Monthly Archive for September, 2010

City Reduces School Dropout Rate

The Progress reports some good news from the city school system: there’s been a 40% reduction in dropouts at CHS over last year. Eleven percent of kids due to graduate in 2009 failed to do so; of kids due to graduate this past spring, only 6.8% didn’t. For comparison, the statewide rate is 8.2%. City schools attribute the improvement to programs that they have put into place to reduce dropout rates.

Martha Jefferson Merging with Sentara

Martha Jefferson is getting swallowed up, the Daily Progress reports. They’re merging with Sentara Healthcare, a non-profit healthcare conglomerate that owns eight hospitals in Virginia and North Carolina. In a statement on their website, Martha Jefferson says that the process will take about six months, and is subject to regulatory approval.

Some of the most obvious concerns here are how this will affect quality of care, whether Martha Jefferson (as an entity and as a collection of employees) is served well by this move, and if any layoffs are likely to result from redundancies created by the merger.

Martha Jefferson Property Sold

Martha Jefferson’s downtown property has been sold, Rachana Dixit writes in the Progress. The building and parking lots have been sold for $6.5M to a group of investors, who are redeveloping it. The hospital is renting back the facility until August, when they’re scheduled to move entirely into their new location out on Pantops; redevelopment may well start shortly after then. Of course, what it’ll become is the big question, and if its new owners have any idea of that, they’re not talking.

Council Votes for Dredging; Pipeline Loses

City Council has voted 5-0 in favor dredging the Rivanna Reservoir rather than building a pipeline, Hawes Spencer writes for The Hook. The vote was held just before midnight, after dozens of speakers—two to one in favor of dredging—expressed their support for one plan or another. The plan also includes increasing the height of the existing Ragged Mountain dam by thirteen feet.

This unanimous vote represents a pretty enormous turn-around for Council, which had been all about the pipeline just a few years ago, and did a 180° on this after a great deal of study and community input. This looks like a big victory for Mayor Dave Norris, who at least appears publicly to have been the guy who turned around opinion on what to do about our long-term water supply.

10:30 PM Update: City spokesman Ric Barrack points out that the pipeline is still in the plan, which is a pretty important correction. It’s just no longer the plan.

Elementary Students Shown 9/11 Imagery

All of the kids at Broadus Wood Elementary were shown a slideshow of the September 11th attacks last week, Brandon Shulleeta writes in the Progress, and some parents aren’t happy that they weren’t notified in advance. It included photos of airplanes hitting the Twin Towers—photos that most television networks stopped broadcasting within a couple of weeks of the attacks—and was shown to children as young as five years old. Principal Kendra King said in a statement (she declined to be interviewed) that she’d notify parents in the future, but if she apologized, that didn’t make it into the Progress.

This is what the kids were shown:



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