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Dr. Nonja Peters is an historian, anthropologist, museum curator and social researcher whose expertise is transnational migration (forced and voluntary) and resettlement in Australia. She is the author of several books her first being, Milk & Honey But no Gold about post-war migration to Western Australia with lots about the migrant camps in Northam. Additionally, she also has an exhibition on migration to Northam in the Visitors Centre in Grey Street. Of Dutch heritage, her father started the local Sparta Dutch soccer club, and played in a band for CWA balls around the Wheatbelt. Please enjoy the interview with Dr Nonja Peters. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Meet Mitchell Northam. Buxy's Salty Dog and Dry Dock 28 of Ocean City presents 105th Episode of the Hondo Handy's Podcast. This episode shares the journey of Mitchell Northam, a Digital Content Producer for WUNC in North Carolina. He attended Colonel Richardson High School, Wor-Wic Community College, and Salisbury University. In addition to his stint at the Delmarva Daily Times, his work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, NCAA.com, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Slam Magazine. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and a voter in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for women's college basketball. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
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Trisha's guest this week is Jaime Northam, Vice President of Healthcare Development at Ryan Companies. Jaime shares how she is seeing healthcare systems designed with the future and adaptability in mind, with regard to their spaces. She discusses trends she is seeing in healthcare development, to include focusing on the continuum of care, centers of excellence, integrating telehealth, and an increase in concentration of behavioral health. In this episode, we talk about… [2:16] Jaime's background in commercial real estate [4:26] What attracted Jaime to focus on healthcare real estate [8:01] The transition from a publicly traded REIT to a developer [9:55] Strategy for the next 3-5 years at Ryan Companies [15:39] Healthcare real estate renovation and expansion [18:43] The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare development [24:59] Jaime's first job [25:56] What Jaime would be doing for a living if she did not work in healthcare real estate [26:36] What Jaime is reading and listening to for news, information, and inspiration [28:22] What Jaime does for self-care [29:18] Whether leaders are born or trained Links to resources: Jaime Northam Vice President of Healthcare Development Ryan Companies US, Inc. https://www.ryancompanies.com/ Subscribe, rate and review: www.providerspropertiesandperformance.com Schedule a healthcare real estate investment strategy consultation: https://docproperties.com/free-consultation-trisha-talbot/ About Trisha: WEBSITE: www.docproperties.com LINKED IN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trishatalbot/ Email inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Another Friday has arrived, and somehow this is the 14th such day of 2022. Is this year going faster than the others, and if so, is there a way this can be stopped? These are not questions within the scope of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast that seeks to put some of the pieces together. I’m your ever-puzzling host, Sean Tubbs. Sign up today to receive every newsletter in your email inbox - for free! On today’s program:Albemarle Supervisors return to in-person meetings and commemorate Fair Housing MonthBoth the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and the City of Charlottesville award funding to housing projects in the areaCharlottesville may change the way to administers transportation projectsGovernor Youngkin rescinds an executive order that banned state agencies from using single-use plastic Bacteria levels in a Charlottesville waterway are back to normalAnd the city of Charlottesville will resume disconnecting utility customers for unpaid balances First subscriber-supported public service announcement - MLKCVILLECharlottesville’s Community Celebration of the life, times, and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. continues on April 10 with keynote speeches from the Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms, the Rev. Alvin Edwards, and Rabbi Tom Gutherz. All three will appear the event at the Ting Pavilion on the east end of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall beginning at 3 p.m. Rev. Brown-Grooms is co-pastor of New Beginnings Christian Community; Rev. Edwards serves Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, and Rabbi Gutherz, Congregation Beth Israel.The Community Celebration is put on each year by the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church. Visit and bookmark the YouTube MLKCVille page to review part one of the celebration as well as previous events. Albemarle Supervisors return to in-person meetingsAfter 25 months, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors have held a meeting in Lane Auditorium, where they have met since the county acquired the former Lane High School for an administration building back in the late 70’s. Members of the public were there, too, and Rivanna Supervisor Bea LaPisto-Kirtley noted the occasion. “I just wanted to welcome everybody who came today and it’s wonderful to be back in person and to see so many people and all of us to be together,” LaPisto-Kirtley said. The sentiment was shared by Scottsville Supervisor and Chair Donna Price.“It is wonderful to be back live, in-person, in Lane Auditorium, and we expect that we will continue to see more people show up for our meetings,” Price said. “But the silver lining that’s come out of the pandemic in terms of our situation is that we now have this hybrid opportunity so those are not able to come to Lane Auditorium can still participate virtually.” Albemarle Supervisors then made a proclamation to recognize April as Fair Housing Month. Supervisor Ned Gallaway of the Rio District read from the proclamation, which marks the 54th anniversary of the passage of Title ViII of the Civil Rights Act. “This act provides for equal housing opportunities for all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability, as well as to ensure fair practice in the sale, rental, or financing of property,” Gallaway said. The proclamation states it is the intention of Albemarle Supervisors to recognize the importance of housing rights. They heard from Stacy Pethia, the county’s housing coordinator. “I can’t say enough about how important it is to be able to provide housing choice to all of our residents because where we live really does matter,” Pethia said. “It determines the quality of education we will have, the quality and types of employment opportunities that we can access, what amenities we have available to us. Fair housing is really the basis of success throughout everyone’s lives.” Pethia said Albemarle is celebrating Fair Housing Month with an art contest. Visit the county’s website at engage.albemarle.org to learn more and to submit your work. TJPDC funds three affordable housing projects; Charlottesville funds fiveThe Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission has awarded $1.8 million in funds to regional housing nonprofits and entities. The funding comes from a $2 million grant to the TJPDC from the entity formerly known as the Virginia Housing Development Authority for the purpose of constructing or preserving affordable housing. “By virtue of us receiving $2 million, we are obligated to construct at least 20 new affordable housing units,” said Ian Baxter, a planner with the TJPDC. The TJPDC received five proposals totalling $6 million in requests. Baxter said these were measured by a series of metrics. “Cost per unit, location of development, type of development, affordability level, site control, funding sources, and the capacity to be completed by June 2024,” Baxter said. The funding will be split among three providers.$640,000 for three Habitat for Humanity chapters for 32 new units to be build throughout the TJPDC region$660,000 to the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for 48 units at the second phase of the South First Street redevelopment$500,000 for Virginia Supportive Housing for 80 new permanent supportive housing as part of the Premier Circle project“This $1.8 million will fund developments in all of the six jurisdictions in the planning district,” Baxter said. “It will create a mix of rental, supportive housing, and new homeowner units, all affordable.”This is the first time the TJPDC has received funds from Virginia Housing for this purpose. Executive Director Christine Jacobs said she is hopeful that there will be another round in the future. Council makes CAHF awards, repurposes the HACOn Monday, the city of Charlottesville awarded $750,000 in funds from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. Alex Ikefuna is the interim director of the Office of Community Solutions, a relatively new division of city government set up to oversee housing issues.“Staff received seven applications totaling $4,6 million,” Ikefuna said.They are:$425,000 to the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for South Street Phase 2$75,000 for down payment assistance for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville’s Equity Homeownership Initiative $100,000 for Albemarle Housing Improvement Program’s Charlottesville Critical Repair Program $50,000 for the Local Energy Alliance Program’s Assisted Home Performance and Electrification Ready (AHP) targeted to owner occupied homes.$100,000 for LEAP’s AHP for renter occupied homesCouncil also agreed to amend the by-laws for the Housing Advisory Committee to reduce membership and to transfer review of city housing funds to a dedicated Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund Committee. Three Councilors indicated they wanted to make sure a representative from the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority is on the amended Housing Advisory Committee. “In my view, the bottom line is just to try to have a body that is more effective in giving City Council guidance about how to implement our affordable housing strategy and meet our affordable housing goals and these are just changes meant to have it be a more effective and efficient body in doing that for us,” said City Councilor Michael Payne, who is also on the CRHA’s Board of Commissioners. Charlottesville to resume utility disconnections for non-paymentIn another sign that the pandemic has receded, the city of Charlottesville has announced they will resume disconnecting water, sewer, and natural gas service for non-payment beginning next week. “Green door hangers will be distributed to addresses that owe balances, encouraging customers to set up payment arrangements,” reads the announcement sent out by the city yesterday. The city’s utility billing office stopped disconnecting service for unpaid bills in March 2020 soon after the state of emergency was declared, followed by a moratorium imposed by the State Corporation Commission. That was lifted in last September. According to the release, the utility billing office continued to tell customers with unpaid balances how much they owed. The city covered the cost of $557,000 through various federal assistance programs related to the pandemic. Governor Youngkin overturns previous administration’s order to ban single-use plastic In March 2021, former Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order banning state agencies from buying, selling, or distributing single-use plastics. His successor, Governor Glenn Youngkin, has called that directive “burdensome” and yesterday replaced it with a new one that directs state agencies to recognize the value of recycling. "It is the policy of the Commonwealth, and all executive branch state agencies, including state institutions of higher education, and their concessioners (Agency or Agencies) to increase awareness of the importance of recycling and better capture recyclable material, as well as encourage the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) products and biodegradable materials,” reads Executive Order 17.The order also takes an economic development approach and directs the Department of Environmental Quality to attract recycling-related businesses to Virginia.The University of Virginia formed a working group last April to begin to implement the Northam administration’s order. Last month, the UVA Sustainability Office accepted the 2022 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Gold Award for its efforts, according to an article on their website. “The University of Virginia is taking active measures to enhance sustainability and reduce waste, pursuant with the directives detailed in Governor Youngkin's Executive Order 17 and in former governor Ralph Northam's Executive Order 77,” said Deputy UVA Spokesperson Bethanie Glover in an email to Charlottesville Community Engagement this afternoon. Glover said sustainability leaders at UVA will be evaluating the new executive order to determine what additional steps need to be taken. Need trees? Charlottesville Area Tree Steward sale is this Saturday! In today’s first Patreon-fueled public service announcement, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards are preparing to hold their first in-person tree sale since 2019. On April 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards will open up their tree nursery at the Fontaine Research Park and will sell saplings of native trees, some of which are hard to find from commercial sources. The prices will be between $5 and $15. There will be large trees from Birch to Sycamore, smaller trees from Blackgum to Witch Hazel, and shrubbery! Visit charlottesvilletreestewards.org to learn more!Albemarle and Greene both receive regional support for Three Notch’d Trail planning grantThe members of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission have indicated support for two separate planning efforts for more pathways in the region. Both Albemarle County and Greene County are seeking federal funds to build new infrastructure. “The grant would fund a shared bike pedestrian path from the city of Charlottesville to Crozet likely along U.S. 250,” said Jessica Hersh-Ballering, a transportation planner with Albemarle County. “From there it would continue west all the way to the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Nelson County.” “In Greene, because we are a more rural community, there are no walking paths even in our growth area,” said Jim Frydl, the Greene County Planning Director. “If you live in the housing that’s in the growth area, there’s no safe way to walk to the shopping and the work centers.”A federal infrastructure bill passed by the U.S. Congress last year has increased funding for the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program, which goes by the acronym RAISE. Albemarle is requesting between $1.5 million and $3 million for the planning effort. The idea would be to build something that works as both a functional transportation use as well as a recreational destination that could attract tourism as is the case with the Virginia Capital Trail. “This is a range that we are requesting because we are still working through our budget for this project with some local consultants,” Hersh-Ballering said. “We will have a number somewhere in this range finalized by the time we submit our application next week.” If funded, the project would first conduct a feasibility study, particularly to identify a route between Crozet and the Blue Ridge Tunnel. “It could go directly through Crozet, it could go a little south of Crozet and go near more schools, or it could follow potentially the CSX railroad line to have a very gentle grade for the entirety of that section,” Hersh-Ballering said. The funding would also include public outreach as well as “functional design” for the trail that would fall short of environmental review required for the project to go to construction. “So the idea is that it would be really expensive to construct the project all at once so what we’re probably going to do is identify those pieces that can stand-alone and then use some of our more common, smaller funding sources to fund construction separately,” Hersh-Ballering said. The entire route would span between 25 to 30 miles and would connect three localities. The TJPDC agreed to send a letter of support without comment. Greene County is seeking a $1.4 million RAISE grant to plan for a trail between the South River Falls in the northwest of the county to the town of Stanardsville, A second pathway would follow along U.S. 33 to connect to the unincorporated area of Ruckersville. “And then interconnectivity pathways in Ruckersville that connect the two nodes of the Ruckersville growth area,” Frydl said. Frydl said Greene’s project would also likely be built in phases. Charlottesville will be reviewing how it works with VDOTSince 2005, The City of Charlottesville has planned and administered construction of transportation projects within city limits as part of something called the First Cities program or the Urban Construction Initiative. This includes major projects such as the Belmont Bridge replacement currently underway, and extends to the many Smart Scale projects for which the city has received dozens of millions of dollars in funding.This week, Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders told City Council on Monday that this arrangement is under review.“Our leadership and project management teams are completing a review of our [Virginia Department of Transportation] program ahead of a deep dive with VDOT that’s scheduled fot later this month,” Sanders said. “We anticipate some changes that we’ll be bringing to Council in regards to how we manage those projects going forward.”Last year, City Council agreed to withdraw local money required to match state funds awarded to the West Main Streetscape and to put this local dollars toward to renovations of Buford Middle School. Sanders said the city has begun work with the firm EPR on a study of Fifth Street Extended to inform a new Smart Scale application for the next round. Community meetings may be held later this month but definitely by May. Council will get a presentation at their meeting on May 16. Dairy Road bridge There is no local match necessary for the pending replacement of a bridge that carries Dairy Road over the U.S. 250 bypass. VDOT has provided $7.2 million in funding to replace the bridge from a pot of money called State of Good Repair. Tony Edwards is the Development Services Manager in the Charlottesville Public Works Department. “It received a condition rating of 4 for the deck, and therefore qualifies for the SGR funding,” Edwards said. “In 2015 the sidewalk was replaced by a separate bike and pedestrian bridge next to the original structure which will provide public access during construction.” The design phase will now begin and a public hearing for that phase will be held at some point in the future. Pollocks Branch bacteria levels have returned to normalFinally today, the City of Charlottesville has reported that bacteria levels in a waterway south of the Downtown Mall have returned to normal. In late March, the Rivanna Conservation Alliance analyzed water samples from Pollocks Branch and found elevated levels of E.Coli. A second round of tests saw lower levels. “Given the steady decrease in E. coli levels and the lack of evidence of a source of the E. coli, the elevated levels were likely related to rainfall and associated runoff,” reads today’s announcement. The Rivanna Conservation Alliance will continue to monitor the situation. For more information, visit rivannariver.org.Support Town Crier Productions through Ting!Special announcement of a continuing promo with 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
Avoiding single-use plastic bottles and bags can be hard if it’s the only option around. State agencies had tried to phase them out, but those plans seem to be over now. Jahd Khalil has this report. You can read Youngkin’s entire executive order here.
