Category Archives: General News

Returning to the Velvet Rut

In C-Ville Weekly, Jordy Yager writes about the pattern of middle-class kids moving away from Charlottesville for college, but returning a decade or two later. This is a pattern I’ve seen in the past 20 years—I’m 35—as many of my friends decided to shake the dust of this crummy town off of their feet and move to Brooklyn / Austin / Seattle / San Francisco, only to return 5, 10, or 15 years later, having figured out that Charlottesville isn’t so crummy after all. (Some, of course, remain happily in their new city.) Those of us who never left looked a bit lame to some (“no, seriously, he still just lives in Charlottesville”), but now look prescient for escaping the gravity of New York, never having needed to share a 600 square foot apartment with three roommates, the rent eating up 70% of our budgets.

Warning: If you’re sensitive to stories about privileged white kids becoming yuppies, this story is going to annoy the hell out of you.

Squirrelpocalypse Redux

Surely you’ve noticed the flatted squirrel corpses paving every road in the area. There have been lots of theories as to what’s going on (bumper crop of ignorant squirrel pups, shortage of food, squirrel migration, and nothing’s different but us talking about it, among others), and in the Daily Progress, Bryan McKenzie explains the squirrelpocalypse. Last year there were an amazing number of acorns, supporting an unusually large population of squirrels. This year, there’s a very low number of acorns, so the offspring of that large population are competing over a small number of acorns. The interesting twist is that many of these squirrels are actually trying to migrate, seeking out a new home with more food. McKenzie writes:

Meriwether Lewis reported large numbers of squirrels were swimming the Ohio River. He sent his Newfoundland dog, Seaman, into the water to harvest the rodents for dinner.

“They were fat and I thought them, when fried, a pleasant food,” he wrote to then-President Thomas Jefferson.

Massive squirrel migrations were reported across the upper Midwest, New England and into South Carolina in 1809, 1819, 1842, 1852 and 1856, according to various studies of the phenomenon.

Apparently there are just occasional confluences of factors that cause huge numbers of squirrels to wander across the countryside, and we’re having our first such event since 1968.

Earlysville Polluted by Manufacturing Plant

The Environmental Protection Agency is studying four pollutants that have leached into the soil near the airport in Earlysville, J Reynolds Hutchins writes in the Daily Progress. The Avionics Specialties plant is the source of the trouble, though the EPA has found that the toxins (including a carcinogen) are the fault of Teledyne, who ran an aerospace-related plant on the site from 1954–1992. Teledyne has refused to take responsibility, but the EPA is going to force them to. There are months of study ahead for the EPA, sure to be followed by years of cleanup.

Woodbrook Divided Over Bench and Bridge

Via Charlottesville Tomorrow, I see that the Woodbrook Neighborhood Blog has a long piece about how the neighborhood is divided over an Eagle Scout’s project to build a bench and a bridge over a county-owned lagoon as a part of a trail on public land. Blogger Dan Gould conducted a bunch of interviews, talked to county employees, took a bunch of photos, and even took an informal survey of landowners who live nearby. A lively discussion has ensued in the comments section. It’s a great piece of work about a parochial matter, the sort of thing that would surely have no place in a regional publication, but that anybody who lives in the Woodbrook area surely finds very interesting.

Guy Walks into Kroger with an AR-15

Some jackass strolled into the Kroger on Hydraulic carrying an AR-15 today, the Daily Progress reports, leading to at least one person wisely fleeing the store and calling 911. Police quickly arrived and detained the 22-year-old, before releasing him since, in Virginia, there’s nothing illegal about strolling around a grocery store carrying an assault weapon. Police figure this was an open carry demonstration. This is a thing, wherein people who know that it is legal to openly carry will go into crowded public places while carrying guns, on the theory that people will eventually stop being terrified and get used to this as a reasonable behavior. Basically, First Amendent : Westboro Baptist Church :: Second Amendment :: these jackasses. Anyhow, Kroger tossed the guy off their property and told him not to come back, since there’s nothing illegal about throwing a dangerous jerk off of your private property.