Irish politics and current affairs magazine
It's a brand new act and the heroes of the Coyote's Aegis campaign begin a new tour. This time they're headed to Sitra Arha and their guide is our old pal Gutbones! Then Magill and Tom continue burning a character in The Burning Wheel. Also, Magill might get swept off in Hurricane Fiona, so if the podcast ends suddenly, you know why! Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
Harry McGee is the current political correspondent with The Irish Times. He has previously worked for several publications, including being political editor of the Irish Examiner, as well as jobs with the Sunday Tribune, the Sunday Press, the Connacht Tribune newspapers, public service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann and has also edited Magill. He has appeared as a commentator on RTÉ Radio 1, Newstalk and TV3
Things kick off with a major piece of D&D news: the announcement of ONE D&D! What will this new edition (and associated software) mean for the future of Dungeons & Dragons? Magill and Tom give their thoughts. Then we follow the party in the Coyote's Aegis campaign as they wade through battle after battle and raid a tomb as they make their way to Fort Stormblast. And in the tavern, Magill talks about the enormous ooze called the Genius Loci! Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
On this episode, the heroes from the Coyote's Aegis campaign meet the true ruler of Beargate Lake: a black Shadow Dragon named Kitten! And Kitten is pretty interested in the party's dragon turtle A-Tuin...but there's way more going on in this episode than just that! Expect lengthy discussions about Better Call Saul, Star Trek, the movie "NOT ME!", aiming for a 7 out of 10, and more. In the RPG Danger Room, Magill and Tom start creating a character (or should I say BURNING a character) in The Burning Wheel. Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
In this episode of the Obehi Podcast, Aisling Talks About Her Photographing and Visual Storytelling Business. She happily gave out a few photography tips and how she does her Visual Storytelling Business. ____________________________ For more about Obehi Podcast, visit our YouTube channel - Youtube.com/c/ObehiPodcast. Check out also our official website ObehiEwanfoh.com. Do you want to learn how to better leverage your storytelling skill and earn more? Then check out our training class: Storytelling For Content Creators and Digital Entrepreneurs --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/obehi-podcast/message
GUEST 1 OVERVIEW: Stephen Kelly is a former NSW police officer who left due to vaccine mandates. GUEST 2 OVERVIEW: John Augustine Waters is an Irish columnist, author and activist. He started his career with music and politics magazine, Hot Press, and also wrote for the Sunday Tribune newspaper. He later edited the social magazine In Dublin, and the investigative and current affairs magazine Magill. He became a regular columnist at the Irish Times and then the Irish Independent, while authoring some works on non-fiction, and developed The Whoseday Book which raised 3 million euros for charity. He has also been a member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
The Deathlands tour in the Coyote's Aegis campaign continues as the caravan makes its way into the Tristanian mountains headed for the White Ring Outpost and eventually Port Goodberry. But on the way...Odium gets stuck in the tour bus bathroom! Dangus! Then in the RPG Danger Room, Magill breaks out the second sci-fi RPG ever created - Starfaring - and he and Tom give it a review, then generate a spaceship using the system's ship creation rules. Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
GUEST OVERVIEW: John Augustine Waters is an Irish columnist, author and activist. He started his career with music and politics magazine, Hot Press, and also wrote for the Sunday Tribune newspaper. He later edited the social magazine In Dublin, and the investigative and current affairs magazine Magill. He became a regular columnist at the Irish Times and then the Irish Independent, while authoring some works on non-fiction, and developed The Whoseday Book which raised 3 million euros for charity. He has also been a member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
Tom issues some corrections to the Coyote's Aegis campaign as the party sets out from Fort Kalasu to fight some Grimlocks. Then in the RPG Danger Room, Magill boots up the streamlined one-shot-focused RPG cbr+pnk to discuss its merits, the recent game that Tom GM'd, and the appeal of stripped-down RPG systems in general. And the meataphors continue as C&C slowly transforms into an entirely meat-themed podcast. Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
The heroes of the Coyote's Aegis campaign continue their caravan, setting out from the city of Decima, engaging in companion quests and random encounters, and eventually meeting the goblin family called the Mykelsons. After that, it's the exciting premiere of our new RPG Danger Room segment where Magill takes a close look at the pick-up-and-play roleplaying system In a Wicked Age. Will it be crunchy, or will it make us feel like a ham floating downstream? Then a brief jaunt to the tavern where we hear about Tom's Cyberpunk Faction idea, The Wild Hunt! Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
What recourse do we have except to simply pursue this August 5 in the best manner possible? On this Blogger Day, I celebrate with another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast intended to shed light on various happenings in and around the area. I’m the writer and host, Sean Tubbs. What are you writing these days? Sign-up for free, but paid subscriptions come with benefits and the satisfaction you’re helping pay for the PACER bills! Ting will match. See below! On today’s program: The former Commissioner of Revenue in Greene County has been sentenced to three months in federal prison for attempted witness tamperingUnemployment drops to pre-pandemic levelsCharlottesville seeks input on what kind of person should be the next police chiefAlbemarle Supervisors endorse a pan for improvements on Rio Road but one member says that doesn’t mean final decisions have been madeCharlottesville City Council is briefed on the preparation for the next fiscal year First shout-out goes to the Charlottesville Jazz Society In today’s first subscriber supported public service announcement, are you looking for something new to listen to in the form of live music? The Charlottesville Jazz Society has you covered with an ongoing list of dozens of events coming up at venues across the area. That ranges from rumba guitar duo Berta & Vincent at Glass House Winery this Saturday afternoon to the Charles Owen Trio at Potter’s Craft Cider on Saturday, August 28. The Charlottesville Jazz Society is your source to plot out your musical journey and you can get started at cvillejazz.org. Thanks to a subscriber for being on both Patreon and Substack to qualify for this shout-out.Greene’s former Commissioner of Revenue sentenced in witness tampering caseThe former Commissioner of Revenue in Greene County has been sentenced to three months in federal prison for intervening in an investigation of his son’s drug distribution charges. Larry Snow, 73, pleaded guilty in May to one count of attempted witness tampering for trying to dissuade a confidential informant. “According to court documents, Larry Snow used his access as the former Commissioner of Revenue to a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database as part of an effort to retaliate against and tamper with the confidential informant, Person A, after Person A aided law enforcement in controlled purchases of methamphetamine and heroin from Bryant Snow,” according to a release from the United State Attorney for Western District of Virginia. Specifically, the elder Snow sought to print out material identifying the informant for his son to use to intimidate and to discredit that person while incarcerated at Central Virginia Regional Jail. Snow resigned in May 2022 as Commissioner of the Revenue in Greene, having been elected in 2019 while under indictment. National employment returns to pre-pandemic levelsThere were 528,000 nonfarm jobs added across the United States of America in July, according to the latest employment figures released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is at 3.5 percent. “Both total nonfarm employment and the unemployment rate have returned to their February 2020 pre-pandemic levels,” reads a release that was sent out this morning. The report also notes that the number of permanent job losers is now lower than February 2020. The long-term unemployed is defined as those jobless for more than 27 weeks, and that figure is also below pre-pandemic levels. Other statistics in the release are worth noting. In July, 7.1 percent of the workforce continued to telecommute due to the pandemic. The labor force participation rate is defined as “the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older that is working or actively looking for work.” That figure was at 62.1 percent in July, lower than the February 2020 figure of 63.4 percent. The next employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics will be out September 2. Charlottesville seeking input on police chief searchHow much experience should the next Charlottesville Police Chief have? What leadership qualities would you like to see? What should the police department leader’s top priority be?Those are some of the questions in a survey that the firm POLIHIRE is conducting as part of their contract to conduct a search for the next chief. The survey is open through August 15 and is available in English and Spanish. (fill out the survey)The person hired will replace Acting Chief of Police LaTroy A. Durrette who has been in the position since former City Manager Chip Boyles fired RaShall Brackney after three years on the job. Brackney sued the city and several individuals for race, color, and gender discrimination, as well as interference with contract, unlawful retaliation, violation of the state’s whistleblower statute, and more. According to a series of waivers filed in the case, all defendants have until sixty days after July 1 to respond to the case. Albemarle Supervisors endorse Rio Road Corridor PlanThe Albemarle Board of Supervisors has officially endorsed a plan that offers guidance for how future intersection improvements on Rio Road may look in the future. “This is a planning level document that establishes a vision for improvements along the corridor with sufficient analysis of the conceptual design to understand whether the proposed concepts can address future and existing conditions and can meet [Virginia Department of Transportation] and other relevant engineering standards,” said David Benish, development process manager for Albemarle County. The county hired the civil engineering firm Line + Grade to develop the plans. Supervisors were last briefed on the work last October and the Planning Commission saw the draft in May. The work was split into two sections to reflect two different roadway characters. “Phase one is very much an arterial roadway [with] five lanes with a continuous left-hand turn lane in the middle,” said Dan Hyer with Line + Grade. “Whereas phase two still resembles in many locations the local collector that it is. It’s very much a local road.” Hyer said the work involved analyzing crash data such as at the intersection of Hillsdale Drive and Rio Road. Eighty-nine percent of crashes at the location are left-hand turns. As such, recommended changes are to eliminate that movement at Hillsdale, Old Brook and Northfield. “The solution that we have recommended basically absolves all left-hand turn movements by replacing the two intersections with a singular dog-bone or bean-shaped roundabout,” Hyer said. Belvedere Drive and Rio Road would be turned into a “Continuous Green-T” intersection and Albemarle has applied for funding. A roundabout is funded at John Warner Parkway and Rio Road and that will soon get under design. The second phase of the project is broken into three segments, with the northern one including two planned developments. The Board of Supervisors approved the 328 Rio Point apartment complex last December, and an application has been filed for 43 town homes just to the south in a project called Rio Commons. “And we think that if those developments can work with this plan that the corridor can transform in a positive way and that some of the risks that we’ve identified can be mitigated through the build-out of these developments,” Hyer said. Supervisor Ned Gallaway of the Rio District was the lone vote against the Rio Point development last December. He said he was concerned about more people in the area.“As we approve the sidewalks and the access down to the Parkway, we’re only creating more pedestrian activity and that’s going to introduce a vehicular piece which is going to be really dangerous so I think we need to get our heads around that sooner rather than later,” Gallaway said.Gallaway said his endorsement of the plan did not mean that he supported the specific recommendations involved. He said there is a competing plan to reroute Hillsdale Drive that would take away the need for the bean-shaped roundabout. “We know that that intersection is completely problematic and needs a solution but it just may not be the solution that’s in the study so if we vote to approve the study, it doesn’t mean we’re necessarily voting to approve that project,” Gallaway said. As for phase two, Gallaway said he would like to see more traffic calming to slow down the speed of traffic, similar to the bump-outs on Park Street in the City of Charlottesville between the U.S. 250 bypass and downtown. Gallaway said he was grateful staff was able to work to get the corridor study done. The vote to endorse the plan was unanimous and it will now be considered as part of the update of the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan, otherwise known as AC44.Second shout-out: Save the date for Rivanna Conservation Alliance’s Community Watershed clean-upIn today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: Mark your calendar for RCA’s third annual Rivanna River Round-Up community watershed cleanup coming up on Saturday, September 24. The RCA organized the first round-up in September 2020 as a safe way for the community to give back to the river during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last two years, a total of 245 volunteers have cleaned up 67 miles of streams, nearby trails and the Rivanna River, removing 192 tires and 213 large bags of trash from the waterways. Details will soon be made available and you can get those by signing up for the Rivanna Conservation Alliance newsletter at rivannariver.org. You can get your own shout-out for a $25 a month Patreon contribution! For more information, visit Information Charlottesville.Charlottesville City Council briefed on planning for next year’s budget Fiscal Year 2023 is just over a month old, but the budget process in Virginia never really stops as local governments seek to provide services. In April, Council adopted a $212.9 million general fund budget that was 10.76 percent higher than the one for the year before. That’s built on increased assessments for both real estate and personal property as well as a one-cent increase in the real estate tax rate. That was the first such increase in several decades. There are about 30 weeks until whoever is City Manager in March 2023 presents a recommended budget and 36 weeks until Council is expected to adopt their amended document. Council got a briefing this past Monday and learned about some of the factors coming up and some suggested the schedule be moved up. (view the presentation)Will the budget continue to grow at a double-digit level, or will it be more modest? How much will it cost to implement pay and benefit increases that may come through a collective bargaining ordinance? What about the cost of inflation? While the answers aren’t yet known, the foundation is being laid for whatever will end up happening. At the end of August, city departments will be sent packets to request funds for capital projects and these will be due by the early October. There’s at least one change to that process.“We’re going to include a Planning Commission member on the review team,” said Krissy Hammill, the city’s director of budget and performance analysis.Requests from nonprofits and outside agencies are due sometime in mid-October and recommendations from the Vibrant Community team will be completed in mid-January. Also around that time will be another change to the budget process.“It’s called the city manager budget forum,” Hammill said. “The date for this will be January 10 and it will be held at Carver Recreation Center. This will be an opportunity for the city manager to make a presentation and to engage in public discussion.”Hammill said the growth in the budget for next year is expected to be more modest than the 10.76 percent increase from FY22 to FY23. She’s also keeping an eye on inflation.