Northam Platinum has withheld its interim dividend, citing the need to consider its growth prospects. The move comes despite a more than 66% jump in profit as the firm benefitted from buoyant metal prices. Business Day TV spoke to CEO Paul Dunne for more detail
Platinum group metals (PGMs) mining company Northam Platinum displayed graphs during Thursday's presentation of half-year results, which indicate that PGMs supply is on a hiding to nothing on the way to 2040. “There's a systematic global primary supply problem and the scarcity of both new PGM resources and new mining projects will bite hard,” Northam Platinum CEO Paul Dunne warned during the presentation of results covered by Mining Weekly. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.) The graphs focus on primary mining supply of platinum, palladium and rhodium across the next 18 years. “For platinum, we forecast continuing contractions in supply over this period,” he said. (Also see attached image.) “For palladium, we forecast essentially flat supply through to 2027, and for rhodium, we forecast a very similar profile to that of platinum. “This bottom-up analysis has been constructed on a shaft-by-shaft, half-level by half-level basis, from resources through to reserves and then finally through to final production, and includes all announced projects,” Dunne said. In displaying the slides, Dunne highlighted that Northam's view of the future of PGMs differed from what is understood to be the current market consensus, contending that the dearth of mining investment over the past decade would have supply consequences. He did so in the same week as 17-page analysis by independent precious metals consultant Dr David Davis pointed to China's importation of platinum having shifted the platinum's supply balance into deficit – even though a platinum surplus continues to be assumed across a broad front. Speaking to journalists during a media roundtable in which Mining Weekly participated, Northam expounded what it also described as a non-consensus view: “We do not hold the view that internal combustion engines (ICE) will be replaced by battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Let me say it absolutely bluntly. Internal combustion engines of one form or another will be around across the world for many decades to come. “On that basis – it's like a double-edged sword in a way – we acknowledge that BEVs have a role to play. However, we do not believe they will completely replace the ICE. What that means is, if you do produce an ICE, or a hybrid ICE, it must be clean. The public and the social environment across the world will not accept less than optimal exhaust solutions,” he said. He spoke of one hybrid vehicle range “literally running on thin air” of five litres of fuel per 100 kilometres travelled. “It's incredibly efficient, and I think the list price is somewhere around R420 000. It's a very, very cost-effective motor car, both from a capital point of view and on running costs. “On that basis, we do not believe that we're at peak PGM, as some people have portrayed. In our analysis, hybrids will do very well, and on that basis, PGMs are absolutely essential. We see strong demand into the future for the automotive metals – palladium, rhodium and platinum. “The hydrogen metals – platinum, ruthenium, iridium – the same, and you've seen our graphs on depletion. The body of work behind those graphs is extensive,” Dunne said (These are shown in the attached Creamer Media video.) Mining companies could only produce PGMs from the assets they had and those not reinvesting in mining would consume what they had rapidly in view of expected demand. Meanwhile, during the long period of underinvestment by PGMs mining companies, costs had escalated substantially. “When you don't do things for ten years, you forget what it costs, and then when you wake up one morning and decide to build something, the cost of it is going to hit you in the face. It inhibits the decision to do a new build because of what it now costs to replace some of these PGMs assets. “We have depleting mining assets. We have a lack of capital investment, a lack of build for at least a decade. The cost of that build today is difficult to swallow. In turn, that means that the existing asset b...
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South Africa's only rural community-owned mining company Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), which delivered record dividend-yielding earnings and production in 2021, is close to completing its renewable energy study on the building of an embedded 30 MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant. “It's almost complete.we're almost there, into renewable energy,” RBPlat CEO Steve Phiri said of the company's planned modular PV initiative, for which an application for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is being lodged. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.) On the time expected to be taken for the EIA approval, he said: “That's the only thing that could cause a delay because it's out of our own hands and in government hands. But given what President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared, we think that the red tape will be cut because it's so important for the national economy itself,” Phiri added during a Teams interview with Mining Weekly. Identifying opportunities to diversify into green energy supply is one of the key operational objectives of the JSE-listed company. On the confidence in platinum group metals (PGMs) being generated by far-reaching international government strategy announcements on widespread uptake of green hydrogen, Phiri said: “The world is changing. This is a hydrogen world, looking forward at it. The world is decarbonising. We're going to clean hydrogen and that clean hydrogen needs the PGMs. We're going to go into fuel cells, and they need PGMs, particularly platinum, so there's a bright future for platinum. “I've got absolute confidence in platinum's bright future, and if you listen to my peers, they're all singing the same song, because the world is moving in that direction. “You hear government declaring hydrogen policy and Europe, with the European Union, declaring hydrogen policy. The president of the US is driving it. China is developing fuel cell vehicles quite exponentially. The world is moving in that direction,” he added. Questioned on his view of the best outcome for all stakeholders of the interest of Implats and Northam Platinum in acquiring RBPlat, he said: “It's quite a difficult one to answer because we have taken a conscious decision, and correctly so, that we do not want to be seen as taking one side or the other. We don't want to be partial.” The company would be looking at the best interests of the shareholders and the stakeholders. “We've got two options, one Implats, the other is Northam, with different characteristics and delivering different synergies, with the Northam transaction being the combination of two good management teams and two good assets, and therefore bulking up the cash flows and their return to shareholders quite quickly and easily. They are distant from the area and therefore it lacks those operational synergies when compared with Implats, which is contiguous with RBPlat and the question of access from one mining area to the other and combining management teams becomes easy. This also extends the life of the lease area, and that will help to sustain jobs. “Both have strong cash flow potentials that will increase the dividend flow. So, it all depends on what you are looking at, but as the board, we're dictated to by what is on the table, as not only a credible, but also an executable, transaction. “But what is important to repeat is that we only have one offer on the table, which the shareholders are considering, and that offer is from Implats. We should not pretend that there are two competing bids on the table for the shareholders to consider, there's only one offer on the table and that's the Implats offer. When the other offer comes, depending again on how good it is for shareholders, we'll make that decision. WATERKLOOF HILLS ESTATE AND SCHOOL An impressive RBPlat legacy is the Waterkloof Hills Estate, where more than 5 000 people are living, and the primary and secondary schools, where 95% of the 750 pupils who have enrolled are RBPlat employees, who own homes in the esta...
