Five years after Unite the Right, Charlottesville grapples with its identity; Virginia Department of Education reviews standards for teaching history; VCU loses half a million dollars in email scam; and other local stories.
Today we welcome Dr. Rick Mitchell to the podcast. Rick is not only a member of Cool Spring, but serves as Commissioner for the Virginia Dept. for the Blind and Vision Impaired, and has been with the agency for 36 years in a variety of roles. Rick is married for 41 years to Melinda, and has two daughters and four grandchildren. Rick has a Doctorate in counseling and a Doctorate in Ministry and has served as bi-vocation al pastor in Bristol Va. Visit the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired.
What recourse do we have except to simply pursue this August 5 in the best manner possible? On this Blogger Day, I celebrate with another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast intended to shed light on various happenings in and around the area. I’m the writer and host, Sean Tubbs. What are you writing these days? Sign-up for free, but paid subscriptions come with benefits and the satisfaction you’re helping pay for the PACER bills! Ting will match. See below! On today’s program: The former Commissioner of Revenue in Greene County has been sentenced to three months in federal prison for attempted witness tamperingUnemployment drops to pre-pandemic levelsCharlottesville seeks input on what kind of person should be the next police chiefAlbemarle Supervisors endorse a pan for improvements on Rio Road but one member says that doesn’t mean final decisions have been madeCharlottesville City Council is briefed on the preparation for the next fiscal year First shout-out goes to the Charlottesville Jazz Society In today’s first subscriber supported public service announcement, are you looking for something new to listen to in the form of live music? The Charlottesville Jazz Society has you covered with an ongoing list of dozens of events coming up at venues across the area. That ranges from rumba guitar duo Berta & Vincent at Glass House Winery this Saturday afternoon to the Charles Owen Trio at Potter’s Craft Cider on Saturday, August 28. The Charlottesville Jazz Society is your source to plot out your musical journey and you can get started at cvillejazz.org. Thanks to a subscriber for being on both Patreon and Substack to qualify for this shout-out.Greene’s former Commissioner of Revenue sentenced in witness tampering caseThe former Commissioner of Revenue in Greene County has been sentenced to three months in federal prison for intervening in an investigation of his son’s drug distribution charges. Larry Snow, 73, pleaded guilty in May to one count of attempted witness tampering for trying to dissuade a confidential informant. “According to court documents, Larry Snow used his access as the former Commissioner of Revenue to a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database as part of an effort to retaliate against and tamper with the confidential informant, Person A, after Person A aided law enforcement in controlled purchases of methamphetamine and heroin from Bryant Snow,” according to a release from the United State Attorney for Western District of Virginia. Specifically, the elder Snow sought to print out material identifying the informant for his son to use to intimidate and to discredit that person while incarcerated at Central Virginia Regional Jail. Snow resigned in May 2022 as Commissioner of the Revenue in Greene, having been elected in 2019 while under indictment. National employment returns to pre-pandemic levelsThere were 528,000 nonfarm jobs added across the United States of America in July, according to the latest employment figures released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is at 3.5 percent. “Both total nonfarm employment and the unemployment rate have returned to their February 2020 pre-pandemic levels,” reads a release that was sent out this morning. The report also notes that the number of permanent job losers is now lower than February 2020. The long-term unemployed is defined as those jobless for more than 27 weeks, and that figure is also below pre-pandemic levels. Other statistics in the release are worth noting. In July, 7.1 percent of the workforce continued to telecommute due to the pandemic. The labor force participation rate is defined as “the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older that is working or actively looking for work.” That figure was at 62.1 percent in July, lower than the February 2020 figure of 63.4 percent. The next employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics will be out September 2. Charlottesville seeking input on police chief searchHow much experience should the next Charlottesville Police Chief have? What leadership qualities would you like to see? What should the police department leader’s top priority be?Those are some of the questions in a survey that the firm POLIHIRE is conducting as part of their contract to conduct a search for the next chief. The survey is open through August 15 and is available in English and Spanish. (fill out the survey)The person hired will replace Acting Chief of Police LaTroy A. Durrette who has been in the position since former City Manager Chip Boyles fired RaShall Brackney after three years on the job. Brackney sued the city and several individuals for race, color, and gender discrimination, as well as interference with contract, unlawful retaliation, violation of the state’s whistleblower statute, and more. According to a series of waivers filed in the case, all defendants have until sixty days after July 1 to respond to the case. Albemarle Supervisors endorse Rio Road Corridor PlanThe Albemarle Board of Supervisors has officially endorsed a plan that offers guidance for how future intersection improvements on Rio Road may look in the future. “This is a planning level document that establishes a vision for improvements along the corridor with sufficient analysis of the conceptual design to understand whether the proposed concepts can address future and existing conditions and can meet [Virginia Department of Transportation] and other relevant engineering standards,” said David Benish, development process manager for Albemarle County. The county hired the civil engineering firm Line + Grade to develop the plans. Supervisors were last briefed on the work last October and the Planning Commission saw the draft in May. The work was split into two sections to reflect two different roadway characters. “Phase one is very much an arterial roadway [with] five lanes with a continuous left-hand turn lane in the middle,” said Dan Hyer with Line + Grade. “Whereas phase two still resembles in many locations the local collector that it is. It’s very much a local road.” Hyer said the work involved analyzing crash data such as at the intersection of Hillsdale Drive and Rio Road. Eighty-nine percent of crashes at the location are left-hand turns. As such, recommended changes are to eliminate that movement at Hillsdale, Old Brook and Northfield. “The solution that we have recommended basically absolves all left-hand turn movements by replacing the two intersections with a singular dog-bone or bean-shaped roundabout,” Hyer said. Belvedere Drive and Rio Road would be turned into a “Continuous Green-T” intersection and Albemarle has applied for funding. A roundabout is funded at John Warner Parkway and Rio Road and that will soon get under design. The second phase of the project is broken into three segments, with the northern one including two planned developments. The Board of Supervisors approved the 328 Rio Point apartment complex last December, and an application has been filed for 43 town homes just to the south in a project called Rio Commons. “And we think that if those developments can work with this plan that the corridor can transform in a positive way and that some of the risks that we’ve identified can be mitigated through the build-out of these developments,” Hyer said. Supervisor Ned Gallaway of the Rio District was the lone vote against the Rio Point development last December. He said he was concerned about more people in the area.“As we approve the sidewalks and the access down to the Parkway, we’re only creating more pedestrian activity and that’s going to introduce a vehicular piece which is going to be really dangerous so I think we need to get our heads around that sooner rather than later,” Gallaway said.Gallaway said his endorsement of the plan did not mean that he supported the specific recommendations involved. He said there is a competing plan to reroute Hillsdale Drive that would take away the need for the bean-shaped roundabout. “We know that that intersection is completely problematic and needs a solution but it just may not be the solution that’s in the study so if we vote to approve the study, it doesn’t mean we’re necessarily voting to approve that project,” Gallaway said. As for phase two, Gallaway said he would like to see more traffic calming to slow down the speed of traffic, similar to the bump-outs on Park Street in the City of Charlottesville between the U.S. 250 bypass and downtown. Gallaway said he was grateful staff was able to work to get the corridor study done. The vote to endorse the plan was unanimous and it will now be considered as part of the update of the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan, otherwise known as AC44.Second shout-out: Save the date for Rivanna Conservation Alliance’s Community Watershed clean-upIn today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: Mark your calendar for RCA’s third annual Rivanna River Round-Up community watershed cleanup coming up on Saturday, September 24. The RCA organized the first round-up in September 2020 as a safe way for the community to give back to the river during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last two years, a total of 245 volunteers have cleaned up 67 miles of streams, nearby trails and the Rivanna River, removing 192 tires and 213 large bags of trash from the waterways. Details will soon be made available and you can get those by signing up for the Rivanna Conservation Alliance newsletter at rivannariver.org. You can get your own shout-out for a $25 a month Patreon contribution! For more information, visit Information Charlottesville.Charlottesville City Council briefed on planning for next year’s budget Fiscal Year 2023 is just over a month old, but the budget process in Virginia never really stops as local governments seek to provide services. In April, Council adopted a $212.9 million general fund budget that was 10.76 percent higher than the one for the year before. That’s built on increased assessments for both real estate and personal property as well as a one-cent increase in the real estate tax rate. That was the first such increase in several decades. There are about 30 weeks until whoever is City Manager in March 2023 presents a recommended budget and 36 weeks until Council is expected to adopt their amended document. Council got a briefing this past Monday and learned about some of the factors coming up and some suggested the schedule be moved up. (view the presentation)Will the budget continue to grow at a double-digit level, or will it be more modest? How much will it cost to implement pay and benefit increases that may come through a collective bargaining ordinance? What about the cost of inflation? While the answers aren’t yet known, the foundation is being laid for whatever will end up happening. At the end of August, city departments will be sent packets to request funds for capital projects and these will be due by the early October. There’s at least one change to that process.“We’re going to include a Planning Commission member on the review team,” said Krissy Hammill, the city’s director of budget and performance analysis.Requests from nonprofits and outside agencies are due sometime in mid-October and recommendations from the Vibrant Community team will be completed in mid-January. Also around that time will be another change to the budget process.“It’s called the city manager budget forum,” Hammill said. “The date for this will be January 10 and it will be held at Carver Recreation Center. This will be an opportunity for the city manager to make a presentation and to engage in public discussion.”Hammill said the growth in the budget for next year is expected to be more modest than the 10.76 percent increase from FY22 to FY23. She’s also keeping an eye on inflation.“We already know that there are cost increases that we’re seeing both just in general things as well as capital projects due to supply chain issues and inflation,” Hammill said. “We’re not sure of what exactly what the revenue impact would be for a potential recession if there to be one.” There will likely be higher compensation costs for city employees due to collective bargaining as well as a need to carry on the ongoing costs of positions funded using one-time money. Between now and the budget adoption, Council may have an updated strategic plan paid for through the city’s use of American Rescue Plan Act funding. “The time is right,” said interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. “In doing the strategic plan right, we’ll get a consultant to engage you individually and collectively over the next few months and by the time we get to April, we ought to have a new direction or at least some themes.”City Councilor Michael Payne said he wanted to make sure there is funding to address a human resources phenomenon known as compression, funding for climate, and for city investment in nonprofits to build subsidized housing. “How can we get our adopted Affordable Housing Plan and that $10 million a year into a more stable place in terms of how we’ll fund it at $10 million a year which is what the plan calls for,” Payne said. Payne also wants to make sure there is funding to invest in public transportation. Rogers said a compensation study is expected to be completed by the end of the year. “That will tell us where we are compared to other jurisdictions in the region in terms of our salaries,” Rogers said. “It will define a competitiveness gap.”The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors were briefed on their compensation study on Wednesday. Rogers said the August 15 Council work session will feature a presentation of the collective bargaining ordinance followed by a first reading on September 6 with adoption currently anticipated on September 19. “And we expect that there will be a push to begin to recognize collective bargaining units after that,” Rogers said. Another direction to budget staff is to reexamine a policy where 40 percent of new revenues created by additional real estate taxes goes to Charlottesville City Schools. Some on the current Council have called for that agreement to be revisited, and Rogers said budget staff would look into it and begin preliminary discussions with the school system.“And at some point the Council probably should have that meeting with schools to discuss an issue like this,” Rogers said.As for increased spending on public transit, Rogers said current planning by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District is relevant. A governance study for how to implement a proposed Regional Transit Vision is about to get underway.