Monthly Archive for June, 2006

Mas vs. Charlottesville-Dining

Earlier this month somebody posted a restaurant review on Charlottesville-Dining that was not altogether complimentary. The anonymous contributor reported that s/he had gone to Mas, had a tasty dinner, and then became violently ill. The illness was labeled “food poisoning,” with the contributor claiming that others have had the same problem after eating at Mas.

Mas’ owner and chef Tomas Rahal spotted the review and was upset, and wrote Charlottesville-Dining creator Fred Telegdy, asking him to take it down. Simultaneously the original reviewer wrote Fred, also asking for the comment to be removed, judging it too harsh. The review was erased (as was, eventually, Mas’ very existence in the site’s database) but the e-mail battle between Fred and Tomas went on.

In this week’s Hook, Barbara Nordin steps in, siding with Mas on the basis that the rather serious charge of food poisoning wasn’t based on any medical opinion. (Nordin doesn’t identify the website or the restaurant. I’ve done so here because it’d be mere minutes until somebody identified each in the comments.)

There are a few lessons to come out of this interaction. The first is that it can be a real pain to run any website that takes public comments (though y’all have been sweethearts for years now). The second is that local businesses have got to keep an eye on area websites and blogs to be aware of when they’re being written about and what’s being written. And the third is that there’s another tapas bar named “Mas”, over in the UK — how weird is that?

Don’t Sweat That Drought Watch

Last week we were under a drought watch. This week we’re hoping that they’ll wrap up construction of the “Evan Almighty” ark in Crozet. Jessica Kitchin reports in today’s Progress that the buckets of rain that have been falling for days now are enough to end short term drought concerns, though there’s no telling what things will be like in a couple of months. It hasn’t been enough to make up our 12″ rain deficit for the year — not even half that so far — but it’s enough to keep us in good shape for the next month or two.

Whisper Ridge Dodges Another Bullet

Whisper Ridge Behavioral Health System was accused in February of human rights violations against their patients; in today’s Daily Progress Sarah Barry reports that they’ve avoided being shut down by paying $30k in fines and agreeing to change how they do things. The facility is in the business of treating minor teenagers for mental or drug problems, and its staffers are accused of sexually assaulting patients and human rights violations. They’re now required to maintain a 1:4 caregiver-to-patient ratio, which shouldn’t be too difficult with the 5-6 kids they’ve got in there now. Police are investigating the sexual assault allegations, with Capt. Chip Harding saying that “one investigator has been working on the case pretty much full-time since [February].”

Those of you playing along at home will remember that Whisper Ridge used to be named The Brown Schools of Virginia, when they racked up 107 state citations in just under two years, including human rights violations. Before that they were named The Millmont Center, and then they were caught with 50% of their staff consisting of utterly untrained temps and, again, sexual assault. Lest you think this is normal for such facilitations, the director of the state licensing agency described them as having “more violations than we have ever seen,” and that was back in 2002 before it got really bad.

I’m baffled as to why this place is permitted to remain open. I wonder what they’d have to do to get shut down. Beat a kid to death? Accidentally burn the place down and leave the kids in there to die? Kill, butcher and eat a puppy live on national television? With all of the competition in the local media market, somebody ought to go in there under cover, as a patient or an employee. That would be one hell of a story.

Norris and Taliaferro Sworn In

Julian Taliaferro Takes the OathCouncilors-elect Dave Norris and Julian Taliaferro were sworn in at a brief ceremony at the courthouse yesterday afternoon, ten days before their terms will official begin on July 1, John Yellig writes in today’s Daily Progress. The two Democrats enjoyed a sizable victory over incumbent Republican Rob Schilling on May 2, and will attend their first City Council meeting on July 3.

Google Maps Improves Satellite Photos

Y’all fellow geeks out there will appreciate this: Google Maps has considerably improved their satellite photography for Charlottesville and areas north. From just west of town to Keswick, in a rectangle clear north to Stanardsville, it’s possible to zoom in far enough to see individual cars. Thanks to Fred for the tip.