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Curling is Cool Day. Inconvenience Yourself Day. National Rationalization Day. These are some of the themes supposedly associated with February 23, 2022, another day with a little more light than the one day before. I suppose it is inconvenient that it’s way too warm and there’s no local ice rink to go curling. Instead, dig in for another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a podcast and newsletter that seeks everyday to emulate the principles of World Understanding and Peace Day. On today’s program:Albemarle County Executive Jeffrey Richardson presents a fiscal year budget for FY23 that’s 20 percent higher than the current yearAmazon will build a 1 million square foot fulfillment center in Fishersville Governor Youngkin signs four more bills into lawCharlottesville’s Parking Advisory Panel further discusses civilian enforcement of parking First two shout-outs go to good cheer and local mediaLet’s begin today with two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, the Crozet Gazette, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!Amazon to open fulfillment center in FishersvilleGovernor Glenn Youngkin has announced that the internet distribution company Amazon plans to open a 1 million square fulfillment center in Fishersville, creating 500 jobs where workers will specialize in packing and shipping bulky and large-sized items. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership have been working to secure the project. “It has been a great pleasure to work with the Amazon team and Augusta County to secure this major expansion by one of the world’s largest corporations,” said Shenandoah Valley Partnership Executive Director Jay A. Langston, Ph.D. “We are excited about the expanded logistics infrastructure that will exist as a result of Amazon’s location.”Youngkin said the economy is a top priority for his administration. “Amazon’s new fulfillment center in Virginia is a testament to the Commonwealth’s exceptional infrastructure, competitive business costs, and long-term commitment that I’ve made to make sure we are developing talent and training workers to make Virginia the best state for business,” Youngkin said. Amazon has over 30,000 full-time and part-time employees in the Commonwealth of Virginia already and recently launched delivery stations in Louisa County and Waynesboro. They opened a robotic fulfillment center at Richmond Raceway in Henrico County and both a delivery center and a “cross-dock fulfillment center” in Stafford County last year. The announcement is a sign that economic development is bipartisan. Last year, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership worked with the Northam administration and the VEDP to locate: An Italian cured meats producer to Rockingham CountyThe expansion of Virginia Industrial Plastics in RockinghamA distribution center for the restaurant chain CAVA in the Mill Place Commerce Park in AugustaA factory in Rockbridge County for Modine Manufacturing Company, a company that makes cooling systems for data centersExpansion of textile-based engineering firm Ryzing TechnologiesLearn more about the announcement on Virginia Business.Youngkin signs four billsThis morning, Governor Youngkin signed four more bills that have passed both houses of the General Assembly. HB55 will require the State Registrar of Vital Records to provide a weekly update of recently deceased people to the Department of Elections “to promptly cancel the registration of a person on the list.” HB195 would allow a locality’s registrar to waive requirements for location of polling places if a suitable building cannot be found within legal parameters.HB386 adds the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge to a list of those where D.C. and Maryland have jurisdiction to clear disable vehicles. HB971 would grant additional tax relief to Virginia businesses “Through this bill, Virginia expanded and made retroactive tax benefits related to Paycheck Protection Program loans and Rebuild Virginia grants to ensure COVID-19 aid granted to businesses would not be treated as taxable income,” reads a press release. “Altogether, this bill will save Virginia individual and business taxpayers $201 million in taxes.”Charlottesville Parking Advisory Panel discusses civilian enforcement of parkingCharlottesville in November 2020 was in a different place, with interim City Manager John Blair at the helm. At that time, the city’s Parking Advisory Panel endorsed a proposal to ask the City Council to transition enforcement of on-street parking limits from the police department to a civilian contractor. (Parking panel supports non-police enforcement, November 18, 2020)Since then, Blair left the city. Chip Boyles was hired and resigned within nine months, shortly after he terminated former Police Chief RaShall Brackney. Charlottesville’s Parking Director Rick Siebert told the panel earlier this month that neither the policy or parking enforcement appears to be a priority at this time. “I’m aware the police have a lot of challenges right now but parking seems to have fallen pretty far down the list,” Siebert said. Now the interim City Manager is Michael C. Jones, and his primary focus is getting together Charlottesville’s budget for next fiscal year. “He has not been briefed on this issue at all,” said Chris Engel, the city’s economic development director.The panel discussed whether they should bring the matter up during the city’s budget development process. Siebert said there would be be no additional revenue, but panel chair Joan Fenton said switching to a civilian firm could free up resources in a department that is understaffed. “And it would free up the [Community Service Officer] or somebody else to do other duties which they are short-handed for so perhaps it does make sense to present it as part of the budgeting,” Fenton said.Engel said it was more of a policy issue than a budget one and suggested this was not the right time to approach Jones or Council. “It might be the type of thing that a citizen could submit as an idea though rather than coming officially from one of you all,” said panel member Kirby Hutto. The panel then suggested resending its previous letter. Siebert urged them to be realistic until after the city’s FY23 budget is adopted later this spring.“We only have an acting chief of police and this kind of policy issue is just not on anyone’s radar right now compared to trying to hash out what the city is going to do about its budget,” Siebert said. Siebert suggested trying again in May. The panel agreed to wait. Third shout-out goes to Camp AlbemarleToday’s first 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 http://campalbemarleva.org/donate. Richardson presents $565M “Transform Albemarle” to SupervisorsA strong projection of revenues in Albemarle has led County Executive Jeffrey Richardon to present the Board of Supervisors with a budget for fiscal year 2023 that is twenty percent higher than the existing year. (download the budget)“This fiscal year’s recommended budget is built to transform Albemarle,” Richardson said. The property tax rate will remain at 85.4 cents per $100 assessed value. Property assessments in Albemarle are up an average of 8.4 percent in 2022. Sales tax, food and beverage tax, and transient occupancy taxes are up 17.1 percent from FY21.However, Richardson said not all signs are positive. “We are mindful that those indicators don’t highlight some of the challenges in the local economy,” Richardson said. “The prices that consumers are paying have risen, they’ve risen by 7.5 percent when comparing January 2022 to January 2021. Gas prices are up nearly 40 percent from where they were a year ago. Participants in the SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program remain higher than in pre pandemic 2019.” Richardson said he has had direction from Supervisors to reduce the amount of the county’s budget that is based on the property tax. In fiscal year 2007, sixty percent of Albemarle’s revenue came from that source, but that has increased to 68.5 percent in the current year’s budget.The budget is built on an increase in the food and beverage tax from two percent to six percent, and an increase in the transient lodging tax from three percent to eight percent. That would match the same rates in Charlottesville. “Thousands of people visit our community for vacations, sporting events, weddings, and to visit our natural and historic resources,” Richardson said. “We are also a regional hub for commercial activity. Increasing our taxes in these two areas means we can begin to shift revenues away from the people who live here and spread it out more broadly to those who are visiting our community.”The budget also anticipates lowering the personal property tax rate by 86 cents due to a sharp increase in the valuation of used vehicles.“We’ve been given the authority for a local cigarette tax which went into effect in January,” Richardson said. “A plastic bag tax which we will be exploring in the coming months. Richardson highlighted several areas of new spending in the budget. A Community Response Team will be created to respond to “individuals in crisis with a cross-functional team” consisting of social workers, police, and firefighters. The funding source is the cigarette tax authorized by the General Assembly in recent years. “Depending on the details of the call, this team will adapt their response to best meet the critical needs of the person, ensuring the safety of all parties involved,” Richardson said. “This program responds to a troubling growth in mental health call services that have unique needs.” The capital budget for fiscal year 2023 anticipates spending the highest one-year amount in county history. In fiscal year 2006, the figure was $23 million and the Albemarle population was around 91,400. Now the population is estimated at 114,424 and the recommended capital budget for next year represents a need to catch up.“For fiscal year ‘23 the recommended capital budget is approximately $93 million and I would like to note that in 2010 and in 2011 these years were impacted by the Great Recession and in 2021 by the pause in the capital program due to the pandemic,” Richardson said.A fire engine at Pantops Station 16 will be operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Seven days a week to further support the strength of the fire rescue system and to reduce reliance on Charlottesville Fire for calls east of the City,” Richardson said The capital budget also has funding to increase space to address increasing enrollments in Albemarle public schools.“The budget recommendations will over the next five years advance three new public school projects to address capacity needs within our school system,” Richardson said. “Two elementary schools. One in the northern feeder pattern and one from the south, and a second high school center.”Biscuit Run Park will be opened with five miles of trails and athletic fields.“This is a 1,200 acre natural park within the county’s development area and it will provide a park experience unlike any of our other parks, combining the natural features of our rural parks with athletic amenities that you’d expect in an urban park,” Richardson said. In recent years, Albemarle has been putting money into a line item to match other sources of funding. “This budget recommends continued investments in our transportation leveraging program which provides local funding to draw down state funding for road and bike and pedestrian improvements,” Richardson said. Some of the American Rescue Plan Act funding will be used to pay for the cost of some urban Albemarle properties to be connected to the sewer system.“There is a connection cost that can be out of reach for many homeowners,” Richardson said. “The proposed program will provide fiscal support to low-income households in making that shift as the age of these homes and the infrastructure attached to them is reaching a tipping point where the failure of a septic system in the urban area presents a real environmental health hazard.” Other aspects of the budget: There’s a four percent market adjustment for staffThe county will pick up funding of the Yancey Community Center once a grant from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation expires. The county will fund a microtransit project on Pantops and the Places-29 areaWork to implement the Housing Albemarle plan will be paid for through a combination of the budget surplusThe public hearing on Richardson’s recommended budget will be held virtually on March 2. Work sessions will be held throughout that month before a public hearing on the tax rate on April 27 and the version of the budget marked up by Supervisors. Approval is set for May 9. Supervisors had a few comments in advance of the public hearing next week. Several expressed concern that action in this year’s General Assembly may affect the budget. It will be the first budget for new Supervisor Jim Andrews (Samuel Miller). “A lot of times I’ve always been advised that when you try to figure out what’s a priority in any organization it’s not to ask what they’re doing but what they’re not doing,” Andrews said. Supervisor Ann Mallek (White Hall) has been through over a dozen budget cycles so far, including during the Great Recession when the capital budget was slashed. “That reduction of $100 million in new projects three and four years in a row is why we have the backlog that we have,” Mallek said. “We are making a valiant effort at catch-up with available one-time money that is a once-in-a-lifetime generational thing to have at hand.”Supervisor Donna Price (Scottsville) praised staff for reducing the personal property tax.“We talk about using equity and inclusion in our decisions and your proposal here to reduce the personal property tax provides an across the county truly equitable calculation of relief for our community members,” Price said. “We do have so many people who are in tenancies and almost everyone has to rely on their vehicle for transportation because of the nature of our county being so rural in so many areas.” More to come in the very near future. 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 GOP-controlled House of Delegates has failed to confirm 11 Northam appointees to various state boards, including 3 members of the State Board of Education; A bill now on Governor Glenn Youngkin's desk would bring back a requirement for principals to report low-level offenses that happen on school property to law enforcement; Some lawmakers support rolling back overtime protections they initially voted for; and other local news stories.
EP 032 - Paul Goldman Lawsuit Update -- This episode of BURKEFILE features prominent Richmond, Va., attorney Paul Goldman giving an update on the status of his lawsuit, Goldman v. Northam. Goldman's legal efforts could mean that the Virginia House of Delegates may run again for office THIS year (2022). The next court date is March 8, 2022. Goldman recently published a book on Virginia politics entitled Remaking Virginia Politics. Follow Lauren Burke on twitter @LVBurke. Contact: LBurke007[at]gmail.com. Sponsored by VirginiaNationTs.com
Highly selective, the Rural Clinical School of WA provides students of medicine at WA's universities the opportunity to spend a year training in regional WA to get a better understanding of rural life, with a mix of both theory and both practical training that allows them to integrate into the local community. Our 2022 students are Louise, Alex, Danai and George. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Freshstart is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Northam that has been running since 90's. Since then many lives have been transformed for the better. David and Tina Gunter manage the centre and dropped in for a chat. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
