. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Zimmerman hit a walk-off homer today to give the Nats a win in their first game in their new $661 million stadium. “There’s something about him,” said Zimmerman’s teammate, Dmitri Young, in an ESPN.com article. “We’re starting to see greatness prevail.”

Monday 3/31

Jefferson cemetery symbolizes ongoing unease with Hemings

In today’s installment of his This Land column in The New York Times, Dan Barry visits Monticello to investigate everyone’s favorite local race-related conundrum—the relationship of Thomas Jefferson to his slave, Sally Hemings. Barry focuses on the efforts of both Jefferson and Hemings descendents, at a reunion last year, to gain entry to the Jefferson family cemetery. Their request was denied by the Monticello Association, Barry reports, out of concern for the grass, which “had taken years to grow.”

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Ashley Mauter, who was rescued by Charlottesville firefighters from a house fire on Lewis Mountain Road on March 18, 2007, joined the firefighters who were involved in the rescue last Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary, talk with the media and warn citizens about the importance of smoke detectors in their homes. Mauter’s boyfriend, Brett Quarterman, died in the blaze.

Tuesday 3/18

CHS principal selection narrowed, then finalized

The Charlottesville City School System came closer to finding a new CHS principal after Monday night’s meeting with parents, teachers, staff and students at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center. On the stage were two candidates (narrowed from a list of more than 20) who gave opening statements and then submitted to written questions from the roughly 60 people in attendance. The audience also gave their thoughts and impressions, and on Friday their wishes were revealed when CHS announced that Thomas W. Taylor (currently an assistant principal in Virginia Beach) has been selected as the new principal, effective July 1.

Wednesday 3/19

UVA wins meaningless game…barely

It was a night full of the excitement that only the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) can bring. To quote Whitelaw Reid of The Daily Progress, UVA “played one of its most lethargic, uninspired games of the season before getting its act together.” Still, UVA won its first-round game against the University of Richmond 66-64, making a forgettable season a little less forgettable.

Thursday 3/20

VQR nominated for national awards again

“It’s remarkable what we’ve been able to accomplish,” says VQR Editor Ted Genoways. His magazine is up for three national awards, including one for General Excellence.

The Virginia Quarterly Review has garnered three nominations for the American Society of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine Awards, and will be vying for a win with the likes of Gourmet, Print and The Georgia Review. “We have an annual budget that’s smaller than what Vanity Fair spends on their Oscar party and a staff of only five people,” Editor Ted Genoways says on the VQR website, “but we’ve been able to put out a magazine that is consistently among the best in the country.” The winners will be announced May 1 in New York City.

Friday 3/21

Downtown Transit Center snags LEED certification

The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded Charlottesville’s Downtown Transit Center with a gold LEED certification. LEED? That stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system for green building. The Transit Center includes various design elements that help keep environmental impact low, including a “cool roof” system, waterless urinals and a geothermal heat pump system. “This huge achievement is just the beginning…,” says Kristel Riddervold, the city’s Environmental Administrator. The LEED certification system also includes a platinum level.

Saturday 3/22

Problems with green bill

House Bill 239 was the great green hope of 2008: Signed into law by Governor Tim Kaine on March 4, the young law expands the definition of what makes a building “energy efficient” to include a number of different government-sponsored systems of evaluation, and offers the tantalizing possibility of tax breaks for any building that proves itself 30 percent more efficient than listed in the Virginia Building Code. However, the General Assembly has yet to pass a rule to regulate the lower tax rate for certified efficient buildings. The Daily Progress reports today that tax breaks will not be awarded before 2009.
Sunday 3/23

Klarman talks race

Since Barack Obama’s speech last week, even C-VILLE’s editor is talking about race. So it should come as no surprise that The New York Times is quoting UVA law Professor Michael Klarman today on the subject. “Nixon talks about ‘law and order,’ which is a code term for the urban race riots and rising crime rates,” said Klarman in a piece that breaks down politicians’ speeches for their intended message on race.

Monday 3/24

Was TJ like Obama’s pastor?

A letter to the editor of The Boston Globe, written by one Nancy Kaplan and published today, draws a surprising comparison between the recently controversial rhetoric of Barack Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright (“sound bites cherry-picked from Wright’s voluminous writings and sermons,” says Kaplan) and certain select commentary by our own Thomas Jefferson. Here’s TJ on slavery: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”

Other News We Heard Last Week


The sky over the practice field next to Klockner Stadium rained UVA students, staff and faculty members last Tuesday, as The Golden Knights, the U.S. Army’s skydiving demonstration team, made tandem jumps with the lucky 10 who were selected from a pool of volunteers. Pictured here are student Taylor Richardson and Golden Knight Bill Vansoelen.

Tuesday 3/11

Van Halen postpones again

A press release from John Paul Jones Arena says that Van Halen, scheduled to play at the venue Tuesday, March 11, has once again pushed the date back “so that Eddie Van Halen, who is currently under doctors’ care, can continue medical tests to define a course of treatment.” The Charlottesville show is the first of a slew of dates extending through April 15 that the band will reschedule, according to the release. The tour will start back up again on April 19 (we’ll believe it when we see it), and new dates will be announced soon.

Wednesday 3/12

Report downplays student drinking

James Turner, executive director of UVA’s National Social Norms Institute, noted in an L.A. Times travel blog that a U.S. government survey (funded by Anheuser Busch companies) found that 81 percent of 18- to 22-year-old undergraduates do not drink heavily. “Sadly, partying youth will always be more newsworthy than those volunteering for Habitat for Humanity,” Turner wrote in an e-mail. “But the more we portray positive and accurate images of how college students spend their free time, the more young people will realize that unhealthy behaviors are the exception, and not the norm.”

Thursday 3/13

UVA grad tied to Spitzer case

The New York Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitution-ring debacle is making waves even down here in Virginia. According to the New York Daily News, UVA graduate Tameka Lewis’ family is completely baffled by the fact that federal prosecutors charge that she was a booking agent for the Emporers Club VIP. The Daily News quotes her uncle in Harrisonburg as saying, “She’s just too clean. Even when she does the dishes, she puts on gloves. It just doesn’t make any sense.” Lewis is currently free on bail. 

Friday 3/14

Media General stations to sign off?

Today Media General—the ailing parent company of The Daily Progress and other newspapers—announced it will sell two TV stations to Hoak Media Corporation as part of what Media General President and CEO, Marshall Morton, calls MG’s “strategic plan to divest five stations.” Media General reported that January revenues were off from the same month last year and shares of the $337 million company were near their 52-week low at the close of business today: $14.76. 

Saturday 3/15

Cav Daily cartoon sparks outrage again

On Thursday, The Cavalier Daily ran a comic strip by UVA students Eric Kilanski and Kellen Eilerts that portrayed Jesus being crucified while bombing as a standup comic at open-mic night. “What’s the deal with these crosses?” he asks. “Go back to Bethlehem,” shouts one heckler. The comic of course raised the ire of some campus dwellers, and once again, The Cav Daily found itself in the midst of another cartoon controversy. In September, cartoonist Grant Woolard was forced to resign after the student paper published his cartoon “Ethiopian Food Fight.” On Saturday, The Cav Daily announced it will be reviewing its comics policy.

Sunday 3/16

Singletary to play again

The UVA men’s basketball team made an early exit from the ACC tournament, losing in the first round and canceling hopes of an NCAA tournament bid. With a record of 15-15, the Cavs were even snubbed today by the NIT (a.k.a. the “Not Important Tournament”). And yet there is life after seeming death: Sean Singletary will play again at the John Paul Jones Arena on Tuesday, March 18, taking on the Richmond Spiders in the first round of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.

Monday 3/17

Overton McGehee, director of the Charlottesville branch of Habitat for Humanity, is a happy man. His group just got a $1 million donation.

Big donation for Habitat

It’s a good Monday to be Overton McGehee, director of the Charlottesville branch of Habitat for Humanity: A $1 million donation from area philanthropist Hunter Smith, the largest in the group’s 15-year history, became public this weekend. McGehee told WCAV that the gift will support matching funds for six houses at Habitat’s Nunley Street project, plus the transformation of two trailer parks, Sunrise and Southwood—all three being examples of Habitat’s strategy toward mixed-income development

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Last Thursday was the first day of the Senior Champs Swim Meet at the UVA Aquatic and Fitness Center. Roughly 800 swimmers made smooth entrances into the water over the course of the four-day event, including several who have qualified for the Olympic Trials.

Tuesday 3/4

UVA punt returner charged with larceny

Two-and-a-half years after coming to UVA to cover receivers and evade would-be tacklers, Michael Antwain Brown, Jr. is charged with one count each of grand larceny, possession of stolen property with intent to sell, altering serial numbers and possession of marijuana in connection to a February 6 report of larceny from a vehicle at the Central Grounds Parking Garage. According to a University Police press release, the victim reported four items stolen from his vehicle valued at more than $3,400.
Wednesday 3/5

It’s on: Perriello versus Goode

UVA sociology grad student Carey Sargent feels that Charlotttesville, in contrast to Richmond, has “a tighter, more positive local music scene.”

It’s official: Democrat and Albemarle native Tom Perriello will challenge six-term Republican incumbent Virgil Goode for his fifth-district congressional seat on November 4. “The people of our district want leaders who share their values and will fight day and night to create good-paying jobs, make sure every family has access to a doctor, and get America’s national security back on course,” said Perriello in a press release. According to Bob Gibson of The Daily Progress, Goode still holds a lead in money but was outraised by Perriello in the fourth quarter of last year. 

Thursday 3/6

More press for Carey “Dr. Rock” Sargent

Carey Sargent, the UVA sociology grad student who studies music scenes in Charlottesville and Richmond, and who C-VILLE dubbed “Dr. Rock” in a February 5 profile, is featured in the new issue of Richmond’s Style Weekly. Writer Brent Baldwin notes that Sargent sees a marked difference between the two cities when it comes to her topic of choice: “Sargent feels that Charlottesville has a tighter, more positive local music scene, although it’s always in flux, with students coming and going.”

Friday 3/7

Local high schooler wins NAA YouTube contest

The Newspaper Association of America Foundation announced this week that 19-year-old Danny Vigour, a high school senior from Tandem Friends School, won the organization’s “Driving Newspapers” YouTube video contest. According to the press release, Vigour is currently working on a video yearbook for his school and plans to attend a four-year film program after he graduates. “The video I produced stemmed from actual conversations I had with my peers about the purpose newspapers had in their lives,” he says of his winning entry.

Saturday 3/8

Schoenewald to replace Drake as GOP Chair?

At the conclusion of the monthly Albemarle County GOP breakfast at the Golden Corral Steakhouse, First Vice Chairman Christian Schoenewald left to prepare a press release that he sent to local media sources around 1pm. The speaker for March, County GOP Chairman Keith Drake, had just announced during breakfast that he would not pursue re-election as chairman, opting instead for a gig as chairman of the Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance. Schoenewald’s release ends as the breakfast did —with his announcement to seek the chairmanship vacated by Drake.

Sunday 3/9

Singletary gets 2,000 points

The score was classic Sean, a full-speed layup drained as if the much larger Maryland defender trying to stop him weren’t there. But what made the 14,154 in the John Paul Jones Arena give a standing ovation was the fact that it gave point guard Sean Singletary 2,000 career points. Before tonight’s final game of the regular season, a 91-76 win against the Terrapins, Singletary’s jersey was retired as his father, brothers and teary-eyed mother looked on.

Monday 3/10

Charlottesville under Tibetan flag

On this date in 1959, the people of Tibet rose up against Chinese occupation. They weren’t able to drive the Chinese from their capital, Lhasa, and in the run-up to this summer’s Beijing Olympics, Tibetan refugees around the world are trying to draw attention to their nation’s plight. Here in Charlottesville, that effort takes the form of the Tibetan flag flying over City Hall—a measure voted on by City Council in honor of Tibetan National Uprising Day—plus a march along Main Street and past the Rotunda. 

Other News We Heard Last Week


Dispense with the Old: A new season has begun for Phil Gosselin and the rest of the UVA baseball team, who racked up a 7-3 victory last Wednesday against Old Dominion.

Tuesday 2/26

NFL backs down from churches

Last year, the NFL told an Indianapolis church to cancel a Super Bowl party because it planned to show the game on a 12′-wide screen, violating the league’s policy against “mass out-of-home viewings” on screens larger than 55". This year, the Rutherford Institute pushed back by enlisting the support of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). On February 19, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) stating that the NFL would not object to religious organizations showing the big game as long as the viewings are free.
Wednesday 2/27

Mountain lion terrorizes Crozet

State gaming officials have told some residents in Crozet not to go outside for fear of a mountain lion attack, but so far, only a few dog food bowls and trash cans have been disturbed, according to WCAV-Channel 19. “From its nose to its rump is about five-foot long,” Marlene Humphreys said of the presumed villain. Just a few weeks ago, Humphreys watched as the mountain lion tried to claw its way into one of her bedroom windows. Now she is waiting for the state gaming department to catch the cat. “I’m praying,” she said.
Thursday 2/28

Van Halen reschedules concert

Stop yer cryin’, Jamie. Van Halen’s comin’ for a make-up concert on March 11.

Van Halen postponed their February 22 gig at John Paul Jones Arena, but fans need not fear: The band will return to make up the show on March 11. Tickets and parking passes from February 22 will be honored on the new date, according to JPJ’s press release. If you already have tickets and can’t rock out on a Tuesday night, you can still get a refund at the point of purchase. And, if you haven’t snagged your ticket yet, they are still available, so grab a few and get ready to run with the devil. 

Friday 2/29

UVA’s McIntire School No. 2

The March 10 issue of BusinessWeek ranks UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce at No. 2 in undergraduate business schools. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School took the first slot, but UVA is hot on its heels. “In several of the measures we use to determine our ranking, the two schools were virtually the same,” says BusinessWeek. UVA received the highest ratings from students out of all of the 96 schools ranked, based on the “fact that graduates’ average starting salary increased by $5,500—or more than 10%—to $58,000.”

Saturday 3/1

Car business booming at Colonial

Auto sales are down, but not at Colonial Auto Center. That’s according to an AP story that quotes Colonial’s president Kip Rowe, who says that sales of foreign brands will save his company from lower February numbers than it posted in the same month last year. Overall, the auto business is expected to be down 7 percent compared with a year ago—one more piece of evidence that a recession is indeed upon us.

Sunday 3/2

Former local comedian drinks absinthe

Back from a trip to Los Angeles, 27-year-old Trevor Moore, former host of local public access comedy show, “The Trevor Moore Show,” and currently one of five members of New York-based sketch comedy troupe, The Whitest Kids U’Know, decided to introduce his colleagues (and New York Times columnist Amanda Stern) to a few rounds of absinthe. What Moore forgot is that, in the U.S., the hallucinogenic drink is sold without grande wormwood, which robs it of its mystical effects. Cue the laugh track.

Monday 3/3

The juice is loose

The national media spent much of February expressing its shock (and titillation) about JuicyCampus.com, a website started by a Duke grad to air dorm room gossip publicly and anonymously. But the hits keep coming as lurkers scope the site following a Washington Post column by Marc Fisher. Fisher contacted several UVA students labeled promiscuous by anonymous posts, and he discovered that none of them “saw any purpose in trying to silence the site.”

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tim Gunn, on-air mentor to designers on the TV show “Project Runway” and all-around fashion guru, mingled with fans after his talk last Tuesday at Old Cabell Hall. Gunn was booked as a speaker by the Class of 2008’s Fourth-Year Trustees. Roughly 800 people attended the event.

Tuesday 2/19

They want you!

The Virginia Defense Force’s 3rd Brigade will activate another battalion to serve in Charlottesville, as well as the surrounding areas. According to today’s Staunton News Leader, the increase could mean as many as 150 new state troops for times of emergency. Many of the new 13th Battalion troops will merely be transferred from other units, but some locals will fill out the ranks of the all-volunteer force. Want to join up? Just make sure you’re between the ages of 16 and 65 and a legal resident of Virginia and then you can serve the Commonwealth.

Wednesday 2/20

What am I doing wrong?

Today’s Daily Progress reports that 31-year-old Artis Wayne Keyton, Jr. was arrested Tuesday on charges of arson and vandalism, after allegedly trying to set fire to the house on Bolling Avenue where he lives with his mother. According to the Progress, Keyton poured gasoline over the house’s cinderblock foundation to light it, unsuccessfully. The incident apparently followed a domestic dispute, which we can only assume went something like this: “Concrete is not flammable!” “Yes it is!” “No it isn’t!” “Oh yeah?” 

Thursday 2/21

One of their own

NBC29 reports that criminal and internal police investigations have been launched against a longtime Albemarle County police officer, Jeffrey Turner, in a case that began with a February 10 911 domestic violence call from his house in Crozet. When police arrived, they found enough evidence to arrest Turner. County police told NBC29 that they’ve dealt with “situations like this” in the past, and that the officers involved were removed from the force. If charged, Turner faces a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.  

Friday 2/22

Van Halen concert postponed

And the JPJ will not rock: Van Halen postponed their February 22 gig.

There will be no “Runnin’ With The Devil” or getting “Hot For Teacher” tonight. Van Halen, who was scheduled to play at John Paul Jones Arena, will instead likely reschedule the show for May or June, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Tickets for tonight will be honored then, and refunds will be available at the point of purchase. JPJ’s press release does not give a reason for the postponement. The band’s February 25 concert in Duluth, Georgia, was also scuttled—but we feel safe in assuming that Diamond Dave is still madly grinning, whatever the issue.

Saturday 2/23

UVA gals perform swimmingly

The University of Virginia women’s swimming and diving team—a squad composed of 11 freshmen—blew away their competition in the Atlantic Coat Conference championships, capping the four-day tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, with a score of 800. (The University of North Carolina was second with 572 points.) On the final day of competition, freshman Liz Shaw took first place and broke her previous conference record in the 200-meter butterfly stroke, and a Cavalier quartet took first place in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

Sunday 2/24

I’ll show you…by crossing the border

Several locals say they will address the plight of immigrants by trekking across the border themselves. Virginia Leavell, Sue Frankel-Streit and Jeff Winder are planning to start somewhere in Mexico and cross the desert into the U.S., carrying food and water for what they anticipate will be a three-day trip in April, according to today’s Daily Progress. “Yeah, I’m worried, but this is bigger than me,” said Leavell.

Monday 2/25

It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

Virginia’s 16 superdelegates are elected officials (Senator Jim Webb, for one) and party members who can vote for whichever candidate they prefer at the Democratic convention this summer, but are under considerable pressure to make a public endorsement now. According to the Daily Press, Obama and Clinton have been working the phones, but most Virginia superdelegates interviewed by the Press echoed Jim Leaman, Virginia AFL-CIO president, in saying that by the time the convention rolls around, they expect the nominee to be apparent.

Other News We Heard Last Week


A 90-82 defeat at the hands of North Carolina last Friday was one of the few ACC disappointments this year for Aisha Mohammed and the rest of the UVA women’s basketball team.

Tuesday 2/12

Obama gets posthumous endorsement

Former Del. Mitch Van Yahres has endorsed Barack Obama from the dead, reports Bob Gibson of The Daily Progress today on his blog. The Democrat and former Charlottesville mayor died Friday after complications from surgery for lung cancer, but Van Yahres’ family members placed a note in his obituary asking his friends “in lieu of expenditures on flowers and the like, to make a healthy and significant contribution to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama or, if they insist, the charity of their choice.”

Wednesday 2/13

Obama, McCain sweep Potomac primaries

Roughly 35 percent of registered Charlottesville voters turned out in the freezing rain on Tuesday. Barack Obama carried every city precinct, winning 5,563 votes to Clinton’s 1,805. Overall, Obama took the Commonwealth by a convincing margin, winning 64 percent of the votes. Hillary Clinton won just 35 percent in spite of a last minute visit to Larry Sabato’s politics class the day before. The Republican vote was much closer in the city. John McCain won 596 votes to Mike Huckabee’s 312. Ron Paul came in third place with 144 votes. 

Thursday 2/14

Downtown store raided by federal agents

Sexshuns, a sneaker and apparel store on the Downtown Mall, was raided by federal agents yesterday, and the 39-year-old owner of the store, Reynold George Samuels Jr., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Charlottesville on drug, firearm and video bootlegging charges. Seven other people were indicted along with Samuels. The U.S. Attorney’s office alleges that Samuels was the leader of a ring that, since December 2001, had distributed cocaine, crack and pirated DVDs throughout western Virginia. Because Samuels is already a convicted felon, he faces life in prison if convicted on these new charges. 

Friday 2/15

Public smoking ban fails again

Proposals to ban smoking in public places such as restaurants, stores and offices came to a dead end once again in the Virginia House of Delegates, reports The Washington Post today. The House’s General Laws Committee set aside four bills aimed at banning smoking yesterday in addition to eight similar ones that were shelved last week. Democratic Governor Tim Kaine, who supported such a ban and had hoped to see it implemented during the legislative session, said that he was “not surprised.” According to the Post, two-thirds of Virginia restaurants ban smoking already.

Saturday 2/16

Dems turning their backs on immigrants?

Are state Democrats now marching to the same beat as the Republicans when it comes to immigration? Three speakers at the Albemarle/Charlottesville Democratic Breakfast exhorted local Dems to keep supporting basic rights for immigrants in the face of more than 100 bills in the General Assembly—some introduced by Democrats—officially geared to make life tougher for illegal immigrants but which would make life tougher for legal immigrants as well. Asked Peter Loach, a member of the Governor’s Virginia Latino Advisory Board, “What happened to the progressives’ outrage?”

Sunday 2/17

“Grumpy Old Politicos”

New York Times columnist Frank Rich reviewed speeches of both John McCain and Barack Obama following their victories in the Chesapeake primaries. Rich notes that McCain was swamped by “a collection of sallow-faced old Beltway pols,” including former Republican senator George Allen, whose presidential hopes were dashed by a racial comment. With Obama claiming 52 percent of the white votes in the Virginia primary, Rich writes that Allen “is the foreigner in 21st century America.”

Monday 2/18

Capshaw’s Seven Oaks Farm for sale

Coran Capshaw is getting rid of his historic house. Does this mean he’s moving out of Charlottesville?

Well, look what popped up in Sunday’s Daily Progress, page B7, just across from George Will himself. It’s an ad for Coran Capshaw’s nationally registered, Greek revivaled, 100-acre Seven Oaks Farm. Whether the fact that the Charlottesville mogul’s 16,870-square-foot home is up for sale means Capshaw plans to leave the area is unclear. Maybe he just needs a bigger pool house.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Rhyming for a reason: Last Friday, protesters gathered in front of Allied Cash Advance on Emmet Street to voice their concern over the practice of payday lending.

Tuesday 2/5

UVA historian implicated in 9/11 commission cover-up

A new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, claims that Philip Zelikow, a UVA historian and former director of the Miller Center who was hired to be the 9/11 Commission’s executive director, worked behind the scenes for the White House. As a longtime friend of Condoleezza Rice’s (the two had worked for the first President Bush and had co-authored a book), Zelikow repeatedly went to bat for Rice and the White House, according to author Philip Shenon, so much so that one investigator even threatened to resign.

According to a new book, UVA historian Philip Zelikow advocated for his friend Condoleezza Rice as head of the 9/11 Commission.

Wednesday 2/6

Second student arrested for gun-toting

Following Monday’s arrest of one Walton Middle School student in connection with a pistol seized from a locker on February 1, a second boy was charged on Tuesday, according to Albemarle County police. As both students are under 14, police are especially tight-lipped about what particular charges have been brought. In a letter to parents dated Monday, principal Betsy Agee explained that on Friday, one student had brought the pistol onto school property, then passed it off to another. School officials were notified about the gun that evening; they in turn called police. [Read more about the arrest on here.]

Thursday 2/7

Royal treatment for King Family Vineyards

The February issue of Wine Business Monthly contains some great news for King Family Vineyards in Crozet. The magazine puts King in the top 10 “Hottest Small Brands of 2007.” Not only was it the only winery of the 150 or so in Virginia to be picked, but it was also the only winery on the entire East Coast to be picked. The magazine describes the winners as having “achieved success by delivering on quality,” and having “emerged as leaders within the region they represent.” 

Friday 2/8

Teachers will get raise

County teachers can breathe a sigh of relief, for now, as the School Board unanimously approved a $151.7 million operational budget Thursday night that incorporates teachers’ annual 4 percent increase. Meanwhile, the Board slashed various programs to meet a diminished county revenue. $400,000 was cut out of central office operations and $500,000 from the school bus replacement fund. Despite the cuts, the school budget exceeds projected revenue by $1.3 million. “We are trying to be as efficient as possible with our operations,” says chair Brian Wheeler.

Saturday 2/9

Because basketball sucks…

There’s no wrong way to write a UVA football press release, especially if the occasion is to announce the schedule for the 2008 season. And, from the looks of the schedule, there’s an awful lot to get your oversized foam fingers in a twist over: eight teams that made trips to bowl games in 2007, a home opener against the University of Southern California Trojans, and, according to the release, games against “three bowl championship subdivision non-conference opponents.” Er, yay? Season tickets go on sale February 22.

Sunday 2/10

Breezy apocalypse

Traffic lights go dead and chaos erupts on area highways today after high winds knock out power for thousands of customers. In the county, several brush fires rage after sparks from downed power lines are fanned by the 54-mile-per-hour breeze. Oakencroft wine lovers are especially tense—crews have to contain a fire threatening the vineyard, according to The Daily Progress.

Monday 2/11

Dubious honor

UVA has made a top 10 list that, we imagine, hardly inspires pride around the academical village. According to the Universities Weblog, a Reader’s Digest campus safety report puts UVA in the top 10 schools for forcible sex offenses, based on data from 2005. In that year there were 20 sex crimes involving force at UVA, the same number as at Vanderbilt University; the University of California-Davis topped the list with 34 such crimes in 2005.

Other News We Heard Last Week


And the sand played on: Last Saturday, the John Paul Jones Arena was teeming with leaping, scantily clad women and men, and a crowd itching for summer, as the AVP Crocs Hot Winter Nights Tour brought pro beach volleyball to town.

Tuesday 1/29

Population boom surrounds Charlottesville

Virginia’s population reached 7.7 million people on July 1, making the state the 12th largest in the nation, according to figures released by UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Although it’s an increase of more than 633,000 people since 2000, the rate of growth has actually dropped in recent years, reports the Associated Press, with the city of Charlottesville seeing  the least amount, as it grew  from 40,099 residents in 2000 to 41,274 in 2007. Meanwhile, the surrounding area boomed, with Fluvanna, Orange and Louisa counties realizing the highest population increase.

Wednesday 1/30

UVA’s Darden in Top 100

The Financial Times has ranked UVA’s Darden School of Business 33rd in the world and 16th in the U.S. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business was ranked No. 1. Of course, this may not be news Darden wants to trumpet. Its world ranking in 2008 dropped from 26th in 2007. In 2006, Darden was ranked 24th.

Thursday 1/31

New job tolls for Bell?

Though Rob Bell hasn’t announced he’s running for Virginia Attorney General, he has already raised $300,000, more than any other potential candidate.

In today’s Washington Post, Staff Writer Tim Craig puts Delegate Rob Bell, who represents much of Albemarle County, at the top of the list of five Republicans who are possible candidates for Virginia Attorney General. According to the article, Bell has an early advantage because he has raised, as of December 31, $300,000—the second candidate on the list has only $74,000 in his coffers. “The former prosecutor has a reputation for using his seat on the Courts of Justice Committee to push for laws to crack down on crime,” Craig writes, “but some activists say he goes too far in wanting to lock people up.”

Friday 2/1

Rutherford to move on NFL lawsuit

John Whitehead, president of the Charlottesville’s Rutherford Institute, has been itching to sue the NFL over its ban on big-screen Super Bowl church parties. The Washington Post reports today that he has set his sights on an Alabama church as the centerpiece of the lawsuit. While smaller screens limit the size of an audience, screens larger than 55′ infringe on the copyright of the telecast. “It’s ridiculous,” says Whitehead in the Post. “You can go into these stores now and buy 100-inch screens. The law is just outdated.”

Saturday 2/2

State delays Wise plant

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has added a second public hearing and extended its public comment period for Dominion Power’s controversial proposed coal-fired power plant in Wise County. The second public hearing is scheduled for February 19 in Richmond. The original hearing will be February 11 in Wise County. The public comment period has been extended by 15 days to March 12.

Sunday 2/3

TJ, the self-serving swindler

The patron saint of Charlottesville is taking several more blows to his reputation thanks to a new book, Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson, reviewed in today’s Washington Post. The book portrays the post-presidential Jefferson as “an irresponsible, impractical, self-serving and self-deluded man who rarely lived up to his ideals.” In one particularly nasty episode, a friend and Florentine horticulturalist had Jefferson look after his American holdings, “only to find out that the Sage of Monticello had sold them and loaned himself the proceeds to continue his architectural experiments.”

Monday 2/4

Blue scare

Frothy-mouthed carpetbagging liberals are raising their skinny fair-trade lattes in a toast to the news that Tom Perriello, Democratic challenger to Republican Congressman Virgil Goode, raised more money than the incumbent in calendar year 2007. Meanwhile, Goode is spinning the numbers by telling the Danville Register & Bee that New Yorkers, Californians and Charlottesvillians (august company, no?) are behind the $266,665 Perriello raised last year; Goode himself pulled in $165,010.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Last week, a 100-year-old red oak tree between New Cabell Hall and Jefferson Park Avenue was removed. University officials made the decision after a recent inspection found that the tree had extensive trunk and root rot and could pose a potential hazard.

Tuesday 1/22

Baseball bat bill strikes out

A bill that was introduced to ban the use of aluminum bats in favor of wooden ones in games at Virginia’s public high schools is being held over for a year’s worth of study, reports today’s Daily Progress. The Charlottesville-based Virginia High School League opposes the proposed ban, but Dr. Vito Perriello, a Charlottesville pediatrician who chairs their sports medicine advisory committee, said more study of the different bats makes sense. “There certainly is anecdotal information that made people feel that the aluminum bats are more dangerous,” he said.

Wednesday 1/23

UVA first in black enrollment

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today that UVA tied Columbia University for first place in black student enrollment—11.4 percent of UVA’s current first-year class—at “top-ranked” universities. John Blackburn, UVA’s dean of admissions, told the Times-Dispatch that he expects those numbers to grow now that UVA dropped its early decision deadline. “We won’t really know how successful it was until we get to the summer when all the financial-aid packages are worked out,” Blackburn said in the story. “But we hope to see an increase of low-income students, many of whom are black.”

John Blackburn, dean of admissions for UVA, says he expects the number of black students to grow in the coming years.

Thursday 1/24

Gun control shot down

Survivors of last year’s shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech have been dealt a blow in their effort to close the gun show loophole. The Washington Post reports this morning that a Virginia Senate bill, which would have required background checks for buyers at gun shows in the state, was defeated yesterday in committee. The Post quotes Gordon Hickey, a spokesman for Governor Tim Kaine, who had made the bill a priority, as saying, “This vote indicates that some believe a felon should be able to buy a gun at a gun show.”

Friday 1/25

Free the sangria

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, the state outlawed the serving of any concoction that mixes liquor and either wine or beer, the Associated Press reports. Frances McDonald found out the hard way when his Alexandria restaurant was fined $2,000 for serving sangria in 2006. McDonald has filed an appeal to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and will go to Richmond to urge state legislators to lift the ban.

Saturday 1/26

Camblos rambles on

When Orange County Commonwealth’s Attorney Diana Wheeler made a plea bargain with a witness and withheld it from defense, Circuit Judge Daniel Bouton had no choice but to throw out a guilty verdict against James H. Long, Jr.—convicted of first-degree murder in September 2006—and start over. To replace her, Wheeler opted for someone who knows a little something about starting fresh: Jim Camblos, defeated in his bid for the Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney seat by Denise Lunsford. His first case as assistant prosecutor for the city of Waynesboro begins on February 18.

Sunday 1/27

Person killed in house fire

With cold weather often comes unfortunate fire accidents. One person was killed in a blaze that broke out at about 7:45pm on Saturday evening, an Albemarle County press release announces today, though the person’s name was not released until autopsy results came back. No word on what started the fire, which torched a townhome at 147 Woodlake Dr., between W. Rio Road and Route 29. The dead person was found on the second floor.

Monday 1/28

Mormon leader dies; no connection to C-VILLE cover story

Gordon B. Hinckley, 97-year-old president of the Mormon Church, died in Salt Lake City on January 27. President for 12 years, Hinckley’s major legacy, according to The New York Times, was as a talented PR man who changed the church’s logo to emphasize the words “Jesus Christ” and, in turn, the Mormons’ connection to other Christian denominations. Given that the church is now the fourth largest in the U.S., we gotta tip our hats to that strategy. In fact, on page 18, we do: Jayson Whitehead explores Mormonism’s rise here in our backyard—a coincidence, we swear.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Last week, new bike racks were installed in Washington Park, the result of a design contest sponsored by the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation and ArtInPlace. Afton-based artist, Bill Hess, designed this one.

Tuesday 1/15

MySpace agrees to greater policing

In a move advertised to improve youth Internet safety, state Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced that MySpace has voluntarily agreed to make several changes to its site, including allowing parents greater control over their children’s e-mails. “This is the way we keep children safer online, by working for progress and improvements with technology leaders,” McDonnell said. In 2006, the 2009 Republican candidate for governor also set up his Youth Internet Safety Task Force.
Wednesday 1/16

Louisa to Charlottesville: You gave me gangs!

In response to gang-related graffiti that’s been popping up around the county, the Louisa sheriff’s office announced that it has formed a seven-member gang task force to try and keep gangs from getting a foothold in the county, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Major Donald Lowe said that he suspects Louisa’s gang-related problems are coming from Charlottesville and Albemarle County. “We want people to know that we’re not going to put our heads in the sand waiting for this to become a problem,” he said.

Thursday 1/17

Snow. Cameras. Action!

Anticipating today’s winter storm, the City of Charlottesville held a press conference yesterday to unveil two new strategies to cope with such situations. Twelve traffic cameras are now installed around the city. ”We can actually look at 12 different intersections around the city in real time with the conditions,” said Judith Mueller, director of the Department of Public Works. Also, every city plow truck has been equipped with GPS technology, so that crews know which streets have been plowed and which streets haven’t.

Friday 1/18

Where’s the quarterback?

True freshman quarterback Peter Lalich had better mature quickly. The UVA Athletics Department announced on Thursday that four of the school’s football players will not be returning for the spring semester, including starting sophomore quarterback Jameel Sewell and starting cornerback Chris Cook. “Privacy laws prohibit any additional comment or release of information regarding this matter,” states the Athletic Department’s press release. The Daily Progress speculates that all four players won’t be around in the fall, either.