“We already know that there are cost increases that we’re seeing both just in general things as well as capital projects due to supply chain issues and inflation,” Hammill said. “We’re not sure of what exactly what the revenue impact would be for a potential recession if there to be one.” There will likely be higher compensation costs for city employees due to collective bargaining as well as a need to carry on the ongoing costs of positions funded using one-time money. Between now and the budget adoption, Council may have an updated strategic plan paid for through the city’s use of American Rescue Plan Act funding. “The time is right,” said interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. “In doing the strategic plan right, we’ll get a consultant to engage you individually and collectively over the next few months and by the time we get to April, we ought to have a new direction or at least some themes.”City Councilor Michael Payne said he wanted to make sure there is funding to address a human resources phenomenon known as compression, funding for climate, and for city investment in nonprofits to build subsidized housing. “How can we get our adopted Affordable Housing Plan and that $10 million a year into a more stable place in terms of how we’ll fund it at $10 million a year which is what the plan calls for,” Payne said. Payne also wants to make sure there is funding to invest in public transportation. Rogers said a compensation study is expected to be completed by the end of the year. “That will tell us where we are compared to other jurisdictions in the region in terms of our salaries,” Rogers said. “It will define a competitiveness gap.”The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors were briefed on their compensation study on Wednesday. Rogers said the August 15 Council work session will feature a presentation of the collective bargaining ordinance followed by a first reading on September 6 with adoption currently anticipated on September 19. “And we expect that there will be a push to begin to recognize collective bargaining units after that,” Rogers said. Another direction to budget staff is to reexamine a policy where 40 percent of new revenues created by additional real estate taxes goes to Charlottesville City Schools. Some on the current Council have called for that agreement to be revisited, and Rogers said budget staff would look into it and begin preliminary discussions with the school system.“And at some point the Council probably should have that meeting with schools to discuss an issue like this,” Rogers said.As for increased spending on public transit, Rogers said current planning by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District is relevant. A governance study for how to implement a proposed Regional Transit Vision is about to get underway.“The long term play is probably the discussion about a regional transit agency, and what are the dynamics that need to be in place for us to move that forward,” Rogers said. “It’s been talked about a long time.” The current calendar calls for the second public hearing on the budget to be held on April 3, 2023 and for adoption at a special meeting on April 11. City Councilor Sena Magill said she wanted to adjust the schedule so that the final public hearing does not happen during the week City Schools are on spring break. “And it’s just one more way that it makes it harder for some people to serve on Council,” Magill said. Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he would like to see the budget process moved up further so that Council could have more influence. The budget is introduced to the public the first week of every March. “There are places, particularly in Northern Virginia, where Council is involved in budget discussions by mid-December,” Snook said. “They’re not waiting until February or March and the practical effect of what we do is that our opportunity for actually commenting on things is compressed into about four weeks.” Snook said he would like to see the budget introduced in early February. Rogers said he would look into seeing if that could be accomplished, but it would leave for no break at all for budget staff. Hammill suggested holding budget development work sessions when needed. One such work session that comes to mind is the one last September when Council signaled its willingness to transfer a financial commitment for the West Main Streetscape toward school reconfiguration. That gave staff direction as they built the FY23 budget.Payne pointed out that Albemarle County has adopted their budget in May for the past two years. Rogers and Hammill said they would return with more options. For all of my stories on the budget process in Charlottesville, visit Information Charlottesville.Housekeeping notes for edition #416When will the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement? Good question. I can tell you there will be a Week Ahead out on Sunday as well as the Government Glance which is a look at what’s coming up in all of the localities across the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia. Reporting for today’s installment included a look-up on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records to learn a little more about the lawsuit filed by the former Police Chief. Today’s search only cost $2, but this is the kind of cost it takes to produce informational content that intends to keep you up to date. So, if you’re like to support this program which includes expenses like court reporting, consider a paid subscription through Substack. If do so, Ting will match your initial payment! And, if you sign up for their services through this link you’ll get a free standard install, your 2nd month free, and a $75 downtown mall gift card! Enter the promo code COMMUNITY for full effect. Music comes from the D.C. entity that currently goes by the name Wraki, selected randomly from a bin of basement-recorded cassette tapes. You can support that work by purchasing the album Regret Everything for whatever you would like to pay. Now, off to prepare for a trip to a different location in which I will continue to produce a couple editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement. It’s my pleasure to do so and I do hope you will help support me to keep this going for a long time come. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
The heroes of the Coyote's Aegis campaign have to fend off numerous attacks upon their caravan as they make their way to the city of Decima where they witness a confrontation between Arthur, Tusk, Magnus Dwarfbelly, and Prince Foob! Then the Verse campaign wraps up as Magill describes the big final adventure and talks about what he's going to be doing next with his segment of the show, now that he's out of campaign notes to draw upon. And in the tavern we talk about the retro RPG Starfaring and the modern RPG cbr+pnk! Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
After making a stop in Port Ravendusk, the Coyote's Aegis party rescue a farmer and his wife then take part in the Battle of Butchertown! Over in the Verse, Magill's planned session is derailed by an absent player and so instead he pays homage to the series finale of Firefly. And then in the tavern the guys look at some really silly homebrew monsters. Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
Why would someone who spent most of his career in law enforcement choose to become a business owner? Of course, there's no hard and fast rule about shifting careers. But let's get into the mind of someone who did just that and find out how the journey has changed him. Adam Magill was a long-serving police officer and detective before becoming a high-profile criminal defense attorney working with the criminal underworld. He then became a business owner. Adam joins Sam in today's episode to talk about his colorful career shift, the lessons, and the skills he needed to make the transition successfully. So tune in to this episode and discover how to reinvent yourself at any point in your life. “I don't think a lot of people put enough emphasis on relationships. You've got to nurture it. If you don't water it, it'll die.” Adam Magill In This Episode: - Adam shares his exciting experience working in Australia's Armed Robbery Squad and how he kept calm under unpredictable encounters, a skill that would serve him well in life. - What made Adam shift from being a police officer to becoming a lawyer? - Building credibility and reputation as a high-profile criminal defense lawyer - What is it like working with the criminal underworld like the Russian Mafia? - Adam talks about an exceptional case he handled and what he learned from it. - How cultivating good relationships with people and developing negotiation skills can help you navigate difficult situations. - Three things Adam would focus on to grow his business and his advice for other business owners And more! Connect with Adam Magill: -https://www.instagram.com/magill.adam/ ( Instagram) -https://web.facebook.com/adam.magill.775 ( Facebook) Connect with Samuel McLeod: - https://www.instagram.com/mr__mcleod/ (Instagram) - https://www.facebook.com/sam.mcleod.129 (Facebook) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/256961119686796 (Facebook Group) - https://www.linkedin.com/in/sam-mcleod-404a3710b/ (LinkedIn) - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtoBrers2ka1WfJHV9GIIlg (YouTube) - https://www.tiktok.com/@samuel_mcleod (TikTok) - Email: email@example.com
The Coyote's Aegis party have to take a break from adventuring to manage the inn of the Frowning Jester! But naturally, their time behind the front desk is anything but uneventful. And over in the Verse, the spacefaring adventurers fall in with the cast of the very TV show that the campaign is based on: Firefly! Then in the tavern, Tom tells the history of Voormas, the Harvester of Souls from Mage: The Ascension, and Magill spices up some encounters with 2d6 goblins. Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
Welcome to Spational Noonerism Day, which doesn’t exactly toll off the rung. But if words seem to be a crittle bit lazy today, we can always mely on the rajesty of numbers as it is either 7/22/22 or 22/7/22, depending on what side of the Atlantic you’re on. This is Communville Charlotteminity Engagement and I’m Tawn Shubbs. Now, on to the information. On today’s program:Charlottesville City Council holds first reading on a five-cent tax on plastic bagsA contract has been awarded for a streambank restoration in McIntire ParkAnd Charlottesville City Council defers two land use votes due to a missing member but approve a plan to convert a single family house into a mixed-use apartment buildingFirst shout out: Soul of Cville to mark Fifth Anniversary of A12In today’s first subscriber-supported shout-out: Three groups are preparing to hold the second annual Soul of Cville festival to celebrate Black excellence in Central Virginia. Chic & Classy Image Consulting, 101.3 JAMZ, and the Ix Art Park Foundation will host the event which will be held on August 12, August 13, and August 14 and will feature: Live music and performancesA fashion showA Black artisan market featuring local vendorsFood from local Black-owned restaurantsA pop-up skate event with De La RollAn art show called There Are Black People in the Future with The Bridge PAI. On Friday there will be a screening of the 1989 film Do the Right Thing, with an afterparty in the Looking Glass hosted by 9 Pillars Hip Hop. For details, visit www.ixartpark.org/soul-of-cville.City Council holds first reading on plastic bag taxCharlottesville City Council has taken a first step on implementing a five cent tax on most plastic bags at retail stores. A first reading was held on Monday but the public hearing will be held on August 1. “It’s still a work in process at this point and we’re not ready for a final version of it,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders explained that the General Assembly adopted legislation in 2020 to allow localities to levy the tax. He said there are only four ways the revenue can be used. “We can provide reusable bags to [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] and [Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children] recipients, we can produce education to reduce environmental waste, work on mitigation on pollution and litter, and work on environmental clean-up.” Sanders said some bags are exempt, such as durable plastic one with handles intended to be used for multiple uses, and plastics for some types of groceries such as ice cream and meat. “The retailer does the work of collecting the tax,” Sanders said. “They are permitted to retain one cent of every five cents collected to offset their collection and remittance expenses. It’s very much a similar process to how they collect retail sales and use collections. They will send those in to the Virginia Department of Taxation each month.”If approved, Charlottesville would begin collecting the tax on January 1, the same day the tax will go into effect in Albemarle County. Sanders said the city has met with county officials to coordinate efforts and communication. He said the city will need to distribute reusable bags in advance to people who will really need them. “That additional five cents each visit for all the items they would be acquiring adds up over time so we want to make sure that we’re making an equity investment in the roll-out of this particular tax,” Sanders said. One of the details to be worked out is the type of reusable bag. Linen, canvas, or another kind of plastic? “That will be one of the program details that we will definitely be looking for additional feedback,” Sanders said City Councilor Brian Pinkston said that he looks forward to hearing from the public.“To me this seems pretty non-controversial,” Pinkston said. “It seems like a win-win type thing but maybe I’m missing something.” While the public hearing will be held on August 1, Council may not take a vote until August 15 in case something there’s a logistical challenge brought up by the public. City awards Schenks’s Branch contractThe city of Charlottesville will hire a North Carolina based company to restore the streambank of a waterway that runs through McIntire Park. KBS Earthworks won the contract through a competitive bidding process. “The Schenks’ Branch Tributary Project consists of a construction of a priority II and priority III stream restoration to stabilize 818 linear feet of existing impaired stream,” reads the project description in the construction documents that KBS Earthworks will implement. KBS Earthworks will be paid $762,277.27 for the work, according to the notice of award issued yesterday. Funding for the project comes from the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. “The stream is experiencing active severe erosion of its banks and bed, sending excessive amounts of sediment downstream to waterways listed as impaired by DEQ,” reads a StoryMap on the project that was published in February. “As a result, the stream offers poor habitat for aquatic organisms and is largely inaccessible to the public.” When completed, the restored stream will run through the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont. Second shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign Since the very beginning of this newsletter, one long-time Patreon supporter has used his shout-out to draw your attention to the work of the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign. The campaign is a coalition of grassroots partners including motivated citizens and volunteers, partner organizations, and local governments who want to promote the use of native plants. Summer is in high gear and pollinators are active! Want to learn more? Visit plantvirginianatives.org to download Piedmont Native Plants: A Guide for Landscapes and Gardens. Four member Council delays action on two land use items, approves a thirdCharlottesville City Council has existed as a five member body since 1928 when an amendment to the charter added two more Councilors. In 1981, voters approved a referendum to expand the number to seven, but Council ordered a revote and the idea was defeated the second time around.This past Monday’s Council meeting illustrates what can happen when one member is not present. Vice Mayor Juandiego is on a sabbatical in Ethiopia with his church. There were three land use items on the agenda and two of them were deferred, both for slightly different reasons. For background, read my June 30, 2022 story Charlottesville Council briefed on city-owned property. In the first item, Council opted to wait on a vote to vacate a paper alley in the Fifeville neighborhood. “The owners of 323 6th Street SW have asked the city to close this 20 foot platted right of way,” said City Attorney Lisa Robertson. “City Council back in 2010 previously closed a different section of the platted street.” City Councilor Sena Magill repeated her concerns about doing this without a policy in place that explains to the public what paper streets are and how they can be vacated. “Having been a homeowner who has easements who looked to try to get easements closed around 2010, I was told it couldn’t be done,” Magill said. Robertson said each case is different given the age of the plat, size of property, presence of other easements, and so on. She said Magill was right that the city has taken many approaches. “A few years ago, a previous City Council determined that you should use a scoring rubric to determine whether or not to close certain platted alleys,” Robertson said. Robertson said the city’s new Office of Community Solutions is looking into the topic as part of their efforts to get handle on what property the city owns. Mayor Snook said he shared Magill’s concern of a lack of policy. So did City Councilor Michael Payne, but he said he would support this particular vacation. Pinkston asked if there would be a downside to waiting. That’s when Mayor Snook brought up the fact Council was down one member. “As least one concern for right now is that I don’t know if we would be 3-1 or 2-2, but if Vice Mayor Wade was here, he would presumably be able to break a tie,” Snook said. Council opted to defer a vote to the August 15 vote. 1000 Monticello Road decision deferredAfter that, Council took up a special use permit to