First episode of the year with just the boys! Nick, Ant and James talk about all the habbenings with Prince Andrew and him losing his Royal Title. The CDC is now saying all the things we have been saying for 2+ years. For those that are new here I'm not one to say atodaso but a fuckin todaso! Former Governor Robert "Blackface" Northam pardoned a convicted pedophile former Senator Joe Morrissey. We get into the jab narrative and so much more!! Our fren Green Beret Veteran Jeremy Brown was recently arrested in his home by the FBI for TRESPASSING!! They searched his home for 5 Hours and denied him bail. If you don't remember Jeremy Brown story the FBI approached him to be an informant and infiltrate groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys and Jermey blew the whistle on the whole thing. We had him on the show a few months back. Here is the link if you would like to hear more about his story: https://rumble.com/vfit5d-52-we-the-people-radio-w-green-beret-jeremy-brown-vs-the-fbi.html Jeremey is a true Patriot and does not deserve to be in jail facing any charges he was protesting peacefully and NEVER entered the Capital building. Jeremy Brown is a POLITICAL PRISONER!! Link to hear more about Jeremy's arrest https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/10/judge-denies-bail-retired-green-beret-jeremy-brown-arrest-misdemeanor-charge-standing-us-capitol-jan-6-refusing-fbi-informant/ If you would like to donate to Jeremy to help him with his and defense costs and fight back against this tyrannical government. Donate HERE: https://www.givesendgo.com/JeremyBrownDefense Help our Frens Robert and Joeylynn Mesaros Fight back against the Tyrannical government! https://givesendgo.com/mesaros Help We The People Get Better Support your favorite podcast: https://givesendgo.com/WPRUSA Patreon https://patron.podbean.com/WPRUSA MERCH IS LIVE!! GO TO WPRUSA.COM AND PICK UP YOURS TODAY https://wprusa.com/ Pick up the best topicals in the game sold nation wide Kush Creams! 21x Cannabis Cup Award Winning Visit their website today! https://kushcreams.com/ Put in WPRUSA for 15% off at check out If you love the outdoors more specifically cooking over an open fire pick up the best grill there is MMM-Grills! GO to https://mmm-usa.com/ Pick up yours TODAY!! Open Fire Grills Made and sourced here in AMERICA!! Put in CODE: WPRUSA (ALL CAPS) at check out for 10% off your oder https://mmm-usa.com/ New Rumble Channel https://rumble.com/c/c-648243 Weed The People YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo5pjjpKyL4qkjj4IaSZ5jw CHAT WITH US AND JOIN OUR TELEGRAM!!!!!! Telegam link: https://t.me/wprusa17 Follow us on GAB:@We_The_People_Radio GAB Link: https://gab.com/we_the_people_radio Visit our Sponsor for all your beauty product needs for men and women Support local! https://thewarehouse.salon/ Put in code WPRUSA for 10% off at check out Follow on IG & YouTube @TheWarehouse.salon Subscribe to our Rumble channel: We The People Radio https://rumble.com/c/c-648243 We are now on all major streaming platforms go subscribe and follow Apple Podcast Link (If you Like our content give us a 5 star rating) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/we-the-people-radio/id1536870009 Podbean Link https://wprusa.podbean.com/ LIKE SUBSCRIBE SHARE Really helps us spread the truth to as many as possible Sign up for our Email List while we build our website incase we get removed from social media to keep up with what is going on WWW.WPRUSA.COM Follow us on IG: @We.The.People.Radio Follow our back up account: @We.The.People.Radio.2.0 Follow 2nd Backup Account: @WPRUSA__ Follow us on Twitter @WPRUSA17
In Hour 3, Chris talks about liberals who are upset that new Virginia governor Northam is banning mandates, which really isn't a thing. Also Chris talks about the industry of race baiting and division. For more coverage on the issues that matter to you download the WMAL app, visit WMAL.com or tune in live on WMAL-FM 105.9 from 5:00am-9:00am Monday-Friday. To join the conversation, check us out on twitter @WMAL and @ChrisPlanteShow See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
EP 030 - Paul Goldman -- BURKEFILE episode 30 features an update on attorney Paul Goldman's lawsuit, Goldman v. Northam, that could mean House of Delegates members running three years in a row. Goldman recently published a book on Virginia politics entitled Remaking Virginia Politics. Follow Lauren Burke on twitter @LVBurke. Contact: LBurke007[at]gmail.com. Sponsored by VirginiaNationTs.com
It’s the end of the second week of 2022, and over 324 hours have happened so far. Not everyone has experienced the exact same situations so far, but it’s perhaps quite certain that the year to date has not been quite what people expected. What do people expect? I have no specific knowledge, but listeners and readers of Charlottesville Community Engagement have come to expect a lot of information stitched together in a reasonable manner. On today’s program: The U.S. Supreme Court says a plan to require American businesses require a vaccine mandate is not ConstitutionalGovernor Northam makes a lot of announcements in his final hours in officeGeneral Assembly committees continue to interview Governor Glenn Youngkin’s top appointmentsFirst shout-outIn today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that jazz, and while this might not be the time to go out and listen people who love to play it’s a great time to learn about musicians in our area. The Charlottesville Jazz Society web site is dedicated to enriching your experience of jazz within the Charlottesville community and beyond. Go visit cvillejazz.org. And if you’d like to get a mention in this space, consider a $25 a month Patreon contribution. U.S. Supreme Court denies federal vaccine mandateThe U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a bid by the Biden administration to require most businesses to mandate vaccines by using the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The 6-3 ruling states that OSHA does not have enforcement authority. (read the ruling and dissent)“Although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measures to what OSHA has promulgated here,” reads the ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Osha.The ruling called the mandate “a significant encroachment” and that OSHA only has the power to set workplace safety standards but not to issue “broad public health measures.” To the majority of Justices, COVID-19 is not an occupational hazard but instead can spread wherever people gather.“That kind of universal risk is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases,” the ruling continues. The case was consolidated with another in which 27 states sought a stay. There are currently 27 Republican governors. The six Justices on the majority were all appointed by Republican presidents. The three dissenting Justices were appointed by Democratic presidents who argue in their dissent that the majority “seriously misapplies the applicable legal standards.”However, in another case, the Supreme Court ruled on a 5-4 vote that the Secretary of Health and Human Services does have the authority to require that health care and assisted living facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid can impose a COVID vaccine mandate. (read that ruling)Today’s pandemic numbersToday, the Virginia Department of Health reports another 17,219 cases and the percent positivity remains at 35.8 percent, among the highest levels of the pandemic. There are 3,845 people in Virginia hospitals with COVID, 656 of whom are in intensive care units and 360 are on ventilators. Dr. Costi Sifri is director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System, where there continue to be COVID patients. “We are seeing that about 75 percent of those individuals are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Sifri. “The remaining 25 percent typically are immunosuppressed or have preexisting conditions that put them at high risk for COVID, things like heart failure, heart disease, advanced diabetes, and other medical problems like that. And often while those people have been vaccinated, they’re often not boosted.” In the Blue Ridge Health District there are another 470 new cases today and the percent positivity is at 29 percent. These are among the highest numbers of the pandemic so far, and the sustained effort can be a struggle for health care workers. Wendy Horton is the chief executive officer of UVA Health.“We are two years in and people are exhausted and I think from time to time we saw glimmers of hope that we may be seeing the end of the tunnel and it’s more intense at least for those of us in Charlottesville than it has ever been,” Horton said. “People are tired. They’re really trying the best to serve our patients and our community and at the same time personally impacted this time around.” This morning, the Bodo’s trio of bagel shops announced they will now offer food on a take-out only basis. Northam touts final achievements, including awards to local housing nonprofitsAs the hours of his government tick away, Governor Ralph Northam continues to make announcements including the award of $8.2 million dollars in projects to reduce homelessness. Northam directed the funding to come from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund to go toward about 100 projects across the Commonwealth. They include $220,387 to the Valley Community Services Board for a project called Rapid Re-Housing Youth and $150,000 for Miriam’s House Community First program in the Bedford area. Read the rest in the full press release.In all, Northam has issued over a dozen announcements of activities in his final week including a wind energy partnership with Denmark, land acquisition for the Chickahominy Tribe, $267 million investment in a paperboard recycling plant in Chesapeake, and $60 million in affordable and special needs housing loans.On that latter matter, Piedmont Housing Alliance will receive $3.4 million for 70 units at Southwood Apartments. Virginia Supportive Housing received $2.5 million for 80 units at the Premier Circle project and $2.4 million for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the second phase of the South Street redevelopment. Over in Waynesboro, the South River Development Corporation got $2 million for the redevelopment of the Brandon Hotel for senior units. (read the release)Northam also announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia has signed an agreement with Norfolk Southern to expand passenger service to Christiansburg as part of the Western Rail Initiative. Earlier this week the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority approved the deal which will see the state purchasing 28 miles of right of way between Salem and Christiansburg. The announcement also states that a second train will be added to the Northeast Regional service between Roanoke and Boston sometime later this year. No specific date is mentioned. Second shout-outToday’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 http://campalbemarleva.org/donate. Legislative update: Kay Coles James asked about rights’ restoration We’re on Day 3 of the General Assembly, and as the morning began, not one of the 1,919 bills has been rejected. That’s mostly because committees are just meeting, organizing, and interviewing members of the Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s cabinet. That included Fauquier County Sheriff Bob Mosier, who was interviewed by the House Public Safety Committee this morning. That included this question from Delegate Angelia Williams Graves (D-90)Graves:“What is your position with regards to bias training? Is it something that you support or is it something that you don’t feel is necessary?”Mosier:“Oh no, we have it. It’s part of our program. Remember I talked about accreditation a few moments ago? That’s part of it. These are all things that are doable if we can pull the resources together to properly train people, right, for accreditation, and salaries, and all of different things things, then we can get a better law enforcement officer across the board. That’s absolutely part of the program.” You can watch the full meeting at this link.Later in the morning, the House Privileges and Elections Committee interviewed Kay Cole James, Youngkin’s nominee for Secretary of the Commonwealth. That person has many tasks including finding people to be appointed to the hundreds and hundreds of slots for Boards, Commissions, and Councils. The position also oversees clemency petitions and the restoration of civil rights. “When I look at that office, the first thing I think about is that the Secretary of the Commonwealth with its constituent services is the portal for many Virginians to bring before the Governor their concerns, their complaints, their anxieties, or something they want to just have an audience or to hear,” James said. James has served as the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in the first term of President George W. Bush, an experience she cited in her testimony to the House Privileges and Elections Committee. James said she looked forward to other duties that come with the office.“Very often what gets overlooked and is an important part of this particular job as well is looking at restoration of rights and pardons and I want you to know that both on a very personal level and a professional level that is very important to me,” James said.Many of the questions from Delegates followed up on that point. In response to one, James said the key is to find employers who are willing to hire those reentering society. Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-72) asked James how the new administration would change the past eight years of policy. “We’ve had two Governors in a row who have really kind of accelerated rights restoration and done more than previous Governors and I wonder if the plan of this administration is to continue on that path?” VanValkenburg asked. “I want to make it clear its not about numbers, it’s about people,” James said. “And every single request that comes into that office will be given great consideration.”VanValkenburg asked James for her position on bills calling for a Constitutional Amendment to allow restoration of rights to be automatic. In the House of Delegares, there are both HJ9 and HJ28, each filed by a member of a different party. “I don’t want to opine on the legislation,” James said. “I have not seen it. I don’t know what it is. I will operate well within the confines of the law of whatever it is that you in the General Assembly along with the Governor decide,” James said. And at the end of this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, there are 1,925 bills pending and none of them have yet failed. Bound to happen, very soon. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with 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
Hundreds of millimetres of rain has fallen in the east Kimberley overnight, thanks to ex-tropical cyclone Tiffany. Kununurra farmer Fritz Bolten received 55 millimetres of rain and couldn't be happier. Worksafe is investigating the death of a shearer yesterday at Katrine near Northam in Western Australia's Wheatbelt. The man was reported to have been putting wool into a wool press when he became caught in the equipment.
