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Closing the gap
When Rose Atkins came to Charlottesville, she was surprised to see so many people in her office. She came from a place that had a lot more children than Charlottesville and was surprised to see the number of secretaries and workers in her office. So we could start there in eliminating some workers [“City fills $3 million gap in school budget,” March 6].

Also, the children in Charlottesville public schools are decreasing not increasing. If they have to count Charlottesville college kids that go here to increase their numbers so Richmond will send more money, then something is wrong with our system. In that same article, the Daily Progress reported that the school board wanted to entice families to move into the city so more children would go to city schools. Since our tax rate is .95 a hundred, compared with Albemarle County’s at .76 a hundred, I don’t think that is going to happen. Also many of the city students go to private schools.

Our graduation rate is very low in the public schools, and I don’t see a lot of new ideas. There was a reading program in the Washington Post (March 7, 2012 on p.B2) that offered a unique way of helping kids to improve their reading. It was called, “Reading program offers tutoring that helps both ways.” There are a lot of people out there trying to help kids and that includes our teachers. But I think Charlottesville is not very frugal, and they waste a lot of our money on non-essential items.

Carolyn J. Belt
Charlottesville

Metrics of ecology
In her article about recycling clothes hangars [“Plastic hangers (and other stuff you don’t need),” February 21] Rose Brown stated that plastic hangers were not easily recycled, and that “Metal hangers aren’t much more eco-friendly. The plastic coating that is applied to keep them from rusting also makes them difficult to recycle.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Per the Wikipedia page on “Ferrous Metal Recycling” and my own personal experience, steel coat hangers are one of the most “eco-friendly” and recyclable products we have in the home. When steel is recycled, scrap steel is placed in a furnace and heated to a temperature that melts the steel, about 2500 degrees. At that temperature, the plastic quickly goes away. Home appliances are also easily recycled, even those that are enamel coated. The enamel also melts, albeit at a much higher temperature than a plastic coating. Metals other than steel are unlikely to be used for hangers because of the cost, but most metals are easily recycled.

Ms. Brown advocates the use of recycled cardboard hangers. I have no firsthand knowledge of these hangers, but my guess would be that more energy is used and more pollutants are generated in the initial manufacture and the subsequent recycling of paper. Also note that if one purchased heavy guage metal hangers, they would easily last a lifetime.

That brings up a concern I have for any claim of a product being “eco-friendly” or recyclable—how is that measured? To properly evaluate any product, you should do a full mass and energy balance of the manufacture of the item, then do a life-cycle analysis of the product to the end of it’s life. For example, for either a plastic, cardboard, or metal clothes hanger, one should compare the cost of the raw materials that went into the item, the energy required to produce it, and the emissions generated during production. Then one should look at how the item is disposed of a the end of its life, to include energy required to destroy it, pollutants generated, or cost of land filling. None of this information is easy to acquire on something like a clothes hanger, and including it for hangers would increase the initial cost, but it is the only way to compare the options.

I enjoy the articles on sustainable living, but we need more accurate information.

G.P. Burdell
Albemarle County

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Sweet release

In regards to the recent publication of “The Sweetest Thing” [June 14], I would like to comment that I am in full agreement of the sugar ban. While I pack my child’s lunch daily with fresh fruits and vegetables and organic foods as much as possible, the appeal that cafeteria lunches be healthy and conscious for all is exciting.

There is much to outline on the subject of children eating healthy meals and snacks, not only for their ability to learn more peacefully and productively, but also for the unfortunate aspects of obesity and ADD and ADHD. If we, as a community, strive to be different and make changes, don’t these start with the children we know will be our leaders in the future? If there is continued negativity towards the necessity of change as quoted by Barbara Yager, “I don’t think it’s possible to limit sugar”, then we have a problem. My child sometimes exits the bus with candy as a “reward” for good behavior while on the bus, yet she can’t handle sugar. It makes her depressed and extremely emotional, and as her parent I have witnessed this even with a simple apple juice with sweetener.

For all children and even adults, our bodies aren’t meant to break down the massive amounts of sugar that we give it on a daily basis. I would love to see this become not just a mentionable item in discussion, but something that comes to fruition. Thanks for reading. You have my support in your endeavors Ivana Kadija. To all the children…Be well!

 
Amy Ferguson
Charlottesville
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In Kluge’s defense

J. Tobias Beard reports on Patricia Kluge’s failed wine business in the story “Patricia Kluge: Her fruitless bid for wine royalty” [May 24]. As one proceeds to read the story, however, one realizes that it is not about Patricia Kluge’s failed business venture at all; it is all about the contempt the writer feels for Kluge.

Tobias Beard refers to Kluge as someone that was looking to “rid her of her reputation as nothing but a strumpet-turned-gold digger extraordinaire.” What is a strumpet anyway? I had to look that one up. And, so, what he is saying is that Kluge is nothing but a prostitute and then continues to harness just about every sexist stereotype to annihilate and to strip Kluge of her humanity. He finds her so vile that one wonders what it is that triggers his irrational rage. Does he personally know her and does he have an axe to grind? Or is he just enraged by this Uppity Woman? What is her crime? It is so over the top, you’d think she was a mass murderer. As far as I can gather, her crime was to try to bring prestige to Virginia wines.

There is a timeline included with the article and Kluge’s honorable initiatives such as starting the Virginia Film Festival, helping to save the Paramount from demolition and establishing the Kluge’s Children’s Rehabilitation Center are not included. In fact, nothing sympathetic to Kluge is mentioned. The writer does, however, alert us to the fact that Kluge wore white when she married her late second husband (How dare she wear white when she is not a virgin!).

Why would the writer, who so hates Kluge, want to write about her? Which brings me to the bigger question: Why do the editors at C-VILLE think publishing an unbalanced hate-filled diatribe have any value whatsoever? Furthermore, you must be aware that sexist stereotypes, like racist stereotypes, are destructive and dangerous in our society. So, please be more vigilant and refrain from publishing these types of unjust and discriminatory narratives.

 
Anneke Bastiaan
Charlottesville

You had your say on c-ville.com:

From “Blood money,” a June 7 story about a new Charlottesville health center

Science Over Politics: “Only in the insane partisan world of C-Ville could Paul Ryan get blamed for preterm births in Fifeville. What Brendan Fitzgerald is hoping you are ignorant of is that the $600,000 cut in Community Health Centers happened at the same time that Planned parenthood got another $336,000 of our tax money despite being a “non profit” that profits about $75 million a year. They can then funnel that money back into political campaigns, you see. Community health Centers perform mammograms. Planned Parenthood does not. Cecille Richards lied about that. Planned parenthood CAUSES preterm birth and low birth weight every day – by performing infant mortality on their older brothers and sisters. African Americans have far higher abortion rates than other groups in the USA. Thus, they have far higher rates of preterm birth and low birth weight and birth defects. This is the science that C-Ville weekly will never tell you. They don’t care about children. they don’t care about black children. They don’t care about anything but their cruel and selfish political agenda. That’s why they continuously write garbage like this.”

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Keep digging 

Canzi and Fitzgerald’s excellent review and photos of UVA’s architectural history [“‘Jeffersonian’ quest,” May 17] was a delightful, but limited, exposé of Charlottesville’s primary real estate holder and employer. While I trust that the writers are being factually true to someone’s history of each significant UVA structure mentioned, I think that one or two of their titles for the segmentation of the timeline (of construction) are somewhat misleading. I am referring to the prefatory phrases “Baby steps off the lawn” for Brooks Hall, and “Tampering with Jefferson’s Vision” for Cabell, Cocke and Rouss Halls.

Architectural history that I read while living in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, explained why Yale’s squat, red-bricked Peabody Museum of Natural history looks like a structure belonging to the UVA campus, and why UVA’s soaring, dark-stoned Brooks Hall looks like a structure belonging to Yale’s campus. Simple reason. Because that’s where they belong.

The UVA architectural plans and the Yale architectural plans got mixed up in Stanford White’s architectural firm in New York City while White (1853-1906) was paying less attention to business and more attention to a young, married woman whose husband ultimately killed him (i.e. White), a dramatic event portrayed in the movie Ragtime. If this mix-up is the “real facts” behind Brooks Hall being what it is and where it is, architecturally speaking, then Brooks Hall definitely belongs under the timeline segment title “Tampering with Jefferson’s vision”, or, alternatively, under a re-write of the segment title “Baby steps off the lawn.” May I suggest the title “Unwanted baby near the Lawn,” or “Strange body under the lawn”, or something like that.

Whatever the change, and I know writers and editors must consider community sensitivities, the ideal of the fifth estate still applies: to communicate accurately the processes of continuation (tradition), growth (reform), and corruption (power mongering) with historical tags that fit the facts (veracity), shared facts being the real basis of an academic village, fancy buildings notwithstanding.

Jefferson and White were both brilliant men with a similar history of miss-calculations and collisions with other people’s social agendas. All the more reason to follow the facts to bedrock. With the items I have focused on, I don’t think this article is there yet. A fine piece of research and writing nonetheless.

Clay Moldenhauer
Charlottesville

Flattery files

I am visiting for a few days in Charlottesville and by chance picked up the latest issue of C-VILLE.

Wanted Mr. Beard to know that I was thrilled with your writing of the article on the ex-Mrs.Kluge [“Wine in the time of poverty,” May 24]. I live in San Francisco and my interest in the subject was mild at best but the quality of your writing was quite exceptional.

I have had a long career in media and content and am nearly finished with my 1,000 page memoir so I believe I have a learned eye for excellent expression—which you have clearly demonstrated. In fact, as a long-time reader of Vanity Fair I think your article would fit in that publication quite comfortably.

J. William Grimes
San Francisco

CORRECTION

Due to a reporting error, last week’s feature story, “Wine in the time of poverty,” flubbed a quote from Ernest Hemingway—the work, context and precise wording. Hemingway wrote a scene in The Sun Also Rises in which one character asks another how he went bankrupt: “Gradually,” he replies, “then suddenly.” The article misattributed the quote to For Whom the Bell Tolls, incorrectly stated that it was in reference to the 1929 stock market crash, and altered it to “Slowly, and then all at once.” Also, in the same article, we failed to catch a misspelling of “ark” in a pull-quote.

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Land preserver

I appreciated your article on the ACE program and am writing to say I strongly support ACE and its efforts to preserve rural land. Rural land is a prime asset to Albemarle and while the initial benfits of preserving it may be less clear than those of some other programs in the near term, the long term benfits to the county’s health are huge. I would support efforts to increase ACE funding even at the expense of other programs if necessary.

Benjamin Brewster
Charlottesville

Correction

Due to a reporting error, an April 26 feature article, “Profiles in Homeschooling,” incorrectly asserted that parents who belong to Albemarle Christian Teaching Support, Inc. must sign a statement of faith. In fact, they only must “respect” it.

 

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Assault on some gun facts
It is amazing how many ways that Dan Catalano can be misleading or wrong in “Gun Crazy” (Odd Dominion, January 25). Just to even things up a bit I’d like to slip in a few facts and a couple observations. Fact #1: California is also in the Top 10 states that supplies guns used in out-of-state crimes. Calling California gun control laws tight is a serious understatement but their guns somehow find their way out of state. Fact #2: There are no unlicensed gun show dealers, period. There are private individuals selling a gun or two at a gun show just like they could at their house. Fact #3: The Virginia Citizens Defense League does vigorously promote gun rights for people who can legally own them. Fact #4: The reason why he’s on the losing side of gun control is it just doesn’t work. Nowhere has gun control lowered crime over what it was when enacted.

Observation #1: Concerning the young man who “almost shot” the wrong person, what Mr Catalano left out was that wrong person he mentioned was holding the pistol used and standing in the middle of a bunch of people who had just been shot. Ask any police officer about that situation and you’ll find them as surprised as I am that the person holding the gun didn’t get shot. When the police or anyone else show up at a murder scene you really don’t want to be the one holding a gun standing over the bodies. Observation #2: Gun laws have been getting more relaxed over the past 20 years. More people than ever legally carry a concealed weapon and tens of millions more guns have been sold. During this same period violent crime has dropped by about 50 percent. According to gun control enthusiasts, this just can’t be. Observation #3: I personally think the individual with an AR-15 at lobby day was being stupid. In your face actions like that don’t help whatever cause you support no matter how legal.

In ending, Mr Catalano should be happy to know that he already lives in his utopia. People with documented mental problems are prohibited from owning firearms. The mad man in Tucson had been noted as seeming to have mental issues, but the legal action requiring treatment was never done. Without that legal action, he wouldn’t show up in any background check. With rare exceptions, only the police can have have assault weapons. Assault weapons are by definition capable of full automatic firing—one trigger pull and the gun keeps shooting. They have been illegal, with those exceptions, since the National Firearms Act of 1934. Legally owned full automatic weapons are not used in crime in America.

Brian Weidman
Charlottesville

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Big box, big impact
Erika Howsare: I appreciated your “mea culpa” in the “Green Living” column of December 28, about the US29 North corridor.

The US29 North Corridor is in fact our region’s main commercial boulevard, all pluses and minuses aside. Shopping local is indeed a great idea as many of our local area businesses are home-grown and family-run and they offer a whole different menu and feel for consumers. The big national stores are also very important—as along with the known commodities they offer they provide thousands of jobs to our neighbors. Walmart, the biggest of them all, employs more than 1,500 of our neighbors in our region. They are, in fact, the largest business employer in Greater Charlottesville and besides sustaining employment and generating substantial local and state tax revenues, they contribute mightily to many area charities and initiatives.

