Monthly Archive for November, 2009

Dr. Latham Murray Has Died

One of the Murray brothers, Dr. Latham Murray, died yesterday evening, of causes as yet undetermined. The eight sons of Panorama Farm owners Jim and Bunny Murray—James, Matthew, Christopher, Stephen, Andrew, Thomas, Timothy, and Latham—are pervasive in the community, quietly doing the various good deeds that make Charlottesville and Albemarle go ’round. The 58-year-old was a thoracic surgeon at Martha Jefferson, the chair of their board, and, as a hobby, a craftsman. He’s survived by his wife and their five children, one of whom—Wistar—should be well known to those who read Charlottesville blogs (although she recently moved to New York)—as should be Wistar’s husband, Darren Hoyt. A memorial service will be held sometime early next year.

Groh Gone

Mediocrity: It Grohs on You
By Karen Blaha, reproduced under CC BY-SA license.

Al Groh is being paid $4.3M to please stop coaching UVA football, CBS-19 (among many others) reports. Just last night the university wrapped up a 3-9 season with a 42-13 loss to Virginia Tech, and Groh turns out to have wrapped up his nine-year career with UVA on the same night. This year was the team’s worst performance in his time here, although dissatisfaction him runs back a few years. Let the speculation about his replacement begin.

WVTF Opening Downtown Studio

Roanoke NPR station WVTF is opening a downtown Charlottesville studio. They’ll have a grand opening of the 1,780 square foot facility weekend after next, and use the facility for conducting interviews. It’s at 216 W. Water St. (here, I think), across from the Ice Park. This is constitutes the station’s latest salvo in their quiet battle for listeners against Harrisonburg’s WMRA, both of which broadcast in Charlottesville. Since both stations lean heavily on listener contributions, there’s potentially some real financial benefits that come of getting a bigger chunk of the audience here. Last year’s recruitment of Sandy Hausman as their Charlottesville bureau chief (and sole C’ville employee) was a sign of things to come—they’ve clearly increased the number and depth of their local stories since she came on.

Disclaimer: I’m a weekly guest on WVTF’s “Weekend Virginia.” I’m not compensated for my time, so I’ve got no skin in the game, but it’s worth calling up.

Minor Earthquake in Nelson County

There was a 2.7 earthquake in Nelson County, just north of Appomattox at 5:24 this evening. The epicenter was here:

Nobody should have felt it in the Charlottesville area. (And hardly anybody in Nelson.) Earthquakes in the 2.0-2.9 range are so weak that they’re generally not even felt. We have earthquakes in the area every couple of years. The last one that I recall was in December 2003; before that, in September 2001 (which justifiably scared the hell out of everybody).

The Mirage of the Neighborhood Model

Hollymead Town Center isn’t the paragon of pedestrian friendliness that it’s touted as, Erika Howsare writes in the current C-Ville Weekly. Years after the development went in, Howsare tried to take a stroll to the shopping center from the townhouses that make the place ostensibly mixed-use. It did not go well. Sidewalks stop abruptly. One must walk through mud, dodge cars, and swish through long grass. Checking with employees of businesses in the shopping center, C-Ville couldn’t find a one who walked to work. The development’s website brags that “dining and shopping are within walking distance,” but they never point out that the walk is entirely theoretical.

I’ve written before about the poor planning that went into Hollymead, though I never got past its bizarre relationship with 29N. Every time I have cause to go there, I wonder aloud about how so many gestures at walkability were made without ever coming together to actually make it friendly to pedestrians.



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