In the third hour of the morning show, Larry O'Connor and Amber Athey talked to Fairfax mom Asra Nomani about her organization getting emails via FOIA that show Education Secretary Cardona solicited NSBA letter that compared parents to domestic terrorists, They also shared the highlights of President Biden's Georgia speech and talked about Gov. Northam now 99% sure he knows the identity of the man in blackface and about the feud between Dr. Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul. For more coverage on the issues that matter to you, visit www.WMAL.com, download the WMAL app or tune in live on WMAL-FM 105.9 FM from 5-9 AM ET. To join the conversation, check us out on Twitter: @WMALDC, @LarryOConnor and @Amber_athey. Show website: https://www.wmal.com/oconnor-company/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Will today be an unlucky day? After all, the calendar for today does contain a 13. Would it were we could design our time without so many potential pitfalls! Still, unlike a building, Charlottesville Community Engagement cannot skip ahead to 14 because otherwise we’d fall far behind. I’m the host, Sean Tubbs, and let’s wish fortune has a wide enough brush to cover us all. On today’s program:Governor Northam says goodbye, while incoming Speaker of the House Gilbert says helloAlbemarle County is not planning on in-person meetings for now with the omicron COVID wave still ragingAnother winter storm approaches, and Charlottesville is still adjusting to missed solid waste pick-ups from the last oneAttorney General Herring said the incoming governor can’t pull Virginia out of an interstate carbon cap-and-trade marketTwo Patreon-fueled shout-outsLet’s begin today with two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!Winter storm approaching?Another winter storm is in the forecast with a lot of speculation. According to Weather Underground, Charlottesville could get as much as eight inches on Sunday, though we’ll have more information as that time approaches. On Wednesday, Albemarle Supervisor Ann Mallek had this advice.“Nobody knows what the winter storm Sunday is going to be but I encourage everyone to take a couple of days of sunshine to pre-clean your sidewalks and get your supplies in so we can be ready for whatever comes our way,” Mallek said.The aftermath of the January 3 storm is still being worked through. This morning, the City of Charlottesville announced that normal trash pickup has resumed, but recycling service that was missed due to the storm won’t be made up with an additional run. Trash is collected weekly in Charlottesville but recycling is every other week. “Due to resource capacity issues, our service contractor for Trash/Recycling will be unable to provide make-up recycling collection for those impacted by the suspension in service that occurred the week of January 3rd,” reads a release. “Impacted residents will receive recycling collection on their next scheduled service date.” Residents are encouraged to take their recyclable materials to the McIntire Recycling Center, on McIntire Road, which is operated by the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority. In addition, the city will pick-up debris from the January 3 storm the week of January 24. “Any adjustments to this schedule that may result from volume or operational delays will be provided to the public in as timely a manner as possible,” reads the city’s website on solid waste management. “We also encourage City residents to take advantage of the free storm debris disposal waiver being operated until January 24th at the Ivy Material Utilization Center, located at 4576 Dick Woods Road.”The Ivy MUC is also operated by the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority. Albemarle and Charlottesville are covering the fees to drop off that debris. Pandemic records continue to be brokenThe highest COVID surge in pandemic continues in Virginia with an average of 18,782 new cases a day. The seven-day percent positivity is at 35.6 percent today statewide. Today’s snapshot from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, there are 3,894 people hospitalized with COVID, with 646 of them in intensive care units. There are 349 people on ventilators. Those last two numbers are new records. On Wednesday, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors had a work session on what county staff are calling the “Reconstitution” of Albemarle government, which is a way of saying a return to in-person public hearings. Trevor Henry is the assistant county executive. “When we first set this agenda it was prior to the Omicron variant, prior to that wave hitting the region the way it has,” Henry said. This week has seen the highest numbers to date in the Blue Ridge Health District, which includes Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties. Today there are 480 cases reported. There have been five deaths reported since the beginning of the year, though that figure often lags behind as death certificates are tallied. “At this point, we will not be recommending a date certain on returning to in-person public meetings,” Henry said.Henry and other staff sought direction about how to proceed with a future where those meetings are open. The county has made investments in some rooms in order to allow remote participation by members of the public in a hybrid manner. Both Albemarle County and Charlottesville remain under a local declaration of emergency which allows for remote meetings. County Attorney Greg Kamptner explained how that would end. “The state code and the state emergency law provides when the Board [of Supervisors] in its discretion determines that there are no further emergency services to be provided,” Kamptner said. Kamptner said the county has come close to that at certain points during the pandemic, but various surges have complicated the matter. Herring: Youngkin alone can’t remove Virginia from carbon cap-and-trade marketUntil Saturday, Mark Herring is Virginia’s chief counsel. On Tuesday, the outgoing Attorney General issued an opinion stating that Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin cannot through executive order or other executive action remove the Commonwealth of Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Virginia joined the mid-Atlantic interstate compact following an act of the General Assembly in 2020. “The [Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparation] Act directs the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to amend its regulations that established a carbon dioxide cap and trade program,” Herring wrote in the opinion. “The Constitution of Virginia does not grant the Governor the power to suspend laws.”The opinion did not come out of the blue. Herring’s advice was sought by Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46) and Delegate Rip Sullivan (D-48).On Friday, the State Corporation Commission issued a ruling granting approval of a plan from Dominion Energy to upgrade their portion of the electric grid. Dominion’s Phase II seeks to integrate more “distributed energy resources” into the power network. Their plan cites the Clean Economy act as a justification for moving to more solar, wind, and other renewable sources. “There is no doubt that significant volumes of [distributed energy resources] are coming to Virginia,” reads the plan. “The distribution grid must be ready.” The State Corporation Commission had public hearings on the plan last October, which calls for $193.8 million to install net metering infrastructure, $203.9 million on a customer information platform, and other areas to upgrade the grid. The SCC approval notes the importance of educating the public on what’s going to happen. “Customer education will ensure that the full benefits of other [grid transformation] projects are realized by educating customers on the opportunities that such projects provide,” reads page 13 the ruling. Today’s third subscriber supported shout-outMonday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society invites you to hear from their newest board member at a meeting beginning at 7 p.m. Gayle Jessup White is the first Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer for Monticello and the first descendant of Thomas Jefferson and the enslaved community to work for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Gayle Jessup White will talk about her book Reclamation: Sally Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant’s Search for her Family’s Lasting Legacy. That’s 7 p.m. on Monday and you can register for the Zoom call or watch on Facebook Live. Sign up now at albemarlehistory.org. Legislative update On the first day of the General Assembly, the 2022 session in the House of Delegates is coming into shape. Delegate Rob Bell (R-58) will chair the Courts of Justice committee and will serve on the Health, Welfare and Institutions committee and the Rules Committee. Delegate Sally Hudson (D-57) will serve on the Finance Committee and Health, Welfare, and Institutions. Delegate Chris Runion (R-25) will also serve on the Finance Committee, the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee, the General Laws Committee, and the Transportation Committee.Several House committees met this morning but there are not yet bills on their agendas. Instead, members of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s cabinet were interviewed by various committees. Over in the Senate, the Committee on Education and Health met. Remember, the Senate is still controlled by the Democratic Party with a two-seat majority, meaning Democrats hold the gavel on committees. Outgoing Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax presides over the Senate until incoming Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears is sworn in. The Senate Education and Health committee did take up legislation and began winnowing out some of the bills, or at least hitting pause on some of them. For instance, the Education and Health heard a bill from Senator Mark Peake to require the Virginia Department of Health to create a program to mitigate algae blooms. Peake said he would edit the bill to make change that requirement to go to the Department of Environmental Quality instead. (SB171)When I published the January 12 edition of this newsletter, I had initially stated there were around 850 bills submitted. As I write these words, there are 1,634 bills. Four measures passed the House on the first day, including a commendation for former Speaker of the House Kirk Cox. Oh. Now we’re up to 1,677. The trickle is now a flood. Virginia finances up in December The Commonwealth of Virginia has reported that state revenues were up 19.2 percent in December over the previous year. According to a press release from Governor Ralph Northam’s office, that’s the fifth straight month of double-digit increases. Northam leaves office on Saturday when Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is sworn in. “We have governed with fiscal responsibility and compassion for all Virginians—and with five straight months of double-digit revenue growth, record job creation and historic investments in Virginia families, the results speak for themselves,” Northam said.In his farewell address to the General Assembly last night, the outgoing Governor thanked his cabinet for their service and and honored Supreme Court Justices Donald Lemons and William Mims on their retirement. He also saluted the tradition of gubernatorial addresses at the General Assembly. “This is a time when elected leaders from different branches of government, different political parties, and different parts of the state come together to talk about the Commonwealth that we all share,” Northam said. Governor-elect Youngkin will address the General Assembly on Monday night. “By then he will be your Governor and I wish him the best and I am confident that he will be lead this Commonwealth well,” Northam said. Northam reviewed his four years in office and said he has tried to govern in order to help people across Virginia. “Virginians choose leaders who will make our Commonwealth better for them and their families, no matter who they are or where they live,” Northam said. “I can confidently say that we have done that. We are leaving this Commonwealth better than it was when we came into office. We have built a state that does a better job of treating people right. It’s more welcoming. It’s more open. It is more fair. And it is more equitable.”After the speech, Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert sent out a tweet that did not share the same spirit of bipartisanship. However, seven hours earlier, Gilbert did sound bipartisan after the House of Delegates unanimously elected him as speaker. That’s a tradition in Virginia politics. “Thank you for the trust that all of you have placed in me willingly,” Gilbert said. “Some unwillingly, admittedly, but thank you nonetheless. I do not take this responsibility lightly and I pledge to you that I will give the utmost to be a Speaker for all of Virginia.”And as we end this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, none of the 1,693 bills filed so far have failed. Give it time. 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 Virginia General Assembly kicked off its work yesterday; Governor Ralph Northam gave his final speech before lawmakers and Virginians; Democrat Jackie Glass won the special election for Norfolk's 89th House District seat; and other local news stories.
After a brief discussion about outgoing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam commenting on his blackface yearbook photo, Jim & Greg welcome polls showing just 40 percent of Michigan voters are ready to re-elect Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. They also grimace as year-on-year inflation is the worst in almost 40 years. And they hammer President Biden for saying […]
After a brief discussion about outgoing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam commenting on his blackface yearbook photo, Jim & Greg welcome polls showing just 40 percent of Michigan voters are ready to re-elect Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. They also grimace as year-on-year inflation is the worst in almost 40 years. And they hammer President Biden for saying anyone not supporting the Dems' plan on elections reform is the equivalent of George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis.Please visit our great sponsors:Nutrafolhttps://nutrafol.comUse promo code MARTINI to save $15 on your first month's subscription. Shipping is free on every orderMy Pillow https://www.mypillow.comNo supply chain issues with My Pillow! Shop now with confidence. Use code MARTINI at check out.
Governor Ralph Northam declared a limited state of emergency in his final COVID-19 response update yesterday; Orlando Carter pleaded guilty to two charges last week, bu his family says they are still seeking justice for his assault; Officials with Virginia's court system asked a federal judge in Richmond to dismiss a lawsuit over the state's limited public access to court records; and other local news stories.
If a year was something that buffered, we’d now be approaching 2.8 percent. It will take some time to see how this particular calendar will resolve, but the past week certainly provides some evidence of turbulence. Still, there’s a long way to go and Charlottesville Community Engagement seeks to provide one channel of information to steady your way. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. In this installment:Deputy City Manager Sanders briefs City Council on efforts to make 5th Street Extended safer and Council holds first reading on two affordable housing projects on Park Street Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin fills out his cabinet with picks for Labor, Health and Human Resources, and Transportation More legislation is filed in the Virginia General Assembly that shows the signs of a Republican majority in one of the houses A third round of RGGI-funded grant money for flood mitigation has opened Today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement For sixty years Camp Albemarle, which has 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 ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting http://campalbemarleva.org/donate. The pandemic continuesVirginia continues to be in a plateau of a high number of COVID cases and hospitalizations. Today the Virginia Department of Health reports a seven-day percent positivity of 35.6 percent with another 15,643 cases. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reports a new record of COVID hospitalizations today with 3,681. Of those, 567 are in intensive care units and 314 are on ventilators. To address the issue, outgoing Governor Ralph Northam has issued a 30-day order to increase the number of hospital beds. “This increase in people hospitalized due to COVID-19—the overwhelmingmajority of whom are unvaccinated—is placing stress on Virginia’s general hospitals and nursing facilities and creating a sudden yet temporary need to increase bed capacity in these facilities,” reads the order’s introduction.Among other things, Executive Order 84 authorizes some state officials to move more quickly with procurement efforts, and allows the State Health Commissioner to temporarily increase the number of hospital bed authorized to operate in the Commonwealth. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 202 new cases today and the percent positivity has increased to 28.3 percent. District officials will hold a town hall meeting tonight beginning at 7 p.m. The item was rescheduled from last week due to the winter storm. (meeting info)Albemarle and Charlottesville to sponsor vegetation drop-off at Ivy MUCIf you’ve got a lot of damaged tree limbs and other vegetation and have a way to get it to the Ivy Materials Utilization Center, there will be no fees to drop it off through January 17. Albemarle and Charlottesville have both agreed to pay the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority to waive the fees. The Ivy center is located at 4576 Dick Woods Road and the material can be dropped off during regular hours.