But back to US29 north in particular. “Workplace 29,” a comprehensive report done in 2007 for the North Charlottesville Business Council of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce by the Free Enterprise Forum, described an astounding economic and fiscal impact of the US29 North Corridor, in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. Among the “Workplace 29” report findings are; the US29 corridor:
• supports 20,000 jobs that provide more than $800 million in salaries alone each year;
• generates 45 percent of Albemarle County’s total annual local tax revenue, at an annual $24,700 per acre rate, more than 70 times greater than the county-wide average rate of $355 per acre; and,
• receives less than $1 million annually from Albemarle County in non-school capital improvements.

Our Chamber tracks retail activity, in and near our region, on an ongoing basis. Here’s another number: Retail activity, not including auto sales, amounts to more than $2 billion a year in Albemarle and Charlottesville. That’s a strong foundation for a lot of jobs, thousands, and built by private investment.

I trust you have had a happy holiday season. We did in our city home. We bought a few things online (LL Bean, Amazon, etc.) but overwhelmingly bought our gifts from small, medium and large stores, family-owned, national chain businesses, all of whom employ our neighbors and add vitality to our community, in Downtown, Barracks Road, up US29, here in Greater Charlottesville—all Chamber members of course!

Tim Hulbert
CEO, Charlottesville Regional Chamber
of Commerce

Deer done right
My husband is an avid hunter and believes in only killing animals that he intends to eat. Our family, my husband, myself and our 8-year-old daughter love venison [“Oh deer, now what?” Green Living, December 7]. It is one of the leanest meats you will ever eat. I have found that adding a touch of vinegar (red wine, cider or balsamic) to any recipe using venison improves the taste and removes some of the “game-y” flavor that often disturbs people. This is one of our absolute favorite venison recipes!

Cider Venison Stew over White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs. butter
2 pounds venison (cut into cubes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups frozen peas
6 tbs. flour
2 cups good quality apple cider
1/2 cup organic low sodium beef stock
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 pounds red potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp. butter
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Season the venison with salt and pepper and add to pot. Brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Add onions, carrots, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add flour, stir to combine and coat. Add the apple cider, beef stock and vinegar, stir to combine. Add frozen peas. Bring to a boil. Remove from top of stove, cover and place in the oven for 1-1 1/2 hours.

About 45 minutes after placing the venison in the oven, place potatoes in a large saucepot, cover with water by at least 1-2 inches and place over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, add some salt and cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.

Once the potatoes are tender, drain and return to the pot. Add the milk, butter, and the cheese. Smash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reserve until you are ready to serve.

When the beef is done, remove from the oven. To serve, place a spoonful of potatoes in a wide serving bowl. Make a well in the middle of the potatoes and spoon the beef into the center.

Nickie Schoolcraft
Charlottesville

What the frack?
In response to “Hydrofracking causes forest fracas” in the November 9 issue, first of all, Virginia’s George Washington National Forest is a treasure worth all the protection it can get. One million acres sounds like a lot, but it is a small but very important part of the state. If the U.S. Forest Service is to live up to its name, then it must serve what is best for the overall health and protection of our National Forest. If the natural resources of the GWNF are not cared for and nurtured properly, there will be lasting negative effects for not only the plants and animals that live there but for much of the state itself. Probably the largest continuous forest in the state, GWNF provides many benefits. Providing clean water is the obvious one, but there are others as well. Recreation, scientific studies on plants and animals and just sheer beauty of the land do not sound all that important but it would be hard to imagine visiting the National Forest only to see commercial development. I visited there a few years ago and witnessed some logging going on and it was very disappointing to see the destruction it causes. I realize the trees will regenerate, but something in the land will be lost permanently. As Sarah Francisco and David Hannah alluded to, extensive logging, which requires more roads, will damage the ecosystem of the Forest and will not be a pleasant sight for visitors who visit the Forest for recreation and nature. More logging, drilling and hydrofracking will put undue strain on probably the only quantity of forest left in the Southeast. As Hannah stated, hydrofracking uses a tremendous amount of water, and unknown chemicals are used in the water in the drilling process, which creates potential harm to the drinking water. The GWNF is a great watershed that supplied drinking water to about 250,000. If the Forest Service allows industries to have their way and purge the GWNF, it will be doing the GWNF, citizens, plants and animals a great disservice.

I see the great disruption and destruction of the ecosystem on our beautiful forest due to overuse mentioned in the article as the greatest threat facing our GWNF. It is definitely a treasure worth preserving as pristine as possible. If the U.S. Forest Service really cares about our forest, then they should be willing to support the health of the forest so it will flourish intact for generations to come.

Do Virginians want a place to enjoy nature, camping and viewing wildlife or for viewing commercial energy corporations throughout the forest? It is my hope and for our grndchildren that Virginians choose nature.

Donna Malvin
Williamsburg, Virginia

 

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Abortion is risky

I am glad that Ms. Daugherty and the women she interviewed were unharmed by their abortions [“Cuccinelli versus women’s health?” Opinion, Sept. 21]. Sadly, not all women share that experience.

Like all surgeries, abortion poses serious risks. These include excessive bleeding, puncture of the uterus, infection, and (rarely) maternal death. Abortion facilities which are ill-equipped to handle the complications signif-
icantly increase the danger to women’s health. 

Earlier this month, Dr. Rapin Osathanondh plead guilty to manslaughter in the botched abortion death of 22-year-old Laura Smith. His abortion office lacked resuscitation equipment, and Osathanondh failed to monitor Smith’s vital signs. The Virginia Board of Health has not only the right, but the duty, to ensure that this type of incident does not happen in our state.

Abortion proponents would sacrifice women like Laura Smith at the altar of “access.” For this, they should be stripped of any feminist credentials.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, abortion is not your only choice. Call 1-800-395-HELP (x4357) for a local referral to an ob/gyn who complies with commonsense safety measures.

Kelsey Hazzard

Charlottesville

 

In the joint

In response to “Roll with it” [March 9], I thought it would be relevant to inform you that I am writing this letter as a 21-year-old inmate at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

On April 27, I was sentenced to five years and six months for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, even though the manner that my three ounces was packaged did not imply distribution. Five years of my sentence was suspended on the terms I serve six months, complete three years probation and behave myself for five years after my release.

Distribution charges are classified by weight and the category I fall into covers weights between a half ounce and five pounds. For reference, a half ounce of Mexican origin pot has a street value of $75 in Charlottesville. Five pounds of high quality, British Columbia origin pot is worth at least $20,000. That’s a heck of a category.

A lot of inmates are here for pot, and it’s not helping the overcrowding problem. It’s so crowded that it took two days of repeatedly asking before the guards could find me a blanket. An inmate who was burned working in the kitchen had to sit in a waiting room for half an hour with me before the nurse could see him.

Needless to say, legalizing pot would save a lot of problems in the Commonwealth’s justice and custodial systems. Personally, I think our rights were violated when pot, alcohol and other psychoactives became punishable by jail.

Although I think attitudes in Virginia, and especially Albemarle/Charlottesville, are changing, I don’t think the county would be “ready” to legalize if it were put to a vote today.

Jordan McNeish

Charlottesville

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Trash talk

 

Tom “two-faced” Frederick says in “The Waste Land” [Sept. 14], “we never have and never will compete with private companies.” I guess he’s forgotten his long legal battle, paid by taxpayers, to put private companies out of business. I don’t know if McIntire and Ivy should be closed, but I sure know that Frederick should be closed permanently. Hopefully he will be recycled.

Derek Oppen

Ivy

WTF, AG?

 

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s attempts to shine a spotlight on the science of climate change have instead shone a spotlight on the Attorney General’s office, and found it to be both incompetent and wasteful of taxpayers’ funds [Headlines from c-ville.com, Sept. 7]

On August 30th, Judge Peatross issued his opinion on the University of Virginia’s petition to set aside the two Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) issued to it by the Attorney General’s office in relation to five research grants awarded to former UVA professor Dr Michael Mann.

The CIDs were issued under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA), which relates only to fraudulent claims for Commonwealth funds. Of the five grants in question, four were awarded by federal agencies disbursing federal funds. This was clear from the source the AG’s office used to identify the grants, namely Dr. Mann’s curriculum vitae, so including the four of them in the CIDs looks legally shoddy. 

Then, at the hearing before Judge Peatross, there was more shoddiness. Deputy AG Russell was unable to detail what fraud had been perpetrated, leading the judge to rule that Cuccinelli’s office had failed to meet the requirement under FATA of defining the nature of the conduct constituting the alleged violation. In these times of budget stringency, having state lawyers appear before judges unprepared is unacceptable.

Following the judge’s ruling, any new CIDs can involve at best only one of the five grants, for $215,000. Even that is questionable, since the grant was issued in 2001, and Judge Peatross ruled that any new CID has to relate to acts to obtain funds only after FATA came into effect, which was January 1, 2003.

Two questions for AG Cuccinelli: 1), at what point will you have spent more taxpayers’ money in pursuing Dr. Mann than you can possibly hope to recover from him? 2), wouldn’t it make more sense for your spotlight regarding misuse of Commonwealth funds to be directed at Northrop Grumman and their $2.4 billion computer contract, which has spectacularly failed to deliver dependable service to our state government?

Heather Rowland

Charlottesville

 

 

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 Call for impartial VQR investigation

We are writing in response to the recent tragic events at the Virginia Quarterly Review [“Following colleague’s suicide, is Ted Genoways out of VQR?” UVA News, August 10]. The suicide of Mr. Kevin Morrissey, the managing editor of the magazine, has been painful and heartrending for all who knew him. We mourn his passing and would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Kevin’s service at the magazine was always valuable and productive, despite his lifelong battle with depression. Sadly, on July 30th he made his final and irrevocable choice—a choice we all wish could have been different.

The tragedy of Kevin Morrissey’s death has also affected the wider community of VQR. Unable to explain his decision and often guided by their own personal agendas, several individuals related to the case have rushed to conclusions, accusing the editor-in-chief, Ted Genoways, of workplace bullying. Unfortunately, speculative accounts and egregious errors have already found their way into mainstream media outlets, which have been all too eager to generate news without carefully investigating the matter. Suicide is a difficult and complex issue, requiring sensitive analysis. It is easy to assign blame, but truth demands more than opinions and spontaneous emotion. Both Mr. Morrissey and Mr. Genoways deserve better.

All of the undersigned are contributors to the Virginia Quarterly Review. In our many dealings with Ted Genoways, we have found him to be professional, tactful, and respectful. Under his expert management, and thanks to his excellent interpersonal and communication skills, VQR attracted a loyal community of writers and journalists, of which we are proudly a part. Genoways is the person who turned a previously small and obscure literary quarterly into one of the leading US journals, a winner of the most prestigious national awards and a true model for innovative journalism. We find it deeply disturbing that the journalistic standards to which we and VQR are committed have not been applied in coverage of these tragic events. We emphatically believe that Genoways and Morrissey deserve a full and impartial investigation from the University of Virginia.

Daniel Alarcón
David Baker
Tom Bissell
David Caplan
Jesse Dukes
Ed Folsom
Roberto (Bear) Guerra
Ruxandra Guidi
Helon Habila
Jennifer Haigh
Clara Jeffery
Dimiter Kenarov
Adam Kirsch
Jori Lewis
Rodrigo Llano
William Logan
Christopher Merrill
David J. Morris
Jason Motlagh
Annie Murphy
Lygia Navarro
Patrick Phillips
Matthew Power
Delphine Schrank
Alan Shapiro
Neil Shea
Natasha Trethewey
Brian Turner
Lawrence Weschler
Elliott D. Woods

 

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A bird in the hand…

Am I willing to kill my dinner with my own hands [“Meet the new neighbor,” Green Living, August 10]? I absolutely am and definitely have. I’ve also killed quite a few other people’s dinners for them as well. My boyfriend Joel and I own/operate Free Union Grass Farm in Free Union, and we raise pastured poultry, grass-fed beef, and free-range eggs. This is our first year in production and after the season is through, we’ll have raised and butchered about 1,200 of our birds, plus some custom butchering for other people like Christy Baker who’ve found surprise roosters or have spent laying hens. 

I worked as an intern at Polyface Farm last year and over the course of my time there, processed about 30,000 birds by hand with a small team of other interns and apprentices. My boyfriend started raising chickens last year and butchered all of his 400 birds solo. We butcher here on our farm, which is legal as long as you’re doing under 20,000 birds. We both actually enjoy processing ourselves…having gotten so used to it by now, we can concentrate on being really clean and efficient without being squeamish. 

Feel free to check out our website, www.freeuniongrassfarm.com for more about us and what we do. Thanks for the article!

Erica Hellen
Free Union Grass Farm

Homeless is where the heart is

 

Cathy Harding: Thank you for this week’s editorial comment regarding the city and the homeless people [Read this First, August 10]. I worked with homeless people and realized one thing: There but for the grace of the universe, go I. Having been evicted as a child onto the sidewalk, I can emphasize with these people. I also worked at the Methadone clinic here in town and learned a lot about people, both rich and famous and poor and infamous. 

I’m glad to hear your compassionate message to people, too many people in this town are selfish, elitist, uncaring, cheap, and think they are perfect, we both know they are not. I liked your thought about two gay people kissing or holding hands on the Mall. Good point. I also appreciate your thoughts on diversity, and that means all people in all situations. 

