Monthly Archive for May, 2011

Measles Outbreak in Charlottesville

Lots of local media outlets are reporting on a local woman hospitalized with measles. Presumably unvaccinated, the woman had just returned from India, where she unknowingly contracted measles. Two of the people she came in contact with now also have the measles. The health department is trying to track down everybody who could have been exposed, so they’re releasing a list of the time and places of her travels around town. Those are the Charlottesville Waldorf School last Friday and the Downtown Mall between 4:30–9:00, specifically The Paramount, Marco & Luca, and Chaps Ice Cream. If you have cause to think that you or somebody who know was exposed, watch for flu-like symptoms that may or may not include a rash. As soon as they develop, isolate the patient and call—don’t visit—a doctor.

This is not an overreaction. Measles are mind-bogglingly contagious—it’s possible to contract it by simply breathing within dozens of yards of somebody who is infected. While the disease is often merely unpleasant, complications are common—pneumonia, encephalitis, partial blindness. Anybody who has had their MMR shots is immune.

Here’s hoping that Waldorf parents aren’t the sort who refuse to immunize their children—if they are, this outbreak could get a great deal worse. Measles were basically unknown in this country until the past few years, when well-meaning but ignorant parents started refusing to immunize their children (there’s a well-debunked urban legend that vaccines cause autism), leading to 118 cases in the U.S. so far this year—plus these three—some of which were among groups of children whose parents denied them immunization. Get your kids vaccinated, folks.

McIntosh Running for Council

Democrat Peter McIntosh is the fourth to seek the party’s nomination for City Council, Graham Moomaw writes in the Progress. The retired attorney is campaigning on a platform of economic development, building the Meadowcreek Parkway, building the YMCA in McIntire Park, and building a new dam rather than dredging the reservoirs. McIntosh has served on loads of boards for decades, and is a well-known name around town.

This makes a total of seven candidates for the three seats. The election is in November.

C’ville’s Turn for Lower Gas Prices?

D.S. writes:

Last time gas prices spiked, there was a hue and cry about prices in Charlottesville being higher than other parts of Virginia. Well, in my driving to Richmond for the Picasso exhibit and to DC via Orange, F’burg and I-95, prices in Charlottesville are lower than those locations, even in the expensive areas (Pantops, 5th St by I-64).

We also considered the high price of fuel here back in September 2006.

I drove to DC a few weeks ago, and Clarke County on Saturday, and everywhere I went, gasoline was more expensive than in Charlottesville. Gasoline might have been pricier around here in 2006 and 2008, but it looks like we’re getting our turn at lower rates.’s Virginia section says that the average price in the state is $3.87/gallon, which is more than all but one gas station in Charlottesville is charging—our prices seem to be clustering around $3.79/gallon.

School Board Member Running for Council

Kathy Galvin is joining the race for the Democratic nomination for City Council, she’s declared in a press release (below). The architect will be making her announcement at noon tomorrow (Wednesday). Galvin serves on the city school board, to which she was elected in 2007. Three seats are coming up on Council, with incumbent Satyendra Huja seeking reelection and incumbents Holly Edwards and David Brown retiring from office. Democrats will select their slate of candidates in an August 20 primary. The election is November 8.
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City Middle, High School Students to Get Laptops this Fall

Remember the city’s plan to provide every middle and high school student with a laptop? That’s happening, Graham Moomaw writes in the Daily Progress. It’ll start next school year, giving them Windows tablets—which, since they’re really unpleasant to use otherwise, will be supplemented with a keyboard and a stylus, plus a protective case. The cost per system will have to be determined when the bids come in, but the thinking is that the whole thing should run less than $1M.

The idea is to move to electronic textbooks, rather than continuing to use increasingly expensive paper textbooks. Also, some publishers are simply eliminating paper textbooks in favor of electronic ones, and the school system is concerned that they’re going to run out of decent print options. In theory, the bulk of the cost of these computers should be covered by textbook savings.