allow 11 units at 1000 Monticello Road. An existing apartment complex is on the property and the permit is required for additional density in a structure that would be built on what is now a driveway. Council denied a similar request last year on a 3-2 vote after several speakers had argued that the developer should be held accountable for a decision to raise rents that many long-term residents could not afford. Since then, a second application was submitted that increased the number of units that would be guaranteed to be rented out below market. “The Planning Commission reviewed this at their June meeting and recommended that the application be approved,” said city planner Brian Haluska. (See also: Planning Commission recommends approval of 11 units at 1000 Monticello Road, June 15, 2022)Haluska said the application did not trigger the city’s existing affordability requirements but seven out of the eleven units would have some income restrictions. According to the resolution, five of the apartments would be classified as “For-Rent Affordable Dwelling Units” and would be reserved for ten years to households making less than 65 percent of the area median income at a total cost (rent plus utilities) that cannot exceed the fair market rent as established by the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development.Two of the units would be “For-rent Workforce Affordable Dwelling Unit” at rent (plus utilities) that could not exceed 125 percent of the fair market value. To qualify, households must be at 80 percent of the area median income. (look up Virginia’s fair market rent rates)Earlier in the meeting, several employees of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority urged Council to vote the project down because they said the affordability terms were not long enough or deep enough. “The city really needs to take a look at what units are being constructed not only through the [special use permit] process but what units you are incentivizing when you all fund projects as well,” said John Sales, executive director of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Sales said Council should follow the recommendations by the Office of Community Solutions to lengthen the affordability term to thirty years rather than the ten proffered by the developer. In April 2021, a group that calls itself the Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition published a study called “Why Building More Market-Rate Housing Will Not Solve Charlottesville’s Housing Crisis.” (read the report)Kelsey Schlein of Shimp Engineering was on hand to explain what the rents would be for the five affordable units. “The 2022 HUD [Fair Market Rent] for a one bedroom is $1,063,” Schlein said. “The Charlottesville [Metropolitan Statistical Area] median family income is $111,200.” The rents for the other two would be at 125 percent of the fair market rate, which would be under $1,300 a month. Councilor Magill indicated she would vote no.“I don’t see how this project has significantly altered from when it came before us,” Magill said. Councilor Michael Payne said he would also repeat his no vote. “Just to note for the historical record at this site that the lease terminations and evictions happened and there will be a net loss of affordable housing even if this is approved or not,” Payne said. Pinkston made a motion to approve the special use permit, and Snook seconded. Snook had voted in favor last year. “I guess the question is do we want to wait until Vice Mayor Wade is back to break the tie,” Snook said. “I would,” Pinkston said.At this point, another representative of the applicant requested a deferral. Pinkston withdrew his motion, and the matter will come back on August 15. Councilor Payne voted against the motion to allow the item to be deferred. In the final matter, Shimp Engineering also sought an increase for a density increase at 923 Harris Street to replace a single-family house for a multi-use building with seven apartments. The land is zoned industrial and Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he was concerned about taking away developable land for businesses. However, there were enough votes to proceed and Council approved it on a 3-1 vote. More from City Council, including a report on the Planning Commission votes in the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. End of the newsletter business notesWhat’s the 411? This edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement! Thank you to all of the supports who help make this possible and have allowed me to improve this product over the past two years. This is a service of Town Crier Productions.You can join in and help make sure I make it to 822 by signing up for a paid subscription through Substack. If you do, Ting will match your initial payment. Go visit their website and see what they may be able to do for your Internet needs. Ting supports this brand of community engagement with a match! Paid subscriptions are fuel and each new payment makes me work that much harder for the community. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
Gord Magill returns to discuss his recent piece in Newsweek on the Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act, a bill which seeks to remove overtime pay exemptions for truckers. We also speak about the state of the economy and the effects of climate change policy on the trucking industry and beyond. Read Gord's piece here: Republicans: Want to Support the Working Class? Vote for Andy Levin's Trucker Bill
SHOW NOTES1:25 - Dedication page2:05 - Table of Contents samples2:40 - Preface5:05 - Acknowledgments8:00 - One (quote)8:10 - One (Dr. Magill)Lead. Learn. Change. the bookMusic for Lead. Learn. Change. is Sweet Adrenaline by Delicate BeatsPodcast cover art is a view from Brunnkogel (mountaintop) over the mountains of the Salzkammergut in Austria, courtesy of photographer Simon Berger, published on www.unsplash.com.Professional Association of Georgia EducatorsDavid's LinkedIn page
Mephalee has been having weird dreams as the Coyote's Aegis team infiltrates a Nightside Eclipse prison and meets up with some new travel companions including Odium! Then in the Verse, the crew of the Kennel is taken captive by the Alliance only to be freed by their insane android ally, and while on the run they encounter some pretty famous NPCs. Over in the tavern, Tom and Magill try to pin down the limits of Odium's powers and discuss the lackluster fourth season of Banshee. Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
It's a very special episode of Compare & Campaign as Tom and Magill take the week off from talking about RPGs to instead geek out over the fantastic season of television that is Banshee season 3. After months, maybe even years of Tom's recommendations, Magill has finally caught up to one of Tom's favourite pieces of TV ever made, and you'll hear all about it right here! Find us on Facebook! All music composed by Vince Nitro.
Halfway through the year? Today’s the 181st out of a scheduled 365, so we’re technically 49.5 percent of the way through 2022 though the fiscal calendar resets at the clock strikes midnight! This is Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast that has sought to keep track of these things for nearly two years. Thanks to readers and listeners for helping keep the beads of the abacus in motion. This work is free, but it does cost me to put the time in. Sign up for a paid subscription, and Ting will match your initial payment!On today’s program:Albemarle Supervisors hire Staunton’s former city manager as the new county attorneyAn update on a federal lawsuit to force a House of Delegates race this fall Charlottesville City Council is briefed on the properties it owns inside and outside city limits and learns there has not been one central locationCouncil ponders giving up a “paper street” and denies a request to give up a small sliver of land in North Downtown First shout–out: JMRL to kick off the Summer Reading ChallengeIn today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement, the Summer Reading Challenge put forth by Jefferson Madison Regional Library continues! You and members of your family can earn points for prizes in a variety of ways, such as reading for 30 minutes a day, reading with a friend, creating something yourself, or visiting the library! You can also get two points just by telling someone about the Summer Reading Challenge, so I guess I just added two more! Visit JMRL.org to learn more about this all ages opportunity to dive into oceans of possibilities! Legal drama continues in second suit to force 2022 House of Delegates election There are 131 days until the general election and a new lawsuit to force a Virginia House of Delegates race is still alive. Richmond resident Jeffrey Thomas Jr. filed a suit against the Board of Elections in the Eastern District of Virginia earlier this month that picked up a dismissed complaint that the legislative boundaries in place for the 2021 race were unconstitutional. As I reported earlier this month, Judge David Novak had set up a schedule for how information related to the case was to be filed. That schedule has not been followed. Thomas filed an amended complaint on June 16 that added two additional plaintiffs from two other legislative districts, one of whom is the former president of the Loudoun County NAACP. Both are appearing pro se, or without a lawyer. The motion also added the Department of Elections as a defendant. “Plaintiffs and all other voters and residents in [House District 71], [House District 32], and [House District 10] have had their voting strength and political representation unconstitutionally diluted or weakened by the failure of Defendants to conduct, enact, or oversee decennial constitutional reapportionment, redistricting, or elections,” reads paragraph 54 of the amended complaint. The state responded in a motion objecting to the addition of the new plaintiffs and sought a new schedule. Judge Novak responded by granting an extension to July 1 for the defendants to file a motion to dismiss the case. A joint stipulation of facts was filed on June 24, but the next day, Thomas filed a motion requesting sanctions against the state for not agreeing to 47 facts that were in previous stipulations. Many of these relate to the population imbalances across the old districts with the most populated being at 130,192 residents and the least having 67,404 people. The plaintiffs allege this is a violation of the Equal ProtNovak denied this motion on Tuesday, and we wait to see if a motion to dismiss is filed by Friday. Former Staunton City Manager to serve as Albemarle County AttorneyAfter a months-long search, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has hired the former City Manager of Staunton as its next county attorney. Steven Rosenberg will start work on July 27. “The Board has taken a lot of time to find somebody that not only possesses the skills and the abilities that we seek in a county attorney but also is the person that joins our organization at the right point in the progression that we are attempting to achieve as an organization,” said Supervisor Ned Gallaway who headed up the search. Rosenberg became Staunton’s Deputy City Manager in May 2013 and was promoted to the top job in July 2019. He left the position in January 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he was associate general counsel of the University of Virginia for five and a half years. He was also Augusta County attorney from May 2003 to December 2007. Rosenberg did not make comments at the end of a closed meeting yesterday but is quoted in a press release. "During my nearly two decades as a neighbor of Albemarle County, I’ve become familiar with the county, most notably its quality of life and the strength of its organization—one committed to excellence and a culture of service. I am excited to join the Board and staff in such a positive environment and to work with them to serve the Albemarle County community,” shared Rosenberg.Albemarle closing Mint Springs beach until further nticeToday could be the last day to swim at Mint Springs near Crozet this summer. Albemarle County has announced the outdoor swimming area will be closed until further notice, but the beaches at Chris Greene Lake and Walnut Creek will remain open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those two places will also be open on July 4. The reason is a lack of staff, according to an Albemarle County’s director of communications and public engagement. Charlottesville continues to operate only one outdoor pool a day to combat their shortage of lifeguards. Washington Park is open Sunday through Wednesday with Onesty Pool only open on Sundays. Second shout-out goes to Camp AlbemarleToday’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Camp Albemarle seeks support for a plan to winterize the Hamner Lodge, a structure built in 1941 by the CCC and used by every 4th and 5th grade student in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the study of ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting campalbemarleva.org/donate. Charlottesville Council briefed on city-owned propertyThe city of Charlottesville owns 170 pieces of property and another 18 in conjunction with Albemarle County. Does it need all that land and space? That was one of the undercurrents of a discussion and briefing Council had at a work session on June 21. “The approximate acreage of city-owned properties within the city is 798 acres and over 2,800 acres of city-owned properties located within [Albemarle] County,” said Brenda Kelley, the city’s redevelopment manager based in the Office of Community Solutions. Kelly said at the outset what would not be in her presentation. (view the presentation)“This discussion will not include a discussion on streets, alleys, paper streets and paper alleys which are basically unimproved streets and alleys,” Kelly said. More on one of those later in this installment. City-owned properties include the fire stations, City Hall, the schools, parks, and other properties. Lesser known properties include an L-shaped half-acre parking lot on West Main Street that leads to the half-acre Starr Hill Park and a quarter-acre parking lot on Estes Street in the Fifeville neighborhood. In 2019, the city purchased just over an acre of land adjacent to Jordan Park for $270,000. “And the previous property owners had already platted these six lots so this is another city-owned property that at some point we probably need to look at the possible development of affordable housing,” Kelly said. “That’s one of the discussions we had early on when the city first approved the approval of the purchase of this property.” In the county, the city of Charlottesville owns 67.56 acres on Avon Street Extended with some of that property being used by Charlottesville Area Transit. The city also owns 1,023 acres at the Sugar Hollow Reservoir and ten acres at the Albemarle Lake subdivision, both purchased originally for water supply. All of this land takes management.“We do have some challenges when we talk about city-owned properties,” Kelly said. “We need to develop a better consistent process when we have requests to dispose of the properties or acquire the properties. Maintaining these properties. Are there departments currently maintaining these properties? We think a lot of them are being maintained. And are any of these properties developable?” As with city leases, no one has been coordinating all of the information over the years. Now Council has a chance to act on policies for what to do next. “And there [are] a lot of properties that are adjacent to right of ways and is that something the City Council wants to look at,” Kelly said. “Do we want to approach adjacent property owners and see if there is an interest in putting those on the tax rolls.” Kelly said staff will come back to Council with another summary of city agreements not tied with leases that may not be coordinated in one central office. “We have now the information we need to start addressing the concept even of consistent policies and a consistent point person to work all of this out so we will be coming back to you,” said interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers.Rogers said there is an opportunity for Council to determine what it would like to do going forward. City Councilor Michael Payne said he wanted to know if this might help resume discussions of creating a city-owned land bank to acquire property for public purposes. “We’re land-locked, ten and a half square miles,” Payne said. “Our single most valuable asset is the land we own and I think land acquisition in particular is the single most important action we can take, both for economic development and affordable housing.” Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders said there could be a future conversation about a land bank ordinance, but the research is meant to get Council to a point where they would have enough useful information. “This all is a centralizing effort at this time so we can get our arms around what we have but really it is this conversation that is going to feed us on what next steps we want to take,” Sanders said. Councilor Magill seeks policy on conveying of “paper” streets to landownersLater on in the meeting, Council had several items related to land use. One of them was a request from the owners of a lot on 6th Street SW in Fifeville for the city to convey to them a strip of property. (staff report)“And this property is a platted 20 foot right of way that is labeled Oak Street,” said Lisa Robertson, the city attorney.That section of Oak Street has never been built and it what’s known as a “paper” street. Council closed a 77-foot section of that same paper street in 2010 between 6 and 6 ½ Streets. In that case, one half of that former city property went to straddling property owners. No one initially spoke at the public hearing, but City Councilor thought she and her colleagues should put a pause on the conveyance. “Until we figure out holistically what we’re going to do with the paper streets, the piecemealing of people who know to be able to come to City Council or to come to get the street closed, I don’t feel it’s a fair overall process,” Magill said. Magill said until the process is more clear, she would like Council to stop granting them until the policy is more clear. Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade said he’s handled many paper streets when he was a planner. He said he was okay with deciding them on a case by case basis because every property may have unique conditions. “I think it would maybe be hard to come up with an overall city policy because each one might be different,” Wade said. The two property owners did want to speak at the public hearing, but had not been recognized but later did have the chance to have their say. “Currently the actual alley isn’t in great condition,” said Vignesh Kuppusamy. “There’s a tree that fell over in a recent storm that’s dead and kind of rotting there so we were also thinking that if we were to do this and be granted the land together with the owners of 313 we could clean the area up and make it look nicer.” Wade supported the idea of developing a policy, but said he would feel comfortable granting this conveyance. So did Councilors Brian Pinkston and Michael Payne.“To be honest I haven’t thought about it too much but my initial reaction is that shouldn’t hold us up on doing some on a case by case basis,” Payne said. The matter will come back up for a second reading at Council’s next meeting on July 18. Council denies request to give up 0.02 acres of land on 9th Street NEIn a similar matter, Council denied a request from a landowner to be given a 0.02 acre vacant lot at the corner of East Jefferson Street and 9th Street for free. Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said there are two chestnut trees on the property. (staff report)“The trees are huge and they’re beautiful and they’re worth more to the city I suspect then they would be to the neighbor,” Snook said. “My own feeling about is that we should not be in the habit of giving away real estate especially if it’s on a road where we may decide we want to have a bike lane or a wider sidewalk.”The property is within the jurisdiction of the East High Streetscape project.The owner of the adjacent property, Thomas Gierin, said those trees are infested with ivy and he said the city is not equipped to take care of the maintenance. He said he could take better care of the property. “I have worked with the city arborist office to have them come out and perform maintenance,” Giren said. “They did come in I believe in February to do some maintenance and I spoke with them about doing the things it would to make those trees healthy and thriving and they said ‘we’re just here to keep the branches away from the street.”Gieren said he would be paying property taxes if he owned the land, and that he would grant an easement for any future transportation project. Councilor Magill said she would prefer the city to retain ownership.“One of the most expensive things about doing sidewalks and doing everything else is the getting the right of way and by giving up land that we have the right of way to, we limit ourselves and potentially cost us significantly more in the future.” Snook said he felt there could be a negotiation with Gierin to work out a deal.“I’m certainly not prepared to say yes but I’m also not prepared to say, no, never,” Snook said. Council voted 4-1 on a motion to deny the request with Wade dissenting. Support the program!This is episode 402 of this program and it contains stories you’re simply not going to see anywhere else. Town Crier Productions is not a nonprofit organization, but around a third of the audience has opted to contribute something financially. It’s similar to the old days when you would subscribe to a newspaper. I subscribe to several, myself! If you are benefiting from this newsletter and the information in it, please consider some form of support. I am not a nonprofit organization and most of my time is spent in putting the newsletter together, which includes producing the podcast.Supporting the program through a Substack contribution or through Patreon makes it very easy for me to get paid and every single dollar that I get makes me want to work that much harder to serve the community. In just under two years, I’ve produced hundreds of stories that seek to give you information about how decisions are made in our community and in the Commonwealth of Virginia.For more information on all of this, please visit the archive site Information Charlottesville to learn more, including how you too can get a shout-out! Thank you for reading, and please share with those you think might want to learn a few thing or two about what’s happening. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
It’s Friday once more and there’s no time like this moment to begin to tell you about information that’s been waiting for you to read or listen to. The purpose of Charlottesville Community Engagement is to bring you as many stories and articles about the community as possible, on as frequent a level as possible. I’m the host Sean Tubbs, and I want to make sure you know no Sean Tubbs were harmed in the creation of this episode. This work is free to read or listen to, but needs financial support. If you subscribe through Substack, Ting will match your initial payment!On today’s show: Former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney files suit against the city alleging she was fired for trying to reform what she calls a racist departmentThe General Assembly meets today to act on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s amendments to the state budget A quarantine on moving some materials around parts of Virginia to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly will soon be extended to Albemarle and CharlottesvilleCharlottesville’s Board of Zoning Appeals upholds a determination related to a future Wawa The Albemarle County Service Authority reports it’s ready to guard against “forever chemicals” in their drinking water supply First Shout-out is for the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards In today’s first subscriber-supported shout-out, have you ever wanted to learn as much as you can about how to preserve and protect trees? The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards are opening up registration for their fall series of online training sessions and field activities running from August 9 through November 19. Full tuition details are at charlottesvilleareatreestewards.org and if you want to get a feel for what you may learn, there’s a public tree identification walk through the grand trees spanning the front areas of the University of Virginia on Sunday, June 26. Attendance is limited, so register today!General Assembly to consider Governor Youngkin’s budget amendmentsThe House of Delegates and the Senate convene this afternoon in Richmond to finalize budget amendments recommended by Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I approve the general purpose of this bill, but I am returning it without my signature with the request that thirty-five amendments be adopted,” Youngkin wrote in his recommendations for HB30.(the paragraph below was edited to make a correction)One of the largest amendments is a three month suspension on the state tax on gasoline and diesel beginning July 1. Legislation to accomplish this goal did not pass the General Assembly in the Special Session in April. A bill introduced by Youngkin did not make it out of either the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee or the Senate Finance Committee. Another amendment would make it a class 6 felony to picket at the residence of a judge, juror, witness, or court officer. The amendments cover both the current fiscal year and the next one that begins in two weeks, so financial amounts listed below are split over the biennium. These include:Two full time positions to support the Lieutenant Governor An additional $300,000 in salary increases for staff in the Office of the Attorney General$300,000 in state funds to the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services to add staff to expand inspections for new meat processing facilities An additional $3 million for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority An additional $4 million to expand the Early Reading Specialists program to schools that rank lowest in performanceThe redirecting of $5 million in financial aid assistance to students at Norfolk State University and Virginia State UniversityTwo million in additional funding for an Innovation Center to be built an a historically Black College of University as well as another four million over two years for increased security at all of the Commonwealth’s HBCU’s. Four million in funds would be redirected to support the University of Virginia’s Program on Constitutionalism and DemocracyThere’s $160,000 going to the Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University to “research ways to increase opportunities for K-12 students”Two million over two years for the Hampton Roads Proton Beam Therapy Institute at Hampton University $2.35 million in each year to hire 36 security guards at state-operated mental health treatment centersAnother $200,000 would go to the families of the security officers killed at Bridgewater College earlier this yearan appropriation of $50,000 would be made to prepare more prison beds for those arrested for picketing at a judge’s house There are also new policies that have been introduced into the budget.All public universities will have to demonstrate an “official commitment and set of policies and practices to support freedom of expression and inquiry, free speech, academic freedom, and diversity of thought.”The University of Virginia at Wise is authorized to offer graduate programs All state funding for any abortion-related service would be prohibited unless required by federal lawBail would be waived for certain criminal offensesParticipation in the new Community Lab School program would be expandedYoungkin made three amendments to HB29 which is known as the caboose bill as it looks back at previous budgets including the current fiscal year. These include a $26.5 million increase in revenue for FY22 and a $15 million for site preparation work in Richmond in an account called the Property Analytics Firm Infrastructure Fund. VDACS to expand Spotted Lanternfly quarantine to Charlottesville areaThe state entity that oversees management of invasive species will expand a quarantine on the movement of certain products to help slow the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly. The Virginia Department of Consumer and Agricultural Services has sent a letter to localities including Albemarle and Charlottesville notifying them of the new rules. “The Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine requires a permit to ensure that businesses are taking steps to guarantee regulated articles are free from spotted lanternfly,” reads a June 15 letter from David Gianino, the program manager for the Office of Plant Industry Services. “To obtain a spotted lanternfly permit, completion of an online training course is required and businesses must then apply for the permit with VDACS.”According to the letter, the spotted lanternfly is known to feed on “grapes, peaches, apples, maples, walnuts, hops, cucumbers, and basil.” The insect was spotted in Frederick County in January 2018 and a quarantine has been in place there, Clarke County, Warren County, and the city of Winchester. However, surveys conducted by VDACS indicate the bugs have been found in the cities of Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Manassas, Staunton, Waynesboro and the counties of Albemarle, Augusta, Carroll, Page, Prince William, Rockingham, Rockbridge, Shenandoah, and Wythe. A wide range of materials are regulated including live or dead trees, lumber, vegetation, shipping containers, outdoor construction materials, equipment trucks, recreational vehicles, and more. A complete list is available in that letter. Information on how to get a permit is available on the VDACS website.Albemarle County Supervisors were briefed on the spotted lanternfly back in February, as reported here. Board of Zoning Appeals upholds city zoning in Wawa Officials with Tiger Fuel attempted yesterday to overturn a decision by the city’s zoning administrator that affects the future layout of a proposed Wawa on Fifth Street Extended. This one gets a little technical. “The applicant contends that the prescribed front setback for gas stations in Section 34-931(h) of the zoning ordinance are more lenient than the front setbacks for structures in the Highway Zoning district,” said Genevieve Keller, the chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals. Keller said that Tiger Fuel believed Zoning Administrator Read Brodhead should have used Section 34-738 instead. Tiger operates a convenience store immediately to the south. The details are way above most people.“It’s a little complicated, I know,” Brodhead said. Gordon Sutton, president of Tiger Fuel, tried to simplify the argument.“We are asking you to determine which of the two standards is more restrictive,” Sutton said. “The Highway Commercial regulations or the gas station regulations.” Sutton said the highway commercial zonings should apply, and he said his company has had to work under those rules in the past. Attorney Valerie Long with Williams Mullen represented the property owner, RBD Bent Creek LLC. “Virginia code specifically provides that the Board is to presume that Mr. Brodhead’s determination is correct and that the appellant, Tiger Fuel, has the burden of proof of proving otherwise,” Long said. Long said their scope of review was solely whether Brodhead was correct.“This is not the appropriate venue for a business owner to be attempting to stifle competition from a prospective business owner or property owner,” Long said. Long said the zoning rules for gas stations are written specifically to safely govern such a use, and that Tiger Fuel’s interpretation was not germane. After a public hearing and brief discussion, the BZA voted unanimously to uphold Brodhead’s determination. Albemarle County Service Authority officials: No PFAS in municipal drinking waterOn Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued non-binding health advisories on the presence of certain chemicals that do not break down. Yesterday, the environmental compliance specialist for the Albemarle County Service Authority told that entity’s Board of Directors that the municipal water supply is set up to filter out per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. But first, Tim Brown explained there are thousands of different chemical combinations that were created to make products that are water-resistant, heat-resistant, and grease-resistant. “Every chemical is distinct by the fact that the element fluorine is a component of the chemical, and the carbon-fluorine chemical bond is a very very strong one,” Brown said. “What does that mean? It means this chemicals do not break down in the environment.”Brown said health risks include liver failure, hormone imbalances, cancers, and suppression of immune systems.“A lot of nasties in there potentially,” Brown said. The EPA is currently promulgating new regulations to require monitoring and to seek to lower the acceptable level of PFAS compounds to near zero. “It was almost borderline startling information,” Brown said. Brown said the current acceptable standard is around 70 parts per trillion for PFAS and the new regulations could take that down. “Now going down into the fractions of parts per trillion which is in essence at the parts per quadrillion level,” Brown said. Brown said one issue will be that current test equipment may not be able to detect those levels. He said he felt the EPA advisories are intended to signal water producers across the country to take the issue seriously. He said the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority have been testing for PFAS twice a year since 2019. “Eighteen PFAS compounds were tested at all six of our treatment plants, both in the raw water and in the finished or treated water,” Brown said. “There were zero detections.” Brown said the new standards will be announced in September to be effective in the fall of 2023. He said the ACSA and the RWSA will continue to monitor the situation. Second shout-out goes to Camp AlbemarleToday’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Camp Albemarle seeks support for a plan to winterize the Hamner Lodge, a structure built in 1941 by the CCC and used by every 4th and 5th grade student in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the study of ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting campalbemarleva.org/donate. Brackney sues the city of Charlottesville, other partiesFormer Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney has filed a lawsuit in federal court against multiple parties alleging that, among other things, the city of Charlottesville acted unlawfully when former City Manager Chip Boyles fired her last September 1. She’s seeking ten million dollar in damages. (read the suit and its exhibits)In addition to Boyles, Brackney’s complaint in the Western District of Virginia also includes: former city Communications Director Brian Wheeler; city attorney Lisa Robertson; acting police chief Latroy “Tito” Durrette; former assistant police chief James Mooney; current Councilors Sena Magill and Lloyd Snook, former Councilor Heather Hill, and former Police Civilian Review Board chair Bellamy Brown. She also named Mike Wells of the Police Benevolent Association as a defendant. The suit builds on a claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission soon after she was fired by Boyles. In a series of facts, the complaint seeks to establish that Brackney was hired in June 2018 to “bring empathy, community-oriented training, and years of law enforcement methodology to the table” following distrust after two specific incidents in the summer of 2017. “As Chief of Police, Dr. Brackney’s priority was to stabilize [Charlottesville Police Department] by building rapport with its employees, whilst simultaneously empowering them to challenge their personal assumptions, regarding policing in the 21st Century,” reads paragraph 31. As part of that work, Brackney collected data on all divisions of the Police Department and according to the complaint concluded that members of several of them including the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team were not up to the task. “Assignments were not based on strengths, but decades-old, archaic practices such as nepotism, favoritism, genderism, and racism,” reads paragraph 36. The complaint describes Brackney’s attempts to reform, such as converting four positions to civilians rather than sworn in officers. One of these was the public information officer. More trainings sessions were to be held, as well as taking minutes at department meetings.