Monthly Archive for April, 2011

Things Looking Bad for the County Fair this Year

The Albemarle County Fair can’t seem to find a suitable home, Brandon Shulleeta writes in the Daily Progress, and odds are slim that they’ll be able to have a fair this year—or, indeed, ever, if they can’t find a place to hold it. For years it’s been held on Fred Scott’s land down in North Garden, at Bundoran Farm, but now that the property has been developed, that leaves fair organizers without a physical space to have the annual summer event.

Grandfather and Grandson on the Scrambler

A proper, agriculturally oriented county fair has a permanent home—a few sheds, some covered picnic shelters/performance venues, some administrative space, and a whole lot of relatively flat, open space for parking, games, rides, displays, etc. And that’s exactly what fair organizers are looking for, defining “permanent” as “20-plus years,” needing at least sixty acres. Although Biscuit Run is a distant possibility as a location, that’s far from a done deal.

Unless somebody steps forward ASAP, summer’s going to be rather less exciting this year, and a whole lot of 4-H kids are going to be mighty disappointed to have no place to show—and sell—the prize livestock that they’ve spent months raising expressly for the Albemarle County Fair.

Emerald Ash Borer Traps Hanging from Area Trees

Emerald Ash Borer Trap

If you haven’t seen these purple triangular tubes swaying from trees on the roadside yet, you will. Curious, I looked into it, and they turn out to be insect traps. The emerald ash borer—a non-native species—threatens to lay waste to our ash trees, having killed some thirty million thus far, and agriculture departments throughout the country are trying to figure out what sort of a problem they’re facing. These traps don’t necessarily mean that the borer is a problem, just that officials are investigating. When you see them, just leave them alone and hope for the best.

For more information, here’s a Kansas newspaper article on the topic.

Albemarle Athletics Coach Contracts for Free Gear

Some Albemarle high school coaches are getting free athletic gear after inking deals with sporting goods vendors, Sharon Fitzgerald writes in The Daily Progress. The athletic departments at AHS, WAHS, and MHS all signed contracts with vendors without first vetting the agreements with the school system. AHS’s coach athletic director signed up with Adidas, agreeing to buy $30,000 worth of their products each year for the next three years, and agreeing that the teams would wear that gear “when possible.” WAHS’s coach athletic director signed with Russell Athletic, in a contract with no end date, for a 35% discount. And MHS coach athletic director Fitzgerald Barnes signed the most unusual agreement: for two years, they’d buy only Under Armour products—for which they get a 40% discount—and agree to exclusively use Under Armor products, with the coach personally getting $10,000 in free products each year, and other coaches getting a combined $5,000 in free products.

It’s one thing for coaches athletic directors to be entering into unauthorized agreements, but it’s quite another for them to be personally enriched by those agreements. That’s precisely why such agreements are to be approved by the school system—such a kickback would never have been permitted.

04/18 Update: The proper job title for the individuals in question is “athletic director.” Although they might be coaches, there are coaches at each school who are not also athletic directors.

Portico Publications and Better Publications Merge

The parent companies that produce C-Ville Weekly and The Hook are merging, undoing a corporate divorce that began in January 2002. The plan is just to merge the companies, not the publications, under the name of Charlottesville Publishing Group. There’s no way anybody saw this coming.

It was nine years ago when two of the three owners of C-Ville Weekly pushed out Hawes Spencer from Portico Publications. Within weeks, Spencer started The Hook, taking a bunch of employees with him, under the corporate aegis of Better Publications. That left Rob Jiranek and Bill Chapman with C-Ville Weekly, and the two publications as sometimes-bitter rivals. Jiranek left Portico Publications in 2006, and Portico’s expansion attempts failed earlier this year, just as Cathy Harding resigned as editor.

Presumably this merger will mean that the two businesses can save a lot of money by sharing resources—office space, advertising staff, distribution services, printing costs, etc. C-Ville Weekly currently lacks for an editor, after the departure of Harding, the editor who bridged the gap between Spencer’s departure and now. Between this new corporate arrangement and this opportunity to take C-Ville Weekly in a different editorial direction—for the love of all that is good and holy, axe “The Rant”—the C-Ville Weekly of 2012 could be very different than the C-Ville Weekly of today.

10:00 PM Update: Bill Chapman provides some clarifications and corrections. In a nutshell, Portico still exists—it now publishes the Free Times—and there are no plans to share staff or offices, but contracted work like distribution and printing are certainly areas where they intend to save some money.

Fenwick Declares Council Candidacy

Independent Bob Fenwick is running for City Council again, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. Fenwick ran two years ago on an anti-Parkway, anti-YMCA, pro-dredging platform, and he’s doing the same thing this time around. He hasn’t filed to run yet, and has ten days to do so with the registrar.

Other candidates for Council—Democrats and, if they bother to field a candidate this year, Republicans—may not announce for a while, a result of redistricting this year. Primaries have been pushed back to August, rather than June, while everybody figures out what district that they’re in. While redistricting doesn’t directly affect the council race, it does push back the nominations and will have the effect of shortening the campaign season. Independent Scott Bandy filed last month, and Satyendra Huja delcared he’s running for reelection, while incumbents Holly Edwards and David Brown are not seeking reelection.



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