Saturday 1/19

Body counting

How many soldiers are dead in the Culpeper National Cemetery? Answer: All of them! As of 2006, the number of interments at the Culpeper veterans cemetery totaled more than 10,000 across roughly 30 acres and, with a total of nearly 737,000 veterans in the state, more than a few will buy the farm within a few miles of Culpeper. The Associated Press reports that Terance Rephann, an economist at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, completed a study that recommends a new veterans cemetery in Nelson County and a 50-mile “service-area boundary” for determining a dead veteran’s final destination.

Sunday 1/20

Immigrant bills assailed

Undocumented workers aren’t likely to speak up in public places where their legal status can be readily questioned, so they’re not likely to speak out against the plethora of bills in the state General Assembly that would make their lives more miserable. That’s where Tim Freilich, director for the Charlottesville Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Center, comes in. He was quoted in The Washington Post today, calling out legislators for bills that “directly attack Virginia’s lawfully present immigrants,” as well as those who aren’t.

Monday 1/21

Corn not growing? Plant more corn!

The Associated Press reported today that Virginia corn, soybean and cotton crops declined in 2007. The National Agricultural Statistics Service pinned the blame on dry weather and the decline came despite the fact that state farmers planted more corn in 2007. In fact, 2007’s corn acreage was the highest on record since 1933, partially thanks to speculation that ethanol will become the the 21st century’s oil. The AP didn’t mention the effect that monoculture farming could have had on production decline.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday 1/8

Kaine proposes smoking ban

Governor Timothy M. Kaine will propose legislation with the start of tomorrow’s General Assembly for a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants. “The scientific evidence about the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke is clear and convincing,” Kaine said, standing in a restaurant in Virginia Beach. The Department of Health estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for 1,700 state deaths per year and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates that the Commonwealth spends $124.9 million a year on problems related to secondhand smoke exposure.

Wednesday 1/9

Albemarle native wraps up Democratic nomination

Four months of fundraising has made Albemarle county native Tom Perriello the Democratic challenger to Virgil Goode, The Daily Progress reported today. Perriello has raised more than $263,000 since September, setting the stage for a run at the 5th District Congressional seat that Goode has held since 1996. 

Thursday 1/10

UVA School of Architecture professor Bill Lucy is taking a permanent sabbatical from his post as chair of the city Planning Commission.

Change is afoot

Charlottesville Tomorrow reports that city Planning Commission Chairman Bill Lucy, a UVA architecture professor who has served on the commission for more than three years, will leave his post in March as part of a sabbatical. The website quotes Lucy as saying, “I have accomplished most of the goals I had in mind, and the City Council had in mind, when I was appointed.” And a press release today from Charlottesville City Schools announces that CHS Principal Kenneth Leatherwood will become a coordinator with the system’s Human Resources department at the end of the school year.

Friday 1/11

General Assembly to take on illegal immigration

More than 100 bills pertaining to the illegal immigration issue have been introduced in the first two days of the General Assembly, reports The Washington Times. “It is evidence of the fact, in the last year, the issue has become of heightened interest in the public consciousness; there is no question about that,” said Claire Gutrie Gastanaga, a lobbyist for a coalition of Hispanic organizations. She pointed out that only 53 such bills were introduced in the last session. Democrats in the Virginia Senate listed the issue as one of their top six legislative priorities, but some Republicans doubted that assertion. “I hope they want to take the issue seriously, and we will see this year,” said Republican Delegate Jackson H. Miller. “Last year, they were not serious about it.”

Saturday 1/12

On January 12, Adam Rogers (pictured), along with Josh Van Horne, held a workshop at The Bridge on how to short-circuit audio devices to create new musical instruments and sound generators.

Tourism? More like bore-ism

Today’s Lynchburg News & Advance revisited recently published tourism numbers from Monticello (441,739 guests in 2007, the spot’s lowest total in roughly 30 years) and then, presumably to add insult to Charlottesville injury, threw in a few Lynchburg sites for comparison, including “Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest,” which attracted nearly 2,000 more guests during the last year. Most sources in the News & Advance attribute declines to increased fuel prices and fewer field trips, but Lynn Beebe, president of Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, says her spot’s increase might be attributed to “growing public interest in ‘conversation’ events featuring historical actors.” More T.J. puppets, Monticello!

Sunday 1/13

McCain wants our money

Clinton, Obama and Kucinich have already been here, and now it looks like a Republican will try his luck. Charlottesville Newsplex reports today that John McCain will hold a fundraiser at the Paramount on February 10, two days before the Virginia primary. A mere $1,000 gets you into a private reception, while $100 is necessary for the speaking event only.

Monday 1/14

What’s the frequency, Martha?

This morning, radio listeners awoke to a brave new world, at least on the 103.5 FM frequency. That’s WMRA, the NPR station based in Harrisonburg, and from now on it will air more talk programming during the middle of the day, rather than classical music. Major NPR news shows “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” will still air at the usual times; now they’ll be joined by an hour of BBC news, plus “On Point,” “Fresh Air” and “Talk of the Nation.”

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday,  January 1

Kaine stumps for Obama

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine stumped for Barack Obama (pictured) days before his Iowa victory.

Days away from the Iowa caucus, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine joins presidential candidate Barack Obama as the Senator travels from Sioux City to Council Bluffs, reports today’s Baltimore Sun. Along the way, he is introduced by Kaine, who received help in his 2005 election bid from the Illinois Democrat and returned the favor when Obama made stops in Virginia last year, including in Charlottesville on October 29. “If he were our candidate, we could get the 13 electoral votes in Virginia,” Kaine said in Sioux City. “We could put the Virginia votes— and other state’s votes—in the Democratic column and win this race. Virginia is a red state, but we’ve got a lot of independents and a lot of moderate Republicans who don’t like what the Republican Party is doing.”

Wednesday, January 2

Viagra for women

UVA researchers are currently testing a testosterone-laden ointment called LibiGel which is intended to boost the libido of women who have lost interest in sex, reports Radar Online. Rubbed into the upper arm, the drug would provide users with 24 hours of sexual interest. While it is currently being prescribed only to women who have had both ovaries surgically removed, LibiGel’s manufacturers hope that it will eventually be made available to the roughly one-third of all American females who complain of having a low sex drive. The maker, BioSante Pharmaceuticals, recently received a $3.5 million cash infusion to facilitate development after a clinical study showed that the drug “increased the number of satisfying sexual events by 238 percent,” from 2.1 to 7.1 events per month.

Thursday, January 3

Landmark on the auction block

Norfolk-based Landmark Communications confirmed media reports late Wednesday that it had hired two national investment firms to “assist in exploring strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company’s businesses,” reports today’s Virginian-Pilot. Parent company to that newspaper and employer to more than 9,000, Landmark was founded by Frank Batten, Sr., who gave UVA $100 million last April. The decision to sell the company was made by Batten’s son who took over leadership of the media company in 1998. “There was consensus among all of the family members that this was the right course of action to explore,” said Frank, Jr. Company revenues topped $2 billion last year for holdings that include The Weather Channel, one of the last privately owned cable channels. It is estimated that the channel could fetch more than $5 billion.

Friday, January 4

UVA basketball flounders in Cincinatti

Despite a blowout against Xavier, Sean Singletary defended the UVA men’s basketball team’s character.

The UVA men’s basketball team lost 110-76 to the Xavier Musketeers on Thursday, The Daily Progress reports. Xavier’s score was the highest that the Cavs have allowed in a game under head coach Dave Leitao, who is in his third season. “Obviously when you have a recipe for disaster, then a train wreck happens and that’s what tonight was about,” Leitao said. Captain Sean Singletary acknowledged that it was a tough loss, but tried to stay sanguine. “It’s pretty embarrassing, but you can’t fold under these types of situations and adversity,” he said. “We need to come out on the positive end of it. We have enough character to turn it around.” The Cavs will face 9th ranked Duke on January 13 in Durham, North Carolina, for their first ACC match of the season.

Saturday, January 5

Goode? Well, they’re grrreat!

Tom Perriello and Dave Shreve, in competition with one another as Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, arrived in Danville with a unified message: Goode better get while the getting is good. The Danville Register & Bee took time to speak with both candidates about Virginia Fifth District Rep. Virgil Goode (who has held the seat for 11 years and had raised more than $350,000 according to third quarter reports from the Federal Election Committee). Perriello, who is a lecturer at the UVA Law School, is listed in the same report as having earned more than $110,000 in campaign contributions, although an e-mail from his campaign claims he has earned more than $250,000.

Sunday, January 6

Former sheriff passes away

George Bailey, former Albemarle County sheriff, died January 4 at the age of 80, The Daily Progress reports today. He shared both the name of the It’s a Wonderful Life lead character as well as the local notoriety—the DP writes that “just about everybody” knew him. Bailey was sheriff from 1970 to 1987 and served concurrently as the first Albemarle County Police chief in 1984. He stayed up on politics right to the end. “Even at 80 years old, he still had valuable insight,” says Chip Harding, newly elected county sheriff. “There was never a dull moment with George. He was a character.”

Monday, January 7

Greek goddesses headed home

Demeter and Kore—or at least two 2,500-year-old sculptures of those two Greek goddesses—are to return to Italy after a stint at the UVA Art Museum, reports the website insidehighered.com. The two acroliths were excavated in 1978 in a Sicilian Greek city, then made their way into the private market; in 2002, they were donated to UVA with the condition that they be repatriated after five years. Officials at UVA told UVAToday that returning the sculptures is a gesture of support for proper stewardship of archaic artworks. They’re also planning a sendoff party on February 2—not with cake and balloons but with a gaggle of scholars discussing the antiquities market and preservation of archaeological sites.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday,  December 25

Former UVA coach’s team beats Maryland

Ten years after being fired as UVA’s men’s basketball coach, Jeff Jones is celebrated in a John Feinstein column in today’s Washington Post. On December 22, Jones’ current team—American University—traveled the short distance from their home in northwest Washington, D.C. to Maryland’s Comcast Center, where they beat the Gary Williams-coached Terrapins by the score of 67-59. "Realistically, Jones’ last chance to take a team into Maryland and win went by the wayside the day he left Virginia," writes Feinstein. "But there he was, being congratulated by Williams after his kids played with all sorts of poise down the stretch."

Getting into UVA is getting harder for out-of-state applicants.

Wednesday, December 26

UVA still a long shot, and getting longer

Even though UVA recently went out touring with Harvard and Princeton in an effort to open its doors to more low-income high school students, a story in today’s Norfolk Examiner says UVA is becoming more and more of a long shot for out-of-state, public-school applicants. "The University of Virginia, a school considered notoriously difficult to get into from out of state, is among those schools becoming more and more unreachable," writes Courtney Mabeus in the Examiner story. "In 2006, the school offered 107 students out of 319 public school applicants a spot in that year’s freshman class." Of those 107 students, 33 enrolled. This year, 378 public schoolers applied to UVA, and 105 were accepted. Thirty-one enrolled, down two from last year.

Thursday, December 27

Benazir Bhutto’s local visits revealed her strong character and drive for peace and understanding, bloggers say.

Search for missing PVCC graduate continues

Authorities resumed their search today along the Des Plaines River in Illinois for a missing woman who graduated from Piedmont Virginia Community College, reports the Chicago Tribune. Anu Solanki, 24, has not been heard from since Monday afternoon when she left her workplace in the Chicago area. Solanki came to the U.S. from India about 10 years ago with her family, who stayed with relatives in New Jersey for two years before moving to Charlottesville, where much of her family still lives. After graduating from high school, Solanki received an associate’s degree in biotechnology from PVCC. On Monday, Solanki had planned to place a broken idol of the Hindu god Ganesh in the river, family members and friends told the Tribune. "Everyone’s sad right now. They’re praying," said her cousin Alkesh Patel. "You have to play that waiting game."

Friday, December 28

Local bloggers remember Bhutto

The assassination of former Pakastani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has evoked strong reactions across the world, including on a couple of local websites. Charlottesville-based political blogger Rick Sincere recalls meeting Bhutto in a Fairfax townhouse and calls her "one of the most authentic political leaders I have ever met." The Charlottesville Podcasting Network responded to Bhutto’s death with a recording of her 2002 speech at Roanoke College, a year after September 11. "The world is a very different place than what we had dreamed of when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended," Bhutto said at the beginning of her speech. "The era of peace for which we prayed became a time of war." She then discussed the difficult times that Pakistan and the Middle East faced and emphasized that the 2001 terrorist attacks did not represent the majority of the Muslim world.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, December 18

One vote for solid waste

Only one member of a five-person board was able to vote to fund solid waste services in the city and county, reports today’s Daily Progress. Because of conflict of interest concerns, four of the five members abstained, allowing local builder Michael Gaffney to offer his own motion, second it, and record the only vote. Both the county Board of Supervisors and City Council have already ratified the agreement, which funds solid waste services until the RSWA devises a long-term strategy.  

Wednesday, December 19

Starr Hill to go national

Starr Hill Brewery is going big time with the help of some folks in St. Louis. The Charlottesville beermakers announced a distribution deal with Anheuser-Busch, which means six-packs of Starr Hill will be appearing in coolers nationwide in the next five to 10 years. Starr Hill Brewmaster Mark Thompson told C-VILLE that Anheuser-Busch acquired a minority stake in Starr Hill as part of the deal, though the local brewery will maintain control. All operations, Thompson said, will remain in Crozet. The expansion will have three phases. In 2008, distribution will expand statewide in Virginia. In three to five years, the mid-Atlantic will start seeing Starr Hill. And in five to 10 years, the brew will be nationwide.

Thursday, December 20

Local dairy barn burns

Kathryn Russell, seen here with her family last July, suffered a blow when the dairy barn at her Majesty Farm burned down.

We were sorry to learn today that the dairy barn on Kathryn Russell’s Albemarle County Majesty Farm, which was featured in a July 2007 C-VILLE cover story, has burned down, according to an e-mail to the E.A.T. Local listserve. Though no people were hurt, two baby goats and some poultry were lost, as well as, among other things, all her milking equipment and supplies. Let’s hope some generosity will flow their way this holiday season.

Meth-odical police work

Any area meth addicts wondering about dwindling supply can blame United States Attorney John L. Brownlee, who announced today the successful completion of a methamphetamine conspiracy prosecution that has resulted in 24 convictions. In 2005, a wire-tap investigation was carried out by numerous enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, that targeted two sources of supply responsible for distributing multipound quantities of meth in the areas surrounding Waynesboro, Charlottesville and Crozet. Over a six-month period in 2006, agents made multiple arrests resulting in the seizure of more than four pounds of methamphetamine (with an estimated street value of $150,000), $20,901 in U.S. currency, six vehicles, several firearms and a $208,000 residence.

Friday, December 21

Mallek to appoint Loach

The Crozet Gazette reports in its December issue that incoming Albemarle County Supervisor Ann Mallek, who defeated incumbent David Wyant, will appoint Tom Loach to the county Planning Commission. "He has shown tremendous devotion to Crozet and he has tremendous background on the issues," Mallek told the Gazette. "He wants data and real facts about things. He will represent the community well, especially in the review of the Master Plan." Loach was originally running against Mallek for the White Hall district seat, but dropped out of the race in June. The volunteer firefighter has long been involved in trying to make sure Crozet’s infrastructure is able to support the area’s development. In a December 2005 cover story, Loach told C-VILLE that the county does a fine job of planning development, but "the implementation sucks" and that "growth area residents need to wake up and smell the coffee."

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday, December 11
Squirrel shuts down Charlottesville

Charlottesville, we have a squirrel problem. In addition to absconding with all our nuts and generally chattering loudly, squirrels have now attacked our power grid, depriving 1,400 buildings in the Downtown area of electricity from early Monday morning into mid-afternoon, reports The Daily Progress. Apparently, a squirrel got wedged between two power lines and was electrocuted, causing the electricity on the wires to be interrupted. "It’s very unfortunate for the little squirrel," said a Dominion Power spokesperson, "but this is not an uncommon thing."

Wednesday, December 12
Wanted: one large trophy case

UVA defensive end Chris Long can’t stop the awards from rolling in. The latest: He was named to the Associated Press’ All-America first team.

The awards just keep rolling in for UVA defensive end Chris Long. After garnering enough votes to finish 10th in the Heisman race (a contest that’s perennially content to ignore defensive players), Long has been named to the Associated Press’ All-America first team, as reported by…well…the Associated Press. The honor comes after Long won the Dudley Award, given to Virginia’s top player and the Ted Hendricks Award for being the best defensive end in the country. Now if UVA could just sell those Gator Bowl tickets.…

Thursday, December 13
Highway to hell

On the same day that Creigh Deeds announces he is running for governor, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) releases a report that paints a dire picture of the current patterns of growth in Virginia, linking the energy costs of suburban sprawl to global warming. Transportation accounts for 43 percent of all energy consumed in Virginia, calculates the SELC’s Trip Pollard, and a lot of that gas is guzzled to get people to work from outer suburbs, which were built on cleared forest and farm land that would have mitigated all those CO2 emissions. Bleak! But Pollard says that the Commonwealth can cool it with compact development, green building, cleaner fuels and more money for alternative transportation.

Friday, December 14
Ex C-VILLE writer shows a pit bull the love

Dog lover and former C-VILLE staff writer Nell Boeschenstein is getting the word out that pit bulls aren’t born mean.

Nell Boeschenstein, former C-VILLE staff writer, current graduate student at Columbia University, and the brains behind this newspaper’s ever-popular "Hit This Site" column, has a new article on the website The Morning News about 1) her determination to adopt a pit bill and save it from possibly becoming one of "the victims of some of humanity’s worst habits"; 2) how badly she misses Crystal (that would be the pit bull), who’s living for now with Nell’s parents in Charlottesville; and 3) many other related things wrapped in Nell’s sparkling writing style that anyone would be plain crazy to miss.

Saturday, December 15
Don’t meddle with his pedals

Fifty-six-year-old cyclist Fred Wittwer dealt with more than the usual troubles that ail local bicyclists on Saturday as he competed in the 2007 Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City. The cycle-centric website Pedal Pushers Online reported today that Wittwer, a bicycle racer that competes as part of the Charlottesville Racing Club, raced against riders in three age groups in addition to his "Masters Men 55-59" division, not to mention a snowfall that froze the surface of the outdoor race track. "On the last lap, I didn’t have any brakes," Wittwer told Pedal Pusher following his first place finish in his division. "My rims iced up so when I hit the brakes, I just kept going." Wittwer bested the 43 other cyclists in his division, finishing the 12.4 kilometer race more than 40 seconds ahead of the pack with a time of 43 minutes and 34 seconds.

Sunday, December 16
How it works

Local author Jennifer Ackerman found herself in the pages of the New York Times Book Review for her new book, Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream.

Today, The New York Times Book Review takes a look at Charlottesville author Jennifer Ackerman‘s new book, Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream. The review calls the book "an enthusiastic tour through 24 hours in the life of a typical human body" and highlights a couple of interesting facts: The majority of people are the most mentally acute three hours after waking, and the liver detoxifies best between 5pm and 6pm. (Plan your day accordingly.) While Dunn emphasizes the book’s welcoming, accessible language and useful explanations, she says that Ackerman’s personal anecdotes and literary references are sometimes out of place. In addition to being a writer, Ackerman also serves as president of the Charlottesville High School Orchestra Boosters.

Monday, December 17
Power out; no squirrels involved

Locals woke this morning and cast a wary eye on downed trees and damaged roofs—the results of the previous night’s blustery winds, with gusts up to 50 mph. Some locals also woke to find themselves out of power. According to The Daily Progress, 2,800 Dominion Virginia customers lost electricity because of the wind. But the all-knowing weather.com promises that we’ve seen the last of the blasts. And it could have been worse: The wind is a remnant of the big snowstorm that [choose your verb: hammered? pounded? blanketed?] the Northeast over the weekend, and those people are hurting, what with up to 20" of snow and temperatures in the teens. Makes a blinking alarm clock seem tame by comparison.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday,  December 4
Yankees play Hokies

The New York Yankees will play an exhibition game at Virginia Tech on March 18, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. As part of their spring training, they will take on the Hokies at 3pm in English Field. "Since the tragedy of last April 16, the Virginia Tech family has shown great strength and resilience and have committed themselves to the healing process while looking ahead to their future," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Monday. "We bring the New York Yankees to Blacksburg this spring to celebrate the start of a new year for the Virginia Tech family and ours."

Wednesday, December 5
Goode: Happy b-day, General Lee!

Virgil Goode loves Robert E. Lee and got an award for saying so.

The Washington Times reports
that Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode is set to deliver a speech at the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ (SCV) Jefferson Davis Camp 305 Christmas party. The speech is on Robert E. Lee, that heroic Southern figure who just happened to find himself on the wrong side of history in a very, very major way. For coming all the way across the Potomac from his Capitol Hill office, Goode is presented the Stephen D. Lee Award on the 200th anniversary of the other Lee’s birthday. That birthday, for the SCV anyway, is cause for celebration and a look back at the bad old days.

Thursday, December 6
Can’t wait for warm weather

The Charlottesville Marathon is one of the 10 best up-and-coming marathons in the country, says Runner’s World magazine.

In its January issue, Runner’s World magazine names the Charlottesville Marathon one of the 10 best up-and-coming marathons in the country. This accolade follows on the heels of Trail Runner magazine recognizing the Great Eastern Trail Run, which goes through the Blue Ridge Mountains, as one of the top trail series in the country, and Golf Digest naming the golf course at Spring Creek Golf Club in Charlottesville as "Best New Public Under $75." To all this great news we have just one thing to add: The dentist and doctors’ offices around town need to start offering more reading material than just People and Time.

Friday, December 7
Locals up for Grammys

The Grammys are announced and a couple of local names are in the mix. Christopher King, a resident of Faber, is nominated in the category of Best Historical Album for his co-producing and remastering work on People Take Warning! Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, 1913-1938, a three- disc collection of tragic folk songs from the early 20th century. His nomination is nothing new, though, as he has received them three times before and actually won in 2003. Chris Daughtry, Fluvanna High alum and "American Idol" fourth place finalist, receives four Grammy nominations for his work on his eponymous album, Daughtry, one of the best-selling albums of 2007.

Saturday, December 8
Winning and losing

The sports programs at Albemarle County Schools are vacillating between triumph and grief as they come to terms with a big win and a major loss. The Monticello High football team won the Virginia AA Division 3 state championship in Lynchburg today, defeating Richlands 36-22 for the first football state championship for Albemarle County public schools. But the high would be deflated the next day as Albemarle High swim coach Kyle Wilson collapsed and died at a Sunday morning meet in Annapolis, Maryland, reports NBC 29. No word on the cause of death.

Sunday, December 9
Council, don’t preach

"Contrarian Christian" John Whitehead is featured in The Washington Post for a Fredricksburg lawsuit.

The Washington Post Magazine details the history of Rutherford Institute Founder and President John Whitehead in a story about a lawsuit filed by Fredericksburg City Councilman Hashmel Turner, an ordained preacher in the First Baptist Church of Love. After Turner concluded a prayer to open a City Council session with the words "In the name of Jesus Christ, we thank you for what we are going to do," the Council passed a formal ban on the invocation of any specific religious figures, to ensure that parties offended by Christ, Buddha, Vishnu et al. would not file suit against the city. The Post calls Whitehead "as much a contrarian as a Christian," and bills his mission as the prevention of a "bland, state-sponsored ‘civil religion,’" then lists a few of Whitehead’s greatest hits. Turner’s lawsuit, filed 14 months ago, is yet to proceed.

Monday, December 10
Another big old show at JPJ

A big announcement today for fans of country radio: Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban (a.k.a. Mr. Nicole Kidman) will play the John Paul Jones Arena on April 10. It’s a high-powered bill: Each performer is a Grammy winner, and each has a recent No. 1 album. What’s more, the press release announcing the show promises "12 No. 1 songs, 7 for Urban and 5 from Underwood." (Don’t you just hate those Arena shows that are all littered up with No. 2 songs?) Tickets go on sale to the general public on December 15.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday,  November 27
Kucinich is coming

Diminutive Democrat presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich will make an appearance in Charlottesville on December 7. OpEdNews.com reports that an intimate "face-to-face" meeting will first be held in Room 235 of the County Office Building at 7:15pm for those able to cough up a minimum of $500. Thirty minutes later, the main event will take place in Lane Auditorium for the relatively cheap price of $10 for students and $20 for general admission. A picture with the candidate will cost an additional $30. [Read C-VILLE’s interview with Kucinich here.]

Wednesday, November 28
Groh won’t go; fans fuss

After Tuesday’s announcement that Al Groh not only won the ACC Coach of the Year award but was granted a one-year extension of his contract, the Virginia faithful are busy bickering this morning on TheSabre.com about whether the honors were deserved. "Al earned and deserves this award. And I still can’t stand him," one fan writes. Others grumble that a contract extension makes no sense given Groh’s 1 and 6 record against Virginia Tech. Elsewhere on the site, Groh himself declares that he coaches not for contracts but "for the players," yet also acknowledges that opposing coaches have been able to use Groh’s job insecurity to boost their own recruiting efforts.

Thursday, November 29
DMB bassist’s house burns

Dave Matthews Band bass player Stefan Lessard had to perform an unfortunate fire dance this morning, as he and his son escaped a 7:30am house fire at his home on Morgantown Road, reports the Charlottesville Newsplex today. A team of 40 firefighters worked to control the blaze, which got out of hand quickly because of the 3,000-square-foot home’s cedar exterior. Investigators think the fire started on the first floor, but have yet to speculate on the cause.

Friday, November 30
Gun-purchasing ban list more than doubles

The Associated Press reports today that the number of mentally ill included on a list that bans them from buying guns has more than doubled in the past five months. U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that in July, 174,863 names were in the federal database, while there are now 393,957. Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people and himself on April 16, would likely have been unable to purchase the firearms he used in the massacre if a 2005 court order calling him a danger to himself had been submitted to the database. Thirty-two states reported names to the database, while the remaining 18 are not legally obligated to do so. Virginia has traditionally submitted the most names to the database.

Saturday, December 1
Too smart for his genes

Enlightened caution, thy name is Eric Turkheimer. The University of Virginia psychology professor recently weighed in on the raging debate over intelligence and genetics that started with Nobel Prize-winning biologist James D. Watson’s claim that African Americans are less intelligent than members of other races and has since moved onto the Web, where William Saletan, a senior writer at culture and politics website, Slate, recently issued an apology for a series of posts on the subject. Saletan wrote on Slate that he "thought it was important to lay out the scenario’s plausibility," but discovered in the wake of a strong response that some evidence for his opinions stemmed from J. Philippe Rushton, the president of a research firm named Pioneer Fund that has donated $70,000 in support to a segregationist group called New Century Foundation. In comments to The New York Times, Turkheimer mentions the close and complex links between an individual’s genetic structure and environment as evidence enough to make the debate "fundamentally impossible to settle."

Sunday, December 2
UVA will watch ball drop in Jacksonville

Will Al Groh, this year’s ACC Coach of the Year, be able to lead UVA to victory in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida?

The Wahoo faithful found out where they’re spending New Year’s tonight: Jacksonville, Florida. The 9-3 UVA football team will play Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl on January 1, the first major bowl game for the Cavs since appearing in the 1998 Peach Bowl (a close loss to Georgia). Message boards lit up with chatter about where to stay. Those traveling Hoos are hoping this Gator Bowl appearance won’t be like the last one: In 1991, UVA got blown out by Oklahoma 48-14.

Monday, December 3
Springsteen tickets on sale Friday

Open up your wallet: Here comes Bruce to Charlottesville.

Get those Internet clicking and/or telephone dialing fingers ready, Charlottesville. Tickets for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s April 30 concert at the JPJ will go on sale Friday, December 7, at 10am, say JPJ officials. But be ready to shell out some dollars. Tickets are priced at $67 and $97. All floor seats are general admission. Tickets are available at the JPJ Box Office, Plan 9 stores, and on the JPJ and Live Nation websites.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, November 20
Alleged killer confesses

One of two men arrested for the murder of 26-year-old Jayne Warren McGowan has revealed his role in her death, reports today’s Daily Progress. According to a police search warrant affidavit, 18-year-old Michael Stuart Pritchett said that he and his 22-year-old cousin, William Douglas Gentry, planned to rob McGowan and knocked on her door. McGowan answered, saw their intent and said, "No," and backed toward the couch where she was shot by Gentry. While Pritchett was in another room, he said he heard more shots and then returned to the living room to also shoot her. [For more, read C-VILLE’s article on the McGowan murder from this week’s issue.]

Wednesday, November 21
Born in the JPJ

The Boss will bring his Magic to JPJ on April 30.

April 30, people: Mark it down. The Boss is back with the E Street Band, and the whole lot of them are coming to Charlottesville. Bruce Springsteen announced yesterday the dates for his 2008 tour, and the John Paul Jones Arena is his last stop. The Jersey rocker and the band that made him famous will play the JPJ on April 30. The sale date for tickets has yet to be announced. Springsteen and the E Street Band are touring on the back of their new album, Magic, the Boss’s 23rd release. According to Rolling Stone, the new album is "in one way, the most openly nostalgic record Springsteen has ever made."

Thursday, November 22
Coming to…cough…to get you!

Geez, can’t a guy cough without a reporter recording its phlegmy-ness? Apparently not if you’re UVA defensive end Chris Long and the biggest game of your life is three days away. The Associated Press has a brief but in-depth story on Long’s case of strep throat. Midway through Monday’s practice, Long headed home, feeling too sick to work out. As for Long’s status in Saturday’s game against arch-rival Virginia Tech, UVA coach Al Groh says the Cavs are taking a "wait and see" approach. Reporters tried to contact Long Tuesday, but like any quarterback killer trying to shake off an illness, Long was too busy lifting weights.

Friday, November 23
Va GOP: No nookie education

Attorney General Bob McDonnell is puzzled by Governor Kaine’s elimination of abstinence-only education funding. Well, all that evidence that abstinence-only education doesn’t work is confusing.

The Washington Post reports that state Republicans are calling for Governor Tim Kaine to reinstate funding for abstinence-only education. In October Kaine pulled $275,000 in matching funds for abstinence-only programs, the Post reports. "The research shows programs that are abstinence-only are not successful," Kaine said. "The budget will not have funding for abstinence-only programs. If the people look at the research, the answer is pretty clear." Attorney General Bob McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and other Virginia Republicans are apparently not those people. "He is a Catholic, and I am a Catholic, and I know our church teaches abstinence," McDonnell said. "I am puzzled by his decision."
Saturday, November 24
Not-so-brotherly love

The UVA men’s basketball team was off to a fiery five-game winning streak before their trip to the Philly Hoop Group Classic to play against Seton Hall. The Cavs had made short work of a couple of teams with names that sound like those of the feeble kids that get picked on in grade school (Drexel, an exhibition against Carson-Newman) and even rocked the knee-socks of the serious hoopsters from Arizona. Whether word of a Cav football loss reached and disheartened the team or it was just a bad karmic day for UVA, Seton Hall maintained an 8-point lead through the latter half of the game and tacked a few on at the end to hand No. 23 Virginia squad a 74-60 loss. The Cavaliers, still undefeated at home, take on Northwestern in Charlottesville on Tuesday night.

Sunday, November 25
Freud: Psych’s loss, literature’s gain

Mark Edmundson, UVA english prof, has no problem loving Freud, even if psych departments are throwing over psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis is dying in campus psych departments but flourishing in just about every other discipline, reports today’s New York Times. Among those: the English department, and the Times quotes UVA English prof Mark Edmundson on the place of Sigmund Freud in the pantheon. "Freud to me is a writer comparable to Montaigne and Samuel Johnson and Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, writers who take on the really big questions of love, justice, good government and death," said Edmundson, who has gotten a lot of attention (including from C-VILLE) for his recent book, The Death of Sigmund Freud.

Monday, November 26
Party parents free to go

This weekend’s Washington Post contains an interview with Elisa Kelly, the local woman who along with her ex-husband George Robinson was sentenced to jail time for serving alcohol to her teenage son and his friends. The notorious 2002 party had originally earned the couple an eight-year sentence, but it was reduced to 27 months—which many observers still considered too harsh—and they were released on parole before Thanksgiving after serving five months. Kelly told the Post that because of other inmates’ resentment over the media attention her case attracted, she ended up serving part of her sentence in solitary custody, during which, she tells the Post, "I wanted to blow my head off."

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, November 13
Crack sentences may get reduced

Julian Bond supports reducing sentences for crack-related offenses.

After more relaxed guidelines for federal sentencing for future crack cocaine offenders were put in place last spring, an independent panel is today considering whether to retroactively reduce the sentences of federal inmates in prison for crack-related offenses. The Washington Post reports that, should the panel do so, the sentences of nearly 20,000 inmates would be reduced by an average of 27 months. Notably, nearly 86 percent of the inmates who would be affected by the reduction are black. "Making the amendment retroactive will…help repair the image of the sentencing guidelines in communities of color," University of Virginia professor and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond wrote to the panel. "It is cruel and arbitrary to fix this injustice for some, but not for others, solely because of the date they were sentenced."

Wednesday, November 14
Breaking tradition

At Saint Anne’s-Belfield, the Saints’ football and baseball star, Kyle Long (front row, left), gets four cheers from his family—his mom, Diane, his father, Howie (back row, center) and his brothers Howie Jr. (back row, right) and Chris (front row, right)—after officially signing to play baseball for Florida State.

It’s official. Kyle Long of the famous football Longs (his dad, Howie, is an NFL Hall of Famer and his brother, Chris, is a UVA standout defensive end) has decided to which college he will lend his sports prowess: Florida State. Kyle, who attends Saint Anne’s-Belfield, has had college football recruiters salivating for some time now (the fact that he’s 6’7" and weighs 240 pounds just might have something to do with that), but baseball is where is heart lies. And baseball is what he’ll be playing for the Seminoles. Boy, are they lucky: As a first baseman and pitcher for Saint Anne’s, Kyle has a career ERA of 1.81, and a .507 batting average.

Thursday, November 15
Above average

Inrich.com reports this morning on the findings of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation: The average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 in the state—$40.74—climbed 5.4 percent from last year. The culprits are soaring livestock and energy prices. And guess who will pay the most in Virginia: Charlottesville-area residents. According to inrich.com, our average price for a dinner for 10 will be $49.92. The hippest always take it the hardest, don’t they?

Friday, November 16
Fighting foreclosure

Governor Tim Kaine announced on Thursday that he is forming a panel to help borrowers faced with subprime mortgage loans, the Washington Post reports today. "Many of Virginia’s working families are facing significant difficulty as mortgage rates adjust," Kaine said. "My goal is to have policies in place that will help Virginians before they are faced with foreclosure." The foreclosure rate in Virginia is more than double what it was a year ago, the Post reports.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday, November 6
The latest chapter

While William N. "Bill" Peterson may be retiring from his job, John Grisham (pictured) knows that Peterson isn’t retiring from his lawsuit against the Charlottesville-area author.