“The long term play is probably the discussion about a regional transit agency, and what are the dynamics that need to be in place for us to move that forward,” Rogers said. “It’s been talked about a long time.” The current calendar calls for the second public hearing on the budget to be held on April 3, 2023 and for adoption at a special meeting on April 11. City Councilor Sena Magill said she wanted to adjust the schedule so that the final public hearing does not happen during the week City Schools are on spring break. “And it’s just one more way that it makes it harder for some people to serve on Council,” Magill said. Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he would like to see the budget process moved up further so that Council could have more influence. The budget is introduced to the public the first week of every March. “There are places, particularly in Northern Virginia, where Council is involved in budget discussions by mid-December,” Snook said. “They’re not waiting until February or March and the practical effect of what we do is that our opportunity for actually commenting on things is compressed into about four weeks.” Snook said he would like to see the budget introduced in early February. Rogers said he would look into seeing if that could be accomplished, but it would leave for no break at all for budget staff. Hammill suggested holding budget development work sessions when needed. One such work session that comes to mind is the one last September when Council signaled its willingness to transfer a financial commitment for the West Main Streetscape toward school reconfiguration. That gave staff direction as they built the FY23 budget.Payne pointed out that Albemarle County has adopted their budget in May for the past two years. Rogers and Hammill said they would return with more options. For all of my stories on the budget process in Charlottesville, visit Information Charlottesville.Housekeeping notes for edition #416When will the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement? Good question. I can tell you there will be a Week Ahead out on Sunday as well as the Government Glance which is a look at what’s coming up in all of the localities across the Fifth Congressional District of Virginia. Reporting for today’s installment included a look-up on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records to learn a little more about the lawsuit filed by the former Police Chief. Today’s search only cost $2, but this is the kind of cost it takes to produce informational content that intends to keep you up to date. So, if you’re like to support this program which includes expenses like court reporting, consider a paid subscription through Substack. If do so, Ting will match your initial payment! And, if you sign up for their services through this link you’ll get a free standard install, your 2nd month free, and a $75 downtown mall gift card! Enter the promo code COMMUNITY for full effect. Music comes from the D.C. entity that currently goes by the name Wraki, selected randomly from a bin of basement-recorded cassette tapes. You can support that work by purchasing the album Regret Everything for whatever you would like to pay. Now, off to prepare for a trip to a different location in which I will continue to produce a couple editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement. It’s my pleasure to do so and I do hope you will help support me to keep this going for a long time come. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:58).Sections below are the following: Transcript of Audio Audio Notes and Acknowledgments ImagesExtra Information Sources Related Water Radio Episodes For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.). Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 8-1-22. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of August 1 and August 8, 2022. This is a revised repeat of an episode from August 2015. SOUNDS – ~4 sec – call from Great Egret then from Great Blue Heron. In this episode, we feature two mystery sounds, and a guest voice, to explore two striking birds—striking in looks, and striking in how they hunt. Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you can guess these two long-necked, long-legged wading birds. SOUNDS AND GUEST VOICE – ~30 sec – Voice: “At once he stirs and steps into the water, wading with imperial self-possession on his three-pronged, dragonish feet. The water could not tremble less at the passage of his stilt legs as he stalks his dinner. His neck arches like the bending of a lithe bow, one of a piece with the snapping arrow of his beak.” If you guessed, egret or heron, you're right! The first call was from a Great Egret and the second from a Great Blue Heron. The guest voice was Alyson Quinn, reading part of her “Lesson from an Egret,” inspired by a September 2007 visit to the Potomac River. The word “egret” derives from an old German word for “heron,” a fitting origin for the many similarities between these two big birds. The Great Egret and the Great Blue Heron are the two largest of 12 North American species of herons, egrets, and bitterns. The Great Egret is strikingly white, while the Great Blue has only a partially white head over a bluish-gray body. But a white subspecies of the Great Blue, called the Great White Heron, occurs in Florida. Great Egrets and Great Blues both typically feed in shallow water, taking fish, amphibians, and other prey by waiting and watching quietly, then quickly striking with their long, sharp beaks. The two species also share a history of having been widely hunted for their long plumes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the impact on their populations helped lead to nationwide bird-conservation efforts and organizations. Distinctive looks, behavior, and history make these two “Greats” a memorable and meaningful sight along Virginia's rivers, ponds, marshes, and other areas. Thanks to Lang Elliott for permission to use this week's sounds, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, and thanks to Alyson Quinn for permission to share her “Lesson from an Egret,” which gets this episode closing words. GUEST VOICE – ~18 sec – “I want to be more like the egret, with the patience to be still without exhaustion, to never mind the idle currents or be dazzled by the glamour of light on water; but, knowing the good thing I wait for, to coil my hope in constant readiness, and to act in brave certitude when it comes.” SHIP'S BELL Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment. For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624. Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close this episode. In Blacksburg, I'm Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water. AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 277, 8-10-15. The sounds of the Great Egret and the Great Blue Heron were taken from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern Region CD set, by Lang Elliott with Donald and Lillian Stokes (Time Warner Audio Books, copyright 1997), used with permission of Lang Elliott, whose work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site, http://www.musicofnature.org/. Excerpts of “Lesson from an Egret” are courtesy of Alyson Quinn, from her blog “Winterpast” (September 21, 2007, post), available online at http://www.winterispast.blogspot.com/, used with permission. Ms. Quinn made the recording after a visit to Algonkian Regional Park, located in Sterling, Va. (Loudoun County), part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. More information about the park is available online at https://www.novaparks.com/parks/algonkian-regional-park. Click here if you'd like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode. More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com. IMAGES (Except as otherwise noted, photographs are by Virginia Water Radio.) Upper two images: Great Egret along the New River near Parrott, Va. (Pulaski County); photos by Robert Abraham, used with permission. Third image: Great Blue Heron in a marsh at Wachapreague, Va. (Accomack County), October 5, 2007. Bottom image: Great Blue Heron in a stormwater pond on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, July 28, 2015. EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT GREAT EGRETS AND GREAT BLUE HERONS The following information is excerpted from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “Fish and Wildlife Information Service”: Great Egret “Life History” entry, online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040032&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=19202; and Great Blue Heron “Life History” entry, online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040027&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=19202. Great Egret Physical Description“Large, heavy, white heron with yellow-orange bill, black legs, long, slender neck, and long plumes extending beyond tail….” Behavior“Male selects territory that is used for hostile and sexual displays, copulation and nesting. Adjacent feeding areas vigorously defended, both sexes defend. …Migration occurs in fall and early spring along coast; winters further south than Virginia. …Foraging: alone in open situations; prefers fresh or brackish waters, openings in swamps, along streams or ponds; wader: stalks prey; known to participate in the 'leap-frog' feeding when initiated by cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis). Prey are taken in shallow waters; prey usually includes insects, fish, frogs (adults and tadpoles), small birds, snakes, crayfish, and many others. Nesting: in trees or thickets, 3-90 ft. above water in willows, holly, red cedar, cypress, and bayberry on dry ground in marshes.” Population Comments“Dangerously near extermination in early part of [20th] century due to plume hunting; population comeback hampered by loss of habitat, exposure to DDT and other toxic chemicals and metals. …[Predators include] crows and vultures….” Great Blue Heron Physical Description“Large grayish heron with yellowish bill, white on head, cinnamon on neck, and black legs,” Behavior“Territoriality: known to have feeding territory in non-breeding seasons, defended against members of same species. Range: breeds from central Canada to northern Central America and winters from middle United States throughout Central America; in Virginia, is a permanent resident of the Coastal Plain. …Foraging: stands motionless in shallow water waiting on prey; occasionally fishes on the wing along watercourses, meadows and fields far from water. They also take frogs, snakes, insects, and other aquatic animals. Nesting: predominately in tall cedar and pine swamps, but may also be found on the ground, rock ledges, and sea cliffs; nests on platform of sticks, generally in colonies….” Aquatic/Terrestrial Associations“Salt or fresh shallow waters of lakes, ponds, marshes, streams, bays, oceans, tidal flats, and sandbars; feeds in surf, wet meadows, pastures, and dry fields.” SOURCES Used for Audio Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org. Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Birds of the World,” online at https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/home (subscription required). Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2006. Merriam-Webster Dictionary:“Egret,” online at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/egret;“Heron,” online at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heron. National Audubon Society, “History of Audubon and Science-based Bird Conservation,” online at http://www.audubon.org/content/history-audubon-and-waterbird-conservation. Oxford Dictionaries/Oxford University Press:“Egret,” online at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/egret;“Heron,” online at http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/heron. Chandler S. Robbins et al., A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2001. Stan Tekiela, Birds of Virginia Field Guide, Adventure Publications, Inc., Cambridge, Minn., 2002. Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/:Great Blue Heron entry, online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040027&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=19202;Great Egret entry, online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040032&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=19202;“List of Native and Naturalized Fauna in Virginia, August 2020,” online (as a PDF) at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/virginia-native-naturalized-species.pdf.The Waterbird Society, online at https://waterbirds.org/. Joel C. Welty, The Life of Birds, W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, Penn., 1975. For More Information about Birds in Virginia and Elsewhere Chesapeake Bay Program, “Birds,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/all/birds/all. Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Merlin Photo ID.” The application for mobile devices allows users to submit a bird photograph to get identification of the bird. Information is available online at http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/. Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society, “eBird,” online at https://ebird.org/home. Here you can find locations of species observations made by contributors, and you can sign up to contribute your own observations. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at https://animaldiversity.org. Virginia Society of Ornithology, online at http://www.virginiabirds.org/. The Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study, conservation, and enjoyment of birds in the Commonwealth. Xeno-canto Foundation, online at http://www.xeno-canto.org/. This site provides bird songs from around the world. RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the “Birds” subject category. Following are links to some other episodes on birds in the family of herons, egrets, night-herons, and bitterns.Episode 118, 7-9-12 – Summertime sampler of birds, including Great Blue Heron. Episode 127, 9-10-12 – Green Heron. Episode 235, 10-13-14 – Black-crowned Night Heron.Episode 381, 8-14-17 – Midnight sounds near water, including Great Blue Heron.Episode 430, 7-23-18 – Marsh birds in Virginia, including Great Blue Heron and Least Bittern.Episode 478, 6-24-19 – Little Blue Heron.Episode 603, 11-15-21 – Fall bird migration, including Green Heron and Snowy Egret. FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode's audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.2020 Music SOLs SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.” 2018 Science SOLs Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive. 2.5 – Living things are part of a system. 3.4 – Adaptations allow organisms to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment. 3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms. 4.2 – Plants and animals have structures that distinguish them from one another and play vital roles in their ability to survive. 4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem. Grades K-5: Earth ResourcesK.11 – Humans use resources.1.8 – Natural resources can be used responsibly.3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.
