In brief: Turkey time, planner peace out, and more

Volunteers hand out birds at the We Code, Too turkey drive on Saturday. PC: Zack Wajsgras Volunteers hand out birds at the We Code, Too turkey drive on Saturday. PC: Zack Wajsgras

Turkey time

Community is hard to come by these days, especially as we’re all hunkering down for a long winter indoors. But at the Jefferson School on Saturday, the community put on an impressive show. During the annual We Code, Too turkey drive, 200 birds were handed out to those in need ahead of the holiday. Some of the turkeys were contributed by retailers, and many more were purchased using money from individual donations. Cars snaked through the parking lot, as recipients remained socially distant during distribution. It’s the seventh year in a row that the drive has taken place, proving that even in difficult times, some things remain constant.

Planner says peace out 

Charlottesville city government’s staffing woes continue. On November 4, the city announced that Parag Agrawal had been hired as the Director of Neighborhood Development Services. Agrawal even made an introductory appearance at a press conference the next day. But less than two weeks later, Agrawal is gone, after announcing last week that he’s taken a job as the planning director in Prince William County instead. There’s been a lot of turnover at City Hall recently, but this is a new record.

Looking on the bright side, at least the city won’t have to pay Agrawal a severance package. Mike Murphy got nine months of additional pay after spending a year as interim city manager, and former city manager Tarron Richardson got a $205,000 lump sum after less than a year and a half at the helm. Maybe it would’ve been in Agrawal’s best interest to stick around for another week or two—who knows what he might have walked away with.

After 16 months on the job, former city manager Tarron Richardson walked away with $205,000 in severance pay. PC: Eze Amos

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Quote of the week

Quite honestly, I just don’t have the time to address every crazy thing she says. It would be a full-time job.

Virginia Senate Republican Mark Obenshain, when asked to respond to Republican gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase’s latest remarks

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In brief

White House bound?

After just two years as UVA president, Jim Ryan may be moving on to the White House—at least, if Nicholas Kristof has his way. The New York Times columnist floated Ryan as a secretary of education pick for Joe Biden’s cabinet last week, praising his “strong moral compass” and more than a decade of experience in higher education. Ryan was “flattered” by the mention, but said, “My focus has been and will continue to be leading the University of Virginia.”

Durty deal

You can get anything on Craigslist—even a much-loved Charlottesville bar. Durty Nelly’s Pub is for sale, and last week the whole shebang was briefly posted on the online classified board with a price tag of $75,000. Durty Nelly’s is still open and doesn’t plan on closing, but the post suggested that the owner is looking to move on.

Pass it around

After Governor Ralph Northam’s recent announcement that he would support marijuana legalization in next year’s General Assembly session, State Delegate Lee Carter proposed that money generated from pot sales be spent on reparations for Black and Indigenous Virginians. It’s “a moral commitment our history demands of us and a necessary first step in Virginia,” Carter wrote in a press release.

Bottom lines up

It’ll come as no surprise that one business in particular is thriving during the pandemic: Virginia ABC stores have reported record sales through the last few months, turning in $22 million more in revenue in October 2020 than during October 2019. Usually, restaurants make up roughly 20 percent of the ABC stores’ businesses, but the liquor shops are having no trouble making ends meet even with that flow interrupted.

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