Monthly Archive for June, 2008

President to Speak at Monticello July 4

Monticello Naturalization Ceremony President George Bush will be the speaker at this year’s Independence Day naturalization ceremony at Monticello. Such events take place around the country, and the annual event at Monticello is for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Charlottesville’s is always a big deal, not just because of the always-excellent speakers (Sam Waterston, actor and Unity08 founder, spoke last year), but because of its great location. The event is free, though probably tough to get into this year. It’s always stunningly hot, even at its 10am start time, so prepare accordingly if you intend to go.

Botanical Garden Proposed for McIntire Park

The Meadowcreek Parkway and the YMCA will significantly reduce the size of McIntire Park, including lopping at least two holes off the golf course. Though only golfers can say whether a seven-hole course is of much good to anybody, one local group is proposing replacing the golf course with a botanical garden, Seth Rosen writes in the Progress. City leaders are supportive of the idea, but the catch is that it’d cost upwards of $50M (!) to pull it off. That could be done with city dollars, or the city could give a nonprofit a lease on the land, and that group would do it as a barn-raising (in the style of The Paramount). It had been suggested that a recreational pond be installed there, which was a bang-up idea, but the Army Corps of Engineers said it wasn’t feasible. A botanical garden would certainly reduce the sting of losing a chunk of parkland.

County to Crack Down on Red Light Runners

Albemarle County Police are going to start ticketing people for running red lights on 29 North, CBS 19 reports. All of next week, the cops will be going after folks along the corridor. A paltry 284 tickets were issued for running reds in the entirety of the country during the whole of 2007. It was two and a half years ago that the Progress‘ Jessica Kitchin sat and watched a half hour of rush hour traffic at the intersection of Rio and 29 and found that somebody ran the red every single time. At $161 a throw, I’d think that intersection would be a license for the county police to print money. And if that’s a money-losing proposition for the department, then the county needs to increase the fine.

In case it’s not obvious, red light runners make me furious. (Note to self: You must now never, ever get caught running a red.)

Prospecting for Gold

Gold in the pan

By Patti. (CC)

There’s gold in these here hills. Steven Kurutz has a travel piece in today’s New York Times about prospecting for gold in Central Virginia, looking specifically at at meeting of the Central Virginia Gold Prospectors club in Dillwyn. Its members, who come from all around the northeast, get together every few weeks to pan for gold in what used to be gold belt running clear down to Alabama. Their members get access to the group’s claims, where they find gold dust, flakes, and the odd tiny nugget. Interest is sufficient to sustain a prospecting supplies shop in Dillwyn.

MPO Meets, Realizes It’s Got Nothin’

The latest meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization sounds like a bummer: the MPO is realizing that, with the state approaching bankruptcy in the transportation realm, they can’t do a thing. A special session of the General Assembly is scheduled for next week, and Ben Doernberg covered Del. David Toscano’s transportation town hall meeting for Charlottesville Tomorrow, held earlier this week. Unless something significant gets accomplished during this special session — and I’d bet good money that it won’t — expect a lot more thumb-twiddling MPO meetings.

Incidentally, this Daily Progress story is by Rachana Dixit, a newcomer to the paper from the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star and, before that, JMU’s Breeze, plus the odd contribution to the Nepali Times.