William N. "Bill" Peterson, the man who added a twist to Charlottesville-area writer John Grisham’s first foray into nonfiction, The Innocent Man, will retire at the end of the year after 28 years as a district attorney in Oklahoma. Peterson is suing Grisham and Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, alleging that the author used his skills with fiction to portray him in a bad light in the book, which is about the overturned conviction of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz in the murder of Debbie Sue Carter in Ada, Oklahoma. But let’s move on to the real story: Who will play Peterson in the movie, the rights for which have been bought by George Clooney?

Wednesday, November 7
Lunsford, Mallek and city Dems win big

Democratic challenger Ann Mallek, left, knocked off Republican incumbent David Wyant for White Hall seat on the county Board of Supervisors.

Virginia Democrats made some serious gains in statewide and local elections Tuesday night. Denise Lunsford knocked off 15-year incumbent Jim Camblos for the Albemarle County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney. County Board of Supervisors chairman Ken Boyd, a Republican, held off challenger Marcia Joseph. But the makeup of the Board will shift dramatically in January, thanks to Democratic challenger Ann Mallek’s win over Republican incumbent David Wyant. Charlottesville Democrats continued their stranglehold on the City Council. All three Democratic candidates—incumbent mayor David Brown, challengers Holly Edwards and Satyendra Huja—won easily, beating Independent challengers Barbara Haskins and Peter Kleeman.

Thursday, November 8
Stock options encourage risky business

A New Yorker piece that examines the disarray on Wall Street following the collapse of the subprime mortgage market attributes it to the incentives hedge fund managers and investment bank CEOs are given. More specifically, the New Yorker found that CEOs who are given compensation in the form of stock options are more likely to make risky investments. According to a study by two business professors—one of which happens to be Darden assistant professor Jared Harris—generous options may also encourage fraud.

Friday, November 9
Free speech wins

Tonight Charlottesville’s First Amendment Monument will receive a Jury Citation Award for Excellence in Architecture from the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects (VSAIA). Along with 20 other projects around the state, the monument, designed by Charlottesville architects Peter O’Shea and Robert Winstead, will be honored at the Visions of Architecture gala in Richmond. "It’s rare that you find a piece of urban furniture that invites a kind of provocation, while also being very beautiful in its own right," said the jury that selected the awards.

Saturday, November 10

In the next day’s press, both the Grafton Clippers and the Western Albemarle Warriors received praise for thrilling seasons following their performances in the Virginia Group AA/A state championship field hockey game, but Western Albemarle returns home from the expansive artificial fields of the National Training Center in Virginia Beach with a more substantive sign of their efforts—the title of state field hockey champs. The Hampton Roads Daily Press writes following Saturday’s game that the  WAHS Warriors nabbed the championship seconds after a 15-minute overtime period concluded. Pushing through the end of the clock was the Warriors’ Effie Nicholaou, who belted a rebound past Clippers goalkeeper Jamie Dowling to cap a near-perfect 20-game season (18-1-1). WAHS keeper Lindsay Gibson faced only five shots in the Warriors 2-1 win.

Sunday, November 11
UVA dispatches Vermont, last year’s hype

Dave Leitao and the UVA men’s basketball team opened their new season at the JPJ on November 11 by scoring all over Vermont.

Michael Buffer didn’t announce the starting lineups this year, but that didn’t seem to bother the UVA men’s basketball team today in their opening game at the JPJ. The Cavaliers trounced visiting Vermont 90-72, thanks to strong performances by Sean Singletary and Adrian Joseph. The three-point specialist is emerging as a top scorer now that J.R. Reynolds is playing ball in Italy, and he tied Singletary for a Hoo high 19 points.

Monday, November 12
Different drunks?

On the eternal question of whether a tequila buzz is different in some essential way from a PBR buzz, the November issue of Esquire is noncommittal. All alcoholic drinks have the same psychoactive ingredient— ethanol—says the monthly’s Answer Fella. Still, other factors may intervene. Dr. Bankole Johnson, chair of UVA’s department of psychiatric medicine, is quoted explaining that for one thing, pairing tequila with a sugary mixer may cause the drinker to absorb the alcohol faster. So if you’re hoping your beverage makes you more aggressive, go ahead and toss in that spoonful of sugar. If not, sip slowly, and think bitter thoughts.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, October 30
Mr. Vice President?

Our next No. 2? Virginia senator Jim Webb’s name is being tossed around as a potential vice presidential candidate.

As reported by The Roanoke Times
, U.S. Senator Jim Webb told a group of Democratic supporters on Monday that "the country is watching Virginia" to see who wins in next week’s state legislative races. "We are showing the right kind of momentum in terms of where the American political process needs to go," Webb said. If anyone is showing momentum, however, it is the freshman senator from Virginia who, according to Sunday’s Washington Post, is being mentioned as a possible running mate for the 2008 national presidential election. For his part, Webb has responded with a less than clear denial, saying he is not "actively interested in doing that."

Wednesday, October 31
Last-minute contributions roll in

Incumbent David Wyant recently raised $12,500 for his Board of Supervisors campaign. His challenger, Ann Mallek, netted $5,500.

It’s five days until city and county elections, and last-minute contributors to candidates are rolling in from private donors  and special-interest political action committees (PACs). Charlottesville Tomorrow, via the Virginia Public Access Project, reported the most recent donations to Albemarle County Board of Supervisors candidates. White Hall Republican incumbent David Wyant racked up $12,500 in recent donations. The bulk of that comes from—who else?—business and developer PACs. His Democratic challenger, Ann Mallek, netted $5,500 in  new donations, two grand from the Democratic Road Back PAC and the rest from her husband. Rivanna Republican incumbent Ken Boyd got a whopping $9,000 check from the Monticello Business Alliance, a pro-business and economic development PAC.

Thursday, November 1
Left behind

Looking for further evidence that the U.S. is lagging behind other industrial nations when it comes to education? Daily Progress staff writer Barney Breen-Portnoy reports today in an article for Media General News Service on a study by UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service that found that in 2005 almost 43 percent of Virginia’s 105,000 4-year-olds were not enrolled in preschool. The director of the Center’s demographics and workforce section, Qian Cai, quoted in the article, zeros in on the disturbing, if not surprising causes: "Kids who are not enrolled are typically kids living in poverty, in single-parent households and with a mother without a good eduction."

Friday, November 2
To execute or not to execute

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today that Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell opposes the call by the American Bar Association (ABA) for a halt on executions. The ABA asserts that there are flaws in the nation’s death penalty systems, while McDonnell spokesman J. Tucker Martin says that McDonnell believes the death penalty is constitutional and effective. Richard Bonnie, a UVA law professor who recently received the University’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for his work in mental health law, told the Dispatch that the ABA’s study "reveals that there is still quite widespread concern about the fairness of capital punishment adjudication and sentencing practices across the country." Executions have been put on hold throughout the nation since a challenge of lethal injection procedures reached the Supreme Court on September 25.

Saturday, November 3
Not very appealing

You got served: Andrew Alston, sentenced to three years in jail for voluntary manslaughter, is stuck on supervised probation for another three years, despite his effort to appeal.

In November 2003, Andrew Alston, a third-year student at UVA, crossed paths with 22-year-old local firefighter Walter Sisk at the corner of Wertland and 14th streets, an encounter that ended with Sisk on the receiving end of a knife and Alston getting the business end of a jury nearly a year later. Alston served 19 months of a three-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter and was released in June 2006 to serve three years of supervised probation, a condition that Alston considered a violation of his constitutional rights and appealed. The Daily Progress reports that Virginia Supreme Court Justice G. Steven Agee denied Alston’s appeal, ending Alston’s appeals process for the time being. Alston still faces a $3 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Walter Sisk’s parents, a case for which Alston has prepared by filing for bankruptcy.

Sunday, November 4
Add an hour (and some change)

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, America’s clocks officially moved back an hour, ending daylight savings time for 2007. This is the first year that the extended version of daylight savings has been in effect, as per legislation passed by Congress in 2005. By starting daylight savings three weeks earlier in the spring and ending it one week later in the fall, the thinking goes, the country will enjoy more daylight in the evening hours, thus saving $200 million annually, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Monday, November 5
At least no heart attacks from basketball

Cavalier fans still trying to catch their breath today after the umpteenth cardiac roller coaster performance by the football team on Saturday can at least breathe easy for now about the men’s basketball team. Unlike Michigan State, a top 10 team that lost an exhibition game, UVA wrecked tiny Division II school Carson-Newman, 124-65. Adrian Joseph led all scorers with 22 points—Sean Singletary had an uncharacteristic shooting game, going only 2 for 9 with 9 points. Freshmen Jeff Jones, Mustapha Farrakhan and Sam Zeglinski made promising contributions.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, October 23
Dylan rides in style
Less than a month after appearing at John Paul Jones Arena, troubadour Bob Dylan debuts in a TV ad for Cadillac. As reported by the New York Daily News, the singer-songwriter is shown in a Western get-up tooling down a desert highway in an Escalade. Trippy music plays as he surveys the landscape through aviator sunglasses. Next, he is standing at a dirt crossroads, apparently trying to hitch a ride, Escalade nowhere in sight. "What’s life without the  occasional detour," he croaks.

Bobby Bling: Dylan goes from folk to glam in a new Cadillac ad, complete with stylish shades and an Escalade.

Wednesday, October 24

When the countries of North America merge and the apocalypse is nigh and the three horsemen are waiting for the fourth to mount up, the country’s going to have some problems, according to a story in The Arizona Republic. Such as, what the hell will we call the newly merged currency? The deso? The pollar? (The amero, speculates the Republic.) And right in the middle of the big, boiling pot of crazy is Virginia’s own Virgil Goode. The story notes that Goode introduced a nonbinding resolution (and really, what other kinds are there?) opposing a North American Union.

Virgil Goode: leadership for a new, single-government, postapocalyptic era.

Thursday, October 25
Freedom isn’t free

No, DeParis Redinger, LLC, isn’t Paris Hilton’s own personal PR firm. It’s a Charlottesville company that offers "boutique investment banking solutions," and it’s just announced that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in the "gossip" website, cVillain.com. The deal will give the folks at cVillain freedom to focus on keeping the website’s anonymous content flowing, while DeParis Redinger works to develop the business side. Seems cVillain is lucky to have this kind of support: Francesco DeParis and Kyle Redinger were recently featured in Business Week magazine as finalists in their 2007 Best Young Entrepreneurs. And get this: both are only 24 years old.

Friday, October 26
Staunton reporter fired for plagiarism

Staunton’s News Leader fired sports reporter Blair J. Parker on Tuesday, October 23, for plagiarizing at least four stories from different Internet sources, that paper reports this week. The article that triggered investigation into Parker’s work was about hunting and fishing and appeared on the front page of the paper’s sports section. "We have determined that the top section of the story was copied from an Illinois newspaper’s Web site," writes New Leader Executive Editor David Fritz. "The person who in our story was identified as working for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries actually works for a similar Illinois agency."

Saturday, October 27
Hard rain falls

Saturday morning lifted the spirits (and, most likely, the self-imposed shower restrictions) of more than a few citizens as the heavens opened up and soaked our city with a resounding downpour. From Friday, October 26, until Saturday morning—roughly 8am, according to the end of the National Weather Service’s three-day weather observations—rain soaked downwards into soil, asphalt and, even better, our reservoirs. On Friday, the Abemarle County Service Authority’s (ACSA) website listed the Sugar Hollow reservoir level at – 14.8′ and the Beaver Creek reservoir at -2.7′. By Saturday, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) had recalculated the Sugar Hollow reservoir level at -12.4′ and Beaver Creek to -1.7′. It is our assumption at this time that the ACSA did not adjust their website following the downpour because they were using their Slip ‘n’ Slide.

Sunday, October 28
The fall of Groh-liath

Cavalier football fans are venting on TheSabre.com today, trying to realign expectations after a surprising hot start to the season came to an end Saturday against N.C. State. The UVA football team was looking for its seventh straight win against a team that didn’t have a single conference victory prior to yesterday, but with quarterback Jameel Sewell injured late in the game, the ‘Hoos couldn’t muster a last-minute drive and fell 29-24. It’s the first conference loss for UVA (7-2), which still can win the ACC Coastal Division if the Cavs can beat remaining opponents Wake Forest, Miami and Virginia Tech.

No last-minute magic this time: UVA suffered its first ACC conference loss to N.C. State after ‘Hoo quarterback Jameel Sewell was injured.

Monday, October 29
Past-life researcher leaves this life

The current issue of What Is Enlightenment, a quarterly magazine about spirituality, contains a brief obituary for Dr. Ian Stevenson, the founder of UVA’s Division of Perceptual Studies (formerly the Division of Personality Studies), an arm of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine. Stevenson’s research focused on children around the world who claimed they remembered recent past lives; other projects of the DOPS include near-death experiences and after-death communication. Stevenson died February 8 at the age of 88. "Despite his unorthodox interests, he was the embodiment of academic rectitude in both dress and demeanor," writes his colleague Emily Williams Kelly in another obituary, this one on the DOPS website.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday, October 16
Warner raises over $1 million

Although he only announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on September 13, Mark Warner has raised more than $1 million through the end of that month. As reported in the Virginian-Pilot, the former governor’s campaign received 703 contributions in-state and 301 outside of Virginia. Warner, a Democrat, is running for the seat of the retiring John Warner. The Republicans, meanwhile, voted on Saturday to choose their next nominee in June at a statewide convention. Regardless, according to Newport News’s Daily Press, a recent poll shows Warner 30 points ahead of any rumored opposition.

Wednesday, October 17
Howie’s large shadow

Howie who? UVA’s Chris Long was featured in USA TODAY’s Wednesday edition. The Cav defensive lineman isn’t so defensive anymore about comparisons to his pop.

USA TODAY features UVA standout Chris Long, son of famous flat-topped NFL great Howie. The story highlights the Cavs turnaround from their season-opening loss to the University of Wyoming. Chris, a defensive lineman like his father, said the comparisons are inevitable. "It’s kind of funny—before I was resistant to the comparisons. As times went on and I got more mature I’ve learned to accept it."

Thursday, October 18
Emmett’s execution haulted

Back in June, a group  of people opposed to the death penalty held a vigil outside the Charlottesville Courthouse for Christopher Scott Emmett, who was granted a stay by Governor Tim Kaine two hours before his scheduled June 13 execution.

The Washington Post published a supreme piece of news this morning. The Supreme Court has put a stop to the execution of Virginia death row inmate Christopher Scott Emmett, who used a Danville motel brass lamp to beat a co-worker to death in 2001. Emmett’s guilt is not in question. Rather, legal experts say the decision might trigger a nationwide moratorium on lethal injections, until the Court decides next year whether that method of execution constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment." According to the Post, studies have shown that inmates may be fully conscious if the barbiturate isn’t administered correctly, and may experience intense pain without being able to communicate that fact.

Friday, October 19
Rutherford Institute represents rabbi

Recently making headlines for challenging the constitutionality of Virginia’s so-called abusive-driver fees, the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute is now representing a New Jersey rabbi who sued his town over a new law. Rabbi Avraham Bernstein said that the law, which defined his house as a place of worship, unfairly caused him to violate zoning laws when hosting prayer services in his home. "This is a small group of Jews meeting in somebody’s home," Rutherford President John Whitehead said. "If there were a hundred cars pulling up it might be some concern. But these people walk. It’s their Sabbath. They can’t drive." Though the town amended its law to make an exception for Bernstein’s situation, the rabbi sued again after the town set up a video camera to establish how many people were visiting his home.

Saturday, October 20
Coran Capshaw a role model for record labels trying to stay afloat?

As the S.S. Compact Disc continues its steady plunge beneath the surface of that ocean we call "technological irrelevance," a few musicians and management teams are paddling away from the impending wreckage in lifeboats. Recently, news sources from Billboard and The Associated Press to Business Week blogger Jon Fine (in a post dated October 29) have mentioned the names "Radiohead" and "Red Light Management," Coran Capshaw’s music management firm, in close company. Radiohead has not yet announced plans to release its latest record, In Rainbows (currently sold through their website for any price deemed appropriate by purchasers) on a label in 2008, but Capshaw’s Side One Records, co-owned by ATO Records and Red Light Management, is rumored to be a frontrunner.

Sunday, October 21
Library of Virginia hands out fiction award

Along with a number of other writers, UVA fiction professor Deborah Eisenberg has won a literary award from the Library of Virginia, according to today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch. Specifically, Eisenberg’s short-story collection Twilight of the Superheroes earned praise from judges; another local writer, Donna M. Lucey, was a nonfiction finalist for her book Archie and Amélie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age, and Richmond native Tom Wolfe snagged a lifetime achievement award. Unfortunately, the Times-Dispatch failed to provide an image of the "crystal book" presented to Eisenberg and other honorees.

Monday, October 22
Gorillas and cheerleaders

This week’s edition of Business Week includes an essay by Scott Clemente, a first-year student at UVA’s Darden School of Business, about the long and winding road he traveled before deciding to get an MBA. The 32-year-old worked for Goldman Sachs in Chicago and London and for Morgan Stanley in Rome, also finding time to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, before finally applying to Darden. Clemente opens and closes his essay with a scene from an unnamed Charlottesville watering hole, where people dressed as gorillas and cheerleaders are among the patrons, and where four beers cost $4.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, October 9
Another cartoon draws protests

Only weeks after the Cavalier Daily’s cartoon scandal, another student paper has published a race-based comic that sparked protests on campus. As reported today in the Collegiate Times, the University of Kentucky’s Kentucky Kernel ran a cartoon on Friday that depicted fraternity members bidding on a slave. The same day, students held a three-hour protest that resulted in an apology from the paper’s editor-in-chief. The actual cartoonist explained that he was trying to offer his opinion of the racial disparity in the university’s Greek system. Whether anyone will be fired—as in the case of the Cav Daily’s cartoonist—is yet to be determined.

UVA’s Robert Sweeney knows where you live. And where you work. And how much you earn. And what you’re planning to have for lunch,…

Wednesday, October 10
$3 billion worth of pressure

It turns out that raising $3 billion comes with a little pressure, like hitting a goal of a little over a million bucks…every day. Today’s Washington Post pulls back the curtain on UVA’s $3 billion capital campaign, talking to Robert Sweeney, the senior vice president for development and public affairs, among others. Post writer Susan Kinzie delves into the inner workings of fundraising, the University-wide database of donors and potential donors, the secrets of the pitch and the amount of personal background research UVA does on each potential giver. Kinzie also points out that UVA’s campaign might just be the model of the future for other public universities, while highlighting the flap that erupted last spring when Sweeney scored one of the coveted Lawn houses.

Thursday, October 11
Charlottesville’s Kyle Long is a top prospect

Insider/Football Recruiting, a feature on ESPN’s website, is reporting today that Virginia is a hot spot this year when it comes to high school football recruiting. Focus in further, and Charlottesville’s Kyle Long is highlighted as one of the top five ’08 Virginia prospects. Kyle, the brother of UVA standout Chris Long, and the son of NFL legend Howie Long, is a senior at St. Anne’s-Belfield School, and plays offensive tackle, "one of the toughest positions in which to excel," according to "Insider." But reportedly, baseball is his real love.

Friday, October 12
Shoppers’ World deal still sweet

Buy and sell, buy and sell: That’s what happens at shopping centers and that’s what happens with shopping center owners, too. Federal Realty Investment Trust, the $5.15 billion company that owns Barracks Road and, as of May, Shoppers’ World (home to Whole Foods and Les Fabriques) announced the sale of two other retail buildings in tony Forest Hills, New York, putting a total of $15.3 million tax free on its books. The tax-free part is where the Charlottesville connection continues. Thanks to a corporate tax trick called a reverse 1031 exchange, Federal was able to avoid paying taxes on the New York sale because it’s been less than six months since they bought the Charlottesville strip mall.

Federal Realty hearts Shoppers’ World, the purchase of which partly enabled a tax break for the REIT, and which is described by its CIO  as having "a higher initial return, a better growth profile and opportunities for redevelopment and remerchandising."

Saturday, October 13
Radio free Charlottesville

Monticello Media, the local concern that bought six area radio stations from Clear Channel, greeted listeners this morning with Tom, a new station on 107.5 FM, that, according to the news release, is "anything but traditional.  Tom may play a U2 song followed by the Bee Gees then Matchbox 20, Lou Rawls, Def Leppard, Madonna, Nickleback then Earth, Wind and Fire." The station seems aimed directly at the the Corner, 106.1. That eclectic station was developed by Saga Communications, which, until recently, was the employer of Monticello Media’s new General Manager, Dennis Mockler. 

Sunday,October 14
GOP Senate race: Gilmore 1, Davis 0

The state Republican skirmish over who will face Democratic former governor Mark Warner for John Warner’s open U.S. Senate seat unofficially kicked off this weekend. GOP leaders have opted to hold a convention rather than a primary to choose their contender, reports today’s Washington Post. A convention limits the decision to about 10,000 party activists, who tend to be more right wing. That’s good news for conservative former governor Jim Gilmore. It’s bad news for Tom Davis, the NoVa congressman who would likely have benefited from a primary’s broader appeal. Republicans are hoping a convention will limit nasty intra-party politicking.

State Republicans decided to hold a convention rather than a primary to pick a candidate for John Warner’s open U.S. Senate seat. That’s good news for Jim Gilmore and bad news for Tom Davis (above).

Monday, October 15
For sale: a buttload of houses

Today sees the release of the third-quarter market report from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR), which is not a happy document if you’re trying to unload a three-bedroom with updated kitchen. There are 3,471 houses on the local market right now and a quarter of those have been on the market for more than 200 days. According to CAAR, the current inventory is "possibly a record" and triples the inventory recorded three years ago during the recent local housing boom. Buyers, suggests CAAR, should see these numbers as a golden opportunity; sellers should pray for rain.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, October 2
Mall bank robber sentenced

The lesson here: Pick a bank farther away from the police station. Jeffrey Alan Adams, who on June 1 attempted to rob the Union Bank & Trust on the Downtown Mall, was sentenced today for 11 years and three months in prison. After the reportedly well-dressed Adams entered the bank and was seen by witnesses locking the doors behind him, Charlottesville police responded before he could leave the bank with an estimated $87,000. So maybe, after all, the lesson here is to pick a bank that doesn’t have a bunch of windows.

Wednesday, October 3
Shepard Style

Pulitzer-prize winning playwright, actor and onetime Charlottesville resident Sam Shepard popped up in GQ’s 50th Anniversary Issue as one of the 50 most stylish men in the past 50 years. The author of True West (one of his more than 40 plays) used to be a fixture of the local bar scene. He’s seen slouching against a wooden fence in the magazine. “Even when Sam Shepard is photographed in color,” GQ says, “he looks like a long figure in one of those Walker Evans sepia-tinted photos from the Dust Bowl.” Being the iconic symbol of the West that he is, Shepard probably wouldn’t mind the description.

Barack Obama is set to rock the Pavilion on October 29 with a fundraising event. While Hillary Clinton is said to be the Democratic frontrunner, maybe all he needs is a shot in the arm, Charlottesville-style.

Thursday, October 4

Obama’s a go

O.K., Charlottesville, Barack Obama’s officially coming to town, so shape up and shell out. It was announced today that Obama will hold a fundraising event at the Pavilion October 29. It starts at 7pm and tickets cost $29. If you’re a student, the shindig’s going to cost you $15. There are also “Orchestra” tickets available, though no word on if you’ll have to share elbow room with a bassoon. You can buy tickets online at www.my.barackobama.com/C2CVA.  That’s Obama for you, hot on the heels of Wilco.

Friday, October 5
Capshaw cozies up with Radiohead

Even though the thinking person’s rockers, Radiohead, still plans to release its newest album, In Rainbows, on its website for what amounts to fans’ donations, the English band won’t give up on doing things the old-fashioned way. Billboard.com reports that Radiohead is closing in on a deal with one of two labels, both of which fall under the media empire owned by Charlottesville’s own Coran Capshaw.  ATO, a Capshaw company, is apparently seen as the forerunner in the race to sign Radiohead, thanks in part to its acquisition of Phil Costello, a former senior VP at Capitol. Waiting in the wings is another Capshaw venture, Side One Recordings, which is a label co-owned by Red Light Management and ATO. Both are part of the Capshaw machine, which is based in the former SNL building on the Downtown Mall at the corner of Fourth Street. The album, not due out until next year, is Radiohead’s seventh. All of this comes after Red Light Management signed The Decemberists, Alanis Morissette and Band of Horses to management deals back in August.

UVA puts the “student” in student-athlete. Cavalier football and men’s basketball teams exceed national graduation rates, while women’s field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball and tennis teams graduated all of their members. And they don’t suck!

Saturday, October 6
UVA athletes actually students, too

The Hampton Roads Daily Press reported today that UVA football and men’s basketball teams exceeded national average graduation success rates. Let’s forget for a quick moment that the average graduation rate for men’s basketball was 63.6 percent. UVA’s men’s basketball graduation rate of 80 percent is still pretty good. Women’s teams did significantly better than men’s at UVA. The Hoos field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball and tennis teams graduated all of their members, as did the men’s swimming and tennis squads.

Presidential daughter Jenna Bush and her financé, Harry Hager, a student at UVA’s Darden School, appear in this week’s People magazine. One of the questions dodged in the article: Where will the couple settle down?

Sunday, October 7
Charlottesville real estate advice for Bush

In the recent issue of People, POTUS daughter Jenna Bush dodges the hard-hitting questions of where she and fiancé Henry Hager will settle down. Perhaps Charlottesville? Hager is a resident, after all, finishing up his business degree at UVA’s Darden School. “I really haven’t thought about it,” Jenna said. “Where he gets a job and I get a job. We won’t know.” Well, if the first daughter and future Bushie son-in-law don’t mind a little advice from C-VILLE, now’s the time to be condo shopping in Charlottesville. Assuming, you know, that the happy couple can scrape together a down payment.

Monday, October 8
And how are you today?

Good? Doing pretty great? A-O.K.? That might not be a good thing, according to an editorial in today’s Times of Trenton. The New Jersey paper pointed to a study by UVA psychologist Shigehir Oishi that found that people need a certain ratio of positive to negative events in their lives to be happy. Oishi also discovered that people who have a large ratio of positive to negative events don’t get much pleasure from additional happy events. They even suffer larger adverse effects when encountering negative events, meaning good things make them less happy while bad things make them even sadder. So with this in mind, get out there and have yourself a crappy day.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, September 25
Come on down

The clinical services company PRA International is moving headquarters from Northern Virginia to Raleigh, North Carolina and is giving 37 of its employees a choice: move to Raleigh or Charlottesville. The company, which was bought by a San Francisco-based private equity firm for $790 million, maintains a trials management center in Charlottesville. For those employees who don’t relish the idea of those North Carolina nights, Charlottesville is another option. And really, what’s Raleigh got that we don’t, besides a minor league baseball team and a couple of strip clubs?

Wednesday, September 26
But enough about me…

Dave Matthews: the anti-soundbite guy. Mr. DMB himself gave an interview about, in part, why he doesn’t like giving interviews, namely because they’re usually trite and often oversimplify complex ideas and issues.

A Charlottesville-area writer was featured in the Belfast Telegraph, and it wasn’t John Grisham. Jennifer Niesslein, former C-VILLE staffer and now author of Practically Perfect in Every Way, went on a self-help binge, decluttering her home, reordering her finances and diving head-first into relationship exercises with her husband Brandon. After two years of this intensive, navel-gazing experiment, she found she wasn’t any happier. In fact, she was a little miserable. Niesslien actually began having panic attacks and started sleepwalking. The book chronicles her journey through self-help America, a journey that eventually returned Niesslein to her old life. “A good life is one where you are basically proud of what you are,” she said.

Thursday, September 27
Free markets and baby veggies

The members of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce put on their Thursday best and turned out for the chamber’s annual community government luncheon at the Holiday Inn. The business community hobnobbed with area government officials like Charlottesville mayor David Brown and Albemarle County Supes Ken Boyd and Sally Thomas as groups of name-tagged folks shook hands and exchanged business cards. After the plates were cleared, speaker Dr. Peter Van Doren, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, drew laughs with his talk about zoning restrictions, as much as libertarian land-use speeches can bust a gut. And then everyone ate chocolate mousse.

Friday, September 28
Dave Matthews’s interview blues

How do you start an interview-driven story about Dave Matthews? By saying how much he hates interviews, of course. The San Diego Union-Times’ pop music critic George Varga writes about his Daveness giving interviews: “He doesn’t need to and doesn’t like to, so why bother?” Well, one reason might be that Mr. Matthews has some interesting, complex things to say about issues like the music industry, pacifism and the petition drive he spearheaded to get U.S. war veterans better and more timely health care. “It’s a mistake to think peace is the absence of war, rather than the presence of sanity,” said Matthews. “I believe more and more that war is the absence of sanity.”

How to win friends and influence potential moneybags: UVA President John T. Casteen makes an appearance in The New York Times Magazine, talking about how all this billion-dollar fundraising is really cutting into his reading time.

Saturday, September 29
Intellectual tailgating

What to do on a Saturday morning when the keg goes dry and kickoff is still hours away? Go to a lecture on stem-cell research, of course! The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that Rutgers University has started holding a free lecture series on Saturdays before home football games. “Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick proposed the idea after seeing the success of pregame lecture series at other football-heavy schools like Notre Dame and the University of Virginia,” writes Allison Steele. UVA began its series last year, tackling (get it?) such subjects as “The Physics of Football” and “Sabato’s Crystal Ball.” The year’s series is a little weightier, with talks on Alzheimer’s Disease, addictions and the ethical concerns about the technological evolution of human life. Don’t worry, though. You didn’t miss this year’s installment of “Sabato’s Crystal Ball.” It’s slated for October 13.

Sunday, September 30
Advice from the top

UVA President John T. Casteen III pops up in this week’s New York Times Magazine, in a story entitled, not surprisingly, “Degree Requirement in Fund-Raising.” Casteen’s heading UVA’s current $3 billion capital campaign, so Times writer Charles Wilson turns to him for rule number seven in university fund raising: Think About Other Things Too. Casteen tells the Times he used to read for eight or nine hours a day; now that he’s out prowling for dough, it’s more like two. Hey, it’s hard out here for a president, when you’re tying to get that money for the resident faculty.

Albemarle County Supe Ken Boyd was on hand for the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerence luncheon, along with other area politicos like Mayor David Brown and Supe Sally Thomas. The room was wowed by Cato Institute fellow Dr. Peter Van Doren, who gave a speech about land-use rights.

Monday, October 1
You didn’t hear this from us…

But we’ve caught wind of a rumor that Monday kicked off the awkwardly named “Miss Representation Week of Statue Protest” in anticipation of Columbus Day. And with so many statues to protest, how can you pick just one? Easy, you protest the one with Sacagawea submissively crouching behind Lewis and Clark on the corner of W. Main and Ridge/McIntire streets. People have complained about the subservient position of Sacagawea, which raises all kinds of issues from gender to race to Eurocentric colonialism. So this week if you see somebody creeping around Downtown with a grappling hook and a hacksaw, à la vintage Bart Simpson, you’ll be totally in the know.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, September 18
Moral solutions

The work of UVA psychology professor Jonathan Haidt is the focus of a major article in the Science section of today’s New York Times. Haidt’s book The Happiness Hypothesis explores the evolutionary basis of morality—in other words, the idea that we have moral codes because they benefit the societies we social animals create. In his view, we actually have two separate moral systems, one more rational and one more intuitive, and the human mind is like a small rider (conscious reasoning) on the back of an elephant (“subterranean moral machinery,” as the Times puts it). Haidt has also written about the way these moral systems connect to religion and politics.

Wednesday, September 19
Would-be Ivy cribs Hoo research

A Korean newspaper, Donga, reports today that a Korean woman named Shin Jeong-ah is falsely claiming to have graduated from Yale University, and is passing off the doctoral dissertation of a UVA student as her own. The story quotes Zilla Linstein, a Yale PR flak, as saying, “This is a very regretful situation”—apparently even more so for Shin, who is a former professor at a Seoul University and, according to a second Korean newspaper, actually faces arrest for her untruths. Plus, says a Donga source, “It could humiliate all Koreans.”

Thursday, September 20
Gimme all yer investors

According to Harrisonburg’s Daily News Record, Charlottesville multiple property owner Richard Spurzem is suing Pioneer Bank—which has seven branches in Virginia—to obtain a list of its shareholders. Spurzem holds about 10 percent of the company’s stock, which represents about $2.5 million, and, believing that the bank could be better managed, says he wants to communicate with other shareholders about how to increase profits. Among other problems, he believes compensation for CEO Thomas Rosazza—$199,482—is excessive. Rosazza, in turn, says that turning over the list of shareholders is not in the bank’s best interest.

Stark view of tasers

Mike Stark is not amused–but nor is he surprised—by the tasering of an outspoken student at the University of Florida.

Charlottesvillian Mike Stark, who’s earned as much fame for his involvement in a scuffle at a 2006 George Allen rally as for his left-leaning blog, “Calling All Wingnuts,” tells NBC 29 today that a University of Florida student shouldn’t have been surprised by the heavy-handed police tactics employed against him at a forum featuring Senator John Kerry on September 17. Andrew Meyer asked Kerry a few tough questions, was led away by police and eventually tasered. “You are using police power to repress speech and that is a very simple concept,” said Stark. “I don’t understand why any one [sic] would have trouble seeing the slippery slope that presents.”

Friday, September 21
Satellite-goers roll in late

Can you handle it? Girl Talk burned down the house at the Satellite Ballroom last week.

An event Thursday night at the Satellite Ballroom, according to those present, rocked on a scale that proved overwhelming to at least one attendee: C-VILLE’s own Brendan Fitzgerald reports that, after a certain amount of time spent drifting through a sea of more than 100 dancers onstage, while groove-maker Girl Talk performed in shorts and moistened towels to beat the heat of the sellout crowd, he (Fitzgerald) just had to get out. Check out his account of the evening at here.

Saturday, September 22
Burmese dissident watches from afar

Today’s Daily Progress profiles Zaw Min, who spent 13 years in a Burmese prison in connection with his pro-democracy activism in that country. Min and his wife and daughter settled here about a year ago with the help of the International Rescue Committee. Many of the democracy advocates arrested last month in Burma are friends and colleagues of Min; he would like to return but is certain to be arrested if he does. “I am angry because I am here,” he said to the Progress. “I wish I was still inside Burma.”

Sunday,September 23
Freud, the flawed patriarch

On this, the 68th anniversary of the death of Sigmund Freud, UVA English prof Mark Edmundson writes in the New York Times op-ed section about the great psychologist’s relationship to authority. Part of Freud’s approach to therapy was to encourage patients to “dismantle their idealized image of him,” says Edmundson: In other words, if patients could get past the need for perfect love from Freud, they’d be able to deal more effectively with other people in their lives. Concludes Edmundson, “We need to see him as a great patriarch, yes, but as one who struggled for nothing so much as for the abolition of patriarchy.”