Welcome to the 214th day of the year, which means we are now 58.6 percent of the way through 2022. There’s still plenty of time to improve your averages, or lower them, depending on the rules of whatever game you may be playing in your head. On paper, today is August 2, and there’s five months left until Charlottesville Community Engagement will devote its attention to 2023, declared already by the United Nations as the International Year of the Millets. Are you ready? Sign up for a free or paid subscription to get articles about what’s happening in the area. See below for an offer from Ting that could help us both!On today’s program:Charlottesville is taking precautions in preparation of the five year anniversary of the Unite the Right rallyA federal judge has dismissed a second lawsuit seeking a House of Delegates race in 2022Area law enforcement agencies had a recent crackdown on speeding on U.S. 29 Charlottesville’s Fire Department is deploying more medical equipment The Albemarle Board of Supervisors authorizes a lease for the county to lease a portion of a former department store for public safety vehiclesFirst shout out: Soul of Cville to mark Fifth Anniversary of A12In today’s first shout-out: Three groups are preparing to hold the second annual Soul of Cville festival to celebrate Black excellence in Central Virginia. Chic & Classy Image Consulting, 101.3 JAMZ, and the Ix Art Park Foundation will host the event will be held on August 12, August 13, and August 14 and will feature: Live music and performancesA fashion showA Black artisan market featuring local vendors, Food from local Black-owned restaurantsA pop-up skate event with De La Roll, An art show called There Are Black People in the Future with The Bridge PAI. On Friday there will be a screening of the 1989 film Do the Right Thing, with an afterparty in the Looking Glass hosted by 9 Pillars Hip Hop. For details, visit www.ixartpark.org/soul-of-cville.City on alert for fifth anniversary of A12This week marks five years since the Unite the Right rally and violent conflicts in downtown Charlottesville. Yesterday the city sent out a press release stating that there is no “specific credible threat” but that precautions will be taken. “CPD is maintaining a status of heightened situational awareness and monitoring chatter from intelligence sources to be prepared to increase available coverage Downtown and in parks, which can be activated quickly in response to any pop-up emergencies that might occur,” reads that press release.The eastern vehicular crossing of the Downtown Mall at Heather Heyer Way will be closed from Thursday August 11 at 6 p.m. until Sunday morning August 14 at 6:30 a.m. There is a planned event at the Ting Pavilion for Fridays after Five on Friday. No House of Delegates race in 2022If you’re a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, it’s now pretty much certain you’ll be on the ballot in 462 days if you get the nomination or otherwise qualify. Judge David Novak of Virginia’s Eastern Federal District Court has dismissed a second lawsuit seeking an election this year. (read the ruling)“Like just about everything else in our society, the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic impacted the work of the United States Census Bureau, delaying the sending of the results of the 2020 Census to the states,” states the introduction to Novak’s order to dismiss the case. That delay meant Virginia did not have updated boundaries for the General Assembly or the House of Representatives until the end of 2021. At the time, Richmond attorney Paul Goldman had an active suit against the State Board of Elections arguing that the 2021 elections were unconstitutional because they were based on data from the 2010 Census. After several months of legal proceedings including an appearance before the Fourth Circuit of Appeals, Judge Novak and two other judges ruled that Goldman lacked legal standing to have brought the case. A few days later, Richmond author Jeffrey Thomas Jr. filed a second suit based on Goldman’s main arguments. Novak’s order recounts the long legal saga to this point, including the failure of the Virginia Redistricting Commission to reach consensus on new maps as well as the COVID-related delays.“Because Plaintiff’s attempts to lay blame on Defendants for the delays caused by the unprecedented pandemic fails, Plaintiffs are unable to trace their injuries to Defendants,” Novak writes. Judge Novak’s order is made without prejudice, which means a new suit could be brought, but there are 98 days until election day. Efforts made to crack down on distracted drivers on U.S. 29Vehicular crashes are up on Virginia roads this year and late last month area law enforcement agencies teamed up on to enforce speeding and distracted driving laws on U.S. 29. On July 21, Albemarle County Police, Charlottesville Police, and the University of Virginia police were out in force from the Greene County border to the Nelson County line. “We usually see at least 700,000 vehicles daily on that stretch of roadway,” said Albemarle Master Police Officer Kate Kane. “Consequently it adds up to a lot of crashes unfortunately.” During the one-day initiative on July 21, there were 197 traffic stops and 201 summons were given out. Just over half of those were for speeding. The chances of surviving are dramatically diminished the faster you go.“Logic would tell you that when speed goes up, survivability goes down,” Kane said. “We don’t realize how fragile we are. Even with the seat belts, even with the air bags, even with the best protection technology, we cannot avoid all crashes. If you’re traveling at 75 miles an hour or higher, your body just can’t take that kind of impact.”As of today, there have been 527 fatalities on Virginia roads in 2022 according to a dashboard on the Virginia Department of Transportation’s website. Charlottesville Fire Department to deploy more devices on medical callsSome vehicles used by the Charlottesville Fire Department on medical calls will soon carry additional devices intended to increase the chances of a patient surviving a cardiac arrest. The Department secured $64,000 from a Community Development Block Grant in the last fiscal year to purchase four chest compression devices to assist in the performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). They’ll be placed on two fire engines and two ambulances.“Based on Neighborhood Risk Assessment data, residents in all nineteen (19) neighborhoods are expected to benefit from deploying these devices, most notably Tenth and Page, where the data highlights the significant importance of timely interventions,” reads a press release sent out on Friday. The department will also begin to implement video laryngoscopes, which are devices that assist with the intubation of patients. “The [Airtraq] devices have been used in pre-hospital systems and in emergency departments to improve success in airway management,” the release continues. Yesterday was the first day that Scott Carpenter will serve as the Deputy Chief of Operations. According to a July 15 press release, Carpenter has been with the Charlottesville Fire Department for 22 years. Second shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign Since the very beginning of this newsletter, one long-time Patreon supporter has used his shout-out to draw your attention to the work of the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign. The campaign is a coalition of grassroots partners including motivated citizens and volunteers, partner organizations, and local governments who want to promote the use of native plants. Summer is in high gear and pollinators are active! Want to learn more? Visit plantvirginianatives.org to download Piedmont Native Plants: A Guide for Landscapes and Gardens. Albemarle Supervisors approves rent former J.C. Penney as public safety operations centerAlbemarle County will move forward with the lease of a former department store at Fashion Square Mall to serve as a new operations facility for fire and police. “It does have a central location, it’s got a very large warehouse, with a great loading dock,” said Lance Stewart, the county’s director of facilities and environmental services. “All together it's about 33,000 square feet which is almost a third of the J.C. Penney site. On July 20, Supervisors authorized a lease and signaled a willingness to pay over $3 million in capital costs to get it ready for public safety work. “This has been a known and growing need for many years including capital requests that were submitted for new construction in the past but not funded,” said Lance Stewart is the director of the Facilities and Environmental Services Department in Albemarle County. David Puckett, the Deputy Chief of Operations at Albemarle Fire Rescue, reminded Supervisors that they have hired several personnel in recent years to expand capacity. “While the vast majority of those positions are out in the field directly providing service there are a number of administrative positions added to make sure we could successfully on-board, train, and support those personnel long-term.” Puckett said. Puckett said space is full at the county’s offices on Fifth Street Extended. The Department also now has its own dedicated fleet manager as well as a mechanic to conduct in-house repairs. All that work also requires space, and the J.C. Penney used to have a tire shop. “The lack of a centralized facility has required us to store parts and equipment in fire station closets and storage rooms throughout the county,” Puckett said. “This has resulted in loss productivity. As an example, if a mechanic is out working on a truck only to determine that the part needed to complete the repair is halfway across the county, it requires more time and energy to go get the part before they complete it.”Puckett said stations themselves are not really set up for vehicle repair.Albemarle Police Chief Sean Reeves said more space has also been a capital need requested by law enforcement. “Some of the capital improvement projects from over ten years ago, from two chiefs of police ago, called for a site that we could use to expand stored evidence, store vehicles that are in evidence, and an evidence processing bay that we do not have,” Reeves said. Colonel Reeves said using the J.C. Penney site would cut down on the capital cost to build such a place. He also said the traffic unit would move to the new location, freeing up space at the County Office Building on Fifth Street Extended.“And that space that’s freed up at COB-Fifth, what that would do is go toward supporting the mental health unit, the officers that are going to be picked and selected as staff for the new mental health unit,” Reeves said. The J.C. Penney site is owned separately from the rest of Fashion Square Mall by a subsidiary of Seminole Trail Properties. Stewart said this use would not preclude redevelopment of the site in the future. The project is also outside of the jurisdiction of the Albemarle Architectural Review Board. The lease would be for ten years with options to extend that as well as to expand to more of the J.C. Penney site in the future. The rent of $558,000 a year is based on $12.50 per square foot, and the rent would increase by 3.5 percent each year. “And I can tell you that having looked at a number of industrial and commercial properties that we thought might be suitable options, that is well below typical for the market,” Stewart said. Final details will be worked out as the lease is negotiated. Supervisor Ned Gallaway lauded staff for negotiating a good price and said this was a good location for this use. “This is an area where the Rio Road Small Area Plan is,” Gallaway said. “When we think of the county investing in this location, we can be a vibrant anchor tenant to an area that needs redevelopment and needs activity.Housekeeping notes for edition #414If you’ve been wondering if there is going to be a summer break for Charlottesville Community Engagement, we’re sort of in it. I am hoping this week to write up as much as I can before cutting back to almost no newsletters and podcasts for next week. I’ve got a rare opportunity to go on a vacation, and I’m tempted to try to not pay attention. But that’s the difficult thing - I don’t want to stop paying attention to the items happening in the area in and around Charlottesville. In fact, I’ve set up Town Crier Productions to harness my curiosity about what’s happening and a passion for documenting what’s going on. We’re now in the third year of this experiment, and I’m grateful for everyone who has helped with a financial contribution to keep it going. The best way to make a financial contribution is by purchasing a subscription through Substack. if you do so, Ting will match your initial payment! And, if you sign up for their services through this link you’ll get a free standard install, your 2nd month free, and a $75 downtown mall gift card! Enter the promo code COMMUNITY for full effect. Music on the podcast version of the show comes from the D.C. sensation Wraki, and you can support their work by paying whatever you want for the album regret everything on BandCamp. Finally, if you’ve missed anything or want to do a deep dive on a topic, take a look at the Information Charlottesville archive. Want to read articles on land use in Albemarle? Click here!What about information on Virginia elections? Click here!What about uncategorized articles? And what category should they be in? Please send this on to someone else so we can continue to grow the audience. Thanks for reading and listening! 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