I occasionally give money to people on the Mall and am glad I do. Like I told my friend Kaitlyn, a dollar will not buy a lot of cocaine or pot or alcohol and not a pack of cigarettes. 

I own a townhouse in this city and I pay city taxes and I resent people using my tax dollars to harass homeless people. If they are homeless by choice or by circumstance, does it matter? 

I have taken homeless people into my home on occasion and will do it again. 

Having been poor, homeless and hungry, I know how painful it can be to be even seen by other people.

Thank you for your wise and compassionate messages to the readers of the C-VILLE.

Joe McCloskey
Charlottesville

 

 

 

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Will work for change

 

I’m writing in response to your cover story, “Asking For Change” [July 20]. I was disturbed by the comments of business owners and citizens. One business owner said, “We’re watching guys and women…who are quite capable of working…but they choose panhandling instead.” He believes the culprit in the increase of homeless on the mall is The Haven, a TJACH shelter.

The assumptions underlying these comments are particularly troubling because I know they’re not uncommon, as evidenced by some of the ignorant responses to this article, which citizens made on your website. People often assume they can look at someone and determine whether they’re “capable of working.” While I’m certain that some of the Mall business owners have a trained medical eye, there are some conditions that might escape them. Perhaps someone has a physical handicap that isn’t readily noticeable, or a mental handicap, which definitely isn’t easy to discern at a glance. There are many scenarios which might prevent someone from working. One might also consider that homelessness itself is a handicap when seeking employment. Have you ever tried to get a job when you have no address or can’t bathe? Meanwhile, we’re seeing the dwindling of public and private resources, which formerly provided needy folks with assistance. It doesn’t surprise me that the homeless population and panhandling seem to be increasing, but The Haven is not to blame for this. It’s an unfortunate scenario being played out in communities across this country. 

There’s also the assumption that, if someone is capable, there’s actually a job to be found. We’re all aware of the horrible financial situation in this country—unemployment abounds and thousands of Americans are living one paycheck away from financial ruin. If that paycheck doesn’t come for whatever reason, they could easily find themselves panhandling to survive. Perhaps their job gets downsized, or their employer goes bankrupt, or the area where they, and generations of their family, have earned a living is paralyzed by an oil spill or natural disaster (it could happen, right?). Victims of these circumstances are people like you and me, who’re suddenly forced into a role that requires them to do whatever is necessary for survival. They haven’t chosen this, it has “chosen” them. If someone believes these folks are “capable of working,” offer them a job. Don’t belittle them for circumstances you know nothing about. 

I confess that homeless people make me uncomfortable too and I think this is a very human response. But I’ve tried to determine what IN ME creates this discomfort. The truth is I’m someone who could be just one paycheck away from ruin, so I think my response is partially due to a sense of “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” However, there’s a larger issue that isn’t adequately explained by my personal demons. I live in a society that pushes the uncomfortable away, so we’re no longer confronted by it. Unlike millions of people in the world, we don’t slaughter our own food, care for our own sick, prepare and bury our own dead, or even deal with our own garbage. We’ve removed ourselves from the awkward and painful; disconnected ourselves from the stark realities of life. We’re so far removed that we’re disturbed, even resentful, when we have it thrust in our faces. If we’re honest with ourselves, maybe it’s this factor which underlies the negativity felt toward the homeless.

So what do we do about the homeless? Do we emulate Orlando, where Food Not Bombs is spending precious resources fighting the city for the legal right to feed them? Or do we respond like Boulder and start issuing tickets to the homeless for “illegal camping,” like they went to Jellystone and just forgot to get a permit? Aren’t we better than that? We could continue to indulge our discomfort and push the homeless farther from our sight and consciousness because they disturb us, or we can choose to do something constructive, like supporting TJACH’s efforts. 

The Haven provides food, resources, and hope to the less fortunate in our community. They deserve our gratitude for doing what many of us won’t or can’t do—creating real change in the world, offering resources instead of judgment. It’s easy to judge or turn a blind eye, far more difficult to confront our own ignorance and prejudice, and create positive change. If you’re not interested in the latter, please don’t criticize those who are working hard to achieve it. 

T. Hodges

Charlottesville

Wheel world

 

As I was traveling home on a recent Thursday evening down West Main Street [“Biker beware,” July 6]. I was struck by a taxi while riding my bicycle. I was riding east bound and traveling about the same speed as the traffic. I was in the bike lane and had just passed the ABC store approaching Zinc. I always keep my eyes right as I am aware of car doors opening and cars approaching from the rear. As I entered the intersection of West Main and Fifth Street a car driving west bound turned left onto Fifth Street. In a split second he crossed the lane and hit me. I yelled loudly at the moment of impact. I came to a stop still on my bike. My heart rate was around 200 bpm but I was fine and the bike was O.K. too.

My bike had silver paint and a scratch from the taxi on the rear skewer. My rear brakes needed to be adjusted otherwise no real damage.There were several witnesses to the accident. Several people spoke to me to see if I was alright which I was. I looked for the taxi driver but the witnesses said he had fled the scene. Then some fellow came from across the street and proceeded to tell me it was my fault. He said that I was at fault for not being careful enough and going too fast. He said I should have been paying better attention and should have seen him coming. Now, I was very upset at the guy and said some things that maybe I should not have said but I maintained that I had the right of way and was in a bike lane obeying the speed limit. If I don’t have the right of way in that situation then when do I have the right of way. Is he correct? I feel that this guy was not paying attention and crossed the lane and hit me.

I left the area without calling the police and headed home. I was upset but not hurt. I think I was so angry at the fellow who said I was at fault I just decided to drop the whole thing. I’m writing this letter today to say that I was very lucky. No matter how much experience you have at riding—and I have been on two wheels for over 40 years off road and on road—West Main Street is a dangerous place to bike. Keep your head up and eyes open.

Mike Goodman

Charlottesville

 

 

 

 

 

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Auto focus

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the safest way for a cyclist to survive in traffic is to behave as a car would [“Whose lane is it, anyway?” July 6]. As a 15-year bike messenger in Manhattan, I had almost all my accidents as a rookie. Then I learned that bike lanes are very dangerous for the reasons described in your article: Car doors open in the lanes and vehicles cut off cyclists to make turns. Both situations can be fatal. If you are in the actual traffic lane behind a truck about to turn, you either pass the truck on the left or wait for it to complete the turn, just as you would in a car. The bike lane tends to give a false sense of security to the cyclists in it. They are somewhat oblivious to the motor vehicles on their left just as these motor vehicles are oblivious to them.

A problem occurs when the cyclist cannot approach the speed of traffic. In my messenger days, I would usually go faster than the cars in midtown and I would ride as near the center of the avenues as my speed would warrant. Novice cyclists often can’t maintain even 15 miles an hour and would slow down traffic if they drove their bikes as they drove their cars. (An aside, one clearly “drives” a bike with muscle power while one just as clearly “rides” in a car driven by a motor. Why then, do we say we ride a bike and drive a car?).

The solution to this problem is for the cyclist to always consider himself as part of the traffic flow and to take the space beside them, away from the bike lane, when sensing a motor vehicle is about to turn in front of them. I always, always, always keep at least a door’s distance from any parked car because they will, yes they will, open their door right on you. You can’t give them the chance, keep a door’s distance.

Even more dangerous than bike lanes for cyclists is riding on the sidewalk. Motorists making turns into driveways, in the city and elsewhere, might register pedestrians, but they are not expecting a 15 mph cyclist hidden from traffic by parked cars. If you feel that the sidewalk is the only safe place to be, walk your bicycle on the sidewalk until conditions become safer. There is never a reason for anyone over 10 to ride a bike on the sidewalk.

The idea is to be alert, visible, and predictable. This means no earphones on the bikes and no telephones in the cars. Having learned to drive and cycle in Manhattan, I am always amazed how cavalierly Virginians regard driving anywhere and cycling in town. If you realize you can be killed or maimed at any moment, you will ride/drive safely.

The very safest bike lanes are those that physically separate bikes and cars. The painted bike lanes at least give a section of road to the cyclist, but the cyclist can never relax while sharing the road with cars.

Phil McDonald
Charlottesville

Out, weed, out!

Erika Howsare: Don’t give up the fight against Ailanthus [“The garden’s commance,” Green Living, July 6]. It is a scourge. It is an aggressive and destructive invasive alien species and we should do all we can to keep it out of our yards and woods. Think about it as a weed, and think about how often we weed the same rows of vegetables or flower beds in a season. Pull those baby trees, cut the larger ones, before they set seeds if possible. Yes, Ailanthus will sprout; so, go out there and cut the sprouts a couple times a year. That’s less often than you weed your garden. Keep at it and you will prevail. By the way, it does make good firewood and does not stink up the house when you use it. I agree with your reluctance to use Roundup, though I have used it to paint stumps on occasion when distant from open water or direct drainage. Use your imagination in coming up with alternatives and urge your readers to do the same. For example, paint those stumps with vinegar and see how it goes. Try new things. Good luck.

Daniel Bowman
Charlottesville

The girdle solution

As Erika Howsare states in her Green Living column, killing the roots of the invasive Ailanthus trees without using chemicals can be a “dilemma.” If the tree is too large to dig out the roots, one can girdle it in the spring after it leafs out. Be sure to completely encircle the trunk close to the ground, removing bark and cambium. Then be patient as the summer months pass. Eventually the tree will die as the roots starve.

J.A. Barker
Charlottesville

Poorer living through chemistry

I was delighted to get to the end of Erika Howsare’s article and find that she was hesitant to embrace the use of pesticides to get rid of Tree-of-Heaven, Ailanthus altissima (which she mistakenly called “Paradise Tree,” a name more correctly reserved for a tropical member of the Ailanthus Family).

She seemed surprised that “most of the green-minded people” she knows told her to use herbicides, but the fact is that people—especially environmentalists—have become far too accepting of these poisons.

Herbicides harm our amphibians—the toads, frogs, and salamanders that wander among plants to feed on invertebrates. Amphibians have extremely absorbent skin that allows herbicides to pass into their bodies with adverse consequences. Worldwide declines in amphibian populations have occurred concomitantly with the worldwide use of herbicides, especially Roundup.

Probably because this pesticide has been touted as being safe for humans and mammals (current research disputes this), it has become the largest selling herbicide in history. In the United States alone, over 100 million pounds of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) are poured into the environment every year.

But humans and mammals are not the only animals out there. We can’t overlook the effects of these chemicals upon the other critters that help to make the environment habitable for us. Amphibians are your natural insecticides; they limit the numbers of invertebrates in your yard to levels that will not seriously harm your plants.

What is particularly sad about the abundant use of herbicides is that the homeowner really should not need to use them. Muscle power is not only adequate for dealing with unwanted plants, it’s also far better for human health. Exercise is a good thing.

People complain about unwanted plants “forever popping up” and that “if you have one, you’ll soon have gazillions.” But getting rid of unwanted plants is part and parcel of gardening.

To avoid dealing with “gazillions” of unwanted plants, cut the Ailanthus after it flowers to prevent seed formation. Pull as many seedlings as you can every year; do not wait until you have many years’ worth of plants to deal with.

As for Ailanthus sending up “five new shoots to replace the one you cut,” you needn’t hate this plant for such “diabolical” behavior. Instead, recognize that this tree is not unique; virtually all deciduous trees will do this.

I’ve been maintaining my half-acre yard for 24 years without the use of herbicides. Yes, it requires a lot of work on my part, but when I see the numerous kinds of critters that make my property their home, I know for a fact that my yard is a safe haven for me as well as for them.

Marlene Condon
Crozet

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Weed wackiness

Erika Howsare: Good article, “A quest for less lawn” [Green Living, June 29]. You rightly point out that if you stop mowing, trees start growing. It would be the same if you tried starting a meadow. It could only be done with lots of hand weeding or spraying of trees, poison ivy, prickly blackberry and multiflora rose, etc. In other words, you’d be substituting weeding and/or spraying for mowing. Most people won’t do it.

I have 10 acres, about half open, and have been wrestling with this issue for 21 years. I have lots of fruit trees, and I had hoped that once they were big that the weeds/grass would be shaded out. It helps, but stuff still grows under them, which must get mowed or weeded or sprayed.

I’ve been hand-cutting thorny stuff for all 21 years, and hand cutting or spot spraying Round-Up (glyphosphate) on poison ivy for 21 years. I assumed that in a few years I’d eliminate them, and they’d no longer be a problem. Not true. It’s much better, but somehow most weeds keep coming back, over and over, and in new places. Birds must drop seeds.
You can get someone with a tractor to bush-hog twice a year. Or you can do this yourself with some behemoth of a walk-behind machine (I’ve gone through two). This works somewhat, and sort of creates a meadow. It’s not nearly as pleasant to walk on, though, as a lawn or as a natural meadow.

David Consolvo
Hungrytown

A glassy affair

Ms. Headley: There is a third reason to pour a wine out of its bottle before drinking it: It lessens the likelihood of picking of pathogens from one’s drinking buddies [“Airing out the differences,” Working Pour, July 6]. While passing the bottle around for hearty swigs fosters a sense of community, it does convey a real possibility of spreading diseases that said buddies are harboring. If no vessel is available, one may fashion a temporary one by cupping one’s, ideally clean, hands.

I hope you and your readers will find this tip helpful!