Monday, September 24
New Old Rag mag

This month sees the publication of the inaugural issue of The Piedmont Virginian magazine, a regional glossy with the motto “Serving and celebrating America’s Historic Heart.” That heart comprises counties from Nelson to Loudoun; “Serving and celebrating” appears to mean features about equestrian pursuits, the Civil War and Old Rag Mountain. The magazine comes right out of the gates with an unforgettable cover headline (“Fashion statement: What your fencing says about you”) and a feature entitled “Death of a Horse”—which is exactly what it sounds like.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday, September 11
Dig these drummers

WSLS, a CBS station out of Roanoke, reports that the UVA marching band, which has only existed since 2003, already enjoys a bit of national recognition (albeit of the commercial variety): The band’s 30-member drumline is featured in a series of print ads for Yamaha instruments. Apparently this is an honor usually reserved for bands, like the one from Ohio State, that have been around for much longer than UVA’s. (Nope, nothing dorky and cliqueish about marching bands. Nothing at all.) The 230-member band includes 12 students who attend PVCC, and was founded after a $1.5 million endowment from benefactors Carl and Hunter Smith.

Wednesday, September 12
Evan All Righty

All righty, that is, only when compared to the nine other flicks that topped it in The Washington Post’s list of the 10 worst-reviewed movies of the summer. Crozet-made Evan Almighty rolls in at the very end of the list, below stinkers like License to Wed (No. 1), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (No. 2) and The Invasion (No. 8). Critics, apparently, weren’t too happy with this summer’s crop, flinging such zingers as “incoherent and semi-vile” (the Chicago Tribune on I Know Who Killed Me). We particularly like the New York Post’s comment on Captivity: “sick, slick sleaze.” For its part, Evan—the most expensive comedy ever made—was described by the Village Voice as “the work of an angry God.”

Thursday, September 13

A post today on The Motley Fool
details the business strategies of CarMax as presented by that company’s CEO, Tom Folliard, to the Goldman Sachs 14th Annual Global Retailing Conference on September 5. Folliard’s presentation included a discussion of the CarMax store right here in Charlottesville, which is part of a smaller-might-be-better experiment the company is undertaking. Our “very small” store is meant to move only 100 to 150 cars per month, compared with 426 at your average CarMax superstore. Is the experiment working? Folliard says it’s too soon to tell.

Beebe walks

Having served about six months at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail for the 1984 rape of fellow UVA student Liz Seccuro, William Beebe walked out today on parole. The release was a few days earlier than had been expected because of time Beebe had served in Las Vegas when he was arrested in 2006, according to The Daily Progress. Beebe’s total sentence, handed down in March, was 10 years with all but 18 months suspended.

Friday, September 14
The new smart

In his regular New York Times column today, David Brooks waxes humanistic as he discusses the way our understanding of intelligence has evolved: from an “objective” measure of brain power expressed as I.Q. points, to a more nuanced view—in his words, “less like measuring horsepower in an engine and more like watching ballet.” Still, I.Q. is not considered meaningless, and its response to a person’s environment is of interest: Brooks cites, for one, the research of UVA’s Eric Turkheimer on the way growing up poor can negatively affect a person’s intelligence.

Saturday, September 15
High “C” stands for “cool”

The Washington National Opera announced this week that, on September 23, high school and college students across the country—including at UVA—will have the chance to view a free simulcast of a “new, edgy” production of La Bohème. The event is an effort to lure new opera fans from among the iPod generation, who at that time—2pm on a Sunday—should be just about awake and ready to take in the classic tale of young love. Alternatively, if you happen to be on the National Mall in D.C. that day, you can watch the production on a giant screen near the Washington Monument.

Sunday, September 16
Toasters headed north

Have you been wondering whatever happened to the toaster museum once envisioned in our fair city? Neither have we, but nonetheless thestar.com helpfully provides an update: Kelly Godfrey and Eric Norcross, the married couple with the vision for the museum, are living in Buffalo, continuing to store their 525 vintage toasters here in Charlottesville and eyeing Toronto as a possible host city for their beloved appliances. Explains the story, “They think southern Ontario, with its history of 20th-century manufacturing, would be ideal for their museum.”

Monday, September 17
Liberal fired; UVA prof fires back

Political blogs continue to grumble today about the firing of Erwin Chemerinsky on September 13 from his post as Dean of a new law school at the University of California Irvine. Chemerinsky, a well-known constitutional scholar, had been appointed to the role and signed a contract before officials rescinded their offer because of his “polarizing” views. A Los Angeles Times story about the firing quotes UVA Law School Dean John Jeffries as follows: “It seems late in the day to notice that Erwin Chemerinsky is a prominent liberal. …It’s rather like discovering that Wilt Chamberlain was tall. How could you not know?”

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, September 4
Wine fraud article takes shot at Jefferson

Who wouldn’t love to hear Thomas Jefferson talk about politics? But what about wine? This week’s The New Yorker quotes a passage from John Quincy Adams’ diary, in which Adams remarks that Jefferson knew less about wine than he thought he did.

This week’s The New Yorker, a special food issue, contains a profile of tycoon and collector Bill Koch (pronounced "coke"), who discovered that bottles of wine said to belong to Thomas Jefferson were fakes. While all the stuff about the allegedly shady dealings is interesting indeed, our favorite part of the article is when author Patrick Radden Keefe says of Jefferson that he may have been "America’s first great wine bore." He cites a passage from 1807 in John Quincy Adams’ diary, in which Adams notes that Jefferson prattled on about wine during dinner. "Not very edifying," Adams wrote. And in the Isn’t It Ironic department, the issue also includes a two-page ad for Vineyard Estates at Kluge Estate Winery, which promises "fine wine, classic architecture and spectacular natural beauty."

Wednesday, September 5
UVA Art Department lands big faculty fish

Life is sweet when you can class up an already classy joint. UVA Today announced, um, today that art historian extraordinaire and longtime curator of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Turner, is slated to join the faculty of the McIntire Department of Art. The department’s chairman, Lawrence D. Goedde, sounds positively giddy about his new recruit. "Her…many connections in the scholarly and museum worlds will be invaluable to our students who have ambitions in those areas," he says.

Thursday, September 6
A Cole-powered future?

Is there any word cooler than "switchgrass"? We think not. But there’s more to that child of nature than a word. An article on today’s washingtonpost.com says that researchers across America believe "switchgrass could help supplant corn as a source for the fast-growing ethanol industry." Ethanol has been touted by President Bush and others as a potential gasoline substitute. And it turns out that one of the rare switchgrass fields in Virginia is just west of Charlottesville. Owner Taylor Cole, the article says, has planted 40 acres in the hope that the ethanol market will soon take off. Way to grow, Taylor.

Friday, September 7
Dave delivers at Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech student newspaper, the Collegiate Times, is all abuzz about last night’s benefit concert by Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Phil Vassar and Nas. "There were laughs, tears, and cheers." the Times says. "There were 52,000 living, breathing faces of all races, cultures and religions, situated in the familiar ground of Lane Stadium." Word is that Dave’s cover of Bob Marley’s "Three Little Birds" was the high point of the night—"every little thing gonna be all right" is just the kind of refrain everyone at the university needs to keep singing after last April’s tragic shootings.

Saturday, September 8
New Orleans paper takes odd view of Virginia rivalry

In anticipation of the early season showdown between second-ranked LSU and ninth-ranked Virginia Tech, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans ran a lengthy feature that began with an image of a banner that hangs in the Merryman Center filled with signatures from UVA athletes. "Traditionally, Virginia Tech Hokies regard parcels from University of Virginia Cavaliers, a.k.a. Wahoos, with considerable suspicion," the story said. "The package may be nudged with the toe, perhaps left outside overnight or sniffed by the family dog before opened." The banner, however, was in support of the Hokies after the campus shootings. Alas, Virginia Tech lost the game, 48-7.

Sunday, September 9
Cristman and Olsen: being professional together

Adam Cristman, standout soccer player for UVA, who now plays professionally for the New England Revolution, came almost home Sunday to Washington, D.C., where the Revolution lost 4-2 to D.C. United.

Former UVA soccer star Adam Cristman came close to home today when his team the New England Revolution battled it out with D.C. United. Cristman, a four-year starter for the Hoos who scored 34 goals in his college career, didn’t have much of an impact on the game, however, and the Revolution lost 4-2. Another former UVA star, Ben Olsen of United, was involved in a controversial no-call that led to United’s third and game-winning goal. According to the Boston Globe, Revolution Head Coach Steve Nicol, who was ejected from the game, was miffed when a penalty that would have stopped play wasn’t called after a clash between Olsen and the Revolution’s Khano Smith.  

Monday, September 10
Mark Edmundson meets Freud in The New York Times Sunday magazine

UVA professor Mark Edmundson is at it again. And by "it" we mean bringing education to the masses. Edmundson, who is known for publishing in popular publications as opposed to peer-reviewed yawns that almost nobody reads, writes about Sigmund Freud getting religion in this week’s New York Times Sunday magazine. The essay, titled "Defender of the Faith?," centered on Freud’s final book, Moses and Monthesism.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, August 28
Hutto to Roanoke: No thanks

The Roanoke Times chides the city’s government in an editorial today because of mixed signals city councilors apparently sent to Kirby Hutto, who runs the Charlottesville Pavilion for Red Light Management. Some Star City councilors approached Hutto and Red Light about managing a new amphitheater to be built at a site near the Roanoke River; others, it’s alleged, discouraged him from submitting proposals—possibly because they favored a different location. "We’re not interested in getting in the middle of Roanoke politics," Hutto told the Times. The editorial responds, "Roanoke citizens deserve much better than the civil wars council members have been fighting." Yeah, but do they deserve another visit from Phil Lesh & Friends?

Charlottesville Pavilion manager and Red Light Management player Kirby Hutto declined to step in the middle of a Roanoke City Council kerfuffle, possibly costing the city a new Right Light amphitheater.

Wednesday, August 29
Liberty Council argues against same-sex marriage rights

Rena Lindevaldsen, an assistant professor of law at Liberty University School of Law, argued today that Virginia should not recognize any rights associated with same-sex marriages in Vermont. Liberty Council is representing Lisa Miller, who was artificially inseminated while married to Janet Jenkis. Long story short, they split up and Miller, who now lives in Virginia and has apparently discontinued her "lesbian lifestyle," doesn’t want Jenkins to be declared a parent to the child. Says Matthew D. Staver of Liberty Council: "Regarding same-sex civil unions, what happens in Vermont stays in Vermont."

Turns out that former Hoo Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News," is ambitious, which was biographer Edward Klein’s big find. And that’s O.K.…if you’ve got a Y chromosome.

Thursday, August 30
Post stands up for Katie

The Washington Post includes a review by Louis Bayard that—in its scathing reaction to Edward Klein’s unauthorized bio of Katie Couric—amounts to a defense of the managing editor and anchor of the "CBS Evening News." Klein takes aim, it seems, at the fact that Couric, a UVA grad, is ambitious, which as Bayard points out, is a trait common to people in high-profile careers. In the past, Bayard has written about Hillary Clinton, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. "Maybe it’s time…for Edward Klein to find an ambitious woman he likes," zings Bayard.

Friday, August 31
UVA grad does a tough job on TV

Twenty-one-year-old Monica Groves is the subject of a miniseries, airing this week on the Sundance Channel, that documents her adventures in her first year of teaching at a low-income public school in Atlanta. Undoubtedly it’s a pretty different environment than the one she was used to as a UVA student. The four-part series, "The Education of Ms. Groves," concentrates on one especially difficult fourth-period class, and three of the troubled kids in it. Says a reviewer for the Los Angeles Times, "You’ll want to get out your handkerchiefs."

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, August 21
Bunch of turkeys descend on Blacksburg

The nine UVA students who battered (but did not deep fry) a Hokie statue were back in Blacksburg on Monday near the scene of their crime, The Roanoke Times reports. Awaiting a court date on charges of felony destruction of property for the March incident in which they ripped a fiberglass "Farmer Hokie" statue from its base in front of Blacksburg’s Municipal Building, the nine Hoos, all pledges to the Phi Society fraternity at the time of the bird-brained incident, started a week of voluntary community service by washing 15 other Hokie statues slated for auction on eBay. Though one student was quoted saying, "What we did was just really stupid," no one was reported to cry, excuse us, fowl!

Wednesday, August 22
Clinton accepts the summons to Charlottesville

Hillary Clinton will not exactly be playing for pizza when she comes to the Paramount next month to campaign with John Grisham. Playing for Pizza, by the way, is the name of Grisham’s new novel, due on September 24, one day after Clinton’s Charlottesville visit.

He did it for Webb; can he do it for Hillary? News comes today that John Grisham will host a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The event, like the 11th-hour fundraiser that Grisham hosted for Jim Webb, who eventually wrested the Senate seat from George Allen last fall, will take place at the Paramount, where the New York Senator will address the faithful. It’s scheduled for Sunday, September 23, with tickets ranging from $50 ($25 for students) to $2,300. Top-tier buyers will be treated to wine and cheese ahead of curtain time with presumably a chance to mingle with the broker and the frontrunner themselves.

Thursday, August 23
Warner says bring ’em home

Virginia’s own Senator John Warner made waves today by calling for a drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq by Christmas. According to NPR, it was today’s Iraq Intelligence Estimate that convinced Warner to call for the withdrawal of 5,000 troops, as a kind of message to the Iraqi government. This represents a shift in Warner’s originally supportive stance toward the war, and—given Warner’s 30 years in the Senate and his position as the longest-serving Republican in the Senate Armed Services Committee—carries weight that other calls for change may not.

Friday, August 24
Devon chats with a Brit

Rapping with The Guardian, Devon Sproule confided this nugget about married life with Paul Curreri: "He’ll walk around the house playing guitar for six hours a day while I’m busy calculating what’s the cheapest way to get health insurance for two self-employed people.

Fresh from a trip to the British Isles, Devon Sproule has given an interview to the British newspaper The Guardian, which appears today. The profile covers Sproule’s biography from her growing-up days at Louisa’s Twin Oaks commune to the release of her latest record, Keep Your Silver Shined. The story calls the album "deliciously unhurried, redolent of high-summer dog-day afternoons and balmy southern nights." And it quotes Sproule, regarding her lyrics: "You’re not quite sure what it means but you have a feeling in your body about its meaning."

Saturday, August 25
Father’s apron

Donald Antrim, who has often written about his family in The New Yorker, reminisces in this week’s issue about his father’s deepening interest in cooking during the late ’60s when the family was living outside Charlottesville. The elder Antrim was teaching literature at UVA at the time, though his "second occupation," writes his son, was buying ingredients in various markets around town, then preparing them with Gourmet-inspired presentation. (And we didn’t even have Feast! back then!) The father originally became interested in cooking, the essay explains, after Antrim’s mother served a hot tuna-and-mayonnaise casserole garnished with potato chips.

Sunday, August 26
Tickets? Please.

The Washington Post comments today
on the fact that Ticketmaster has decided not to renew its partnership with Live Nation, which owns Crozet-based Musictoday and comprises the largest conglomeration of music venues (including the House of Blues chain). Apparently, Live Nation wanted to sell tickets through its own website, and Ticketmaster was having none of it. The Post is gloomy about fans’ prospects for seeing lower ticket prices as a result of this development. The partnership between the two companies is scheduled to continue through 2008.

Monday, August 27
To panic, or not to panic?

City engineer Tony Edwards is urging a quick replacement of the JPA Bridge in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood, reports today’s Daily Progress. Edwards is concerned by the abysmal federal sufficiency rating given to the 1932 structure (2 out of 100) and by cracks that he says could worsen before its scheduled replacement in 2010. The Progress, however, quotes a VDOT official calling the bridge "safe" in response. Discussion between VDOT and neighbors in Fry’s Spring had earlier resulted in a modified design for the new bridge. It’s to be both smaller (54′ instead of 78′ wide) and later (opening in 2011 rather than 2010).

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, August 14
The dam is done

As today’s Daily Progress reports, this week sees the breach of the historic Woolen Mills dam, a project spearheaded by the Rivanna Conservation Society. The main reason for the breach of the 177-year-old structure is to remove an obstacle to the migration of shad; boaters and anglers will also be able to travel the river more easily. Demolition is approximately a two-week process and will leave about 50-95′ of the 270′ dam intact, according to the Progress.

Wednesday, August 15
Higher notes

Richmond’s Style Weekly today profiles 26-year-old Charlottesville-born jazz trumpeter Taylor Barnett, who’s been busy earning a couple of degrees at Virginia Commonwealth University and playing around Richmond as a sideman and a bandleader (his ensemble is the Taylor Barnett 10-tet). Now, says Style, he’s looking beyond the state capital to brighter lights, hoping to get a doctoral degree at a top-shelf music school. In the article, Barnett praises the nice-guy teaching tactics of Charlottesville’s own John D’earth: "John has the ability to challenge you and make you want to do better just by telling you how great you are. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Snow arrives early

The Miller Center, UVA’s public affairs institution, announced that former Treasury Secretary John Snow will be a one-year visiting fellow beginning this month. Snow headed the U.S. Treasury from 2003 to 2006 and now leads the private investment firm Cerberus Capital Management. It won’t be his first turn as a Hoo: He earned his Ph.D. in economics at UVA in 1965. Snow will focus on "matters related to international and fiscal aspects of governance," according to the Miller Center.

Thursday, August 16
Ante goes up for Tech victims

The New York Times and other sources report today that Virginia Tech officials have announced higher compensation awards than originally planned for victims of the April 16 shootings there. Each family of a person who died will be eligible to receive $180,000, an increase of $30,000 over previous estimates. Victims who were injured will be compensated based on the length of their hospital stay: $90,000 plus free tuition for 10 days or more and $40,000 plus free tuition for three to nine days. Those hospitalized for less than three days can take either free tuition or $10,000. The compensation is funded by private donations.

POTUS to be father-in-law to Hoo

Aren’t they just too-too? Henry Hager enters the public eye as the newly minted fiancé of Jenna Bush.

Jenna Bush, one of George W.’s 25-year-old twin daughters, is newly engaged to one Henry Hager, her boyfriend of several years and an MBA student at UVA. The White House announced the engagement today, according to the Associated Press. Hager, who is 29, has some pretty impeccable Republican credentials: He interned at the White House under Karl Rove, worked on W.’s re-election campaign and is the son of the chair of the Republican Party in Virginia. Speculation about a Rose Garden wedding aside, no nuptial details have yet been announced.

Friday, August 17
Boob regs relaxed

A press release this week from the Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport informs us that, among other changes to Transportation Security Administration guidelines, passengers can now bring more than three ounces of breast milk onto planes. This is true even if the passenger isn’t bringing a baby. However, the milk must be declared for inspection, since it is classified—no kidding—as a "liquid medication." Other changes: You can bring your lighter on board, but if you’re traveling with a full-size videogame console or DVD player, expect to unpack it from its carrying case and send it through the X-ray. Babies are still not allowed to smoke on board the plane.

Saturday, August 18
Welcome back, students! Bring your iPods?

The Daily Progress reports today that seven UVA students are threatened with legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for illegally sharing music online. Fifty-eight other colleges and universities also received letters similar to one that went to UVA officials, asking the school to notify responsible students and stating that users have 20 days to negotiate their way out of a federal lawsuit.

Sunday, August 19
We’re No. 2

National media were abuzz all weekend with analysis of the most recent US News & World Report college rankings. We’ll cut to the chase: UVA is still the No. 2 public university in the country, behind University of California at Berkeley. UVA is also 23rd overall, tied with Georgetown.

Monday, August 20
Vick looks down the barrel

After Michael Vick’s two co-defendants, Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace, fingered him Friday in the executions of low-performing fighting dogs, it seemed more likely that Vick would take a plea bargain, according to the New York Daily News. The three men, along with Tony Taylor (who’d already entered a plea agreement), are accused of running an illegal dog-fighting ring from Vick’s home in Smithfield; the executions took place by hanging, drowning and other methods. Vick, a onetime Virginia Tech standout and Atlanta Falcons quarterback, could face additional charges after a grand jury convenes today in Richmond.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, July 31

In a bewildering matrix of cross-marketing, Starbucks, XM Radio and Dave Matthews Band have "teamed up" to promote, well, each other. As of today, the XM Radio site carries a few of the details: The satellite radio company has a channel, called Starbucks XM Cafe Channel 45, which will be playing lots of DMB tracks. Meanwhile, the coffeeshops will be holding sweepstakes in which the prizes are meet-and-greet sessions with DMB and you enter by signing up for a free trial of XM Radio Online. As for the band, they’ll be selling their new album, Live Trax, only at Starbucks. It’s all rather dizzying, in a corporate kind of way. We just hope that, after toiling in obscurity for so many years, the nice guys in DMB will now finally get some exposure.

Wednesday, August 1
"Heart" as an organ and a metaphor

This week sees the launch of Hospital Drive, an online literary journal published through the UVA School of Medicine and devoted to writing and art by health care providers—in the first issue, everyone from a certified nurse’s aide to a Seattle neurologist. Here’s a sample, from Renée Rossi’s poem "Consent for a Laryngectomy:" "a textbook opens its glossies in front of / my eyes, false cord strumming, epiglottis flapping." Hospital Drive will publish twice a year. Theme for the next issue, to be released in winter: "the experience of pain."

Shadyac gets props

Along with a truly strange picture of Tom Shadyac, FilmStew.com has posted a story about Shadyac’s project of creating a homeless shelter in the former First Christian Church on W. Market Street. The Evan Almighty director, as previously covered in C-VILLE, bought the church for a reported $2.5 million and set in motion plans to turn it into a multipurpose facility for sheltering and rehabilitating Charlottesville’s homeless population. FilmStew also reports that some Downtown merchants are nervous about the shelter’s location near the heart of the Mall.

Thursday, August 2
How to eat chicken

Shenandoah Valley-based food guru Joel Salatin—who’s a favorite media source all over the country on topics like sustainable farming and the local food movement—writes in the August/September issue of Mother Earth News about eating in season. That means more than just munching tomatoes when it’s hot, says Salatin: "Seasonally speaking, it makes sense to eat chicken in the summer and beef in winter." Salatin’s own meat products appear on the menus of local restaurants, so you too can eat season-appropriate fare raised by a quasi-celebrity.

Friday, August 3
Bridges to nowhere

Along with many other media sources, The Roanoke Times today examines a topic fresh in everyone’s mind: bridge safety. The collapse of a highway bridge in Minnesota has prompted Virginia road officials to take a second look at bridges in this state, especially those similar in age and design to the one that failed in Minneapolis rush hour traffic August 1. The Times quotes VDOT’s chief engineer, Malcolm Kerley, to the effect that Virginia’s 20,000 bridges are safe, notwithstanding that 16 percent of them are "functionally obsolete" and 9 percent are "structurally deficient." This is logic only an engineer could love.

Saturday, August 4
Spacek a Hot Rodder

Sissy Spacek’s latest film provides more evidence—as if we needed it—that decent roles for actresses over 40 are tough to come by. Her character in Hot Rod? An oblivious mom

Apparently in a carefree mood career-wise, local movie star Sissy Spacek (whose resumé includes an Academy Award) is now part of a thoroughly silly project: the motorcycle-jumping comedy Hot Rod, which opens this weekend. Spacek plays the oblivious mother of Rod Kimble, an amateur stuntman who battles with his stepfather and trains to jump over 15 buses while, naturally, falling down a lot. Rod Kimble is played by "Saturday Night Live" castmember Andy Samberg, the guy from the "Lazy Sunday" video. Reviews so far aren’t kind. Variety calls the movie "lazy" and Spacek’s role "little more than a paycheck part."

Sunday, August 5
What a drag

WCAV reports tonight that a 22-year-old Gordonsville man, having stopped in the Lucky Seven convenience store on E. Market Street, was surprised to look out the window of the store and see someone starting to drive away in his car (which he’d left running). He gave chase and was dragged about 25′, somehow escaping injury, before letting go. The thief was later stopped by Albemarle County Police and charged with DUI, driving on a suspended license and refusing to take a Breathalyzer test. Police do not believe there is a connection between this incident and a recent rash of other Downtown assaults.

Monday, August 6
Civil rights defender dies

Oliver W. Hill, in wheelchair, meets Queen Elizabeth II at the State Capitol in Richmond on May 3 of this year. He died Sunday at age 100

Though not as well-known as his colleague Thurgood Marshall, Oliver W. Hill—who died Sunday at his home in Richmond—was instrumental in winning some of the major legal battles of the civil rights era. His death is widely reported today, including by The Washington Post. The Howard University-educated lawyer was the lead attorney on the 1951 Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Va. case, in which black students in Farmville sued over substandard conditions in their segregated school. The case was later combined with four others by the U.S. Supreme Court into the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Hill took on dozens of other civil rights cases, enduring intimidation as a result; he also, in 1948, became Richmond’s first African-American city councilor to be elected in 50 years. He was 100.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, July 24
Fox reacts to Tech killings

The New York Times, picking up an Associated Press story, reports that Fox has opted to alter a scene in a new midseason drama in response to the April massacre at Virginia Tech. Fox plans to unveil "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," a show based on the Terminator movies. But after the Tech tragedy, producers decided that a scene showing an attack in a high school should be revised. According to the Times, "the drama, with a woman as its hero, is being introduced to take advantage of the increase in female viewers generally enjoyed by Fox when ‘American Idol’ returns in January."

Wednesday, July 25
Virginia wine: the latest toast

He’ll drink to that: Al Schornberg, left, got more appreciation for his Keswick Vineyards last week.

In what has become something of a weekly occurrence, another publication is celebrating the fine wine of Central Virginia. This time it’s roanoke.com, the online version of The Roanoke Times. Gordon Kendall spent some time at Keswick Vineyards, where the story of Al and Kathy Schornbergs’ near-death experience and subsequent conversion from Michigan entrepreneurs to Virginia farmers makes the expected impression on him. Also impressive? The history of Edgewood Estate, where the Schornbergs settled in 2000: "King George II had granted the land in 1727, and the estate was built in 1911 by a direct descendent of the grantee, Nicholas Meriwether." Yes, and what of the wine? Kendall liked the 2004 Heritage, among others, a wine he compares to French Bordeaux, despite a difference in varietals. "This wine emulates the style displaying earthy aromas and a rich and savory palate on which cherry and leather flavors cascade."  

Thursday, July 26
Muslim prayer rooms, including at UVA, spark debate

USA Today reports in its online edition that some public schools and universities are granting requests from organized groups of Muslim students to create prayer rooms and install ritual foot baths. Among universities listed by the Muslim Students’ Association as having prayer rooms for "Muslim students only," the paper reports, is UVA. The usual array of opinions is represented, including Christians who see the benefits accorded to Muslims as preferential. The chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy offers a reasoned assessment: "Unusual accommodations for one faith at the cost of everybody else doesn’t fall on the side of pluralism."

Friday, July 27
"College basketball is going to miss a giant"

Former Cavs’ men’s basketball head coach Pete Gillen and other ACC coaches and players mourn the untimely death of Skip Prosser, the Wake Forest coach who was mentored by Gillen at the start of his career.

Sports pages around the country, including The Washington Post’s, are reporting today on the shock and grief felt by former Cavaliers men’s basketball coach Pete Gillen and others, upon learning that Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser dropped dead of a heart attack following his regular morning jog yesterday. He was 56. Gillen gave Prosser his first college position at Xavier University, where Prosser remained as Gillen’s assistant for eight seasons. "He was confident and believed in himself, but he had no ego," Gillen said. "Most coaches, to get to the top, have to step on some people. But he didn’t have any enemies…"

Saturday, July 28
Unemployment: June’s magic number was 2.8 percent

State unemployment rates increased in June for the usual summertime reason: College students flooding the market looking for seasonal work. At the end of the week, the Virginia Employment Commission announced state unemployment numbers for June, up 0.4 percentage points from May to 3.2 percent. But locally, the number was only 2.8 percent, 0.1 percent less than the year-ago measure, but up 0.6 percentage points from May 2007. Still, Charlottesville is well ahead of the national game; overall unemployment in the country is at 4.7 percent. Closer to home, the troubled Southside continues to have a jobs problem, with the June unemployment rate at 6.4 percent.

Sunday, July 29
Hometown lit mag gets blockbuster support

Possible title for John Grisham’s next project? "What I did on my summer vacation."

Needing a dose of something extra, the staff of the Southaven High School literary magazine reached out to a famous alumni, asking John Grisham if he had a few words he could share with the current students of his Mississippi alma mater. And, as the Hattiesburg American reports on its website today, a couple of months later the bajillion-selling author complied with an essay about his days at the school. To meet the deadline, the Albemarle author took time from his work on Playing For Pizza, due in late September. The new book, described as a "comic novel" is, according to Grisham’s website, "about a one-time American football star who moves to Italy to play for the Parma Panthers and finds himself entangled in a series of cultural misadventures."

Monday, July 30
Impermanent vacations

This week’s installment of the public radio show, "The Infinite Mind"—which isn’t broadcast in Charlottesville—taps the expertise of UVA history prof Cindy Aron as it delves into the deeper meanings of the American vacation. Aron, who published a book in 1999 called Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States, enlightens listeners about how vacations started out as a way to get healthier (in Virginia, people went to take the curative waters of Bath County, for example). Later, they evolved (or devolved) into self-improvement sessions, when those itchy Victorians decided that idleness was dangerous, and that attending lectures and praying was a better way to take a break.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, July 17
Business victory = consumer defeat?

All hail the free market! Word today from the office of State Attorney General Bob McDonnell, a Republican, that Directorship magazine, "a prominent publication in the business community," has ranked Virginia No. 2 among these 50 United States for its "pro-business climate." The American Justice Partnership did the nationwide survey. Its conclusion? "Virginia’s liability policies make the state one of the best in the country when it comes to ensuring a positive environment for free enterprise." You hear that, future CEOs? Virginia will do its very best to secure you from pesky consumer lawsuits, product-protection legislation and insurance payouts.

Wednesday, July 18
Food bank head adds to national brain trust

In a news release today, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, which serves the Charlottesville region, announced that CEO Martin L. White will join a planning committee to help the national food bank network to meet goals by 2012. Those include increasing funding of federal nutrition programs, which have been cut under the Bush Administration, and establishing a nationwide food purchase program. "I am excited and honored to be able to add my voice to the dialogue of ending hunger in America at the national level," White said in the news release. He has headed the Blue Ridge hunger organization since 2001.

Thursday, July 19
Daughtry’s appeal explained

How many degrees of separation are there between Chris Daughtry and Lindsay Lohan? Just one: producer and songwriter Ben Moody.

And here we thought it was the tight pants. But the August issue of Spin sets us straight on the appeal of former Fluco, the "American Idol" sensation Chris Daughtry and his eponymous band, one of the biggest-selling acts this year ( 2.7 million copies of the self-titled debut CD). They were "assisted by a slew of heavy-hitting songwriting pros," including Evanescence co-founder Ben Moody, who also worked with Avril Lavigne, Lindsay Lohan and another "Idol" alum Kelly Clarkson. What’s this rock doc known for? "Grandiose power ballads with enough of an edge to keep the mall punks dialed in." A clear Rx for success.

Friday, July 20
Progress stays close to UVA football’s important news

Groh got a good look at antelope while on vacation. Now can he get up close and personal with that rare creature known as winning?

So SI.com ranked Al Groh the nation’s worst college football coach last week, citing his 25-23 ACC record? Does that a mean a guy’s not entitled to a little R&R? Taking what is probably the inevitable course for a sports section so devoted to finding the good news in the Cavaliers’ football program come what may, The Daily Progress today devoted above-the-fold B1 space to the crucial news that Groh and his wife spent six days in Wyoming. True, the Cavs’ season begins there on September 1, so there was a work aspect to the trip. Groh saw wildlife while on vacation (antelope, bald eagles) and more importantly, reports the DP, he "walked away with a better feel for the altitude and its potential impact for his football team." Awesome, now all he needs is a better feel for offense and its potential impact on his team.

Saturday, July 21
Pott-head goes on a 759-page bender

Some kid, we don’t know who, got his edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at, like, one minute past midnight and finished the thing in one sitting, as he has all previous six books and now he’s hung over and remorseful because it’ll never be as good as the first time and either Harry was offed in this, the final installment of J.K. Rowling’s bazillion-selling series, or he wasn’t and in either case, even if we know we wouldn’t say, so if you need to know without reading it yourself find the kid in the Hogwarts t-shirt.

Sunday, July 22
UVA legal expert: Feds might have more on Vick

You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet: The indictment is 18-pages long, but maybe prosecutors have even more in their dog-fighting case against former Hokie hero, Michael Vick.

It’s 18-pages long, but maybe the Federal indictment against Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons QB and onetime Hokie, doesn’t say everything. That’s the view of UVA Law professor Anne Coughlin, quoted in today’s Hampton Roads Dailypress.com. Vick, who left Virginia Tech at 20 as the youngest No. 1 draft recruit in almost 60 years, is charged along with three friends with "conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal-fighting venture." He faces six years in jail and $350,000 in fines. The indictment is vague on how prosecutors have built their case except to mention four unnamed "cooperating witnesses." "They don’t have to come out in the indictment with the best things they have or disclose all the information that they have," Coughlin says. "With a high-profile defendant like this…prosecutors will want to proceed cautiously."

Monday, July 23
Hemings thing just like that scrap with Hamilton

The July issue of Washingtonian magazine profiles a half-dozen descendants of famous Americans, including Nathaniel Abeles, the eighth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson. Though he professes a past reluctance to bust out his lineage socially, ("You’re a dummy," his friends reportedly said. "That’s the world’s greatest pickup line"), the former president of the Monticello Association does make some dramatic comparisons on the Sally Hemings matter. "I believe there’s not enough information to prove the connection," he says. "The supporters of the Hemings cause have made me feel like he must have felt going up against the Federalists. There’s a lot of frustration and name calling."

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, July 10
TJ in the tabloids

Clip this UVA headline: In the recent edition of Weekly World News—”the world’s only reliable newspaper”—tabloid reporters inform us, in a “July 4 Shocker,” that Thomas Jefferson fathered an alien love child! Apparently the greenish creature inherited Jefferson’s strong nose and a permanently attached white wig. Unfortunately, it also professed an avowed desire to pursue constitutional law with a strong federalist slant. One of the future campaign slogans TJ’s child is considering? “To put the ‘alien’ in inalienable rights.”

Wednesday, July 11
We’re tops

Governor Tim Kaine announced what most of us already knew: Virginia’s got this economic thing on lock down. Forbes.com ranked Virginia No. 1 in “Best States for Business.”