“These actions angered those who resented having a Black female at the helm of a police department, particularly one in the South with a conservative undercurrent,” reads paragraph 47. On June 3, 2021, Brackney received an email and video from a community member claiming police conduct by a specific officer and she took action on the complaint. That action included dismantling the SWAT team and firing or suspending officers she found to be involved through a subsequent investigation. In paragraph 61, the complaint states that Bellamy Brown and Mike Wells in early August put together a survey for Charlottesville police officers that Brackney claims was “intentionally negatively worded and targeting Plaintiff as a result of the investigation and disciplinary actions described above.” Paragraph 66 alleges a conspiracy between Brown, Hill, Wells, Snook, Boyles, Mooney and Magill to out Brackney as chief. The next one states that Boyles expressed confidence in Brackney’s leadership on August 26, 2021, as evidenced in a secret audio recording she made of their meeting. Brackney was fired on September 1 and paragraph 76 of the complaint quotes Boyle’s September 3 press release in the first of many iterations used to advance her complaint. “In order to dismantle systemic racism and eliminate police violence and misconduct in Charlottesville, we need a leader who is not only knowledgeable in that work, but is also effective in building collaborative relationships with the community, the department, and the team at City Hall… and [w]hile very good work and progress has been made, I ultimately decided new leadership was required to continue the City’s progress towards building a new climate and culture within the department,” Boyles wrote. The complaint continues to list specific incidents that Brackney considers libel. Paragraph 89 accuses Roberston and Boyles of falsifying documents, and offers that Brackney has secret recordings. Brackney seeks a trial by jury for all of the counts, including one alleging “tortious interference with employment contract.” Another claims unlawful retaliation and another claims that Brackney acted as a whistleblower and another alleges defamation and another claiming business conspiracy that involves Wells, Brown, and the named City Councilors. Support the program!There’s a lot of information in this installment of this program, which is the 397th edition of the program. About a quarter of you are paying something to help keep Town Crier Productions in business. I have never been a very good salesperson, and won’t overly pitch. But, if you are benefiting from this newsletter and the information in it, please consider some form of support. I am not a nonprofit organization and most of my time is spent in putting the newsletter together, which includes producing the podcast. Supporting the program through a Substack contribution or through Patreon makes it very easy for me to get paid and every single dollar that I get makes me want to work that much harder to serve the community. In just under two years, I’ve produced hundreds of stories that seek to give you information about how decisions are made in our community and in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information on all of this, please visit the archive site Information Charlottesville to learn more, including how you too can get a shout-out! Thank you for reading, and please share with those you think might want to learn a few thing or two about what’s happening. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
Hello and welcome to another episode of Charlottesville Community Engagement for June 9, 2022. While I increasingly wonder if I am a cartoon character, I am certain I am not the subject of National Donald Duck Day and if you listened to the beginning of the podcast version, you would have proof. Additionally, my name is not Earl and I am not sure an entire day needs to be devoted to strawberry rhubarb pie. I am certain I’m Sean Tubbs, and that the show really begins now. This ongoing compendium of information is supported by paid subscriptions, but you can get it for free. If you do pay, Ting will match your initial payment! Please support the work! On today’s program: Another federal lawsuit is filed to seek a House of Delegates race this yearThe Louisa County Board of Supervisors goes on record unanimously opposing a change to the regional library system The head of the area’s tourism bureau briefs Council on hotel occupancy and efforts to promote Black-owned destinationsVirginia to receive $76.4 million from the latest carbon allowance auction brokered by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative First shout-out is for LEAP’s new Thermalize Virginia program In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: Have you been thinking of converting your fossil-fuel appliances and furnaces into something that will help the community reduce its greenhouse gas emissions? Your local energy nonprofit, LEAP, has launched a new program to guide you through the steps toward electrifying your home. Thermalize Virginia will help you understand electrification and connect you with vetted contractors to get the work done and help you find any rebates or discounts. Visit thermalizeva.org to learn more and to sign up! Another lawsuit filed to force House of Delegates race this NovemberAnother Richmond area resident has filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia claiming that the House of Delegates boundaries in place for the November 2021 election are unconstitutional. The action comes two days after a three-judge panel ruled that Paul Goldman did not have the legal standing to make the claim that the Board of Elections erred in certifying elections for outdated legislative boundaries. Jeffrey Thomas Jr. had filed to be added to a suit filed by Paul Goldman last October, but Monday’s opinion rendered that request to intervene moot. Yesterday Thomas filed a “petition of mandamus” that asks the court to consider his claim that he has suffered a legal injury because the 71st House District where he resides has a 2020 Census Count that contains more people than it should. “Plaintiff and all other voters and residents in [House District] 71-2011 have had their voting strength and political representation unconstitutionally diluted or weakened by their failure of Defendants to conduct, enact, or oversee decennial constitutional reapportionment, redistricting, or elections,” reads paragraph 10 of the petition.Paragraph 17 of the petition states that the smallest House District has a population of 71,122 and the largest has a population of 130,082 according to the 2020 Census. Thomas states his own district is ten percent over the ideal size and that the Virginia Constitution doesn’t permit a deviation above five percent. Paragraph 29 and 30 point out that Thomas is now within the new 78th House District, which has a population of 87,774 people. Thomas seeks a repeat of 1982 when a federal court ordered elections for the House of Delegates for similar reasons in the Cosner v. Dalton case.“Conducting House of Delegates elections in 2022 under constitutional lines is a proper remedy under the Cosner precedent,” reads paragraph 58. Thomas is requesting that attorneys for the Commonwealth of Virginia make a reply or file a motion to dismiss within 48 hours of their receipt of the petition. Louisa Supervisors unanimously oppose name change for regional libraryAt their meeting this past Monday, the seven-member Board of Supervisors for Louisa County voted on a resolution to formally oppose any change of the name of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library system. A group requested that action at the most recent meeting of the JMRL’s Board of Trustees.Supervisor Chair Duane Adams of the Mineral District asked for the resolution to be put on the agenda. “I think about $392,000 of our tax money goes to funding the Jefferson Madison Regional Library [and] we have a right to say how our money is spent,” Adams said. Adams said this resolution did not withhold the funding but simply stated opposition to a potential name change. “If the library board changes their name I will put a motion and resolution on the [Louisa] Board’s agenda to withhold our $392,000 and bring it back to the county,” Adams said. “What that would mean is we would withdraw from the regional library system.”Adams said the library would not close and service would continue. For comparison, the Fluvanna public library is independent of JMRL and that county’s budget is $457,442 for fiscal year 2023. Adams also noted there is no outcry against the name of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission or that there is a tobacco leaf on the Louisa County seal. “I think at some point we have to recognize that history and people is both good and bad,” Adams said. “Yes, the institution of slavery was evil, it was awful, it was despictable and I don’t think anyone would ever try to justify it.” Cuckoo District Supervisor Willie Gentry said he wanted to know more information about what the new name might be. “It’s kind of hard to say you oppose something when you don’t know what it’s going to,” Gentry said. “The second thing is, the name on the building is the Louisa County library.” Gentry, Adams, and the rest of the board voted to oppose the name change. The next meeting of the JMRL Board of Trustees will be held on June 27 at the Northside Library beginning at 3 p.m.Virginia receives $76.4 million in June’s cap-and-trade auctionVirginia has now participated in six auctions brokered by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an interstate compact that seeks to incentivize investment in new sources of power generation that produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The Commonwealth joined the program in 2020 and legacy generators of electricity must purchase credits to exceed caps authorized by the General Assembly that year. The latest auction was held earlier this month, and Virginia will receive $76,418,182.90. By the terms of the state code, Virginia will direct 45 percent to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund and 50 percent to support energy efficiency programs for low-income households. Read more about the auction in this press release.Governor Glenn Youngkin has pledged to withdraw Virginia from RGGI out of a concern that energy companies such as Dominion pass on the costs to consumers. Earlier this year he signed an executive order seeking that outcome, but that action would require action by the General Assembly. Legislation to withdraw did not pass but the issue is likely to come back. At the local level, the city of Charlottesville will hold a virtual workshop tonight on the Climate Vulnerability Assessment, which the city will use to create a climate action plan. Top hazards identified are an increase in violent storms and periods of extreme heat. If you want to attend, you’ll have to register in advance. (register in advance)Watch a tutorial on RGGI auctions:Second shout-out is for a Charlottesville Jazz Society concert this Saturday:In today’s second subscriber-supported shout-out. On Saturday June 11, the Charlottesville Jazz Society and WTJU present Michael Bisio in a solo acoustic bass performance. Bisio is touring in support of his new solo bass recording "Inimitable". Opening for Michael Bisio will be Richmond violinist/electronics artist Zakaria Kronemer. The concert at Visible Records on Broadway Avenue will begin at 8 pm. A suggested donation of $10 at the door is requested. For more information visit cvillejazz.org or call (434) 249-6191.Council briefed on tourism group’s efforts to bring in more visitorsHotel occupancy in Albemarle and Charlottesville continues to rebound with overnight stats in April of this year slightly above the previous year, but still below pre-pandemic levels.“We’re recovering a bit,” said Courtney Cacatian, the executive director of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our hotel occupancy is still limited by our workforce here.” Cacatian provided that information to City Council at a work session Monday that served as an introduction to the agency, which was created in 1979 to promote tourism in the area. She said the entity never stopped advertising during the pandemic, so there is pent-up demand reflected in the average daily rates. This April that figure was over $170 a day compared to around $100 in April 2021. (view the presentation) “The mission is really to enhance the economy, specifically in the tourism industry, and to generate tax revenue for the city and the county,” Cacatian said. “And we reinvest that funding back into the tourism economy to start that funnel again.” Cacatian has been in the position since August 2019, several months before the pandemic hit. The agency’s main source of funding is through the transient occupancy tax levied by Albemarle and Charlottesville, in addition to grants. The CACVB’s budget lags two year behind collection, which explains why the FY23 budget of $1.72 million is lower than the FY22 budget of $2.053 million Much of the funding goes into marketing. “And that marketing includes advertising, public relations, and sales efforts,” Cacatian said. “We’re the storytellers for Charlottesville and Albemarle and we get to tell people who don’t live here what we want them to know about us so that they come to visit.” CACVB also served as a pass-through agent for $680,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding that originated from the Virginia Tourism Council, as well as $750,000 in ARPA funding from Albemarle County. One of the marketing initiatives targeted to a national audience is called Discover Black Cville which went live on March 27. That began in August 2020 with listening sessions with Black businesses and attractions. “It was really important to me that we were making sure that our community had buy in before we launched nationally and you could tell on launch day how much community buy in and positivity had been created by this effort,” Cacatian said. The initial launch weekend led to several articles:My Trip To Charlottesville, Virginia Taught Me The Importance Of Black Ownership In America, Marsha BadgerCharlottesville, VA, To Highlight Black-Owned Businesses Through Community-Led Initiative, Brunno BragaCharlottesville Celebrates National Launch of Discover Black Cville, Mary MelnickVice Mayor Juandiego Wade was on hand for the event.“It was a room full of writers from different newspapers and I love meeting new people so it didn’t take much for me to get there and talk to them,” Wade said. “It was great. It was just a perfect weekend as far as the weather, the activity. It was smelling great outside with the different food so I hope they enjoyed it.”Councilor Sena Magill said she really liked what CACVB is doing with Discover Black Cville, but she said she was concerned about any funds being used to pay for short-term rentals that may not be properly registered with the city.“If the city is paying a large chunk of money and then we are providing advertising space for companies who are breaking our zoning laws and impinging on our affordable housing stock…” Magill said.“And then typically not paying the taxes either,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook.“Yeah!” Magill said. “I have some issues with that.” Cacatian said she would look into the matter. The Board of Directors for the CACVB next meet on July 11. Check the public notices section of their website for more information. Town Crier Productions has a sponsorship thing with Ting!For over a year one year now, Town Crier Productions has had a promotional offering through Ting!Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
What power does Christ have over the corrupting effects of sin in our world? From this story, we see that Christ has the power to heal the corrupting effects of sin in our world. And his power has not faltered in your life today. The same Christ who was at work in Jairus' daughter and in this woman's healing is at work right now in your life.
