Monthly Archive for July, 2012

Local Boards Reject Chloraminated Water

At yesterday’s meeting of the two water boards, City Council, and the Board of Supervisors, they unanimously rejected the use of chloramines to purify the regional water supply, Lisa Provence reports for The Hook. Faced with a choice between an $18M granular activated carbon filtration system or a $9M chloramine-based system, they were considering adding the ammonia derivative to save $9M. Most public water supplies in the state are purified with chloramines, but the catch is that they can suck the lead right out of old pipes, which is particularly dangerous for children. Concerns about chloramines were widespread, with dozens of people speaking against chloramines at yesterday’s meeting, but nobody speaking in favor of them. Next up: Ginning up another $9M to fund a new carbon filtration system.

Charlottesville Tomorrow Replaces Website

Today Charlottesville Tomorrow launched a new website, and it represents a significant improvement over their old site. I suspect that nobody bothered with their main website, at, since all of their stories went up on their Typepad-hosted blog, at That disconnect didn’t serve them well, and the new site remedies that, putting a wide array of news front and center on the home page. Notably, the site is running on Armstrong, a still-in-development open source content management system created by and for internet-first media outlets.

(Disclaimer: Armstrong is funded by a grant by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, who awarded me a fellowship last year to develop The State Decoded.)

Sidney Tapscott Has Died

Downtown fixture Sidney Tapscott has died. The sweet, cheerful 89-year-old was adopted many years ago by downtown regulars, and passed away yesterday in hospice. During the eighties and nineties he could be seen around the Downtown Mall with a push broom, wearing overalls and bearing a red bandana. The Albemarle native smoked a pipe, played the harmonica, and was the Hogwaller Ramblers’ number-one fan. (Their album opens with him singing, and then introducing “the Tennessee Ramblers.) The Blue Moon Diner—his home away from home—held a big birthday party for him every year. For photos and remembrances, see the Friends of Sidney Tapscott Facebook group, which has almost 1,500 members after just one day of existence.

Poll: Virginians Love Charlottesville

Public Policy Polling asked Virginians how they feel about a dozen major cities, and there’s none that they like more than Charlottesville. We’re seen favorably by 63% of those polled, with only 6% having an unfavorable opinion of us. Second place is Roanoke, with a 50/5 split. That’s based on an automated phone survey of 647 Virginian voters, conducted last week.

ACTA’s Role in Failed Sullivan Ouster

Alex writes:

The Washington Post’s Daniel de Vise has a most interesting story on his blog regarding some events that possibly influenced the forced resignation of UVA’s president Sullivan. It’s entitled “Are Virginia College Trustees Groomed for Activism?” It may shed some light on some murky forces that may have encouraged Ms. Dragas and Mr. Kington’s ousting of Dr. Sullivan. Up until now there has been comparatively little scrutiny on the prelude to the

My favorite remark by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s Ms. [Anne] Neal was, “I believe that the objection you encounter to ACTA’s role stems from those who like the status quo to be free of accountability or scrutiny.” She certainly has chutzpah. Ms. Dragas and Mr. Kington—seemingly indirectly egged on by Neal—mounted their coup in the dead of night and bristled at the attention they received. Not much accountability or scrutiny there.

I’ve had a strong hunch that Neal and ACTA were behind this failed coup, but I’ve got nothing more than circumstantial evidence to support that. de Vise appears to be on the trail.