Monthly Archive for March, 2009

Council to Consider Wading Pool’s Fate

The city is having second thoughts about shutting down the McIntire Park wading pool, Rachana Dixit writes in today’s Daily Progress, in response to citizen complaints. It’s all because of the The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, a 2007 bill that actually failed in congress, but passed when lumped into a comprehensive energy bill. The new law requires “anti-entrapment drain covers” in pools and spas, addressing the approximately one death annually from children who get hung up in the drains. Pools around the country are hustling to upgrade their drains to be compliant, since the law went into effect in December. The city figured it’d cost $15,000-$20,000 to make the upgrades. In addition, the ancient pool has a serious leak (the 67,000 gallon pool had 275,000 gallons put into it last year), and it’s going to be awfully close to the planned bypass/McIntire interchange.

Mayor Dave Norris wants to reconsider the whole thing, though, and is putting it up for discussion and a vote at an upcoming City Council meeting. Hawes Spencer, of The Hook, was apparently dubious of the cost of the drain upgrade, and did a little shopping around—he found that the hardware should cost closer to $2,000. That still leaves the questions of the proximity to the interchange and the leak, which is presumably what Council will be sorting out at their next meeting.

Democrat Running for Thomas’ Seat on BoS

North Garden Democrat Madison Cummings intends to run for the Samuel Miller seat on the Board of Supervisors, Brian Wheeler reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. That’s the seat currently held by independent Sally Thomas, who hasn’t yet said whether or not she intends to run for reelection. Lisa Provence talked to Thomas for The Hook, and Thomas reiterated that she isn’t going to say a thing until after the budget is finalized on April 8. It seems unlikely that Cummings would run against Thomas, so either this means that he’s got some inside knowledge that she won’t be running for reelection, or he’d drop out if she decided to run after all. Wheeler asked the retired pharmacist that most important of questions for a candidate—why he’s running—and Cummings responded:

I love Albemarle. I think it is a great place. We have a lot of great things going on and I don’t want to see us go backwards. Education and social service issues are very important to me, but so are public safety matters. I want to see us keep making progress and going forward

You’ll recall that Republican John Lowry is already in the race, though he’s not said if he’ll be affiliated with a party. Thomas told The Hook that “there are at least three Democrats” considering running for her seat, and that a Republican may be thinking about running, too. This may prove to be a very lively race.

Progress Lays off Four in Newsroom

The Daily Progress announced layoffs of newsroom staff today:

The Daily Progress on Monday reduced its employee complement by six in an effort to adapt its operations to continued changes in the marketplace. A sister newspaper in Waynesboro, the News Virginian, also reduced its complement by one on Monday, according to Lawrence McConnell, regional publisher for the newspapers. […] The reduction in force saw four positions eliminated in the Progress newsroom and two in advertising.

So, who got the axe? And who is left? I feel like we need a roll call or something.

(Via NBC 29)

03/31 Update: The Hook reports that two editors and two reporters were let go, and a friend tells me that Features Editor Mary Alice Blackwell is among those. With just sixteen folks on the roster, this amounts to a loss of 25%* of the already-shrunken newsroom.

Google Street View Incorporates Charlottesville

Charlottesville and Albemarle have, at long last, been included in Google’s Street View photography within their maps. The county coverage isn’t exactly exhaustive, but just about every street in the city has been photographed. I figure their truck came through sometime late last summer, based on the cues that I can pick up within the photos. I’ve already found my car parked in front of my office, though the graveled mountain pass that I live on didn’t make the cut. Collectively, the area’s businesses are going to lose a lot of work hours tomorrow as people scope out the town through the eyes of Google. Thanks to Kyle C. for the news.

Brookwood’s “Slopes of Evil”

For C-Ville Weekly, Erika Howsare calls out a new housing development for generally sucking, something that ought to be done more often. Brookwood, off Fifth Street Extended, is being built by Southern Development, and appears to be particularly badly sited. Built on the side of a steep hill, they caused some significant erosion that left Rivanna Trail joggers having to wade through muck. Howsare writes that “the site has to be literally hacked out of a cliffside, which is then shored up with massive ugly retaining walls, which in turn face directly into people’s tiny bedroom windows.” Infill development is a good and necessary thing, but there are some places where it just doesn’t make sense to build. (Via Lonnie Murray)



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