How should we get around in the future? What should our transportation network look like? Those are some of the questions that feature heavily in today’s installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, and this will be a focus in future versions as well. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs, and I’ve been writing about transportation planning for nearly thirty years. Even if you don’t think you’re interested, you probably might be if you have access to stories about these issues. That’s the point of Charlottesville Community Engagement, and I’m grateful to the hundreds of supporters who are helping me track all the pieces in motion. Help this newsletter grow by signing up for a paid subscription. Ting will match your initial payment! Sign-up is free, but I need a roof over my head to keep paying attention to all of the things! On today’s program:Charlottesville officials weigh in on potential plans to address safety concerns on Fifth Street The nation’s top court paves the way for the federal government to calculate the “social costs” of greenhouse gas emissions An American Elm has been honored by a local non profit that does such things faceFirst shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign It’s springtime, and one Patreon subscriber wants you to know the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign is a grassroots initiative of motivated citizens, volunteers, partner organizations, and local governments who want to promote the use of native plants. This spring the group is working with retailers across the region to encourage purchase of plants that belong here and are part of an ecosystem that depends on pollination. There are plenty of resources on the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page, so sign up to be notified of lectures, plant sales, and more!U.S. Supreme Court clears way for federal study of greenhouse gas emissionsIn a one-sentence order issued last night, the United States Supreme Court has cleared the way for the federal government to study the “social cost” of greenhouse gas emissions. “It is essential that agencies capture the full costs of greenhouse gas emissions as accurately as possible, including by taking global damages into account,” reads Section 5 of an executive order issued by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.That order set up an interagency working group to resume the work of calculating those costs, work that had been stopped by the previous administration. Ten states led by Republicans sued to stop the Biden administration from moving forward, and Judge James Cain of the Western District of Louisiana agreed with them in a February ruling granting an injunction. (read that ruling)In March, the Fifth Circuit allowed the study to proceed and the matter was appealed to the high court. According to Courthouse News, the one-sentence concurrence allows the study to proceed pending further executive action. Locally, work continues on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also to prepare for the effects of climate change. The city of Charlottesville will hold a community workshop on June 9 on the Climate Vulnerability Assessment. More info on the city’s website.Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards honor their 15th landmark treeAt the corner of Elliot Avenue and Monticello Avenue stands an American Elm that a nonprofit group honored in late April as part of Arbor Day. Now, a plaque has been installed marking the Elm as the 15th Landmark tree. The Charlottesville Tree Stewards were on hand at Sojourner’s Church on Arbor Day this past April 29 to mark the occasion.City transportation planners present ideas on Fifth Street ExtendedIn the next few installments of this program, there’s going to be a heavy focus on transportation. Today we look at one specific project in the heart of Charlottesville. On Tuesday, Charlottesville’s elected officials met with the appointed Charlottesville Planning Commission to give feedback on a set of proposals to slow down traffic on Fifth Street Extended. Several groups have called upon to Council to take action to increase safety conditions on the roadway following a string of fatal crashes in 2020. “Our consultant team and staff have been working for the last couple of months to expedite a design plan to improve transportation safety,” said James Freas, the city’s director of Neighborhood Development Services. The city is working toward an August 1 deadline to submit the projects to the Virginia Department of Transportation for funding through something called the Smart Scale program. Candidate projects from all across Virginia are scored according to how well they will achieve certain outcomes, such as increasing safety and reducing congestion.For many years, Amanda Poncy was the city’s bike and pedestrian coordinator. She left that position last year to work for EPR PC. “EPR was hired by the city in February to help with the development of that grant application which is due on August 1,” Poncy said. “The segment that we’re looking at is between old Ridge Street and Harris Road. Our scope of work really involved looking at the crash data, conducting a speed study, developing concepts for public review and ultimately arriving at a final feedback that we can really flesh out with cost estimates and better understanding of some of the engineering issues and things like that for the Smart Scale submittal.” The roadway has been studied before, including a 2018 study conducted by EPR that resulted in two successful Smart Scale applications. These are for a turn lane on Cherry Avenue as well as multimodal improvements on Ridge Street. (read the 2018 study)“A third project that involved pedestrian improvements at the Cherry / Ridge intersection was also funded by VDOT outside of that project study but is being lumped into these other two because there is some overlap there,” Poncy said. Since that study, there have been a series of fatal crashes and EPR’s work concludes that many of those are related to intersections. All of the fatalities were related to speeding. Poncy said a survey was conducted this spring which yielded over 700 responses. “Really the top thing we heard was concern about people’s driving behavior whether it is reckless driving or redlight running,” Poncy said. There are several potential solutions, such as a roundabout, a restricted crossing U-turn, and guardrails to prevent people from hitting trees. Another option would be to remove the trees, which Poncy said would go against the spirit of the Streets that Work plan. Restricted crossing U-turns have been used in Virginia. Poncy explains how one would work on Fifth Street. “People coming from the side streets, so for example Bailey Road or Old Ridge, they would first make a right turn,” Poncy said. “The median openings that are currently there would be closed for through traffic and people coming out of the side streets would have to make a right hand turn and then go up to the next median opening to go in the direction they wanted to travel.”Another potential solution is a roundabout at Bailey Road which is the entrance to the Orangedale section of the Fifeville neighborhood. That would likely mean the taking of some property to accommodate the geographic scope.Another overarching concept is to put Fifth Street on a road diet, which would mean reducing travel lanee and giving that space over to wider sidewalks or shared-use paths. Bike lanes could be protected with a physical barrier, but those details have not yet been worked out. In one of the scenarios, the road diet would include a dedicated bus-lane in each direction. Second Shout-out: RCA working on restoration of Riverview ParkThe first Patreon-fueled shout-out today is for the Rivanna Conservation Alliance and their work with the City of Charlottesville on the restoration of Riverview Park. The RCA aims to restore a 600-foot section of the Rivanna riverbank in an area that’s designated for public access to the waterway as well as a 200-foot section of a dangerously eroding stormwater channel nearby. Another community meeting will be held in the near future to get your feedback on the work should be prioritized. Visit rivannariver.org to learn more about the project, which seeks to help Riverview Park continue to be a welcoming place to exercise, cool off, paddle, fish, play, explore, observe nature, and escape from the day-to-day stresses of life. Skepticism of bus lanes, support for roundabout, more data needed on road diet detailsAfter the overview, Commissioners and Councilors had the chance to provide feedback. During their discussion, they appeared to want more detail about what a road diet would entail, expressed support for the single-lane roundabout, and stated concerns about dedicated bus lanes. Let’s begin with the Planning Commission’s non-voting representative from the University of Virginia wanted to know if the needs of the emergency health system had been taken into account.“From the UVA perspective, this is a pretty major corridor for emergency vehicles coming to the hospital,” said Bill Palmer with the Office of the Architect. Bill Wuensch of EPR said if the bus lanes were dedicated, they would be available for use by emergency vehicles. “Whether it’s an ambulance, fire truck, police, whatever, they would still be able to use and access that bus lane in that single lane option,” Wuencsch said. Palmer asked what the Future Land Use map designations were for the roadway and said whatever alternative is selected should anticipate future development. Much of the corridor is designated now as Medium Intensity Residential with other portions as Higher Intensity Residential. During the conversation, at least three Councilors were skeptical about reducing capacity by eliminating travel lanes. “In plumbing, you’ve got to be careful of going from big to little,” said City Councilor Sena Magill said. Magill added she would support some form of a dedicated bus lane, but said she would be concerned it might be difficult for those vehicles to merge back into traffic on either end. “Refining some of those details about the transitions is kind of the next step,” said Jeannie Alexander, another EPR employee who used to work for the city. “Getting into those design details. Yes, you’re right, it’s very important and will be the make or break for many things.”Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he was skeptical about the bus lane concept. The Route 2, Route 3, and Route 6 operated by Charlottesville Area Transit regularly use the corridor. “And we’re devoting the largest share of asphalt to something that only takes… 30 vehicles a day,” Snook said. “That strikes me as being a very difficult thing to justify.” Snook said he was concerned that constricting Fifth Street would route more vehicles through Bailey Road up to Prospect Avenue, or onto Harris Street through the Fry’s Spring neighborhood. Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade used to work as a transportation planner for Albemarle County. He echoed Snook’s concern.“I know what’s going to happen,” Wade said. “They’re going to filter through the neighborhoods and then we’re going to get calls about complaints of cars speeding in front of Jackson-Via [Elementary School] and in front of Buford [Middle] School because that’s where they’re going to go if they get off of I-64 and see the traffic.” Planning Commissioner Jody Lahendro said he was skeptical of many of the options.“The conclusion I’m coming to is that this is very difficult to come up with one static solution for a road that has various issues,” said Commissioner Jody Lahendro. Commissioner Hosea Mitchell was also concerned about the road diet and the potential for congestion. “I’m not too geeked out about the two-lane roundabout either,” Mitchell said. “I’ve worked and lived in lots of big cities and those two-lane roundabouts can be confusing. Mitchell said he could support a single-lane roundabout but wanted to know more information. He also said he supported the pursuit of low-cost measures such as guardrails and photo enforcement. Planning Commissioner Karim Habbab said he would support some form of a road diet but only if it didn’t lead to too much congestion. He also said he could support a roundabout.“I know those are great at reducing crashes or the severity of crashes at those intersections and I’m for a roundabout,” Habbab said. Commissioner Rory Stolzenberg supported the road diet because he said a change in design would stop the conditions that lead to the three fatal crashes in 2020. “In off-hours, Fifth Street becomes a drag strip and it’s just a wide open road, a total straightaway, and people can speed recklessly,” Stolzenberg said. “Yes it’s a small minority of people but road design is how we stop that.” Stolzenberg said the road concept needed to be fleshed out further. City Councilor Brian Pinkston said he supported studying the road diet and doing a study. That would likely mean a delay in applying for the Smart Scale funds. The next round will be in 2024. Magill said she wanted to know more about a road diet would work, and that she could support a single-lane roundabout but not a double one. She also said people need to understand Charlottesville’s geographic role. “We cannot get away from the fact that we are the urban center for a large rural community and that’s something we have to plan with,” Magill said. Councilor Michael Payne said he supported the roundabout at Bailey Road to break up the speed. “You know I think I would lean toward the road diet but I do have concern of us doing with the level of information that we have now,” Payne said. “It does seem that more study and information is needed.” Planning Commission Chair Lyle Solla-Yates said he wanted the city to pursue all of the options.“In general we need to be thinking bigger and more systematically so we can get at these connections about these issues,” Solla-Yates said. City traffic engineer Brennan Duncan said he heard the concern about a two-lane roundabout but said unless the number of lanes was reduced through a road diet, that would have to be the case.“Just for a roundabout, in order to build one for the road we have today, it would have to be a two-lane roundabout,” Duncan said. Council will return to this matter at their meeting on June 21.There are other projects nearby. Albemarle County and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission are working on a Smart Scale application for an area south of Harris Road (read those application details)A TJPDC application for something called the Fifth Street Trail hub was successful in the last Smart Scale round and received nearly $10 million in funds (read the application)The city was awarded $8.74 million in Smart Scale Round 4 for Ridge Street improvements (read the application)The city was awarded $6.1 million for the Cherry Avenue turn lane improvements in Smart Scale Round 3 (read the application)More transportation-related items in the next Charlottesville Community Engagement. Always in motion, we are! Sign up for Ting - Support Town Crier productions!For over a year one year now, Town Crier Productions has had a promotional offering through Ting!Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
There are 32 days left until the summer solstice which will mark the longest time this year that the rays of our star will soak our area of the planet with light and other forms of radiation. However, this is the first day of the year when temperature gauges on the Fahrenheit scale will come very close to triple digits. What will Charlottesville Community Engagement say about the matter in this May 20, 2022 edition of the program? Very little, but the host, Sean Tubbs, is sincere in wishing everyone well in the heat to come. On today’s program:A historical marker is unveiled at the Central Library in downtown Charlottesville to honor the legal battle to admit a Black man to the University of Virginia Law School Charlottesville City Council is briefed on efforts to get a handle on what property the city leases out and whether all of the tenants are paying their fair shareFifth District Republicans will meet tomorrow to select a nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives And work on a Regional Transit Vision will culminate next week in a long presentation to regional officials about what could happen if the area found a new mechanism for more funding for expanded transit Shout-out for an ACHS program on the Fields of Honor This year, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society has been working with a group called the Fields of Honor to identify soldiers who were killed in action in the Second World War. Since February, ACHS researchers have helped locate several photographs of the fallen, including that of Private Clarence Edward McCauley who was tracked down through high school records. There are 18 remaining photographs to be found, and on Thursday, May 26 at 7 p.m. the ACHS will host Debbie Holloman and Sebastian Vonk of the Fields of Honor Foundation to talk about how you can take part in their volunteer efforts honoring the service and sacrifice of US WWII service members buried or memorialized at US war cemeteries in Europe. That’s Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m. via Zoom or Facebook Live.Historical Marker unveiled at Central Library for crucial desegregation caseA crowd assembled yesterday afternoon at the intersection of East Market Street and 3rd Street NW in downtown Charlottesville to watch the unveiling of a historic marker to commemorate an important moment in the desegregation of education in Virginia. In 1950, Gregory Swanson applied to attend the University of Virginia School of Law, but he was denied a space because he was Black. He sued in federal court citing 14th Amendment rights to equal protection, and a three-panel judge heard arguments on September 5 that year. David Plunkett is the director of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, and he noted the historic nature of the building that is the library system’s headquarters.“This building is formerly a federal building and home to the courtroom where Gregory Swanson won his legal petition for entry into the University of Virginia law school,” Plunkett said. Plunkett said Swanson’s case was part of the NAACP’s legal strategy to challenge the system of desegregation. “While the law school had admitted Mr. Swanson on his merit, with the support of staff including Mortimer Caplin, the Board of University Board of Visitors subsequently denied his admittance based on his skin color,” Plunkett said. “The case tried here overturned that ruling and helped lead to the desegregation of higher education in the South.”Risa Goluboff is the current Dean of the UVA Law School, and she said the marker celebrates Swanson’s bravery and persistence. “He did all this for a belief, for a legal and constitutional principle, for his own growth as a lawyer and a person, for his race, and for the nation as a whole,” Goluboff said. Swanson was represented by the law firm of Hill, Martin, & Robinson, with future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall serving as his legal counsel. Goluboff said the denial back in 1950 must be remembered, as well as the University’s condoning of slavery and the continuance of Jim Crow era laws. She said Swanson’s case should be celebrated.