Governor Tim Kaine’s office announced today that not only is Virginia the No. 1 place to have a total Yankee/Dixie crisis when driving from one part of the state to another, we also lead (for the second consecutive year) Forbes.com’s “Best States for Business” ranking. According to the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, the Charlottesville area is doing its share of the economic heavy lifting with a workforce of more than 134,000 “well-educated, technologically sophisticated, and extremely capable people.” The Forbes.com rankings accounted for business costs, labor issues, regulatory climate, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

Thursday, July 12
Young nerds aspire to climate change

Today was a special day for a group of middle schoolers attending a science camp hosted by UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science: ExxonMobil Day! The energy company, a sponsor of the camp, sent some of its engineers to conduct interactive demonstrations with the kids and talk to them about careers in engineering. The activities are meant to counteract a projected deficit in the number of American scientists: a shortage of half a million by 2010, reports UVAToday. The two-week camp is free to students, not counting what their parents spent on gas (ExxonMobil?) to drive them to the engineering school.

Friday, July 13
Zimmerman is awesome

According to The Washington Post, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is…how to put this nicely?…the only player on the roster worth hanging on to. Except, of course, for manager Manny Acta, who’s pretty good too.

Oh those Washington Nationals, so lovable in their last-place standing in the National League. Well, maybe “lovable” is stretching it. In fact, by the All-Star break, the Nats had welcomed 39 new players to the team, hardly the setting for a long-term love affair between team and fans. Today’s Washington Post had a mid-season assessment of the Nats’ rosters, and it wasn’t pretty. Aside from manager Manny Acta, third baseman and former Cavalier standout Ryan Zimmerman is the only player on the roster that the Post says is a concrete piece of a winning team. The other 28 players? Not so much. So if your 10-month-old’s starting to look like a lefty, maybe now’s the time to start working on his slider. He could fit in nicely with the Nats just as they’re starting to turn it around.

Saturday, July 14
Survivor in Charlottesville

Local “Survivor” hopefuls had two minutes at Rivals Sports Bar & Grill to land their 15 minutes of fame. WCAV-TV, CBS19 held an open casting call from 10am to 2pm for the 16th (really…16?) season of the apparently neverending reality show. Each interviewee had two minutes to wow interviewers from the show, proving that they had what it takes to “outwit, outplay and outlast” other preening jerks on a deserted island full of krieg lights and buffet tables for camera crews. 

Sunday, July 15
Mixed rap for DMB

Remember when the Dave Matthews Band dumped a load of raw sewage on tourists in the Chicago river? Yeah, well, they’re sorry about that. They’re making it up for it with bikes and by being totally enviro-friendly.

Variety today became the latest news outlet to, in the same breath, repeat the embarrassing story about the Dave Matthews Band’s tour bus dumping sewage on tourists in the Chicago River in 2004, then extol the band’s environmentalist efforts—from donating $100,000 to clean up that same river to calculating the carbon offsets needed for all that touring. (We at C-VILLE now continue the tradition.) Variety also mentions DMB’s participation in the community bikes program here in Charlottesville, but does not explain where all the bikes went.

Monday, July 16
Virginia Greene, 73, joins Peace Corps

Retirement isn’t for everyone. Charlottesville resident Virginia Greene, 73, will leave for Philadelphia Tuesday, July 17 to begin her tour of duty with the Peace Corps, The Daily Progress reported. Greene, who earned a doctorate in chemistry from UVA, will receive a few days of training in Philly before she ships out for Johannesburg, South Africa. There Greene will undergo three more months of training before she will work to educate primary school teachers. Though she’s in the 5 percent of Peace Corps volunteers who are over the age of 50, Greene’s not the oldest. A volunteer in Thailand recently turned 80.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, July 3
1984 UVA sexual assault case stalled

The investigation into a 1984 UVA fraternity sexual assault case is on hold, according to an Associated Press report, due to lack of evidence. The case was initially reopened after William Beebe, who later pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual battery, sent a letter of apology to Liz Seccuro as part of his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program. Investigators are trying to identify additional alleged attackers in the assault. The AP report quotes Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo saying, “We certainly have not lost hope in the case…we’ve just exhausted all the leads we have in front of us.” Seccuro said in the story, “Unfortunately in rape cases, where you’re dealing with a fraternity…that wall of silence and that bond of brotherhood apparently last for life.”

Wednesday, July 4
Pretend lawyer welcomes real citizens

Keeping your eyes dry was no easy task at the Naturalization Ceremony today, as 76 citizens were newly minted at Monticello. “Law & Order” actor Sam Waterston gave his 2 cents on the wonders and obligations of being a citizen, challenging the nation’s newest citizens not to “pick up our bad habits” of political apathy. But the really moving speakers were two new citizens themselves, both former refugees relocated by the International Rescue Committee.

Thursday, July 5
Webb learns ways of Senate

After completing his first six months in office, Democratic Senator Jim Webb is profiled in The Virginia-Pilot. Reporter Dale Eisman shows Webb learning the ways of the Senate and working with colleagues from both parties.

As Democratic Senator Jim Webb completes his first six months in office, reporter Dale Eisman presents a news feature showing the ups and downs of Webb’s first term on Capitol Hill in The Virginia-Pilot. The feature shows Webb learning the ways of the Senate and how to work together with his colleagues. Speaking of members on both sides of the aisle, Webb said, “We have 100 scorpions locked in a jar, and we have to keep working with each other. It doesn’t pay to not be cordial.”

Friday, July 6
Newcomb Hall hosts Joshua advanced screening

UVA hosted an advance screening of Joshua, a feature film developed by ATO Pictures, part of Coran Capshaw’s media empire. Also starring Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga, Jacob Kogan plays an eccentric 9-year-old who becomes unhinged after the birth of his baby sister.

Charlottesville cinema types were treated to an advance screening of Joshua, a feature film developed by ATO Pictures. ATO is part of Coran Capshaw’s media empire, which scored its first major distribution deal with Joshua. Fox Searchlight is behind it. After the arrival of a new baby sister, the eccentric 9-year-old classical pianist Joshua becomes unhinged as only eccentric 9-year-old pianists can. Joshua’s creepy behavior becomes too much for his parents, played by Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga, whose cushy lives turn not-so-cushy.

Saturday, July 7
Grisham among top 100 celebrities

Forbes magazine ranked Charlottesville’s mega-author John Grisham No. 91 among the 100 richest celebrities. Helping his financial cause, Grisham recently sold the film rights to his nonfiction debut, The Innocent Man, to George Clooney.

Forbes magazine published its top 100 highest-paid celebrities, and wouldn’t you know it, Charlottesville author John Grisham just squeaked in at 91. O.K., so he’s no Oprah (No. 1) or Tom Cruise (No. 8) or…wait…Bon Jovi (No. 18)? But Grisham’s still in good company, sandwiched between former General Electric CEO Jack Welch (No. 90) and alleged comedian Jeff Foxworthy (No. 92). Grisham got a bump by selling the film rights for his nonfiction debut, The Innocent Man, to George Clooney (No. 40).

Sunday, July 8
Bond on roster; epithet laid to rest

UVA’s own Julian Bond spoke at the 98th annual convention of the NAACP in Detroit, according to the Associated Press. Bond is chairman of the organization’s board of directors and was expected, as he has at past conventions, to take the opportunity to criticize the Bush Administration. Convention-goers also planned to hold a symbolic burial of the N-word today in downtown Detroit, with hip-hop artists and other entertainment-industry types helping to “symbolically bury this vile insult to our past, present and future,” as the NAACP website put it. Word up.

Monday, July 9
New Seminole Square building

The building in the Seminole Square shopping center that used to house the now-defunct Maverick restaurant has a date with a wrecking ball. The Daily Progress reported Monday that Great Eastern Management Co. will demolish the restaurant to make way for a three-story building that will include a bank, office space and yet another restaurant in the North 29 eatery corridor. No word yet on what type of restaurant is planned, and sure, opening a restaurant there is a little like bringing sand to a beach, but company Vice President Steve Hopkins is optimistic. “We think it’s a great location,” he says.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday, June 26
The good sip

Though sometimes overlooked by wine and travel connoisseurs, Virginia’s wine regions get some love this month in Travel+Leisure magazine, which names Barboursville among five emerging wine regions. Though the photo spreads give more play to exotic regions like Chile’s Casablanca Valley and Majorca, Spain, the magazine’s domestic mentionables include Barboursville Vineyards’ 1999 Nebbiolo, described as “deep, dusty, slightly tangy.” For food, Palladio restaurant’s Italian offerings were “revelations,” which, in wine editor-speak means: It was very good.

Wednesday, June 27
Free condoms!

Normally, we look to city spokesman Ric Barrick for information about public service campaigns and updates on how our sister cities are doing. Today, Barrick and his friends from AIDS Services Group were peddling a different product—condoms and lube to support free AIDS testing day. Dozens of Mall-crawlers scored a convenient pack of free Durex, and people could report to the Gravity Lounge for a confidential swab test, with results back in 20 minutes. The organization also offers free testing in its office on Second Street SE every weekday.

Thursday, June 28
Virginians on immigration

Today, the U.S. Senate killed the second version of a bill that opponents say would have granted “amnesty” to the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Though the bill would have revived the nation’s tired immigration laws, Democrats and Republicans alike had distaste for the measure, defeating it 53-46. How did our esteemed Virginian senators vote? Warner and Webb both voted no, but Webb didn’t go down without a fight. He offered an amendment that said legal status could be granted only to aliens who had lived in the U.S. for at least four years. Sensing a last-ditch opportunity for a domestic accomplishment, President Bush was characteristically articulate in supporting the bill, saying, “On a piece of legislation this complicated, the question people have to answer is: Are we going to sacrifice for the good for the sake of the perfect?”

Friday, June 29
iPhone mania

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…the most expensive piece of unproven technology one could possibly use to call one’s grandmother! iPhone mania hit the country and Charlottesville today, as Apple rolled out its $500-$600 touch-screen phenomenon at precisely 6pm. People started lining up around 6:30am, and by the evening, about 70 people were waiting outside the AT&T Wireless store on Route 29N. Our local camp-out looked wimpy compared to the days-long body-odor fests of cities like New York and San Francisco. Among the iPhone’s desirable features—its user-friendly Web browser, the ability to play music formatted for Apple’s iTunes and four or eight gigabytes of storage.

Saturday, June 30
Useless celebrity update

Did you hear? Two things we can relate to in Charlottesville—golf and local boy Rob Lowe—collided in a most unseemly fashion this month when Lowe had a “golfing accident” that killed a bird during a celebrity pro-am tournament at a country club in Iowa. The Associated Press reported the 43-year-old Charlottesville-born actor was hitting an approach shot on the fourth hole when his ball struck a goldfinch, Iowa’s state bird. If his reputation can recover from the 1988 sex tape scandal, we’re sure Lowe will get over this “birdie.”

Sunday, July 1
Blind ambition

Following the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 decision that racial factors can never be allowed in school admissions decisions, there’s speculation among conservatives that the decision will have the same “color-blind” effects as Brown v. Board of Education. UVA law professor Michael J. Klarman, quoted in today’s New York Times Week in Review, sees it otherwise: “Brown didn’t transform society very much.” Rather, desegregation was motivated by the Johnson-era Justice Department’s enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the threat of funding getting cut off if schools didn’t integrate. So, this recent decision, Klarman says, will affect only a few school boards that use race and, anyway, “there are so many opportunities for committed school boards to circumvent it.”

Monday, July 2
It’s the little things

You know that annoying bleeping sound that happens when your cell phone gets too close to your computer when it’s next to your clock radio when you’re trying to charge your iPod? Sensitive electronics require shields to prevent interference and, with technology ever-approaching miniscule, finding materials that are lightweight enough to do the job has been a problem. But, a team of UVA engineering researchers used nanotechnology to develop a material that’s lighter than plastic, yet as conductive as metal, snagging a Nano50 award from Nanotech Briefs magazine. The UVA Patent Foundation is in on this small finding, which has the potential to make it big in areas like aerospace, lightning protection and thermal insulation.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, June 19
Green architects on Sundance

The Sundance Channel’s new series, “The Green,” tonight featured Charlottesville architect William McDonough who, with his colleagues, is working with the U.S. Postal Service on a “cradle to cradle” policy that would remove toxins from packaging. McDonough is also helping with a Ford Model U, a concept car made entirely of recyclable or biodegradable parts.

Reliving their kicks

For those looking to revisit the glory of the 2004 Charlottesville High School boys’ soccer team, a video called “Sudden Death” aired on WVPT this evening. The film chronicles the PK shootout between CHS and Jefferson Forest, netting the Black Knights their first-ever state championship.

Wednesday, June 20
Locals on the tube

His feet touched our ground! Steve Carell, in a flurry of media coverage for EvanAlmighty, appeared with Meredith Vieira on the  “Today” show last week.

Meredith Vieira of the “Today” show welcomed the nicest guy in show biz, Steve Carell, this week. While some of the graphics in the film Evan Almighty were digital, the animals, which were on set while the movie was filmed in Crozet, were real and smelly. “They are horrifying,” Carell said. And, for more comedians and local flavor on TV, Charlottesville-born Anne Marie Slaughter appeared last night on “The Colbert Report” to talk about her book The Idea That is America. The wicked-smart dean of the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton said of Guantanamo Bay, “I think we should shut it down.” To which Colbert replied: “Do you have a better place to store our terrorists?”

Thursday, June 21
Where the lobbyists aren’t

State Senator R. Creigh Deeds has left Richmond law firm Hirschler Fleischer over a conflict of interest, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The state bar prohibits members of the General Assembly from being employed at companies that lobby, a rule that may be soon revised. Deeds is making the switch to Framme Law Firm, founded by Lawrence H. Framme III, who was the treasurer for Deeds’ ill-fated campaign for attorney general.

Bye-bye, Covesville tree

A menacing poplar lost its life this week in Covesville, saving the local Presbyterian Church from an imminent foliage threat. The removal process required the power company to take down lines before the tree could be felled.

Good old Norfolk Southern Railroad will spare no expense when it comes to protecting certain Presbyterian churches. The railroad company temporarily stopped train service and hired Barlett Tree Company to remove a gigantic poplar from its property because the tree was hanging over a building on nearby Cove Presbyterian Church’s property.

Friday, June 22
So misunderstood

The issue of a land-zoning swap spurred by the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) expansion, first reported in C-VILLE, just won’t go away. A beleaguered Ken Boyd, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, appeared today on the WINA “Morning Show” to respond to mounting criticism over a 2006 resolution to move 30 acres of local developer Wendell Wood’s land into the designated growth area, in order to satisfy him for selling growth-area land to NGIC at what is said to be below cost. “I really am concerned there’s a lot of misinformation about how the Board of Supervisors works,” says Boyd to a mostly sympathetic call-in audience. Boyd emphasized that the move isn’t yet a done deal.

Saturday, June 23
Carpenter’s narrow escape

“This I Believe,” a radio essay that airs on NPR, featured local folk songstress Mary Chapin Carpenter today. Carpenter survived a pulmonary embolism, a usually fatal blood clot in the lungs. During recovery, the five-time Grammy-Award winner fell into depression but was revived after a visit to the grocery store. “The young man who rang up my groceries and asked me if I wanted paper or plastic also told me to enjoy the rest of my day,” Carpenter said. “I looked at him and I knew he meant it.”

Sunday, June 24
Desperate times call for Warner

Can everyone’s favorite cowboy, Virginia Senator John Warner, warn the President about Iraq and turn the surge into a skee-daddle? Frank Rich ponders in the Sunday NYT.

If the end of the Iraq war will come only “when a senior senator from the President’s party says no,” who will speak up? Op-ed columnist Frank Rich suggests in today’s New York Times that Virginia Senator John Warner would be a perfect choice since he voiced opposition last year and has enough “clout to give political cover” to other GOP members. The question is whether Warner is up to the task of playing William Fulbright to Bush’s LBJ. Rich writes: “Surely he must recognize that his moment for speaking out about this war is overdue.”

Monday, June 25
Forum for young minds

A UVA psychiatrist and law professor teamed up with a mental health advocate at the Miller Center for a forum on “Mental Health and Law Reform” today. Dr. Gregory B. Saathoff, director of the Critical Incident Analysis Group and Richard J. Bonnie, director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, joined Alison Malmon, executive director of Active Minds, Inc. on what’s become a hot topic following the Virginia Tech shooting.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, June 12
Elisa Kelly locked up

After serving beer at her son Ryan’s 16th birthday party five years ago, Elisa Kelly began serving something completely different this week: her 27-month jail sentence. Kelly was charged with nine misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Originally sentenced to eight years (eight years!), the sentence was reduced, but not before Kelly began a series of appeals ending in the Virginia Supreme Court. The BBC commented on the conviction by saying, “The Presbyterian Puritanism of the pilgrims and the founding fathers still haunts a nation that is forever trying to live up to abstract ideals and forever failing to do so.”  We’ll drink to that.

Wednesday, June 13
Capital murder execution delayed

People opposed to the death penalty held a vigil outside the City Courthouse for Christopher Scott Emmett, who was scheduled to die this week for capital murder, but received a pardon by Governor Tim Kaine.

Convicted murderer Christopher Scott Emmett received a stay hours before his scheduled June 13 execution. Emmett killed a co-worker in a motel room with a brass lamp when the co-worker refused to give him $100 to buy crack cocaine. Governor Tim Kaine granted the stay two hours before the scheduled execution and hours after the U.S. Supreme Court had denied a stay with a 5-4 vote. Emmett had filed an appeal to the Court, which it won’t consider until late September. Given that Emmett was working on a bit of a deadline, Kaine delayed his execution until October 17. Emmett claims he wasn’t adequately represented and that his attorney didn’t give the jury vital information about his abusive childhood.

Thursday, June 14
Charity gets technology bucks

Maryrose Sylvester, GE Fanuc president and CEO, presents a check for $20,000 to Cathy Train, Caroline Emerson and Gary Henry (left to right) from the United Way. The charity will spend the money on the mysteriously named “Virtual Academy for Science and Technology.”

Normally, when corporations give big donations to charities, we applaud it and then ignore it, given the volume of philanthropic, successful companies in this town. But, when they provide high-res photos, how can we resist? GE Fanuc, the joint venture between General Electric and FANUC LTD of Japan—and a major local employer—gave $20,000 to the United Way in honor of the venture’s 20th anniversary. The company provides efficiency solutions for industrial businesses through software and technology. The company also made a technology donation to the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

Friday, June 15
Foreign citizen rides for 9/11

Today a German national who was so moved by the September 11 tragedy that he decided to bike 2,700 miles rolled through Charlottesville on his way to Ground Zero in New York City. Robert Diener, a 41-year-old German police officer embarked from Pueblo, Colorado, on the journey in hopes of raising money for Tuesday’s Children, which provides programs to more than 5,000 family members who lost a loved one on September 11. Diener apparently speaks only enough English to get by, and is expected to arrive at Ground Zero in mid-July, with only a touring bike, tent, camping mattress, sleeping bag, and a cell phone in tow.

Saturday, June 16
Geeks gather

Today occurred one of the most confusing events we’ve ever covered. The BarCamp “unconference,” which is basically a workshop run by participants who are interested in stuff like open-source software and Web applications, held a Charlottesville version called beCamp at the Fry’s Spring Beach Club today. The “Open Source Geek Gathering” brought the technology-curious together in what participants touted as a “technology Woodstock!” Pretty cool, we guess, if it hadn’t taken our minds so long to recover from the indecipherable press release.

Sunday, June 17
Jim Webb even more likeable

Senator Jim Webb appears with the rock stars in the current issue of Rolling Stone. A slim 9,000-vote victory landed the Iraq-war opposer a whole mess of issues, including representing destitute constituents in Southwest Virginia.

Whilst flipping through the pages of Rolling Stone this weekend, getting the skinny on this summer’s DMB tour, our eyes scanned rocker upon leather-clad rocker until, wait…is that Jim Webb in front of the Capitol? Jeff Sharlet’s piece on the new Virginia senator takes Webb’s opposition to the Iraq war and weaves it with the story of his military career, explaining, among other things, his respect for the American redneck and fierce opposition to class divisions. “America’s top tier,” Webb says, “are literally living in a different country.” The old pictures of Webb—in military gear, as Ronald Reagan’s secretary of the Navy—are illuminating. The in-depth look at the military man-turned-author-turned-freshman senator will simultaneously make you feel really wimpy and sort of proud.

Monday, June 18
Declaration of independent

Peter Kleeman declared his bid as an independent for City Council today in front of City Hall. The transportation activist last ran for Council in 2000 with Democrats Maurice Cox and Kevin Lynch, both of whom won seats. Kleeman is one of only two candidates to challenge Democratic hopefuls Satyendra Huja, Holly Edwards and Mayor David Brown, since the Republicans didn’t drum up a candidate this year.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, June 5
UVA baseball loses in regional, again

Make it four straight years the Cavaliers have been bounced out of the NCAA tournament regional before making it to Omaha. But, man, this one might have hurt a little more. Defending national champion Oregon State ended the Cavs’ season today on Davenport Field, beating them 7-3. UVA, normally a hot-hitting team, batted just .207 in the three-game series. The Cavs finished the season 45-16. Apparently the loss wasn’t too heartbreaking, though—UVA would later announce a three-year contract extension for coach Brian O’Connor.

Wednesday, June 6
City schools shuffle

Follow the principal: Tim Flynn is leaving his post as principal of Buford Middle School. A series of subsequent hirings and switches mean even the snappiest parent may have trouble keeping it straight.

See if you can keep this straight: Tim Flynn, principal of Buford Middle School since 2002, is leaving to finish his doctorate at UVA. In his place at Buford enters Eric Johnson, former principal of Leslie H. Walton Middle School in Albemarle County and prior to that a math teacher at Walker Upper Elementary. A city mathematics division coordinator, Terri Perkins, will take over at Walker as principal come July. And, finally, Vernon Bock, Charlottesville High School assistant principal, will become principal of Johnson Elementary. Greenbrier Elementary is still looking for a principal. City parents, we seriously recommend brushing up on the personnel directory before the summer’s over.

Thursday, June 7
Totally bogus air guitar shutout

Bad as he wants to be: C-VILLE Advertising Assistant Tim Granlund made it all the way to the U.S. Air Guitar Championships. Though he was defeated, Granlund is next setting his costume cap on being the world champion of air guitar.

In a crushing and completely not-cool move by the judges of the U.S. Air Guitar Competition, held tonight in Washington, D.C., C-VILLE Advertising Assistant Tim Granlund got bested despite seemingly perfect gear, bravado and technique. Though Granlund’s version of “Rock You Like a Hurricane” came up short, it thrilled the BBC, which used a clip of his performance as an intro to their coverage of the event. “If the BBC thought I was the poster child for air guitar, then clearly the judges suck,” Granlund said via e-mail. Not to be discouraged, the 23-year-old air guitarist is taking part in an online competition, in hopes of going to the Air Guitar World Championships.

Friday, June 8
Yes! More history!

Word comes today that UVA’s Carr’s Hill, the place where University President John T. Casteen, III crashes (so much as university presidents “crash”) was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register. The house was built in 1909 and designed by Stanford White. The Register also added an 83,000-acre rural historic district in southern Albemarle County. Sure, the vast chunk of land shows Thomas Jefferson’s influence in its numerous buildings. But let’s not forget the region’s close association with missionary Charlotte Digges “Lottie” Moons.

Saturday, June 9
UVA lacrosse player charged in beating

Just when it appeared Cavalier-related news was finished for this edition, UVA lacrosse player Adam Fassnacht, 22, was charged with aggravated assault from a June 1 beating of a Princeton student in Princeton, New Jersey. Fassnacht, who’s listed at 5′-10" and 213 pounds, and Princeton lacrosse player Nicholas S. Hermandorfer, allegedly beat up an unnamed male student, breaking his eye socket, cheekbone and nose. Fassnacht and Hermandorfer were each released on a $50,000 bond. Fassnacht, who was named to the 2006 ACC Honor Roll, started beating the student and Hermandorfer jumped in.

Sunday, June 10
Local reporters lead

When Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 of his fellow students and professors, local journalists at the Roanoke Times and Collegiate Times led the media coverage, according to American Journalism Review.

Reporters used to covering the small-town humdrum led the way after the Virginia Tech massacre, reads a piece in American Journalism Review this month. “While outsiders were scrambling to reach Blacksburg…local journalists were already on the scene.” Student journalists at Tech’s Collegiate Times especially shone. Twenty-four hours after the shooting, Collegiate Times reporters had interviewed eyewitnesses and those who knew the shooter. Amie Steele, who was in her third week as editor of the Collegiate Times, assigned two reporters to scour social networking sites, and her newspaper became a go-to source for national media for information, including the names of the dead. Website traffic on The Roanoke Times’ site skyrocketed to 261,000 page views, up from 2,500 on a typical day.

Monday, June 11
Indigent care and lawsuits

The private physician foundation associated with the UVA Health System has, in the past, won medical malpractice cases that block lawsuits under what’s known as charitable immunity. Now, inRich.com, the website for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, reports that the Virginia Supreme Court will look again at whether that protection will continue. Doctors say rising insurance costs associated with malpractice suits are affecting the quality of health care for all. Virginia doctors paid about $300 million in insurance premiums in 2006. But some have argued that hospitals—even ones that see indigent patients—are hardly charity wards. And patient advocates worry that such rulings leave indigent patients without legal redress if they get negligent care.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, May 29
Transit proposal gets props

Let’s face it: Charlottesville has a rockin’ national rep. We might not be No. 1 any longer (enter sigh of relief here), but we still lead among American cities. Today’s USA Today lauds the city’s proposal to cut out bus fares as a way of upping ridership on public transportation and cutting back on traffic congestion. “Everybody and their mother has been moving here in the last five years,” City Councilor Dave Norris told the paper. “We’re trying to…get people out of their cars.”

Roll credits: Herskowitz is tourism winner

Virginia Film Festival Director Richard Herskowitz is “Tourism Person of the Year.” He got the accolade from the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau for all the visitors the film festival brings.

Capping off the official opening of the new Visitors Center at the west end of the Downtown Mall this evening, the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau recognized Richard Herskowitz as this year’s “Tourism Person of the Year.” Herskowitz directs the Virginia Film Festival, which has brought thousands of visitors to the area and which will mark its 20th anniversary in October with a festival focusing on families in the movies.

Wednesday, May 30
Spotty football program no impediment to SI.com nod

UVA may not be a true sports school, but still, SI.com, the website for Sports Illustrated, recommends a stop in Charlottesville to take in the ties-and-sundresses at a football game, or a basketball game at UVA’s new mega-arena, the JPJ.

So UVA is no powerhouse on the gridiron. That doesn’t keep SI.com, the online version of Sports Illustrated, from declaring Charlottesville to be “among the best road trips” sports fans can take. The top row of Klockner Stadium earns designation as the “best place to spend a spring Saturday afternoon,” (true dat) and the John Paul Jones Arena wins out as “the best college basketball arena anywhere,” no doubt making those development officers smile with pride. 

Thursday, May 31
Miller Center chews on sound bite culture

The private roads of Farmington were put to the test today, as hundreds of shiny (and expensive) vehicles flocked to the spring Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Chuck Rotgin, president of North Pointe development company Great Eastern Management, was honored as the “Small Business Person of the Year.” Delivering the address was Gerald L. Baliles, former governor and current director of UVA’s Miller Center, who exhorted the crowd to improve the educational system so that U.S. business could keep growing. But he also let slip an upcoming endeavor of the Miller Center: A series of national debates that will start in the fall, intended to bring back civility and counteract the sound bite culture.

Friday, June 1
Presidents no princes

If UVA President John T. Casteen, III is like other university presidents, his main job is to consult, consult, consult, former Casteen speechwriter Margaret G. Klosko writes of university leadership in Inside Higher Ed.

“There is something in a university that prevents Machivellian leadership,” writes Margaret G. Klosko, former speechwriter for UVA prez John T. Casteen III, in an Inside Higher Ed piece. University presidents, for various reasons, rely on consensus-building to make their decisions, Klosko writes. Virginia Tech President Charles Steger was a prime example when he met with a “Leadership Team” following April 16’s shootings. Given her former position at UVA—and the number of commissions Casteen seems to be consulting with constantly—we’re willing to bet Klosko is on the money when it comes to how things are run at our nearest university.

Saturday, June 2
Legal thrillers? Who needs ‘em?

Lawyerly dramas are out, people. John Grisham’s next novel, on the way in September, is Playing for Pizza, a fish-out-of-water tale about an American football player in Italy. Apparently it’s a funny one; we’ll see if it also earns the title bestowed on Grisham’s gazillion other books: “Page turner.”

Sunday, June 3
Foxfield’s other crowd

All breeds of fancy, well-groomed beings turned out at Foxfield as the Charlottesville Albemarle Kennel Club held its 49th annual AKC All-Breed Dog Show at the racecourse this weekend. Purebred dogs from herding to sporting to toy breeds were rated on showmanship, obedience and, we assume, other fine qualities. The show totaled about 1,000 dogs of 125 breeds. Sandy Lady, president of the CAKC, told WCAV News, “Each dog show brings about $350,000 a day into the economy of the community.”

Monday, June 4
The most wonderful time of the year

If you’re reading this paper, it’s likely that as of tomorrow, you owe the tax man some dough. June 5 is the deadline for the year’s first half of personal property and real estate taxes in both the city and county. Personal property taxes will cost you $4.20 per $100 in the city and $4.28 per $100 in the county. Don’t worry—car tax relief can knock about half the cost down. But, there remain those pesky real estate taxes—rates were contentiously set this year in the city at $.95 per $100 and $.68 per $100 in the county.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, May 22
Grisham on “Dateline NBC”

John Grisham, famous local author and recent UVA commencement speaker, appeared on “Dateline NBC” tonight to discuss his recent book, The Innocent Man. Grisham’s first nonfiction book tells the tale of Ronald Keith Williamson, former minor league baseball hopeful and resident of Ada, Oklahoma, who was wrongfully accused of murder. After 12 years in prison, Williamson was finally exonerated by DNA evidence. Grisham’s book hearkens to Virginia’s own wrongful imprisonment case—that of Earl Washington, Jr., who served more than 17 years in prison for a 1982 Culpeper murder and was recently awarded a settlement from the state.

Wednesday, May 23
City vision

Pick a day, any day this week, and the City of Charlottesville is likely having another “vision.” The week kicked off with a blood drive and health information fair, and progressed into a guided hike and bike tour of Downtown trails. Citizens could also tour the city in a bio-diesel bus or put in their 2 cents on quality housing and economic sustainability. The grand finale included outdoor performances and exhibits preceding Fridays After 5. Whew! And, speaking of vision, the city will need to envision someone else in the assistant city manager’s seat. Rochelle Small-Toney announced this week she’s leaving all this behind and moving to Savannah, Georgia, to become that city’s assistant city manager for public development.

Thursday, May 24
Going for a stroll

UVA alum Nicholas Kimbrell prepares to walk from the Rotunda to Washington, D.C., just in time for Memorial Day, in protest of the Iraq War.

Apparently inspired by John Grisham’s anti-war speech at UVA’s commencement, recent UVA grad Nicholas Kimbrell decided to take a walk—all the way from UVA’s Rotunda to Washington, D.C. He departed today, timing the approximately 115-mile hike for his arrival in the nation’s capitol on Memorial Day. Kimbrell is walking in protest of the Iraq War—a worthy endeavor for anyone with a very marketable master’s in English.

Friday, May 25
Thanks, Yanks

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger accepted $1 million from the New York Yankees at their game against the Boston Red Sox this week. The money will go to grief counseling, memorials and assistance to families of the Tech shooting.

The New York Yankees donated $1 million to Virginia Tech’s Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, and said they will play an exhibition game on or near Tech’s campus next year, to benefit the university, Reuters reports. Money from the fund is intended to aid the healing process after last month’s shooting incident that killed 32. Virginia Tech president Charles Steger accepted the donation at Yankee Stadium and threw the first pitch at this week’s game against the Boston Red Sox. Steger has also been a popular guy with UVA alumni, who recently recommended Steger to Arts & Sciences Dean Ed Ayers as a potential commencement speaker for next year.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, May 15
TEC hittin’ the beach

Need more proof that defense contracting is big local business? The Naval Facilities Engineering Command at Pearl Harbor has awarded a $30 million defense contract to TEC Inc. Joint Venture, based in Charlottesville, MSN Money reports. The contract is for “environmental planning to support strategic initiatives” in Guam, Hawaii, Saipan and other locations at the Naval Facilities’ Pacific station. Looks like surf’s up, if they ever get any free time, that is.

An innocent woman?

Grisham’s name was in the news more than once this week. In addition to being UVA’s graduation speaker, the woman who’s suing him in a spat over anonymous letters just added a reward to help her case.

Katherine Almy, the local woman who’s suing author John Grisham and two others over anonymous letters that, she claims, were falsely attributed to her, is now offering $10,000 to anyone who can lead her to the letter’s true authors, Business Wire reports. St. Anne’s Belfield parents Donna and Alan Swanson, starting in 1996, received letters making unseemly accusations about them. Grisham, also a STAB parent, received his own nasty letter in 1998. The trio, believing Almy penned the letters, took action that Almy is alleging in the Virginia Supreme Court to be “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.” Almy has hired lawyers and FBI investigators, and even has her own website, www.theinnocent woman.com, named in reference to Grisham’s nonfiction book, An Innocent Man.

Wednesday, May 16
Violence down

UVA psychologist Dewey Cornell testified before a House Education and Labor Committee meeting that, despite the recent shooting at Virginia Tech, campus violence is on the decline, thanks to UVA’s Virginia Youth Violence Project “threat assessment” programs, which were implemented in schools in a dozen states after the 1999 Columbine High School attack. According to the Virginian-Pilot, the preventative programs teach administrators how to recognize students prone to violence, Cornell told the Senate committee, at a hearing on “best practices.” Lawmakers have been brushing up on how to curb campus violence since Seung-Hui Cho gunned down 32 people at Virginia Tech in April.

Thursday, May 17
Caps off for pro bono pro

Former IRS Commissioner and UVA law professor Mortimer M. Caplin, Esq. accepted an award for pro bono work today at the University of Richmond’s school of law. The Virginia State Bar’s Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Award was accepted at the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center at the UVA Law School on behalf of UVA law students, who have performed thousands of hours of pro bono work. Caplin served as IRS commissioner during the Kennedy Administration, and taught both Robert and Ted Kennedy while a professor at UVA Law.

Friday, May 18
A visit from Flicker

Hangin’ with Flicker: The city’s newest mascot visited C-VILLE staffer Meg McEvoy, bringing his mission of cheerily educating citizens about gas safety.

Boy, did we feel special when we were paid a visit by the city’s newest personality today. The city held a gas mascot contest last month, awarding a “Downtown Mall Family Package” to the citizen with the best name for the cheerful little blue flame. Now Flicker will tackle the task of educating citizens about gas safety. Getting the message out about gas won’t be easy, though. When we took a stroll down the Mall with the costumed blue flame, one guy remarked: “I hope this means the price of gas is going down!” Good luck informing the masses, Flicker!

