Monthly Archive for February, 2003

Union Challenges Tenaska’s Hiring Practices

The Richmond Building and Construction Trades Council has accused Tenaska of bringing in out-of-state workers to construct their new Fluvanna power plant, making their provision $50MM in wages considerably less useful to the county. Says a member of the trade union, regarding the imported workers, “if we had these jobs, money would be recirculated throughout the state, whereas these guys aren?t paying property taxes and are renting homes. They’re basically taking from the area, but they?re not giving a whole lot back.” Tenaska denies the accusation, and says that they’ll ultimately spend $50MM with area businesses. If all of this seems a bit familiar, it might because a user forecast this scenario back in October. Austin Graham has the story in Sunday’s Progress.

Browns Schools Sold, to be Renamed

Everybody’s favorite (and only) whipping-boy on the human rights violations front, The Brown Schools, has sold their Charlottesville mental health center two years after it opened. The residential adolescent mental-health facility has chalked up over 100 human rights violations in the past year, ranging from sex with patients to a staffer threatening to kill a patient, employing untrained temps to beating patients with belts. The new owner is Psychiatric Solutions Inc. of Franklin, TN. The CEO of the company says that he intends to “keep violations to a minimum,” and intends to employ the same technique that the previous owner did: change the name. Claudia Pinto has the story in Sunday’s Progress.

Find ‘Em In the Library First

Jefferson Madison Regional Library, because they’re just cool like that, has made a bookmarklet in the LibraryLookup format that allows people to easily see if a book is available at the library. When you’re on a book-related site (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, whatever), before you buy the book, you can use this bookmarklet (which is basically a bookmark that does something interesting) to see if you could just check it out instead of buying it. Just drag this link: [Library Lookup] to the toolbar at the top of your browser to activate it on your system. For example, if you were looking at my mother’s book on Amazon, you could click on the LibraryLookup bookmarklet to query JMRL’s catalog for it, and you’d discover that it’s checked out at Gordon and Central, but available at Northside and Louisa. Save money, make use of the library, try the LibraryLookup bookmarklet. Full disclosure: I represent Charlottesville on the Board of Trustees for JMRL.

C’ville: Survivors of a Nuclear War

In 1979, the U.S. Senate commissioned a study on the effects of nuclear war. They wanted to know what would happen to government, the economy, and society if nuclear war were to break out between the USSR and the United States. What would the country be like afterwards? The result was a study (titled, appropriate, “The Effects of Nuclear War,” that outlined the specific effects of various attack scenarios, determining kill rates, illness levels, the effects on food supplies, etc. The interesting bit is that they commissioned a 15-page fictionalized short story of life after the war in one specific city. The author, Nan Randall, wrote about Charlottesville. Good news: we survive. Lots of refugees come here from all over the country, we communicate via CB radio, WCHV broadcasts messages from the president (who is in a bunker in the midwest), the city manager becomes the totalitarian ruler of Charlottesville and Albemarle, and…well, I won’t ruin it for you. The story is only available as a PDF (77k), but it makes for great reading.

County and City Schools Closed…why?

Cecil writes: I heard on the radio this morning (2/20) that Albemarle County and Charlottesville City schools (among others) are closed today. I don’t have a problem with that; I don’t even have a child in the school system. But I am curious – -it seems to me that the streets are pretty much clear, at least in the city. Why do they remain closed? Does anyone have any experience with these kinds of school-closing decisions, someone who could shed light on what factors go into consideration? This layperson wonders.



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