“And when he succeeded, he became the first Black student not only at the University of Virginia Law School, not only at the University of Virginia writ large, but at any state in the former Confederacy,” Goluboff said. “Telling his story both forces and enables us to remember those aspects of our history of exclusion and segregation that we must know in order to repudiate them.” Also on hand at the ceremony was M. Rick Turner, a former president of the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP. He said Black students at UVA have always challenged the status quo of an institution founded to perpetuate racial and class inequalities. “It is worth remembering that the [admittance] of Black students at UVA years ago was not a benevolent gesture on the part of the UVA administrators and state officials, but rather the presence of Gregory Swanson paved the way,” Turner said. To hear the event in full, visit the Charlottesville Podcasting Network where the full audio is posted and is available.Fifth District Republican convention tomorrowRepublicans across Virginia’s new Fifth Congressional District will gather tomorrow at Hampden-Sydney College in Prince Edward County to select a candidate for the November 8 election. Over 2,000 attendees are pre-filed for the event, according to the draft program. Incumbent Bob Good of Campbell County faces challenger Dan Moy in the race, and the program states that each will give a speech before the votes are taken. There will also be remarks from outgoing Chair William Pace and incoming Chair Rick Buchannan. The program contains multiple endorsements for Good from Republican leaders across the United States, as well as several Delegates and Senators of the General Assembly. Moy’s sole endorsement is from the group Chasing Freedom Virginia.There are a total of 24 Republican committees in the fifth District. The convention will be called to order at 10 a.m. and will use a weighted voting system. The winner will face Democrat Joshua Throneburg in the November election. Regional Transit Vision updateConsultants hired by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission to craft a vision for how public transportation might work better in the Charlottesville area will present more details next Thursday. The firm AECOM is the lead consultant with Jarrett Walker and Associates serving as a subcontractor. The study may recommend the eventualtransition to a unified regional transit authority. (meeting info)“There will be a 90 minute presentation from the consultants to go over what we’ve done so far, survey the results of the first round of public engagement, and then also what they found for the vision for the community,” said Lucinda Shannon, a transportation planner for the TJPDC. Shannon told a technical committee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization that a three-day workshop was held with the transit providers to imagine new bus routes under a new scenario where there is $30 million in annual funding from a new transportation authority. The consultants modeled that scenario after a new authority in the Richmond area that was created in 2020. “We looked at the Central Virginia [Transportation] Authority’s model of how they collect revenue to kind of calculate how much we could collect if we formed an authority to pay for the vision,” Shannon said.Shannon said that for now, the JWA’s work is more about what the vision will be. A second round of public engagement will take place soon after next week’s partnership meeting. Shannon said the firm AECOM may also be hired to conduct a governance study to recommend how to actually come up with that hypothetical $30 million. That work is contingent on approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board at their meeting in June. Shannon said this study will be more about the funding than changing the structure of area transit. “So it’s not going to be looking at how [Charlottesville Area Transit] or any of the service providers are governed or run or anything like that,” Shannon said. “It’s just bringing in money and putting it out for transit.” Funding for these studies come from Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The budget for the vision plan is $350,000 and the budget for the governance plan is $150,000. See also: Regional Transit Partnership briefed on Regional Transit Vision, looming Charlottesville Area Transit route changes, April 1, 2021Regional Transit Vision may suggest resumption of Regional Transit Authority foundation, December 14, 2021Shout-out to Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards In today’s subscriber-supported Public Service Announcement, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards continues to offer classes this spring and summer to increase your awareness of our wooden neighbors and to prepare for the future. Coming up on June 7 is a tree identification course taught on Zoom by tree steward Elizabeth Ferguson followed by a separate hike on June 11 at the Department of Forestry’s headquarters near the Fontaine Research Park. That’s followed by a tree identification walk at the University of Virginia on June 12 for the public. On June 14, Rachel Keen will give a lecture on Zoom on the Social Life of Trees. Do trees really communicate with one another? What is a 'mother tree'? Can a tree do anything to repel a pest? Learn more at charlottesvilleareatreestewards.org.City seeking to know more about what property it rents The City of Charlottesville could be pulling in more revenue from tenants who may be leasing city property at rates well below the market rate. That’s one of the takeaways from a report given to Council at their meeting on May 16. As the City of Charlottesville government seeks to rebuild after a recent era of frequent leadership transitions, the current management is looking at aspects of the city administration that have gone unnoticed or unchecked. Until now, there has not been one central source in city government that controls all of the various leases the city has for its properties as well as service agreements. That makes it hard to track who is responsible or where the public can get information.“So what we’re trying to do at this moment is compile that but one of the first things we had to do was identify an individual who would have that as their job,” said Sam Sanders, the Deputy City Manager for operations. That person will be Brenda Kelley, who has been the redevelopment manager for the city for the past several years. Her position has been elevated to the Office of Community Solutions, and she’ll be presenting a full report to Council this summer. In the meantime, she prepared a briefing for Council for their May 16 meeting which began with a basic definition of what she’ll cover. “Leases or agreement-type leases where either the city is a party,” Kelley said. “This is where the city owns the property or the city is a tenant of a property owned by someone else.” The city has about 155,000 square feet of building spaces that bring in about $580,000 a year in revenue for the city. That doesn’t include about 50 acres under ground lease. The oldest lease dates back to 1922 and allows the city’s utilities office to use space at a pump station at the University of Virginia. One of the biggest amounts of space the city leases is at the Water Street Parking Garage. “The city doesn’t own the Water Street Parking Garage but we lease parking spaces,” Kelley said. The city does own the Market Street Parking Garage, as well as the buildings on East Market Street that are currently occupied by the Lucky 7 and a Guadalajara restaurant. The City Council of January 2017 paid $2.85 million for an eventual parking garage at the location, but the City Council of March 2021 opted to go in a different direction. For now, the city gets rent from those businesses. “The Lucky 7 and the Guadalajara and all of the Market Street Parking Garage retail spaces, those rent funds go into the Parking Enterprise Fund,” Kelley said. Revenues from the Charlottesville Pavilion and the building where S&P Global operates go into the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority fund. Kelley said further research needs to be done into intergovernmental leases with the courts, libraries, and other entities. She said that systems need to be in place to track the leases and make sure that any rent increases due to the city are at least known about for Council’s consideration. Councilor Sena Magill said she appreciated being able to see a more complete picture of the city’s property portfolio, and the potential to get more out of its investment. “When we look at a lot of these rents on a lot of these buildings, they are at about half of market rate,” Magill said. Magill said if the city is charging below market, it should be as a way of helping small businesses who are just getting started. She wanted to see a presentation from the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority on the leases they currently manage. Mayor Lloyd Snook said he wanted any lessees to know that the preliminary report is not intended to raise rates, but just to provide information. “Until this report and this information is gathered, we on Council had no idea who we were subsidizing and we have no idea why we’re subsidizing them in some cases and we may want to make some conscious decisions to continue to subsidize in the form of the rent or we may not but at least we will be doing so from the basis of actual knowledge,” Snook said. More to come as the summer heats up. Help Ting help support Town Crier productions!For one year now, Town Crier Productions has had a promotional offering through Ting!Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
Today marks 21 years since the death of Douglas Adams, a writer whose importance to my formation is not necessarily worth noting, but the commemoration of his passage is being noted all the same. Each of us is mortal and for the most part do not know when we will breathe our last. Until mine, I feel it is important for me to document as much as possible, and that is the mission of each and every installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a program that most definitely would not have existed if not for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The jury is still out on the Celestial Homecare Omnibus. Share and enjoy! On today’s program:Workers at one of Bodo’s Bagels three locations want to unionizeThe latest version of Consumer Price Index is out, and inflation is up but not quite as much as last month Area businesses involved in the Community Climate Collaborative’s Green Business Alliance report Greenhouse Gas Emissions reductionsAnd more study on future planning for transit takes place at a time when existing systems are struggling to find enough drivers Shout-out: RCA seeks input on the restoration of Riverview ParkThe first Patreon-fueled shout-out today is for the Rivanna Conservation Alliance and their work to help the City of Charlottesville with the restoration of Riverview Park. The RCA wants your input to inform a project that aims to restore a 600-foot section of the Rivanna riverbank in an area that’s designated for public access to the waterway as well as a 200-foot section of a dangerously eroding stormwater channel nearby. How should the work be prioritized? That’s where you come in with your input. Visit rivannariver.org to learn more about the project, which seeks to help Riverview Park continue to be a welcoming place to exercise, cool off, paddle, fish, play, explore, observe nature, and escape from the day-to-day stresses of life.Workers at Bodo’s franchise seek to unionizeTwo members of Charlottesville City Council will be on hand this afternoon as employees of the Bodo’s Bagels’ location on the Corner announce their desire to unionize. “Employees with the union organizing committee cite several concerns leading up to the effort, including understaffing, a lack of pay transparency, inadequate paid sick leave, and wages that aren’t keeping up with the rising cost of living in Charlottesville,” reads the press release from the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400.That group already represents grocery workers at Kroger and Giant Food. The release states that “approximately” 14 employees are involved and that they presented signed union authorization cards to Bodo’s management on Tuesday and seek voluntary recognition. “The employees also filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board in the event that management refuses to voluntarily recognize the union, at which point an election will be conducted by the federal labor department,” the release continues. However, representatives from Bodo’s management said the cards were not presented. In a statement, they also said the company has always sought to set a high standard. “Bodo’s has been doing the best we can in every way we can for the Charlottesville community for over thirty years, and we've always been keenly aware that that's a moving target,” wrote Scott Smith and John Kokola to Charlottesville Community Engagement. “We support the right of our employees to choose whether or not they want to bring in a third-party representative, though we have always worked hardest to be that advocate by offering substantially above market wages, and hands on, proactive, compassionate management,” their comments continued.Both Payne and Magill are advocates for a collective bargaining agreement that would allow city employees to unionize. Municipal employees in Virginia could not do so until legislation passed the Virginia General Assembly in 2020. Last August, Council directed former City Manager Chip Boyles to pursue study of a collective bargaining ordinance. Boyles was out of office two months later. In March, the city issued a request for proposals for a firm to help establish a collective bargaining program, but so far a contract has not been awarded. (city bid page) “There will be an award forthcoming, but the process of evaluating the submissions is ongoing so there is no date that can be provided of when the contract will be awarded,” said David Dillehunt, the interim deputy director of communications. See also: Charlottesville to study collective bargaining options, August 19, 2021Bureau of Labor Statistics: Inflation continues to growThe federal agency that keeps the official metric on the cost of goods has released the numbers for April, and the Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent, a slower increase than reported in March. “Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.3 percent before seasonal adjustment,” reads the release that was published this morning. That’s a lower number than when the numbers were reported in April, when the increase was 8.5 percent. The prices of shelter, food, airline fares, and new vehicles were the categories that increased the most. Food increased 0.9 percent over March, but the energy index actually declined in April. Gasoline dropped 6.1 percent, but natural gas and electricity increased. There are two sub categories for food. The price of “food cooked at home” increased 0.9 percent and “food away from home” increased 1 percent. Nonprofit group claims success in effort to reduce GHG emissions in business cohortLast May, the Community Climate Collaborative formed the Green Business Alliance to encourage sixteen companies to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to reduce their collective emissions by 45 percent by 2025, five years ahead of when both Albemarle County and Charlottesville pledged to meet the same objective. This morning the nonprofit entity reports the group has a collective 28 percent reduction in the first year since a baseline was established. “Comparing 2021 emissions to the baseline year, which varies by member, the [Green Business Alliance] Boffset a total of 4,800 metric tons of CO2-equivalent,” reads their press release. Some of the ways those reductions have been made are by relocations to new buildings. For instance, Apex Clean Energy moved to a new building that consolidated all employees in one place. “The mass-timber Apex Plaza, which features green building materials, solar power generation, and on-site battery storage, is on the cutting edge of sustainable design—mirroring Apex’s work at the forefront of the new energy economy,” reads a description of the new building on the company’s website. While the Apex Plaza building is not LEED-certified, it is one of the largest timber-built structures in the nation, and timber-built structures have a lower carbon footprint than those built of concrete or steel. Additionally, the Quantitative Investment Management moved to the CODE Building, which is LEED-certified. Other participants have moved to LEED-certified building since their baselines, including the Center and the CFA Institute. In addition, eight of the 16 companies installed over 1,600 solar panels on their properties, offsetting another 550 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. For more information, read the Community Climate Collaborative’s blog post on the topic. Watch a video with highlights of Apex Plaza: Second shout-out to JMRL’s How To FestivalIn today’s first subscriber-supported shout-out, the Jefferson Madison Regional Library will once again provide the place for you to learn about a whole manner of things! The How To Festival returns once more to the Central Library in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is something for everyone in this fast-paced, interactive and free event!There will be 15-minute presentations and demonstrations on a diverse set of topics. Want to know how to do a home DNA test? Tune a guitar? What about using essential oils to repel mosquitoes? Visit the library website at jmrl.org to learn more. Schedule is coming soon! That’s the How To Festival, May 14, 2022. Regional Transit Partnership updated on studies and drive shortagesThe audience for Charlottesville Community Engagement may have successfully doubled the number of views for the April 28, 2022 meeting of the Jefferson Area Regional Transit Partnership. At the tail end of the program, I called upon you all to take a look at the meeting and I can successfully report there have now been 11 views. But, of course, the reason you read a newsletter like this is so you don’t have to view them. So, as promised, here are some highlights from the rest of the meeting. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission continues to oversee the creation of a Regional Transit Plan, and the Regional Transit Partnership will have a full review at their meeting scheduled for May 26. But, the members of the partnership had the materials in the packet for the April 28 meeting. You have access to those materials here via cvillepedia.“The project started in the fall of 2021 and the team developed a land use assessment and a transit assessment,” said Lucinda Shannon, a transportation planner for the TJPDC. “They identified community goals and solicited community input for the vision for the future of transit in the region.”The consultants are currently writing up network and corridor improvements. “And in June the team will gather public input on the proposed improvements and then will make adjustments and then the project should finish by August,” Shannon said. The vision plan will be presented to City Council and the Board of Supervisors this summer. This is not to be confused with a governance study that is in the planning stages to inform what a potential Regional Transit Authority might look like. “The governance study is more on how we’re going to pay for the vision and the projects,” Shannon said. This is also not to be confused with the draft route changes proposed by Charlottesville Area Transit that have not yet been implemented due to driver shortages. “We’re extremely limited on our driver numbers and are actually really short,” said Garland Williams, CAT’s director. “We’ve got to figure out how to get more drivers in the hopper to do the level of service that the community wants.” As of April 28, Williams said CAT needed 20 additional drivers. He said he’s lost several drivers to the private sector which have higher-paying jobs. As of today, that number is down to 17. “We currently have 3 new drivers in training,” said Kyle Ervin, the marketing coordinator for CAT. The topic of driver shortages topic came up during a recent non-RTP roundtable of transit providers. Karen Davis, the deputy director at Jaunt, said her agency has been meeting with CAT and University Transit Service to work out solutions. “Jaunt has identified some potential overlap of CAT routes with [Albemarle County Public Schools] routes which warrants discussion,” Davis said. Davis said the City of Charlottesville has also approached Jaunt to assist with better transit service to Crescent Halls when it reopens later this year. The next meeting of the Regional Transit Partnership is May 26. Until then, let’s see if we can get the number of views on the April 28 meeting up to 20! And let’s get likes up to 2! This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
On this weeks episode of the podcast, Kenny talks with cinematographer Tom Magill. Tom has shot a number of amazing TV series including "Parks and Recreation", "Angie Tribeca", "Saved by the Bell" & "Atypical." Enjoy the episode! Follow Kenny on Twitter @kwmcmillan Frame & Reference is supported by Filmtools and ProVideo Coalition. Filmtools is the West Coasts leading supplier of film equipment. From cameras and lights to grip and expendables, Filmtools has you covered for all your film gear needs. Check out Filmtools.com for more. ProVideo Coalition is a top news and reviews site focusing on all things production and post. Check out ProVideoCoalition.com for the latest news coming out of the industry. Check out ProVideoCoalition.com for more!
Northern Ireland duo Rachel Furness and Simone Magill join Jill Scott and Ben Haines on the podcast to talk about how they made history by qualifying for the Euros for the very first time. Find out whether Rachel's snoring will affect camp and did Simone invite Jill or Furney to her wedding last year?