Going up? Going down? Or, staying in the same place? Those are the only options to ponder now that it is National Talk In An Elevator Day. The idea is to spark up a quick conversation with a stranger while you level up - or down. So, polish up your pitch and perhaps you will find your way somewhere new? That’s one thought to have on July 29, 2022 and this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement hopes to get to the bottom of a few things. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. Sign up for free to be informed about a great deal of things! Pay for a subscription and you’ll help the information keep flowing!On today’s show:The deadline will soon close to tell the University of Virginia that your company wants to build affordable units as part of a housing initiativeAlbemarle Supervisors approve funding to further advance affordable housing projects at SouthwoodThere’s another algae bloom at Chris Greene Lake And Albemarle Supervisors deny a request from a landowner next to the lake to import clean fill to help restore the land to raise livestock First shout-out: Piedmont Master Gardeners want to help you rethink your lawnIn today’s first subscriber supported public service announcement: Want to change up your lawn to something more sustainable for pollinators and other creatures? The Piedmont Master Gardeners wants you to know about a program called Healthy Virginia Lawns which can assist you in your transition. The program is a joint venture of Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. If interested, the first step will be for a Piedmont Master Gardener to come for a visit for an assessment and soil tests. Healthy Virginia Lawns will give you a customized, science-based roadmap to a greener landscape that protects water quality, wildlife and other resources along the way. Visit piedmontmastergardeners.org to learn more!And if you want to learn more about how to use water more efficiently while gardening, Piedmont Master Gardeners are hosting a program at the Center at Belvedere this Tuesday, August 2, at 6:30 p.m. Learn more at thecentercville.org.Deadline looming for responses to UVA housing initiativeFirms and entities that seek to be part of the University of Virginia’s initiative to build up to 1,500 subsidized housing units have until Tuesday to answer a request for qualifications (RFQ). The University of Virginia Foundation has announced three sites on which mixed-use developments will be built, and the RFQ is for a 24 acre site on Fontaine Avenue known as Piedmont as well as a two acre site on Wertland Street near the intersection with 10th Street NW. Two weeks ago, the Foundation put out a list of answers to questions raised at a June 10 pre-proposal conference. (view the answers)“We expect submissions to provide clear examples of the approach to planning and development on other similar projects managed by the respondent,” reads the response to the first question. The document states that there have been no discussions with either Albemarle or Charlottesville about potential rezonings that might be necessary for the projects. The Piedmont site is located within Albemarle county and offers about 12 developable acres. The 10th and Wertland site is within Charlottesville close to three apartment buildings that have been constructed in the last ten years on West Main Street. There will be no homeownership options at either site and the Foundation’s involvement will be limited to leasing the ground to the development team. Existing tenants at the two locations are on year-to-year leases and have been informed of the potential redevelopment. Some but not all of the new tenants in the new buildings will be required to have specific low incomes. “Our team’s analysis demonstrates a need for units at [30 percent to 60 percent of area median income], but it will be up to the development team to determine the best approach to maximize affordability while producing a financially feasible project,” reads the response to question 10. The Foundation is also not stating a unit count at either location.“The count should be identified by the selected development team’s development program and financial plan,” reads the response to question 14. “It is assumed that teams will seek to maximize the number of affordable units while working to offer a variety of affordability levels across the development.”The response also clarifies that the units are not being targeted for UVA employees but for community members at the 30 percent to 60 percent level. The UVA Foundation has previously offered land at the North Fork Discovery Park, but an RFQ for that project will not be issued until after a rezoning is completed. See also:UVA announces three sites for affordable housing projects, December 14, 2021Places29-North committee gets first look at North Fork rezoning to add residential, March 3, 2022University of Virginia issues first request for qualifications for affordable housing developers, June 10, 2022Regional housing partnership endorses Piedmont Housing Alliance’s application to build affordable housing at two sites, July 7, 2022Albemarle Supervisors approve nearly $3.3 million in additional funding for projects at Southwood There’s a lot of demand for funding for housing projects across the community, and Albemarle County set aside some of its share of the American Rescue Plan Act to provide support to nonprofit agencies. The county asked those entities to apply for funding for affordable housing projects last gal “During the [Agency Budget Review Team] and [American Rescue Plan Act] processes we received requests for more than $20 million in funding support,” said Stacy Pethia, Albemarle’s Housing Policy Manager.On April 20, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors approved $1.29 million from the FY22 budget for three projects. “That money went to the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program to preserve 41 affordable units,” Pethia said. “$625,000 went to the Piedmont Community Land Trust to create 12 permanently affordable new housing units. And $250,000 was awarded to expand the county’s current energy improvement program and that would extend that program for an additional 25 existing units.” Another $2.7 million from Albemarle’s share of ARPA was set aside for housing, and Pethia said much of that went to the Premier Circle project being developed by Piedmont Housing Alliance, Virginia Supportive Housing, and the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless. On July 20, Supervisors were asked to approve funding for two additional projects. “The staff is requesting the Board approve $3.3 million in funding [and] $3 million of that will be given to Piedmont Housing Alliance to support their Southwood Housing project and $306,000 will go to Habitat for Humanity to provide temporary rental assistance for 40 Southwood families that need to be relocated during the redevelopment process,” Pethia said. That relocation will take place for two years as the second phase of Habitat’s Southwood redevelopment gets underway. The total project cost is $2 million, making the county’s cost about 15 percent of that total. Pethia said the relocation will be in a building being constructed as part of phase one. Pethia said Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Southwood Apartments will have 121 units in the first phase of the Southwood redevelopment. “Those units will serve households with incomes between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area median income,” Pethia said. “The total project cost is $24.9 million.”Pethia said Albemarle’s total contribution for that project will end up around 12 percent of the total cost, or about $25,000 per unit. The main bulk of the funding comes from the sale of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits but other sources include the National Housing Trust Fund and the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. Albemarle’s Office of Housing will also dedicate eight vouchers to the project. “That equals approximately $500,” Pethia said. “That will provide rental assistance to dedicated units for 15 years.”Supervisor Ann Mallek asked what would happen after that 15 years. Pethia responded they would have to remain affordable for 30 years because that is the requirement under the Low Income Housing Tax Credits mechanism. Supervisor Ned Gallaway said Supervisors have to have a discussion about the future of the county’s affordable housing trust.“We’re on the 20th day of the Fiscal Year and our affordable housing fund, which we’ve taken probably four years to get up to $5 million is now down to under $500,000 again,” Gallaway said. “That’s not bad because we’re using it but there’s still so much out there that we need to do.” Gallaway said the county needs to do more than rely on surpluses and one-time money. Second shout-out: Join me for a Cvillepedia training session - Brand styleIn today’s house-fueled public service announcement, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society wants you to know about an upcoming exhibit at the Center at Belvedere featuring portraits of several historical figures active in the Charlottesville area in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Frances Brand was a folk artist who painted nearly 150 portraits of what she considered “firsts” including first Black Charlottesville Mayor Charles Barbour and Nancy O’Brien, the first woman to be Charlottesville Mayor. Brand’s work will be on display from July 5 to August 31 in the first public exhibit since 2004. And, if you’d like to help conduct community research into who some of the portraits are, cvillepedia is looking for volunteers! I will be leading a Cvillepedia 101 training session at the Center August 1 at 2 p.m. Sign up at the Center’s website.Another algae bloom at Chris Greene LakeAlbemarle County has closed the beach to people and animals at Chris Greene Lake due to another harmful algae bloom. “People and dogs are prohibited from swimming in the lake until further notice,” reads a press release that went out on Wednesday. “Hiking trails and the dog park remain open, and boating is still permitted.:This is the second such event in less than a year. Another harmful algae bloom shut down the water last October and Chris Greene Lake was reopened after tests showed reduced levels of the bacteria that cause the blooms to occur. Another bloom in June 2018 prompted the county to hire the firm SOLitude Lake Management to conduct a study of the lake’s chemistry to understand the source. Their work found that organic material has accumulated at the bottom of the lake since it was created in the 1970’s. Lower oxygen in warmer months releases phosphorus into the lake upon which the algae feeds.“Algae are naturally-occurring microscopic organisms that are found in fresh and salt waters of Virginia and around the world,” reads the Virginia Department of Health’s website on harmful algae blooms. “Most algal blooms are not harmful but some do affect fish and humans, as well as other animals like birds and marine mammals.” Western portions of Lake Anna are also experiencing harmful algae blooms and an advisory was issued on July 15. The next report on that situation is expected on August 10. Albemarle Supervisors deny landowners request to be exempt from new rules on clean fillThe Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has taken action on the first test of an ordinance adopted in the fall of 2020 to regulate the practice of importing dirt from construction sites and other excavations to agriculturally zoned land. “The fill regulations were developed to protect public health, safety, welfare, and those regulations were designed to limit the scale and impact on roads, the adjacent areas, noise, runoff,” said Bart Svoboda, the county’s zoning administrator. The owner of two properties just to the west of Chris Greene Lake wants an exemption from all of those rules because he says they restrict a contract he has with the federal government to further develop forested land that was clear cut in 2009 that he now wants to become suitable for livestock pasture. “I am currently working on a multiyear, federally-funded environmental quality incentive program to improve the overall agricultural production of a 254 acre farm that has been in my family since the 1730’s,” said Tim Kindrick. The request is the first to come in since Supervisors adopted updated rules for what’s called clean fill on September 16, 2020. The new rules only allow imported fill on two acres per property. About 90 acres of the property were clear cut in 2009 and the stumps were left to decompose in place in order to prevent erosion. To move the land into productive use as pasture, Kindrick entered into a contract with the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service. One of the items in the meeting packet is a letter from Kory Kirkland with the NRCS. (read Kindrick’s application)“I have been working with Tim Kindrick on a multiyear project to conserve, improve, and protect the natural resources on his farm. This project promotes improved pasture condition and use, permanent/ perennial vegetation, and some use exclusion on areas that are most vulnerable. Part of the project area includes the area that Mr. Kindrick has proposed to use clean fill dirt as a land treatment to improve existing [conditions] for continued/ improved agricultural use.” Clean fill means solid matter brought from other sites that could include soil and other inert materials that change the topography of the landscape. Kindrick told the Board of Supervisors the project is agricultural in nature and that the new rules should not apply due to the Virginia Right to Farm Act. He said he has been held hostage by the new ordinance. Zoning administrator Bart Svoboda said staff does not see it that way. (county fill-dirt rules)“Under our ordinance, the zoning ordinance, the activity is not agricultural,” Svoboda said. “Fill activity is specifically excluded as an agricultural activity under state code and local code.”Svoboda acknowledged that the Virginia Right to Farm Act does restrict localities from regulating many agricultural uses, but clean fill brought in from external sites is not one of them. “That activity of bringing fill from offsite is not an agricultural use,” Svoboda said. “It supports agriculture but under those definitions it is not agricultural use.” Svoboda said staff recommended denial in part because there was no plan for how environmental effects would be mitigated under the plan. Supervisor Jim Andrews questioned the request for exemption from all of the rules. “My sense is that this is really an attempt to say that this regulation shouldn’t apply at all and asking us to make that determination which seems highly inappropriate,” Andrews said. “Without conditions I can’t understand what I’m really looking at.” Before we get to the end of the story, we have to go back. Earlier in the meeting, Brian McCay spoke on behalf of the Earlysville Forest Homeowners Association and said Supervisors should not grant the exemption. “Earlysville Forest has a right of way easement with the Kindrick family that was signed when the neighborhood was first developed,” McCay said. The neighborhood dates back to the 1980’s and McCay said the terms give the association an 15-foot easement intended for a driveway that links to Carriage Hill Drive. “However that driveway is now being used as access for the fill dirt operation requiring repeated trips by heavy dump trucks and is not adequate for that purpose,” McCay said. When asked by Supervisor Ned Gallaway to further explain the neighborhood’s opposition, McCay spoke a second time saying he was not opposed to the use of the property. “Our opposition is directly to the use of this access by heavy equipment and we want to stop that basically,” McCay said. Supervisor Donna Price said she toured the property with Kindrick and saw the installation of mechanisms to keep additional organic material from being washed into the watershed of Chris Greene Lake. “I did have a tour of part of the property and I did see where livestock exclusion fencing has been constructed to protect the waterways,” Price said. “My concern here is that our ordinance may have someone created what I’d call the law of unintended consequences by limiting the soil to have to come from the farm itself.” Price said the farm was in existence many years before the homes were built on Carriage Hill Road and that Kindrick had a legal right to use it. “It is a farm,” Price said. ”A farm naturally engages in some sort of industrial use.” Price asked for a legal perspective on whether the county’s ordinance was against state rules.“As Mr. Svoboda said at the beginning, there’s a difference between agricultural use on the one hand and fill use on the other and as Mr. Svoboda also pointed out, there was a recent amendment to state law that specifically amended agricultural activity so as not to include imported fill,” said Deputy County Attorney Andy Herrick. Supervisor Ann Mallek said the county’s new rules on clean fill were the subject of much public discussion over several years.“I cannot support someone saying ‘I don’t want this law to apply to me,’ and I think we have to make a decision based on the information we have now and if there’s a future application that comes in with something different, that would be fair to the neighbors and to the process.” Supervisor Ned Gallaway said he was sympathetic to the landowner, but the county put its ordinance into place for a reason. “I think even then we knew that this would likely frustrate good actors coming forward but the regulations and the ordinance were put in place to stop the bad actors and the activity that we were concerned about,” Gallaway said. There are six ways you can get a waiver but Kindrick wanted a blanket exemption from all of the rules. Gallaway suggested a new application that sought to justify the waiver. Price said she also could not support a blanket exemption. “But I really want county staff to do what I believe county staff does which is help this community member achieve within the law what he wants to do which is to improve the quality of his farm,” Price said. The motion to deny the application for a special exemption was approved unanimously. Housekeeping notes for episode 413:And that’s it for another edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement, and you may have noticed a focus on Albemarle County. I’d been wanting to get some of these items out there and it took a bit. There’s so much going on and I hope to have another edition out Monday at noon. Between now and then, there’s the Week Ahead coming out on Sunday. There will also be another look at what’s happening at government meetings in the Fifth District in the new Government Glance. In a few days, the above stories will be on the Information Charlottesville website. Want to read articles on land use at the University of Virginia? Click here!What about information on local waterways? Click here!How about economic development? Elections in Virginia? The archive grows each week!All of this is supported by readers and listeners under the Town Crier Productions company I formed two years ago and am still learning how to operate. I’m breaking even, but I’d very much like to find a way to grow. There are ways to do that!For one, if you sign up for a paid subscription through Substack, Ting will match your initial payment! And, if you sign up for their services through this link you’ll get a free standard install, your 2nd month free, and a $75 downtown mall gift card! Enter the promo code COMMUNITY for full effect. Music on the podcast version of the show comes from the D.C. sensation Wraki, and you can support their work by paying whatever you want for the album on BandCamp. My sincere hope today, though, is that someone will ponder the concept of elevators. And what would happen if they could predict the future? Ting will match your initial contribution if you sign up for a paid subscription! 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