“Vegetative debris collected will be ground into mulch and available for purchase at Ivy MUC,” reads a release on the RSWA website. “Residents must show proof of residency and state that the debris is storm-related.” Last week, Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders told Council the city cannot yet offer curbside pick-up due to staffing shortages that have been worsened due to the pandemic. On Facebook today, the Department of Public Works stated they are “in the process of preparing for a special City-wide debris pickup service, to assist with clean-up efforts from the recent weather event. Timing and scheduling information are still being finalized, and those details will follow soon.”Youngkin fills Transportation, Labor, Health and Human Services postsIn five days, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will be sworn in, and he’s now filled a good portion of his cabinet.This morning, Youngkin announced that his Secretary of Health and Human Resources will be John Littel, who has recently been the president of Magellan Health. Magellan was just purchased by another company last week for $2.2 billion. Littel has previously served as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources in Virginia and as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy. Youngkin said Littel would “be an asset as we fix our broken mental and behavioral health system, ensure Virginians have access to affordable, free-market healthcare options, and reform our healthcare safety net to save taxpayer dollars and improve healthcare outcomes.” No word yet on a replacement for Norm Oliver as Virginia’s Commissioner of Health. Kay Cole James has been selected as the Secretary of the Commonwealth. James has most recently served as the President of the Heritage Foundation and has a long history of working in Republican administration in both Richmond and Washington, D.C. According to the release, James served as Virginia’s Secretary of Health under Governor George Allen and “developed Virginia’s landmark welfare reform.” James has served as co-chair of Youngkin’s transition team. A long-term member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board will serve as Youngkin’s Transportation Secretary. W. Sheppard Miller served on the board from 2011 to 2014 and joined it again in 2018 when appointed by Governor Ralph Northam. Speaking of the CTB, it next meets tomorrow and Wednesday. Youngkin has selected George “Bryan” Slater as Secretary of Labor. Slater has previously served in Republican administrations in Richmond and D.C. including Secretary of Administration under Governor Jim Gilmore. He served as Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management at the U.S. Department of Labor in the Trump administration. Margaret “Lyn” McDermid will serve as the next Secretary of Administration, which includes the Departments of General Service, Human Resource Management, and Elections, as well as the Virginia Information Technologies Agency and the Compensation Board, McDermid worked as Chief Information Officer for the Federal Reserve Information Technology from 2013 to 2020. Congressman Donald McEachin has sent a letter to Virginia Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw urging the General Assembly to block the nomination of Andrew Wheeler as Secretary of Natural Resources. McEachin cited several times state legislators have blocked judicial appointments and board nominations. In 2006, the Republican-led Senate rejected Governor Kaine’s choice for Secretary of the Commonwealth. (read the letter)Two days left until the General Assembly The opening of the 2022 Virginia General Assembly is in two days and there aren’t too many days I’ll be able to write out interesting bills, but I will be switching over to reporting on what happens with some of them. Hundreds of bills will be filed, and many will be dismissed in committee. The pace has seriously picked up, so this is a much shorter list. Republicans continue to file bills to undo changes the Democratic majority made to various bills, particularly in the area of criminal justice. For instance, Delegate John Mcguire (R-56) filed a bill to lower the threshold for felony larceny back to $500, down from the increase to $1,000 made within the year. (HB107)McGuire also has a bill that would prevent localities from creating a Police Civilian Review Board. (HB110)Delegate Marie March (R-7) has a bill requiring school buses to have decals that say “In God We Trust” and “One Nation Under God.” (HB113)March has another bill that would prevent governments from doing any activity that a private business could provide. (HB119)Delegate Nick Frietas (R-30) has a bill that would remove powers of the State Air Pollution Control Board and the State Corporation Commission to regulate carbon emissions in order to meet previously stated greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. (HB118)Delegate Scott Wyatt (R-97) would limit absentee voting to 10 days before an election, would require an absentee ballot to have the last four numbers of a voter’s social security number, and would add other restrictions. (HB121)Delegate Chris Runion (R-25) has a similar bill to Wyatt’s that would require witnesses to absentee ballot certification to also provide a signature, name, address, date of birth, and the last four digits of their social security number. (HB149)Wyatt has a bill similar to others that would repeal provisions that prevent law enforcement from pulling motorists over for certain infractions, ending another Democratic initiative. (HB122)Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) has a bill that would allow ranked choice voting in party primaries, including the Presidential election. (HB129)Delegate Mike Cherry (R-66) has a bill to repeal the prohibition of having firearms on school property. (HB133)Third round opens for RGGI funded flood programGovernor-elect Glenn Youngkin has pledged to withdraw Virginia from an interstate cap-and-trade program known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) through an executive order. Whether or not he’s successful, Virginia so far has received $227.6 million from the program, and just under half of it is intended to help localities pay for projects to mitigate the threat of additional flooding. The third round for applications has opened for the Community Flood Preparedness Fund.“During the next 90 days, communities across Virginia will be able to apply for $40 million in grants to address the effects of recurrent flooding, sea level rise and extreme weather,” reads a press release for the application. This will be the first round since completion of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan in December. Charlottesville has had two projects funded so far, and Scottsville has had one. Visit the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s website to learn more. Second subscriber-supported shout-outCode for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects such as an expungement project with the Legal Aid Justice Center, a map of Charlottesville streetlights, and the Charlottesville Housing Hub. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects.Fifth Street Extended safety discussion The first meeting of the Charlottesville City Council is in the books. At the top of the meeting, Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders explained what the city is going to address safety concerns on Fifth Street Extended. According to crash data from the Virginia Department of Transportation, there were three fatalities in 2020 on the divided highway. Police have confirmed there was another on the night of New Years Day. “We very much remain concerned about the serious safety concern along that corridor,” Sanders said. “Our traffic engineer has been working to effect improvements with a few updates. We are pursuing a speed limit reduction. We have been working on that and you will have that matter before you at your next meeting.” Sanders said flashing “signal ahead” signs are on back order and have been delayed due to supply chain issues. He said some intersection warning signs had been installed. “We feel as though they weren’t big enough so we are in the process of expediting their swap-out,” Sanders said. Sanders said the long-term strategy will be to break down the roadway’s current character. “An example of that would be the installation of a roundabout midway on the corridor but that too is going to be very difficult for us to figure out but we’re committed to doing that and we want you to know we’re not moving away from this as a high-priority,” Sanders said. Charlottesville has been awarded several projects through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s SmartScale program in the immediate area. They are:$6.1 million for improvements on 5th Street SW to “reduce congestion, improve safety, and accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit at the intersection of Ridge Street, Cherry Avenue, Elliot Aveune (sic).” (details)$8.78 million for improvements to Ridge Street to “design and construct multi-modal improvements along the Ridge Street Corridor. Sidewalk and Curb Ramp upgrades; signal improvements at Monticello; Curb extensions on Ridge St. at Dice St. and Oak St..including bicycle lanes.” (details)There’s also West Main Street Phase 1 and Phase 2, two related projects that Council has indicated they will no longer support with local taxpayer dollars. Council holds first reading on Piedmont Housing projects on Park StreetIn their first land use items of the year, and the first rezonings since the Comprehensive Plan was updated in November, Council appeared to approve two projects on Park Street submitted by the Piedmont Housing Alliance. Let’s hear City Planner Dannan O’Connell describe the one at Park Street Christian Church.“The proposed PUD development plan calls for 50 multifamily units and about 54 parking spaces to be constructed at the rear of the existing church site,” O’Connell said. And here is with the project at the Monticello Area Community Action Agency, two blocks to the south. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville is also participating in that project. “The proposed PUD development plan calls for preservation of the two existing single-family homes, 28 new townhome or duplex units, 65 multifamily units in two buildings, and a maximum of 7,500 square feet of commercial child care space.” Because the public hearings for the items were held in mid-December, anyone who wanted to speak to the matter had to do so at the beginning of the meeting. Brian Day represented the congregation at Park Street Christian Church. “The project for affordable senior housing has had tremendous support from IMPACT Charlottesville and the enthusiastic and unanimous support approval from the Planning Commission as well,” Day said. “To be a vibrant city we need affordable housing and we are ready to help you make this possible. Kimber Hawkey, a Belmont resident, asked Council to delay a vote on the MACAA project. “I’m just asking that the Council take a step back and wait to do any kind of approval on this until there’s more study on traffic impact as well as the affordability,” Hawkey said. “It looks like a promising project but given the traffic and public safety indication, it seems inappropriate in size for the location.”Traffic improvements at the Park Street Christian Church project include improvements granting an easement to the city to allow for brush to be cleared to increase sight distance at the intersection of Park Street and Cutler Lane, as well as a crosswalk across Park Street at Cutler Lane. The affordability level at Park Street Christian Church will depend on a number of factors, including how successful Piedmont Housing Alliance will be in getting low income housing tax credits in the next cycle.“We don’t have specificity in there around the exact depth of affordability in part because you can only finalize that when you have finalized all of the costs and all of the subsidies so you know how deeply affordable you can go,” said Sunshine Mathon, the executive director of Piedmont Housing Alliance.Mathon said the target will be that five units will be households less than 30 percent of the area median income, and the majority will ideally be less than 50 percent of the AMI. All units will accept federal housing vouchers. The city has not yet contributed any funding to this project. According to a preliminary audit of the city’s affordable housing funds by the firm HR&A, Piedmont Housing Alliance has received around $10 million from Charlottesville, including about $6 million for the Friendship Court redevelopment. (read the update from HR&A)Mathon said this project will also require city funding to close a financing gap. Piedmont Housing Alliance has submitted a request for $1.5 million in city funding. “I would rather rely on state or federal sources to cover that gap but inevitably city sources have to be part of that capital stack in the current day and age,” Mathon said. For the Park Street Christian Church, Piedmont Housing Alliance will not submit an application for low-income housing tax credits until the 2023 cycle. The Park Street Christian Church item will go before Council at their next meeting on a consent agenda. There was more discussion about the MACAA project. Transportation improvements include a realignment of MACAA Drive to be directly across from Davis Avenue to make a safer intersection, as well as a crosswalk. The intersection would remain unsignalized. An existing driveway from one of the single-family houses will be eliminated. Councilor Brian Pinkston said there was a lot to like about the project but he was skeptical the traffic improvements would mitigate congestion. “But there’s still this fact that at that intersection particularly where 250 and Park are right now is a difficult place to get through,” Pinkston said. Councilor Michael Payne had concerns about loss of tree cover. An engineer with the Timmons Group said the development would exceed the city’s requirement for replacement. Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade said he felt good about the project, but asked several questions about its impact on traffic. “If we don’t address some of those, I think they’re being addressed, then it won’t be a pleasant living environment for the new residents as well as the current residents of the neighborhood,” Wade said. Mayor Snook said he did not think the additional traffic would result in conditions as hazardous as on Fifth Street Extended. “It’s just simply not going to happen,” Snook said. “You don’t have a four-lane highway. You don’t have it divided. You don’t have it 45 miles an hour. You may well see some incremental increase in rear-enders, minor low-impact kinds of collisions. I don’t mean to downplay them and to say that’s irrelevant but I think it’s kind of distorting to throw that argument in there.”The MACAA issue will not come back on the consent agenda but will instead come back for a discussion and to allow the applicant to further address concerns raised at the meeting. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with 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
Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia joins host Dr. Vanessa Weaver to discuss her role and impact as the country's first cabinet-level diversity professional. She shares details about the DE&I initiatives her team has instituted and what she's done to ensure these efforts continue in future administrations, the critical race theory debate in Virginia and its role in the most recent gubernatorial election, and her plans following the Northam administration's transition out of office. In This Episode· The diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives established under Dr. Underwood's leadership, including ONE Virginia, the first statewide strategic plan for inclusive excellence across more than 100 state agencies.· The steps Dr. Underwood has taken to ensure that the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts of the Northam Administration will continue with future administrations. · Dr. Underwood's path from special education biology teacher to appointed government officer. · Why the Commonwealth of Virginia has declared racism a public health crisis and how the Northam Administration has addressed this issue. · Misconceptions about critical race theory and how the governor's office is using CRT to reform manifestations of racism in Virginia law. Resources· Dr. Janice Underwood· Dr. Vanessa Weaver· Alignment Strategies· ONE Virginia · Commonwealth of Virginia COVID-19 Equity Leadership Task Force· Critical Race Theory: A Brief History Follow Us on Social MediaWorkin' It Out· LinkedIn· Facebook · Instagram· Twitter Alignment Strategies· LinkedIn· Facebook· Twitter Diversity and Inclusion Television· LinkedIn· Facebook
In the third hour of the radio program, Larry O'Connor and Patrice Onwuka talked to Newt Gingrich, Julie Donaldson, MD Highway's Charlie Gischler, and discussed VP Harris wanting to get out of D.C. and Virginia Governor Northam upset over questions on I-95's massive backup. For more coverage on the issues that matter to you, visit www.WMAL.com, download the WMAL app or tune in live on WMAL-FM 105.9 FM from 5-9 AM ET. To join the conversation, check us out on Twitter: @WMALDC, @LarryOConnor and @PatricePinkFile. Show website: https://www.wmal.com/oconnor-company/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In the third hour of The Vince Coglianese Show, Vince speaks with Jason Snead, executive director of Honest Elections Project. Mike Pompeo looks entirely different. Ralph Northam shames the drivers. For more coverage on the issues that matter to you visit www.WMAL.com, download the WMAL app or tune in live on WMAL-FM 105.9 from 3-6. To join the conversation, check us out on social media: @WMAL @VinceCoglianese See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In the second hour of the radio program, Larry O'Connor and Amber Athey discussed Eric Swalwell's Congo Queen, Gov. Northam's I-95 blame game, Friday morning's snow, more staffers fleeing VP Harris and the return of Beavis and Butthead. For more coverage on the issues that matter to you, visit www.WMAL.com, download the WMAL app or tune in live on WMAL-FM 105.9 FM from 5-9 AM ET. To join the conversation, check us out on Twitter: @WMALDC, @LarryOConnor and @Amber_athey. Show website: https://www.wmal.com/oconnor-company/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In hour 1, Chris talks about Virginia's giant I95 snow problem, and how the current democrat governor Northam is getting off the hook scott free, the Washington Post absolved him, but Morning Joe is not pleased. For more coverage on the issues that matter to you download the WMAL app, visit WMAL.com or tune in live on WMAL-FM 105.9 from 5:00am-9:00am Monday-Friday. To join the conversation, check us out on twitter @WMAL and @ChrisPlanteShow See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Join Jim and Greg as they welcome evaluations showing the GOP likely to gain seats – and a House majority – thanks to redistricting. They also frown as former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t face any charges for his COVID nursing home cover-up or his harassment of women. And they shudder at the 24-hour-plus […]
Join Jim and Greg as they welcome evaluations showing the GOP likely to gain seats - and a House majority - thanks to redistricting. They also frown as former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won't face any charges for his COVID nursing home cover-up or his harassment of women. And they shudder at the 24-hour-plus nightmare for travelers on I-95 in Virginia, wondering why Gov. Ralph Northam didn't take decisive action sooner and why so many people are blaming Glenn Youngkin, who won't be governor until next week.Please visit our great sponsors:ExpressVPNhttps://expressvpn.com/martiniSign up now and get an extra 3-months FREE. Use code Martini.My Pillow https://www.mypillow.comNo supply chain issues with My Pillow! Shop now with confidence. Use code MARTINI at check out.
