In brief: Thin Mint mania, cheap(er) hotels, glorious victory and more

Girl Scout Troop 352 leader Diana Filipi set up shop at Kroger at Rio Hill on January 28 with Brownie scouts Ophelia Filipi, Kaitlyn Hicks, Keri Smith and Lylah Burtner. Staff photo Girl Scout Troop 352 leader Diana Filipi set up shop at Kroger at Rio Hill on January 28 with Brownie scouts Ophelia Filipi, Kaitlyn Hicks, Keri Smith and Lylah Burtner. Staff photo

It’s Girl Scout cookie season

Good luck getting around town without encountering a wide-eyed girl at a cookie booth who wants to sell you one box of each flavor. How could you say no?

For the past two weekends, girls have set up shop at dozens of locations around town. To get the scoop on this year’s cookie sale, we went straight to the source.

“I love selling cookies because it makes me feel really happy,” says Keri Smith, a Burnley Moran second-grader in Brownie Troop 352. “And the best part is maybe at the end, we get to eat them.”

Keri’s friend and fellow second-grader Lylah Burtner says, “My favorite part is when I meet new people, because I always make friends when I sell the cookies.”

Troops make a 65-cent profit from each box they sell. “I’m hoping I can get a big, big, big mansion and then I’ll get a fuzzy couch,” says Lylah.

It’s Lylah’s first cookie sale, and she’s quickly reminded that girls don’t get to keep their profits. Keri says she hopes their troop raises enough money to go to Virginia Beach this summer.

“I just really, really, really want to go to the beach,” she says.

Janet Driscoll Miller, the membership facilitator for the local service unit, says cookie sales help fund all of the activities and support that the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council provides. For every box of cookies purchased, 74 percent goes directly back to Girl Scouts.

“Even more important than the funds, however, are the opportunities to learn business and marketing skills,” she says. “I was a Girl Scout as a girl, and as an adult, I started my own business and run a marketing agency.”

The top-selling cookie in Charlottesville and Albemarle? “As is true probably everywhere, our area loves Thin Mints,” says Driscoll Miller. Local girls sold more than 30,000 boxes of them last year.

And if you need to get your fix, there’s an app for that. Sales end March 31, so download the Cookie Finder app today to search for a cookie booth near you.

By the numbers:

  • 70,980 boxes of cookies sold in Charlottesville/Albemarle in 2017
  • 30 percent were Thin Mints
  • 21 percent were Caramel deLites
  • 750 Girl Scouts in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area
  • $4 for one box of cookies
  • $0.65 troop profit per box

Quote of the Week: “We were born for this and built for this. This is what we worked for.”—UVA’s Kyle Guy after beating Duke 65-63 January 27 at Cameron Stadium in Durham for the first time since 1995


Storm Team loss

NBC29’s longtime weather guy Norm Sprouse exited the newscast January 23 after 27 years on the air. He’ll continue part-time behind the scene as he eases into retirement.

It’s baaack

Delegate Steve Landes again is carrying a bill that would affect the revenue-sharing agreement loved by Charlottesville and loathed by Albemarle. In exchange for ceasing annexation in 1982, the county has since paid the city $311 million, even after the state halted annexation in 1987. The bill allows localities in such agreements for more than 10 years to renegotiate and calls for reviews after five years in future economic growth-sharing deals.

Another arrest in August 12 beating

This time, police have taken into custody Tyler Watkins Davis, a 49-year-old man from Middleburg, Florida, who they say maliciously wounded DeAndre Harris in the Market Street Parking Garage beatdown.




Downward trend

It costs 44 percent less to book a room at the Albemarle Estate at Trump Winery than it did a year ago when President Donald Trump was inaugurated, according to the Washington Post, which reported January 24 that nine of his most expensive properties have experienced significant price drops.


Jason Kessler’s March perjury trial will take place in Albemarle, despite his one-inch thick motion to change the venue because, he says, dozens of news stories make it impossible to get a fair trial. His lawyer, Mike Hallahan, argued “sleeper activists” could slip onto the jury, but Judge Cheryl Higgins said January 30 the publicity wasn’t enough to change the location of the trial, and she’s taking the motion under advisement.

Shoo flu, don’t bother me

We’ve all heard that the flu is particularly nasty this year, but the local area hasn’t been hit as hard as others.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, there’s widespread flu activity in the state’s Northwest region where our Thomas Jefferson Health District is located, but in the second week of the year—the most recent available data—only 4 percent of emergency room and urgent care visits were for flu-like illnesses.

The UVA Health System saw 150 probable flu cases between January 8 and 21, says spokesperson Eric Swensen.

“At this point, we’re characterizing the flu season as an early and moderately heavy flu season, but not outside our recent experience with the flu,” he says.

And according to Charlottesville High School nurse Ann Sandridge, a minimal number of kids in city schools have come down with the illness.

“There are no red flags right now,” she says.


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