Monthly Archive for August, 2006

Lethal Wrecker = After Five Towing

Consider this a public service announcement: Lethal Wrecker is changing their name to After Five Towing. They’ve gotten such a terrible reputation that apparently they figure a name change will allow them to leave it behind. (From the Whisper Ridge School of Business?) The company is also planning to file for bankruptcy, not because they’re going under, but to avoid having to pay up after being caught overcharging their victims, as well as to avoid paying up in the $20M suit recently filed by a man left crippled after his car was crushed by a Lethal tow truck.

I think I may have to run PSAs on the site periodically to remind people that After Five Towing is one and the same as Lethal Wrecker. I’d hate for anybody to forget.

Whisper Ridge Employees Indicted

The train wreck that is the Whisper Ridge Behavioral Health System (née The Brown Schools, née The Millmont Center — they change their name regularly in hopes that their misdeeds won’t be associated with them) has just come off the tracks — five recently-sacked employees have been indicted for the sexual abuse of the children in their care there, Rob Seal reports in the Progress. These aren’t just any employees — the two who have been named are Director of Operations Bianca Nicole Johnson and Mental Health Specialist Bryan Antwann Vaughan. Johnson is charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, while Vaughan is charged with forcible sodomy and taking indecent liberties with a child two counts of sexually abusing a child while in a custodial or supervisory role. The unnamed accused, two women and one man, face similar charges.

Police have had an investigator working on this case full-time for six months now. In the meantime the number of residents there has dropped from sixty to just six. I’ve got to wonder what the parents of those six are thinking.

2:36pm update: Turns out the charges against Vaughan reported by the Progress were wrong, though the penalties for the real charges are identical.

Drought Concerns Loom

My stream disappeared a couple of weeks ago. I’ve lived here for a couple of years now, and this is the first time that the little brook has simply disappeared. For the second summer running my wife and I have a good-sized little garden, and this year I’ve had to water it every day — very rarely does enough fall out the sky to do the trick.

Josh Barney wrote in the Daily Progress a couple of days ago that the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is starting to get worried — water usage is way up, and the rain’s just not coming. The reservoirs were hit for a record 14.3 million gallons on Friday, while they’re down to storing 82% of capacity. Neither is any reason to panic, assuming that we get a nice rainy fall.

I’ve been keeping an eye on stream flow levels, using the USGS’ National Water Information System, and they just keep dropping. The Rivanna is down to 1.13 ft/sec discharge, compared to the 12-year mean for this date of 293 ft/sec. The last time that it was this low was 2002, when we were in the throes of drought. The Moormans is even worse: 0.363 ft/sec, the lowest it’s been this time of year in the eighteen years it’s been monitored. Normally it’d be 143 ft/sec this time of year. Ground water levels keep dropping — it was at 29.75 feet a month ago, and now it’s at 31.25 feet. It’s once it starts dropping below people’s wells that there’s trouble.

The good news is that there’s a hurricane on the way. If we’re lucky, Hurricane Ernesto will weaken over land and dump a few inches of rain on us, which will help to recharge the reservoir. It’ll take a lot more than that over a much longer period to recharge our ground water, but it’d be a start.

08/30 Update: 6″-12″ of rain is forecast to fall on Friday, the remnants of Hurricane Ernesto. I believe I’ll be taking credit for this reversal for fortune.

Page/Venable Fence to Come Down

There’s a six foot tall chain link fence that separates 10th and Page from Venable. Its function — and surely its original purpose — is to separate the poorer people in the former from the wealthier people in the latter. The Hope Community Center is going to ceremonially cut the thing open at a ceremony this afternoon, John Yellig writes in today’s Progress. The fence is more of a symptom than a problem, but the symbolism is terrible — it sends entirely the wrong message to people in both neighborhoods. Opening it up is a great idea.

Jiranek Leaves Post as C-Ville Publisher

Rob Jiranek, one third of C-Ville Weekly‘s three-man team of publishers, has apparently left his post at parent company Portico Publication, having been named vice president of sales and strategic planning at Memphis’ Commercial Appeal. (I assume that it’s not possible to continue to serve as publisher while working in Memphis as VP of a paper there. But I know nothing about the newspaper publishing biz.) Jumping from the world of alt weeklies to dailies is a tough switch, and an unusual one for a guy who has never described himself as a fan of daily newspapers. Assuming that he’s sold his stake in the business, that would leave Bill Chapman and Steve Delgado as the owners. 10:15pm update: Just Bill Chapman. And, in fact, the publisher is Frank Dubec. All of this information is on their website, had I bothered to look, rather than relying on my lousy memory. It seems there’s no reason to assume that Rob Jiranek has sold his stake in Portico.



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