Monthly Archive for June, 2010

Albemarle School Enrollment to Climb

After years of remaining pretty level, Albemarle County school enrollment is forecast to climb by 7.2% in the next five years, The Daily Progress reports. UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service produced the report, as they do annually. Charlottesville should climb by 1%. The only area locality expected to actually lose students is Buckingham.

Tornado at Barracks Road?

A particularly nasty storm swept through town a couple of hours ago, and based on the reports right now, it sure sounds like a small tornado may be to blame for the corridor of damage that high winds left behind. Accounts by local media outlets and on Twitter report trees down, power out for 41,000 people, and a bunch of reports of property damage. A lot of the damage, at least anecdotally, is in a swath running from Best Buy through Barracks Road over to Ivy Road. While it could be a microburst, those generally last for less time, and are isolated to one location, rather than running along a path.

When we had a tornado in May 2000, it was a few days before the microburst was confirmed to be an F0 tornado, as the path of damage made obvious. On the other hand, our 2002 tornado was never confirmed as such.

At 5:00, I was on 81 in West Virginia, headed home after being out of town for a week, so I missed the whole affair. What was your experience? What do you think–bad thunderstorm, microburst, or tornado? Who’s got pictures?

WTJU Format Debate Spills into Public View

WTJU’s internal debate over its future has gone public, Dave McNair writes for The Hook. Long-time station manager Chuck Taylor recently retired, and brand-new manager Burr Beard has been told by UVA that he’s got to make WTJU relevant, or it may simply be shut down. (With 7,500 weekly listeners, the station is perhaps better loved than actually listened to.) Long-time DJs—all volunteers—are none too thrilled by Beard’s plans, which are to move to a format closer to commercial radio and to scale back on the eclectica. Though many seem to be OK with change in concept, having this new guy stroll in and immediately start making changes without volunteer buy-in isn’t being received well. One twenty-year veteran has resigned rather than wait to be booted. DJ Tyler Magill has started a blog documenting and objecting to the proposed changes. But if Beard really has the dire mission that’s been described, he may basically have license to do as he likes.

UVA has agreed to postpone any changes until fall, Brian McNeill writes in the Progress, and WTJU is about to launch a blog on their website, in an apparent effort to move the online discussion from Magill’s website to their own.

In the mid-nineties, I had a bi-weekly rock show on WTJU (with an inherited, classically useless WTJU title: “The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging”), and for some years I co-hosted Rock and Folk Marathon shows dedicated to Dave Matthews Band, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, Liz Phair, and others. Fifteen years later, I still have WTJU preset on my car radio, but it’s increasingly a sympathy button. Easily a third of the time that I flip to it, I’m greeted by silence, either because they broadcast at such a low level (sure, yeah, it provides greater fidelity, but it’s too quiet to be heard) or because a long, awkward pause is underway. No more than one time in twenty is anything that I want to listen to being broadcast. The schedule is impossible for any normal person to remember, and even when read, doesn’t seem wholly logical. (Jazz at 9 AM? No thank you.) The show titles are of no help to understanding what you’re going to hear, and the descriptions often don’t help much, either. All of which is to say that WTJU certainly has its problems, which even a long-time fan like me can see, and I can’t see that anybody would argue otherwise. It remains to be seen whether the cure will be worse than the disease.

Ice Park May Have a Buyer

Since the owners of the Charlottesville Ice Park announced its closure due to a fundamentally flawed business model, it’s seemed inevitable that it would shut down—who wants to buy debt with little prospect of return? Looks like there may be a buyer, Courteney Stuart reports for The Hook. The catch is that the potential buyer is $300k short of the asking price, so this is far from a done deal.

AHS Censors Student Newspaper

The principal of Albemarle High School yanked an article from the final issue of the school newspaper, Lisa Provence writes for The Hook. The editor of the ironically named Revolution was told that he couldn’t publish their last issue if it included an editorial about the problems with high school level gym class, which happens to be written by the student who will edit the paper next year. The article—which is utterly unobjectionable—raised the ire of the gym teachers, who insisted that they couldn’t teach class if students were to read the article. The paper’s advisor decided to pull the entire issue. Student Press Law Center attorney Adam Goldstein calls the principal’s objection to the article “one of the goofiest I’ve ever seen—it’s not even controversial.”

As a student at Western Albemarle High School, some friends and I published an alternative to the school’s newspaper, The Western Hemisphere, which we called The Eastern Hemisphere. For any AHS students considering doing likewise after this incident, allow me to recommend against it. While fun, it did my academic record no favors.