Saturday, May 19
Free stuff!

Shuffle around: People snatch-and-grab other people’s furniture at the sofa shuffle, meant to distribute students’ possessions among the citizenry during the big move-out weekend.

To benefit possibly furniture-less community members—and avoid the annoying sidewalk pilings that occur when UVA students move out of town en masse—the city cooperated with the Salvation Army, UVA and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? for a “Sofa Shuffle” today at Management Services Corporation’s clubhouse on Madison Avenue. Unclaimed items went to The Salvation Army Thrift Store or were hauled away. Folks also donated canned goods to the Emergency Food Bank. Now doesn’t that feel good?

Sunday, May 20
Another round of Wahoos

Nearly 35,000 spectators funneled onto Jefferson’s Lawn to watch UVA’s graduates make the traditional procession from the Rotunda to Old Cabell Hall. After the usual observances and a moment of silence for those who died at Virginia Tech, author John Grisham delivered an unscripted keynote address. He outlined three lessons for the Class of 2007: Avoid planning out life; be wary of war-hungry politicians; and help save the environment. Noting the statistical probability that 42 of the assembled 6,000 graduates would one day be commencement speakers themselves, Grisham urged them to “go forth, and start working on your own speeches.”

Monday, May 21
Keep on rollin’

At last, the volunteers of Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville/Albemarle get a meal of their own. The organization held its volunteer appreciation luncheon at the Omni Hotel today, honoring the 30th anniversary of the group, which delivers hot meals five days a week to needy residents. “In many cases the Meals on Wheels volunteer is the only person the meal recipient sees that day,” says Mandy Hoy, executive director. Mayor David Brown spoke at the luncheon. Meals on Wheels is funded completely through private, local donations.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday, May 8
Martha Jefferson overachieves

Martha Jefferson Hospital is issuing $51.1 million in new bonds from Albemarle County’s Industrial Development Authority, and the folks at Fitch Ratings have given those bonds an A+. Proceeds from the bonds will be used to advance MJH’s 2002 bonds as well as fund a debt service reserve fund. The gold star rating results, in part, from the hospital’s “excellent liquidity and strong profitabilty” as well as its “favorable service area,” reports Business Wire. Translation: Charlotteville is a cash cow of sick people and newborn babies.

Got milk and then some

A milk truck turnover on Route 250 near Afton Mountain, which caused 5,000 gallons of the white stuff to spew into Stockton Creek today, could have been a great photo op for the Got Milk? ad campaign: lots of little fishies with milk mustaches. Except, fish don’t like milk. In fact it’s really bad for them. NBC29 News reports that Department of Environmental Quality and hazmat crews had to be called in to combat damage to the ecosystem from the spill. The driver of the truck, Dwayne K. Kahle, 41, has been charged with reckless driving in the incident, reports The Daily Progress.

Wednesday, May 9
A few for freedom

In these trying times, which local employers are most supportive of National Guardsmen and reservists? The enlistees themselves nominated Virginia employers to receive the 2007 Freedom Award from the Department of Defense. Given their aptitude for all things governmental, it may come as no surprise that Albemarle County Police Department made the list, and the Albemarle County Department of Human Resources did, too. Other cooperative businesses include Dominion Virginia Power, Northrup Grumman in Falls Church, McLean and Newport News (but not the Charlottesville branch), and Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.

Thursday, May 10
Hey, leave them guns alone!

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell has issued a warning to New York authorities, telling them not to engage in sting operations in Virginia gun stores, The Washington Post reports. A Virginia law goes into effect in July that means New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his buddies could be charged with a felony if they target Virginia gun dealers, McDonnell warned. The new law requires that Virginia or federal investigators be present at undercover stings. New York authorities have filed lawsuits against six gun dealers in Virginia for selling guns that get used in New York crimes. The Post later quoted Bloomberg saying McDonnell is defending “rogue gun dealers.”

Friday, May 11
Graduation honors victims

Virginia Tech held commencement ceremonies today, graduating a class of more than 3,600 seniors. The university also issued diplomas and class rings to the families of the 27 students killed April 16, even those whose kids were not seniors. Last month, Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year-old senior, went on a shooting rampage that also killed five instructors. The keynote speaker was Gen. John Abizaid, who oversaw Operation Iraqi Freedom. WTOP news radio in Washington, D.C. reports the ceremonies were “a little bit more somber than celebratory.”

Saturday, May 12
Party down, with Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day tomorrow, we imagine, the city hosts “an enchanted evening of dancing and refreshments” at a Mother Son Prom at the Herman Key Recreation Center on Market Street. The event invited moms and “little prince charmings” to dance the night away. While there’s nothing cuter than 7-year-olds in tuxes, we’re betting many of the high school set skipped out on this one.

Sunday, May 13
ATO update

ATO Pictures, the local creation of Coran Capshaw, Chris Tetzeli, Michael Macdonald, Johnathan Dorfman, Temple Fennell and Dave Matthews, got its first major deal earlier this year when Fox Searchlight pictures agreed to distribute the movie Joshua. Now, one of the film’s stars, indie favorite Vera Farmiga, has a very sexy and informative spread in Esquire (former farm girl explains how to milk a goat). And, at least one movie in the upcoming Cannes Film Festival has ATO’s prints all over it, too. Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore and Stephen Dillane, was produced in association with ATO. It’s about the true story of Barbara Daly (Moore), who marries into fortune where the “seeds for a tragedy of spectacular decadence are sown.” All this from a company whose film development office is just above Five Guys Downtown.

Monday, May 14
Planned Parenthood more powerful

Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge announces that, as of June 30, it will merge with Raleigh, North Carolina-based Planned Parenthood Health Systems to become the first regional affiliate in the southern United States. The new merger will encompass four states and cover a population of more than 12 million. Planned Parenthood says mergers allow them to operate more efficiently. Given the recent blows to Roe v. Wade, it also makes sense that Planned Parenthood would want to bolster itself politically in the tough-on-reproductive-rights South.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, May 1
The ranks of the ultra-rich

Sure, there’s a lot of money in town, and Charlottesville-based Silvercrest, started five years ago by G. Moffett Cochran, is one of the companies that’s drawing it in. Called “one of the most highly regarded wealth management firms focused on ultra-high net worth clients,” Silvercrest manages more than $8 billion in assets for clients whose net worth averages $30 million. And this week, they got a new friend—not Bill Gates, not Steve Jobs, but the other Microsoft guy, Paul Allen, who has invested an undisclosed minority share in Silvercrest. Allen, with a net worth of $16 billion, is currently ranked fifth on the Forbes list of the 400 Richest Americans.

Wednesday, May 2
Anyone else think that was stupid?

John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, wags his finger at the ridiculousness that followed an incident with a couple of dumb UVA students and a broken BB gun.

Leave it to civil liberties advocate and constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead (also the dad of C-VILLE senior contributor Jayson Whitehead) to say what we’ve been thinking about the recent UVA BB gun incident. Dozens of police officers with drawn weapons turned up on Grounds after reports of a gunman on April 23. The threat turned out to be Japanese-language students filming a class project featuring a broken BB gun. Four students were arrested and were charged with brandishing a firearm, and their bond was set at a very dear $10,000 each. Whitehead writes: “We find ourselves in the absurd position of innocent people’s lives being destroyed simply for lack of a more sensible approach.”

Thursday, May 3
The Queen is back

Charmed, we’re sure. Her Majesty the Queen of England stopped off in Richmond on Thursday, addressing the General Assembly before moving on to the real action at the 133rd Kentucky Derby.

Her Majesty, the Queen of England, passed through Richmond today for the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement. The office of the Governor sent out several preparatory releases, informing us Colonials how to properly address the Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh (who goes by “His Royal Highness.”) Speaking to the General Assembly, the Queen expressed approval at how far Virginia has advanced beyond segregation since her visit here in 1957. All we can say is, it would have sounded better coming from Helen Mirren.

Friday, May 4
A healthy lifestyle resort?

Just what we needed—another hotel! But this one is different. The Lexington Collection, a hotel group, announces the construction of a “healthy lifestyle resort” to be located on 10 acres near Laurel Ridge Golf Course in Fluvanna. The 64-suite resort will include a full-service spa, four-star restaurant, fitness center, tennis courts and “two unique schools—one in the visual arts and the other in the healthy lifestyle nutrition teachings.” Actually, what this means is hotel guests can take art classes or nutrition classes at the hotel—just what every busy traveler wants. The company estimates a late 2008 opening, with 24 more suites to be added later.

Saturday, May 5
Cinco de Stewart

Has he told you lately that he loves you? A mostly middle-aged crowd packed the JPJ Arena for a two-hour performance by 62-year-old pop legend Rod Stewart.

Perhaps in honor of Cinco de Mayo, Rod Stewart, the aging-but-still-strangely-desirable pop star shook his money maker at the JPJ Arena—and we do mean money maker. Though local music fans had clamored to have Stewart perform at the Paramount, his artists’ fees are far too expensive for the Downtown venue. It’s been rumored it costs around $750,000 to get Stewart to come sing “Maggie May” and other favorites.

Sunday, May 6
A Tinsley tennis champ

Twenty-two-year-old Romanian Edina Gallovits won the 2007 Boyd Tinsley $50,000 U.S. Tennis Association Championship today at Boar’s Head Sports Club, defeating the unseeded Angelika Bachmann. After her 6-3, 6-3 win in straight sets, Gallovits will likely find herself ranked in the top 100 of women’s tennis. The tournament, sponsored by Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley, brings professional female tennis players who hope to qualify for events like the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the French Open.

Monday, May 7
Death over the weekend

A 21-year-old male died over the weekend after he fell three stories from a building on Carrollton Terrace, The Daily Progress reports. City police had not released the man’s name as of press time since the family had not been notified. The incident occurred around 1:30am Sunday morning in the heavily student-populated residential district off Jefferson Park Avenue. No information was available as of press time about whether the deceased was a student or if alcohol was a factor in the incident, but police do not suspect foul play.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, April 24
So long Singletary?

Cavalier men’s basketball standout Sean Singletary has announced he’ll declare for the NBA Draft but is keeping his options open and may return for a senior year at Virginia.

UVA junior guard Sean Singletary announced he will declare for the NBA Draft, but has not hired an agent, the Associated Press reports. That leaves him eligible to return for his senior year with the Cavaliers if things don’t work out. Though he suggested all season that he would see through his college career, the 6’ all-ACC player is now considering his options. This season, Singletary averaged 19 points, 4.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds.

Wednesday, April 25
Local musicians dissed by Kaine, Queen

The Queen of England will enjoy a serenade from Virginian musicians during her visit to Richmond, but Charlottesville suffers a serious snub: The lineup doesn’t include anyone who regularly haunts the Gravity Lounge.

Just when you think it’s safe to call yourself a music town, the Queen of England arrives to let you know you’re not all that. Governor Kaine has planned a “Royal Welcome” for May 3 at Capitol Square in Richmond, complete with an all-Virginian lineup of musical acts fit for Her Royal Highness. Yet, none of the performers hail from Charlottesville. Our local acts lost out to such bands as Richmond’s Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir.

Thursday, April 26
Was it something we said?

Following the publication of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Free Expression’s annual Muzzle Awards, the Department of Defense ended a program for which it was criticized, er…awarded this year. The TALON program, which stands for Threat and Local Observation Notice system, was a Pentagon-run operation that monitored anti-war protests, gathering data about students, Quaker groups and other dissenters. The DOD released a statement saying the program wasn’t useful, “particularly in light of its image in Congress and the media.”

Friday, April 27

We love it when the national media reveals what we already know about our area—it’s damn expensive to live here. In a survey of $1 million homes on CNBC’s “Million Dollar Homes Buyer’s Guide,” one of Charlottesville’s approximately 30 $1 million homes is featured. What do you get for the money? Four bedrooms, four baths, 10 acres, an unfinished basement and “a kitchen that may seem small to some.” “The price reflects a market that…is not offering any bargains,” the network reports.

Saturday, April 28
The most wonderful time of the year

The Daily Progress reports on one of the year’s most festive and beer-drenched activities—the Foxfield races. Twenty-three thousand people, many of them UVA students, flooded the site with traditional prints and locked up traffic on Barracks Road. Albemarle police were prepared with video monitors so magistrate judges could process arrestees, most of them taken in for being drunk in public or drinking underage. This year about 80 people were carted off to the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, about 40 fewer than last year. Emergency medical personnel were also as omnipresent as madras—they treated about 80 people on-site and 12 were sent to the hospital. The weather could not have been more perfect for a day of fraternizing—a high of 76 with nary a cloud in the sky.

Sunday, April 29
Cyclists roll through town

Colombian Javier Zapata won the Tour of Virginia, the bicycle race which rolled through Charlottesville for the first time this year. The 36-year-old finished one minute and four seconds ahead of the runner-up. The race ended near the Downtown Mall—Zapata accepted his award in front of a crowd on Market Street, and dedicated his victory to the Virginia Tech victims. Of 176 riders, only 83 completed the 477-mile race.

Monday, April 30
Kids in grown-up prison

Andy Block, legal director of JustChildren, is making sure the state treats kids like kids—even when they’re juvenile offenders.

What happens to juveniles who get transferred to the adult prison system? Apparently, the number of kids who end up in prisons is on the rise. And, due to tough-on-juvenile-crime policies, some of them stay there a long time. One inmate in the Virginia Department of Corrections was sentenced as a juvenile and is now 62 years old.  Andy Block, legal director of JustChildren, a program of the Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center, is quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Block says we need better data on why kids are transferred and what happens to them within the adult justice system.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, April 17
The day after the massacre

Less than 24 hours after the mass slaughter of 32 students and instructors at Virginia Tech university in Blacksburg, more details surface about Seung-hui Cho, the 23-year-old man who went on a rampage in two separate shooting incidents before killing himself. He used a .22 caliber Walther and a Glock 9mm, CNN reports. The Smoking Gun.com publishes a violent play written by Cho that caused him to be removed from class. Officials do not release the names of victims, but The Washington Post begins profiling the dead.

Students mourn together outside Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus. Cho ravaged four classrooms with two handguns; he reportedly never spoke and shot each victim at least three times.

Hoos mourn Hokies

A vigil brings a candle-bearing crowd to UVA’s amphitheater. President John T. Casteen, III addresses concerns about safety on campus. Beta Bridge is painted in Virginia Tech colors, and UVA students post thousands of messages and pictures on Facebook.com and other social networking sites to show their support.

Wednesday, April 18
When students snap

Dr. Russ Federman, UVA’s director of counseling and psychological services, speaks to NPR about how campuses can deal with mentally ill students, after reports that Cho was referred to counseling and hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation in 2005.

Shooter speaks

Seung-hui Cho, the gunman who killed 32 before committing suicide at Virginia Tech, was “quiet and reserved,” said his sister. “We never could have envisioned that he was capable of so much violence.”

NBC News coins a new phrase: multimedia manifesto. That’s what it calls the package of photos, video clips and printed materials the network receives from the Virginia Tech gunman today. The gunman mailed the materials in between the first and second shootings. In them he rails against the wealthy and calls Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold “martyrs.”

The lessons of Columbine

Columbine survivor Brooks Brown tells NPR the best advice he received for overcoming that tragedy: “This has never happened to anyone before. So however you handle it is probably right.”

Thursday, April 19
Facebook chastises media

As students’ use of the Web for memorializing victims gets wide press, a spokesperson for social networking site Facebook.com issues a statement saying the media’s use of photos and quotes taken from the site is a “violation of user privacy.” The company also scolds journalists for using its site to solicit comments from friends of the victims.

Gun laws and mental illness

The media frenzy continues today over whether Cho’s purchase of weapons used in the shootings was legal in light of his having been involuntarily detained for mental illness in December 2005. Newsweek says a federal background check should have “stopped him cold,” but Donna Tate, manager of the Firearms Transaction Center of the Virginia State Police, says the temporary detainment did not create a barrier to Cho’s purchases under state gun laws.

Friday, April 20
Day of mourning

As declared by Governor Tim Kaine, today is a statewide day of mourning in Virginia. Meanwhile, UVA declares today “Orange and Maroon Day” after Virginia Tech’s school colors.

Day of remembering

Local artists integrate the tragedy into a mural on the free speech wall at the Downtown Mall’s east end. Friday marked the wall’s first anniversary as well as the eighth anniversary of the Columbine massacre

Today marks a couple of anniversaries: It’s been eight years since the Columbine school shooting that killed 12. And it’s one year since Charlottesville’s free speech monument was dedicated at the east end of the Downtown Mall. That milestone is marked by special chalk drawings by local artists like Greg Kelley and Pete O’Shea, the monument’s designer. The latter inserted the Tech flag into his reproduction of Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People,” saying, “It’s an opportunity to show solidarity.”

Saturday, April 21
The family speaks

An apology from Cho’s family is posted on CNN.com. Cho’s sister, Sun-Kyung, said, “My brother was quiet and reserved, yet struggled to fit in. We never could have envisioned that he was capable of so much violence.” The family emigrated from South Korea in 1992. Relatives from Seoul speak in a Sunday New York Times piece: Cho “didn’t say much, didn’t mix with other children,” an uncle said.

Sunday, April 22
Radical reactions

Newt Gingrich blames the Virginia Tech shooting on violent videogames and “liberalism” in an appearance on ABC News “This Week,” echoing sentiments he made after Columbine: “I want to say to the elite of this country—the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you…of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made.” Earlier this week, members of Fred Phelps’ radical Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas vowed they would protest victims’ funerals with “God Hates Virginia Tech” signs.

Monday, April 23
Back to class

Classes resume at Virginia Tech today, a week after the shooting that left 27 students and five instructors dead. Students have the option to return to class, or take a grade for course work turned in so far. The school holds a moment of silence at 9:45am and 32 white balloons are released into the sky.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, April 10
Memorial garden dedicated

City officials held a ceremony in Jackson Park today to officially open the Linda Peacock Memorial Garden. Peacock had worked with the city since 1976, most recently as assistant city manager; she died of cancer last June. Peacock was a big fan of the city parks and city market. Employees raised $7,000 in private donations for the garden.

Wednesday, April 11
Mark Warner pays a visit

The former Virginia governor spoke to a few hundred students at Larry Sabato’s undergraduate political science class today. Warner, who passed up a presidential run in 2008, says he’s not through with politics but can’t say on which office he’ll set his cap. Warner wasn’t the only political celeb to visit Sabato’s class this week. Virginia Senator Jim Webb spoke to the same group of students Monday on pulling out of Iraq and economic stratification in the United States.

Thursday, April 12
Chunk change to Columbia

John W. Kluge, the local Forbes 400 billionaire and media mogul, gave $400 million to Columbia for financial aid programs.

Columbia University announces a $400 million gift from alumnus and former Albemarle resident John W. Kluge. Kluge’s gift will go solely to financial aid at the private university. The Kluge Scholars program has provided scholarships to about 500 disadvantaged students so far. Columbia announced its $4 billion capital campaign last year, shortly after UVA rolled out its $3 billion goal. Kluge’s is the fourth largest single gift to an institution of higher education. He has given more than $45 million in real estate to UVA, including the 749-acre Morven Farm.

Friday, April 13
Happy B-day, TJ!

One more reason why it’s so sweet to live in Charlottesville. If you’re a city employee, you had all day to eat birthday cake and ponder self-evident truths, since City Hall was closed today for Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday. UVA also treated the day most advantageously—alumni from across the schools received e-mails urging them to give back to their alma mater on this holiest of anniversaries.

Saturday, April 14
Virginia falls to Duke

Virginia men’s lacrosse lost to Duke, which is back in the game following the announcement this week that charges had been dropped against three players accused of rape. Duke beat Virginia 7-6 in overtime.

The Virginia men’s lacrosse team lost to Duke in overtime today in Durham, North Carolina. This was the Cavs first time taking on the Blue Devils since Duke’s season was cancelled last year due to a rape scandal involving three players. Earlier this week, prosecutors dropped all charges against the men. Duke’s coach John Danowski told Inside Lacrosse that his team would try to stay focused on beating Virginia, the defending national champs, despite the circus in Durham. “It’s no big deal,” Danowski said. “We just know our guys will do a great job handling it.” Duke beat Virginia 7-6, taking top seed in the ACC rankings, leaving Virginia in third place.

Sunday, April 15
Like mother, like daughter

Sahar Adish and her mother, Kamela, are featured in Real Simple magazine. The Afghani refugees have made quite a mark on the local community.

Sahar Adish and her mother, Kamela Adish, fled Afghanistan in 1998 with the rest of their family and settled in Charlottesville. Their extraordinary story is featured on the pages of Real Simple magazine this month—it’s part of a feature about women “beating the odds.” Kamela is a former teacher, run out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for teaching girls in her home. She is now on the housekeeping staff at UVA. Sahar, a pre-med student at UVA, recently won a Peabody Award from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, for a documentary film she and fellow filmmakers made through Light House, a local teen media-education program. The film aired on CNN International last year.

Monday, April 16
Shooting at Virginia Tech

Officials at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg report 22 people are dead after a gunman opened fire at a dormitory and, two hours later, a classroom at the opposite end of Tech’s 2,600-acre campus. The Associated Press reported that more than a dozen other students were being treated for gun shot wounds, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Students in dorms and classrooms were put on lock-down while police swept the campus to see if the gunman had acted alone. Students on the scene reported “mayhem,” with some students jumping out of dorm windows. The name of the suspect had not been printed at press time, but CNN reported the shooter is also dead.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, April 3
The great frat heist

A gaggle of UVA fraternity pledges ripped a “Farmer Hokie” bird from in front of the Blacksburg Municipal Building, essentially destroying it, Blacksburg officials said. The Hokie bird statues were part of a city project that is, apparently, a hot target for college students of all stripes, including several Virginia Tech students who were brought up on charges in another incident. The UVA kids returned the bird and offered to pay $10,000 for the damages.

Wednesday, April 4
SNL beefs up

Jessica Nagle co-founded local company SNL Financial, which recently acquired Kagan Research, a media-analysis firm, and began its own Media & Communications division.

Local firm SNL Financial, which provides investment banks, money managers and corporations with business info and employs hundreds at its Downtown facility, has acquired Kagan Research, a media research and analysis firm for an undisclosed amount, according to Digital Media Wire. The acquisition coincides with SNL’s launch of its Media & Communications group, which will cover more than 260 companies.

Thursday, April 5
Military lawyers closer to combat

Army lawyers like those at Charlottesville’s JAG (Judge Advocate General) school are getting a bigger piece of the military action in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a “Morning Edition” report on National Public Radio. Not only are the military lawyers responsible for investigating situations that go wrong—Abu Ghraib, anyone?—they’re also expected to make split-second, culturally appropriate decisions in combat and give legal advice in the field. Butch Tate, who runs the Army JAG school, says their motto is “soldiers first, lawyers always.” Last year applications were up—the JAG school accepts 150 lawyers per year, but received applications from five times that many.

Friday, April 6
BOV gets new members

UVA has more independence from the state, thanks to restructuring, but Governor Tim Kaine still gets to appoint the Board of Visitors. The Daily Progress reports that three of the four appointees have served on the BOV before: L.F. Payne, Susan Y. Dorsey and John O. Wynne. The newbie is Austin Ligon, retired CEO of Carmax, Inc., a company worth over $7 billion.

Goode work

Jeff Winder, Iraq War protester, is arrested outside 5th district Representative Virgil Goode’s office on First Street SW. Winder and 10 others were charged with trespassing and received legal slaps on the wrist.

Eleven Iraq War protesters were found guilty in Charlottesville General District Court for occupying 5th District Congressman Virgil Goode’s office off the Downtown Mall. Before their court appearance, the protesters delivered their own indictment to Goode for his endorsement of the war, which they say violates international laws. Each received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay court costs of $76, payable through community service.

Saturday, April 7
Chilly opening for City Market

Summer, squashed? An uncommonly cold opening for the Charlottesville City Market didn’t keep customers or sellers away.

A summer tradition in Charlottesville opened with snow flurries and a nip in the air, as eager City Market shoppers were forced to shiver among the squash. Temperatures dropped suddenly, leaving a dusting of snow over the lot on Water Street. Commerce marched on, however, as most vendors still turned up to sell their locally grown veggies.

The Lawn, eschewed

UVA lost out to the University of Maryland-College Park as the ideal campus filming spot for National Treasure: Book of Secrets, The Washington Post reports in Style. Though not seeing Nicholas Cage or Jon Voight around town is no great loss, we will sorely miss Helen Mirren—the British actress also stars in the sequel. Filming begins today at Maryland’s McKeldin Mall, which is slightly larger than UVA’s Lawn.

Sunday, April 8
Hatfields, McCoys, explained

The legendary Hatfield-McCoy feud, which dates back to the Civil War, may be explained through genetics, according to the Associated Press. One Charlottesville researcher is credited with studying a condition that makes people more aggressive and combative. Dr. Nuzhet Atuk at the University of Virginia and geneticists at the University of Pennsylvania studied the McCoy family for over 30 years. The condition is characterized by irregularities of the adrenal gland, which floods adrenaline into the bloodstream, causing tumors and aggressive behavior. The Hatfield-McCoy feud raged in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia and left at least a dozen people dead. The families signed a truce in 2003.

Monday, April 9
Cheers from Coors

Sure, Charlottesville’s got fancy micro-brews all over town, but why not celebrate good old-fashioned corporate brews once in a while, especially where a major advertiser is involved? Congratulations to Blue Ridge Beverage Company for its Presidents’ Award from Coors Brewing Company, announced today. The award recognizes “quality assurance” and “commitment to growth.”

They were the champions

It’s back to school for the Charlottesville High School Orchestra, which returned from their London trip over the weekend with gold medals and high praise for their early-morning performance at the Royal Academy of Music.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, March 27
Taking back Washington

A staffer for freshman Virginia senator, fightin’ Jim Webb, was arrested yesterday for attempting to carry a loaded pistol and two loaded magazines into a congressional office building, The Washington Post reports. The aide, Phillip Thompson, is a lawyer, a former Marine and a longtime friend of Webb. Thompson said Webb gave him the gun when he took him to the airport earlier on Monday; Webb later would not comment on whether the gun belonged to him and said he had no knowledge of the incident. It wasn’t a total misfire, though—the famously gun-loving Webb took the opportunity to speak publicly about his support for the Second Amendment.

Wednesday, March 28
Grisham snags Brit award

John Grisham took home a Galaxy British Book Awards Lifetime Achievement honor. Glad to hear they adore him across the pond, too.

John Grisham, known around the world as the best-selling-est author of the 1990s, and known more fondly in Charlottesville as that well-dressed philanthropist occasionally seen on the Downtown Mall, has pulled in his first major literary award, Britain’s METRO reports. Galaxy British Book Awards gave Grisham a lifetime achievement award. He’s one of only two authors to sell over two million copies on a first printing (The Pelican Brief sold 11 million).

Thursday, March 29
Putting us on the map for electronics

If he can’t do it, no one can! Local electronics giant Bill Crutchfield was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association’s Hall of Fame among corporate giants from Microsoft and Bose.

Local electronics titan Bill Crutchfield this week garnered accolades from the Consumer Electronics Association at their conference in Washington, D.C. He is among 11 people to be inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame this year, including folks like Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, the German team who developed the MP3, Richard Schulze, founder and chairman of Best Buy and Amar Bose, founder and chairman of Bose Corp. Charlottesville suddenly seems like the ideal place to buy a home theater system.

Friday, March 30
Bon Voyage, CHS Orchestra!

The Charlottesville High School Orchestra departs tomorrow morning for London, England, where they’ll play in the Heritage Festival at the Royal Academy of Music. Totaling 117, the group of violinists, violists, cellists and bassists raised $320,000 for the trip through car washes, performances, poinsetta sales and good old-fashioned grant writing. The group got an accolade from Governor Tim Kaine, as they’ll be representing Virginia in the music festival. The group held a Bon Voyage concert at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center tonight.

Geography buzz

Local students competed in the state-level geographic bee at Old Dominion University in Norfolk today for a chance to travel to Washington, D.C. for the National Geographic bee finals, hosted by "Jeopardy!" star Alex Trebek. Charlottesville had seven students in fourth through eighth grades from public and private schools who made the state cut. National winners can get up to $25,000 in college scholarships. From those of us who have trouble finding Pennsylvania on a map, congratulations!

Saturday, March 31
Local woman fights MS

Robin Maxwell, 38, was diagnosed in January with Multiple Sclerosis. Since then, the former triathlete has poured herself into raising money for her cause. Today, she came in fifth place in a sixdegrees.org contest, sponsored by Kevin Bacon and the Network for Good. The contest lets people “become a celebrity” for their cause, and awards an additional $10,000 to the most successful fundraisers nationwide. Maxwell raised $17,530 for MS. She has also started her own clothing line, Perfect Health, and led the top money team at this weekend’s MS walk.

Sunday, April 1
A tale of two fires

The Daily Progress reports two unrelated fires: one at Jefferson Heights senior housing complex and another at Wintergreen Resort. A blaze broke out in the attic of Jefferson Heights, a retirement community on Pantops. Several residents had to be carried out because they are wheelchair-bound. Emergency officials are trying to find temporary housing for some of the residents. The Wintergreen fire damaged a cafeteria and meeting space in one building, possibly due to a faulty air handler. No one was hurt in either blaze.

Monday, April 2
Big legal news

So much for retirement: local attorney Debbie Wyatt’s case on behalf of a fired UVA employee made the pages of the Chronicle of Higher Education today. Apparently a wealthy university potentially cramping free speech is the kind of thing people like to read about.

Need more proof that the Dena Bowers case has implications for all of higher ed? The Chronicle of Higher Education covers the latest legal developments today, in a piece written by former C-VILLE staffer Paul Fain. Bowers, a former HR recruiter at UVA, claims she was wrongfully fired for sending an e-mail that was critical of the University’s chartered restructuring. Though the “UVA Free-Speech case” had its First Amendment claims dismissed, Bowers’ attorney has said they will appeal.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, March 20
Who’s flying the friendly skies?

Our local airport, how do we love thee? The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport reports 95 percent customer satisfaction—not bad for an industry that’s otherwise reporting widespread travel misery.

Apparently, lots of happy people are using the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport. Or, at least, there were 771 satisfied people during a four-week period in September 2006. The airport’s customer satisfaction survey, conducted by the UVA Center for Survey research, reported a 95 percent approval rating. More than half of people who use the airport live outside Central Virginia: 54.5 percent. Locals comprise 35.9 percent.

An afternoon of adventure

Isn’t business interesting? The president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, Ron Meyer, gave a talk today at UVA’s Darden School of Business as part of Darden’s 50th Anniversary Speaker Series. He oversees Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Universal Television, USA Network, the SCI FI Channel, and Universal Theme Parks and Resorts. Meyer has been prez for 11 years, and was ranked No. 9 in Premiere magazine’s 2006 “Power 50” in Hollywood. Ooh, can we touch him?

Wednesday, March 21
Spring is here for Cavalier football

We can’t wait to get more of this guy! Al Groh’s Cavalier football team began their spring practice to the sound of birds chirping and shoulder pads colliding.

UVA football begins their spring training with a full lineup for the season. Unlike last year, no players are on academic leave, though a few, including quarterback Jameel Sewell, are recovering from injuries. Last season was Groh’s sixth at Virginia, his alma mater, when he took the Cavaliers to 5-7. This season promises to be significantly better, Jeff White of the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes hopefully.

Thursday, March 22
Look out for the Cadillacs

About 420,000 people move across state lines to retire each year, Retirement Migration in America estimates. Chosen destination? Monticello! Charlottesville has again been named the “Best Place to Retire,” beating out towns in 34 states, in the fourth edition of America’s 100 Best Places to Retire, produced by Where to Retire magazine. An entire mag specifically devoted to where to relocate for retirement? That’s potentially a lot of folks ready to tee off on our patch of the Blue Ridge.

Friday, March 23
Wanted: a breath of fresh air

The Fresh Air fund, which gives free summer vacations to kids from New York City’s “toughest neighborhoods,” announces they’re looking for spots in Charlottesville. Hosting a nature-deprived child just may win you some famous friends: the organization’s board of directors includes former UVA footballer Tiki Barber, singer Mariah Carey and The New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. among other fab philanthropists.

Saturday, March 24
Little development that could

A new generation of home buyers is seeking smaller houses with more amenities, the Staunton News Leader’s Home Front section reports. At mention is Old Trail, a planned 250-acre New Urbanist community in Crozet which features sidewalks and walking trails. “It’s the kind of layout more buyers say they want to see, instead of commercial drags like Charlottesville’s U.S. 29 North.” While this is old news to us, the concept of clustered mixed use is a new one for Augusta County, which is apparently looking to Albemarle for what (and what not) to do.

Sunday, March 25
Jamaican ’em ski

With adequate labor ever a problem for local ski resort Wintergreen, this season they found a unique solution. Thirty-five Jamaicans were flown in on work visas to staff the 11,000-acre enclave and, apparently, freeze their asses off. The Associated Press reports that many of the Jamaican workers didn’t think to bring winter coats. As resort seasons lengthen, ski locations like Wintergreen can no longer fill their staffing needs with students on breaks. To get the specific work permits, only 66,000 of which are issued, Wintergreen had to show they’ve tried and failed to hire U.S. workers. Now, the Jamaicans are an important part of the fabric at Wintergreen, which employs between 500 and 700 workers a year and has spent $50 million on expansion over the past decade.

Monday, March 26
Going for a ride

It’s here! The Downtown Transit Center opened on March 26 with free bus rides for all.

In case you’ve been under a rock, or simply haven’t tried to traverse the mess that is Water Street south of the Downtown Mall, the new city bus transit center opens today. In celebration of the new central hub, all bus rides are free today, yippee! While the new, glass-clad building sure looks spiffy, watch out for completely confusing changes to the bus routes.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, March 13
Catchy name for public info campaign

Apparently everyone except our state legislative body thinks predatory lending is a big issue. Though a measure to ban payday loans in Virginia was defeated in the General Assembly, a group headed by the Charlottesville-based Piedmont Housing Alliance and Freddie Mac today kicked off the “Don’t Borrow Trouble” campaign. They aim to educate people about the evils of 780 percent interest rates and will specifically help homeowners in Albemarle and surrounding counties.

Wednesday, March 14
Equine fears, calmed

Horse people in Albemarle County can resume life as usual now that a threat of equine herpes has been quelled. Sales and auctions of all horses were halted the first weekend in March and 10 farms in Loudoun and surrounding counties were quarantined. State veterinarian Richard Wilkes announced the all-clear via a press release, congratulating horse owners for their help containing the virus. No cases of equine herpes were reported in Albemarle County. The equine industry in Virginia is worth around $1 billion.

Thursday, March 15
Churches tackle affordable housing

Here’s to thinking it through: When pressed by religious leaders, County Supervisor Ken Boyd said the supes would study affordable housing issues.

