Monthly Archive for October, 2010

President Coming to Charlottesville on Friday

President Obama is coming to Charlottesville on Friday. He’ll be holding a rally at the pavilion in support of Congressman Tom Perriello, who is up for reelection on Tuesday. Perriello has been tied with challenger Robert Hurt, and is looking for every advantage in the final days before the election. Not only will this get him media attention throughout the district, but it’s probably also intended to fire up volunteers. The trade-off is that it’s likely to fire up Hurt’s volunteers, too. The event is public, gates open at 5 PM.

The last time a sitting president visited Charlottesville was George Bush, in 2008, when he spoke at the Independence Day naturalization ceremony at Monticello.

Disclosure: I’ve donated a few hundred bucks to Perriello, between this race and in 2008. I’m not really sure how much in all.

UVA Completes VQR Investigation

On Wednesday, UVA simultaneously released a report on the management and finances of Virginia Quarterly Review and the news that the literary magazine’s editor would not be fired. Although the report concludes that editor Ted Genoways probably lacks the “capacity to supervise and lead his staff well,” calls for an investigation of his use of university funds to publish his own poetry, and demands that the magazine’s private Bank of America account be overseen by the university, UVA has decided to keep Genoways in the position for which he was hired seven years ago. This all resulted from the suicide of managing editor Kevin Morrissey on July 30, which was followed shortly by the whole staff walking out or quitting.

Dave McNair’s cover story in this week’s Hook provides all sorts of new details about what unfolded at VQR in the past few years, many of which were outside of the scope of UVA’s investigation, and dissects critically a couple of stories published about the situation in the last few weeks. It’s the most comprehensive, accurate, detailed coverage of the situation yet.

Disclosure: I worked for VQR for five years. I quit on July 26.

BoS Radically Shifts Growth Accommodation

The county has long had a simple approach to growth: encourage it in the growth areas, discourage it elsewhere. It ain’t perfect, but it’s basically working. That policy got tossed out the window at last Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow. Frank Stoner plans to build a 96-house development by the name of “Whittington,” just south of town, but didn’t want to build a septic field to serve his houses. So he petitioned the county to extend the county sewer system to include his 186 acres of land, something that they’ve never done before. County staff recommended against it because the comprehensive plan makes quite clear that’s not permissible. The board voted unanimously to extend the sewer system to Stoner’s. Supervisor Duane Snow said that it’s best, because otherwise a lot of trees would have needed to be cut down. In what’s likely foreshadowing, supervisor Ken Boyd said: “We live in changing times, and for us to say that we’re always going to do what we’ve done in the past, I think, is a path not to go down for us.”

This spring I had half an acre cleared to have a septic system put in, necessitating that dozens of trees be felled. If I’d known the county was open to extending the sewer system, I would have just asked for a hook-up. Or maybe I lack the clout?

Confusing County School Schedule Causing Ruckus

County schools are operating on a confusing new class schedule, Brandon Shulleeta writes in the Daily Progress, and it’s not universally beloved. After read the article a couple of times, I still don’t understand it—apparently some classes meet every day, some a few times a week, and some run for half of the year, while others run for the entire school year. It replaces a system that was only slightly less confusing, one in which students took the same classes all year, but classes only met “about once every two days.” The idea behind the switch was to save money, by having fewer teachers teaching more classes. A small group of angry parents will be meeting with school officials to air their grievances.

When I went to WAHS, in the mid-nineties, we had classes that met every day. AHS moved to block scheduling right about then, which I recall gave those kids a certain mystique of urban modernity, at least from our Crozet perspective. This new system would have confused the heck out of me.

Family Subdivision Exception Granted

Remember the Board of Supervisor’s denial of a family’s request to subdivide their land more times than the law allows? They’ve reversed themselves, Brandon Shulleeta writes in today’s Progress. Or, rather, the new, more conservative makeup of the board has reversed the prior board. The Matheny family has seventeen acres carved up as a family subdivision, and they used up all of their division rights. But they wanted to divide it one more time. They asked the BoS for permission, and the board said no, that rules is rules. Well, apparently rules isn’t rules. An exception was carved out here, not because of anything in particular about the family or the land in question, but just because the majority on the board board believes that the limit should be ignored.

Disclosure: I paid the Mathenys to drill a well for me last fall. In fact, they did great work, and I recommend ’em.



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