Meningiomas can be hard to diagnose because they often grow slowly and it can take years for the onset of symptoms to occur. In this episode, Stephen T. Magill, MD, PhD, talks about how advances in meningioma classification have improved recurrence predictions and potential therapeutic targets. Dr. Magill, an assistant professor of Neurological Surgery at Northwestern Medicine, specializes in surgical neuro-oncology, and his research focuses on meningioma biology and patient outcomes.
On today's episode, we chat with Dr. Caren Magill of itsadhdfriendly on “Entrepreneurship & ADHD" and strategies for getting past the fear of failing (Perfectionism in entrepreneurship). About the show: LollieTasking with ADHD is the podcast for driven women with ADHD who want to learn, share, and chat about thriving (not just surviving) with ADHD. They are professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, and homemakers who are surviving in their life but not without working too hard to get to their goals. Each episode talks about how ADHD affects our lives with tips and strategies to help you thrive with it. After listening, I hope you will be motivated and know “you can do it too with some planning, a little bit of balance, and a dash of determination”! To see complete information about this episode, visit our website at www.lollietasking.com Follow @LollieTasker on Instagram Join the LollieTaskers Facebook group to continue the conversation! Learn about Accomplish With Ease Network and The LollieTasking Squad.. It takes a village to manage your ADHD... AWE Network (LollieTasking) members have a village filled with education, supportive coaches and professional women with ADHD, plus a group coaching program that helps high achieving women learn how to thrive with their ADHD so they can accomplish all their goals with ease, without sacrificing anymore time away from their families. In the program you also have the opportunity to level up to micro group coaching, and 1:1 coaching. Caren Magill's Information: IG: https://instagram.com/itsadhdfriendly Website: www.itsadhdfriendly.com Youtube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCEdXA7uliIbBT5aWhuR3dFQ
Today is April 12, 2022, and according to one source, it’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, National Licorice Day, and National Big Wind Day. April 12 is also commemorated across the world as Yuri’s night, marking the day in 1961 that the first person was sent into space. There have been 22,280 days since then, and this is yet another one of them. This is also another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, about absolutely none of the above, except maybe the big wind. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. Help grow the audience by sharing this with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and anyone else you think might want to know what’s happening On today’s program:The Virginia Department of Transportation always wants you to drive slowly through work zones, but this is week they really want you to be aware Charlottesville responds to a lawsuit seeking nullification of the Comprehensive PlanThe Local Food Hub will pause drive-through markets this summerCity Council will vote tonight on a one-cent increase in the real estate tax rate First shout-out goes to two important history programsIn today’s first subscriber-supported shoutout, two upcoming history programs. Tonight, at 7 p.m. a multitude of groups are hosting Dr. Anne C. Bailey of SUNY Binghamton presents Remembering the Victims of Charlottesville: The Healing of Charlottesville and a New Way Forward. The in-person registration is full for this Rememberance of Slave Auctions, but there’s still room on Facebook Live. On Thursday at 7 p.m., the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society will host Regina Rush as she tells the story of her family’s journey from enforced servitude in Nelson County to becoming landowners in Albemarle County. After a quarter century of research, she’s published Rushes of Chestnut Grove: One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom. This event is on Zoom or Facebook Live. City responds to Comprehensive Plan lawsuitThe city of Charlottesville has responded in Charlottesville Circuit Court to a lawsuit filed in December by anonymous property owners seeking to void the Comprehensive Plan adopted by City Council last November. The plaintiffs assert the city did not follow state code resulting in a plan that is not “general in nature” and that failed to present a transportation plan to support new density allowed under the plan. (read the plaintiff’s suit)The city filed two responses, including one requesting the Court order the identities of the plaintiffs to be revealed. The other is a demurrer which argues the plaintiffs have no right legal basis on which to have filed their case. (read the demurrer)“Plaintiffs have no express right of action under Virginia 15.2-2223… to challenge the sufficiency of the Comprehensive Plan,” reads the first section of the demurrer. The city’s response goes on to state that localities have the legal requirement to designate land use categories, and that the General Assembly has given leeway for localities to do so. The response argues that the Comprehensive Plan is a different process than updating the zoning ordinance, which is currently underway.“The adoption of the Comprehensive Plan did not and cannot change the zoning district classification of any of the Plaintiff properties,” the response continues. The second motion to request identification argues that the plaintiffs have not given sufficient reason for why their identities should be protected. (motion to reveal ID)“Upon information and beliefs, Plaintiffs wish to proceed anonymously to avoid potential embarrassment or public criticism for opposing increased residential density—and more types and units of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income persons—within their neighborhoods,” reads the second motion. The City Attorney’s office had no comment. The next step is for the matter to go before a judge for scheduling. Local Food Hub pausing drive-through markets Two years ago, the pandemic shut down much of the economy as people avoided direct contact with each other. The state of emergency was declared at the same time farmers and other agricultural producers were getting ready for market season, but in-person markets were banned to avoid places where people could congregate. Soon after, the Local Food Hub sprang into action and organized a drive-through market at the site of the former K-Mart, as reported in the March 25, 2020 edition of the Charlottesville Quarantine Report. “Over the past two years, we’ve operated 150+ markets, facilitated over a million dollars in sales, partnered with dozens of vendors, and served hundreds of community members,” reads a post on the Local Food Hub’s Facebook page. Two years later as market season begins again, they’re planning to cease these events. “As the world has reopened – and along with it, more opportunity for in-person, walk-up markets – a drive-through, preorder market doesn’t currently best meet the needs of vendors or customers,” the post continues. The Local Food Hub plans to relaunch the drive-through markets in the fall or if another wave of COVID causes a return to social distancing. VDOT holds work zone awareness weekLast year, the number of vehicular fatalities that occurred in work zones in Virginia increased to 28, up from 11 in 2020. This week, the Virginia Department of Transportation and similar agencies across the United States are marking Work Zone Awareness Week to remind motorists to slow down when traveling through road construction or repairs. VDOT has been doing this every year since 1997 as a way to protect the thousands of people who work within close proximity to speeding throngs of vehicles. The week kicks off today with a tour of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project, which will see a total of four more lanes at a cost of $3.8 billion. On Wednesday, people are asked to wear orange and post pictures on social media with #GoOrangeDay. On Friday, there’s a moment of silence at 10 a.m. Second shout-out: RCA wants your photographs for a new contest!In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out, the Rivanna Conservation Alliance wants wildlife and nature photographers to enter their first-ever photography contest! They want high-resolution photos related to the Rivanna watershed and the winning entries will be displayed at the 2022 Riverfest Celebration on May 1. The two categories are 16 and under, and those over the age of 17. You can send in two entries, and the work may be used to supplement Rivanna Conservation Alliance publications. For more information, visit rivannariver.org. And don’t forget, Riverfest starts on April 22 with a big celebration at Rivanna River Company on May 1! Council to adopt budget tonight; poised to increase real estate tax rate by one cent Charlottesville City Council will adopt a nearly $212.9 million budget for FY23 this evening that includes a real estate tax rate increase for the first time in decades. This happens at 5:30 p.m. (meeting info)The personal property tax rate will remain at $4.20 per $100 of assessed value, and there will be a half percent increase in the meals tax. “The reason we’re trying to raise revenue is in my mind is to invest in long-term capital projects which I think will benefit school children for decades,” said City Councilor Brian Pinkston toward the end of an April 7 budget work session. The budget also anticipates using over $12 million in budget surpluses for the current fiscal year to cover the cost of additional spending. The five members of City Council stated their final positions on the budget and the tax rate at a budget work session on Thursday night, April 7. They had previously met on March 31, April 1, and April 2 and gave direction to City Manager Michael C. Rogers via email in preparation for the final work session. “The city manager had circulated a spreadsheet that we were able to feed back to the city manager what our thoughts were on the various decision points that we had to confront tonight,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook at the very beginning of the meeting.On March 31, Councilors were told of an anticipated $12.4 million surplus in the current fiscal year that might yield enough funding to cover the budget that interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers had recommended in early March without raising any taxes. That would also require the drawdown of $11.433 million in from a capital contingency fund. On April 7, Snook said one of the decisions before Council was whether they wanted to fund items not in Rogers’ recommended budget. These include additional funding for Charlottesville Area Transit, more funds to address homelessness, city funding for a sidewalk on Stribling Avenue, nearly $5 million for Piedmont Housing Alliance for two separate projects on Park Street. “And one of the decision points I think we will need to make tonight is are some of these where we ought to say we’re waiting for a plan but we have enough in mind that we think we can at least put a ballpark figure on it and let’s figure out a plan,” Snook said. In February, Council authorized the advertising of a ten cent increase in the real estate tax rate to cover the costs of debt service associated with more capital spending, including $75 million for renovations of Buford Middle School associated with school reconfiguration. That action did not obligate them to actually increasing the rate, but provided a ceiling. During a series of work sessions in March, staff suggested the surplus could be used but the actual number won’t be known until this upcoming December. “We can look with some certainty and feel pretty good that at least most of that is real surplus,” Snook said. “You never want to count your chickens before they hatch but maybe some of these chickens are close enough to being hatched. Remember, we’re three quarters of the way through the fiscal year.” The budget includes a three percent raise for all city employees effective July 1, full funding of the School Board’s request for operating funds, and several new administrative positions. “And in the overall scheme of things, we are also funding the school reconfiguration project through our [Capital Improvement Program] at a $68.8 million level,” said Interim City Manager Michael Rogers said.The School Board is comfortable with that amount, which is based on their use of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. The City Council agreed to float $54 million in bonds to contribute to the project’s cost. For most of the April 7 budget work session, Council went line by line through a spreadsheet to see if they supported various changes in the FY23 budget. They supported:An additional $55,514 in the budget for an upgrade to the position of housing coordinatorAn additional $81,355 to hire an additional buyer$300,000 in additional funding for the Office of Equity and Inclusion for support for team members such a community health worker to help find homes for “unhoused individuals”$60,528 for an additional person in the Commissioner of Revenue’s office$150,000 for Climate Action Planning$175,000 in additional capacity for affordable housing initiatives$100,000 for MARCUS Alert system$250,000 in additional support for real estate tax relief efforts$325,000 for the public works department for engineering $20,000 to pay Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the payment in lieu of taxes they are required to pay the city $25,000 in additional funds for tree planting per a request from the Tree Commission Council agreed to consider the use of FY22 surplus funds to the following purposes, but there will be further discussions before action would happen later this calendar year:$150,000 to replace software used by the Department of Social Services for foster care$100,000 for software for procurement$1 million to purchase two new buses to ensure more service on Route 6An additional $2 million for Charlottesville Area Transit to help get more routes to 30 minute service $2.109 million to cover costs of 15 firefighters once a federal SAFER grant expires in March 2024Potentially set aside $1 million for a fund to be used at the discretion of the next City Manager with consultation from Council Potentially $700,000 for a third section of the Meadowcreek TrailCouncil agreed to commit some of the $11.433 million CIP contingency fund to these two projects, but this would also take a separate Council action outside of the FY23 budget discussion: $6.7 million for school reconfiguration$4.733 million for two Piedmont Housing Alliance projects on Park Street Next steps after adoptionA work session on April 18 will further flesh out how the $150,000 for Climate Action Planning would be spent. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders explained some potential uses. “Home energy audits is something that we’re doing right now and we could increase those and do more,” Sanders said. “The next time would be a pilot street light conversion that would be to test the notion of what we can do with the lighting choices we are making in the streetlight section.” Sanders said other options could be a supplement to be paid to community members who choose electric vehicles, incentivizing solar installations, and initiatives that may come out of an ongoing study of fuel alternatives for Charlottesville Area Transit and school pupil transportation.As for the funding for public works, Sanders said the funding would go to help increase capacity to allow for projects in the capital improvement plan to move forward. “We need project management capacity, period,” Sanders said. “We need more hands to do the projects that we currently have in our inventory. We need a project manager dedicated to [the Americans with Disability Act.] We are not doing a good job in the ADA space and we know this and we’ve known this for a long time.” Councilor Sena Magill said this topic has come up in her conversations in Washington D.C. to try to secure money from federal sources.“It was made very clear that we have to have our house in order to apply for this stuffSanders said there will be another work session coming up on the city’s relationship with the Virginia Department of Transportation. “We are headed into a facilitated conversation with our district to look at rebooting the size and operations as they exist today,” Sanders said. “It will call for actually potentially canceling projects, turning some projects over to VDOT, and the team keeping some other projects.” Sanders said the city is not ready to take advantage of any future infrastructure funding because of a poor record in delivering in what has already been funded. Tax rate discussionToward the end of the April 7 work session, Council also discussed potentially increasing tax rates. Councilor Brian Pinkston supported a one cent increase in the tax rate which would add $925,000 to the budget for additional spending. He also supported a half percent increase in the meals tax. “I think it’s time for us to position the city for the future,” Pinkston said. “Maybe we could add another penny every year or two.” Pinkston initially said he would support a reduction in the personal property tax rate but changed his mind. Councilor Sena Magill did not support a reduction in the personal property tax rate, and she supported a one cent increase in the real estate tax to avoid relying on the surplus. “A one cent real estate tax that goes straight into a fund to support the schools,” Magill said. Magill did not support an increase in the meals tax. Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade supported a one cent increase in the real estate, a reduction in the personal property tax rate, and a half-percent increase in the meals tax. City Councilor Michael Payne said he would support a three cent increase in the real estate tax rate to apply to future capital spending. “And I think we should just get over with it now and making a down payment on being able to afford what we’ve said we’re committed to but haven’t yet planned to fund,” Payne said. Payne said he supported keeping the personal property tax rate at $4.20 per $100 of assessed value and increasing the meals tax. Snook said he did not support an increase in the real estate tax rate given a sense that real property assessments will continue to increase. “What I’ve seen of the real estate market so far in 2022 is that it has not slackened since 2021,” Snook said. However, four Councilors agreed to the one cent increase up for a vote tonight. 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