Graelyn Brashear

Trump Winery’s billionaire owner has hinted the estate could one day be home to a resort or golf course as well as a vineyard. As wineries become more commercialized, there’s a greater chance of clashes over rural land use. Photo: Lindsey Henry

Should Virginia wineries get agricultural tax breaks if they’re not growing grapes?

To qualify for a “Class B” Virginia farm winery or cidery designation, owners have to ensure that 75 percent of the fruit they use comes from Commonwealth vineyards —not necessarily their own. And in 2007, the legislature expanded the farm wineries’ privilege and banned local governments from regulating winery activities whose “purpose is to promote, market, sell, or educate guests about the wine produced.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. File photo.

Romney and Ryan to campaign in Fishersville Thursday

According to several media outlets, including CNN, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan plan to campaign in Virginia this Thursday, October 4, a day after the first presidential debate. With country music artist Trace Adkins joining the candidates onstage, the hopefuls will host a Victory Rally at Augusta Expoland in Fishersville, about […]

Local residents crowded into the Jack Jouett Middle School cafeteria Thursday night to formally submit opinions on VDOT's environmental assessment of the proposed Western Bypass. Photo by Graelyn Brashear.

Bypass forum draws hundreds

Hundreds of local residents packed the cafeteria at Jack Jouett Middle School Thursday night for VDOT’s public information forum on its environmental assessment of the long-planned Western Bypass around Charlottesville, lining up to leave written or dictated comments on the controversial project. By 6pm, there were few parking spots at the school, which lies close […]

Human Rights Task Force co-chair Jesse Ellis listens to colleagues during a recent Task Force meeting. Photo by Graelyn Brashear

Human Rights Task Force nears deadline for recommendation on Commission

More than seven months, two community forums, and several field trips later, Charlottesville’s Human Rights Task Force is approaching a deadline. In December, the 10-member Task Force will make a recommendation to the City Council on whether Charlottesville needs a permanent Human Rights Commission to combat discrimination, and just what such a commission should look like. Task Force co-chair Jesse […]

On the fate of the Farm Bill

On the fate of the Farm Bill

An economics professor I had in college once told my class the Farm Bill was the most important piece of legislation that nobody in America cares about. Granted, I went to an ag school, so maybe she had a slightly skewed perspective. But she’s got a point. The Farm Bill—these days, officially known as the Food, […]

Photo: Jack Looney

Sick hospital? UVA’s rapidly expanding medical center is its biggest financial challenge

Last Thursday in a basement auditorium at UVA’s Harrison Institute, the administrators and board members who oversee more than $1 billion of the local economy gathered for a status update on the institution in their charge: the University of Virginia Health System. The picture painted for the University’s Medical Center Operating Board during the meeting’s […]

Gabriele Rausse spoke to the group gathered at Staunton's RR Smith Center for the Thomas Jefferson Wine Event. Photo: Ashley Twiggs.

Growing good wine in Virginia’s unlikely clime

Ever since Virginia’s first settlers planted wine vineyards in the Tidewater, the challenges of growing good grapes here have been apparent. The varieties we know, like Chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon, all belong to the European species vitis vinifera, which tends to favor a dry Mediterranean climate. Those vines didn’t take kindly to Virginia’s […]

On reporting and remembering 9/11

On reporting and remembering 9/11

On September 11, 2001, I had been a New Jersey schoolkid for all of a couple of weeks. I was barely 16 and the shy new girl in a small town outside Princeton where lots of parents took the train into lower Manhattan each day. When a jet slammed into the North Tower of the […]