Phil McDonald
Charlottesville

 

CORRECTION

Due to a reporting error, last week’s Restaurantarama listed O’Neill’s Irish Pub as a venue for watching the World Cup, however, O’Neill’s no longer exists. The space, at 1505 University Ave., is occupied by Trinity Irish Pub.

Due to a reporting error, Councilor David Brown and Mayor Dave Norris were erroneously referenced in last week’s cover story, “Whose lane is it, anyway?” as being in support of making West Main Street a one-way road in order to give greater space to bikers. In fact, Brown supports removing on-street parking on one side of West Main. Norris supports designating bike lanes and paths for bikers.

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 Whole endorsement

 

Gawd—trashy Kmart should be happy to get upscale Whole Foods within feet of them [“City to join Whole Foods suit?,” Development News, June 15]. Did they think it might possibly bring them more business? With Super Walmart coming in, they should count this as a blessing!

Kimberly Farish

Charlottesville

Coal ain’t cool

 

I agree that President Obama’s decision to cancel offshore drilling leases along Virginia’s coasts was a wise decision [“Virginia’s environmentalists push for wind energy,” Government News, June 8]. Given the tragedy that is unfolding in the Gulf, I am at a loss as to how Governor Bob McDonnell can continue to support drilling off Virginia’s coasts.

Although oil exploration along Virginia’s shores has been canceled, the Hampton Roads area faces another threat from a different dirty energy source: coal. Old Dominion Electric Cooperative is proposing to build what would be the largest coal plant in Virginia only 35 miles from the Bay in the small Hampton Roads town of Dendron. The pollution created by this power plant would be devastating and would harm everyone who lives in and around the area. Governor McDonnell must look out for Virginia’s best interest by giving more thought to cleaner and reusable energy sources for our generation and the ones to come.

Ben Calhoun

Virginia Beach, Virginia

 

 

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Nothing is illuminated

 

What was the point of “A Tale of Two Crimes [June 8]?” Does it illuminate anything? Is it news that poor people and rich people live in different environments? Is it surprising that psychopaths can come from a variety of backgrounds? Does the author suggest that either or both men have received unfair treatment because of their backgrounds? If so, why not make that claim and provide some evidence to support it? What was the author trying to do and where was the guiding hand of a wise editor?

Phil McDonald

Charlottesville

 

 

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 Road to hell

 

I appreciate C-VILLE’s coverage of the City of Charlottesville’s continued attempts to seize private property (Steephill Street) for a public purpose without going through a lawful process [“On the Road Again,” Government News, May 25, 2010]. Native sons Madison, Monroe, and Jefferson would be horrified. Thankfully, the press is still free to bring this issue to the public’s attention.

I regret however that I was not allowed to respond to Ric Barrick’s statement referring to “many conversations about our plans for that street,” his claim that “there was raw sewage going into a creek,” or City Attorney Craig Brown’s statement that I had put up “road blocks.”

A City crew showed up unannounced to work on Steephill Street. I e-mailed Director of Public Works Judy Mueller to remind her that Steephill Street is a privately maintained, privately owned road.

My “road blocks?” Quoting an opinion from the City Attorney’s Office that Steephill Street “is a private way and there are no public rights, interests or obligations therein.” Citing deeds showing that the public record agreed that Steephill is private property. Requesting that Mr. Brown demonstrate that the City has any rights at all to that property. He has not responded.

There was no sewage flowing into a creek. The break was 200 feet away. The problem that City staff described was that a small amount of gravel and mud were entering the pipe and could eventually block it if allowed to build up. 

Facts and documents are available on my blog: http://steephillstreet.wordpress.com.

Louis Schultz

Charlottesville

On a roll

 

When I saw your article on the ice park [“Later, skaters,” Government News, May 25], I started thinking of all the things that this massive place could be and then it hit me! A Roller Skating Rink! It’s perfect! It could be like the rink in Staunton, that place has a lot of business from camps, schools, and just the normal crowd of families! I saw that one of the options in the article was an arcade. I know that the roller skating rink in Stunton has a few arcade games so I thought that they would go well together. I think turning the rink into a roller skating rink would get a lot of attention from all ages! And you can make certain nights “Roller Disco Night” and bring back memories. You could have neon lights everywhere! There has also been a renewed interest in roller derby as a result of the movie Whip It. I think Charlottesville will be ready for that! I hope you take this idea into consideration and I’m sure that whatever the outcome may be of the Ice Rink, it will be fantastic!

M. Fogler

Charlottesville

 

 

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 Come out of the cave!

Our gun laws are far too liberal [“Virginia is for gun lovers,” Government News, April 20]. The U.S. is now aligned with the backward countries rather than those in the forefront of civilized development. For me it’s stretching things a bit to allow only hunting guns, exclusively for hunting because I don’t understand the pleasure anyone gets from killing animals, but that’s as far as I can go. Supporters of liberal gun laws are living in the stone age as far as I am concerned.

Dabney Waring

Charlottesville

Trash talk

It seems to me that there is a great need for someone to actually do a report on the Zion Crossroads recycling facility [“Separation Anxiety,” What’s Up with That, C-VILLE by Ace Atkins, May 4]. I heard at a recent neighborhood association meeting that as of July (June?) 4, the city’s contract with the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority will expire and that the Authority will not be renewing the contract. When the City Counselors (or perhaps it was the planners?) were asked by an individual who was also at this meeting what was to be done, and the City replied that it honestly didn’t know.

So, now it seems as if all of us in Charlottesville we have no choice but to go with the Van der Linde facility in Zion Crossroads, a facility about which no one seems to know anything beyond what Van der Linde publishes. A local environmental nonprofit, GreenBlue (which actually does not really focus on local or advocacy issues) recently had a group of individuals go there to take a tour of the facility, but unfortunately the equipment was shut down that day. I personally am skeptical of the “one bin” method (i.e. we throw all our crap in one bin and let the Van der Linde facility separate recyclables from trash) for at least two reasons: First, I trust myself to do a better job separating than I do someone for whom doing so is “just a job.” That is, I actually take the time to cut off and remove the metal rings from the cardboard concentrate orange juice containers, because I’ve heard that recycling facilities often throw out (as trash) such “mixed products.” Second, I’m not sure I want some stranger getting paid to sift through my garbage, where bills, credit card receipts, private correspondences, etc. end up!

Brenton Sullivan

Charlottesville

 

 

 

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How low can you go? 

 

Disgust is not nearly a strong enough word for the way I feel in regards to your article on former UVIMCO CEO Chris Brightman [“Could Brightman’s ‘personal’ reasons for leaving UVIMCO be an affair with his assistant?” April 13]. It’s sad that I have to question the moral integrity of such a prestigious local paper. Your article puts you at the same level of publications like The National Enquirer. The only news that ought to be reported regarding Mr. Brightman is his resignation from his position. Any reasons for his leaving his position, unless illegal, ought to be dealt with by those directly involved. You,

C-VILLE, were not. How dare you humiliate not just Mr. Brightman and Ms. Barfield, but also their families? Reading such an article only furthers my growing negative view of the modern press. When did we begin sacrificing integrity for good gossip? Please admit that although the story may be true, it is a story far below the bar of decent news reporting. I can hardly believe that Charlottesville has gotten so small that the only articles there are to write are ones that draw snickers from the readers of them. I am repulsed, angry, and horrified that such an article was written. It is disappointing that no one at your office questioned whether or not it was right as people, and not as a news source, to publish it. I’m sorry to say that I read no further than page 9 of that issue for you have successfully lost one of your formally devoted readers.

Alex Peterson

Albemarle County

Big presence, small world

 

John Douglas Forbes was my history professor at Bennington College in the late 1940s. Neither one of us would have dreamed that we would end up in Charlottesville [UVA News, April 20, “Darden celebrates first professor on his 100th birthday”]. We, however, have kept up with each other, lunching at Farmington and elsewhere and I have been fortunate enough to celebrate most of his birthdays at  family dinners. John may be 100, but there is no one I would rather be with than this truly Renaissance man. I have read all his books, each one fascinating, as is he and his life is a compilation of so many adventures and interests. If there was a John Forbes Cult, he would have a huge following!

Felicia Warburg Rogan

Charlottesville

CORRECTION

Due to a reporting error and poor writing, Restaurantarama left readers with the impression, two weeks ago, that the Biltmore Grill on Elliewood Avenue is closed. It is not. It is open for business and waiting to serve. We sincerely regret the errors, and will refrain from talking and chewing at the same time henceforth.

 

 

 

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Paper chase

Kudos to C-Ville writer Brendan Fitzgerald for the April 13 article “Could Brightman’s ‘personal’ reasons for leaving UVIMCO be an affair with his assistant?” It appears to be well-researched, well-written, and validly-newsworthy. It would be nice to see more such journalism from all local media. Carefully following document trails and being unafraid to ask questions about your findings pays news dividends and keeps the public rightfully informed. Thanks.

G. Grant

Earlysville 

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 At-grade gets an F on traffic

The city should absolutely not go ahead with an at-grade interchange [“Sudden return of MCP at-grade interchange baffles,” March 30]. That was never part of the deal, nor should it suddenly be stuck in now in a last-minute, patched-up effort to get around federal regulations. Such an interchange would, in any event, lead to the worst traffic jams the city has known.

John Thompson, Charlottesville

 

CORRECTIONS

 

Due to a reporting error, a story in last week’s ABODE misstated the name of a programmer at Stereo Types. He is Ed Moon.

Due to a reporting error, last week’s Restaurantarama said Coran Capshaw is the private owner of Starr Hill Brewery. In fact, Capshaw has never been involved with Starr Hill. We regret the error.

CLARIFICATION

In response to an April 6 article, “UVA changes JPJ door policy after Morgan,” UVA Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Carol Wood told C-VILLE via e-mail that a recent training effort for John Paul Jones Arena staff was “a reemphasis of what is already taught.” Arena staff was asked “to be on heightened alert to their surroundings and the behavior of individuals they encounter,” according to Wood.

 

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 Make that "green money is the new black"

 

I have just read the article “Green is the new black” by Erika Howsare in the February 16 issue. I thought it covered the story of Dominion’s coal investments well. I live 15 miles from Dominion’s Virginia City power plant and find it difficult to drive by this building site, imagining the damage to the mountains, the Clinch River, citizens and the earth that is possible when it is in operation. One aspect not covered in this article is the financial incentive to build these plants that is part of Virginia’s regulatory process. The Virginia State Corporation Commission has approved the plant building and awarded a 12.12 percent return on their investment. Even if the plant never goes into production, the consumers of Dominion’s electricity are paying for it and Dominion is guaranteed this financial return on their investment. 

Many other states have structured their utility regulation to give incentives to conservation investments and alternative energy and less to coal-fired plants. 

In order to stop these kinds of coal-fired plants being built and paid for by Dominion electricity consumers, our state legislature needs to review and change the incentive system regulated by the State Corporation Commission. I copy below from an article announcing the approval of building the Virginina City Power Plant. 

“Along with giving Dominion approval to build the station in Wise County, the SCC set an initial authorized return on common equity of 12.12 percent. This includes a base return on equity of 11.12 percent and an incentive of 1 percent for new coal-fired generation. The incentive will apply through the first 12 years of the station’s operation. Dominion has the option of applying at a later date for an additional 1 percent incentive by showing the station is carbon-capture compatible.” Monday, 31, March 2008, PR Newswire-FirstCall

Anne Leibig, Dungannon, Virginia

If you fill it, they will come

 

I just returned to the U.S. after a five-year stay in the UK (and to Charlottesville after 25 years). In the UK, they have very active programs all across the country with tons of ideas for using empty shops to build communities and promote the re-filling of those shops [“The glass is 9 percent empty,” March 2]. Anyone who is interested in all these wonderful ideas and projects can visit the Internet site covering them: (www.artistsandmakers.com/staticpages/index.php/emptyshops) or participate in the yahoo discussion group (http://groups.yahoo.com/ group/emptyshops) or follow the protagonist of all the activity on Twitter. He is @artistsmakers and I happen to know that he would be very interested in some kind of internationally coordinated empty shops project. He e-mailed me and suggested it when he found out I would be returning to the US.

Donna Carty, Charlottesville

Light touch?

 

Boo hoo!!! Why are Jay and Steph Rostow picking on me [“The sun always rises,” Mailbag, March 9]? I can’t help being 84 years old and only earning an engineering degree and law degree after serving in WWII and becoming a Navy pilot.

Perhaps I can cure my incredible ignorance if the Rostows set forth all the electrical fixtures that their own little power plant supplies energy to, like central heating, air conditioning, washer and dryer, central vacuum cleaning, well pump, and oh yes, the light bulbs above their heads to show just how brilliant they and their green advocates are.

Frederick W. Kahler, Earlysville

Too legit to quit?

 

“Who’s the most ‘legit’ blues musician alive?” [“The best little show that never was,” Feedback, March 9] That is a rather vague question likely to produce very subjective answers. What does “legit” mean?

I have MY incomplete list (NOTE: Corey Harris is NOT on it!), in no particular order:

VOCALS: Shemekia Copeland, Susan Tedeschi, Etta James

GUITARS: Keb’ Mo’, Robert Cray, Terry Garland, Eric Clapton, Billy Marshall Brockman, Bo Diddley, Ry Cooder

HARPS: Delbert McClinton, Howard Levy, Li’l Ronnie Keith Owens, Joe Filisko, Phil Wiggins, Terry “Harmonica” Bean

Note: Blues greats Koko Taylor & John Cephas both just died.