Dozens milled around in the lobby outside the packed Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center at Charlottesville High School tonight. IMPACT, a group of local church congregations, filled the 1,300-seat auditorium while Charlottesville’s City Council and the county Board of Supervisors lent their ears on affordable housing and transportation. IMPACT leaders lauded expanded bus routes and pushed for a city-county task force on affordable housing, The Daily Progress reports. Elected officials were asked to give “yes” or “no” answers to IMPACT’s goals—cautious points go to county supervisor Ken Boyd, who reportedly gave “must study” responses.

Friday, March 16
Higher ed accidents

Maintenance workers, the people who keep the college machine running, face greater dangers these days than in the 1980s, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Serious campus accidents have risen about 40 percent, while enforcement of occupational safety rules has declined. A study found the median fine for violations is $1,100, a slap on the wrist compared to huge university budgets. UVA’s director of environmental health and safety Ralph O. Allen says colleges have some work to do. The most common campus accidents were workers falling or being struck by objects—at least 29 people have died at colleges since 1996.

Saturday, March 17
Another famous face

The "West Wing" star (and sex scandal screw-up) Rob Lowe was born on St. Patrick’s Day in Charlottesville.

Did you know actor Rob Lowe was born in Charlottesville, on this day in 1964? Oh, what juicy tidbits can be gleaned from being a devoted horoscope reader! Jeraldine Saunders in her Tribune Media Service horoscope wishes a “Happy Birthday” to the St. Elmo’s Fire star. No mention of the 1988 scandal in which tapes of Lowe having sex with an underage teen while in Atlanta attending the Democratic National Convention were exposed. That means there’s only two degrees of separation between our fair town and one of the world’s first uncovered celebrity sex tapes.

Sunday, March 18
Remaining Virginia teams knocked out

The UVA men’s basketball team lost to Tennessee 77-74 after a missed three-pointer that left Sean Singletary in tears. The Cavs missed the Sweet Sixteen in the last second of the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Cavaliers were ousted from the NCAA tournament today in a narrow loss to Tennessee. A barely missed three-pointer by Sean Singletary lost the Cavs an overtime opportunity, sealing the game at 77-74. The Cavaliers made it to the second round in the tournament, their first trip to the NCAA since 2001. And, despite a stellar comeback in the first round Friday against Illinois, the Hokies of Virginia Tech succumbed to Southern Illinois, which ranks third nationally in scoring defense. Final score was 63-48.

Monday, March 19
Fire near UVA

Three were hospitalized and two are in critical condition after a fire broke out on Lewis Mountain Road, The Daily Progress reports. A house converted into several apartments trapped a 25-year-old male and a 24-year-old female, who were passed out from smoke inhalation. Firefighters got them out through a window; the apartment had no smoke detector and it’s being investigated whether alcohol was a factor. This is not the first fire to ravage a UVA housing area this year. In February, three unrelated fires burned residences: one at 14th Street and Grady Avenue, one at Jack Jouett apartments on University Way and a third at the Chi Phi fraternity house. All this while Corner residential areas become even more densely populated—let’s hope those new high-rise condos have smoke detectors.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, March 6
UVA offers subpar gym benefits

Virginia State Senator R. Creigh Deeds thinks domestic partners of UVA employees ought to go to the gym just like everyone else. UVA is behind the curve in domestic partner benefits.

The Flat Hat, the student newspaper at the College of William & Mary, reports on the shameful state of domestic partner benefits at UVA. “While UVA allows the heterosexual spouses of professors and staff to purchase memberships for the recreational centers on campus, it does not allow the partners of gays to receive the same benefit.” Virginia state Senator R. Creigh Deeds voiced concerns that the policy was overly strict. Though chaps at The Flat Hat didn’t gloat, they certainly could—William & Mary is one of several Virginia schools that does offer fitness benefits to domestic partners.

Wednesday, March 7
Bigger library for Crozet

Downtown Crozet will see a new 20,000-square-foot library, thanks to a favorable Board of Supervisors vote and $1.7 million in private fundraising. Supervisor David Slutzky had the one dissenting vote, saying a smaller project would suffice.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors heard strong support from library administrators and county book lovers to add 5,000 square feet to a planned 15,000-square-foot library that would bolster Crozet’s downtown. With construction costs estimated at $254 per square foot, Supervisor David Slutzky voiced concerns that the project was too large and too expensive. But other supervisors said the library would be important for drawing people into Downtown Crozet. Private citizens will try to raise the additional $1.7 million for the add-on to the $8.5 million project. The supes approved the space increase by 5-1.

Thursday, March 8
Culpeper says “No ICE”

Tim Freilich of the Charlottesville-based Virginia Justice Center thinks local cops should stick to local policing. The Town of Culpeper recently denied a citizen the right to pay for Immigration and Customs Enforcement training for local police.

The Public Safety Committee for the Town of Culpeper defeated a proposal that would have allowed a private citizen to pay for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) training for local police officers, CulpeperTimes.com reports. Attorney General Bob McDonnell recommended in January that Governor Tim Kaine let state police and local cops enforce federal immigration laws by permitting them to detain immigrants. Tim Freilich, legal director of the Virginia Justice Center in Charlottesville, said, “There is a real danger in local law enforcement fixing national immigration problems…you destroy the trust between local law enforcement and the local immigrant communities.” Charlottesville and Albemarle police have said they’re not interested in helping with ICE.

Friday, March 9
The shoulders of giants

Welcome to Charlottesville, America’s No. 1 city, where it’s tough to get a sandwich without paying a tithe to Coran Capshaw, and major moguls inevitably merge. According to a UVA press release this week, Musictoday Executive Vice President Jim Kingdon has been named director of UVA’s Law & Business program. The enhanced J.D. program offers “training in business practices and culture so [students] may better communicate with and advise corporate clients.” With their powers combined, UVA and Kingdon could turn this dive-y little town into the Blackberry consortium it was destined to be.

Saturday, March 10
Writers: Win a free trip to Charlottesville

This weekend, The Daily Progress tackles the question of whether free meals and hotel stays provided by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau might possibly influence the travel writers who receive those freebies. Ann Witmer, a Pennsylvania-based freelancer who scored three nights at the Inn at Court Square while writing an article on local used bookstores, is quoted thus: “The Convention & Visitors Bureau people were really, really helpful. They do a real service.” According to the Progress, 384 articles were written about the Charlottesville area in the first half of 2006. The city and county can take some credit for the mostly positive press, with $800,000 in contributions to the Charlottesville-Albemarle tourism bureau each year.

Sunday, March 11
Is it brighter than usual?

In an effort to save energy (and perhaps increase national cheer, thereby miraculously saving the Bush Administration’s approval ratings), the government is “springing forward” today rather than the first Sunday in April. The L.A. Times warns of “mayhem lite” as geeks everywhere wring their hands—what about all the computers programmed for regularly scheduled daylight savings? “Heat and lights in some buildings could come on an hour later than they should,” among other digital disasters, the paper writes. Call us low-tech, but we at C-VILLE will probably just flip on the light switch an hour earlier.

Monday, March 12
Cavaliers headed for NCAA

The UVA men’s basketball team is prepping to head to their first NCAA Tournament since 2001. The Cavaliers will appear in the first round matchup—scheduled for March 16 in Columbus, Ohio—as the fourth-seeded team in the South Region. The tournament pairings, announced yesterday, have the ’Hoos up against the mighty Albany Great Danes. The Cavs are no doubt hoping for a better outcome this year; in 2001 the team didn’t make it past the first round after an upset loss to Gonzaga, 86-85.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, February 27
New move for local food

Soon, those who eat organic will realize they’re not doing enough. “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” will guide shoppers to food’s new zen—eating locally.

The Daily Progress picks up on the local food movement story on their website today. “Charlottesville-area gastronomes are choosing to shun traditional grocery stores in favor of locally produced food for their family’s dinner plates,” Brian McNeill writes. But that’s not the news. No, the news is that “Buy Fresh, Buy Local,” a guide to buying and eating local food will be out next month, further solidifying Charlottesville’s status as a hub of the movement. Piedmont Environmental Council and the Institute for Environmental Negotiation are sponsoring the campaign, to include bumper stickers and other promo materials, so all can wear their stomachs on their sleeves.

Wednesday, February 28
Kaine among the nurses

Governor Tim Kaine visited the UVA School of Nursing today, and it wasn’t ‘cause he had a boo-boo. He was there to address what the state would do to help the nursing shortage. Though many kids want to be nurses, Kaine said a lack of nursing school faculty and classroom space was the “choke point,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. This year the state will give nursing schools a 10 percent raise to retain teachers and offer $200,000 in scholarships to nursing students. The average UVA Hospital nurse makes just over $50,000 per year.

Thursday, March 1
Downed Albemarle Marine honored

Corporal Bradley T. Arms of Albemarle was 20 years old when he was killed, the only one from his platoon to die under fire in an incident in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. Now, local Marines from across Central Virginia are naming their detachment in his honor, WCAV reports. Arms’ photo will be displayed at each meeting of the Marine League. The Department of Defense confirmed 3,163 casualties in Iraq as of yesterday.

Friday, March 2
A tale of two budgets

Charlottesville City Manager Gary O’Connell rolled out the proposed budget for FY 2007-08. The county also announced their budget this week.

The City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County both announced their FY 2007-08 proposed budgets today. In the city, total proposed budget is $136.5 million, a 13.6 percent increase over last year. In the county, total proposed budget is $315.4 million, a 5.6 percent increase over last year. Neither the city nor the county budgets offer across-the-board tax relief to offset rising real estate assessments. Assessments increased 14 percent in the city and county assessments rose between 11 percent and 17 percent last year.

Saturday, March 3
UVA scientists study Saturn’s bling

Look, up in the sky. Some of the solar system’s brightest lights come from icy particles spewing from Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.

Researchers at UVA discovered that icy particles, blasted off the surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, smatter other nearby moons, making them unusually bright and shiny. Even more exciting, some scientists have speculated that organisms possibly living on Enceladus’ surface could be spreading to other hospitable moons, like nearby Titan. Dr. Anne Verbiscer and colleagues published in the journal Science their reflectivity study of Saturn’s moons. Enceladus has an icy volcano that is one of the brightest objects in the solar system.

Sunday, March 4
Another kind of publicity

Though she typically appears in print as the victim in the 1984 UVA rape case, Greenwich, Connecticut event coordinator Liz Seccuro is quoted this month in her professional capacity. She offers a tip in the latest issue of InStyle Weddings. On page 217, the creative director of Dolce Parties suggests “a teamed entree—like a petit filet mignon paired with a crab cake.” Her helpful suggestion can save wedding planners $18 per plate!

Monday, March 5
He’s on fire

Charlottesville Fire Chief Charles Werner was awarded the 2006 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Fire Service Management at a ceremony in Virginia Beach, a city press release announces. This year he was recognized for his contributions to other fire departments in Virginia as well as his cooperation with the Homeland Security Information Network Fire Service Working Group…whew. Werner has won the award twice before, in 2002 and 2003. This year, he got press for his initiative to put a working smoke detector in every city household. Werner has been with the Charlottesville Fire Department since 1978.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, February 20
Wines fit for the Queen

Yesterday, 10 wine experts swished and spit for a tasting at White Hall Vineyards, wine expert Dave McIntyre blogs. The oenophiles were in search of Virginia wines to showcase in London as part of our state’s Jamestown 400th anniversary celebration. Having been eliminated of the “aromas of rubber hose, asphalt and vinegar, with flavors of stewed tomatoes” characteristic of old style Virginia wines, it’s hoped the new crop will be found worthy of the mother country. The winners will be announced in May and posted at www.vawineinlondon.com.

Wednesday, February 21
Wrong suitcase at Darden

The Washington Post covers a UVA Darden School of business class that sought to find the "luckiest student." Hideki Inoue wasn’t—he missed out on a $17,500 check by picking the wrong suitcase.

If you were wondering what a Darden guy in a Japanese costume was doing on the front page of The Washington Post’s B-section today, the answer is, he was doing his homework. Hideki Inoue took a class at UVA’s Darden School of Business that emphasized the role luck plays in business decisions. Up until the final moment, Inoue had been the luckiest student, making his way through several rounds of challenges. But, when the time came to choose a suitcase with either a $17,500 check—enough for a semester’s tuition—or no money at all, Inoue fell victim to chance. The lesson? Said professor Sam Bodily, “A bad outcome doesn’t mean a bad decision was taken.”

Thursday, February 22
Equine what?

Equestrians, take heed. Six farms in Loudoun County, two farms in Fauquier County and a Culpeper farm are under quarantine after their animals made contact with a horse that carried equine rhinopneumonitis virus, or Equine Herpes Virus-1, at a horse hospital in Leesburg. The virus “poses no known health threats to humans,” according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and a department spokesman says it is unlikely to affect Albemarle.

Friday, February 23
Run over to our place

The Charlottesville Marathon (www.charlotesvillemarathon.com) is one of several on which today’s New York Times bestows the title “destination marathon”—that is, a 26.2-mile endurance test that comes wrapped up in an awfully sweet setting. Among others, the Times says the San Diego, Big Island (Hawaii), and Big Sur (California) races draw runners because of the views they’ll drink in or the local color they’ll enjoy. The Charlottesville race, says the Times, offers “pretty, forested country”—perhaps a little ho-hum compared to the “hundreds of high school cheerleaders” boasted by Nashville’s Country Music Marathon.

Saturday, February 24
More Beebe?

William Beebe had his conviction handed down in Charlottesville Circuit Court in November for sexually assaulting Liz Seccuro at a UVA fraternity party in 1984, and an Associated Press piece today takes a dramatic, narrative approach to the highly publicized case. The piece, “One man’s quest for forgiveness, one woman’s nightmare,” by Kristen Gelineau (www.cgi.jacksonville.com/cgi-bin), begins, “William Beebe had been haunted by that night for years.” Using e-mails between Beebe and Seccuro, Gelineau attempts to reconstruct the motivations behind the sexual attack and Beebe’s strange apology which led to his prosecution and conviction. Though the piece quotes him as saying he acted alone, local prosecutors are trying to garner evidence of a gang rape. Beebe has agreed to assist, and his assistance will have a bearing on his sentencing in March.

Sunday, February 25
Film fest puts “fun” in dysfunctional

The 20th Virginia Film Festival announces its theme today: Kin Flicks. The festival will feature movies “addressing popular and alternative images of family life.” “Since movies do such a good job of depicting them, we won’t close the door on dysfunctional families,” said festival Director Richard Herskowitz. The festival will also feature unconventional family structures, including gay unions and marriages. Herskowitz is currently taking recommendations for films and speakers at vafilm.blogspot.com. Let the dysfunction begin!

Monday, February 26
The cure for Oscars hangover

Possibly the most popular guy to ever come out of FluCo, Chris Daughtry poses with other Grammy stars in this week’s People.

The tuxes, the dresses, the lights, the pancake makeup. If you’re feeling a little let down from last night’s Oscars bonanza, which seems to drag on a bit longer every year, we find there’s no better cure than a little People magazine. If you look hard, you’ll find former Fluvanna darling and “American Idol” star Chris Daughtry in a spread from that other awards show, the Grammys. Other music stars flanking Daughtry include Diddy, Christina Aguilera, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, Whitney Houston (looking barely able to hold herself up), and Carrie Underwood. Daughtry’s upcoming April 14 performance at Starr Hill reportedly sold out in seven minutes.

Other News We Heard Last Week


Tuesday, February 13
Tiki Barber scores with NBC

Former Cavalier and NY Giants running back Tiki Barber turned down offers from Fox and ABC for a correspondent’s gig on NBC’s “Today” show, according to the Associated Press. Barber’s early retirement from the NFL (he’s 31) brings with it a stiff pay cut of about $4 mil a year, an AOL sports blogger points out, leaving him with an annual salary of $2.5-3 million for his new job in TV.

Wine cooler

The Senate of Virginia voted unanimously in favor of a bill today that would allow wineries and breweries from the Commonwealth and beyond to directly sell and ship their beverages to consumers, after obtaining a delivery permit from Alcoholic Beverage Control. The measure is surely a relief to local vintners, who have been legally prevented from self-distributing since last summer.

Wednesday, February 14
Fox and the aground

Alex P. Keaton, the budding Republican played by Michael J. Fox on the ’80s sitcom “Family Ties,” was an early role model for today’s self-described compassionate conservatives. That’s according to a piece by Rich Lowry, UVA grad and editor of the National Review, in the February issue of GQ. “Yes, Alex constantly fires off coldhearted, doctrinaire lines,” writes Lowry optimistically, “but he leaves you wanting more.”

Thursday, February 15
Affordable Hoos-ing

City Council member Dave Norris stopped by a University Democrats meeting to talk about affordable housing, the Cavalier Daily reports. What, exactly, the U-Dems are supposed to do about housing in Charlottesville remains unclear. Norris said student renters drive prices up. University Democrats Vice President Sarah Buckley optimistically said, “If enough students show their support for issues such as affordable housing and [the] cost of living conditions, then the University will have to start changing its approach to the issue.” Good luck!

Friday, February 16
Jefferson school, now with more history!

A City press release announces today the Old Jefferson Graded Elementary School has been awarded new historic designations. Excavation work completed last year dates the site to 1894. Unfortunately, the further the City travels back in time, the less actual work gets done. Improvements to the adjacent historically designated Jefferson School building, slated for $30.5 million in renovations, have been slow going, and the 19th century dig site is likely to keep archaeologists employed for a while, too.

Saturday, February 17
Local basketball roundup

Beating out top-seeded Charlottesville High School in the semi-finals Friday, the Western Albemarle Warriors advanced to the Jefferson District tournament game tonight, only to lose to Orange County’s third-seeded Hornets, 63-40. But Albemarle High School took the title in the Commonwealth District Tournament in a 72-56 victory over Brooke Point, their third win over that team this year. The Patriots dominated the game, never trailing the Blackhawks. Albemarle will next host an opening game in the Northwest Region playoffs.

Sunday, February 18
Virginia LAX falls to Drexel

In a season opener at U-Hall Turf Field, Virginia men’s lacrosse had its 19-game home winning streak busted and its seven-time season opener streak crushed by Drexel in the final 10 seconds for an 11-10 loss. The Cavaliers are grappling with the graduation of seasoned players from last year’s national championship team. Drexel seemed to gain momentum in the second half, but the Cavaliers overall were sluggish. “There wasn’t a lot that I liked today,” Head Coach Dom Starsia told the Cavalier Daily. Given the on-field railing he gave at last week’s scrimmage against Georgetown, we’re glad we weren’t in the locker room to endure Starsia’s postlude to Sunday’s shame.

Monday, February 19
Locals hit green TV

A Charlottesville couple’s home will be featured on HGTV’s “What You Get for the Money,” the network’s website announces. HGTV filmed the segment last August at the Schuyler home of Carrie Basas and hubby, Fred. Their place is noted for being both wheelchair-accessible and environmentally-friendly. The home is in the “what you can get for $700,000” category, though Basas says the price of their house was overinflated and is valued more in the high $500,000s. For those obsessed with how the rest of the world views Charlottesville, this is prime viewing. Tune in February 25 at 11:30am or February 26 at 3:30pm.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, February 6
It snowed!

It was the second snow day this year for the kiddies in Charlottesville and Albemarle. About 2.5" of the stuff started falling around 7:30pm, followed the next morning by a mean wind chill that dipped the temperature to sub-zero levels. The result? Frazzled moms, crashing cars and overjoyed kids.

Wednesday, February 7
Is it all right to fight?

Kids’ genes play a bigger role than environment in whether they’ll misbehave, according to a recent UVA study. Reuters Health reports that although parents’ marital conflicts have long been linked to conduct problems in kids, the study suggests that parents’ genes, not their quarreling, are the real bad influence. “Marital conflict is influenced by parents’ own characteristics—including their genes—and these genes are passed on to children,” says Dr. K. Paige Harden in the psychology department. The study’s other psychologists warn that while genes do seem to determine which children are “born to be bad,” that doesn’t mean it’s good to fight in front of your kids.

Thursday, February 8
New nukes? PACE yourselves

Members of the Charlottesville-based People’s Alliance for Clean Energy (PACE) asked a three-judge panel with the Atomic Safety Licensing Board to deny applications for two new nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Plant in Louisa County at a public hearing tonight. Dominion Virginia Power is seeking early site permits for the reactors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. PACE representatives say the nuclear expansion plan at Lake Anna doesn’t include enough storage solutions for nuclear waste. “The NRC should have held hearings in Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, and Richmond, and in population centers in the York River watershed,” PACE spokesperson Vanthi Nguyen said. “If an accident were to occur radiation wouldn’t stop at the Louisa County line.” Louisa County officials say the reactors would bring tax revenue and jobs.

Friday, February 9
Our own slice o’ Texas

Hovey S. Dabney lived away from Charlottesville for only two years while he served in WWII, according to media reports. He died Friday at age 83.

Texas-based commercial real estate firm Behringer Harvard plans to acquire a 50 percent partnership in the supposedly very grand Grandmarc property on the Corner—and on an apartment complex that looks just like it, the Grandmarc at Westberry Place on the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth. Yahoo! Business announces the company will put $8.1 million into the Texas location, and will spend $6.1 million locally. Grandmarc on the Corner is near completion; with 649 beds and 232,000 square feet of rentable space, plus a pool, landscaped courtyards, media room, electronic study halls, fitness facility and lounge.

Way to go, Sabato

Larry Sabato, director of UVA’s Center for Politics, gets quoted in a lot of news outlets, and usually we ignore it. But the BBC? Even we are impressed. Sabato says Hillary Clinton fans shouldn’t be overconfident about a presidential nomination. She’s weak in places like Iowa and New Hampshire and the reason Hillary is a favorite in Democratic polls is “everyone knows who she is.” “This is nowhere near the slam-dunk it is made out to be,” Sabato says.

Saturday, February 10
Local lawyer on Anna Nicole

John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute writes about the death of Anna Nicole Smith in his Weekly Commentary this week. He was not a fan.

Though we’re used to seeing the civil libertarian and prominent lawyer working on such things as the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit or securing constitutional rights, John W. Whitehead, founder of the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute, still finds time to ponder overblown celebrity stories. In his Weekly Commentary, Whitehead reflects on the death of Anna Nicole Smith, and the not-so-proud moment in media history it has sparked. Fox News termed the death a “tragedy” and “The Today Show” ranked the Smith story ahead of coverage of the Scooter Libby trial. Whitehead notes there were more important things going on this week (and every week) than the death of a former Playboy/Guess model.

Sunday, February 11
Hokies hand it to the ’Hoos

Last night’s anticipated matchup between ACC rivals Virginia Tech and UVA put an end to the Cavaliers’ seven-game winning streak and took Virginia out of first place in the conference. At Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, the crowd chanted “just like football” and “who’s your daddy?” to the Cavaliers during the final minutes of the “done deal” game. J.R. Reynolds scored 21 points and Sean Singletary scored 13, but the ’Hoos shooting record was below 33 percent overall. The Hokies’ perimeter defense and solid shooting kept the Cavaliers at more than a 16-point distance. Final score was 84-57, Virginia Tech.

Monday, February 12
Former UVA rector dies

A memorial service is planned today for Hovey S. Dabney, former rector of UVA’s Board of Visitors and a prominent Charlottesville banker, the Associated Press reports. He helped to organize the UVA Health Services Foundation and was instrumental in getting a 7,400-acre estate gift for UVA from billionaire John W. Kluge. He was a lifelong Charlottesville resident. He died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, January 30
One million Mule-sic downloads

Sure beats a flashback: Gov’t Mule offers a slew of live recordings to their one one millionth online music customer.

In the post-Napster lawsuit world, bands are making bank on the appetites of insatiable fans. Gov’t Mule, who released their 2006 album, High & Mighty, on locally owned ATO Records, is no exception. After launching its “Mule Tracks” site (www.muletracks.com) in October 2004 via locally run Musictoday, Mule Tracks is nearing its millionth song download, according to band management. Rather than wait for the group’s next local stop, buy Gov’t Mule’s 2006 live set at the Charlottesville Pavilion, or a show from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center from 2005. The fan that nabs the millionth tune will receive the band’s entire live catalogue from 2007 for free.

Wednesday, January 31
Fewer liberal profs?

A bill proposed by delegate Steve Landes (whose district includes precincts in Albemarle) to ask state colleges to report on “intellectual diversity” was killed in committee yesterday, the Hampton Roads Daily Press reports. Though one might think the “intellectual diversity” at colleges, of all places, is pretty good, apparently “political diversity” is a different matter. A student from a public university in Virginia said he received better grades in a writing class after he adopted a more liberal viewpoint. A House education subcommittee tabled the measure, saying the issue was too broad, which is bureaucrat-speak for “a non-issue.”

Thursday, February 1
Duke, defeated!

Around here, Cavalier fans know it’s all about Sean Singletary. For those outside the UVA bubble, The Washington Post’s sports section today more than adequately introduces the apparently lesser-known guard in the UVA-Duke matchup (Blue Devil Greg Paulus gets more press). Singletary contributed 17 points to the ’Hoos’ upset of 8th-ranked Duke at the JPJ arena tonight, trailing only J.R. Reynolds, who scored 25 points. The Cavalier defense came off strong, but Virginia trailed Duke the entire game until an unlikely one-handed floater shot from Singletary with one second left in overtime sealed it for the Cavs at 68-66. The win interrupted a nine-game winning streak for the Blue Devils against Virginia.

Friday, February 2
We mean it, man!

"Old Virginia" versus the old lady: Virginia races to find a state song in time to greet Queen Elizabeth, not played here by Helen Mirren.

Members of the General Assembly return focus to finding that most elusive of tunes, the Virginia state song, the Associated Press and The Washington Post report this week. We haven’t had one since “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia,” circa 1940, was deemed racist. The reason the independent Commonwealth of Virginia is suddenly scrambling, after 10 years of songlessness? Why, the Queen of England is coming, of course, and we risk having no ditty with which to serenade her! Nothing like the head of Britain visiting for the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement to get us Colonials back on task. Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta) is heading a committee that has heard song contributions from constituents, but none of the amateurish compositions have stuck. May we suggest something to the tune of “God Save the Queen?”

Saturday, February 3
He’s with the band!

What would you pay? According to the Virginia Public Accountability Project, $55 per ticket for Governor Kaine’s trip to see Dave.

The Virginia Public Access Project continues to stress the “account” in “accountability” with the release of the political gift totals for 2006: More than $374,000 was spread among State legislators and the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. But that ringing in Governor Tim Kaine’s ears isn’t the “ca-ching” of a register. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that New York-based pharmaceutical company Barr Laboratories Incorporated funded Kaine’s tickets to the Dave Matthews Band at the John, a value of $440 for eight tickets. Meanwhile, Weekly Davespeak reports that Matthews and company plan to release their latest album in July, and Kaine seems to be a fan, so remember: If the gift is under $50, it doesn’t need to be reported.

Sunday, February 4
UVA students get fired up

Despite freezing temperatures, this weekend was a real scorcher for some UVA students when three unrelated fires broke out at student residences. The first occurred Friday night, according to WCAV, at a house on the corner of 14th Street and Grady Avenue. A Charlottesville police officer happened to be nearby when it was reported and helped the four female students inside leave the house unscathed. The cause? An unattended candle. The Cavalier Daily reports a blaze took place early Saturday night and caused more than $1,000 in damages at Jack Jouett Apartments on University Way, thanks to an incident with a stove. The same night, police and fire squads responded to a trash fire at the Chi Phi frat house on Rugby Road, where, apparently, someone ignited a stuffed animal and threw it into a pile of trash. Talk about your party hot spots!

Monday, February 5
Ole role model


Charlottesville is serving as an exemplar of economic revitalization for at least one other Southern city. The Board of Aldermen, mayor and other officials from Moss Point, Mississippi, are planning a trip to our fair city in March, according to the Sun Herald of South Mississippi. While they’re here, they’ll learn about leadership at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Institute for Public Service and meet with local powers-that-be to gather ideas on development, especially of the mixed-use variety. Presumably, they’ll also dine at Downtown restaurants, pop into a gallery or two, and spend wildly on fancy stationery—all while keeping an eye out for happy condo residents walking to work. Please, no whining about a lack of affordable housing while they’re here.

Other news we heard last week

Other news we heard last week

Correction appended

Tuesday, January 23
Bad news for Dominion Power

Dominion Virginia Power may have to take a rain check on new nuke plants at Lake Anna—the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can’t do much without a detailed congressional budget.

Congress’ failure to pass a detailed budget could mean shelving new nuclear energy projects, The New York Times reports. The senior member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission warned yesterday that a lack of funding for the commission could lead to delays in applications to build new nuclear reactors. This affects our own Dominion Virginia Power, which wants to add two reactors at the North Anna Power plant in Louisa County. While the budget stymie puts a damper on the 2005 energy bill intended to increase reliance on nuclear power, we’d hate to see a nuclear renaissance without enough money to regulate it.

Wednesday, January 24
Environmentalists on State of the Union

At least one person cared about President Bush’s “distract-them-with-environment-talk” Iraq-avoidance strategy in last night’s State of the Union speech. Cale Jaffe, an attorney with the Charlottesville-based Southern Environmental Law Center, released a statement today: “To combat the serious issue of global warming, President Bush has called on the nation to change the way we generate electricity.” Jaffe reminds us, though, that a good ol’ fashioned polluting coal plant is about to be built by Dominion Virginia Power in Southwest Virginia and is urging State lawmakers to oppose it. Not meeting Bush’s standards for environmentalism would be condemning indeed.

Thursday, January 25
Harding heads to Richmond

Charlottesville Police Captain J.E. "Chip" Harding convinced the General Assembly’s House Courts of Justice committee that we need to collect more felon data—not that the tough-on-crime crowd is a hard sell.

The House Courts of Justice Committee in the General Assembly unanimously endorsed a bill that would require felons who were accidentally left out of the State DNA databank to get swabbed, The Daily Progress reports. Albemarle Delegate Rob Bell and other committee members heard from Charlottesville Police Captain J. E. “Chip” Harding, who discovered about 20 percent of offenders in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region were left out of the database. State officials estimate 20 percent of DNA from felons statewide is also missing. There are currently 60,000 felons on parole, probation or supervision; the bill—HB3034—would authorize police to retrieve missing data.

Friday, January 26
Game warden kills teen

A Greene County teenager was shot dead by a Virginia Game and Inland fisheries game warden Wednesday evening, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Police apprehended 16-year-old Allen Cochran, suspected of kidnapping his girlfriend. Officers believed Cochran was armed when they stopped his car near Stanardsville. After Cochran rammed him with his car, the warden fired shots and killed Cochran. As to why the officer was helping police with an incident that involved neither game nor inland fish, a press release from the department says, “It is not unusual for game wardens to assist local law enforcement.” He has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Saturday, January 27
Chill out on growth

A study released this week by the Weldon Cooper Center at UVA found that statewide growth is slowing slightly. “Last year Virginia gained 78,500 population, significantly lower than the average of 92,000 of previous years,” the study reads. Do locals still have reason to freak out about endless housing developments? Maybe. While we’re not Loudoun (the fastest growing) County, Albemarle County had growth of 6,620 people, or about 8 percent last year. A large portion of that is from new people moving into town. Welcome to our little metropolis!

Sunday, January 28
Buzzers ready!

Champions were made today when a team from public Monticello High School beat out preppy Woodberry Forest School in the 25th annual championship “Pop Quiz” tournament. The final showdown was broadcast on WVPT, Virginia public television, which sponsors the tournament for schools within its viewing area. Teens answer questions in categories like Fine Arts/Literature, History/Geography, Math/Science and Current Events. The winners got $900 in scholarships and gold medals; runners-up got silver medals and $600; all walked away knowing volumes of handy facts.

Monday, January 29
Never enough Barber

NY Giants running back and former UVA star Tiki Barber is seeing "fame beyond the gridiron," in The New Yorker this week, which helps the cause by stripping him of his uniform in the accompanying photo.

More from Tiki Barber, New York Giants running back and former Cavalier, on what it’s like to get beat up on the field and what he’ll do when it’s over. The New Yorker’s Ben McGrath visits Barber on his day off and talks knee surgeries and what it feels like to get side-sacked as a relatively small 5’9", 205-pound athlete. “You’ll get up and you’ll say, ‘God, I feel like my ribs are broken.’” Though Barber is supposedly letting ’em down with an early retirement, he’s ready to give up the “church of football” and move on to less jockish endeavors, like the news. Barber (with his mostly intact knees) is in apprenticeship on “Fox & Friends” and is serious about a journalism career. “Tiki reads the Drudge Report, refers to haute chefs by their first names, and has acted in a couple of Off Broadway plays,” writes McGrath. Could we possibly love him any more?

Correction February 12, 2007:

Also in that issue, 7 Days ["Chill out on growth," Saturday, January 27 ] misstated Albemarle County’s population growth as 8 percent last year. In fact, the growth was 8 percent from 2000 to 2006.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, January 16
A little ditty about Mamadi Diane

Mamadi Diane threw 26 points for the Cavaliers—more than he’s scored in the last three games combined. The ‘Hoos defeated ACC rival Maryland 103-91.

Sean Singletary dumped in 25 points and forward Jason Cain lived up to his potential with 13 points during the UVA men’s basketball team’s 103-91 victory over a ranked Maryland squad this evening. The real story, however, was sophomore Mamadi Diane, who dropped 26 in the bucket—more than he has scored in the previous three games combined. According to The Daily Progress, Singletary, who shot a scrappy 5 for 12 from the field, called Diane a “really streaky guy.”

Wednesday, January 17
Fightin’ Jim Webb picked to holla back

The perfect guy to talk back to Bush: Jim Webb was selected by Dems to rebut the president’s "State of the Union" speech January 23.

Democrats from Virginia have a little streak going in rebutting the president’s “State of the Union” speech. Last year, freshman Governor Tim Kaine had the honor, and this year, freshman Senator Jim Webb was picked by fellow Democrats to bring the fire, The Washington Post reports. Webb, well known for his criticism of Bush foreign policy, will likely have plenty of quips but no comment about how his own son is doing in Iraq. (The former Secretary of the Navy garnered criticism for his disrespect of the presidency when he told Bush his son’s well-being was none of his business.) If the Dems want to take a strong stance against the war given Bush’s recent announcement that he will deploy 21,500 more troops, Webb seems like the perfect choice.

Thursday, January 18
Japanimation caper? No, plane landing.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport got a surprise visitor from Philadelphia on Thursday when a small plane traveling to Roanoke emergency-landed due to flames in the cockpit.

A small airplane was forced to make an emergency landing at Charlottesville airport today after the pilot reported a cracked windshield and flames in the cockpit, the Associated Press reports. The plane was a Piedmont Airways (a division of U.S. Airways Express) commuter turboprop traveling from Philadelphia to Roanoke. The fire was caused by a windshield heating device—the pilot made a graceful emergency landing and none of the 13 passengers were injured.