This is Day 365, the final 24 hour period of 2021, and the eve of another Day 1. Today takes on many themes for many people, with some choosing reflection, some looking forward, and others simply existing. For me it’s another opportunity to write another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a program and newsletter that seeks to bring you as much information as often as possible. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs, ready to get to it.Charlottesville Community Engagement is free to sign-up and you can decide later if you want to pay whatever you can to keep it going! On today’s program:The pandemic surge continues with three days in a row of record new cases, and Virginia’s emergency physicians want a new state of emergencyAttorney General Mark Herring has sued a small town outside Suffolk for a pattern of racial discrimination in traffic stopsCharlottesville City Council briefed on how the city’s affordable housing fund is used and agrees to cancel a sidewalk funded paid for through federal housing fundsMore new bills are filed, including a prohibition on COVID vaccine mandatesIn today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement, Stitch Please if the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. Stitch Please centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. Weekly discussions, interviews, tips, and techniques celebrate and contextualize Black creativity. To support the program, creator Lisa Woolfolk has created a 2022 Black Women Stitch wall calendar with four fusable applique patterns based on original art by Black women artists. Visit Black Women Stitch now to purchase it today! Pandemic updateFor the third day in a row, the Virginia Department of Health has reported a record number of new COVID cases with 17,618. The percent positivity has increased to 21.5 percent. These are numbers that have not been seen at any point during the pandemic. In the Blue Ridge Health District there are 365 new cases reported, which is not a record but it’s close. The seven-day average for new positive tests is 15.2 percent. Yesterday the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians called on Governor Ralph Northam to declare a state of emergency in order to assist emergency rooms across the Commonwealth. Northam’s previous emergency expired on June 30. “Emergency departments are considered a safety net for those patients in need of care, regardless of insurance status, and are federally mandated and morally obligated to provide care to all those who seek it,” reads their press release. “However, Virginia’s emergency medicine system is under threat of collapse due to excessive patient volume.”A declaration would allow access to federal funding, allow hospitals and ER’s to enact triage protocols, and more flexibility in allocating resources. The group also wants the Virginia Department of Health to provide more testing sites. The release notes that hospitalization numbers are below the levels of the winter peak earlier this year and that the majority of patients are unvaccinated. You can confirm that fact on the Virginia Department of Health’s website. The high number of cases are causing some to alter their plans. The IX Art Park has canceled their Studio 51 New Year’s Eve party due to staffing and safety concerns. Outgoing Attorney General sues town of WindsorWith only two weeks remaining in his second term, outgoing Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Windsor for violations of the Virginia Human Rights Act and the Virginia Public Integrity and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act. The latter passed the General Assembly in 2020 and allows the attorney general to sue when evidence is gathered that a law enforcement agency is “engaging in a pattern or practice that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities.”The suit filed in Isle of Wight Circuit Court argues that the town’s police department disproportionately pulls over Black drivers.“From July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, the Department conducted 810 traffic stops of Black drivers—representing approximately 42 percent of the stops conducted by the Department,” reads the pleading. “Consequently, the Town stopped Black drivers between 200 percent and 500 percent more often than would be expected based on the number of Black residents in the Town or Isle of Wight County.” The suit goes on to argue that Black drivers were searched more often than white drivers. It also cites an incident of December 2020 in which an officer claimed he was making a “felony stop” when he pulled over an off-duty police officer. “The Department does not have a policy on what constitutes a felony stop,” the argument continues. The suit also accuses the Town of inconsistent reporting and demands the Town adopt policies to address the violations. Resources:Read the filing Read the Virginia Public Integrity and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act Read the Virginia Human Rights ActRead Herring’s press releaseBills filed to limit voting, prevent COVID vaccine mandates The General Assembly session begins in less than two weeks, and bills continue to be pre-filed. Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) has filed a bill prohibiting COVID vaccines from being mandated and prohibiting people from being dismissed by employers for refusing to be vaccinated. (HB27)Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-Raphine) filed a bill to add 23.2 more miles of the Maury River to be added to the state’s list of Scenic Rivers. (HB28)Another bill from Campbell would rename and reroute a position of U.S. 60 in Lexington and create a new U.S. 850 for a section of the current route. (HB31)Campbell also filed legislation to allow Bath County to be added to the list of localities that can charge a fee for disposal of solid waste. (HB32)Campbell filed another bill to require vehicles that claim to be for Farm Use to obtain a placard from the Department of Motor Vehicles, at no charge. (HB33)Campbell would also prohibit Virginia from allowing absentee ballots to be dropped off at additional locations outside of registrars’ offices. (HB34)Campbell would also end no-excuse absentee voting. (HB35)Campbell would also abolish the right to be added to a permanent list for voting absentee. (HB36)Campbell also wants to call for a Constitutional Convention to put limit the power of the federal government. (HJ3)Harambe calendarA local educator has released the latest version of a calendar to help people find out about African American cultural events in the community. Alex Zan has been producing the Harambe Family Events calendar for many years. City Councilor Sena Magill made an announcement at last week’s City Council meeting. (download the calendar)“Harambe, Swahili for ‘all pull together,’ cultural events objectives are to inspire and unify area citizens to communicate more effectively and create and maintain a positive environment for change and civility,” Magill said. The calendar can be downloaded as a .PDF and can help map out 2022. “The calendar also strives to strengthen family relationships and nurture cultural awareness, particularly among African Americans who have experienced a lack of inclusion in many area events,” Magill said.Magill said physical copies of the calendar will be distributed throughout the community. *You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement!In today’s shout-out, a shout-out to the shouters-of out! I want to thank all of the individuals and entities that have supported this newsletter and podcast through a $25 a month Patreon contribution or through some other combination of support. Thanks to:The Charlottesville Jazz SocietyCode for CharlottesvilleLEAPThe Rivanna Conservation AllianceLonnie Murray and his penchant for native plantWTJU, The Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, Jefferson Madison Regional LibraryCharlottesville Area Tree Stewards, Cville 350Piedmont Master GardenersThe Valley Research Center (may not actually exist) *Council briefed on affordable housing fundsA firm hired to conduct an audit of the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund presented preliminary results to City Council at their final meeting of the year in the early morning of December 21. HR&A had already completed an affordable housing plan as part of the Cville Plans Together initiative but Council paid an additional $165,000 to the firm for that audit, as well as creation of a program to ensure that the upcoming rewrite of the zoning code is inclusionary. The adopted plan called for the city to spend $10 million on housing for at least ten years. The Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund was created in 2007 as one tool for the city to increase the number of subsidized housing units. No audit has ever been conducted, and the city has struggled to hold on to housing coordinators, a position which has been vacant since the summer of 2020. “We went back to records going back to 2010 and we’re talking about just shy of $47 million here, the vast majority of $38 million being local and city housing trust fund money,” said Phillip Kash of HR&A. Kash said there are three major areas funded by the CAHF. They are development of new units and rehabilitation of existing ones, programs and operations of housing nonprofits, or city administration. The main beneficiary of city funding has been Piedmont Housing Alliance, followed by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “That’s really tied to the Friendship Courts project in particular, and this really moves their position on this pretty significantly,” Kash said. The analysis also broke down how much return the city got on its investment. Rehabilitation and construction of single family homes are the most expensive per unit. New construction has been subsidized at a range between $20,000 and $45,000, with rehabilitation between $3,000 and $25,000 a unit. Kash said there are some initial lessons that can be learned. “Funding that was authorized by the city was not spent or followed up on,” Kash said. “While it was awarded, what it was awarded for was not necessarily ending up happening or wasn’t actually used. There are a couple of examples of projects being delayed or projects not being built yet. There were projects actually located outside the city. There’s a clear pattern of needing better reporting or monitoring.” A final report will be developed early next year. Recommendations will inform the next capital improvement program. Outgoing Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wants funding to go be producing housing and not to support nonprofits.“Keeping an organization afloat should not be our goal if they’re not delivering,” Walker said. “I think what ultimately once this report is finished, the community will see that we haven’t been mindful at all regarding the funds that we are allocating and we need to be more mindful.” Council cancels CDBG-funded sidewalk on Franklin StreetIn their final item of the year, Council agreed to cancel a project to build a sidewalk on Franklin Street using federal funds that come through the Community Development Block Grant process. The project had been selected by a task force but was defunded earlier this year because it could not be completed by a federal deadline. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders recommended Council consider moving away from the task force model. “Routinely, a task force model doesn’t necessarily help to meet the regulatory conditions because typically what you’re doing is simply allowing community members to pick projects and they don’t necessarily always know the details that go into executing,” Sanders said. In 2017, the city selected the Belmont neighborhood to be the recipient of CDBG funds and a task force recommended $204,263 funding go toward the Franklin Street sidewalk. This spring, staff said they would seek to reallocate funds back to the project, but Sanders had concerns it would once again not be completed in time to meet a May 2022 deadline. “Engineering complications exist today in order for us to be able to move forward,” Sanders said. “The reality is it should not have been selected.” Sanders, who has only been with the city since August, said the process is flawed. In addition, Sanders said this project did little to address low-income residents. Council agreed to cancel the project. Sanders will return with an update to the city’s ordinance to eliminate the task force’s role in favor of a staff advisory body that would seek input from the Planning Commission and Council. Resources:Minutes of the Belmont CDBG Task Force, November 7, 2018Minutes of the Belmont CDBG Task Force, February 12, 2019CDBG-funded Franklin Street sidewalk to be delayed, February 22, 2021An update on Franklin Street sidewalk, April 19, 2021Year in Review relegated to TwitterThis has been a very busy year for Town Crier Productions with 163 newsletter, 51 Weeks Ahead, and a whole lot of reporting and research. I had intended to create a Year In Review, but 2022 is going to begin with a bang so my concentration is going there.However, I am continuing to do a Year in Review on the cvilletowncrier account on Twitter. If you want to review the year, take a look there. After about 16 hours of work reviewing previous installments of this newsletter, I’ve only gotten as far as March. So, take a look there, and please retweet and like and share. Thanks for all of your support this year, and let’s see what 2022 brings us. Stay safe! Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with 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. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