So there. I cannot choose from among the ones I can remember. MY list cannot be boiled down to just one of these people. They are all great musicians. So are many others not on this list, such as primarily keyboard players. I have been privileged to study under some of the harps masters.

H. Watkins Ellerson, Hadensville, Virginia

 

CLARIFICATION

A March 2 article about Frank Hardy, Inc.’s breach of contract lawsuit in connection with Vineyard Estates was unclear in naming Patricia Kluge and William Moses as defendants. The suit is against Vineyard Estates, LLC, which is owned by Kluge and North Carolina-based First Colony Resorts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Boyd: Taxing in his own way

 

Matt Deegan’s article [“In the Grip,” March 2] on the city-county revenue sharing agreement—and Rob Bell’s state budget amendment to change the terms of that agreement —was an interesting read. But it presents city and county positions as if both were equally valid. They’re not.

Probably the most accurate statement in Deegan’s article came from Ned Michie, a Charlottesville School Board member. Speaking to the current budget problems in the county, Michie said that “the keys to the county’s financial straits are in its own hands, because it is a wealthy locality with a well-below-average tax rate.” That is, indeed, accurate. As Board of Supervisors member Dennis Rooker pointed out in a letter to the editor to The Daily Progress a couple of years back, no locality in Virginia that approximates Albemarle’s affluence has a lower tax rate. In addition, the county allows 60 percent of county land parcels into the land use subsidy program even as jobs and production related to agriculture continue to decline and make up only a small part of the county economy. That subsidy costs the county nearly $20 million a year in lost revenues and places the tax burden on the other 40 percent of property owners. No locality in Virginia uses the land use subsidy more than Albemarle county does.

Ken Boyd claims that the Bell amendment to strip revenues from the city by altering the revenue agreement is about “principle.” But it isn’t the revenue-sharing principle that is guiding Boyd’s behavior, it’s his idea that taxes should never, ever be increased. As Boyd told a gathering of the Danville Tea Party recently, “I have never voted for a tax increase.” Boyd claims to have an “extensive background in banking and finance” so he is presumably aware that George W. Bush’s unfunded tax cuts—tax cuts he supported—added nearly $2 trillion to the national debt. He must also be aware that Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase on the wealthiest Americans—passed without a single Republican vote—helped to create balanced budgets and economic growth.

Ken Boyd is seeking the Republican House nomination for the 5th Congressional District. To get that nomination, he will not support any increase in the tax rate in the county, even if it’s needed and even if that’s what county citizens want. The Bell budget amendment, then, is not about principle, it’s about Ken Boyd’s potential political future. How parochial.

Mark Crockett

Kents Store

What would Jesus tax? 

 

This delegate, Mark Cole, who wants to outlaw microchips for humans because its a sign of the antichrist is even crazier than you realize [“Ken Cuccinelli leads a charge to the far right,” Odd Dominion, March 2]. Does this double-digit-IQ goober think that if he passes legislation he would be able to prevent Biblical prophecy? Does he think that he sits at the right hand of God and tells him what to do? Amazing how many right wingers and tea baggers think they are the stewards of religion and yet can’t even understand its basic concepts.

Ellora Young

Albemarle County

 

 

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 The sun always rises

 

Renewable energy rocks and kicks Kahler’s ass [“Power to you people” in Mailbag, February 23]. While we cannot speak to whether or not Dominion Power is terrible we can speak to the fact that we have ceased to obtain power from our local power company. In fact, we do not have any power lines on our property and find this a benefit. We installed a solar electric system (by ourselves!) over 10 years ago and we live a conservative but comfortable lifestyle without the use of kerosene lamps or flashlights as Mr. Kahler would suggest. Obviously Mr. Kahler is one of the very few who chooses to stand up in public and express his incredible ignorance. While we never have had any intentions of “saving the planet,” we do find great reward in not having a power bill and providing for all of our electrical needs. We had uninterrupted power this winter and always have even when our neighbors have been without power.

Jay and Steph Rostow

Nelson County

 

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 Supply and demand

 

I am dismayed and more than a little alarmed that a majority on City Council want our city to take on the responsibility for housing central Virginia’s low-income families [“The definition of affordable,” Development News, February 9]. Affordable housing is a regional problem that requires regional solutions. If we build it, they will come…from Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Buckingham and Nelson counties. Indeed, they already have. In the 36 years that I have lived in Charlottesville, I have become familiar with Albemarle County’s Marie Antoinette attitude toward the poor: Let them move to Charlottesville. Meanwhile, the county’s ever more restrictive zoning, requiring multi-acre lots, attracts the wealthy and pushes out those undesirable poor people who require social services.

Affordable housing is just one of many needs competing for the city’s tax dollars. Instead of earmarking funds for affordable housing for the next 15 years, our elected officials should be required to make value judgments in every single budget cycle, weighing the need for subsidized housing with the needs of our schools, our transportation system, our crumbling sewer pipes, and so on. These needs should compete each year on a level playing field.

I’d like to ask each of our Councilors who support the idea of earmarking tax dollars for affordable housing what other programs they are willing to cut and what other needs they are willing to ignore for the next decade and a half. Setting budget priorities involves making difficult choices. We voters elect City Councilors to make these hard choices, with annual input from us, not to commit future City Councils to their pet projects.

Elizabeth P. Kutchai

Charlottesville

Power to you people

 

Since you and your “green” followers seem to feel that Dominion Power is terrible [“Green is the new black,” February 16], might I suggest that you people cease obtaining power from Dominion and install your own solar and wind power facilities and save the planet until the rest of the people come to their senses and follow you.

Of course, you may have to use flashlights and kerosene lamps most of the time, because solar and wind do not provide much electricity, but you will be standing up for your principles.

Frederick W. Kahler

Earlysville

 

CORRECTION AND CLARIFICATION

 

Due to an attribution error on the website of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), last week’s story about Dominion Resources [“Green is the new black”] identified the following sentence as a quote from State Corporation Commission staff: “Not only has Dominion not taken any steps to make its plant carbon capture compatible, it has also selected a technology that is in fact incompatible with carbon capture processes currently in development.” In fact, the sentence was written by SELC attorney Cale Jaffe.

Due to a reporting oversight, The Working Pour column of February 9, “Crowning Achievements,” failed to note that Laurent Champs assisted in the creation of Kluge Estate Winery’s 2004 sparkling wines. Cheers! 

 

 

 

 

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Macaca talk

The January 19 issue of C-VILLE invited readers to offer comments on former Senator Allen’s use of the word “macaca” [“Allen vs. Webb part deux?,” Government News].

Undoubtedly your readers are aware that he was criticized for tagging one of his political opponent’s observers with the nickname “macaca.” It should be noted that it is usual for each candidate to use monitors to see what their opponents are saying. Consequently, when Allen noticed the same young man covering his campaign, George Allen in his usual relaxed mannger greeted him using this moniker “macaca.” The only thing that was unusual was the use of a word that no one had ever heard George use previously. In fact, few if any, knew its meaning if it had a meaning. It was apparently a made up word. Unfortunately two reporters for the Washington Post in writing for their paper started making a point that Allen used the word to denigrate his opponent and that the word had a racial connotation. The fabrication served to infer that Allen was a racist. To make matters worse, Allen’s campaign manager’s response to this charge was inept.

It just so happens however that the word “macaca” is not to be found in the usual dictionary. Nonetheless, it is a word associated with a small monkey native to the Phillipines. Those of us who were in the Philippines during WWII heard the locals using the word and knew its meaning. It was used by Filipinos in joking with their friends. It had no negative meaning whatsoever. In fact, it was often used in an endearing moment.

William P. Moore Jr.

Charlottesville

By the books?

 

So our taxpayer-paid hero Tom Frederick blinked and lost [“Lawsuit suggests dirty business,” January 19]. A token $500K paid over five years is his token win after spending probably millions of our money trying to stamp out competition. I don’t know how the courts would have ruled on the situation since it seems incredibly obscure, but one thing is sure—Frederick wasn’t in control of his agency and let Van der Linde, BFI, etc. run roughshod over him. Frederick should be fired. Last year he made well over $100,000 plus a $15,000 bonus. Anyone know what the bonus was for?

I guess his next pyrrhic victory—where he will announce success after spending millions of our money—will be his desire to kill thousands of trees and put in his desired reservoir. Of course he has no price tag he will reveal, and won’t let his consultants release their results unless he okays them. A public official who refuses to let the folks know what he’s up to? Apparently.

I read the county will have to close two libraries. So the county lets Frederick spend millions advancing his agenda, and our kids will lose? We have already read about the spending cuts for schools. So who does Frederick represent other than himself and his agenda? 

Some public officials are protecting Frederick. I hope C-VILLE or whomever will find out who they are so we can remove them.

Derek Oppen

Charlottesville

Right to choose

 

I happened to come across the February 9 edition of C-VILLE where I read an article by Dan Friedman [“John Paul Jones must take account”] concerning the death of Morgan Harrington. Although I never give my opinion publicly about these kinds of affairs I felt so strongly that I just needed to voice my opinion. With due respect to Mr. Friedman and the Harrington family (we actually prayed for her safe return) I must speak on behalf of others that have also died tragic deaths right here at home. I don’t recall the city getting a bad reputation when an Hispanic person is killed violently. I don’t recall Charlottesville getting blamed after shootings that result in the death of an African-American. I do hear about the drugs involved or the alcohol or the crime record. And, rightly so, those are great objects on which to place blame.  People of all different ethnicities have to make choices. Some choose to kill others and some choose to drink, do drugs. What good does anyone expect to come from a concert where alcohol and drugs are freely flowing and good judgement is heavily impaired?  But, that’s the choice these young people make when they invest in this type of activity. No one is safe anywhere. As long as there are people, there are choices to be made. To place the blame on institutions, cities or other entities is to take away our responsibilities as individual human beings and our right to make choices. And please, although we also mourn with the Harrington family, many, many other unjust deaths have taken place right here in Charlottesville and I still love the place I call home.   

Pastora Hazael Garay

Para Ti, Mujer

 

 

CORRECTIONS

Due to an editing error, the February 2 cover story about noise complaints in Belmont, “Noise in the ‘hood” incorrectly identified Dave Simpson in a photo caption. He is a former partner in Bel Rio, not a current partner, having left the business five months ago. C-VILLE regrets the error, and we just can’t say that loudly enough.

Due to a proofreading error, there was a mistake in a cover headline last week. “Police canvas Red Hill…” should have been “Police canvass Red Hill…”

 

 

 

 

 

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Like being a "little" pregnant

In an otherwise good article about the probable impacts of DIA/NGIC on our community [“In jobs we trust?”, January 26], Will Goldsmith—one of our community’s best reporters—concludes with a crumb of serious misinformation. He accurately points out that the new government outfits will hire few of our own un- and underemployed, but will bring hundreds of new workers from outside; they in turn, will bring families and others—swelling our population by thousands.

The misinformation? Goldsmith writes, “…you can imagine what your new community will be like. It will be like it is. Just a little bigger.”

Wrong. Size matters. The character of a community changes as it grows: a place with 135,000 residents (roughly the current population of Charlottesville and Albemarle combined) has a different feel, a different soul, than a place with a population half the size, or twice the size. 
 
Growth will also impact our natural environment, as fields and forests are replaced by residential and commercial development. Not just the beauty of the area will be reduced, but essential ecosystem services will be diminished, and streams and groundwater compromised.  
With a larger population one of the things that will be “just a little bigger” is our tax burden. It’s now evident from studies around the country that growth does not pay for itself. Taxes and fees rise to support the demands for new infrastructure: schools, fire and police protection, water and sewer service, etc.
 
Goldsmith proposes that we imagine what our future community will be like with population growth spurred by DIA/NGIC. If our imaginings build not on self-serving interests of personal profit, or on naïve optimism, but rather on hard evidence about environmental, social, and economic consequences of growth, it is obvious that our community will NOT “be what it is—just a little bigger.” Rather, it will be a quite different place. And for most of us who live here now, it will be less attractive.   
 
Jack Marshall
President
Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population
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United we stand

As one of the persons interviewed, I wanted to add some important information to the cover article “Will Work for Meds” [January 5]. Since my one phone interview by Ms. Canzi in November, United Way’s RxRelief program funded by the Virginia Health Care Foundation has increasingly become an important resource for our consumers who previously relied on the state’s Community Resource Pharmacy. Prior to the news of the closing of the state pharmacy, RxRelief primarily served our consumers who could not qualify for the Community Resource Pharmacy. Since November, the ability of RxRelief to connect more Region Ten consumers to those medications which are available through that program has diminished our reliance on the limited remaining state funding, thus allowing more people to be served.

In addition to Region Ten, RxRelief has partnered with Martha Jefferson Hospital and the Charlottesville Free Clinic for over two years to serve members of our community.

I regret that this important role of RxRelief was not included in the article, and I want to ensure that their program is fully recognized in any discussion of this vital issue.

David Moody, M.D.

Medical Director

Region Ten

Have a heart

 

In reference to “Stop saying that!” [December 22, 2009], I absolutely hate hearing the ubiquitous phrase, “to give back [to the community]”. 

Its premise is that you are a thief—that somehow you have stolen from the community and you’re required to make restitution.

Giving should be done out of compassion, not guilt.