Friday, January 19
Who’s sorry now?

We’re betting Virginia Delegate Frank D. Hargrove wishes he’d made no comments whatsoever about slavery, Jesus or the Jews. Hargrove made comments that black Virginians should “get over” slavery in response to a General Assembly bill calling for the State to apologize for that peculiar institution. Hargrove reportedly asked, “Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?” Daily Progress veteran political reporter Bob Gibson’s piece about the controversy was picked up by the Associated Press and The Washington Post, among other news outlets. Republicans have argued the comments were blown out of proportion, while NAACP leaders are calling for an official apology from Hargrove. Still no resolution on whether the State will apologize (or whether anyone will feel any better).

Saturday, January 20
UVA to let freedom ring

Look out, College Republicans! The Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia unanimously approved a new chapter at UVA today, according to an ACLU press release. Liberty-minded UVA students will join the over 500,000 ACLU members nationwide—UVA is the fourth chapter at a Virginia college, including a chapter at the UVA Law School. Chapter founder, and valuable member of the C-VILLE staff, David T. Roisen, thinks the organization will do T.J. proud.

Sunday, January 21
Buckle down for snow

Despite Florida-like weather last week, today Charlottesville saw the first snowfall of the year, which hit around 10:45am and let up overnight. Charlottesville got less than an inch of snow, plus freezing rain, which didn’t keep people from mobbing grocery stores to stock up for the snow day. The Daily Progress reports there were accidents on every major roadway in the area, and Albemarle cops responded to 92 calls for service by 3:30pm, many traffic related. An accident on Interstate 81 left a Barboursville woman dead when her Toyota SUV lost control and hit another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle, a Charlottesville woman, was injured.

Monday, January 22
Political Action Committee moolah

If you’re wondering who wrote the big checks to the General Assembly this year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a roundup of the largest PAC contributions to legislative candidates. Top contributor: nuke-loving Dominion Power’s PAC, with $134,312. Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association PAC gave $64,737 and Virginia Wine Wholesalers Association PAC gave $52,814. Cheers! Local delegate Rob Bell raised $199,684 through his Piedmont Leadership PAC, and military contractor Northrop Grumman, with an office in Charlottesville, contributed $53,050 to candidates. For full disclosure, the Virginia Public Access Project has the holdings of all candidates at http://www.vpap.org.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, January 9
You’ll never beat the Welsh

Former UVA head football coach and 2004 football Hall of Famer George Welsh was arrested on DUI charges over the weekend, The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports. The 73-year-old was pulled over on the 250 Bypass by Albemarle police for “driving erratically.” He failed field sobriety tests and refused to take a breathalyzer. Welsh coached for the Cavaliers from 1982 to 2000, was a record-setter for ACC wins and still holds the record for being the winningest coach at Virginia.

Wednesday, January 10
Happy news: Droves of poor kids losing health insurance

Tim Kaine delivered his "State of the Commonwealth" speech to legislators at the General Assembly kickoff on Wednesday. The gist? Economy, good. Transportation, bad.

The General Assembly convened today with a speech from Governor Tim Kaine and extraneous Colonial fanfare in Jamestown. The short session promises more transportation and tax deadlock. Welcome back legislators, but don’t forget about health care. The Associated Press reports that in the last half of 2006, Virginia saw 12,000 children drop from its Medicaid rolls. This is apparently due to a new federal law that requires Medicaid recipients to prove they are U.S. citizens. The law was designed to allay benefits to illegal immigrants, but researchers say tiny U.S. citizens with no health coverage are actually taking the hit.

Thursday, January 11

News sources confirm what we suspected all along—UVA politics Professor Larry Sabato is quoted too damn much! According to a Lexis-Nexis search conducted by Governing.com staffer (and Cavalier Daily alum) Josh Goodman, and reported by CBS, Sabato was quoted by news sources in 46 states and D.C. in 2006. Now what, oh what, can a man in Virginia have to say to all those folks? Apparently Sabato, the omni-expert, was quoted on topics ranging from political scandals to Katie Couric’s crappy ratings to “President Bush’s back rub of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.” Steamy! Goodman says journalists engaged in the cluster Sabatoast because the guy is smart and—the holy grail of sourcedom—calls you back.

Friday, January 12
Idol worship

American Idol—and former Fluvanna resident—Chris Daughtry charmed one of our idols, Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan, on Fishbowl D.C. this week.

Robin Givhan, Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion editor for The Washington Post, doesn’t gush about much. In an interview with Fishbowl D.C. this week, she shares her opinion of New York City: “Great personality, not much to look at.” Her favorite letter: “Scarlet.” And, her favorite American Idol: None other than one- time local boy Chris Daughtry, who charmed Givhan with his “desperately straining vocal chords.” Whatever happened to that Fluco-made-famous? Chris Daughtry performed in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and “Daughtry,” his rock act, recently announced U.S. tour dates. And, not to forget—a whole new round of chord-straining Idols will appear in the show’s sixth season beginning on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 13
The other football

Cavalier defender Bakary Soumare won the top MLS draft pick of any Virginia soccer player this year; he was drawn second overall by the Chicago Fire.

Though the NFL season is in its final throes and college basketball keeps us on the edge of our seats, let us not forget the iron quads and quick cleats of those other star athletes. Three former Virginia soccer players were picked during the 2007 Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Indianapolis, Virginia Athletics reports. Defender Bakary Soumare was the second overall pick for the Chicago Fire, midfielder Nico Colaluca was picked sixth overall by the Colorado Rapids, and forward Adam Cristman was drawn by the New England Revolution. With abtastic English phenom David Beckham announcing his move to play for the L.A. Galaxy, the ’Hoos may find themselves matched up in the MLS against Beckham himself before long.

Sunday, January 14
Schools check-in

Johnson Elementary School Principal Dorren Brown is quoted in the Staunton News Leader today. Johnson is one Charlottesville school that has struggled for consistent accreditation, partially because one fifth of its students are still learning English. Other elementaries are profiled in the piece, which highlights President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program, and its goals of 100 percent passing rates on standardized reading and math proficiency by 2014. Leaders at local programs like JustChildren, a legal child advocacy group, have pointed out that pass rates on tests do nothing to keep at-risk groups, like non-native English speakers, from dropping out of school.

Monday, January 15
Somebody stole winter

The kids and government workers off today for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday can enjoy another strangely beautiful day in January. Not everyone digs it, however, including confused crocus, global warming experts and would-be skiers. Yesterday’s high temp: 71 degrees. The normal high temp: 44 degrees. And today’s is predicted to reach 70 degrees as well. Some experts say a particularly strong El Nino could be responsible for the low-70 degree balminess (and creepiness).

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, January 2
Show them the money

Local wine queen Patricia Kluge made the largest single gift ever to PVCC. Giving to community colleges is on the rise, reports The Roanoke Times.

Giving back to the ol’ alma mater isn’t restricted to four-year universities anymore, the Roanoke Times reports. Though their endowments look puny compared to large universities, community colleges are striving for more funding. The article notes the Kluge-Moses Foundation gift of $1.2 million to Piedmont Virginia Community College, the single largest gift ever to PVCC. The Kluge bucks went to a science center housing “lab space for biology, chemistry, microbiology and anatomy and physiology courses,” according to a press release, and trains students for work in the wine industry—where Kluge had invested heavily and could probably appreciate a well-trained workforce. While namesake gifts are certainly a notch on the belt for giver and receiver, sufficient general operating funds continue to elude PVCC and other community colleges statewide.

Wednesday, January 3
TJ’s Koran makes trip  to Congress

A Koran owned by Thomas Jefferson himself was used for Illinois Rep. Keith Ellison’s ceremonial swearing-in to Congress. Rep. Virgil Goode, Congressman for TJ’s Albemarle, has vowed no contact with any Koran, no matter how Jeffersonian.

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison—the guy who seriously pissed off Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode when he said he’d like his ceremonial swearing-in to be done on a Koran, not a Bible, and who was subsequently ruffled when Goode penned a xenophobic letter condemning Muslims in the United States—has scored a copy of the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson himself, The Washington Post reports today. Boo-yah! Ellison is borrowing the book from the rare book division of the Library of Congress—it’s an English translation circa 1750 by George Sale that has TJ’s trademark initialing on the pages. How’s that for what the Founding Fathers envisioned? Goode, who represents TJ’s native Albemarle, had no comment for the Post.

Thursday, January 4
Unemployment up, but not enough

The Virginia unemployment rate went up .1 percent to 2.8 percent for the month of November, according to a report released by the Virginia Employment Commission today. This was due to more job-seekers reporting they were searching for holiday employment in retail and other sectors. Still, excepting hard-hit areas like Danville, (which is represented in Congress by Virgil Goode, by the way) with 7.1 percent unemployment, the state jobless rate is still extremely low. Charlottesville’s unemployment was a miniscule 2.1 percent.

Friday, January 5
Protecting the F-bomb

“What the FCC happened to free speech?”

That’s what Creative Voices, a free speech media organization, demanded of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals at a hearing last month, according to the organization’s newsletter, released today. The Center for Creative Voices, headed by executive director and Charlottesville resident Jonathan Rintels, acted as an intervening party to a case alleging the FCC’s recent indecency decisions are unconstitutional. At the hearing, Carter Phillips, a lawyer for Fox, apparently for the purpose of airing what the FCC finds so profane, got things out in the open by dropping the F-bomb in front of judges, who threw it right back. Creative Voices is expecting the FCC’s restrictions to be overturned by the court.

Saturday, January 6
Local Bar backs two potential judges

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association has made its recommendations for a new circuit court judge to succeed Paul Peatross, The Daily Progress reports. Charlottesville General District Court Judge Robert H. Downer, Jr. and former County prosecutor Cheryl V. Higgins both nabbed the endorsement, though the Bar wouldn’t rate one over the other. Five other candidates were vying for the seat, including bow-tied Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos. Speculation says he could still be a favorite among a Republican General Assembly even without the Bar’s endorsement. The Bar will deliver its recommendations when the assembly convenes on Wednesday.

Sunday, January 7
A little celeb schadenfreude

Why do we love to watch so-called “train wreck girls”—i.e. Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Nicole Richie—careen over the cliff? UVA Professor John Portmann, author of When Bad Things Happen to Other People is quoted in the Washington Post Style section this weekend on just that topic. Why does it feel so good when Lindsay goes on another bender between AA meetings, Nicole drops below 90 pounds or Britney accidentally forgets to wear drawers? “Schadenfreude is not only envy,” Portmann says. “We’re really disappointed in them. …And we want to punish them. We believe that we wouldn’t slip up. We’d be really cool, we would have been elegant, always correct.” Yeah, being a celeb is tough, but…we still believe we’d do better than that trio of tragedy if we were in the spotlight.

Monday, January 8
Julia hearts Dave Matthews

Julia Roberts is pregnant again. Her baby soundtrack? Dave Matthews Band.

Julia Roberts is expecting her third child with husband Danny Moder, US Weekly reports in its new issue. Likely, the newest bundle of joy will get the same treatment as Roberts’ twins, now 2—DMB tunes in utero. Roberts appeared in Dave’s video for “Dreamgirl” in 2005 and is apparently a big enough fan to sing DMB songs to her unborn babies. Aww.

Other news we heard last week

Other news we heard last week

Tuesday, December 12

Bills the kid

Is there anything this kid can’t do? Among Brian Bills’ abilities are hobnobbing with politicos, generating an uncanny interest in current events among his peers and making us feel really inferior about our accomplishment.

The Virginia Department of Education announced yesterday that local wunderkind Brian Bills has been named to the Board of Education’s 2006-07 Student Advisory Committee. Bills was a “C-VILLE 20” this year for his work with the local group Young Democrats. Word has it the precocious teen’s got important local government folks ringing up his cell and that he’s rubbed elbows with Barack Obama. And he’s not even old enough to vote! The Charlottesville High Schooler (with a Day Runner that likely weighs eight pounds) will be one of 12 students from across the state to offer a students’ perspective on education issues to the board. Let’s hope the Board of Education has their coffee that morning, because, as local residents know, Bills ain’t got time to mess around.

Wednesday, December 13

The power of celebrity

Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall is flashing his famous mug for the cause of keeping ugly power lines from slicing through the Piedmont. The actor keeps a farm in Fauquier County.

Actor and Fauquier farm owner Robert Duvall lent his fame this week to an event organized by the Piedmont Environment Council against a proposed Dominion Virginia power line that would cut from West Virginia through the Piedmont to Loudoun County. The issue has Virginians all over the state—not just famous ones—feeling anxious over ugly power lines. The project would place 125′ electricity towers 1,000′ apart across four counties, the Fauquier Times-Democrat reports, and, Dominion claims, would bolster Northern Virginia’s energy supply and prevent blackouts. Fashion or function, people.

Thursday, December 14

Calling all identity thieves

The Daily Progress reports that a UVA teaching assistant accidentally sent a spreadsheet with 62 students’ Social Security numbers and class grades in an e-mail to that entire class. As embarrassing as the incident likely was for the guy who earned a C-minus, it’s also a glaring reminder that UVA’s use of students’ SSNs for almost every student activity is way un-kosher in the world of identity theft. UVA officials are furiously seeking an alternative to using SSNs and in the meantime, are urging professors to delete computer files with students’ information. Currently, 95 percent of UVA students use their SSN as their student ID number.

Friday, December 15

Who’s the creepy guy next-door?

Apparently, the gaps in Virginia’s sex-offender databank are international news. The International Herald-Tribune published an Associated Press story today detailing a recent development in Virginia’s plan to correct flaws in its sex-offender registry. When Charlottesville Police Captain J.E. “Chip” Harding discovered 125 local felons weren’t properly listed in the registry, he suspected there were larger problems with the system. Felons have been required to submit DNA samples in Virginia since 1989, but although Virginia has the most extensive databank (with 260,000 samples), officials estimate 20 percent—50,000 to 60,000 offenders—could be missing, and it’s not clear whether it’s been the duty of police departments or prisons to collect the data.

Saturday, December 16

Leitao takes a time-out on the naughty chair

Leitao has left the building: The UVA men’s basketball coach got ejected for arguing calls, but the Cavs still easily conquered Hampton in a 91-69 victory.

Maybe he had too many cups of coffee or maybe the distraction of the JPA’s new NBA-esq pomp and circumstance finally got under his skin or maybe it was the questionable offensive fouls called against the Cavs in the first half of the game that made UVA basketball coach Dave Leitao go berserk. Drawing two technical fouls for his outbursts, Leitao was ejected with four minutes and 43 seconds left in the first half. According to The Washington Post, the school believes this was the first coach ejection since Terry Holland’s in 1976. Leitao’s absence didn’t prove a factor, however, as the Cavs beat Hampton 91-69. Assistant Coach Rob Lanier obviously did a commendable job taking over command of the troops, but we’re not underestimating the power of a passionate coaching tantrum to energize the team. Remember Bobby Knight’s three NCAA championships?

Sunday, December 17

Grand ol’ rag

Apparently, Old Rag Loop, a seven-mile trip to the mountain’s 3,268′ summit in Shenandoah National Park, is one of the two best day hikes in Virginia. That’s according to the Reader’s Choice Awards in February 2007’s Backpacker magazine. So what if Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area, in the southwestern part of the state, got even bigger props (one of the country’s 10 best)? Ours is only an Old Rag, after all. We’ve had that mountain for simply ages.

Monday, December 18

Macaca man of the year

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. That’s what UVA senior Shekar Ramanuja Sidarth owes to being named as one of 15 citizens in Time magazine’s cover story “Power of the People” and Salon.com’s Person of the Year. In this case, the right place and time was being within eyeshot of Virginia senatorial candidate and former presidential hopeful-turned Tourette’s victim George Allen. In a comment heard ’round the world, Allen called Sidarth “macaca” and welcomed him to “America and the real world of Virginia.” Sidarth, a man of Indian descent who was raised in Virginia, was videotaping an Allen campaign event for Democratic challenger Jim Webb. Allen claims he didn’t know macaca was a term for a monkey or a racial epithet. No matter, Sidarth became a symbol for the implosion of the Allen campaign and a hero to Democrats and non-racists everywhere.

Other news we heard last week

Other news we heard last week

Tuesday, December 5


Percy Levar Walton, on death row for three brutal homicides, had his execution stayed this summer pending an investigation of his mental competence. Governor Tim Kaine’s office today announced that Walton has been found unfit for execution. People who are executed in the United States must be aware of “the punishment they are about to suffer and why they are to suffer it.” Walton is said to laugh and smile inappropriately, hear voices and apparently thinks his execution will bring his victims back to life. He will have another competency review in 18 months; if he is found fit, Walton could be executed on June 10, 2008.

Wednesday, December 6

General Assembly says: Lend on

Despite publicity about the evils of payday lending, a service that fronts loans of up to $500 at exorbitant interest rates, a General Assembly committee voted to preserve the practice in Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The House Commerce and Labor Committee voted down a measure 10-8 which would repeal the Payday Lending Act. Currently, lenders can charge up to 780 percent interest on short-term loans; a reform would have capped interest rates at 36 percent. Delegates determined to get rid of payday lending say they will reintroduce the measure in the 2007 session. Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds has said he would vote for stricter regulation of the payday loan industry.

Thursday, December 7

Rough airwaves

Newcomer CW network (known in Charlottesville as The CW29 on channel 17) is finding the market a little tougher than execs anticipated, USA Today reports. The network, a composite of the defunct WB and UPN, tried to up its appeal by adding shows like “America’s Next Top Model” to regulars like “Gilmore Girls” and “7th Heaven.” But, so far CW has had fewer viewers than either WB or UPN at this time last season. The network isn’t nervous yet—as the company builds its brand, ratings are slowly on their way up.

Friday, December 8

National honors for Waldorf

California-based Dwell magazine honored the Charlottesville Waldorf Foundation with its “Nice Modernist Award” for thoughtful and eco-friendly design at a ceremony in Los Angeles today. Local Waldorf leaders, engineers and the architect for the “Greenest School in America” project were there to accept the award on behalf of a building we still haven’t seen. The $6.1 million “Greenest School” project aims to construct the nation’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified elementary school off of Rio Road. Dwell also featured the “Greenest School” campaign with a two-page article in May, speaking to the power of a well-connected publicist.

Saturday, December 9

Fair is fair

On September 14, due to legal pressure from the conservative Christian legal group, Liberty Counsel, the Albemarle County School Board voted to allow religious fliers to be distributed in schools. Now, a Pagan group is likely making Liberty Counsel wish they’d stayed home with their New Testament. Local organization NatureSpirit earlier this month sent a flier through the schools advertising a Pagan ritual to celebrate Yule. The ceremony and educational session took place today at the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church on Rugby Road. Public reaction so far: religious conservatives gasp, super-liberals gloat, fans of strict church/state separation and schools where students can actually, um, study wish the School Board would just squelch fliers altogether.

Sunday, December 10

One dead in plane crash

A pilot is dead today after his small plane crashed into a wooded area about 2.5 miles east of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Airport, the Associated Press reports. The Richmond-Times Dispatch later reported the pilot to be 51-year-old Richmond cancer specialist Dr. Christopher Desch. Desch was trying to emergency land a 30-year-old, six-seat Piper Lance which belonged to the Wingnuts Flight Club of Chesterfield County Airport, of which Desch was a member. He had been cleared for landing at Charlottesville-Albemarle, and radioed in at about 1:30pm, saying he was having problems and the engine was off. Desch perished instantly when the plane crashed and burst into flames.

Monday, December 11

Who’s laughing now?

Tina Fey graduated from the UVA Drama Department in 1992 with a Midas touch­—the gal sinks her nails into projects and turns them into solid gold. In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Fey talks with Gavin Edwards about racing through the ranks to become the first female writing supervisor at “Saturday Night Live,” as well as the success of her latest show, “30 Rock,” which features Fey as head writer, producer and star on a program that mirrors her own life. Fey comments on Bill Clinton, castmate Alec Baldwin and the development of her writing career—yet makes no mention of returning to UVA in the near future. Young male intellectuals in town remain heartbroken.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, November 28

Bring on the bike shorts: The Tour of Shenandoah grows up and becomes the Tour of Virginia, upping its competitiveness and adding Charlottesville to its list of cities.

I want to ride my bicycle

For four years, the Tour of Shenandoah­ was billed as a development race for cyclists ages 25 and younger. Now, the race looks a bit more competitive. The Rocktown Daily News Record reports today that the newly dubbed Tour of Virginia “will branch out of the Valley into two new cities, Lynchburg and Charlottesville, and into the Allegheny Highlands.” This expansion means more attention from sponsors and USA Cycling, which added the Tour of Virginia to its National Race Calendar for 2007. The minimum budget for the 2007 tour is set at $125,000, which beats last year’s budget by $30,000. Drivers: Expect up to 150 Lycra-loving cyclicts to pedal through town in April.

Wednesday, November 29

Gray TV General Manager Roger Burchett has reason to smile—thanks for Comcast’s arrival, Charlottesville Newsplex stations will get better channel placement on stations 2,3,6 and 9, hopefully raising ratings and revenues.

Good news for newscasters

The Charlottesville Newsplex announced today a change that looks like an insignificant detail, but could have a huge effect on the local TV market: Its four stations will nab prime real estate (channels 2, 3, 6 and 9) when Comcast launches its new cable lineup in January. The positions should go a long way toward helping the stations grab viewers from the Richmond affiliates of ABC, CBS and Fox—a welcome break for the Newsplex, which recently contributed to its Atlanta-based parent company Gray Television Inc.’s 44 percent dip in third-quarter net income compared with the third quarter of 2005. Local couch potatoes have yet to comment.

Thursday, November 30

Road test failed

The UVA men’s basketball team has gotten off to a stellar start so far, knocking off then-No. 10-ranked Arizona at the snazzy new John Paul Jones Arena. But during their first game out of those cozy confines, UVA blew a late lead yesterday while playing at Purdue, losing after Purdue hit a floater with 0.7 seconds left for the final score, 61-59, leaving fans ready to whine about it today. Returning to the JPJ on Sunday, however, the team scored their first conference win of the year, 67-62, giving N.C. State its first loss of the season and making Wahoos happy.

Friday, December 1

Charges don’t fly

The website of former Albemarle High School student Chris Soghoian is back online and updated, and the FBI filed no charges against the academic for making a fake boarding pass generator. Soghoian, a computer science Ph.D. student at Indiana University, had his computers, passports and other possessions confiscated after the Feds found the boarding pass generator on the student’s website, slightparanoia.blog spot.com. Soghoian says he was trying to show that IDs should be checked at all airport checkpoints. While the FBI didn’t appreciate Soghoian’s, um, helpfulness, they couldn’t prove he had criminal intent. On his site, Soghoian wrote, “The Feds…fundamentally disagree with me on many subjects—the role that researchers, academics and common citizens take in studying, criticizing and pointing out the flaws in our security systems.” Yeah, man, the FBI can be so uptight.

Saturday, December 2

Plowed under

Maybe the UVA men’s soccer team got spoiled by the unseasonably warm weather in Charlottesville: Playing in St. Louis a day late because of snow, the Cavaliers got walloped today 4-0 by UCLA—a team they beat earlier in the year in a home game at Klockner Stadium. Still, the loss in the semifinals of the College Cup represents UVA’s best postseason showing since 1997.

Sunday, December 3

Blog about town

A Google alert today drew our attention to a blog post on Charlottesvillian Rob Hagy’s Family Law Blog. Hagy, a regular blogger himself, noted C-VILLE Weekly’s “Ask Ace” column about how many darn bloggers we have in Charlottesville. Bloggers blogging about Ace writing in C-VILLE about the profusion of bloggers blogging? Oh, how meta can it get?

Monday, December 4

What’s in the garage? Charlottesville radio group’s new station, 106.1 The Corner, adds garage rocker Steven Van Zandt’s radio show to local airwaves.

Nobody puts The Corner in the corner

“Different is good,” say the speakers when the dial stops at 106.1 FM. And Charlottesville’s “The Corner” may live up to that tag line with a new addition. According to a press release from Shore Fire Media, “Little Steven’s Underground Garage,” hosted by Little Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and HBO’s “The Sopranos,” plans to prove at 10pm tonight that different is loud, too. Van Zandt’s show brings classic and avant-garde rock to nearly 200 U.S. cities. The Corner is exactly where 106.1 is putting the radio market in Charlottesville: After the October, 2004, sale of the Charlottesville Radio Group, which includes WINA and 3WV, from Brad Eure to Detroit’s Saga Communications, the company got busy upgrading, redesigning WINA’s website, for instance, and adding Coy Barefoot’s progressive politics show.

Other news we heard last week

Other news we heard last week

Tuesday, November 21
Together forever

Old buddies Elton Brown (left) and Daryl Blackstock have played football together since their high school days. Now, the UVA football alums are struggling together in the NFL.

Former University of Virginia football players share an “aww” moment in Hampton Roads’ Daily Press today. Arizona Cardinals guard Elton Brown and linebacker Darryl Blackstock have played football together since their high school days in Newport News, and have been on the same NFL team together since signing in the 2005 draft. Once standout players at UVA, Brown and Blackstock have something else in common now: They’re both struggling for playing time in the NFL.

Wednesday, November 22
Moving along

Gas prices rose today due to an increase in holiday travel. Hundreds of Charlottesvillians truckin’ it to places like Atlanta, Charleston and Northern Virginia experienced average gas prices of $2.14 per gallon, which, while inconvenient, still beat the national average of $2.23.

Thursday, November 23
Trimming prices

Wal-Mart put the heat on grocery stores by strategically dropping prices on grocery items two days before Thanksgiving, according to a company press release. Though the release touts discounts of up to 20 percent as a way to help families get through the holidays, it’s actually a business strategy designed to turn around the giant retailer’s slumping sales, the Chicago Tribune reports. This season is the first time Wal-Mart has “rolled back” food prices, which will continue to scale down through December. Sales for the $312 billion corporation have been the worst in 10 years.

Friday, November 24
To the rescue!

Continuing her tireless quest to save the world from that most specific of bullies—the cyber bully—Miss Virginia Adrianna Sgarlata will travel 5,000 miles to schools and other venues as iSAFE’s national spokesperson to take a stand against Internet meanness, according to a Marketwire press release. “Thirty-two percent of students admit to sometimes saying something mean or hurtful online,” the release reads. “Bullies can extend this harassment to their victim’s home or mobile phone/device.” Thanks to Sgarlata’s efforts, now children everywhere will be well informed about how to use the little X at the top corner of their computer screens.

Saturday, November 25
Dashed hopes

Despite overly optimistic pregame analysis that said UVA had a chance at a bowl game, a 17-0 fall to Virginia Tech today shelved those dreams. Meeting the Hokies at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia’s offense gained only 112 yards against the Hokie defense, their fewest since 1980. The Wahoo defense held their own until a Jameel Sewell fumble at the 12 yard line set up a Virginia Tech touchdown. The sixth straight loss to Tech (10-2) left Virginia finishing out their spotty season 5-7, while Tech’s win makes them arguably the best team in the ACC—though early losses to Georgia Tech and Boston College will keep them out of the conference championship.

Sunday, November 26
Trumped seniority

Booted out by pesky term limits from the Senate Armed Services Committee, which he chaired, Virginia Senator John Warner is learning that seniority doesn’t pay in the new Senate. According to a Wall Street Journal Weekly Washington Wire, Warner will now position himself against Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma as ranking member of an environmental panel. Inhofe has used the term “brainwashing” to refer to environmentalist views of global warming. Warner is seen as more sympathetic to environmental issues, but it’s the “ranking member” part he might have trouble with. Senator Trent Lott, incoming majority whip, says Republican old school Warner may misunderstand the rules about seniority.

Monday, November 27
No more new homes?

An official in NoVa’s Prince William County has proposed a housing construction freeze for the area in hopes of easing major transportation issues, the Associated Press reports today. Could such an idea be imminent for our own fast-growing county? Prince William County has grown 72 percent over the last 15 years to 371,181 residents. According to the U.S. Census, Albemarle has grown about 33 percent in 15 years, to 90,717 people. Builders in NoVa have argued that a housing freeze would clamp down on commercial markets as well. In Albemarle, retail and commercial building has been growing rapidly. According to a study by Southern Environmental Law Center, the amount of retail space in the county grew to 5.4 million square feet from 3.7 square feet over the last 15 years, an increase of 46 percent. So, while we don’t have NoVa’s problems yet, we may be well on our way.

Other News We Heard Last Week

Other News We Heard Last Week

Tuesday, November 7

We are getting sleepy

Researchers at UVA discovered that jet-lagged mice die early, according to a study released in Current Biology today. Scientists subjected older mice to periods of light and darkness meant to imitate international travel. Apparently, erratic schedules and being damn sleepy (not to mention the stress of finding such tiny carry-on luggage!) caused mice to die untimely deaths. Does this mean coast-hopping humans are in for certain doom? That’s still up in the air.

Wednesday, November 8

Cups running over

And now this from The Embarrassment of Riches Department: more touristy love for Virginia wine. That’s right, no less a taste-setter than New York Magazine in its current issue recognizes the Commonwealth for its “excellent growing conditions, bucolic scenery, and a damn good Petit Verdot.” With recommendations that Empire State visitors bunk at the “elegantly lodge-ish Wintergreen Resort,” author Sara Cardace gives a shout-out to King Family Vineyards (Cab Franc); Oakencroft Vineyard & Winery (she liked the 2005 Viognier, saying it tastes “of banana”); Horton Vineyards (“easygoing”); and Barboursville Vineyards, where the “revered” 1998 Cab Sauvignon Reserve gets the love. Cheers!

Thursday, November 9

Income in a shade of Gray

Gray Television Inc, the Atlanta-based parent company of the Charlottesville Newsplex, saw third-quarter net income plummet 44 percent from the year-ago quarter, according to the Associated Press today. The reason? Higher operating expenses, which rose to $60.6 million from $49.8 million due to “expanded operations in the Charlottesville, Va., market,” along with acquisitions and expanded digital services. The 31-station operation, which locally includes CBS19, ABC16 and Fox27, saw its stock hit immediately by a 9-cent-per-share loss on the New York Stock Exchange.

Friday, November 10

Back offa Barber

Former UVA running back Tiki Barber has gotten flak from players, media and fans for planning to retire sans Super Bowl championship after his 10th season in pro football. Rick Reilly, in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, tells them to back off. Putting in gruesome terms the debilitating effects of a football career, Reilly writes, “Tiki Barber has his money, his memories and most of his cartilage.” Some players, like Dan Dierdorf, a 13-season lineman with the Cardinals who is two inches shorter than he was in high school from blocking with his head, or Jim Otto, a Hall of Famer who’s had 60 operations and is tortured by arthritis and rods down his spine, aren’t so lucky. Barber’s not quitting, Reilly contends. He’s just taking a pass on pain for the rest of his life.

Saturday, November 11

On the up and up

UVA had the highest overall tuition increase in 2006, the Sacramento State Hornet reports today in a piece about tuition increases curbing at other schools. The tuition increase at four-year public colleges overall was 6.3 percent. UVA students owe the honor to reduced contributions from the Commonwealth. UVA prioritizes keeping tuition lower for in-staters, so out-of-state students are hit the hardest.

Sunday, November 12

Sidarth speaks

Now that Virginia’s U.S. Senate race is history, one of its unwitting key players weighs in on the Commentary page of The Daily Progress. On August 11, UVA student S.R. Sidarth became the object of George Allen’s eyebrow-raising “macaca” gaffe while traveling with the Republican’s campaign as a tracker for Democratic opponent Jim Webb. Writes Sidarth, the racially tinged insult was a startling exception to the warm welcome he otherwise received from the senator’s campaign. But, he says, Allen’s assumption that Sidarth, a native Virginian, is an immigrant “underlines the problems our society still faces.”

Monday, November 13

All hail rail

Though independent U.S. Senate candidate Gail “For Rail” Parker may have been trounced in the recent election, the statewide conversation about light rail she hoped to spark appears to have some legs. Light rail’s environmental and urban-revitalization benefits will get an airing on Friday at the the Virginia Light Rail Symposium at the Science Museum of Virginia, according to today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch. Norfolk is currently getting set to spend $232 million on a 7.4-mile light-rail system, and Charlottesville is one of several other cities that occasionally toy with the idea. Still, the article quotes former Governor Gerald L. Baliles, who now heads UVA’s Miller Center for Public Affairs, saying that light rail is a supplement to—not a substitute for—more widespread modes of transportation.


Other news we heard last week

Other news we heard last week

Tuesday, October 31

Currying favor

The Curry School at UVA escaped the scathing admonishment of education schools in a Washington Post piece today, which reported on the shoddy state of ed programs across the country. David F. Labaree, an educational historian at Stanford, wrote in his book: “The ed school is the butt of jokes in the university, where professors portray it as an intellectual wasteland.” But, the piece excepts UVA’s Curry School, because it offers a five-year degree program with students teaching full-time their fifth year. One in 12 bachelor’s degrees awarded nationwide are in education, as are a quarter of master’s degrees, the article reports.

Wednesday, November 1

Sore lesson

Former Albemarle High School student and computer whiz Christopher Soghoian was picked up by the FBI late last week for creating a website that could produce fake Northwest Airlines boarding passes, The Washington Post reports today. The student wanted to expose a loophole in airline security—the passes were convincing enough to let a terrorist through security checkpoints, but not through the electronic scanners that allow passengers to board a plane. Soghoian’s house in Bloomington, Indiana, was searched and his computers were confiscated by the FBI and Transportation Security Administration. Soghoian graduated early from AHS and is currently a doctoral student at Indiana University’s School of Informatics.

Thursday, November 2

Curse of the Deamon Deacon

The UVA men’s soccer team has been on the verge of greatness all season long. The Cavaliers, ranked No. 3 nationally with a 14-3-1 record, advanced to the semifinals of the ACC tournament, after shutting out Clemson 2-0, thanks to goals by Adam Cristman and Yannick Reyering, and a shut-out from goalkeeper Ryan Burke. But in the semifinals, UVA ran into this year’s nemesis, Wake Forest. The Deamon Deacons beat the Cavs on their last game of the season and knocked them out during the semifinals in a game decided by penalty kicks. Despite the loss, UVA will likely earn a place in the NCAA tournament.

Friday, November 3


Larry Sabato released his “crystal ball” election predictions today, and it’s another thumbs up for a Democratic congressional takeover, WCAV-TV reports. “We edge this slightly to Webb because we have to pay attention to the last four surveys that have come out including one last night that have Webb up,” Sabato told the Charlottesville Newsplex. Sabato’s not the only one calling the tight congressional race for the Dems. Evans-Novak on Human Events Online, a conservative weekly journal, wrote that Senator George Allen has “gotten his own hands too dirty in what is by far the dirtiest Senate race of 2006.” The piece compared Allen’s tactics to those that led to the fall of Republican Jerry Kilgore to Tim Kaine in the 2005 gubernatoria