Welcome to Spational Noonerism Day, which doesn’t exactly toll off the rung. But if words seem to be a crittle bit lazy today, we can always mely on the rajesty of numbers as it is either 7/22/22 or 22/7/22, depending on what side of the Atlantic you’re on. This is Communville Charlotteminity Engagement and I’m Tawn Shubbs. Now, on to the information. On today’s program:Charlottesville City Council holds first reading on a five-cent tax on plastic bagsA contract has been awarded for a streambank restoration in McIntire ParkAnd Charlottesville City Council defers two land use votes due to a missing member but approve a plan to convert a single family house into a mixed-use apartment buildingFirst shout out: Soul of Cville to mark Fifth Anniversary of A12In today’s first subscriber-supported shout-out: Three groups are preparing to hold the second annual Soul of Cville festival to celebrate Black excellence in Central Virginia. Chic & Classy Image Consulting, 101.3 JAMZ, and the Ix Art Park Foundation will host the event which will be held on August 12, August 13, and August 14 and will feature: Live music and performancesA fashion showA Black artisan market featuring local vendorsFood from local Black-owned restaurantsA pop-up skate event with De La RollAn art show called There Are Black People in the Future with The Bridge PAI. On Friday there will be a screening of the 1989 film Do the Right Thing, with an afterparty in the Looking Glass hosted by 9 Pillars Hip Hop. For details, visit www.ixartpark.org/soul-of-cville.City Council holds first reading on plastic bag taxCharlottesville City Council has taken a first step on implementing a five cent tax on most plastic bags at retail stores. A first reading was held on Monday but the public hearing will be held on August 1. “It’s still a work in process at this point and we’re not ready for a final version of it,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders explained that the General Assembly adopted legislation in 2020 to allow localities to levy the tax. He said there are only four ways the revenue can be used. “We can provide reusable bags to [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] and [Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children] recipients, we can produce education to reduce environmental waste, work on mitigation on pollution and litter, and work on environmental clean-up.” Sanders said some bags are exempt, such as durable plastic one with handles intended to be used for multiple uses, and plastics for some types of groceries such as ice cream and meat. “The retailer does the work of collecting the tax,” Sanders said. “They are permitted to retain one cent of every five cents collected to offset their collection and remittance expenses. It’s very much a similar process to how they collect retail sales and use collections. They will send those in to the Virginia Department of Taxation each month.”If approved, Charlottesville would begin collecting the tax on January 1, the same day the tax will go into effect in Albemarle County. Sanders said the city has met with county officials to coordinate efforts and communication. He said the city will need to distribute reusable bags in advance to people who will really need them. “That additional five cents each visit for all the items they would be acquiring adds up over time so we want to make sure that we’re making an equity investment in the roll-out of this particular tax,” Sanders said. One of the details to be worked out is the type of reusable bag. Linen, canvas, or another kind of plastic? “That will be one of the program details that we will definitely be looking for additional feedback,” Sanders said City Councilor Brian Pinkston said that he looks forward to hearing from the public.“To me this seems pretty non-controversial,” Pinkston said. “It seems like a win-win type thing but maybe I’m missing something.” While the public hearing will be held on August 1, Council may not take a vote until August 15 in case something there’s a logistical challenge brought up by the public. City awards Schenks’s Branch contractThe city of Charlottesville will hire a North Carolina based company to restore the streambank of a waterway that runs through McIntire Park. KBS Earthworks won the contract through a competitive bidding process. “The Schenks’ Branch Tributary Project consists of a construction of a priority II and priority III stream restoration to stabilize 818 linear feet of existing impaired stream,” reads the project description in the construction documents that KBS Earthworks will implement. KBS Earthworks will be paid $762,277.27 for the work, according to the notice of award issued yesterday. Funding for the project comes from the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. “The stream is experiencing active severe erosion of its banks and bed, sending excessive amounts of sediment downstream to waterways listed as impaired by DEQ,” reads a StoryMap on the project that was published in February. “As a result, the stream offers poor habitat for aquatic organisms and is largely inaccessible to the public.” When completed, the restored stream will run through the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont. Second shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign Since the very beginning of this newsletter, one long-time Patreon supporter has used his shout-out to draw your attention to the work of the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign. The campaign is a coalition of grassroots partners including motivated citizens and volunteers, partner organizations, and local governments who want to promote the use of native plants. Summer is in high gear and pollinators are active! Want to learn more? Visit plantvirginianatives.org to download Piedmont Native Plants: A Guide for Landscapes and Gardens. Four member Council delays action on two land use items, approves a thirdCharlottesville City Council has existed as a five member body since 1928 when an amendment to the charter added two more Councilors. In 1981, voters approved a referendum to expand the number to seven, but Council ordered a revote and the idea was defeated the second time around.This past Monday’s Council meeting illustrates what can happen when one member is not present. Vice Mayor Juandiego is on a sabbatical in Ethiopia with his church. There were three land use items on the agenda and two of them were deferred, both for slightly different reasons. For background, read my June 30, 2022 story Charlottesville Council briefed on city-owned property. In the first item, Council opted to wait on a vote to vacate a paper alley in the Fifeville neighborhood. “The owners of 323 6th Street SW have asked the city to close this 20 foot platted right of way,” said City Attorney Lisa Robertson. “City Council back in 2010 previously closed a different section of the platted street.” City Councilor Sena Magill repeated her concerns about doing this without a policy in place that explains to the public what paper streets are and how they can be vacated. “Having been a homeowner who has easements who looked to try to get easements closed around 2010, I was told it couldn’t be done,” Magill said. Robertson said each case is different given the age of the plat, size of property, presence of other easements, and so on. She said Magill was right that the city has taken many approaches. “A few years ago, a previous City Council determined that you should use a scoring rubric to determine whether or not to close certain platted alleys,” Robertson said. Robertson said the city’s new Office of Community Solutions is looking into the topic as part of their efforts to get handle on what property the city owns. Mayor Snook said he shared Magill’s concern of a lack of policy. So did City Councilor Michael Payne, but he said he would support this particular vacation. Pinkston asked if there would be a downside to waiting. That’s when Mayor Snook brought up the fact Council was down one member. “As least one concern for right now is that I don’t know if we would be 3-1 or 2-2, but if Vice Mayor Wade was here, he would presumably be able to break a tie,” Snook said. Council opted to defer a vote to the August 15 vote. 1000 Monticello Road decision deferredAfter that, Council took up a special use permit to allow 11 units at 1000 Monticello Road. An existing apartment complex is on the property and the permit is required for additional density in a structure that would be built on what is now a driveway. Council denied a similar request last year on a 3-2 vote after several speakers had argued that the developer should be held accountable for a decision to raise rents that many long-term residents could not afford. Since then, a second application was submitted that increased the number of units that would be guaranteed to be rented out below market. “The Planning Commission reviewed this at their June meeting and recommended that the application be approved,” said city planner Brian Haluska. (See also: Planning Commission recommends approval of 11 units at 1000 Monticello Road, June 15, 2022)Haluska said the application did not trigger the city’s existing affordability requirements but seven out of the eleven units would have some income restrictions. According to the resolution, five of the apartments would be classified as “For-Rent Affordable Dwelling Units” and would be reserved for ten years to households making less than 65 percent of the area median income at a total cost (rent plus utilities) that cannot exceed the fair market rent as established by the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development.Two of the units would be “For-rent Workforce Affordable Dwelling Unit” at rent (plus utilities) that could not exceed 125 percent of the fair market value. To qualify, households must be at 80 percent of the area median income. (look up Virginia’s fair market rent rates)Earlier in the meeting, several employees of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority urged Council to vote the project down because they said the affordability terms were not long enough or deep enough. “The city really needs to take a look at what units are being constructed not only through the [special use permit] process but what units you are incentivizing when you all fund projects as well,” said John Sales, executive director of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Sales said Council should follow the recommendations by the Office of Community Solutions to lengthen the affordability term to thirty years rather than the ten proffered by the developer. In April 2021, a group that calls itself the Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition published a study called “Why Building More Market-Rate Housing Will Not Solve Charlottesville’s Housing Crisis.” (read the report)Kelsey Schlein of Shimp Engineering was on hand to explain what the rents would be for the five affordable units. “The 2022 HUD [Fair Market Rent] for a one bedroom is $1,063,” Schlein said. “The Charlottesville [Metropolitan Statistical Area] median family income is $111,200.” The rents for the other two would be at 125 percent of the fair market rate, which would be under $1,300 a month. Councilor Magill indicated she would vote no.“I don’t see how this project has significantly altered from when it came before us,” Magill said. Councilor Michael Payne said he would also repeat his no vote. “Just to note for the historical record at this site that the lease terminations and evictions happened and there will be a net loss of affordable housing even if this is approved or not,” Payne said. Pinkston made a motion to approve the special use permit, and Snook seconded. Snook had voted in favor last year. “I guess the question is do we want to wait until Vice Mayor Wade is back to break the tie,” Snook said. “I would,” Pinkston said.At this point, another representative of the applicant requested a deferral. Pinkston withdrew his motion, and the matter will come back on August 15. Councilor Payne voted against the motion to allow the item to be deferred. In the final matter, Shimp Engineering also sought an increase for a density increase at 923 Harris Street to replace a single-family house for a multi-use building with seven apartments. The land is zoned industrial and Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he was concerned about taking away developable land for businesses. However, there were enough votes to proceed and Council approved it on a 3-1 vote. More from City Council, including a report on the Planning Commission votes in the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. End of the newsletter business notesWhat’s the 411? This edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement! Thank you to all of the supports who help make this possible and have allowed me to improve this product over the past two years. This is a service of Town Crier Productions.You can join in and help make sure I make it to 822 by signing up for a paid subscription through Substack. If you do, Ting will match your initial payment. Go visit their website and see what they may be able to do for your Internet needs. Ting supports this brand of community engagement with a match! Paid subscriptions are fuel and each new payment makes me work that much harder for the community. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe
Adult Protective Services is investigating a Petersburg assisted living facility after residents reported never receiving federal stimulus money; Yesterday, the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts started vaccinating people at high risk of contracting monkeypox; According to the Virginia Department of Health, more than 96 percent of abortions in the state have taken place during the first trimester since 2016; and other local news stories.
CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:30).Sections below are the following: Transcript of Audio Audio Notes and Acknowledgments Images Sources Related Water Radio Episodes For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.). Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-15-22. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of July 18 and July 25, 2022. SOUNDS – ~6 sec Those sounds of shorebirds and Chesapeake Bay waves open an episode on the condition of that bay, which we last explored in an August 2020 episode. We set the stage with the instrumental opening of a song whose title calls to mind some colors of the Chesapeake region's waters, lands, sky, and creatures. Here's about 30 seconds of “The Deep Blue Green,” by Andrew VanNorstrand. MUSIC – ~31 sec – instrumental In June 2022, the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science issued its latest annual Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Report Card, for conditions in 2021. For the report's first part, to assess Bay waters, the report compares the status of several physical, chemical, and biological indicators to established goals, in order to generate condition scores ranging from zero to 100%. Combining the indicator scores, the overall score for 2021 was 50, an increase from the 45 score for 2020 data; the report characterized the 50 score as “moderate health” and gave it a letter grade of C. The score when the Report Card started in 1986 was 48; the highest score since then was 55 in 2002, and the lowest was 36 in 2003. For the report's second part, the overall watershed assessment, the report for 2021 looked at three categories of indicators: ecological, societal, and economic. These resulted in a score of 56, characterized as “moderate health” and given a letter grade of C+. This was the first year that three categories of indicators were used for the watershed assessment, so the results aren't directly comparable to previous years. Besides the Maryland center's annual report, several other Bay condition reports are regularly available. These include the Chesapeake Bay Program's annual “Bay Barometer” report; the Bay Program's “Chesapeake Progress” Web site, with updates on progress toward the goals of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's biennial “State of the Bay” report; and reports by various groups on specific Bay areas, such as the James River Association's “State of the James” reports. All depend on data gathered by various sources, including universities; governmental agencies at the federal, state, and local levels; and non-governmental organizations. The Chesapeake Bay is the United States' largest estuary. Monitoring its condition is a large part of decades-old efforts to improve and sustain this irreplaceable water body. Thanks to Andrew VanNorstrand for permission to use “The Deep Blue Green.” We close with about 50 seconds of another musical selection, created for our previous episode on Chesapeake Bay conditions. Here's “Chesapeake Bay Ballad,” by Torrin Hallett, a graduate student at the Yale School of Music. MUSIC – ~51 sec – instrumental SHIP'S BELL Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment. For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this episode. In Blacksburg, I'm Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water. AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The waves sound was recorded by Virginia Water Radio at the Chesapeake Bay on Kent Island, Maryland, June 22, 2010. The shorebirds sound was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Digital Library, http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/; the specific audio file was “Shore birds close,” online at https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/audio/id/66/rec/8. “The Deep Blue Green,” from the 2019 album “That We Could Find a Way to Be,” is copyright by Andrew VanNorstrand, used with permission. More information about Andrew VanNorstrand is available online at https://greatbearrecords.bandcamp.com/. This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 504, 12-23-19. “Chesapeake Bay Ballad” is copyright 2020 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission. Torrin is a 2018 graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio; a 2020 graduate in Horn Performance from Manhattan School of Music in New York; and a 2021 graduate of the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. He is currently a graduate student at the Yale School of Music. More information about Torrin is available online at https://www.facebook.com/torrin.hallett. Thanks very much to Torrin for composing the piece especially for Virginia Water Radio. This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 604, 11-22-21. Click here if you'd like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode. More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com. IMAGES (Unless otherwise noted, photographs are by Virginia Water Radio.) View of the Chesapeake Bay looking downstream from the Bay Bridge-Tunnel (between Virginia Beach and Northampton County), October 7, 2007.View of the Chesapeake Bay looking upstream from Sandy Point State Park in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, March 21, 2010.Summary charts for Chesapeake Bay waters (upper) and watershed (lower) from the “Chesapeake Bay & Watershed 2021 Report Card” (covering data through 2021; published in June 2022), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Images accessed from the report PDF, online at https://ecoreportcard.org/site/assets/files/2560/2021-chesapeake-bay-watershed-report-card.pdf, as of 7-18-22. SOURCES Used for Audio Chesapeake Bay Foundation, “State of the Bay,” online at https://www.cbf.org/about-the-bay/state-of-the-bay-report/. Chesapeake Bay Program, online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/. Specific pages used were the following:“Slight improvements in Bay health and new economic data added in 2021 Chesapeake Bay Report Card,” June 7, 2022, news release by Caroline Grass;“Bay Barometer,” April 2021 (for 2019-20 data), online (as a PDF) at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/documents/Bay_Barometer_2019-2020_Web.pdf;“Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement” (signed June 16, 2014), online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/what/what_guides_us/watershed_agreement;“Chesapeake Progress,” online at https://www.chesapeakeprogress.com/;“The Estuary,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/the_estuary_system.Jeremy Cox and Timothy Wheeler, “Maryland, Virginia clamp down on crab harvests; cuts imposed as crab population hits record-low,” Bay Journal, June 30, 2022. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, “2022 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey,” online at https://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/blue-crab/dredge.aspx.Maryland Department of Natural Resources, “Eyes on the Bay,” online at http://eyesonthebay.dnr.maryland.gov/.See http://eyesonthebay.dnr.maryland.gov/eyesonthebay/whatsitmean.cfmfor “Data Available for Viewing” (dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, turbidity, algal blooms, and temperature).See http://eyesonthebay.dnr.maryland.gov/eyesonthebay/links.cfmfor links to other Bay water-quality data and information sources.University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, online at https://www.umces.edu/.The “Chesapeake Bay & Watershed Report Card” is online at https://ecoreportcard.org/report-cards/chesapeake-bay/; note links for “Bay Health,” “Watershed Health,” and “Indicators.”A June 6, 2022, news release on the report of 2021 data is online https://www.umces.edu/news/chesapeake-bay-health-score-held-steady-in-2021.A PDF of the report of 2021 data is online at https://ecoreportcard.org/site/assets/files/2560/2021-chesapeake-bay-watershed-report-card.pdf. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, “How big is the [Chesapeake] bay?” Online at https://www.vims.edu/bayinfo/faqs/estuary_size.php. For More Information about the Chesapeake Bay and its ConditionChesapeake Bay Program, “Discover the Chesapeake,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover. Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, “Chesapeake Bay Map,” online at https://coastalscience.noaa.gov/products/vmrc-chesapeake-bay-map/.Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Chesapeake Bay,” online at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/water/chesapeake-bay. Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS):“Bay Info,” online at https://www.vims.edu/bayinfo/index.php;“SAV Program: Monitoring and Restoration,” online at https://www.vims.edu/research/units/programs/sav/index.php;“Virginia Coastal and Estuarine Observing System,” online at http://vecos.vims.edu/. Virginia Marine Resources Commission, online at https://mrc.virginia.gov/links.shtm. RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the “Rivers, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category. The previous episode on Chesapeake Bay conditions was Episode 537, 8-10-20, Following are links to some other episodes on the Chesapeake Bay. Bay Barometer and other reports – Episode 305, 2-29-16.Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan – Episode 115, 6-18-12.Bay TMDL, Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan – Episode 475, 6-3-19.Chesapeake Bay Commission – Episode 496, 10-28-19.Estuaries introduction – Episode 326, 7-25-16.Oysters and nitrogen (Part 1) – Episode 279, 8-24-15.Oysters and nitrogen (Part 2) – Episode 280, 9-7-15.“Smart” buoys – Episode 538, 8-17-20.Submerged aquatic vegetation (“Bay grasses”) – Episode 325, 7-18-16.Winter birds of the Chesapeake Bay area – EP565 – 2/22/21. Following are other music pieces composed by Torrin Hallett for Virginia Water Radio, with episodes featuring the music.“A Little Fright Music” – used in Episode 548, 10-26-20, on water-related passages in fiction and non-fiction, for Halloween; and Episode 601, 10-31-21, connections among Halloween, water, and the human body.“Beetle Ballet” – used in Episode 525, 5-18-20, on aquatic beetles.“Corona Cue” – used in Episode 517, 3-23-20, on the coronavirus pandemic. “Flow Stopper” – used in Episode 599, 10-18-21, on “Imagine a Day Without Water.”“Geese Piece” – used most recently in 615, 2-7-22, on Brant.“Ice Dance” – “Ice Dance” – used most recently in Episode 606, 12-6-21, on freezing of water.“Lizard Lied” – used in Episode 514, 3-2-20, on lizards. “New Year's Water” – used most recently in Episode 610, 1-3-22, on water thermodynamics and a New Year's Day New River wade-in.“Rain Refrain” – used most recently in Episode 559, 1-11-21, on record rainfall in 2020.“Runoff” – in Episode 585, 7-12-21 – on middle schoolers calling out stormwater-related water words.“Spider Strike” – used in Episode 523, 5-4-20, on fishing spiders.“Tropical Tantrum” – used most recently in Episode 580, 6-7-21, on the 2021 Atlantic tropical storm season preview.“Tundra Swan Song – used in Episode 554, 12-7-20, on Tundra Swans.“Turkey Tune” – used in Episode 343, 11-21-16, on the Wild Turkey.“Wade in the Water” (arrangement) – used most recently in Episode 616, 2-14-22. FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode's audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post. 2020 Music SOLs SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.” 2018 Science SOLs Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes2.5 – Living things are part of a system.3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem. Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.4.7 – The ocean environment.Grades K-5: Earth Resources 1.8 – Natural resources can be used responsibly, including that most natural resources are limited; human actions can affect the availability of natural resources; and reducing, reusing, and recycling are ways to conserve natural resources.3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources. Grade 66.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.6.8 – Land and water have roles in watershed systems.6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment. Life ScienceLS.6 – Populations in a biological community interact and are interdependent.LS.8 – Change occurs in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms over time.LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.LS.11 – Populations of organisms can change over time. Earth ScienceES.6 – Resource use is complex.ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.ES.10 – Oceans are complex, dynamic systems subject to long- and short-term variations. BiologyBIO.2 – Chemical and biochemical processes are essential for life.BIO.7 – Populations change through time.BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems. 2015 Social Studies SOLs Grades K-3 Geography Theme1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.2.6 – Major rivers, mountains, and other geographic features of North America and other continents.3.6 – Major rivers, mountains, and other geographic features of North America and other continents. Grades K-3 Economics Theme2.8 – Natural, human, and capital resources.3.8 – Understanding of cultures and of how natural, human, and capital resources are used for goods and services. Grades K-3 Civics Theme3.12 – Importance of government in community, Virginia, and the United States. Virginia Studies CourseVS.1 – Impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.VS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia. United States History to 1865 CourseUSI.2 – Major land and water features of North America, including their importance in history. United States History: 1865-to-Present CourseUSII.9 – Domestic and international issues during the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century. Civics and Economics CourseCE.6 – Government at the national level.CE.7 – Government at the state level.CE.8 – Government at the local level.CE.10 – Public policy at local, state, and national levels. World Geography CourseWG.2 – How selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth's surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.WG.3 – How regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.WG.4 – Types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources. Government CourseGOVT.7 – National government organization and powers.GOVT.8 – State and local government organization and powers.GOVT.9 – Public policy process at local, state, and national levels.GOVT.15 – Role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.Virginia's SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/. Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade. Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade. Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten. Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade. Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade. Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade. Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school. Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school. Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school. Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade. Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia's water resources, for 4th and 6th grade. Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
If this were a Leap Year, July 18 would be the 200th day of 2022. However, this Monday is in fact the 199th day of the year and we are 532 days away from 2024. Are these numbers compelling or a distraction from the beginning of this 409th installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement? Let’s ask the Magic 8-ball! I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. Sign up for a paid subscription to ensure this work continues long into the future! Ting will match your first payment! See below for more. In today’s installment:An update on the COVID-19 pandemic as local experts anticipate a future surgeThe Virginia Department of Health is cautioning swimming in the western tributaries of Lake AnnaThe latest campaign finance numbers are in for Virginia’s Fifth District Storefront vacancies are up in the six commercial areas tracked by the city of CharlottesvilleAnd some updates on infrastructure projects in Albemarle CountyFirst shout-out: Piedmont Master Gardeners want to help you rethink your lawnIn today’s first subscriber supported public service announcement: Have you thought about changing up your lawn to something more sustainable for pollinators and other creatures? The Piedmont Master Gardeners wants you to know about a program called Healthy Virginia Lawns which can assist you in your transition. The program is a joint venture of Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. If interested, the first step will be for a Piedmont Master Gardener to come for a visit for an assessment and soil tests. Healthy Virginia Lawns will give you a customized, science-based roadmap to a greener landscape that protects water quality, wildlife and other resources along the way. Visit piedmontmastergardeners.org to learn more!Youngkin’s health department makes COVID quarantines optional in education and childcare settingOn Friday, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that the Virginia Department of Health has updated its guidance for children, teachers and staff in educational and camp settings. “This revised guidance outlines that quarantine is no longer routinely recommended for asymptomatic individuals after exposure to COVID-19 infected individuals,” reads the updated guidance “In general masks are not routinely recommended in these settings, indoors or outdoors, except during isolation.”The guidance continues a shift away to individual decisions related to the pandemic rather than mandates. The federal Centers for Disease Control has a much more broad system of quarantine protocols, which can be reviewed here.Dr. Costi Sifri, director of hospital epidemiology at the UVA Health System, said schools and day care facilities should do what they can to improve spaces to reduce transmission, especially before the school year begins. “Those include things like just understanding whether there are more opportunities to improve ventilation and those other engineering type approaches to reducing risk of transmission within schools,” Dr. Sifri said. “We know the virus is not going to go away.” Today the Virginia Department of Health reports a seven-day average of 2,930 new cases a day and the seven-day percent positivity ratings for PCR tests is at 23 percent. This continues an upward trend that dates back to the spring as newer strains became more prevalent. Dr. Sifri said the Omicron subvariant BA.5 continues to spread and he expects an additional surge in cases at some point in the near future. “We’ve had new variants that have replaced previous variants and for most of 2022 what we’ve seen is that these variants are descendants or are related to the Omicron variant that was called BA.1,” Dr. Sifri said. Dr. Sifri said reinfection is becoming more likely due to the new strains. “That really helps us think about perhaps whom we should be trying to protect by revaccinating,” Dr. Sifri said. “The challenge is that the COVID vaccines are based on the original strain of COVID and the protection from that or from previous infection is unfortunately not as robust for general infection due to BA.5 or some of these newer variants.” Dr. Sifri said vaccination and previous infections do protect against serious outcomes, except for those who are immunocompromised. “So the CDC guidance and our recommendations are that if you are in a high-risk group, then you should make sure you are up to date with your COVID vaccine,” Dr. Sifri said. Dr. Sifri noted that nearly half of the country is currently considered by the CDC as an area of high transmission. He recommends people wear masks, but acknowledged the political reality of America in the third year of the pandemic. “We know that’s not being done in many places around the country,” Dr. Sifri said. “I just flew in from the west coast earlier this week and masking is really the exception to the rule on airplanes and in more airports right now. If you are in those situations and you’re not wearing a mask, you should anticipate that you could be exposed to COVID.”To find out if you are eligible for another vaccine dose or to get vaccinated for the first time, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov to learn more. Harmful algae bloom at Lake AnnaThe Virginia Department of Health is asking people to avoid swimming in or contact with waters on the western side of Lake Anna and its tributaries due to the presence of a harmful algae bloom. “Samples collected at six sites on the Upper and Middle Pamunkey Branch, including Terry’s Run, and the Upper and Middle North Anna Branches indicated a cyanobacteria bloom with cell concentrations at unsafe levels,” reads a VDH update posted on Friday.The next update from VDH will be given some time in the second week of August. Until then, VDH cautions people to not fish, swim, or let pets in bodies of water that smell bad, look discolored, or have visible foam or scum on the surface. For more on the topic across Virginia, visit www.swimhealthyva.com. Good leads Throneburg in fundraising for 5th District RaceThere are 113 days until election day and 59 days until the next time that candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives will have to file campaign finance reports. The most recent deadline was this past Friday for activity through June 30.In the Fifth District, Republican Incumbent Bob Good of Evington has raised $848,271 in his reelection campaign for a second term, including $149,017 in transfers. Of the $679,372 in contributions, nearly 75 percent comes from individuals or entities who contributed $200 or more. About eleven percent came from political action committees. Good has spent $570,585 and had an ending cash balance of $328,023 on June 30.Democratic challenger Joshua Throneburg of Charlottesville has raised $446,579 so far, including $50,000 in loans. Just under 77 percent of the $396,379 in contributions came from individuals or entities who gave $200 or more. So far, Throneburg has spent $320,531 and had $126,048 in cash on hand at the midway point of the year. For all of the details, read the quarterly reports on the Federal Elections Commission’s website. Here’s the one for Throneburg and here’s the one for Good. Second shout-out is for LEAP’s new Thermalize Virginia program In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: Have you been thinking of converting your fossil-fuel appliances and furnaces into something that will help the community reduce its greenhouse gas emissions? Your local energy nonprofit, LEAP, has launched a new program to guide you through the steps toward electrifying your home. Thermalize Virginia will help you understand electrification and connect you with vetted contractors to get the work done and help you find any rebates or discounts. Visit thermalizeva.org to learn more and to sign up! Storefront vacancies up slightly in Charlottesville Storefront vacancies are up in the six commercial areas tracked by the City of Charlottesville. That’s according to the latest twice a year report put together by the Office of Economic Development (read the report).“This study examines only the ground-level retail storefronts at the six major shopping centers, so vacancies on the second floor and higher are not included,” reads the report. “Not all vacant buildings are included in the vacancy rate provided .”Those six commercial areas include Barracks Road, the Downtown Mall, McIntire Plaza, Preston Plaza, Seminole Square, and the Corner. There were 22 vacancies in January and that has risen to 33 in July. That does not include storefronts that are under renovation. When factored in percentage, the vacancy rate increased from 5.01 percent to 7.21 percent. The study also does not cover West Main Street, which has some buildings that have storefronts that have never been filled. The Flats at West Village used to have a restaurant that closed before the pandemic, and one retail space required to be built due to the zoning has never been occupied. The Lark has seen two breweries come and go but the second closed during the pandemic. A retail space on Roosevelt Brown Boulevard has never been occupied.The Standard has several retail spaces, and only one has been occupied. Another appears to be a storefront, but is actually an advertisement for a ghost kitchen. Urban sidewalks are among several infrastructure projects under construction in AlbemarleEvery quarter, Albemarle County’s Facilities and Environmental Services Department puts out an update of its activities. The latest is on the consent agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. (read the report)Here are some of the highlights:Construction got underway in June on over 2,000 feet of sidewalk to connect Albemarle High School to Greer Elementary School. Funding comes from a one-time Neighborhood Improvements Funding Initiative as well as the Safe Routes to School program. Replacement of 376 exterior windows at the county’s office building on McIntire Road is also underway. The windows all date back to the late 70’s when Albemarle bought the former Lane High School from the city of Charlottesville. This will reduce energy costs and the report notes that electricity consumption in June was down 13 percent over the same month in 2021. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently awarded Albemarle a $96,261 grant to study the potential for flooding in the 770-acre Branchlands watershed. This may take some years to complete. Design for an entrance road for the first phase of Biscuit Run is still ongoing with negotiations continuing between county staff and the Virginia Department of Transportation. The first phase will consist of that road, restrooms, and a parking area. According to the report, completion of the first phase is now expected in September 2023. Albemarle is considering using land proffered to the county as part of the Brookhill development for many uses, including a relocation of the vehicle maintenance facility used by Albemarle Public Schools. Other uses might include a solid waste convenience center, such as the one that will soon get under construction in Keene. A feasibility study for the Brookhill land should be ready in mid-August. The Southern Convenience Center is expected to be completed in December on a nearly $1.1 million budget. Completion of several sidewalk projects is expected in the coming weeks. Albemarle was successful in getting revenue-sharing funds from the Virginia Department of Transportation for sidewalks and improvements on Rio Road, Avon Street, and U.S. 250 West in Crozet.“The Rio Road Sidewalk Improvement project will connect the Stonehenge residential neighborhood to the John Warner Parkway and Rio Road sidewalk system. The Avon Street Walkway/Crosswalks Improvement project will provide sidewalks on the east side from Swan Lake Drive to Mill Creek Drive and then to Cale Elementary School [sic] and on the west side from Stoney Creek Drive to Arden Drive. The US 250 West-Crozet project will consist of the construction of sidewalk and crosswalks from Cory Farms to the Cloverlawn commercial area and Blue Ridge Shopping Center.”Cale Elementary was renamed Mountain View in 2020. Secure this work’s future with financial supportThis is episode 409 of this program and I’ll be getting to work on 410 and beyond. I really want to get to 818, 820, and so on. This is the work I want to do and I believe the community benefits when I’m able to spend my time as a reporter. Town Crier Productions is not a nonprofit organization, but around a third of the audience has opted to contribute something financially. It’s similar to the old days when you would subscribe to a newspaper. I subscribe to several, myself, and would greatly appreciate your subscription. Supporting the program through a Substack contribution or through Patreon makes it very easy for me to get paid and every single dollar that I get makes me want to work that much harder to serve the community. In just under two years, I’ve produced hundreds of stories that seek to give you information about how decisions are made in our community and in the Commonwealth of Virginia.For more information on all of this, please visit the archive site Information Charlottesville to learn more, including how you too can get a shout-out! Thank you for reading, and please share with those you think might want to learn a few thing or two about what’s happening.Also, Ting will match your initial payment! Visit them today to see if they can help you speed your Internet up. 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
This week, we're airing 2 interviews to do with the Russian war in Ukraine. Plus, Kevin Rashid Johnson talks about being denied medical care for his prostate cancer in the Virginia prison system. Transcript Assembly.Org.UA BOAK PDF (Unimposed) - pending Zine (Imposed) - pending Assembly.Org.UA [00:08:51 - 00:24:17] An interview with Assembly.Org.UA, a news site based out of Kharkiv about their journalism, disaster capitalism in the midst of pandemic and war, resistance to forced military conscription by the Ukrainian military and information about sabotage activity against the war taking place in Russia. Links for Assembly.Org.UA Donate via Global Giving English articles on LibCom BOAK, Anarchist Communist Combat Organization [00:27:34 - 00:51:41] Then, we'll you'll hear words from BOAK, or the Anarchist Communist Combat Organization, a Russia-based group advocating sabotage and guerrilla struggle and the development of a social revolution against authoritarian regimes in eastern Europe. You'll find a Russian version in audio and text of the BOAK conversation for dissemination very soon in the post for this show at our website. You can find a bunch of links in our show notes as well. BOAK links tor browser: https://www.torproject.org/download/ Onion Site: http://boakor7dmr63zguccltp6nki56ou4oppirhyllfck7yd3sifywinhkyd.onion/ Non-Onion mirror: http://boakmirror.noblogs.org/ Telegram Channel: https://t.me/BO_AK_reborn VK Channels: https://vk.com/bo_ak https://vk.com/zloyancom Phone Zap for Rashid [00:01:19 - 00:08:51] But first, you'll hear Minister of Defense of the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party, Kevin Rashid Johnson, talk about his diagnosis of prostate cancer and his request for a call in to get the VADOC & his captors at Nottoway Correctional Institution in Virginia to give him the care he needs to survive. You can read his article at RashidMod.Com. Phone Zap! RIBPP & PSO are calling on all comrades and supporters to participate in a Phone/E-mail zap for Comrade Rashid. The following script can be used/personalized: "My name is___. My friend Kevin Johnson, #1007485, housed at Nottoway, just learned from the prison doctor that he has prostate cancer. Tests he took last October and November indicated that diagnosis almost certainly, but no biopsy was performed until April and the results reported to him on July 1. Eleven of 13 biopsies are positive for prostate cancer. “Cancer kills, and it can kill fast. A friend with prostate cancer says his treatment started immediately upon diagnosis in an effort to stop the cancer from spreading to his lymph nodes and on to his bones, where it would be fatal. The Virginia Department of Corrections has already failed in its responsibility to provide even minimal care. Mr. Johnson's thousands of supporters are shocked to hear of these inexcusably long delays in diagnosis. The best possible treatment must begin now. No obstacle must be allowed to cause further delay.” Who to call: Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections Harold W. Clarke VADOC P.O. Box 26963 Richmond, VA 23261 (804) 674-3000 firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Health Services, VADOC Steve Herrick email@example.com (804) 887–8118 Warden Clint Davis Nottoway Correctional Center 2892 Schutt Rd. Burkeville, VA 23922 (434) 767-5543 Email the following officals: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. Sean's Segment [00:51:41 - end] Sean Swain talks about the overturning of Roe vs. Wade in his usual manner. . ... . .. Featured Track: Democratize, Decentralize, Demobilize, attributed to Antivoenny Bolnichny, lyrics found on LyricsTranslate
Saturday’s all right for writing! That is, writing information about land use, transportation, economic development, elections, and more! This is Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast intended to let you know about a few things you didn’t know before, and intended to keep an eye on a great deal of things. I’m your host Sean Tubbs, exploring and exploiting my curiosity hopefully for your benefit. But please: No fighting! In today’s newsletter:The first campaign finance report is in for the race of the 55th House District, even if it’s still unclear when the election will be held Charlottesville Planning Commissioners seek action on safer streets in advance of the school A former Charlottesville school superintendent becomes Governor Youngkin’s permanent chief diversity officerThere’s one day left to fill out the latest questionnaire on Albemarle County’s growth management policy The head of the area’s aging services agency is elected to lead a statewide group First shout-out: Join me for a Cvillepedia training session - Brand styleIn today’s house-fueled public service announcement, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society wants you to know about an upcoming exhibit at the Center at Belvedere featuring portraits of several historical figures active in the Charlottesville area in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Frances Brand was a folk artist who painted nearly 150 portraits of what she considered “firsts” including first Black Charlottesville Mayor Charles Barbour and Nancy O’Brien, the first woman to be Charlottesville Mayor. Brand’s work will be on display from July 5 to August 31 in the first public exhibit since 2004. And, if you’d like to help conduct community research into who some of the portraits are, cvillepedia is looking for volunteers! I will be leading three more Cvillepedia 101 training sessions at the Center July 18 at 2 p.m. Sign up at the Center’s website.Laufer outraises fellow Democrats in 55th District There is still a possibility that Virginia will have an election this year for the 100 seat House of Delegates. A second federal lawsuit arguing that legislators elected last November are in unconstitutional seats still awaits a final ruling and November 8 is 115 days away from today. That makes yesterday’s deadline for active candidates for the House of Delegates that much more compelling. There are currently three people seeking the Democratic nomination in the new 55th District, which includes most of Albemarle’s geography, as well as northeast Nelson County and western Louisa County. The Virginia Public Access Project has pulled together all of the filings, and former Charlottesville School Board member Amy Laufer outraised her opponents with a total of $61,731 raised in June. Fifty-seven donors contributed more than $100, requiring their identification. That includes a transfer of $7,327 from Laufer’s previous campaign for the Virginia Senate in 2019. There is one $10,000 gift from Hunter Bourne, and a pair of $5,000 gifts from Clean VA and the Morrill Family Investment. There were 68 contributions below the $100 limit. Emergency room nurse Kellen Squire raised $41,531 from March 8 to June 30. Thirty-four contributions were in excess of $100 with 406 below that threshold. There is one $20,000 contribution from Kay Ferguson.Albemarle County Supervisor Donna Price raised $11,798 with ten contributions above the $100 threshold and thirty below. Republican Rob Bell is the presumptive incumbent, currently representing the former 58th District. Bell began the year with a balance of $76,253 and has raised $5,250 so far this year. More on the status of the lawsuit in the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. One days left to fill out Albemarle’s growth management surveyAs mentioned in the last program, a survey is about to close for Albemarle County’s growth management survey. The county is in the midst of updating their Comprehensive Plan, and this is the second questionnaire. Here’s more from a video produced by the office of Communications and Public Engagement (CAPE). “New development proposals that require a change in zoning or a rezoning are evaluated by recommendations in the Comprehensive Plan, including the growth management policy,” states the narrator. “As part of growth management, the Albemarle County Service Authority establishes a jurisdictional area where public water and sewer will be provided. This jurisdictional area mainly corresponds with the development area.” If you’re interested in hearing more, the Albemarle CAPE has posted the latest episode of their Let’s Talk Albemarle podcast. The guest is Rachel Falkenstein, a manager in the Community Development department who oversees long-range planning.“Usually we look out 20 years and that number comes from the state of Virginia,” Falkenstein said. “They require localities to have a Comprehensive Plan that plans for 20 years out into the future so we use that for most of our planning documents.” As of Friday afternoon, 270 people had taken the survey, according to CAPE director Emily Kilroy. The Albemarle Planning Commission will have a work session on the Comprehensive Plan on July 26. To catch up on previous stories on land use issues in Albemarle, check out Information Charlottesville through this link. And if you’re in the mood to fill in another survey, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission wants your input on the Regional Transit Vision Plan.. To catch up on all kinds of transit related stories, check out Information Charlottesville through this link. Youngkin appoints Atkins as chief diversity officerGovernor Glenn Youngkin has appointed former Charlottesville Superintendent Rosa Atkins to serve as Virginia’s Chief Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Officer. Atkins has been serving in the position on an interim basis following the departure of his first appointee, Angela Sailor. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sailor left in April for a family matter. Atkins served as Charlottesville’s superintendent for 15 years before retiring. Earlier this year, former Governor Ralph Northam appointed her to serve as the acting superintendent of public instruction for the Virginia Department of Education. In the Northam administration, Atkins’ position was known as the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, but Youngkin changed the name in Executive Order #10 when he appointed Sailor. “We must strengthen and focus the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) by including in its mission the promotion of entrepreneurship and economic opportunity for all Virginians — including Virginians with disabilities — as well as the promotion of free speech and civil discourse,” reads that order.Sailor’s name is still on the website for the office. In other appointments of note, a University of Virginia official has been named to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Pace Lochte is the assistant vice president for economic development. Youngkin also appointed Rob Rutherford of Nelson County to the Virginia Manufactured Housing Board. Rutherford is a manager with Pro Tech Builder, a maker of modular homes.JABA leader elected to Virginia aging services associationThe chief executive officer of the area’s aging services association has been elected as president of the state entity that represents all 24 such agencies across the Commonwealth. Marta Keane of JABA will begin a two-year term as president of the Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging (V4A).Keane has been CEO of JABA since 2013. According to a release, during that time she helped form the Charlottesville Area Alliance as an umbrella organization for various entities that work with senior services in the community. “With this comes challenges to meet their increasing and changing needs, and opportunities to identify and maximize the strengths that seniors bring to our communities,” Keane is quoted in the release. “During the next two years, I hope to continue our efforts with demographic services to better identify areas that have unmet needs, work with networks to identify new ways to meet the needs, and identify new funding sources to allow us to grow and sustain critical services."JABA was formed in 1975 as the Jefferson Area Board for Aging. In today’s other two shout-outs: Local media and Code for CvilleCode 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. The final comes from another Patreon 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!Charlottesville Planning Commissioners seek Council action on safer streets on school routesAs of today, there are 39 days left until the first day of school in the City of Charlottesville. Yesterday, the school system held a Transportation Talk and Walk Session to discuss a recent alert from Superintendent Royal Gurley that the bus driver shortage has worsened and walk zones will be expanded. This past Tuesday, the city Planning Commission was briefed on a request from one of its members that city government take steps to make routes to school. They got an update from Missy Creasy, Charlottesville’s assistant director of the Neighborhood Development Services office (NDS). “The city has a pretty robust program that they’re putting together to address how they are addressing the shortage at this point in time and some pretty innovative things on there,” Creasy said. These include encouraging older students to take Charlottesville Area Transit routes, hiring more crossing guards or finding more volunteers, and buying smaller buses that don’t require drivers to have commercial licenses. NDS director James Freas said the shortage provides an opportunity to apply goals of the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan to a real life problem. “Wrapped up in this challenge is an opportunity to explore those options,” Freas said. “The flip side of that is that it’s a little early for us right now in that we are in the process of building out a transportation planning program.” In May, Council was briefed by Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders on a series of problems with how the city has run its transportation planning program. For instance, transportation planners have had too high of a workload, and the city has been unable to move some projects forward. There’s also a vacancy in the position of bike pedestrian coordinator after the last person left the job at the end of 2021 to work for a consultant. “We expect that position to post very soon and see that position as really being able to take a lead role in doing exactly this type of work and that is coming up with innovative, innovative, and low-cost ways of improving pedestrians, particularly children’s safety, in the neighborhoods around our schools,” Freas said. Creasy said that the traffic engineer and the Safe Routes to School coordinator no longer work in NDS. Instead they work for the Public Works department, a decision made by former City Manager Tarron Richardson. Creasy said NDS does coordinate with public works, but more people are needed to implement what’s in the Comprehensive Plan. “We do have really good support for continuing to move forward in this direction,” Creasy said. “We have tools in place but we just need to fill them with humans so that we can keep the work going.” Creasy said she is aware of grassroots efforts to make things better, but coordination with the city is needed. Freas said that one remedy would be to paint bump-outs at curbs to provide more space for people. “It’s a significant safety improvement and you can do that with paint and potentially flex-posts, but even to do just that, you do have to do some engineering design, you do need to coordinate with public works street folks,” Freas said. Freas said that there’s a possibility of maybe having something done within six weeks, but he cautioned that it will be hard to do in that time frame. “I think, A, the school department’s plans are really good, I think they have some good solutions in place, and B, I think we can build towards that and start contributing the safety improvements we need to make as we go forward,” Freas said. Commissioner Rory Stolzenberg said he supported the idea of an official letter to City Council, but also said funding needed to be in place to implement the solutions. “Is it safe to assume there is not within the currently allocated budget enough money to really address the things that staff would potentially want to address?” Stolzenberg asked. “Or potentially to hire outside traffic engineers to take some of the load of our in-house resources?” Freas said he would need to have a scope of work before answering that question. “We don’t have an identified line item for that right now so we would be cobbling together money from other sources,” Freas said. Stolzenberg said he would like the Planning Commission to recommend identifying money in the current fiscal year so incremental improvements can be made throughout the school year. He pointed out that Council voted in late June to purchase property for parking.“Council just spent $1.65 million on a parking lot with 40 spaces,” Stolzenberg said. “It seems to me that we can find money within the currently allocated [Capital Improvement Program] that could be reallocated to make sure that kids don’t get run over by cars on their way to school.” Stolzenberg also asked if the city has explored the ability to install cameras in school zones to capture people who speed. Freas and Creasy said they did not know if the city has done that research. The Commission agreed to send a letter to Council seeking support for the work. Stolzenberg said he would draft that document. The discussion took place just before the Commission’s joint public hearing with City Council. Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade said he heard the message.“It doesn’t have to be a war and peace type of document,” Wade said. “We understand the issues and we’re hearing a lot of from the citizens now.” Two more Talk and Walk sessions are scheduled this month. Do you have a specific concern? Drop me a line and I’d like to hear about it. Housekeeping notes for the conclusion of today’s newsletter:Thanks for reading! Today’s show is a rare Saturday show. Coming up next is the Week Ahead for July 18, as well as the Government Glance at the Fifth Congressional District. That’s a separate Substack. Music in the podcast version is composed by an entity currently going by the name Wraki. You can purchase the latest tracks on Bandcamp in an album called regret everything. I certainly hope you will check it out! Finally, I can’t say enough positive things about Ting’s generous sponsorship. If you sign-up for Ting service, 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!Charlottesville Community Engagement is free to receive, but supported by paid subscriptions. If you subscribe, Ting will match your initial contribution! 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
Hear ye, hear ye, oyez, oyez, and all that jazz! Welcome to the 192nd day of the year, which is also somehow International Town Criers Day so I am honored to be here to present to you another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a publication that enters its third year with this this 406th installment. I’m your host Sean Tubbs, ready to bring you as much information as I can, updating what it means to be a town crier in these fragmented times. Sign up to get all of the installment delivered in your inbox! If you opt for a paid subscription, Ting will match your initial payment! On today’s program:An update on COVID in Virginia as the BA.5 Omicron variant wave continuesLouisa County’s Board of Supervisors gets a briefing on a Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan but want to know more about its purposeUVA will ask to demolish an apartment complex from the 1940’s with no specific plans for the future of the 4.1 acre propertyA long-time official with the Charlottesville Fire Department now works for AlbemarleAnd an audio piece funded by the Charlottesville Sister Cities’s Commission makes it debutFirst shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign Since the very beginning of this newsletter, one long-time Patreon supporter has used his shout-out to draw your attention to the work of the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign. The campaign is a coalition of grassroots partners including motivated citizens and volunteers, partner organizations, and local governments who want to promote the use of native plants. Summer is in high gear and pollinators are active! Want to learn more? Visit plantvirginianatives.org to download Piedmont Native Plants: A Guide for Landscapes and Gardens. COVID cases in Commonwealth continue to be prevalent with BA.5 wave The Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,132 new cases of COVID today as measured through the PCR tests conducted in health-care settings. The seven-day average of positive tests is now at 23 percent. “We are seeing quite a lot of community transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Patrick Jackson is an infectious disease expert at the University of Virginia Health System. “The numbers listed, the number of infections in the community, are going to be artificially low because so many people are doing hometesting and those don’t get into that pot.” Dr. Jackson said this is a similar pattern to what was seen during the early days of the Omicron wave last fall. He said what’s known as the BA.5 variant is not leading to as many hospitalizations or deaths. “It is encouraging that the numbers of bad outcomes don’t seem to be going up nearly as we’ve seen in previous waves,” Dr. Jackson said. “So this does look to be another period of time in which many people will become infected with COVID-19, become symptomatic with COVID-19, but probably would not expect to see another big wave of hospitalizations or deaths from this virus.” Dr. Jackson said it still makes sense for people to try to avoid the virus by getting boosted and by wearing masks while indoors, especially if you are immunocompromised. “If you’re going to be masking, I certainly would use a high-quality mask to try to get as much benefit out of that as possible,” Dr. Jackson said. “No face in making your face warm to no good end.” For more information on vaccinations and boosters, visit the Blue Ridge Health District’s website.University Gardens slated for demolitionAn apartment complex on U.S. 29 built in 1948 and owned by the University of Virginia since the early 1960’s will be torn down rather than renovated.“The University Gardens buildings have reached the end of their useful life and UVA Housing and Residence Life (HRL) has determined the best course of action is demolition since maintenance and operating expenses have escalated to a level where continued operation is no longer economically viable,” reads a fact-sheet for the development.Necessary repairs included upgrades to electric systems, roof replacements, and HVAC improvements. A plan to demolish the structures will be presented to the Board of Visitors in September. Demolition would take place early next year and the space will be converted to parking. “There are no immediate plans for redevelopment at this time,” the fact-sheet continues. The Board of Visitors’ next regular meeting is scheduled for September 15. Albemarle Fire Rescue hires Charlottesville veteran for new deputy chief There’s a new deputy chief of community risk and resilience at Albemarle County Fire Rescue. Emily Pelliccia was named to the position earlier this month after serving 28 years with the Charlottesville Fire Department. "Deputy Chief Pelliccia has a proven track record of success in establishing collaborative relationships with government officials, businesses, and community members that will be vital as our department grows to meet the needs and challenges of the developing community we serve,” said Albemarle County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston in a news rele