Marlene Condon

Crozet

 

 

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Answering the need

 

Regarding your January 5 article, “Will Work for Meds,” the good news that was missing from the story is that since November 2007, United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area has had our Medication Assistance Caseworker, Helen Frye, at Region Ten nearly five days a week. Our RxRelief Prescription Assistance Program helps low-income, uninsured adults with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and mental health issues, qualify for free medications from approximately 200 pharmaceutical companies. Qualified applicants can receive a 90-day supply of each medication up to four times a year.

With support from the Virginia Health Care Foundation’s RxRelief Program, United Way partners with Martha Jefferson Hospital, the Charlottesville Free Clinic and Region Ten. Helen spends time each day at their sites. Mental health medications are especially expensive: the average cost of the prescription we help Region Ten clients receive for free is $1,237.

Helen has been very busy at Region Ten in the past three months: October–December 2009 she served 83 total clients with 188 prescriptions, valued at $232,478 (retail). That number includes 38 NEW clients, with the majority of those transferring from the Community Resource Pharmacy. So, many of Region Ten’s clients continue to receive free prescriptions, thanks to the United Way’s RxRelief program which is a wonderful example of how United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area fulfills its mission of serving community members with the greatest need or at the greatest risk.

Kim Connolly

Director of Marketing & Communications

United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area

 

CORRECTION

Due to a reporting error, last week Restaurantarama reported that Rita’s Ice on the Corner failed to reopen after the holidays in 2008. In fact, it failed to reopen for the winter season as the owners originally had planned. Rita’s later had a seasonal spring reopening at the end of March 2009, but closed for good by the beginning of summer. 

 

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Perriello got it wrong

I commend John Whitehead and the Rutherford Institute for defending the free speech rights of the protesters in front of Perriello’s office [“Pavement blues,” Government News, December 22]. I really think our notorious Obamanite Congressmen has a “thin skin” when it comes to criticism of his policies. He does NOT represent me, nor  many of his local constituents. I do not necessarily think he needs to move his office, as long as he allows the peaceful assembly of constitutionally protected protests across from his office without calling police to run them off. It is also only fair and right that any protestors not harass or block entrances to other businesses. Perriello’s real problem is his need to realize that a lot of folks are getting fed up and disgusted with the arrogance of our elected officials who are more eager to spend billions of our tax dollars that really represent the interests of the people they represent. I find it ironical that  the famous “freedom of expression” wall is only a few steps away from Perriello’s office!

 

 

Neal Ammerman

Crozet

Who’s mavericky now?

 

Derek Oppen could readily have answered his own question “has Perriello ever voted against Pelosi and Reid?”, [“Party favor”, Mailbag, December 15 in reference to “Perriello looks ahead to 2010,” December 1], but to do so would have destroyed his argument. In fact, so far in the 111th Congress, Tom Perriello has voted with the Democratic leadership only 89.2 percent of the time. He has, therefore, voted less often with his party over this period than the self-styled Senate maverick John McCain (90.7 percent) and than all but 59 of the 439 Members of the House.  Interestingly, only one of these 59 is a Republican from Virginia (Wolf 88.7 percent). The other four Republican Representatives from Virginia had significantly higher party voting averages than Tom did (Cantor 94.9 percent, Goodlatte 94.6 percent, Forbes 93.1 percent, Wittman 92.4 percent) and so would much more readily qualify for the label of party lackey that Mr. Oppen seems to want to hang on Tom Perriello.

Some of Mr. Oppen’s other statements seem to be a little fact-challenged too. For example, Tom Perriello held more Town Hall meetings during the August recess—one in every single one of the counties and cities in his District—than any other Congressman. Strange behavior for someone who “does not listen to his constituents.” And “left-wing”? Hardly, unless one’s baseline is Perriello’s predecessor, Virgil Goode.

Perhaps what Mr. Oppen means is that Tom Perriello is not voting the way he, Mr. Oppen, would like? C-VILLE’s November 2008 list of the largest local political donors includes a $2,300 donation to John McCain from a Mr. Derek Oppen. Could Mr. Oppen’s own political leanings be toward the right, making him unlikely to be happy with any Democrat? There are, however, many of us in the Fifth District who feel that, in Tom Perriello, we do finally have a congressman who hears us.

 

Heather Rowland

Charlottesville

 

 

 

 

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As a public health professional for more than 30 years, I applaud Rep. Tom Periello and others who voted in favor of the recent healthcare legislation [“Perriello looks ahead to 2010,” December 1, 2009].

The reforms contained in this legislation help move us from a system designed to provide expensive care when people are sick to one that focuses more on keeping people healthy; a benefit to the system and to us as individuals and as a community.

The change most familiar to people is an expansion of health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, many of whom are now forced to use expensive hospital emergency rooms as primary care providers, usually when their illnesses are more advanced; and a prohibition against penalizing people for pre-existing medical conditions, which trap folks in employment positions, preventing them from maximizing their potential professional development. Many Americans think these changes are a good thing.

Since most insured Americans are satisfied with their current insurance, private insurers must be doing something right. This arrangement need not change. A public option would make it possible for those who are not satisfied, and those who see no viable alternative among the private plans, to obtain basic insurance coverage for their health expenses. Medicaid eligibility would be expanded to cover low-income individuals and families among us who currently cannot afford health insurance, including those who are working but without health care benefits. In cases where preventive health services have been scientifically proven to be effective, insurers would be required to pay first dollar coverage. If we can successfully prevent someone from getting ill, should we only prevent it among those who are most able to pay?

Can’t we agree that “justice for all” includes healthcare justice?

Elayne Kornblatt Phillips
Charlottesville

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Lose the stereotype

Although The Bridge art space is described in the subhead to your cover story as “the city’s freshest art space” I have to say I was put off by the stale image that was used by Greg Kelly in the very first paragraph of the article [“Greg Kelly’s big vision for local art,” December 15]. I’m a fan of The Bridge and started reading the article with great interest. yet, it bothered me that in describing how he arrived at The Bridge he stated he “didn’t want to be this isolated, misunderstood misanthrope that’s drunk in his studio, producing masterworks that will be discovered later on after I die”.

Although I suppose it was meant to be self-deprecating it perpetuates a silly cliche about studio artists that is surprising coming from someone who should be more informed. It makes a couple of assumptions that I would question. The first would be the obvious inference that there are truly that many artists who work (even in isolation) drunk and/or misanthropic. It’s time to retire this comic-book character–and his bongos, and his ear bandage. The more subtle inference is that he would have been making “masterworks” if he had chosen to stay in his Batesville studio. I guess we’ll never know.

Rex Drummond
Charlottesville

Bright idea

When you listed our best green ideas in your recent article [“10 steps to a greener Charlottesville,” December 8], you left out my favorite—Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville including its Habitat Store, which does a great service in recycling, plus funds the building of green Habitat houses.

Frances Lee-Vandell
Charlottesville

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For your interest

You asked about supporting Tom Perriello [“Perriello looks ahead to 2010,” December 1].

How can any Virginian support a Representative who is bent on ruining our economy by voting for Cap and Trade Bill and a Health Care Bill which will include a government run single-payer health care system? Mr. Perriello is trying to bankrupt our economy.

When Perriello was attending some of the Town Meetings, he brought along some SEIU thugs. The SEIU has run TV ads supporting his disastrous voting. I do not think that Tom Perriello has the best interest of Central Virginia in his actions.

Roy Faber
Charlottesville

Health care hero

Thanks for the story about Steve Bishop and the Charlottesville Health Access program for the homeless [“UVA students aid the underserved,” UVA News, December 8]. It is heartwarming and so good to see news about someone with major talent who is making an effort to make a difference to the underserved in our community, particularly when it comes to health care.

CHA and The Haven will make a big difference for those served, and also for those serving. I am sure it will help the UVA medical students involved become better doctors and nurses. We should truly appreciate Mr. Bishop for his initiative and efforts outside of his normal busy med-school curriculum. I hope they can keep it going if he ends up doing his residency elsewhere.

Also, many thanks to the med students and student nurses who started working with PACEM and are participating, and thanks to Chiara for writing it up. I always appreciate her contributions to your paper.

Catherine Potter
Albemarle County

CORRECTION

In Restaurantarama last week, we reported that Rivals owner Gregg Powell is selling the busines with his partner, Randy Snead. According to Powell’s real estate agent, Amy Bishop, Mr. Powell and Mr. Snead are not partners. We apologize for the confusion. Also, in using the term “place” synonymously with “business,” we may have implied that the building is for sale. It is not. Only the restaurant business is on the market.

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Opposites attract

I will work for and donate to anyone who runs against Congressman Perriello [“Perriello looks ahead to 2010,” December 1]. The current Congress is intoxicated with spending without the honesty or integrity to raise the income taxes necessary to pay for their spending. Congress uses spending to buy votes and expects our children and grandchildren to pay for this folly. Congressman Perriello is in lock step with the leadership of his party and this out of control spending.
 
Richard Smith
Keswick

Party favor

“Unafraid to buck his party”. Good spin. Too bad not remotely accurate. I wrote Perriello asking him not to automatically vote for whatever Pelosi and Reid want. Now I get e-mails from him saying why he voted the party line —repeating the party line. Has he ever voted against Pelosi and Reid? Obviously does not listen to his constituents, but tries to pretend he is a maverick. Tom, we’re not dumb. You so far are a classic left wing Democrat, which is fine—you got elected—but don’t pretend you are who are aren’t.
 
Derek Oppen
Charlottesville

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True north

For 20 or so years now, my brother and I have been owners of property on the side of Cook’s Mountain in North Garden, having ultimately inherited it from our grandfather, who bought in 1909. He and our grandmother lived there until 1918, when they moved to Charlottesville. We often drove down from Charlottesville to spend a day or more on the family property, to wander over the mountain, visit the old Bettie Martin iron mine, which is on the place, and listen to stories of our grandparents lives there. Carol Jones is correct in her letter in a recent Mailbag [“No direction home?” November 24 in reference to “Northern Exposure,” Ask Ace, November 10] about the South Garden sign, which is on Plank Road where it runs along the South Fork of the Hardware River. However, she did describe North Garden as being on the “North Fork (sort of)”. Back in the day, North Garden was thought of as being the area where the railroad passes over Plank Road. That’s the small bridge that large trucks manage to hit now and then. The railroad station was just south of that RR overpass, but it was demolished many years ago. There was a tiny, but vibrant business section there, including Smith’s store, which burned down long ago, and Laird’s Apple Products (brandy), which is still there. Actually, though, this hamlet is also in the watershed area of the South Fork of the Hardware, separated by a mountain ridge from the North Fork watershed, which runs through Red Hill.

These days, with old names being forgotten as zip codes have become the defining nomenclature, North Garden (22959) runs roughly from Israel Gap (west of Rt. 29 on Plank Road) past Crossroads (intersection of Rt. 29 and Plank Road), South Garden, and all the way to Alberene. It even runs north up Old Lynchburg Road to Red Hill Road. A very large area. As for South Garden, we always thought of it as being the area around Garland’s Store (corner of Old Lynchburg Road and Plank Road) and the “Falls” across Plank Road on the South Fork, and that is just where the ADC Albemarle Street Map Book shows it. Looking at some historical maps, I didn’t find South Garden on either the 1866 U.S. Army map of Albemarle (a copy of which was published by Steven G. Meeks in 1984) or on the Green Peyton map of 1875, although they both show North Garden. However, the 1907 Massie map shows South Garden along what is now Rt. 29 just north of Covesville! I’m betting that map is wrong, though. All three historical maps are available from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Sociey, by the way. Oh…and you can buy Captain Jack’s Apple Jack, made by Laird’s, at the ABC Store. It’s actually pretty good.
 
David Miller
Nellysford

CORRECTION

Due to a fact-checking error, in the last issue’s Development story “Ten priciest commercial properties for sale in the city and county,” we listed the former OXO Restaurant at 215 West Water St. as being for sale for $95,000. In fact, the business is for sale at that price, not the building.

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You are where?

After reading the article on the extended-stay hotel proposed for West Main [Development News, November 24], I still don’t know where it will be, other than somewhere on West Main Street. I do know it will “sit where the Studio Art Shop is currently located-also known as Sycamore House- next to Kane Furniture on West Main Street.” Now all I’ll have to do is find out where that is. How about including the streets it will be between?

When I first moved to Charlottesville, I would sometimes ask directions from locals who would say things like “You know where the old Sears used to be?”  (No.) How about a location that anyone can find?  Beware of being overly provincial; not all of your readers are local.

Phil McDonald
Charlottesville

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No direction home

The question about what North Garden is “north” of [“Northern Exposure,” Ask Ace, November 10], illustrates how Charlottesville-centric we are in this area.  Having moved from Charlottesville to North Garden several years ago, I had the same question and the most plausible explanation I have heard is that is located (sort of) on the north branch of the Hardware River.  South Garden, which is a few miles down Plank Road, is on the south fork of the Hardware. Our South Garden may only be a sign beside the road but it does exist.
 
Carol Jones
North Garden

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Wake up and smell the coffee, citizens! The so-called “neighborhood model” is bogus [“Where the sidewalk ends,” November 17]. It is a bunch of nice verbiage to soothe us as the big-box developers continue to pave over paradise.

Some years ago I attended a bunch of joint meetings of the city and county Planning Commissions as they discussed proposed plans for Albemarle Place, a not-yet-built C-shaped shopping center surrounding Sperry, fronting on 29 North and Hydraulic Road. Much was made at the time of the “neighborhood model,” a planning concept that was supposed to incorporate housing and retail so that people could live where they work and shop. Some problems that I noticed; the jobs created were minimum-wage retail-clerk jobs, but the housing was high-end rental units; there was no park or recreational space (the developer pointed to a plaza with a fountain and referred to a tree-lined street as a “linear park”); the northern end of the site consisted of two big-box stores and acres of parking; there was no connectivity to Commonwealth Drive, leaving people who lived just across the street at Turtle Creek no alternative to the automobile. I remember the late Herman Key (then a city Planning Commissioner) saying, “I don’t get it. The people who work there can’t afford to live there. How is this the neighborhood model?” When asked where children would play, the developer said that the people who rented the high-priced apartments would not have children.

Albemarle Place has not yet been built. But even now there is no place for a pedestrian to cross 29 North legally north of Angus Road. If someone who works at Sperry wants to eat lunch at a place across the road, that person has to get in a car.

I can’t believe the Board of Supervisors buys this b******t. Unless they they are thinking only of raking in the tax dollars.

Elizabeth Kutchai
Charlottesville

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May I unhelp you?

Jonathan Keifer: Please, oh please, do your homework before writing your review next time [“Dude, where are the Coen bros?” November 3]. A Serious Man is an interpretation of the Book of Job. While it may also have some personal Coen brother touches, it is just about as far from anti-semitic as possible. The foundation of the movie, as with Job’s story, is about inexplicable suffering. Undeserved suffering. Suffering that one experiences, even when one is innocent. It is not about “children torturing small animals.” Rather, this story was intended as an explanation that 1. suffering does not always exist as a consequence of something you have done—meaning sometimes innocent people suffer; 2. what seems like suffering at first may eventually turn out to be an essential component of your life/journey/etc.; 3. ultimately this experience is one you go through alone. The three rabbis, like Job’s three rabbis, are supposed to be completely unhelpful. In Job’s story and in A Serious Man the rabbis do offer some good advice, but sadly for our main character, it is completely unrelated to his issues, and it lacks compassion.

Indeed, in the book of Job, the theory of justice at the time was that suffering is a direct result of committing a sin. Therefore, good people do not suffer, wicked people do. Job’s story questions that theory.

That the Coen brothers can make this movie both humorous and full of pathos is a triumph. I suggest you read the Book of Job, and you will, hopefully, immediately see the parallels. As with his explanation of the uncertainty principle in physics, the character of Larry is experiencing God’s wrath and God’s favor as the same events but he won’t understand that until after his suffering reaches its apex. The Coen brothers’ movie ends at the beginning of Job’s story. While the beginning of Job’s story is its most traumatic, horrifying point, it concludes with Job’s reconciliation with God. We don’t see this in the movie, but it is a story of optimism after extreme hardship and suffering.

Of all of the movies recently released, A Serious Man is one of the most ambitious, and I hate to see it get such a bad review, when it doesn’t seem like you understood the movie at all. I would hope that a Gentile and an Arab could produce such an impressive film.

Jessie Miller
Charlottesville

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Separate and equal

Being a loyal customer to Fleurie for the last five years, I was incredibly disappointed when I saw the recipe published recently by the “executive chef”, Brian Helleberg, of Fleurie [Food and Drink Annual, October 20]. While he is a chef and owner, it should be noted that he is, in fact, only a portion of the amazing total that is Fleurie and Petit Pois. Anyone who has ever stepped foot into Fleurie for a glass of Champagne, a bite of magical risotto, or a bottle of well chosen Gigondas, would notice a presence that defines Fleurie. Brice Cunningham, chef and equal partner in both Fleurie and Petit Pois, can always be found preparing the skate, selecting the wines, and charming the customers with his world class cooking as well as his French accent. The soul behind these classic French restaurants, Brian, as well as these fine establishments, would be nothing without Brice, the Frenchman who has dedicated his time in Charlottesville to raise the bar and provide this town with top-notch cuisine that would be difficult to match even in big cities around the world.

Amanda Osborne
Charlottesville

 

Hit the road!

I was quite amused when reading your recent article “Eastern bypass stirs the pot,” [Development News, October 20] which detailed Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis Rooker’s ideas for a proposed road connecting Interstate 64 to Route 29 at Culpeper. Mr. Rooker, who helped create the firestorm surrounding the road when he suggested that the state needed to build a new highway to alleviate traffic problems along 29, seems to think that the ideal solution is to expand the Route 15 corridor through Louisa County and suggests that if counties like Louisa and Orange want to upgrade roads serving their area they should do it on their own turf.

First, I don’t think the congestion problems along Route 29 have much to do with Louisa residents. They really should be attributed to the suburban sprawl in Albemarle County, Mr. Rooker’s turf, and points to the north.

Second, in suggesting that the Route 15 corridor is a good area for expansion, it is clear that Mr. Rooker rarely travels east of “pricey” Keswick into Central Virginia’s hinterlands. Perhaps Mr. Rooker should take a road trip along 15 from Zion Crossroads north at least to Boswell’s Tavern. Rooker will pass through the Green Springs National Historic Landmark District, a pristine swath of farmland home to a bevy of 18th- and 19th-century residences prized by architectural historians.

Louisa County would have a hell of a fight on its hands if it attempted to expand Route 15 to four lanes, as Mr. Rooker says the Supes hope to do, not to mention if a whole new road was put in place, a road that would undoubtedly cut through some Louisa County farmer’s crops.

It is Albemarle County’s responsibility to deal their their own traffic issues and it is Mr. Rooker’s responsibility to deal with the firestorm he helped ignite. Pushing his ill-conceived agenda across the county line is not the answer, especially when it is a county he knows so little about.

Tammy Purcell
Louisa

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Regarding the article about Professor Ruddiman [“Humans began changing climate 7,000 years ago,” UVA News, October 6], I pose the following query: What vehicles, factory smokestacks, home furnaces, etc. did the population possess 5,000 years ago generating CO2? Also, is the current melting of the Martian icecaps due to the Martians riding around in their SUVs? Is the global warming responsible for the cooler summer and early snowfalls in the mountain states this fall?

As far as I am concerned, these Doomsday soothsayers are a bunch of Chicken Littles shouting “The sky is falling!”

Frederick W. Kahler
Earlysville

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Roll of the Dice

Thank you for devoting space to the increasing traffic pressure that City development policy is exerting on streets least able to bear it [“Fifeville, a traffic hazard,” Government News, September 15]. Your focal point—the intersection of Fifth Street S.W. and Dice Street (really two intersections rather than one)—illustrates the problem particularly well. And it also offers an excellent history lesson that should have informed the “density” debate long ere now.

Dice Street takes a confusing and endangering jog at Fifth Street S.W. because the two sections of there Dice were created at different times for different reasons. The leg of Dice Street east of Fifth Street is a function of a plat drawn in 1825 for Alexander Garrett, who sought to sell relatively small parcels from his large estate. That plat featured “potential streets” of which the future Dice Street was one. At the time, Garrett chose to donate two of his plat’s creations—Ridge Street (then “the Ridge road”) and Fifth Street S.W. (then “the new road to William Hening’s old stillhouse”)—as public thoroughfares. The leg of Dice Street west of Fifth is a function of a deed provision made by Rev. James Fife in 1860. Upon selling a small parcel of land for the building of what is now 513 Dice St., he retained for himself what he described as an “alley” to give his almost 400-acre farm an extra outlet to what was by then being called “the Old Lynchburg Road.”

There was no reason to align the two narrow rights-of-way that would so much later be considered sections of the same street. They were not then in a town, just near one. And the Fifeville subdivision—the eastern boundary of which was today’s Seven-and-a-Half Street—would not be platted for sale by Rev. Fife’s son, Robert Herndon Fife, until the late 1880s and early 1890s. (N.B. The blocks bounded by Ridge Street, Cherry Avenue, Fifth Street, and the railroad tracks have never, ever been in Fifeville. They were, however, shifted into the City-designated Fifeville Neighborhood just in time to use their mislabeling as an excuse to systematically exclude people who live within sight of the Ridge-Cherry intersection from discussion of what happens on that crucial corner.)

In sum, City policy is inflicting intense 21st-century traffic pressure on “infrastructure” that was intended for use by 19th-century horses and their people. That being the case, City promise of “a holistic neighborhood study” can offer little hope to those of us whose lives line those antique roadways.

Antoinette W. Roades
Charlottesville

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Why they keep coming back

I’m currently a participant in the Re-entry program here at our local jail. I find your article[“Freedom’s just another word,” September 1] very interesting and deja-vu-ish, because I’ve been waiting for the longest time to voice my opinion to someone who has an ear and also are willing to address the real issues at hand regarding the recidivism rates. I’m due to be released September 4, 2009, and I too am a repeat offender who hasn’t spent a total of 11 months in society from 1997 up to this point. I’m from the Charlottesville area.

In order for me to want change I must first submit to everything that has had ahold of me prior to me wanting to turn my life around. I can’t hold on to this character defect and let these two go, then work on these three and push this one aside. It’s an ongoing process, that requires daily maintenance. I’m not knocking the Re-entry program or the officials who designed it, however this is merely scratching the surface or shall I say shying away from the real issues of recidivism, which are our behavioral patterns, character defects, criminal tactics and countless other errors of thinking that we’ve acquired over the number of years.

For government and D.O.C. personnel to put us in a 45-day program and hope that we become productive citizens is absurd. For one to force someone to be in a place where they don’t want to be is not helping unless the length of the program is much longer, thus giving the participant time enough to put down his/her barrier of acceptance and start to open up and grasp ahold of what’s being offered.…It’s not that complicated to find a solution to everybody’s question “What keeps people from returning to jail?” It’s simple. “The way we think.”

If you’re going to force inmates to complete a program don’t wait until we’re almost released. Do it at the beginning of our sentence and implement programs along the way starting with a therapeutic setting and ending with Re-entry. Remember, we didn’t just all of a sudden wake up one day and decide we were going to be criminals. Most of us learned this behavior and started off small which snowballed into something we couldn’t control.

I’m a graduate of the 31st class and everything that was described of individuals’ actions in class 29 is still relevant. It shows that we respond more to the messenger than the message. To have a person stand in front of me with a college degree and tell me the same thing as a person who’s actually lived it and overcome the obstacle is more catchy and interesting. It’s just not interesting to me if someone who has no street credibility that gets their facts from textbooks and base their opinions on statistics….I would much rather be trapped in a mine with a miner than a geologist. A miner has been there and done that.

John B. Carter III
Charlottesville

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Froggy went a-courtin’

A current vogue of C-VILLE folks lament the lack of mates [“Charlottesville men speak,” Today’s Date, August 18].

To me it seems not lack of stock
but more of sour grapes.

Be not tepid nor glance aside
from one you may adore.
When fortune knocks then quell your fear
be bold and loose the door.

Perfection is a noble goal
exhausting to obtain.
But culling with an open heart
more often will sustain.

Several frogs may cross your lips
before you find a throne.
True lovers cry in tandem but,
the lonely cry alone.

John Stamper
Charlottesville

 

CORRECTION

In the August 25 issue of SUGAR, a story about wellness coach Megan Borishansky incorrectly implied that she does not advocate exercise. In fact, exercise is a component in the 12-week Weight Loss Challenge she runs. Also, the challenge is a class, not a consultation program as the story stated.

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Must love dogs

Thanks to Chiara for her little piece on (from?) the Landmark Hotel [“Best fail,” Features, August 11]. Amusing and well written, more from her please.
Love the dogs.
W/R/T the bit on Wood Grill, it’s “retch” —not wretch.
Nice “Best Of” issue, especially the C-Ville Sit, Stay picks. It’s the best of your “best of” issues so far.

Catherine Potter
Albemarle County

Know your food

Thank you, C-VILLE, for providing a much needed lesson in food reality [“There will be bacon,” Features, August 18]. Richard Bean and Jean Rinaldi are masters of good meat.Our family has had the pleasure of preparing and consuming meals with food raised on Double H Farm and know the difference between store-bought and farm raised/butchered pork. The savory result of a grilled chop or baked loin is far worth the cost (and occasional wait) for a good plate of food. While I am sure the story turns the stomachs of some animal lovers and vegans, this story does more to demonstrate the value of the animal than protests or meat deprivation. To realize the time and effort Bean puts into his craft, helps the reader to value the sacrifice of the animal itself. If only we could recognize the sacrifice made to feed our greedy bellies rice, corn, wheat and other staples as well. The industrialization of food has distanced consumers from the natural value of these basic necesities. Thank you for bringing into focus the care, dedication and time it takes to provide good food for our family’s hungry mouths.
 
The Rojas Family
Charlottesville

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Growth happens

I have heard all the arguments for and against the current water supply plan, especially concerning the new Ragged Mountain Dam and the proposed pipeline [“RWSA provides Gannett Fleming costs, takes heat at board meeting,” Development News, August 4]. What concerns me is that those that are opposed to the new dam have not put forth any proposals for the currents dams at Ragged Mountain. The upper dam was built in 1885 (no this is not a typo, it is 1885) and the lower dam was built in 1902. Both dams are in dire need of refurbishment and repair or else they will fail. The current plan is to build a new dam, tear down the lower dam, raise the pool by 45 feet and overfill the upper dam. When this was proposed most everyone was for it. Now you have more people against it, but not one person against the current plan has yet to put forward a plan to refurbish the existing dams. Why? Considering that both dams are over 100 years old should be a major concern to everyone. The way I figure it, you will either spend money to build a new dam, or spend more money to refurbish the two existing dams to bring them up to code and the authority will not lose their permits to operate these dams. Yes, it’s true, if the existing dams are not brought up to code the authority will lose their permits to operate these dams. This was the major reason for building a new dam in the first place. Yes, I know the current costs involved with the current plan have changed, and in this economic environment it doesn’t seem to be the right time to spend over $142 million on this project. But you have to consider the benefits. You will have a new dam, those eliminating the need to refurbish two dams. You will have more storage, thus being able to handle growth in the community. Yes, growth is going to happen, all you can really do is try to control how much you want in your community, you can’t effectively stop it, all you can do is slow it down.  The other thing is what about our aging infrastructure? In this community you have pipes, valves and storage tanks that are reaching their age limits and need to be replaced. Some of these are as old as 1923 and earlier and need to be replaced. Or are we back to the old “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome? This community needs to look at these things realistically before condemning any plan outright.

Robert Clouser
Charlottesville

Dig deep

I‘m glad to see your paper point out that we, through RSWA, have spent almost 4 million dollars now on consultants Gannet Fleming. This, for a study which grossly overestimates the cost of dredging, underestimates the cost of making the dam function (which is the kind of work they do) and is based on overinflated water demand projections.

Please apply some scrutiny to the parkway plan.

Both the dam and parkway projects are really welfare for the sprawl developers of Albemarle County, and have necessitated a great deal of largely unreported deception to sell to the public. Both would take Charlottesville’s land and money in order to surround the city with yet more auto–centric growth and pollution. Proponents of both use the money we have wasted already as justification to throw away many times more.  

So why did you print a eulogy for a beloved community member (our central park) while she is still being throttled? Your recent front page about “taking in the sights and sounds of McIntire Park as road construction begins” gives the false impression that VDOT has started tearing up the park. This is not the case.
 
Just recently they were at least temporarily denied a permit for the city part of the road by the U.S Corps of Engineers because the  plans received had no “logical termini.” Why did VDOT hand the Corps plans for a road to nowhere? Because, in order to evade U.S. historic, park and environmental protections, VDOT is pretending the Parkway and federally funded interchange have “independent utility”; though without the other, these boondoggles would end in a field, 775 feet away from the U.S. Rt. 250 Bypass.

When VDOT resubmits a plan, will it be an interchange-free southern connection, despite the facts that VDOT’s own study shows such a plan would make a traffic nightmare of the bypass, and that city council forbade it?

Maybe they will submit a plan where the parkway and the (yet to be designed,let alone approved or built) interchange meet at the bypass. Still without each other, they would launch cars 30 feet into the air—hardly independent projects.

Whatever they come up with, please dig a little deeper as to why this is a road plan with no end; and, as with the dam plan, you will find sprawl developers, their office-holding servants and lots of disinformation.

Stratton Salidis
Charlottesville

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Rah rah for the road

Andrew Cedermark’s article [“This way to the Parkway,” July 21] walked us around the best reasons we are building a Meadowcreek Parkway. He followed the nearly impassable and underused, land-locked route, and took us the shortest route from downtown to Northern Albemarle. We avoided the 29/Hydraulic/Bypass bottleneck congestion. And we didn’t have to risk our lives on that treacherous East Rio Rd.

Furthermore, Senator John Warner gave our community $30 million to use for a 250 overpass so that the Parkway wouldn’t interrupt the flow of that lovely road.

A great asset, fuel saver, and pretty Parkway to come!

Joe Kannapell
Charlottesville

Linking local and national

Thank you for printing the letter from Ray Sellers, the owner of several Domino’s Pizza stores in the area, in the issue from July 20. We are the proud owner-operators of five Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches throughout central and southwestern Virginia, two of which are in Charlottesville. We wholeheartedly agree with Sellers’ belief that support of “local” businesses should include those associated with national brands.

True to the spirit of buying locally, our revenue dollars stay in the community. From the meat and produce we use to make our sandwiches to  operating supplies, from advertising in local newspapers to the printing on our uniforms and catering menus, our business needs are met by local vendors. In addition, we hire many employees from the University and we pay state, local and property taxes, all of which strengthen the economy.

As residents of Virginia for five years and members of this community for three, we pride ourselves on supporting area businesses. We, too, have donated time and money to local charity events and fundraisers and we appreciate the efforts of business owners like Mr. Sellers to better the lives of people around us.

When we consider what it means to be local, we appreciate that we live, work, play and raise our children in this community and we are proud to call Charlottesville home.

Stephen Trivette
Justin Schenkel

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I would comply 4 U

As much as it pains me to disappoint one of my favorite C-VILLE writers, Brendan Fitzgerald, I need to set the record straight about the First Street Church Project [“Soul Music,” Feedback, July 14]. The sanctuary in the church will be available to the community for various uses including weddings, poetry readings, dance recitals, seminars and fundraisers for other non-profits. Musical events may take place in the space as well but I am afraid Prince will not be able to perform since the building will not be a rock ‘n’ roll venue or nightclub. There is, in fact, no sound system, no lighting and no negotiations with another nonprofit group to operate the space at this time. There is a new stage which will be extremely flexible in its use and hopefully the space will generate revenue for the other aspects of the Project which are intended to meet the needs of the working poor and homeless. It would be wonderful if local musicians wanted to partner with us in those efforts.

The First Street Church Project is grateful to the City of Charlottesville for their assistance in bringing this project to fruition. When our building permit was issued it was an A-3 permit which includes the following uses: Assembly (religious worship, community and lecture hall), Business (office areas), Educational (for instruction).

We intend to comply with the regulations governing our permit, as will our tenants. Any proposal regarding use of the sanctuary will have to be within the legal usage of the space as outlined in our permit.

One of the challenges we have faced during this process has been the availability of accurate information. Thank you for allowing me to share the facts with our community.

Janet Matthews
Project Director
First Street Church Project

CORRECTIONS

Due to a reporting error, last week’s cover story, “The devil went down to FloydFest,” incorrectly stated the number of Charlottesville bands performing at the music festival. The correct number is 11. They were William Walter & Co., American Dumpster, Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun, Barling and Collins, Kings of Belmont, The Rogan Brothers, Trees on Fire, Mariana Bell, The Wave, Raw Dawg and 6 Day Bender. Additionally, the gospel choir that performed was from Barcelona, not Brazil, as reported.

Also, due to a karmic disruption in production and proofreading, last week we ran an old edition of Free Will Astrology. Rob Brezsny wants to make sure you know it is our problem and not his. The stars remain aligned for his column, which is correct this week, we assure you, and appears on page 36.

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Word play

Your excellent, “Corporate co-opting of ‘local’” [July 14] alerts us to the semantical games employed by business entities in their search for profit.

Concerning the definition of “local,” my Merriam-Webster Dictionary includes (inter alia): “of, relating to, or applicable to part of a whole.” This permits national corporations to use the word “local” for any one of its branches in a particular locale. The term “locally owned” would better serve the interests of local independent businesses.

Leo Shatin
Boca Raton, Florida

All you need is (local) love

Thanks for the great article on local businesses and “local-washing.” I would like to suggest that this issue goes deeper than food and other material goods. One of the most pervasive unspoken values in America is two-fold: if an idea or a work of art (or whatever) has not transcended the local, it must be less important or less worthwhile; if something is distributed nationally, it must be of value. This leads to brain-drain, tepid and inert local institutions, and a lack of counterweight to corporate and other concentrated power and ideology. Churches, local governments, and other local organizations can work against this by nurturing and lifting up local talent as much as possible, instead of buying ideas, programs, and intellectual property from national sources. If it’s not good enough yet, it will be given time and love.

Ken Hymes
Charlottesville

Popular appeal

I definitely do not believe that public land, such as McIntire Park should share with a private building such as the YMCA [“Residents critique YMCA design, site plan,” July 21]. Taking away five acres of the park is a damaging amount. McIntire is a gem that should not be mistreated. It should remain a park for everyone to enjoy and not a host for a limited-use facility.

Elinor Miller
Charlottesville

CORRECTION AND CLARIFICATION

Last week’s UVA News article, “Students contend they’re unfairly charged for rental wear and tear” contained significant factual errors. Jake Minturn was not a tenant of CBS Rentals; rather, he rented from Wade Apartments. At the time that he did, he was not in fact a UVA student, nor was his apartment broken into. We sincerely regret these misrepresentations. Additionally, the photo accompanying the story was intended to generically represent off-campus student housing options and in no way was meant to suggest that GrandMarc, specifically, has been in dispute with student renters.

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I got you, babe

How strange that the cover article on the future of the Daily Progress [“What do Media General’s financial woes mean for The Daily Progress?” July 7] made no mention of how out of touch that paper is with the majority of the public, and potential readers.

In a region that massively backs Democrats, the Progress blindly endorses Republicans. In an area where the New York Times and Washington Post sell large numbers of daily papers, the Progress’ line-up of columnists leans from the merely right-wing (George Will) to the bizarre in Thomas Sowell.

If local news is increasingly light, and editorial substance consistently right, it is no wonder the Progress is struggling. This is a literate town and there will be a market for a newspaper that challenges its readers.  I’ll miss the Progress, but we’ll always have C-VILLE (won’t we?).

Al Weed
Lovingston

And now, a word from "lilith"

When the cops arrive to break up a party, people typically give each other high-fives and get the hell out of there before it’s their ass. It’s generous of some long-time party-goers at cVillain.com to offer to help Kyle Redinger keep it alive [Read This First, July 7]. But go home.

Before “villains” were ever 20 minutes late to meet a friend for dinner because they were coming up with a perfect comeback to @43, I was 20 minutes late. I was lilith and I helped Kyle create cVillain.com in April 2007, and I stayed until March 2008. I then wrote for The Hook as a restaurant critic from September 2008 to April 2009, an exciting opportunity that would not have come about without cVillain. I live in New York City now, and I thank Kyle for inviting me to keep cVillain.com going. If I lived in Charlottesville, I would consider taking it on and doing something different.

I think the name “cVillain” discredited a lot of the good Kyle and I were trying to do, and that he continued to do with a slew of fresh talent. Had the site been situated elsewhere, the snark and snide would be written off as no more damaging than what you’d get on any other local site, and might even be viewed as insightful. Former Gawker editor and entrepreneur Lockhart Steele now runs Curbed, Eater, and Racked, a successful trio of aggregating blogs covering New York real estate, food, and fashion, respectively. I doubt people would respond as well to domain names Foreclosure, Deathwatch, and Discontinued. But who am I to say?

I now do something I never did when I was writing as lilith—I read and comment on a lot of blogs, and I do it all under my own name. I also post at katemalay.com. I’ve been personally thanked for my blog comments by Robert Sietsema and Sarah DiGregorio, only my favorite food writers. Typing in an offensive or dismissive comment under my real, full, Google-able name is actually too hard for me to do, and I encourage anyone who thinks they’ve got a pair (and a decent future ahead of them) to try it. There is one New York hot-spot that I doubt would book me with its new e-mail only reservation policy (that allows for Googling), based on a mostly complimentary but generally underwhelmed review I posted to my blog, but I sat on the review draft for several days before deciding it was fair, and I’m not going to patronize it—in both senses of the word—by showing up at this business again.

Restaurants don’t generally like critics, whether it’s the teen with the notepad or the Brunz himself—if you make it known you’re reviewing, or if you don’t know who that is, stop now—but real critics earn the respect of restaurants, and readers.

Credibility has not been cVillain’s problem. Thor, in his various incarnations, and other regular contributors have occasionally been the first to publish big local stories that they identified or that were submitted by anonymous readers. There were also tips that weren’t published because facts were dubious. From cVillain’s infancy, Kyle and I had access to people with information, and I’m appreciative, on reflection, that they felt we had the integrity to handle it.

More than for its credibility, I think cVillain has been valued by its community for being entertaining. Lunch breaks were no longer the only solace one could find from the monotony of a workday, though conversation was perhaps a bit more interesting. People and businesses enjoyed brief infamy, welcome or not, because of publicity from the site. Actual friendships, even romances, developed and moved offline. Writers were clever, if not kind.

Not everyone can pull clever out of their ass, though, so increasingly, inside jokes, running jokes, and dirty jokes took over the comment threads that followed attempts at substantive posts. (See: piercings poll.) Much of the humor came at the expense of others, or of print media outlets/competing bloggers, or of wet towels. So?

So there is little substance left to save. It’s like a $20 bill that goes through a full load of laundry. If things had been gentler, it could have been worth something. Charlottesville was a vulnerable community that turned into an unwilling market, and I’m glad the city stood up for itself. C-VILLE has a lot to do with that, and I hope any members of the community that have ever shuddered at hearing the name “cVillain” find an opportunity to thank the publication.

Kyle and his team at Spicy Bear have devoted thousands of unpaid hours to the site, and the party was awesome…until it wasn’t. Thank your hosts, sober up, and go get some sunshine. There will be another party.

Kate Malay
New York City

 

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Poetry free for all

I am writing to thank you for publishing Sam Witt’s very fine article on poetry [“Who cares about poetry, anyway?” May 26]. Not only does it showcase the many talented local folks with national—and international—reputations but it also proves that poetry is one of the most democratic and accessible genres.

During the 2009 Book Festival we held a Hip Hop program for children and their families. We had a great time demonstrating that we all listen to poetry every day as we listen to the radio or the music on our MP3 players!

Again, thanks for this wonderful issue and all that you do to promote literacy and literary culture in the community.

Susan Coleman
Director, Virginia Center for the Book

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