There are days in the past and days in the future, but there’s only one day at a time. This edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement is specifically tied to December 22, 2021, a particular 24-hour period filled with equal parts anticipation, dread, potential, and other pensive emotions as the holiday of Christmas approaches. Stay safe! Charlottesville Community Engagement is free to read or listen to and it’s my hope that you’ll sign-up. In today’s edition:Governor-elect Youngkin appoints a veteran banker to serve as his finance secretaryA trade publication names Virginia as having the best business climate in the nationA bridge in western Albemarle is shut down before repairs begin A study is underway on where to locate a train station in the New River ValleyCharlottesville City Council holds first reading on the use of a $5.5 million surplus, defers action on Lewis, Clark and Sacagewea statue and a rezoning on Nassau Street Today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. COVID updateThe Virginia Department of Health reports another 5,972 new cases of COVID-19 today, and the percent positivity for PCR has risen to ten percent. Today’s case number is the highest it’s been since the last week of January. The highest one day total of the pandemic to date is 9,914 recorded on January 17. On this day a year ago, there were 3,591 cases reported. A hundred and nine of today’s cases are in the Blue Ridge Health District. Virginia reports another 50 COVID deaths today, with one of those in the Blue Ridge Health District. The University of Virginia will require students, faculty, and staff to receive booster shots in order to be on Grounds next semester. According to a page on the Human Resources website, faculty and staff must get the shot by February 1 if they are eligible. If not, they must demonstrate proof of a shot 30 days after eligibility. Students must upload their proof by February 1. Visit that website for more information. Bridge closureA small bridge in western Albemarle County that carries about 560 vehicles a day has been closed due to significant deterioration. Engineers with the Virginia Department of Transportation have been inspecting the bridge on Burch’s Creek Road across Stockton Creek due to known concerns and have decided to close the road until repairs are made. “VDOT bridge inspectors determined today that its condition was not safe for continued use,” reads the statement. “During the closure, traffic should detour around the bridge from U.S. 250 to Route 824 (Patterson Mill Lane) to Route 688 (Midway Road) and back to Route 689.” Repairs will take place between now and January 7 when the bridge is expected to reopen. Virginia business awardA trade publication that writes about economic development and site selection has named Virginia one of its states of the year. Business Facilities named Virginia, Tennessee, and Massachusetts in their annual contest. Specifically, Virginia was named the Overall Business Climate. Massachusetts was honored with Best Workforce / Educational System. Tennessee was given the Best Dealmaking award. A press release in advance of their next publication states that Virginia was selected “because of the steps many economic development councils in the commonwealth, both local and statewide, are taking to make the area more attractive.” The release cites the state’s low unemployment rate, successful workforce development programs such as the Virginia Talent Acquisition Program and Fast Forward Virginia. According to an article on Virginia Business, Virginia last won this award in 2018. New Finance SecretaryFor the third day in a row, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has named a member of his cabinet. Stephen Emery Cummings will be the next Secretary of Finance. Cummings is a veteran of several financial institutions, including a tenure as global head of corporate and investment banking at Wachovia. According to a release, he has recently served as the President and CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. “Steve shares my vision of respecting Virginians’ hard-earned tax dollars and ensuring the Commonwealth’s budget is managed effectively and efficiently, and he has the skill set and leadership qualities that our team needs to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Youngkin said in a statement. Yesterday Youngkin announced Caren Merrick will serve as Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Several outlets report that Youngkin founded the nonprofit Virginia Ready Initiative that Merrick has run since it was formed last summer during the pandemic. On Monday, data consultant Aimee Rogstad Guidera was named Education Secretary. Inauguration Day is January 15.NRV Train StationThe Virginia Passenger Rail Authority has launched a website for a feasibility study for where to locate a train station to serve the New River Valley. Earlier this year, outgoing Governor Ralph Northam announced an agreement with Norfolk Southern to extend passenger service from Roanoke to the valley for the first time since 1979. The state of Virginia will purchase 28.5 miles of track from Norfolk Southern. The feasibility study is examining four locations. A community meeting will be held sometime this winter and an initial survey is available. Go back and listen to the May 6, 2021 installment of this newsletter and podcast to hear a segment from when Northam signed legislation authorizing an authority to raise funds for the future station. (May 6, 2021: Green Business Alliance forms to advance emissions reductions; Northam signs legislation for New River Valley train station)There’s also another study underway to determine if Amtrak service should stop in Bedford. That town is between Roanoke and Lynchburg and on the route of the Northeast Regional service that will eventually be expanded to the New River Valley. You can go back and listen to that, too. (October 30, 2021: DRPT report states Bedford train stop won’t delay freight; a briefing on the hotel industry in Albemarle/Charlottesville)In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water. Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!Public hearing held for FY21 surplus, transfers Council has held the first of two readings and a public hearing on a mandated review of the city’s budget for fiscal year for 2021, which ended on June 30 of this year. There’s a $5.5 million surplus as well as a $6.7 million reserve fund of cash set aside for COVID. The latter was not tapped. Christopher Cullinan is the city’s Finance Director. “The audit has been completed and to close out the city’s financial records for fiscal year 2021, several year-end adjustments require City Council action,” Cullinan said. “These adjustments are to carry over unspent funds from the last fiscal year to the current fiscal year.” Cullinan said one the two main recommendations are to put the COVID reserve into the city’s Capital Improvement Program contingency fund. The other is to put the $5.5 million toward employee compensation. That includes both a bonus and an across-the-board salary increase of six percent for all employees with benefits. “This is a market adjustment that recognizes the need for the city to retain and recruit qualified employees,” Cullinan said. This would happen before the results of a study on compensation is completed. Ashley Marshall is one of two deputy city managers currently running the city. “But what we do know is that the six percent is inadequate to raise us up to where we should be for equitable and appropriate pay,” Marshall said. “So we know that we’re not going to find out later on nine months from now that six percent was too much. That’s not going to be the answer.” Five people spoke at the public hearing.“I just want to say that I would like to see a lot of this money, a good portion of it, be used toward the affordable housing fund to shore that up and get that going toward the goal you indicated previously that you’d like to have ten million dollars [a year],” said Mark Kavit. Both Kimber Hawkey, Martha Smytha and Tanesha Hudson agreed with that position, and said the city should spend money for housing on more than just Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “I think that there’s things the city could also do with purchasing land space and building things themselves as well,” Hudson said. “That’s something that they need to work towards.” Hudson said the cost of living adjustment should also extend to hourly employees as well. Rosia Parker, a newly appointed member of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said more of the funding should go to affordable housing, especially for programs to address homeless. “There are a lot of homeless people that are out here,” Parker said. “You see them when you sit in front of City Hall. You see them as you walk up and down the mall. You see them as you drive up and down the different corridors of Charlottesville. Homelessness is a very threatening danger to people’s lives. Mentally, physically and emotionally.” Capital discussionAfter the hearing was closed, outgoing Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wanted the $6.7 million to be used for a different purpose than putting it in the CIP contingency fund. The next Council will decide how that funding would be used, but Walker will not get a vote. “If we just simply transfer it to the CIP and then we have those asks that are just presented to Council randomly based on whatever’s on the funded or what makes it from the unfunded to the funded list, I don’t think that serves us,” Walker said. Vice Mayor Sena Magill supported the transfer to the CIP due to a long list of capital needs. “Because if we don’t work on some of the basic infrastructure needs of our city as well,” Magill said “That’s where we pay for a lot of the affordable grants is through the CIP and we’re looking at $75 million for just one school.” Cullinan said the idea of a contingency fund is to be ready for unforeseen events or cost over-runs.“I think the the critical thing is that it gives you choices and its cash which is easily accessible and you can make fairly quick decisions as opposed to a bond issue which takes time and effort,” Cullinan said. Council would have to approve any use funds from the CIP contingency. The second reading will be held at the next City Council meeting on January 3. Nassau Street rezoningA proposal to rezone land on the eastern half of Nassau Street in the Belmont neighborhood did not move forward on Monday. Developer Nicole Scro and engineer Justin Shimp are seeking a rezoning from R-2 to R-3 on about a half acre of land. Several members of the public asked Council to deny the request due to the property being located within a floodplain as governed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Magill said she wanted more information from staff about the issue. “I am concerned about the floodplain issue and I am concerned about the design that is being submitted in a flood plain,” Magill said Several other buildings have been constructed on that side of the street in recent years including structures built by the Piedmont Community Land Trust. That project received $240,000 in funding from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. City Councilor Lloyd Snook also said he wanted more information about the floodplain. “We’re not required to act on this tonight,” Snook said. “I would like to defer it and ask the staff to give us real feedback on what the flood danger is. The one thing I don’t want to do is end up saying we’re going to put in affordable housing but we’re going to put it in the floodplain.”In recent years, Shimp successfully petitioned FEMA to lower the elevations shown in the floodplain map by four feet. Tony Edwards is a development services manager in the city’s public works department. The foundation must be above the where FEMA establishes the 100-year floodplain. “This is the basis that we need to use because we follow the same methodology that FEMA provides and this is what’s been approved through FEMA,” Edwards said. James Freas, the city’s director of neighborhood development services, also weighed in.“We know the flood plain legally has been defined where it is now based on the amended flood maps in the process that Mr. Edwards described,” Freas said. “So that’s legally the location of the floodplain and defines the elevation at which the building has to be built. In terms of what can happen in an actual flood? We can be less clear about that. That’s less predictable.” Freas said the question before Council was the appropriate density at the location. By-right structures could be built. One in the 900 block constructed in 2018 is built on stilts to raise it out of the floodplain. Snook wanted more information.“I’d like to have more expertise than I can bring to bear and take a look at it and tell me whether I’m all wet,” Snook said. “Pardon the expression.” Shimp said any further review would prove his assertion that building in the location would be safe. The item will be deferred until the second council meeting in January. Outgoing Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she would have voted against the request. Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statue decision deferredCouncil spent nearly an hour and a half discussing the terms on how a statue removed from West Main Street will be treated in the future. Several parties agree that the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center should receive the statue for its continued display at their location in Darden Towe Park. However, details about how the story of Sacagawea’s involvement were not resolved during the conversation. Center officials and descendants of Sacagawea will continue negotiations. “We are definitely willing to do that,” said Alexandria Searls, the center’s director. “We are invested and no matter what, even without the statue, we want relationships with them. The relationships are more important than the statue. We’re willing to walk from the statue if we have to.” The hiring of the Robert Bobb Group to run the cityAs mentioned at the top of yesterday’s newsletter, Council has hired the Robert Bobb Group to perform the functions of the city manager. Council spent their closed session negotiating with the two firms that responded. Lisa Robertson is the city attorney. “The fact that using an outside firm on a contract basis to provide these types of services, while it’s not the normal manner in which the services are delivered, it’s not unheard of,” Robertson said. “This type of contract has been used on occasion in other places including other places in Virginia.” The contract still has to be finalized after being written up. There was no little discussion of the merits of either proposal. In the resolution, Councilor Hill said “the firm made the best proposal and offer” with regards to price and quality. Walker abstained based on a sense that Council should not vote to award the contract until it is written. Update!According to City Council Clerk Kyna Thomas, Council will not need to vote on the contract as it can be signed by the Mayor. However, Council will interview specific individuals that will be suggested by the firm. There is no public knowledge yet about how much the Robert Bobb Group will be paid. Here are some other news articles about other work the firm has done:Robert Bobb back in business with new venture, Washington Business Journal, December 9, 2011Robert Bobb Group outlines goals for Petersburg, WRIC, October 26, 2016Cash-strapped Petersburg spent about $1 million on turnaround services from Bobb Group, forensic audit, Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 4, 2017 Durham leader calls criticism of consultant a lynching, a charge with political history, Raleigh News and Observer, North Carolina, March 10, 2021Black community questions motives behind some Durham commissioners rejection of minority-owned firm proposal, ABC 11, March 25, 2021Firm being paid $16K a month to provide city with financial services, Rocky Mount Telegram, North Carolina, August 13, 2021Charlottesville hires firm to perform interim city manager duties, Walker and Hill bid farewell, Daily Progress, December 21, 2021Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with 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. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe